(Author's note: for the second time in as many posts, I spent an hour doing up a long, detailed post about my ideas for my sandbox campaing... only to have an error occur when I was done, and lose everything. GRRRRRRRR.)
I spent today (well, actually, last night during a late-night drive to the cabin on an adrenaline rush) thinking about how religion is going to work in my sandbox. I was thinking of having clerics being more like "miracle workers" in this campaign (but after watching a documentary on the "real" Robin Hood, which said that monks like Friar Tuck were more like military warriors, having returned from the Crusades with military experiece to go with their spiritual guidance, I'm not sure), so here's what I was thinking....
- the main "deities" will be non-human. In my world-view/creation myth, the three main divinities were the Mother (Elvish), the Father (Dwarf), and the Child (Halfling). They will be the big three, along with a few others added for flavor, meaning there is basically one pantheon of gods, followed primarily by non-humans.
- humans, on the other hand, will not have a pantheon per se, but rather will worship a variety of saints (imagine Catholicism without God or Jesus).
- this serves a couple purposes for me. One, I am going to use it to explain why only humans can be "miracle workers" (since the other races know they are descendents of divinities, they don't see the need to go around showing off through magic; humans, on the other hand, have had to create their own divinities, hence the saints, and their need to show off for the other races through the granting of miracles)
- I kind of see it as, the non-human deities are "gods", whereas the human saints are "Immortals" (ie. ascended humans). This will also explain some friction between humans/non-humans, as the non-humans are a little ticked that the race basically created as toys for a divine child get to go around working miracles
- pursuant to this idea, I am going to change ALL the clerical spells so that they are actually prayers to specific saints. Some spells may be grouped together under a certain saint (ie. all healing-type spells being different prayers to the patron saint of healing), but each "spell" is an actual specific prayer. That way, I can still explain how they work as spells (you have to know the right prayer to invoke effects). I was also toying with the idea of allowing non-clercs a 1% of having low-level prayers "answered" under EXCEPTIONAL circumstances (ie. death situations, or extremely pious followers). Rare clerical spells can be explained as prayers to smaller or forgotten saints, or little known stories of bigger saints.
- nature worship will be covered by animal and plant spirits (which is what druids will follow), and I'm toying with including the idea of ancestor worship in this too, as it would fulfill the "circle of life" idea.
I think I can still find a way to have these ideas co-exist with the idea of warrior-priests, so it should be interesting to see how this works out.