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 Why I Hate Gods as People: Unther

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
George Krashos Posted - 02 Jun 2018 : 07:13:33
So when Tchazzar and Chessenta "conquered" Unther and controlled it for over a century, where was Gilgeam?

-- George Krashos
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
goblins Posted - 21 Jun 2018 : 23:04:34
quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

Wasn't a mummy Gilgeam a thing in a 3e novel? I always wondered about that... I guess it was destroyed or something...

But then you have the Not!Gilgeam of 5e, that came from a land that canonically, shouldn't have gods...



The Alabaster Staff from the Rouges series.
Demzer Posted - 17 Jun 2018 : 16:02:30
Also, I think we are focusing too much on the omniscience bit (which was not even omniscience, just knowing things spoken after his name).

That was the easiest and cheesiest way in which Gilgeam could have had the means to be up to all the official proceedings of his empire.
My personal take is that up until he lost it (see what I've wrote earlier about his personal decline) he was more than willing to partecipate in the biggest councils and keep tabs on the rulers of the biggest regions/cities of Unther, thus being on top of the situation most of the time. This was the divine mandate given him by his father after all, and he was an hand-on ruler, so I think this suits him.

Your idea about Samathar being one of the aforementioned rulers that "betrayed" Gilgeam's trust (probably wanting to put a stop to martial laws and civil strife through more peaceful means and lowering the taxes, thus presenting a more human face of the burocracy of the Empire) has merit. Such a big incident may very well be what tipped the mental health of Gilgeam toward paranoia and tyranny: when even his most trusted advisors, his most powerful priests owing literally everything to him, started "betraying" him, he decided that mortals were completely unworthy of all the sacrifices he had done for them and the greater glory of the Empire of Unther.
Demzer Posted - 17 Jun 2018 : 15:51:53
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

I grant that there was a difference in how the God-Kings of Mulhorand and Unther handled mortality, with the Pharoah choosing serial rebirth over continual immortality (and thus escaping the same degree of madness), but it's clearly stated in the sources that after 1358 DR was the first time that the Pharoah of Mulhorand had a personality separate from the god Horus-Re.

I always imagined that incarnations were separate personalities and that royal heirs grew up mortal, but on assuming the role of Pharoah, the personality of Horus-Re subsumed most of the mortal one. Given that historical Egyptians believed that being made Pharoah literally made someone a god-on-earth, it seems appropriate and it fits all the evidence.

I agree that Gilgeam, as a god in physical form, was far more powerful than any incarnation or a mortal ruler. I just don't see any evidence in the history of Unther that his divine status granted him any special abilities of cogniscience, let alone limited omniscience. My interpretation is that by inhabiting only a physical form for millennia Gilgeam may have been able to retain for himself all of his awesome power for heroics and destruction, but he also limited himself in terms of information and understanding of the world, experiencing it in the same way as a mortal would.



Uhm I'm not entirely convinced at your interpretation of the manifestation/incarnation differences, maybe you should look at the relevant chapter "Religions of Mulhorand" in Old Empires (it's too long to quote) but basically it clearly states that the manifestations were the same since they came to Toril (except for Horus that transformed into Horus-Re and Osiris that got resurrected) and that the incarnations are completely mortal counterparts with indipendent personalities (but the same ethos and starting views as the respective god) and are not under the control of the deity and can be affected by mortal weaknesses and foiblies. This changes with the ToT during which the incarnations go into a coma and the manifestations act as the deities (much reduced) avatars and then after the ToT the manifestations return to the Outer Planes and the incarnations are left without divine powers.

To my knowledge Old Empires is the only source that goes into the details of the manifestation/incarnation differences so I follow this source.
Demzer Posted - 17 Jun 2018 : 15:38:19
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

Taking successful gods that endured millenia as your examples is selection bias. The odds are that lost gods outnumber the gods that still exist every bit as much as extinct animal species outnumber those still in existence.



I don't know what lost gods have to do with deity A getting bored at task B.

You missed my point, I was explicitly talking about deities getting tired of what they're doing. Even the flightest (Bast/Sharess) of deities still respects her ancient (more than three millenia old) duties to her pantheon, thus I find very difficult for a deity to get bored of something they're completely fine with at the start (ruling in the case of Gilgeam) in just one thousand one hundred years.

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

Given that Gilgeam is described as having grown bored of the demands of rulership over his two thousand year reign and that he is clearly a blithering paranoid idiot at the scale of Stalin and Mao in the 1300s, it's not much of a logical leap to assume that by the 400s, the process by which he originally heroic Gilgeam became the ineffectual tyrant of the FR 10 Old Empires had been more than half completed.



From Powers and Pantheons:
As centuries passed and Unther declined in prosperity and influence, as taxes rose and the people's hatred grew, Gilgeam became a cruel and jealous lord.*

This to me means that the decline started some time before the first open rebellions (caused by the rising taxes) in the 300s and 400s, when Unther "could not reach the elves of the Yuirwood with its traders or its armies".

As I stated, there is no clear indication in canon favoring one interpretation or another, but I think it more interesting for Gilgeam to be a doomed hero turned tyrant than just another incompetent tyrant. It's better to have him turn quickly paranoid and tyrannical at the mortals not understanding all his sacrifices to keep them safe than yet another parasite on the throne, just with bigger appetites.
So in my mind it's not that he slowly drifted into incompetency but when the setbacks started piling up and it's own people started to hate him he quickly went the downward spiral of tyranny and then disinterested himself from the ingrate mortals concerns.
He was so self-righteously convinced that he alone knew how to make and keep Unther great that when things went wrong and the people started questioning his rule, instead of hearing their pleas he kept his course going down the drain of open tyranny. This opens up the mistery of why he didn't get personally involved in the early setbacks and my speculations that something kept him bound to Unther.

*An aside, but from Powers and Pantheons we also know that it was Ramman that drove away Assuran/Hoar "centuries earlier", so it's wrong to use that event as an hint of Gilgeam's rising paranoia, like dazzlerdal di previously
Icelander Posted - 17 Jun 2018 : 15:22:44
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

On your first point I can agree that maybe the interloper deities acted a bit differently (although even Toril bound demigods have that particular kind of power, knowing when your name is spoken).

As I interpret the power that Faerunian gods have is that they are capable of hearing their name spoken and next seven words after it, but the actual chance that they are listening to each individual utterance is minuscule. Not even Greater Gods have infinite focus and concentration.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

On the second point you are wrong, the Pharaoh is not Horus-Re but an incarnation which is something that comes way short of an avatar or even a demigod and that's the biggest difference between Mulhorand and Unther. Mulhorand was ruled by powerful mortals occasionally asking for the advice of their godly relatives (the manifestations), Unther was ruled directly by the manifestation of Gilgeam.


I grant that there was a difference in how the God-Kings of Mulhorand and Unther handled mortality, with the Pharoah choosing serial rebirth over continual immortality (and thus escaping the same degree of madness), but it's clearly stated in the sources that after 1358 DR was the first time that the Pharoah of Mulhorand had a personality separate from the god Horus-Re.

I always imagined that incarnations were separate personalities and that royal heirs grew up mortal, but on assuming the role of Pharoah, the personality of Horus-Re subsumed most of the mortal one. Given that historical Egyptians believed that being made Pharoah literally made someone a god-on-earth, it seems appropriate and it fits all the evidence.

I agree that Gilgeam, as a god in physical form, was far more powerful than any incarnation or a mortal ruler. I just don't see any evidence in the history of Unther that his divine status granted him any special abilities of cogniscience, let alone limited omniscience. My interpretation is that by inhabiting only a physical form for millennia Gilgeam may have been able to retain for himself all of his awesome power for heroics and destruction, but he also limited himself in terms of information and understanding of the world, experiencing it in the same way as a mortal would.
Demzer Posted - 17 Jun 2018 : 15:08:28
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Also, but that's nitpicking, each god can hear anything spoken after his/her proper name and no god has attention problems (meaning they can hear as many voices as they want) especially if they are the major god of their pantheon (which Gilgeam was, before the ToT). This means that to get informed of everything officially happening in Unther he just had to add his name or one of his titles in the formal procedures for the most important stuff (trials, contracts, ecc...) which is something so simple that defeats the whole "he can't know everything" argument.


The Mulan God-Kings are fundamentally different from the other gods of Toril, at least until 1358 DR. I don't see any reason to assume that as physical gods living on the Prime Material they possessed the same partial omniscience as deities who inhabited the Outer Planes and took physical form only as avatars.

In fact, given how many plots against the Pharaoh, in neighbouring Mulhorand, succeeded or at least remained undiscovered, I can't see any way to interpret the history of the Old Empires in such a way to suggest that the physical God-Kings were completely free of the limitations of physical bodies (and brains).

The Pharaoh-who-is-Horus-Re seemed quite capable of being unaware of the true nature of his senior servants and apparently knew no more of the way his delegates exercised his power in outlying provinces than they chose to tell him. I've always assumed that the exact same thing applied to Gilgeam.



On your first point I can agree that maybe the interloper deities acted a bit differently (although even Toril bound demigods have that particular kind of power, knowing when your name is spoken).

On the second point you are wrong, the Pharaoh is not Horus-Re but an incarnation which is something that comes way short of an avatar or even a demigod and that's the biggest difference between Mulhorand and Unther. Mulhorand was ruled by powerful mortals occasionally asking for the advice of their godly relatives (the manifestations), Unther was ruled directly by the manifestation of Gilgeam.
Icelander Posted - 17 Jun 2018 : 14:58:24
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

This is all fair but you're automatically implying that Gilgeam was a paranoid tyrant in the 400s while those traits are canonically attributed to him only in the 1300s. It's like saying that Elminster in the early 200s could win in a spell battle against most other archmages because the Elminster of the 1300s can do that.

I am on record arguing against the tendency to project the modern personality of Gilgeam into the past and actually believe that Gilgeam was very different at earlier points in his history.

I don't think that Gilgeam was necessarily a paranoid tyrant for most of his 2,000 year rule. I do think, however, that long before he became tyrannical, he developed habits of autocracy and arbitrariness, and long before it developed into paranoia, Gilgeam began to lose his judgment about people.

To an extent, it's a matter of individual interpretation how long it took Gilgeam to lose his mind. He became the absolute ruler of Unther in -734 DR and by the 400s DR, he had therefore been the absolute ruler of his empire for over 1,100 years. Personally, I believe that as the son of Enlil, he already had some ceremonial duties before that and in the years between the Orcgate Wars and Enlil's abdication, Glgeam would have gradually assumed the reins of rulership as Enlil weakened.

So I think that ruling Unther had already become unutterably tedious to Gilgeam at the start of Dale Reckoning and that for the latter half of his rule, he grew increasingly detached from his duties. At first, he may have delegated authority to competent and trustworthy councilors, which is why Unther remained strong and vigorous.

Eventually, however, I imagine something must have happened to make Gilgeam lose his trust in grand viziers and prime minister types. It's not difficult to imagine that an absolute ruler who has grown bored of ruling might eventually give too much authority to people who abuse it.

It's perfectly possible that one or more of the early setbacks that began the long decline of the Second Empire were caused by traitorous grand viziers, governors and noblemen. I like to think Samathar, of the Wizard's Reach 'League of Samathar', was originally a very powerful Untheri lord, greatly trusted by Gileam, with a power base in the provinces of the Wizard's Reach.

It's an open question how sane or rational Gilgeam was between 0 DR and 900 DR (granting that he was neither after 900 DR), but I prefer to imagine his decline to have been extremely gradual over the centuries, in which case Gilgeam was more than halfway to his eventual 1300s end-state as a complete nutter at the time of the declaration of independence by Delthuntle and Laothkund in 482 DR.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

For me it's more interesting if a god had other reasons to not be involved beside being incompetent (as already said, incompetent tyrant #2351 is not orginal, not fantasy enough for me, nor suitable for a deity) or easily tired of ruling (getting tired of anything after one or two thousand years is preposterous for the standard of Faerunian gods, be they "new", interlopers or otherwise. The common counters to this argument would be: Jergal, but he clearly had other plans for stepping down; Lathander, but it's one of his personally traits of leaving things unfinished; Bast/Sharess, but she still, even after wandering around and being the epitome of flightyness, always rallies to support the Mulhorandi pantheon and her general Anhur after thousands of years).

Taking successful gods that endured millenia as your examples is selection bias. The odds are that lost gods outnumber the gods that still exist every bit as much as extinct animal species outnumber those still in existence.

A lot of adventures and campaign background make references to defunct gods that lost their worshippers, many of whom seem to have lasted comparatively short periods. Certainly, Talos is noted for leaving a process that allows a mortal to become a demigod with his sponsorship and then run through these new godlings like underwear. Over the millenia of Faerunian history, such demigods probably number in the hundreds and I imagine that there are many other gods whose rise and fall are not chronicled in campaign materials because the GM is expected to make them up as he needs them.

That aside, traditional gods living in 'god-form' on the Outer Planes and God-Kings, living in physical form on the Prime Material, do not appear to have as much in common as you are suggesting. Being trapped 24/10 in a physical form in mortal society seems to impose severe limitations on gods.*

*As an aside, the traditional Outer Planes 'god-forms' seem to come with their own limitations, mostly a monomaniac mentality as regards portfolios and an inability to reach rational compromises when these conflict, both of which seem to be a feature of Realms deities. Pretty much all I've read about Realms deities suggests that without the saner heads of mortal worshippers, most gods couldn't be trusted to manage a Kinko's.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

There is no need to argue this further because it's apparent that we have different visions of Gilgeam and his regime, which obviously is completely fine and welcome (I got some interesting inputs from this discussion).
I just don't like when something is presented as the only and obvious logical consequence of canonical statements in the sources like in this case.


Given that Gilgeam is described as having grown bored of the demands of rulership over his two thousand year reign and that he is clearly a blithering paranoid idiot at the scale of Stalin and Mao in the 1300s, it's not much of a logical leap to assume that by the 400s, the process by which he originally heroic Gilgeam became the ineffectual tyrant of the FR 10 Old Empires had been more than half completed.
Demzer Posted - 17 Jun 2018 : 14:09:32
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

What we are arguing is that as a paranoid tyrant who arbitrarily punishes anyone who displeases him, regardless of fairness or law ...



This is all fair but you're automatically implying that Gilgeam was a paranoid tyrant in the 400s while those traits are canonically attributed to him only in the 1300s. It's like saying that Elminster in the early 200s could win in a spell battle against most other archmages because the Elminster of the 1300s can do that.

For me it's more interesting if a god had other reasons to not be involved beside being incompetent (as already said, incompetent tyrant #2351 is not orginal, not fantasy enough for me, nor suitable for a deity) or easily tired of ruling (getting tired of anything after one or two thousand years is preposterous for the standard of Faerunian gods, be they "new", interlopers or otherwise. The common counters to this argument would be: Jergal, but he clearly had other plans for stepping down; Lathander, but it's one of his personally traits of leaving things unfinished; Bast/Sharess, but she still, even after wandering around and being the epitome of flightyness, always rallies to support the Mulhorandi pantheon and her general Anhur after thousands of years).

There is no need to argue this further because it's apparent that we have different visions of Gilgeam and his regime, which obviously is completely fine and welcome (I got some interesting inputs from this discussion).
I just don't like when something is presented as the only and obvious logical consequence of canonical statements in the sources like in this case.
Icelander Posted - 17 Jun 2018 : 13:40:09
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Also, but that's nitpicking, each god can hear anything spoken after his/her proper name and no god has attention problems (meaning they can hear as many voices as they want) especially if they are the major god of their pantheon (which Gilgeam was, before the ToT). This means that to get informed of everything officially happening in Unther he just had to add his name or one of his titles in the formal procedures for the most important stuff (trials, contracts, ecc...) which is something so simple that defeats the whole "he can't know everything" argument.


The Mulan God-Kings are fundamentally different from the other gods of Toril, at least until 1358 DR. I don't see any reason to assume that as physical gods living on the Prime Material they possessed the same partial omniscience as deities who inhabited the Outer Planes and took physical form only as avatars.

In fact, given how many plots against the Pharaoh, in neighbouring Mulhorand, succeeded or at least remained undiscovered, I can't see any way to interpret the history of the Old Empires in such a way to suggest that the physical God-Kings were completely free of the limitations of physical bodies (and brains).

The Pharaoh-who-is-Horus-Re seemed quite capable of being unaware of the true nature of his senior servants and apparently knew no more of the way his delegates exercised his power in outlying provinces than they chose to tell him. I've always assumed that the exact same thing applied to Gilgeam.
Gary Dallison Posted - 17 Jun 2018 : 13:34:36
quote:
Originally posted by Thraskir Skimper

Why would anyone worship a god who is just a petty person?



If you don't offer a prayer at every statue of Gilgeam you pass then you get executed or enslaved or thrown in the arena. If you don't turn up to his holy festivals then the same thing happens.
There are no other gods in unther apart from ramman and ishtar and they are severely restricted.

So in summary people worship Gilgeam because they have no choice.
Icelander Posted - 17 Jun 2018 : 13:32:49
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer


Saying that he didn't knew that all his conquered territories were slipping out of his grasp is a supremely cheesy explanation, also canon says that he turned more tyrannical and paranoid at each setback, thus he knew about them. And did nothing. This last bit is the part that interests me, why he did nothing, but apparently you are satisfied with the trope of the incompetent tyrant.


Gilgeam eventually learned about each setback, of course.

What we are arguing is that as a paranoid tyrant who arbitrarily punishes anyone who displeases him, regardless of fairness or law, he had almost certainly created a bureaucratic culture where avoidance of being the bearer of bad news or even associated with it in any way had become more important than reporting accurately to the center of power.

As such, Gilgeam probably did not learn of potential problems, risks and threats to the provinces in time to take effective action. He would most likely have learned about such threats very late, possibly only after a rebel army had slain the governor. At the time Gilgeam finally got news of how bad things were, sending reinforcements or dispatching slayers in his service would probably be insufficient to retrieve the catastrophe.

In fact, after centuries of neglect, the state of the Untheri army and the machinery of government would probably have been so bad that if an expedition of the scale that would have been needed to reconquer an outlying province once it had been lost would have posed great risks of depleting resources needed to keep other parts of the empire in line.

So, by the time Gilgeam learned of such setbacks as the revolt in Chessenta, it would have been impractical to take action to reverse them. The disastrous example of the Wizard Reach, where Unther's naval strength seems to have been broken by the unsuccessful attempt to reconquer the cities of the League of Samathar, would no doubt have been in the minds of the councilors and generals who were reluctant to push for another such attempt, this time to reconquer Chessenta.

And without the active support of the heads of the army and bureaucracy, who really handled the day-to-day aspects of ruling Unther, the jaded and disinterested Gilgeam of the last centuries of his rule is unlikely to have stirred himself into effective action.
Icelander Posted - 17 Jun 2018 : 13:02:06
quote:
Originally posted by Thraskir Skimper

Why would anyone worship a god who is just a petty person?


As far as I can tell, most real life and fictional polytheistic religions feature gods who display all the traits of ordinary persons, including pettiness, jealousy, lusts and bad temper. For that matter, as far as I can tell, monotheistic gods are quite capable of petty behaviour as well, based on those religious works I've read.

For all of human history, people have found reasons which seemed sufficient for them to practice such religions. That means I have no trouble believing that they would do so as well in a fictional setting.
Thraskir Skimper Posted - 17 Jun 2018 : 11:37:30
Why would anyone worship a god who is just a petty person?
Icelander Posted - 15 Jun 2018 : 11:50:18
quote:
Originally posted by moonbeast

The problem with your analogy is that Gilgeam was portrayed as an active "god-king" who actually ruled over interacted directly with the Untheric mortals. He was portrayed similar to the Greek demigod Hercules… who lived among the mortals and had many of them as his adventuring companions, and rarely did he (if ever) reside in the "Heavens of the Gods" (i.e. Mount Olympus).

Therefore, the OP's question is actually a very good one.


Gilgeam was in many ways like Hercules, while he was a Crown-Prince for more than a thousand years. He even started his rule in a similar manner.

Granted, travelling around having adventures and slaying legendary monsters is not actually good rulership, as it pretty much precludes being on top of what the bureaucrats who rule in your name are actually doing on a day-to-day basis, not to mention that while you may learn the true state of whatever place you visit in your adventures, your absence from the capital means that you are in more or less total ignorance about the larger picture, as collated by scribes and clerks in the capital from reports from the provinces.

As long as the legendary beasts being slain were actually more of a menace to locals than the dramatic fight with Gilgeam was, roving monster hunting was not actively harmful, at least. And it certainly made the God-King popular, in the first few centuries of his rule. And at first, one assumes that Gilgeam periodically spent some time at home between adventures, reforming the latest corrupt bureaucracy that had sprung up while he was away and instituting a new regime filled with more-or-less capable loyalists.

The problem is that as the centuries piled up, the challenges, both of monter hunting and rulership, began to pall. What was exciting and heroic in -900 DR merely seemed routine and boring by -90 DR. So, century by century, Gilgeam seems to have lost interest in ruling Unther, instead focusing on staging incredible set-pieces where he unnecessarily battled legendary beasts that had until then not been a threat to Unther, and, of course, on excesses of hedonistic pleasures and decadent innovation at his court.

For the first few times, leading his hosts to war must have been a glorious adventure and one Gilgeam was quite good at. Even later, he no doubt did it competently and had some fun reaffirming his magnificence, though he'd prefer to be hunting a legendary beast or inventing a new kind of drug-fueled orgy. The problem is that by the time he had gone out dozens or even hundreds of times to deal with rebellious subjects or invading barbarians, Gilgeam couldn't summon up enough energy to care about the endless minutia involved in commanding an army.

Eventually, he couldn't even be bothered to lead the armies even symbolically. After all, Unther was an empire. He had great lords and generals to take care of that sort of thing.

And over more than two thousand years of ruling Unther, Gilgeam must have grown so incomprehensively weary of the actual duties of rulership that nothing but a dire personal threat could ever persuade him to take a personal hand again. Reports from far provinces, mostly a tissue of lies and many months out of date, because no one wanted to offend him until it was absolutely too late to do anything else, had a very low chance of leading to any effective response from the capital.
moonbeast Posted - 15 Jun 2018 : 11:21:06
quote:
Originally posted by Archmage of Nowhere

If that's the case i'm a little confused.

quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

So when Tchazzar and Chessenta "conquered" Unther and controlled it for over a century, where was Gilgeam?

-- George Krashos



I guess the topic implies that you are unsatisfied with Unther being vassalized while Gilgeam was still around, but doesn't that just support a more hands off approach to being a deity?

Vs say like Lolth who would literally walk over to the invading army and give each soldier a personal wedgy or at least give someone the power to do it for her and creepily watch.


The problem with your analogy is that Gilgeam was portrayed as an active "god-king" who actually ruled over interacted directly with the Untheric mortals. He was portrayed similar to the Greek demigod Hercules… who lived among the mortals and had many of them as his adventuring companions, and rarely did he (if ever) reside in the "Heavens of the Gods" (i.e. Mount Olympus).

Therefore, the OP's question is actually a very good one.
Demzer Posted - 13 Jun 2018 : 20:17:51
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal
He can't have been that attentive and involved.



That's you own personal opinion, going against all the canon sources we have about him being a lawful hands-on ruler descending into tiranny and paranoia over centuries of setbacks.


quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

... did not have the backing of a demigod (Tchazzar) on their side ...



Tchazzar was a red dragon, not a demigod.

We know nothing about what transpired with Assuran, being another "war god" he could've been kicked out simply because he didn't fit in Gilgeam's lawful schemes (where the subservient Ramman was enough) when he took over as head of the pantheon. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to think that Gilgeam was mad from the start and canon explicitily states the contrary.

I already pointed out all the times that Gilgeam didn't march out to war and pointed out it was strange.

Saying that he didn't knew that all his conquered territories were slipping out of his grasp is a supremely cheesy explanation, also canon says that he turned more tyrannical and paranoid at each setback, thus he knew about them. And did nothing. This last bit is the part that interests me, why he did nothing, but apparently you are satisfied with the trope of the incompetent tyrant.
Gary Dallison Posted - 13 Jun 2018 : 19:37:04
He can't have been that attentive and involved. The first two cities to rebel did not have the backing of a demigod (Tchazzar) on their side and yet no mention is made of his involvement in the campaign to retake it ( despite his documented love of combat ).

The God rules are different from edition to edition so cannot be used to justify a claim such as Gilgeam knows about everything in unther. If that was true why didn't he (or enlil) know about tiamats secret cults in unther centuries ago (it's difficult to plot against someone without mentioning his name).

A manifestation of his paranoia is the removal of other gods from unther and that began with hoar over a millennia ago. That's just one of the reasons why I believe he has been a nutter since he became the godking and almost certainly beforehand.
Demzer Posted - 13 Jun 2018 : 19:21:20
As I already said, it's all well and good if you want to go for an incompetent Gilgeam. The sources are few and kind of disagree with each other so whatever.

I just want to point out that you're attributing Gilgeam's 1350s paranoia and ennui to the Gilgeam of the 400s at the apex of the Second Empire and that's not something I would be comfortable in doing.

After loosing all the acquired territories (with the last blows being in the 900s with the war with Tchazzar) I can see him shutting off from the world in denial, but not while he was at the apex of power.

Also, but that's nitpicking, each god can hear anything spoken after his/her proper name and no god has attention problems (meaning they can hear as many voices as they want) especially if they are the major god of their pantheon (which Gilgeam was, before the ToT). This means that to get informed of everything officially happening in Unther he just had to add his name or one of his titles in the formal procedures for the most important stuff (trials, contracts, ecc...) which is something so simple that defeats the whole "he can't know everything" argument. That is, until he couldn't stand Unther's decline anymore and turned everything off, and that's when he closed himself in Unthalass and stopped caring.
But it makes no sense for him to do that in 482 when the first 2 cities rebel.
Icelander Posted - 13 Jun 2018 : 17:47:23
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

Well I'm glad I'm on the same page as a fellow Unther enthusiast in my interpretation of Gilgeam.

Ps I think you meant messemprar for the revolt.


Yeah, that was meant to be Messemprar. Will fix it.
Gary Dallison Posted - 13 Jun 2018 : 17:12:13
Well I'm glad I'm on the same page as a fellow Unther enthusiast in my interpretation of Gilgeam.

Ps I think you meant messemprar for the revolt.
Icelander Posted - 13 Jun 2018 : 16:10:43
Gilgeam was tyrannical, but he wasn't particularly attentive, competent or sensible in the latter part of his reign.

This is a key issue. Being a god in human form didn't imbue Gilgeam with omniscience. Faerunian deities aren't omniscient, as a rule, and the history of the Mulan God-Kings suggests that they may not have known any more of the world around them than any other awesomely powerful physical being would, i.e. only what they personally experienced, divined with magic or were told.

It is a well known phenomenon from the real world that paranoid tyrants who severely punish anyone who displeases them tend to breed a bureaucracy that spends most of its energy on avoiding responsibility. If no one dares tell the tyrant the truth, how will he ever have a clear picture of what is going on in his realm?

Even with the best (worst?) will in the world, Gilgeam couldn't personally oppress all of his subjects. Indeed, as far as the actual business of rulership is concerned, he was almost exclusively dependent on his lords and their servants. This is because anyone existing in a physical body, subject to the same rules of time and space as mortals, cannot actually have time to personally check on more than a few hundred people (and usually can't effectively supervise more than a dozen).

A modern liberal democracy interferes with the lives of its citizens to an almost unimaginable degree, compared to any pre-industrial tyranny. This isn't because modern rulers are worse, far from it, but because the vast machinery of modern government is only slightly over a century old and would be impossible for any society less rich.

While the Forgotten Realms does not contain historical societies and most people in the 1370s DR in the Realms are far richer than their counterparts in ancient or medieval societies on Earth, they are still not as rich as the leading countries of the Industrial Revolution were at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th.

I don't have any trouble believing that Gilgeam spent several centuries wallowing in ennui and decadence in his Unthalass palace, idly indulging in petty punishment and impractical tyrannical proclamations while being wildly out of touch with actual conditions in his decaying 'empire'.

And due to the terror he was held in by his lords and bureaucrats, anyone who faced a crisis would be equally concerned with avoiding having to tell Gilgeam anything he disliked as actually dealing with the crisis. With the result that any provincial governors and local lords would routinely have lied and falsified reports from their areas of responsibility, much as Soviet bureaucrats did.

Local lords would thus have been more or less unable to cooperate to deal with a crisis or send for help from the capital in enough time for it to matter. Each local lord would face any crisis on his own and only when he had already failed to deal with it would Gilgeam hear of it, by which time it would be too late for anything but a temper tantrum and executions of various people who may or may not have had any responsibility for the failure.

Note that in 1357 DR, at the revolt of Messemprar, not all that far from Unthalass and unquestionably a part of the ancient heartlands of Unther, Gilgeam did not respond in any way until after the local government had fallen. And then he sent Shurrupakk and an army, neither of whom appear to have been capable of ending the revolt. Significantly, Gilgeam apparently never considered going there himself or leading an army there, which I, at least, took to mean that he had long ago grown so bored of actual rulership that only a personal threat to his own life could stir him to action.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 08 Jun 2018 : 01:25:11
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

A good privvy councillor knows how to watch their king. They know when they've had a good meal and had some relaxing in the harem and so they present the good documents they want approved. They know when the king is impatient because he needs to void or is bored and so present him with the documents they don't want him to read but just approve.



Now I have a picture in my head of some wizard sneaking in to collect the excrement that Gilgeam creates because its divinely powerful. It probably makes great fertilizer.




Holy crap!

Zeromaru X Posted - 07 Jun 2018 : 23:56:44
Well, Old Empires says the Green Lands were magically enhanced to be more fertile...
sleyvas Posted - 07 Jun 2018 : 22:33:04
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

A good privvy councillor knows how to watch their king. They know when they've had a good meal and had some relaxing in the harem and so they present the good documents they want approved. They know when the king is impatient because he needs to void or is bored and so present him with the documents they don't want him to read but just approve.



Now I have a picture in my head of some wizard sneaking in to collect the excrement that Gilgeam creates because its divinely powerful. It probably makes great fertilizer.
Gary Dallison Posted - 07 Jun 2018 : 12:32:08
Unfortunately randomly selected deus ex machina to fudge a story or plot is just as bad as having a God in person.

There is nothing wrong with a king not knowing what is happening in his own country.

In the pseudo medieval fantasy era all news is spread by word of mouth (or bird post if you do GoT). Travellers and merchants bring news from neighbouring regions and counties to the taverns and markets.
That news is distorted by the teller and how close he was to the event and how many other people were involved in the chain.

So a commoner probably wouldn't hear about the outcome of the battle between chessenta and unther until at least a month after it happened and the version he heard could bear little resemblance to the truth.

Gilgeam does not frequent taverns or markets, he does not converse with commoners or merchants. In fact a kings exposure to the outside world is through his court and that is invitation only.
Gilgeam could invite a travelling minstrel to his court but he doesn't like non Mulan. If the minstrel displeased him they will be executed so the minstrel is likely only to tell him the version Gilgeam wants to hear.
Gilgeam could hear news from his nobles at court but again they run the risk of death if they displeased him.

So Gilgeams exposure to news is often through his council (who he appoints to provide and deal with news for him). If the council manipulates the news how will Gilgeam hear about it.
He could travel to the region but Gilgeam is an idle ruler by now and rarely leaves his comforts.

So there is no need to remove Gilgeam for a time, if he does not want to hear the truth he will not. It is canon (A small paragraph in a sourcebook) that the histories of Unther are edited to exalt Gilgeam. I doubt the edits are done by Gilgeam personally so his council have been modifying the official version of events for some time and to contradict that version in unther is to invite death.

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