I would recommend, to anyone interested in writing religions to study religious sociology, and the belief and practises of real faiths. The majority of campaign settings tend to be polytheistic in nature. The clergy of good-hearted god twist and corrupt the dogma, in truth turn to darker powers for a quicker solution, thus become heretics. ReligionForBreakfast is a good place for religious sociology – he even has a vid or two examining fictional religions! How and why did the religion rise to prominence? Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window). Each one is trying to show that he is superior to other gods. The Boskiis are shamans, their complex rituals akin to those of Indonesian and Papuan religious paths. These decisions will affect everything that follows: contested holy sites, rival dogmas, opposing prophets and how the religion seek to shape the world in its image. Mandaeism or Mandaeanism (Arabic: مندائية ‎ Mandāʼīyah) is a monotheistic Gnostic religion. Starting out this blog, I wanted to cover everything. Its adherents, the Mandaeans, revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enos, Noah, Shem, Aram, and especially John the Baptist. You may create a world where this is justifiable. Heaven and hell? Is the Great Old Ones part of your cosmology? Lovecraft, has been a fantasy trope since Conan hacked to pieces his first Unspeakable Thing way back in the 1930s. Being raised with “Christian values,” I respect religious beliefs even if I do not share them. For example, a Jew in the Crusades may think of Christians as evil, not because theology or politics, but because of basic things like expulsions, forced conversions, and massacres. I have to admit after reading most of Ericsson’s series once I still do not get how the ascendants work. Often, people will actually make something like “The church wants absolute power/the worship of an evil god, the good guys don’t” be the actual basis of the story when more often, what makes a religion be perceived as “evil” can be quite subjective – since the concept of evil is subjective in and of itself. There is still a lot of good advice here! However, this was not often articulated or manifest in the same way that we now assume in our religious systems. It’s strange that when creating religions, this isn’t suggested, even though following a similar method would produce a much more realistic and interesting faith –. Judaism is the original Abrahamic faith. The other way in which fantasy has a special relationship to religion is through its magical and supernatural elements. Abygan religion is monotheistic in the same way that Hinduism is. Unless, that is, you want a pagan/Catholic stereotype, which is AOK, or if liberties are taken. … The problem in understanding religions in antiquity is not that they did not believe in things or that they lacked faith in the gods and goddesses. They accept Jesus as one incarnation but also add Haile Selassie as a second incarnation. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, starting with Dagon (1917) feature gods of sorts: uncaring monster beyond comprehension. The Sikh God Vaheguru (Waheguru, Vāhigurū) is an ethereal, timeless being, who is present in all of creation. This post is going to break down various forms… Reading The Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Talmud and other ancient Near Eastern works carefully will show this to be true. If you desire high-stakes swashbuckling tale, you can do that. Many monotheists accept that their monotheistic deity is the same deity that is being worshiped by monotheists of different religions. What if the god argues that the elves are to blame for this malady? It would be interesting to see concepts such as religious persecution (i.e. Fallen faith should be all about drama. Your religion has fallen and is, in fact, dooming its followers. The truth is probably unknown to both audience and characters, hence the word ‘faith,’ but you as a storyteller may want to know the facts. Thank you for your insights. However, one form of religion almost always seems to be absent in these fantasy settings: Monotheism. What gives them power, just worship or is fear sufficient? As a rather religious person myself, who knows a fact or two about religious sociology and world religions, I found the ideas to be… well, old. Monotheism is a religion or belief system that involves a single God. A world-spanning or regional religion will require a significant organization and management. Crusades are where the religious strife kicks into high gear with religious wars. photo source: Wikimedia Commons Rastafari is one of the most misunderstood religions in the world. A practical advantage of a world-spanning religious is that it requires less design work, at least at first glance. By extension, do they favor certain weapons, and what are the holy symbols of the faith? Like Jews, the Islamic view of God is indivisible. Has the deity always existed or is there an origin story? Catherine Beyer is a practicing Wiccan who has taught religion in at Lakeland College in Wisconsin as well as humanities and Western culture at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. It is not a plot device used lightly. Monotheistic religion is both an efficient and compelling way to set up faith in your fantasy setting. What is the universe? You can also draw on modern-day conflicts for your setting, which will help you create meaningful stories, albeit at the danger of hitting too close to home. Tenrikyo teaches that humanity is the metaphorical child of God the Parent, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto. Monotheistic definition, pertaining to, characterized by, or adhering to monotheism, the doctrine that there is only one God: a monotheistic religion. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Monotheistic religions resembling real life religions are usually avoided in high-fantasy games. This is, of course, tricky. The Mandaean God is named as Hayyi Rabbi meaning The Great Life or The Great Living God. Baha'is commonly refer to their deity as Allah or God. The religion of the Patah is really vague, but they do consider the stars sacred and "true magic". Bondye may also be called Gran Met-la, meaning 'Grand Master. This includes many of the well-known faiths including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. our editorial process. This threat could explain why an otherwise good society supports an evil god. Intelligence and investigation: inquisitors, informants, and spies. The lands face a dire crisis, and people crave order and safety. That’s a prerogative. Who are the prophets? The religion, which began in the 1930s, was started in Jamaica, and is associated with dreadlocks, marijuana smoking, and chanting. Therefore the God of Tyranny builds a new church, one fallen priest at the time. Polytheism is the belief in many gods. The possibilities for intrigue and adventure has no limit. They accept that a variety of religions follow this deity by different names. Monotheism - Monotheism - Monotheism in world religions: There may be some reason to speak of the conception of God found in the Hebrew Scriptures as monolatry rather than as monotheism, because the existence of other gods is seldom explicitly denied and many times even acknowledged. Choose the number of deities and pantheons carefully because you will potentially have a lot of design work ahead of you, and you may have invited more detail than you want. The Malazan Authors’ Suggested Reading Order for the Series Is Not What You Would Expect. Tenrikyo developed within a polytheistic culture, however, so some older documents give the impression that Tenrikyo is polytheistic. Wherever you go priest, and holy sites should look the same. Creating Fictional Religions – Midnight Pen Strokes, Random Fantasy Roleplaying Game Character Backgrounds, Create Fantasy Roleplaying Game Adventures. The monotheistic religions include the world's largest religions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Sikhism. The history of religions shows various efforts to combine unity and multiplicity in the conception of the divine. Religion is a wildly exciting topic I want to explore, and also update this post in the future. I believe that the Israelite religion only became monotheistic after the Babylonian Exile (6th C. BCE) and that perhaps the monotheism of the Zoroastrian Persian King Cyrus may have been a more immediate influence. Monotheistic high fantasy is certainly possible - LotR is monotheistic after all - but it tends to be laser-focused on stories about saving the world from the Evil One (TM) and their slavering hordes of soulless minions who can be safely slaughtered. The other end of the spectrum is regional or local deities. Zoroastrianism is not an Abrahamic religion. God the Parent desires humanity to live joyous, optimistic, and caring lives. I've seen a handful of monotheistic religions in fantasy--they're not always the ONLY religion that exists in the work, but it's more common than one might think. Behind many gods, which Abygan religion calls embodiments, there is one God, which the Abygans call the Cauldron of Inspiration. If you want to deal with big stories and issues, world-spanning churches have a lot to offer. Religion is a large part of the human experience, and you lose some great story potential if you choose to omit religion from your world. Is there a multiverse? Faking it works, in a way, but also may be wildly disrespectful. This post is not about the deities themselves. Characters or organizations struggling with faith have exciting backgrounds and can easily breathe life into your fantasy stories. Troubled people are sometimes willing to sacrifice freedom and even tolerate the suffering of others to get it. Creating a polytheistic pantheon has the advantages of plenty of great real-life myths to draw on, and you are less likely to insult any of your audience. Bondye is a single, indivisible god who works his will on earth through spirits known as lwa or loa. Do they wear different clothing during sermons and more mundane situations? Keep in mind that world-spanning religions rely on communications. But for myself, following them as guidelines instead of as clear-cut directions helps more. The beliefs of each religion were taken on … The downside is that this will dominate the remainder of the story and likely derails whatever you initially had planned. It posits the existence of a single all-powerful, indivisible god. And probably the half-unconscious rhapsody was a Fetichistic utterance in a Monotheistic setting; women whose chief companions are the forms and forces of outdoor Nature retain in their souls far more of the Pagan fantasy of their remote forefathers than of the systematized religion … You also need to determine if the deities are equally compelling. However, all of these things are symbolic, and followers of the religion, which are close to 1,000,000 people, also believe that Haile Selassie, the former Ethiopian emperor, is the Second Coming of … The religion’s holy sites are the locations of its origin, the places the divine appeared, and important sites in the religion’s history. What is the greater good? 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