Content of the article: "Omegaphallic’s Guide to Cleric/Priest: Roleplaying in the Forgotten Realms."
Most people have no idea how to play clerics in Forgotten Realms (and simular settings like Greyhawk) and WotC is extremely unhelpful in this reguard. WotC encourages you to play clerics henotheistically, instead of polytheistically while everyone around you is polytheistic even though it doesn't fit the lore and makes absolutely no sense at all. So instead of feeling like your cleric is a Priest of the religion, it feels like clerics are the priests of the common religion, it makes clerics own seperate henotheistic religion.
Firstly just because you have a Patron God doesn't mean you can't pray to other Gods, I've never seen any evidence that Priests of Ancient Gods in RL exclusively prayed to their Patron God, outside of Henotheistic systems like early Judaism as it was transitioning towards Montheism.
If you were the Priest of Hephaestus in Athens you still particapated in the Festivals dedicated to other Gods.
And Hymns to multi Gods are not uncommon in Ancient religions, such as the Orphic Hymns.
Now as to the Forgotten Realms there are shared Holidays, Mythology, Alliances between Gods, so the idea you only pay attention your Patron God makes no sense.
Torm for a long time served Tyr, so it makes sense that clerical hymns, prayers, and rituals would often invoke and honour both deities in both churches.
Sharess and Llirra served Sune and share mythologies, so course the Priesthoods of all three would likely have joint Prayers to all three of them. Heck if there are circumstances where say a Priestess of Sune might pray to Llirra and Sharess to intercede with Sune on her behalf, if say she felt she'd strayed from the Path.
When folks die, prayers to both Kelemvour and the deceased preferred deity/deities makes sense.
Also it should be taken into account divine intermedaires like Saints, Celestials, Fiends, Chosen, even Ancestors ect… should figure into a religion. If you are a trained Cleric you should know your Gods allies, the names, myths, & basic zymbols of their top divine servants and some lower ones (Heroes, Saints, Angels, other Celestials/Fiends, and Divine Messangers, even subordinate Gods and different Aspects of the God).
So if I was playing a Cleric of Sharess, I'm going to know Sharess as a member of the Seldarine, Faerunian, and Mulhorandi Pantheon, answers to Corellon Larethian, Sune, and Ra, so I'd honour and give Prayers to them as well. I know the names, epithets, and mythology of all three of her subaspects, Zandilar, Bast, and Felidae. I know the names of her most powerful Angels, Alu-Fiends, Mulhorandi Incarnations, Chosen, and Empyrean Offspring. I know she has many allies such as Anhur and they would be honoured as well. Sharess would always get pride of place, but in the right circumstance other Gods get prayers too. And I'd know enough about all three Pantheons to conduct funeral rites in a pinch and preform marriages no matter who the marriaging couples preferred Gods were. I'd also likely have a firm grasp of the theogony of each Pantheon.
So for the most part, don't play clerics Henotheistically, it doesn't fit the setting.
I will continue in further posts.
- What, exactly, are Aasimar?
- Communing with Higher Powers (aka Clerics who Pray)
- Need ideas for a Divine Soul/Hexblade PC story Arc
© Post "Omegaphallic’s Guide to Cleric/Priest: Roleplaying in the Forgotten Realms." for game Dungeons & Dragons Online.
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