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Any RPGs with medieval Christian chivalry?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Louis_Cypher, Sep 22, 2021.

  1. warcrimes666 Educated Patron

    warcrimes666
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    This is one that doesn't come up very often and is quite obscure but I enjoyed it and it is quite difficult by modern standards. Particularly if you avoid any kind of online hints. It is based on Umberto Eco's 'Il Nome della Rosa', The Name of the Rose. The more recent graphical update is free on steam. Its not an rpg more like an adventure style puzzler but it is isometric and very well done.

    The Abbey of Crime Extensum

    ss_09b93c25bb84c34cdcdcc2e91702c05339f0dce0.1920x1080.jpg ss_be1c9a5817ff09d98a4a564bf0ee366aac0d561e.1920x1080.jpg

    https://store.steampowered.com/app/474030/The_Abbey_of_Crime_Extensum/
     
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  2. Acrux Erudite

    Acrux
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    Great movie/miniseries! The novels are also quite good, especially the first book and Arn's experiences as a child living at Varnheim Abbey.

    I'll second Inquisitor. (Feel no shame in cheating your character points in speed at the beginning of the game, otherwise exploration movement is woefully slow.)

    I have encountered devout clergy in Darklands, so I think it counts as well.

    I'd love to see an updated Ultima clone that focuses on the Virtues. SKALD is supposed to have robust modding capabilities at some point, so I suppose there's eventually a chance to get exactly that.
     
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  3. Wulfric Pinewood Arbiter Possibly Retarded The Real Fanboy

    Wulfric Pinewood
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    Diablo games .
     
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  4. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

    Darth Roxor
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    I second Legends of Eisenwald. It's non-linear too and one of the plot branches requires you to remain virtuous. Darklands is a solid recommendation too, contrary to what was said earlier in this thread, not all the representatives of the clergy there are assholes, not even the majority.

    I also highly recommend King Arthur: The Roleplaying Wargame.
     
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  5. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Strap Yourselves In Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Does this game have all the old faith paynim stuff? I know the sequel does.
     
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  6. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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    Damn, this is the good stuff. The Tolkenian perspective here is interesting. So Sauron is an infernal spirit playing by the rules of the material universe, using arcane power alongside its knowledge of sciences beyond us? Is that why both Sauron and Saruman have industrial themes?

    I've been struggling with this issue in my thoughts lately.
    You see, I was raised and am Adventist. So my take on those things is a bit... different.

    I mean, the idea of fighting demons and such is awesome. But also... banal? Feels to me that it reduces such incredible entities to mundane levels. I don't even like the idea of straight out demons and angels appearing in my stuff, not clearly, I mean. I prefer that such elements are implied/discrete, and rare and sublime. I'm really not sure how to show these things when it's time for ultraviolence.

    For example, I'm biblically read enough to know that the "horns and hooves" image of demons is just something the medievals lifted from Pan and Satyrs. Actual biblical angels are borderline cosmic horror beings in appearance, so demons are likely similar. I prefer demons as being tempters, possessors, otherworldly beings who have "height, width, depth... and a couple of other things", and if you ever fight one, you're fighting it with a lot of limitations.

    (personally I have an idea that demons can't kill, because it is God who determines if someone lives or dies, but they can totally hurt people non-fatally and tempt them just fine. The people they tempt, through, have no such limitations)

    So in my ideas, my "metaverse", my take on the "horns and hooves" demons of flesh, is that they are just humans who were genetically altered by the devil using super science (but I'm not going to say its straight out the Devil, only imply), and the traditional "fire and brimstone dimension" hell is actually just an alternate earth/dimension they were placed in.
    They're not congenitally evil either (not for lack of trying), because anything non-supernatural at their level of intelligence can't be "made evil" from birth. Their society sucks, but then again, they literally worship The Devil as god.

    (I just realized that this is pretty much what Sauron did to the Elves to create Orcs)

    I have similar ideas with magic. I don't like the idea of "good magic", because I have been taught that "Magic" is just supernatural power from the Devil. So to me, Magic is Evil. Good people use technology and the odd miracle, but you can't "cast up" a miracle.

    Been trying to square up pagan-style gods with a Christian/Adventist cosmology too. Not sure if I got the Jack Kirby way (super-advanced living ideas and concepts which are "above" humans but below sinless beings like angels and can be good or evil) or the Gandalf way (actually divine beings but using a guise to fool people, like how Gandalf is a "Wizard").
     
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  7. Louis_Cypher Arcane

    Louis_Cypher
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    Absolutely. This exact same phenomenon happens in many parts of geek fandom. A perception that something is worn out, when it is barely tried. I am convinced that many people respond more to their own stereotypes of what a genre is rather than reality. You get people with the idea that all sci-fi before 1970 was like some Flash Gordon level of pulp cheese. Then you actually watch a 1930s serial like that, and even the serial has potential when you ignore the science of the day.

    So it is here too, in fantasy and RPGs. People talk about "good vs evil" being generic in the genre, when I can't think of a single major example playing it straight in a decade.

    I wasn't sure if it was just me that thought this, but unironic honour is rarely actually seen in the genre that it's supposed to be at home in. I can only attribute this to the influence of post-modernity and the usual cynicism of academics, humanities graduates told that "deconstructionism", which just amounts to doubting every pure motive, is somehow clever. A Paladin in most games is like a satire of a 1950s comic book superhero, "I will save you, for GREAT JUSTICE!"

    It's akin to how people's perception of Captain Kirk now has less to do with Shatner's real excellent performance, and more to do with the parodies that have built up over the years like Futurama's Zap Brannigan. They believe the parody is the reality.

    [​IMG]

    The reason why I placed Ys in the original post, is that Adol Christin is a person who is deliberately travelling in search of adventure, like a Knight Errant. His only motive for traveling the world is joy, and the desire to be a participant in quests. No hand wringing about fear of death, he just accepts that. No further dark past driving him forward. He just loves the journey, and struggling against adversity. It's very much played straight. It's rare, but less uncommon in JRPGs. I think the Japanese really appreciate European literature like that, where we now relegate it to children's fable; yet it can fulfill more than any other genre I think.
     
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  8. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Strap Yourselves In Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    If at all they feature in one.
     
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  9. Louis_Cypher Arcane

    Louis_Cypher
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    Oh man, it sounds like we have had very similar thoughts; I am going to respond to you in depth, hopefully some of this will be interesting.

    I grew up with a world-view that was simultaneously quite spiritual, while also being metaphysically atheist, and felt pulled toward both science and spirituality. I wanted to understand why both aspects of human experience inspired me; scientific humanism and spiritual discipline. I wanted to reconcile the two. Why did The Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars, really touch something in my soul? I felt the incredible profundity just pouring from Tolkien's works. What, from a purely Darwinian or materialistic conception of the human race, makes us weep when we see faultless martyrs die for humanity and great saintly kings sweep away evil? For example, a lot of people wept when Luke Skywalker turned up in the Mandalorian to 'take away' a certain character (assume bodily into heaven); looking at what they did, it was obvious he was a messianic metaphor, the episode even appearing mere days before Christmas. As well as bridging atheism and spirituality, I also wanted to find a way of reconciling East and West; seemingly relativistic religions like Taoism teaching that both darkness and light are necessary with Christian view that we are in a war against entropic forces of darkness beyond human ken. Both traditions I could feel bore 'truth' and 'beauty' inside them.

    [​IMG]

    One of the first perspectives I encountered on how they could be reconciled was Carl Jung's ideas. The man opined that humans contained within them a series of entrenched instincts that allowed them to not merely exist, but flourish, and be animated with new life. He framed it in terms of psychology. That a prophet or rishi was accessing the vastly more powerful subconscious that took in huge amounts more data and wisdom than the conscious portion of the mind; that these surreal images bore more truth than limited rational dictum. For materialists these were evolutionary in origin, but his work could also be read purely religiously just as easily. Why are there higher archetypes, patterns and orders of morality entrenched in the universe? To paraphrase Jordan Peterson, who has also tried to reconcile the scientific spirit with religious, when we feel momentary enlightenment, several orders of priorities from the personal to the species level are coming into alignment. To Jung, most myths are true, because they all reflect this surreal wisdom that is expressed in images. King Arthur is thus so inspiring because it reflects some deeper truth; exactly what a Christian knows.

    A scientist believes there is one reality, which can be independently tested by completely discreet individuals in different parts of the material cosmos. A person performing a scientific experiment in Iowa, or on Mars, will get the same outcome. So clearly there is such a thing as objective truth; you arrive at the same conclusion independent of communication. The idea that the world is subjective is just as anathema to a scientist as to a Christian. This is where I finally began to see how the two can be completely reconciled. To me, religion begins with the idea that there is only one objective reality, the logos, which is a concept present in every successful culture; you can't perform science without it, and you can't agree on anything as a culture without it; law, government, society all require objectivity. Solipsism is the death of civilization. This concept is also imbued in every culture of note. The Greeks obviously termed it logos. The Egyptians termed it ma'at. The Persians asha. The Hindus rta. "In the beginning was the logos, and the logos was with God, and the logos was God." Next comes the natural laws that invariably must spring from a base reality, as consequences of limitation imposed by existence. 'Natural Law' in Christianity. 'Dharma' in Indian languages. 'Tao' in Chinese languages. When the recognition of these eternal sacred laws fall into degeneracy, an age of catastrophe results, which is the decline into Ragnarok or the Kali Yuga.

    The best part is, you can test the natural law. Eastern mendicants sometimes tell their adherents to contemplate what they really 'feel' is right, after removing fear, pride, hubris, lust, envy, greed; they are left with a self-knowledge of what is 'actually' important to them. What is actually compassionate, when you are no longer afraid to offend? Family, nation, honor, beauty, truth. Take a dogmatic social activist who believes in something completely contrary to nature. Well, they can test their choice; if they have the self-awareness to see what flourishes the sum of life, and what brings civilization closer to heat death. Lies, calumny, corruption and fear, drive us toward entropy. Truth fortifies civilization. If they believe that a house fire can't hurt a human being; they can stand in a house fire, and reality will quickly burn them. Reality enforces the natural law. Testing various spiritual disciplines for myself, even though Buddhism can seem more rational, or Hinduism more universal, I find that Christianity is for some reason, the most emotionally fulfilling tradition. It somehow gets more right about the human race psychologically than the others. However they are themselves not without shining moments of superiority, sometimes more in tune with rta, and I have great respect for Indian and Chinese traditions. So there must be a way to reconcile pagan religions and high ones like Christianity. Some higher reality must unite them if there is one objective reality and they bear fragments of the truth.

    [​IMG]

    I can't really give you a definitive idea of how pagan myths and Christianity align, since I am also working out these things still. I can only present how I think about some of these myths. For me, unironically, I use aspects of science fiction or fantasy in my spirituality; when they are masterly, speak of darkness and light, they inspire me. That is because, first of all, no matter what anyone else thinks, I 'know', that some aspect of them speak to something deeper in us; Tolkien uncovers something long buried. I have felt it. It may be that mythic adventure, as a genre, speaks to more of the total of human nature than any other more mundane genre. It might be, as I think Rene Guenon might have said, that the Western people of the world have truly antediluvian traditions ingrained within our cultures, that we barely understand, and that modern people have lost the meanings of them, where the medieval understood. Few have the skill to uncover it, and Tolkien was one. Plato believed, or perhaps just provoked, that there was a world of 'forms', in which pure concepts like 'the perfect table', 'the perfect chair' exist in a theoretical state, and we merely work toward these perfect ideals. Did he mean it literally, or figuratively? Tolkien's Elves, with their beauty that suggests an alignment with the eternal beyond their mere physical existence, are meant to be like expressions of a higher world of sorts. For a Buddhist they would be close to Buddhahood, and for a Christian close to sainthood. In Christianity, there are spirits. Angels which you rightly say are not the classical anthropomorphic paintings of St Michael we see in galleries, but disembodied cosmic entities. In a sense, to me a spirit exists in a metaphysical world of 'similitude', which is not unlike Plato's world of forms. If we are luminous beings, then the greater part of us also exists here. Is this atheism, or religion? For me, it is no longer easy to say, and I can't draw such easy distinctions anymore; they ultimately meet.

    If you read Norse or Greek myth, the gods were not pleasant. Clearly they can't be reconciled with Christianity if they don't act in a way that would be congruent with what we know about the Lord. So I choose to think that the illiterate pagan cultures of Scandanavia or the Aegean Sea were remembered poorly, and indeed we know that oral folk traditions changed and evolved radically over time. It's akin to how in modern Hinduism, you have extremely high-minded philosophers, but also completely mis-remembered folk traditions that degenerated into mere celebrations of temporal things over time. You could as a Christian see pagan entities as some of the spirits that came to Earth after creation (Tolkien seems to have taken this approach in his world building with the Ainur), as nephilim or remembrance of long dead mortal heroes (as the Irish, English and Scandinavians later saw their mythology after Christianisation). What I think is important however is that we Westerners don't abandon our traditions; they have a place in Christian culture, and the desire to puritanically purge can sever truly ancient lines of initiation into wisdom. My favorite part of Christianity is the medieval spirit of warfare against darkness; it speaks to the Aryan man from Iceland to India.

    I absolutely hear you about how banal most 'spiritual warfare' is in D&D inspired games. Hooves and horns. Tolkien was of a different league, and out-classes everyone. He understood how banal/childish that would be, before they had even conceived it. All of us feel how banal that depiction of a demon is, yet nobody in the industry moves beyond it; just more pitiful simulacra. It's the product of very limited metaphysical learning, though fantasy RPG cosmology is not entirely without some minor insights. Sauron was different. He was exactly what you are talking about; something otherworldly; merely a shadow of an inferno. There was also a really interesting discussion on Tolkien's concept of magic, by a Catholic on YouTube, who pointed out that unlike the bland Harry Potter elemental magic in most fantasy, the rare times magic is used in Tolkien are subdued, and Gandalf constantly warns people not to use powers they cannot explain or account for, like the Palantir.
     
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  10. Darth Canoli Arcane

    Darth Canoli
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    Somewhat, most of the older RPG fit into this, probably some of the goldbox games at the very least.

    Also, Mandate of Heaven, as long as you stick to the "righteous" path.


    There's also The Red Knight (Rencontre avec le Dragon, 2003), not great reviews but i liked it because knights were depicted as ruffians in armors, a shame they added a long side story about a curse, it really drags the movie down.


    I don't know about original, imdb says the mini-series was released in 2010 and the movie in 2007.
    Looks interesting anyway.
     
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  11. Tweed Professional Kobold Patron

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    Pathfinder: Kingmaker
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  12. Dorateen Arcane

    Dorateen
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    One of the themes I think missing from the original post is calling out corruption in the Church. This was central to Christ's ministry on earth. He came to overthrow the legalism found in the teachings of the religious leaders of the day.

    In a role-playing game, that does not mean a developer should design clergy encountered to be interpreted as Religious People Bad. But rather, there are bad people in the highest offices of religious institutions. The player should have the opportunity to rip out hypocrisy by the roots, and drive false shepherds from the temple. That, too, would be thematically appropriate.
     
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  13. Louis_Cypher Arcane

    Louis_Cypher
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    I rather just sidestep that issue. Say that a Japanese developer wanted to make a samurai fantasy game. The samurai stumbles upon a supernatural threat, and decides to go on a quest against it. They can selectively ignore the real world dynamics of 16th century Japan, or make a fictional Wutai. In reality, the samurai would be constrained by his social standing, his daimyo, his obligations. We often overlook or find ways around the social reality of the medieval era (or any fantasy era) to tell a broader tale of the human spirit. A corrupt official who wanted to do so might even be able to send out good law abiding troops against him. Fantasy again, can become too mired in the obsession with the sociopolitical, rather than speaking to our hearts, as it was originally often made for. It isn't history. This is what George R R "But What Was His Tax Policy" Martin doesn't get. It's also what Tolkien said about critics who judged Beowulf, in his famous essay on the subject. Beowulf was mythical, and spoke about primordial battles against chaos, when every wolf outside your enclosure might kill you.
     
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  14. Alex Arcane

    Alex
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    And that reason is satan.
     
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  15. Acrux Erudite

    Acrux
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    I had no idea that was on Steam! I haven't played it in years. Wisdom Tree had a few other unlicensed NES games that grandma thought the kids would love. They had a Joseph tile puzzle game that was actually very enjoyable.

    Your idea sounds fantastic. Almost all of it resinantes with me, although I'm not Adventist. You may already know this, but Tolkien, Lewis, and Charles Williams thought about these ideas a lot, but ended up implementing them in different ways in their books. Tolkien most famously considered "sub-creation" with the Valar as angelic stand-ins for pagan gods but didn't violate his conscience. There's good information in his collected letters If you want to read more.

    Lewis thought all the old pagan myths were pointing to the "true myth" and so would use "sanctified" versions of satyrs or dryads, etc. in his stories.

    Williams was maybe closest to your thinking in some ways. His novels are contemporary, and demonic spirits have the power to corrupt, seduce, or make someone go mad. Most of the magic is psychological/spiritual and manifests itself through fear, isolation, and so on.
     
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