Archives of Nethys

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Infinite Worlds / Religion

High Religion

Source Galaxy Exploration Manual pg. 118
In a world of high religion, deities actively participate in the planet’s existence and may take form to do so. These gods might battle one another and deliver visions to their faithful. They might be living gods or even mortals elevated to the status of godhood by their people. On some high-religion worlds, the populace might worship deities that don’t (or no longer) exist, yet they worship no less fervently for the lack of divine intervention. A high-religion world might also have multiple religions, each as potent as the others but where none can gain dominance over the entire world. In such a world, zealots are likely numerous and active as they strive to expand their respective faith’s influence.
There are varied reasons for why an individual or an entire population might adhere to certain faiths. Many likely believe in and practice all the tenets espoused by their religion, while others see themselves as religious and adhere to fundamental tenets of the faith despite disagreeing with some tenets or ritualistic practices. Some might worship insincerely, not truly having faith but coveting the financial, political, or military power they gain from being a member of the religion. For some, the safety, security, benefits, and social standing that come from being a member of the religious community far outweigh their own spiritual beliefs.
Imagine a world where religion plays a major role in the evolution of society, a world where immortal gods walk among mortals, granting them supernatural powers and sending them on quests of religious significance. Or, imagine a world where a vast city complex covers nearly the entire surface, its towering spires decorated to venerate the planet’s sovereign, a living deity kept alive for the advancement of technology wielded for the betterment (or the suppression) of its subjects. Perhaps another world recognizes and practices the religions of a thousand cultures, each religious institution competing vigorously for power, dominance, and control of resources. On another world, the majority of the population might feel drawn instinctively to perform particular philosophies that they believe necessary for communal prosperity and harmony.
Also consider how a high-religion attribute intersects with the society’s magic rating. In a high-magic society, the faiths’ supernatural power is prevalent, powerful, and potentially accessible to a large array of its inhabitants. In lower-magic societies, a high-religion attribute could represent divine power that’s tightly restricted to an ecclesiastical elite or concentrated entirely in one or more heavily involved deities who dole out only a fraction (if any) of their ample supernatural influence.

High-Religion Adventure Hooks

D20 Adventure Hook
1 An outsider is being held captive by those who worship them.
2 A humble traveler suddenly begins manifesting miracles and gathers a following. Are they a charlatan looking to earn power?
3 A fanatical, splinter religion attempts to build a doomsday device to hasten the end of the galaxy.
4 Rival demigods want to settle a challenge by recruiting offworlders for a series of trials while trying to convert them.
5 A series of recent disasters on an inhabited world reveals the planet to be a god waking from eons of slumber.
6 A capricious god grants temporary deific powers to passersby as tests of their moral fiber.
7 A monotheistic world makes first contact with the greater galaxy, and many citizens become enamored with the idea of other gods.
8 A new god manifests as a gestalt entity through the bodies of dozens of individuals, their minds linked by technology or magic.
9 On a formerly atheistic world, hundreds of minor deities begin appearing for nearly every concept imaginable.
10 A large collection of demonic or celestial creatures emerge on a distant planet with a small population.
11 Alien beings who purport to hail from another dimension promise eternal bliss to those who demonstrate their worthiness.
12 When a god is gravely wounded in conflict with another deific power, their followers look for help to heal their god.
13 An asteroid is on a collision course with a world and can be diverted from its course only by the power of a reluctant god.
14 A religious sect claims that the sacrifice of an entire world’s population is needed to placate their god.
15 A relic appears in the possession of a meek traveler. Others race to retrieve it before a conjunction of stars activates the item.
16 Robots seem to gain souls after being constructed to fight a holy war, and they now struggle with their purpose.
17 An ancient religious icon depicts an individual who only recently rose to prominence.
18 The roads and highways of a metropolis form a devotional symbol that generates new power for a god as people travel them.
19 A god has been stripped of their powers by rival deities and seeks assistance in navigating the mortal world.
20 A researcher discovers religious texts that mention a location even the gods fear to go—and seeks volunteers for an expedition.