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Eltheron
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Posted - 17 Sep 2015 :  01:43:36  Show Profile Send Eltheron a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

This is pretty much why I am interested in FR gods: they have their own history, goals and personality. All of that is lost with this ''aspect'' or ''merging'' thing.

Totally agree.

quote:
They've already done that, kind of: Myrkul (who has returned, or so it seems, if we look at the 5e PHB) is the god of death, Kelemvor of the dead.


I did see that, but they're really just one-liner descriptions. And some are written such that it makes me think the editor or dev for that section really didn't have more than a passing familiarity with the Realms. Or even familiarity with classical polytheistic RW pantheons, for that matter.

I mean, look at Cyric, stated to be the god of lies. Yet that's always been Leira's thing. In 5E, she's the goddess of illusion. And sure, Leira often employed illusion, but always at the service of her main deal which has been deception. If anything, I'd argue that Cyric would've been better labeled as the god of madness, or perhaps divisiveness. He's known for spreading lies, but always more in the service of madness or causing trouble. Also, Talos is back, and Gruumsh never left, so does that mean they're not the same deity? (Though Grummsh now has storms as part of his thing - was that always the case?).

Also, in the Norse pantheon, Freyr as the god of the Sun (but no goddess Sunna), Loki as the god of thieves? Trickery and magic, I'd get, but thievery? There are some other oddities with other pantheons as well.

I guess I just wouldn't take the new PHB section as the final word, or even very accurate. If Myrkul is the god of death, that means he took over Bhaal's portfolio - and Bhaal is just reduced to the god of murder. In order to keep them both, and Kelemvor, they probably made some adjustments, but if they go with what's in the new PHB it's a bit jarred up, IMO.


"The very best possible post-fourteenth-century Realms lets down those who love the specific, detailed social, political and magical situation, with its thousands of characters, developed over forty years, and want to learn more about it; and those who'd be open to a new one with equal depth, which there just isn't time to re-produce; and those repelled, some past the point of no return, by the bad-taste-and-plausibility gap of things done to the world when its guardianship was less careful."
--Faraer

Edited by - Eltheron on 17 Sep 2015 01:49:49
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Irennan
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Posted - 17 Sep 2015 :  01:57:18  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

I think that is a possibility, and I outlined a situation where that happened. However, I don't know why you automatically assume that good aligned deities are more likely to negotiate and work together. It is completely possible that two good aligned deities, especially a chaotic one, would have different goals and motivations that work at cross purposes with another good aligned deity. These cross purposes could put them at odds and draw them into conflict, or at the very least prevent them from working together.

I also think it is important to remember that the real conflict isn't between the deities themselves, but between mortals. So, you not only have the agenda of the deities to contend with, but you also have the agenda of the institutions to which the mortal clergy belong, as well as the individual agendas of the clergy themselves.

I'm not saying they wouldn't work together, but any sort of working together is going to require compromise on both their parts. It's quite possible that compromise won't be possible, as well as the fact that the desire compromise of the goddesses will not appeal to mortals who may go off in a totally different direction.

Even the best scenario that can be imagined runs the potential for heresies and schisms among the mortal faithful. Especially if the changes and compromises are drastic. For example, it is unlikely that Kelemvor would give up the portfolio of death for Sehanine. It is also unlikely that Selune would give up the portfolio of the Moon for Sehanine. This means the most drastic changes will be happening on the part of Sehanine--she will have to give up the portfolios of death and the moon--altering them in a more limiting way. Then she would have to hope that those limits are not challenged by Selune or Kelemvor. (In the same way Talos attempted to become the deity of Wild Magic, but was challenged on that by Mystra.)




I think that the resolution of this kind of matters is not only influenced by mortals, but by deities as well. They are influenced by mortal beliefs, but they also have their own identities, which they will try to safeguard. It really depends on the particular case. Good deities could have different goals, true, and that may make cooperation harder. However their goals won't usually clash (gods of the same concept could have similar goals), to the point of justifying an open conflict, where one has to die off, without space for compromise. I also think that goodly gods wouldn't like such a situation (that involves serious risk for themselves, and in the best case, the death of another good deity, which is a negative event itself) and would try to avoid it.

In the case of Sehanine and Selune, they are allies, so I picture them as willing to avoid conflict, share their portfolios and influence mortals' belief in order to avoid merging/distortion. When it comes to Kelemvor, Sehanine could still keep influence over the elven dead (she currently has it, so it wouldn't change much).

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 17 Sep 2015 02:03:03
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Irennan
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Posted - 17 Sep 2015 :  02:01:13  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Eltheron


I guess I just wouldn't take the new PHB section as the final word, or even very accurate. If Myrkul is the god of death, that means he took over Bhaal's portfolio - and Bhaal is just reduced to the god of murder. In order to keep them both, and Kelemvor, they probably made some adjustments, but if they go with what's in the new PHB it's a bit jarred up, IMO.





That's why I said ''kind of''. The Sword Coast book will have the definitive answer on this, according to its description.

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Eltheron
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Posted - 17 Sep 2015 :  02:32:41  Show Profile Send Eltheron a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

I think a prime example of a merger that is very relevant to this thread would be Horus and Re. Horus used to be the son of Re, who was mortally wounded in the Orcgate Wars. However, before he died he merged with his son. Horus then became Horus-Re, and this not only merged their portfolios, but it also altered Horus personality to be more like his father's.

You are correct that there aren't many explicit examples like that of Horus-Re, and there are more hints of it happening in the lore. You mentioned Tempus, and I would also draw your attention to Talos as another potential example.

Ah, that's very true, I'd forgotten of Horus-Re. And that's definitely an interesting way to think about what happened to Talos and Gruumsh (though it seems that perhaps they're separated again).

quote:
We also have explicit examples of deities being divided--one deity becoming two. The obvious example here is Tyche becoming Tymora and Beshaba. If a single deity can be divided, then there is no reason to believe that two deities cannot be combined.

This is true too, and of course there's always the thing about how mortals seem to occasionally be absorbed or merged into deities (e.g. Mystra or Lolth). Or in the case of Mask, there seems to have been a good deal of the original Mask's essence still around to cause Riven to question being "lost" in Mask's personality.

quote:
However, in the end it doesn't really matter whether mergers happen or not. Assuming it were impossible, it just increases the stakes of a potential conflict. It means that deities are more likely to be drawn into all out win or die scenarios. Having mergers around is preferable, even if it is a rarely used option, because it is at least another option on the table that does not lead to total war.

Perhaps, and it may be better for the canon Realms if that's true. It might even be part of AO's goal, though it's hard to say. Still much we don't know (which is probably a good thing), though it's not how I run my home Realms.

quote:
I think that is a possibility, and I outlined a situation where that happened. However, I don't know why you automatically assume that good aligned deities are more likely to negotiate and work together.

Oh, no I definitely agree there are all sorts of possibilities there. I just think that good deities are more likely to work together or compromise if they have much of the same interests at heart. That's certainly not always the case, of course, and it's absolutely possible they could be in conflict about the methods used to get what they want even if their end-goals might be similar or the same. No argument there.

quote:
I also think it is important to remember that the real conflict isn't between the deities themselves, but between mortals. So, you not only have the agenda of the deities to contend with, but you also have the agenda of the institutions to which the mortal clergy belong, as well as the individual agendas of the clergy themselves.

Absolutely agree on this, and it's even something I prefer for my home Realms: for me, changes in divinity primarily and mostly come about due to the things mortals are doing. But I think with the canon Realms, we don't usually see much of that. Some, yes, but for a long time now in novels and sourcebooks it's been god-motivated and god-originated changes. We know much less about conflict between churches, except in snippets like the Lathander heresies (which I thought were poorly executed).

quote:
I'm not saying they wouldn't work together, but any sort of working together is going to require compromise on both their parts. It's quite possible that compromise won't be possible, as well as the fact that the desire compromise of the goddesses will not appeal to mortals who may go off in a totally different direction.

Agreed, certainly for the canon Realms.

quote:
The only real thing we can say with any absolute authority is that no deities higher than the rank of demigod can hold the same portfolio in the same pantheon. That has been explicitly stated.

That's true. Although I do think the concept of portfolios is a bit outmoded (or just less meaningful) if you consider that many deities in the same pantheon can use and promote the same domains.

quote:
You are misunderstanding me if you took my statements to mean that when deities defeat one another that they somehow merge. No, I meant merge as a way to AVOID conflict. I would assume that mergers would have to be willful on the part of the deities involved. If a deity is outright defeated in some way (say in a Godwar ToT scenario), then the deity that kills you basically just takes your stuff. (See: Shar killing Ibrandul.) Of course, certain portfolios are likely to change a deity in significant ways. For example, if Bane were somehow able to kill Kelemvor and become the God of Death and the Dead, he would change in a significant way to reflect these new powers.

However, I believe most of the conflict between the deities does not take place in the Godswar type scenarios, but rather between the mortal faithful. It takes place over generations, and through theological conflicts within faiths that sometimes lead to heresies and schisms. The deities just try and nudge things this way or that way through dream visions, omens, and other signs that are often cryptic in nature. This is how things work, on the ground, throughout the Realms, most of the time.


Personally, I absolutely agree that most of the conflict though take place through the mortals - because I feel like such changes should be organic to the world and not just handed down. I greatly disliked the ToT Godswar precisely because it seemed to be so very "handed down from on high" kinds of change, which mortals were then forced to suddenly accept in confusing ways (e.g. most of the Cyric-Bane and the Cyric-Kelemvor stuff, where churches kept totally redefining in extremely short periods of time).

In fact, one of the most annoying things to me (particularly recently) about the Realms gods is that - in my opinion - I'd think most Realms deities would try to stomp out or at least clarify various heresies that arise. I do think it's certainly a very mortal thing to have beliefs and ideas change in religion, but I wouldn't think that a god would want to be radically changed by a troublesome heresy (like that of Lathander's). If they're truly living entities in some sense, with great power, why not tell their faithful, "hey, you're getting off track here, I'm not Amaunator so knock that out."

A lot of what happened by the end of 3E through much of 4E just seemed like kludges for "kewl ideas" some dev had, without thinking too far in advance about the consequences.


"The very best possible post-fourteenth-century Realms lets down those who love the specific, detailed social, political and magical situation, with its thousands of characters, developed over forty years, and want to learn more about it; and those who'd be open to a new one with equal depth, which there just isn't time to re-produce; and those repelled, some past the point of no return, by the bad-taste-and-plausibility gap of things done to the world when its guardianship was less careful."
--Faraer

Edited by - Eltheron on 17 Sep 2015 02:40:51
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Eltheron
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Posted - 17 Sep 2015 :  02:43:30  Show Profile Send Eltheron a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

quote:
Originally posted by Eltheron


I guess I just wouldn't take the new PHB section as the final word, or even very accurate. If Myrkul is the god of death, that means he took over Bhaal's portfolio - and Bhaal is just reduced to the god of murder. In order to keep them both, and Kelemvor, they probably made some adjustments, but if they go with what's in the new PHB it's a bit jarred up, IMO.


That's why I said ''kind of''. The Sword Coast book will have the definitive answer on this, according to its description.


Hopefully, yes. Even though I don't use the canon version of the Realms, I still do hope they definitively sort a lot of this stuff out, and intelligently.


"The very best possible post-fourteenth-century Realms lets down those who love the specific, detailed social, political and magical situation, with its thousands of characters, developed over forty years, and want to learn more about it; and those who'd be open to a new one with equal depth, which there just isn't time to re-produce; and those repelled, some past the point of no return, by the bad-taste-and-plausibility gap of things done to the world when its guardianship was less careful."
--Faraer
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Aldrick
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909 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2015 :  03:03:01  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

I think that the resolution of this kind of matters is not only influenced by mortals, but by deities as well. They are influenced by mortal beliefs, but they also have their own identities, which they will try to safeguard.


Yes, absolutely. I agree with this completely. This, to me, is what makes the situation interesting. This is where the conflict arises. Mortals are not operating with complete omniscience. Even the most educated and scholarly in the Realms (setting aside individuals like Elminster as special exceptions), are still highly ignorant. Most mortals likely walk around with misconceptions about the deities all the time to varying degrees.

The deities themselves, of course, have their own motives and agendas. One of those agendas is to keep mortals on the right track. To prevent mortals from straying too far off the reservation, or at other times to nudge them in a new direction that is advantageous to their plans they send visions and omens.

I imagine that all the changes that happens to the deities happens over centuries. It happens slower among the Elves, due to their long lives, but it still happens. The deities change and evolve over time--this is essential. It keeps them relevant to their faithful.

When I picture a conflict between the deities, I don't picture it in Time of Troubles style duke-it-out. I picture it as a conflict between the mortal faithful of both deities that plays out over a long period of time. Of course, this conflict might be sped up for the sake of a story or a campaign, but in general this stuff happens over centuries. It takes place among mortals, and the deities are constantly nudging the mortals this way or that way in order to direct events in the long term toward their overall agenda and plans.





quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

It really depends on the particular case. Good deities could have different goals, true, and that may make cooperation harder. However their goals won't usually clash (gods of the same concept could have similar goals), to the point of justifying an open conflict, where one has to die off, without space for compromise. I also think that goodly gods wouldn't like such a situation (that involves serious risk for themselves, and in the best case, the death of another good deity, which is a negative event itself) and would try to avoid it.


However, if you view things from another perspective you've just made one of the deities in your scenario redundant. You've just described two deities of the same alignment, similar or the same portfolios, with the same or similar agenda. How do such deities work together? When the mortal faithful come into contact with one another, they are likely to believe that the other deity is simply their deity under another name. This could nudge such deities toward a merge. Neither deity is destroyed as a result of this--though certainly altered in some ways--though it makes moving toward their goals and aims more efficient.

If such deities DO NOT merge, then over time one of them is certain to lose worshipers to the other. One of them is going to grow more prominent and popular, and the other is eventually going to die off due to lack of worship. There is no reason to worship a redundant deity.

Alternatively, one deity may simply fall to an obscure demigod with very narrow portfolios, and become subservient to the other.

quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

In the case of Sehanine and Selune, they are allies, so I picture them as willing to avoid conflict, share their portfolios and influence mortals' belief in order to avoid merging/distortion. When it comes to Kelemvor, Sehanine could still keep influence over the elven dead (she currently has it, so it wouldn't change much).


I believe that, if it were left up entirely to Sehanine and Selune, they would work together. However, what does the compromise look like? I can't believe that Selune would give up the portfolio of the Moon. That's their only real point of contention. As a result, I see Sehanine simply becoming the deity of Moonlight, and over time--especially among humans--being viewed as subservient to Selune.

However, what happens if there are some mortals who don't like this direction? Let's take for example some Moon Elves who refuse to acknowledge Selune. There is a break away heretical faction of Sehanine's cult. They are evangelists. They preach that Selune and Kelemvor is just another name for Sehanine. They preach that their goddess regularly speaks to their faithful through dreams and visions. They preach that Shar and Lolth are really the same deity, and that Sehanine is in conflict with them both (basically they are actively merging concepts of Selune and Kelemvor into Sehanine's cult). This heretical cult begins gaining traction among the human faithful.

What happens now? How does Selune react to this? How does Sehanine react? How does Kelemvor react? These mortals truly believe that they are correct--there is no malice in their actions. They are simply convinced, perhaps through mistaken dream visions, that they have the truth and that others are wrong. Certainly, this sparks conflict among mortals--but what about deities?

I cannot imagine that every single worshiper of Sehanine would be happy with a compromise that would certainly diminish the importance of their goddess. Just imagine an elf being told, 'Well, you see, you've been wrong all this time. Your goddess is really the goddess of Moonlight, while the human goddess is the real goddess of the Moon. Sorry you were so confused!'
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Irennan
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Posted - 17 Sep 2015 :  03:23:28  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

It really depends on the particular case. Good deities could have different goals, true, and that may make cooperation harder. However their goals won't usually clash (gods of the same concept could have similar goals), to the point of justifying an open conflict, where one has to die off, without space for compromise. I also think that goodly gods wouldn't like such a situation (that involves serious risk for themselves, and in the best case, the death of another good deity, which is a negative event itself) and would try to avoid it.


However, if you view things from another perspective you've just made one of the deities in your scenario redundant. You've just described two deities of the same alignment, similar or the same portfolios, with the same or similar agenda. How do such deities work together? When the mortal faithful come into contact with one another, they are likely to believe that the other deity is simply their deity under another name. This could nudge such deities toward a merge. Neither deity is destroyed as a result of this--though certainly altered in some ways--though it makes moving toward their goals and aims more efficient.

If such deities DO NOT merge, then over time one of them is certain to lose worshipers to the other. One of them is going to grow more prominent and popular, and the other is eventually going to die off due to lack of worship. There is no reason to worship a redundant deity.

Alternatively, one deity may simply fall to an obscure demigod with very narrow portfolios, and become subservient to the other.


In my mind, I was using the Selune/Sehanine case as reference (whom I later used as example) when I wrote that. They don't have clashing or contrasting M.O., they have some similar portfolios, but teachings and other areas of influence different enough to keep them separate, but allied. I don't think that currently there are two deities who are basically the same in the Realms (and even then, becoming a demigod would probably still be better than losing their identity).

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

In the case of Sehanine and Selune, they are allies, so I picture them as willing to avoid conflict, share their portfolios and influence mortals' belief in order to avoid merging/distortion. When it comes to Kelemvor, Sehanine could still keep influence over the elven dead (she currently has it, so it wouldn't change much).


I believe that, if it were left up entirely to Sehanine and Selune, they would work together. However, what does the compromise look like? I can't believe that Selune would give up the portfolio of the Moon. That's their only real point of contention. As a result, I see Sehanine simply becoming the deity of Moonlight, and over time--especially among humans--being viewed as subservient to Selune.

However, what happens if there are some mortals who don't like this direction? Let's take for example some Moon Elves who refuse to acknowledge Selune. There is a break away heretical faction of Sehanine's cult. They are evangelists. They preach that Selune and Kelemvor is just another name for Sehanine. They preach that their goddess regularly speaks to their faithful through dreams and visions. They preach that Shar and Lolth are really the same deity, and that Sehanine is in conflict with them both (basically they are actively merging concepts of Selune and Kelemvor into Sehanine's cult). This heretical cult begins gaining traction among the human faithful.

What happens now? How does Selune react to this? How does Sehanine react? How does Kelemvor react? These mortals truly believe that they are correct--there is no malice in their actions. They are simply convinced, perhaps through mistaken dream visions, that they have the truth and that others are wrong. Certainly, this sparks conflict among mortals--but what about deities?

I cannot imagine that every single worshiper of Sehanine would be happy with a compromise that would certainly diminish the importance of their goddess. Just imagine an elf being told, 'Well, you see, you've been wrong all this time. Your goddess is really the goddess of Moonlight, while the human goddess is the real goddess of the Moon. Sorry you were so confused!'



Sehanine would not necessarily get moonlight (that would also make her overlap with Eilistraee), she and Selune could split the moon portfolio, according to the various phases. Selune may get waxing cresecent, 1st quarter, waxing gibbous and full moon (as her power rises with the moon), Sehanine the phases leading to the new moon. That wouldn't put any of the two goddesses in a subservient position. However, even a goddess of moonlight wouldn't become ''secondary'', if she had other significant portfolios: this is the case for Sehanine.

Yes, there might be heresies, but, if the information came directly from the goddess, in various forms (visions, dreams and so on), then I don't think that many worshipers would doubt that. The heresies would be a minority, and the bulk of the church could also deny that and spread the true information.

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Edited by - Irennan on 17 Sep 2015 03:37:11
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Aldrick
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Posted - 17 Sep 2015 :  04:24:23  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Eltheron

Ah, that's very true, I'd forgotten of Horus-Re. And that's definitely an interesting way to think about what happened to Talos and Gruumsh (though it seems that perhaps they're separated again).


I actually wasn't referring to the Talos and Gruumsh situation. I was referring to the fact that Talos was the name of a Talfiric deity, and Kozah was a Netherese Deity. The deity of Talos appears to have merged with or subsumed Kozah, and have largely taken over his personality--even his look and appearance. We can't say with absolute certainty that it was a merger, but hints are there, and we also know that Talos has taken control over or subsumed other storm deities as well. He just certainly seems to... evolve... with time. They may be examples of hostile mergers, in which it might be better referred to as being subsumed.

I also thought of another example of a canon merger of deities. The Masked Lady--when Eilistraee merged with Vhaeraun.

quote:
Originally posted by Eltheron

Absolutely agree on this, and it's even something I prefer for my home Realms: for me, changes in divinity primarily and mostly come about due to the things mortals are doing. But I think with the canon Realms, we don't usually see much of that. Some, yes, but for a long time now in novels and sourcebooks it's been god-motivated and god-originated changes. We know much less about conflict between churches, except in snippets like the Lathander heresies (which I thought were poorly executed).


Absolutely. This is how I play it in my Realms as well. I basically treat the deities as if they operate off the Planescape rules when it comes to belief. There is a price a deity pays for their power, and that is being bound to mortal belief. I often think of the Genie from Disney's Aladdin. It's the reason fiends and other such beings frequently do not want to become deities. They may not be as powerful outside of the areas they control, but they have much more freedom.

quote:
Originally posted by Eltheron

Personally, I absolutely agree that most of the conflict though take place through the mortals - because I feel like such changes should be organic to the world and not just handed down. I greatly disliked the ToT Godswar precisely because it seemed to be so very "handed down from on high" kinds of change, which mortals were then forced to suddenly accept in confusing ways (e.g. most of the Cyric-Bane and the Cyric-Kelemvor stuff, where churches kept totally redefining in extremely short periods of time).

In fact, one of the most annoying things to me (particularly recently) about the Realms gods is that - in my opinion - I'd think most Realms deities would try to stomp out or at least clarify various heresies that arise. I do think it's certainly a very mortal thing to have beliefs and ideas change in religion, but I wouldn't think that a god would want to be radically changed by a troublesome heresy (like that of Lathander's). If they're truly living entities in some sense, with great power, why not tell their faithful, "hey, you're getting off track here, I'm not Amaunator so knock that out."

A lot of what happened by the end of 3E through much of 4E just seemed like kludges for "kewl ideas" some dev had, without thinking too far in advance about the consequences.


I agree with everything you've written here. You highlight one of the reasons I despise the Time of Troubles, and why I think this is the point where the Realms went off track. The Realms was essentially mostly downhill after the Time of Troubles. It's not that I disliked every change (even some of the changes made during the Time of Troubles). It's the fact that I don't like the way it was handled, and it did not feel organic to the Realms and the way it should work.

In my Realms, outside of the Time of Troubles, the deities CANNOT just show up on a whim in avatar form and tell mortals what they want. Their only real method of communication with mortals is through cryptic dream visions, omens, and various types of manifestations. Mortals KNOW the deities are real. They see manifestations of their power. People have seen how lifeless fields have suddenly turned green after prayers to Chauntea, for example. No one disputes the power that the deities wield.

However, the deities themselves are mysterious. Elminster can't pick Mystra's brain and figure out what she wants. She can't explicitly tell him anything. She can try and guide him and nudge him, but it's completely possible that Elminster might completely misunderstand and do something totally off the wall--even completely contrary to what Mystra wanted.

The overwhelming bulk of the power wielded by the deities is manifest through their priests. Their priests are their mouth pieces in the world. If someone wants to know what a deity wants, they don't ask the deity, they go ask the nearest priest.

In my Realms the Lathander/Amaunator situation happened, but it made more sense as a result. It was widely expected among many of the clergy that a big event was coming--Lathander was preparing something big. Then Daelegoth Orndeir shows up, takes control of the Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun, and things hit the fan. They move out from having unorthodox beliefs to fully heretical beliefs. The events mostly unfold as they are in canon, except I throw two wrenches into the mix.

The first involves the less popular but competing heresy discussed in Power of Faerun, which basically believes in a Tripartite Sun deity. They also believe that Lathander is becoming Amaunator. The second is another group in the Western Heartlands (my invention), who have their own prophet who preaches of an upcoming apocalyptic event--a coming age of darkness, to which all good people must be prepared.

Daelegoth is trying to unite these other two factions under him. Meanwhile, the cult of Lathander has officially labeled him a heretic. They are claiming that it is all a lie, and that Daelegoth is really a follower of Cyric "the Dark Sun." They claim everything is false and this creates a full on schism within the faith.

Unfortunately for Daelegoth, the Princes of Shade did not forget what took place. On the eve of the meeting between the various factions, after everyone arrived, Daelegoth was assassinated by the Shades. This caused epic chaos. Things became hostile very quickly. The Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun accused the Prophet of being involved in the assassination, the Prophet did nothing to dispel this notion, as he immediately moved to take control of the city of Eversult. (He had brought with him a small rag-tag army that was mostly left outside the city.) He immediately took control of the Temple of the Morn (then known as the Temple of the Risen Sun). The Heresy of the Three Faced Sun folks fled with Daelegoth's body in the night (they believed him to be what they called a Herald, and thus he was holy to them). They fled with the corpse back to Sword Coast, where they still hold possession of it. The Brotherhood, whose main forces and Daelegoth's second in command (and now leader of the cult), was off fighting another conflict with their main forces. They had to immediately disengage and make all haste back toward Eversult.

The end result of all of this was a horrific and bloody battle for the city. The Prophet's rag tag army could not withstand the better trained and battle hardened forces of the Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun. Basically, they were losing control over the city, and the Prophet was becoming surrounded in the Temple of the Risen Sun. It became clear that they had to abandon the city, as the battle had been lost. However, and it is much disputed as to who was responsible, someone ordered fire to be set to the city. The Prophet was accused of doing this, though was later cleared in Cormyr of the crime. Thousands were burned alive in their homes. It allowed the Prophet and his core group to escape. They took the Holy Relic of the Eternal Sun with them.

Thus, the Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun had most of Eversult burned to the ground, their holy relic stolen, along with the body of Daelegoth. This created another schism among the faithful of Amaunator.

So, what this means is that in my Realms, things look like this: There are three separate and competing factions that worship Amaunator. Well, actually there are four now. The Prophet's faction became divided after his death as well, and his daughter assumed the role of leadership.

So there are four factions that worship Amaunator in my Realms that do not get along with one another.

- The Risen Sun Heretics (Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun / Daelegoth's group). They control Eversult and have influence around the Dragon Coast.

- The Heretics of the Three-Faced Sun. They are a small cult that is based around Baldur's Gate. Their influence is limited around the Sword Coast, south of Daggerford and north of Amn.

- The Heretics of the Purifying Sun. The Prophet's group. Their cult is now the official state religion of Cormyr, and they have assumed much of the role of the War Wizards post-Spellplague. The Prophet was a bastard child of King Azoun IV. King Azoun V married the youngest daughter of the Prophet. His Eldest Daughter took control of the cult after the Prophet's death. The Obarskyr family controls both the crown as well as the cult. The pope-like figure of the cult is always an Obarskyr--thus the family has huge influence over Cormyr.

- The Heretics of the Eternal Sun. The break away group fro the prophet's group. They opposed turning the seat of the Prophet into a seat handed down through a family line. They believe the true successor to the Prophet was his right hand and best friend, the one who shared his initial vision. They have influence throughout the Western Heartlands.

- The Morninglord Cult. Their seat is in Waterdeep, but they are still the dominant influence in the Realms. They have control throughout the North and the Dalelands. They believe and actively preach that all the heretics who follow Amaunator are in truth followers of Cyric the Dark Sun. They remain true to Lathander.

What is the truth? Are all the Amaunator cultists really deceived by Cyric? Are the faithful of Amaunator correct in their visions, and the faithful of Lathander stubborn holdouts, working against their gods will? Are there other deities involved in this mess? Did Lathander accidentally start something he lost control over?

No one knows the answer. That's how I like it. Lots of conflict, lots of different beliefs, lots of complexity, and lots of tension.
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Aldrick
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Posted - 17 Sep 2015 :  04:48:35  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

In my mind, I was using the Selune/Sehanine case as reference (whom I later used as example) when I wrote that. They don't have clashing or contrasting M.O., they have some similar portfolios, but teachings and other areas of influence different enough to keep them separate, but allied. I don't think that currently there are two deities who are basically the same in the Realms (and even then, becoming a demigod would probably still be better than losing their identity).


I don't see merging with another deity as necessarily a bad thing, or even really a loss of identity. Did Re or Horus lose their identities when they merged? Or did they simply become one with one another?

Sure, if you're a deity that highly values your individualism, this might be a problem. However, if you are a deity committed to a certain goal or cause, and you believe that cause is best served through merging--why would you resist? This would mean that individualism is more important than the goal or cause.

quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

Sehanine would not necessarily get moonlight (that would also make her overlap with Eilistraee), she and Selune could split the moon portfolio, according to the various phases. Selune may get waxing cresecent, 1st quarter, waxing gibbous and full moon (as her power rises with the moon), Sehanine the phases leading to the new moon. That wouldn't put any of the two goddesses in a subservient position. However, even a goddess of moonlight wouldn't become ''secondary'', if she had other significant portfolios: this is the case for Sehanine.


You're right about moonlight and Eilistraee. I had forgotten about that. This just makes the situation more difficult for Sehanine.

I can't envision a scenario in which Selune gives up any aspect of the Moon for Sehanine. It just goes counter to her interests. I don't think being good aligned, friends, and allies is going to make that possible. This is an active demotion for Selune, and the Moon is her big thing. Sehanine has lots of other powerful portfolios to fall back on. Even if she had to give up Death and the Moon, she'd still be the Goddess of Moon Elves, Mysticism, and Dreams--at a minimum. That's a pretty strong portfolio right there. So, it's difficult for me to imagine Selune giving up any aspect of her core concept. It's like asking Bane to negotiate over his control over the portfolio of Tyranny. Hatred? Maybe. Tyranny? Never. It's his core concept.

quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

Yes, there might be heresies, but, if the information came directly from the goddess, in various forms (visions, dreams and so on), then I don't think that many worshipers would doubt that. The heresies would be a minority, and the bulk of the church could also deny that and spread the true information.


We are assuming that the visions and dreams are clear. We are also assuming that Sehanine's faithful would be willing to accept that she isn't really the Goddess of the Moon--she's just goddess of part of it or an aspect of it or not really a Moon goddess at all. It means that the Elves would have to essentially acknowledge that a human deity has the true providence over some or all of those aspects. Would Elven pride allow that?

It's not like Sehanine can tell them, flat out, 'Hey look guys, I sat down with Selune, and we negotiated this deal. I decided to give up X, Y, and Z. She decided to give up A, B, and C. We're totally cool with this decision. We're doing this because the pantheons are merging. So don't sweat it. This is just some minor changes so Ao doesn't get upset with us.'

Inherently, the moment Sehanine is no longer the goddess over Death or the Moon, her faithful are going to be confused. What was true yesterday is now not true today. Her faithful are not going to understand how or why any of this is happening. The bulk of them are likely to reject it, and would have to be convinced by the higher ups in the clergy to go along. There is no telling how many hold outs there would be, but my feeling is that Elven pride would get the better of a lot of them. This would be a straight up introduction for them into--what is now, currently--an entirely human pantheon. It would not simply be a merger of pantheons, it would be a merger of cultures... and frankly, Elven culture is likely to be the one that suffers and is mostly destroyed. This is simply because the humans are more numerous.
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Irennan
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Posted - 17 Sep 2015 :  04:50:45  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

quote:
Originally posted by Eltheron

Ah, that's very true, I'd forgotten of Horus-Re. And that's definitely an interesting way to think about what happened to Talos and Gruumsh (though it seems that perhaps they're separated again).


I actually wasn't referring to the Talos and Gruumsh situation. I was referring to the fact that Talos was the name of a Talfiric deity, and Kozah was a Netherese Deity. The deity of Talos appears to have merged with or subsumed Kozah, and have largely taken over his personality--even his look and appearance. We can't say with absolute certainty that it was a merger, but hints are there, and we also know that Talos has taken control over or subsumed other storm deities as well. He just certainly seems to... evolve... with time. They may be examples of hostile mergers, in which it might be better referred to as being subsumed.

I also thought of another example of a canon merger of deities. The Masked Lady--when Eilistraee merged with Vhaeraun.




The Masked Lady is also a bit uncertain. We don't know if that was a willing merger, or if Eilistraee simply took Vhaeraun's portfolio. We know that it was only a temporary thing, though, as Eilistraee and Vhaeraun are currently separated.

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Irennan
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Posted - 17 Sep 2015 :  05:12:45  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

In my mind, I was using the Selune/Sehanine case as reference (whom I later used as example) when I wrote that. They don't have clashing or contrasting M.O., they have some similar portfolios, but teachings and other areas of influence different enough to keep them separate, but allied. I don't think that currently there are two deities who are basically the same in the Realms (and even then, becoming a demigod would probably still be better than losing their identity).


I don't see merging with another deity as necessarily a bad thing, or even really a loss of identity. Did Re or Horus lose their identities when they merged? Or did they simply become one with one another?

Sure, if you're a deity that highly values your individualism, this might be a problem. However, if you are a deity committed to a certain goal or cause, and you believe that cause is best served through merging--why would you resist? This would mean that individualism is more important than the goal or cause.


This really depends on how you look at it. A merger could no longer be any of the two parts, or could be both parts living together. Either way, individuality goes out. Individuality tends to be something valuable (especially to ''chaotic'' characters).

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

Sehanine would not necessarily get moonlight (that would also make her overlap with Eilistraee), she and Selune could split the moon portfolio, according to the various phases. Selune may get waxing cresecent, 1st quarter, waxing gibbous and full moon (as her power rises with the moon), Sehanine the phases leading to the new moon. That wouldn't put any of the two goddesses in a subservient position. However, even a goddess of moonlight wouldn't become ''secondary'', if she had other significant portfolios: this is the case for Sehanine.


You're right about moonlight and Eilistraee. I had forgotten about that. This just makes the situation more difficult for Sehanine.

I can't envision a scenario in which Selune gives up any aspect of the Moon for Sehanine. It just goes counter to her interests. I don't think being good aligned, friends, and allies is going to make that possible. This is an active demotion for Selune, and the Moon is her big thing. Sehanine has lots of other powerful portfolios to fall back on. Even if she had to give up Death and the Moon, she'd still be the Goddess of Moon Elves, Mysticism, and Dreams--at a minimum. That's a pretty strong portfolio right there. So, it's difficult for me to imagine Selune giving up any aspect of her core concept. It's like asking Bane to negotiate over his control over the portfolio of Tyranny. Hatred? Maybe. Tyranny? Never. It's his core concept.

quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

Yes, there might be heresies, but, if the information came directly from the goddess, in various forms (visions, dreams and so on), then I don't think that many worshipers would doubt that. The heresies would be a minority, and the bulk of the church could also deny that and spread the true information.


We are assuming that the visions and dreams are clear. We are also assuming that Sehanine's faithful would be willing to accept that she isn't really the Goddess of the Moon--she's just goddess of part of it or an aspect of it or not really a Moon goddess at all. It means that the Elves would have to essentially acknowledge that a human deity has the true providence over some or all of those aspects. Would Elven pride allow that?

It's not like Sehanine can tell them, flat out, 'Hey look guys, I sat down with Selune, and we negotiated this deal. I decided to give up X, Y, and Z. She decided to give up A, B, and C. We're totally cool with this decision. We're doing this because the pantheons are merging. So don't sweat it. This is just some minor changes so Ao doesn't get upset with us.'

Inherently, the moment Sehanine is no longer the goddess over Death or the Moon, her faithful are going to be confused. What was true yesterday is now not true today. Her faithful are not going to understand how or why any of this is happening. The bulk of them are likely to reject it, and would have to be convinced by the higher ups in the clergy to go along. There is no telling how many hold outs there would be, but my feeling is that Elven pride would get the better of a lot of them. This would be a straight up introduction for them into--what is now, currently--an entirely human pantheon. It would not simply be a merger of pantheons, it would be a merger of cultures... and frankly, Elven culture is likely to be the one that suffers and is mostly destroyed. This is simply because the humans are more numerous.



Well, since we're talking about canon, deities are known to be able to directly inform their followers. Ofc they wouldn't tell their people about eventual agreements, but they have the power to (mostly) avoid confusion.

But if we assumed that the human culture ''won'' because of their numbers, and Sehanine lost Moon and Death (she would still keep the elven dead, tho), what if elves kept associating her with those two concepts, and Selune/Kelemvor answered to prayers regarding that? AFAIK, portfolios are not something that mortals are aware of, they associate deities with given a concept, because they had proof that said beings have power over it. Elves would still relate some manifestations with Sehanine, even if their cause is actually Selune. Humans would tell them that they're wrong, but the elves would hardly believe them and keep associating Sehanine to the moon. Their belief wouldn't be enough to actually alter the portfolio, as the humans would greatly outnumber the elves. And I seriously doubt that the church of Selune would hunt the Sehanine worshipers as heretics. It would completely OOC.

Either way, even if Sehanine lost Moon/Death, and elves stopped thinking of her as a moon goddess, she would still be able to survive in a mixed culture because of her different portfolios. Same for other deities in that situation.

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Edited by - Irennan on 17 Sep 2015 05:25:38
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Aldrick
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Posted - 17 Sep 2015 :  06:11:41  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

This really depends on how you look at it. A merger could no longer be any of the two parts, or could be both parts living together. Either way, individuality goes out. Individuality tends to be something valuable (especially to ''chaotic'' characters).


I agree that no matter how you slice it individuality is lost. However, my point was that it comes down to an ultimate decision of what matters more. Do the goals and aims that you are trying to achieve matter more, or does your self-preservation matter more? If the (presumably good) aims you are seeking to bring about matter more, and would be harmed by not merging--then you are hurting that cause in order to sustain yourself.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it's an easy choice or even an ideal choice. I am just saying that I can envision deities agreeing to merge together for the greater good of what they're trying to achieve--sacrificing their individuality to become something greater. Under the right circumstances, I believe it could even be viewed as the ultimate act of goodness and self-sacrifice.

quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

Well, since we're talking about canon, deities are known to be able to directly inform their followers. Ofc they wouldn't tell their people about eventual agreements, but they have the power to (mostly) avoid confusion.


Well, that depends. See the whole Lathander situation above. We honestly don't know what limitations are placed on deities in this regard. We certainly see clear evidence that in some circumstances they do act the way that you describe, but we also have evidence in some circumstances where they don't. Another example that led to a schism was the cult of Oghma over who is really the leader of the church. Oghma could have easily solved this problem, but chose not to (or couldn't / wasn't allowed) for whatever reason.

It's a problem with the canon, in my view, but I think you can slice it either way. (However, it basically boils down to: "The author / designer makes the decision based on the outcome that they want.") This is something I want solved in 5E FR.

quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

But if we assumed that the human culture ''won'' because of their numbers, and Sehanine lost Moon and Death (she would still keep the elven dead, tho), what if elves kept associating her with those two concepts, and Selune/Kelemvor answered to prayers regarding that? AFAIK, portfolios are not something that mortals are aware of, they associate deities with given a concept, because they had proof that said beings have power over it. Elves would still relate some manifestations with Sehanine, even if their cause is actually Selune. Humans would tell them that they're wrong, but the elves would hardly believe them and keep associating Sehanine to the moon. Their belief wouldn't be enough to actually alter the portfolio, as the humans would greatly outnumber the elves. And I seriously doubt that the church of Selune would hunt the Sehanine worshipers as heretics. It would completely OOC.

Either way, even if Sehanine lost Moon/Death, and elves stopped thinking of her as a moon goddess, she would still be able to survive in a mixed culture because of her different portfolios. Same for other deities in that situation.


I agree that this is how it would start out. However, as a premise here, we are making the assumption that the Elven Pantheon has been absorbed into the Faerunian Pantheon--same as the Netherese Pantheon. So, you are correct that the Elves may simply refuse to acknowledge the new reality, and Selune might let it slide. However, over time the Elven deities would begin to shift and change as they gathered more and more human followers and integrated more fully into the pantheon. The entire reason that this would be happening in the first place, is because Elven culture is merging into human culture. (Otherwise the Pantheons would remain separate.)

All of this means that over time Elven culture (as well as Human culture) would change to reflect this integration. This has a huge impact on the deities. What happens to Sehanine several centuries or millenia down the road? I think she'd still be around, but I don't know how changed she'd be from the incarnation that we know today.
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Irennan
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Posted - 17 Sep 2015 :  13:31:52  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

I agree that no matter how you slice it individuality is lost. However, my point was that it comes down to an ultimate decision of what matters more. Do the goals and aims that you are trying to achieve matter more, or does your self-preservation matter more? If the (presumably good) aims you are seeking to bring about matter more, and would be harmed by not merging--then you are hurting that cause in order to sustain yourself.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it's an easy choice or even an ideal choice. I am just saying that I can envision deities agreeing to merge together for the greater good of what they're trying to achieve--sacrificing their individuality to become something greater. Under the right circumstances, I believe it could even be viewed as the ultimate act of goodness and self-sacrifice.


Ah, yes. It could be a possibility- I was just pointing out that willing mergers are probably very rare, as deities will try their best to find a different solution (especially chaotic ones) to conflicts involving portfolios. If the situation forces it, or if it is absolutely needed to advance their goal, then deities could choose to willingly merge (even if, tbh, excluding portolios overlapping, I can't picture a situation where a simple cooperation couldn't achieve what a merger can. If the followers work together, that's what matters)

For example, I like to think that the Masked Lady was formed under similar circumstances, rather than Eilistraee subsuming Vhaeraun (maybe when they were face to face, they realized more could be achieved by working together and chose to merge, instead of simply allying, to deceive Lolth, or to force their followers to immediately start cooperating, or something like that). Also, the fact that the Eilistraee and Vhaeraun are now separated makes me wonder if mergers can be reverted, assuming that the gods want it, that the majority of their followers aren't already bent on the idea that the two deities are a single being, or assuming that their followers want to believe that they are separated (or want them separated).

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

Well, since we're talking about canon, deities are known to be able to directly inform their followers. Ofc they wouldn't tell their people about eventual agreements, but they have the power to (mostly) avoid confusion.


Well, that depends. See the whole Lathander situation above. We honestly don't know what limitations are placed on deities in this regard. We certainly see clear evidence that in some circumstances they do act the way that you describe, but we also have evidence in some circumstances where they don't. Another example that led to a schism was the cult of Oghma over who is really the leader of the church. Oghma could have easily solved this problem, but chose not to (or couldn't / wasn't allowed) for whatever reason.

It's a problem with the canon, in my view, but I think you can slice it either way. (However, it basically boils down to: "The author / designer makes the decision based on the outcome that they want.") This is something I want solved in 5E FR.


Yes, it is a mixed bag. Deities are known to be able to directly contact their followers, but are also known to have avoided that, even when it could have easily solved a difficult situation. It could depend on the particular case or deity.

The Sundering should change this (in general, deities won't be allowed to walk to their followers and tell them stuff), according to WotC, but before its conclusion gods have chosen to directly manifest to their followers (and I think that it is particularly true for the returned gods, to make sure that mortals were aware. For example, Ed said that Eilistraee and Vhaeraun have chosen to appear to their followers in their avatar form).

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

But if we assumed that the human culture ''won'' because of their numbers, and Sehanine lost Moon and Death (she would still keep the elven dead, tho), what if elves kept associating her with those two concepts, and Selune/Kelemvor answered to prayers regarding that? AFAIK, portfolios are not something that mortals are aware of, they associate deities with given a concept, because they had proof that said beings have power over it. Elves would still relate some manifestations with Sehanine, even if their cause is actually Selune. Humans would tell them that they're wrong, but the elves would hardly believe them and keep associating Sehanine to the moon. Their belief wouldn't be enough to actually alter the portfolio, as the humans would greatly outnumber the elves. And I seriously doubt that the church of Selune would hunt the Sehanine worshipers as heretics. It would completely OOC.

Either way, even if Sehanine lost Moon/Death, and elves stopped thinking of her as a moon goddess, she would still be able to survive in a mixed culture because of her different portfolios. Same for other deities in that situation.


I agree that this is how it would start out. However, as a premise here, we are making the assumption that the Elven Pantheon has been absorbed into the Faerunian Pantheon--same as the Netherese Pantheon. So, you are correct that the Elves may simply refuse to acknowledge the new reality, and Selune might let it slide. However, over time the Elven deities would begin to shift and change as they gathered more and more human followers and integrated more fully into the pantheon. The entire reason that this would be happening in the first place, is because Elven culture is merging into human culture. (Otherwise the Pantheons would remain separate.)

All of this means that over time Elven culture (as well as Human culture) would change to reflect this integration. This has a huge impact on the deities. What happens to Sehanine several centuries or millenia down the road? I think she'd still be around, but I don't know how changed she'd be from the incarnation that we know today.



True. Sehanine could be changed by gaining human followers, but IMO she wouldn't change to become drastically different, because of her ''Moon Elves'' portfolio. Elves may integrate with humans and live among them, but if they kept their culture, at least its core aspects, their change wouldn't be that drastic (and I easily picture elves doing their best to avoid losing their ''elven-ness''). Their belief that Sehanine is actually the moon goddess could survive the unification of the two races, even after a long time, if no major event that could undermine it happened.

What I mean is that when we have two cultures (even with one ''stronger'' than the other) mixing, there's no given outcome: their deities could survive and get to retain their identity, to a given extent, or, in the worst case, they could be subsumed.

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Edited by - Irennan on 17 Sep 2015 14:16:16
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sleyvas
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Posted - 20 Sep 2015 :  16:16:37  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

The way I see it is that tens of thousands of years ago the elves had different pantheons, and the dwarves, and the gnomes. These pantheons were split along geographic lines and were different between the various kingdoms and continents, etc.

Even the Sarrukh had different gods in the different areas (look at the writeup on Isstossessifil and Okoth.

Eventually over time, the movement of people and various wars and trade etc unified the various gods into a single pantheon (except for the sarrukh, their empires were short lived and separated by large distances and ended before they ever unified). The unification of the elves probably followed the Crown Wars when various regions became contested as the Ilythiiri and Arvandaar empires invaded other regions.

So what we are witnessing with the fall of the Untheric pantheon is the last remaining geographic pantheon for the humans, the Mulhorandi (and its really small). As it stands the Mulhorandi pantheon has absolutely no chance of surviving the next few centuries. It's empires are dwindling and decadent and are constantly being invaded by trade and migration from the Faerunian pantheon. Thay has already fallen to the Faerunian pantheon and Chessenta is contested.

Once the Mulhorandi pantheon fails we have a racial pantheon for humans on Toril.

Now I dislike unifying concepts so I reinvigorated the Mulhorandi pantheon by merging the dying remnants of the Untheric pantheon with it, using the invasion of Unther by Mulhorand as a starting point. With the larger Mulhorantheric pantheon now representing the people of Mulhorand and Unther it is better able to resist the depredations of the Faerunian pantheon. It makes them more able to contest Chessenta and even begin to contest Thay (Thay only hated the Mulhorandi gods, not Untheric).





As for expanding into contested regions. For my own take on it, gods do nothing as always. Thoth doesn't hop over to Waterdeep and contest the region. It is the worshippers that cause the contestation.

If a region contains only worshippers of a certain pantheon then that region is part of that pantheon. If a region contains worshippers that venerate deities in multiple pantheons then that region is contested, but the numbers are important.

Take Chessenta for instance. Chessenta is a contested region because people worship Tempus and Anhur/Ramman, thus the two war gods are contesting the portfolio of war (and Anhur is also contesting a number of other portfolios like lightning, etc). Mystra will be contesting portfolios of magic with Isis/Ishtar.

Whereas in Thay the region is not believed to be contested because religion is discriminated against and the worship of Mulhorandi gods is practically outlawed (however I reckon the majority of common Mulan and Rashemi actually secretly worship Mulhorandi and Untheric gods in a pidgin fashion making the region secretly contested).

While there is no clear majority of worshippers from one pantheon (say 80%) in a region that means that by default any acts by mortals represented by a particular portfolio do not automatically go to the god of that portfolio. Instead the worship energy from those acts go to whichever god or pantheon the particular individual performing the act venerates (most people do not worship a single god and only pay lip service to a pantheon). Thus it is in a deity/church interest to try and expand and out compete rivals in contested regions because it means all acts send energy to their deity by default if they have the majority worship.

So the Church of Thoth sends some worshippers to Waterdeep and it has absolutely no effect. Mulhorand gets wiped out by a catastrophe and tens of thousands of Mulan migrate to Waterdeep and you suddenly have a contested region and Mystra's church will begin aggressive conversions quite quickly.

Or at least that's how I play it. No god nonsense, just plain old demographics and common sense (applied to imaginary and meta physical concepts).





Just a note on the "Thay has already fallen to the contested pantheon". Actually, not it hasn't. According to the original dreams of the red wizards, the Mulhorandi pantheon was still around, but it was abused. However, I could see some of them actively worshipping Set as an enemy of the Mulhorandi Pantheon. Not a lot of them mind you. Now if we're talking 5th edition.... if the Mulhorandi return, with the Banites acting as they did.... the Mulan peoples just MIGHT embrace the Mulan Pantheon over the Faerunian.


Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
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Posted - 20 Sep 2015 :  16:21:45  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

see -

I agree with what you're saying as a premise, though I think you're understanding of how the deities in the Realms work is incorrect.

As far as I am aware, the only deity that is directly linked (as in the deity IS this thing) with their portfolio is Mystra. Even in this case, she is only linked with the Weave aspect of her portfolio. Non-Weave magic continues to function normally in her absence.

If Selune were to die, for example, the Moon would not suddenly cease to exist. If Chauntea were to die, things would continue to grow, and the land and farmers would continue to exist.

The only situation in which I can think that is in anyway comparable is the death of Bhaal during the Time of Troubles which coincided with the death of all assassins. However, this was because Myrkul used a ritual that sacrificed all the assassins--murder and death continued to happen in Bhaal's absence.

There was also some tomfoolery that happened during the whole Cyric to Kelemvor transition with the souls of the dead... but that was an administrative problem.

In short, when you say, "...if the third is true, then the moon is just a theme or mascot, not a portfolio of responsibility and power; a "moon goddess" is just a goddess with certain trappings, like a Detroit Lion just has a lion on his helmet." This is more or less the truth in the Realms.

However, I think it ignores a fundamental aspect of how things work, and one of the reasons deities need worshipers. Now, I don't think this is stated explicitly in canon, though I think there are lots of things that hint at it being true, but basically the deities of the Realms operate off of Planescape rules. In other words, what mortals believe to be true is important. What this means is that you have two deities: Horus-Re and Amaunator. Both lay claim to the Sun as their portfolio. Therefore, both are in contention for power over the Sun. They both have varying degrees of control over the Sun, but they are not -THE SUN- itself (in the same way Mystra is -THE WEAVE- itself). Their share of power and control over this element of their portfolio grows in direct proportion to how many beings in the Realms BELIEVE that they are -THE GOD- of the Sun.

This is the reason when pantheons of deities start to have overlapping worshipers there is a conflict. There can only be one deity above the level of demigod with the same portfolio. What this essentially means is that over time, as globalization in the Realms continues to occur, there is going to be a single unified pantheon that encompasses the entire Realms, and those deities above the rank of demigod will exercise complete control over the things in their portfolios.

In other words, Selune and Sehanine cannot co-exist so long as both are goddesses of the Moon. So long as they remain in separate pantheons, they are fine, but as Elves merge into human society or humans into Elven society and the cultures co-mingle conflict is inevitable. One of them has to die off, they have to merge together, or there has to be some other event that somehow throws things in the favor of one goddess over another.

This is where heresies among mortals come into play, and one of the reasons deities promote them. It's my belief--and this is speculation on my part, but it is how I play it in my Realms--is that the deities are in many ways bound to mortal beliefs. They are not fully independent beings. This is one of the reasons powerful fiends have historically rejected ascension to divinity. The moment you become a deity you are in some ways a slave to mortal beliefs. If mortals begin to see you differently, you will literally begin to change to reflect that belief. Thus, if Tempus begins to be seen not only as the deity of war but a deity of plunder and pillaging, and believers begin to see him accordingly his personality will change to reflect that reality. Similarly, if believers begin to believe something happened in the past of a deity that didn't actually happen, the deity will start to believe that it did happen and that it is true. A deity, therefore, is a reflection of mortal belief. They are shaped, re-shaped, and destroyed by it.

All of this gives the deities an impetus to really care about their worshipers and what is going on in the mortal world. It gives them the desire to manipulate events to unfold in ways that are favorable to them, and that will further their own goals and agenda... this allows them to exercise some degree of control over their own identity and sense of self, rather than leaving it to the fate of other deities (both rivals and allies) and ignorant mortals.

Deities have phenomenal cosmic powers, but it all comes at a heavy price--the reliance on the belief of mortals.




+1 to the idea that this is the reason powerful fiends refuse to become deities. I like the idea that they "see" becoming a deity as something of a "trap lined with luxurious power".

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
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Posted - 20 Sep 2015 :  16:32:08  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One thing I'm not seeing here mentioned, but probably should be....

We say that mortals don't necessarily understand the "physics of godhood", and I absolutely believe that. I do believe that mortal beliefs affect the gods. However, I also believe that many of the GODS don't understand the "physics of godhood" anymore than many of us walking around don't truly understand how our own bodies work. I believe that they don't really understand what happens when they kill another god, and that if they do it X way then Y may happen, but if they do it A way then B may happen. They also don't fully understand what actually happens to cause deities to split and/or merge. There may be a few gods who DO understand a lot of these weird mechanics, but those deities may have gone mad.... like Moander possibly. Perhaps Cyric is actually moving down that road as well, but possibly his own acquiring of the power of lies prevents him from grasping it too much.... and maybe that was Ao's plan and why he had Leira transform herself into the book known as the Cyrinishad (if that is what happened.... ).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 20 Sep 2015 :  16:35:44  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

and maybe that was Ao's plan and why he had Leira transform herself into the book known as the Cyrinishad (if that is what happened.... ).



I don't know that I've every seen that theory before... While I don't buy it, it does lead me to some interesting speculations concerning the her and the book...

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Irennan
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Posted - 20 Sep 2015 :  16:44:50  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I hope that in the upcoming book, they will give at least a small explanation to the return of some of the gods that are known to be back (namely, those who have a story leading to their disappearance, like Leira, or Myrkul, or Eilistraee and Vhaeraun). Saying ''Ao did it'' really is the cheapest thing that they could do (it would also be a bit unfair, to give some gods full novels/modules explaining their return, and saying ''they're back, now shut up'' for others).

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Edited by - Irennan on 20 Sep 2015 16:46:56
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sleyvas
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Posted - 20 Sep 2015 :  17:46:32  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

and maybe that was Ao's plan and why he had Leira transform herself into the book known as the Cyrinishad (if that is what happened.... ).



I don't know that I've every seen that theory before... While I don't buy it, it does lead me to some interesting speculations concerning the her and the book...



Oh, I started that theory about 2 or 3 years back... its one of several, but its the one I'm liking the most. BTW, check out the new thread I just started. Its in its infancy, but I think with some other scribes help, it could make for a very interesting story.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 20 Sep 2015 :  19:21:03  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Just a note on the "Thay has already fallen to the contested pantheon". Actually, not it hasn't. According to the original dreams of the red wizards, the Mulhorandi pantheon was still around, but it was abused. However, I could see some of them actively worshipping Set as an enemy of the Mulhorandi Pantheon. Not a lot of them mind you. Now if we're talking 5th edition.... if the Mulhorandi return, with the Banites acting as they did.... the Mulan peoples just MIGHT embrace the Mulan Pantheon over the Faerunian.





Well I consider Thay to be contested territory, and I based that opinion on the information in Dreams of the Red Wizards (and put a lot of it in my Alternate Dimensions work). But Faiths and Avatars lists Thay as Faerunian pantheon, so for everyone else it is not contested anymore.

However I reckon I could explain it away, which is why I said "secretly" contested.

The vast majority of organised religions in Thay are Faerunian and evil. You have Bane, Bhaal, Myrkul, Kossuth, I can't remember the others but I wouldn't be surprised to find Talos, Beshaba and a secret cult to Shar (there should never be an overt temple to Shar, it just doesn't fit for her).

The only people likely to worship those gods are the evil mulan (not good mulan who are forced to behave neutral in order to survive, nor the rashemi who hate the mulan). The mulan are firmly against the Mulhorandi (at least the evil mulan are and I suspect the good ones aren't to fond of them either given the past history). Only the Untheric gods are likely to have any sway (which is shown by the alternate naming of Mulhorandi deities that are secretly worshipped according to Dreams of the Red Wizards).

So the only acts likely to grant any divine energy to the faerunian pantheon are the evil acts (because only the evil gods are really represented). SO they wont notice the few good acts whose energy goes to the good mulhorandi deities (masquerading as the Unther deities).

So the Faerunian pantheon believe the region is firmly under their control, while the rashemi and good mulan carry on worshipping the Mulhorandi and Untheric gods right under their nose (but only in a pidgin fashion because normal people only pay lip service, but its still enough).

Its very complicated but I believe it allows for the current situation where Dreams of the Red Wizards implies it is contested, but Faiths and Avatars shows it as Faerunian.

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MrHedgehog
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Posted - 22 Sep 2015 :  23:21:23  Show Profile  Visit MrHedgehog's Homepage Send MrHedgehog a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

I hope that in the upcoming book, they will give at least a small explanation to the return of some of the gods that are known to be back (namely, those who have a story leading to their disappearance, like Leira, or Myrkul, or Eilistraee and Vhaeraun). Saying ''Ao did it'' really is the cheapest thing that they could do (it would also be a bit unfair, to give some gods full novels/modules explaining their return, and saying ''they're back, now shut up'' for others).



Why can't Ao just snap his fingers and resurrect Gods?
In a world with resurrection spells... and we know gods are "never really dead". He can make mortals suddenly greater powers (Mystra, Cyric and Kelemvor) We already know he has total control over the Gods from events like the Time of Troubles.

He is supposed to be an omnipotent overpower that can do anything
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Irennan
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Posted - 22 Sep 2015 :  23:28:57  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MrHedgehog

quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

I hope that in the upcoming book, they will give at least a small explanation to the return of some of the gods that are known to be back (namely, those who have a story leading to their disappearance, like Leira, or Myrkul, or Eilistraee and Vhaeraun). Saying ''Ao did it'' really is the cheapest thing that they could do (it would also be a bit unfair, to give some gods full novels/modules explaining their return, and saying ''they're back, now shut up'' for others).



Why can't Ao just snap his fingers and resurrect Gods?
In a world with resurrection spells... and we know gods are "never really dead". He can make mortals suddenly greater powers (Mystra, Cyric and Kelemvor) We already know he has total control over the Gods from events like the Time of Troubles.

He is supposed to be an omnipotent overpower that can do anything




Because it's boring, and rather cheesy? Don't get me wrong, I'm overjoyed that deities that I really like are alive, and I could work with ''Ao did it'', but I would like to see some more compelling explanation than a huge deus ex machina, at least for those that had whole stories behind their disappearance. Fun stories/explanations could be given for the return of the gods that I've mentioned, as you can see from various threads here, or even from material that has been written for official FR books, but that WotC chose to not release (but that could still release, if they wanted).

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 22 Sep 2015 23:31:31
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sleyvas
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Posted - 23 Sep 2015 :  00:37:20  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Gotta say, I agree with Irennan there. I'm glad the deities are alive, but I'd like to see Ao's power in the matter lessened. I like the idea that he does have a lot of power, but that he intentionally overstates it to keep the gods in line and in fear of him. I would like to see some theories floating amongst the human population about why and or how certain deities return.... even if they are heresies or falsities. The world should be abuzz with this stuff.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Irennan
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Posted - 23 Sep 2015 :  01:51:53  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Gotta say, I agree with Irennan there. I'm glad the deities are alive, but I'd like to see Ao's power in the matter lessened. I like the idea that he does have a lot of power, but that he intentionally overstates it to keep the gods in line and in fear of him. I would like to see some theories floating amongst the human population about why and or how certain deities return.... even if they are heresies or falsities. The world should be abuzz with this stuff.



True. I liked your take on Leira in the other thread, and would like to see WotC to release an explanation to her return that is not limited to Ao. Even wild guesses from her followers would be cool. I also want to see the return of Eilistraee and Vhaeraun played out, how they survived: heck, WotC has alredy got such lore, they just have to release it...

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 23 Sep 2015 01:52:20
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BARDOBARBAROS
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Posted - 29 Sep 2015 :  09:51:44  Show Profile  Visit BARDOBARBAROS's Homepage Send BARDOBARBAROS a Private Message  Reply with Quote
yes of course

BARDOBARBAROS DOES NOT KILL.
HE DECAPITATES!!!


"The city changes, but the fools within it remain always the same" (Edwin Odesseiron- Baldur's gate 2)
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