I was reading a little about death and religion in 4th Ed. and a thought occured to me. Most people in our world, I will assume, are religious; and I’m not a religious expert by any means, so I will stick to what I sort of know, being a catholic. Now, people who are believers and practice religion in their daily lives have faith in that one day they will be called up to heaven by God, they will be judged based on their actions, and they will be assigned a final resting place, either in Heaven or Hell.
I would say that this faith (and fear) in the afterlife is what drives religious people to be good people.
But there is no such thing in D&D.
There are a multitude of gods, but none carry the power that the Judeo-Christian God of Earth does, they are more like Roman or Greek gods.
So what keeps the D&D populace in check. Fear of judgement by who? All souls go to the Shadowfell, from there, most end up who-knows-where.
There are no pearly gates.
From “Worlds and Monsters”:
When a mortal dies, its soul first travels to the Shadowfel!.
Most souls depart the Shadowfell very quickly, either called to
service by some deity or passing to a place beyond the cosmos.
The mystery ofdeath is that most souls don’t have an afterlife
in a god’s Dominion-they seem to go somewhere beyond the
knowledge of even the gods (and maybe dead gods go to the
same place). Once it has moved on in this way, a soul can’t be
called back to the mortal world.
Religion in D&D isn’t promising the people much, except a good harvest or something like that… It seems the role of religion in our world, and in a fantasy world are two different roles.