Author Topic: Religion Docs- Second Draft  (Read 11255 times)

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.

Sand/dust + skin folds = not fun
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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.
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Jingo

  • Posts: 4791
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.

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