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Here's something that keeps bugging me, and I'd like some clarification because I've not read too much into PoE's lore yet (though I surely will once my GOG preorder goes through).

 

And it's about how deity-centric is the game. Personally, this is one downside I've always found to DnD settings, is that you always have to be "John Hardy of Lathander" or "Susan Grail of Mielikki" etc etc. As if not following a deity in a way that it defines your character, or at the very least heavily affects her behaviour, your character is not complete. In fact, if your FR character dies without a god, she's in for a world of pain through eternity.

 

What I'd like and hope is that PoE isn't that deity-centered. I understand that clerics or paladins need to have a deity, for obvious reasons, but I don't understand the obsession with every character having to follow a god to the end of its consequences, and rabidly protect that god's interests, be it a fighter, a rogue, a wizard or whatever. 

 

That's of course just my preference, but as I said, I don't know how deity-centered is PoE, and I wanted to ask any lore-hungry people or maybe even a dev if they can shed some light on this topic. It's not a deal breaker for me, as I'm a veteran tabletop RPer and Forgotten Realms is one of my favourite settings, but here's hoping that PoE's world won't be as god-driven as that.

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I don't get the impression that P:E is like that. Religions are important and people identify with them—much like in the real world—but from what I've seen most characters in it have entirely unrelated agendas (also much like in the real world). The gods—one particular god actually—only come up directly in the BB in one quest, and that quest involves a secret cult. What's more, the gods and religions are much more "human" than in D&D—the cult in question is fueled by some extremely concrete and extremely real grievances, with the god being more of an embodiment of those grievances than the other way around. 

 

The gods are real, present, and active in the world though. If you want to check out some lore related to that, read up on the Saints' War. It's a bloody awesome bit of lore from where I'm at.

 

Paladins don't need a deity. The Darcozzi Paladini and Bleak Walkers are not associated with deities for example, to name two. Character creation won't ask you to pick one unless you're a priest.

 

Bottom line, I don't think there's cause for worry on this score, unless you're looking for an entirely godless/religion-less world that is. Although obviously I have no idea what the plot of the real thing is going to be and what part the gods will play in that, if any.

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Yeah, if anything, I would rather the gods were more abstract.  I would rather that the character worship the gods who don't have such overt impact on the world.  After all, expecting tuna when you open a tin isn't faith.  It's a reasonable expectation.  Religion in PoE is like that for me, and I don't mean that in a good way.  However, it does explain much of the setting and I don't think the snapshot of the relationship between the earthly and the divine is entirely fleshed out in the BB.  I *have* played it beginning to end (at least I think I have, it's been a while), but it's such a small sample, I'm sure I'm seeing the game world dimly, as if only a reflection of its proper self.  When I play the game proper I'll see the game world as it sees me, perfectly.  In that, I hope that there isn't such a direct relationship between the divine and the mortal.  ...But if the setting and story are done well, I won't hold it against them.  I want a good story and I don't mind something that challenges me.

 

EDIT:  A variety of factors encouraged me to reread and tidy up my post.  :Can't wry grin icon:

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faith is a powerful thematic option that is sacrificed if the writers choose to utilize deities that manifest themselves to their followers and display their power in a tangible manner.  religion in the typical crpg world is extreme mercenary and rather dull.

 

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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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Faith as we understand it is a modern invention. In pre-Enlightenment times, all but a few skeptics assumed as a matter of course that gods manifested themselves to their followers and displayed their power in a tangible manner. "Faith" meant more like "trust that the particular god or religion you're following won't let you down, and commitment to behavior expected from its adherents." They did expect the can to contain tuna.

 

A fantasy world with post-Enlightenment faith-based religion could be interesting, but pretty different.

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I'm fairly familiar with ancient conventions of religion, from reciprocity to mechanical observances and even to modern interpretations of diet.  However, I can only speak for my tastes and expectations.  Faith in the way we use the word and have for a long long time means trusting something that is not in and of itself proven.  The fact is, we could open a tin of tuna and find a dead rat.  We wouldn't attribute that to divine intervention.  We'd call the FDA.

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Faith as we understand it is a modern invention. In pre-Enlightenment times, all but a few skeptics assumed as a matter of course that gods manifested themselves to their followers and displayed their power in a tangible manner. "Faith" meant more like "trust that the particular god or religion you're following won't let you down, and commitment to behavior expected from its adherents." They did expect the can to contain tuna.

 

A fantasy world with post-Enlightenment faith-based religion could be interesting, but pretty different.

 

penicillin is also a modern invention.  am kinda glad we have it.

 

*shrug*

 

still, pj misses the obvious that even the aztecs, who offered bloody sacrifice o' literal thousands of their own citizens, never had no genuine displays o' godly power to reinforce their beliefs.  in crpgs, the player prays and gets magic spells.  in crpgs, the gods do battle in the heavens and earthly realms, leaving blessings and catastrophe in their wake. not believing in crpg world gods is an act o' defiance and self-delusion.  choose not to venerate crpg gods is possible, but to deny them is, usually, ridiculous.

 

no faith.  what a loss.

 

romantic love and heroic sacrifice is also relative recent concepts.  is many accusations that even Beowulf were altered by christians who injected a bit o' gospel into the oral tradition when it were finally put down on paper.  we got a created world.  is not having a relative time period save for in regards to tech... and even that is a stretch given the ubiquitous use o' magic. faith is no less significant in literature than is love.  unfortunately, it is necessarily absent in a world where deities manifest themselves... genuine manifest themselves.

 

HA! Good Fun!

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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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I'm fairly familiar with ancient conventions of religion, from reciprocity to mechanical observances and even to modern interpretations of diet.  However, I can only speak for my tastes and expectations.  Faith in the way we use the word and have for a long long time means trusting something that is not in and of itself proven.  The fact is, we could open a tin of tuna and find a dead rat.  We wouldn't attribute that to divine intervention.  We'd call the FDA.

 

Sure, but the point is that in pre-Enlightenment times, people did attribute that sort of thing to divine intervention. From their point of view, the gods/God were/was present, active, and manifesting in the world. Thor throwing thunderbolts wasn't just a story, he was actually there behind the thunderclouds, as far as the people getting rained on were concerned. It wasn't a matter of faith any more than your faith in the FDA's ability to keep rats out of tins of tuna. Whether it was actually true in an objective sense—whatever that may mean—is irrelevant to the question.

 

Point being, only very very very VERY few people ever struggled with questions like "does God really exist?" or "is there really an afterlife?" or "does God punish the wicked and reward the righteous?" or "does God speak through people?" These things were accepted as a matter of course. Still are in lots of places; I lived in Nepal for a while, and believe me, the gods were very real, present, and active for the people there. There's a statue of Kali Parvati Bhairavi in Kathmandu which is a popular place to seal contracts because everybody knows you will keel over dead of massive bleeding if you tell a lie standing before her. Faith didn't enter into it at all; people accepted that the same way you and I accept that if you stick a fork into a power socket you're going to get a nasty electric shock.

 

Second, the Enlightenment did shift the meaning of "faith" a great deal. The sense you're stating it -- "trusting something that is not in and of itself proven" -- only became meaningful when somebody pointed out that, say, the Resurrection or the existence of God itself isn't actually proven. Faith in that sense only appears when the tenets are challenged. Until that period, it never was -- not outside some extremely small and rarefied circles anyway.

 

Edit: Corrected the name of Kali's avatar in question. Wouldn't want to piss her off.

Edited by PrimeJunta
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I'm fairly familiar with ancient conventions of religion, from reciprocity to mechanical observances and even to modern interpretations of diet.  However, I can only speak for my tastes and expectations.  Faith in the way we use the word and have for a long long time means trusting something that is not in and of itself proven.  The fact is, we could open a tin of tuna and find a dead rat.  We wouldn't attribute that to divine intervention.  We'd call the FDA.

 

Sure, but the point is that in pre-Enlightenment times, people did attribute that sort of thing to divine intervention. From their point of view, the gods/God were/was present, active, and manifesting in the world. Thor throwing thunderbolts wasn't just a story, he was actually there behind the thunderclouds, as far as the people getting rained on were concerned. It wasn't a matter of faith any more than your faith in the FDA's ability to keep rats out of tins of tuna. Whether it was actually true in an objective sense—whatever that may mean—is irrelevant to the question.

 

Point being, only very very very VERY few people ever struggled with questions like "does God really exist?" or "is there really an afterlife?" or "does God punish the wicked and reward the righteous?" or "does God speak through people?" These things were accepted as a matter of course. Still are in lots of places; I lived in Nepal for a while, and believe me, the gods were very real, present, and active for the people there. There's a statue of Kali Parvati in Kathmandu which is a popular place to seal contracts because everybody knows you will keel over dead of massive bleeding if you tell a lie standing before her. Faith didn't enter into it at all; people accepted that the same way you and I accept that if you stick a fork into a power socket you're going to get a nasty electric shock.

 

Second, the Enlightenment did shift the meaning of "faith" a great deal. The sense you're stating it -- "trusting something that is not in and of itself proven" -- only became meaningful when somebody pointed out that, say, the Resurrection or the existence of God itself isn't actually proven. Faith in that sense only appears when the tenets are challenged. Until that period, it never was -- not outside some extremely small and rarefied circles anyway.

 

 

Very interesting post, nice one  :thumbsup:

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The point I was trying to make in the original post is that I don't want to feel the need for my warrior to be an avid follower of the god of Good and Light and pray to that god in his shining glory every dawn. My Warrior would be perfectly fine being just a good guy and doing what he feels is right. Or my Wizard could be a necromancer simply because he enjoys toying with life and death, but doesn't bother or even care about whoever is the god of Death because he doesn't need a valid meta-reason to be a necromancer. He simply is a necromancer in the same way that a football player doesn't need a god of Football to worship, and simply plays football because it's what he enjoys.

 

The thing is, I like that gods add flavour to some settings, and are tangible forces in conflict, but I don't like when they become mandatory in the process of a character creation, or even a forcefully defining factor in a character's personality and goals (again, Clerics, Paladins etc aside for obvious reasons).

 

Either way, real world religions don't apply and don't belong to the discussion here, I'm only speaking of how I preferred if my character could just be a "good guy" without having to follow "Mr Nice God" to back it up, or could be friendly prankster without having to follow "Mr Friendly Prankster God" to reinforce the concept. In other words, I feel that RPG deities rather than offering diversity and adding depth to characters, actually encase them into stereotypes, and that's what I wouldn't like for PoE.

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Who cares when something became meaningful to my modern self playing a game?  First of all, there were skeptics in every society from the beginning of time.  There were ancients who themselves questioned the credulity of other ancients taking divinity for granted.  I am an advocate for my tastes.

 

Also, why is the prejudice that the game follows what would be ancient traditions on earth?  Is this not another universe?  I don't understand why my particular preference would be confined by what you see as a "small and rarified circle" in our historical world.

 

Speaking of history, there were no souls that directly translated into modern events.  Our players are not the ignorant masses in European society who envisioned Columbus falling off the edge of a flat world.  Our character may be.  They may also be the people who knew that hundreds of years earlier the ancient Greeks determined the circumference of our planet.

 

I'm altogether at a loss as to why I should take the argument that you can come up with some examples from historical earth (and ignore other examples) as a reason to change what I want in a game.

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the aztecs, who offered bloody sacrifice o' literal thousands of their own citizens

 

 

That'd be damn awful.

I've heard the aztec empire had a political enclave within their territory where'd they grab people now and then from their enemy nation Tlaxcala. Which is awful too after all.

 

Now the fact people get their powers from deities, through prayer and such, is open for interpretation. That's no big deal. Although that's how early saints were known in the christian churches from example. The abbot of Fontenelle would magically deviate pieces of bread thrown at him by plebs, and the tales of his deeds implied he held such powers from God.

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Who cares when something became meaningful to my modern self playing a game?  First of all, there were skeptics in every society from the beginning of time.  There were ancients who themselves questioned the credulity of other ancients taking divinity for granted.  I am an advocate for my tastes.

Sure, there were skeptics: those were the small and rarefied circles I was talking about. They had about as much impact on society at large as the Flat Earth Society has on ours though.

 

As to your tastes, at least I don't care at all. What I'm trying to establish here is that "remote, inactive gods" and "faith" in the sense of "trust in something unproven" would be anachronistic in a pre-modern setting. I am also arguing that it's lazy to thoughtlessly transpose modern attitudes into a different social and historical context.

 

I'm not saying that it would be impossible to make an intelligent fantasy world with a modern view of faith, of course. I'm saying that to do so would require considerable thought to all the various ways this would impact the culture and politics of that world. Sapkowski actually does something like this and I think it's pretty damn cool. (Loved the gnome who described an emerald as beryllium-aluminum cyclosilicate.)

 

Also, why is the prejudice that the game follows what would be ancient traditions on earth?  Is this not another universe?  I don't understand why my particular preference would be confined by what you see as a "small and rarified circle" in our historical world.

Uh, because this one is explicitly modeled on a particular period of history on Earth? The Obs devs said it's "early Colonial, Renaissance, minus the printing press." And as a matter of fact just about all Western trad fantasy is based on a pseudo-Medieval outlook. Most of it is done really lazily, with people with essentially modern attitudes dropped into a swords-and-sorcery world. I don't particularly like that. I prefer it when creators treat their source material with thought and respect.

 

Again: if you want a pseudo-medieval fantasy game with a modern conception of religion, I think that could very well be extremely cool -- but it would require some serious thought on how that change would have changed society, from kings whose divine right to rule would no longer be unchallenged, to slaves carried through their lives by a promise of a reward in the hereafter. Doing it the usual way -- just drop people with modern attitudes about faith into a world with emperors and kings, ducs and grefs -- would be much less satisfying.

 

Speaking of history, there were no souls that directly translated into modern events.  Our players are not the ignorant masses in European society who envisioned Columbus falling off the edge of a flat world.  Our character may be.  They may also be the people who knew that hundreds of years earlier the ancient Greeks determined the circumference of our planet.

 

I'm altogether at a loss as to why I should take the argument that you can come up with some examples from historical earth (and ignore other examples) as a reason to change what I want in a game.

I could not parse these two paragraphs. If there's some reaction you expect from me, could you please rephrase them?

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@Emerwyn: I don't think you need to worry. Again, the character creation doesn't even let you specify which god you follow unless you're a priest, and the reputation/disposition system is independent of it. The rep/disp mechanics do affect priests and paladins, but that's IMO entirely as it should be.

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@Emerwyn: I don't think you need to worry. Again, the character creation doesn't even let you specify which god you follow unless you're a priest, and the reputation/disposition system is independent of it. The rep/disp mechanics do affect priests and paladins, but that's IMO entirely as it should be.

 

That's really what I was after, not the whole theological discussion. ^^ 

 

Thanks a lot PrimeJunta.

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I don't know whether I *expect* a reaction at my last two paragraphs.  I got one, even if it's simple dismissal.  Fair enough.

 

You point out that the game follows historical precedent by saying, "h, because this one is explicitly modeled on a particular period of history on Earth? The Obs devs said it's "early Colonial, Renaissance, minus the printing press."  So, there are clear cases of children born without souls during the Renascence?  There are mages and ciphers?  This isn't some tertiary issue I bring up as a sidetrack issue.  The idea of faith and souls is already fundamentally different in a world where divinity is already proven in ways that it has never been proven in our history.  Faith was always an assumption where proof could not be solidly given.  In PoE, faith isn't an assumption of the intellectually lazy.  It is establish by empirical observation.

 

I don't know how *you* will react, but I'm merely stating my preferences for the game.  Apparently, according to at least a couple of people, faith is something more complicated than I had thought and certainly more complicated than what you depict already.

 

...And, while I agree that prevalent views of simplistic reciprocity might be predominant in PoE, which is probably appropriate, there should be no reason to think that either my character or the circles in which he moves represent such a view.  Even if we take all your other arguments as established, I'm still going to argue for what I see as a better way.

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Who cares when something became meaningful to my modern self playing a game?  

 

exactly. when shakespeare wrote coriolanus, he were clearly more concerned about what were meaningful to his audience than what were meaningful to the romans o' the time period o' the play.  and a midsummer night's dream has elves.  whatever culture elves has or might o' had were completely irrelevant.  shakespeare's elves and fairies had to be evocative to shakespeare's audience and not other elves.

 

poe is an imaginary world peopled by impossible creatures and having ubiquitous magic.  attempting to shackle the writers to preconceived notions o' what is proper in such a world is, at the very least, arrogant.  what pj thinks aedyr or vailian notions o' faith should be is kinda silly.  

 

regardless, the game needs speak to cant and Gromnir and pj, and not to cavemen or aztecs or renaissance catholics.

 

HA! Good Fun!

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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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Well, I did get a kick out of the 'caveman' line.  Still, I don't want to make this personal.  I actually tend to agree with a lot of PJ's points most of the time.  So, I tell you what.  I'm going to go pass out somewhere, hopefully in bed, and you guys can score points off me while I'm gone.  ...And if they're good, I'll even laugh at them myself.  Ironically, I'm heartened by what PJ said to Emer, and Diogenes said generally, there is no actual *need* for a diety.  So, some people will attribute natural phenomenon to divine activity, which seems reasonable considering the time period in question.  ...But some won't and will not need to do so.

 

Of course, here I am arguing for the medieval atheist perspective due to my decidedly modern Catholic motives.  <.<

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the aztecs, who offered bloody sacrifice o' literal thousands of their own citizens

 

 

That'd be damn awful.

I've heard the aztec empire had a political enclave within their territory where'd they grab people now and then from their enemy nation Tlaxcala. Which is awful too after all.

 

there were a professor at Cal, we forget his name, who advanced the theory that aztec sacrifice were the single greatest limit to their expansion in the region.  approximately 1% o' the population were killed by sacrifice each year, which at the height o' aztec civilization meant that hundreds o' thousands were being sacrificed.  for a pre-industrial society, that were, according to the professor, an insurmountable hurdle.  

 

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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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If anything, I think PoE and the DnD worlds aren't deity centered enough. As Gromy said, in a world where magic works, you'd have to be an idiot not to believe in the gods (I'd be signing up at the local temple) And yet, unless you play a cleric or a paladin, you really have very little to do with them (gameplay wise)

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Yeah I've read somewhere that Mexico-Tenochtitlan agglomeration, in 1500, was like even more populous than Napoli itself, which was already one of the most or the most populous city of Europe. I'm not surprised by the incredible number there. But I meant, I don't think mexicos were actually sacrificing their own citizens per se, whatever that could mean back then if that meant anything, I've heard that they willingly never fully annexed Tlaxcala and kept it as an enclave so they can "harvest" sacrifice material. Might be wrong about that tho.

 

Although I think you're right about the irrelevance of historical examples to justify how PoE could handle its deities and mysticism and such.

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