Religon in the Traveller universe.Many paths.

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Religon in the Traveller universe.Many paths.

Postby BenTOGS » Wed May 04, 2011 5:57 pm

Religon in the trav universe is something that has always needed exploring. Can you imagine the variations of the Earths faiths cast among the stars and 3000 years of history? Much less all the new beliefs from othrr cultures and races?


I recently ran a rescue op involving missionairies being held hostage on a red zone world (based on recent events off Somalia).


Any neat examples from the readers? I have the Children of earth books.[/b]
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Re: Religon in the Traveller universe.Many paths.

Postby IanBruntlett » Wed May 04, 2011 6:12 pm

BenTOGS wrote:Religon in the trav universe is something that has always needed exploring.
Drama thrives on conflict :) With religion you can have conflict between sects of a faith, direct conflict between different faiths and conflict between faiths and philosophers and conflict between faiths and scientists and/or humanists.

For info about faiths, you could borrow from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion . For a different point of view see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_dawkins

Hope this helps...
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Postby Jame Rowe » Wed May 04, 2011 7:45 pm

Generally I presume that we start moving away from religion as we start going out among the stars.

Nevertheless, there'll always be a few backwards folk, and they'll be willing to fight.
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Postby FreeTrav » Wed May 04, 2011 9:25 pm

My biggest gripe about religion in Traveller is that when I've encountered it, it's always been 'disconnected' from the society that putatively believes in it - and more often than not, in an effort to avoid stepping on any player/referee sensibilities' toes, it comes out utterly silly-to-the-point-of-stupid, such as deifying Elvis, Michael Jackson, Madonna, or some other entertainer who was good-but-not-really-timeless-and-turned-out-to-be-psychologically-self-destructive.

Frankly, I'd rather see a recognizeably-based-on-Christianity religion that has turned the Eucharist into a patently offensive true cannibalistic heretical ceremony, but which has some relevance to its society of believers.
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Postby rust » Wed May 04, 2011 11:11 pm

In my current setting the only religions which still have many followers
are the Asian religions which do not have a deity and its relations with
humans as their focus, for example Buddhism, Daoism and Jainism, and
a very general kind of Pantheism, which considers the entire universe
and especially all life in it as sacred. The Abrahamitic religions are still
powerful back on Earth, but they did not make it to the stars, because
their common deity is too strongly defined by its relations with the hu-
mans there, with their sacred sites like Jerusalem and Mecca, and so
on.
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Postby Sturn » Thu May 05, 2011 1:55 am

Jame Rowe wrote: Nevertheless, there'll always be a few backwards folk, and they'll be willing to fight.
Please be nice.
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Postby SSWarlock » Thu May 05, 2011 3:37 am

The Traveller Adventurer touched upon the "Mother Earth"-like religion on the world of Pysadi in order to throw the players a curve. That and one of the little book adventures.."Divine Intervention' or something like that which covered a midnight "hit" on a religious dictator. Not much detail except the minimum necessary to get the players rolling though.
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Postby Richard » Thu May 05, 2011 12:19 pm

You might want to check out the BITS Traveller 101 Religions Book. Not one I have myself but I have several of their other products which are excellent. Don't know if it's still available in print but it may be on e-bay or somesuch and there were plans for a while to produce PDFs.
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Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Thu May 05, 2011 1:13 pm

Didn't the OTU have "Imperial Catholicism" as one of the major religions? I don't remember which version of the game used that (not CT), or if it was just a fan developed thing.

There is also the Church of Stellar Divinity which has followers within the Marches.

Also, in Spica's Career Book 1, there are Clergy and Militant Religious careers, but no specific religions mentioned.

In my games, religion has been in the background, but definitely present. My current MTU has a Caliphate (Islam) and Luthrans and Anglicans as well as a general mix of other faiths.

I think it is really up to the Referee and the players to include religion (or not) as they find comfortable.
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Postby alex_greene » Thu May 05, 2011 2:42 pm

You're not thinking of the flip side of the coin.

The Devil should also have his due, and where you have one bunch of people wandering about in robes being holier than thou, and another bunch looking for their faith when they came out here and found no angels, you must of necessity also find any number of bunches of followers and leaders of the various Left Hand Paths, embracing the darkness of the mind as much as they embrace life in the darkness between the stars.

Whenever they have a religion thread on the Trav boards, they never seem to think of the Left Hand Path ...
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Postby Sturn » Thu May 05, 2011 3:04 pm

MT's Solomani Rim has a section on religions. They went the PC/safe route and made completely new religions that Humaniti discovered once they lept to the stars.

In a non-OTU campaign, I always thought myself that real-world religions would be a great source of role-playing material (religious NPCs, fighting between religions, faith vs. science, morality issues, etc).
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Postby far-trader » Thu May 05, 2011 3:38 pm

In Traveller, in MTUs, I just don't see Terran divinity based faith surviving first contact. Nothing in their dogma supports extraterrestrial life. Not just intelligent life. Not just advanced life. But any life. Period.

In my OTU...

Terran divinity based faiths are sliding into oblivion early in our exploration/exploitation of the solar system as strange new life is found on other worlds. They struggle to adapt and adopt, some stretching dogma to include the new discoveries, others ignoring or denying it. The real death knell comes with interstellar travel and word that not only are there other intelligent species out there, but they are people, and they have a huge interstellar empire, older than our "civilized" Earth. Pockets of divinity based faith survive the backlash but they never recover and slowly die out. Some cults, especially those claiming extraterrestrial guidance, enjoy a small brief meteoric rise, followed by a spectacular crash.

Likewise the other human races don't have divinity based faiths.

Is there religion though? Sure. As noted it is great story tool. I like the idea of inner awareness based faiths picking up those looking for answers when divinity based faith dies, and questing further for the meaning of life in the larger context of thousands of populated worlds and aliens.

Anti-divinity? No, the devil dies when god does. Which is not the same as saying evil dies. Neither does good and morality die.

I agree the whole Church of Celebrity thing (Elvis) never really struck me as anything but tongue in cheek and more than a bit silly.
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Postby BenTOGS » Thu May 05, 2011 3:40 pm

Jame Rowe wrote:Generally I presume that we start moving away from religion as we start going out among the stars.

Nevertheless, there'll always be a few backwards folk, and they'll be willing to fight.
I hope by "backwards" you refer to fighting over religion, not the fact of people being religious. Faith, I believe (as a pretty much non-religous person) will go wherever thinking beings go. As will conflict.
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Postby BenTOGS » Thu May 05, 2011 3:52 pm

"I agree the whole Church of Celebrity thing (Elvis) never really struck me as anything but tongue in cheek and more than a bit silly."
I don"t. There really is a 'Church o Elvis'. And for a literary example of one in the space-faring future, see Walter john William's Rock of Ages novel
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Elizabeth I

Postby IanBruntlett » Thu May 05, 2011 4:38 pm

I've just remembered a quote of Elizabeth I:-

"I have no desire to make windows into men's souls"

Possibly the most sensible things I have heard about religion.
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Postby Somebody » Thu May 05, 2011 6:05 pm

As a Prussian I quote a king: "All of my good citizens should find happiness by their own means"

And with that I remove Religion from Gameplay. I use the "jokes" like "Church of the Choosen Ones" and the Illelish Religion as plot hooks but players are told "If your char believes he does so silently" and religion does not enter the game.

One to many bad experiences with religion in games during a convention had me ban religion from ANY game, including Fantasy.
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Postby IanBruntlett » Thu May 05, 2011 6:09 pm

Somebody wrote: One to many bad experiences with religion in games during a convention had me ban religion from ANY game, including Fantasy.
Does that mean AD&D's Clerics and Priests are a no-no as well?
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Postby alex_greene » Thu May 05, 2011 6:20 pm

far-trader wrote:Anti-divinity? No, the devil dies when god does. Which is not the same as saying evil dies. Neither does good and morality die.
Keep telling yourself that. :)

Shipboard personnel for millennia will insist on the existence of gremlins gumming up the works, and words and phrases such as "The Devil you say," "Give the Devil his due," "Lucky devil," "Cheeky devil," "Faustian deal," "Diabolical," "Speed Demon," "Speak of the Devil," "Go to Hell!" and similar terms will follow humanity out to the stars.

Superstitious people may throw salt over the left shoulder, take a lie with "a pinch of salt," have the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for The Devil" on their music players ("Please allow me to introduce myself. I'm a man of wealth and taste.") and sit through plays such as Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, and recitals of Milton's Paradise Lost and Dante's Divine Comedy, not to mention reading ancient Terran stories such as Marvel Comics' Ghost Rider, Hellboy and 2000AD's offering Caballistics, Inc.

Because even if people don't believe in God rewarding good people, there'll always be people willing to believe in the polar opposite. Next to the Eastern philosophies of Buddhism and Taoism, a belief in the Devil may be the only thing that survives - because, if the Referee is worth his salt, humans will find plenty of proof out there that Hell is all too real.

It goes by the name of "TL 13 battlefield."
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Postby SSWarlock » Thu May 05, 2011 6:26 pm

And don't forget the Imperium's own "Lucifer"-class Destroy Escort.
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Postby far-trader » Thu May 05, 2011 6:33 pm

alex_greene wrote:
far-trader wrote:Anti-divinity? No, the devil dies when god does. Which is not the same as saying evil dies. Neither does good and morality die.
Keep telling yourself that. :)

<snip>
None of that is religion though. Most of it doesn't even qualify as superstition in current usage.

The old adage "There are no atheists in a foxhole." (and similar) has never been true :)
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