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I suppose Atheism will look strange in PE setting, because there's obvious presence of the Gods. And atheistic approach is suitable in situations where it is unclear if there any greater power or not.

 

But there's one more fitting option - Nihilism. For those who don't feel any need to worship any gods, even after acnowledging their existence. Or simply don't care about them.

The closest example we have is from Planescape faction - Athar

From wiki:

("Defiers", "The Lost"), who deny not only the gods' right to pass judgment over mortals, but their very divinity. They claim that the gods (whom they call "powers") are powerful but have limits and do not deserve worship.

Athar is a bit of extreme example, mostly working against gods, not just ignoring them, but it's a good start)

I think even the option to say "I don't care" will satisfy most people who don't feel comfortable to express any religious feeling, at the same time not harming those, who like to play with religious characters.

 

I am worried because in upcoming Dragon Age 3 developers already stated that there will be no option to be atheistic.

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Neverwinter Nights 2 and Mask of the Betrayer had this sort of option - and it certainly had a rather significant impact for a certain ranger. Those implications would probably not be as applicable to PE, however, given the emphasis on reincarnation and such. I'd like to see some faithless like option, and acknowledgement, even if I would rarely choose it. Likewise, I'd like some Ao-equivalent option, where you believe in some deistic notion of a creator-god who is just sitting back and watching it all play out. Though from what I know, the lore side of Faerun has Ao involved a bit behind the scenes.

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I don't se the DA3 thing as a problem.

 

There is a limit to rolepalying options a developers gives you. Always. They may be technical in nature, because of resources, or simply because there's little point in adding them or they mesh with the setting.

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...and if there really is a God, it will be necessary to abolish him!

- Bakunin, via DOUG the Eagle

 

 

I wonder what on kind of scale the power the gods of this setting can muster. Can they actively smite people or do they need to go through their agents/clergy? It is possible to antagonise and earn the emnity of a god without dooming oneself? I neither expect nor desire any sort of high-powered god-killing campaign from the game, at least not until later instalments, but it'd be interesting to be set against one, or indeed many of them.

 

 

EDIT: I was a bit confused about the DA3 thing, until I remembered you're meant to be playing an Inquisitor, so I wouldn't expect to be an atheist Inquisitor (Nobody expects the atheist inquisition! and all that). DAO allowed from the outset, at least in the Noble origin, to declare yourself a heathen unbeliever, which was nice. :)

Edited by Humanoid

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I don't se the DA3 thing as a problem.

 

There is a limit to rolepalying options a developers gives you. Always. They may be technical in nature, because of resources, or simply because there's little point in adding them or they mesh with the setting.

Yes, the point was - that option was in DA: O, and were cut from sequels.

Neverwinter Nights 2 and Mask of the Betrayer had this sort of option - and it certainly had a rather significant impact for a certain ranger. Those implications would probably not be as applicable to PE, however, given the emphasis on reincarnation and such. I'd like to see some faithless like option, and acknowledgement, even if I would rarely choose it. Likewise, I'd like some Ao-equivalent option, where you believe in some deistic notion of a creator-god who is just sitting back and watching it all play out. Though from what I know, the lore side of Faerun has Ao involved a bit behind the scenes.

Faerun is a different matter, the was only option to either believe or go the Wall. That was explictly expressed in MoB. I was talking about just option to say "I don't care about gods", not "Down with the Gods!". That option would be welcome for the sake of "more options is always good", but surely not "a must" option.


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As an atheist I would love to have the option to create a character who also doesn't believe in any deity.

 

And I may be misremembering, but didn't they say that the gods in this setting had been silent or not interacting directly for a while in the PE setting? If so depending on how long they've been absent I can certainly see the possibility of atheists springing up.

 

The suggestion of the OP for some who do not worship the gods or do not see them as 'gods' as such seems plausible too.

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For some reason I thought of the challenge of role playing a Godlike Nihilist :)

Edited by Paul D
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As an atheist I would love to have the option to create a character who also doesn't believe in any deity.

 

And I may be misremembering, but didn't they say that the gods in this setting had been silent or not interacting directly for a while in the PE setting? If so depending on how long they've been absent I can certainly see the possibility of atheists springing up.

 

The suggestion of the OP for some who do not worship the gods or do not see them as 'gods' as such seems plausible too.

 

From what the wiki says, Erothas, after having some of his believers blown up by followers of another god, stopped talking to the world. As far as I can tell, at least one other god is still in communication with the people - though what this means, I am unsure of.

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obvious

 

When did that ever stop anyone with his mind set in stone on something else?

 

Thor could strike you with lightning every time you denied His existence and you would just write it off as bad luck and unusual weather patterns (or some other denial pattern).

 

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“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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When did that ever stop anyone with his mind set in stone on something else?

Thor could strike you with lightning every time you denied His existence and you would just write it off as bad luck and unusual weather patterns (or some other denial pattern).

There's always will be anti-religious fanatics along with religious ones, so I see nothing wrong with atheists popping up in a world, where cleric and priests can invoke spells from their gods. In fact it's a fertile soil for conspiracy theory quests)

Like "Priests are simple mages that fool you into worshipping some false deity they invented!" or such.


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I'd find it hard to be an atheist in many fantasy settings I've played. In real life a lot of religion is faith while the gods are usually a direct presence in most fantasy worlds, applying blessings with measurable benefits or even physically manifesting.

 

You could always be rebellious, but I don't know how you can really be an atheist and deny the existence of gods if PE is how I think it'll be. Maybe nihilism, but in a way that has to also acknowledge souls and life somehow being chaotic with no purpose when there is in fact some sort of cycle.

 

The Dwemer in Morrowind are a nice example of how to be sort of "atheistic." Rather than deny gods exist they simply believed the beings commonly known as gods DO exist, but were imperfect and not worthy of worship. In a world with gods the Dwemer

simultaneously downplayed their power and attempted to become divine themselves. In other words, acknowledging a god exists because their presence is shown in undeniable ways, but don't consider them gods.


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An atheist is convinced that no gods exist. Someone who thinks that gods are not worth worshipping, regardless of whether they exist or not, is an agnostic.

In most fantasy settings there is plenty of tangible evidence that the gods exist, so atheism would be considered a mental disease.

 

As for Nihilism: Shar, the prototype nihilist, is one two oldest and one of the most powerful gods in the Forgotten Realms, her worshippers are the terrorist type that hate their own life and only find solace in making others suffer more than themselves, or taking as many others as possible with them when they finally commit suicide. Shar goes one step further, her ultimate goal is to undo creation, and she encourages her worshippers to do their part before they ultimately succumb to their chosen fate. It's a very interesting setup for a cult of villains that can't be reasoned with, but it can also quickly become a sterotype evil for evil's sake setting.


"You are going to have to learn to think before you act, but never to regret your decisions, right or wrong. Otherwise, you will slowly begin to not make decisions at all."

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Someone who thinks that gods are not worth worshipping, regardless of whether they exist or not, is an agnostic.

 

 

But that is wrong, there are different types of agnostics as in agnostic atheist or agnostic theist. Not enough proof on either side to make definitive claims

Edited by Ruka

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I am worried because in upcoming Dragon Age 3 developers already stated that there will be no option to be atheistic.

 

As an atheist I would love to have the option to create a character who also doesn't believe in any deity.

 

Respectfully, this seems like asking to be pandered to. Being a fictional world with magic, the context of religion in P:E is naturally going to be completely different from our own, whereas "atheism" (as opposed to agnosticism, faithlessness, or a general lack of piety) is really quite specific and quite modern and therefore not a natural thing to import into the completely different metaphysical context of a different world. RPGs can't really get away with forcing you to play your character as a pious member of his/her culture's faith - and I've never seen one try, and therefore don't understand why it is such a burning issue to the melodramatic soapbox crowd at BSN - and it really is quite simple just to not pick zealous dialogue options if you don't want to portray a zealous character. And if you just want to establish that your character isn't religiously inclined, avoiding the appropriate dialogue options really does the job. Requiring the option for your character to endorse actual atheism, and to have dialogue options that amount to getting on a soapbox to bash the general idea of religion, is misguided.

Edited by Sarog
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I was actually thinking about this while playing Skyrim. The Dwemer race turned away from the very obviously existing gods and embraced logic and reason. I thought that was a cool idea in a world where gods and Daedric princes are very active in mortal affairs.

 

It would be nice to to see something similar in a world which is obviously experiencing a transition in technology (flintlocks). Tim Cain is the man for this I think :)

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There's no reason Nihilism shouldn't be present, as it's perfectly compatible even with a world with gods who interact directly with mortals. Since various gods are likely in conflict with others in ethics or influence, and world origins are usually left ambiguous, it's entirely valid to believe that the world was created with no intent, or that life has no purpose or meaning beyond what you assign to it personally.

Edited by AGX-17
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And if you just want to establish that your character isn't religiously inclined, avoiding the appropriate dialogue options really does the job. Requiring the option for your character to endorse actual atheism, and to have dialogue options that amount to getting on a soapbox to bash the general idea of religion, is misguided.

Ah, here comes local DA problem there - with paraphrases you never know what your character will answer :D

And as for religion, "Don't care" attitude even more fitting because there are several gods in PE. They seem to conflict or tolerate each other, but overall, there surely will be those who have no desire to join any religion faction there.


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An atheist is convinced that no gods exist. Someone who thinks that gods are not worth worshipping, regardless of whether they exist or not, is an agnostic.

In most fantasy settings there is plenty of tangible evidence that the gods exist, so atheism would be considered a mental disease.

 

True. But while this is true I would still find an equivalent "atheistic", "agnostic" or materialistic (whatever you want to call it) approach intriguing and viable in any fantasy setting, albeit maybe difficult to implement. It would possibly create some fun friction. And the option wouldn't necessarily be a way to "bash the general idea of religion" at every corner or in every conversation...

 

To paraphrase the quote from Bakunin but with a PE twist; if there is such a thing as the karmic cycle maybe it would be appropriate to abolish it? Or would it really? Is it even possible?

What happens to the faithless or "atheist" when he or she stands face to face with the miracles or horrors of real deities? Does the individual protagonist still deny it, does (s)he still continue with his or her calling and hold on the "belief" that "heaven is a place on earth" or does he or she try to take its place in any manner? Or does the person instantly convert like Saint Paul on his famous road to Damascus...

 

There's no reason Nihilism shouldn't be present, as it's perfectly compatible even with a world with gods who interact directly with mortals. Since various gods are likely in conflict with others in ethics or influence, and world origins are usually left ambiguous, it's entirely valid to believe that the world was created with no intent, or that life has no purpose or meaning beyond what you assign to it personally.

 

Spot on.

 

 

And as for nihilism, I'm not sure I would call the followers of Shar the prototype nihilists. Do they really want to destroy everything including themselves (I possess too little knowledge to know if this is the case even in FR lore)? In that case they sound more like a caricature of nihilism. Just a quick peek at the wikipedia section gives a bit more nuances to the concept.

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...

 

nihilism is misunderstood and misrepresented... particularly by those who supposedly embrace. nietzsche would be saddened.

 

btw, bleak cabal is the planescape faction that embraces nihilism.

 

HA! Good Fun!

Edited by Gromnir
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"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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In a fantasy world where the gods are real (per fiat of the creators of said fantasy world, the writers!) AND the gods have an active hand in affairs (even to the minimalistic view of cleric spells, which is not how "magic" works in PE, right?) even if some have "died" or "stopped communicating".... then atheism becomes something a pseudo-science, a wrong-headed belief.

 

Now, there's nothing saying in a fantasy world with gods that the people are going to worship, or like, the gods.... and that's where you can have some fun as a PC. Rejecting deities.

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While I don't believe in any gods in this world, I don't really see much point in any hardcore atheist options in a world where supernatural abilities and agents are an obvious part of the world. I'm not saying there is no way to write them in an interesting manner, but they probably wouldn't be a good use of the writers time compared to other options. Whereas having the option not to worship or even respect any gods, is an option that one should definitely have.

 

Although in a game like DA3, where the characters history is predetermined and religion is integral to the plot, it's completely reasonable to skip anything even resembling atheism altogether, since it wouldn't serve the theme of the game.

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And yes, I know my profile picture is blasphemy on this forum, but I didn't have the audacity to use The Nameless One.

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Gods are rarely almighty beings in a fantasy setting and while they may be unbelievably powerful, the presents of two gods with different interests already denies the possibility of omnipotence. Thus, it may be quite possible for a mortal to see them as not worthy of worship. I don't know how they would react to that, though. Take the discworld gods, for example, who tend to throw lightning at atheists. Who knows? Maybe the gods of PE would do the same, but maybe you would slip from their attention if you did not worship them, because of a dual-way connection between god and follower.

 

Or maybe gods are only the manifestation of their believers minds/emotions like in Warhammer. Or they could be independent beings. We do not know much about them - and probably this is true for the inhabitants of PEs world. Because the gods would not give up their secrets easily, I think...


"Was du nicht kennst, das, meinst du, soll nicht gelten? Du meinst, daß Phantasie nicht wirklich sei?

Aus ihr allein erwachsen künft'ge Welten: In dem, was wir erschaffen, sind wir frei."

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I am always amazed by how people consider not worshiping to equal not respecting. If you are going to include an option not to worship any specific deity then you need to leave it open enough that the player can swing it how they want. Not respecting a force that you know exists and is capable of killing you on a whim seems downright... stupid.

Edited by Karkarov

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While the term god has been used, it does not mean that gods in this setting will be how people tend to imagine them. The might basically be extremely high-level specialized wizards. Gods could also be beings with very powerful souls, to whom death is different. Instead of being reborn as a different person each time they die, they are reborn as the exact same being.

 

I don't think atheism is viable in this setting. The counterpart that I think has a good chance of being in this setting is people who don't think the gods are deserving of worship. That they are little more than extremely powerful tyrants.

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