Nobody makes religious characters "just 'cuz"


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I've been playing for 5 years and GMing for over a year now, and there's been a pretty clear trend going on with the characters I've seen, both in the games I run, and that I play in:

No one makes a religious character "just cuz".

That is, if they are playing a class where religion does not directly factor into class mechanics, such as a cleric, oracle, or paladin, the characters are never religious. The closest anyone's come was a Monk of the *Sacred Mountain* who was part of Buddist-like faith that meditated on the four elements as a road to enlightenment.

Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with making an agnostic or otherwise non-observant character, and such characters are probably more common in my settings than the standard (there's no proof that a cleric's power comes from his deity, only demigods directly intervene in anything), but it is a little disappointing to me to have part of the world I created get left by the wayside in most games. I also think it's an interesting trend, and wonder if other people have picked up on this in their own games. For all I know, it could be entirely due to the fact that most of my friends are either agnostic or religious but not terribly observant.

How many people go for in-game religions purely for flavor, when their character receives no crunch benefit for doing so?


This character is an elven archer, a third-party class akin to the ranger. As such, it gets no benefits from religion. Yet I'm playing him as very in-tune with the Green Faith, believing strongly in it and following its teachings. It adds a level to the character and makes him interesting beyond what a cleric or even inquisitor would be.

I also had a druid for a while who was similar, though it's more intertwined in the class to follow such a philosophy.

I think it's just something that most people don't really think or worry about, and it can often cause contention between party members if different characters are zealous followers of different deities.


Ellis Mirari wrote:
No one makes a religious character "just cuz".

I have, and do. I've got a fighter-class character right now who's a monk-like follower of Sarenrae, a (goblin, ex-half-elven) rogue who's a follower of Ketephys, a bard who's a follower of Sinashakti...

Project Manager

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I've known a whole bunch of religious characters that were arcane or martial.


Ellis Mirari wrote:

That is, if they are playing a class where religion does not directly factor into class mechanics, such as a cleric, oracle, or paladin, the characters are never religious.

Wait, oracles have to be religious? I choose the class specifically so as the character didn't have to be devoted to a deity for flavor reasons. Did I do it wrong?

Scarab Sages

My current RotRL game has a bard who is an avid follower of Desna, my former Shackled City (set in the forgotten Realms) game had a Wizard dedicated to the ideals of Azuth, game before that a wizard and a fighter dedicated to the worship of Selune...I think more often than not my games featured religious charachters that had no 'class benefit' through their beliefs.

Scarab Sages

Ellis Mirari wrote:
How many people go for in-game religions purely for flavor, when their character receives no crunch benefit for doing so?

I have played several devout wizards.

Granted, to gods of knowledge and magic, but they were devout.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

My last 3.5 character was a fighter who was very religious (a follower of Heironeus).

I also ran a 3.5 fighter/wizard/eldritch knight who was a devout follower of the (homebrew) god of magic.

In the game I'm GMing, I have a half-elf/half-Varisian rogue that is a devout follower of Desna.

Liberty's Edge

I've played several religious characters in the past including a summoner who believed both her spell casting and her eidolon were from Desna. They may not have beat people over the head with their faith, but c'est la vie.

Liberty's Edge

My PFS characters are religious.

My human wizard (diviner) is also a painter, and a rarity for a wizard and a a painter in following Torag. He believes in the value of hard work and is a strategist.

My elven rogue follow Desna closely, associating her with his love of travel and being ready to take chances.

It is important to ask who a character is and what that character believes. So, ask yourself about your character. This may lead to not only better role playing but may give you some ideas of how to further develop your characters.


FanaticRat wrote:
Ellis Mirari wrote:

That is, if they are playing a class where religion does not directly factor into class mechanics, such as a cleric, oracle, or paladin, the characters are never religious.

Wait, oracles have to be religious? I choose the class specifically so as the character didn't have to be devoted to a deity for flavor reasons. Did I do it wrong?

I think you drew the wrong conclusion from my wording. Regardless of how devout an Oracle is, they receive their power from gods. So Higher Powers still factor into the build of the class, usually lending itself to the character being interested/knowledgable about religion, if not actually a priest. Same for Paladins: their abilities are not tied to a specific deity, but they come from a virtuous higher power.

As for everyone else, I'm glad to hear my situation is not universally the case.


My last Monk was a worshiper of both Irori and Achaekek, though he gained no benefits (tangible) from such.

Other than that, no. I'm not a particularly worshipful person myself and I usually don't find it fun to be so in-game unless I have a good reason for it.


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Ellis Mirari wrote:

I've been playing for 5 years and GMing for over a year now, and there's been a pretty clear trend going on with the characters I've seen, both in the games I run, and that I play in:

No one makes a religious character "just cuz".

That is, if they are playing a class where religion does not directly factor into class mechanics, such as a cleric, oracle, or paladin, the characters are never religious. The closest anyone's come was a Monk of the *Sacred Mountain* who was part of Buddist-like faith that meditated on the four elements as a road to enlightenment.

Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with making an agnostic or otherwise non-observant character, and such characters are probably more common in my settings than the standard (there's no proof that a cleric's power comes from his deity, only demigods directly intervene in anything), but it is a little disappointing to me to have part of the world I created get left by the wayside in most games. I also think it's an interesting trend, and wonder if other people have picked up on this in their own games. For all I know, it could be entirely due to the fact that most of my friends are either agnostic or religious but not terribly observant.

How many people go for in-game religions purely for flavor, when their character receives no crunch benefit for doing so?

How often to you make religion important to your adventures when you GM? Can the players expect that being part of a church or religious organization will come up regularly and *be important* in their normal course of adventuring? I would say your players may be disengaging from any religious connections for their PCs simply because it doesn't seem important. MEchanical or other benefits don't need to offered at all.

Shadow Lodge

I've played more characters who are religious than those who are not. Only a small handful of them were divine classes - one cleric, two paladins, one 3.5 Crusader.

And even the ones who aren't very much so always have a patron deity they at least pay lip service and the occasional small offering to.

The same seems to be accurate of most of my players.


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Ellis Mirari wrote:

I've been playing for 5 years and GMing for over a year now, and there's been a pretty clear trend going on with the characters I've seen, both in the games I run, and that I play in:

No one makes a religious character "just cuz".

That is, if they are playing a class where religion does not directly factor into class mechanics, such as a cleric, oracle, or paladin, the characters are never religious. The closest anyone's come was a Monk of the *Sacred Mountain* who was part of Buddist-like faith that meditated on the four elements as a road to enlightenment.

Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with making an agnostic or otherwise non-observant character, and such characters are probably more common in my settings than the standard (there's no proof that a cleric's power comes from his deity, only demigods directly intervene in anything), but it is a little disappointing to me to have part of the world I created get left by the wayside in most games. I also think it's an interesting trend, and wonder if other people have picked up on this in their own games. For all I know, it could be entirely due to the fact that most of my friends are either agnostic or religious but not terribly observant.

How many people go for in-game religions purely for flavor, when their character receives no crunch benefit for doing so?

My experience is pretty much the opposite: Basically every character my players have made in the 17 years we've been together have been religious of some sort. It's usually a big part of their backgrounds, like it should be in a world where the gods quite literally walk the earth.

Some are more observant than others (which is often a great source of plot elements), but save for a few explicitly agnostic/atheist PCs, every time we play D&D/Pathfinder the players put care into choosing their gods and getting info on how they should behave regarding what their faith expects of them.

We're all Catholic in the group, so I can't entirely rule out that as a factor. But considering the selection of PC deities ranges from demon princes to gods of alcoholic intoxication, I don't think it's them mixing faith with game. It really is an important element of a character's background, like their alignment and country of origin.

I couldn't picture D&D/Pathfinder without the powers being important for PCs.


Klaus van der Kroft wrote:
Ellis Mirari wrote:

I've been playing for 5 years and GMing for over a year now, and there's been a pretty clear trend going on with the characters I've seen, both in the games I run, and that I play in:

No one makes a religious character "just cuz".

That is, if they are playing a class where religion does not directly factor into class mechanics, such as a cleric, oracle, or paladin, the characters are never religious. The closest anyone's come was a Monk of the *Sacred Mountain* who was part of Buddist-like faith that meditated on the four elements as a road to enlightenment.

Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with making an agnostic or otherwise non-observant character, and such characters are probably more common in my settings than the standard (there's no proof that a cleric's power comes from his deity, only demigods directly intervene in anything), but it is a little disappointing to me to have part of the world I created get left by the wayside in most games. I also think it's an interesting trend, and wonder if other people have picked up on this in their own games. For all I know, it could be entirely due to the fact that most of my friends are either agnostic or religious but not terribly observant.

How many people go for in-game religions purely for flavor, when their character receives no crunch benefit for doing so?

My experience is pretty much the opposite: Basically every character my players have made in the 17 years we've been together have been religious of some sort. It's usually a big part of their backgrounds, like it should be in a world where the gods quite literally walk the earth.

Some are more observant than others (which is often a great source of plot elements), but save for a few explicitly agnostic/atheist PCs, every time we play D&D/Pathfinder the players put care into choosing their gods and getting info on how they should behave regarding what their faith expects of them.

We're all Catholic in the group, so I can't entirely rule out that as...

That's interesting, especially given the inverse nature of our player bases' spirituality, basically. Not that this is necessarily it (doesn't seem to be for everyone else).

As for plots, I've brought up the evil/ancient religions in a couple one-shots, but I'm not sure that this is something that would really factor into player choices, since generally I don't tell my players what the story contains because it's usually player choices that determine the story.


I've played a few non-divine religious characters. My gaming group defaults to the Forgotten Realms when not playing an AP, so the deities might not be familiar.

A Cavalier who was a devoted follower of the Red Knight (an Athena-type goddess of war)

A sorcerer with the shadow weave feats who followed Shar (one of the 3 Big Evil deities of the setting). I patterned him off of Babylon 5's Mr. Morden, and his greeting to the faithful was shamelessly stolen from Lexx. "May her Infinite Shadow fall upon you."

An elven ranger who was devoted to Solonor Thelendria (elven deity of archery). By the time high levels rolled around, he was considered the god's mortal champion (although he didn't receive any stat benefits from this. He did get the red-carper treatment from temples, though)

A white necromancer from 2E who was a follower of Lathander (sun god and near-rabid undead hater), even to the point of holding a minor position in the church.

Shadow Lodge

I'm playing an arcane caster right now that is highly devoted to Yuelral. He's not even an elf, but prefers her to any of the other gods of magic.

Sovereign Court

In 3.5 my bards and rogues usually followed Olidmmara. Not sure why but the Golarion Gods don't really speak to me. I guess Calistria and Nethys, oh and norgohrber but that's about it.

Silver Crusade

I really, really want to play a paladin of Shelyn for my next character. But I don't want to give up my cleric of Cayden Cailean just yet. She's actually quite a bit of fun.

I know, it's not quite the same as the OP's observation, but I do enjoy the divinely inspired.

Dark Archive

I'm currently playing a Barbarian who is devoted to Gorum, having specifically rejected his ancestors to be that way. But honestly I agree with your observation. Usually in my experience, if they aren't divine characters they aren't religious.


Ellis Mirari wrote:
No one makes a religious character "just cuz".

I find religion kinda creepy, so I rarely make religious characters (which includes clerics/whatever). That said, I have played religious characters where it was just a character quirk and not the purpose of their career or whatever.

But mostly when it felt like an important part of the setting that everyone seemed to ignore, or something.

And also mostly in Dark Heresy. :)


Ellis Mirari wrote:

I've been playing for 5 years and GMing for over a year now, and there's been a pretty clear trend going on with the characters I've seen, both in the games I run, and that I play in:

No one makes a religious character "just cuz".

That is, if they are playing a class where religion does not directly factor into class mechanics, such as a cleric, oracle, or paladin, the characters are never religious. The closest anyone's come was a Monk of the *Sacred Mountain* who was part of Buddist-like faith that meditated on the four elements as a road to enlightenment.

I've seen lots of PCs who paid lip service to one deity or another.

If you're saying that you don't see many non-cleric PCs who are as devoted to the gods as cleric PCs, that's not really surprising. I don't see many clerics or fighters who love to sneak around, either. In a game with classes, some classes have the flavour "baked right in".


All but two or three of my characters have worshiped a god or religious tradition. My wizard is actually a priest of Nethys, with no cleric levels or abilities.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Heck, I had a 2e bard who built whole temples to Tymora.


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Ellis Mirari wrote:

I've been playing for 5 years and GMing for over a year now, and there's been a pretty clear trend going on with the characters I've seen, both in the games I run, and that I play in:

No one makes a religious character "just cuz".

How many people go for in-game religions purely for flavor, when their character receives no crunch benefit for doing so?

Players derive pleasure (utility) from many different things.

In my world, religion is very much a part of everyday life for most of its occupants. There are competing religions, but there are almost no agnostics and fewer atheists.

Holy days, rituals, manners of speech, etc. are well know, and my players know about these things too.

Many of my players derive pleasure from role-playing in the context of the world. They enjoy getting into character, and the NPCs rect more positively to observant and respectful characters.

So, over the years, we have had a higher than average share of religiously observant PCs.

In service,

Rich


hogarth wrote:
Ellis Mirari wrote:

I've been playing for 5 years and GMing for over a year now, and there's been a pretty clear trend going on with the characters I've seen, both in the games I run, and that I play in:

No one makes a religious character "just cuz".

That is, if they are playing a class where religion does not directly factor into class mechanics, such as a cleric, oracle, or paladin, the characters are never religious. The closest anyone's come was a Monk of the *Sacred Mountain* who was part of Buddist-like faith that meditated on the four elements as a road to enlightenment.

I've seen lots of PCs who paid lip service to one deity or another.

If you're saying that you don't see many non-cleric PCs who are as devoted to the gods as cleric PCs, that's not really surprising. I don't see many clerics or fighters who love to sneak around, either. In a game with classes, some classes have the flavour "baked right in".

What I mean is this:

Unless they choose a divine caster class, no one asks about deity options. The one time I asked outright before the campaign if any of the PCs would be religious types (since the core plot of this campaign was going to involve the cult of an old king overthrowing the current government), everyone was just like "Nah. We know there are mysterious things out there (summoner in the party) but that's it."


Our last campaign all of the PCs were sent to slavery BECAUSE they worshiped something else than the "high and benevolent one" of their country.

That said in campaigns I played or DMed, the better players keep it mixed for their variant characters (ranging from zealots to agnostics or atheists, and the most common being lip service to chosen deity except that one thing they really agree with the chosen and are pretty nacistic about it), while not so adept players have no deity or simply put racial or class god if it's forgotten realm (there, everyone has to have a god or it gets complicated after you die)..

EDIT: forgot to say, this is all regardless of the class played.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

May current character is strongly religious. He is a spell less ranger (traded out spells for a 3rd party archetype) but he belongs to an order of holy knights that serve the 'Bright Star' (a homebrew goddess of justice, wrath, light, life). His class has nothing to do with his religion, it has to do with his abilities that he uses to serve his faith and his organization. I always kind of chaffed when fantasy organizations were so homogonous. Sure a holy order would have lots of paladins and clerics, but those paladins and clerics need varying talents, wizards, rangers, rogues, etc are all very useful to such an order.

Another other active character is a wayang witch, who while doesnt worship an expicate diety, is strongly spiritual in his worship and devotion to the disallution. The concept that all things return to the shadows in the end, and that those shadows actively influence the world around them.

My last active character (though this campaign is on hiatus at the moment) is a casual worshipper of gorum. As the general of a burgeoning kingdom in the river kingdoms, it makes sense for him to pay heed to the deity of war.

I think it is pretty odd to play an agnostic character in a game like pathfinder, or dnd. You have literal walking miracles in the world (divine casters). Its pretty clear the gods exist and they have an interest in what is going on down on earth.


Ellis Mirari wrote:
How many people go for in-game religions purely for flavor, when their character receives no crunch benefit for doing so?

In my games, there have been zero. This is probably due to the people I game with. There seems to be 2 types of people in my groups: those who are especially religious in real life and would be uncomfortable playing a character who worships a made up god, and those of us who are agnostic/don't have any real stance on religion and therefore don't feel like playing a religious character. Often, a deity's name will be written down on the character sheet, then never mentioned in game.

EDIT: Ok, have to amend that. There has been 1. My wife's current character is a gnome synthesist summoner who worships Desna. It just doesn't get brought up much during play, so I tend to forget. It does come up on occasion, just not much.

Sovereign Court

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Oh I did. I played a Cleric named Brothur (Brother) Portillies. He spoke in a very heavy Irish accent. He could best be described as a "Friar Tuck" type. He loved to eat and drink and cook and talk about his goddess the Earth Mother who giveth and taketh away. She giveth this day our daily bread and it is our job to till her ground and take care of her plants to feed the poor starved children and less fortunate.

Yes he was very religious, cared not for violence until pushed and loved to talk and try to convert others to his goddess path or to at least see her wisdom and ways

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

In my games, most of the players don`t want nothing to do with religion, gods or higher powers, and often is up to me go with the healing guy. But when i do, none of them are equal with the other.


Hello. Cavalier/Bard/Battle Herald here. Damian is just as pious (or was, before an unfortunate time travel incident left him with a decade of memories of a horrific war) as any paladin. As a matter of fact, his backstory involves his disappointment at not being blessed with the powers of a paladin, which is what pushed him to excel as a cavalier. He is known to invoke Iomedae constantly in battle, as well as pray in his off-time.

Sounds like this is just your social circle, judging by the responses here.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My Chelaxian PFS Summoner makes no secret of his adoration of Asmodeus.

My half-elven Magus will frequently make an invocation to Desna, and my Vudrani Oracle will frequently spout of her Hindulike philosophy.


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My first 3.0 character was a Ranger, devoted to the Goddess of Nature and The Hunt of the setting(naturally). He was so devoted, that he eventually took Cleric levels of that deity's faith.

Key word being "eventually;" we started at 3rd level, and I didn't take Cleric levels until around 8th or so. The party had a disastrous near-TPK, and believed his deity intervened. He sought to return her grace by channeling her will.

Grand Lodge

Ellis Mirari wrote:

That is, if they are playing a class where religion does not directly factor into class mechanics, such as a cleric, oracle, or paladin, the characters are never religious...

How many people go for in-game religions purely for flavor, when their character receives no crunch benefit for doing so?

Depends on a lot of factors.

Sometimes I'll make a character with a fully fleshed-out personality and backstory going back generations right from 1st level. But generally I'll just create as much of the character as I need to play, form a vague idea of where I want to go with that character in my head, and then let things develop from there over the course of the campaign.

My experience is that campaigns generally end prematurely. In some cases after only a few adventures. So why put too much work into a character that I'm only going to play for a few weeks in a campaign that never gets off the ground? A lack of a detailed background doesn't make a character less fun for me to play, or to adventure with, and most background information doesn't become an issue until further down the line. I'm generally more concerned at the beginning with "why is my character here, adventuring with this group, now" than I am with "what are my character's innermost secrets and personal beliefs?" So I'd rather focus on the mechanical stuff I'll need to use every gaming session, and on a vague personality concept that I can develop as we go, than on filling in every blank. Plus, leaving blanks on a character sheet give me wiggleroom later should the campaign take an unexpected turn.

I also consider that, even in a world with actual undeniable gods, most people aren't going to be hyperpartisan about who they worship since there are so many options (and picking sides can have ... consequences). Characters that rely on a divine entity for their power are obviously going to have the worship of that entity as a major part of their personality and identity (in general, not always) but almost everyone else would probably look at religious identity more like we look at national identity or sports fandom or political affiliation. Even if you have a home team, you don't have to talk about it all and form your identity around it.

So my non-divine characters tend to take on more of a "pantheon" god mentality. They believe in multiple gods. They make sacrifices to multiple gods as appropriate. They may have a favorite (or two) but often times those favorites are more a factor of family history, or regional history. They may have religious beliefs, but those beliefs rarely come into play in your typical adventure.


Pretty much every PC has had a patron deity, in my experience -- mostly because in 1e there was a blank right at the top of the character sheet that said "Patron Deity," just begging to be filled in.


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In the end, though, I think it has less to do with the players and more to do with how the DM approaches religion in the game.

If religion is merely a passing element that only matters when deciding spells granted to clerics, it is likely that players will pay less and less attention to the religion of their PCs, regardless of how religious/irreligious they are in real life. Just like they would pay little attention to what their PCs extended family is like if such thing plays no role in the story.

It's a matter of personal preference of the DM, I think. For me, D&D/Pathfinder is a game pretty heavy on religion: there are hundreds of gods with very active agendas, whose priests can usually be seen bringing people back from the dead, creating rain in the desert, and enchanting holy weapons. If you step outside the Prime Material, you are bound to stumble upon a deity's realm sooner or later. There are angels, demons, avatars, relics, crusading orders, you name it.

Just consider how prevalent religion is in our world were divinity is ascribed a much more discrete role (or no role at all, depending on the person), and imagine how it would be in a world like Toril, Mystara, or Golarion. In the latter, the only openly atheistic nation in the world stands out precisely because of its oddity. Probably everyone from the lowliest peasant to the mightiest king follows some kind of religion or at least spiritual calling.

And considering how PCs seem far more likely than the average peasant to stumble upon displays of divine intervention by the very nature of their adventures, I'd say they would have more than enough reasons to pay attention to their religious aspect.

But, as I said, it will ultimately depend on how the DM puts the focus on that issue.

Silver Crusade

I tend to have characters pick patron deities when they aren't clerics or other theologically inclined classes. It helps to create a short hand for the character's ideals, as well as gives him an in with some towns.

"Oh hey, they have a temple of St. Cuthbert, I'd better go attend services."

If the party is really focused on mechanics over flavor then well...

I remember seeing a thread on these forums where a guy wanted to be one religion and then transmogrify into a cleric of the other (I worship this guy as my fighter levels, but that god as my cleric levels!). It made me hungry for soft pretzels.

A lot of campaign settings don't have engaging deities though. I think its why that ne'er-do-well Cayden gets so many worshippers is because he's a good patron for the mentally lazy Ale-and-Warhammers hero.


Ellis Mirari wrote:
How many people go for in-game religions purely for flavor, when their character receives no crunch benefit for doing so?

Pretty much all my characters are religous. They generaly all have holy symbols...sometimes even their particular faith's bible.

I am currently play a character who is a ordained priest of Calistria who is not a divine spell caster.

As for the rest of my group...they tend to underplay the religious aspect of their characters sadly. Even their divine characters are...meh on the religous side of things. Most are either agnostic or atheists who have a very really lack of understanding of religion...if not oputright hate. Or they are just powergamers...whose characters are nothing but a math problem anyway.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Hmm, I should pay a little more attention to my characters religion I guess. I'm guilty of the OPs point.


To add something to a character, it can be quite the idea to add a few levels of cleric.


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All of the PCs in my game worship a deity. The orc barbarian and the ulfen inquisitor both worship Gorum, the goblin ninja worships Achaekek (while having the opposite alignment, so its rather his personal version of achaekek), the samsaran druid practicions the Green Faith and the ratfolk witch worships a dragon empires rat deity whose name I can't remember right now. Although none of them, other than the inquisitor, are particularly invested in their faith.


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Ivan Rûski wrote:
those who are especially religious in real life and would be uncomfortable playing a character who worships a made up god

Oddly enough, most of the Christian gamers I know have less problems roleplaying what they consider to be a made up god granting powers than putting their own into the game.

Shadow Lodge

Grey Lensman wrote:
Ivan Rûski wrote:
those who are especially religious in real life and would be uncomfortable playing a character who worships a made up god
Oddly enough, most of the Christian gamers I know have less problems roleplaying what they consider to be a made up god granting powers than putting their own into the game.

I can confirm this. Of the ten or eleven players I've had in my groups over the years, all but two are religious on some level, and of those only one was uncomfortable with divine magic or fantasy deities. But this was the one player whose characters were always a fantasized author avatar, so I can see why he had... "issues"... with disconnecting the character's faith from his own.

He's also the one I'm not interested in having back in my group, but that's for completely different reasons.

The rest of us are either casually or strongly religious, but we're well enough aware of the disconnect between reality and fantasy gaming that the fictional faith doesn't cause an issue.


Ellis Mirari wrote:

I've been playing for 5 years and GMing for over a year now, and there's been a pretty clear trend going on with the characters I've seen, both in the games I run, and that I play in:

No one makes a religious character "just cuz".

That is, if they are playing a class where religion does not directly factor into class mechanics, such as a cleric, oracle, or paladin, the characters are never religious. The closest anyone's come was a Monk of the *Sacred Mountain* who was part of Buddist-like faith that meditated on the four elements as a road to enlightenment.

Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with making an agnostic or otherwise non-observant character, and such characters are probably more common in my settings than the standard (there's no proof that a cleric's power comes from his deity, only demigods directly intervene in anything), but it is a little disappointing to me to have part of the world I created get left by the wayside in most games. I also think it's an interesting trend, and wonder if other people have picked up on this in their own games. For all I know, it could be entirely due to the fact that most of my friends are either agnostic or religious but not terribly observant.

How many people go for in-game religions purely for flavor, when their character receives no crunch benefit for doing so?

I know plenty of gamers who do falvour characters all the time.

The thing is, in my experience at leadt, the longer people do gaming, the more they tend to experiment with stuff thats intersting for story reasons than game mechanic reasons . Thats a wide generalisation of course, and there will be plenty of exceptions.... But I think a valid one.

It will also depend on your gm and your group. If the gm adds story flourishes specifically for interesting characters, then people will be more inclined to play them. If the main focus is basically on pre-scripted encounters that dont take individual characters personalities and backgrounds into account then ...not so much.


The religious-in-life aspect can go either way.

One one hand, a particularly devout person might be sensitive to pretending to worship another deity.

On the other, another religious person (such as myself), who has no aversion to the idea of religion and worship, and sees religion as a good thing in real life, would be more comfortable with the idea than someone who doesn't.

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