So I went to this concert tonight, a Christmas Eve concert at the Emanuel Temple in Newton. A friend of mine was performing in it (two, actually, but I didn't know that at the time I decided to go), and it seemed like a priority to not miss it.
It was really cool... It was really nice to see this temple that a community had built over the years, it was nice to hear this music... the music was largely in a language I didn't understand, Hebrew, but I could tell, or maybe assume, that it was telling stories, and there was just this attitude in the audience... The community, the shared history of the people there, it was nice to see. A nice, positive view of religion for a change, in this world where religion doesn't normally impinge on my consciousness unless it's gone horribly, horribly wrong.
Oddly enough it got me thinking about D&D, how the religions in the games I've been playing in have been so flat, meaningless. I'm playing this priest character, who believes in "Dalt", the god of locks and keys, and he plays up the locksmithing angle a lot. But what gets me is, thinking about it, as it's written this guy would have no followers; there's no mythology behind it, no stories, and no morality. And it got me thinking about what stories there could be about these Gods, what mythology there would be. Dalt creates the Inner Sanctum Door, a locked door in the main temple, beyond which is ... who knows? But somewhere is the Key to the door, because all Doors have a Key counterpart, somewhere.
People tell the story of the time when the Key will be found. There are groups who follow this god, locksmiths who pray for their work to hold, thieves who pray for the locks' secrets to be revealed... Where's the nobodies, though? Where are the commoners who pray to this deity?
But no, religion must work differently in an intensely polytheistic D&D world, where a god does not need faith (there being proof of existence amply available), only followers. And a god can get by with far fewer followers, or else the world would not - could not possibly - be polytheistic. It's kind of like the democratic two-party system. If you need that many people to follow you, the religions become broad and almost meaningless.
The real world has quite a number of different mainstream religions to follow, even if they all lay claim to the same God. Interesting, really, but these different Christianities, Judaisms, and Islams really do cover a spectrum of conservative and liberal views.
But in a D&D, polytheistic, world, in a way they're all following the same religion - the belief that this pantheon exists. I wonder if there is a way to turn this idea around. A D&D world with multiple *religions*, where those who follow an opposing deity aren't just opposed, but are considered *wrong*, at an extremely basic level. Blasphemous for even thinking these are gods they're talking to...
All of this is in my quest for creating a better D&D world, one where there are real social constructs... Inspired a bit by GRR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, I really want to *create*.
But for now, it's all just a distraction from the real world.