Friday, March 27, 2009

The Cleric and the Faith Part V: No, There Is No God Margaret

This is not atheism, but a universe in which no deities actually exist. There are no gods, no powers, nothing that watches over you but the terrifying things that go bump in your nightmares. Humans - and demi-humans - are alone, and are the height of advancement both social and technological (we're not playing the evolutionary levels game here). No devils, demons, daemons, or angels. There are no outer planes, inner planes, or alternate planes.

Oh sure, people still huddle together in the dark and worship things, but in the end, there's nothing there to hear them. This is it.

Of course, this creates a game that's a lot darker and more grim than your average D&D game. People who become badly injured tend to stay that way for a good long time, if they recover at all. People who get sick stay sick, or merely die due to lack of modern medicine. Of course, main casualties are the entire Cleric class, along with Druids and Paladins. Rangers take a glancing blow as they lose their ability to cast some cleric spells at higher levels, but that honestly doesn't bother me at all. In the interest of "balance" I suppose they could be given a few magic user spells to compensate, but in all honesty I don't see the need.

I'm growing more and more enamored of the whole concept, really, though I think it'll end up looking pretty damn terrifying in the end. Something not really suitable at all to standard D&D concepts of rascals with hearts of gold seeking adventure and fortune and so on. Not sure how that bothers me, but it does just a little. D&D always managed to have a positive, almost happy spin on things in my view and I'm not sure I can slice that out without killing some part of the game.


  1. I've never thought about the possibility of removing deities from a D&D game. Hell, the discussion on DF about Holmes Deities warps my mind in ways I'm not sure of what to make it. But I think your opition is pretty easy: even with white box, holmes, or moldvay/cook/marsh, just remove the Cleric. You could throw in the thief if you go white box, but why bother?

    I wouldn't rule out other planes so quickly though; powerful wizards can create their own demi-planes, and what could be thought of as an outer or inner plane could just be an alternate universe with radically different physical laws. Change the name and the source, but the idea is the same.

  2. Have you ever seen the TV show "Supernatural"? The show takes place in "our world," and there are supernatural beings, demons and as it turns out this last season, angels. In the universe of the series there is a heaven and hell, presumably alternate or other planes of some sort, that can be traveled between.

    The really interesting bit that struck me was that the demons and angels that have appeared in the series serve in the name of Satan and God respectively, but they really don't know if they exist. They take it on faith that they exist, but lack proof just as much as we do.

    It definitely makes for an interesting dynamic.