Blog Carnival: Religion & Super-Heroes

For the past 6 months I’ve been playing in a monthly Mutants & Masterminds game run b a friend in which religion has played a major role in the developing story:  The campaign is set in the modern day US in which over the last decade individuals have begun demonstrating super powers. The interesting twist the GM has put on things is that some of the supers have concluded that their powers are a gift from God and they need to “enlighten” the masses.  For example, there is a super-powered group calling themselves “The Rapture” who attack anyone who doesn’t embrace their fundamental religious views. In another twist on the role of religion, another inventor discovered a way to imbue his robotic creations with sentience by summoning souls from Hell.  Our group was caught in the middle of all the action when the inventor hired us to track down his first prototype robot who has “gone off the reservation” and decided he’s going to be the next savior for the planet by opening a gateway to Hell.  Of course the GM didn’t reveal all this to us at the beginning: Instead the inventor’s creations were portrayed as battle suits piloted by humans, and we were supposed to be hunting down a mentally unstable pilot who stole one of the suits.

The results have lead to some really interesting moral conundrums (e.g., the Rapture are terrorists in the eyes of some and heroes in the eyes of others), difficult choices (e.g., our team’s employer was summoning demons to replace his need for AI), and conflicted allies (e.g., one of our team members turned out to be a demon-souled robot).  Needless to say, all this lead to some pretty interesting sessions.

Prior to this game I never really thought about using religion as the focal point of a super-hero game. I’ve always hated Marvel’s use of the various mythological deities as super-heroes (e.g., Thor & Hercules), because in my opinion it was goofy.  However, this is something very different since it really fits right into our own world and thus brings a degree of verisimilitude to a genre that often has a very simplistic morality (i.e., everything is black & white) or just down right unrealistic. Thus, this experience has really opened my eyes to the possibility of using religion in RPG genres and settings where I never thought they’d work.

Another contribution to this month’s Blog Carnival.