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Offline Delbareth

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Question about religion
« on: November 01, 2013, 10:29:31 AM »
Hi everybody, hi Dave!
It's a long time I've not been here on the forum to ask some question about Khoras. And it seems to me it's very quit here, specially this section.
Let's wake it up with a difficult topic (and who knows, perhaps a debate).

Well, so my question deals with the deity in Khoras. I know Dave that it's not your favorite part of the world but I have some interrogations.
At present, deity are classified in "tiers" (greater gods, lesse gods, demi-gods...) and race. It seems to me that you wanted to change that but I guess other parts of the world caught your attention. So there are tiers, and nations here and there have a primary religion and some secondary religions.

And I have a problem to imagine exactly how it works.
On Earth, there are/were some different religions : greek or egyptian pantheon, god of christian or muslim... But the khorasian faith doesn't fit with that patern.

Ancient greek did believe in different gods but they were a sort of a familly, with Zeus or Poseidon as greater gods. Some greek were priest of one or the other lesser gods (for example Appollon) without denying the other gods. This was a pantheon.
Nowaday, it's impossible to believe in God and Ganesh at the same time. Monotheist religions don't "allow" other gods. But it's possible to believe in Ganesh, Shiva and Vishnu, because it's also a kind of pantheon.

But in Khoras it's more difficult to understand how the faith works.
Can a people believe in several gods in the same time? in a lesser god and a greater god? in several greater gods?

Can all deity of human be considered as a pantheon (implying that every human "believe" in all these gods, even if he only pray for some of them)?
If yes, is there a chief god (like Zeus)?

Or on the contrary perhaps each god has its own unique religion. But it would imply that no one could pray several gods...?

If anyone here has some idea to help, I would be very glad to hear other point of view.

Delbareth
Les MJ ne sont ni sadiques ni cruels, ce sont juste des artistes incompris.

Offline David Roomes

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Re: Question about religion
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2014, 09:34:34 PM »
Sorry for the very late reply. (I'm going to go around to all the sections of the forum and find questions I haven't answered, like this one).

To answer your question, yeah, religion is one area that I know badly needs to be reworked, but I never seem to have the interest. The whole topic of religion just doesn't really interest me, which is why the religions of Khoras are one of the weakest areas of the whole world. But a complete overhaul of the entire religion section has been on my mind for awhile.

As far as independent deities versus whole pantheons, I think they could co-exist. In other words, it would probably depend on the culture. Some parts of the world might have pantheons of deities while other areas have a number of independent, a mutually exclusive, gods. That would, probably lead, to friction between the different religions and possibly outright war.

I originally created the religions of Khoras like the deities of 2nd edition D&D. Each race had its own pantheon. But over the years I started to drift away from that (most notably in the other two continents - Qeshir and Aggradar).

So, if you're playing in Khoras, feel free to rework the religions as you see fit. The Khoras religions are not well defined and (again) in need of a lot of work. I guess I'm agreeing with you. ;)
David M. Roomes
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Offline Delbareth

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Re: Question about religion
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2014, 11:44:06 AM »
I know you lack motivation on this part of the world.
That's why I stimulate/encourage/support you to do that!  :D
Delbareth
Les MJ ne sont ni sadiques ni cruels, ce sont juste des artistes incompris.

Offline David Roomes

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Re: Question about religion
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2014, 05:39:51 PM »
Let me throw the question back at you. And everyone else is invited to chime in.

First of all, if you are really interested in the religions, I could certainly make that a priority. I had a few other areas that I was going to target, but if this is an area that has a lot of interest, then I will move it to the top of the list and start working on it right now. So, is this an area you really want me to work on? If so, I'll start tonight.

Second, with regards to pantheons versus individual deities, what's your preference? What would you like to see? I ask because I really am not sure. As I mentioned earlier, I originally created the deities as several pantheons. Each race had their own pantheon (because that's the way it was done way back in 1st and 2nd edition D&D). However, I started to mix things up a little when I was doing the religions for Aggradar and Qeshir.

A couple of years ago I wrote down a lot of notes regarding an overhaul of the entire religion section. I was thinking about simplifying the religions. Specifically, I was thinking about making it a smaller number of gods... instead of 80+ gods, I was going to reduce it down to about 20 gods. In several instances, 2 or 3 of the old gods would be merged to create a new god. Each of these 20 or so remaining gods would be very detailed, with lots of notes on their religions, priests, ceremonies, beliefs, clothing, holy days, holy symbols, special abilities and so forth. So, 20 or so VERY well detailed religions. Each god would be independent and would be worshiped by many different races and nations across large areas of the world. The idea would be that these are very old religions, having started as race specific, but their worship had spread and was now widely worshipped.

Some religions would oppose each other, leading to cultural conflict, holy wars, etc. Some religions would be tied to specific regions (Draxorith and Duthelm, for instance).

But the main thing is that it would simplify the religions section. I would have fewer gods to worry about and each god would be much more fleshed out.

I think I discussed this here on the forum a long time ago and I got a lot of people responding with their favorite deities and a request that their favorite Khoras god NOT be merged with others or deleted outright.

Thoughts? Concerns? Ideas? Let's hear it. I really am curious.

I, for one, like the idea of fewer (but better and more interesting) gods. I also like the idea of keeping them separate. Writing up and maintaining multiple pantheons is a lot of work (and frankly hasn't worked in the past). That's not to say that pantheons would be abandoned entirely. For instance, one idea is that a pantheon could have a chief god (he would be the main god and the religion is based around him), but there could be a number of lesser gods that serve him, lesser aspects of him, whatever. But, as far as faith goes, it's all one big religion and it would be one of the 20 religions. Just an idea.

Ok, that's it. I'll shut up now. Let's hear your ideas.





David M. Roomes
Creator of the World of Khoras

Offline sid6.7

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Re: Question about religion
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2014, 08:27:37 PM »
i like the idea of less Gods having them more fleshed out 20 of them would cover khoras pretty good espcially ithria as the are so many nations close together...
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Offline Delbareth

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Re: Question about religion
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2014, 03:44:17 AM »
Ok let's try to do a clear answer.

Interest:
yes I'm interested since for me religion is not just an add-on somewhere on a character sheet. It's a part of life for a lot of people, and it should be well taken into account (in my system, it's one of the 8 specs like FIGHT / MAGIC / COMMUNICATION / PERCEPTION...).

Greater gods / lesser gods: I'm not sure you wanted to keep this distinction. Personnaly I like it. I like to imagine some gods, "too high in the sky" to be involved in the day-to-day life of Khoras, while other, less strong, are more concerned (because they gain influence by struggling via mortal humans, because it matters for them, because they hate mortals...).
I also like to imagine that not all gods are omniscient (it's a very monotheist point of view I think). Perhaps lesser gods only focus where they are prayed and don't watch everybody's life permanently...
Wasn't there a poll on this forum about that? I'm not sure...

Simplification:
I agree with you that it's difficult to keep track of so many number of gods, especially IMO because each of them is individual. It's hard to imagine (and to keep record of) that one guys believe in god A,C and G, while his neighboor believe in A, E and F, especially of we don't know how to link A,C,E,F and G. I think it's possible to simplify the system not by merging gods but by gathering them into pantheon.

Pantheon:
I think there is various way to describe a pantheon, from "there are pleinty of gods" (not enough detail) to a complete description of each of these gods (too much work). The idea would be to re-use the material to avoid having to write an entire Khoras section from scratch.

First I think you should avoid the destruction of information (what was created must remain). So for instance, let's gather some gods form human gods under a single pantheon ("eastern pantheon"). Perhaps some of human gods don't meant to be incorporated in it, such as Barrinor (too on the west side), or Karrym (abstract)... Perhaps you could decide what religion could be monotheistic (Ynthar? Karenia?) and remove them from the list. Then let's organize the remaining gods into a pantheon:
  • What type of pantheon is it? (a family like in ancient greek? or a group based on power or seniority?)
  • What are the interaction between them? Is there a chief? As there are several major gods, how is it managed?
  • How to explain the presence of negative gods AND positive gods in the same pantheon? ancient greeks also had a god for death and such things...

I think it would be much much clearer (without loosing information). It won't be anymore a "mess" like today  ;D
In so doing, you could have 20 religions, with a lot more gods in them.
Of course it's possible to mix between races. Like you I don't like this strict racial subdivision.

If you want I could work a bit on this idea. But I would do that only if it is a supported idea, because I don't want to impose my point of view just since I was quicker to write something.
Delbareth
Les MJ ne sont ni sadiques ni cruels, ce sont juste des artistes incompris.

Offline David Roomes

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Re: Question about religion
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2014, 06:10:31 PM »
Ok then. I'm going to spend the month of March focusing on an overhaul of the Religion section. I've been putting it off for too long anyway. It's time to just do it. And I have a feeling that it will probably go into April as well.

I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to tackle it. I'll reread all the comments here in the forum, including the ones from way back when, and I'll review all my notes. I think there's probably a way to achieve both goals... more detail, simplification, minimize any destruction of existing lore. It'll be a bit more of a "re-organization" rather than a "re-write". I still might eliminate a couple of gods, but I promise when it's done there will still be plenty to choose from.

As we make our way through March and into April, I may toss the occasional question out here on the forum regarding gods, religions and priests.
David M. Roomes
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Offline sid6.7

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Re: Question about religion
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2014, 08:11:51 PM »
hehehe i dont evny you...i completely avioded religon on my world for that very reason...
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Offline Laurent MEKKA

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Re: Question about religion
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2014, 06:04:48 PM »
I think a few pantheons with greater and lesser gods and maybe a few monotheist religions.
For example Barrinor is a lesser god (for me) as he was human before, so he cannot exist by himself, like a monotheist religion god.
IMHO a pantheon with a god of death, or chaos or whatever is ok, but there should be a full pantheon for Duthelm and the likes, so it could be religious conflicts, not just "your god and my god are rivals", but "you heretic, believing in false gods".
I hope I'm clear :D

By the way, should priest, cleric, have "magical" powers ? Is it magic mastered unconsciously ? Is it really the power of the gods ? Is it psychic powers misunderstood ?

Offline David Roomes

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Re: Question about religion
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2014, 10:03:19 PM »
I have an opinion on that last question, but I'll just keep it to myself. Religion is a complicated topic in the real world and an even more complicated topic when you're talking about designing the religions of a fictional world which exists primarily for the purposes of gaming and writing. Add to that the fact that every one - every reader, player and game master, has his or her own opinions, interests and beliefs on the subject. Yeah... religion is a complicated, messy topic. There's no escaping it.

I wrote a lot of notes about the religion redesign around four years ago. Some of the material got posted to the site, but a lot of the material remained unfinished and was never uploaded. Since then I've pondered, edited, debated, second-guessed... I've gone back and forth about how to tackle this.

Ultimately, I think what I'm going to do is just forge ahead and finish what I started four years ago... redesigning the gods the way I had originally intended. It may not please everyone, but that can't be helped. Each game master is free to adopt, adapt, alter or ignore, as they see fit.
David M. Roomes
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Offline Delbareth

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Re: Question about religion
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2014, 12:03:19 PM »
Religion is on the March spotlight!

Concerning the "magic" power of priest, I have never been confortable with the fact that priest could be transformed into mage by their god.
A mage is someone who can master magic, and understood it. A priest not.
That's why I use two opposite ways to treat that. In one word, priest may ask the deity for miracles, and/or be granted with some sort of specific "natural powers". But they cannot cast spells.

David, you can tell us your feelings we won't repeat it :)
Delbareth
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Offline sid6.7

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Re: Question about religion
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2014, 01:28:37 PM »
i would tend to agree with that but don't they have some "powers" such as to exercise demons and such?
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Offline Delbareth

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Re: Question about religion
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2014, 02:32:04 PM »
Yes I think, but that's not a spell.
For me a spell is a sort of magical construct. An "exercise demon" is not IMO a spell that any mage could cast.
It's more something like a miracle that is granted by a deity.
Delbareth
Les MJ ne sont ni sadiques ni cruels, ce sont juste des artistes incompris.

Offline tanis

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Re: Question about religion
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2014, 03:58:37 AM »
Hi, guys. Man, have I been gone too long.

Personally, I always found the religions interesting. I think there's plenty of space for alliances and conflicts already in the current system, so I feel more like things should just be reorganized a bit, and such. I did like the idea of aloof Greater Gods and active Lesser Gods and Demigods, and such.

As for fleshing things out, and ideas, one thing I wanted to bring up was that, when pagan and animist faiths were still dominant in Europe, for example, there were standard pantheons, say, for each civilization, or nation, as the case may have been. But individual worship would have been much more diverse, varied, and complicated. While it would have been common to worship the entire pantheon and pray to whatever god could be of use for a particular situation, this wasn't the only way things worked. Often, a person or family would have some gods that they regularly and highly venerated, or even a city, such as Athens or Sparta, over and above even the chief god of the pantheon. Also, gods from other faiths and pantheons might be worshiped for whatever reason. And ancestor veneration, if not worship, was not too uncommon for European pagans.

So, if we're talking about realism, though it might include more work, the variety helps, because it means that there are many diverse cultures on each continent, with their own traditions and faiths, and, just like real cultures, there's a bleeding effect that happens in border areas, with migrant populations, and the like, so that, for instance, a mercenary might particularly venerate one god of war from one pantheon in particular, but would also worship a few other deities whose cults he had become familiar with through tradition or travel that struck him for whatever reason as good choices for his faith, and he might pray to any god or goddess that he was aware of as needed. This could be all from one pantheon, or not, it wouldn't necessarily matter to anyone with a similar faith to the European pagan.

In and around this, there would be priests and clerics devoted to a single deity, or perhaps the pantheon as a whole. Hell, maybe there would even be a priest devoted to some section of the pantheon, like all the gods involved with one aspect of life, or all the goddesses. Also, I could imagine a warrior praying to all of the war gods he was familiar with to increase the chances of one of them showing him favor in his battles, or being entirely devoted to just one god from one pantheon, akin to a priest, and relying on his loyalty and devotion to appeal to the god's favor.

But there are other kinds of religion, of course, and I think Khoras's religions, as they stand, reflect several of these other types, which again, adds to the realism, I think. For instance, pantheists believe either that there's a god in every thing, and animists believe that there are spirits that float about or exist in trees or rocks or what have you, and view the world and the things in it accordingly.

As for monotheistic faiths, not all of them are alike. Sure, the Abrahamic faiths, with the exception of Baha'i, are mutually exclusive of other beliefs, but Hinduism, though often thought of as polytheistic, is considered by some adherents to be monotheistic. It's really more of a complicated mixture of monotheism and pantheism that is explicated as polytheism than anything else, if that makes sense. Plus, many Hindus consider all religions and philosophies paths to the universal truth of Brahman, meaning that they consider Buddha and Jesus gods just as they do Vishnu or Kali. And that's not even opening the box of worms involved with Taoism or Buddhism and such.

So, I know that may be too much to do with the resources at your disposal, Dave, but I think you ought to consider if and how Khoras's religions could be developed with this in mind.

A few suggestions, if I may. One religion in particular that I think has a good case for being standalone is the Yntharian one. I LOVE the idea behind this. Hell, it's actually influenced my philosophy in the real world somewhat. I suspect that anyone who devoted themselves to the rigors of the cult of Ynthar would likely view it as akin to being a Christian monk, being entirely devoted to their faith and daily striving for mastery over themselves. I find it unlikely that a Yntharian, while an active practitioner, would follow any other faiths simultaneously.

This also might help with structuring things, since some gods wouldn't have to fit into any structure, and some would be part of a pantheon, while others might be part of a small cabal of related faiths. It would also help keep it from being the sort of D&D Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic and Good/Neutral/Evil domain structure that you're trying not to emulate, Dave.

Anyways, as usual, sorry for the long post, but this is something I find fascinating in real life, so of course I had to add my opinion on my first day back in forever.
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Offline David Roomes

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Re: Question about religion
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2014, 03:38:52 PM »
First of all, Hi everybody! I'm back from my Europe trip. I took about a thousand photos. Maybe 20 or 30 of which will eventually get added to the website this summer. However, it's going to be a few months before you see the new photos because I'm not going to do anything with them until the religion project is completed. I am 100% focused on religion until it's done. It's a big project. And as, Tanis pointed out, religion is a very complicated topic. I'm going to keep plugging away at it. I don't want to "unveil" anything until it's ready and also, I don't want to unveil one god/religion at a time. I think they may be unveiled in groups or batches. More on that later...

But anyway, I'm back. And work on religion continues (quietly, continually, in the background...)

David M. Roomes
Creator of the World of Khoras