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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
6346 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2022 :  08:37:42  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Being trying to come up with a thesis explaining roughly how the different types of super beings behave and trying to explain away all the special cases that appear to break the rules of divinity.

For example how does a god appear in person on Faerun, why doesnt it happen all the time, why isnt the Material Plane a ravaged wasteland caused by divine battles, how do alias' work, how do you become a god, what is a divine realm, why do some gods have it and some dont.

I tried to merge the rules from Faiths and Avatars etc with that of the Immortals Boxed Set for OD&D, as there are some important points in the original work that i think were overlooked.

Below is what i have so far, feel free to criticise, suggest, speculate.

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
6346 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2022 :  08:42:22  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Divinity

Learned scholars have debated the nature of divinity for millennia without a theory that satisfies all scenarios and circumstances What follows is a summary of various theories of divinity and how they can be categorised, defined, and explained.

Gods
In order to debate the mysteries of godhood, one must first understand the nature of the soul. Many have equated the soul as a mysterious and unfathomable essence that grants life and sentience to those who possess it. Most scholars theorize that a soul is unique to each person but this beggars the questions “where do souls come from”, “what makes them unique”, “what happens when a soul is cloned or destroyed”.

Recent theory is that the soul is nothing more than a spark of positive energy encapsulated within a Material Plane shell. It is certain that creatures native to the Outer Plane do not possess souls, and are slaves to the plane of their creation and or their creator. Only beings of the Material Plane are created with free will, and it is precisely that free will that makes souls so valuable to the Outer Planes.

If a soul is just a spark of positive energy, how then are some souls worth more than others. The answer lies in the experiences of each individual’s life and the choices they make. As a being grows, learns, and experiences more, it accumulates more positive energy (in game terms this is represented by Experience Points), increasing the power and value of the soul to those in the Outer Planes.

A “God” is often described as an ascended being, most scholars believe that certain individuals possess a “Divine Spark” that allows only a select few to become gods, but the sheer number of godlings and gods that have arisen and fallen makes such a requirement unlikely unless the free will of mortals is also an illusion and these individuals with a Divine Spark are predestined to godhood. Assuming that free will is real and the source of value in mortals (otherwise why do devils so value a mortal that chooses to commit evil and sell his soul in exchange for promises of power), then one can only assume that godhood is a possibility for any mortal given the right circumstances.

Ascension: Ascension is the act of becoming a true god, where the material form is shed, and the energy that is left literally ascends to the Outer Planes (according to the Immortal Rules – TSR 1017 – “When your character’s spirit left the mortal world, your character’s mind and body changed into pure Immortal power. The character’s material form was not destroyed, but merely changed, and can be created again. The character’s life force (which mortals can rarely see, even magically) can assume any form convenient to the time and place. It can even exist on two or more planes of existence at once. The character thus has no single “true” form). Generally ascension occurs when the soul leaves the Material Plane, which is most often achieved in death, but can also be achieved via enlightenment and various other magical means of transformation.

In achieving ascension, a material being sheds their form and becomes a being of energy, with no single “true” form. They can create multiple additional forms (known as avatars), but the destruction of these forms does not destroy the god, it merely expends the energy used to create the now destroyed form. In fact, destroying a god is nigh on impossible, because a being of pure energy, without form, can be in many places at the same time. Generally though, a divine being chooses to concentrate itself within its Divine Realm, surrounded by servitors and protectors, and it is only here, in the heart of a gods power, that the killing blow could theoretically be struck.

Despite the many varied and undefined means of ascension, how does a mortal being qualify to become a god. As a soul becomes more powerful, it grows in size and concentration, at some point there must be a threshold for individuals to ascend if they so desire, the desire seems to be a crucial point, because it is known that individuals such as Elminster can rival demi-gods in power but have not ascended.

Demi-God
A Demi-God is a curious category in the definition of Godhood, and is most often used as a catchall term for anything that is not a True-God, when in reality it does have a very specific boundary to define it.

Those beings that reach the threshold of “Experience” necessary to ascend, but have not yet done so are those correctly classified as “Demi-Gods”. They are beings of power to rival the True-Gods, but remain trapped in a single material form. This lack of ascension may be out of fear or opportunity (how does one know when they have reached the threshold necessary to ascend and so the fear of a final death prevents that moment of ascension, others search for other means of ascension that come with lesser risks than death), but for others it is knowledge that holds them into a Demi-God status.

Becoming a True-God is not without its own trials. True-Gods require a steady stream of worship and souls to sustain them in their ascended form, and a secure base of religiously devout followers is the most reliable means of securing ones future as a True-God. Many Demi-Gods therefore, forestall their ascension while they build up their future cults and religion.

There are many examples in the realms of Demi-Gods that have not yet ascended for whatever reason. Gilgeam the Godking of Unther feared losing control and changing as a result of ascension, and so remained safe within the Imaskari Planar Barrier to prevent his ascension from ever happening (the concentration of such vast amounts of power for such a prolonged period, as well as the appeals from his worshippers ultimately drove him insane as it would any True-God inhabiting a Prime Avatar for so long). The gods Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul were once mortal, and they acquired their power through a pact with the god Jergal, such a pact gave them a huge boost in power that immediately propelled them to Demi-God status, they could have ascended immediately but instead chose to travel Faerun for a time and build up cults to sustain them when they became True-Gods. The foolish Demi-Gods gifted power by Talos are a prime example of why such beings should consider the future before blindly jumping towards ascension, such Demi-Gods wasted their power on the commands of their superior and used up their immortal power before they could establish a secure base of worshippers, once that power was gone they were unable to maintain their form and were quickly destroyed by more powerful rivals (like Talos), or quietly vanished into nothingness.

A Demi-God is for all intents and purposes a Material Plane bound being, able to travel the world and the planes, able to live, laugh, love, and slay as desired. However, a Demi-God does gain some benefits from joining the divine, firstly they are now immortal – unless slain they live forever. Also, like a True-God, it must share its True Name with those beings they wish to share energy with (worshippers provide energy in the form of belief, and gods provide spells), while such sharing would be dangerous to mortals (allowing others to exert a measure of control over those whose True Name they know), the divine are immune to the petty commands of lesser beings.

True-God
A True-God is a being that has undergone ascension and become a being of pure energy. They are an entirely different form of life to Material Plane beings, and thus subject to entirely different rules and requirements.

Immortal: True-Gods are pure energy, they do not possess a body and therefore cannot age. Also because they are pure energy, they are very difficult to destroy.

Formless: Energy is not restricted to a single location or plane of existence, it can be manifested in multiple planes and in multiple locations at the same time, pushing through the Astral and Ethereal boundaries without restriction. Despite this freedom of movement, most True-Gods choose to keep their energy concentrated (donating it only when called upon by their followers) in a single location – their Divine Realm – in order to stave off the predations of the few powerful beings that can steal and destroy this energy (like other Gods and certain Planar beings).

As a being of pure energy without form, True-Gods cannot touch, taste, smell, etc, they simply lack the material organs necessary to enable those senses. They can sense energy in all its flavours and can change their own energy to vibrate and thus create heat, light, and sound. It is in this way that True-Gods can communicate with their divine servitors, but such vibrations are incomprehensible to mortals (and also lethally dangerous, vibrating the molecules of their material form until it discorporates), thus any that claim to have communicated directly with a True-God are most probably incorrect in their assertions, it is more likely they have communicated with a servitor or through the use of magic.

This formless state of energy is the most often chosen form of a True-God for many reasons (protection, stability, efficiency, etc). However, newly ascended beings sometimes feel the yearnings of a material life and form and choose to invest all their energy into an Avatar form. Such a form is dangerous, because destruction of this single “Prime” Avatar could well result in the destruction of the True-God, and foolish because it abandons all the benefits and protections offered by being a True-God. Nonetheless the younger gods regularly adopt this “Prime” Avatar form to indulge their desires in physical form (TSR 1017 Immortals Rules page 27).

The drawbacks to a Prime Avatar are that such a form is subject to all the limitations of a material form, the main one being that such a form is not designed to deal with the conduits formed by sharing a True-Name. When their True-Name is invoked the god in Prime Avatar form can hear the invocation like an intrusion in their mind which when repeated again and again over a prolonged period of time will almost certainly lead to mental instability.

The likes of Cyric, Midnight, and Kelemvor have most recently adopted Prime Avatar forms as they struggled to adapt following their unexpected ascension to True-Godhood. Cyric used his Prime Avatar form to journey to Toril and indulge in murder and intrigue against his former allies (even slaying Adon, the high priest of Midnight). The established True-Gods often overlook the indulgences of the newly ascended as its a struggle they all went through, but those that refuse to follow the Balance will find the other gods of Realmspace working against them.

Divine Realm: A Divine Realm is expensive to create and maintain, but despite this most True-Gods choose to do so as soon as possible, if they cannot create their own, they quickly ally themselves with a greater power and claim a portion of their ally’s realm to defend and maintain.

A Divine Realm must exist on the Outer Planes, and can exist on any plane. However, each plane has its own “alignment” (a preference for a mixture of fundamentals of the universe such as law, good, evil, chaos, fire, earth, air, water, life, death, etc) that infuses the plane itself. A True-God must choose wisely where it houses its Divine Realm to ensure it does not find itself regularly fighting against the Planar inhabitants that resist its presence.

This resistance is known as Planar Bias (TSR 1017 Immortals Rules page 9) and it increases the cost (in Experience Points) of all miracles, all Avatars, and even the creation and maintenance of the Divine Realms itself. Those True-Gods that must share with allied powers are often forced to compromise in the form of a Planar Bias. The Material Plane has no Planar Bias, so Demi-Gods present there are never affected (nor are those visiting True-Gods in Prime Avatar form).

Avatars: A True-God may choose to create many multiple forms, each containing part of its energy. These forms are known as Avatars, and they are an extension of the god itself directly controlled by it.

A True-God begins with a single Avatar form that represents itself in life. As it progresses it can create other forms of Avatar, although each new form is costly to create. Most often a god will create a new form that appeals most to current worshippers or new worshippers the god wishes to attract (forms they will find most impressive), especially if the form represents a rival or fallen god whose worshippers the current god wishes to steal.

Manifesting an Avatar is done at the request of worshippers (as written in the Tablets of Fate), such an act is expensive to do, and more expensive to maintain the longer the Avatar persists. As a result only the more powerful True-Gods can manifest more than one deity at a time.

Aspects: A True-God can create an Aspect (see Archetypes for more details), which is an independent being that has many of the physical and personality traits of the deity, by sharing energy with other mortals. It is unusual for a god to create powerful aspects, because such beings would inevitably become rivals with the parent deity for the attention of worshippers (maybe even ascending and supplanting the parent deity).

There are many instances of deities sharing a small portion of energy with a mortal to create a powerful servant that is more likely to serve the same goals as the parent deity. The most well known of a deific Aspect is the Chosen of Mystra, who are all imbued with a portion of Mystra’s power, less well known are those believed to be children of a deity such as the bhaalspawn or Iyachtu Xvim the Godson. All could be considered Aspects because of the presence of divine energy within them that grants them greater power than other mortals and aligns their goals with the parent deity.

True Names: In order to Ascend, a being must know its True-Name (some theorise that they actually acquire a True Name through whatever process they go through to learn it). A True-Name is a unique moniker in the entire Multiverse and cosmos (no two beings in existence can share the same True-Name), and is used to create a direct conduit to the being whose True-Name is known.

Those who are powerful enough, and know the True-Name of an individual, may exert control over that being, compelling them to action (or inaction), using the threat of pain and destruction. The conduit formed by invoking a True-Name, allows a magic user to cast certain spells at the named target regardless of distance or Planar barrier. As True-Gods and Demi-Gods are incredibly powerful beings, they have little to worry about with regards to sharing their True-Name with mortals.

A True-Name allows a True-God (and Demi-God) to form a pact with worshippers. Whenever the worshipper invokes the True-Name of the god, they provide a small tithe of energy (in the form of Experience Points) to the named god. In return the named god may also provide the knowledge of, and the energy to power spells that invoker of the name can cast at a later date. By having a stable base of thousands of worshippers, invoking the name of the deity several times a day (and encouraging lay worshippers to do the same), a god can accrue potentially tens of thousands of Experience Points each day. Most priests will rarely cast more than one or two spells in their day to day activities, and so the returns greatly outweigh the cost for a god.

As a god increases in power it gains more True-Names (TSR 1017 Immortals Rules page 3). Why a being would require more than one True-Name is a mystery, but sages believe that each True-Name acquired provides a deeper connection to the True-God, and allows the invoker of the name to exert greater control and power over the god. As a result, the gods heavily guard access to all but their first True-Name, thus preventing rival gods and beings such as Asmodeus from acquiring the means to control and perhaps destroy a god. It has been mused that lesser powered gods should be more uncommon as the gods of greater power should be using their True-Names (at least the first one shared with worshippers) to control and slay them, but most lesser gods are allied with greater gods forming, pacts that seemingly protect them from the depredations of their more powerful rivals.

Alias: Gods are known by many names to mortals, and these are the True-Names identified above, for some reason gods deem it necessary to create a True-Name that is phonetically similar (although never identical) to that of an existing or vanished god. This could be an act of respectful imitation, but more likely it is done to steal worship intended for another deity, a simple mispronunciation could lead to intended power being directed towards an entirely different god.

Structured religions rarely have this problem, because a strict hierarchy of elders ensures correct religious practices are followed across a large geographic region (although heresies and infiltrations do occur and can even cause schisms in a religion that leads to large changes in religious practices), however, smaller cults are highly vulnerable to differences in doctrine and practice and so unscrupulous gods can more easily take advantage of younger and disorganised religions.

Power: There are varying levels of True-Gods, defined as Lesser, Intermediate, and Greater, which are separated by the only visible indicator a True-God can demonstrate – the manifestation of multiple Avatars at the same time. Avatars being one of the most expensive abilities of True-Godhood, the more powerful a True-God is, the more Avatars it can manifest at the same time. By definition a Lesser God can manifest 2 Avatars at the same time, an Intermediate God can manifest 5 Avatars at the same time, a Greater God can manifest 10 Avatars at the same time. This separation is more a sliding scale than a clearly defined boundary and so some Lesser God’s can manifest 3 or 4 Avatars, while some Intermediate Gods can manifest 8 or 9, and some Greater Gods can manifest many more than 10 Avatars.

While the number of Avatars is a good external measure of the power of a True-God, in game terms that power is still better measured by the experiences a god has had (represented by Experience Points). This experience translates into more energy available to power the miracles gods perform, and all the worship and soul energy a god receives goes on to increase Experience Points of a god.

As a god performs miracles, sends Avatars, creates and maintains a Divine Realm, and even powers spells of individual worshippers, the Experience Point of a god decreases. If the Experience Point value of a god ever reaches 0 then the True-God ceases to be (TSR 1017 Immortal Rules page 3). However, most True-Gods choose to enter a perpetual slumber by forming a cocoon around their remaining energy and casting themselves adrift in the Astral Plane in the hopes that they can one day be awakened by their remaining worshippers.

Miracles: Beings bound to the Material Plane may learn magic and cast spells, utilising the vitality of their body and the energy inherent in components of power to fuel the magic. A god has no body and so cannot use the life force of it to fuel a spell, instead it must sacrifice the energy that all gods are made of in order to power these “miracles”.

Miracles are much like spells that mortals can use, with the exception that gods are able to manifest their effects virtually anywhere in the Multiverse merely by moving a portion of their energy to the desired point and casting a spell through it. Gods are also able to manifest a much larger range of custom made effects as they can devote limitless time and energy to create new magic which they can then use for themselves or share with their most devout followers.

Souls: The ultimate form of currency on the Outer Planes is a soul, the more powerful the soul the greater the value. A True-God acquires souls by convincing mortal worshippers that an ideal afterlife awaits them following their death. Once the soul departs its material body, it is drawn into the Ethereal Plane and then “follows the light” to whichever Plane or Divine Realm best represents their personality and life choices. Thanks to the machinations of Myrkul, Soul Wells quickly funnel nearby departing souls to the Divine Realm of Kelemvor (formerly Cyric, and before him Myrkul) where they can be judged and divided among the Faerunian Pantheon.

The True-Gods send out their servitors to gather any souls willing to come with them to a promised afterlife in their Divine Realm. Once entrapped safely within the Divine Realm the God transforms them into “Petitioners” and succours them with delusions of paradise while leaching the power of that soul away until it is completely drained and destroyed. The soul’s power is used to pay for whatever miracles and maintenance the god cannot afford through his daily influx of worship, and also to increase the power of the god itself. This leaching is done slowly so as not to draw attention to it, lest the gods incur the anger of the souls themselves and risk uprisings within their own Divine Realm.

Overgod
The existence of an Overgod is much debated among scholars across the Multiverse. On Toril the events of the Time of Troubles have lent credence to the argument that an Overgod does indeed exist. In the 1358 Year of Dalereckoning, all the gods were supposedly forced to assume a single mortal form bound to the Material Plane, losing all the benefits that True-Godhood provides. Many argue that only an Overgod could enforce such a punishment upon True-Gods, and at the end of the Time of Troubles much of the population of Waterdeep claim to have heard Ao speak. Some scholars point out that many beings claimed to be one of the gods or a vessel to a deity when in reality they were exploiting the chaos of the times to further their own ambitions.

One thing is clear, if Ao does exist, he does not operate within the normal rules that bind other True-Gods. Ao requires no worship or belief of any kind in order to exist, he is at best apathetic to any mortals that claim to be devout worshippers, and the many calamities that have befallen the supposed clergy of Ao lead some to believe that Ao is subtly working against those worshippers to discourage such practices.

The truth of the matter is that Ao does exist, but not in the manner that many might understand. Humans their beliefs and their worship created the gods, the beliefs and worship of the gods have led to the creation of an Overgod. However, Ao the Overgod is not a separate being from the gods, he is a multipartite being made up of the combined powers and personality of all the gods. Ao needs no worship, he exists as long as their is one god in Realmspace, if only one god existed then this overgod would be identical to that one god, if multiple gods exist then the overgod represents the combination of all those gods. Ao does not name himself, he is one and many, a being defined by the Balance of the many competing desires and knowledge of multiple gods, indeed the True-Gods themselves often refer to maintaining the Balance without knowing what it truly means.

The Tablets of Fate: While a True-God is safest, and most often confined within their Divine Realm, they can send the energy that makes up their new form to anywhere in the Multiverse or the Planar Cosmology. Why then are the spheres of the Material Plane not full of the miracles of the gods, playing out their endless drama to acquire more worship and souls to become more than gods.

The answer is Mutual Assured Destruction, when multiple sufficiently powerful super beings become involved in a confined region or area of limited resources, it will inevitably lead to conflict. When such super beings enter into conflict it will always result in disastrously poor outcomes for lesser beings who are caught in the cross-fire. These lesser beings are the same ones the Gods are trying to acquire the worship and souls of, therefore they cannot risk getting involved in the Material Plane lest they destroy the very things they wish to acquire.

This is a lesson the gods learned to their detriment many millennia ago. In the distant past the Gods warred with Primordials for sovereignty over the Material Plane. The Dawn War resulted in the imprisonment of the Primordials, but did not end the war forever, eventually the Primordials escaped and hostilities resumed much later during the time of the Creator Races. Again the Gods and Primordials fought for control of the Material Plane, Avatars were marshalled and the Creator Races marched for and against the likes of Io and Omu, the destruction was so vast that Abeir-Toril was nearly destroyed, the world was twinned and separated, and Toril suffered an ice age that nearly destroyed the lesser races.

Following that devastating conflict, the gods entered into a compact, never to threaten the Material Plane with their unrestrained power again. The Tablets of Fate were created, with the roles and restrictions clearly defined for the True-Gods, and signed by every True-God at the time and since.

The tablets were created using the petrified scales of Asgoroth, otherwise known as Io, but thanks to the pronunciation of draconic letters in the ancient celestial tongue the name Io has been rendered as Ao. Over the millennia (for even the Gods forget with time), the belief of the Gods themselves has given rise to the creation of a new type of being, an Overgod, referred to as Ao.

The Tablets themselves are nothing more than a symbolic agreement between the gods not to directly interfere with the lives of mortals on the Material Plane. All activities and communication must be indirect, and so performed via proxies (some gods have discovered they can venture to the Plane of Dreams and communicate with mortals while they dream, which does not explicitly break the rules on the Tablets of Fate). As time has passed the Tablets of Fate have gained legendary status amongst the Gods and the younger deities believe they are actually bound by the agreement, but as was recently discovered during the Time of Troubles, the only thing keeping the gods from destroying each other is the fact that they will destroy everything else as well, it seems some lessons need to be relearned.

Primordials
The separation between gods and primordials is not well understood in modern Faerun, it is known however that in the beginning the gods and primordials warred for control of Abeir-Toril in a conflict known as the Dawn War. The end result of this Dawn War was that Abeir-Toril was separated into two worlds, Abeir and Toril. Abeir was gifted to the primordials, while Toril was gifted to the gods, keeping them forever apart.

The gods are ascended beings of immense power (whether acquired or congenital power), it is entirely possible that the Dawn War was a battle between two groups of primordials, one that wanted to ascend the material form, and another that chose to remain material bound. It is known that in Abeir the primordials reign supreme and there are no gods, although whether this is by the order of the primordials or a quirk of Abeir itself is unknown.

What is certain is that a number of gods in modern Toril are referred to as primordial, and there are still primordials remaining in Toril bound within great magical prisons. Why then were these primordials not sent to Abeir and what is a primordial.

A primordial is quite simply, one of the first beings of Abeir-Toril, a being born out of the elemental chaos that formed every sphere in the Multiverse. Infused with raw power beyond mortal reckoning, they can rival even the most powerful of greater gods, yet they remain in a single material bound form, and more crucially many have chosen not to share their power with others by beginning the tentative steps to ascension.

Formed from the power of creation itself, it is no surprise that the Primordials are credited with creating Abeir-Toril and the living beings upon it.

Immortal: Primordials are immortal, and unless slain they will last for all eternity, never ageing, becoming sick, or frail, and at no risk of losing power in maintaining other forms or manifesting miracles.

Form: A primordial has a single form that they were “born” with when the emerged from the elemental chaos that also created Abeir-Toril. These forms are usually colossal in size, and possessing many unusual and powerful abilities. Despite this power they otherwise obey the rules of all Material Plane bound creatures, if their form is slain they are destroyed and their soul migrates to the Ethereal Plane and then the Outer Planes (unless they ascend).

Divine Realm: Primordials do not have a Divine Realm, they are bound to the Material Plane and subject to all the rules inherent with a material bound existence. They cannot be banished, or barred from a particular plane, they cannot freely travel between the Outer Planes and must use magic to do so.

Shards: Primordials do not create Avatars, they have a single Material Plane bound form, and cannot separate themselves into multiple beings like a god. They can however create a “shard” which looks like a simpler, smaller version of themselves that acts like an automaton (a golem) under supreme command of the primordial. These shards are most often created and used by the imprisoned primordials (such shards are often able to slip through gaps in the magical bindings) and occasionally given commands to serve others (or pretend to serve others) while watching and waiting for a means to help free their supreme master.

The primordial Telos is one such primordial who has created many shards (known as shadesteel golems) and lent them to various evil organisations that dominate the land of Vaasa.

Sages posit that some primordials are better than others at creating life and are able to create complex beings imbued with intelligence and sentience and independence. Others argue that it is the Elder Gods that created the mortal beings that today are known as dwarves, dragons, humans, etc.

Archetypes
There exists another layer of existence beyond that of deities. In the distant past when the Multiverse was whole (the Universe) during a time when the First World existed, the gods of the day strove for power as they do now. That universe was ended when the forces of Entropy summoned the Vortex that consumed everything, causing the First World to shatter and start again as the Multiverse, each sphere a pale imitation of the original.

The mortals, gods, and primordials of the First World were largely all consumed by the Vortex, but a few beings found a way to survive, including a group known as the Elder Gods. These beings were infused with the energy of the First World and today exist beyond the petty machinations of mortals and deities. They have near limitless power that allows them to achieve beyond the limits of a deity, and yet they require no worship to survive, are as immortal as the planes themselves, and seek to spread version of themselves throughout the Multiverse – they are the true multi-spheric powers. As the Multiverse aged, other deities have discovered the secret of the Elder Gods and elevated themselves to Archetype status.

Examples of Archetypes include Bahamut, Tiamat, Demogorgon, Primus, Annam, Moradin, Gruumsh, Ahriman, Jazirian, Orcus, etc.

Immortal: A god is pure energy, fuelled by the belief of mortals and residing on the Outer Planes where their energy form is most stable. An Archetype is infused with the stuff of the Planes themselves. The Elder Gods originally came from the First World, surviving its destruction in various ways, and taking the limitless energy from the First World and its cosmology into themselves. Newer Archetypes have bound themselves to a particular plane (like the Lords of the Nine or the Demonlords of the Abyss) and are likewise imbued with the power of the planes.

As a result of this limitless supply of power, an archetype is immortal, furthermore the almost impossible destruction of an Archetype does not necessarily destroy it as the Elder Gods almost always reform from an Aspect, the newer Archetypes may also reform from Aspects or in some cases are replaced by others who better represent the plane they are bound to.

Form: A god and an archetype can both be thought as pure energy which is most stable on the Outer Planes. Deities, while powerful, are vulnerable while in physical form (known as a Prime Avatar for deities), and have the additional problem of being unable to fully process all the demands of their worshippers in a limited physical form. Archetypes do not require worship from mortals to sustain themselves (and so consequently have fewer worshippers), they also have no vulnerability to being permanently destroyed while in physical form as long as an Aspect of theirs exists anywhere in the Multiverse (and all Archetypes keep multiple Aspects). As a result, Archetypes are often found in their favoured plane (or the plane they are bound to) in physical form, entertaining themselves and aiding their deity allies

Divine Realm: Archetypes do not have a Divine Realm per-se. Those newer Archetypes bound to a single plane could be considered the ruler of that plane in its entirety (there is usually only one Archetype bound to a single plane) as they are the embodiment of all that the plane represents, they almost always reside within that plane, nurturing and protecting it while it sustains them forever. The Elder Gods are sustained by the energy of the First World and so have no such restrictions or ties to any particular plane and are able to freely roam the Multiverse cosmology.

Archetypes rarely, if ever, descend to the Material Plane, preferring to create or send Aspects in their stead.

Aspects: Archetypes have no need of Avatars, because they do not require the belief of worshippers in order to sustain their powers and existence. They do however have Aspects, which they use to spread knowledge of their existence across the Multiverse for reasons unknown, and to act as a backup in case they are ever slain.

An Aspect is another being (usually a mortal) that is imbued with the energy of the Archetype via some sort of pact or agreement (it is rare that an Aspect is created unwillingly because of their independent nature and personalities). Each Aspect is a merging of the original being and the personality and appearance of the Archetype, the original being is no more and exists now only as a hybrid of the Archetype. Despite the change, the Aspect is completely independent of the Archetype, it is in no way controlled by the Archetype, and can take whatever actions it desires, even those contrary to the wishes of the Archetype.

While gods most often choose to create weak Aspects that serve them in some capacity (whether knowingly or not), Archetypes do not need to worry about creating a rival for their position (even a greater god is no match for an Archetype) and so can create an Aspect that rivals Demigods in power (or more if desired). It would appear that many Archetypes feel a need to seed the different spheres of the Multiverse with Aspects of themselves so that each has a god representing themselves.

The most common examples of Aspects in the Multiverse are those of Bahamut and Tiamat, which exist in multiple forms in multiples spheres, all slightly different, and yet all representing the exemplars of good and evil dragonkind, for example Bahamut has had Aspects in Xymor, Marduk, Bahmat, and Paladine, Tiamat has had Aspects in Nagamat, Tiamaat, Tiamat, and Takhisis. These Aspects have existed millennia apart, some have overlapped in time, and some have even ascended to True Gods.

Avatars: Archetypes can create Avatars and can do everything a god can do. It is however rare for an Archetype to send an Avatar to the Material Plane unless they have a vested in events on the Material Plane. For example, Moradin sometimes sends Avatars to protect dwarves on various spheres in the Material Plane.

The Dawn War
The Dawn War predates the Multiverse and has its origins in the beginnings of the First World, when the Primordials and Estelar warred for control of the fledgling Prime Material Plane. The Primordials were the first to create life, in the form of shards that resembled and served themselves. The Estelar refined these creations, making sentient and independent beings who began to worship their creators, creating the first divine beings and causing warfare between Primordials and Estelar (who were now rapidly ascending to godhood.

The First World was ravaged by the Dawn War across the millennia with events such as Miska’s invasion of the planes, Io’s cleaving into Bahamut and Tiamat. The Dawn War was thought ended when the Primordials were imprisoned within the Elemental Chaos. However, when the forces of Entropy unleashed the Vortex, creation and the First World were unmade as the Vortex dragged everything back into the Elemental Chaos. In its place arose a new cosmology and Material Plane filled with smaller spheres that each emulated the Prime Material Plane of the First World in some way. Within this new Material Plane the Primordials were released or created anew and so the Dawn War started all over again with new and old players.

The Primordials again created planets and simple life, beginning the Blue Age of Abeir-Toril, and again there were those who sought to give these creations sentience and independence so that they could become gods. The Multiverse sought to emulate the First World, but this time the gods of the Material Plane called upon beings from another dimension, known as the Elder Gods. These Elder Gods were those beings that survived the destruction of the First World through various means (at least one servant of Entropy hid inside a black diamond of the purest quality).

Repeatedly the Primordials were defeated and many of them were imprisoned in various methods, including the imprisonment of Asgoroth the World Eater by Dendar the Night Serpent, by wrapping his coils around the sun, which unfortunately hid its light from Abeir-Toril and plunged it into the Shadow Epoch. Each time a number of them escaped imprisonment and the Dawn War continued.

The Shadow Epoch ended when a new sun was created in the form of a crystal moon known as Zotha. This event heralded the Days of Thunder and resulted in an explosion of sentient life on Toril. These mortals ultimately released a number of Primordials from their imprisonment and brought about the final phase of the Dawn War in Abeir-Toril’s Sphere. As Primordials fought the gods and their mortal servants, the Batrachi released Asgoroth from his prison and demanded he destroy the Primordials, in response he hurled the ice moon Zotha and nearly destroyed the entire planet. It was only saved when Ao the Hidden One split Abeir-Toril into two worlds (separated by the dimension of time and a fraction of a second) and moved the majority of the free Primordials to the world of Abeir (the still imprisoned Primordials remained so, and other Primordials were now the allies of the gods they once fought against).

Today the Dawn War appears to be over, but occasionally a Primordial is released from his imprisonment and seeks to free his allies.

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TheIriaeban
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Posted - 10 Aug 2022 :  18:51:57  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If a mortal can ascend to become a god, there must be a way for a god to descend to being fully mortal. Has that happened? I don't believe that the Dead Three qualify for that since they still have some level of power, right?

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 10 Aug 2022 :  19:11:54  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
More often we see a god become an island on the astral plane but there is that instance in Baldurs Gate where Kozah attacks the player despite being long gone.

My thoughts are that dead gods on the astral sea are not actually dead. They are deliberately hibernating, awaiting the chance (and large influx of belief) to awaken.

If a god gets to low enough power, he would not be able to perform any miracles or maintain his divine realm or create any new avatars. So I am assuming as that point approaches they can choose to astral hibernate, or create a Prime Avatar form and that makes them essentially a demigod once more.

As a demigod they are just a mortal but with lots of power. They are vulnerable in this form (get killed and they truly die), but they can still do things. So they can then travel the planes or go to the material plane and try to start again or perhaps just hide.

Just my thought, but it does allow for an explanation of Kozah.

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TheIriaeban
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Posted - 10 Aug 2022 :  20:27:05  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That is what I was heading for. Once a mortal ascends to godhood, they are a god, period. The lowest level is demi-god: they have the "divine spark" or whatever you want to call it. At that point, it is only the infusion of worshippers into that being that keeps them in "an energy form" and makes them lesser, intermediate, or greater gods. Absent those worshippers, they return to demi-god status and can do that Astral Plane hibernation thing.

Now, there are certain beings who are not dependent on worshippers to keep their divine ranking. One of them is Mystra and that is how she is different from all the others. She embodies Magic in the Realms and that is her base power source with worshippers just adding a bit of a kick. I would think there could be others that represent basic forces/concepts. One could be Primus. He could be the embodiment of Order. There is probably one for Chaos, too (I am not sure who that could be or it could be that it changes from time to time in keeping with its chaotic nature). Good and Evil are questionable as having embodiments because they are moral constructs but if there are ones out there, Asmodeus could be the embodiment of Evil. No idea on Good.

Oh, and since Mystra is the embodiment of the Weave, Annam could be the embodiment of Truth (the concept behind Rune magic and possibly where all True Names come from). Shar initiated the creation of the Shadow Weave in an attempt to no longer be dependent on worshippers but I am not sure that worked out like she wanted (I don't think she actually embodies the Shadow Weave since it depends on the existance of the Weave). I have already proposed that Kanchelsis is the embodiment of Life or one of it's aspects (the source for Blood Magic) with only his lack of understanding his own existence preventing him from becoming a greater god.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 10 Aug 2022 :  20:47:27  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I actually think the astral hibernation thing is done when they are True God (ascended to pure energy) before they get to demigod stage, purely because the bodies in the astral plane i believe are depicted as land masses, so its almost as if the remains of the Divine Realm (which is as close to a physical form as a True god gets) shift to the astral plane.


Mystra is different and i'm still trying to puzzle it out, but as i've speculated before, if she embodies the Weave and is the Weave, she could do everything a god could do without needing to be a god.

Thoughts at the moment is that in the beginning Mystryl was not a person, but was an aggregation of sentiences within the Weave. Those attuned to the Weave could commune with these sentiences (tied to Weave Anchors) and so among magic users they believe in a god of magic and the Weave.

Now as the Weave is literally a blanket of energy that covers Faerun and insulates beings from the effects of Raw Magic, and allows easier spellcasting through pre stored spell configuration in the Weave Anchors that comprise the Weave. Regardless, as a huge blanket of energy with a sentience, the Weave is for all intents and purposes a True God bound to the Material Plane, a unique and special case (all other True Gods have to go to the Outer Planes, probably because pure energy is not stable on the Material Plane.

So the Weave itself is a True god, bound to the Material Plane (the only True God bound to the Material Plane), and Mystryl was the conglomeration of sentiences that governed its use. Then Mystra took over. Then Midnight.

There is no reason why Mystra cannot also maintain a Divine Realm on the Outer Planes (the activities of the gods and the rules in the Immortals Boxed Set imply that the energy form of the True Gods can go anywhere and do anything anywhere, but on the Material Plane they have to assume a physical body - which is why i think their energy form is unstable on the Material Plane), after all Mystra is the most powerful god in the realms and could easily maintain a Divine Realm and a bunch of Chosen and multiple avatars, all without batting an eyelid.


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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 10 Aug 2022 :  21:04:14  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As for Primus, we have examples of Primordials originating on the Outer Planes, Maram of the Great Spear for one.

It is entirely possible that the Outer Planes were formed in a similar way using the elements of the Elemental Chaos / Inner Planes, and so Primordials could come into being there.

Primus seems like a prime candidate for a Primordial. He has a single body (i've never heard of an avatar of Primus), he was slain relatively easily (its really difficult to kill a god) and if he was a god you would expect his Divine Realm to disappear, but it clearly did not.

If Primus was a Greater God, who are his worshippers on the Material Plane, there are certainly none (or almost none) in Faerun.

More likely Primus is a Primordial. He has a single physical form but the power to rival even a greater god. He has no divine realm, he instead rules over one of the Outer Planes and is invested with its power (much like Asmodeus is infused with the power of Baator and Demogorgon and the Abyss that has chosen them as its embodiment and rulers).

And lastly, the modrons make a perfect example of Shards, they are literally miniature, simpler versions of Primus, that are mostly automatons but ultimately under the supreme command of Primus.

Again just my thought but the rulers of the Outer Planes should not be gods, i think they were just classed as gods to represent their raw power

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PattPlays
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Posted - 11 Aug 2022 :  03:18:09  Show Profile  Visit PattPlays's Homepage Send PattPlays a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thought experiment using the proposed definitions.
When a Primordial with no significant religious following on material plane A begins a fight with an Avatar present on that plane, and wins, what sort of miracles would the Primordial be able to pull off having totally consumed what divinity was present in the Avatar it devours? Say.. Juiblex consuming That Which Lurks in the ruins of Underchasm beneath the broken Shaar? I'm totally into the idea of attempting to subvert that Demi-God religious following timer situation by a nearly identical power trying to steal a faith wholesale with shock and awe, and access to one of at least three lingering Avatars of Ghaunadaur left in dark chasms and demiplanes.

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Edited by - PattPlays on 11 Aug 2022 03:19:12
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 11 Aug 2022 :  07:08:32  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Bear with me while i try and mash up planar lore from all the editions.

So we know in the beginning (presumably of the planes), there was a big fight between the gods (i believe they were known as the Estellar) and the Primordials.

Now my beef with this is that in the beginning there can be no mortals, so the gods were not the gods. It makes sense therefore that these "gods" were actually just Primordials on the Outer Planes, although that would surely make them just "Ordials" (Prime Ordials being on the Prime Material Plane)

Now the big question is why were they fighting. My guess is that the estellar wanted to become gods, but in order to do that you need worship, and the only way to get worship is from free willed creatures. Everything created on the Outer Planes lacks free will. So to make free willed beings you have to create them on the Prime Material Plane. So the war between Estellar and Primordials was so that the Estellar could ascend.

The problem is that none of this history fits with FR history or any other world history. So using a 5e idea of the First World, the Prime Material Plane was where all this happened, and that was before the Multiverse (when it was the universe), unfortunately this First World was destroyed by the Vortex of Entropy (see the Immortals Boxed Set), and so the Multiverse was born from the shattered remnants of the First World, with each Crystal Sphere being a sort of copy that tries to follow the same plan as the Universe.


Now none of that really matters in terms of your question except to explain the gods and primordials. So if a mortal slays a demigod, in theory all they gain is experience, possibly enough to become a demigod themselves, but many editions had rules where you could acquire Feats and Powers from doing super special things like acquiring fire resistance after being breathed on by a dragon. One can only assume that fighting a demigod (or even primordial) leaves its mark and changes the winner, although i'm not suggesting a highlander style of absorbing power.

Would a primordial want to subvert the worship of a god, would a primordial want to become a god. My thought is no, because they likely already possess enough raw power to ascend, the history of primordials (at least in FR) suggests they are actively opposed to becoming gods. Doesnt mean they dont want to be worshipped just out of pure vanity, or perhaps so they can have a regular supply of meat snacks.

Jubilex as a specific example is one of the Outer Plane types of Primordial and they do seem to want to ascend (perhaps they are estellar that never managed to achieve it). But there is also another category i havent yet detailed - the Archetype - which is a being that embodies an Outer Plane (or an entire race). Primus, and Jubilex and Bahamut and Tiamat (and perhaps Annam) are also examples of Archetypes, able to created free willed aspects. Being an archetype seems to tie them to that particular Outer Plane, although they can leave it for a time if summoned.

I think the likes of Asmodeus and a few other estellar lost out on becoming true gods (probably as a result of their worshippers being poached by other estellar), and so went down another route of power - they became archetypes, choosing to bond themselves to a single Outer Plane.

Doesnt mean these individuals wouldnt want to become gods, but its just something to be aware that there is another category out there.


So yeah, Jubilex kills a primordial, steals some of his powers, and his worshippers. If / when he gets enough worship then he can ascend to become a true god (if he figures out how), otherwise he can bask in the respect and awe of his tiny meat snacks.


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PattPlays
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Posted - 12 Aug 2022 :  02:45:36  Show Profile  Visit PattPlays's Homepage Send PattPlays a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

So yeah, Jubilex kills a primordial, steals some of his powers, and his worshippers. If / when he gets enough worship then he can ascend to become a true god (if he figures out how), otherwise he can bask in the respect and awe of his tiny meat snacks.


Glorious. Yeah, that divine energy is going to be up for grabs once Juiblex does something stupid. I love that. Any cult leader that wants to ascend just needs the initial power and the will of the people. (See the end of Dragon-Ball's final "Lend me your power!" and the problems even infinitely strong characters have in convincing people to believe in them. The people don't trust Superman, but they trust the celebrity wrestler!)

:The world's greatest OOTA fan/critic: :"Powder kegs within powder kegs!": :Meta-Dimensional Cheese: :Why is the Wand of Orcus just back?: :We still don't know the nature of Souls and the Positive Energy Plane: :PC on profile, Aldritch Elpyptrat Maxinfield: :Helljumpers, Bungie.net: :Rock Hard Gladiator, RIP Fluidanim, Long Live Pluto: :IRC lives:


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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 12 Aug 2022 :  11:19:46  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm trying to think of the special cases of god behaviour to see if they fit until the above framework.

So Time of Troubles works because all gods are forced into Prime Avatar form which makes them vulnerable to being slain.

Tyche splitting into two works if she also willingly assumed prime avatar form (I believe it is actually stated she liked to wander the realms in physical form), so she is the vulnerable to the predations of other gods and super beings.

Cyric works as well. The opening parts of the cyrinishad debacle shows Mystra and Cyric in prime avatar form which one can assume all recently ascended gods do because they yearn for the material pleasures they knew in life. It makes Cyric more mentally unstable than he was in life.

Ultimately Mystra is persuaded to maintain the Balance which I'm interpreting as keeping out of mortal affairs, not interfering directly with her own or other clergy. This stops the mutual assured destruction scenario from occurring (although all the gods occasionally break the rules and that's fine as long as they dont get caught and dont interfere with another gods territory).

Because cyric is in prime avatar form it explains how an artefact is able to affect what is otherwise a greater god. The artefact is designed to work on material beings and he stupidly assumed the form of a material being.


Gilgeam and the untheric deities are always a special case. It would seem that they all assumed prime avatar form or perhaps separated a portion of their energy and created a new being which was in prime avatar form. These prime avatars travel across the stars and can of course be killed.

The imaskari barrier I always thought of as daft, and assume it was instead a barrier designed to stop plane shifting and teleportation and unauthorised gate travel throughout the old empires (a much more effective protection, especially when you consider the imaskari used such methods to steal whole populations from other places).

If it was such a block then it would inadvertently (or intentionally) block access to the gods and the material plane in the old empires area.

Souls wouldnt be able to travel to a divine realm (except that the imaskari created a huge soul trap to funnel the souls to the afterlife - see that 3e magic of incarnum book). Worship would no longer empower the gods, communication could not reach the gods, and the gods could not send avatars etc.

So Gilgeam and his pantheon become stuck in prime avatar form for thousands of years, essentially making them demigods. That makes them a little insane, and vulnerable to permanent death.

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TBeholder
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Posted - 12 Aug 2022 :  14:29:31  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Being trying to come up with a thesis explaining roughly how the different types of super beings behave and trying to explain away all the special cases that appear to break the rules of divinity.

For example how does a god appear in person on Faerun, why doesnt it happen all the time, why isnt the Material Plane a ravaged wasteland caused by divine battles, how do alias' work, how do you become a god, what is a divine realm, why do some gods have it and some dont.


Did you read Planescape materials on that?

quote:
I tried to merge the rules from Faiths and Avatars etc with that of the Immortals Boxed Set for OD&D, as there are some important points in the original work that i think were overlooked.

OD&D (Mystara) Immortals and derived materials did not use the same cosmology IIRC.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 12 Aug 2022 :  15:00:12  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Not looked at planescape, do you have any suggestions on which sources might deal with rules for gods.

I realise odnd was a different cosmology, but in a multiverse setting (which is where dnd is heading at the moment) the underlying rules for the gods should be the same (which I guess is what planescape was all about). More importantly the rules for the immortals boxed set are better defined than adnd and indeed 3dnd, and as far as I can tell are not incompatible so it makes sense to use the ideas to better define and flesh out FR divinity.


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sleyvas
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Posted - 12 Aug 2022 :  18:42:57  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Still going through what you wrote above, but that being said, worth it to mention the idea of manifestations amongst that demi-gods section as a form of a god that is separated from its core deity (similar to a simulacrum with more autonomy) and sent off to an area under an entity who controls access to that "region". We have more than just the Untheric pantheon as examples, because there was also Mielliki who was prime bound prior to the ToT, but she was also a multispheric deity.

Also, your idea of true gods as nothing but energy.... it may be that they simply exist in a plane of their own, and perhaps they gain access to the rest of the universe via their divine realm having the only connection to this plane of their own. They would then create "constructs" or avatars with which they protect their divine realm and/or interact with the prime, etc... Thus, destruction of their divine realm "severs" their ability to act as a god... and turns them into a "vestige".

It may be that their physical body is ejected from this special plane of their own when they die, and that body then "petrifies" into the astral body. In essence, kind of like Pandorym where it was separated its body from its mind.... what remains entrapped in the "special plane" for each god is nothing but its consciousness... which is why it acts as a vestige in some instances.

Just throwing out some ideas here. Tear it apart.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 12 Aug 2022 18:50:48
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sleyvas
Skilled Spell Strategist

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Posted - 12 Aug 2022 :  19:30:54  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Still going through, but another idea popped in my head, and thought I might mention it

The "Dawn War" between Primordials (generally elementally inclined beings) and Estelar (gods/beings with ties to the outer planes... specifically ties to Radiance... Estelar = Stellar Beings = Beings with ties to Stars) .... what if that war was literally over control of a creation of the Primordials. Remember "the sun" in realmspace is NOT a star like in our world. It's a heavenly body which is liberally covered with portals to the elemental plane of fire. Meanwhile the stars are portals to the "plane of radiance".

So, what if the Primordials created the sun as a staging ground to invade this new "place"/"crystal sphere" (which the concept of crystal spheres may go away soon, we'll see). This created a place that warmed the region and allowed life to "change" in some form (i.e. their may have been beings in the place that didn't require light and heat, and maybe even were harmed by such). These beings began to "worship" the "life giving sun" and so the gods of light (able to access this "place" via the stars/portals to radiance) suddenly decided that they should gain control of the sun in order to acquire that worship energy for the sun. This kicks off the war between primordials and estelar/gods

Going along with this idea that in the beginning the portals to radiance and the elemental plane had ties to the gods and primordials, it may be that there were (and maybe still are) portal to the plane of vacuum as well. The actual splitting of "Selune" and "Shar" (or whatever they were known by back then) may have created these portals as some of the first divine beings with ties to "otherwhere". Given that the planes of radiance and vacuum are "borders" to the positive and negative planes, this may have been what started bringing in "energy"/"life" into the worlds.... in whatever form it first existed.

Going along with this, perhaps the original "being" that comprised Shar and Selune had ties to both radiance and vacuum, and thereby ties to both the positive and negative planes... and it was this that eventually... like magnets pushing apart.... eventually split this being. But while they existed, they PULLED energy into this microverse... and that energy is what comprises the weave. Just a thought since they're also equated with magic. As another addition to this "back then" the positive and negative material planes may not have been distince and separate entities either, and it may have been their separation that actually created "death".

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 12 Aug 2022 19:51:29
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 12 Aug 2022 :  19:59:16  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well i really dislike the idea of gods having a physical form by default, but thats just my personal dislike (i dislike lots of things about the gods but here i am trying to come up with a universal framework to explain everything divine).

OD&D Immortals describes these powers as beings of pure energy.

PLanescape on Hallowed Ground says
quote:
When a power needs to manifest himself to his worshipers. he lakes on the form of an avatar - a physical projection of his will .
Which implies they do not otherwise have a physical form

All the other god books dont actually define what a god truly is, just that they form avatars.


That being said, we know they can create physical forms and that is why i used the Prime Avatar option in the Immortals boxed set. New gods probably do this more often. Other times some deities do it just for fun - like Tyche. But it is dangerous for themselves and for reality around them because they become an easier to kill target (just like Tyche)

On Hallowed Ground talks about a divine agreement not to take physical form on the material plane, otherwise they would destroy each other and everything around them. Which is my reasoning as well so i'm pleased about that. I think the Tablets of Fate originally fulfil this divine compact, explaining every deity's place and role and acting as an agreement not to overstep those bounds, to remain distant and neutral so as to save the realms and each other from total annihilation. How ironic then that it should become the focus of competition among the gods and ultimately lead to the destruction of many.

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sleyvas
Skilled Spell Strategist

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Posted - 12 Aug 2022 :  20:01:07  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Bear with me while i try and mash up planar lore from all the editions.

So we know in the beginning (presumably of the planes), there was a big fight between the gods (i believe they were known as the Estellar) and the Primordials.

Now my beef with this is that in the beginning there can be no mortals, so the gods were not the gods. It makes sense therefore that these "gods" were actually just Primordials on the Outer Planes, although that would surely make them just "Ordials" (Prime Ordials being on the Prime Material Plane)

Now the big question is why were they fighting. My guess is that the estellar wanted to become gods, but in order to do that you need worship, and the only way to get worship is from free willed creatures. Everything created on the Outer Planes lacks free will. So to make free willed beings you have to create them on the Prime Material Plane. So the war between Estellar and Primordials was so that the Estellar could ascend.

The problem is that none of this history fits with FR history or any other world history. So using a 5e idea of the First World, the Prime Material Plane was where all this happened, and that was before the Multiverse (when it was the universe), unfortunately this First World was destroyed by the Vortex of Entropy (see the Immortals Boxed Set), and so the Multiverse was born from the shattered remnants of the First World, with each Crystal Sphere being a sort of copy that tries to follow the same plan as the Universe.




Hmmm, this actually sounds like we're kind of heading in similar directions... where I was discussing below the idea that the sun is portals to the plane of fire, the stars are portal to the plane of radiance, and there may have been portals to the plane of Vacuum/Entropy. It may have been that originally the positive and negative energy planes were just "the plane of energy" with "ins and outs"... and when they "split" into their two sides they may have destroyed "the first world".... by splitting it into the different crystal spheres. This may have created the first deaths, as all prior beings may have been immortal/undying.

It may also be that this original "plane of energy" was the extremely volatile and explosive phlogiston. Perhaps the formation of light and darkness... radiance and vacuum... caused the explosive creation another quasi-elemental plane, in the form of the plane of minerals. This creation of the plane of minerals caused the formation of the crystal sphere around a section previously had been phlogiston, during which time all materials in the contained area was transformed from Phlogiston into the building blocks of air, earth, fire, and water. This may be why phlogiston cannot be brought into a crystal sphere (it instantly changes into the other four elements).

This then later formed the basis of all the other "inner planes" which do not touch phlogiston. So, it may be that the quasi-elemental planes came before the actual elemental planes.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 12 Aug 2022 20:49:19
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 12 Aug 2022 :  21:47:16  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well i'll be sticking more to rules binding a deity, but i felt trying to fit the Dawn War into realms history by making it predate the realms entirely was the only way to utilise it.

As for the vestiges, i see no reason why the activities of gods cannot be as varied and unpredictable as mortals. People die all the times and weird and sometimes unique things happen in the aftermath. If a god dies and its avatar is on the material plane then you might get a vestige. If a Divine Realm is suddenly scattered into the Astral Plane because the Outer Plane it was linked to suddenly collapse then who knows what might happen. Any divine battleground could result in any number of unique events and aftermaths.


I'm beginning to think that gods can create aspects (independent, free willed beings that embody the being whose power they are infused with) its just that they dont do it very often because Avatars are a much better use of power (they are part of the god and completely controlled by it).

Imagine for instance an avatar is created. Its really powerful, really hard to kill (Lathander's avatar was barely scratched by Sammaster), and when they are unsummoned i imagine the energy used to make them is returned to the god.

An aspect is not as powerful, they are completely independent, and while they might embody what a deity represents in the beginning (otherwise why would the god infuse that being with its power) they can be corrupted. I'm thinking that the Chosen is just another word for an aspect, and Sammaster is a perfect example of one going bad. Even worse, when an aspect is destroyed that energy is lost (or worse stolen).

Now the Untheric gods could have been Prime Avatars but they dont seem powerful enough for that (an awful lot of them died relatively easy in some cases). Their deaths also dont appear to have affected the deity elsewhere in the multiverse. The untheric gods were also trapped in a material form which doesnt seem like it would work if they were still linked to the original (as an avatar would be) because that link implies a connection which shouldnt be possible with the barrier. So an aspect works quite well for the untheric and mulhorandi pantheon.

So gods and archetypes (which may just be another name for primordials on the outerplanes) can create aspects. Gods can create avatars. Primordials create shards.

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sleyvas
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Posted - 12 Aug 2022 :  22:57:31  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Well i'll be sticking more to rules binding a deity, but i felt trying to fit the Dawn War into realms history by making it predate the realms entirely was the only way to utilise it.

As for the vestiges, i see no reason why the activities of gods cannot be as varied and unpredictable as mortals. People die all the times and weird and sometimes unique things happen in the aftermath. If a god dies and its avatar is on the material plane then you might get a vestige. If a Divine Realm is suddenly scattered into the Astral Plane because the Outer Plane it was linked to suddenly collapse then who knows what might happen. Any divine battleground could result in any number of unique events and aftermaths.


I'm beginning to think that gods can create aspects (independent, free willed beings that embody the being whose power they are infused with) its just that they dont do it very often because Avatars are a much better use of power (they are part of the god and completely controlled by it).

Imagine for instance an avatar is created. Its really powerful, really hard to kill (Lathander's avatar was barely scratched by Sammaster), and when they are unsummoned i imagine the energy used to make them is returned to the god.

An aspect is not as powerful, they are completely independent, and while they might embody what a deity represents in the beginning (otherwise why would the god infuse that being with its power) they can be corrupted. I'm thinking that the Chosen is just another word for an aspect, and Sammaster is a perfect example of one going bad. Even worse, when an aspect is destroyed that energy is lost (or worse stolen).

Now the Untheric gods could have been Prime Avatars but they dont seem powerful enough for that (an awful lot of them died relatively easy in some cases). Their deaths also dont appear to have affected the deity elsewhere in the multiverse. The untheric gods were also trapped in a material form which doesnt seem like it would work if they were still linked to the original (as an avatar would be) because that link implies a connection which shouldnt be possible with the barrier. So an aspect works quite well for the untheric and mulhorandi pantheon.

So gods and archetypes (which may just be another name for primordials on the outerplanes) can create aspects. Gods can create avatars. Primordials create shards.



Agree here. In fact, I was trying to remember the term used in the old Deities and Demigods (it was aspects now that I hear you say it, but I was thinking it was also manifestations). I like the idea like you say of them not creating these "aspects" from pure magic under their control like you say, but rather them infusing some other living being with this power. So, the "manifestations" in Mulhorand and Unther may have been some kind of powerful beings that got infused with a measure of the original god's power and it somewhat "overwrote" their personalities. So, something MORE than a chosen as it also instills something of a personality of the god.

I would note here as well that the two countries seem to have gone down different paths from there.

The Mulhorandi established Godkings which appear to be mortals either "bred" from these "manifestations"/"aspects"... or families that were somehow infused with a godly blessing. I choose to believe "bred" because it fits with the godkings being aasimar. I think the best and most fun representation of this is if the godkings are LIKE the lesser avatars we see during the time of troubles, as in the manifestations "share" the body of the godking, giving them guidance kind of like Raistlin with the voice in his head. I like George's idea that they use some kind of ritual that instills some blood of the god in them in order to activate individuals in each generation as an "incarnation" of these manifestations/aspects. I also like the idea that the manifestations also used their "font of time" to from the future as part of this ritual to actually inhabit the future godking (i.e. the ritual is on Tuesday, but on Thursday the manifestation goes back to Tuesday and takes over the godking and awakens his powers in him). This makes it so the godkings are "their own man", but it also creates a network by which the manifestations can watch over their whole empire via multiple incarnations within each royal family that acts as their eyes and ears.

Ironically, what I just described for the godkings/incarnations sounds a LOT like a binder who allows a vestige to share his body. One things I've proposed is that the Theurgist Adepts were actually anima mages (i.e. the wizard/binders from 3e Tome of Magic) and that they were involved with the Theurgian Society discussed in the Tome of Magic. Perhaps one reason that the Theurgist Adepts and the godkings had a serious problem with one another is that people were having problems understanding the difference between them, and they began to question whether Theurgist Adepts shouldn't have just as much right to rule as the Godkings.

The Untheric gods seem to have ruled in a different way, ruling directly over their people, and they possibly had children while on Toril. Over the years, there's been several discussions on the idea that the Untheric gods seem to have a lot of ties to dragons. It might be interesting if THESE manifestations actually WERE dragons loyal to the Untheric gods rather than normal mortal followers... but they would shapechange into human(Mulan) form. Might we find out that Assuran of the Three Thunders was a dragon born of the manifestations in Unther for instance? This adds a whole lot of interest into things like Tchazzar, the millenium dragon, etc... as well for possibly actually being of the bloodline of "dragons in the form of gods". It also brings the interest of the Cult of the Dragon into this region to a whole new degree that outsiders just don't understand.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 12 Aug 2022 23:02:59
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 13 Aug 2022 :  07:00:44  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well first I'd see if what we have fits the bill.

Original manifestations as aspects works. They are infused with some divine power and able to act independently of the original. They then gain enough power through worship to be classed as gods in their own right, but because they cannot leave the material plane they are essentially demigods or permanent prime avatars.

The incarnations of the mulhorandi gods could be classed as aspects as well, but not of the original gods on another planet, but of the prime avatars now on toril. The method of aspectisation has been covered by George with his Kaledshran, they are literally infused with the blood of the prime avatar and that makes them an aspect.

It kind of makes sense to me, without the need for additional terms.

I'm not intending the framework to be a single categorisation. These divine beings last for millennia have a variety of different origins and I'm sure that primordials have become gods, gods lost their divinity and gone back to primordials or mortals, we have a few archetypes that become gods or gods that become archetypes, and so each can do a variety of different things.

The point is to define what each type can do and get the language right to clear up the mess in FRs divinity play.

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TBeholder
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Posted - 14 Aug 2022 :  03:25:44  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Not looked at planescape, do you have any suggestions on which sources might deal with rules for gods.

On Hallowed Ground focuses on divine matters as such.
But most books at least somewhat touch the subject. I mean, the setting box and Planewalkers Handbook had to give the rules on how the priests and their spells work on the Great Ring and beyond, planes splatbooks have to include details on powers who happen to be the local movers and shakers, and for adventures they shape the landscape both literally and metaphorically.

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And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
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sleyvas
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Posted - 14 Aug 2022 :  19:56:09  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Well first I'd see if what we have fits the bill.

Original manifestations as aspects works. They are infused with some divine power and able to act independently of the original. They then gain enough power through worship to be classed as gods in their own right, but because they cannot leave the material plane they are essentially demigods or permanent prime avatars.

The incarnations of the mulhorandi gods could be classed as aspects as well, but not of the original gods on another planet, but of the prime avatars now on toril. The method of aspectisation has been covered by George with his Kaledshran, they are literally infused with the blood of the prime avatar and that makes them an aspect.

It kind of makes sense to me, without the need for additional terms.

I'm not intending the framework to be a single categorisation. These divine beings last for millennia have a variety of different origins and I'm sure that primordials have become gods, gods lost their divinity and gone back to primordials or mortals, we have a few archetypes that become gods or gods that become archetypes, and so each can do a variety of different things.

The point is to define what each type can do and get the language right to clear up the mess in FRs divinity play.



We also have mortals that become primordials. The slaad-like, two headed, batrachi lord known as Bazim-Gorag the Firebringer is noted to be an ascended batrachi who is a primordial per 4e. I wouldn't be surprised if this weren't something where there was some kind of ritual in which he stole the power of a primordial and infused it in himself. I guess when it comes to primordials there might be a category that we might call the "ascended primordial". Maybe all the slaad lords (which are themselves something different) might be this kind of being (not a requirement, just throwing that out there, just because the slaad lords are specifically not demon/devil princes, nor gods).

SIDEBAR: on THAT note, we have it that the batrachi "released entrapped primordials"... and I think it is hinted somewhere that it was Zhoukoudien that did this releasing. What if this leader of the batrachi was trying to do what Bazim-Gorag did (i.e. bind the power of a captured primordial into himself), and something went wrong with that ritual as a result and it released OTHER primordials.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 14 Aug 2022 20:03:05
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 15 Aug 2022 :  09:44:52  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hmm, the statement of ascended batrachi and primordial doesnt seem to make sense.

I had not considered being able to steal a primordials power, given that it is something inherent to an individual at birth/creation.

I suppose anything is possible with magic and just like golems are the spirit or energy of the elemental planes trapped inside a material shell, why couldnt you steal that inner plane energy from a being like a primordial (if you were powerful enough).

I dont think it needs another category, if you steal the power of a primordial you become a primordial (or so it seems when we look at bazim gorag). I wonder if you can infuse yourself with the power of the elemental planes just like others have done with the outer planes.

Lots more research to do.

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sleyvas
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Posted - 15 Aug 2022 :  23:15:51  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Hmm, the statement of ascended batrachi and primordial doesnt seem to make sense.

I had not considered being able to steal a primordials power, given that it is something inherent to an individual at birth/creation.

I suppose anything is possible with magic and just like golems are the spirit or energy of the elemental planes trapped inside a material shell, why couldnt you steal that inner plane energy from a being like a primordial (if you were powerful enough).

I dont think it needs another category, if you steal the power of a primordial you become a primordial (or so it seems when we look at bazim gorag). I wonder if you can infuse yourself with the power of the elemental planes just like others have done with the outer planes.

Lots more research to do.



After mentioning that concept, it occurred to me that I should also mention the Dark Three and their use of the Jathiman dagger to slay Borem of the Boiling Mud and other beings which we NOW know as primordials (whereas at the time of the printing of the Jathiman dagger material in 3e... and maybe it was earlier too... the idea of primordials didn't exist). So, the dark three were specifically hunting it seems a lot of primordials to steal their power. They then became gods via taking Jergal's power.

Gonna throw something really odd out there for a moment.... could we find out that Jergal TRADED the power of several dead primordials for his godly mantle with the dark three? I mean, he didn't die out from lack of worshippers.... Could it be that the Jathiman dagger doesn't steal GOD power, but rather PRIMORDIAL power (I've never looked into what all it killed... but it apparently also killed a Haask a batrachi-doppelganger)? Could Haask have also been an ascended batrachi?

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 18 Aug 2022 :  16:35:08  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, it seems more likely that the daggers were used to steal power from primordials, I'm not sure the magic that powers it really cares about the source, it just drains the "soul" / experience / power of a being. Haask may even have been a regular but powerful mortal.


I've been looking into the dawn war etc primarily on the wiki (because I'm on holiday and away from my sources) and it uses some interesting words to describe it - Elder Gods from another dimension being the ones I find most curious.

I've got a kernel of ideas running at the moment but I'm hoping to reconcile the inconsistencies with dragons and giants seemingly involved in the dawn war before they ever existed and gods existing before the planet toril was even created.

Hopefully that will inform the primordial category and the final categorisation which I'm calling archetypes which has been occasionally in various editions and has the least information and definition.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 20 Aug 2022 :  21:54:59  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Okay, so here's what i have come up with to try and fix the nonsense that 4e introduced with the Dawn War and giants and dragon gods existing before they were ever on Toril. I've edited the second post to include everything so far.

The answer is Archetypes. So i figure that the First World was the original universe and it had its gods. In the Immortals boxed set the original world could be ended by the Vortex so why not have this First World unmade and then remade as the Multiverse.

The events that dont fit in Toril's timeline actually occurred in the First World.

Some of those gods survived from the First World but they became more than gods, they became Archetypes.

So Bahamut and Tiamat were from the First World and are Archetypes.
Annam was from the First World, so was Moradin, Gruumsh, etc. These are the Elder Gods that are summoned from another dimension in the Blue Age.

Archetypes are kind of the next step beyond gods.

Anyways, let me know what you think, i think i've got all the bases covered now, just need to work through weird special cases to try and see if everything fits into the framework.

For example Primus i figure was a primordial who became a god and then an archetype. He may even have been one of the Elder Gods. HIs modrons are shards that are also Aspects so whenever Primus is slain another takes his place. He doesnt need worship from anyone because he is sustained by the plane itself. He can take physical form quite happily because he cannot be destroyed unless every modron in existence is destroyed.

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Edited by - Gary Dallison on 20 Aug 2022 22:02:17
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sleyvas
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Posted - 21 Aug 2022 :  22:56:23  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the idea of elder gods from another dimension showing up, I'd try to stay away from them being from the first world and be more broad. Maybe links from the outer planes and the far realm started to open. Prior to that, maybe the main conflict was between order and chaos.... the elemental chaos versus the orderly elemental planes. Suddenly the concept of good and evil in a tangible form began to affect things. Maybe realms like the realm of faerie, spirit realm, and shadow already existed and suddenly the gods themselves were getting affected by the coming of evil. One such being becomes the elder elemental eye/Tharizdun. Another might have been a faerie that becomes the queen of air and darkness. Then other gods turn evil as well (Lolth, Shar, etc....). Some may redeem themselves, etc... To be clear, I don't see this coming of evil as moustache twirling evil so much as insane evil.... a horrible, mind twisting disease that begins to affect the gods and have them pursue evil ends that seem unfathomable to others.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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BrennonGoldeye
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Posted - 24 Aug 2022 :  17:37:47  Show Profile Send BrennonGoldeye a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

On the idea of elder gods from another dimension showing up, I'd try to stay away from them being from the first world and be more broad. Maybe links from the outer planes and the far realm started to open. Prior to that, maybe the main conflict was between order and chaos.... the elemental chaos versus the orderly elemental planes. Suddenly the concept of good and evil in a tangible form began to affect things. Maybe realms like the realm of faerie, spirit realm, and shadow already existed and suddenly the gods themselves were getting affected by the coming of evil. One such being becomes the elder elemental eye/Tharizdun. Another might have been a faerie that becomes the queen of air and darkness. Then other gods turn evil as well (Lolth, Shar, etc....). Some may redeem themselves, etc... To be clear, I don't see this coming of evil as moustache twirling evil so much as insane evil.... a horrible, mind twisting disease that begins to affect the gods and have them pursue evil ends that seem unfathomable to others.



This sounds alot like Pathfinder mythos. I like it.

Sam
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 06 Sep 2022 :  16:35:15  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Latest novel I read had a scene where lolth appeared to drizzt to show her favour.

Using the framework outlined here that would most likely class as Lolth taking prime avatar form and appearing on the material plane for less than a minute.

Easily possible, slightly dangerous, but doesnt really cause any problems.

It did lead me to think about The Balance. I'm not sure it's ever really been defined what this Balance is that the gods must follow, but to my mind the balance is about ensuring you (as a god) do not directly step on the proverbial toes of another god.

So lolth appearing to drizzt is fine. Drizzt is one of her charges or at the least he is unclaimed by anyone else. She doesnt kill anyone from another god, she doesnt reduce their worship. In fact no other god probably even knew she did it (they are not omniscient). She was in and out in less than a minute. The Balance was preserved.

When Cyric killed Adon, high priest of Mystra, that was definitely affecting another god. Mystra then wanted revenge and started working directly against him. So all the other gods started working against them both. The Balance was not preserved and had to be restored.

Why, because when gods fight against each other it results in thermo nuclear war for all. Planescape on Hallowed Ground states this as a reason why gods dont interfere.

So gods as it turns out, gods do turn up in person on the material plane, and they do a bit of meddling, but they have to be very careful not to get caught and the best way to do that is to make sure they dont affect another gods territory.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 06 Sep 2022 :  16:41:56  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If the Balance is all about preventing a divine war from the super alliances of gods, then that means the Dawn Cataclysm would definitely break The Balance.

So Tyche splitting, the death of Murdane, all those other divine slayings were all connected by groups of gods beginning a huge war that was somehow averted.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 06 Sep 2022 :  22:01:41  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Tyche splitting happened during the Dawn Cataclysm, but there's nothing that indicates it had anything at all to do with the DC. The information we have makes it appear to be an entirely separate event that just happened to coincide with other events.

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