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Religion is a feature reintroduced in the Civilization V:Gods & Kings expansion pack. Just as in the real world, Religion consists of a series of Beliefs, which define the religion's ideas and goals. In the game environment this is represented through a system of bonuses, which have a diverse set of possible effects. A well-crafted Religion may considerably enhance your civilization's abilities, although it doesn't lead to a separate victory. Unlike other aspects of the game, it is definitely possible to win a game without even creating a Pantheon. However, considering the power of Religion, it is highly advisable you attempt to create one.
Religion is dependent on the Faith resource. For more information on it, visit the Faith page.
Vox Populi adds, changes, and overhauls many of the Religious Beliefs in Civilization V. For more information on them, visit the Beliefs page.
There are thirteen named religions to choose from. These religions, however, are no more than the icons that represent them - it doesn't matter which one you pick because you have to customize it at your own will. You can even change the name, if you like.
The Path to ReligionEdit
Religion doesn't exist at the start of a game (unlike Culture and Science, which start developing immediately after settling the Capital). It has to be created first, and then formed by selecting Beliefs for it. The way to do this lies through accumulation of Faith.
Beliefs are the practical effects of religions and pantheons, selected when they are founded or enhanced. Each belief is unique and may only be selected by one religion/pantheon in the game - thus each religion/pantheon is distinct from all others and has no overlapping effects.
Founding a PantheonEdit
Pantheons are simple, proto-religious Beliefs, centered on gods which are related to many natural phenomena. When enough Faith has been accumulated by a civilization, it may be spent to found a pantheon. A pantheon allows for one Pantheon Belief to be chosen.
Pantheon Beliefs are chosen from a common pool for all civilizations (Except for The Celts, which have their own pool), which means that, once chosen by someone, a Pantheon isn't available anymore to the others. So, when founding a Pantheon, speed is important for you to be able to choose from a wider pool of Beliefs. The best thing about pantheons is that they have many bonuses based on terrain, allowing you to use your starting terrain to your advantage in the early game. Additionally, pantheons such as Desert Folklore can effectively give you a free religion by allowing you to produce abundant Faith from terrain without the need to build Shrines or Temples.
After adopting a Pantheon, all your current and future cities will automatically acquire your Pantheon Belief, until you found a full-fledged Religion. This merits noting, because the same doesn't happen with a full Religion (see below).
Pantheons may not be founded anymore once any religion in the world has been enhanced (unless there are still less pantheons than the maximum number of religions, in which case they still can). Whereas in most games all civilizations in play are able to found a Pantheon, it is theoretically possible for this not to happen if one civilization progresses too fast towards a full religion while the others dally.
Founding a ReligionEdit
The amount of Faith required to found/enhance a religion is 800/1200 (standard speed).
After you have founded a pantheon, a Great Prophet will eventually appear (through further Faith accumulation, or from completing Wonders). He has the special ability to "Found a Religion" - use it to create your own! Note the Prophet must be in one of your cities to activate this ability, and doing so will consume him.
Note that spawning a Great Prophet will consume all your accumulated Faith, not only for the first one, but for each one until you enter the Industrial Era. Consider this when choosing whether to spend your Faith, or wait for a Great Prophet. Sometimes an "accidental" Great Prophet spawn could in fact hamper your plans.
The founding of a religion consists of the following steps:
- Selecting an icon and a name for your religion. You may choose among the contemporary religious symbols available and the real-world name related to it, or you can type a new name of your own.
- Selecting one Founder belief.
- Selecting one Follower belief.
These two new Beliefs are then added to your Pantheon belief for the formation of your new Religion (for a detailed description of Beliefs and their effects, look below). The city where the Prophet was used to found a Religion turns into the Holy City for that Religion. Most of its citizens immediately convert to it, mesmerized by the speech of your Great Prophet, but some citizens resist and remain pagans. Nevertheless, this Religion becomes the Majority religion in this city.
From the moment you found a Religion on, your cities stop acquiring Pantheon Beliefs automatically. New cities will be founded with no religious allegiance at all, and you will have to work actively to convert them, if you want the benefits of your new Religion to apply there.
Note that if you are playing as Byzantium you can also choose a fourth, Bonus belief when founding a religion. This one can come from either the Pantheon, the Founder, Follower or Enhancer pool, which turns the bonus very powerful this early in the game! You get your pick of any Belief even if another Civ has picked it. Byzantine's choices don't lock out other Civs either, though.
Once you have founded a Religion, every subsequent Great Prophet born in your civilization is considered to belong to the Religion you founded (even if most of your cities follow a different Religion), and will be born in its Holy City (as long as you have control of it). From this point and on, the Great Prophet has the ability to Spread Religion, or Enhance Religion.
Only a limited number of religions can be founded in the world, determined by the starting number of civilizations - the maximum is equal to half the number of civilizations, plus one.
Enhancing a ReligionEdit
Later on, when you acquire another Great Prophet, you can use him to Enhance the religion, allowing you to choose a second Follower belief and an Enhancer belief (chosen from a separate Enhancer pool). Note that enhancing a religion also consumes the Prophet; also note that if he has spent even one of his four uses of Spread Religion, you can no longer use him to enhance your religion! Again, the Prophet needs to be in the Holy City (or any other city belonging to you) to Enhance the Religion.
What if I couldn't found a Religion?Edit
There is a limited number of religions that can be founded in each game, and they are always less than the total number of players. That means that several players won't be able to found a religion. The remaining number of religions that can be founded is shown in the pop-up info tab when you point at the Faith stat in the main interface.
If the number of remaining religions reaches zero before you manage to gather enough Faith for a Great Prophet, you lose the chance to found a religion. However, that doesn't mean that you won't be able to enjoy the benefits of one in this game!
Byzantium can always found a Religion, if they haven't already. Don't take another player's Religion as that one cannot get the bonus belief that Byzantine's UA gives.
- If you managed to adopt a Pantheon Belief, your new cities will start with it, and you will enjoy its benefit in each city until a real Religion takes hold there.
- While you won't have a Religion of your own, tailored for your own benefit, your cities will still be able to adopt a Religion. You will have to wait until they get converted via one of the methods described below, after which you will be able to purchase the units and probably buildings associated with the new Religion. You may then spread it as you would your own.
- Since these foreign Religions will be "imported", you will be able to use all city-level bonuses from their various Beliefs, but not the empire-level bonuses. You also don't get some secondary effects, such as Influence with City-States diminishing slower if they've adopted "your" religion, or their religion-oriented quests.
- If you do not have a religion of your own and you capture a Holy City of another religion, you will become the head of that religion and enjoy all the benefits as though you had founded it yourself. This applies to AI players as well; an AI player who takes a Holy City will often try to use Inquisitors to spread their new religion to their own cities and remove any existing ones, and will generally take offense if you try to spread your religion to them.
Spreading a ReligionEdit
The Religious BattleEdit
The in-game use of religion manifests itself only after converting the citizens of cities (yours and all others) to it. Most Beliefs' effects only work on city level, so you will only benefit from them if your (and other) cities convert to your religion. In short, the more cities world-wide follow your religion, the better for you! In practice, founding a religion doesn't do much good if you can't manage to spread it around. All sorts of religious effects depend on the number of cities and citizens following it.
When more than 50% of the citizens of a city convert to a certain religion, it is declared the majority religion of this city, and the icon of the religion will appear just beside the city name in its tab. From now on, the owner of the religion will receive all religious bonuses applied on the city-level (which are most of the bonuses), and this city will start exerting religious pressure. Moreover, units and buildings related to this religion can now be purchased in this city, while any terrain bonuses from its Pantheon belief will be applied to nearby terrain.
Thus, spreading religions becomes another mini-game inside the civilization. You (and your adversaries) may use religion offensively to weaken the enemy, or simply to boost your own empire's stats. Religions are usually great sources of Happiness, Culture, Gold and, of course, Faith. Other leaders will try to spread their own religions when they can, and will do so more aggressively if they are hostile toward you. They may refrain from converting your cities if they are friendly, or at least neutral. They will always try to convert City-States, however - regardless of whether those are your allies, or not. Diplomatic incidents may also occur due to overzealous spreading of a religion, so be wary! On the other hand, the benefits are usually worth the trouble.
If a city has a majority religion (i.e. more than half of the city population are its followers), the city starts exerting religious pressure for the respective religion on all other cities and City-States within 10 tiles, regardless of their civilization affiliation. This pressure results in conversion of citizens in those cities. Note that if the target city already has a majority religion, it needs at least two cities from another religion to start the conversion process. By default, the amount of religious pressure each city exerts is 6. Pressure from various cities adds together for increased effect. The greater the pressure, the faster citizens in that city convert to the religion exerting the pressure.
If there is more than one religion competing for influence in a given city, the one with greater pressure gains the upper hand, and will eventually convert the city. However, there will always be some followers of the competing religion(s) in that city, unless a special unit like the Inquisitor removes them.
Trade routes also spread the Religion of their source city to the target city, regardless of the distance! The effect lasts as long as the Trade Route is active. Use this as a way to reach cities out of the normal reach of automatic spread.
Note that various Religious Buildings (i.e. Temples and Cathedrals) increase the City's Religious pressure and reduce other Religion's foreign pressure. This can even affect Missionary Spread.
The Celts do not receive or generate foreign Religious Pressure, as long as they still have their own Pantheon or have founded a Religion.
India has to rely on their own Religious Pressure to convert their own Cities. And they can get a large amount of Religious Pressure.
The other way of spreading a religion is by using a special civilian unit, the Missionary. Great Prophets also have an ability to spread religion, which is much more effective - it removes any influence from other religions, just like using an Inquisitor - but be aware that once they spread religion a single time, they can't be used to enhance a religion or create a Holy Site! Both Missionaries and Prophets have a maximum number of times they can "Spread Religion" (2 for Missionaries, 4 for Prophets), after which they will be removed from play.
You may move these units to target cities, and when they're in, or right next to them, they may use their special ability "Spread Religion" to immediately convert some citizens to their religion. Generally, it's easier to convert Pagan cities (those that have no majority religion yet). Note that the presence of an Inquisitor in the city prevents this type of conversion.
Both Missionaries and Prophets can move through territory you have no access to - that is, they can move through another civilization's territory without an Open Borders treaty. Missionaries, however, will suffer losses from attrition if they end their turn there (as they are considered unwelcome), losing 25% of their maximum conversion power per turn, and disappearing once their power drops to 0. Prophets aren't affected by this - their faith is apparently too strong. Also note that Great Prophets and Missionaries can use roads in unwelcome territory.
You may not spread to Spain or their Allied City-States if she has a majority or founded Religion already dominant in her Cities.
India cannot build Missionaries or Inquisitors, only Great Prophets.
Other Gameplay Effects of ReligionEdit
Other than receiving all these nice bonuses from Beliefs, Religion has some other gameplay effects:
- When a City-State shares your Religion, your Influence with it diminishes 25% slower.
- Sharing Religion with another nation nets you a 20% bonus to Tourism (more with certain Social Policies).
- You can designate a Religion to be the official World Religion via the World Congress, by successfully passing the respective resolution. Once enacted, this religion spreads 25% faster than others (conversion is 25% faster, albeit still in the same distance), its Holy City receives a 50% Tourism bonus, and all nations following this religion will receive two additional congress delegates.
You have to be aware that other nations are pretty protective of their religions. If they have founded one, and you try to convert their cities using Missionaries and Prophets, they will object diplomatically. Disregarding this objection may cause a diplomatic incident. You can also ask another player to stop preaching in your cities, if you want. However, civs that have not founded a religion of their own rarely object to you spreading yours in their territory, no matter how aggressively.
There are thirteen religions to choose from, and they are:
- Christianity (Catholicism)
- Eastern Orthodoxy
Originally, when Religion was reintroduced in Gods & Kings, there were eleven religions, including Christianity. Due to the large number of Christian civilizations, however, Brave New World split Christianity into three religions based on its three major contemporary denominations: Catholicism (which reuses the icon of the original Christian religion), Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism (two denominations of Christianity which originally appeared in the Gods & Kings scenario Into the Renaissance).
Religious Beliefs are split into five categories: Pantheons, Founder Beliefs, Follower Beliefs, Enhancer Beliefs, and Reformation Beliefs.
Reformation Beliefs are no longer unlocked through the piety tree, rather, they are tied to National Wonders unique to each Founder Belief.
You can have up to six beliefs in the Religion you found once it has been enhanced and reformed. Note that there is also an additional Bonus Belief, exclusive to Byzantium, increasing the number of beliefs to seven.
Also note that once a belief is chosen, it's impossible to change it, and it also becomes unique to that Religion. You can only choose any of the beliefs that no other religions have.
For more information on the specific affects and types of Beliefs in Vox Populi, visit the Beliefs page.
It is very advisable, although not essential, to make your own religion and spread it as quickly as possible. Religion can serve as a great booster to your chosen victory path, if you tailor it well.
There's a limited number of Religions that can be founded. If you delay for too long in the beginning of the game, you will never be able to found a Religion. Build a Shrine in your capital; they are available even without Pottery. This should be one of the very first buildings you build in your capital, maybe before the Monument. Also, you may want to try building the Stonehenge for a massive Faith boost, but many will be competing for it. This will allow you to at least found a Pantheon early, although that won't do you much good when other religions convert your cities. Generally, you should try to build a couple of Shrines in your first few cities to ensure that you'll produce enough Faith to get a Great Prophet in time. Once you found a religion, you can take your time to enhance it.
The success of a Religion depends on the combination of Beliefs you choose. There are plenty to choose from, and they're balanced well to help with any strategy imaginable. You can make a strong culture-boosting Religion, or you can earn gold through Religion, or you can even improve your military! You can help defend your civilization from invaders if you're playing defensively, or you can spread your Religion to neighboring enemy cities, and then gain a combat bonus when you go to conquer them! Think VERY carefully before choosing Beliefs and try to combine their effects to suit your playstyle, chosen civilization, and victory path. Of course, the earlier you found and enhance your Religion, the more Beliefs you'll be able to choose from. So, if you plan to use a Religion, think about it from the very beginning, and tailor it to suit your game plan.
Adopting the Fealty social policy tree is helpful if you decide to rely heavily on Religion. Fealty is available in the MedievalEra, helping your Religion with cheaper Missionaries, Inquisitors, religious buildings, and increased pressure.
Spreading the religion after its foundation can can be tricky, especially in the first 100-150 turns. The problem is that you still have lots of other things to do at this time, such as expanding, scouting, and even defending from barbarians or from an aggressive neighbor that decides to rush you. Your first choice is how to use your faith after you found a religion, and you have two basic options: you can choose whether to purchase a Missionary right after the first Prophet, or to gather more faith for a second Prophet and enhance the Religion. In the first case, you'll jump-start the spreading of your religion; in the second, you'll get a little more choice for Enhancement Beliefs. Also, you could try building the Hagia Sophia for a free Prophet, and spend Faith on Missionaries to spread your religion faster. The Borobudur is also a great idea, because it gives you 3 Missionaries. The Church is also great as it gives your Missionaries the ability to spread religion three times instead of two!
The amount of Faith you're producing in the beginning may have a decisive role in your choices. If you're not producing enough, and you depend on terrain and/or resource features to produce more, you should try to spread your religion as early as possible, so that more of your cities make use of terrain/resources. On the other hand, if you produce enough Faith, you may want to get a Prophet soon and Enhance the religion first.
Having a neighbor aggressively spreading his or her own religion should also influence your choice. In this case it is vital for you to spread your religion early, or else your neighbor will get the upper hand and the natural religious pressure of his or her religion may turn almost insurmountable. In this case, and if you really need to spread your religion at any cost, you may want to consider expending a Prophet to spread your religion instead of Enhancing it.
In the middle and late game spreading religion turns more complicated. Missionairies generally do poorly at converting a city from an existing religion to another, and after the Industrial Era, the price of Missionaries and Inquisitors usually grows too much for them to be of practical use. Great Prophets can still spread religion but their cost increases exponentially, and they may be better used for Holy Sites, or you can buy other Great People with Faith depend on what policy trees you've completed. If you have the One World, One Religion Reformation belief, Missionaries can convert other cities even if there is an established religion, though you may need a large number of them in addition to Open Borders if applicable.
And of course, you should use what you have created! Spreading a religion may not be of much use if its beliefs aren't based on foreign cities/citizens, but on your own cities. For example, the Beliefs allowing construction of religious buildings (Cathedrals, Pagodas, etc.) aren't of much use to you in foreign cities; the same goes for Beliefs that act in your own cities only, such as Liturgical Drama or Choral Music. On the other hand, Beliefs such as Clericalism are based on number of cities (domestic AND foreign), and Beliefs such as Sainthood and Tithes are based on number of followers (ONLY foreign), and thus will benefit you more the more cities in the world you convert. In other words, think about how you can use your religion, and plan your game accordingly.