D&D/RPG folks!



I got a question, maybe you could help me out.

Could a Cleric become an atheist and maintain their abilities or are all the abilities tied to their faith? Like if they stopped believing would they become powerless?
(was trying to find a definitive answer online but couldn’t)

irYeah you won’t find a definitive answer.  The concept of atheist really isn’t compatible with a world where deities aren’t omnipotent, and directly, demonstratively interfere in the lives of common people every day.

You could either make the case that…

ALL D&D characters are atheists, since they don’t believe in gods, rather they all Know that some number of uber powerful meddling entities exist that call themselves gods.  But they don’t meet the benchmark for being measurably different from the other generic supernatural creatures of immense power that don’t call themselves gods.

Or for the same reason, being an Atheist is impossible.  But establishing rather than belief in a “God”, the baseline for qualification as an atheist is not believing in the supernatural, which is functionally impossible in most D&D settings without being completely psychotic.

Also note that many clerics can, and do (depending on the setting of course) think and loudly say that their gods are Jerks/Idiots/Useless, but can still cast spells as long as they pay lip service and worship them appropriately.  Faith doesn’t really enter into it.  They just need to say the right words and channel “divine” energy.

A much easier case study is losing their powers if they break the rules of their faith.

I’d argue this is really only true in some D&D settings, namely those with active, present gods. There are settings where the existence of gods is not provable fact.

I’ve played atheist clerics before–there’s nothing in the rules which says you have to believe in the god, you just have to do the rituals to get your powers. Heck, I’ve played a cleric who worshiped herself.