I was wondering if anyone has had their atheism/agnosticism/antitheism/nontheism influence their games or gaming in some way.

An aspect of gaming I have seen and experienced is the chance to take on different outlooks, to explore other ways of thinking, to be someone else. So do you play characters with a atheist/skeptic outlook or did when you were perhaps coming to atheism, or perhaps you tried the opposite and went with a true believer. Have you ever used a game to perhaps try out a way of thinking that later you really adopted?

Also many games I have been in do have gods, magic, and other supernatural aspects. Perhaps you prefer a game that doesn’t have these aspects, or maybe just the opposite, a game that is much more fantasy is more appealing?

Or perhaps does anyone have feelings good or bad on this use of gaming and whether role-playing should be used in this way, or taken as a serious platform for philosophical exploration?

I myself have played characters that have really just been a focused aspect of my own personality. Such as I have a love of nature but that is not the only thing that makes me me, but I used it to create a character where that was a central aspect and much more fully realized. I have also played a character who was a very fundamentalist type of believer and let those thoughts go to see where I went with that frame of mind.

So I am interested in how all this relates together for people.

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My first D&D character, and the one I remember the best, was a Cleric. Yeah, I played the muthafuckin' party Cleric, I wanted to be the wizard but noooooo, wizard had already been taken and the party needed a healer. That said, I had alot of laughs with Kevin Farstrider (don't laugh, I was 12, a name like that sounds cool at that age), priest of Farlanghn. There was a bit of a running gag that he had to become an adventuring priest after being kicked out of the seminary for not being able to pronounce his god's name. He also had a special magic item, the "Pouch of Infinite Pamphlets" from which he could, on command, produce enough religious tracts to convert a whole tribe of shellshocked kobolds to Farlanghnism.
I used to think that my atheism did not have an influence on my gaming, but I recently had cause to reconsider.

I GM a weekly RPG group, in which we alternate between playing a scenario in our established campaign and then a scenario of a new system which none of us have played before. In this way, we get to try a wide variety of things. Two of our campaign games are Call of Cthulhu and Unknown Armies, both games with a heavy supernatural element. There was recently some disagreement in the group regarding these two games.

One of the players (the son of an Episcopalian minister, though agnostic) expressed a dislike of Unknown Armies and when we pressed him for a reason, he explained that he prefers his evil externalized, as in Call in Cthulhu where the Great Old Ones, Outer Gods, etc. have an influence on mankind that that drives them to madness and atrocity. In Unknown Armies, he explained, there are no gods; humanity is alone, and everyone is responsible for their own salvation or damnation. While this is actually one of the reasons that I (and the other atheist in the group) enjoy Unknown Armies, it makes this other player uncomfortable enough to avoid playing the game.
I have limited god roles in D&D, in that they are not able to control those who do not believe in any god. They can send their followers after such people, but if they do so then other gods get involved in the effort and then you end up with a religious war. Of course I am running the group so I get to do it however I want, as far as the gods go.

The players on the other hand get to go where ever they so chose to go, I have idea's drawn up for many different scenario's. If they decide not to take on a mission I present, and just go exploring instead, I let them and give them a new experience chosen from my files based on their actions and the location. I never liked the idea of gods in my games at first, but when the realization hit me that I could control and limit the gods, like during travel in the flow, I let the gods back in to play.
Rune Quest Glorantha also does a great job of that, there are benefits and pitfalls to whatever kind of magic you choose to use or not use, including in certain cases being immune to certain magical effects, and within the scope of magic use spirit magic (similar to simple superstition - you make something a little bit lucky or unlucky) is the easiest, and weakest, religious magic is collaborative and more powerful but comes with plenty of built in restrictions (and it portrays a kind of spiritual pyramid-scheme where gods get power from people worshiping them, and features gods being deliberately created and destroyed by people who understand the mechanics of this set up), while the hardest and most powerful magic is sorcery, similar to psi, and has more mundane and mechanistic rules.
That's classic! So much better than the dumb-ass style of some folks I have (briefly) played with who insisted that any disgusting and monstrous behavior was "Good" if it was done "in the name of Good" and against creatures with an "Evil" alignment. Unsurprisingly the same gamers who never ever get tired of "called shot to the nuts!" bleh.
My non-theism doesn't have an effect on my gaming. When I game, I do it with no attachments to reality. I don't look at a pantheon of gods and think, "Well, this isn't realistic in the slightest." I revel in the ideas of the supernatural and magic and deities that take physical form and fuck shit up. The same way that I don't mind killing rooms full of people in a blood rage if I'm playing WoD. Because it's fantasy and it's fake. We live in a real world where the supernatural doesn't exist, or at least hasn't yet been proven to exist. It's nice sometimes to forget that and enjoy the worlds of "what if" for a while.
I can't say I've given the idea in-depth thought. But I think being an atheist does influence my gaming. Or, at least, the part of my personality that leans toward being an atheist also affects the gaming.
The most obvious thing being that I don't particularly care to play religious characters. I don't enjoy characters that are busy worshipping. So even if I'm playing, say, a D&D druid, I'm probably just going through the motions on the real religious side while having fun with the nifty powers. RPGs I'm playing by myself I don't get in to the priestly types either.
And when I have run games, the supernatural may be involved. But religion isn't likely play a big part. But the setting/system has a heavy influence on it, and what is internally consistent with that setting. In D&D it's hard to be atheist when gods actually go running around, and hand out magic powers to priests. On the other hand, in WoD, with all the supernatural stuff going on, Yahweh makes more sense as one of many powerful ideas/concepts/deity-like amorphous things out in the dark rather than what a Christian (or Jew) thinks of.

I think to take roleplaying in to that serious philosophical exploration you'd have to have enough other players interested in the same thing. And lately I don't know enough with the time for even a more escapist version.
...it´s a game, remember, and games tend to rely on rules; so, if the rules say, that there is a god (or gods) in the game, then I easily can accept this, as easy as my Character having a strength of 18/99 or high skills in cybertech or japanese, which I, for myself, simply don´t have...
when GMing for my friends, and the system doesn´t clearly state the existence of a god, she wont "pop up", but of course I´ve got to say, that some intervening god sometimes brings refreshing new options to the table, or is very useful for making players stop doing stupid things.
I would say it has had a dramatic effect, but probably in the opposite direction one would expect. D&D game worlds (and some GURPS) I develop usually have a strong presence of the divine and inter-planar struggles.

In my current campaign one of my players was playing an atheist character, which was a wonderful bit of RP in a world where the divine manifests so readily. He turned into the fundamentalist of our current-day walking around in denial of what was so readily apparent before his eyes.

Religions in my game world also tend to be diverse and well developed, running the gamut from liberalism to fanaticism, polytheisms, ancestor worship, animism, dualities and monotheisms are all represented. My study of apologetics (or anti-apologetics rather) has allowed me to populate the game worlds with realistic and diverse theologies. I've found that this vry much helps creating a very realistic feeling game world. Of course this has always been my goal, to create game worlds that are at once familiar and alien, imparting religion helps achieve this elegantly.
In one of my campaigns yes. The creation "myth" was based on the Big Bang - "In the beginning was The Mass." There were deities but only after the various races existed (by evolution). The deities were created by power of worship. They were created when enough were people worshiping something or someone. So there were a handful of gods who centuries ago were mortals that over time gathered followers.
Thanks I was inspired :)
Not really.

I usually play Cthulhu.




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