The next entry on our list of Notable People is “Clerics of the local shrines”. While these would, indeed, be notable people (the head priest/ess of the largest shrines would likely have considerable influence), religions differ greatly from one game system to the next and one campaign to the next. So much so, in fact, that I’m going to leave it up to individual GMs to create the details for their own games.
However, religion gives us an opportunity to bring our theme (new growth vs. stagnation) into play again. Before becoming a trade center, Meadowbrook was primarily a farming town, so gods of planting and harvest would’ve played a very important role in town life. The new focus on trade and commerce would have brought with more followers of gods favoring those aspects. This could cause friction between the clergy of the established temples and the clergy of the newer temples. Because the growth has been so recent, many of the newer temples are likely still in construction and competition for the best building locations could be very “hot”. Plus, there could be friction between the halfling temples (most likely among the established temples) and human temples (most of new temples would fall into this category).
In a more historically-based game, such as Ars Magica, you’re going to have the influence of Christianity. Depending on when in the medieval era you base your game, you could have the new Christian religion coming into conflict with the older pagan gods. Or you could set up Meadowbrook as a rare town with a large Jewish population and explore prejudice medievel Christians had for Judism. If you wanted to base Meadowbrook in a Middle Eastern-inspired setting, you could play up the conflict between the established Christian and the “new” Islamic faiths. And there’s always the antagonism between the Western, Roman, Chuch and the Easter, Greek, Church.
For traditional fantasy settings, Meadowbrook’s most influential temples will be dedicated to gods of harvest and trade, as well as those pertaining to the home and family. Gods of healing and prosperity would also have a large following among both “old-timers” and newcomers. Halfling gods would also be popular and could potentially even have many human followers, especially since there may be some families in Meadowbrook comprised of both halfling and human members, bonded by marriage.
Gods of lesser importance would be those pertaining to travel (popular among the traders passing through) and luck. Gods dedicated to magic would likely have few followers in the town, but certainly there would be some small shrines set up here and there, especially among the fix-it guild. Tammi Ravenswing and other guilds would have a small shrine dedicated to trickster or thieving gods hidden away.
The least influential gods would be those related to war and evil, as well as those related to other demi-humans. Darius, the town’s only resident with elven blood, would have a small shrine dedicated to the elven gods in his home and/or shop. The few gnomish residents would also have small shrines dedicated their gods, though they are also likely to follow some of the halfling gods, as well.
Next time: Kari Tallfellow, the Butter Churn, and places of hospitality.