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[personal profile] hat_plays_sims
So I have this massive (forty-three pages in 10-point font) document I use to plan out things like class restrictions and cheats allowed and what trees I can put in which neighborhoods and the bones of a criminal justice system and... basically it's my worldbuilding cheat sheet.

After talking about the G-Rated Religion Mod with Morgaine, I said to myself, "Man, my Religion section sure is... thin. What can I do to get more information in there? Religion and culture inform each other."

So I rummaged around for some writing guides (for both fantasy writing and gaming writing; the gaming guides were more useful) about making up religions. And I built myself a questionnaire.

Because Veetie wanted to see the questionnaire, I cleaned it up, made the language as neutral as I could (hopefully they'll help as much for Medieval Fantasy religions as High Fantasy or Contemporary Alternate Universe), and crammed it behind the cut at the end of this paragraph. This isn't a Mary Sue Litmus Test, feel free to skip any questions that don't apply to your particular playable Religion-- but you might want to give them all a read-through anyway. Most of the questions are aimed at fleshing out a made-up religion, but there's a bit at the end about real-world people and the implications a fictional religion can make, by accident or by design. Also, I'm not a religious studies expert, I'm just a nerd who reads a lot and knows when something feels fake or under-done, and like a lot of people I'm constantly learning what's actually accidentally gross (or accidentally-on-purpose gross. I was in the Aladdin fandom in early 2002, you would not believe some people's nonsense).

Religious Figures
-- Not every religion has to be about a Deity, but there has to be some kind of central figure holding the code together, even if this figure is a philosophy, a list, or a celestial body.

Is this religion built around a single god (monotheistic), many gods (pantheistic), or are there even gods at all (philosophical religions, ancestor veneration)?

What's the Deity (central figure) of the religion like? If the Deity is more like a philosophy, what's involved in the philosophy?

If there's a pantheon, who else is in it? What are they like? (If you don't have specific ideas yet, get down broad strokes-- 'the pantheon is basically the Deity's family and extended family,' or 'it's less a pantheon and more a lot of nature spirits'-- both work well and leave you room to edit or add more so you don't write yourself into a corner.)

If the religion is monotheistic, are there other non-central figures that are more divine than mortals but less divine than the deity? If so, what are they like? Are any of them adversarial to the Deity?

Do the figures of the religion, if there are multiple figures, have associations? What sort of pattern do those follow? (Thor, god of thunder or Jude, patron saint of lost causes, or the Olympian model, where top-tier gods have less-specific associations than lower tiers, so you have the God of the Sky, the God of the Sun, the Goddess of Rainbows, et cetera...)

Followers
-- Most religions exist (and persist) for the same handful of reasons: to explain the unexplainable, to offer comfort in difficult times, and usually to provide some kind of moral framework for the faithful.

What does the religion promise to gain or retain followers? Does religious doctrine revolve around hope, fear, love, retribution, power, defiance, something else?

How does the religion attempt to explain the unexplainable, the seemingly random, and natural disasters? How would religious doctrine or tradition answer when asked "Why did Bob get struck by lightning?"

How does the religion comfort its believers and see them through in difficult times? If Bob dies of an infected guinea pig bite, leaving Betty widowed, what does religious doctrine say she should do now? Does it have any instructions for her neighbors, friends, or relatives (by blood or through Bob, or both if there's a difference)?

What's the religion's overall moral code? What does 'be good' mean to the religion, and what are the consequences of failing to be good? If the religion bans Theft (hypothetically), what does its doctrine say awaits Betty if she steals Sylvia Marie's lawn gnome?

Are transgressions against other mortals considered more or less serious than transgressions against the Deity (or the central philosophy)? If the religion bans Same-Sex Romance (hypothetically), what does its doctrine say awaits Melissa and Claire if they have sex?

Mythology
-- Most religions have some mythology attached. These stories help to codify a religion's explanations, comfort, and morality, but also teach worshipers why deities should be respected, feared, or loved. It isn't necessary to know all the stories right away (in fact, it can be better not to, so you can write yourself out of corners later), but broad strokes of the mythology are good to know especially any stories that are likely to be reflected in daily life or regular worship.

What are the bones of this religion's creation myth? Who made the world? Why? Is the central figure the same figure who made the world? Why or why not? What's the world made out of? Why are things how they are?

What are some of the prominent myths besides the creation myth? Broad strokes are okay.

What does the religion's mythology have to say about the afterlife? What happens to the soul or spirit after death? If ghosts are allowed to roam free in your game, how does this religion explain them?

Tenets
-- G-Rated and Original (with the Original romantic and sexual Tenets included to help round out the Religion. They're useful, they just conflict with things). Banning is always a flat ban, but allowing can mean anything from 'this religion encourages that' to 'this religion stays out of that.'

WRATH: Does the religion ban or allow outbursts of temper, aimless rage, or shouty tantrums? Why or why not?

THEFT: Does the religion ban or allow taking things that belong to someone else, whether or not you can make use of them yourself? Why or why not?

VIOLENCE: Does the religion ban or allow hostile physical contact, everything from a mean poke to make a point to feeding someone to a cowplant? Why or why not?

INDISCRETION: Does the religion ban or allow rude behavior that may be incidental or harmless as easily as petty and mean? Why or why not?

DISRESPECT: Does the religion ban or allow intentionally mean, sometimes petty, always insulting acts against others? Why or why not?

ADULTERY: Does the religion ban or allow married people from romantic and/or sexual activity outside their marriage? Why or why not?

FORNICATION: Does the religion ban or allow unmarried people from sexual activity? Why or why not?

SAME-SEX ROMANCE: Does the religion ban or allow romantic and/or sexual activity between two members of the same gender (lesbian, gay, or same-sex bisexual)? Why or why not?

POLYGAMY: Does the religion ban or allow plural or group marriage (multiple spouses, of either gender, at once)? Why or why not?

Practical Matters
-- These aren't playable Tenets no matter which version of Religion you use, but it's still important to ask.

Where is the religion originally from? Has it spread? Dwindled? How does its origin affect its doctrine?

Does the religion have any local political influence? If so, how much influence, and how does the religion use that influence?

Does the religion have any local cultural or social influence? If so, how much influence, and how does the religion use that influence? Does culture and/or society have as much or more influence over the religion than it has over either of them?

Is marriage a religious matter? Is divorce? Are there religious requirements for an engagement, marriage, annulment, or divorce?

Is interfaith marriage allowed? If so, are there any special requirements for it? What are they and why? If interfaith marriage isn't allowed, is converting to marry allowed? Why or why not?

How does religious doctrine define virtue? How does it define vice? Does it have a concept of sin? Are there any particular prohibited behaviors beyond the official Tenets?

Are there any particular activities the religion prohibits only at Places of Worship? Is there an expected manner of dress at Places of Worship?

Who builds and maintains Places of Worship? Where do the funds to do so come from?

How does the religion deal with abandoned, unwanted, orphaned, or imperiled children among its followers? Does the religion have any influence over what happens to them at all? (This may vary depending on your game setting and how reflective of reality it is. The US stopped using orphanages altogether in the late 1970s and switched to the foster care system, though not every TV writer has picked up on the change.)

What are the religion's views on each of the playable supernatural life states (aliens, zombies, vampires, servos, werewolves, plantsims, Bigfoot, witches and wizards)? Why does the religion have those views? Are any life states favored over the others, or over regular Sims? Are any life states looked down on or forbidden from the religion?

Does the religion offer sanctuary? If so, are there eligibility requirements for it and what, if any, are they?

Clergy
-- You can't designate them in the mod, but you might want them in your game. "Clergy" is used as a gender-neutral term despite the Christian shadings, intended to designate Sims who help manage the religious needs of their community in some way, putting the 'organized' into 'organized religion.'

Does the religion have clergy at all? If so, what are they called? If not, how do Sims manage their own religious needs?

Who is eligible to join the clergy? Is anyone barred from it? Why?

What does the clergy do? What rituals does the religion have that might require clergypersons to participate in? What duties do they have, sacred or secular?

Are there different levels of clergy? If so, what are they?

What do laypersons expect of the clergy?

Are any vows attached to joining the clergy? If so, what are they? Is the clergy expected to do anything in particular differently than laypersons?

How are clergypersons fed, clothed, and housed? Not only in terms of special proscriptions, but-- are clergypersons expected to pay rent/bills? Grow or buy their own food? Make or buy their own clothes? In whole or in part (cassocks provided, boxer shorts not)? If the clergy isn't expected to be self-supporting, where do the funds and/or goods to support them come from?

Ritual
-- Because raising Faith can just be talking to other Sims of the same religion, but it doesn't have to be. Remember, a ritual can be as elaborate as an official coronation or as simple as blowing out the candles to Happy Birthday To You.

Does the religion require regular meetings to worship, or is private worship enough? Either way, how do members worship?

Are there any regular rituals for the average meeting or private worship session? If so, what are they?

Does the religion have any holy days (holidays)? If so, what kinds of holidays are they? What do they mark?

Does the religion require any special observances of holy days, if it has them (feasting, fasting, celebrations, obligatory services or personal rituals)? If so, what are they and why are they required? Are there optional special observances for some of the holy days? If so, what are they and why are they optional? Why would someone choose to observe them or not observe them?

Are there ritual requirements, observations, purifications, or optional blessings for significant life events (birth, age transition, death, marriage, divorce, illness, miscarriage, sex?)

Does the religion use ritual to cleanse or forgive worshipers' transgressions, or does it expect practical restitution, or have any way to make up for mistakes at all?

Special Notes
-- There's definitely something about your religion that I haven't covered, something that you really want to write down.

What else is there about the religion that's important to know?

Avoiding Unfortunate Implications
-- As the author, all your implications and coding* should be deliberate, but we tend to absorb the coding we see without thinking about it or what it might mean for our readers. This section is here to help you imply what you intend to imply, but I'd like to ask you to think hard about your answers, since no one has to see them but you.

Are any of your religions exclusive to one of the life-states a Sim can have from birth to death (normal, aliens, plantsims, arguably Bigfoot), excluding all others? Why is that religion (or those religions) so exclusive?

Have you added any story-driven species to your game (elves, dwarves, orcs, off-brand hobbits, mermaids, satyrs, demons, angels, alien species besides the telescope pollinators, playable genies/djinni, et cetera)? Do they have their own societies, cultures, and religions, or are they well-integrated with humans and/or each other?

Do any of your religions feature members clustered around one area of the skintone catalog? If so, which area of the catalog, and why?

Which of your religions are open to converting new members? Which of your religions can a member only be born into? Why?

Are any of your religions based on or close to real-world religions, including 'dead' or pagan religions (especially religions exclusive to one species or life-state, or with members from only one area of the skintone catalog)? Are any of them based on religions you aren't and never have been a member of? If you were asked how much research you had done on the source religions, how would you answer?

If a fellow Simmer belonging to a religion you based one of your fictional ones on happened to read your story, or your answers to this questionnaire, what do you think their reaction would be? Why do you think they might have that reaction?

If a fellow Simmer approached you to tell you that you've been using harmful stereotypes or hurtful words in your story or in your answers to this questionnaire, how would you feel? How would you react? What would you ask the person who approached you?

Does your game have an overall metaphysical truth? If so: What is it? Do any of your game's religions contradict it? Which ones, and why? What does that contradiction imply about those religions? What does it imply about any real-world religions those faiths are based on? What do you think it might lead a reader to think about you as a writer?

Is there any one religion you lean toward as 'true' or 'mostly true,' or even 'more true than the others'? Which one? Why?

Is there any one religion you lean toward as 'false' or 'mostly false,' or even 'more false than the others'? Which one? Why?

Is there any one religion you lean toward as being the most advanced? Which one? Why?

Is there any one religion you lean toward as being the most primitive? Which one? Why?

Have you set up any religions as being inherently good or inherently evil? What are their Tenets and values? Why did you choose those tenets and values for a good or evil religion? Why did you decide a particular religion should be good or evil?

Do any of your religions differ significantly from your personal values? Why? What statement are you trying to make with those religions, if any? What statement do you think a reader might infer from reading about those religions?

What purpose do you think organized religion serves in reality? What purpose does it serve in your story?

*Coding: When an author (or storyteller) implies something about a character through use of tropes, so that they can make a statement without declaring the statement. As examples of two kinds of religious coding, Mother Gothel from Disney's Tangled and the dwarves from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series are coded as Jewish. With Pratchett's dwarves, it's intentional and skillful, including nods to Orthodox and Reform Judaism, "Jewish" as an ethnicity and a culture as well as a religion, and some playing with the tropes of stereotypical careers. Each individual dwarf character (and there are many, miners and smiths and jewelers, but also city guards and printers and playwrights and fashion designers and gardeners) is an individual character with distinct motives and goals that are informed by but don't always revolve around their dwarfishness. Some dwarves are our protagonists, some dwarves are antagonists, but all dwarves are people. With Mother Gothel, the Jewish-coding is probably unintentional and neither subtle nor skillful; Gothel is a grasping, manipulative, snarky woman with thick black curls and sharp features, including a (small but) hooked nose, in sharp contrast to her abducted daughter with her straight blonde hair and button nose. Gothel's desperation (she needs Rapunzel's magic hair in order to survive, literally) could have been played as sympathetic or tragic, but deliberate storytelling choices were made to show her as cruel, controlling, and vain, and to show that Rapunzel and/or Rapunzel's freedom is worth another character's voluntary death. For bonus Unfortunate Implications, Rapunzel (long straight blonde hair) and Gothel (tight black ringlets) are the only two characters in the entire movie with their hair types.

Straight-Up Writing Advice
-- I can't resist it.

Use content warnings. This is non-specific to writing about religion, but could easily apply (plenty of religions called for animal sacrifice, which calls for a warning). Content or trigger warnings allow readers to decide for themselves what they have the energy to read today. This serves you as a writer by making sure your readers stay focused on the events of the story, even if it means they have to come back to it on a better day.

Always punch up. Punching down is bullying. If you use your game or your writing to mock, satirize, or lampoon a religious institution, be sure it's an institution in a position of privilege, power, wealth, or security. Generally this excludes any religious group that has suffered being invaded, enslaved, large-scale arrested, or interned by another religious group or by a government power that wanted their lands, goods, or bodies, particularly within (but not limited to within) living memory. (You can (and probably should) apply the 'punch up' advice to ethnic groups, LGBTA+ sexualities, and gender identities, but we're talking about religious worldbuilding here.)

Look it up before you make it up, make it up rather than appropriating it. Find out if a religion is still being practiced in something resembling its original form by living people before incorporating elements of it into a fictional religion. If that religion is marginalized in your area (in the US, 'marginalized' includes 'any religion that is not Christianity, and also certain Christian sects considered weird'), either be determined to treat it respectfully, including opening yourself up to criticism and making changes based on constructive criticism, or base your fictional religion on something else. Basically, if you can't write Terry Pratchett's dwarves, at least don't write Jack Skellington's Christmas.

Beware of Hollywood History. Get informed, do proper research, and be careful of assuming historical fiction-- or historical legend, or historical propaganda-- is fact, or well-researched, or unbiased. If you are aiming for historical accuracy, be sure you're being true to the period you're writing for, and not some later period's romanticizing of it. (The Victorians were terrible about that sort of thing.)

Own your biases and your mistakes. Respond to constructive criticism gracefully. Apologize, and decide if the offending content can be edited out or if it's plot- or characterization-relevant enough to stay and get a content warning instead.

Humanity has not changed. The principles we live by shift around and we can communicate a lot faster, but 'the good old days' when children were obedient and respectful of their elders and no one got ideas above their station never existed (Plato was the first person to write down complaints about kids these days). Those of us who can write have always written 'I was here' on walls. (Those of us who can draw have always drawn dicks on walls.)

Publishing isn't the only way to share your story! If you're playing (or writing) just for yourself, more power to you, enjoy yourself, do whatever you want, I am not here to shame you-- but it is entirely possible to describe your playstyle with enough detail to both hurt people and invite harsh criticism. I've seen it happen.

With great (storytelling) power comes great responsibility. As a player, you may not have 100% control over what your Sims do, but as a writer, you do have 100% control over what makes it into your story. You get to decide which points of view are important by giving them a voice. You get to decide what to show and what to imply; you get to decide how equitable your religion is (with very few caveats. I mean, if you're writing strict, dated historical fiction, I encourage you to go for accuracy, but if you're writing any kind of fantasy, or historical fiction set in the Sims universe, your hands are totally untied). Suspension of disbelief means if you write well enough, your readers will believe-- or at least retain, and possibly internalize-- whatever you use your story to say. Use your power wisely.

Reply

Date: 2016-06-07 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] croiduire
I love your questionnaire, and, if you don't mind, I'll link to it on my RPG sites. If you want any feedback, please let me know; I greatly enjoyed writing up my sim religion.

Re: Reply

Date: 2016-06-07 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] croiduire
I run two games on Rondak's Portal, a very small text-based gaming site. I personally have fewer than a dozen players. I would also like to post a link on my wiki, another low traffic site (at least to my section, Croi's Games). By feedback, I mostly meant my own; would you like to see how a simmer has used your questionnaire, or do you have plenty of that sort of information already?

Re: Reply

Date: 2016-06-09 08:58 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] croiduire

I hope this isn't too long...

I have tried to base my theology as much as possible on sim behaviour and the actions that are punished or rewarded in game.

Religious Figures: First, and most importantly, there is the Sacred Code, represented by the Plumbbob, that guides the life of every sim; the Plumbbob is the principle religious symbol in my game.

In addition there are two primary deities: the Watcher, God(dess) of the Living, to whom sims appeal when in extremis with the hope/expectation that s/he will help them, and Grim, the God of Death. The Watcher can be capricious, responding with kindness, cruelty, or not answering at all. Grim is fearsome yet fascinating, and is always respected. Sims are aware that his seemingly arbitrary games, and the payment extracted when a sim is resurrected, are merely measures he uses to discover how much the sim that has entered his domain is loved and valued by the living.

There are also the Patron Saints of the Aspirations, collectively usually called "the Aspirations" (represented in my game by specific statues) as one might say, "the Muses". They are: Saint Familia; Saint Cognitionem; Saint Voluptas; Saint Fortunam; Saint Fama; and Saint Amatoria. No aspiration is more or less important than any other; all are equally valid choices.

Followers: Since all sims display the same "beliefs", ipso facto they all practise the same religion. Studying the Code helps sims understand why they do what they do. Religion is, a basic part of the fabric of life. If they have a high holy hymn it would be "Roll The Bones".

We go out in the world and take our chances.
Fate is just the weight of circumstances.
That's the way that lady luck dances.
Roll the bones.
Why are we here?
Because we're here.
Roll the bones.
Why does it happen?
Because it happens.
Roll the bones.








Mythology: In the beginning was the Code, laid down by the Supreme Creator, a being of the same tribe as the Watcher, but greater than the Watcher. There are other Great Gods, well known to the Watcher, that have the power to alter the Code, often making a sim's life better. Sometimes the Watcher him/herself will alter the Code. These Gods clearly are extremely powerful, and deserving of all veneration.

Grim was created by the Code and given dominion over death. He is immortal and untouchable by living sims except at the moment of death, when he will listen to prayers to spare the dying, or when a sim asks that he release a loved one from his domain, allowing the formerly deceased sim to rejoin the living.

The Aspirations are seen as idealised greater-than-sims who have achieved all that is possible within their respective spheres. For example, the legend of Saint Familia (I use the Grey Lady statue) says that she had ten children, graduated three of them from university, married off six of them, had (more than) six grandchildren, and lived to a ripe old age, celebrating her golden anniversary with her first and only love. The Aspirations deserve emulation, and are appealed to for help, intercession, and guidance by all sims, not only those of the same aspiration. For example, a family sim might ask Saint Amatoria for her help in winning the love of a desired romantic partner, or any student might pray to Saint Cognitionem before taking an exam.

There is no afterlife; when someone dies they become a ghost, like jedi or Heinleinian Martians; such ghosts are often seen. Still, church doctrine speaks authoritatively of a beautiful land, a lovely garden (called Persimmon Grove) where sims do not age, and where it is always perfect summer. That, they teach, is where simkind originated, and many sims believe they will return there when they die, citing the suitcase and the dancers sometimes seen when Grim comes to collect a soul that passed in a state of grace. This extrapolated belief is neither confirmed nor refuted in sanctioned dogma, but it is subtly encouraged by the clergy for the comfort it brings.

Thus far no mods are needed to play my religion, although certain items are extremely useful, like mustluvcatz's gorgeous Plumbbob of Praise and Sophie-David's amazing Opportunity Pack lecterns and reading desks. Specific tenets would, of course, require your mod. (I'd really appreciate a progress reports of how it's working in other people's games!) If I get it...

Tenets:

  • WRATH: Condemns.
  • THEFT: Condemns.
  • VIOLENCE: Condemns (albeit with player reservations; I wish another line of code could be added asking if the action is done in play, restoring red hands and punch-me. Both games provide quick boosts to fun and social).
  • INDISCRETION: Frowns upon but permits. (You shall be kind to all your fellow creatures.)
  • DISRESPECT: Condemns (see INDISCRETION).
  • ADULTERY: Condemns, if the marriage is intact, without the consent of both partners. (In game/mod terms, probably allow, but tweak on the ACR adjuster.)
  • FORNICATION: Allows (or there will be far fewer marriages).
  • SAME-SEX ROMANCE: Does not differentiate; love is love.
  • POLYGAMY: Allows with the full knowledge and approval of all parties (see ADULTERY).

Practical Matters:

Source -- This religion originated in ancient days when the Code was first handed down to the primitive ancestors of today's sims. It has changed and evolved, and with it, sims have evolved (see: Persimmon Grove above), spreading with the growing population of sims across the world.

Influence -- Religion has shaped the sims, who in turn have shaped their society; it is bedrock to the social order, and is incorporated into all civic functions. It is too tangible to permit unbelief; most people have seen Grim, all have felt the influence of the Sacred Code. An agnostic or atheist would be considered deranged, and thus ineligible for any position of influence, political or otherwise.

Marriage -- Marriage can be either a formal (uses wedding arch) or an informal (doesn't use the arch) affair, but all marriages are simultaneously religious and civil contracts. There are no requirements for marriage beyond love and commitment. Divorce is very rare, but when it occurs, it is usually caused by non-consensual adultery, which the religion condemns. When there is but a single world-wide denomination, there can be no interfaith marriage.

Virtue and Vice -- Beyond the tenets, there are Commandments (listed here in order of importance):

Never do to others that which you would not choose to have done to you.
You shall not murder.
You shall not steal.
You shall not strike another in anger.
You shall not spread slander and calumny against your neighbour.
Just as pain, anger, and hindrance are not agreeable to you, it is so with others. Abide by this principle of equality, and treat others with respect and compassion.
You shall be kind to all your fellow creatures.
Regard your neighbour's gain as your own gain, and your neighbour's loss as your own loss.
Covet not their possessions nor their good fortune.
Remain continent in your marriage, abiding by the covenant you and your partner established, that you and your children may dwell in harmony and contentment.
Forgive and overlook the transgressions against you, as you would have the Watcher forgive and overlook your own transgressions.

In summary, kindness is a virtue, cruelty is a vice. Sin is a violation of the tenets and the commandments.

Behaviour and Dress -- Of shibboleths, rather than sins, any behaviour that is disruptive, distracting, and therefore rude to other sims in the vicinity, is frowned upon in church. Certain church services require formal attire, at others everyday clothes may be worn (controlled by Simlogical formal dress signs).

Construction and Maintenance -- Churches are considered community/municipal buildings, and the funds to support them, and all public facilities, come from taxes (Cyjon's Bigger Bills mod). Endowments and donations are also greatly appreciated.

Social Services -- Abandoned, neglected, and orphaned children and pets, the homeless, and the indigent are cared for by the municipal authorities, which includes the clergy. The social worker is virtually always a dedicated religious.

Supernaturals -- In my game aliens are virtually indistinguishable from other sims (S2 skin; dark brown, normal looking eyes; reasonable noses) and only females can get pregnant. No one is impregnated by alien abduction. I don't actually play supernaturals; in my game there is no chance of plant sims (a mod prevents their inadvertent creation), no zombies, no werewolves, and no vampires by choice. Servos are AIs, and after considerable legal debate, have been granted the civil rights of other sims. Bigfoot is a primitive, reclusive (big, hairy) sim, but quite nice once you get to know him, not the least bit supernatural. Witches I will discuss later...

Sanctuary -- When the church is part of the government, running to a church is akin to running toward a police station.

Clergy: In point of fact, it is (will be) fairly easy to have clergy, at least in flavour. I am currently working on a "Cleric" career track. That said, obviously there are levels, ten to be precise: acolyte, guide, teacher, counsellor, minister, preacher, vicar, rector, bishop, and primate. A degree is required (although graduates still must begin as acolytes), and the qualifications for advancement are very demanding, but it is rewarding, at least in a spiritual sense (setting fun and social to increase at work; I wish I could make faith increase too, but I'm pretty sure that's beyond my skill). Anyone who meets these requirements can become a cleric, and the negative chance cards will cause the loss of a skill point or level; this is a vocation, not a mere career, so a sim can not be fired.

Clerical duties are many and varied, from social work and community outreach to presiding over worship services, including holy days, weddings, funerals, and name days, with some building maintenance and paperwork on the side. They also provide grief counselling and conflict resolution between couples and friends. Although the vicar of the Church of Saint Familia, located in a child-filled suburb, might sponsor regular church picnics, and focus on ensuring the well-being of the parish children and on keeping families intact, while the minister of the Chapel of Saint Cognitionem, on a university campus, encourages intellectual discussion groups and comforts homesick young adults, the Services in all churches follow the same rituals of adoration and thanksgiving (the Plumbbob of Praise), a sermon of varying length (the Opportunity Lectern), contrition and supplication (the Plumbbob again), with time afterward for community fellowship. The laity expect their clerics to be there for them, ready to support them through all life's joys and sorrows.

Clerics stand out from the general population, signified by the clothing they are expected to wear (the female habit is the social worker's suit--or will be when I finish tweaking it, I hope--with optional veil; men wear a "vicar's suit"). They are permitted to marry but many don't; their vocation is too demanding of time and energy. They draw a salary by way of which they meet their expenses, all except for habits and formal vestments, which are provided (MATY clothing tool).

Ritual: See above for a basic worship service. More formal and prolonged ceremonies are held on the four holy days of the year, Winterday, Springtide, Summerday, and Harvest Day, the solstices and equinoxes. They occur on the third day of each respective season, and are times of great celebration. No one works or goes to school (assuming I can tweak Phaenoh's summer vacation mod, since I have no idea how to do this from scratch). On Winterday sims exchange gifts, decorate trees, burn Winter logs, and feast, celebrating family. Springtide is devoted to appreciating nature; gardens are planted or tended, hiking, bug hunting, and bird-watching are promoted, and at night sims stargaze (or cuddle beneath them). Summerday is marked with picnics, barbeques, sports, and fireworks, in recognition of the importance of play, as well as work, in a sim's life. Harvest Day is for baking, preserving food, carving pumpkins as household guardians, drinking fresh-pressed cider, and enjoying other seasonal delicacies; it is a day of thanksgiving. Additionally, all of the Holy Days begin with worship services, with sims (wearing their best clothes) gathering in community fellowship. Worship on other days is encouraged; on Holy Days it is mandatory. Optional observances are weddings, funerals, and coming-of-age ceremonies (coming-of-age marks the transition from child to teenager). All of these call for formal dress and formal clerical vestments.

Finally, the church teaches that if a sim has failed in his religious observations and inflicted harm or insult on another sim, the transgressor must apologise and, where possible, make restitution, returning stolen items and performing acts of kindness.

Special Notes: In my game witches and warlocks have no special effects surrounding them. They wear regular clothes, they don't glow or change colour, and the game-generated archmages are banned from all community lots. Witches and warlocks are merely sims whose studies of the spiritual mysteries have taken them down an alternative path. Not all clerics are witches and warlocks, but all witches and warlocks are clerics.

Date: 2016-06-09 01:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morgaine2005.wordpress.com
Oh my, this is great! WOW you put a lot of thought into this.

Although, I have to say, I laughed when I came to this question: "Why did Bob get struck by lightning?"

Because according to the Peteran/Jacoban religions in my 'hood - where the Watcher rules all ...

The Watcher has no idea, the Watcher is swearing at her computer, the Watcher is hurriedly typing in maxmotives because dammit Rhian CAN'T die I need him to found the army and WHO CODED THIS THING ANYWAY? ;)

Thank you for this, Hat! :D

Date: 2016-06-11 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morgaine2005.wordpress.com
I've missed Albion too ... but I'm afraid there's no story starting. I find that I have more fun with my game when I can just play. And since these days I've been using the game for fun and stress relief ... it's better for me if I keep my writing and my playing separate.

Of course, I will definitely be head-cannoning and adding as much complexity as I can to the rules, because where's the fun if I'm not making it difficult for myself? ;)

So thanks again for this questionnaire! I think I will have myself some fun filling it out for all of my religions. :)

Date: 2016-06-12 06:37 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hello Hat!
Off topic, but I have made bottom-only pantless sexyfeet for children and elders for you (I saw on GOS that you were looking for them).
They are my first meshes ever, so if you find any flaws or similar, do tell me and I'll try to fix them.

Download here: http://simfil.es/85929/
All three meshes have fat morphs.

/ Simborg @ simborg.tumblr.com

So it's been months ...

Date: 2016-11-05 04:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morgaine2005.wordpress.com
But I finally did and posted the worldbuilding questionnaire for one of my religions! (Baby steps.) It came out insanely long, so I'm not going to post it here, but you can read it on my Tumblr if you're interested/you're not still in your summertime Simming drought.

The link: http://morgaine2005.tumblr.com/post/152755355599/tressia-bacc-peteran-religion

I'm also running a BACC without a story ... well too much of a story ... just a chronicle of what's going on. If you're interested (and I don't blame you if you're not), you can read the posts at my Tumblr. Look for anything tagged "Tressia BACC" (I can't link because Dreamwidth thinks I'm spamming you. Which I am, kinda, but not in a bad way!)

Thanks, Hat! I hope things are going well for you and that RL isn't kicking you in the butt too much.

Re: So it's been months ...

Date: 2016-11-19 03:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morgaine2005.wordpress.com
Jacobans are a work in progress! Slow progress. But progress!

If you want to see how I modified the rules, this post ought to do it: http://morgaine2005.tumblr.com/post/149680364449/tressia-bacc At least I think I covered everything in that post?

And yes! It is fun. If you want a relatively low-pressure way to play, I'd highly recommend it. :) It's a nice mix of goal-driven play with lots of sandbox time.

Anyway, welcome back! Or however back you are. But still. Always good to have a chat with you. :)

Re: So it's been months ...

Date: 2016-11-21 02:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morgaine2005.wordpress.com
Ah, career defaults. So much fun once they're done - but boy do they take forever to do. (At least they do if you're me. I'm rewriting titles/descriptions/chance cards, but all hours, skills, chance cards results remain the same. So my brain goes into all kinds of interesting contortions to come up with something that sounds plausible but has the right consequences.)

LOL I love students' windowsill gardens being the source of your Mediterranean herbs! I'm going to have Tredony/Crafthole (subhoods added with the Business career) be the Mediterranean climate. Sure, they're mostly trading hubs, but somebody can grow some herbs. Spices are important for trading, after all!

(Splitting up all of Sun & Moon's amazing herbs sets was basically the only way I could come up with a reasonable way to have people grow/sell the herbs. Otherwise there's no way one Sim family can keep up with all of it.)

Of course that will come later, as the guy I have pegged to be my first Merchant Prince hasn't even joined the Business career yet, so ... yeah.

YAY I'm glad you like the docks lot! That's next on my list to build (as far as freebie lots are concerned). Which means I need to come up with an idea for it. Can't wait ... eh, I'll think of something.

What terrain are you using, by the way? Massive river sounds like it has all sorts of interesting storytelling possibilities.

Back is back. I can only speak for myself, but having you back & chatting again is plenty. Downloads are a nice bonus, but your company is paramount. ;)

Re: So it's been months ...

Date: 2016-11-22 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morgaine2005.wordpress.com
Oh kittehs. My kitty is terrified of all humans except me and my mother and is known to run away when I open up the sliding doors onto the balcony/porch-ish thing. But squirrels! Oh man. When it comes to squirrels, you'd think she was Nala trying to single-handedly get revenge on Scar.

What would we do without our kittehs?

I will admit, your Uni-required Physician sounds tempting. Artist is one of the careers that leaves me scratching my head. Not as bad as Adventurer, though. I'm quasi-dreading the day when I "have" to come up with a default for that.

Ah, but here's the benefit of having rabbit hole careers for jobs that could sort of be done at home! (Or someone's home at any rate.) 1) It gets a few Sims out from underfoot a few hours of the day. 2) It allows Sims like the Head Cook and Jester etc. to be married and have families without slowing your main lot down. And there's nothing stopping you from summoning said Sims to the castle lot when you need them to do servanty things and then banishing them once you're done.

Regarding traveling and the Sun & Moon herbs - EXACTLY. I mean so far I've only sent a Sim to Three Lakes, and there's not much that grows there that's unique. But once I open up the Twikkiis and Takemizu, those places are going to be PACKED with different herbs and spices and fruit trees. I will grant you I still haven't quite figured out how I'm going to manage it, especially since some of the spices take 3 days to grow and honestly ... that's about as long as I spend on a Sim vacation. But I'll figure it out eventually.

Though I will say, the nice thing about adding subhoods once you earn them is that it makes deciding when certain things can be grown in the base hood much easier. Has Tredony/Crafthole been added? Excellent, now you can grow Mediterranean type herbs etc. wherever you want. Have Gastrobury/Aarbyville? Feel free to add things that are native to the Western Hemisphere! Etc.

(For what it's worth, because I don't want the hood to get unstable, I'm using 1 map for every 2 business districts. Tredony/Crafthole will be 1 map, Gastrobury/Aarbyville will be another, Burdley/Advorton will be a third, and Ticktop/Snordwich will be the fourth. Four business districts, a Downtown, 4 vacation hoods [if I can ever figure out how to make Voleste's Magic Town a vacation hood], 1 University with 3 colleges ... hopefully that won't kill my game too badly. I mean people manage Uberhoods, right??)

My hat goes off to you, creating your own terrains. I played Sim City 4 for about 20 minutes in the early 2000s. All I really remember about it is using the Giant Servo to destroy my cities. Which was fun!

Flat terrains are not boring! Flat terrains are much easier for building. Especially if you tend to be paranoid about saving lots to the lot bin and moving things around when necessary. No unlevel edges = much easier time if and when you realize that you hadn't really thought this through (whatever "this" is) and need to rearrange the neighborhood on the fly.

And I refuse to believe I'm the only person that happens to.

Re: So it's been months ...

Date: 2017-01-25 03:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morgaine2005.wordpress.com
So I just read your most recent post (I was going on vacation the day you posted this, so I've been busy and lazy about checking things), and, well ...

Oh. Oh my goodness.

Hat, I am so sorry you were the recipient of all of that vitriol and nastiness. (I would call it drama, but I think Paradox 07 went well beyond drama.) I am so sorry that your blog was the dumping ground for someone else's problems at a completely different site.

And I am so sorry it took me this long to get back to you. I swear I am a safe person to talk to! Scatterbrained, perhaps, and prone to distraction, but safe.

Thanks for the Tressia appreciation. I do love that people are looking their best! Though sooner or later I'm going to have to figure out a way to keep more people at peasant status for longer, otherwise I will have an enormous middle class with no upper class or lower class around it. Which would be weird to say the least.

Also, I need to stop dressing everyone in blue. (Maylis and Mercan. Daran kinda, if you count teal as blue. Clemente. Kennoc. Shola. Blichelle. Jayla. Kerrick. Falina. I only have 38 Sims and 10 of them are in blue, and that doesn't count babies and toddlers that I forget what I dressed them in. This is getting out of hand.)

Please, if you have ideas about the Adventurer career, I am all ears at this point. Andavri/Steph suggested I make into a career for like a Skyrim/Dragon Age hero, which is great in theory except my only experience with those kinds of games is watching my brother play Zelda (Ocarina of Time FTW!) and many many years later, Oblivion. (Which is Skyrim before Skyrim, I think?)

But yeah. I'm here whenever you want to talk. Hug your kitteh for me - mine is currently batting my leg and demanding attention. ;)

Re: So it's been months ...

Date: 2017-02-08 02:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morgaine2005.wordpress.com
Yeah, I really need to get better about replying. *hangs head in shame*

Paradox07 is ... oy, just oy. But I'm trying to stay far, far away from all the drama.

That's a good point about class and the Sim Multiplier! Yes, all of my wheat farmers etc. can be the anonymous Sim Multiplier Sims. At least that'll be my story until I get some nobles, at which point I will have to get serious about making peasants.

Default-to-redhead? That sounds like an awesome tendency to me!

But I like your idea about the woad. I will go with it! And I definitely need to download/make more clothes in yellow and pink. Yellow was one of the big colors left out of my/Steph's Albion palette ... which is probably why I have so few outfits in yellow ... six different blues, three different greens, at least two purples, a few reds, even an orange! But no yellow.

More of an excuse to crank open Bodyshop, I guess.

LOLOLOLOL I love your Regular-Person-As-Adventurer idea! I want all of those chance cards; it sounds like it would be hilarious.

The nascent idea I had was something like a Skyrim/DAO/Zelda hero - the person who gets handed this Important Quest to Save the World/Kingdom. (Which is why I'm having some territories be opened up by adventuring.) But thankfully I don't "have" to come up with anything until my population hits 5000, which, considering I'm at 500-ish ... it'll be a bit.

But I am definitely going to be considering the tomb raider/pirate routes, as well as the Regular Joe route, so thanks for sharing the ideas. :) (I mean, I like the outlaw idea, but in my kingdoms I tend to default to Reasonable Authority Figures so outlaws kinda just fall under Life of Crime, which I conveniently already have a default for.)

See, Chiquita is the opposite when it comes to heights. The highest she goes is my bed/back of the couch/chair. (Which I am not complaining about. Cat who stays off the tables/counters? Sign. Me. Up.) Of course she's eight so that might be part of it. She was six when I got her, so her crazy EXPLORE ALL THE THINGS days may have been past her when I first got to know her.

Plus, she is a scaredy cat.

AWWW your nephew sounds ADORABLE! And Penelope is probably plotting ways to manipulate him into giving her more treats! Although it doesn't sound like it would be too hard ...

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