Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Started by clehrich, January 18, 2003, 01:52:00 AM
Quote from: M. J. YoungI noticed yesterday that John Kim was the newest member of the forums, and wanted to welcome him; but I was otherwise occupied, so overlooked it. Welcome to the Forge, John. I look forward to your comments.
Quote from: M. J. YoungQuote from: John KimIt seems to me that religion is given short shrift in modern fantasy literature in general. Certainly it is largely overlooked in seminal works like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, Ursula Le Guin, and others.I'm not convinced that Tolkien really belongs on this list. ...It seems that Sauron and the wizards (Gandalf, Saruman, and Radagast are identified as part of a larger group) are minor deities themselves, supernatural beings some have likened to angels, involved in the affairs of mortals. The others, particularly Aragorn, would be mythic heroes, akin in some ways to the likes of Peracles and Heracles. Lord of the Rings also includes religious references, such as the mention periodically of the greater deity Elbereth ...
Quote from: John KimIt seems to me that religion is given short shrift in modern fantasy literature in general. Certainly it is largely overlooked in seminal works like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, Ursula Le Guin, and others.
Quote from: Christopher KubasikIn AD&D religions are treated with a certain contempt: the contempt of those who know they are better than faith. Bureaucracies of faith are built to offer bennies to the PCs who behave a certain way. There is a kind of dispassionate capitalism to the whole process, like Babbits showing up to nine-to-five jobs to their steady salary and perhaps a gold watch at the end.Truly religious tales, like the Iliad, where the passion of the characters are reflected in the gods, and the gods reflect the joy and pain of mortals, all spun into situations beyond any characters true comprehension, are in direct contrast to such thinking.
Quote from: Christopher KubasikThat's a fair cop: comparing D&D to Homer is, of course, ridiculous -- and you're right to point that out. However, what's at stake for me is how do we raise the quality of group storytelling? That is, how do we end up comparing an evening's storytelling to Homer's storytelling, instead of game mechanics to storytelling?
Quote from: Henry FitchI was looking at an old D&D book the other day -- the D&D Adventure Game from the early 90s, I believe -- and was struck by how completely absent religion seemed to be. The cleric class was there, of course, but was described as someone who "gains special powers because of the strength of their belief in some cause or principle", or something like that. Gods didn't really come up at all.
QuoteThis is the mertest of outlines [of various Mythologies], presented in D&D terms
QuoteThis volume is something else, also: our last attempt to reach the "Monty Hall" DM's
QuoteD&d...had its reasons for presenting religion as it did. That's not an issue....Heartbreakers put their energy into "correcting problems" that they saw as correctable. I argue that The Religion Problem lies far in uncorrectability territory.
QuoteReal religion has many aspects, including but not limited to: rituals, belief systems, mythologies, specific customs, attitudes, architecture, and maybe even manifestations (this depends on how you feel about your religion). Religions create ripples in the cultures around them, influencing art, cuisine, manners of speech and dress. Religion is everywhere. Just the mythologies of real religions fill large, heavy books. Who has time to write that kind of thing for a game?
Quotethe people who pretty much like D&D as written and aren't driven to seek out other games, simply like the way gods and religions work in D&D
Quote from: clehrich. Since my professional career is devoted to studying the ins-and-outs of the history of religions, I have a few suggestions here, but I don't think they do more than scratch the surface.1. It may be an unfair stereotype, but I associate this sort of fantasy world with science-engineering types. I know that when I first started playing AD&D (just after it appeared, actually), I considered myself part of this group. (Funny old thing, life.) And my experience as a teacher is that many people who align themselves very strongly to a scientific mindset are uncomfortable with religion in the real world, sometimes going so far as to see it all as idiotic superstition and whatnot. (Lately, Penn and Teller would be excellent examples of this perspective.) So I wonder whether part of the failure of such games to deal with any of the more interesting possibilities of fantasy religions have to do with this fundamental discomfort..4. Finally, I think Ron picks up something interesting when he uses the word "culture." As a rule, these games describe culture in a few terms: economics, military and political history, and some material culture (at least implicitly). But just about all of what I would focus on as primary for "culture" --- art, literature, music, stories (not big-ass myths, but just plain old stories), family life, social structures, and of course religion --- gets hand-waved away. So I sort of wonder whether the total failure with respect to religion isn't really part and parcel of an unwillingness or inability to deal with culture more broadly.