Dark Age of Dunland
Human Religion on Sollus
This page applies only to the religious practices and beliefs of Humans on the world of Sollus. If we choose to detail the religious practices of any other intelligent species, we will do that on another page(s). This page also should not be taken as commentary on real Human religions here on Earth; this is a game world, not Real Life. (A Note on Intentions.)
God originally created Humans on Sollus (or possibly created this world for them and brought them here from somewhere else) and placed them to live in a wondrous place called Eden. They had plenty of time for leisure, for playing, for singing, for thinking and dreaming and worshipping God. For a long time (and they were a long-lived people) they were very happy in Eden.
Then some who lived in Eden met outsiders who looked like themselves, but did not live in Eden, and were told by these outsiders that God was keeping Humanity ignorant inside the garden, that there was secret knowledge that would make Humans as powerful as God. The outsiders offered to teach this knowledge to Humans if the Humans would help them gain entry into Eden. The Humans chose to admit the outsiders to Eden, where the outsiders revealed themselves as inhuman Snake_People: shapechangers and sorcerers with magical powers far beyond those of any Human, and which they had no intention of sharing. Soon, all of Eden was in the hands and coils of the Snake People, and the Humans were their slaves.
Finally God heeded His people’s prayers for forgiveness and helped them to win their freedom from the Snake People. He told the Humans to go forth and leave the Land of the Snake People, which had formerly been Eden.
Following God’s instructions, the Humans travelled north and heeded God’s command to spread out over the all the earth, and continued journeying to new lands to the west and east, then eventually further north on the far side of the Great Sea. Wherever they went, some chose to stay and settle, and thus the Tribes of Humans were born, as separated groups developed their own cultures and languages to suit the places where they chose to make their homes.
Some of the earliest Tribal settlements, those along the southern coast of the Great Sea, and in the Fertile Valleys of the Midlands to the east, developed agriculture so that they could have a more reliable food supply, rather than hunting and gathering for their food each day. With the development of agriculture came the cities, and the division of Tribes into classes of laborers, artisans, warriors, and the leisured classes of merchants, landowners, priests, administrators, and rulers.
Human scholars of the cities eventually learned to contact other beings in the Spirit World. Some of the spiritual beings contacted were helpful servants of God, bringing useful knowledge to the people. Others were not so kindly. Evil Demons gave great worldly power to those who dallied with them. Those scholars, warriors, priests and rulers that took up the Unholy ways soon were in control of a number of the earliest cities. These cities became known as the Dark Cities.
To combat the spreading evil of the Dark Cities, God taught the Humans who chose not to follow those ways a new kind of Spirit Magic, calling on power not from spiritual entities that might or might not be trustworthy, but from the Soul given by God to each individual Human. These new Spirit Warriors, together with the Holy Priests and Holy Warriors who had already dedicated themselves to God’s service, eventually led the armies of the north to defeat the Dark Cities and abolish their evil practices.
Religion in The Empire and the current Dark Age
After the defeat of the Dark Cities, the unification of much of humankind under the Pollian Empire enabled the spread of the Church, its Temples, and its Scholars, all dedicated to the worship and study of God. The barbarians outside the Empire all had their own variant beliefs, but all worshipped God according to their own customs.
With the Cataclysm and fall of the Empire, the Dark Age has brought a return of some cults seeking the old knowledge of the Dark Cities, and for those who seek, the Demons are only too eager to comply. Still, over 90% of humanity worships God in one way or another, and are sufficiently unified to have avoided any destructive and divisive religious wars.
Points to Get Perfectly Clear:
- Almost all Humans worship God. There are no other gods in this setting.
- Although different Tribes have their own customs of worship, these are matters for discussion and prayerful debate, not for religious wars among the children of God.
- The only Humans not worshipping God are those that have chosen to join the various cults seeking the old knowledge of the Dark Cities and the Demons. These are clearly Evil and Bad People.
What Points of Difference Exist Among Churches in Different Tribes?:
- Procedural customs of worship, and holidays. With over 1000 Tribes spread from Dunland to the fabled kingdoms of the Far East, there are inevitably differences as minor as what prayers are spoken (and in what languages), to what kind of candles to burn and when, to whether God prefers instrumental music, a-capella music, or none at all. Some churches sacrifice animals that were given as tithes or offerings; of these, some give the meat to the poor, while some just burn it up.
- Which particular Prophets should be honored and followed, and which should be ignored as fakes or fools.
- Priestly vestments, salaries, rights and privileges and duties. Whether trained priests are required at all, or only educated believers.
- Whether or not priests should be involved in the civil government, or stick to expressing their opinions in sermons and writings.
- Whether a priest of the church can or should be a scholar in approved varieties of Spirit Magic, especially for healing, meditation, or adjudication of disputes.
The religious aspects of this game setting reflect thoughts and ideas that I have been working on for more than thirty-five years, in an attempt to come up with a game setting that did not: 1) offend me by requiring that Player Characters worship made-up “gods” as part of the setting; 2) require me to make up answers to unknowable questions such as how God might offer salvation to intelligent beings that He has created on other worlds; or 3) conflict in any other way with my own beliefs as a Christian.
Note that the second requirement above compelled me to make this a pre-Christian setting; Christ has not become flesh on this world and is wholly unknown to these people. This is because the Bible leaves the question unanswered of how God might offer salvation to intelligent beings on other worlds, and I did not want to presume to guess at possible answers to that question. So these people are in an “Old Testament” relationship with God; He has saved them from great danger, has sent them Prophets and Holy Priests and both Holy Warriors and Spirit Warriors, but salvation and/or a return to Eden are only subjects of discussion among those who care, not something that God has promised and instructed how to obtain. (The pre-Christian setting also avoids the question of Christ’s name being sovereign over Demons, which would be sort of a thrill-killer in a game of Good vs. Evil.)
I hope that I have not offended any reader with my interpretation of how God might appear to such people, provide them their own Eden, save them from their fall into captivity, and interact with them from that point onward. If that is the case, please let’s discuss it rather than throwing rocks at each other. :-)
Glossary: Brief Definitions of Terms and Proper Nouns, with links to more detailed info if applicable.
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