Let Us Worship Evil Deities

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I did a quick search of this forum, and it seems that this hasn't really been discussed for a while.  So I feel comfortable bringing it up.

I am of the opinion that Evil and Chaotic Evil deities should be legal player options for RPGA/LFR play.

I realize that this is probably a rather contentious claim, but please, hear me out.  I have considered the reasons for and against allowing them, and the arguments seem to me as follows.

For allowing them:

* Greater freedom for players, obviously.  I'm sure there's someone else out there who wants to play an evil deity worshipper.
* The alignment restrictions are good enough.  I'm not calling for a repeal of them.  Therefore, Evil and Chaotic Evil PCs are still not allowed, but this does allow for Unaligned worshippers of evil deities.
* Drow can worship Lolth.  Even if their racial deity is a complete psychopath, it seems a bit odd to me that no Drow adventurer can ever worship Lolth.


Against allowing them, and my responses:

* Players will use the opportunity as an excuse to be dicks.  Forgive me for saying so, but I'm pretty sure those players are going to be dicks anyway.

* There is no acceptable reason for an adventurer to follow an evil deity.  Honestly, this bothers the heck out of me.  Not only does it completely discount the notion of the lapsed Catholic (and if anyone's going to miss weekly prayers, it would be an adventurer), but it implies that someone who follows an evil deity is incapapble of acting heroically, even if their alignment is Unaligned.  That last part is seriously concerning to me.

* Evil deities should be reserved for NPCs.  Let's be honest here: "NPCs" means "enemies."  If I was uncomfortable with the notion that no evil-deity-worshipping PC could ever be heroic, I'm really uncomfortable with the notion that every follower of X d eitydeserves to be the enemy of what we're going to call heroes.  And the associated one, that enemies of good deities will never do anything to call heroes down on them.


All in all, it is my firm belief that the time is ripe for this part of the standards to change.  I urge you to change it.

On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Considering WotC is done with LFR in a couple months, I hope nobody in the new managment thinks this is a good idea.

Having unaligned characters walking around poisoning/diseasing plants/trees for Talona would, in a role-playing game, make my Half-Orc Avenger of Silvanus instantly attack her.  Throwing cooperative gameplay out the window is a bad idea.
I have little to add, except that I agree.  Characters should be allowed to worship whatever diety they want.
Slight problem.

Based on PHB2, Invokers and most Avengers must choose their alignment to match that of their deity.  Allowing the worship of evil deities would necessitate allowing evil alignments, and I think that with the current flavor and aims of LFR, that's a little too far down the rabbit hole.
Gamma World Origins Half-Sheets: Horizontal (FiFG) Vertical (GW) FiFG coming soon
Slight problem.

Based on PHB2, Invokers and most Avengers must choose their alignment to match that of their deity.  Allowing the worship of evil deities would necessitate allowing evil alignments, and I think that with the current flavor and aims of LFR, that's a little too far down the rabbit hole.



I'm not saying that every class-deity combination should be possible.  It just seems to me like a case of baby and bathwater.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Hardly. For one thing, their is KISS. Allowing one combination, but not another, needlessly complicates matter just for the few non-divine classed characters who love to worship Evil deities. For another, you really underestimate the opportunity to be dick argument or how it impacts the game. This rule is highly unlikely to change.
If a good aligned character knows you worship an evil deity, why is he adventuring with you? A significant percentage of players would be seriously unhappy to have to figure out a why every other adventure. And some of those players might take the opportunity to show that they too can be unpleasant to play with...
Hardly. For one thing, their is KISS. Allowing one combination, but not another, needlessly complicates matter just for the few non-divine classed characters who love to worship Evil deities. For another, you really underestimate the opportunity to be dick argument or how it impacts the game. This rule is highly unlikely to change.

Never underestimate a D&D player's capacity to be a dick. We had to sit a guy down for a talk after he declared his Cleric of Kelemvor wouldn't play with any revenants or other certain types of characters.
Gamma World Origins Half-Sheets: Horizontal (FiFG) Vertical (GW) FiFG coming soon
I hear what you're saying, but I think that it will lead to too many PC vs. PC fights, even if its just an arguement (as opposed to just murdering each other), like the Talona vs. Silvanus, one above that eats up 30 minutes of play time while the other players and DM just sit there. We restrict lots of things because of the organized play environment to smooth things over and this is one of them. I'm not saying there will never again be an RPGA campaign that allows this sort of thing (like the Cabal of Shadows faction in XE did while it was running), but LFR is meant to be the big tent that intros RPGA OP for all, and the number of people that can't handle this sort of thing is a significant number so it would be disruptive (not nescessarily a majority, just a noticable amount to be disruptive).

Thanks for you ideas however. We will have to look at our portrayal of enemies and what gods they worship. Maybe we can meet you part way on our side.
While a campaign in a very grey setting with rules allowing for PC confrontations might work, even there it would chew up play time and drag game sessions off track.  In FR, with the characterization of evil deities, any worship of them will be considered as evil by most.

As a player or DM, I will think the player is trying to play an evil character with the cover of being "unaligned."  We don't have the option in a living campaign as compared to a home campaign of the DM enticing the borderline character into evil acts with consequences from the other PCs and NPCs based upon the evil deity's portfolio and interests.

My primary PC is a paladin of Selune and I take role playing seriously (old school).  Likely I will try hard to convert your PC or will not adventure with them.  If the god in question is Shar however, then my PC will try to kill your PC.  My PC shows no worshipper of Shar mercy, and there is no game mechanic in D&D 4e that lets my PC know a given character is neutral, not evil.  Only witnessing deeds can do that and self admission of your worship is a form of a deed.

Some major cities and realms in FR (like Waterdeep) consider the worship of evil deities unacceptable and it is open season on those worshippers.  Would your neutral but evil deity worshipper be able to complete adventures where evil temples and worshippers were eliminated and still be considered acceptable to that church? Or are you just taking advantage of the lack of continuity in a living campaign as compared to a home campaign?

To be frank, I have no interest in supporting a campaign that allows worship of evil deities.

Keith
Keith Hoffman LFR Writing Director for Waterdeep

My primary PC is a paladin of Selune and I take role playing seriously (old school).  Likely I will try hard to convert your PC or will not adventure with them.  If the god in question is Shar however, then my PC will try to kill your PC.  My PC shows no worshipper of Shar mercy, and there is no game mechanic in D&D 4e that lets my PC know a given character is neutral, not evil.  Only witnessing deeds can do that and self admission of your worship is a form of a deed.

Some major cities and realms in FR (like Waterdeep) consider the worship of evil deities unacceptable and it is open season on those worshippers.  Would your neutral but evil deity worshipper be able to complete adventures where evil temples and worshippers were eliminated and still be considered acceptable to that church? Or are you just taking advantage of the lack of continuity in a living campaign as compared to a home campaign?



To be frank with you, this is part of my issue with LFR in general.

Look, I really, really, don't want to offend you.  I know that this is on the edge of telling someone how to play their character.  But the fact of the matter is that I cannot see how a character that "shows no worshipper of Shar mercy" isn't evil by necessity, whereas an Unalgined cleric of Shar might be one who helps grieving supplicants to understand their pain and move forward with their life.  (Though perhaps becoming embittered by doing so.)  Or perhaps the cleric's family worshipped Shar, and those are the divine rituals he knows and understand.  Or perhaps he comes from a community that worships Shar out of fear, appeasing her so that they suffer no more losses to the dark.  Or perhaps he doesn't even care where the power comes from, as long as the powers work and he can get paid at the end of the day.

I don't see why an adventurer of an evil deity would mind going against evil cults of other deities.  After all, it's not as if Lolth, Asmodeus and Shar have never had a conflicting interest ever -- any more than Moradin and Corellon haven't.  (Or, if you wanna go back a bit, Olidammara and anyone.)  Of course, going against their own kind is another question entirely... but the fact that, as far as I know, it will never happen to the worshipper of any non-evil deity is something that worries me just as much.

LFR seems to me to have a mentality of "if you worship X, you're a good guy; if you worship Y, you're a bad guy."  Honestly, I'm not sure that's a system I want to see in the world, even in a game.  We have the alignment system.  We know who the good and bad guys are.  And if our charcters don't, perhaps the metric they use to figure it out shouldn't be what holy symbol the other guy is wearing.

On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
LFR seems to me to have a mentality of "if you worship X, you're a good guy; if you worship Y, you're a bad guy."  Honestly, I'm not sure that's a system I want to see in the world, even in a game.

It's possible you're trying to apply real-life to D&D (always a bad idea).  Unlike religions in the real world, in D&D there are in fact "evil gods" and "good gods".  There's no grey in this regard...

But regardless of how you might rationalize the inclusion of worshiping evil deities, the reality is that in a shared campaign world like LFR it would be way too disruptive.  And that's ultimately all that matters.

Don't get me wrong, I've played in a home campaign where one of the PCs was a cleric of Bane.  He was Lawful Evil, and as such he could actually be trusted to some extent.  He signed a contract that he'd never backstab or betray us.  He wasn't a dick.  This was probably the best case scenario for allowing worship of evil deities.  And even then it caused no end of disruption.  It wasn't really that he was evil (largely b/c the guy played him with honor) it was mostly because he worshiped Bane.

Well, I've been told in no uncertain terms that PC worship is out.  So at this point I'm more emphasizing the need for a review of how LFR thinks about deities in general.


You're certainly right in that there are good and evil deities, and the invokers, avengers and paladins of these deities are certainly going to be predictable.  But the clerics and the non-divine characters are going to be a lot less so, because even in a world where the gods show up from time to time not everyone is going to look at them the same way.  I picture deities in LFR as sort of like celebrities in the real world: you know they're real, and if you're lucky, you'll see your favorite once in your life.  Maybe.  If you're really, really blessed, maybe you'll get an autograph.


But on the day-to-day level, your primary interaction is going to be with clergy.  The chances of your deity coming down and talking to you, the ECL 5 minion guarding the foyer, is pretty slim.  And again, it's labeling those people of incapable of heroism that bugs the heck out of me.

On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
If I have a good aligned character, and he drops a coin in the sea for Umberlee so she doesn't sink his ship, does that count as worship?  And if so, does that make my character illegal?
If I have a good aligned character, and he drops a coin in the sea for Umberlee so she doesn't sink his ship, does that count as worship?  And if so, does that make my character illegal?

Not sure if this was meant to be serious or not.

In LFR worship tends to be polytheistic.  Or at least it was in the 2E and 3E FR campaign books (I don't know if they've addressed that specifically in the 4E version).  It's common for most people to give respect, worship, and appeasement to all gods in the same pantheon.  Think of the greeks or romans.

When a sailor is throwing a coin in the sea for Umberlee, which many sailors do as far as I know regardless of their alignment, they are appeasing her.  This is actually based on what greek sailors used to do.  Appeasement is a form of worship, yes.

But when people speak of worshiping a god in these forums, they're refering to their Patron Deity.  The one deity that they hold above all others, which is the focus of their religious faith.  The one that they emulate, and refer to in order to guide their actions.

I would argue that not everyone seeks to emulate their patron deity.


Avengers, Invokers, and Paladins do, sure, but they fall squarely into the category of "crusader/fanatic."  Clerics?  Maybe not so much.  I gave a few examples above of what I think a Cleric who doesn't emulate his patron deity would look like.

On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
I would argue that not everyone seeks to emulate their patron deity.

Avengers, Invokers, and Paladins do, sure, but they fall squarely into the category of "crusader/fanatic."  Clerics?  Maybe not so much.  I gave a few examples above of what I think a Cleric who doesn't emulate his patron deity would look like.


Clerics are the ones who represent the ideals of their deity to the laymen, so I'm not really sure how that helps.

And sure, not every layperson tries to emulate their Patron Deity.  But the whole idea behind a patron deity is that you choose the deity that you can most associate and relate with.


Though at this point I think it's become a moot point, since you mention that it's clear now that PCs worshipping evil deities won't happen in LFR (for good reasons).  Whatever IC justification can be created doesn't really matter.

But the whole idea behind a patron deity is that you choose the deity that you can most associate and relate with.



I completely disagree with this notion.  That may be one reason why one chooses a patron deity, but it's certainly not the only one.

I understand that the RPGA admins' minds are made up.  That doesn't mean I agree with their reasoning.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
But the whole idea behind a patron deity is that you choose the deity that you can most associate and relate with.



I completely disagree with this notion.  That may be one reason why one chooses a patron deity, but it's certainly not the only one.



In Forgotten Realms, your patron deity gets your soul when you die permanently...it is a really bad idea to worship a deity who might very well condemn your character's soul to torment for being insufficiently evil...

This very fact means that if you're adventuring with say a worshipper of Cyric, they're at best simply evil. At worst, they're completely delusional or an idiot. What's unlikely is that they're an adventurer who happens to be metagaming the system. 
To be more precise about the mythology of the Forgotten Realms, when a creature dies, his soul passes through the Shadowfell (some percentage are nabbed by devils or just stuck there) and heads to the Fugue Plane where they are either picked up by their Patron Deity (if they have one and were faithful) OR are judged by Kelemvor.

The Faithless firmly denied any faith or only gave lip service to the gods for most of their lives without truly believing. All of the Faithless receive the same punishment; they are stuck in a living wall around the City of Judgment in a greenish mold. 

The False intentionally betrayed a faith they believed in and to which they had made a personal commitment.  The False are punished according to their crimes and serve their sentence in the City of Judgment for eternity.  Kelemvor lets devils in the city torment the False.

In previous editions, a creature could not be raised or resurrected from the dead in the Forgotten Realms if they had no Patron Deity, without usage of a miracle or wish (implying an intervention of a deity).  I think that part is considered gone now in 4e as no caveat in the FRCG or FRPG exists that I am aware of.

So if you role play a character who cares about his or her fate, in the Forgotten Realms you would be wise to think carefully about what Patron Deity you pick and being faithful to that deity.  Of course in LFR, we may never deal with the fate of PCs (or NPCs) on the Fugue Plane, although I could see that happening in an Epic adventure.

There is a line of thought that in 4e FR, many/most of the unaligned may not have a strong faith in any deity, and just vanish somewhere in the Shadowfell or the Fugue Plane.  I am not sure their fate is really known by mortals.

Keith
Keith Hoffman LFR Writing Director for Waterdeep
There is a line of thought that in 4e FR, many/most of the unaligned may not have a strong faith in any deity, and just vanish somewhere in the Shadowfell or the Fugue Plane.  I am not sure their fate is really known by mortals.

Interesting.  When you speak of "unaligned" indviduals, I assume you mean their alignment?  If they worship an Unaligned deity why would they be any less pious?
I think those we would have considered "neutral" in the past but devout worshippers of a neutral deity, still go off to that Patron Deity.  However, 4e introduced the concept that many "unaligned" just don't care much or have much of a moral compass, and that is general alignment of most common folk.  I had also seen a statement about large percentage of souls of common people disappearing.  I am inferring there may be a relationship.  Obviously opinions may vary on this possibility.

Keith
Keith Hoffman LFR Writing Director for Waterdeep
I would like to add that one of the core books (I can't remember which, the PHB I guess) specifically states that worshipping an evil god does not necessarily make one evil.  I believe Bane is the example they used - an individual might worship Bane for his focus on conquest and war without embracing everything evil from his ideology.
I had also seen a statement about large percentage of souls of common people disappearing.

Now this sounds interesting!  Perhaps even the plot for an epic quest

I read over the alignment section in the PHB again, and I can see how people might infer that "Unaligned" means "just don't care about deities".

In particular this passage might lead people to infer that:
Alignments are tied to universal forces bigger than
deities or any other allegiance you might have. If you’re
a high-level cleric with a lawful good alignment, you’re
on the same team as Bahamut, regardless of whether
you worship that deity. Bahamut is not in any sense
the captain of your team, just a particularly important
player (who has a large number of supporters).
Most people in the world, and plenty of player characters,
haven’t signed up to play on any team—they’re
unaligned. Picking and adhering to an alignment represents
a distinct choice.

However, reading it closer, when they refer to "team" it seems they're referring to which alignment (good/evil) rather than a choice of deity.

The other passage that struck me was the following:
A few unaligned people, and most unaligned deities,
aren’t undecided about alignment. Rather, they’ve
chosen not to choose, either because they see the benefits
of both good and evil or because they see themselves
as above the concerns of morality. The Raven Queen
and her devotees fall into the latter camp, believing
that moral choices are irrelevant to their mission since
death comes to all creatures regardless of alignment.

This seems pretty damning at first (as if they've chosen not to worship a patron deity), but upon closer reading some of these very people are worshippers of the Raven Queen, so it's once again in relation to alignment, not deity.

I'm only trying to fing out more about this since if we assume that "Unaligned means that they tend to not be pious" and "most people are Unaligned", then we'd end up with "Most people aren't pious".  Which seems like a contradiction to what has been stated in the past (at least past campaign settings).  If so, that's a big change indeed, and something worth considering.
Bane has good aligned worshipers. He dosent care if your good, evil, unaligned so long as your making war upon someone.
Good aligned saliors pray to Umberlee even in Waterdeep and yshe should actually have a temple in Waterdeep and she is an evil aligned deity. You just pray to the Bitch queen to hope she dosent notice you while on the water, but prayer and offerings are still well = prayers and offerings.

Just food for thought.
-Pot Stirrer. -Because I can. Co-Author Neth 3-3 Seek and Destroy. (Now with 10% more diplomacy!) Author ELTU 4-3 Minutes to Midnight (Waiting on Release) ABSO 4-2. (I really am working on this I promise!)

I read that text as saying that a character might not follow the good/evil path of a deity while worshipping them.  Which means that a narcissist might worship Asmodeus, a soldier Bane, an orc (or half-orc) Gruumsh, a drow Lolth, a dragonborn Tiamat, a jailor or ex-jailor Torog, or an assassin Zehir, and not be evil.  Anyone worshipping Vecna would probably never tell anyone that ever anyway.

Tharizdun is a little hard to defend, but then, anyone who worships him is supposed to be totally insane anyway.

On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Just remember that the Bane of the FR is NOT the Bane of the PHB. There are a couple of similarities, but just as with Kalemvor and the Raven Queen there are also a couple of significant differences. When discussing religion, it is best not to get too focussed on the core books. The FR deities are much more black-and-white, and, unlike in the core setting, the FR has a strong concept of a patron deity - as Keith points out. I am not saying there is no room for concepts of non-evil people worshipping evil deities. They are simply not very common, and most consider these heresies.
First of all, here's my opinion: I agree with you. I think characters should be able to put whatever deity they like on their sheet. And pursue a storyline that reflects that.

However, I also agree that as the big tent campaign there are big issues at stake.

The only real REAL issue (in my mind) is the player managment one. Are the players going to be cool enough to play together in publicly randomized groups (ie at conventions and gamedays) without using some tidbit on someone else's character sheet as an excuse to turn their attention away from adventure and towards "attacking each other"?

Man, that is a sticky issue. Because there's no way of knowing once you set a policy in place (or avoid setting one) what people are going to do in a campaign this big. And obviously you want it to be big enough for everyone to have fun, but focused enough so that there's no issue with one player messing with another player.  The hard truth is that some of the people who join up are going to be problem players- it's just the law of averages. We have a lot of people - some of them might possibly be jerks. That's science.

Note that-not only that, but in my experience- it's usually not the guy playing the evil PC that is the jerk. it's the guy playing the paladin next to him that causes all of the trouble. If behavior alone indicates alignment, there's already tons of evil PCs in LFR. So we don't need to give anyone an excuse or a reason to change a party-based adventure situation into a "let's all do battle amongst ourselves in the tavern" kind of situation.

Second Note: I think behind closed doors, or at really small scale events -- LFR DMs or the Senior DM need to be in charge. It's only when we get in the wild and wooly public events that policies like this are extremely important, and never for in-character reasons. It's 100% a player management issue.

Third Note: I founded an all-drow adventuring company called House of Exile. If you find us at a public event and ask us in-character (or even out of character) what deity we worship, we'll all say "praise Torm".

...but then you might hear some chuckling.

Just remember that the Bane of the FR is NOT the Bane of the PHB. There are a couple of similarities, but just as with Kalemvor and the Raven Queen there are also a couple of significant differences. When discussing religion, it is best not to get too focussed on the core books. The FR deities are much more black-and-white, and, unlike in the core setting, the FR has a strong concept of a patron deity - as Keith points out. I am not saying there is no room for concepts of non-evil people worshipping evil deities. They are simply not very common, and most consider these heresies.



One thing I was shocked to read about in the original Forgotten Realms Adventures (Jeff Grubb, the hardback that moved the Realms from 1e to 2e) was that certain deities like Loviatar had good-aligned worshippers, at least at one point.


The tent theme that is being noted has already been skewered multiple times with a different game mechanic:  Race.  

Why is my character in an adventuring party with a Drow, Gnoll, or Revanant.  I have an Eladrin character that I will not play in an LFR game until I know the race of every member of the table.  The character is insufferably arrogant and racist already, throwing a drow in the mix is bad for the table.  The character, however, is good aligned; arrogance and racist tendancies are fundamental character flaws and do not prevent the character from acting in a heroic manner. 

Ultimately, the problem with playing a "evil" race is the same problem as playing a character that worships a "evil" deity.   I find it hypocritical that worshipping an evil god is forbidden because it causes problems at a table but playing an evil race is permitted because it expands role-playing opportunities.
It's a good thing you put "evil" in quotes up there because none of the races you mentioned, are evil in 4E. Many of their members might be, and many of their particular civilizations might be run by evil gods, dictators, etc. But the individuals themselves aren't forced to be evil.

However, making the choice (or failing to change the choice) of worshipping an evil god is a different animal altogether.

So, no, I don't think it is hypocritical. I find it both useful and helpful to keep the actual evil creatures out of the party.
Why is my character in an adventuring party with a Drow, Gnoll, or Revanant. 



Ya, unfortunately the last two were actually mistakes of miscommunication between the Dragon folks and the designers (though reformed drow are pretty much a part of FR now), and I don't think undead or gnoll PCs were ever envisioned. Note that in some adventures there have been some role-playing penalties for playing certain races, as you would expect.
Now I am a noted cynic but I cant escape the impression that were not the evil deities blessed with some of the more interesting feats/divine boons/powers/etc. this would be much less of an issue.

Aside from that I would think that some of the reactions to this issue perfectly illustrate why it would have a disruptive impact in LFR. Do we really need to give people more ways to give themselves or others excuses to break Wheaton's Law?

As is LFR has enough room to work with if you want to roleplay a person of dubious moral fiber and equal deistic allegiance.  
To DME, or not to DME: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous powergaming, Or to take arms against a sea of Munchkins, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;No more;
I understand your opinion of why Evil Deities should be allowed.  But I seen problems with the concept.  I wish to retort some of your reasons:




* Greater freedom for players, obviously.  I'm sure there's someone else out there who wants to play an evil deity worshipper.



The problem with that this freedom can be interpreted by the player as needed to defending their gods actions and wishes, even if unaligned.

In  a few RPGA game I've played the priest of evil deties are the protaganists.

Imagine a game where a priest of Bane is going to sacrifice an innocent for religious reasons.  Do you really want your partys Rogue to turn to the party and say:

"Sorry guys but I'm going with my religious beliefs here!" As he drives his daggers into the Wizard's back.


* The alignment restrictions are good enough.  I'm not calling for a repeal of them.  Therefore, Evil and Chaotic Evil PCs are still not allowed, but this does allow for Unaligned worshippers of evil deities.



Not every divine class is required to take their god's alignment, but others do.  This would create restrictions on certian divine classes for RPGA players while not on others. 



* Drow can worship Lolth.  Even if their racial deity is a complete psychopath, it seems a bit odd to me that no Drow adventurer can ever worship Lolth.



As stated above, Drow characters who worship Lolth would usually go with the Drow ways which can be cruel and terrible.  This would also put them at war with potential party members in RPGA events.



* Players will use the opportunity as an excuse to be dicks.  Forgive me for saying so, but I'm pretty sure those players are going to be dicks anyway.




Players will do what they do however with an evil god it opens the door for truly villanious and criminal activity that could get an entire party killed before an adventure starts.  Also certian heroic NPCs may not work with players with Evil Dieties.


* There is no acceptable reason for an adventurer to follow an evil deity.  Honestly, this bothers the heck out of me.  Not only does it completely discount the notion of the lapsed Catholic (and if anyone's going to miss weekly prayers, it would be an adventurer), but it implies that someone who follows an evil deity is incapapble of acting heroically, even if their alignment is Unaligned.  That last part is seriously concerning to me.



You are correct, following an evil deity does not imply that such a character will do something heroic.  But such Dieties usually don't suggest or reinforce such activities in their teachings.  This would make getting such a character into a game even more difficult.


* Evil deities should be reserved for NPCs.  Let's be honest here: "NPCs" means "enemies."  If I was uncomfortable with the notion that no evil-deity-worshipping PC could ever be heroic, I'm really uncomfortable with the notion that every follower of X d eitydeserves to be the enemy of what we're going to call heroes.  And the associated one, that enemies of good deities will never do anything to call heroes down on them.



The ones you fight are enemies this is true.  But I don't agree that all NPCs are enemies.  In most of the RPGA games there is at least one NPC that instigates the adventure so they would be considered an ally.  At least one other to get information or aid from so they would be potential allies. 

For the most part D&D games espically RPGA games are black and white in design.  Players are the good guys and the people they battle are the bad guys.  It's good vs evil, not evil vs. evil for good vs. good.

Those are just a few points like I said I understand your opinion I just don't agree with it.

Take care!



One thing I was shocked to read about in the original Forgotten Realms Adventures (Jeff Grubb, the hardback that moved the Realms from 1e to 2e) was that certain deities like Loviatar had good-aligned worshippers, at least at one point.

Worshipers had no restrictions (though they would be extremely rare and lone exceptions to the rule).  But in 2E there was a strict "must be within one alignment away" for the divine classes.
Now I am a noted cynic but I cant escape the impression that were not the evil deities blessed with some of the more interesting feats/divine boons/powers/etc. this would be much less of an issue. 

You mean like the new Winning Races: Drow article that just introduced a very nice weapon that can only be used by people that venerate Lolth? ;)
Now I am a noted cynic but I cant escape the impression that were not the evil deities blessed with some of the more interesting feats/divine boons/powers/etc. this would be much less of an issue.

Really? How many are there? 5? 6? AFAIK the evil deities so far stand out by their lack of deity-specific elements.


Ultimately, the problem with playing a "evil" race is the same problem as playing a character that worships a "evil" deity.   I find it hypocritical that worshipping an evil god is forbidden because it causes problems at a table but playing an evil race is permitted because it expands role-playing opportunities.


But there's a difference between playing an outcast from a traditionally evil race, and actively worshipping an evil god.

When I play my gnoll (which I created mostly so I had an excuse to talk like Scoobie-Doo) he fights his gnollish cousins just as hard as anyone else.  He knows how evil and nasty they can be,  he's chosen to take a different path.  He has chosen to not let his race decide his destiny, or his alignment.

I can see interesting roll play opportunities playing a drow that used to worship Llolth, but actively woship?  Not so much.  As someone else pointed out - if a cleric of Bane was about to sacrifice an innocent victim, why would a fellow worshipper of Bane stop them?  Why would a cleric of Torm ever trust anyone who openly worships Bane?

A significant percentage of people run characters that would have great difficulty with someone actively worshipping an evil deity.  That alone is reason not to allow it.  Whether we should have allowed gnolls or other traditionally evil races is irrelevant because we can't undo that decision.

Allen.
But the whole idea behind a patron deity is that you choose the deity that you can most associate and relate with.



I completely disagree with this notion.  That may be one reason why one chooses a patron deity, but it's certainly not the only one.



I read that text as saying that a character might not follow the good/evil path of a deity while worshipping them.  Which means that a narcissist might worship Asmodeus, a soldier Bane, an orc (or half-orc) Gruumsh, a drow Lolth, a dragonborn Tiamat, a jailor or ex-jailor Torog, or an assassin Zehir, and not be evil.  Anyone worshipping Vecna would probably never tell anyone that ever anyway.

Tharizdun is a little hard to defend, but then, anyone who worships him is supposed to be totally insane anyway.




There isn't anything about any of these Gods (ignoring Torog and Tharizdun since they don't exist int he FR) that would inspire a heroic character.  Gods of sin, tyrrany, savagery, greed... while you may disagree with the notion, the only reason someone would take one of these gods as a patron deity is because they see somethign in the deity that speaks to them personally.  We're not talking about polytheistic practices where someone offers a prayer to a god in a situation because they don't want to get shipwrecked or suffer a cave in.  We're talkign full out worship.  Who's goign to collect your soul when you die?  Did you follow the gods tenents enough to be rewarded with an afterlife?  If not, then why were you dedicating your worship to the deity in the first place?

No offense, but the notion of "this gives player's more freedom" is total bunk.  If you can make an interesting PC whose story works with the worship of an evil deity then you can just as easily make an interesting PC whose story works with the worship of a non-evil deity.  Evil deities end up being crutches.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf

I am not sure letting people play “evil” races is hypocritical. What defines a hero? Their actions or what they look like? For me, the race does not necessarily define a character’s actions as much as that character’s beliefs (for example what deity they venerate). In fact playing against archetype can be a great basis for a character. I for example have a gnoll character who worships Selûne, my gnoll is good aligned and struggles against his animalistic nature. In my opinion that would be quite different if my gnoll character worshiped Yeenoghu (which would not be appropriate for a hero in my opinion). Now there are always interesting exceptions (Kira Nenthyn for example) but leaving those options open to players could be asking for trouble. Creating a heroic Drow is easier in my opinion than creating a heroic worshiper of Lolth. Not to say that it can’t be done (players are quite creative).

Now, I think I may have played my gnoll with SCRu’s racist eladrin (is that you Aeronel (sp?) and there is great role-play material to be had there. And while a very arrogant and racist Eladrin creates some tense table situations, that particular Eladrin seems to have a good heart despite their significant character flaws. If that Eladrin was also a worshiper of Bane I think their beliefs would prevent him from acting in a heroic manner.

So, I don’t think that a race that typically acts evil is the same as the worshiper of a typically evil god. If you remove a member from the “evil” race’s society and re-educate them to act heroically they are still physically that race, even if they now behave differently. If you remove a worshiper of an evil god and convince them to follow the ways of goodness, they will probably not be a worshiper of that deity any more (always exceptions yes…but generally).

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