Christianity



Send comments and/or criticism to Simon E. Phipp
Created On 22 October 1997
Last Updated On 22 October 1997
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 1997

Possibly one of the most difficult areas in Alternate Earth is how to handle Christianity in RuneQuest.

The RuneQuest game is a low magic-oriented game. It assumes that everyone has access to a certain amount of magic. Standard Christianity, however, teaches that magic and sorcery is evil and is not compatible with Christianity proper. How to overcome this problem?

I assumed that Christianity as a single all-encompassing religion is unsuitable for game purposes. Therefore, I went for Saint Worship as a solution.

In the Alternate Earth I was planning, Christians worshipped Saints in the same way that pagans worshipped their own gods. So, I treated Christianity as a Pantheon of Saints, bound together more tightly than normal pantheons, but a pantheon all the same. This meant that soldiers could worship a martial saint such as St. Michael or St. George, Healers could worship St Brigid or even Mary. It also fitted with the idea of Patron Saints and with the Catholic hierarchy as I saw it.

Thus, Saint George is the Saint of mounted knights. He grants True Spear, Shield, Bladesharp and Protection and teaches Spear attack, Shield Parry and Ride Horse. St. Michael would grant Shield, True Sword, Fire Blade, Bladesharp, Protection and Strength and would teach Sword Attack and Shield Parry.

I had a list of Saints who existed before the 4th/5th century AD and what their functions and powers were supposed to be - what miracles they had performed, who they were patrons etc. I used this to create a sketch cult for each of the major saints. Unfortunately, this is all in Ireland, unless I have lost it, and cannot be reproduced here. It is fairly easy to do, though.

Divine Intervention

This has to be fairly minor. Only those initiated to a Saint may call for Divine Intervention and they have a standard Initiate’s chance. Priests may have a 1D10 Divine Intervention at the GM’s discretion. Saints may only grant Divine Intervention in their own sphere, so St George cannot heal, Mary cannot give weapons help. Sometimes, Divine Intervention may be available from the Higher Source - but this should be at twice cost and can come in any form. Often Divine Intervention will come as help from another - a soldier coming to help, even an angel appearing. All should be decided by the GM. Resurrection should be very difficult, only those Saints known to have resurrected people should be able to grant resurrection.

Saints

The Saints themselves also presented a problem - what is miraculous when people are casting spells and seemingly performing miracles all around? The conclusion that I came to was that Saints had to be performing their miracles from Source, so they obtained their spells/powers directly from the Holy Ghost, from Christ or from God. This meant that they found it harder to gain those abilities, as they were not simply sacrificing for spells. They would effectively have to HeroQuest for the powers.

This would not be important, save for the fact that during the Age of Arthur several Saints were alive and practising. St Patrick and St David were around, although at slightly different times. St David had, I believe, a Saint teaching him and maybe had another as a friend, but I cannot remember their details.

Saints may call for Divine Intervention from Source, at normal cost. This can perform miracles over and above the norm.

Comment

This is not meant to be anything like normal Christianity - it is just a model for the Christianity extant at this time, for the RuneQuest game. This model becomes even stranger when the Holy Grail is touched on. Please do not read anything more into this than a games construct meant to make a more interesting game of RuneQuest.