Monday Mashup #19: Gospels

Unduly influenced by Passion, for better or worse, this week’s Monday Mashup is going to be the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. You can do it straight, as an evocation of faith; you can do it cynically, if you’re that kind of person; or you can say “Geeze, that’s too close to the line, I’m not gonna do this one.” I figure if it’s OK to express one’s faith by making a movie, though, it ought to be OK to do it in an RPG. (Also, I didn’t answer WISH 75, so this will have to do.)

Me, I’d be inclined to play it straight. Your average D&D campaign doesn’t really touch on the gods so much, except that there’s a cleric who’s getting spells from a rather detached force. (Not always, but on average.) So we’ll do the generic D&D game, set in the generic fantasy setting. Somewhere around 7th or 8th level, when the PCs are sufficiently powerful to get involved in local politics, I’d introduce a messiah figure who preaches the clearly inaccurate doctrine of monotheism. It’d be best to splinter this off an existing sun god sect if possible, I think.

From there on in, I’d just replay the Gospels, using whichever of the conflicting stories worked best for me. I don’t have any expectations for where the PCs would go — best not to try and force that sort of thing. I’d have a Pilate figure, and I’d have an existing religious heirarchy threatened by the new messiah. If the PCs decided to save the messiah, he’d have to go back and accept his role, I think. Hm. Or her role. Actually, definitely her role. It’s more interesting that way.

I wouldn’t want to make it a heavy religious parable. I’d be more interested in seeing what the players got out of it, and playing that aspect up.

9 Comments

  1. Don’t laugh, but I’ve been in a World of Darkness meets the Gospels game. It was at a convention, and focused mostly on the harrowing of Hell. Some of it worked, some of it really didn’t, but everybody took it pretty seriously and remarkably no one got bent out of shape about religious issues that might have gotten brought up.

  2. Unknown Armies. It’s all about the True King ascension. Of course, that’s too obvious (especially to those of us in the middle of it), so you have to mix it up by playing on the differences between the Gospels. Maybe using the whole cliomancy angle to re-write chunks of history and have people remembering it different ways, then you’ve got the groundwork for post-Gospel schisms.

    Or I could answer this how I answer all the mash-ups: Star Wars. “Not even Master Yoda has a Midichlorian count that high…” 🙂

  3. Don’t look funny at me, ‘cos I didn’t come up with this one; I’m just answering it. This week, Bryant…

  4. This week’s Monday Mashup is the Gospels. Right before we moved down to Maryland from Michigan, I wanted very much to run the Nephilim Gospels game. Back in the time of Christ, the Apostles were adherents of the faith, set…

  5. I tried something similar as an answer to Jack Chick’s “Dark Dungeons” nonsense: ran a game that was overtly Christian using AD&Ded2. My chosen time period was post-Roman Britain – I did King Arthur. 🙂

    It seemed to work pretty well. I had committed Christian players, and non-Christian players, both religious and otherwise. Because it is difficult to do Arthurian without doing Christianity, the players accepted it as “in genre” without “getting bent out of shape” by the religious aspects.

    The only modifications we made to what might be “classic” AD&Ded2 were

    1) rather than using spheres for selecting spells, we asked players to find someone in the Bible (but not Jesus or an angel) who displayed this power. So “purify food and drink” becomes “oh God, please grant me the miracle Elisha used to purify the stew in Kings”.

    2) we gave as many XP for a player “converting” an enemy as for killing them

    3) the pagan priests (the Saxons provided the most common example) were not Cleric character class, but were actually Magic User character class.

    The worrying thing is that these three points (and, of course, the allegedly-historical setting, and the requirement in an Arthurian game to maintain good alignments for PCs) remove the objections to AD&D that even the most strict fundies make.

    The even more worrying thing is that at least one of my players has gone on to investigate (gnostic) Christianity outside the game: as in “your cleric has obtained the twelfth level – it’s time you learned about the real power of the Holy Spirit”.

    For some twisted reason, I find that very, very amusing.

  6. This may have been covered in someone else’s comments, but the more I think about this, the more it seems that a really fun direction for this would be to have the PCs be a group of charlatans bent on foisting off a false messiah on a small town who wind up picking the real messiah as their patsy who will pretend to be the messiah.

  7. Some interesting responses, but all pretty straight fantasy. How about a space opera version?

  8. LUKE : Goodbye everybody, I've got to go Gotta leave you all behind This seller acc

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