Bloodless Xristos

  • 40 Replies
Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2014, 04:25:46 PM »
OK. They I'd wait for mr.Lumpley to confirm or deny what I think. I agree, it's totally worth inquiring

Yep this!

I mean, it's a riff on Rome and Christ and Dark Ages Northern Europe.

Since you replied I'll answer back. :)

What I'm saying is: I wouldn't like "Christianity: The Role-Playing Game". At least not as much as just “Dark Ages: The Role-Playing Game”.

Don't misunderstand me though. I've played Burning Wheel “Northern Crusades in Lithuania“. It was a blast and Christianity certainly featured very heavily in it. It was a main theme, if not the main theme.

Yet I've also played Burning Wheel “The Anarchy in England” and Christianity was more background material and the noble’s squabbles were the real meat and theme. Christianity was used in political struggles, not the focus.

So again I’ll state my main point: history is not only about Christianity. So "Christianity: The Role-Playing Game" is limiting the game in scope. Even a game based on the real world. Which is fine. But there was a lot more going on during the Dark Ages as well.

So leaving Bloodless X as a more generic figure just coming to prominence is neat (for me). We the players get to decide how this new religion is shaking things up. So once again I’ll point to A Song of Ice and Fire - a fairly based-on-the-real-world, without actually being the real-world, series. Christianity was a definite influence on Martin making The Seven. And R'hllor is a new religion shaking things up. But it is not the theme of the books. There is other stuff going on. I’d say more important things even!

Whereas making Bloodless X exactly the Christian God by another name is something I’m less interested in. And I’ve played Ars Magica and other historically based games, and I love them. But I’d just be less interested in “this religion is Christianity and has to be Christianity” like it couldn‘t just be “The Seven or R'hllor in A Song of Ice and Fire“.

So is the game "Christianity: The Role-Playing Game"? In the same way that Dogs in the Vineyard is about Mormonism? Is Christianity the main theme? Because I'd be less interested in that game. Not uninterested, just much less.

EDIT: it might be worth mentioning that I have read Vincent's G+ post about AW:DA Christianity. Just a single playbook is a far different beast than making the game about Christianity. Because plausiblefabulist, what you wrote makes the game about Christianity, not just a single playbook that resembles a Christian-like religion. Like The Seven or R'hllor.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 05:15:37 PM by Irminsul »

Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2014, 11:49:14 PM »
Honestly the way it felt when we played it the Bloodless Xristos seemed more like an outside faceless force, most of us were either skeptics, old gods followers or followers of the Empires of Eagles' gods so take that as a drop in the bucket. I just think it would be interesting to treat it as not necessarily a force you can't play as but a strange and powerful rising thing. The thing that supposedly tamed and killed the dragons. They seem almost better shrouded in mystery.

Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2014, 02:05:27 AM »
Sorry, didn't mean to imply at all that the game should be about Christianity. I like it as a mysterious, largely undefined, and certainly *transmuted* force in the background. The amount of text we have on it is fine. I too would be less interested if he were called "Christ" rather than "Bloodless Xristos". The X and the "bloodless" pun are creative contributions, opening room for plenty of new riffs by the players.

I'm talking about the creative choices made in those three paragraphs. I would apply the same attention to any three-paragraph detail in the text; I'm perfectly capable of waxing rhapsodic about lumpley's treatment of genealogies, or buttonholes. (That seems quite common on this forum, right? There are several pages of discussion on the exact handling of the Outlaw Heir's  supporters, which is like half a page of text).

So, right, everything you guys are saying: Xristos should be vague. It's not the focus. It works great as an external threat. It is there for players to riff on and each table's definition will end up different. Right, right, right. All of that is orthogonal to the discussion of: what are these three paragraphs saying? How is that similiar to or different to its source text in real history? Given that is varies from real history (awesome, it should), how, and what, collectively, is the esthetic effect of these choices in sum? Which way does that particular choice (just like any other choice made in any other three paragraphs) point the game?


Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2014, 03:41:50 PM »
I find that the Bloodless Xristos is less of a take on Christianity, and more as a look at all Abrahamic faiths as if they were one gigantic collection of sub-faiths.

Plus, the descriptions of Xristos himself do not seem to reference Christ except in name. Rather, they set him as either the sole god or the head of a pantheon, more akin to the trinity's Father than anything else.

Plus, with no reference regarding sacrifice in a mortal form, or any other concrete aspects that generally make Christianity distinct, Bloodless Xristos can be used just as easily for a Jewish or Muslim analog within the setting. Or even something more unique than that (I definitely see how these three religious factions could also be analogs of the Old Ways, Faith of the Seven, and Lord of Light from the Song of Ice and Fire).



  • 1293
Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2014, 03:49:08 PM »
For the record: Oh no. No no no. For the game, I'm eager to go back to a notional pre-Nicene, pre-unified doctrine Christianity, where (eg) whether Christ was God or just a dude or what was still up in the air, to be resolved by arguments that would then lead to bloodshed. But no WAY I'd expect anybody to then identify Judaism with that. Yikes.

« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 03:53:29 PM by lumpley »

Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2014, 06:13:23 PM »
Well, proto-Christianity was basically just a sect of Judaism. Their tenets didn't deviate too much for the first few years of presence, other than to eliminate the reliance on Rabbis and older traditions. As time went on, they adopted baptism, many of the classical tenets of altruism, and expanded the holy texts with books of their own.

Maybe it's my fault for implying I meant old-world Judaism (which was largely extinct by that time period, having been replaced by a new orthodoxy that only sort-of held onto those classic beliefs), but I was talking more of the "liberal" Judaism that existed in the 1st century and helped give rise to Christianity as we know it today.

But if that's not what you were implying, does your setting basically assume no Jewish analog gave birth to the Bloodless Xristos faith?
« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 06:51:15 PM by Decivre »



  • 1293
Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2014, 07:18:43 PM »
It doesn't, no. The few paragraphs in the current document just don't go into it.


Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2014, 11:09:25 PM »
Whew. I'm glad to hear that Bloodless Xristos will be somewhat ambiguous. I didn't want to see extremely obvious 100% Christian stuff, like a Jewish analog with a fantasy name for example. That is something I want to see the players add if they want to!

Oh, and no need to apologize plausiblefabulist, although I appreciate it! And I apologize if I offended. I was just pretty darn worried that the game that was announced, and I was like crap-my-pants excited for, was going to end up being not what I thought it was going to be. (Your post on Christianity was a couple days after I saw Vincent's post on Google+ and lumpley and because of who you are,  and Vincent's response I was like uh-oh!)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 01:07:15 AM by Irminsul »

Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2014, 07:24:54 AM »
The Fringe-Robed

If this playbook doesn't come with the game, I'm going to write it.
Looking for a playbook? Check out my page!

Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2014, 02:35:50 PM »
Hmm, okay, Irminsul, so I have to admit my feelings are slightly hurt.

Here's the deal. I'm totally excited about the game too. I am psyched about it just the way it is. I'd play it the way it is, and happily. I'm enthusiastic about all the myriad ways people will hack it.

lumpley asked for feedback (and set up this forum), so I'm giving feedback, noting what the text-as-it-stands makes me think of, and riffing off that.

The game currently contains:
a) a (cool, funhouse-mirror, reimagined) fictional analog of pre-Nicene-council Christianity
b) a (cool, funhouse-mirror, reimagined) fictional analog of Teutonic/Celtic paganism
c) a (cool, funhouse-mirror, reimagined) fictional analog of Roman civic religion.

I do not think the game (as it ships, unhacked) desperately needs a fictional analog of Judaism. I do not think the game desperately needs a fictional analog of Isis or Mithra mystery religions, despite how popular they were among the Roman legions. Nor of Zoroastrianism, or non-Christian Gnostic trends, or whatever. Those would be cool too. But three fictional-analog religions is also fine. I did have some fun thinking about what a Dark Ages Jewish playbook would look like. I think it's an interesting archetype that fits interestingly with the basic axes of the game and might bring in some additional fictional meat. But if it doesn't ship with the game I could always hack my own (or wait for nerdwerds to do it). No biggie.

However, I admit to being slightly upset that "a Jewish analog with a fantasy name" would ruin the game for you... a game which contains a Christian analog with a fantasy name, an Odin/wicca analog with a fantasy name, and a Palatine-Hill-Roman-Gods analog with a fantasy name. Um. And, specifically (if I read you correctly), because the Followers of the Ineffable Name would somehow be about, and define, Christianity, in a way that Bloodless Xristos by itself would not. That is: a pagan analog is about pagansim; a Christian analog is about Christianity; a Jewish analog is about... Christianity.

I don't mind not making the cut, but I'm not crazy about being explicitly disinvited.

Please tell me that's not what you were saying.

(My feelings were actually more hurt when I started this post, as I was misreading "who you are" as having something to do with arguing for the inclusion of Judaism; I apologize for this misreading. A paragraph or two in I'm now assuming "who you are" = "someone who is very, very slightly famous in a very mildly related field and therefore having possibly unearned influence over the development of a game I'm really excited about"? Which I guess is fair, though I very much doubt Vincent is unduly swayed by my short-story-writing prowess?)

Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2014, 02:57:05 PM »
Oh, my. No, no, no. Bad me.

Yes, I was making a reference to your fame and that potentially influencing Baker’s decisions.

And I was in no way making anti-Semitist rhetoric. That one specific thing would not specifically ruin the game for me. At all. I’m dumb. I should have known better than to even use the “J” word. And I never ever will again. My bad. I’m an idiot. Not at all what I meant. At all. And now I feel like a complete jackass. Even though that isn’t what I meant at all, it was just one example amongst a thousand I could have chosen, but really should not have, and I can see it was taken poorly now. And I should have seen that coming. And that makes me feel shitty.

I should have said, “I don’t want to see Pintoos Piloot or the messiah Gesuus or any other obvious reference to Christianity spelled out in the game book. I‘d like it to stay ambiguous so the players of any individual game can decide how much real-world Judaism they want to add in themselves. Or if they want to go A Song of Ice and Fire with it instead they should be able to. So if that means 100% in their game if Christian-based that‘s cool. I‘m sure I‘m going to play at least a few times using the real dark ages myself. But I wouldn‘t want to be limited to only playing the game that way and miss out on playing a mostly fantasy religion as seen in A Song of Ice and Fire”.

I really hope that clears it up. Because I feel really shitty right now for being misunderstood in the way I was.

Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2014, 03:44:28 PM »
No worries, Irminsul! This is what makes the Internet hard -- it's difficult to judge intention and nuance with this much bandwidth. You are forgiven! I just wanted to clarify, because it's better for me to ask, than to wonder.

Anyway, I did not think you were consciously engaging in anti-Semitic rhetoric at all... more just doing that thing we all do where we consider marginal things in the light of how they reflect on dominant things, rather than taking the marginal things seriously for what they are in and of themselves. I make that kind of mistake all the time myself.

Please do not avoid using the J-word! :-D It is far better to make mistakes (or be misinterpreted) and have them pointed out, than to shy away from charged things. Rolling 7-9's is where we learn. :-)



  • 1293
Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2014, 04:25:49 PM »
For the record, there will be a fictional analog of Judaism, and yes, the worship of the Bloodless Xristos comes from it, influenced in its childhood by a couple of lines of fictional-analog-Roman thought (including fictional-analog-Mithraism).

It's not a game about the origins of Christianity, so I'm not going to go into much detail, but I hope to throw in a provocative and satisfying detail or three.

I didn't mention it at all in those three original paragraphs, but I never intended otherwise.

There will also be fictional-analog Jews living in my fictional analog Dark Age Europe, just as there were in the real ones. That's an oversight I will DEFINITELY correct.


Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2014, 04:38:22 PM »
I think I’ve said what I wanted to say: oh please Vincent keep the religions ambiguous! But it looks like I’m not going to get that.

Firstly because the group being able to choose whether one’s game is 100% the real-world Judeo-Christian religion, or whether it is something more resembling A Song of Ice and Fire, or something in between, I think, is a good thing. If nothing else it opens up various play options.

Second because of what we accidentally/unintentionally demonstrated just now. And which proved to be one of the, if not the most, uncomfortable experience of my entire life.

Unless the game is 100% about taking on real-world religions through the fictional medium of a game (like, say, Dogs in the Vineyard), and wants to explicitly tackle those issues. Because even printing in the book things like Pintoos Piloot or the messiah Gesuus, makes the game about that. In a real-world way. Even if it wasn’t supposed to be about that.

The game can’t just do more than ambiguously reference it, not even an analog of real-world religions, in my opinion (ambiguous is fine). Why? Because of what I already said, but also because religion (and politics) are very easy to take incorrectly and/or misunderstand people in ways that are entirely unhealthy. Hot-button sensitive topic. And because they are such emotionally charged issues they can’t help but be thrust to the forefront of the issues. Even in a fictional game. Even if the game wasn’t originally supposed to be about religion, it will be about religion.

I feel like the group can make the game about tackling issues of religion. I’ve done the same in games, in a safe environment. But I don’t think that this game is about that. And putting analogs of real-world religions makes it about tackling those issues. Even if it would be unintentional. As we just demonstrated.

So to use your words: cool, funhouse-mirror, reimagined fictional analog [of real-world religions] is fine as long as “analog” is replaced with ambiguous. Obviously my opinion. Because the difference as I see it is one of “analog = basically the same with a few differences like adding in fictional names of real-world religious things” versus “ambiguous = can be taken one way, but also could be taken another way“.

EDIT: and I would say that any references to A Song of Ice and Fire or any other fictional world should be removed. Just say it is the Dark Ages with different analogous names for real-world things if that is what it is! (That might come off like I'm mad. I'm not. At all. I just think it is a bad thing to mislead people by saying "hey you can play a game analogous to A Song of Ice and Fire or something more closesly analogous to the real-world" and then not deliver both of those options).
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 04:45:11 PM by Irminsul »



  • 1293
Re: Bloodless Xristos
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2014, 04:42:57 PM »
Don't worry. If "Bloodless Xristos" is ambiguous enough for you, everything I write will be.