Sorcerers & Speakeasies Part 3 (Religions)
We’ve talked about doing the 1920s Magic and Mobsters campaign, “Sorcerers and Speakeasies” in general terms, and talked a bit about Backgrounds, and even talked a bit about our plans on the BAMF podcast.
A common question that has come up during these discussions is: What do you plan to do about religion?
It’s a common question anytime you add fantastic elements to a setting rooted in real-world history. There are numerous potential issues when you look to grant traditional D&D-like divine powers to real-world religions. These problems are magnified if you don’t do tons and tons of research. Should you treat Christians differently than Hindus? Is Zues still worshipped? Are their fantasy gods, like Karracker? If monotheist religions can talk to God, does that prove polytheists are wrong?
So, Sorcerers and Speakeasies is leaning toward avoiding a lot of those questions, and focusing instead on religios themes. Players and GMs can do whatever they and their group are comfortable with those themes.
First and foremost, gods (and God) don’t talk to people in Sorcerers and Speakeasies.
Outsiders do… but all admit they can’t discuss (or don’t know) the reality of gods. Angelic and fiendish creatures themselves follow various religions, or at least seem to, but in general state they support those mortals that support their own areas of concern, often as indicated through Aspects (see below).
Cleric: Three Callings
Gods aren’t as directly communicative in 1920 as they seemed to be in Ancient times. Rather than the focused power of a divine domain, S&S clerics are generally following a calling that motivates them to live spiritual lives in very specific ways.
Calling of Ordination – Member of a specific holy order, though that may be a Buddhist nun, Catholic priest, Presbyterian pastor, semicha lerabanim, or any other organized group that have common rules, training, and requirements to join.
Calling of Preachers – You have been called to preach. Perhaps in a church, perhaps under a tent, or perhaps on a street corner.
Calling of Witness – You don’t just have faith, you demonstrate it by doing something dangerous as proof your faith protects you. Among the most famous of these are scorpion-dancers, who handle deadly scorpions as proof they have divine protection.
Certainly there’s nothing wrong with the domains in the Player’s handbook–if you want to play a cleric of the Knowledge domain, feel free. But most Sorcerers and Speakeasies clerics, and divine characters and NPCs in general, are built around one of sixteen Aspects, each of which has a domain.
These are build off concepts often seen as “sins” and “virtues,” and eight of each have angels and fiends empowered by them, but the aspects are not alignment-locked. While there are demons of Pride, it is possible to have a good-aligned cleric of Pride who embodied taking pride in your work and avoiding false modesty. Similarly someone who believes in killing those who are not generous enough would be an evil figure of Generosity).
Angelic Aspects: Courage, Diligence, Generosity, Gratitude, Humility, Justice, Patience, Prudence
Fiendish Aspects: Cowardice, Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Wrath
Today’s post only happened because I was able to turn down some small freelance projects, giving me spare time to consider these questions, and replace the income those would have brought in with money from my Patreon. Even just the price of a cup of coffee each month makes a big difference in how much content I can put out on my blog!
Posted on February 26, 2020, in Anachronistic Adventurers, Diesel Pulp, Game Design, Microsetting and tagged 5e, Game Design, gaming, Geekery, Sorcerers & Speakeasies. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.