Creeds, Prophets and Revolutionaries: Culture and Religion idea


Pronounced like Eevee
Jan 5, 2002
Ottawa, Ontario
Creeds, Prophets and Revolutionaries.

This is some idle religious system thinking inspired by some posts around. It's a system with an on-map component, though quite different and largely tuned down from the one in Civ VI, because while I think the implementation in VI was bad, the general concept that the game should happen on the map, not on separate screens was a good one. This system more or less ties in loyalty, culture, religion and ideologies together in one cohesive whole. Very much WIP, most comments welcome.

1)Creed, Religion, Ideology. A creed is a belief system, either spiritual or political, that attempts to spread across the map. Players only have limited control over this spread, which is largely the work of quasi-barbarian units called Great Prophets (Spiritual Creed) or Great Revolutionaries (Political Creed). Each Creed starts with one or more belief associated with it, granting him some in-game effect ; once a Creed become a Religion (Spiritual) or Ideology (Political), which requires that at least one civ adopt it as a state religion or state ideology and that a certain number of pops have adopted the creed, it can again additional beliefs. An existing Creeds can spread additional Great Prophets.

2)Great Prophets and Great Revolutionaries. These are a special form of great people that are never controlled by players. Other than the name (prophets spread religion, revolutionaries spread ideologies), they function similarly, and travel around the map, converting nearby pops to their creed. They appear at random at first, but later in the game, large cities with many pops of a creed, and cities with relics of that creed, are much more likely to spawn great revolutionaries nearby. Additionally, civilizations have access to the "Invite Teacher" special project, which, when completed, allow them to chose an existing creed and cause a Prophet/Revolutionary of that Creed to spawn near the completing city. They count as their own special category of unit, and do not block any other unit (regardless of owner) from occupying the same tile. After a certain number of turns, a prophet/revolutionary leaves the map, creating a relic in the nearest city with a free relic slot and at least one pop of the appropriate creed. For simplicity's sake, the rest of this post use "Prophet" to mean both Prophet and Revolutionary.

3)Suppressing Prophets. Military units in the same tile as a great prophet can attempt to suppress the prophet. This cause combat to occur between the prophet (combat strength represent the followers accompanying the prophet/revolutionary on their journey and grow the more pop they convert) and the military unit, but there are some twists. First, if the Great Prophet is defeated, a relic is created. It appears in the nearest empty relic slot in the nearest city with at least one pop of the appropriate religion. Second, if the great prophet victorious and the attacking unit destroyed, the nearest city of the controlling civ gains an additional pop of the prophet's creed - and there is a chance an *additional* great prophet of that same religion may spawn.

4)Relics (and Great Works of Art). Relics are created, as above, when a Great Prophet is suppressed or otherwise leave the map. Relics function largely as in Civ 6, granting cultural output, which (see point 8) cause the city holding the relic to passively spread the religion (but they do not generate tourism because no more tourism). However, in addition to their normal civ 6 great work effect, relics have the following benefit: they cause pop in their own city to steadily convert ; they cause units of the same state religion to gain an attack or defense bonus when attacking/defending the city from a wrong-religion unit, they grant their controller. Great work of arts also output culture, which (again, per point 8) cause the city to passively spread the corresponding creed, but have none of the other effects of relics. A relic can be destroyed by the civ that controls the city it is in, but this will destroy the building the relic is in, and additionally may cause the city to enter a revolt (see point 9).

5)Influence. Civilizations that have converted to a specific Creed (which then becomes a religion) have a degree of influence over that religion, depending on how many pops of that religion they control, and how many relics of that religion they control. At any time, the civ with the most religious influence over a given creed is the one that gets to determine what new beliefs it gain when it meets the thresholds for new beliefs ; and, if the creed meet the condition for a Cultural Victory, it is the civilization with the most influence over that creed *at that time* that wins the game. Which creates tension when trying to win this way between trying to spread the creed you support - and trying to retain control of it, with the possibility that you may bring yourself to the brink of a cultural victory only to have someone else snag control of it at the last moment.

6)Schism. A schism, the separation of a creed in two rival creeds, can happen when a great prophet for a creed spawn on a tile where the only pop it can reach within its alloted time are already following the same creed. In that case, the prophet may start preaching a schismatic version of the creed. Schismatic creeds otherwise function as separate creeds, but with the added caveat that a creed must reunify all its schismatic beliefs in order to win a religious/cultural victory. A schism may be deliberately triggered by a player by using a special project to create their own schism of their own religion (which create a schismatic prophet automatically).

7)Missionaries/Propagandists. Once proselytism (for spiritual creeds) or Propaganda (for Ideological creeds) are discovered, civs of the appropriate religion may build these units and actually control them. Like great prophets, they travel around the map converting pops in nearby cities to their religion. Like Great Prophets, they can be suppressed, and have much lower combat strength. Unlike prophets, they only have a slim chance (increased with promotions) of spawning relics if defeated, and will never spawn a great prophet if victorious. They cannot otherwise initiate combat, and there is (most pointedly) no missionary-to-missionary combat with little lightning bolt. The name of the units is subject to change, and in the late game the propagandist may well end up being basically Civ VI's rock band.

8)Passive Spread. If a city has a majority of its population being of a creed, then it begins to exert pressure on surrounding cities, slowly converting their pop to the appropriate creed. How much pressure depends on the culture generated by the city (thus, great works of art and relics greatly speed up passive spread, as do wonders), and the distance from the city (the further from the city, the less the pressure). If that cultural pressure exceed the cultural output of a nearby city, it will cause pops in that city to slowly convert to the majority creed of the spreading city.

9)Religious/Ideological Revolts. If a city has a majority of population from one creed, and is owned by a civ with a different state religion (or no state religion), then the city may enter a revolt (the odds increase based on how much of the city's pop is converted). If the revolt is not successfully dealt with in time (or the civ that owns the city does not convert to the appropriate state religion or ideology), the city may either become independant, or, if an adjacent civ has the right State Religion or ideology, may instead join that civ.

10)Cultural/Religious/Ideological Victory: Once a single creed has the majority of all pops in each of the remaining civilizations in the game, and no pop in the world belong to a schism of that creed, that creed begins counting down to a cultural victory. At the end of the countdown, if the creed still meet the requirements (no schism, and majority of all pop in each remaining civ) , the civilization with the most influence over that creed achieves a cultural/religious/ideological victory (pick your name).
Very, very interesting. A few initial thoughts:

Does the Creed start with any Beliefs, as Religions currently do in Civ VI? And if those Beliefs are generated Randomly, it seems like a pretty important part of the game is going to be extremely Randomized for each game.

I suggest that for a Pre-Religion Creed, which I would take to mean a set of beliefs with no formal Theology attached to it, there should be at least one Religious Belief or Object of Worship assigned to it initially. Given that you've assigned the term 'quasi-barbarian' to Great Prophets/Revolutionaries, I suggest that the Basic Belief attached to their initial Creed could be semi-randomly assigned based on where the Great Prophets 'spring up' on the map, similar to the way the type of Barbarian Units spawned from Camps are based on nearby terrain features/resources:
Object of Worship based on nearest terrain feature:
Volcanic Mountain
Object of Worship based on Most Impressive Animal nearby:
Elephant (Ivory Resource in Civ VI)
Object of Worship without specific on-map bias:

Since many of the Natural Wonders have specific terrain requirements, Wonderous Volcanoes, Mountains, Lakes, etc might each have a more specific Bonus assigned to them for an initial Credo.

Each Creed then, would have an initial bonus assigned to it, some general (the last section above) some specific to on-map generation. This far from eliminates randomness, but reduces it a bit: if your Civ starts near the Tundra (looking at you, Russia) there should be a better-than-random chance that the Great Prophet that wanders in out of the Wilderness and starts ranting on the Palace steps has something to say about Ice/Snow/Tundra - but it's not a sure thing.

I suggest to give the gamer some agency to religion (even though I firmly agree that it should be largely out of the gamer's control) we might add to or instead of the initial Monument another 'generative' early structure: the Altar, which when built in City Center could be assigned to one of the Objects of Worship to 'attract' the appropriate Great Prophet.
BUT you could only 'choose' an Object appropriate to your Civ/cities' positions. No coastal city - no Sea Worship. No Elephants, Horses, Deer - can't worship imaginary animals (well, people have, but that opens up too wide an array to start with). That's why there are non-specific Objects available. Also, if a half-dozen Civs all try to attract the same Great Prophet for the same Creed, only one will succeed, while the rest will wind up with Something Else.

Another way to give the gamer some but not complete 'control' or influence on the Religion/Ideology game might be through Wonders. A large percentage of the Wonders in the game are Religious. Building those Wonders could either require some specific Religious/Ideology Credo or 'push' your Religion/Ideology towards a specific Credo or set of beliefs. I confess, this springs out of some thinking I've been doing on how to reduce the Wonder Competition by increasing the specific requirements to even start the Wonder. Religious requirements more specific than merely 'founded (or adopted) a Religion' is a good example of something I want to explore more in this regard.
Those are great additions! I quite like them.

I'm thinking, make the altar or shrine a building and once a creed is adopted it would be a natural place to store relics, so it retains later game functions?
Thank you.
Unlike the current Civ VI system, I'm more in favor of older structures becoming part of or Upgrading to later ones, so the Altar or Shrine I would have become part of the later Temple or Worship Building, but giving it a Relic slot to remain applicable makes sense too.
I always like to see detailed suggestion like this one, good work! :goodjob:

About the points, I like most of them, so instead of talk about what I would change better talk about what to add.
On religious buildings. I always found annoying that City Center district dont have the kind of landmarks we expect from a historical Downtown, I mean most cultures around the world had some kind of place of worship right on the main square, but instead CIV6 have Granary :crazyeye:. I know Granary and Water Mill are there to represent early stages cities and make them grow, also represent state control of food reserves under emergencies, but seriously this can be done in other way without waste City Center visuals.
Now there is also the need for CIV6 to have thematic districts so Holy Site got everything religion related, but that shouldnt limite to have some extra in a place like the City Center. Also there is the point were too many Holy Sites make them feel lest "holy" and relevant, while cities without Holy Site lack any religious element that also feel unrealistic.

Another point is to have Villages instead of Improvements, having these the option to be upgraded with buildings like districts do. These could include the Granary and Water Mill, and also Shrines, these could be part of Neighborhood districts too (that also have Workshops to differentiate traditional products from the later Industrial Zones). The Shrines can be different for each religion and have the effect to attract immigrants of that religion.
This cover representation of goverments that sponsored multiple religions like certain Chinese emperors, allowing foreign communities to flourish. These have direct synergy with culture and trade since some population could have unique Traditions that provide bonuses like produce prestigious Ceramic or Textiles.
Not to swerve Off-Topic, but I think the way to rethink Districts in Civ VII is to remove adjacency bonuses from the District and place them on the individual Buildings, then make all Urban Di tricts (call them 'Precincts'?) Generic until they are filled with Buildings.

So, the City Center would automatically have a Palace or Governor's Mansion - some kind of Administrative structure, basically - but in the 3 - 5 'slots' of the District what else goes there depends on the gamer/Grand Poobah. It would be normal in very early cities to have some kind of religious structure: altar, shrine, temple or Specialized Worship Structure (Cathedral, Mosque, Kirk, Sobor, Gurdwara, etc) but additional Granary, Monument, Market, Theatre - it's up to you.

Elaborating on the multiple-religions/creeds ion a city, other Districts in the city could be set up as Ethnic Quarters, each including, perhaps, a Local Market, specific Housing structures, and a Religious structure for their Creed/Religion. The inspiration for this comes from a brand-new book on Alexandria the city, which was one of the first Planned by and built by the Government (Ptolemies) cities of the Classical World, and included several ethnic quarters - Jewish,. Greek, Egyptian - almost from the start, joined later by a Christian Quarter which eventually took over most of the city and was then supplanted by Islamic immigrants and converts - a nice, specific model for the kind of multi-ethnicity/religiousity envisoned in the OP.
your idea is pretty neat @Evie, keep preachin sis
It's a little too militaristic for me and there's a little bit too much direct control for the player for me.

Having the option to supress with military units (or manipulate by feed weak units) sounds nice on face value but combined with the cultural win condition I feel like you'd have to have military units all over the map to supress any schisms (What's the downside for causing a schism AND when you get close to 'winning' prophets will likely spawn in areas of the map without nearby enemy religions, thus causing more schisms). At that point, it's basically military victory in disguise.

I prefer not having players pick any beliefs for religions or creating and controlling religious units.

I think one of the weaknesses of civ IV corporations was that it functioned almost as a parallel version of religion. Here, Ideology is a parallel version of religion. Like, do I want to be doing double of something I'm already doing ?
The schism spam in the late game problem would require significant balancing, probably involving the fact that the more cities are aligned with a religion, the lower the overall chances of getting a prophet are, so a late-game religion likely to generate a victory is unlikely to get a new prophet or schism.

Enabling other non-military units (spies, if they are on map, would seem good) to deal with great prophets/revolutionaries would also seem like a good idea.

However, both good gameplay and historicity stronlgy favors not letting the full set of beliefs be randomly/AI picked. At some point, religion are boring and lose a lot in interaction if they are presented as a whole package that cannot be altered, taking agency away from the player to make them a spectator (which is only good game design in very limited ways), Meanwhile, historically, states and cultures absolutely did influence and alter the beliefs system of their religions and change them to suit them - the idea that religions grew completely independent of the politics surrounding them is a fantasy. There are solid gameplay reason for, and little historical reasons against, letting players determine beliefs.

Ideology is not here a parallel version of religion but a continuation of it: that is, they are all the same thing (creeds) and a citizen only has one creed at a time: if a pop convert to communism they they are considered to now be secular enough to not count toward religious victory, and vice-versa: if they convert back to catholicism it's understood that while they might still be generally left wing they no longer support the International. Ideology thus exist very much as a late game threat for solidly established religious games, and opportunity for people who did not get in on the religious game earlier to join the competition. This serves to create a more dynamic late games where wild swings may yet occurs and to make the "long walk to victory" for a civ that got an early lead a little less of a sure thing.
A possible 'Gamer's agency' or Political Agency for influencing Religion/Creed/Ideology could be Sponsorship, wherein the Civ can allocate a certain percentage/points of Gold/Production or some other currency to support the Creed (declaring a State Religion/Creed, even if not necessarily the Majority of the population agrees, with all the implications for Unrest within the Civ)

Another form of Agency might be Councils, as in the Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus and Constantinople that had Major Influence on early Christianity. This could even be an in-game mechanism for Choosing specific aspects/'Beliefs' of a Creed to reinforce or adopt, and is potentially available (along with more general Sponsorship) from very early in the game.
I mean, that is largely what the "Civilization with the most influence on a religion can, when the conditions are right, chose new beliefs" was meant to represent - the ability to sponsor the religion. It's abstracted, of course, because gaming is abstraction (a principle some people here simply do not understand), but Nicaea was on my mind at the time I wrote that one down.

Having more complex sponsorship systems and councils would be an option, but I think at that point the game would need to make religious/ideological gameplay its core feature, and center much more of the gameplay on it. I'm also concerned that Council and influence mechanisms may end up as a bit of a mini-world congress, and that is its own entire can of worm to make work, so I'm not wholly sold on the idea.
An argument could be made that a Civ going for Religious Victory (whatever that entails) should have more options/agency in pursuing that goal. BUT, as you say, one runs the risk of creating a Game Within A Game that is more Distraction than Attraction.

A lot would depend on just how important religious/ideological factors are considered in the game design compared to, say, economic, diplomatic, military or scientific considerations. I confess, I've never actually bothered to try for a Religious Victory in Civ VI, so I'm not really invested enough to argue the question convincingly!
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