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*Taps his foot and glares at Kagon* ...

*Glares at Kagon as well*

PSHHHHHH! Thanks guys!

Hey, you were the lucky one... Got to go out with a cutie while we were working... on this............. thing !

Yeah, Mister I-Got-A-Social-Life-While-You-Two-Don't-So-I'm-Going-To-My-Prom-And-Neglecting-My-Duties.

Er... heh...

Well put, 983, uhhh, 984. *Stops drinking his Kahlua*

ANYWAYS shouldn't we get to the mailbag and leave me alone!

Oh, we'll leave you alone alright... Alone like a fox!

There there, have a drink *Hands Kagon a glass*



So... Replies, yes?

Yes indeed.

Since our socially blessed co-host is here, he can start us off.

Well fine then. We first have a reply from our own Sinistral.

Well, considering the games I've played, Xenogears, FF Tactics, Vagrant Story, where religion was a prominent way of manipulating masses of people and governments, I've always been very pleased with how religion was played out; for example in Xenogears, Citan's discussion about how people are given a place to belong is one of the finest speeches I've seen in an RPG since Tactics Ogre's Lans vs Lans debate. I really would like to see more RPGs take this approach because there needs to be more serious discussion about human nature in RPGs. It's a major step towards getting video games the respect they deserve now that they have the capabilities to be presented with the realism available on the next gen systems.

Yes, I must agree, FFT for one, religion played a huge part in the story.

And with Xenogears, religion was essential to the complex plot.

Well, religion isn't as prominent in government manipulation as it once was centuries ago. As for the manipulation of the masses of people, not all religions are out there to subvert the free will of people. Meh, maybe that's just my religious side talking.

In general they aren't unless they are taken to such an extreme where people blindly follow religion without questioning it.

Well, that's why you should never blindly follow anything.


Moving on, we have a reply from d Galloway.

Religion always gets the short end of the stick in RPG's. I mean, how many evil religions are there? And why do only the bad ones get the air time? Also, every religious leader (the guy in ToD2, Mika in FFX, some other guys I can't remember) is shown as a nearsighted fanatic who simply refuses to listen to logic. What's up with that? Religion seems to always be shown as an evil form of organization that needs to be wiped out. And on another note, this same perspective is seen quite often in Animes, and since most RPG's are related to Anime at one point or the other...*goes on for an hour*...and that's why religion is shown so poorly. So, if any big RPG producers see this (and I sincerely doubt they will), FIX THE DAMN PROBLEM!!!

Religions generally get the bad rap in RPGs because they, in a sense, can be the perfect plot device. Religions are followed by many people and can act subversively rather easily. Your average person would never expect their religion to be something evil.

That's true, Kagon, but why do you think a lot of those religions seemed to be modelled after the Roman Catholic Church? It is somewhat disturbing that RPGs tend to portray only Christianity as evil.

That is very true. They probably are modelled after it since during the medieval periods, the Roman Catholic Church held sway over almost all of Europe. Their word was law, and, in effect, they were the dominant power of the time and were unchallenged aside from such events as the Protestant Reformation.

Yeah. That's probably why. It's still disturbing that every evil religion is pretty much modelled after Catholicism. I guess I'd prefer more original evil religions than that.

Anyhow, on to our next reply which is from Xelopheris.

Hey DG, any new OSTs?

New OSTs ? Not yet, but Kero's will be sent soon enough, thanks for asking, Xelo.

Hey Kagon, how was teh pr0m?

It went very well Xelo, thanks for asking.

Hey 984, umm... do you like cheese?

I'd go on a rant about the ev0lness of Cheese right now, but we're trying to keep the Mailbag mostly serious.

So RELIGION eh? I haven't been there since christmas. Yeah, religion is good to quirk your game into whatever kind of mood you want. If you want it to be NORMAL for people to go around naked EXCEPT while underwater, by all means, religion can do that. The way I see it, religion is the item which fills the plotho- *falls down a plothole*
Urg... need more religion

Yeah. We touched on that plot device idea already. I guess religion just has a lot of potential behind it if handled correctly.

Indeed. Those that handle it correctly are generally great successes.

Those that handle it incorrectly look like the cookie-cutter Evil-Religion-Trying-To-Destroy-The-World-Without-A-Motive RPGs. Well, moving on, a reply from ClothHat.

Yo, ClothHat here, if you don't know me then I'm the guy who isn't the other guy. I'm taking off time from being sick and studying for finals to write this damn thing, so you better appreciate it.
The question was something about religion and RPG's i think. This has very wisely been kept an underlying theme in RPG's and not called too much attention to itself. Gamers seem to go insane when the idea of religion is called to attention. In fact whoever came up with this idea for a mailbag will probably end up sacrificed to appease some pagan god, and since that does not involve me eating a toasted bagel I will have to leave to find an activity that does.

I don't think many gamers go insane once they hear about religion in an RPG>

Well, I haven't been sacrificed, yet... As for going insane, nope. Most gamers like the idea, well, those that tend to think do.

Yes, I don't believe I'll be sacrificed in the near future either.

You didn't come up with the topic though.

...True, but that's besides the point! Anyways, we have a reply from LZFFSMOG.

This is LZFFSMOG, giving my opinion about the subject of religion in RPGs (they say not to announce in school, but screw them!)....anyways, I feel that religions add a depth of realism to RPGs, since nearly every, if not every, civilization on earth has had a religion. However, it isn't handled properly. For example, in the Dragon Warrior series (at least for the NES) the churches were nothing more than a place to be revived. I prefered how it was done in BOF2. Another thing, when there is a religion in a world, they will take a stance on an event, and try to directly mess with it. The religion most likely would not just stand by and let the final boss of the game do things, they would be organising armies and toppling opposing governments! Personally, I feel religion isn't covered enough in RPGs. This is just my opinion, of course, and there are 496.2 different ways you can feel about this issue....

He makes a good point. Most religions would try to get involved if they themselves were not the evil religion of the game.

Very true, but you don't see many of those good religions trying to help out.

Well, most RPGs only have one religion anyway.

That's true.

Well, so far, we've come to the conclusion that religions need a more diverse role in RPGs, it appears.

I agree. They can't always keep such a static role of always being evil.

It appears Helen Donaldson agrees with us too, unless I completely misread the content in her Reply. Anyway, take it, Helen.

My most sincere apologies for not posting an entry for last week's mailbag,
but MyOwnEmail was being a real _______ (fill in the blank yourselves,
readers). However, I will not make a whole entry dedicated to last week's
topic, and instead type up the entry for this week's topic.


Personally, I don't care much about how religion gets handled in RPGs.
Sure, it can be slightly amusing to see a Christian go around claiming that
this RPG is evil because "it makes a mockery of God!", but only until I
snap and kick the Christian off the soapbox. However, it doesn't bother me,
although for once I'd like to see an RPG where a religion ISN'T evil (but
Australia doesn't get many RPGs, so there may have been one which I'm not
aware of. And before one of you say "Divine Church of RS3", it WAS evil
when Maximus was a member of it, so it doesn't count.).

The Divine Church sect that Maximus controlled was evil, not the entire church. Do remember, Tiberius was part of it, and he wasn't evil at all.

Only RPG I can think of where religion isn't evil is Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean. It just made fun of televangelists in one town. However, religion didn't play a major role in it, so it may or may not count.

I don't think it counts considering religions can be seen in many RPGs playing only a small role. And those don't really take sides.

So what we need is a religion that plays a major role and is, at the very least, not evil.

There. That's my nonsense for you to deal with. Now, to go celebrate my
birthday (which will be on the day the Mailbag is up, if there are no lags.)

- Helen
Who apologises if this comes through more than once - it'd be MyOwnEmail
being ______ again.

Don't worry, it came through only once.

Yeah, and happy birthday.

Yes, happy birthday =D.

Happy Birthday!!!

On to more replies!

And here's yet another one.... this one is from..... AntiHero !

Religion has been handled quite well in rpg's..... of course churches are found in dozens of games, as places to heal, lift curses, save, etc.

I thought it was a great storyline in Breath of Fire 2 when they portayed a religion that treally fed a demon strength with every prayer. It was the perfect ploy since the servants of said demon preached such candy coated bs.

*wink, chuckle* Come to think of it... the religion that the demon used was strikingly similar to christan beliefs........ hmm... well ANOTHER reason it was so great! *laughs* (( Minus the whole... zombie minded followers however ))

Just a quick thought.... till next time,
- Your Anti Hero

Yes, most religions in games, as we've speculated, are based off Christian beliefs- specifically the Roman Catholic Church.

Breath of Fire 2, one of the few games I haven't beaten but played to a good extent, yes, I love it's approach to our religion

Dragon Warrior 7 had an interesting take on religion too in the methods it employed.

I'll just point to my tired of evil Christian religions belief and leave it at that.

Our last reply is quite a long one from Daniel Simmonds.

Oh boy, seems we're got a big one now 8D

Religion in RPG's

Religion in RPG's has always been there. Dungeons set in monastries, Gods and Goddesses have always featured. But as the genre progresses i feel religion has became a bigger factor and an important one for the characters the player commands.

Landstalker (MD) is the first game to be looked at which features religion.The save points in the game are set in churchs, where Nigel the hero visits for the priests to pray for him. This saving games at churchs was a common theme with other games such as Dungeons and Dragons (MD) and Sword of Vermillion (MD) also having it.

Alundra (PS) incorporates religion into the story itself. The people of Inoa, the island the hero Alundra washs up on are systematically being killed by their dreams by evil. The islands priest- Ronan believes that it is the Gods punishing the people for abandoning the worship of the villages idols. Here religion is used as a weapon to twist the towns people, and is shown to be baseless and evil, when Alundra discovers the towns people and Ronan are secretly worshipping a idol of the evil alien Melzas in a secret part of the villages chapel. Later when it is discovered that Ronan himself is a demon it shows the false nature relgion can have. Alundra 2 (PS) again shows the decietful nature of religion with a church containing priests loyal to the evil Mephisto.

Alundra had an interesting approach dealing with nightmares though it still had another stereotyped church in it that worked behind the scenes.

Oh joy.

Grandia 2 (DC and PS2) has religion as prehaps its major theme. The heroine of the game Elena is a member of the game worlds church, and the story revolves around two Gods- Valmar the God of Darkness and Granas the God of light. The hero Ryudo is consistantly questaining Elenas faith and is the flipside to the positive aspects of Grandia 2's religion by hating the religion. Later in the game religious templer knight fanatics again demonstrate the awful consequences belief can have, which is all too apparant in the real world.

Ah yes... Grandia II, the RPG that doesn't even hide its portrayal of the Roman Catholic Church as pure evil. However, it does make a good point about not blindly following one's faith.

Lastly the aspect of having the heros fighting real Gods of planets will be looked at. In Breath of Fire 3 the heros realise to win thier cause they are going to have to kill the planets Godess. It is made apparant that if they kill her the world will begin to die and be consumed by desert for she only wants the world people to live in relative peace. A choice is given to the player so they can decide if it is better to leave the Godess alone, or destroy her, and so doom the world but in doing so free the people from being restricted in what they can create with technology.

The Breath of Fire series has done quite well with religion in 2 and 3. 3's take on having to kill the very goddess that protects the world creates an interesting dilema on what is truly right.

Shadow Hearts (PS2) offers prehaps the most contraversial portrayal of religion. The game is set on a slightly alternative early 20th century Earth. The characters learn that 'God' was infact an alien which had visited the Earth at its infancy, but had eventually been banished back to its home planet. The villain of the game- Albert recreates a homing beacon which reveals to the alien the location of Earth so that it can return and cleanse it of the humans. This was done due to Albert getting a vision of the 2nd World war and so wanting to prevent it happening as he feels it would destroy the world. When the 'God' arrives it is little more then a mindless creature, and so the heros banish it back to it's planet. It shows the weakness of the human mind in wanting to worship things better then they, and how time distorts peoples memorys.

Heh, why am I NOT suprised, I never actually played Shadow Hearts, but I do own the soundtrack, and there is a religious feel through most of the tracks. So I had a hunch religion would be one of it's issues.

Why am I not surprised that DG can hear the religion in the music?

God being an Alien ? Woah !!! That's a disturbing thought... what the heck was Sacnoth smoking when they thought this up ?? O_o

That's actually a very interesting concept.


In conclusion religion has been portrayed as a bad and a good thing in RPG's yet it remains to be seen how a real life religion in a game would be portrayed.

And that concludes this week's mailbag...

Kagon, get the topic.

Alright, the topic for our next mailbag is on the console war. What do you feel about it and is any one system pulling ahead of the rest, and if one is, why is it? SG, do you have any feelings on this?

*ponders* THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU TO EAT CAIK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How deep.

At least he didn't disguise his parody of Christianity.

So true 984, so true...

Woah !! Ok... bring in the cakes, I'm hungry


Uh... uh... uh... uh... uh... uh... uh... uh... uh... uh... uh... T-THE POWER OF CHRIST STILL COMPELS YOU!!!!!!!!! ...To eat CAIK, that is!