Worldbuilding: Fight For What You Believe In

Having announced that I will be relaunching my gaming company in 2018, I’ll share a few thoughts here and there on stuff that I’m working on and that might be eventually released.

Today I woke up with a strong desire to work on my unnamed fantasy setting/game that I had only sketched out before, mainly because I defined what I want to be the driving situation of the world.

I’ve had this scene in my head for a few years that I keep coming back to which is kind of the genesis of this entire setting I am now working to develop. A man, clearly of a specific religious group that is connected to, but not the dominant one, pleads for his life to a woman captain of a ship who knows that to turn him in is to condemn him to death by the Inquisition, for his crime is that he has revealed himself as a Messiah. While this scene is the seed of one particular story, it also lays down the basic conflict that I’m interested in.

I want my setting/game to explore themes of faith and belief during a time when a Messiah has been revealed and is currently ministering in the world. Is he real or not? Does the established church embrace him or hunt him down? Is there a schism of the faith?

On a personal scale you’d have questions like, what does it mean for the characters’ faith if they choose to believe in the revealed Messiah, or to reject him? How does their world change as a result of this moment in history? And eventually, when the fate of the Messiah is decided in-game, how does their life change?

On a larger scale, the institutions of faith would be scrambling to solidify their position, while smaller sects would see this as the perfect time to break away (perhaps by having a priest nail his theses to a cathedral’s door?). Kingdoms large and small would vie for position, either for or against the established religious institutions. And of course, merchants and sell-swords always profit from conflict, regardless of which way the wind blows.

If Burning Wheel hadn’t coined it before, this setting/game’s tagline would be, “Fight for what you believe in.” Because there’s no middle ground: your faith is being tested, and it will either be proven right or be proven moot.

This is not a fantasy setting/game of killing monsters and taking their stuff (although that might happen if the players face devils and imps looking to exploit the turmoil in the world); this is not a fantasy setting/game of epic quests to destroy the one source of evil (although there might be quests, and the holy writings do teach about the Evil One); this is not a fantasy setting/game of exploring dungeons and fighting dragons (actually the players could fight a dragon, but it would mean world-spanning catastrophe). This is a fantasy setting/game about Faith, Belief, and Action: Your Faith, Your Belief, Your Action.


  1. […] What if Jesus hadn’t come back in ancient times? What if his earthly ministry was happening now in the modern world? What if you met him, believed him, followed him now, how would your world-view be different? How would you share his message? How would you bring others to meet him, to listen, to possibly believe? Although I know some people would find these questions headache-inducing, I find them to be interesting mental exercises into my own beliefs and the state of the world. I also find them interesting enough to try to make a storytelling game out of them. […]


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