Storytelling, Tabletop and Pop Culture
This is a bit of a catchall before we bring Good Faith Effort to a close with next week’s final session of tips and advice. So through the previous sections (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) we’ve hopefully built out a more nuanced and interesting fantasy faith. Now let’s add those last few details to fill in the gaps and finish off our fantasy faiths.
What is a fantasy faith without magic items? Divine items are all through the various lores of TTRPGs. The biggest, strongest weapons and items of a campaign setting are often divinely created or blessed. These are great centerpieces for epic quests or intense conflict. Even minor faith-centric items can be great ways of bringing a character’s faith into visibility and giving it a touch of magic can provide a mechanical demonstration of the benefits and themes of the faith.
1. An ancient weapon features centrally in the stories of your faith. What is it? Was it used to help or harm? Is its location still known? Is it still intact?
2. A saint or prophet of your faith had a wondrous magical relic. What does it do? What form does it take? What would it mean if someone found or took it?
3. The remains or effects of a founder of your faith were preserved. What state are they in? How are they preserved? Where are they and what role do they serve?
4. Some members of your faith carry a certain sort of blessed item. What is it? Where do they come from? How is one earned and what does it signify? Are they coveted by others or only usable by believers?
Use the material you’ve generated so far to match the items to your faith. A peaceful faith probably doesn’t have a famous Vicious Greataxe that spews blood but the followers of a lightning deity might have a legendary javelin of lightning. A highly nationalistic faith might have a crown as a holy relic and a divine bureaucracy might have a divine ledger or holy scales. If you’re not sure how to get started, look to the extremes. A small set of prayer beads that can cast Guidance or Light one or two times a day. A legendary Holy Avenger reskinned for your faith.
And give these items an active role. A PC shouldn’t just stumble on a legendary item. Think Arthurian, legendary nearly impossible quests for incredible rewards. Maybe an item has to be reforged or re-consecrated through some complex series of tasks. All of these will help keep your plot moving and give your faiths an active role in the world.
And of course a faith is going to have various kinds of holy sites. This can be a very broad category. Almost all faiths will have some sort of local site or institution. Remember to draw on the themes you’ve been establishing up to this point, link these points back to principles, figures and history you’ve developed so far.
1. A theophany or some other sort of significant manifestation of your faith appeared in a certain place. Why was it significant? How did it change that place? Is that place a common destination of pilgrimage or forbidden? Does your faith have an institution or outpost there?
2. Your faith has a central temple or institution. Where is it located? Why is it there? What purpose does it serve? Has it ever moved or changed?
3. Your faith is famous for its institutions of learning. What do they study there? Where are they? Are they open to the public or are they only for acolytes or clergy? How long do students remain?
4. Your faith has unique sites for regular worship or gathering. What makes them special? How common are they? Are they open to the public? What sorts of spaces do they contain and what activities take place there?
Filling in these different levels of faith locations will give you a sort of map layer for your faith. Not every city will have a religiously important location for a given faith but scattering them around your world will give your religious players a source of resources, information and even difficulties when they enter certain regions. Maybe a well known apostate has to hide their face in the same town as their faith’s main temple or an acolyte can seek shelter in a local worship place (this is actually built into the Acolyte background, how are they going to use it if you don’t provide for it?). Think of these locations as seeding scenes for future roleplaying scenes and quests for characters of faith.
Hopefully these various pieces over the last few months have helped you build out a cohesive faith (or maybe many!) to populate your fantasy world and make it feel rich and alive. But we’re not done yet! Next week we’re going to talk about some general advice and some pitfalls to avoid as you bring your faith to the table.
How are your fantasy faiths coming along? Are there any more topics you wanted to know about? Let us know in the comments!
Hi! I'm Colby. DM, Nerd, IRL Cleric and Writer.