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Arimol
Acolyte

United Kingdom
2 Posts

Posted - 02 Jun 2012 :  02:19:41  Show Profile Send Arimol a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I know I'm new here but something has been bugging me for a long time. At the end of Waterdeep we get a glimpse that Ao is NOT the overlord of Faeruen, just another pawn. Could this this unknown entity be having a say in what is going on?

Kentinal
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Posted - 02 Jun 2012 :  02:25:10  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well that has been open to interpretation, the general idea is that AO's overlord is the DM.

"Small beings can have small wisdom," the dragon said. "And small wise beings are better than small fools. Listen: Wisdom is caring for afterwards."
"Caring for afterwards ...? Ker repeated this without understanding.
"After action, afterwards," the dragon said. "Choose the afterwards first, then the action. Fools choose action first."
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Dennis
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9933 Posts

Posted - 02 Jun 2012 :  03:04:08  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Arimol

Could this this unknown entity be having a say in what is going on?


Absolutely. Though mortals and gods alike would hardly know of it. Ao's "Master" was never mentioned at all after the Waterdeep novel.

Every beginning has an end.
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3338 Posts

Posted - 02 Jun 2012 :  03:43:28  Show Profile  Visit Dalor Darden's Homepage Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

quote:
Originally posted by Arimol

Could this this unknown entity be having a say in what is going on?


Absolutely. Though mortals and gods alike would hardly know of it. Ao's "Master" was never mentioned at all after the Waterdeep novel.



In fact, Ao's "master" isn't even known to the Gods. Only the reader of the novel has a clue he exists...

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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6139 Posts

Posted - 02 Jun 2012 :  03:45:25  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Most mortals are unaware of Ao, let alone his peers or masters.

The Faerūnian churches explicitly do not teach of Ao, he receives no official recognition. Various cults of Ao come and go, their priests receive no spells nor communion with Ao (although other deities have impersonated Ao at times for their own purposes), people of the Realms who've heard of Ao at all probably assume that he is little more than just another false god or aspect of an unimportant godling.

Ao is basically unknown and inconsequential in other worlds, even in places like Sigil - if known at all he would generally be regarded as the great godly overlord of only a single Prime, although perhaps the leader of a pantheon or supreme power in his world he is hardly a being of cosmic omni-importance.

I interpret the passage from Waterdeep as being a sort of in-joke, Ao's Masters (I got the impression there were several, even if Ao only reported to one) would be the DMs and authors who "run" his worlds, perhaps even the game designers at WotC.

Eat lots of garlic - it keeps the elves and vampires away.
Don't stick your sword into dragons, you just don't know where they've been.
Avoid stepping on halflings. They stick to your boots, will smell awful, and are impossible to scrape off.
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[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 02 Jun 2012 03:49:03
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Lord Karsus
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Posted - 02 Jun 2012 :  04:05:05  Show Profile  Send Lord Karsus an AOL message Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

I interpret the passage from Waterdeep as being a sort of in-joke, Ao's Masters (I got the impression there were several, even if Ao only reported to one) would be the DMs and authors who "run" his worlds, perhaps even the game designers at WotC.


-As did I.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

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Eldacar
Learned Scribe

254 Posts

Posted - 02 Jun 2012 :  14:29:30  Show Profile  Visit Eldacar's Homepage  Click to see Eldacar's MSN Messenger address Send Eldacar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would find it unlikely that Ao's master takes any active role in Realmspace at all. Even Ao himself is only concerned with things that directly threaten the overarching Balance, and it takes quite a bit to get him to intervene. He doesn't even like mortals knowing he exists, which is why he's been scrubbing his name from memories, minds and history books since the Time of Troubles. He monitors and observes. He rarely intervenes.

His master would be even less inclined to take an active interest. Ao refers to Realmspace as an "assignment" in that epilogue, so if anything I would conclude that his master gives him an assignment and expects him to carry it out. While he might check in from time to time, Ao probably has free reign in administering to his job however he deems necessary.

"It always ends. That's what gives it value." ~Death of the Endless
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Lord Karsus
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Posted - 03 Jun 2012 :  02:44:46  Show Profile  Send Lord Karsus an AOL message Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Agreed. The only 'repercussions' that Ao having a master is that, if Ao has a superior, then Ao isn't completely omnipotent within Realmspace, as presumably, Ao's superior would have the ability to undo something that Ao does.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3338 Posts

Posted - 03 Jun 2012 :  02:49:33  Show Profile  Visit Dalor Darden's Homepage Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-Agreed. The only 'repercussions' that Ao having a master is that, if Ao has a superior, then Ao isn't completely omnipotent within Realmspace, as presumably, Ao's superior would have the ability to undo something that Ao does.



Or Ao's boss can't "fit" into the Multiverse without causing some sort of balance issue...and so uses Ao as a free agent...just a thought.

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Ayrik
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Canada
6139 Posts

Posted - 03 Jun 2012 :  03:12:04  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If Ao has peers and superiors, then it's likely there are overgod counterparts in Krynnspace, Greyspace, etc. Have they ever been described in canon?

Eat lots of garlic - it keeps the elves and vampires away.
Don't stick your sword into dragons, you just don't know where they've been.
Avoid stepping on halflings. They stick to your boots, will smell awful, and are impossible to scrape off.
Ah, of course. Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.
[/Ayrik]
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Therise
Master of Realmslore

1265 Posts

Posted - 03 Jun 2012 :  03:16:32  Show Profile Send Therise a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I rather dislike Ao on principle, and don't use him. His "boss" could be the DM, but that would seriously break the 4th wall IMO. Having AO seems to defeat the whole purpose of multifaceted polytheistic deities anyway.. to me, him having a boss would make that even worse. Who are AO's peers, the Lady of Pain and ?

Nah, not for me. In my Realms, the gods are gods. They're distant, don't intervene in major ways, and the Time of Troubles didn't happen.


4E Realms was awful, but it's water under the Boareskyr Bridge. Let's make 5E Realms truly shine!
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3338 Posts

Posted - 03 Jun 2012 :  03:21:44  Show Profile  Visit Dalor Darden's Homepage Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Therise

I rather dislike Ao on principle, and don't use him. His "boss" could be the DM, but that would seriously break the 4th wall IMO. Having AO seems to defeat the whole purpose of multifaceted polytheistic deities anyway.. to me, him having a boss would make that even worse. Who are AO's peers, the Lady of Pain and ?

Nah, not for me. In my Realms, the gods are gods. They're distant, don't intervene in major ways, and the Time of Troubles didn't happen.


I prefer that the Time of Troubles didn't happen either...and thus most of my games start before the 2nd Ed. era; although there are many published sources that I like to use still for lore.

I can't help jumping on the bandwagon though sometimes...I just like to stir the pot and see what cooks up.

I'm sure some may have noticed by now that I don't always even remain constant in my views on things...but they may not realize I do it on purpose.

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Gray Richardson
Master of Realmslore

USA
1287 Posts

Posted - 03 Jun 2012 :  16:39:07  Show Profile  Visit Gray Richardson's Homepage Send Gray Richardson a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Krynn's High God is considered an overgod. As far as I know, Ao and the High God are the only two acknowledged overgods. I suspect Ptah is also one. And Anubis is probably one too since he took over his role as guardian of the dead gods. The Lady of Pain is probably also an overgod, although that is a point of contention among many.

In the divine ranking system, there are 20 possible divine ranks that a deity can possess, similar to the 20 character levels that a PC can possess. Just as a PC becomes "epic" upon attaining a 21st level, gods become overgods at DVR 21 and above. So an overgod is similar to an "epic" deity. See page 6 of Faiths & Pantheons.

However, upon achieving overdivinity, the overgod breaks out of the divine system and is no longer considered a god. Overgods are qualitatively different from gods. They do not require worship. They are not beholden to mortal belief. They don't grant spells or answer prayers. They often wipe all memory and record of their existence. They operate under different rules. They are "beyond the ken" of mortal understanding. And their concerns presumably lie in greater dimensions beyond the universe we know.

Just as it takes some kind of epic quest, trial, or ritual for a mortal to ascend to divinity (see the details regarding divine ascension in Faiths & Avatars page 4) we might surmise that it also takes some kind of epic godly quest, trial, or ritual for a god to ascend to overdivine status. Think of it like a PhD thesis. Or an Eagle Scout project. One such ritual seems to be the creation of a crystal sphere.

Another such project might be to create a race and then spread that race to multiple worlds until a critical mass is reached. Gods like Corellon, Moradin, and Annam seem headed down that path. I surmise that Annam is quite close to achieving his goal, if he hasn't already. He has been cloistered in seclusion for centuries, some believe out of despair. But I suggest he has been preparing for overdivine ascension. In fact, he has been absent so long, that he may have already succeeded and no one has realized.

Note that humans have no racial patron, a strong indication that the patron god of humans ascended long ago and has been forgotten.

Another such ritual might be the destruction of a crystal sphere, of which there is evidence of at least one such cataclysm.

Faerūnian sages believe that Toril's crystal sphere was created roughly 70,000 years ago (give or take). Prior to that, Ao may have been simply a DVR 20 god seeking ascension to overdivinity. His creation of Realmspace probably put him over the top to DVR 21.

I'm not sure how long it takes an overgod to advance in ranks, and I don't know if 70,000 years is a long time or a short time in overdivine circles. It seems like a short period to me in cosmic scales, so presumably Ao has not advanced very far. He might be level 21, or 22, or 23.

In DVR terms, the first 5 divine ranks are demi-god status (now termed exarch) which usually means the god is subservient to a higher-level god. Very often the god that sponsored the demi-god's ascension. Byt the way, another qualification in Realmspace for a mortal to ascend to godhood is that he must be sponsored by an existing god. I don't know if the sponsorship of an overgod is required for a god to ascend to overdivinity, but that could be possible. Or if not absolutely required, sponsorship might make it less difficult to ascend than attempting it without sponsorship.

If there is some kind of sponsorship mechanism, then we might also infer there would be a period of service or apprenticeship that new overgods owe to their sponsors for a few millennia after ascending.

So there are probably as many overgods as there are crystal spheres. And then there are probably a lot more that ascended through other means. That's a lot of overgods. One might presume that they have some sort of organization or culture. When a god ascends to over-divinity, he is not ascending into a vacuum. New overgods are probably recruited to some crucial higher-dimensional task. And there could be different factions of overgods that pursue different interests. Some may work in concert with each other and it's possible that some groups work at odds to the others. We can only speculate.

So what do overgods do with their time? Well, they are probably concerned with higher dimensional things. Keeping the far realms from seeping into the multi-verse. Fending off threats to the multi-verse from within and without. Keeping physical constants from deviating. Or pursuits that we could not possibly fathom.

Some overgods may watch over their crystal spheres for a time. Until they lose interest, become distracted by greater things, or feel the gods within the crystal sphere have things under control and are keeping it stable.

Ao is not an active presence in Realmspace. He doesn't do any of the things that gods do. He is more like a sysadmin. He tries to keep things running smoothly and he seems to be in charge of granting permissions and clearance levels to all the gods.

The fact that no other crystal spheres, aside from Krynn, have overgods might mean that either those spheres have watchers that keep their existence a better secret, or they have lost interest and moved on to other things. I suspect that with older worlds, the latter is more often true. Perhaps when an overgod achieves DVR 26 he is promoted to lesser overgod and then can be more independent. But I'm just speculating.

All this to say that it is not surprising that Ao reports to a higher power. The luminous being may be the overgod who sponsored Ao's ascension. Or, having ascended, Ao found an organized community of overgods that recruited him to serve a function as protector of Realmspace. The luminous being might be the district manager, responsible for several crystal spheres in the vicinity of Realmspace.

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sfdragon
Master of Realmslore

1960 Posts

Posted - 03 Jun 2012 :  17:16:11  Show Profile Send sfdragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
foolish mortals. AO's boss is the great and powerful Cthulu.

why is being a wizard like being a drow? both are likely to find a dagger in the back from a rival or one looking to further his own goals, fame and power


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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3338 Posts

Posted - 03 Jun 2012 :  20:19:30  Show Profile  Visit Dalor Darden's Homepage Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Cthulu is actually a rather weak Great Old One...at least when compared to the likes of Hastur or (much worse!) Azathoth, the "Center of the Universe" which is the size of a star!

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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
2877 Posts

Posted - 03 Jun 2012 :  20:45:33  Show Profile  Send Lord Karsus an AOL message Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Therise

Who are AO's peers, the Lady of Pain and ?

-In Realmspace, nobody, given he's the absolute power of the Crystal Sphere.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6139 Posts

Posted - 03 Jun 2012 :  20:57:41  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Gray Richardson

So what do overgods do with their time? Well, they are probably concerned with higher dimensional things. Keeping the far realms from seeping into the multi-verse. Fending off threats to the multi-verse from within and without. Keeping physical constants from deviating. Or pursuits that we could not possibly fathom.

As I understand it, lately they've been fairly busy designing and playtesting D&D "5E".

Eat lots of garlic - it keeps the elves and vampires away.
Don't stick your sword into dragons, you just don't know where they've been.
Avoid stepping on halflings. They stick to your boots, will smell awful, and are impossible to scrape off.
Ah, of course. Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.
[/Ayrik]
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Nicolai Withander
Master of Realmslore

Denmark
1070 Posts

Posted - 03 Jun 2012 :  23:41:44  Show Profile Send Nicolai Withander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I dont want to create a "vs" question, but can it be said that the Lady of Pain is "stronger" than AO if on neutral ground, or can no such thing be said???

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29637 Posts

Posted - 04 Jun 2012 :  05:02:30  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Nicolai Withander

I dont want to create a "vs" question, but can it be said that the Lady of Pain is "stronger" than AO if on neutral ground, or can no such thing be said???





We don't have enough info about either to make that call, thinks I.

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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
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Posted - 04 Jun 2012 :  06:06:13  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gray Richardson

Krynn's High God is considered an overgod. As far as I know, Ao and the High God are the only two acknowledged overgods.
I wouldn't necessarily label Krynn's High God as an overgod similar in both status and power, to Ao. In fact, I'd say the High God ranks a little higher on the deity-scale.

We know, from several sources, that the High God created the entire "universe" and is the only source of creation in DRAGONLANCE. He/She/It has no known "Boss" or Lord Who Is Above [like the supposed entity said to reside in a existence well above that of Ao]. The High God is the Be-All and End-All of Krynnspace and Beyond. Whereas, Ao has an acknowledged superior -- an entity who, we can suppose, created the universe-entire, and the energy-form that would eventually coalesce into Ao.

If nothing else, and for the sake of comparison, I would say Chaos sits at the same level of power and status as that of Ao. A divinely primal force of creation [and, when the need requires, destruction] with an acknowledged superior being above.

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Lord Karsus
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Posted - 04 Jun 2012 :  20:16:08  Show Profile  Send Lord Karsus an AOL message Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Nicolai Withander

I dont want to create a "vs" question, but can it be said that the Lady of Pain is "stronger" than AO if on neutral ground, or can no such thing be said???

-We don't have enough information. Who says that the Lady of Pain can leave Sigil, to go to neutral ground? Who says that Ao can leave Realmspace, to go to neutral ground? And then, of course, what exactly is neutral ground?

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Fellfire
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 04 Jun 2012 :  20:32:05  Show Profile Send Fellfire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Presumably, AO = Alpha Omega, the ''be-all, end-all.''

As usual, Gray Sage, your insights are fascinating.

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Edited by - Fellfire on 04 Jun 2012 20:36:59
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 04 Jun 2012 :  21:22:43  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

And then, of course, what exactly is neutral ground?



Switzerland, of course.

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Nicolai Withander
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Denmark
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Posted - 04 Jun 2012 :  21:29:26  Show Profile Send Nicolai Withander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
True...
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Ayrik
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Canada
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Posted - 04 Jun 2012 :  21:45:14  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ptah is a very interesting choice, in some ways seemingly something halfway between god and overgod. I'm not sure I can agree about Anubis, outside the Stargate universe he's not particularly remarkable. I shall ponder and cogitate upon these facts.

Then again, I find the entire notion of supreme overdeities a bit too convenient for my tastes. Different orders and scales of existence I can understand better, certainly Realmspace and Krynnspace (and our Solar System) could just be pretty marbles in somebody's overcosmic gaming ... but it still seems unnecessary and contrived. A painting of an artist shouldn't be able to paint itself.

Eat lots of garlic - it keeps the elves and vampires away.
Don't stick your sword into dragons, you just don't know where they've been.
Avoid stepping on halflings. They stick to your boots, will smell awful, and are impossible to scrape off.
Ah, of course. Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.
[/Ayrik]
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
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Posted - 05 Jun 2012 :  02:13:35  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

Presumably, AO = Alpha Omega, the ''be-all, end-all.''

Ao is the name of thirteen cloud gods in Oceanic mythology, as I recall. And Ao is also the name of the four dragon kings in Chinese mythology.

I've heard arguments too, about the Anu/Ao connection. Honestly, Anu isn't a whole lot like Ao. They're both distant gods, but that's it, and they only have one letter of their names in common. Yeah, and the tablet thing, which is obviously Mesopotamian in influence, but the Tablet of Destiny was stolen from Enlil, not Anu.

The Alpha Omega idea seems much more persuasive to me, although the symbol for Omega doesn't look anything like the letter "o."

I still think the Aleph-Null idea isn't too much less likely, though. It was noted that an Aleph doesn't look like an A, but an Omega doesn't look like an O either. In either case, they work as English abbreviations.

Perhaps it's a combination of all or many of these things, subconscious and concious: the Anu thing, the Oceanian and Chinese deities, Alpha Omega and Aleph-Null.

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