Religion in CLOK

Discussion about the Immortals, AKA gods, deities, etc.
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Religion in CLOK

Postby Elystole » Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:47 pm

A recent discussion got me thinking about how people view the Immortals in CLOK. Religion is usually a pretty big deal, both in real life and in fantasy games, but in CLOK it is curiously absent. There's the Church of Light but, to be honest, they act less like a religion and more like a humanitarian organization. There's been a few different ways of thinking about deities in polytheistic systems:

1. Deities are inherently worthy of honor and respect for being superior to mortals like the emperor is worthy of respect for being superior to citizens, and to fail to give the deities this respect is to invite destruction. If they blessed you, it was because they deigned to do so, but usually religious rituals and worship were designed to keep them happy. If something bad happened, it was because you had failed in your duties and offended them just like how failing to give the emperor respect was a crime. This is why desecrating an idol, which was seen as the god's physical presence, was such a big deal. In this system, deities don't need mortals at all and was the Greco-Roman model.

3. Deities and mortals have a more symbiotic relationship. Deities are empowered by mortals worshiping them, and so deities perform miracles or bestow boons to keep mortals on their side. Deities are still more powerful than mortals and punish them accordingly, but they take care not to drive all of their worshipers away since the worst thing that could happen to them is for them to be forgotten and disempowered. I think I've only seen this in fantasy (high, modern, etc.) stories, which popped up well after we demonstrated that not worshiping the pantheon doesn't result in utter destruction.

3. Deities are actually created by mortals as the embodiment of certain concepts, thoughts, etc. I think this is even a more extreme version of option 2.

4. Deities are so far beyond mortals that they just don't care. Moving in the opposite direction from 2 and 3 is the idea that the deities are so powerful, so aloof, or so busy with other things that mortals aren't worthy of their attention. Not worshiping them doesn't affect them at all. They are neither offended or disempowered. These deities generally don't get involved in the world unless something seriously threatens their portfolio in which case mortals should run for cover, so blessings and other boons are also infrequent.

I know I'm forgetting some. Anyways, how do the Immortals in CLOK work? How do the common people see them? I don't think I've seen any temples or shrines to them and in most polytheistic cultures those sort of things are common.
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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby Lysse » Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:59 pm

So, I'm going to preface this by saying I'm not Staff, and I'm not an expert.


However, Lysse is a highly spiritual character. She actively worships a Druidic Immortal. And from my experience with Clok, the most active Immortals ARE the Druidic Immortals. Meaning that generally? Udemi and Dwaedn Wyr are the most actively spiritual characters (Dwaedn Wyr in particular).

For the most part, outside of the Druidic Immortals, I believe the Clok Immortals and Deities follow the "Far above humanity" bit you've detailed.
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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby Rias » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:27 am

I'm not trying to ignore this thread, by the way. I'm just organizing and writing down my thoughts on it. Sorry for the silence.
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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby Kent » Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:25 pm

Elystole wrote:A recent discussion got me thinking about how people view the Immortals in CLOK. Religion is xusually a pretty big deal, both in real life and in fantasy games, but in CLOK it is curiously absent.


This is one of the three main reasons that I play CLOK and not other fantasy games: because here I am at liberty to not roleplay a follower of a religion if I don't want to. Rias and Co., keep up the good work.
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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby Nought » Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:12 pm

It seems to me that religion in Clok should be undiscussed but well-arranged for. What I mean is that all options for religious flavors should be possible in the game and supported by its mechanics. The trick would be permitting plausible deniability at every turn, allowing for open competing theories of how each religion's powers are manifested. Is that powerful wizard an angel, or a demon, or a psychic, or just another talking sack of meat?.

Religion (as most conceive it in a fantasy game) mostly resides in the realm of the physical, therefore it can be easy to allow for various views of the physical to be religiously observed. Ultimate truth lies in the non-physical, metaphysical realm, which is always just out of reach and forever shrouded in mystery. Give players plenty of room for physical religion, make it well-arranged for; and keep the metaphysical shrouded in mystery, undiscussed by the devs.

Mythology/polytheism, pantheism, monotheism, deism, materialism, agnosticism, ancestral/natural mysticism, nihilism, parapsychology, and con artistry should all be mechanically/lore present in some form since those constitute the majority of human concepts of religion throughout history. Hit all these wickets and you have included just about everyone seeking an interesting religious experience in Clok.

One way this broad inclusivity is ruined is when someone of a certain IRL bias jumps in and brings their IRL religious baggage into the game, claiming that Clok shouldn't even account for certain types of religion I listed above. This should be handled by NOT discussing the aggrieved person's claims, but by pointing them to the wide world of religious possibilities programmed into Clock. Empower them to take their baggage into the game, in character, instead.

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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby Rias » Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:42 pm

One thing I don't want to say "this is the way it is, absolutely, no question." I think Druids know this particularly well, or at least those who played them a few years ago when a lot of discussion went on about Gaea - what/who is it? Is it alive and sentient? Is it some kind of god, is it the soul of the planet, is it some omnipresent force of nature? Is it even real?

Answer: That's up to interpretation.

What we do know is that some people undeniably have powers that influence animals/plants/nature. Some people have some supernatural powers that they believe is given them via the Gaea or Great Animal Spirits.

Is Jonathon Crowhaven real? Did he really ascend to "godhood" of some kind, or was he just a really powerful sorcerer? Is it possible he was just a folk tale that's caught on really well? Good questions.

What I will do is share some of the most prominent beliefs and organizations that can be viewed as "religious". Whether they're accurate or correct, I will not reveal, and I fully intend to cast occasional suspicion on.

Serafina: Flesh-and-bone Immortal Deity of Compassion and the Light, or mythological philosophical avatar for the concept of Thaumaturgy? Maybe she was just the first ever Thaumaturge who in turn taught St. Vito - just a mortal woman, who was later deified by the Church.

You (the players) will never know for sure. Otherwise, it wouldn't be any fun.

So I guess one thing you can take from this is that, if there really are superior Immortals/Gods, they don't seem to often deign to walk among mortals. Tales and legends may be fabricated or misinterpreted. Heck, even if your character straight up sees, for instance, a raven fly in and turn into wraith with six glowing blue eyes - is that Malfant, or is that just a powerful wraith that likes to take the form of a raven? A tentacle reaches up and snatches a sorcerer from the deck of a ship. Was that Verungnr, or a kraken? You're surrounded by demons, offering desparate prayers, when suddenly a blindingly-bright figure appears and drives them off just as you're passing out from your wounds, and when you wake up later, nobody seems to know anything about your mysterious savior. Was that Serafina/one of her Aengels, or was that a powerful "mere mortal" Templar?

Rambling, sorry.
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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby Jaster » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:09 pm

Is that a flaming pile of manure, or just a powerful pyromancer who learned the powers of shapeshifting and chooses to take the form of poop?

I know the answer, but I'm not going to tell.

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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby Rias » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:14 pm

Stop stealing that friggin journal, dangit!
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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby Stranger » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:44 am

I have a question. How are all these stories of the immortals known? Is it from hearsay/rumors/player background and we assume every player just knows it when they enter the world or is it a case by case thing where some players know, while others don't? Are the stories recorded somewhere in game? If so, are these places hidden around the world or is there a central location where one could go to read up about them?
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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby Isiaa » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:01 am

Presumably the stories of the immortals are relatively well-known since at some point some of them/their cults had a fairly good influence over the area. One would probably hear children's stories, see plays etc etc.

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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby jilliana » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:51 am

I did wonder if any PC's had shrines if not a few here and there built to encourage the worship of an immortal. Personally I would love to see a few built by residents of a small hamlet or two.

I have the feeling that something like a PC-made shrine wouldn't be frowned upon for the most part. After a time people are able to obtain enough objects to make their shrine or means of worship fairly believable.

Leaving a lot of the religious aspects of the game open for interpretation seems to add an interesting element. There is room for creating conspiracies, questioning beliefs and that little bit of religious-type convfit that gets people going even IRL.

One thing that I have been thinking about is membership in the Church of Light. I often wonder if there is a character who although not a Monk or Templar, does still follow the beliefs taught by Serafina and considers themselves a member of the church.

It would be interesting to start a bit of RP to find out who exactly worships what deity and why.
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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby Avedri » Thu Jun 19, 2014 6:27 am

jilliana wrote:I did wonder if any PC's had shrines if not a few here and there built to encourage the worship of an immortal. Personally I would love to see a few built by residents of a small hamlet or two.


Some already exist.

jilliana wrote:One thing that I have been thinking about is membership in the Church of Light. I often wonder if there is a character who although not a Monk or Templar, does still follow the beliefs taught by Serafina and considers themselves a member of the church.


I've always RP'd that Octavia attends weekly services (we never really got a good definition of what happens during the week) for the Church of Light. I would love for there to be some kind of player-driven prayer service or meditation time hosted. But it just makes sense for a Viali to continue their faith even if they aren't directly associated with the Church.

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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby preiman » Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:55 am

I have a character that is attempting in his own way to honor the church. though i doubt he considers himself a member, he likely considers such things better than him.
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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby Xzean » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:42 am

I just wanted to add that I would love to see how the various populations see Crowhaven. Rumors, stories, etc.
Last edited by Xzean on Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby Rias » Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:09 pm

I don't know much about Crowley. I thought he was a newer PC - has he already got a religious following? Wow.

Or did you mean Crowhaven?
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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby Xzean » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:45 pm

Watch as I edit it to seem like I typed the right name all along!

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Re: Religion in CLOK

Postby Acarin » Mon Sep 29, 2014 11:29 am

Xzean wrote:Watch as I edit it to seem like I typed the right name all along!


Aleister Crowhaven? Creepy.

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