*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
July 02, 2022, 09:44:11 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 82 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: You Gotta have Faith  (Read 3565 times)
Sylus Thane
Guest
« on: January 22, 2003, 11:27:55 AM »

I've been reading the threads on religion in rpg's as of late, especially as I am nearing the point in which I will be needing to write how it applies to Dawn of the Magi. Now in looking at most rpg's, especially DnD, they tend to break down religion into good and evil, black and white, and the purest shade of gray right in between to describe everything else. Other general information is usually simply given as how it applies combat and what is in it for the character. Now I say generally as some games do better than others in giving more depth to the religions available within the setting.

Now I would submit that religion in rpg's shouldn't be about good and evil. The majority of religious followers would tell you that what they do in the name of their god is good. They would not say that they are evil.

I would instead say that religion within rpg's in regards to rules as well as setting should be based upon Faith. For it is Faith in which a follower would act, Faith that gives them cause to believe, and Faith that would most likely be cause for a god to answer it's followers pleas.

Now it is Faith in which I will be basing the powers and abilities in a religous context for Dawn of the Magi.  Now Faith is neither a Stat or a Skill, but something more in which to apply it in a mortal and otherworldly manner. Now in doing this way gm's and players can apply as much or as little religous tone to their game as they wish, as well as having a clear consice method in which to apply a followers powers. As faith would apply to anyone.

Now does anyone see a problem in how this would be applied, and if so, where? As well as any other tidbits of knowledge or input?

Sylus
Logged
Kester Pelagius
Member

Posts: 508


« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2003, 11:55:23 AM »

Greetings Sylus,

Quote from: Sylus Thane
Now does anyone see a problem in how this would be applied, and if so, where? As well as any other tidbits of knowledge or input?


The obvious problem you may run into with this approach is that, like in the real world, you may find players tending to argue more about whose faith was really really really... well, need I say more?

Of course, not knowing about your system or setting, I really can't comment much.  Save to say that it would not take much to codify Faith as a measurable trait.  Of course that would be fine for a AD&D style game, where you can input "Faith" and "Reknown" as measuring sticks for character progress.

But does it fit with what you have conceived thus far for your rule sytsem?

For that matter what is the primary genre label?

How do you want the rules to work, to be a part of the background, thus unobtrusive, or more upfrong, like in Palladium and AD&D?

(Important questions to ask yourself as you consider how to shape and mould your rules system.)

If fantasy you could institute a Faith trait which powers Piety, or vice versa...  would work for a crunchy system that uses lots of 'funny' dice.

Ok, that's my 2 cents.  I'm sure you'll get far more insightful replies than this.

Much luck!


Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius
Logged

"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri
Le Joueur
Member

Posts: 1367


WWW
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2003, 12:01:02 PM »

Re: You Gotta Have Faith

For Dawn of the Magi?
    That's up to you, the designer; more power to you.[/list:u]In general?
    No You Don't.[/list:u]Games don't need to have religion, good, evil, or otherwise.  Not every story mentions religion and I think that applies to games.  I think Ron does a wonderful job implying the problems inherent with the usage of the word "Faith," but I think a larger issue is being ignored.

    Games don't need religion.

    A designer may want to include it only for the sake of 'completeness,' but that still doesn't require mechanics, comprehensiveness, or even 'proper respect.'  Because games don't need religion.  Now if you'd like to say that "in a game with active characters defined by their religion...thus and so are true," I'm fine with that, but don't assume I know that's where you're coming from.

    Even saying gamemasters and "players can apply as much or as little religious tone to their game as they wish" is walking on dangerous ground.  If you put in a mechanic for dealing with religion, some people will be insulted (trust me on this).  Don't think you can get off the hook simply making it optional.  ("I didn't really mean it, just ignore it.")  I think it is better, and creates a game with clearer vision, to either include or evacuate these kinds of rules.  If you include them do so consciously, willingly, and respectfully, because it becomes an important feature of your game.  If you don't, it isn't a problem; the game isn't about religion.  Going for the 'optional middle ground' is only asking both sides to not like your game.  You'll find it easier to sell a non-Christian game to Christians if you state clearly that it isn't about that, than to 'leave the door open' so they can do what they want.  (But that's just my 'make your design what you intend it to be' rhetoric.)

    Quote from: Sylus Thane
    Now does anyone see a problem in how this would be applied, and if so, where?

    So, yeah, I see a problem.

    You're implying that every game must have religious portrayals.  And if not, say so.

    Fang Langford
    Logged

    Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!
    Ron Edwards
    Global Moderator
    Member
    *
    Posts: 16490


    WWW
    « Reply #3 on: January 22, 2003, 02:04:10 PM »

    Hello,

    Hey Sylus, Fang referenced my comments in Is religion really that much of a mystery?, especially the point that the word "faith" is used in a variety of ways that aren't all the same thing.

    If you could, relative to my categories in that thread, please let me know how you're using the term. I pretty much need to understand that better before I can address the issues here.

    Best,
    Ron
    Logged
    Sylus Thane
    Guest
    « Reply #4 on: January 22, 2003, 02:16:57 PM »

    Sorry Fang, I didn't mean to get your hair up. :)

    I was speaking purely from a mechanics point of view for what I am doing. Ierhaps I wasn't being clear enough.

    My game Frontier, and the fantasy setting for it Dawn of the Magi, there are no classes in which define characters. The entire game is skill based, thus the character is what the players decides it is by their choice of skills. It is with this mind that I made Faith a value totally seperate from Stats and skills. In this way I feel I made it possible to give an ascertainable value to Faith it'self to accomodate more than one style of play. Should a game be more of a DnD style dungeon crawl in which the players need to know the value of the most clerical oriented character, they can do this by apllying the Faith score to a scale that coordinates an appropriate level of god granted abilities. Or, should the party and the game itself be more oriented to religious aspects of a follower of a particular deity they can apply their score for Faith in way that would give the player a more measurable means in which to guage their characters faith, trust, closeness, or maybe evn general feeling towards their deity of choice. It is also possible to use it as a guage of how likely that deity may be to answer to it's followers pleas or prayers.

    Yes, Dawn of the Magi does have religion involved within the setting, and I do not wish to force upon the people who play it how integral a part of the setting it is within their game unless they so choose.

    My previous examples as they apply to DnD and my choice of topic header were merely a means of showing how I feel religion is traditional handled within a game rules mechanic context. I hope this didn't get anyone to bent out of shape. I had no intention of saying nor implying that all rpg's must include religion within their settings or their rules. I just trying to find the best means in which it can be represented in a rules mechanic manner for my own.

    Sylus
    Logged
    Le Joueur
    Member

    Posts: 1367


    WWW
    « Reply #5 on: January 22, 2003, 03:43:21 PM »

    Quote from: Sylus Thane
    Sorry Fang, I didn't mean to get your hair up. :)

    No problem, I just wanted a little clarification about religion being central to what is being discussed or not.  It avoids a certain amount of topic hemorrhage into the 'values of religion' topic in general.  I wanted to see your topic shine on its own.

    Quote from: Sylus Thane
    I was speaking purely from a mechanics point of view for what I am doing. Perhaps I wasn't being clear enough.

    My game Frontier, and the fantasy setting for it Dawn of the Magi...I made Faith a value totally separate from Stats and skills. In this way I feel I made it possible to give an ascertainable value to Faith itself to accommodate more than one style of play.

    More than one style of play?  I'd argue that trying to please everyone (affording many 'styles of play') might run the risk of pleasing no one.

    Quote from: Sylus Thane
    Should a game be more of a DnD style dungeon crawl in which the players need to know the value of the most clerical oriented character, they can do this by applying the Faith score to a scale that coordinates an appropriate level of god granted abilities. Or, should the party and the game itself be more oriented to religious aspects of a follower of a particular deity they can apply their score for Faith in way that would give the player a more measurable means in which to gauge their characters faith, trust, closeness, or maybe even general feeling towards their deity of choice. It is also possible to use it as a gauge of how likely that deity may be to answer to its follower's pleas or prayers.

    That doesn't sound like different 'styles of play' and it doesn't begin to sound like the Faith rules need to be the least bit optional.  I say 'leave them in, no matter what' and forget the 'optional' stuff.  Ask yourself this, "does it hurt anything to have Faith in every play?"  It's like Intelligence stats for combat monsters; few games really make them worth even having, but every character has them.  Do the same with Faith (except enumerating it, I like where you're going with this; just ditch the 'optional' part).

    Quote from: Sylus Thane
    Yes, Dawn of the Magi does have religion involved within the setting, and I do not wish to force upon the people who play it how integral a part of the setting it is within their game unless they so choose.

    My previous examples as they apply to DnD and my choice of topic header were merely a means of showing how I feel religion is traditional handled within a game rules mechanic context. I hope this didn't get anyone to bent out of shape. I had no intention of saying nor implying that all rpg's must include religion within their settings or their rules. I just trying to find the best means in which it can be represented in a rules mechanic manner for my own.

    If religion is involved with the setting, then play can't avoid it right?  You don't need to spread religion propaganda, but you can just as easily leave it in there all the time.  Unless you mean one 'style' to be 'atheists and clerics' play, I don't see a reason not to include it.

    Or more importantly, if this is an actual working game you want to discuss, shouldn't it be over in Indie Game Design rather than RPG Theory?

    Fang Langford
    Logged

    Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!
    M. J. Young
    Member

    Posts: 2198


    WWW
    « Reply #6 on: January 22, 2003, 08:57:21 PM »

    The idea of including Faith as a character aspect is a perennial on the Christian Gamers Guild list, and fraught with complications. Here are a few questions to answer.

    Is this a relatively fixed value, or a spendable resource? That is, do you have this score that's going to be used as is for every exercise of faith (like an ability score in an attribute+skill system) or do you have these points you use each time you rely on them (like hit points or spell points)?

    If this is a fixed value, what does it take to change it? Can it be easily raised or lowered? Is it in flux, such that you might have more faith one day and less the next? Does it increase over time, or wear down through problems? Does the success or failure of individual faith-based actions impact it--do you have more faith if you've been successful, less if you've failed?

    If it's a spendable resource, does it get depleted? How is it restored? Is there any sense in which using it causes it to increase? This is actually a very difficult aspect of it. People of faith will generally say that faith grows through being tested; but if you set up the game so that spending the faith points increases them, they don't work as a depleting resource. It's possible to come up with a pattern by which using the points causes the recovery of more points, but not immediately. Another option is that using the points in a success situation immediately returns them with a bonus, but using them in a failure situation loses them permanently.

    I'm of the camp that thinks faith is difficult to quantify in a game; but I applaud the effort.

    Think about what you want to accomplish and how that can be achieved.

    --M. J. Young
    Logged

    Johannes
    Member

    Posts: 64


    « Reply #7 on: January 23, 2003, 12:14:42 AM »

    When discussing religious powers and faith/piety/behavior in FRPGs it can be usefull to decide wheter the powers are miracles or magic. By miracles I mean that the deity is sort of using the cleric as a channel and it's the deity's power which is at work. By magic I mean that the cleric knows some ritual spells which achieve something. In this approach the power of the clerics is similar to the power of other spell casters.

    Faith/piety/moral behavior can be more important in the miracles approach. The cleric must believe in the deity and act according to it's will in order to have the deity's power on his/her side. I think this is sort of medieval saints approach and it doesn't have to have anything to do with the training of the cleric. In RPGs this approach can easily fall apart. When religious powers are listed as spells which automatically succeed - like in DnD - then it implies that the clerics are able to tell their boss what to do. This is of course no broblem if you want your game to approach religion from a "faith creates gods" angle.

    Faith/etc. is of less importance to religious powers if you see them as ritual spells. Anybody who knows the rituals can use them regardless of faith. The cleric spells are like cult secrets that are thaught only to the initiated. The users are limited by human rules and not by the will of the deity. This is similar to medieval chatolic view of the sacraments: when a priest wed a couple the sacrament of marriage took place and divorce was not possible regardless of the personal faith of the priest. It was the ritual (and the priests ritual rank) that mattered. Bad priests could give sacraments as well as good ones. Only if the priest was excommunicated did he lose this power. Here I see excommunication as a ritual that changes the ritual rank of the victim. A excommunicated priest could still have faith but he could not give sacraments.

    I personally prefer the spell approach because it leaves more room for faith. The PCs don't have empirical knowledge of the existence of their deity. They just have to trust that there's somebody out there. This allows for periods of disbelief and doubt in the lives of clerical charaters which makes for good religious drama. As a doubting christian myself I think this is one of the key points of religious life. I cannot give other people scientific or rational proof of God but I (most of the time) trust he's there. This approach also allows cults/churches to be infiltrated by unbelievers even on the highest levels. One cannot prove his/her loyalty to the cult/church by using his/her religious powers as in the miracles approach. This is a good thing if you like to use religious conflicts and intrigue in your campaing.

    Harnmaster religion is a hybrid of the two approaches. It uses ritual (spell casting) skill and spesific invocations (they're essentially spells even if they are sometimes referred to as miracles) which both have to be learned in a mundane manner. You can cast an invocation if you know it by succeeding in a skill roll. (spell-like approach) Characters also have piety points which are accumulated by attending masses, offering sacrifice, religious quests and the like. Characters can use the piety points to increase their chance of success when using invocations but they usually can succeed without piety. Piety points can also be used when praying for divine intervention. Ritual skill has nothing to do with these interventions and I see them as miracles - acts of the deity. (miracles approach) In Harnmaster it's possible to have a priest know invocations and ritual of an opposing deity adn acting as a undercover agent in the enemy church (see Dead of Winter). The agent cannot be caught simply by ordering all the priests to cast an invocation. I personally mostly like the system.

    So. I would not tie faith and religius/moral behavior together mechanically. This doesn't mean that they should be ignored when playing a cleric character. I think that if you want to reward faith and religius behavior of clerics then some metagame reward mechanic could be better. TROS SA's are a good example. However as a simist myself I don't think you need even that. What I have written here is of course a matter of taste. I can easily see that somebody preferred a game where the existence of the gods cannoit be disputed. Then a clear miracles approach might be better.
    Logged

    Johannes Kellomaki
    clehrich
    Member

    Posts: 1557


    WWW
    « Reply #8 on: January 23, 2003, 10:26:51 PM »

    In an Ars Magica 2 game I played in, where the GM was very into getting things historically accurate when possible, I played a priest of a very weird order, called the Ordo Malleus, whose very existence was secret from just about everyone.  They were Hermetic (in ArM terms, not historical) mages, and did spells the usual way, but they were also priests.  The one advantage of this was that you didn't take minuses from Dominion (the aura of God --- found at sacred sites like churches) when you did magic.

    Anyway, two events come to mind here.  One, I used some sort of spell to create the classic effect where the murderer touches the corpse he's murdered and it spurts blood.  All went dandy, until I went to confession.  The priest pointed out that I'd faked a miracle, and said that he couldn't really imagine any penance that would cover such a thing.  I went off and agonized about this for a really long time, and came out a much better priest (and a more careful magician).

    Then we had the thing where a whole bunch of lunatic faeries attacked us, with a demon in tow.  People were heaving magic around right and left, with some effect, and suddenly I realized what that ugly thing in the back directing traffic was --- the demon.  The best thing I could think of was to blast the hell out of it, as it were --- so I grabbed every pawn of vis (magic power stored in objects) I had, which was a lot because I was really miserly, and fired it all at once.  I had no real chance of control, frankly, and one hell of a lot of botch dice.  I rolled a perfect critical success (01 or 00, I forget how it works).  There was a long pause while the GM thought, and then basically there was just a really bright flash.  All magic stopped for a second; any enduring spells stopped.  The demon was gone.  And the character with the Visions talent saw a big old angel standing above my character, sword drawn, warding off arrows and spells and such.  My character wandered around like an idiot, chanting prayers, for the rest of the battle; he didn't get hurt, though, because the angel defended him (it didn't attack anyone).

    Yup --- a pure, 100%, genuine, bona-fide Miracle.  I didn't ask for it.  I didn't deserve it.  And I spent much of the rest of the campaign dealing with it.  I suddenly acquired True Faith, which put a damper on magic for a bit (we worked it out).  I stopped acting the way I had --- because I knew.  I'd had faith before, but now it was the only thing.  Everything was fallen, minor, unimportant --- except God.  I was worthless, but God had chosen to achieve His aims, and in the process revealed Himself to me for just a moment.

    As far as I'm concerned, this was a beautiful example of faith in gaming.  The character was in a sense ready for it, but there was no "put in X amount of whatever and get a miracle."  It just happened, and he knew he didn't deserve it --- who does, really? --- and it changed his life forever.  

    And he never saw another miracle, ever.  So what?  Once was way more than enough.  A direct encounter with the Divine is life-shattering; anything else is incidental.
    Logged

    Chris Lehrich
    Pages: [1]
    Print
    Jump to:  

    Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
    Oxygen design by Bloc
    Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!