Ah, religion. Where would we be without it? Depending on your point of view and personal beliefs, we’d either be condemned to eternal torment, or a darned sight better off. Over in role-playing land, the choice is far simpler; the will of the gods is made manifest through the power of their Clerics, avatars and prophets. Only the bravest and most foolhardy would embrace atheism when the gods themselves can walk the land!
Over in my D&D campaigns religion serves several purposes, but one of the central themes is the presence of the Church of Pelor. I’ve re-imagined the church as an exaggeration of the worst excesses of the Catholic church complete with (Warhammer 40k-style) Inquisitors, overbearing and pompous Whitecloak Paladins and sinister Cardinals. While the PCs may well find a humble and well-meaning local Priest of Pelor they’re more likely to discover that the Church hides a nest of villainy hiding in the basement. It’s a truism in the game that the light of Pelor casts the darkest shadows, and the conflict of good-against-good (or, at least, good on the surface) is a fun one to explore.
A recent (4e) adventure began with the players sparking a battle with a bunch of hot-headed Whitecloak Paladins (6 x Human Rabble wih Short Sword + 2 Human Guard with Paladin template). The Whitecloaks were trying to drag away a woman accused of Sorcery (Human Rabble with Wizard template – I love you, 4e minimal prep work) to be burned at the stake. The players discovered from Elayn the Sorceress that the Whitecloaks were hiding Something Sinister beneath the cathedral. Cue night-time raids on a gothic temple complete with giant bats, Insane priests and a final showdown against a tentacled horror (an Otyugh with the numbers filled off) summoned by a misguided Initiate to show his parishoners a taste of the the Abyss.
Other adventures have included battles against vampiric Priests and (in a 3e campaign), a long-standing rivalry with the Cardinal’s Guards. Religion. I love it!
This post is my humble contribution to the RPG Blog Carnival:Religion series. Whats yours? :D