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 Mulhorandi Pantheon post-Sundering
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Kilamandaros
Acolyte

United Kingdom
15 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2022 :  17:10:49  Show Profile Send Kilamandaros a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Hi all, was having this discussion with George separately but thought I'd open it up for wider discussion:

What is the state of the Mulhorandi pantheon post-Sundering?

The only official lore we have on this is the paragraph in the SCAG:

Since the Chosen of the gods began to appear in the last few years, Mulhorand has become a land transformed. Its deities manifested fully in the forms of some of their descendants, and swiftly rallied the Mulan to overthrow the Imaskari. Aided by the
mighty wizard Nezram, known as the World-Walker, the Mulhorandi overthrew the rulers of High Imaskar, who fled into the Plains of Purple Dust or to extra planar safeholds.

When the upheaval ended and the Chosen began to disappear, the gods of Mulhorand remained to rule their people, focusing their attention on defending their restored homeland to keep the war in Unther and Tymanther from spilling over its borders. For the first time in centuries, the people in Mulhorand are free, with the gods declaring that slavery shall no longer be practiced among the Mulan since their return.


So the Chosen appeared to defeat High Imaskar but then disappeared afterwards, but the gods themselves remained. I feel there are perhaps two ways to interpret this:

1. The Gods left their Chosen avatar forms but remained as incarnations, similar to how they existed before the Time of Troubles, with the house of Horus-Re still maintaining overall rule with incarnations of the Sun God.

2. The Gods sent their Avatars (the Chosen) who fought to defeat High Imaskar but the 'remained to rule their people' refers to them returning to their place in the Outer Planes rather than directly involved in the world.

If it's the former then this would mean them choosing to risk themselves in the more vulnerable form of mortal incarnations rather than restoring their divine essence to the heavens. There is also the question of where do these incarnations come from? A lot of the royal houses such as Helcaliant would have been virtually wiped out during the Spellplague, would there be descendants of Horus-Re and the others ready to become their mortal hosts?

If the latter then who would rule Mulhorand in the present day of 5e? Is there still a mortal pharaoh on the throne?

Interested to hear everyone's thoughts :)

"It is you, after all, which has brought us to the dream. Nothing is real. Yet."

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36123 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2022 :  17:43:11  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One thing to keep in mind is that the Sundering Chosen were not the same as pre-Spellplague Chosen. Most of them had only minor boons from their deity; it would have been more accurate to call them "Blessed" or "Favored" or somesuch, rather than Chosen.

This has always been an issue for TSR/WotC; once they started to focus on Elminster and the Seven Sisters, they decided to let other deities have divinely-enhanced special servants, and to call them the same thing even if they were nowhere close to Mystra's Chosen in terms of power, abilities, or role. It's another aspect of their tendency to run an idea into the ground and keep right on going.

In summary, thanks to WotC's oft-poor stewardship of the setting, "Chosen" is almost a meaningless term, since it now ranges from "near-avatar" to "someone with a near-useless but still unique, divinely-granted ability."

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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2276 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2022 :  18:34:17  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The SCAG (p. 41) mentions that the demigods ruling Mulhorand use the names of their gods of legend. Then, it list the following gods: Re, Anhur, Horus, Isis, Nephthys, Set, and Thoth. From this I interpret the following things:

1. The current day Mulhorandi pantheon is basically the Egyptian pantheon from the 5e PHB, with the addition of Realms-only deities such as Anhur.

2. Horus and Re are mentioned separately, but given that these are the names of the demigods, it may mean nothing.

Talking about this, the 5e PHB list the fused form of Re and Horus as Re-Horakty. Which may mean that perhaps Horus-Re is no more (that incarnation was a Realms-only deity, after all), and in his place there is Re-Horakty now.

Ed Greenwood also mentioned that Sharess also returned to her role as Bast (see source), possibly because in the wake of the Sundering Sharess lost followers. Bast is mentioned as one of the Egyptian deities in the 5e PHB.

https://twitter.com/TheEdVerse/status/1128716987188875265?s=19

3. The ones ruling Mulhorand now are demigods, descendants of the survivors ancient houses, not incarnations or avatars. They seem to have been possessed briefly by the actual Egyptian gods, but the gods left after the Sundering and now their descendants rule.

Ed mentioned that the priests are the actual rulers, given that the gods are silent now, mostly focused on their own stuff. But was he referring to the actual gods? Or the demigods?

https://twitter.com/TheEdVerse/status/1229490363716509698?t=WRWoQjHsb5LbQA93FZZ3Yw&s=19

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 03 Jul 2022 18:38:01
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2276 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2022 :  18:36:40  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

One thing to keep in mind is that the Sundering Chosen were not the same as pre-Spellplague Chosen. Most of them had only minor boons from their deity; it would have been more accurate to call them "Blessed" or "Favored" or somesuch, rather than Chosen.

This has always been an issue for TSR/WotC; once they started to focus on Elminster and the Seven Sisters, they decided to let other deities have divinely-enhanced special servants, and to call them the same thing even if they were nowhere close to Mystra's Chosen in terms of power, abilities, or role. It's another aspect of their tendency to run an idea into the ground and keep right on going.

In summary, thanks to WotC's oft-poor stewardship of the setting, "Chosen" is almost a meaningless term, since it now ranges from "near-avatar" to "someone with a near-useless but still unique, divinely-granted ability."



Well, in the case of the Mulhorandi ones, the SCAG says the weren't "Chosen", but actually demigods. Only the non-Mulhorandi people called them Chosen. The Mulhorandi always knew their true nature.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...
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Kilamandaros
Acolyte

United Kingdom
15 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2022 :  19:17:36  Show Profile Send Kilamandaros a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Interesting, so do we think the demigods as described in the SCAG are separate entities from the divine essences of the gods (presumably who have returned to the outer planes where they were post Time of Troubles and pre-Spellplague?

That point 7 on Ed's post about modern Mulhorand adds a further interpretation:

There’s almost no central government, with priests relaying guidance from the gods after praying for visions at altars

This seems to suggest the gods are not present at all in the mortal realm and instead communicate their will via the temples. Are the 'demigods' therefore the high priests?

"It is you, after all, which has brought us to the dream. Nothing is real. Yet."
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11211 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2022 :  19:28:10  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would note this specialness in the wording

Its deities manifested fully in the forms of some of their descendants

So, in the case of Mulhorand, the word "manifestation" has a very interesting meaning. It means prime bound deities who are detached from their outer planar equivalents.

It also doesn't say that these descendants are from this time. By that, I mean that Mulhorand had a very special magic item. The Font of Time.

Font of Time:
This powerful artifact is located somewhere in eastern Mulhorand. Little is known about it, except for a few words in the Unique Mageries, a book of spells belonging to the wizard Nezram:

'Of all the artifacts created by the ancients, the most marvelous and terrifying was the great Font. This was a pearl-white pool, contained in a milkcolored crystal that appeared in a mirage in the eastern wastes. The waters were too bitter to drink. But if one looked into the font in the light of a full moon, one could see scenes from the antiquity of Mulhorand that one would swear were real. And indeed they are. For if one concentrates on that image' ...but I shall say no more, in hopes that none shall follow where I have traveled.'

No knowledge exists about the origin of the font, except in the archives of Thoth. The font of time can enable any who look into it, during a full moon only, to see images of Mulhorand in the days of its original empire. It is possible to possess the body of an individual from that image, and thus experience life in Mulhorand at the height of its power. To return home, one must find one's way to the font at the time of the new moon, when it is possible to look back at one's self, and return to one's own form.


So, DURING the time of troubles, the manifestations went catatonic and the incarnations started acting like the gods (slight note here, there are multiple incarnations of each god in Mulhorand, and I prefer they KIND OF act like Emperor Cleon from the foundation series... not absolute clones, but elder incarnations teaching younger ones, etc.... and one acting as the voice of the god). After the Time of Troubles, the manifestations of the Mulhorandi gods woke up again temporarily and then "disappeared" and the gods were able to exist in the outer planes. What if those manifestations still existed and had been hidden away, but they had gone catatonic again by the hand of their outer planar versions, and what if Nezram used the font of time to have them revisit their past selves and in so doing allow themselves to reconnect with their earlier versions. I'm very sure there could be some slight wordings that could be done in order to make this more true. I mean, this storyline DOES involve Nezram who specifically knew of the font of time. I think that this could make a really good storyline actually. It probably needs some work, but the upshot of it would be that the gods in Mulhorand are NOT the egyptian gods... they are once again prime bound manifestations, and whatever happens to their outer planar equivalents does not affect them.

Throw into this equation the process of actual cloning of the god-kings (i.e. the INCARNATIONS not the MANIFESTATIONS) and you could have Nezram reviving the "god-kings" of old, having them help him "reboot" the manifestations.... you could really make one twisted story if you wanted to. For instance, having Nezram possess the body of a god-king and hide some portion of its body in some place where its kept viable over centuries.... then used to reclone the god-king millenia later in the future. Technically that's still a descendant...

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 03 Jul 2022 19:35:01
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2276 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2022 :  20:17:27  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, that is one form of interpreting it. I interpreted the same way Ed did (as mentioned in the tweet I linked earlier): that the gods returned to Faerun and possessed their descendants. The text is clear in one thing, tho: the current rulers of Mulhorand are demigods, not avatars or incarnations or whathaveyou.

Since there is nothing official (Mulhorand is not as interesting as the Sword Coast, according to WotC), we can do whatever we want with the place, lol

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 03 Jul 2022 20:19:13
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Kilamandaros
Acolyte

United Kingdom
15 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2022 :  21:18:03  Show Profile Send Kilamandaros a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

Well, that is one form of interpreting it. I interpreted the same way Ed did (as mentioned in the tweet I linked earlier): that the gods returned to Faerun and possessed their descendants. The text is clear in one thing, tho: the current rulers of Mulhorand are demigods, not avatars or incarnations or whathaveyou.

Since there is nothing official (Mulhorand is not as interesting as the Sword Coast, according to WotC), we can do whatever we want with the place, lol


Well, the reason I ask is because I'm currently working on a 5e Mulhorand setting guide for the DMs Guild, set in the modern era. If WotC won't give us what we want then we'll have to make it ourselves!

The first chapter transcribes the history but there is so little information on the modern era it's a case of filling in the gaps.

You're right it also doesn't help that the little we do have (i.e. the SCAG) completely contradicts older lore. That sidebar on p41 talks about Horus & Re as separate gods and that the Mulhorandi people were essentially enslaved by High Imaskar when the 4e guide explains they all fled west to Chessenta during the Spellplague and Empress Ususi essentially occupied an empty wasteland.

I think it's also worth discussing what we mean when we say 'demigod' as the in the traditional sense in FR, a demigod is the first rung on the ladder in terms of divine power, but still a god who exists in the heavens and grants spells to its follower etc. not a living, breathing manifestation of the god as the SCAG describes.

Perhaps then, what they are referring to is an 'exarch' as described on p78 of the 4th edition FR guide, a being of great power who sits beneath the actual deity but is a separate entity. Therefore the 'demigods' in Mulhorand would essentially be champions of the pantheon, sent in their stead to rule whilst the gods themselves returned to their seat in the outer planes.

"It is you, after all, which has brought us to the dream. Nothing is real. Yet."
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2276 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2022 :  21:43:42  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I guess the SCAG refers to the 5e definition of demigod (described in the DMG, p.11 'Divine Rank' sidebar): the offspring of a god and a mortal, and in the quasi-deity level of power. In 5e, quasi-deities are beings with divine origins which, in contrast to 'true' greater/lesser deities, have insufficient power to hear/answer prayers, grant cleric spells, or control aspects of mortal life (though quasi-deities have the capacity to become full gods with sufficient worshippers).

Yeah, the thing with 5e in general is that ignores all the lore prior to 5e and uses the new lore introduced in 5e as its basis.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...
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Kilamandaros
Acolyte

United Kingdom
15 Posts

Posted - 04 Jul 2022 :  10:23:50  Show Profile Send Kilamandaros a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ah yes good shout.

Still, even with that definition they would not be manifestations of the gods themselves, so we can assume the actual Mulhorandi pantheon is back in the outer planes where they were before the Spellplague?

The other question around being these demigods being offspring of the gods, however we know they returned with the Second Sundering around 1484 DR and the uprising commenced immediately. Thus we can assume that these descendants would already exist in Faerūn at a suitable age, either having fled west, remained in Gheldaneth or perhaps even returned from Abeir (some parts of Skuld were noted to have been transported away). This would mean the royal houses - and most notably House Helcaliant - were not wiped out by the plague and had kept the lines of succession in order during the century of High Imaskar's rule. When the gods returned, the Chosen descendants were of age and ready to take on their demigod status, rather than sired anew in the space of a year.

"It is you, after all, which has brought us to the dream. Nothing is real. Yet."
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2276 Posts

Posted - 04 Jul 2022 :  16:42:30  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
1. Given the divine rules Ao put in place after the Sundering, yeah, I guess the gods returned to the Outer Planes. The new rules don't allow things like the full powered manifestations to remain in Toril, unless they sacrifice their power to the level of demigodhood (Bane and friends) or are subjected to some form of debilitating state/curse (Auril).

And given that they already have demigods working for them, and I consider the Mulhorandi gods clever enough to not subject themselves to a curse... However, that's my point of view.

And that's why I believe the Mulhorandi pantheon as we knew it before is no more, given that the manifestations either were dissolved and reunited with their true divine selves after the ToT (as 3.x sources stated), or they would have to do that after the Sundering, to not lose that divine power (following sleyvas' idea).

2. Yeah. I believe the same. These demigods are descendants of the survivors of the Spellplague.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 04 Jul 2022 16:42:58
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BrennonGoldeye
Seeker

95 Posts

Posted - 05 Jul 2022 :  22:20:04  Show Profile Send BrennonGoldeye a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

One thing to keep in mind is that the Sundering Chosen were not the same as pre-Spellplague Chosen. Most of them had only minor boons from their deity; it would have been more accurate to call them "Blessed" or "Favored" or somesuch, rather than Chosen.

This has always been an issue for TSR/WotC; once they started to focus on Elminster and the Seven Sisters, they decided to let other deities have divinely-enhanced special servants, and to call them the same thing even if they were nowhere close to Mystra's Chosen in terms of power, abilities, or role. It's another aspect of their tendency to run an idea into the ground and keep right on going.

In summary, thanks to WotC's oft-poor stewardship of the setting, "Chosen" is almost a meaningless term, since it now ranges from "near-avatar" to "someone with a near-useless but still unique, divinely-granted ability."



Well, in the case of the Mulhorandi ones, the SCAG says the weren't "Chosen", but actually demigods. Only the non-Mulhorandi people called them Chosen. The Mulhorandi always knew their true nature.



Agreed, they were more akin to a Proxy than a Chosen.

Sam
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