Author Topic: Religion Docs- Second Draft  (Read 11269 times)

Religion Docs- Second Draft
« on: September 03, 2010, 03:19:19 PM »
Common Beliefs and Practices

Many Zalanthans are completely agnostic, too focused on day-to-day survival to consider what (if anything) happens after they die. For these pragmatic minds, physical death means the cessation of conscious thought, and musings on the afterlife are little better than children's tales designed to terrify or pacify.

But for those who have the time, luxury, or inclination to ponder eternity, a few common trends in Zalanthan spiritual thought tend to surface. Among the spiritual, a vague conception of a "soul" or "spirit" exists, an immortal and permanent counterpart to the temporary shell that is one's body. One of the more common beliefs typically held by the poorer castes is that this soul passes into Drov upon death. For many, "sending someone to Drov" is just a figure of speech, but some take the idiom literally, picturing Drov as a place or another level of existence. Who or what Drov consists of, or what this life after death is like, is usually left purposefully vague (probably to avoid the unwanted attention of the templarate, who may consider too much contemplation on the afterlife tantamount to heresy). Those who venture to speculate on the nature of life after death usually assume that Drov is a dreary, unpleasant place, where shades and shadows spend eternity adrift in an endless sea of gloom. This seems only natural to most Zalanthans; having lived most of their lives in toil and agony, they can only imagine a similarly-unpleasant afterlife. Still, the idea of an afterlife is comforting to many common folk, attracted to the idea of revisiting deceased loved ones and enjoying a well-earned rest from the rigors of the living world.

Outside of these general beliefs, the most predominant faith in the Known World is most likely belief in one of the two god-kings, Tektolnes of Allanak or Muk Utep of Tuluk. Motivations for worshipping the god-kings differ from person to person. Some worship out of social convenience, or to gain some sense of societal acceptance. Many, especially in Allanak, worship their god-king out of a sense of fear and awe. They view their god-king as a terrible tyrant, but pay lip-service to avoid being struck down by Him or (more likely) His servants, the templars. A few pray to their king out a genuine sense of love or admiration. Followers of Muk Utep are somewhat more likely to view their ruler as benevolent, but many citizens of both city-states view their god-king is all that stands between them and the utter desolation of the wastes. Truly faithful individuals often join the militia of their respective city-state, seeking some way to serve and become closer to their god. Even amongst these fanatics, however, love for their king is tempered with a healthy dose of fear.

Allanaki Beliefs

The order of white-robed templars were created in the wake of the siege of Allanak. The white-robes promote the worship of Tektolnes as a god-like figure, referring to him as He Who Rescued Us. Citizens of Allanak are encouraged to worship Tektolnes, and the white-robes build temples and lead devotions in their god-king's honor. Allanakis are always careful to never let their religious fervor interfere with the essentials of day-to-day business, however; the white-robes teach that the best way to show devotion to He Who Rescued Us is to be a contributing member of His glorious city.

With an established clergy in the form of the white-robed templars and an almost evangelical approach to the world at large, the worship of Tektolnes might be the most advanced and powerful organized religion in the Known World. And while it is true that even templars and nobles utter prayers to He Who Rescued Us, those with earnestly spiritual minds might find themselves dissatisfied with the Highlord's answers to the great philosophical questions. Allanak's dogma is shallow and ill-defined, usually amounting to little more than state propaganda with quasi-religious trappings. While high-ranking white robe templars may ponder the deeper mysteries of the Known World, these elevated thoughts (if they exist at all) are relegated to back-room debates and private libraries. As a result, very little in the way of actual enlightenment trickles down to the masses. Sermons usually amount to little more than history lessons, rehashing and aggrandizing the exploits of He Who Rescued Us.

If one were to ask a white-robed templar about the purpose of life or the existence of an afterlife, one is unlikely to receive a direct answer. Despite this, the common folk of Allanak clutch to a few apocryphal beliefs, and the powers-that-be seem disinterested in discouraging these ideas. Many Allanakis believe that Tektolnes possesses a degree of omnipresence, and even nobles and high-ranking templars are likely to believe that the Highlord can hear their silent prayers. Some of Allanak's faithful attempt to justify the apparent cruelty of the Highlord's regime by claiming that the harshness of Vrun Driath requires a firm hand. While an individual imprisonment, beating, or public execution may seem cruel, the patriotic Allanaki understands that it is part of a grand scheme designed to protect them from the uncountable horrors of the wastes. Particularly zealous Allanakis pride themselves on bearing their hardships with relative good cheer. Finally, the concept of an afterlife is ill-defined in the canon of Allanak's state religion, and the white-robes seem content to allow their followers to speculate on this particular subject to their heart's content. Many believe, rightly or wrongly, that He Who Rescued Us possesses some degree of control over their ultimate fate, and might provide a pleasant afterlife for the particularly patriotic or devout. Considering the large amount of reality-warping magick power Tektolnes possesses, this might actually be possible.

Prayers to the Highlord Tektolnes are traditionally spoken aloud. An Allanaki citizen is more likely to pray for the strength to endure hardship than to ask for blessings. Charity is nearly a foreign concept to Allanakis, so the virtues of hard work and humility are especially valued. Occasionally, Tektolnes surprises his followers with an act of real or perceived benevolence. Examples include the font of water spilling forth from the Temple of the Dragon, as well as the Highlord single-handedly breaking the siege of Allanak in the Nineteenth Age. These boons come few and far between, and are cause for great celebration. Another common practice in Allanak is coloring secular laws in a religious light. For example, the more zealous factions of Allanak's citizenry genuinely fear spice, believing its use might make them "spiritually impure" in the eyes of their king. Finally, some in Allanak have taken to using the phrase "Walk in His Shadow" as a blessing or word of parting. The phrase evokes the cooling shade and shelter that is the city of Allanak, a forbidding but protective point of respite in the blasted landscape of Vrun Driath. For others it is also a reminder that the entire city and its populace exists very literally in the shadow of their almighty king, He Who Rescued Us, the Highlord Tektolnes.

Tuluki Beliefs

The public sermons and grand temples of Allanak run contrary to Tuluki aesthetics. Any worship of the Sun King is usually subtle, restrained and private, but is still encouraged, considered a sign of patriotism and good character. Tuluk's templarate are referred to as the Faithful, granting them and anything they do an air of religiosity. The Faithful are rumored to have complex and highly developed philosophies that justify the rule of the Sun King Muk Utep and describe Tuluk's purpose in the world. These philosophies, if they actually exist, are generally considered state secrets.

One of the few ideas to spread to the masses is a strong sense of fate or destiny. As in Allanak, many common Tulukis believe that their god-king possesses at least some degree of omnipotence. Rather than squander his power with brazen displays like Tektolnes' draconic form at the siege of Allanak, Muk Utep prefers to subtly manipulate the events around his followers, constructing destinies. Certain individuals such as the Faithful, certain nobles, and a lucky few commoners might be marked for greatness and guided by Muk Utep's divine hand. Heroic tales and legends in Tuluk sometimes feature the conquering hero experiencing a string of remarkable good luck. Sometimes the villain is even slain by bad luck and obvious plot devices, buried under a rockslide or ripped apart by natural storms without the hero so much as lifting a finger. While these anticlimactic endings might seem strange or even comical to outsiders, Tulukis understand that these events are part of the hero's destiny and a reward for his devotion to the Sun King.

Tuluk's cultural predisposition for subtlety discourages calling Muk Utep by his name, at least publicly. Although not seen as heretical or even vulgar, it's still slightly uncouth, and Tulukis instead prefer to refer to Utep as the Sun King, or to make vague references to "His Light." In Tuluk, it's considered gauche to make obvious displays of deference to one's superiors. Instead, Tulukis are encouraged to find other ways of making their fear, love or loyalty known, and it is no different with their Sun King. Rather than build temples or preach in the streets, northerners try to find unique methods for honoring and communing with their god-king. One might show particular respect to the Faithful, while another might create artworks in the Sun King's honor, while another might choose to spend several nights awake in vigil and fasting, hoping for some particular blessing from His Gloriousness, Muk Utep.

Due to Tuluk's tribal roots and the lack of a proselytizing caste such as Allanak's white-robes, Tulukis also tend to be somewhat more tolerant of tribal beliefs, animism, or private cults. Of course, those who prove too ambitious and evangelical or otherwise let outside beliefs weaken their devotion to the Sun King might disappear, removed by Muk Utep's truly Faithful.

Other Beliefs

The tribal peoples of the Known World, free from the oppressive theocracies of the city-states, are free to worship and believe whatever they like. Many have incredibly complex and detailed spiritual beliefs, developed and refined over hundreds of years. Others are earthbound pragmatists with little to no faith to speak of, and individual beliefs vary greatly from tribe to tribe. Of the more spiritual tribes, common trends include animism, ancestor-worship and reverence for elemental forces.

Luir's Outpost, located at the physical center of the Known World, acts as a natural melting pot for various religious beliefs. Worshippers of He Who Rescued Us and faithful Tulukis mingle with wandering tribal shamans and prophets. Still, Luir's residents tend to care more about matters of commerce than matters of faith.

The people of Red Storm are a pragmatic and hard-bitten lot. As a result, atheism and agnosticism are especially common here. Those with spiritual inklings trend toward animism, due to their proximity to the Sea of Silt. An incredible, mysterious force of nature with the power to give life and take it away; if the Sea of Silt isn't a god, it's at least pretty close.

Those with knowledge of magick sometimes apply religious language and ideas to their spells. The various elements such as Ruk, Krath and Whira are often personified, and sometimes thought of as gods. Others construct philosophies around other magick symbols or concepts. These stray concepts rarely form into true religions. When they do, they are  often considered dangerous and heretical by the templarate of both city-states.

Cults of personality are common throughout the Known World. The most famous example may be mystique surrounding Thrain Ironsword, leader of the forces that laid siege to Allanak in the Nineteeth Age, providing the impetus for the foundation of Allanak's white-robed templars. Many people, dwarves in particular, consider Ironsword a paragon to live up to, though few would consider him a god or anything similar. Allanaki citizens would do well to hide their reverence for Ironsword, as patriotic Allanakis largely consider him one of history's greatest monsters for his brazen attack on the Highlord's rule.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 07:34:28 PM by FiveDisgruntledMonkeysWit »
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jstorrie

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2010, 07:07:49 PM »
Great start! I think that you may be placing too much emphasis on Drov. "Go to Drov" was always just an uncreative way of forcing "go to Hell" into the game. I don't think most Zalanthans have any inkling of what or where the plane Drov is, nor would they care too.

I don't like 'the Rescuers'. It sounds far too huggy for Allanak's 'fuck it, nobody is going to take care of you' mentality. The idea of Allanak having a sort of fundie faction seems a bit forced and doesn't match what I've seen in-game.

jriley

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2010, 08:41:23 PM »
Religion

Many Zalanthans are completely atheistic, too focused on day-to-day survival to consider what (if anything) happens after they die. For these pragmatic minds, physical death means the cessation of conscious thought, and musings on the afterlife are little better than children's tales designed to terrify or pacify.


Strongly disagree with this paragraph, and think that it should be removed entirely, or perhaps amended to

Quote
Most Zalanthans inherit the religion of their parents, and it helps them to get through the rough issues that come up in day-to-day survival.  For most urban zalanthans, this will be the official state-sponsored religion


EDIT:  Otherwise looks really good.  Nice job, man.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 08:43:31 PM by jriley »
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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2010, 10:12:33 PM »

Strongly disagree with this paragraph, and think that it should be removed entirely


I appreciate your opinion, but I know that for lots of players, the sort of hopeless, faithless nature of Zalanthas is a major part of the flavor of the world. I honestly think (and have always gotten the impression) that large portions of the population of the city-states would have little to no spirituality to speak of beyond basic superstitions. This is something I would definitely like to hear more opinions on, especially from the staff. My point is, I think both completely atheistic and highly religious people would both be at home on Zalanthas. It's important that people be allowed to play atheistic characters without having to bend over backwards to explain their origins, or worse yet, without being branded "bad" roleplayers just because I wrote a doc out of nowhere that says otherwise.
Great start! I think that you may be placing too much emphasis on Drov. "Go to Drov" was always just an uncreative way of forcing "go to Hell" into the game. I don't think most Zalanthans have any inkling of what or where the plane Drov is, nor would they care too.
You might be right about placing too much emphasis on it, but I was trying to explain what the "common" views on the afterlife might be. I've never quite bought that Zalanthans would have absolutely no interest on what would happen to them after death. Since references to Drov are really common, I figure it'd make sense for some people to actually believe it, or think of it as a possibility. At any rate, I can certainly go back and insert a line about how for most people this is just an expression, at the very least.

I don't like 'the Rescuers'. It sounds far too huggy for Allanak's 'fuck it, nobody is going to take care of you' mentality. The idea of Allanak having a sort of fundie faction seems a bit forced and doesn't match what I've seen in-game.
In retrospect, I don't think I portrayed this quite right. I need to go back and insert a few lines about how, for most people, Tek and Muk aren't glorious saviors, but instead horrible, horrible tyrants. But still, I think you're wrong. A fundamentalist faction in Allanak makes perfect sense; there's even an entire order of templars (presumably sanctioned by the state)  devoted to perpetuating it. They have temples,  a clergy, morning devotions... why wouldn't at least a significant minority of the Allanak population start to believe the kankshit those white-robes are spewing every morning?
If your problem is with the name "the Rescued" in particular, I'm open to suggestions. I just thought it rolled off the tongue a little bit better than "Allanak state religion."
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Aaron Goulet

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2010, 10:28:29 PM »
In retrospect, I don't think I portrayed this quite right. I need to go back and insert a few lines about how, for most people, Tek and Muk aren't glorious saviors, but instead horrible, horrible tyrants. But still, I think you're wrong. A fundamentalist faction in Allanak makes perfect sense; there's even an entire order of templars (presumably sanctioned by the state)  devoted to perpetuating it. They have temples,  a clergy, morning devotions... why wouldn't at least a significant minority of the Allanak population start to believe the kankshit those white-robes are spewing every morning?

I mostly agree.  I would think that many people would take up the state religion to avoid the Highlord's wrath rather than seeking his benevolence, but the effects are ultimately the same in that:

  • A: They believe in Highlord Tektolnes as an omniscient, omnipotent ruler.
  • B: They worship Him accordingly.

I'm an empirical agnostic in real life, so I like to put it in the context of, "If the Devil was proven to exist and God was not, would I pray to the Devil in hopes of not getting fucked over?"

Plus, it makes you look like a model citizen, and who wouldn't want that?
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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2010, 10:43:55 PM »
Right; that's exactly what I need to go back and clarify. Most people don't worship Tek because they think he's the bee's knees, but because they believe he might otherwise smite their sorry ass. Others would go along with it simply because it's socially convenient to suck up to the templarate that way. Only a small minority would honestly believe that Tektolnes is divine, and even they would probably fear him rather than love him.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 10:51:09 PM by FiveDisgruntledMonkeysWit »
EvilRoeSlade wrote:
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You find a bulbous root sac and pick it up.
You shout, in sirihish:
"I HAVE A BULBOUS SAC"
Quote
A staff member sends:
     "You are likely dead."

Erythil

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2010, 01:31:35 AM »
I totally dig it -- I was working on something like this but you obviously have a much more nuanced understanding of the gameworld and Allanak in particular.  This could be fodder for great RP flavor.

Thunkkin

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2010, 11:45:21 AM »
I'd be interested in seeing how the fountain in Nak's Dragon temple might affect things.  On the one hand, most people can't afford that water.  On the other hand, here is the city's ruler and servants making water available in a highly visible and dramatic fashion.

Without Tek and his control over the vivaduans, the city would quite literally thirst death, wouldn't they?  So Tek is saving these people's lives on a daily basis by controlling and harnessing otherwise highly dangerous powers.  This may or may not be the reality of the situation, but it might be an obvious interpretation to someone living in Nak.  No Tek = no water.

The tricky part is getting both halves of Galadriel's "All will love me and despair."  Especially the second part.

In D&D terms, Tek's state is Lawful Evil.  The religion needs to celebrate that.  It needs to glory in power, authority, brutal enforcement of rules, etc.  Tek should be worshipped and loved not because he's lovable, but because he's deserving of love - an important distinction.  He is the strongest and he has seized and maintained control, therefore, he is worthy of worship and service.  Having personal power/strength and upholding the power of the state are virtues.  Weakness and frailty are signs of impiety or unworthiness. 

That would be my take on it.

Thanks for writing this up.  Great discussion so far.
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Thunkkin

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2010, 11:54:05 AM »
Further thought:

The term 'Rescued' does seem to imply that the worshippers are weak and worship Tek because he keeps them safe.  I think it would more fit the tone of Nak if Tek's worshippers served him because he made them strong, not safe.  Might makes right. 

So perhaps you don't pray to Tek for him to keep you safe.  You pray that he will make you an instrument worthy of smiting his enemies.  Both prayers might might be "Keep the gith from over-running the city" but the second prayer is a very Nakki way to pray for that result.  If a worshipper feels that they are too weak or unworthy, then the prayer might be, "Oh Tek, lift up servants worthy of your power to smite our enemies."  I could see a bold militia warrior praying, "Oh Tek, make me an instrument of your strength, to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women."
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chuci

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2010, 12:07:33 PM »
So, for Allanak, think Conan. Bravo.

Spoon

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2010, 12:17:51 PM »
What I got from the docs (General;cities;Allanak) is that Tektolnes rules Allanak out of sheer power, brutality and fear. From this, I really don't think your average commoner is grateful at all. You average commoner fears they very real, physical wrath of Tektolnes through his Templars. That is why they are obedient.

I'd like there to be a big distinction between Allanak and Tuluk, and 'religious' propaganda about being grateful and saying 'In his light' sounds like Tuluk's game. In Allanak, you don't think about defying those in charge because they will kill you on the spot, not because you love them.

If anything has changed (which it seems to have) it would be really good to have some solid docs on the subject. The 'cult' of Tektolnes or whatever. There's a lot of confusion with that city, like that of Militia soldiers being fiercely loyal, though in the docs they are described as being merely greedy for bribes.

brytta.leofa

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2010, 12:21:00 PM »
I love this, 5DMW.  You going to make a second draft?
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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2010, 01:17:07 PM »
You going to make a second draft?
Yes, very soon. Just absorbing what people have said so far and waiting for a few more comments. I'll make a second draft either tonight or sometime in the next couple of days.
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You find a bulbous root sac and pick it up.
You shout, in sirihish:
"I HAVE A BULBOUS SAC"
Quote
A staff member sends:
     "You are likely dead."

Talia

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2010, 01:24:07 PM »
I would really like to see aspects of religion such as burial/body disposal practices, prayer, and so on covered.
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Talia

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2010, 01:36:56 PM »
Also, I should note, it would seem to me that proposed documentation pertaining to any of the templarate orders north or south is probably not going to be accepted, since there is a lot of documentation already on those topics, and such changes are likely to be a significant retcon. So I would encourage you to focus more on the common populace, what they would see/know/believe/do.
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Ampere

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2010, 01:40:21 PM »
When someone is raised to believe something from birth, they'll believe.  These people aren't exposed to perceptions other than thier own, and when they are, a common reaction would be hostility because it threatens the universality of their faith.  Fundamentalism would be rampant in both city states, simply because the more you piss on someone, generally the more they'll cling to what little joy exists in their lives.  God fosters a sense of community and purpose, both of which are essential ingredients for happiness.

A firm hand is handy, but this sense of community would be even stronger in the north where the magick inquisition (not a full on inquisition, but wouldn't that be awesome) provides the state with a convenient scapegoat for all its woes.

God is vengeful you say? Well, maybe so, but only to protect the faithful. Believers are good compassionate people, who rise above the heretical filth surrounding them to spread truth and love.
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X-D

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2010, 01:43:01 PM »
Huh, really? I was raised to believe in god from birth....But I do not.
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Ampere

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2010, 01:48:40 PM »
Huh, really? I was raised to believe in god from birth....But I do not.

You also live in a postmodern age, pretty hard for anyone with more than two braincells to believe in one truth with so many of them floating around.  Even so, many do.  Purpose is a seductive mistress.
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Thunkkin

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2010, 02:19:13 PM »
If "god" lived in a big tower that I could see every day and I witnessed his priests doing miracles in his name and smiting people ... yeah, I'd be a worshipper.
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jriley

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2010, 02:44:10 PM »
I would really like to see aspects of religion such as burial/body disposal practices, prayer, and so on covered.

Yeah, that would be cool.  Also I think we need to include a section on Holidays.  They should be celebrated maybe once every real life year, which would mean once every six game years.

If "god" lived in a big tower that I could see every day and I witnessed his priests doing miracles in his name and smiting people ... yeah, I'd be a worshipper.

Yeah, that's pretty much how I see it.  I think that some players mistake what Tektolnes and Muk Utep are the gods of.  They're not the gods of compassion.  They're not the gods of justice.  They're not the gods of equality.  They're not the gods of peace, or of prosperity.  They're the gods of safety.  Life outside of their respective shadows are frought with violent peril.  Inside of their spheres of influence, a reasonable level of safety exists.
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Aaron Goulet

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2010, 03:39:56 PM »
If anything has changed (which it seems to have) it would be really good to have some solid docs on the subject.

Things have changed, only for the worse.  It is interesting to ponder what effects that might have on one's faith.
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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2010, 03:42:23 PM »
I would really like to see aspects of religion such as burial/body disposal practices, prayer, and so on covered.
This is something I would likely need help with. Burial practices alone might constitute its own doc. I know that there's a crematorium in Tuluk, but beyond that, body disposal is one of those things that, in my experience, has always been sort of brushed under the rug or handled virtually. If somebody who has more insight into this than I do wants to tackle it, and maybe amend it to this doc, I think that'd be great. I could try and include some burial stuff, but I would be (for the most part) talking out of my ass.
I do intend to add some common prayers, though, or at least describe how a Tuluki might pray versus how a 'Nakki might pray (I like the idea of 'Nakki praying for strength, rather than protection, for instance).
Also, I should note, it would seem to me that proposed documentation pertaining to any of the templarate orders north or south is probably not going to be accepted, since there is a lot of documentation already on those topics, and such changes are likely to be a significant retcon. So I would encourage you to focus more on the common populace, what they would see/know/believe/do.
I'm not quite sure what you mean by this. All the white robe stuff (which, I admit, I do go into a lot of detail with) I'm basing off of this (emphasis mine):
Quote
 1395
Exactly one year after the beginning of the siege of Allanak, Tektolnes reappears in the guise of a dragon and breathes death upon the sieging army - the army ceases to exist. Over the course of the next few years, a temple is built near the entrance of the city, in which the newly formed white-robe templarate preach the worship of He Who Rescued Us, the Mighty Dragon Tektolnes.
http://www.armageddon.org/cgi-bin/help_index/timeline.cgi

The northern stuff is basically just doc-talk for "Find out IC." What, specifically, do you think crosses the line in retcon and would be rejected? If you can't say it hear on the boards, you can always PM or email me. Also, I really appreciate you stopping in to give a staff view, Talia. Thanks.

If "god" lived in a big tower that I could see every day and I witnessed his priests doing miracles in his name and smiting people ... yeah, I'd be a worshipper.

That... is an excellent point. Strange. Maybe Zalanthas isn't as atheistic as I've assumed during my last eight years of playing here. Still, I don't think my opening paragraph is too off-base. I think in a world as bleak as Zalanthas it would be difficult to have faith in anything at all. You might believe that Tektolnes exists, or assume he does, but doubt that he has anything even approaching divinity. You might doubt that he has any interest whatsoever in protecting you or smiting you, no matter what you do. It's still possible to accept the existence of the god-kings but still be 'atheistic' in the sense that you put absolutely no spiritual value in them (or anything else) whatsoever. Maybe I'll just switch the 'many' in the first line to 'some.'

Anyway, thanks all for your input so far. I really appreciate it. Here are the changes I'm planning on making in the second draft:

-Making clear that, for many, references to Drov as Hell are just a figure of speech.
-Making clear that most people worship the god-kings out of fear rather than love. This goes double for Tek.
-Possibly removing all reference to the Rescued. I wanted to add a little something cool to the gameworld by giving the 'Nakki state religion an official name, but it seems people would prefer that this document consolidate existing information, rather than invent new stuff. Which is fine.
-Work on a section detailing common practices and prayers, and holidays. For holidays, King's Age celebrations seem like a natural mention. Also, I think Allanak would likely have some sort of rememberance on the anniversary of Tektolnes breaking the siege of Allanak. I know it seems like I'm focusing on that a lot, but it's an important aspect of 'Nakki history, marking one of the few times Tek appeared before his followers (and actually did something that could be perceived as 'good' for them). This stuff might come a bit later, since I'll have to generate a lot of new material to cover it. Suggestions are very, very welcome.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 03:49:42 PM by FiveDisgruntledMonkeysWit »
EvilRoeSlade wrote:
Quote
You find a bulbous root sac and pick it up.
You shout, in sirihish:
"I HAVE A BULBOUS SAC"
Quote
A staff member sends:
     "You are likely dead."

Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2010, 03:47:05 PM »
Oh, also: there's been a lot of discussion about Allanak so far. What do people think about the other sections? Comments, questions, suggestions, violent objections?
EvilRoeSlade wrote:
Quote
You find a bulbous root sac and pick it up.
You shout, in sirihish:
"I HAVE A BULBOUS SAC"
Quote
A staff member sends:
     "You are likely dead."

Thunkkin

  • Posts: 1967
Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2010, 04:28:11 PM »
Quote
You might believe that Tektolnes exists, or assume he does, but doubt that he has anything even approaching divinity.

What standard of divinity would a Nak citizen use as a comparison?

Quote
You might doubt that he has any interest whatsoever in protecting you or smiting you, no matter what you do. It's still possible to accept the existence of the god-kings but still be 'atheistic' in the sense that you put absolutely no spiritual value in them (or anything else) whatsoever.

Good points.  Though, you WOULD know that the god-kings servants are VERY interested in protecting/smiting and that, from time to time, the god-kings do step out into public view to do a bit of smiting/protecting when their servants aren't up to it.

Quote
-Making clear that most people worship the god-kings out of fear rather than love. This goes double for Tek.

Perhaps include a line that "fear" can be nuanced.  Perhaps it's awe - yes, you're afraid, but you're also impressed.  After all, who else can even compete with your god-king?  It might also be greed.  Maybe you worship Tek because you want a slice of what he has and he seems to certainly make the lives of those he favors (templars, high-ranked militia, etc.) much nicer than yours.  By worshipping him, you're aligning yourself with his power and hoping to reap the rewards of that power.  Some people in our world will show extreme loyalty and our secular equivalent of "worship" for a boss/company, hoping to share in that boss/company's wealth/riches/prestige even if said boss/company is doing terrible, terrible things.  Every rich, powerful jerk has a coterie of people who hang on his every word and show extreme loyalty (until the moment that said jerk is no longer rich or powerful).    It might also be a sports-like fanaticism.  Is Tek or Muk "evil" by "our" standards?  Sure.  How do they compare to everything else out there?  Sure, you follow a cruel, authoritarian ... but that's better than all the other suckers out there who are suffering at the hands of gith, marauding elves, bandits, and the endless terrors of the sands.  By aligning with Tek (or Muk), that makes you better than all the other poor schmucks out there.  It gives you an identity and a purpose in an otherwise rather purposeless existence.  I've seen people in our world with rather empty lives who hang their entire identity on some sports team that doesn't know who they are or care a shit about them, but they worship the team and the team's successes brings the fans endless ecstasy and joy because they (mistakenly) believe that they somehow participate in those successes.  Same with politics.

Quote
-Possibly removing all reference to the Rescued. I wanted to add a little something cool to the gameworld by giving the 'Nakki state religion an official name, but it seems people would prefer that this document consolidate existing information, rather than invent new stuff. Which is fine.

I almost wonder if a name will emerge organically once the state religions are more clearly outlined.
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jstorrie

  • Posts: 4564
Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2010, 07:27:31 PM »
I do recall that from time to time, in-game, cataclysmic events often triggered flash-in-the-pan minicults. I remember some Tuluki VNPCs talking about believing in the Plainsman, instead (though that was probably just Plainsie himself!); likewise Huge Fire-Mountain of Doom and/or Crazy Black Moon cults popping up in Allanak to varying degrees of success when those events occured. Nilaz cults seem to pop up with some degree of frequency. What would you think of a paragraph briefly describing how less-controlled areas of the cities (Warrens, UnderWaterTuluk, the Labyrinth, etc.) breed heretical cults from time to time?

In general, maybe, more discussion of cult-style beliefs? I think that they're the closest you see to religiosity in the cities. People don't have faith in Utep/Tek because they're gods, but simply because they appear totally invincible and awesome. I mean, in a world with gemmers eating babies and spreading magical cataclysms every Detal, it's not like the common man has any need to rely on conjecture to deal with the metaphysical. The metaphysical is right there, sitting at the end of the bar, and he's a filthy monster who you'd happily chop up with your bone swordz if you could get away with it. But you can't, so you swear fealty to the biggest monster around and hope he keeps the little ones in line.

Lizzie

  • Posts: 8024
Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2010, 09:51:48 AM »
I agree with jtorrie about the mini-cults that crop up, based on superstition and witness of "strange things." Someone might see a shadow over the sky and decide it's The Wyvern returning, and BOOM - a cult is formed. Someone else might see a pack of jakhals somewhere they don't normally live, along with a bunch of herbs dropped by someone...and BANG - the Voodoo RastaFari Gang hath arrived.

Then there's the whole atheistic thing in the first paragraph. I'm not so sure people are atheistic, as they are agnostic. They dwell within the scope of their own ignorance, and they know this. They know, that they don't know enough about the God Kings, to say anything about them one way or another. They know, that they don't know enough about what happens after they die, to state anything for fact, or even have any kind of solid belief. There's been rumors of all kinds of weird "not alive" things, creatures, people, incidences. So they know that there's SOMETHING beyond the corpse. But what that is, they don't know. They can speculate, but they're too busy trying to survive to speculate much. So they really don't do a lot of that.
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Barzalene

  • Posts: 7744
Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2010, 11:49:09 AM »
I really like what you've done.

Some thoughts that occurred to me include:
Do people believe that either or both have some dominion over the elements?

What about exchanging the word rescuer for protector?

Based on a very public event back in '07 or 08 I think perhaps a way to show a difference between Tek and Muk is to play up fear and reliance with Tek and with Muk awe and the sense of omnipresent presence.
 
Varak:You tell the mangy, pointy-eared gortok, in sirihish: "What, girl? You say the sorceror-king has fallen down the well?"
Ghardoan:A pitiful voice rises from the well below, "I've fallen and I can't get up..."

Decameron

  • Posts: 573
Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2010, 12:22:54 PM »

Other Beliefs

Those with knowledge of magick sometimes apply religious language and ideas to their spells. The various elements such as Ruk, Krath and Whira are often personified, and sometimes thought of as gods. These concepts rarely form into true religions. When they do, they are considered dangerous and heretical by the templarate of both city-states. The Rescued has initiated more than one "cleansing" in the Gemmed Quarter of Allanak.

While I can see this being true for the Elementalist Quarter in Allanak, it never quite made sense to me outside of it. Religion, almost other things, is supposed to bring its followers together until a system of belief, and when you have a Krathi believing in Krath is the best 'higher power'and a Whiran doing the same, and they try to form a religious structure together, you get a case of the Mygodisbetterthanyoursatosis. This might be useful in a City-State where you're attempting to keep a certain small, very dangerous percentage of the City-State down in the dirt, but outside of Allanak, I think that in small pockets of these communities, if they exist, there would be a more unifying element rather than focusing on strict elemental properties.

Not all elementalists have to use 'Whira', 'Ruk', 'Krath' - or the rest. But they do have to use these guys, give or take:

  Chran
    The master, the will of the dominant.

  Echri
    The destroyer.

  Grol
    The giant guardsman, protector.

  Hekro
    The aggressive warrior.

  Hurn
    The mad, brutal one.

  Inrof
    The seeker of the hidden, the revealer.

  Nikiz
    The passive watcher.

  Viod
    The neutral maker.

  Wril
    The giver of good.

So it always made more sense to me to believe that these moods would be the ones being personified into higher powers, rather than relying solely upon one's element, due to the fact that it causes friction and dissention amongst its own practitioners. Certain memebers on that list have already been attributed in the game (maybe) in both magick and non-magic dialogues. Why not the rest of them? Just a thought.

In addition, religion often helps to explain the world surrounding us and how we got here. It doesn't necessarily have to fall into the whole creation mythos (although one might be nice), but there should be local myths, or fables regarding how certain things were made. The Shield Wall? Silt Sea? Grey Forest? People take these things for granted, certainly, as they've 'merely always been there' but religion is a powerful tool of explanation - even if the answer has to be a repetition of "Highlord made it. Highlord made it. Highlord made it." in certain cases.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2010, 12:28:28 PM by Decameron »

Old Kank

  • Posts: 665
Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2010, 02:20:42 PM »
Reposting from the 'Religion' thread:

Quote
With much respect to the work you've put into this, and Talia's guiding influence, I have to say that widespread, formalized religion is one of the last things I want to see in this game.  I hope the official staff position on these documents is that they're unsanctioned, and I hope they go away before they have a chance to sink into the hive mind.

I don't see how any of this improves the game, and I can just point to jriley's post for reasons why I think it will harm the game.

I really don't mean this as a criticism of the docs, or the work everyone has put into them; I just have no desire to see religion formalized within the game.

I'm kind of blindsided by the fact that nobody else has spoken out against this.  The idea has been brought up time and time again on these boards, and it's typically been universally shot down.  Why the apparent culture shift?

Here's why I don't want to see formal religion in Arm:

Religion makes characters less interesting.  The pro-religion argument seems to be "It will create nice RP flavor."  I disagree.  Religion is a panacea that players will use as an RP crutch in the face of more interesting answers.  Sandstorms won't quit?  Tek is angry.  Tuluk gets flooded?  Utep is disappointed in you.

It's hard to resist the push toward zealotry.  It's very easy to go down that slope where everything a character does is guided by religion.  "I'm killing gith because Tek wills it!" or "The gith almost killed me, but Tek's will intervened and I survived!"  I suspect the problem will only become worse if tangible benefits are ever introduced by templars trying to encourage faith amongst the populace.  The nobility will have to follow suit, and soon the city-states will be full of zombies.

Religious arguments are boring because they lack resolution.  I'm all for conflict in this game, but religion is the most uninteresting reason to have it.  Fighting over real resources that characters can see and interact with?  Fascinating.  One city becoming an oppressive empire just because the opportunity was there?  Very cool.  Lynching people, berating merchants, or going to war because my god is better than your god?  Meh.  What's the end-game there?  Both sides perpetually harry one another until Tek and Utep duke it out?

These aren't just idle speculations on my part.  They're trends that have proven themselves time and time again with religious PCs.  What we have now is fine.  Players are free to try out religious characters if they want, and their superstitions and religious beliefs usually die out with them.  In my opinion, the only way to make religion work as a positive element of the game is to make it an antagonistic outside force like the various cults that pop up from time to time.

Erythil

  • Posts: 1259
Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2010, 02:30:24 PM »
I don't think anybody expects or wants to see earth-style religious orthodoxy and clerical competition emerge.  I think the intention of the above documentation is more to capture the essence of what exists in-game already, rather than create a new mode of thought.  A small bit of zealotry already exists in-game, without anything written down to encourage it -- I think I disagree with the premise that having a handy reference for newcomers in particular will make the essence of things as they stand change.

Although I would disagree with one of your points and say that part of what makes religious debate and philosophy in general interesting is the very lack of an ability to finalize a conclusion, but I kind of enjoy debate for debate's sake.

Aaron Goulet

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2010, 03:40:53 PM »
I've always thought of "religion" in the cities as more as, "there's a big, scary dude watching, better appear to be loyal," more than, "ZOMG teh Highlordz rulez!"

I've had similar experiences to Lizzie with PCs who subscribe to the latter type of religion, especially within the militia.
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X-D

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #31 on: September 05, 2010, 04:34:01 PM »
It was once stated by an overlord that most people in the cities are atheist, hell, might have been in the docs at one time.

Myself, I agree with Old Kank, but I've not spouted off against the work being done etc because, well, it really does not matter if it gets done or not.

I can still make a PC who is atheist or whatever, it is not something that is going to be forced on you in char creation and even if 95% of the players started making religous PCs, it would not last. A year from then it would be back to normal, such things never last.

I only see FDMWH's work as possible documentation for peopl to use IF they want a religous PC and so they can keep it in line with the world, no more, no less.
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flurry

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Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #32 on: September 05, 2010, 10:25:29 PM »
This is maybe just a small quibble, but the idea that Zalanthans are too preoccupied with survival to be religious doesn't really sit right with me. To me, it seems like Zalanthas, with all its harshness and unexplained phenomena, provides almost ideal conditions for religions to flourish. So, even though I agree that most people in the known world probably wouldn't do a great deal of philosophical pondering about religion, I don't see why that would mean there's no room for religion in their culture.

Don't get me wrong, though; I'm not saying I have a problem with atheistic Zalanthans. On the contrary, I think we need to have that option, and not just as the exception, because generally (I think) people have been playing it that way as it is. I'm just saying that I don't like the struggle for survival as an explanation. No atheists in foxholes, and all that.

Overall, though, I think it's a great effort to start to get some documentation together. This is one area where I think it's good to have some documentation in place as a jumping off point, especially because religion is often going to reflect some kind of longstanding tradition. So it's better to have some baseline to start with, rather than expect each player to individually to invent it all from scratch. After all, if it's cultural, it's nice to have some common ground and consistency (as we do with other culture-related documentation).
"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream." - Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

Potaje

  • Posts: 2371
Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #33 on: September 06, 2010, 02:35:48 PM »
I have a Question, are we confusing Religion with spirituality? There is a vast difference between the two and i could see Z-landers having  a sense of both but leaning more towards a spirituality. Believing in the spirit over an organized God-head.

Also I think Religion would come to heads with magic or Magic vs. Religion. As religion is based al lot on ideas of fear and as a means to control groups of people. They would use the unexplainable acts that occurred and assign them to God/Devil and then manipulate the others with in this fear.
 
I would think with the high magic and known unknowns, and unknown knowns that Gickers and wigglers would take the place of all that is un-explainable. Hence being easily explained away and not needing to attribute these things to a God/devil.

Of coarse there are also simply the elements which if acting strangely would simply be some freak'n gigcker upsetting the balance of the land or just the lands itself in all its turmoil.

 Not that it would be impossible for some tribe or group of desert folk to make sun sacrifices or to Ruk, but then wouldn't these jus be atributed to some kind of gicker worship.

As far as the cities go. sure I can agree, Religion to control the people and not spirituality, meaning that they obey a god head (God-king as it is said), but hold little beyond that recognition of the physical embodiment of this -God head-. 

Now these are more just questions?
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Erythil

  • Posts: 1259
Re: Religion Docs- Rough Draft
« Reply #34 on: September 06, 2010, 03:41:50 PM »
It seems to me that a lot of the reason people don't want this side of the game treated is that our players seem to have an inherently negative and skeptical view of religion itself.  I don't want to start a contentious derail but religion need not be based on fear and manipulation; that's really the very recent and pessimistic view of atheist and skeptical movements.

Anyway, isn't 'spirituality' just a 'religion' without orthodoxy or hierarchical structure?  Tribal animism or shamanism, for example, is still a religion, even if it doesn't have the ceremonial trappings of a christian church.  I see zal as theoretically being more suited for those kinds of traditions, and greek-and-roman style cults.

Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #35 on: September 06, 2010, 06:43:22 PM »
The second draft is now up and open for discussion.
EvilRoeSlade wrote:
Quote
You find a bulbous root sac and pick it up.
You shout, in sirihish:
"I HAVE A BULBOUS SAC"
Quote
A staff member sends:
     "You are likely dead."

Barzalene

  • Posts: 7744
Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #36 on: September 06, 2010, 07:01:46 PM »
I'm liking the  changes a lot.
Varak:You tell the mangy, pointy-eared gortok, in sirihish: "What, girl? You say the sorceror-king has fallen down the well?"
Ghardoan:A pitiful voice rises from the well below, "I've fallen and I can't get up..."

Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #37 on: September 06, 2010, 07:12:18 PM »
Just responding to some stuff I didn't have the chance to respond to earlier:

I mean, in a world with gemmers eating babies and spreading magical cataclysms every Detal, it's not like the common man has any need to rely on conjecture to deal with the metaphysical. The metaphysical is right there, sitting at the end of the bar, and he's a filthy monster who you'd happily chop up with your bone swordz if you could get away with it. But you can't, so you swear fealty to the biggest monster around and hope he keeps the little ones in line.

The trouble with this argument, I think, is that the average commoner demonstrates at least a basic understanding that magick exists. Furthermore, they understand (or believe) that while most magick is evil, the magick of templars is permissible.

So, in the average commoner's mind:
Elementalists = Bad
Defilers = Very Bad*
Templars = Good**

Therefore, commoners have at least a somewhat nuanced view of magic. What makes a templar's magic okay, but an elementalist's bad? The answer, for most Zalanthans, would be faith; the understanding that the templars are somehow "better" or "different" because their magick serves a higher purpose. In Zalanthas, magick does not equal miracles. Supernatural does not equal divine. This is something every commoner "knows" (although I doubt they'd be able to express it intelligibly). And it is precisely this which allows for characters that live in the shadow of a god-king, but don't worship them. That is to say, agnostic characters that more or less lack any true sense of spirituality or faith. They'd simply believe that Templars = Bad as well, keep their heads down, and leave it at that.

Then there's the whole atheistic thing in the first paragraph. I'm not so sure people are atheistic, as they are agnostic. They dwell within the scope of their own ignorance, and they know this. They know, that they don't know enough about the God Kings, to say anything about them one way or another. They know, that they don't know enough about what happens after they die, to state anything for fact, or even have any kind of solid belief.

This is exactly right. "Agnostic" is much better term than "atheist," at least for most Zalanthans. Thank you, Lizzie.

Though, I figure truly atheistic characters could exist. It's not hard to believe that Muk/Tek is dead, and that his templars are just ruling in his stead. It's probably wrong, and it's likely not a common view, but it's a possibility for a PC background, at least.

Based on a very public event back in '07 or 08 I think perhaps a way to show a difference between Tek and Muk is to play up fear and reliance with Tek and with Muk awe and the sense of omnipresent presence.
I wonder if it'd be appropriate to mention this event in the document. It seems significant, and likely influences Tuluk's view of their king. Still, I'm not going to say anything more about unless I get explicit staff approval that it's okay to document.

So it always made more sense to me to believe that these moods would be the ones being personified into higher powers, rather than relying solely upon one's element, due to the fact that it causes friction and dissention amongst its own practitioners.
That's a perfectly valid view, but the purpose of this document is not to give an exhaustive list of every crazy thing a person in Zalanthas could believe. It's meant to consolidate information and give players a sense of the prevailing views. Setting up a cult around magick moods or spheres is a possibility that I think the docs allow for. Why don't you try and start one up in-game?

Religion makes characters less interesting.  The pro-religion argument seems to be "It will create nice RP flavor."  I disagree.  Religion is a panacea that players will use as an RP crutch in the face of more interesting answers.  Sandstorms won't quit?  Tek is angry.  Tuluk gets flooded?  Utep is disappointed in you.
First of all, I really appreciate you reposting and elaborating on your concerns, Old Kank. I want to hear as many opinions on this document as possible, including dissenting ones.

Second of all, I understand your concerns. Believe it or not, I share a lot of your concerns. Extreme religiosity could destroy a lot of the flavor of Arm. That's why I jumped on the task of writing this document; I wanted to make sure that didn't happen. The purpose of this document is not to fundamentally alter the world. If I do this right, nothing in the game world should change.[/b] The goal of this document is to consolidate and inform, not retcon.

I quoted the above concern because it seems very flimsy and subjective to me. Why is "Tek creates sandstorms when he's angry" a crutch? Why is that answer "less interesting" than other answers? Just because you might not like religion or religious characters, or just because you've had some bad experiences with them, doesn't mean that they can't, shouldn't, or won't exist in the game world. We need to accept the fact that the game world has a spiritual side, and then set to work on the task of making sure that spiritual side fits the game world and is an enjoyable aspect of roleplaying for everybody.

I think the intention of the above documentation is more to capture the essence of what exists in-game already, rather than create a new mode of thought.  A small bit of zealotry already exists in-game, without anything written down to encourage it -- I think I disagree with the premise that having a handy reference for newcomers in particular will make the essence of things as they stand change.
Erythil said it better than I did.
I only see FDMWH's work as possible documentation for peopl to use IF they want a religous PC and so they can keep it in line with the world, no more, no less.
This is exactly my intent. If I can achieve this, I'll be happy.

*Just in case somebody asks: "What about preservers?," my answer would be, "the average commoner has no idea what a preserver is."
**Technically, this equation goes more like "Templars = Scary, but they serve the god-king and prevent hordes of ravenous gith from chopping me up in my sweet, dreamless sleep, so I guess they're Good." I was just trying to be brief.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 07:14:28 PM by FiveDisgruntledMonkeysWit »
EvilRoeSlade wrote:
Quote
You find a bulbous root sac and pick it up.
You shout, in sirihish:
"I HAVE A BULBOUS SAC"
Quote
A staff member sends:
     "You are likely dead."

Barzalene

  • Posts: 7744
Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #38 on: September 06, 2010, 07:26:03 PM »
Right. I didn't mean that you should reference the event. I meant that the event seems to me to support the assertion of both benevolence and caution.
Varak:You tell the mangy, pointy-eared gortok, in sirihish: "What, girl? You say the sorceror-king has fallen down the well?"
Ghardoan:A pitiful voice rises from the well below, "I've fallen and I can't get up..."

Barzalene

  • Posts: 7744
Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #39 on: September 06, 2010, 07:27:15 PM »
I like how you handled it. By the way. That was what I meant exactly.
Varak:You tell the mangy, pointy-eared gortok, in sirihish: "What, girl? You say the sorceror-king has fallen down the well?"
Ghardoan:A pitiful voice rises from the well below, "I've fallen and I can't get up..."

jstorrie

  • Posts: 4564
Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #40 on: September 06, 2010, 08:54:02 PM »
I like this revision quite a lot. Keep up the god work.

The7DeadlyVenomz

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #41 on: September 07, 2010, 02:02:28 AM »
This is a great doc, and should be gamified.
Wynning since October 25, 2008.

>craft newbie into good player

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jriley

  • Posts: 233
Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #42 on: September 08, 2010, 12:45:42 AM »
I think FDM is putting a lot of good effort into it, but I'm not really happy with the result.

-1
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Synthesis

  • Posts: 9813
Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #43 on: September 08, 2010, 02:08:44 AM »
I can't really see Allanaki loyalists engaged in proselytizing in the world at large.  The Known consists of two major cities with mutually exclusive religiosities, Red Storm (whose citizens are by and large folks who are probably trying to avoid notice by officials of the major cities), and Luir's, which is run by folks who are probably still a little annoyed by the fact that Allanak annexed it in the none-too-distant past.

Allanaki evangelistas aren't going to convert tribal humans, they're not interested in converting desert elves, they'd be insane to attempt to convert Tulukis, Red Stormers would laugh at them, desert-elves would kill them, Kuracis would run them out of town...what's left?  It seems pointless and thematically out-of-place to paint worshippers of Tektolnes as evangelists.  Everyone who wants to worship Tektolnes is already in Allanak, and the rest of the world is a bunch of heathens waiting to be smote...smited...smitten?
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The7DeadlyVenomz

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #44 on: September 08, 2010, 02:13:23 AM »
Smitten.
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LauraMars

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #45 on: September 08, 2010, 05:57:07 AM »
I like this revision quite a lot. Keep up the god work.

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #46 on: September 08, 2010, 08:38:50 AM »
I can't really see Allanaki loyalists engaged in proselytizing in the world at large.  The Known consists of two major cities with mutually exclusive religiosities, Red Storm (whose citizens are by and large folks who are probably trying to avoid notice by officials of the major cities), and Luir's, which is run by folks who are probably still a little annoyed by the fact that Allanak annexed it in the none-too-distant past.

Allanaki evangelistas aren't going to convert tribal humans, they're not interested in converting desert elves, they'd be insane to attempt to convert Tulukis, Red Stormers would laugh at them, desert-elves would kill them, Kuracis would run them out of town...what's left?  It seems pointless and thematically out-of-place to paint worshippers of Tektolnes as evangelists.  Everyone who wants to worship Tektolnes is already in Allanak, and the rest of the world is a bunch of heathens waiting to be smote...smited...smitten?

Not everyone who lives in Allanak *worships* Tektolnes. In fact, most don't. Most are, as I said, agnostic. They acknowledge that there's some mysterious spooky scary freakazoid entity called Tektolnes whose minions wear robes and kill people for having crossed eyes. But worship? Nah. Worship involves some measure of adoration. I'm doubting that the vast majority of people adore Tek. Fear, yeah. Adore, no. They obey him because he can kill them. Not because they have any particular love for him.

That's where the evangelist types can be interesting (at least til the mobs tell them to STFU and drag them to the sewers). Evangelists could be the ones with the sick adoration of this freak-boy, who feel that everyone should adore him as they do.

Muk Utep already DOES have actual genuine bonafide worshippers, people who adore him. Grab a few of those and kick it up a notch, and you can have yourself a merry mad muk cult.
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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #47 on: September 08, 2010, 09:17:20 AM »
I can't really see Allanaki loyalists engaged in proselytizing in the world at large.  The Known consists of two major cities with mutually exclusive religiosities, Red Storm (whose citizens are by and large folks who are probably trying to avoid notice by officials of the major cities), and Luir's, which is run by folks who are probably still a little annoyed by the fact that Allanak annexed it in the none-too-distant past.

Allanaki evangelistas aren't going to convert tribal humans, they're not interested in converting desert elves, they'd be insane to attempt to convert Tulukis, Red Stormers would laugh at them, desert-elves would kill them, Kuracis would run them out of town...what's left?  It seems pointless and thematically out-of-place to paint worshippers of Tektolnes as evangelists.  Everyone who wants to worship Tektolnes is already in Allanak, and the rest of the world is a bunch of heathens waiting to be smote...smited...smitten?

Not everyone who lives in Allanak *worships* Tektolnes. In fact, most don't. Most are, as I said, agnostic. They acknowledge that there's some mysterious spooky scary freakazoid entity called Tektolnes whose minions wear robes and kill people for having crossed eyes. But worship? Nah. Worship involves some measure of adoration. I'm doubting that the vast majority of people adore Tek. Fear, yeah. Adore, no. They obey him because he can kill them. Not because they have any particular love for him.

That's where the evangelist types can be interesting (at least til the mobs tell them to STFU and drag them to the sewers). Evangelists could be the ones with the sick adoration of this freak-boy, who feel that everyone should adore him as they do.

Muk Utep already DOES have actual genuine bonafide worshippers, people who adore him. Grab a few of those and kick it up a notch, and you can have yourself a merry mad muk cult.


Well.... If you look at alot of RL religions, their central figures have done some pretty messed up stuff.

Aruven

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #48 on: September 08, 2010, 06:08:54 PM »
I can't really see Allanaki loyalists engaged in proselytizing in the world at large.  The Known consists of two major cities with mutually exclusive religiosities, Red Storm (whose citizens are by and large folks who are probably trying to avoid notice by officials of the major cities), and Luir's, which is run by folks who are probably still a little annoyed by the fact that Allanak annexed it in the none-too-distant past.

Allanaki evangelistas aren't going to convert tribal humans, they're not interested in converting desert elves, they'd be insane to attempt to convert Tulukis, Red Stormers would laugh at them, desert-elves would kill them, Kuracis would run them out of town...what's left?  It seems pointless and thematically out-of-place to paint worshippers of Tektolnes as evangelists.  Everyone who wants to worship Tektolnes is already in Allanak, and the rest of the world is a bunch of heathens waiting to be smote...smited...smitten?

Not everyone who lives in Allanak *worships* Tektolnes. In fact, most don't. Most are, as I said, agnostic. They acknowledge that there's some mysterious spooky scary freakazoid entity called Tektolnes whose minions wear robes and kill people for having crossed eyes. But worship? Nah. Worship involves some measure of adoration. I'm doubting that the vast majority of people adore Tek. Fear, yeah. Adore, no. They obey him because he can kill them. Not because they have any particular love for him.

That's where the evangelist types can be interesting (at least til the mobs tell them to STFU and drag them to the sewers). Evangelists could be the ones with the sick adoration of this freak-boy, who feel that everyone should adore him as they do.

Muk Utep already DOES have actual genuine bonafide worshippers, people who adore him. Grab a few of those and kick it up a notch, and you can have yourself a merry mad muk cult.


Well.... If you look at alot of RL religions, their central figures have done some pretty messed up stuff.


In regards to the Allanak not having worshippers... There is a giant metal dragon over the gates. And, It's been -awhile-, but not -that- long, I am pretty sure the code still plays out a ceremony of morning devotions every dawn. And it includes everything from Templars to commoners. Do they adore him in a sense that christians adore christ, or catholics revere saints?

Probably not. But the fear mingled with gratitude and understanding that without the bad ass in a pyramid or a tower to look over you, the bitter cruelties far worse beyond the walls of whichever city you choose to revere would bury you in the sand in a heartbeat, is in itself enough to be considered worship I think.

Which, I still haven't seen a large but normally quiet piece of the IC 'religion' here, but I'll just go with the typical its too IC to cover.

Wolfsong

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #49 on: September 08, 2010, 06:22:00 PM »
Circumcision? Would it be practiced in any religion on Zalanthas, in specific tribal cultures only, would one city-state practice it over another, etc.?
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Riya OniSenshi

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #50 on: September 08, 2010, 06:32:08 PM »
All males in Zalanthas should probably want it since the health/hygene advantages would be significant in a desert world moreso than any religious significance.

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3kanks

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #51 on: September 08, 2010, 06:36:39 PM »
In a world with poor sanitation infection and infant mortality might dissuade many who otherwise might.

Wolfsong

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #52 on: September 08, 2010, 07:03:17 PM »
All males in Zalanthas should probably want it since the health/hygene advantages would be significant in a desert world moreso than any religious significance.

Sand/dust + skin folds = not fun

Quick derail/clarification: I'm asking about circumcision in a primarily religious sense, since the cut/uncut argument has been hashed over already from the irreligious "clean" angle, see here and here. Would circumcision -as a ritual- have a place in Zalanthas? I can personally see it being used by certain tribes (and as easily see it going unused entirely) in passage to adulthood rites, etc., -but- the one thing we have to consider is that if men and women are equal in Zalanthas, if males practice circumcision in those sorts of rites, wouldn't females by extension then also do so?
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jstorrie

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #53 on: September 08, 2010, 08:00:29 PM »
In a world with poor sanitation infection and infant mortality might dissuade many who otherwise might.

That's why you circumcise them when they're too young to object, and when you haven't invested much in them yet.

Lizzie

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #54 on: September 08, 2010, 09:09:10 PM »
Zalanthan males have no foreskin.

Problem solved.
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lordcooper

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #55 on: September 09, 2010, 03:30:39 AM »
Zalanthan males have no foreskin.

Problem solved.


Is this a retcon?
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Lizzie

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #56 on: September 09, 2010, 08:29:05 AM »
Zalanthan males have no foreskin.

Problem solved.


Is this a retcon?

I always assumed Zalanthan males had no foreskin. It's always worked for me...and so there it is for everyone else. Retcon away, if you like. Free of charge!
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Synthesis

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #57 on: September 09, 2010, 09:49:21 AM »
I can't really see Allanaki loyalists engaged in proselytizing in the world at large.  The Known consists of two major cities with mutually exclusive religiosities, Red Storm (whose citizens are by and large folks who are probably trying to avoid notice by officials of the major cities), and Luir's, which is run by folks who are probably still a little annoyed by the fact that Allanak annexed it in the none-too-distant past.

Allanaki evangelistas aren't going to convert tribal humans, they're not interested in converting desert elves, they'd be insane to attempt to convert Tulukis, Red Stormers would laugh at them, desert-elves would kill them, Kuracis would run them out of town...what's left?  It seems pointless and thematically out-of-place to paint worshippers of Tektolnes as evangelists.  Everyone who wants to worship Tektolnes is already in Allanak, and the rest of the world is a bunch of heathens waiting to be smote...smited...smitten?

Not everyone who lives in Allanak *worships* Tektolnes. In fact, most don't. Most are, as I said, agnostic. They acknowledge that there's some mysterious spooky scary freakazoid entity called Tektolnes whose minions wear robes and kill people for having crossed eyes. But worship? Nah. Worship involves some measure of adoration. I'm doubting that the vast majority of people adore Tek. Fear, yeah. Adore, no. They obey him because he can kill them. Not because they have any particular love for him.

That's where the evangelist types can be interesting (at least til the mobs tell them to STFU and drag them to the sewers). Evangelists could be the ones with the sick adoration of this freak-boy, who feel that everyone should adore him as they do.

Muk Utep already DOES have actual genuine bonafide worshippers, people who adore him. Grab a few of those and kick it up a notch, and you can have yourself a merry mad muk cult.


I think you're missing the point, here.

I was specifically criticizing the idea that Allanaki evangelists would attempt to spread the Word of Tektolnes beyond the gates of Allanak, as implied in the original post.  I didn't say anything about the average person's opinions or practices in Allanak or Tuluk, or whether evangelists could exist that limit their activity to Allanak itself.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2010, 09:52:19 AM by Synthesis »
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Marauder Moe

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #58 on: September 09, 2010, 11:20:29 AM »
Random replies:

Re: afterlife
One thing that many people don't realize is that the concept of life after death is not a central tenant of all religions.  While yes, most of them at least have some mystical concept of life after death, it's not really all that big of a deal.

So while agree there are some vague Zalanthan beliefs in some sort of soul/spirit that can persist after death, city-dwelling commoners would regard such things as unnatural and therefore evil.  "Go to Drov" is a curse.  Spirits are incorporeal monsters.  There is nothing good about death.  As such, I dislike any documented notion that when you die you go to any sort of heaven and/or magickally get reunited with your lost loved ones.

Re: worshiping Tektolnes
I'd say that people's internal attitudes regarding Tek worship are extremely varied, and I see no problem with that.
Some few people know nothing but good things from Tek and truly adore him.
Many suffer from a sort of mass Stockholm's Syndrom, and have lived in fear so long that they truly believe that they adore him.
Many probably don't care much, but are smart enough to realize that it's best to appear to adore him.
Many are pants-crappingly afraid and pretend to adore him so bad things don't happen again.
There are plenty more nuanced variations.

Any documentation should reflect this inner plurality in regards to Tek worship and not limit it.


In addition to that, I don't particularly like the belief that Tektolnes has all the powers that the Judeo-Christian God has.  That is to say, omniscience and omnipotence.  Given how often his power is displayed (usually through his templars), there's actually quite a lot of evidence that it has limits, and I don't think the belief that it has limits would be considered heresy.

Thus, I think it's rather contrite to ask a god who's power and time are not unlimited to spend a little of both on your meager, unimportant concerns.


Re: holidays
Huh?  Allanak had one just recently, no?

Booya

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #59 on: September 09, 2010, 11:49:38 AM »

So while agree there are some vague Zalanthan beliefs in some sort of soul/spirit that can persist after death, city-dwelling commoners would regard such things as unnatural and therefore evil.  "Go to Drov" is a curse.  Spirits are incorporeal monsters.  There is nothing good about death.  As such, I dislike any documented notion that when you die you go to any sort of heaven and/or magickally get reunited with your lost loved ones.


Yup.

flurry

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #60 on: September 09, 2010, 01:34:31 PM »
Re: afterlife
One thing that many people don't realize is that the concept of life after death is not a central tenant of all religions.  While yes, most of them at least have some mystical concept of life after death, it's not really all that big of a deal.

For that reason, the first paragraph (quoted below) of the current draft feels somewhat disjoined to me.


Quote
Many Zalanthans are completely agnostic, too focused on day-to-day survival to consider what (if anything) happens after they die. For these pragmatic minds, physical death means the cessation of conscious thought, and musings on the afterlife are little better than children's tales designed to terrify or pacify.

It begins with the claim about agnosticism, but everything after that is about whether or not there's an afterlife.

It's plausible that Zalanthans, with all the bizarre phenomena in their world, could believe in some notions of gods but simply not have any widely-held concept of an afterlife. I'm not so sure that skepticism would be all that prevalent at all, especially when many Zalanthans have seen world-changing events that defy explanation.
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jriley

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #61 on: September 09, 2010, 03:17:06 PM »

I think you're missing the point, here.

I was specifically criticizing the idea that Allanaki evangelists would attempt to spread the Word of Tektolnes beyond the gates of Allanak, as implied in the original post.  I didn't say anything about the average person's opinions or practices in Allanak or Tuluk, or whether evangelists could exist that limit their activity to Allanak itself.

No, I think that he has completely taken the point.  I think that a medium-sized component of the playerbase doesn't enjoy playing religious characters or enjoy playing around religious characters, they're attempting to slip language into the Religion Doc to emply that religion isn't that important to the average Zalanthan, despite current Docs and important game room descriptions that provide ample evidence to the contrary.  Rather than, for example, just happily playing an oddball character or two someplace like Luir's Outpost where religion is less important than it is in Allanak or Tuluk. 

I don't personally think that this is evidence of any kind of conspiracy, so much as I think that a few players here just need to come to terms with the fact that the rest of us want to play religious characters, consistent with documentation.  And consistent with the lifestyles of people who have grown up illiterate in a city-state under an oppressive theocracy.

At any rate, it's probably a moot point, since the staff have now weighed and substantiated that virtually all Allanaki are either sincere Tek-worshippers or insincere Tek-worshippers.  The question isn't are you a Tek-worshipper or not, it's how much of a Tek-worshipper you are.

http://www.zalanthas.org/gdb/index.php/topic,39597.msg552962.html#msg552962
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X-D

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #62 on: September 09, 2010, 05:15:33 PM »
I think that city bound people, Tuluki and nakki would not believe in an afterlife or soul.

And why, because unlike RL, there are immortals, or at least beings that have been around for hundreds and thousands of years. Worship tek or muk while alive, sure, think about a possible afterlife when you already have proof that immortality in this life is possible...Nah.
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Synthesis

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #63 on: September 09, 2010, 05:57:55 PM »

I think you're missing the point, here.

I was specifically criticizing the idea that Allanaki evangelists would attempt to spread the Word of Tektolnes beyond the gates of Allanak, as implied in the original post.  I didn't say anything about the average person's opinions or practices in Allanak or Tuluk, or whether evangelists could exist that limit their activity to Allanak itself.

No, I think that he has completely taken the point.  I think that a medium-sized component of the playerbase doesn't enjoy playing religious characters or enjoy playing around religious characters, they're attempting to slip language into the Religion Doc to emply that religion isn't that important to the average Zalanthan, despite current Docs and important game room descriptions that provide ample evidence to the contrary.  Rather than, for example, just happily playing an oddball character or two someplace like Luir's Outpost where religion is less important than it is in Allanak or Tuluk. 

I don't personally think that this is evidence of any kind of conspiracy, so much as I think that a few players here just need to come to terms with the fact that the rest of us want to play religious characters, consistent with documentation.  And consistent with the lifestyles of people who have grown up illiterate in a city-state under an oppressive theocracy.

At any rate, it's probably a moot point, since the staff have now weighed and substantiated that virtually all Allanaki are either sincere Tek-worshippers or insincere Tek-worshippers.  The question isn't are you a Tek-worshipper or not, it's how much of a Tek-worshipper you are.

http://www.zalanthas.org/gdb/index.php/topic,39597.msg552962.html#msg552962

Looks like you missed the point of my post, as well.

The only issue I was addressing was the line in the original document that said something to the effect of "worshippers of Tektolnes are proselytizers."  I gave reasons why, assuming the existence of worshippers of Tektolnes, they likely would not be proselytizing, at least beyond the walls of Allanak.  Anything else is moot, because I don't care about it enough to address it.

So your entire post there is completely irrelevant with respect to what I was concerned with.  I don't care what players like to play with respect to religion; I don't care if you play a religious character; I don't care if you play an atheist character.  I'm not arguing whether religion is or isn't an important feature of the game.  The only thing I cared about (and this interest is steadily waning, given the bizarre tangential responses I've gotten so far) is the one -tiny- detail in the original post that is still there.

I do not agree with this wording, specifically (bolded for emphasis):

With an established clergy in the form of the white-robed templars and an almost evangelical approach to the world at large, the worship of Tektolnes might be the most advanced and powerful organized religion in the Known World.

Assuming the rest of the post is fine (which I'm going to do, because again, I don't care much about the rest of the post) I would modify it to limit the evangelism to Allanak, because as I posted previously, it is not reasonable to expect Tektolnes-worshipping PCs to attempt to evangelize elsewhere, given extant power arrangements in-game.

Now, if you want to argue about the rest of the post, or get into some meta-discussion about people's motives, please don't quote me, because I've had nothing to do with those discussions.
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Lizzie

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #64 on: September 09, 2010, 10:00:41 PM »
Re: afterlife
One thing that many people don't realize is that the concept of life after death is not a central tenant of all religions.  While yes, most of them at least have some mystical concept of life after death, it's not really all that big of a deal.

For that reason, the first paragraph (quoted below) of the current draft feels somewhat disjoined to me.


Quote
Many Zalanthans are completely agnostic, too focused on day-to-day survival to consider what (if anything) happens after they die. For these pragmatic minds, physical death means the cessation of conscious thought, and musings on the afterlife are little better than children's tales designed to terrify or pacify.

It begins with the claim about agnosticism, but everything after that is about whether or not there's an afterlife.

It's plausible that Zalanthans, with all the bizarre phenomena in their world, could believe in some notions of gods but simply not have any widely-held concept of an afterlife. I'm not so sure that skepticism would be all that prevalent at all, especially when many Zalanthans have seen world-changing events that defy explanation.

Agnosticism doesn't exclude the possibility of "something after death." A person can be agnostic and still believe in karma. They just wouldn't attribute it to a god, because they have no evidence to convince them that there is one. They also wouldn't rule out the possibility that there is one, because they don't have evidence to convince them that none exists. That's what an agnostic is. Someone who doesn't believe or disbelieve in the omnipotent omnipresent existence of a deity.  Spirituality is a whole nother category of belief systems.

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flurry

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #65 on: September 09, 2010, 10:16:54 PM »
I agree. That's what I mean when I say the lead paragraph seems disjointed to me. Belief in an afterlife is a different matter from belief in god(s), although granted they aren't wholly unrelated issues.

Still, that opening sentence is written as if the agnosticism stems from the lack of the notion of an afterlife.

Edit: As a constructive suggestion, perhaps this

Quote
Many Zalanthans are completely agnostic, too focused on day-to-day survival to consider what (if anything) happens after they die.

could be replaced with something like

Quote
Many Zalanthans are completely agnostic, too focused on day-to-day survival to contemplate the existence of gods.

(emphasis added)
« Last Edit: September 09, 2010, 10:24:38 PM by flurry »
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Nyr

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #66 on: September 09, 2010, 10:56:18 PM »
At any rate, it's probably a moot point, since the staff have now weighed and substantiated that virtually all Allanaki are either sincere Tek-worshippers or insincere Tek-worshippers.  The question isn't are you a Tek-worshipper or not, it's how much of a Tek-worshipper you are.

I would not say that the take-away was the Stephen Colbert interview reference.

Quote
In the end, play it yourself.  Do not rely on numbers for this; instead, rely on solid reasoning for your PC doing whatever he or she decides to do.  Most NPCs and vNPCs (if not in the armed forces of a city-state or otherwise working in a noble house) won't consider reverence, fear, or devotion to/for their leader "religion."  I doubt the word has meaning in Zalanthas.  Some will believe everything the Templarate says.  Some will not (evidenced by riots in either city-state).  Just use common sense to develop your character's roleplay and I think you'll be all right.

I appreciate and admire work put into documentation like this.  I am a little concerned about a few things overstepping into the retcon of history to establish religious overtones in things that do not need the help.  Given that we do not have official "religion" documentation but we do have official "superstitions" documentation, I think it would be preferred to see this sort of documentation in the same format as the superstitions page.  At the top of the page, there's this note:

Quote
These are some of the common variants of superstitions that will often be heard in both Tuluk and Allanak. Use your discretion on whether your character would have heard of these if you're from a different locale. Players are welcome to create their own variations using this as inspiration, or create new ones.

And one of those superstitions:

Quote
Kiss the ground for the Highlord before bed, and He will protect you from magickers robbing your breath.

Just throwing in two sids about it.  The longer and in-depth player-submitted documentation is good in many cases, but in this case, it might be better to use smaller snippets.  Common Allanaki superstitions, for instance, rather than paragraphs about Allanaki religious beliefs (couched in more modern terms)...listing different possibilities, rather than a baseline to which the majority adheres.  I think this looks as though it is a completely clinical document written as though it were in study of Zalanthans, rather than something that Zalanthans might grasp (terms like agnostic, religion, afterlife, etc. really seem absent from any existing Zalanthan lexicon).

I do not think it is important to signify dedication to the leaders of either city-state as a "state religion" and explain it in those terms. I also think that there is a lot more evidence to support cults of personality and politics rather than religious worship, as the only evidence of the latter exists in one history document (with cult of personality and political power as an implied component of the rest of historical documentation).  That is not to say that the white-robed templarate is not a real aspect of Allanaki society, but I do not think I'd call them proselytizing evangelicals.  They built a temple, they serve there for the most part, and that's all that PCs would know.  Branching out into what else these templars do can be guessed at (even in-game) but probably shouldn't be in documentation unless it is meant to be public knowledge (which isn't the case).  This is a world where the powers that be tend to rule with totalitarian practices, never brooking rivals.  Purely religious overtones weaken that totalitarian structure.  Brainwashing of this magnitude is not unique to the world of Zalanthas; it's quite Orwellian in origin (1984 is a good book to read if you want to understand Tuluk--Allanak covers it in a lesser but equally effective manner).  See also: North Korea (though Orwell is a better applicable example--oddly enough--it is pure craziness to see how brainwashing can affect the populace of an entire country in the real world). 

My final end-point suggestion for these docs: it's too religious and unbelievable for me, at least.  It religious-izes everything in the docs.  I don't think the other docs need that.
Paint on a mustache and be a dude for a day. Stuff some melons down my shirt, cinch up a corset and pass as a girl.

With appropriate roleplay of course.

Jingo

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Re: Religion Docs- Second Draft
« Reply #67 on: September 10, 2010, 01:25:26 PM »
It may be a good idea to qualify what you mean by "religion", "religious" and "spirituality". All of these terms are so general and come with so much baggage that they are pretty much useless. As a religious studies scholar, I personally find the terms used in this thread too vague to get any kind of meaning out of them because common understandings of these words are problematic to begin with. It's best to clearly define what your talking about.

Now you're looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.