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Author Topic: Should I bother making gods at all?  (Read 2406 times)
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« on: March 18, 2006, 09:30:56 PM »

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The Sacred Cabal

The esoteric faith of Rhoenheim is known as the Sacred Cabal. These archivists have devoted their lives to the recovery of ancients texts and scriptures of the lost divine orders of the world. While not a religion in actuality, they serve the same approximation in this modern godless world. The Sacred Priests have unlocked the divine gifts of ancient faiths, and they have revived the lost divine magic of Sulos, and share it with the people of the world. The Sacred Cabal hold in their posession the most holy of all artifacts from the old kingdoms of Sancrist and Leshaar, the Sacred Texts. These scrolls and tomes hold the secrets of divine magic, and have been in their care for the last two centuries, when the Knights of Rhoen handed them over to the priests.

The Cabal pays little more than lip service to the actual doctrines of the lost religions of the world. They view these ancient cultures as a people who€„¢s primitive theological ideas unlocked the powers of the soul and spirit, not through divine favor, but through the strength of their faith in the fictional beings they called gods. The Sacred Cabal has no such delusions. They know that through study and practice one can still channel this power, and if there were gods, the Scared Cabal would not have the power to do so.

The Sacred Cabal has roots within Rhoenheim, and the universities of the nation, but they are rapidly spreading throughout the world. Numerous chapters and churches have begun to spring up in Sylescnia and L€„¢Landra, and few have even worked their way into underground cults in Hazra€„¢Ghalduur, Kashra, and Tair€„¢Shola. The Cabal is hated by the people of Kesh, who feel the cult is absurd to dismiss the power of their divine kings. In Kesh the gods walk among them, so how could they possibly be frauds.

There is little consistency in the moral character of the priesthood. There are devious power hungry scholars in equal proportion to the number of benevolent healers and sages. All priests share a common expertise with all things ancient and hidden. They know many of the greatest secrets of the world, and their explorers and missionaries scour Sulos for more. Their hunger for knowledge is insatiable, and the priests rarely dismiss and lead or rumor as little more than here-say. This drive to unlock the mysteries of the world often puts the Sacred Cabal at odds with peoples and organizations with things to hide. The Syndicate of L€„¢Landra is cautious when dealing with the Order, and the druids of Sylescnia have done everything within their power to drive them from their lands.

The churches of Rhoenheim are more like chapters of divine learning than gathering places for faithful followers. Rather than discuss matters of personal belief, they discuss theology and history as a whole. Fables and legends are dissected and analyzed to find the roots of the tale, and cultural purpose these myths held to the ancient peoples who believes in them. Philosophy and spiritualism have replaced blind faith. All peoples are welcomed to join in the discussion, and debate the values of certain virtues and ideas.

The Sacred Cabal retains very strong ties to the university of Rhoenheim, and the two organizations often pursue joint archeological ventures into the serpentine jungles of the largely unexplored southern continent, or into the blazing sands of Ilsen. The major differences between them are twofold. While the University of Dastun is interested primarily in the power of arcane study, and the regulation of it€„¢s use in Rheonheim, the Sacred Cabal is interested in theology and its applications within modern society as a whole. The University of Dastun is state sponsored and works in conjunction with the Senate, while the Sacred Cabal is privately funded, and seeks to recruit the wealthy and powerful as benefactors.

Not surprisingly depending upon the general outlook of each chapter, the membership in their church is varied. Many of the churches of L€„¢Landra appeal to the wealthy nobles and merchants. They funtion as exclusive clubs and secret societies that mirror the ideology of the Syndicate. Where as in the poorer nation of Sylescnia the churches of the Sacred Priests have tried to integrate with common folk to get a feel for the strange superstitious beliefs of their people, and unlock the secrets of the druidic orders from whom they draw their odd religious ideals. The Scared Cabal is more than willing to adapt and evolve to fit in wherever they seek knowledge. They send missionaries who will be most able to uncover the roots of the faiths of these lands, and are more than willing to steal, buy, or barter for the knowledge they seek.

Often the Cabal utilized their vast privately donated wealth to start great ventures in philanthropy or the communities in which they settle. They help rebuild war torn realms, and shelter those in need. They willingly draw upon the resources of the entire Cabal when the small local donations are insufficient to meet their needs. The Cabal has earned themselves a reputation as influential humanitarians throughout the lands of Sulos. Though they are still viewed with great suspicion, and distrust, many people quickly warm up to them, as the sacred priests become influential productive members of the community.


Now given that this is the principle religion of Sulos, does anyone think I should still write up the ancient gods? I suppose it would be kind of nice to have the lost pantheons and their domains, ethos, and portfolios figured out ahead of time, so that I'd know what kind of scrolls the Sacred Cabal could find in various lands. But do you think it would be really worth my time? I'm not so sure...

-Nasty- :stickman:
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2006, 10:18:50 PM »

I think a quick list wouldn't be that hard. It could be a fun bit of info for lore-masters (the player type, not PrC) to pick up.
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2006, 10:24:46 PM »

Nah I suppose not, but I think I'd have to keep them somewhat vague...otherwise where's the whole mystery?
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2006, 11:02:41 PM »

Of course. laugh
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2006, 11:11:55 PM »

Easy answer:  Maybe.

Longer answer:  It depends on the purpose of your world.  For one such as mine, where the purpose is as much giving me something creative to DO as it is to actually build a playable world, then the answer would be emphatically yes.  If your focus is strictly on writing up a world for people to PLAY in, then it only matters if you want the background of the ancient gods to get involved in the plot somehow.

If your purpose is somewhere in the middle, then it depends on the precise mixture of the two purposes.
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2006, 11:20:36 PM »

Maybe it's a dumb question... but what about the Clerics?
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2006, 11:22:20 PM »

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These scrolls and tomes hold the secrets of divine magic, and have been in their care for the last two centuries, when the Knights of Rhoen handed them over to the priests.

The Cabal pays little more than lip service to the actual doctrines of the lost religions of the world. They view these ancient cultures as a people who€„¢s primitive theological ideas unlocked the powers of the soul and spirit, not through divine favor, but through the strength of their faith in the fictional beings they called gods. The Sacred Cabal has no such delusions. They know that through study and practice one can still channel this power, and if there were gods, the Scared Cabal would not have the power to do so.
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2006, 08:46:08 AM »

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Maybe it's a dumb question... but what about the Clerics?
I have all but completely replaced clerics with Archivists. Only one nation in the entire world still has clerics, and their culture is more 5000 years old.
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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2006, 09:41:52 AM »

Just keep in mind that gods don't have to be real.... it is perfectly okay for them to be nothing more than mythologoical manifestations, and clerics actually just draw their power from the sun, the elements, nature, themselves, or pure force of will.
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2006, 10:36:44 AM »

It's not the gods themselves that concern me. It seems like it may be a big investment of time to write up defunct pantheons, but if archivists will be scouring the world looking for the scrolls of these ancient pantheons...well maybe I'd need to write them up anyway.

I could care less if the gods were real or not. My sticking point is that in Sulos I've already mentioned three lost pantheons, and there are probably more. People did worship gods (real or not) in the past, and I'm wondering where to draw the line.

I would think finding holy texts, would be more common than finding holy scrolls, so I'm left with the concern that even though the religions are dead and gone, I still feel the need to write them up...

I was hoping for a sensible alternative to this, but nothing is jumping out at me.
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2006, 01:55:14 PM »

If plothooks rest upon information aboot the gods, then give them background.
THe more detail you have, even if it is only mentioned casually to the PCs, the more solid the campaign experience for players.  Suspension of disbelief and all that....
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« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2006, 02:07:18 PM »

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If plothooks rest upon information aboot the gods, then give them background. The more detail you have, even if it is only mentioned casually to the PCs, the more solid the campaign experience for players. Suspension of disbelief and all that....


Agreed, and that's why I was kind of miffed at myself. I feel compelled to write up a bisic synopsis of the dead pantheons, and outline their domains, priesthoods, and so on just because they will be very central to any PC who is playing an archivist.

I don't want to make entire religions up on the fly...that would be very hard to sell. But when an archivist is going to make it a point to look for lost religious texts, I guess I need some info on them. I sort of painted myself into a corner here. I wanted to all but completely cut pantheonic gods out of my setting and yet here I am writing them up anyway...ironic.

-Nasty-
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« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2006, 04:28:18 PM »

You don't need to go into any amount of great detail, but I don't see how you could make this work without having basic information about the forgotten gods.
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« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2006, 05:02:21 PM »

I hate doing things half-hearted though, so I suppose I'm going to create a nice detailed pantheon of dead gods. LOL
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« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2006, 06:18:47 PM »

Why don't you pick up some of the excellent pantheons others have created? Many people here have pantheons for their world and there was a pantheon contest over at WotC a few weeks ago. Why not use someone else's work if you need something detailed but not necessarily perfectly integrated with your setting? You can always twist some details to make them fit better of course, but this would save you a lot of handiwork.

Of course, I myself like to create pantheons, so I would create them myself. But if you don't feel like it, this would be a fine alternative.

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