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Theology Question
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TAG Wiggy

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know no offense was intended. I just wanted to play the neutral party for a moment and make sure Hellfire knew he's free to comment as he wants.
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Hellfire6A

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Theology Question Reply with quote

TAG Wiggy wrote:
(So, to your points...

1) Why no Devil? Because, in Necropolis, man is responsible for his own sin. A man is evil because he chooses to be evil, and because he is morally and spiritually weak. In the same vein, God does not make a man good---he shows him the path to righteousness, but he doesn't push him along it.

4) The nature of miracles has deliberately been left a gray area. Whether God grants them or whether they are a manifestation of personal faith affecting reality is player choice, not something forced on anyone. Neither is wrong in the game reality.

I hope that's of some use to you.


Thank you for your quick response. And I very much appreciate your candor.

The existence of the Devil does not free men from responsibility for sin. His pride was the conduit for sin to enter God's creation. Adam and Eve still suffered the consequences for their sins even though the Devil "tricked" them. Meaning it was not a trick, but man's own vanity that made us want to be God that got us booted from Eden.

I do appreciate the way you have left things open for WMs to play the setting differently, namely leaving the nature of Miracles open. But, that also means that we may need to be left a bit more in the Dark about the Rephaim as well Razz
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TAG Wiggy

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Theology Question Reply with quote

Hellfire6A wrote:
But, that also means that we may need to be left a bit more in the Dark about the Rephaim as well Razz


Point taken Smile
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Hellfire6A

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

derfinsterling wrote:
Just wanted to throw a warning out there, folks, since religion is always a touchy subject.

The discussion has been very civil so far, offering valuable insight in the theology of the game setting.

Let's keep it that way, s' all I'm saying. Otherwise I'll have to close the thread. Wink


I just want to say thanks to everyone reading and posting on this topic so far. This is a touchy subject...and I have been very impressed by the maturity and openness of the responses.
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Hellfire6A

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cripple X wrote:
TAG Wiggy wrote:

In all fairness, Hellfire's comments are valid. I could have been more tactful, but as a non-Christian, it honestly didn't cross my mind that I'd be causing offense.


Of course they are! In no way did I mean to insinuate that he doesn't have a right to feel the way he feels. I certainly understand why Hellfire feels the way he does, I mean I was horrified by the descriptions as well. The only place Hellfire and I differ, it seems, is in how we view the setting in light of that horror. That's all I was trying to say. I wasn't trying to disparage his feelings or opinions in the slightest.


No fears. I wasn't insulted by your comments. The real war of Good v Evil is more horrific than even the most twisted Game Designer could create. So the horror portion has it's part to play. My only objection was to the Soul Cloak etc. was because it is recognizably anti-Christian. But, it seems that Wiggy is cognizant of the error and didn't do it intentionally. That said I am very happy with the way everyone has responded to the posting. I really like the setting and have enjoyed the forum immensely.
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daran

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could this be the first discussion touching on theological concepts in an internet forum that hasn't degenerated into name calling? Got to say folks I'm impressed and pleased to be among such company even when we disagree. This must be proof that this dark setting attracts mature players!
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Jordan Peacock

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way, I just wanted to clarify (since I couldn't seem to do it to my own satisfaction with 2 or 3 edits on my own post) that although I am likely to tweak the setting if* I run a proper Necropolis campaign, I in no way wish to disparage the Necropolis setting or the way it's presented. I think it's an awfully great place to start tweaking from. Smile

I'm also a fan of Daniel Rudnicki's illustration work - not just his characters, but I adored the cover of the Necropolis book, with the crumbling neo-gothic architecture in the background. He really set a compelling scene, as far as I'm concerned, and I love the richness of the setting (and even all the possibilities for further expansion off the beaten path, with the various Union corporations, mercenaries, etc.).

I'm a bit torn as to whether, if I were to run a proper campaign, I'd either tweak things and replace the 3rd Reformation Church with a futuristic Catholic Church (a challenge to do convincingly since I have a couple of players who are Roman Catholic, while I'm not), or play it as written but account for the possibility that some of my players might want to play Christian characters in that setting.

If so, should they have powers? Are powers directly connected to faith or belief? Do they have to reconcile their private faith with the fact that "for the greater good" they're working alongside people who would persecute them for heresy if the truth were found out - and yet they seem to be blessed by the use of holy miracles as well? I'm sure it could lead to some interesting roleplay, and it's given me a lot to mull over, but I'm not sure how it'd play out in my group.

Option 1 is probably easier for me. That would be, The Church is The Church, the Christian trappings aren't merely trappings, and there's no active persecution of Protestants and non-Christian faiths - only Rephaim "heresy." Other religions may have their own theories/explanations on why the Church gets miracles - possibly claiming it's just some sort of secret nanotechnology. The Inquisition would be an unfortunate sign that pragmatism and desperation have caused far too many compromises on morality to be made - but, hey, we're only human. There would still be room for heroic PCs (some more faithful, some more pragmatic) fighting off the zombie menace.

I have players who can handle "dark" settings to a certain point (e.g., short campaigns of Call of Cthulhu where we KNOW most of us will die or go insane by the third session), but not ALL of them go for that sort of thing. It wouldn't really require all that much work on my part. Even with such monsters as were mentioned in the recent Update ... well, I can just ignore certain parts of that background narrative, or leave the offending creatures out entirely.

One thing's for sure, though: No taking down Lucifer incarnate with holy buckshot, or any such crazy thing! I'll do a few things for the sake of roleplay, but I don't want to take the "literal spiritual warfare" angle too far along that campy route. Wink Besides, I'm sure I can get plenty of mileage just out of fighting zombies with machineguns.

P.S., I hadn't read about the Soul Cloak before (I've only skimmed the Update) this discussion. It's shaky theological territory, but I've had games before where there are ghosts, but there are also Christian characters. How to reconcile the idea of a ghost, given Biblical theology? (And in a setting like this, and with my players, it's going to come up.) How to explain why a priest would be a fighter of undead without having a crisis of faith?

The sort of hand-wavey explanation I've toyed with in some settings is that a "ghost" is only a sort of echo of a person - not that person's actual spirit. (This precludes the possibility for having meaningful conversations with a "ghost," of course, in such a setting.) I'd probably use that sort of hand-wavey explanation for it if I bothered including a Soul Cloak in Necropolis. Either that, or it just exists by the same sort of rationale that other Rephaim weird science devices work - it works by draining "life force" in some arcane way, but does not preclude the passage of one's everlasting spirit to its final reward.

Or, maybe I could go the route of reasoning, "Life in this universe does not necessarily end when your heart stops beating." (It just isn't very pretty if you're still hanging around.) But that's bound to be pretty shaky as well.

Oh boy. Fascinating topic, but a messy one! I have to say, I'm kind of grateful this discussion came up here before I have to have it pop up with my players in the middle of a session. Wink
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Hellfire6A

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jordan Peacock wrote:
I'm a bit torn as to whether, if I were to run a proper campaign, I'd either tweak things and replace the 3rd Reformation Church with a futuristic Catholic Church (a challenge to do convincingly since I have a couple of players who are Roman Catholic, while I'm not), or play it as written but account for the possibility that some of my players might want to play Christian characters in that setting.

If so, should they have powers? Are powers directly connected to faith or belief? Do they have to reconcile their private faith with the fact that "for the greater good" they're working alongside people who would persecute them for heresy if the truth were found out - and yet they seem to be blessed by the use of holy miracles as well? I'm sure it could lead to some interesting roleplay, and it's given me a lot to mull over, but I'm not sure how it'd play out in my group.


I am playing the 3RC as a Catholic (Original meaning is "Universal") Church. All Christian denominations reunited when the war with the Rephaim started and it seemed that only the Church could successfully tap into the power needed to thwart the evil minions of the Adversary. I play the powers as coming from God and used by faithful but fallible and fragile humanity. That way we avoid the having faith in your faith question altogether. My game also has star travel. I envision the Orders as occupying a No Man's Land between the Necros (My Rephaim) and the decadent and dissolute empire. So there will be cyborgs and Aliens etc. But, the timeline is similar to the period in which the Huns were eyeballing the Byzantine Empire across a desolated and wartorn Balkans c.500AD. The powers of the Necros comes from the extra dimension that Humanity uses to achieve faster than light travel. It's called the Warp. And no I never claimed to be original. There is also a Prime Directive analog called the Denebian Accords that allows for mideval style play as well. (Actually allowed me to use Tomb of Terrors from Pinnacle for a scenario).

My apologies to all the purists out there but my youngest is already clamoring for Mechs...argh! But, on a positive note some of the edges from the new update have made him really happy.
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C.A.Pryde

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It's shaky theological territory, but I've had games before where there are ghosts, but there are also Christian characters. How to reconcile the idea of a ghost, given Biblical theology? (And in a setting like this, and with my players, it's going to come up.) How to explain why a priest would be a fighter of undead without having a crisis of faith?


Just had to jump in here on the technical point. The Bible actually explicitly acknowledges the existence of ghosts and the possibility of their reconnecting with our world in two places. In 1 Samuel 28, King Saul visits a medium and asks her to call up the now-deceased prophet, Samuel. The text says that Samuel returned, but that he was ticked about it, saying "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" Samuel proceeds to pronounce Saul's doom, saying, " tomorrow you and your sons will be with me" (full story at 1 Samuel 28:7-25, quotes are from New King James Version).

"Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me" has got to be one of the all-time great ghost lines.

The more well-recognized incident, of course, is the transfiguration. Luke records that "two men talked with [Jesus], who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory" on the spot. The disciples with Jesus at the time could apparently see and recognize these two individuals, since Peter jumped right out and suggested building "three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah," at which point God speaks from a cloud and the two men disappear (full story at Luke 9:28-36, quotes are NKJV).

Also, in Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells a parable wherein two characters die, and one of the characters asks that the other be "sent back" to witness, although this request is not granted.

So the point of all of this is that ghosts, spirits, and even the possibility that death can be reversed (Jesus and Lazarus, but Paul and Peter also raised people from the dead in Acts) are actually core concepts for Christianity, and the Bible seems to explicitly acknowledge some capacity for human spirits, which Christians believe are eternal and distinct from the physical body, to move back and forth between this reality and another type of existence, albeit rarely and perhaps not of their own volition.

Likewise, the Bible also makes pretty specific allowance for the faithful being granted power--and for that power disappearing when faith wavers (think about Peter walking on the water . . . until he gets scared and stops watching Jesus, at which point he suddenly starts sinking).

Like I said - I'm a preacher's kid. Forgive me the Sunday school lesson if you didn't want it.

Take this away, though: the Bible is a complicated, interesting, and often disturbing text, with interesting incidents like this one that get buried in the sheer volume of material but which have pretty significant implications.
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Hellfire6A

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

C.A.Pryde wrote:
Quote:
It's shaky theological territory, but I've had games before where there are ghosts, but there are also Christian characters. How to reconcile the idea of a ghost, given Biblical theology? (And in a setting like this, and with my players, it's going to come up.) How to explain why a priest would be a fighter of undead without having a crisis of faith?


Take this away, though: the Bible is a complicated, interesting, and often disturbing text, with interesting incidents like this one that get buried in the sheer volume of material but which have pretty significant implications.


That's funny I just sent JP a PM and said the same thing you just did about there being evidence in the Bible for ghosts. Thanks CA for laying it out clearly and succintly.

The Bible is all the things you said and more. Thank you.
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SlasherEpoch

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not to stir the pot...

It's my belief that the "theology" in Necropolis is just that: theology with quotation marks around it. I think it was developed in order to support the brutal world that Wiggy created. There's bound to be some inconsistencies, especially 300 years into the future - look at how much our understanding of faith has shifted in the last 100 years.

Add in a tyrannical government with a powermad dictator (the 3RC in a nutshell) on top of that, and you've got a formula for a Church that changes whatever fits their bill.

It's interesting that people of faith still thrive in the setting, and equally interesting that the Rephaim have latched onto the one thing people hold dearest - their souls - as another tool to manipulate.

In a nutshell, I think that's good storytelling. Wiggy has created a world that shocks and compels us to act, whether to destroy the demons within it or find new ways to explore it (even through changing what he wrote down, that's still exploration).

My religion? I'm an atheist. Theatre is my religion, so storytelling is something I respect a lot. Necropolis, as written, does it for me.
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Ed Wetterman

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:46 pm    Post subject: Wow Reply with quote

Folks, this has been a great thread to read. I love it when such a touchy subject can be openly discussed without hurting feelings or starting a flame war.

This has been a subject that many gamers, especially those 40+ in the states have dealt with since childhood. RPGs and Christianity.

I am a Christian. I'm a very active Methodist.

And what do I write?

Modern horror tales of demons and devils.

To me it's all about creating a good story. Playing a good GAME with friends. That being said, I have 13 and 7 year old sons who game, and I'm careful about what I expose them to at this age.

Common sense, personal responsibility. That's the core of my beliefs on the subject.

AND....

I LOVE Wiggy's World!

Ed Wetterman
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TAG Wiggy

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Wow Reply with quote

Ed Wetterman wrote:
Ed Wetterman
12 to Midnight guy


For folks who don't know, Ed is a fellow Savage Worlds licensee. Thanks to our differing product range (rather than competing for the same genres), the 12tM crowd and the TAGgers are all good buddies.

Welcome to the forum, amigo!
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siefertma

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While the 3RC no longer believes that Jesus was the "son of god," what role does Christ play in their theology, if any? Prophet? Earthly Messiah?

And as long as we seem to be keeping a tally, I'm a ex-Catholic/born-again atheist/humanist who takes a cultural and historical interest in religion.
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TAG Wiggy

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

siefertma wrote:
While the 3RC no longer believes that Jesus was the "son of god," what role does Christ play in their theology, if any? Prophet? Earthly Messiah?

And as long as we seem to be keeping a tally, I'm a ex-Catholic/born-again atheist/humanist who takes a cultural and historical interest in religion.


No role at all officially. The theology is yours to shape.
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