For some context, see this question, which I will also summarize: I plan to run a Dungeons & Dragons game soon for some people who follow Hindu faith. For those unfamiliar, it's like a cooperative story-telling experience where the players will be given choices and help shape the story.
The problem I'm facing is that D&D is a game of adventure, and heroes. And I would like to open my mind to be more inclusive of the Hindu view of a hero, specifically because D&D has a system called alignment which, although contentious, is a core component of the system. (Since there are spells/rituals like Protection From Evil, or Hallow, which makes ground holy)
I don't want my story to use my own cultural biases and force my players to adapt to a traditionally-western view of morality or heroism, I would rather make these values inclusive to what they would already view as good/lawful/evil/chaotic to facilitiate easier roleplaying from my players. (Make it easier to get into the minds of their characters, like method acting)
So, I would like to ask you, would you please explain to me what traits or actions define a "hero," from the Hindu perspective?
I apologize, my knowledge of Hinduism is pretty limited. I understand a little about the major deities described in the Bhagavad Gita and I've read summaries of the Ramayana, but I couldn't explain things like:
- Why does one become favored by the gods?
- What qualities make Rama heroic, aside from his status as an avatar of Vishnu? Was there a reason he was selected to be Vishnu's avatar?
- Are there qualities that are viewed as traditionally "heroic?" In the west, and Christianity, there's heavy emphasis placed on things like charity and selflessness. I'm sure these are quite universal among many religions, but are there any tenets of Hinduism that are held more highly, from the perspective of "heroic" traits?
- Similarly, are there any traits that are regarded as very "unheroic" or "villainous?" (again, from Christianity, the seven "deadly sins")
- Finally, are there any things I should completely avoid when structuring a story in this way? I don't plan to cause offense with my story, so what things would be considered completely offensive to consider and should be left out completely? (e.g. again from Christianity, the Bible does depict ritual animal slaughter, but this would be frowned upon to promote as a typically modern Christian view)
I feel like I should state, in closing, that I do not plan to actually incorporate Hindu gods and texts into my campaign (since I don't know enough to do that properly, and would likely cause offense) -- D&D has its own set of gods and religions and I will be using those in-game, but I want these gods to have a slightly more Hindu-friendly view of morality so I can construct situations where my players can feel traditionally heroic.