Jun 062012

Whenever I start thinking about a fantasy world, I start with the big picture. Mainly, the gods and also how magic works.
This just makes sense to me. How the gods are portrayed and their relation to the world set up so many things. How clerics work. The role of various Outsiders (like angels, demons and devils). And you can’t have gods without having religions and we all know what kind of effect they can have on government, society, culture and day to day life. It’ll also bring up that infamous, what does Alignment mean debate.
For this little world (Damn, I still need to come up with a name for it.), the gods are pretty much hands off. Yeah, in the old days all the cool kids killed at least one god during a campaign. But I like the idea of the gods as being off stage and pretty just letting the chips fall where they may. As far as angels, demons and devils go. Well, they’re just alien beings from another plane with strong moral views. And evil gods. They kind of need to be there. But they still need to have a place that is more than just a bunch of evil cultists for the player characters to kill.
So here’s premise number one: There is one pantheon of gods. They are known by many different names by different cultures but they are still the same gods. The so called “evil” gods get just as reverence (out of fear) than the “good” gods. A village will do a ceremony to appease the evil god of disease to protect itself from a plague. You get the idea. I can see temples erected in a particular god’s name tended by faithful priests or supplicants. People will pray to whatever god they need to in order to get the results they wish.
But what about insane Lovecraftian gods from beyond the universe? OH yeah. They need to be there but list the description says insane and from beyond this universe. Many of these entities are on par with the power of the gods but they aren’t the gods of this world. There will be the occasional cult. But the goal of reaching beyond this world (and universe) for more power is more the purview of Wizards than Clerics. So more about them when I arcane magic in a later post.
So how do classes fit into this big picture?
I’ve played many clerics in my time. There’s one thing that’s kind of bugged me. The Cleric of X mechanic. In this little game, I want clerics to be servitors of the entire pantheon. Clerics are a special type of spell caster. They can channel the power of the gods. Any of them. And another thing. I never liked the wake up in the morning, pray for a specific set of spells and then go about the day. It’s just not how I imagine it. I see the cleric loudly proclaiming a prayer to a particular god for a particular purpose when he needs it. So yeah. Clerics need to be spontaneous casters of a sort.
Now Druids are special case and I’ve pretty much brainstormed on the direction they are headed for this little project.
So what does that leave us with? Paladins. That’s right everybody’s favorite douche bag class. Which brings us to our first point. Alignments are just right out the window. I’ve always felt it was kind of a crazy mechanic and had the amazing ability to be both vague and specific at the same time (Don’t worry. This will all be taken up in a later post.) So with no Alignments, where does that the poor Paladin? Well, they really aren’t Clerics. And if Clerics can simultaneously serve all the gods at once then it kind of puts the Paladin in an odd situation. So stepped back and looked at what I thought the Paladin had evolved into. Paladins are zealots. It may not be the power of the gods that drive them but their belief that they are protecting the world. Depending on where they are Paladins can be viewed as heroes or dangerous vigilantes. So there, Paladins get a major work over later on.
So there you are the ideas for gods, clerics, druids and paladins.

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