Clerics - Brainstorming

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Mr Dark
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Re: Clerics - Brainstorming

Post Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:36 pm

I have started a post but there is a lot there so it will become a series. For now, I will post s few bits of the info. Use this however you wish; be it inspiration or otherwise.


First off, the Church of Deus has three main branches: Orthodox, Reformed and Mystic. The branches have similar root beliefs but have been growing apart due to theological conflicts. Each branch has its own structure and way of handling administration, teaching and access to holy texts. There is some conflict between the branches however, out and out war has been avoided so far.

Here is a bit about each branch:

Orthodox: The Right and Holy Orthodox Church of Deus has a rigid hierarchical structure based around a council of Bishops. These Bishops are lead by a Grand Bishop who is voted in by his peers and rules for life unless he abdicates or is removed from office by a 4/5 majority.

The teachings of the Church are very rigid, ritualistic and legalistic with none but a chosen few allowed to access texts beyond the basics. Priests are chosen by local Bishops and are subjected to a taxing curriculum that lasts for years. Only a few make it to full priesthood.

As can be assumed, the Orthodox Church is corrupt. The extent of the corruption is unknown but there are rumors of manipulation of heads of state, hiring of assassins and misappropriations of funds. In some areas the Church is viewed as an organized crime syndicate ran by Priests.

Reformed: Seeing corruption of the Orthodox Church and careful study of source texts lead a group of Bishops to break away and form the Reformed Church of Deus. The Church has done away with many of the ritualistic and legalistic teachings as well as making a common language 'Bible' for all to use.

Leadership is based on a council of seven Archbishops who are co-equal with one another each having one vote. This council is voted on every seventh year and no Archbishops can serve more than three terms on the council. Local regions are broken up into parishes headed by an Archbishop with three Bishops serving as executors.

Teachings of the church are less rigid and ritualized with structure based on the needs of the local populace. Priests are chosen from those with a desire to serve the needs of the parishioners and show a talent for learning the core beliefs of the church and all the implications that go along with them.

Corruption in the church is low but present. Some Archbishops have been caught abusing their office and meddling in temporal affairs ( a practice that is forbidden by the Church). However, the local councils and grand council work to quickly remove those that practice corruption from office.

Mystic: The so-called Mystic Church, there is no official name, is a loose-knit group of believers who practice various paths that seek a type of unification with Deus. There is no overall structure only allied councils that work together toward common goals.

The faith believes that personal revelation guided by the scriptures is more important that the rituals and traditions of the other two branches. The Church is structured along a master and apprentice model. A teacher who is considered ready by local elders is given a student to teach the ways of the faith. There is usually no more than three apprentices to one teacher.

The structure has been surprisingly effective and has lead to a growth in the Church that continues more than three centuries after its formation. Clergy of the Orthodox and Reformed Churches have been surprised at the number of parishioners that have converted to this new church. As well they have been shocked that such a loosely administered church can have the same beliefs when there is little to no connection between congregations.

Corruption is hard to judge in this Church given how it is organized. Though a few have been known to go down a dark path with their teaching and break from the core of the beliefs of the Church.


Sorry about the wall of text but that was as brief as I could explain things. I may try to get a draft of sorts together to post here with better info.
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shadowmane
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Re: Clerics - Brainstorming

Post Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:14 pm

Wow, lots of stuff I can use there. I like the idea of the Mystics. However, it brings it too contemporary for me. My setting is closer to the reformation, and therefore, has less mystical influence. Much of the mysticism in Christianity has entered from India and the far east, though Eastern Orthodoxy does have its own mature mysticism centered at Mt. Athos.

With the Church of Tah, I'm aiming for somewhere around the Baroque period, which is roughly 150 years into the reformation.

By the way, if you do your own supplement, you might not be able to use the "Church of Deus", as I believe that was used by "7th Sea" and its D20 successor "Swashbuckling Adventures". Though I could be wrong. That just might have been the "Church of Theos".
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Mr Dark
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Re: Clerics - Brainstorming

Post Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:53 pm

I got the idea of the mystics from reading this article while doing some other research. I knew I wanted to use this somewhere and the mystic branch was born from it. I liked the idea of a loosely organized church that was more free-form in their beliefs and seeking answers beyond the packaged answers the more traditional branches use.

Originally the Mystics were to be a part of both churches that sought a reconciliation from the split. As time went on I saw them more as a separate branch with a few working in the more traditional branches but keeping a low profile.

I checked on 7th Sea and it's The Church of Theus. So I'm safe there. If I do a supplement I am going to have to be careful with it. It would be dealing with some themes that some may find touchy especially since I am using real world analogs to flesh things out.

BTW, I am having a great time with this. I haven't found many that are interested in doing something like this.
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Metroknight
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Re: Clerics - Brainstorming

Post Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:00 pm

There is an interesting thread that mirrors what is being discussed here. The thread started about 2 yrs ago. : http://animeolympics.net/ffc/showthread ... pid=184116
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Mr Dark
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Re: Clerics - Brainstorming

Post Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:04 pm

I had forgot about that. . .the author is a bit sketchy though. I heard he dropped being Julian Grimm, changed his name and is now posting on some open source RPG site. . . :lol:
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Mr Dark
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Re: Clerics - Brainstorming

Post Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:07 pm

I have the draft started and am working on the history of the church at the moment. I am hoping I will have it finished up in a day or two.
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SmootRK
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Re: Clerics - Brainstorming

Post Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:40 am

I would like to see the material organized so that the Players are generally on the side of good or at least neutrality, but the religious types are generally "good" at least for the player character choices.

Classes:
Cleric - I could see removing this altogether, making room for an even more militant sort (Sohei below)
Priest (cloistered or otherwise non-militant) as the default religious class instead of Cleric.
Sohei (ideas from OA, rather an alternate for Cleric (or Paladin). A Warrior of Faith)
Druid (I like as an alternate faith, but I find the idea that they are simply another sect intriguing too (Franciscan-esque))
Rune Caster (as another faith, animism/totem-ism/pagan runes).
Monk - certain religious orders only, and generally not from the Monotheistic sects - their monks are largely lay-people and not martial arts mystics - probably called brothers (monastery) or sisters/nuns (nunnery) for these.

Going along with this I like the idea that the greater division (orthodox vs. reformed vs. independent sorts) have different sorts of rules/benefits associated with each. I think some spells (and stuff like magic items) specific to each division would be appropriate. However, I also think that some mechanism for conversion between divisions is likely (same deity after all)... think Catholic Priests that leave to become Lutheran or Episcopalian (and the more rare Protestant (Baptists, Evangelicals, etc) sorts becoming Catholic).

I think also, that Saints are interesting sorts for even more distinction. But, perhaps Saints are the perk of being part of the the Orthodox church, while the other divisions do not give any sort of homage to Saints. Choosing a Patron Saint (or Angelic patrons like St. Michael the Archangel, St. Gabriel the Archangel) requires even more restrictions/behaviors/requirements in exchange for certain benefits (one or more combat/spell/ability sort of bonuses, as well as certain role-play things like assistance from peers, reputation, housing from friendly sorts, etc).

I would like the non-monotheistic religious types to take the alternate classes such as Druid, Rune-Caster, others most of the time. Priests/Sohei are suitable if modified enough to be very different. Like mentioned above, the player side of things is generally benevolent types (or at least neutral types with druid/rune caster/etc), and pretty much evil religious types are in the realm of the Game Master.
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Sir Bedivere
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Re: Clerics - Brainstorming

Post Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:55 pm

The way I run the cleric is that he / she only gets their daily ration of miracles (healing, etc.) if faithful. Consequently, it is almost impossible for the church to be corrupted; all you have to do to check whether or not a cleric has been corrupted is to bring someone for healing.

Now, there can be political factions within the church resulting from differences of opinion in how the church should be governed, etc., but even then, if a dispute got disruptive, one side or the other would lose the god's favor and its clerics would lose all their powers. And that means there are no splits in the church, either. Competing factions, yes, but the deity keeps the church in line, so there's never too great a need for reform.

All that said, there could well be times when a cleric or a part of one religion secretly sells out to another power; that other power would provide miracles and a lot of confusion could ensue until the original deity sorted it out. That could take quite a while, even a lifetime or two. But, it would get sorted out, and the defecting cleric or faction would be reconverted, expelled, or killed.

Because that's how it works in my game, backgrounds that have splits and large-scale corruption aren't useful. I know there is the split in the Church of Tah, but in my campaign only one of the two is the true church; the other has sold out to a rival power that is powerful enough to protect it and continue trying to pass it off as the true church. Eventually, there will be a reckoning.

And, in case anyone was wondering, no, none of this reflects any part of my religious beliefs in the real world. It comes from my understanding that clerics in the game get their daily miracles directly from their deity. It makes no sense to me for a deity to give someone miraculous powers if that someone hasn't been a faithful servant.
Last edited by Sir Bedivere on Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sir Bedivere
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Re: Clerics - Brainstorming

Post Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:20 pm

One more type of cleric that I think we need is the prophet / oracle. There must be some way for the deity to speak directly to the followers.
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