Author Topic: May 2020: Call Ye The Faithful  (Read 527 times)

stormwell

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May 2020: Call Ye The Faithful
« on: May 04, 2020, 10:57:42 AM »
Kinda befitting that I'm writing this on Beltane (the Gaelic May Day festival), particularly since this month I'm writing about the Celtic inspirations for the Commonwealth's culture and society in Frozen Skies. Been thinking about religion with regards to the Commonwealth and I've had some ideas kicking around in my head. It draws on Celtic polyteism but it incorporates some ideas I've had about how it could've evolved.

http://www.utherwaldpress.com/2020/05/may-2020-call-ye-faithful.html

Jubal

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Re: May 2020: Call Ye The Faithful
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2020, 07:20:45 PM »
This is cool :) You don't subscribe to James Holloway's patreon, do you? His Patron Deities podcast has some really interesting stuff on using Irish mythos in RPGs.

I think what I'd like more of/would be interested to see in this would be more about how it all works socially. Like, ancient religion tended to work as an exclusionary social status thing: Greco-Roman religion was an essentially public, civic matter, whilst northern European religions probably had a lot to do with the status of druidic or priestly castes socially. One of the things that made Christianity so successful was that it inspired competitive, financed piety - it was a marker of social success and moral rectitude in late Antiquity and the Middle Ages to spend money building religious structures or giving land to the church. Whilst some settings overplay those sorts of social aspects of religion and ignore the importance of actual piety, I think that thinking about society and ritual aspects can be really good for gameplay in RPGs.

So three thoughts-as-questions:
> How do social elites interact with faith? Do they donate publicly to keep groves, or ostentatiously turn up in a huge car to leave massive oversize offerings? Or if there's some mechanism that counters that, what is it? (Maybe for example they competitively build private chapels to show off to each other and consider the "common" temples as kind of vulgar).
> What social class do keepers tend to be? Do elites look down on them or up to them/what level of respect-for-office do they get?
> What kinds of ritual are performed where? Like where and how would you perform a marriage or a funeral? Are there civic occasion rituals, feasts, or offerings, and who gets to perform them? This has a lot of scenario potential - the disruption of ritual events is a very good plot driver and can tell players about the society at the same time).
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

stormwell

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Re: May 2020: Call Ye The Faithful
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2020, 01:18:32 AM »
This is cool :) You don't subscribe to James Holloway's patreon, do you? His Patron Deities podcast has some really interesting stuff on using Irish mythos in RPGs.
Truth be told, haven't even heard of him let alone his Patreon.
Onto the questions.
How do social elites interact with faith? Do they donate publicly to keep groves, or ostentatiously turn up in a huge car to leave massive oversize offerings? Or if there's some mechanism that counters that, what is it? (Maybe for example they competitively build private chapels to show off to each other and consider the "common" temples as kind of vulgar).Donations; depends really on the family/person.
Some would be more devout and regularly contribute towards upkeep of chapels and groves, others may make the odd and sizeable donation for publicity sake.

As for private chapels, they tend to be built if a particular family favours a certain deity. For example, a family/clan with a strong warrior/military tradition may have chapels devoted to Morrigan.
What social class do keepers tend to be? Do elites look down on them or up to them/what level of respect-for-office do they get?Keepers generally come from a middle or working class background, those from the upper class aren't unheard even if they tend to be the second or third born child of the family.

The Keepers' standing is probably similar to that of a parish vicar, at least respected for tending to the people's spiritual needs. Though families aligned with a particular deity are more respectful of Keepers who are aligned with the same deity.
Course, if a social elite is disrespectful to the Keepers they could find the people being rallied against them.
There are also Keepers who served or do serve in a semi-military capacity as either medics or battle chaplains, these probably receive the greatest respect....then again it's hard to disrespect a crazy priest running around with a battleaxe.

What kinds of ritual are performed where? Like where and how would you perform a marriage or a funeral? Are there civic occasion rituals, feasts, or offerings, and who gets to perform them?Marriages aren't that much different from our own, obviously incorporate more Celtic style traditions like hand-fasting and the like. Traditionally held in a chapel or grove, but nothing says these have to be the only places.

Funerals are different, being week long affairs. Keepers (typically low ranking ones) would wash the deceased and then stay with them, burning candles night and day. A more senior Keeper will lead a wake a few days before the body is interned or cremated. At sunset on the final day is the actual burial or internment takes place. Though there are extreme circumstances where the funeral may take place in a shorter period.

Festivals are basic the Celtic festivals, along with days throughout the year devoted to a certain deity. The important the ceremony or service, the more senior ranking Keeper leads but those of a lower rank may occasionally be given the 'honour' to head a particular ceremony.