Wednesday, July 15, 2015
I've never been attracted to the idea of playing Clerics in RPGs. The concept of gods giving out categorized magic spells as answers to prayers just doesn't sit well with me... not that a lot of RPG magic appeals to me anyway (in-game most of it seems like a substitute for guns). If nothing else it seems the spell list should be different for every god... forcing polytheism on any character wanting wider versatility. Some system where a player could pray for intervention ('prayer' covering a wide range of potential religious activities including human sacrifice) and have that prayer answered (or not) in an unpredictable way (GM's discretion) might work for me... but it would be hard to write rules for such a thing and I doubt it would appeal to most players. Maybe I just think most fantasy gods should be fickle and unknowable in their personalities... not a dependable resource at all. Propitiate them all you want... there's no guarantee they're gonna show up on the day of battle and even if they do there's no telling which side they'll choose to help. I could also see a system where gods may or may not exist but prayer is simply a form of ritual to put the supplicant into a state of mind where he/she can channel the same energies as used in whatever the setting's version of 'magic' is. So pretty much the same class of characters with different methods. Anyway... I was thinking about a faction in my homebrew setting that I've been writing up and how they relate to their gods... not as benefactors or tyrants but as natural resources. They don't so much worship them as feed and groom them... keep them in good health so that in times of need they can draw power from them... like batteries... like livestock. Their gods are powerful, and quasi-omniscient... but fairly alien in their consciousness... they see, hear and know but don't understand or care. So the priests/prophets of these gods can make use of these powers. They can summon the god, or part of it, into a prepared body and then perform rituals on it to get desired results... ask it questions or have it fight for them. Really I suppose it comes down to various golems they create... using the spark of the divine to power them. They 'worship' the gods to attract them, feed them, make them strong... then milk them. In times of dire consequences they can even slaughter them to draw all their power at once, the most obvious result being some sort of huge magical explosion but hopefully I'll come up with some more interesting ideas... big effects that aren't just replacements for artillery or ICBMs. In the end I suppose it's close to the same effect, in-game... but the fluff is different and draws me in... fires me up... makes me want to play a priest who eats his gods. Most likely these guys will only show up as NPCs... seeing as their tribes are from the dark and savage jungles of the west... but eventually I could see PCs drawn from them if the players want.