I’ve pretty much finished all the work on religions. These take three forms – monotheistic, polytheistic, and “spirits”, which is the under-the-hood classification for animist/shamanistic beliefs, ancestor worship, and so forth. Hunter-gatherer civilizations are highly biased towards the third category whilst feudal civilizations have a roughly equal chance of producing monotheistic and polytheistic religions. Nomadic civilizations, meanwhile, never have official state religions – made up as they are by peoples from a wide range of places, and given their fluidity as civilizations whose people are generally in near-constant transit, I decided it would be more interesting if they were to often serve as “hubs” where large numbers of religions might be represented, as opposed to their feudal equivalents who may be more restrictive in the religions they’ll allow.
As in the above image, feudal religions have agendas and rewards. I have tried to design these so that you cannot build your game plan around pursuing them – since there will be an overarching “clock” in the game (not a food clock, something else) you will not be able to farm for the rewards that your religion offers, but rather these are things that in the process of playing you might be able to work towards and thereby gain the religion’s rewards. Many religions have agendas that you can pursue by exploring the world, getting access to multiple cities and the like, but carrying out one religion’s wishes may turn others against you. As with most good things in roguelikes, the religious agendas are meant to be a middle-ground between things you can plan for – “I’m going to focus my gameplan around doing X and Y that my religion wants” – coupled with things you cannot plan for, such as which religions might be close to you, which religion you start with, how easy or difficult its agendas will be to carry out, etc. Religions will be one “faction” you can assist, and gain rewards from, or not, depending on the situation and your preference.
Religions can all now be viewed in the in-game encyclopedia once you’ve discovered that religion. Monotheistic and animist religions can fit all their information on one page, whilst you can use Tab to cycle through the gods in polytheistic religions (as below). For monotheistic and polytheistic religions, the symbols or items that individual deities carry are dependent on what their worship entails; an agriculture god may have a sheaf of wheat, a war god an axe, and so on and so forth.
The last part of religions I need to finish off for this release are the spread of religions, but I think this might need a reasonably sophisticated mechanic. In the end it would be interesting if you could view the spread of each religion on the world map (i.e. switch between religions, as many may overlap) so that you can see where in the world you might meet with a positive response, and where else you might meet with a rather less positive one. However, depending on how complex I want to make that system, that might get relegated to a future release or not. Currently hard to say. Some religions appreciate the player spreading their religion to other nations – setting up altars, encouraging nobles to allow the religion to exist within their borders, etc – so such data about the spread of religions will be important for that, though I still need to desire exactly how that mechanic is going to work.
I have also begun work on some of the hidden cults in the game – their names/functions will be fixed, though their locations, how you access them, who leads them etc, will be changed each game. I wonder what purpose they serve?