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Now I’m A Believer: Run A Religion (Or Cult) In Dungeons & Dragons (Or Other TTRPGs)

I wrote an extensive example of this system in use, if you’re curious!

What This System Tries To Do

To Summarize

Gain interested followers, convert them to believers and into devotees for profit and fun, all while managing your reputation.

Reputation of Belief

The player(s) promoting a particular belief are tied to the reputation of the belief they promote. Grand deeds done by the players will reflect positively on the religion, bad acts done by the players will reflect negatively on the religion. However, the positive societal influence of a religion will rub off on those proclaiming it, too.

Timed Elements of Reputation

Every 14 days you gain or lose a number of Interested followers equal to your Reputation.
Every 14 days your Reputation adjusts by 1 in the direction of 0.

Why?

Reputation is the wheel that keeps your religion spinning, or grinds it to a halt.

People tend to forget your Reputation over time – for better or worse.

Gaining Reputation

Losing Reputation

Spreading the Word

To get people Interested, you’ll need to spread the word somehow.

Flyering

For 2gp a day, you can spread posters and flyers proclaiming the good word. This leads to 1d6 new Interested people per day.

Public Speaking

Get on that soap box! Publicly evangelizing your religion is a good way to get people to notice your religion – for better or worse. For every 8 hours of speaking, make a Persuasion Check. The DC is 25 – Player Level.

Aiding the Poor

For 6gp a day, you provide help to the city’s poor and downtrodden. This grants you 1d4 Interested followers and +1 Reputation.

Now I’m A Believer

To convert those Interested into Believers, you’ll need to organize events and gatherings.

Timed Elements of Believers

Every 14 days, 10 Believers convert 1 Interested follower into a Believer – unless you have a negative Reputation.
Every 14 days, you lose 1d6 Believers for every 10 negative Reputation (-10 = 1d6, -20 = 2d6 etc.)

Sermon

For 10 gp, you can organize a gathering at a local park, plaza or bar. A Sermon will attract 1d6 or Xd6 (X being your current Reputation) Interested followers, whichever is higher.

During a Sermon, you display the glory of your religion through an impressive feat. This can be done through a skill check of choice – player creativity is encouraged! The DC is 25-Reputation.

Impressive Feats of Faith

Effectively every skill can be used to display the glory of your faith. For example:
Athletics can show the strength granted by your faith.
Constitution can show the supernatural fortitude granted by your faith.
Insight can show the degree to which your faith understands the problems plaguing your followers.
History can place the importance of your faith in an historical context.

Deep Debate

You can spend a day with 1d4 Interested followers, discussing your religion in-depth. Make a DC 20 Persuasion, Insight or Deception check.

Active Persuasion

You can spend 20 gp to straight up “convert”an Interested follower into a Believer.

Why?

A sermon is a risk for your reputation, but a quick way to convert the masses. Debates are a more personal approach and more likely to succeed, and far less public if they fail. Simply giving someone a heap of cash is likely for them to see the benefits of your religion.

True Devotion

This is the level where followers are truly on your side, willing to fight and die for you.

Timed Elements of Devotees

Every 14 days, you gain 1gp per Devotee. You can demand more, but for every 1gp you raise the tithe, you lose in Reputation per two weeks.
The Faith of the One has 20 Devotees. They donate 1 gp each per week, for a total of 20 gp total per week. The Grand Master demands they pay 5 gp per week instead – this raises the income to 20*5=100 gp per week, but creates a Reputation loss of 4 per week.
Every 14 days, 10 Devotees convert 1 Believer into a Devotee.

Gaining Devotees

Converting a Believer into a Devotee is an intense process. You host a session of intense debate, meditation and prayer that lasts 3 continuous days. This costs 20 gp to organize. You can invite a number of Believers equal to your level. It takes 3 successful skill checks before you reach 2 failures. The nature of these skill checks are up to the player; see Impressive Feats of Faith. The DC here is a flat 20. This is about gaining true devotees – your reputation won’t help you now. Failing twice results in the Believers leaving your religion/cult due to lack of faith and -1 Reputation per lost Believer.

Go Forth, and (insert command)

Your Devotees will follow your commands.

The End Game

How does this all end?

The Schism

A special type of endgame is the religious schism. When your number of Devotees is larger than your Level x10, one of your Devotees will argue that they are the leaders of the true faith, and split off. They’ll take 2d4*10 percent of your Believers and Devotees with them and go do crusade stuff.


Art Credits

Cover: Adoration of the Magi, Gentile da Fabriano, 1423

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