Faith and the Realms


  • Storyteller [DM]

    Disclaimer: This is Player Opinion, you may disagree as you wish!

    I hope to help clerics in the game (there are a few, not saying you're doing it wrong, I am merely saying to keep this in mind when you go about buffing people) spread their faith and be more effective about it

    I am going to discuss two things today, One: Why Clerics Exist. Two: Faith in the Realms.

    Why Clerics Exist
    The gods are concerned with mortals for one primary reason: The more they have, the more powerful they become.

    It is a simple premise, and thus allows for greater competition amongst the gods for the finite number of mortal souls.

    This is why gods have clerics, clergy, and churches to gather faithful to their flock and thus allow themselves to be empowered.

    Clerics are the investment by which the gods ensure they have faithful, and to carry out their will in the mortal world.

    KNOWING THIS:

    A cleric who does not ACTIVELY PURSUE CONVERTS is not a GOOD CLERIC!

    I repeat, a cleric who does not pursue followers for his god is failing on the MAJOR PREMISE FOR WHICH THEY EXIST!

    The cleric who hands out blessings to Those who are not of his faithful should be demanding Tithe , Prayer, or some sort of service for this! Like, forcing them to promise to come to a sermon, or consider a future baptism to their faith. A public acknowledgment of their gods power, etc…

    Even among Allied Faiths there will be competition! The Ilmateri Cleric will not think it low to try and convert a Tormtar, nor would the Tormtar think it wrong to convert a Tyrran to the Faith of Torm. Their goals may be similar, but their gods still desire followers, and what better follower is there than ones who already share similar ethos and are willing to pay your god lip service to their close affinity?

    For example,

    A Tormtar may be particularly merciful to his foes and a Ilmateri cleric comes along and goes "Broseph, Torm ain't for you, your heart is golden and pure while Torm's is hard and steel, follower the Lord of Mercy and you can find a better path to enlightment."

    Clerics are there to recruit for their gods and spread their faith, and Maintain the faith and prevent Heresy, Blasphemy, and FALSE from occurring.

    Heresy is a tricky issue, and I'll discuss it later with people who want to know more about it (Ultimately the DMs decide whether the heresy is legit or goes to far)

    Further, a cleric should be educating everyone he meets (whether they are willing or not) about his faith, and should be urging everyone to give prayer to their god. However, this is not an opportunity to copy and paste what you learned in the realms books, why don't you take the opportunity to try and expand your god into everyday life and take the opportunity to try and promote the aspect of your god that is involved in their everyday life?

    For example, Loviator: The pain of childbirth is one of the most horrific things in the world, yet it creates new life. From pain, comes new life.

    Loviator is the goddess of child-birth.

    Bam, you made your Goddess Relevant to every woman in the realms.

    Be creative, and don't be afraid to stretch things beyond their usual dogma. If you can twist something to be relevant to your deity, you're doing a good job as a cleric.

    Faith in the Realms

    All clerics consider their god superior to another. Divine rankings HAVE NO BUSINESS interfering in the pursuits of Faith. The Loviator Cleric would not Consider herself/himself SUBSERVIENT to a Banite Cleric. Nor would a Malarite Cleric Consider himself subservient to a Talassian Cleric (they would probably try to kill each other!)

    The Realms are intensely pantheistic, yet everyone still has a patron deity, sailors often dual prayers to Umberlee to spare her wrath and Valkur for favorable winds. A noble might offer a prayer to Siamorphe to raise in the ranks of nobility and then offer a quieter prayer to Gargauth to amass wealth and power.

    The sailor would still probably hold one of these gods above the other, the noble would probably still follow Siamorphe, but pay lip service to Gargauth.

    That said, there is a very clear difference in What you know as a player and what your character would know as an inhabitant of the realms.

    Mystrans claim ALL magic (Arcane and Divine) comes from the WEAVE for which she tends.

    Frankly, no faith (aside from Azuth, Savras, Velsharoon) would even come close to acknowledging the truth of this. Any Priest who Acknowledges the power of another god over their own Is essentially saying, "Yea, my god is this god's whipped bitch, you're better off following this god because he'd tell my god to do what he wants."

    This is not a good start. Every priest should be espousing the independence of their god from another one (unless they are famously linked, like, the Triad, and the Deities of Fury (and even then, a Malarite Priest may try and kill any other faithful of the Gods of Fury)) and preach the virtues of their faith.

    Read above, and you'll understand what I mean by these clerical rivalries, there is only a finite number of souls in the realms at any given time, that means a finite amount of power to divide amongst the gods, and each god wants the most. The competition for followers is intense and ultimately, anything a cleric does should be benefiting his god (or the church, which is usually the same thing) or allow his god more followers in the future.



  • viewtopic.php?t=100467

    I'd like to point something out. There is a difference between a cleric, and a priest or priestess. Also, I'd like to point out that while I tend to agree that the amassing of followers is somewhat the goal, how you do so is a reflection of your character, their faith, and the deity. Not everyone is going to run out preaching to the heavens, demanding passerbys listen to them. Some will intimidate to convert, someone will preach, and others will lead by example.

    Also, I think the view that your deity is superior to all others is a falisy. Some, but perhaps not all, will have an understanding their deity has a role within the realms. That doesn't mean that they are better, but that the role they serve in the cosmos is one you connect with. I can totally see a cleric of the Red Knight listening intently and respectfully to say a Helmite, but if something conflicts with their dogma they will stand by their deity.


  • Storyteller [DM]

    I am not saying there are not multiple methods (there are) of gaining converts, I am saying that a cleric who does not get converts is a failure of a cleric.

    They are not buffbots, they are living embodiments of their deity's teachings (Interpretations apply) and should show it. A follower of Mystra who does not attempt to convert wizard to Mystra or share knowledge amongst other wizards at a particular wizard's discovery would be failing this duty.

    A Cleric of Hoar who does not attempt to enact vengeance at the smallest of slights against his person is arguably a bad priest.

    A Cleric demonstrates the power of his deity by showing he is SUPERIOR to another deity. Why worship Kossuth when all I have to do is pour water over his fire? A Cleric of Kossuth needs to be able to prove this.

    Clerics require, honestly, another level of roleplay than one could expect from a sorcerer, fighter, barbarian, etc… they are natural leaders and should take the fore in their faith and attempt to lead their faithful.

    A cleric truly shines when he has a posse, after all!



  • You're describing a "perfect world" in which all professions perform without flaw. Guards would not have opinions, hesitation or ambition; they would dutifully serve their masters and uphold their laws. Paladins would be crusaders for justice and fight evil without gray-zones ever existing. Politicians would be honest and hold the true needs of the people to their heart, forgoing their own ambition.

    What you're describing as a well played cleric is an incredibly boring one. And even to disagree further; I don't think a cleric's job is to gain converts. That's the job of background NPC clerics. PC clerics may choose to do so as well; but clerics are not lay-priests; they are the holy warriors of their faith.

    What the best performing person of a certain role would do, has nothing to do with how a character (in any literature or game) should do. Flaws and failures are far more interesting than a server full of positively perfect (to their god) clerics who are all the same and never have disagreement.

    I only feel the need to write such an argumentative post because I can't help but think that the entire message here is a bad one.



  • @AWESOMEMAN:

    You're describing a "perfect world" in which all professions perform without flaw. Guards would not have opinions, hesitation or ambition; they would dutifully serve their masters and uphold their laws. Paladins would be crusaders for justice and fight evil without gray-zones ever existing. Politicians would be honest and hold the true needs of the people to their heart, forgoing their own ambition.

    What you're describing as a well played cleric is an incredibly boring one. And even to disagree further; I don't think a cleric's job is to gain converts. That's the job of background NPC clerics. PC clerics may choose to do so as well; but clerics are not lay-priests; they are the holy warriors of their faith.

    What the best performing person of a certain role would do, has nothing to do with how a character (in any literature or game) should do. Flaws and failures are far more interesting than a server full of positively perfect (to their god) clerics who are all the same and never have disagreement.

    I only feel the need to write such an argumentative post because I can't help but think that the entire message here is a bad one.

    You are off the mark with the highlighted text. PC Clerics, while not "lay-priests", they are still the most visible face of a deities faith most adventurers ever see and I agree with the OP on this topic. PC Clerics should be trying to convert the adventurers they are with to try to pull strong people to the faith to empower it. The "holy warriors of the faith" are Paladins.



  • A demand of prayer in return for the blessings of a respective deity is about the only thing I think should always be done. Otherwise, shrugs It's just how you choose to play your cleric.



  • When on a quest with allies that i know help my clerics dogma i buff them without the demanding prayers or such.
    If someone requests restoration or raising then i demand a prayer i will even help them out in a tell along the lines of prayer my deity would want if they are struggling.

    Preaching isn't fun standing listening to a sermon isn't fun but exhorting Lathander as you blast undead to dust and emoting a prayer and motions as you cast a hammer of the gods works very well and is fun also.



  • @AWESOMEMAN:

    You're describing a "perfect world" in which all professions perform without flaw. Guards would not have opinions, hesitation or ambition; they would dutifully serve their masters and uphold their laws.

    Actually, he's not. He specifically pointed out that people will worship multiple deities. The politican that prays to both Siamorphe and Gargauth. He's describing layers, internal conflict of worship, and the pantheistic tendencies of a realm in which gods are not a matter of philosophy, but one of fact.
    @AWESOMEMAN:

    Paladins would be crusaders for justice and fight evil without gray-zones ever existing.

    Uh.. yea? That's pretty much it. Or they fall. Simple.
    @AWESOMEMAN:

    What you're describing as a well played cleric is an incredibly boring one. And even to disagree further; I don't think a cleric's job is to gain converts. That's the job of background NPC clerics. PC clerics may choose to do so as well; but clerics are not lay-priests; they are the holy warriors of their faith.

    He's not saying spend your days on the streets preaching to the heavens. He's saying always be using creative methods to attract people to the ideology of your faith. Be it by example, through words, deceit, manipulation, action, intimidation, soul bartering, saving lots of damsels, etc… If you think actively trying to pursue ways to bring people into the fold of your faith is boring.. you probably shouldn't be playing a cleric. You should probably be playing a lay follower of your chosen patron.

    Even the DM's bullet point what a cleric should be doing.

    All of these are pretty much exactly what Spiffy said, he just detailed it a little bit to give people some fresh ideas.
    @AWESOMEMAN:

    What the best performing person of a certain role would do, has nothing to do with how a character (in any literature or game) should do. Flaws and failures are far more interesting than a server full of positively perfect (to their god) clerics who are all the same and never have disagreement.

    He never said all clerics of a faith should agree, or not argue, or be cookie cutters. He even pointed out how allied faiths should probably be recruiting each other. How can you not get conflict and interest from that?

    @ArchAngel_G:

    I'd like to point something out. There is a difference between a cleric, and a priest or priestess. Also, I'd like to point out that while I tend to agree that the amassing of followers is somewhat the goal, how you do so is a reflection of your character, their faith, and the deity. Not everyone is going to run out preaching to the heavens, demanding passerbys listen to them. Some will intimidate to convert, someone will preach, and others will lead by example.

    You're right. Priests/priestesses are the ones in the church, tending the flock, watering the plants, etc…

    Clerics are the ones out there, in the trenches, in the danger - showing their deities power. That's why "Cleric" is a PC class and "Priest" is not.

    I'm saying this because I think Spiffy is spot on. He's basically repeating exactly what's in the DM posts on clerics, the Journal Entry on clerics when you log in, etc... He's just shining light on it from a different balcony.



  • I think the difficulty of converting characters in game would leave most characters falling into your category of bad clerics. I prefer the DMs definition that a good cleric is one the lives the dogma and spreads the word of their god, rather than by how many converts they can rack up. I'm not saying that trying to gain converts is a bad thing, just that it shouldn't be the definition of what makes a good cleric on this server.



  • @Jared:

    I think the difficulty of converting characters in game would leave most characters falling into your category of bad clerics.

    I didn't read this as, "Convert people or you fail"

    I read this a, "If you're not TRYING to convert people, you fail." – or at the very least, getting your patron some decent lip service.



  • I can't say i appreciated the "play your cleric like i tell you or you fail at playing cleric" message.
    I certainly do not think that clerics should go all "wololo" on every new face they see. They're not door-to-door salesmen or insurance agents. Yes, you can play a missionary. But you don't have to. And Ilmaterits trying to seduce Tormites into abandoning their patron? Really? If such backstabbing conduct was normal do you think these churches would even continue working together?
    And while i can perfectly see Waukeen's or Tymora's clerics charging people for heals and buffs, Ilmater's or Lathander's cleric would definitely abhor such practice for to heal the needy and protect the weak is their deity's dogma.
    So i'd just suggest that you toned down the "if you're not doing it like this, you're doing it wrong" attitude, because there are really many ways to play a cleric.



  • Are we even reading the same post? Nothing in there says there is only one way to play a cleric. To me, it says, "Clerics should be actively seeking to spread their religion and dogma - and searching for converts, in whatever way the personal interpretation of your deities dogma says for you to do so."

    If your cleric isn't actively looking to spread his/her faith, it is a pretty poor cleric IMHO. That's not saying what ways you should go about it, or that anyone is trying to dictate how you should play. Be creative, unique, individual. Use your deities dogma as a base - and go forward with your characters personal interpretation.

    The DM's themselves have said this -exact- same thing. Right Here.


  • Storyteller [DM]

    @Direfish:

    I can't say i appreciated the "play your cleric like i tell you or you fail at playing cleric" message.
    I certainly do not think that clerics should go all "wololo" on every new face they see. They're not door-to-door salesmen or insurance agents. Yes, you can play a missionary. But you don't have to. And Ilmaterits trying to seduce Tormites into abandoning their patron? Really? If such backstabbing conduct was normal do you think these churches would even continue working together?
    And while i can perfectly see Waukeen's or Tymora's clerics charging people for heals and buffs, Ilmater's or Lathander's cleric would definitely abhor such practice for to heal the needy and protect the weak is their deity's dogma.
    So i'd just suggest that you toned down the "if you're not doing it like this, you're doing it wrong" attitude, because there are really many ways to play a cleric.

    I am telling people to be more proactive and not play buffbot clerics. Because, that is the worst kind of cleric and makes me CRINGE. I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO ASK WHO YOUR DEITY IS It should be worn like a NAME. Unless your god has trickery domain, and YOU have trickery domain, there is no excuse for Hiding One's Faith if you're a cleric in an environment that is not hostile, or semi-hostile (maybe if you'd get lynched for saying you were a cleric of Torm in the Zhentarim, but even then, I would be iffy).

    Yes, the Church's are allied, but the prime directive of a Cleric/Priest is to find FAITHFUL for their god. If a Ilmateri sees a Tormtar wavering in his faith, you can be -damn- sure that Ilmateri is going to snatch him up, not reaffirm his faith in a different god. Reaffirming faith is the duty of the man's own clergy, he isn't going to work against his own faith and say "bro torm is for you keep following him". There is a reason he is a cleric of Ilmater and not Torm.

    While there are alliances amongst the gods, it does not mean their followers need to get along! For example, Dumathoin is allied with a MIND FLAYER DEITY, yet, their followers will happily war with one another. It is not Unheard of for a Cleric of Torm to be executed by his own clergy for heresy (Which is a pretty fucking big deal in the Tormtar Church, since it's tantamount to treachery.) Yet, the Ilmateri Church may harbor the 'heretic' because they see the Tormtar are being tyrants, and may weaken the political power of the Tormtar Church in a region and allow for their own encroachment. Ilmater is #1 in the eyes of Ilmateri. Torm's interests cannot compete with the Lord of Mercy's needs.

    Faith in the realms is not cut and dry. It is a complicated hierarchy of one upmanship, while the gods may direct their followers to work together (Dwarven Pantheon, Elven Pantheon, etc…) their faithful do and WILL conflict.

    Clerics of TEMPUS, for example, are often on BOTH sides of a battlefield, and sometimes Kill Each other. They are the same faith.

    A Tormtar priest in service to one Lord may well deliver the death blow to a Tyrran Cleric.

    Your characters have agendas, if these agendas further their gods political (and your personal) power, reputation, by all means, your character will have the divine blessing to pursue it.

    My character, currently, is a Priest of Jergal, and while Jergal is currently ALLIED with Kelemvor, and even SERVES him, my PC denounces the Kelemvor faith as HERETICS, BLASPHEMERS, and LIARS. Why? Because he believes Jergal is the Lord of Death, and is seeking to convert Kelemvor's followers away from him and to Jergal.

    It may annoy Kelemvor, but unless Jergal tells him to stop, I doubt my PC will give a damn about what Kelemvor thinks.

    You are certainly FREE to play a cleric that adheres to the dogma like a fly to fly paper, doesn't talk anything beyond emoting prays and buffs people and quietly walks off while relics of his faith are being defaced and defiled…

    But then no one will remember that boring full plate cleric who power quested to level 10. He'd be forgotten in a week when a cooler, more involving cleric comes along and actually has an agenda to pursue. This is a server where conflict and story-telling takes precedence. Do I want to hear about the boring cleric who just buffed people, as opposed to that awesome cleric of Torm who beheaded his own faithful for betraying him in the heat of battle?

    :?

    As for Ilmateri clerics charging people tithe- if you are a rich, wealthy noble who can afford the care, I am 100% certain the Church of Ilmater would charge a fee as a 'donation' to the poor and needy, and if you cannot pay, they'll ask you to volunteer at the hospital. They are doctors, not idiots, they need the medicine for the less fortunate. ((See Mass Effect 3, Huerta Hospital dialogue of a Salarian Doctor refusing to not treat patients due to limited supplies, but instead, offers to ask the wealthier patients for 'donations' so those less fortunate can be treated.))



  • Spiffy makes some really good points on how to play an interesting and authentic cleric, and I recomend people pay attention to the message he is trying to get across.



  • I think I'd be more willing to accept the message if it came as a friendly advice rather than "do it like this, otherwise you're doing it wrong and your character is a boring sod who just buffs people".
    Certainly there is more than one way to play clerics. Certainly clerics can have different agendas and pursue them in different ways.
    I, for once, see "missionary" clerics who go about their deities non-stop like automatons and try to convert everybody in their reach as fairly boring and one-dimentional. But at least I don't point fingers at people and don't call their rp stale.



  • @Direfish:

    I think I'd be more willing to accept the message if it came as a friendly advice rather than "do it like this, otherwise you're doing it wrong and your character is a boring sod who just buffs people".
    Certainly there is more than one way to play clerics. Certainly clerics can have different agendas and pursue them in different ways.
    I, for once, see "missionary" clerics who go about their deities non-stop like automatons and try to convert everybody in their reach as fairly boring and one-dimentional. But at least I don't point fingers at people and don't call their rp stale.

    Nobody said, "Actively pursuing converts" meant doing the same thing over and over and over and over. And nobody said "actively pursuing converts" meant not to do anything else ever. You're getting super wrapped around one part of a very tl;dr post, and letting that get in the way of the message.

    @Mr.Moloch:

    Consider ways to make sermons more than standing and preaching. What can your character do to make "interactive sermons" as B-rock suggested? Malarites would do hunts, Helmites vigils or patrols, priests of Tymora may lead people into dangerous locations like the EW Cemetery, Cormyrian Mountain Bear Hunting, or exploring the Underdark all the while telling stories about famous adventurers.

    Several people raised the fact people don't view a cleric's power as anything more than "buff bot", so don't encourage that. Ask people to pray to your god before you buff them on a quest, don't heal someone who is laying dying if they've insulted your god or refused to pray before the quest (assuming it won't violate your god's dogma).

    Ensure people know who your deity is. At least mention them during quests or discussions.

    If you can't find a way to make doing the exact things the DM's said a cleric needs to be doing fun - maybe a cleric isn't the class for you to play on a heavy RP server? They're not easy classes to portray successfully.



  • Clerics (especially ones with more directed gods) are really hard to play, say if you publicly state your a cleric of a god who is anti Mystra you have 1/4 of the server who won't look or quest with you based on you chosen such a character.

    I do agree Clerics should seek special methods if it suits you we had some amazing clerics in the past that really really loved to play with and against them, COA Liz and with her "Ice Priestess of the Flynn" Jason the humble Ilmater. Compyr_Whisperer with his Zhent War Cleric. and It's not just big events like balls or sitting in the guild hall listening to them preach it's little things such as questing with them, such as destroying the Shrine at the end of "X- Scripted quest" or their characters mannerisms. Clerics are awesome sauce if you can play them right

    I do not, I always enjoyed henchman type characters and clerics tend not to play that role traditionally



  • If you can't find a way to make doing the exact things the DM's said a cleric needs to be doing fun - maybe a cleric isn't the class for you to play on a heavy RP server?

    Well.. I don't play a cleric. And i don't think i will seeing how i'll have to "do the exact things the DMs said". How is this even fun? And people telling me i won't be able to generate fun as a cleric before they even see me try? That's just not right.
    I was not offended by contents of this thread but rather the condescending, dismissive and elitist tone of some of the posters. :?



  • JUST DO IT!, worse case is you fail, best case is you bring something amazing and epic to the server, read up on your god, figure out your character motvations, desires, mannerisms..etc roll him up have fun



  • Spiffys post has some really good ideas in it. If you don't take it as an attack on you personally (I have no idea why several people seem to have done so) and just take a few of the ideas on board, there's some useful stuff in there.


Log in to reply