Religion in Slothjemia’s World

Anyone familiar with Dungeons & Dragons is probably aware that when it comes to religion, the game steers people away from current theologies with a vigor generally used to avoid being gored by a bull in Pamplona. They even go so far as to promote long-dead polytheistic religions, suggesting that ancient mythological deities such as Odin, Zeus, and Jupiter are more appropriate for fantasy gaming. Even fictional powers like Cthulhu are preferred over trying to role-play a Christian, Jew, or Muslim. This serves a very important purpose: you are not likely to infuriate somebody in real life for playing a mocking version of a Priestess of the ancient Sumerian god Anu, but if you are a drunken Rabbi with a penchant for bologna sandwiches, you might just tick somebody off.

I’ve chosen a different course for my world. There are some pagan religions floating about for the players to interact and wrestle with, but for the most part, I follow a more simplistic approach to how religion and supernatural power is portrayed. One can find elements of the world’s main religions in the fantasy setting in which Slothjemia is nestled, but it is not glaringly obvious as to what those beliefs really are. The Church and it’s influence in Slothjemia is one example. There is not a perfect correlation between how it is portrayed and a historical sample, but the gist of it is that there was once a very powerful, centralized Church. It was broken apart, however, and the conflicting traditions and languages of the many splinters have tugged them into being different from the others, either in small or big ways. Without playing on actual denominations within a greater belief system, this is how priests, clerics, and paladins vary from one place to another. Heck, there might even be a conflict within a nation dealing with rival factions among their clergy. The details are not as important as the story in which the players are immersed, and since this is an escape from reality, not another way of making life suck even harder, those details are best left unexplored.

It should be no surprise, then, that it seems as though real-world theology keeps poking into the fantasy world of Slothjemia. That is by design. Because at the risk of offending Christians, there is only so much moral guidance that can be provided by close adherence to the teachings of Bastet, unless one has an affinity for catnip, taking naps, and pooping in sand. That makes a game difficult to manage. Might make for a better reality, but for a game, or a story, that is just ridiculous.

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