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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29701 Posts

Posted - 05 Jun 2012 :  04:06:22  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Sage

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.



Or maybe it's like how Oz got it's name -- the author looked at a filing cabinet, saw that one of the drawers was labeled O-Z, and came up with the name Oz. (This is one of the stories on that, and may be only a legend -- but it's not too hard to imagine a similar inspiration for the word Ao)

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Eldacar
Learned Scribe

254 Posts

Posted - 05 Jun 2012 :  06:12:17  Show Profile  Visit Eldacar's Homepage  Click to see Eldacar's MSN Messenger address Send Eldacar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gray Richardson

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.

I'm recalling a post on the old WotC Gleemax forums about overgods and how you might rank them. The person took the Divine Rank system up to 30, assigning specific "degrees of influence" to the various ranks. I've adapted it myself, and came up with the following:

21-24 - Overgod charged with a crystal sphere. The rank of the overgod reflects the power/size/influence of the sphere. I believe the person attributed it to the power of magic, with Ao higher ranked because Realmspace is more magic-rich than, say, a hypothetical Earth crystal sphere that we live in, which is dead magic, but that doesn't feel right to me, since the overgod could adjust magic in the sphere at a whim. So I'd bank on it being some other aspect instead. Within the sphere, the overgod is supreme and controls the allocation of resources and elements from outside/above into their assigned sphere (e.g. the rank 26-27 overgod-exemplars mentioned below), with the only exception being the person handing out their assignments having the ability to stop them if it is deemed needful. If a deity were to "break into" overgod status, they would join the ranks of the overgods and be given assignments in accordance with their new status.

25 - Probably equivalent to your "district" manager concept. This is the cosmic force administering the various crystal spheres. There are probably several of them, but as Ao mentions, there are millions of assignments like his, so they have a fairly broad purview.

26 - Multiversal exemplars of an alignment or concept. For example, the overgod of lawful evil (i.e. all of that alignment, quite literally the cosmic concept of it) would be Asmodeus (in my cosmos, anyway). The overgod-exemplar of Chaotic Evil would be the Abyss itself (it's hinted to be an overgod, or at least a conscious force of unspeakable power, in some sources).

27 - Multiversal concept of magic (e.g. the Serpent). It is an overgod in the sense that it is magic. All magic, everywhere. Other cosmic absolutes of this type would also rank on this level.

28 - Balance maintainers. More or less the Lady of Pain or similar. If you read comics, then the Endless would fit into this tier. Underlying concepts and patterns to existence as a whole, that maintain the balance and keep things running smoothly in some unknown fashion. They're not gods, really. They're patterns. Wave forms that form the structure of reality. Which might, in a place where belief can shape reality, be why the Lady is so against being thought of as a deity.

29 - No known occupants, but again, if anybody reads comics then the Living Tribunal from Marvel, or Lucifer Morningstar/Michael Demiurgos from DC, would fit into this slot.

30 - This is where the system ends. This is the One Above All Others. The Ultimate. The Singularity. Top Dog. Man In Charge. Nobody equals him, nobody exceeds him.

That's more or less the way I'd structure it. Of course, we can never really know, since it's explicitly beyond mortal understanding once you hit the overgod levels. I do like the comparison to a sysadmin, though.

"It always ends. That's what gives it value." ~Death of the Endless
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Nicolai Withander
Master of Realmslore

Denmark
1070 Posts

Posted - 05 Jun 2012 :  18:56:16  Show Profile Send Nicolai Withander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I like it... Though I do think I remember reading something like this somewhere. I might even have been yours.
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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
2879 Posts

Posted - 05 Jun 2012 :  21:42:05  Show Profile  Send Lord Karsus an AOL message Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-The Giant in the Playground forums.

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Othinnar
Acolyte

1 Posts

Posted - 05 Jun 2012 :  21:50:00  Show Profile Send Othinnar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nicolai, I think you may read it the Dicefreaks Forum. Eldacar, are you maybe someone imortant from Diceafreaks?

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by The Sage

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.



Or maybe it's like how Oz got it's name -- the author looked at a filing cabinet, saw that one of the drawers was labeled O-Z, and came up with the name Oz. (This is one of the stories on that, and may be only a legend -- but it's not too hard to imagine a similar inspiration for the word Ao)



I'm one of the people who thought that Ao has a connection with Anu, and if I remember good, the Overgod was covered in stars in the books? If so, it's a very sky-god thing. Also the Mesopotamian tablets of fate were first in Anu's or Tiamat's possession, and later in Enlil's or Marduk's, depending on the version of myths. And I think that maybe Ao's author first got the name from filling tablets, and when developing the Over Power beyond the name, he was inspired by some, or all of the above deities?

Edited by - Othinnar on 05 Jun 2012 21:56:30
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31687 Posts

Posted - 06 Jun 2012 :  01:46:37  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 Othinnar

I'm one of the people who thought that Ao has a connection with Anu, and if I remember good, the Overgod was covered in stars in the books? If so, it's a very sky-god thing.
Ao was said to have worn a robe that was apparently crafted from celestial cloth -- black and dotted with millions of stars and thousands of moons -- in patterns that were not quite perceptible but lent the robe a harmonious feel.

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Eldacar
Learned Scribe

254 Posts

Posted - 06 Jun 2012 :  06:21:44  Show Profile  Visit Eldacar's Homepage  Click to see Eldacar's MSN Messenger address Send Eldacar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Othinnar

Nicolai, I think you may read it the Dicefreaks Forum. Eldacar, are you maybe someone imortant from Diceafreaks?

No. I read posts there on occasion (some of the builds are interesting), but I've never joined up. I got the original list from WotC's Gleemax, though I suppose the person could have posted it elsewhere as well. I doubt that my own version (even though it's similar to what I adapted it from) has ever been read by anybody else, since I've never posted it to the Internet before.

"It always ends. That's what gives it value." ~Death of the Endless
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slayer
Acolyte

USA
8 Posts

Posted - 05 Jul 2012 :  15:26:27  Show Profile Send slayer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The distinction it's trying to make is clear, each "crystal sphere" has it's own pantheon and therefor it's own overgod. Clearly some force (Ao's boss)regulates the transfer of powers across these entirely separate yet somehow connected realities. The realms are setup in a way where travel, to anywhere and anytime, is at least feasible (depending what power and knowledge you possess). It's hard to say whether these realms even operate on the same time-scales and apparently crystal spheres can be destroyed as well (though I figure if the spellplague didn't do it then what will?).

"When you get to hell, tell em I sent ya, you'll get a discount"
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6144 Posts

Posted - 27 Feb 2017 :  01:22:35  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Sage

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.

The passage "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end" was first written in Chapter 1 Verse 8 of the Book of Revelations when the New Testament was first written (in Classical Greek). Written with the first letter and the last letter of the (Classical Greek) alphabet, just the letters themselves, not the names of the letters. This passage didn't appear verbatim in older (pre-Greek) manuscripts and hasn't consistently appeared every later (post-Greek) version, although it was part of the (Early Modern English) "Authorized Version" King James Bible which has become a standard reference baseline for the majority of (Modern English) Bible versions written afterwards.

But Alpha and Omega is still just a Biblical reference, widely accepted by Christians for nearly 2000 years, it's popularly understood to mean some very general and some very specific things fundamental to Christian faith, and - Christian or not - we've all heard it and been at least a little impressed by the elegant method and meaning within the wording.

All that being said, I think it's fair to say that Christians (scholars, clergy, and laymen alike) often disagree on the exact meaning or even the validity of Alpha and Omega, and Christian monotheism isn't particularly valid in a fantasy world populated by a plethora of Realms deities. Even the most profound message Alpha and Omega could possibly bring to us here simply wouldn't be applicable (or true) in the Realms.

Lord Ao, Overgod and supreme Creator of the Realms (after Ed and Grubb, lol) isn't quite lofty enough to truly be the Alpha and Omega of the entire cosmos. He's not at all an ultimate supreme power - he reports to a boss, he has to clean up after his gods, he permits travel between "his" sphere and others which are (at least sometimes) the domain of other overgodly entities, he apparently can't (or won't) properly enforce his own rules and proclamations upon mortals, Tablets of Fate go missing, the Weave is full of holes, smokepowder production is always increasing, etc, etc.

Aleph Null is far more sensible. "Cardinality of a countably infinite set." A translation for non-mathematicians might be "divide by zero is undefined or equals infinity" with the understanding that this sort of infinity isn't truly and absolutely infinite without limits, it's a "smaller" infinity or set of infinities (bound by the limits of countably infinite sets) which is still quite incomprehensibly infinite but less than the truly infinite infinities it can approximate or approach, lol.
In plain English, I'd say Lord Ao can command powers which appear to have (nearly) infinite magnitude within the boundaries of his sphere/domain, but these would be far less infinite (or even nonexistent) outside those boundaries. Aleph is of course the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet, Null is derived from the Latin word for "none".

But in the end I think these apparent linguistic similarities have no real significance. Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and English have no place in the Realms - assuming that our rulebooks and novels and Realmslore have all been translated for our convenience. Alpha Omega and Aleph Null are both weak coincidences, especially since their origins and symbols are so tenuously removed from "AO" - although coincidental relationship is not impossible and an intentionally or accidentally contrived relationship on the part of the authors/designers is actually somewhat probable.

For all we know Ao is just a designation for the guy in charge of the sphere which occupies Grid Sector AO.

And I'm beginning to seriously think that Ao's "boss" is Ptah, lol.
Ptah does not have (near) absolute power within one sphere.
Ptah does have a presence and the ability to exert a little power (even if just as an Intermediate God) in every sphere across the cosmos, even spheres unknown or inaccessible to other overgods.
Ptah would be the only entity likely to worry about (or be able to do anything about) spheres moving "out of balance".
And Ptah may not actually be Ao's "boss", Ptah may pass Ao's reports to an even greater cosmic entity - Ptah may be the messenger of the overgods.

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]

Edited by - Ayrik on 27 Feb 2017 01:45:05
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