How To Religion

by Lyseri on July 14, 2011

in Instructional, RP Updates

Over the past year, all of CoM’s religions have moved away from specific good or evil alignments and taken on broader domains instead.  Each religion has very broad goals described in the helpfiles, and players are encouraged to narrow down these goals to fit their character.  It’s all right to be unconventional as long as a concept fits within the religion’s broad schema.  Not all followers of a specific religion will believe the same thing or be allies!  We hope to see different sects formed within each religion since conflict makes the game more interesting.

Before you start, make sure to read the help files in the game or on the website so you have a basic understanding of the religion you want to follow.  The help files are guidelines and a starting point, but you shouldn’t limit yourself only to what they say.  If the help files state that the goal is to build a house, then you should decide whether the house is a shack or a mansion and the role you will play in the construction.  Be creative when coming up with your own ideas that fit your character’s world view.  As long as a concept reasonably fits within the guidelines, an immortal is unlikely to say no to it.  If you have an unorthodox idea, you are welcome to run it past a member of the staff, but doing so is not an automatic acceptance into the religion; it is only a yes or no on whether or not your concept fits the religion’s tenets.

Immortals will take all characters that fit their religion; they act as mediators between the overarching idea and mortals, although personal preferences may come into play depending on the character.  A character does not have to act like the immortal to be eligible for the religion.  On a similar note, high priests should also be open to various interpretations of the religion.  The lower priests will ideally become sect leaders and follow their own interpretations rather than take a wider view.

So, how do you religion?

Properly roleplaying religion boils down to 5 simple steps:

Step 1: Why is it important to my character to follow [religion]?
If you’re considering religion, you should already have a good concept of what your character values in life.  You should use that background to determine why your character ICly wants to follow a particular religion.  Choose a religion that fits your character’s established personality and beliefs rather than making up new traits so that your character crudely fits in a religion.   Do the goals of the religion align with your character’s?  Are the tenets of the religion something about which your character cares strongly?  Why, above all the other gods of M’dhoria, does your character specifically want to worship this one?

Step 2: What will my character do to further [religion]’s goals?
One of the hardest things to do is incorporating the religion into your character’s daily life.  Think about your character’s religious faith the same way you think about his or her race or class; it should have the same effect on the way you shape your character’s decisions and actions.  A great way to start is to leave offerings in your chosen deity’s shrine and to pray to the deity you wish to follow.  If you are a prospective worshiper, you might wear the symbols of the god that are described in the religion helpfiles and by the avian at the Newbie Academy.  Perhaps you will side with others who act in ways conducive to your god’s goals.  Shape your roleplay around your religious beliefs and this will come more and more easily to you.  You should always roleplay your religion in your interactions, not only when there is an immortal on to watch you.

Step 3: Start playing the part of a faithful person by doing what you decided in Step 2.
Once you’ve figured out your character’s beliefs and how you’re going to worship, you need to go out and start doing these things for your chosen deity.   No god wants a follower who receives divine power and then doesn’t hold up his or her end of the bargain.  If you want to be initiated, go out and show your faith through your roleplay, be it speech or action.  It is more important to play the part than to make promises to your god while sitting around in an empty shrine.  Being proactive will often net you the attention of your deity of choice, who may just pay you a visit. Use prayers to explain how what you are doing is for the religion and why you believe the religion is important to follow.

Step 4: Find a priest/temple and get code-initiated.
Once you have gone out and demonstrated your faith, being initiated will follow as a natural next step.  Many gods will approach followers who have shown dedication to their religion, which is why it is in your best interest to do Step 3 before Step 4.  Otherwise, having a concept as described in previous steps will guide your initiation since gods and priests will want to know those specific things when they finally interact with you.

Step 5: Continue showing your faith and doing Step 2.
Once you are coded into the religion, keep roleplaying it! We have excommunicated characters that do not continue the behavior for which they were initiated.  Being in a religion does not mean you never have to do religious roleplay again. The biggest thing to remember is that for your character, following one of the gods of M’dhoria is a major part of his or her life.

Now that you know the basics of how to religion, use the following to help refine your concepts and roleplay:

Prayers:
Do not be afraid to use the pray command (HELP PRAY).   Though it is not a chat-channel with your god, praying is a great way to show your specific motivations and your devotion.   Do not alias prayers.  We want prayers to be thoughtful and tailored to the situation at hand, not something that has become trite because the same thing is said over and over. Use prayers to explain how your actions benefit your god, why you are doing something specifically for the religion, and to show how you express your belief in your religion in your daily life. Prayers do not need to be formal and intricately planned; sometimes, simply asking for a blessing and explaining why you want it as you do something that would please your chosen god is more effective than a long speech.

Praying to Other Gods:
Although you may ask for blessings from all the gods, following a religion means that there is one god you hold above the others and with whom you wish to have a special accord.   Depending on the circumstances in which your character finds him or herself, it’s okay to ask for a blessing from a god who is not your own.  However, make sure you show special favor to your own god and do not do things that would incur his or her wrath.

Offerings:
Offerings should be used to show your appreciation of your god.  Try to be thoughtful with them and find something you genuinely think your god will be impressed by or like.  Quality matters a lot more than quantity for offerings.   While immortals do not have a record of offerings if we are not online, we do receive a message when you use the sacrifice command.  Players are welcome to leave offerings in shrines in addition to or instead of using the sacrifice command (HELP SACRIFICE) if we are not visible on the wholist.

Cleric Roleplay:
Gods provide clerics with divine power to help them further the religion’s goals through healing and raising.  If you are a cleric seeking a religion, you should consider how you believe healing serves the religion’s goals.  Clerics should not be raising everyone for trivial reasons, even if the ghost is a friend.  Clerics who do not follow these guidelines risk divine punishment and/or losing their religion.  To show raises are appropriate, clerics should do several things. Roleplay the raise, limit the people you raise to those suitable for the ideals of your god, and use the pray command. We love to see clerics give their god a prayer when they raise someone, hopefully with a brief, religious-themed explanation of why you are using your god’s power for this person or what you hope to gain for your god by raising him or her.

Religions with Inactive Gods:
We have noticed that it is hard to try to get into a religion that does not have an active priest or staff member.  From now on, the active immortals will be watching inactive religions.  If you show interest, follow the 5 steps, and demonstrate appropriate religious roleplay, we will initiate your character into an inactive religion.  If you are worried that your roleplay has not adequately been watched, you are welcome to email logs to the staff at rp@mdhoria.net.   We do communicate and make note of when people are trying to get into a religion, so if you follow the fabulous 5 steps, you will not be ignored.

Alignment and Religion:
One of the most important things to remember for religions is that ethos is not the same as alignment.  Lawful is not the same as good and chaotic is not evil.  CoM’s religions care more about characters’ ethos (chaotic/neutral/lawful) than alignment (evil/neutral/good) to allow players to have different interpretations and more complex concepts.

I hope all of this was useful to those who wish to follow a religion on CoM.  Please feel free to leave a comment here or contact me in-game to ask any further questions you may have.

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