Now that I am at the point of having to start deciding on the less macro details, I have two basic options. Start with the races, nations and cultures and then design a religious system to fit that (as I did with Tòlanar); or to design the religions first.
I have decided to go with the 2nd option for now, for two main reasons.
- I have only hazy ideas of what I want for the nations, races etc. and having an idea of the religions of each area will help me crystallize those ideas as it will have a major influence on the cultures of the area.
- Because that is what interests me at the moment. This is an important aspect of world creation, work on what interests you at any given moment so it stays fun and doesn’t become too much of a chore. It is generally best to follow your inspiration rather than some sort of timetable or preset plan, especially as each idea developed for one aspect can and will influence the other.
PRELIMINARY RELIGIONS OF DJAPAR
So far I have come up with three ideas for religions which have a degree of similarity. They have the following things in common
- They all believe in 3 main entities/powers (Good/Neutral/Evil)
- They all believe that creation is some sort of cosmic battle between the good and evil powers, with the 3rd power generally being somewhat aloof from the conflict.
RELIGION 1 (This is my idea for the “philosophical” religion for area D).
No actual deities.
This is a pantheistic religion that views creation itself as the supreme being and sees it as eternal, it has no creation stories.
It views this all-encompassing supreme being as made up of two mirror image principles; one creative (light/truth/spirit/law/good) and one destructive (darkness/lies/material/chaos/evil).
Each of these principles is manifest in a number of opposing influences.
People (& priests) worship the supreme being, not the principles or influences.
Alignment is seen as a reflection of the degree to which the creature is subject to each of the influences and thus are not seen to be in actual conflict (not sure just how this will work in game terms).
The good/evil conflict is seen as naturally inherent in the nature of creation and the neutral is seen as the sum of them both.
RELIGION 2 (Area A or E)
This religion believes in a demiurge (female/neither positive or negative) who has two twins, one positive and the other negative, who between them are responsible for creation, which exists as a result of their struggle for supremacy and thus inheritance of creation.
This religion may have sub deities that are actively worshiped along with the three major ones; or maybe only the three major ones.
The Good/Evil conflict is a direct one between the sons and the neutral is the detached aloof creator god (who may be “dead” in some way, mostly because I like the appellation of “The Dead God)
RELIGION 3 (Area A or E)
This one believes in two co-equal uncreated demiurges (one positive and the other negative) each of whom was unaware of the other. Each created their own creation (Upper planes/Lower planes?). Various sub-cults differ as to if they were created at the same time or which one was created first.
These two creations overlap/intersect (I will have to come up with some esoteric rationale – perhaps an accidental collision or something like that). Where they overlap is the prime material plane (and possibly the neutral planes), and is seen as a sort-of pantheistic sub deity (neither positive or negative). All things are seen as being composed by of all three of these things in varying degrees (Example: Fire can be a good thing (warmth/light/cooking), a bad thing (wild fires/house fires/being burned), or both (the way the fertility of land is renewed by a wild fire)).
This religion very likely has a number of sub deities that are actively worshiped (closer to the usual D&D model), who are seen as servants of the three main ones (who may not be actively worshiped).
The Good/Evil conflict is between the two demiurges and the neutral (the 3rd entity) actively struggles to maintain a balance between them (without which it and it’s creation would not exist as it requires both).
REALLY ROUGH IDEAS FOR THE AREA B&C RELIGION
So rather than try to syncretize two of the above religions, for this area I am thinking of making one that blends the influences of the Djapari theological tradition with elements from Tòlanar.
I am thinking of having one major deity for each alignment here. At the moment what I am thinking of is to have a detached male demiurge who creates 3 female sub-deities (LN/NN/CN) with each of whom he has a set of twins (1 good and 1 evil) or just a single child who has a good and evil aspect (maybe this can be a sort of heretical variant).
Another possibility for this idea is to move it to Area E and just make it 9 deities (maybe three sets of triplets?) who are either all either children of some creator god, or maybe something weirder like three deities with three aspects each. Another possibility would be to have three sets of twins (L/N/C one of each being G/E) who each have a single child (N). Or maybe both options, which gives a source of religious conflict in Area E.
Please note that these are obviously very rough outlines and will obviously need a lot more work and may change to one degree or another as I flesh them out, so please let me know what you think and share any ideas you may have with me.