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Monday, March 15, 2010

Fantasy settings with one monolithic church

I'd like to see a major D&D campaign setting featuring just one Church, with one God. Druids would be leftovers from an older time, and might even be persecuted. Inquisitors and witch burnings would be commonplace. Penitents and Faithful Knights would also be seen fairly regularly. All knowledge would be reviewed by the Church, who would be the resident teachers throughout the land. Mages would still exist, but either work for the Church or be independent scientific types.

Saints would exist, and might even receive worship as part of the services to the God. There might even be a living Saint somewhere in the world, who would act as a beacon to the faithful. Miles-long pilgrim lines would form at the living Saint's church, with people being blessed just by his presence. Priests would have a saint's finger bone as a holy symbol, and every church would have the bones of some saint interred inside the altar. 

Also, there would be no racial gods. Evil races such as orcs might worship demons, and have demon-summoners among their ranks. The demons would also be able to grant spells to their followers. Demon-worshiping humans would be hunted, but very definitely present. Succubi could hide themselves in a King's Court with none the wiser. There might even be a very powerful mage with demon servants, that even the Church cannot fight, as he has his tower in a major city, and trying to kill him would likely wipe the city out.

I know WFRP has some of this vibe, but I'd like to make it even more like the Dark Ages of Europe, without just being a historical fantasy game.


Anonymous said...

Something like this is really the only way clerics make sense to me. I believe the Dragon Warriors game setting is like this.

I've considered this for a new campaign. The god would be known as The ONE. While it might be a Christian analogue, I feel it needs to be a fictional god in order to avoid quite a lot of "issues" that might arise.

Jeff Rients said...

My next D&D campaign is to feature a monotheist church (with myriad saints, though) trying to push the neutral multitheists and chaotic demon-worshippers out of the picture.

Jayson said...

Similarly, my burgeoning setting has a single lawful Goddess that lawful clerics serve--but they acknowledge (but do not venerate) the existence of her "relatives" who are worshiped by other groups, particularly Her chaotic half-brother.

Also, she has numerous schismatic churches--but She's who all the Lawful humans tend to worship. So, not exactly monolithic, but She's more or less the only game in town.

Matthew said...

A bit late to the game, but...

I'm slowly piecing together a new campaign \for my itch to run OD&D or B/X and I've been thinking very much about having a strong, imposing, monotheistic church. Make that a capital-c Church, THE Church.

Whether it has an "actual" monopoly on divinity or whether other gods are out there, wondering where all their worship has gone, I don't quite know yet. I kind of like the idea of letting my players think there's just that one God in His Church, letting the Clerics get real self-righteous about it, until they get far enough from home to start running into other faiths and evidence of divine/Clerical magics from "riff-raff" who wouldn't know The Church if it landed on them.

I can see that getting all sorts of messy in all sorts of fun ways.