Religon and D&D

This from a post over at Dragonsfoot got me thinking:

[quote=”xyzchyx”]The biggest problem I would see with playing a catholic priest in AD&D is …[/quote]

[quote=”prespos”]Technically, according to [u]Modern Monsters[/u] ([b]Best of Dragon, Vol. V[/b]),
I would think that Catholic priests (or Rabbis, or Imams)…[/quote]

[quote=”xyzchyx”]By the book, yes… but that ruling would be incompatible with the notion of the judeo christian god, who maintains that *NO* supernatural power is good other than that which comes directly from him…[/quote]

Jeez Louise, when people start debating real life religions in D&D, it makes me want to give up on RPGs entirely.

I think it’s perfectly alright to use popular culture, movies, fables, etc., as source materials and not worry so much about what is considered truth or gospel or dogma in the real world churches (which don’t all agree, anyway — ask a religious question of a Protestant, a Catholic and a Mormon and you will get three different answers(all three would self identify as “Christians” — although I understand that some Christians say that the Mormons are NOT christians… whatever)).
In the bible, there is the story of the pharaoh’s priests tuning sticks to snakes and then Moses’ snake swallowing the pharaoh’s priests snakes — it’s not clear to me if this was supposed to indicate that the Egyptian gods had power to to turn sticks into snakes but the Hebrew God was more powerful, so the Hebrew stick-snake swallowed the Egyptian stick-snakes… or did the Hebrew God “allow” the worshipers of false gods to turn their sticks into snakes or does the story have some other meaning? And if the God of Abraham is the source of all power, both natural law and “less than natural” magic or miracles, then why would anyone be worried about occult influences from D&D books? If I could cast any spells as a result of playing D&D, wouldn’t those spells have to be ‘powered’ or ‘allowed’ by the Hebrew God?
It’s things like this that make me just want to say, “Nevermind all that” when someone gets too insistent that a game of fantasy be fueled by either historical truth or run according to someone’s real religion.
In my game, the ‘basic’ cleric can’t use swords because he is forbidden to use edged weapons. That might be based on a misunderstanding/assumption by the 19th century historians looking at the Bayeux Tapestry, but I like it so in it stays. I don’t believe in vampires… but they make great villains so in they go. I’ll base NPCs and organizations in the fantasy world on real world people and organizations like “The Spanish Inquisition” but I will also play fast and loose with the truth — and ‘Van Helsing’ types straight out of a Hammer Film or ‘Aliens’ with acid for blood are all fair game.
I don’t view D&D as a good historical recreation vehicle — it’s more fun as a pop-culture, folklore and history mash-up with an emphasis on the game itself.


3 Comments on “Religon and D&D”

  1. KenHR says:

    Absolute agreement here. Many of the posts on that thread had me scratching my head when I read it yesterday, and a quite a few posters have some strange or skewed ideas about what the Christian religion actually teaches.

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with portraying the cleric as a member of a Christian-like church. Hell, the “old religion vs. clerics” conflict was pretty much set up this way in The Village of Hommlet!

  2. Aos says:

    I'm afraid that my cleric must have a sword… and a pterodactyl like Taarna in Heavy Metal. Although, if you wish, in the spirit of compromise, I will wear pants.

  3. Trey says:

    @Aos – I dub thee “The Great Compromiser.”

    Argumentation over what is or isn't the “real world” beliefs of any particular belief system in the context of how to actualize something in a game seems to me geek pedanticism of the worst order.


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