I mentioned before that I am in the process of writing an RPG inspired by medieval dream visions. But The New Testament’s “Book of Revelation” is the the real progenitor of the literary movement. But indirectly, the bible in its entirety (both the Torah and the New Testament) informs much of what constitutes divine manifestation in my game. “Matthew” describes a scene of Christ’s passing through the Gergesenes where there were ” devils, coming out of tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass,” but when Jesus said “Go…they went into a herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters” (8:28-32).

Interestingly the text seems to associate devilry with the dead… or better put in RPG terms “the undead.” I would guess that this scene is a direct inspiration for the DnD clerics’s “turn undead” ability. Perhaps these devils were even the inspiration for the DnD ghoul. But these devils aren’t quite dead, they have corporeal presence only in their possession of a living mortal vessel. In “Mark” these devils are the possessor of “a man with an unclean spirit” (5:2). The forces Christ invokes isn’t a turning per se, but more like an exorcism. The effects of which ruined the local pig industry, causing residents to ask Jesus “to depart out of their coasts” (Mark 5:17).

The absolute cosmic gravity of the moment is what I’d like to emphasize. The use of divine power is always catastrophic even if used for “good.” I want players to role-play mystics burdened by the weight of their power. Even with the best intentions, contact with ineffable forces can be psychically scarring if not altogether lethal. In my game, God cannot be limited to abstraction because the very presence of divinity is incompatible with profane reality. This strange sense of incompatibility informs much of the game’s tone. The divine flares up like a sudden chemical reaction, sometimes beautiful, always humbling.

How does the divine show up in the games you play?

Advertisements