Play the Time Period

Anything to say about roleplay? Want to share a story? This is the right place.

Moderator: Wizards

Posts: 137
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:44 am

Re: Play the Time Period

#21 Post by Melendil » Tue Dec 29, 2020 7:00 pm

The time period of Geas is 1196 AA. It's a period of time that is remarkably similar to our dark ages but it isn't them. This sort of debate comes up from time to time in D&D circles as well. Off the top of my head, I recall a paragraph describing cultural attitudes towards sex, gender, and sexuality in Waterdeep causing all manner of hysteria.

For me, the core principle should be this: if you argue characters should or shouldn't behave a certain way based on comparison with a point in earth's history (unless your intention is specifically to recreate that period (such as during a Call of Cthulhu 1920s era game for example)) you're doing it wrong. Our characters have no notion of earth or its history. Their motivations come from their world and their experiences.

If the Taniel church opened a casino, I wouldn't argue that they shouldn't do it because medieval European churches wouldn't have stood for it, I would argue that a god of Order wouldn't stand for people profiting from chaos. People have already pointed out numerous inconsistencies with earth history of a comparable time (but overlooked sewers, really history buffs? Stop slacking :D), but that's inevitable. Forostar is wildly different in many ways. It operates on utterly different natural laws. Even something like the life spans of different races is going to have a marked impact on the way those cultures develop.

Geas lore does have holes in it, but so does ours. History rarely more than a one sided opinion of events, some bits are just lost all together. Even the concept of a strong universal Christian church is rather at odds with history which is replete with multiple cults, factions, phases, and heresies. Some were tolerated, others were persecuted. The prevailing church/religion/philosophy was generally the one favoured by the rulers or at least the people likely to make your life miserable if you didn't agree with them. Holey lore is a good thing though. It allows the players to have an impact on the society they're a part of, as they should. PCs are exceptional characters rather than average. They should be trend setters and change makers, the outliers, the memorable, the freaks, the noteworthy!

One thing I will always find peculiar though is people trying to play atheists. People trying to stay out of the affairs of the gods is fine, but people who don't believe in them are just deluded. I mean...they literally bring you back to life. Angels and demons are running around. Their existence is incontestable. It'd be like not believing in chairs. Their nature is perhaps debatable, at least until someone interviews one of the deities I guess :D

Posts: 533
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 3:16 am
Location: Europe CET

Re: Play the Time Period

#22 Post by ferranifer » Wed Dec 30, 2020 7:11 am

About atheism and worship:
I've always found it weird that the game says that you worship a specific god, specially because it happens even if you completely ignore religious practice. It can even happen by invisible means too, like spending time with a fervent follower of a god. This is why I've seen it as an expression of the gods favour toward you (which is how NPCs and other mechanical means express it!) meaning that you might not care about the god but the god still somehow holds some sort of claim upon your soul. This message made more sense when you could type "worship Taniel" and become a Tanielite. It makes less sense now that you can obtain favour on a god without actually wanting it, caring for it or doing anything devote-ly.

My non-clerical characters tend to express it this way: "I don't care much about the gods, but it seems SoAndSo favours what I do. *shrug*"

As for monotheistic worship, and the point of this post: Geas is a polytheistic setting. All gods exist. Denying the existence of any of the gods is madness, the signs of their existence are plain for all to see. But you don't have to see the gods as perfect, all-powerful and all-seeing entities. For a very powerful mage (this is something that keeps coming up) a god is merely an extremely powerful mage and we theorize about the origin of the gods and the extent of their power regularly. At that point worship seems rather moot. In fact, simply using magic reduces your favour in all gods and you tend to end up as worshipping nobody. So, gods exist but not everyone has to pledge themselves to them, to any of them in particular or to any god at all.

Obviously society in Geas is heavily affected by religious cults/churches and ideas, but there is space for people to care less about worship and practice and have other sorts of thoughts, specially for characters with "higher" education.

To clarify, to me worship is a purely an expression of how much power a god gets from your actions aligning more closely with its portfolio than with other gods portfolio. "You worship Taniel." does not mean you only give power to Taniel, or that your character even chose to do that. I wish the sentence was changed to "Taniel favours you." (funnily enough this is how it is expressed for clerics, who should actually be the ones worshipping a single god with complete devotion). "Worship" also makes no sense when you spend it for resurrection and what not. It makes much more sense that the god favors you less when you spend its power. Maybe I'm nitpicking on the language used (worship versus favour) but I think there is an important difference in who has the agency, the gods or the character.

Something that I've always found a little weird is how Churches and Clerics don't seem to care about this very much. E.g. if you are an elf that doesn't worship Taniel you should expect the Tanielites on your case, your mere existence is anathema. But if you are an elf that claims that you don't care, you should have all Churches on your case, because you're clearly an insult to the divine order of things (and a potential missed source of power for their god). The number one duty of Churches should be acquiring new followers. It is literally how gods obtain their power.

User avatar
Posts: 199
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 1:33 pm

Re: Play the Time Period

#23 Post by Allalltar » Thu Dec 31, 2020 10:38 am

I briefly wanted to give our stance on this matter. We consider homosexuality (which is very old, not a 'modern' thing, history check) to be a normal part of the world of geas and as such reject any attempt of someone else telling people to 'stop doing that'. Of course your character is free to have their likes and dislikes, but there should be a limit easily deductible by common sense. This is one of these live and let live moments, people.

(We're late for this, for which I do blame the holidays, many good answers have already been given in this thread already, but we feel its important to make an official statement)

Allalltar on behalf of the geas wizards.

Posts: 196
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:42 pm

Re: Play the Time Period

#24 Post by Lauriert » Thu Dec 31, 2020 7:06 pm

My point was never "don't roleplay 'x' " It was "I think more people would be opposed to 'x' IC than what is being shown."

And at the same time, don't harass anyone OOC for playing an intolerant character. Never happened to me, but I've seen it.

Post Reply