• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

D&D: I'm struggling to write Fantasy as a Christian

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Nick P., Sep 9, 2018.

  1. Nick P.

    Nick P. New Member

    2
    +0
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    This is my first post here on this sight, so sorry if I screw up any particular conventions or rules.

    I've been playing D&D for about 4 years now, and I've hosted and run my own gaming sessions for about 6 months. When trying to write Fantasy stories to fit into the game world though, I'm been finding a great deal of resistance in myself to writing and thinking through the world and its story. I'm having a hard time getting through my own internal debate on what a fictional world has to have to make sense to me: a creator God and everything that flows downstream from that idea. It seems like no matter what I do I am stuck thinking in circles of how my world has to make sense theologically, and honestly it's pretty frustrating. I resorted to ripping off and re-skinning other creative works so I wouldn't have to thoroughly commit to something that didn't feel right, but since everything doesn't feel right I'm not sure what I ought to do.

    Does anyone here have any experience with writing Fantasy as a Christian and the certain peculiarities that it entails? I have specific questions, but this post in in danger of being obnoxiously long if I post them all, so I'll summarize it by saying I'm suffocating at the bottom of a theological bog with my writer's block. Anyone else been in my shoes before?
     
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

    +993
    United States
    Protestant
    Married
    The difficulty with writing fiction, in general, is the responsibility of the writer to do so in such as way as to 'the glory of God' (1 Corinthians 10:31)
    When dealing with non-fiction, some Christian writers have accomplished this by bringing out the historical-redemptive purposes of God through the events which have taken place. In this way, they have succeeded (in so far they are biblically sound) to mimic the narrative portions of the Bible.
    'Fantasy' fiction introduces another level of difficulty (beyond normal fiction) in that it portrays experiences which are, to some degree, far removed from reality.
    The world of D&D presents an even greater difficulty to the task of glorifying the only true God because it is a world filled with worship of strange deities which is a sin. So, the big question is this: does this material promote paganism, and mysticism? Is it right to promote the idea that you can 'play' with gods and goddesses?"
    You could leave those elements out, but then you've created an atheist world which might be better than promoting idolatry. Either way, you're fictionalizing real sin and making a game out of it.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  3. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +6,353
    United States
    Lutheran
    Legal Union (Other)

    It's fantasy, not reality. People that can't separate the two have no business playing D&D or similar games. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings presents lots of "paganism", wizardy, and magic, yet Tolkein was a Catholic in good standing.

    Maybe Nick should try using pre-existing material or even a different roleplaying setting.
     
  4. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

    +993
    United States
    Protestant
    Married
    Unfortunately, many people can't separate the two. It's natural to cut one piece of wood for fire and of the other for worship. Much of 'folk-lore' is alive and well howbeit in the form of religious practice.
     
  5. Nick P.

    Nick P. New Member

    2
    +0
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    Thankfully I can fully differentiate between fantasy and reality; even if I somehow couldn't, D&D's lack of description beyond anything needed to cobble together an aesthetic would in my opinion make it a pretty poor resource for legitimately trying to practice magic. However, I'm still struggling to write or imagine things because of my brain's tendency to, well, go onto uncomfortably weighty tangents that become hard to ignore. For example...

    Me: The players asked me if they'd have to fight goblins. I suppose I should write something for go-
    Less Helpful Me: DO THE GOBLINS HAVE FREE WILL? DO THE GOBLINS HAVE TO BE EVIL? CAN GOBLINS CHOOSE NOT TO BE EVIL? IS IT RIGHT FOR THE PLAYERS TO KILL GOBLINS? WHY?
    *(As an interesting side note, Tolkien apparently struggled with similar thinking in regards to what to do with Orcs in his own writing, as his writings and letters indicated he had internal doubts about their origins and nature, which he was known to change from time to time. He never seemed to question whether they ought to be killed though.)

    Me: Merfolk would be neat to add to this world; I really liked them in Magic: The Gathering. Let's see, where can I drop some fish people aroun-
    Less Helpful Me: DO MERFOLK GO TO HEAVEN? WHAT IS THE AFTERLIFE IN THIS WORLD? HOW TO MERFOLK, OR FOR THAT MATTER ANYONE, GET TO THE AFTERLIFE IN THIS WORLD?


    ...and on and on it goes. I won't even try to broach the subject of gods and goddesses; I'm keenly aware of the difficulties of writing around polytheism as a Christian. Of course, I can sometimes send it back at my internal and eternal devil's advocate by saying that Christian writers like Tolkien and Lewis both wrote specifically in mythology on at least one occasion that was strictly pagan in origin and nature (Tolkien in Norse mythology, of which he was very interested in, and Lewis in Greek mythology in Until We Have Faces.) Of course, this is an effort I think to bring glory to God by hijacking pagan symbols and stories, but I digress.
    It just seems like no matter what subject I try to explore in my imagination, the little judge on my shoulder is always several steps ahead of the little writer on the other shoulder. I hope this suffocating blanket of internal debate is an experience someone else has had. Anyone else have trouble in this way?
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  6. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +6,353
    United States
    Lutheran
    Legal Union (Other)
    Well, if you have a Calvinist orientation, that can lead to some deep questioning I suppose. I just see playing games as part of having a good time, not really trying to "glorify God". I think that approach could lead to needless navel gazing, like counting the angels on the head of a pin. Plus, there's a time and place for everything, life is more than one big long church service or Bible lesson.

    I thinks its more important to try to find ways to ensure that people that are playing your game are having a good time too, rather than trying to turn a game into some (perhaps not so subtle) religious message.
     
  7. Apologetic_Warrior

    Apologetic_Warrior Well-Known Member

    +2,672
    United States
    Christian
    Private
    I cannot remember the source, but read somewhere that the best writers have done the most reading. Something along those lines. In the world of fantasy fiction and Christian authors, two names come to mind, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Read from their works, draw from their ideas, and my advice would be to stick with analogies if you want to invoke theological thought behind it. However, I personally think it is best to separate fact from fantasy, best to maintain distinctions, so as to not unintentionally distort the facts. Have fun with it, try not to take it any more serious than it actually is. Consider it a temporary mental "escape" from reality, because that's precisely what is behind most of what is called; "entertainment". Mountains and valley's, seasons of life, rain for the just and unjust.
     
  8. slobake

    slobake New Member

    58
    +42
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Others
    For those of us who like fantasy and science fiction with a christian worldview I suggest Enclave Publishing. Enclave Publishing - Christian Fantasy and Science Fiction One of my favorite writers is Steve Rzasa. His "Face of the Deep" series is my favorite staring with "The Word Reclaimed."
    There is also info on the site for writers plus blogs by their authors.
    A good resource for writers is "Writing Fiction for Dummies" by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy. Randy is a Christian and has written a number of good Science Fiction books himself. My favorite is "Oxygen."
    He also invented the "Snowflake Method" for writers. Here is a link to that simple method:
    Use The Snowflake Method For Writing Novels In 10 Easy Steps [Updated]
    I also like "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott. She is a great writer herself and the book is about being a writer. The book is very funny and helpful for those of us who write. She is a christian but if you are not familiar with her be warned that she uses profanity in her books. If that bothers you this will not be a good book for you.
     
  9. Petros2015

    Petros2015 Well-Known Member

    +1,459
    Eastern Orthodox
    Single
    lol I know D&D tends to involve a lot of racial genocide when you look at it sideways ;)

    One time I worked in a story about a nameless God, who was referred to as 'The God who Burned'. His followers had no powers or clerical abilities at all and spent their lives doing humble service. However, it was said that if any of his true followers were ever harmed, retribution by the God would occur instantly and in the measure of harm that was done. (no saving throw, no resistance applying). The effect includes anyone who ordered that the harm be done as well as the person doing the actual harm.

    So the 'founder' of the religion was nameless also, and wouldn't give his name, which was taken as a claim to divinity. The local religious council ordered him burned at the stake, which he was. But the council that ordered it (all of them) also burst into flames and was immediately immolated as well much to their surprise. That's why he is referred to as 'The God who Burned'.

    His followers make great martyrs - you don't ever want to kill a true follower thinking they don't have a real God because they can't do Cure Light Wounds. If you do, it's instant death.
     
  10. Hermann Morr

    Hermann Morr New Member

    22
    +18
    Italy
    Eastern Orthodox
    Single
    Remember the 1977 D&D edition, Basic to Immortal ( the one in my heart )
    The so called gods were just men who became immortal
    This did not exclude the existence of the one God, real and creator, and did not exclude that the immortals could be submitted to the final judgement like any one else.
     
  11. TheDaniël

    TheDaniël New Member

    62
    +16
    Netherlands
    Apostolic
    Private
    Talk into a microphone; detailling the story you want.
    Just talk the story write it later.
     
  12. wayofthepromise

    wayofthepromise Member

    37
    +45
    United States
    Baptist
    Married
    US-Republican
    I can appreciate everything you shared here. I, too, am struggling with my fantasy world, since I absolutely want it to "mesh" roughly with the Bible itself. I'm not so interested in being politically correct, and I have very little respect for faddish theologies of the day, which are here today and gone tomorrow to be replaced. The whole reason we use our propensity to write as Christians is to glorify God. That's a given. As a Christian, EVERYTHING we do is for his glory. What else is there? That said, I don't think you have to be holier than thou or careful to the point of stifling the creativity God has given us.

    I would be very interested in talking about your world vs mine. Maybe we can be as iron, sharpening each other. I am in the same boat as you are... struggling with my world.

    Anyway, I just wanted to respond and say you're not alone.
     
  13. wayofthepromise

    wayofthepromise Member

    37
    +45
    United States
    Baptist
    Married
    US-Republican
    I don't think it's healthy for a Christian writer to concern himself too much on this point. Is it commercially viable? If the publisher wants it, it'll have its place in the kingdom. Otherwise, it won't likely see much daylight anyway. Don't stifle creativity with rules, not even God's rules. Writing should be an autonomous and free exercise.

    What better way to introduce a Christian perspective, something as far-fetched to the world as fantasy fiction?

    Before Abram heard God's call to head south to a land he would show him, he was a worshiper of a pantheon of pagan gods. The Bible is, as you say, "a world filled with worship of strange deities." Wouldn't it be a plausible framework to set your fantasy fiction in? Especially if you wanted a redemptive ending?

    And what's wrong with mysticism? Jesus was a mystic, as were all the prophets of the old testament.
     
  14. wayofthepromise

    wayofthepromise Member

    37
    +45
    United States
    Baptist
    Married
    US-Republican
    I think this is hilarious, and yes, it's very natural for a true writer to get caught up in the vortex if you don't have a mechanism to stop it.

    What I'm trying to do right now in character development is focus on physical appearance and personal (individual) backstory that likely won't end up in my book but will inform motive and behavior. Interestingly, I often use the archetypal characters found in Greek mythology and Joseph Campbell's sources to flesh out full, 3-D characters.
     
  15. wayofthepromise

    wayofthepromise Member

    37
    +45
    United States
    Baptist
    Married
    US-Republican
    I too advocate the Snowflake Method. Also, a hugely helpful book to me is Ingermanson's How To Write A Dynamic Scene Using The Snowflake Method. If you can write a good scene, you can write a good story. Thanks for the link to Enclave. I'll check it out!
     
  16. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

    +993
    United States
    Protestant
    Married
    What if it might offend God, or your brother in Christ? What if it becomes a temptation to participate by a Christian who thinks it to actually be a sin? It would be one thing if such creativity were practiced in secret unto the Lord, but a public display of something like D&D which is taboo in much of the Christian community could be potentially harmful to the cause of Christ.
    1 Corinthians 10:31-32
    So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
     
  17. afishamongmany

    afishamongmany Oldbie Supporter

    977
    +532
    Christian
    Married
    Hi Wayotp - This link may interest you? Just Genesis : Was Abraham an Idol Worshiper?
    We need to be cautious and not 'expand' scripture beyond what it is saying. My understanding is that, though from Eden on all mankind was fallen, yet, there were always those individuals who had faith in the promise of God and kept themselves from idols.

    As for The Lord Jesus and his prophets being mystics - I think not.
    noun: mysticism 1.belief that union with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or the spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect, may be attained through contemplation and self-surrender.
    2. vague or ill-defined religious or spiritual belief, especially as associated with a belief in the occult.

    The Lord Jesus was and is God incarnate. The incarnation is a mystery but God is not a mystic.
    The problem with mysticism is that very misty and getting involved in it leads to confusion and getting lost.
    Go well
    ><>
     
  18. wayofthepromise

    wayofthepromise Member

    37
    +45
    United States
    Baptist
    Married
    US-Republican
    It would be fruitless for you and I to argue over this. You’re coming from a strict theological framework. Laban’s idol worship came from his family traditions, likely passed down through Terah, if not Abraham himself. This is, of course, reading outside the text but certainly within a scholarly and historical context. As for your first definition of mystic, that’s descriptive of Jesus, the son of man.
     
  19. Greatcloud

    Greatcloud Senior Member

    +265
    United States
    Charismatic
    Single
    US-Republican
    I don't know you or what belief system you have but I would stick with the old testament. It's has everything you could possibly want in the world. Angels demons characters tribes idol's deities wars kingdoms the Holy Land and the promised Messiah.
    And much more..... beyond that I like CS Lewis and his friend JRR Tolkien. Can you please say something about your beliefs. Are you Catholic ?
     
Loading...