When it comes to role playing deities and beliefs, I guess we’ve hit a part of the game where we, as a group, fall a little short. It’s not that any of us think that adding a bit of religious belief to our characters wouldn’t give the characters a bit more depth and perhaps even motivation – it’s more like one of those aspects of your character that you just keep forgetting while you’re playing. You know, like that skill you only remember you had until it’s too late or encumbrance rules that you remember to apply only after the group’s already traveled hundreds of miles with no limitations whatsoever.
In our group, the only religious character was Batey’s character, and even then his rituals and beliefs were limited to yelling “FOR HEXTOR!” whenever he remembered to before diving into battle. Carlos, at first simply declared his character to be an atheist. This held pretty well until he discovered some obscure deity that gave him some benefits he could apply to his dark magical skills. So he converted, but even then it was just something that he occasionally remembered and only brought out when it was useful.
Thing is, I’m OK with all this because that’s the way most people that have religious beliefs are today, and I’m inclined to think that it’s been that way since whenever it was that religion was invented. You wouldn’t expect people to walk around devoting 100% of their days to whatever deity they call their own, right? Most people simply remember their beliefs at specific times, when it’s needed or when it’s required. But on the other hand, you would expect some guy like a priest to devote most of his time to that, and that’s exactly the problem I have with the presence of clerics, druids, paladins and even rangers in a gaming group. These are supposed to be people that are so incredibly devoted to their deities that it gives them magical powers. These are characters where simply remembering to yell some deity’s name before you jump into battle won’t be good enough.
This probably explains why none of us actually likes playing any of those characters – but with the ranger things are a bit different. At our gaming table, we like to play rangers as if their powers came more from a deep understanding and connection with nature. Of course, this might even be seen as “almost religious”, but in terms of practical role playing it at least doesn’t require the player to constantly be thinking about his or her deity in order for it to feel right.
Naturally, this wasn’t enough for good’ol Cousin Al, and so he decided that he needed to have a deity. But we’ll have the comic deal with those issues later on. For now, let’s see just how productive we can make this week be.