Cathars, heresy and dualism in ArM

Yes. "God is beyond human understanding, and all the above statements are true." Emphasis mine.

God both is three-in-one with a Son, and is pure unity with no parents or children. At the same time.

Fortunately, logic isn't the only way to go in Mythic Europe.

Jacob: you're looking at Schrodinger's cat and saying "it doesn't make sense, therefore it is wrong and badly done: The cat must be either dead, or alive, it can't be both" :wink:

If physics can accomodate multiple states and dimensions, surely mythic europe and its God can :wink:

Schrodinger's cat doesn't make sense either and the experiment has never been done. It took some time before mathematics could solve Zeno's Paradox with the Tortoise and Achilles but it finally did. In the future the cat problem will be solved too I think. ArM has a worse problem as the Divine is interacting and talking - here Achilles will never pass the tortoise. The Divine (or at least 75% of it) must be made of by malicious and lying demons in order for it to work.

Well, that is one theory about the Limit of the Divine: that God is just a powerful demon.

IIRC this is what Catharism was saying?

I have put into this thread - a little higher up - some links to more recent research texts on this subject, some quotes from them, and some short summaries of mine.

So to see what 'Catharism is saying' according to this millenium's state of research, look up again e. g.: , , and .


Sigh... Trying to help here.
Really, Jacob, if quantum physics are good enough for the best and brightest of our physicists, surely they can be good enough for you and, in the context of a game, you can accept that God is just a giant particle who exist between multiple states?

Reading advice: Isolation, by Greg Egan.

Frankly the whole dominion in 5th seems a bit strange to me- aside from the fact that some points are completely wrong (The cult of Mithras was not monotheistic, but was later merged into Christianity primarily due to similarity of rituals). Additionally one of the key points of division between the orthodox and Catholic church at that point in history was the nature of the trinity, so technically the Orthadox would not be monotheists either, but they are included in dominion auras. Meanwhile there exist monotheistic religions whose ideas of sin and morality would conflict greatly with the Catholic church...

There is the ancient cult of Atun (from which Judaism descended, so that isn't completely broken) and some forms of polytheism which consider the various deities to be aspects of a singular unnamed deity (similar to Invectus Sol but from non-Roman origins)...

The "filioque" controversy is a pretty complex issue, as you can guess from the problematic wikipedia article on the subject ( But by sticking to the original Nicene Creed the Eastern Churches are certainly monotheist.

:question: What are you referring to here :question: Is this your 'Atun': ? Then give a few verifiable quotes for your claims, please.


My point here is actually pretty simple- what the rules seem to trying for (allowing the religions related to Christianity to be divine while others are either magical or faerie) and what the rules say (all monotheistic religions are divine) are at odds with one another. A cult leader claiming to be God with a flock has a monotheistic religion, while there are certainly people who believe in "God as three persons" within mainstream Christianity. In fact if you read the rules technically a demon can also be divine if they have a religion which only worships them.

Personally I will acknowledge that some of this is a bit of existential stress as the entire system seems to reinforce the idea still found in some modern (and by and large very intolerant) churches that good is defined by sacredness so all atheists and pagans are inherently evil and good Christians beat up homosexuals and tie them to fence posts. I'm not saying that this is what the books are saying, simply that they share a common core philosophy. Personally I would tend to see the medieval church and most groups represented by dominion as villains rather than pillars of virtue.

From where do you take the impression, that every medieval religion or cult in ArM5 is part of The Divine Realm, if and only if it is monotheist?


Yeah, it tries to present the Dominion as good, but have the morals of the medieval paradigm. Then they tried to add in acceptance of all religions. The result is very schizo. You have people granted the power of the Dominion who advocate for the murder of other members of the Dominion. I prefer to think of the Dominion as simply team Monotheism, and it rewards its faithful and provides what they ask for with that faith. If those faithful decide to be evil well...

You can take a more basic "root" approach.

  1. If you perform mortal sins or advocate the performance of mortal sins (like advocating crusades when we have the thou shall not kill) you are not acting in the name of a religion and cannot grant divine blessings.

  2. The only blessings and rituals anybody can perform are the mass one and the like. Even diabolists can perform a mass, and it will be sanctioned by the divine. Now, if you do that and then try to use the materials for bad stuff, well, the big guy might get annoyed and you might get incinerated. basically, this allows high level church officials that are NOT under the sway of the divine to perform mass and the like.

  3. If you have a +1 or better living conditions modifier you are not Divinely sanctioned.

  4. Only divinely sanctioned characters can perform miracles and have Divine powers.

So Divine religions need to be a root religion. The high levels of society and the influential ones are quite unlikely to be under the divine sway. Interestingly it will also mean that the crusading orders are not divine either since they kill regularly or do not see it as a bad thing.

I think this solves a lot of the problems that we can encounter. As long as you go with the 10 commandments you should be OK in terms of the Divine. No stealing, not killing, not cheating and be a good altruistic and society-helpful guy in general. I have never done this, but it has some appeal. It also makes religion something that affects the base population and grants them some level of power in front of the abuses of the powerful if you want it.

Now, the bishop is performing a miracle. Is it divine or is some other power at work? 8)

To my understanding, the elementary purpose of The Divine Realm in ArM5 is, to give medieval religious life and debate some base work, and the player characters some reason to respect it.

If, even with all the suspension of disbelief they can muster for a RPG, your players are not able to take medieval religious life seriously, you can pity them and think of the lot of work in ArM5 being lost on them. But you cannot force them to play with it.
In such case, you can fall back to the device of a modern morals Dominion, like that Xavi has made up on the spot above. Is it cheap? I should think so. But it is your campaign, so you decide.

Just don't get criticism of an era mixed up with criticism of a RPG. Before lambasting the middle ages, get your facts right. And before modifying a RPG, understand it.


Yup. Remember that the Christian church was the PROGRESSIVE force in this era, not the conservative one.


Depends how you mean by progressive, from a historical perspective, but I'm not wanting to get into that debate.

The thing is that the seven deadly sins (and seven heavenly virtues) are expressly Catholic. Orthodoxy has no mortal sins, I fact it has no legalistic classification of sin. So judging all incidents of dominion based on the Catholic Standard doesn't exactly demonstrate that all dominion religions are equal...

Tying it to the ten commandments would certainly clarify, but it would eliminate the idea of the Cult of Invectus Sol being part of the Dominion...

What do people think about tying dominion to sincere faith, recognizing that such faith in the middle ages is likely to be Christian etc. but without the other legalistic and confusing requirements?

The 10 commandments that is, not the capital sins. Not being a Christian myself I sometimes get those mixed up.

Wouldn't that be kind of boring?

Isn't it much more interesting if the bishop can be both the genuine regional nexus of divine power and a conniving politician who has schemed and perhaps murdered his way to his episcopal throne.

I wasn't referring so much to the idea of individual faith so much as that the religion has to be sincerely believed in. The Pantheons of Rome would have fallen from divine to magical auras as people's faith was undermined by the politicization of the temples, which has not (yet) happened with Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and perhaps some of the outlying pagan religions where the belief is still quite real...

I'm sure that the pope, the bishops, the papal curia, the crusaders, the Holy Roman Emperor, the Byzantium Emperor, the counts of Tusculum and others will be surprised and perhaps pleased to hear that the "temples" of Christianity have not yet been unduly politicised by 1220.