Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Reviving Dead Religions

One of my go-to elements in gaming is dead gods/religions. I find that ground fertile for plot hooks, campaign long story-line and it is gamable as hell. I've had an entire 3-year campaign based around this theme, even though the players weren't aware of it until the end. 

Recently I was reading +Carl Bussler's and +Eric Hoffman's, Prayers for the Forgotten, and dead gods/religions is what it is about. After reading it I drew a map, because that's what I do. An upcoming micro-adventure will feature a relic of a forgotten god and the opportunity for the party to become figureheads of a resurrected religion. 

Sounds cool, but how does someone go about reviving a forgotten religion? That's where the GM get so have fun. There are few things that could be on the list to consider.
  • Research. Who is this forgotten god? Good, evil, or indifferent? What was the reason for the faithful to stop worshiping? The players may want to take the time to find out who it is their dealing with. Either way, they have the attention of a god, that never seems to end well.
  • Artifacts. Symbols of the religion, whether its retrieving artifacts from another time or creating new ones. This is surprisingly important, especially in the next phase of recruitment. Most of the masses have no direct connection with the god, the symbol becomes the representation of their worship.
  • Recruitment. No  religion stands alone. Gods need worshipers. The party will have to represent why anyone should take up another god to worship. Why should a commoner or noble donate their time and resources?
  • Recruitment of acolytes. Same as above, but more intense. These are the people who will disseminate the information. This is where the religion will thrive or wither away. A religion needs dedicated people who live and breathe their god. Only their dedication will cause the religion to spread.
  • Temples. One of the last phases is the construction of temples for the faithful to gather, to ask for help, and to do what is required to serve their god. Temples not only help the faithful, but represents a significance in power among non-believers. Not everyone will bend a knee to this newly awaken god, but have a temple of some stature filled with faithful, the secular powers that be will at least pay their respects. 
Each path will be unique. But I think these four steps are fairly universal to all up and coming religions. A good structure to go by and steps can easily be added or ignored.

So a question to readers, have you ever done this in a campaign? And if so, how did you handle some of the steps I detailed above?

1 comment:

  1. Reviving dead religions (or quashing their revival) is a common theme in games I run as well. I run sandboxes, but the way NGR is set up means that reviving a dead religion is a shortcut to personal power if you had no real moral concerns or ties to a community, you know, like PCs.