I’d like to ask for feedback on a template I’ve made for describing religions for fantasy RPGs. This is not a statblock for gods or their avatars, but a way of fleshing out and differentiating the various faiths in your campaign. If you at least partially fill out this template for all the faiths available at the start of a campaign, your cleric can make an informed choice. If you are more collaborative in your campaign development, leave some fields blank and fill them in as the opportunity arises in play. Or you could allow the cleric PC to collaborate in creating the faith.
A list of suggested domains and purviews is at the bottom of this post. It’s taken from my Random God generator (which I’ll be revising soon).
There are some attributes rated from 1 to 20. These help define the organization itself. Is it well organized? Does it tolerate other faiths? Are there many scriptures? There are some notes below and a sample I filled out follows that.
Please let me know if this is unclear, too much work or how I might streamline the explanations.
Here is the template as a word file
Domain and Purview Notes
These are taken from my Random God Generator. Domain is more general and purview is more specific. Pathfinder GM should write in the terms Portfolio and Domain, respectively.
Attributes of the faith are measured on a scale of 1-20.
How strict is the church? How lenient? How many rules and practices are there? With 20 being an Orthodox Jew and 1 being “Can’t we all get along?”
How well does the church tolerate worship of other gods? How much emphasis is put on conversion? With 20 being total intolerant monotheism, and 1 being “all paths lead to one place.”
How much has been “revealed” and how much do they generally consider the god’s work to influence lives? With 20 being many epics, testaments, scriptures, commentaries and sutras and 1 being “Crom sleeps. That is all.”
How organized is the faith’s hierarchy? With 20 being the Catholic Church and 1 being a bunch of loosely acquainted meditators in the woods.
This stat that can be used to determine randomly whether there is a congregation in a given community. As the GM, you should determine on a scale of 1-20 how popular the faith is in the nation or region where the party is currently. This also lets the cleric PC know where his church is in the pecking order. A well-prepared GM will think ahead whether this faith is popular in neighboring areas as well. When coming up with this number, consider whether it is a minority faith, whether it belongs to a minority race or culture and what level of religious tolerance the local leaders display.
To randomly check whether a community has a congregation, add the number of digits in the area’s population to the faith’s popularity for that locale. Apply any gut modifiers you think should apply and then roll a d20. A roll under the target number means there is a congregation. It might in in hiding, of course, but it should be there.
Example: The Cult of Torusk has a popularity of 5 in the Principality of Argylle. A cleric of Torusk wants to find a shrine so he can perform an absolution and perhaps find a friendly face. The party has just entered Old Bosk, a city of 12,500. The GM asks the cleric for the popularity number (5) and adds 5 more for the five digits in the population number. He also decides that Old Bosk used to be far more tolerant than now, and it’s slightly more likely there’s a shrine to Torusk than in the surrounding countryside based on that (+2). So 5+5+2 is 12. The cleric rolls 1d20 and gets a 7. The GM says there’s a shrine, but that it will take some urban exploration to find it.
Example Faith Profiles
I’ve used as an example a few locations in the northern part of a campaign setting. The Church of the Aesir is the dominant and national church of Nordland. But it has not gotten a lot of traction in neighboring countries.
Domains and Purviews
|List of Domains and Purviews|
|20||Household||Important Domestic Animal/Insect|
|25||Human Endeavors||Travel/Hospitality to Strangers|
|31||Human Endeavors||Trade/Commerce/Unexpected Windfalls|
|37||Human Endeavors||Protector of Our People|
|45||Nature||Season (1d4: Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter)|
|47||Nature||Predominant Local Climate/Weather Type|
|50||Nature||Thunder / Storms /Monsoon Season|
|60||Nature||Decay (and rebirth)|
|64||Personal||Parent of (roll again)|
|84||Spirit||Protection from Spirits|
|100||Spirit||Bardo (Trial grounds between lifetimes)|