Sunday, November 20, 2016

Religion in a Space Fantasy RPG

Running a fantasy roleplaying campaign that takes the PCs into space presents some interesting complications when it comes to the role that divine powers play in the game. After all, a god who is worshiped on one world might be entirely unknown on another. What is more, two gods from different planets could have the same spheres of influence, even though they're supposed to be universal in the scope of their influence. With that in mind, presented below are a handful of deities who are more interplanetary in their scope and scale.

Universal Architect
In a polytheistic culture, this faith can cause some conflict. After all, it maintains that a single entity is responsible for the grand scheme of the universe. Even so, that concept is open to interpretation. Some followers maintain that there is only one god, and that worship of any others is little more than superstition. Others contest, however, that additional deities are those who necessarily implement the Architect's plans like laborers on a construction site. Even so, that comparison is not exactly flattering for the other deities. 

This deity's symbol is either a compass and square (in many different cultures) or a set of hieroglyphics (in the desert region from which Ptah originated). Clerics of the Universal Architect wield a warhammer, which is emblematic of building the universe based on the deity's plans.

Sun God
On many worlds, the sun is an obvious symbol of a good influence. After all, it brings the light of day and the warmth of summer. For that reason, this god is the epitome of all that is good, making him a favorite patron of paladins and other such shining paragons of virtue.

The Sun God's holy symbol is a circle with a dot in the middle, often rendered in gold. Clerics and paladins who favor this deity wield the morningstar, the shape of which is suggestive a sun (and that the faithful often pair with a heavy shield emblazoned with the sun emblem).

World Mother
Similarly, depicting the earth as a female deity seems like a logical notion. After all, it is her womb that seeds germinate, eventually yielding all manner of useful herbs, crops and other plants. What is more, the influence of the sun on the warm growing season and the cold winter leads to their being connected as husband and wife. While she is considered to be good and beneficent, she is not so concerned with the balance between law and chaos. 

The followers of this goddess wear a symbol consisting of a circle with a cross through it, which represents the four cardinal directions with which the world is defined. They wield the quarterstaff, a weapon that grows out of their goddess.

Moon Goddess
In contrast to the World Mother, the Moon Goddess is an enigmatic figure. After all, she mostly appears during the night, when darkness envelops the land. What is more, her face is ever changing, implying unpredictability (at best) or duplicity (at worst) in her character. Those who've traveled the spacelanes recognize a similarity between her and the World Mother, which has led to a belief that she is that deity's sister. It is believed, however, that she is unwilling to accept the Sun God's affections, and thus remains aloof and mysterious. Finally, the connection between her phases and the ties has led to her association with Homeworld's oceans and seas, and her nocturnal character means many link her to the animals who only come out at night. 

Followers of the Moon Goddess—among whom the elves are perhaps the most devoted—usually wear a crescent-shaped symbol made of silver. Their chosen weapon is the elven curve blade, which bears similarity to the crescent moon.

The Void
Those who study the heavens at night focus mainly on the points of light, but there are others who obsess with the black that lies between them. Indeed, some become obsessed with this cold darkness, and thus come to see its embrace as the ultimate and inevitable fate of the galaxy. Thus they become obsessed with entropy and all of the harm that it can bring. Given this nature, cults of the Void tend to be secretive in nature and small in their scope. 

The cult's symbol is a black disk that represents the cold dark of space. Its clerics wield starknives, which embody the notions of chaos and destruction.

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