About sinful acts and religion in Mythic Europe


I was wondering: how perceived was the act of "grave desecration" in the Mythic Europe? I can't find anywhere in the Divine where it may discuss those kind of act towards the capacity of sin and the absolution...

I guess it is a major sin. But if you do a grave desecration, will the Priest absolve you or not?

And a related question: men attack another man - the latter being a local hero, savior of the folk many times. The hero kills all the burglars, then take their bodies to the Church graveyard to allow the Priest to bury them. WIll the priest give them the extrem onction? Or not? If not, will they go to Hell? I assume yes but I'm really unfamiliar with religion (not only Mythic religion...).

Thanks for your answer!

Does the answer change when In Orthodox Church? (We play in the Cyclades Island... (and, no, I haven't yet received my copy of the Theban tribunal I'm waiting impatiently).)

As for being absolved, the priest will offer absolution to anyone who confesses all of his sins. There are no sins that are unforgivable except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and grave robbing is not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Heck, you can sell your soul to the devil and still repent and be absolved. Note, that only gets you out of Hell, there is bound to be a very long time in Purgatory for bad sins as far as Mythic Europe goes.

As for extreme unction, so long as they are not dead, the priest can try. If they are dead, then it is too late.

Purgatory as a place is a very recent invention, no more than 50 years before 1220, according to Jacques Le Goff.

In character, knowledge about religion proceeds via revelation rather than invention.

So, I think that the argument would be that Purgatory had always been there. It's existence may, however, have only been recently revealed to man.

But the fact that theology changed throughout time does argue against the need to have a complete cosmological system, the details of which are known to the players if not the characters as facts rather than as beliefs. Real medieval people had differing beliefs and are much better role-played if we the players don't know that they're objectively right or wrong in those beliefs.

Yes, I agree there is no need for the players to know the entire cosmological system of the game-world. Not because what the characters think might change, but for the same reason that there is no need for the players to know how to cast spells.

The characters are fictitious, so they can't be right or wrong about anything. Why should what the players think about the beliefs of the characters matter?

Because it ends up being a little like role-playing your way though an adventure that you've already read. It can be done but it takes something out of the game. It's hard to play participants in a crusade when when you the player know that both the Catholics and the Cathars or the Christians and the Muslims are aligned with the Divine, or to play a pagan Lithuanian when you the player know that the invading Germans really are on the side of God.

If you're playing a game about religion and theology this kind of OOC knowledge may be required. If you're playing a game about magi and their companions, it just gets in the way.

Personally, I think it is easier and better playing such a game when the players know more than the characters. Stuff can happen which makes no sense to the characters, but does make sense to the players.

Which is not to say that the players always need to know what it is going on. Just that there is nothing wrong with the players knowing stuff that the characters don't. In fact it is often crucial for the players to know some stuff that the characters don't.

In character, Purgatory does not exists any more than Schrödinger's cat is alive. After 1254 and the First Council of Lyon, when it became Western Church dogma, yes. But this is in the future and for all we know the council might never happen or Purgatory could become a heresy.

This is Mythic Europe, where magic works and all religions are equals. Here the Church could be as wrong as the Criamons and it would make an interesting game.

In character it either exists or it doesn't. It does not matter whether the characters know about it. It is the exact opposite of Schrödinger's cat.

In your saga, maybe. That's not the canon RAW position however.

In character, unless one is playing a Saint or similarly exceptional holy person, one shouldn't have any more certain knowledge of Purgatory than one does in the real world, where of course opinions differ on the subject. Hermetic magic certainly doesn't offer any special insight, due to the Limit of the Soul.

In character, the Purgatory could be a demonic ploy or a faerie game. You mean: in game, RAW states is exists. Could you provide citation for this?

Let's say the cat experiment had actually been done and the result was a live cat. 50 years down the line when we replay (not repeat) that experiment, we'll use a live cat since that was the result. But that's hindsight for the original actors and, in character, no one can say the cat will be alive until they discover it.

To go back one post, I was very surprised the first time I read that Columbus invented America. With this in mind, any advance, be it technological or spiritual, is an invention.

It can't be crucial for the players to know somthing the characters don't.

If they were to have their characters act on such knowlege the effect in game would ammount to the characters a) doing somthing at complete random that is convieniently correct. b) The characters haveing astounding leaps of logic at just the right time. c) The characters doing somthing that simply does not make sense. d) Taking seemingly senseless risks.

If you let tehm know OOC info just for their peace of mind you simply detract from the roleplaying experience.

^This appears to be correct based on my catholic raising.
The purgatory bit might be slightly anachronistic but i fail to see how it's really relevent since ya know the being dead thing.

There are lots of critical pieces of player knowledge that the characters don't know but which the players act on.

The players know, for example, that we are starting the roleplaying session now and an Adventure is about to happen. The characters don't.

The players also know that spending too long a time time mucking about on adventures will interfer with Lab projects, and so keep an eye on the in-character time spent in the field in a way that the characters would not.

The players know about breakpoints in advancing Abilities and Arts and so pick the books that the character reads in a way that the character could not.

The players know that The Old Man in The Inn with a Curious Tale, is the trigger for an adventure (or whatever cliches your saga uses), rather than a mad irrelevancy.

The players know the Covenant Hooks and Story Flaws of their characters will trigger adventures. The characters do not.

The players know that Albert the Grog and Merdactus the Magnificant (a magus) cannot have a convincing conversation because they are controlled by the same player; and so avoid creating situations in which the two characters need to converse.

The players know that there are (say) four players and so whenever a group leaves the covenant for an Adventure, it is preferable for there to be at least four characters in that group.

As for grogs, they can easily be grabbed by another player if the situation comes up. Though one gets attached to them, colourful as they tend to be. Depends on your troupe-or-not style.

Of course, but it is somewhat schizophrenic to change the player in the middle of play. Changing players between sessions or Adventures is different.

Hence this is why players actively avoid creating such a situation. That is, using player knowledge about how the game world works to guide character actions.

AWESOME!!! :smiley: Now I know how to make a flaw stand out :slight_smile: Simple and elegant.


Wouldn't call that crucial, when an adventure comes your way you don't really have a choice. If a dragon comes to eat the covenant it's either you stop the dragon or the covenant gets ate.

Yes your resaerch obsessed Magi are too dumb to realize that not working in the lab would mess up their research. Riiiiight

Though they may not know about break points they still must know somthing about a ranking system for books on magic and would want to aquire better ones to advance their learning.

If the "Curious Tale" is not relevent enough wo warrant their attention then the players and characters should ignore it.

The hooks and flaws are pretty obvious. Your character knows that his dark past may come to haunt him one day and a character know that in a world where dragons exist those legends of that monster in the cave south of the covenant may have somthing to them.

I geuss you got me on this one. But haveing a short canversation with one's self is not all bad :wink: wouldn't call it crucial.

That is unless Billy had a hot date on game night. :wink:
But is it really suprising that characters would want to have 4 or 5ish people to come with them when they want to adventure?

Wasn't this thread about religion?

You know, therein lies a significant difference between my experience of ArsM and other games. ArsM "adventures" are typically much more player/character driven because they are so often based on individual Story Flaws or covenant Hooks. Unlike other games, adventures (at least in my sagas) aren't "forced" on the characters by some mysterious agent or mercenary contract. They are things that they players themselves have had a part in choosing.

As for the original topic, it reminds me of an interesting issue that came up in my last, now defunct, saga. I'd recently picked up the Realms of Power: Infernal pdf and was running an adventure based around the idea that acts of Infernal auras created by acts of sin. One of my players got very upset about it. He insisted that, since everyone knew that certain acts created Infernal auras, everyone knew those acts were sins and so there could be no theological debates. I frankly think he took his line of reasoning to far but the discussion lead me to wonder... As a game mechanic, we all know about auras, aura interactions and the four realms. But how much of that knowledge is really understood in character. Do magi understand that acts of sin create Infernal auras? Does the Chuch? Do common people know that their villages are surrouned by Divine auras? If they do, how does that understanding effect the institutions of Mythic Europe? How does is this game mechanic, which is cruicial for every player to understand, reflected by in character knowledge and by the setting in general?

I'm with your player. I don't understand how measurable religious truth can possibly work in a world that's supposed to be closely modeled on our own. What happens when two different religions, with different ideas of sin, come together? What auras are generated? What happens when two different people claim the Papal throne? Does the Sacred College hop over to their neighborhood OOH Covenant and have the Might measured?

I'm no use on your question about in-character knowledge because I've never found an in-character way to make the RoP:D canonical world work.