Alignment and Religion in Telengard, take two

Having bounced the last post off my brother, and considering his critique (what exactly do Law and Chaos mean?), I’ve decided it would be a lot simpler to keep alignments as written in Basic D&D/Labyrinth Lord and just use the Norse pantheon.  I really like Rolang’s Norse  Catholicism and will use that basic idea: instead of the unorganized, diffuse religious practices of the Norsemen, the gods are worshiped in a hierarchical manner much like the Medieval Church.  Particular temples may be dedicated to particular gods or goddesses, but Odin the All-father is the chief god and worshiped in all temples.

Clerics will use blunt weapons because it is sacrilegious to spill blood except to make sacrifices to the gods. Some of the gods, like Baldur, do not accept blood sacrifices either and his clerics use blunt weapons because they hope to subdue rather than kill foes.

I will keep Kraken because he is just cool.  The major Norse gods are lawful, except Loki, Aegir, and Ran (Chaotic), and Njord and the Norns (Neutral).  The most powerful jotuns (Surt, Thrym, etc.) are worshiped as gods by trolls and giants, and are mostly Chaotic as well.

Within Skara Brae there are several temples to specific gods, but Odin is recognized as the All-father and all lawful gods are considered his children — a few foreign gods are acknowledged in Odin’s cathedral, but their rites always invoke Odin as well.  Priests of the Norse gods are usually dedicated to the entire pantheon but some are specifically dedicated to particular gods.  The clerics of Thor are a militant order who seek to destroy monsters, just as Thor does, and are the most likely to become adventurers.  The clerics of Tyr are the only order who may use swords (they must however cut off one hand to prove their valor!).  Clerics of Loki are regarded by the populace as malicious and unwelcome, but the Church understands the importance of keeping Loki pacified.

Bruce Galloway’s Fantasy Wargaming has a nice section on Norse religion, outlining the “sins” and virtues and also providing a nice cheat sheet of who-is-the-god-of-what, so I may summarize some of that for the players and myself.

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Published in: on September 27, 2010 at 7:31 pm  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. All Father who art in Valhalla, Odin be thy name.
    Thy kingdom come when battles done our reward awaits in the heavens.
    Give us this day our daily mead, and the strength to avenge those who trespass against us, as we avenge those who trespass against you, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the giants.

    • These prayers are pure awesome.

  2. Hail Frigga, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, as the fruit blessed of the golden tree. Holy Frigga, Mother of gods, guide us to an honorable death. Amen

  3. How about Kraken equals fenris?

    • Lots of were wolf adventure hook potential and very Norse

  4. Maybe I was reading too much into Rolang blog but I read it as thor was = jesus and the other gods like saints? So the church is lawful even if you pray to Loki when you plan to decive an enemy. Clerics would call on thor by name and Odin is the aloof god. “lesser gods” (all gods save frigga thor and Odin) are only called apon in special times and have not devout clergy. Make all cleric (save reverse cleric) have thors hammer as a holy symbol. Bonus since thor’s hammer is essentially a stylized cross your cross bearing figures would be suitable.

  5. I’m enjoying the Telengard stuff! That was the first computer game I had for my C64, back in the day (and it was on TAPE!)

    Please mess around with my Norse stuff to suit your needs! If I remember correctly, my Thor was a high level cleric that got called up to the sky and adopted by Odin, who didn’t want to lose him to death.

    I like your justification for blunt weapons. Good thinking, especially re: Baldur.

    Happy Gaming!

    • Thanks!
      I remember the interminable wait while loading from tapes too. When we later got a disc drive (5 1/4″!) we copied the files to a disc and that really sped up game play and made it a lot easier to save and back-up characters. As I recall, we just had to change a few “,1” to “,8” in the loading commands. I eventually printed out the entire program to figure out how to cheat the game but it was not much fun to sail through with massive stats and bonus to hit and damage. I sure with I kept the maps we made.


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