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D&D 3E
Religion 
27th-Jul-2005 09:19 pm
geometry, roleplaying, random numbers, games, 3e
I'm doing some world-building, and one of the themes I'm working on is a greater moral and religious ambiguity than D&D normally has. I've scrapped alignments, and am creating a variety of religious systems that are basically contradictory. But I'm slightly stuck... This is what I have so far:

Dwarves have a monotheistic religion, driven by tradition and prophesy, that has schismed into two churches that can be considered analogous to the Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches.
Elves follow a shamanistic system based on totem animals.
Humans worship their ancestor-heroes, in the system most similar to the standard D&D pantheon.
Goblins worship their clan leaders as gods, similar to Egyptian pharoes.
Coivalds (from Mythic Races) worship nature (it may be more accurate to say that they worship a god whose completely coterminous with the world). They invariably become druids rather than clerics.
Sandesti (also from Mythic Races) worship elemental forces in the forms of sand (earth), river (water), sky (air), sun (fire) and moon (spirit).

The problem I'm having is that I can't think of anything to do with gnomes. To be honest, I've been kind of drawing a blank on them for more than just religion. I'm half-tempted to drop them as a race altogether, but I do like them, and I'd rather keep them, if I can just think of a decent handle...

If anyone has any ideas, I'd be glad to hear them.
Comments 
29th-Jul-2005 01:42 pm (UTC)
I'm not including gnomes simply out of a sense of completeness; I've dropped half-elves and half-orcs, and added 4 additional races (including half-goblins), so I'd not be worried about dropping more PHB races, if I can't think of how to use them well. But I like gnomes, and I want to keep them if I can. I think I'm coming up with something at the moment that might make them rather special.

In terms of making religion ambiguous, the only thing that can really be taken as proof of the existence of gods is the existence of clerics. And plenty of people argue that bards and druids can do pretty much everything clerics do without assuming the existance of divine beings. Mostly clerics just do the theological equivilent of putting their fingers in their ears and singing "lalala I can't hear you".

As for alignments, they're mostly easy to drop; No alignment domains, no spells that have specific alignment effects (protection from chaos, magic circle against law, detect evil, etc). The dificult bit came with paladins. At first, I thought of only having certain deities (those that would traditionally be considered "good") sponsoring paladins, but in the end, I figured that was a step backwards.

In the end, I decided that a paladin was simply a holy warrior, fighting for the ideals of their religion, and that there was no reason why every god shouldn't be able to have paladins. They can still detect and smite evil, but the definition of "evil" varies depending on the dogma of the specific deity. Lay on hands can either cure or inflict, depending on whether or not clerics of that deity can swap out for cure or inflict spells, and they can turn or rebuke undead, again depending on what clerics of that faith can do. It's suprising that even with those small changes, a paladin of a god of thieves and assassins is very different from a paladin of a god of borders and boundaries, whose main goal is stopping the dead from being raised.

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