Toldara: the Fractured Faith of Humanity

Reading over the D&D Basic Rules has got my creative juices flowing.  I had a few ideas about religion in my campaign world of Toldara but I never got past a few notes here and there.  I tapped into that creativity and was able to jot down more than just a few simple notes.  This is just an initial attempt at detailing the most practiced human faith of Toldara but this is a good starting point for expanding at some point later in time.

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The faiths and religious movements of Toldara are just as varied as our modern world.  Even among members of different faiths there are often shared themes, doctrines, and other similarities.  The religion with the highest number of adherents when doctrinal differences are ignored is the Fractured Faith of humanity.  Even when each denomination is considered separately the number of followers is still rather large.

The Fractured Faith

The Fractured Faith began as one movement, The Faith, among the various areas of humanity in the First Age.  Towards the end of that age and on into the Second Age, The Faith began splintering due to regional differences and then various doctrinal differences began surfacing.  Eventually, these disagreements led to new factions to splinter off from the original church.

Many of the religious paths share several similarities – holy books, holy sites, practices, holidays, etc. – but are separated by some prominent differences such as prophets, holy day, translations, and even more areas.  Nearly all of the various factions in the Fractured Faith are in complete agreement about the following subjects:

  • A belief in one god responsible for the act of primary creation.
  • The adherents often refer to this god as “The One” or “The Creator”.
  • They believe the name and nature of The One is incomprehensible.
  • The One uses minor gods to interact with the mortals.
  •  Approximately one-third of the minor gods were led in a rebellion by Grax to overthrow The One.

Some of the more prominent divisions in the Fractured Faith include:

The Combined Path: This faction believes that no single fragment of the old faith has all of the answers so they look to the teachings and beliefs of all the various factions of the Fractured Faith to guide their spirituality.

The Scripturists: This faction believes that only the words of the Holy Scriptures should be their guide in determining matters of the faith.  Simply put, only scripture can guide or lead to understanding of other passages; the words of men may be able to enhance but can never supersede the words of The One.

The Purists: This faction believes that only The One is worthy of worship or adoration and do not recognize the minor gods as anything other than something comparable to angels.

The Orthodox Branch: This faction is an attempt to revive the early form of the religion in the modern era.

The Revelationists: This faction believes that a prophet who receives revelation from The One guides their sect.  These teachings and revelations are gathered together and added to their Holy Scriptures as time passes. A new prophet is selected when the current prophet dies.  There has been several disagreements on who the selection of the new prophet at times.

Church of Grax: This is the movement that has sided with the rebellious minor gods and they work in direct opposition to the Fractured Faith.

Every human city has a temple or meeting place for one of these factions.  It is very common for the larger cities to have several of these sects represented in their community.  Some of the factions are peaceful towards each other while others are very nearly hostile when it comes to interacting with the others.  Obviously, the Church of Grax is in direct opposition to all of the other groups.

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Toldara: Some Preliminary Thoughts

This post has a list of observations I have made in regards to rebooting my campaign world of Toldara. The information here will serve as an outline and will give an indication of what to expect in future posts concerning Toldara.

Game System(s)

Shortly after the release of the 3E core books I started making notes for my campaign world; it was not long before I decided to share the design duties with my cousin and we added more information as time passed. We made the transition to 3.5E and eventually went to Pathfinder. Alex has done most of the tweaking in both of those systems.  I enjoy Pathfinder but I have gotten way behind on the releases and I also want to experiment with using some other systems to represent the world of Toldara.  I am leaving the future Pathfinder development of Toldara in the very capable hands of Alex.  The systems I am currently experimenting with include the following:

Back to the Dungeon! RPG : A neo-clone system that I have contributed material to the design.  It only seems fitting that I should write a supplement.

Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG: For no other reason than the funky aspect of the game design.

Halberd Fantasy Role Playing (USR) – I like the fast and loose nature of the rules and I am just curious how it will handle stuff originally done in another crunchier system.

MicroLite 20: This greatly condensed version of the open gaming fantasy rules is of great interest to me. The “MicroToldara” rules are basically complete.  All I really need to do is add the Five F background system, a few classes, and then the basic world details.  This may very well be the first handbook completed.

Perilous Journeys: A skill-based fantasy game that is not a class & level system but is the spiritual successor to Lejendary Adventures.

Swords & Wizardry-Complete: I dig it because the complexity level feels about right on a match for the mash up of AD&D/D&D we used to play back in the day.  Hell, I might just do it all in B/X format…

I realize that there are six systems mentioned above for play-testing purposes.  What I aim to do is something similar to the character funnel from DCC RPG except through the process of tinkering with the different game systems I will be able to determine which rules set best suits my game play tastes.

Races

The world of Toldara has always added four races to the core races in the rules – Anshus (a humanoid feline-like race), Karnin (a humanoid canine-like race), Oranian (a bird-like winged race), and the Slarn (a lizard-like race) – in addition to any changes to the core races.  I have been thinking about the races lately with an eyes towards trimming the list a bit.

I know that Alex added Goblins to the list of available player races in his Pathfinder campaign.  I have done the same in the MicroToldara version.  I am not sure the Goblin will be an option in any other game systems.

I am starting to wonder if any of the traditionally core races should be limited or excluded from the campaign. If one of them were excluded then one of the new races could take the place of the excluded race.  I am also considering moving the Oranians to NPC status due to their wings and flying ability.

Map

After getting some feedback and looking around at other maps on blogs or other sites I have decided to start over on the map.  I think the best way to accomplish that is by starting small and then expanding outward. The player characters will begin as novices so they really will not be travelling far for adventure.  The simple truth is that I do not need the entire world mapped out from the start.  A new map with the elements I want to keep will be completed shortly.  As the world information grows through playing in the world then the map will increase in size.

Starting Location

Of course, the map will start out with the town and the surrounding area.  I am going to keep it a limited area with just a short distance in each direction mapped out.  Basically, a size that will be big enough for the novice adventurers to explore with hints at a larger, more dangerous world outside of those boundaries. Things I want to use include the following:

town: big enough that it offers a useful selection of equipment and adventure opportunities but some of the “better” stuff is available in larger cities.  I am not shooting for ultra-realism but I want it to represent a decent size place with a large enough population where not everybody is acquainted with everybody and there are still surprises here and there.

caravans: the caravans will need guards due to raiders and this will provide some adventure opportunity in itself.

mine: the nearby mine will need laborers and will also be the nearest dungeon for the characters after some trouble starts up inside.

mountains: there will be some mountains nearby with caves scattered among them and if the characters go far enough into the mountains who knows what sorts of adventure awaits?

Other

Some of the topics I am working on include a history of the realm and surrounding areas, a list of deities, some organizations, attempting to make coins unique instead of generic gold/silver/etc., and making notes as I think up other stuff.

More later….