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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

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3467 Posts

Posted - 26 Jun 2017 :  18:00:15  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I intend to use the old D&D lore for the time when immortals roamed the universe.

Back then it was a whole different universe and it ended in a swirling vortex of chaos that fractured the universe into a multiverse.

Im pretty sure there was an adventure involving this world ending vortex of chaos as well.

That way we have no lore gaffs because everything about the war of light and darkness happened before the multiverse existed.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 26 Jun 2017 :  18:28:35  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here's another thought, building on what I mentioned earlier, and another prior suggestion of mine...

So originally, everything was immortal. And then, from beyond reality, the Far Realm somehow injected itself into the D&D universe (The Gygaverse?). The powers of the D&DVerse managed to shove the Far Realm back out and close the breach in reality -- but the incursion had forever changed the nature of reality, and now death and disease were now a part of the new reality. Immortality still existed, but it was no longer the default state for beings on the Prime.

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Markustay
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Posted - 26 Jun 2017 :  19:17:56  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Building on what both of you have said, I picture Mystara being a very early world created after the Godwar/Sundering - perhaps one of the very first Crystal Spheres (hence is nature being a little different). That world had Immortals, instead of 'gods', and that would fit nicely - at first there would be no deities, and the immortals left-over from the pre-Shattered First World (The 'Midgard') would have been venerated in their place. In fact, most for the earliest Crystal Spheres should have some of those immortals lurking about, and most of them would have attained true divine status since then (the 'first gods'?)

Now, if we toss my own homebrew lore into that - that 'Blackmoor' was actually the original kingdom of man(kind) - and that bits and pieces of that have wound up on several D&D worlds, those 'Blackmoorians' would be the original Creator-Race humans. They may have a fought a war - alongside or even against other Creatori - with the 'Forces of Chaos', which would have been the illithids (amongst other aberrations). And, as I pointed out in another thread today, that ties the proto-humans to the Gith race as well. Perhaps all/most Blackmoorians had some psionics, being that their culture was the earliest to have technology, which would also tie into the whole Gith/Illithid thing (not to mention 1e rules about 'wild talents' and psionics).

In fact, maybe thats what those first humans - the folk of Blackmoor - called themselves: The Gith. And there are almost none of the originals left (just like how there are no more true Gith left - the race has diverged into several sub-groups). Also, Dave Arneson's Blackmoor would then be placed on the First World (rather than ancient Mystara), which makes my inner child squeal with delight with the serendipitousness of it all. Dave and Gary (and their friends) literally played on the first (D&D) world, which was the basis for all that came after. Its almost poetic, don't you think?

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 28 Jun 2017 19:10:45
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CorellonsDevout
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Posted - 26 Jun 2017 :  19:57:20  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Misereor

quote:
Originally posted by KanzenAU
I'd put out a couple of counter-possibilities:
1. The first gods did not rely on mortal faith, perhaps up until the destruction of the Lattice of Heaven <snip>

I'm inclined towards the first option myself, as Ao's position as creator of Realmspace and the gods feels firmly established to me.

Edit: Though "The Godborn" does tell a story of Shar having destroyed other worlds before coming to Abeir-Toril... so perhaps they were all born of mortal faith, but elsewhere in the universe...



1. would certainly fit with editions and the non-diminishing gods canon pre avatar-crisis, but I personally like to think both are true (how very White Wolf Publishing of me).

That gods were always dependent on faith, but the relationship became more linear post-avatar crisis with the decree of Ao. Ancient gods of the creator races going to sleep as their races declined would fit with that, but much more indirectly than "Cyric loses Zhentil Keep, and is immediately weakened enough to lose his death portfolio". (AARGH!)



The "ancient" gods, or the gods who created races, did not require worship to exist, since they existed before anyone was around to worship them. Of course, this doesn't mean they didn't want worship (thus one reason why they probably made various races). It is true that, to a degree, they have always been dependent on their followers, but worship wasn't a requirement until post-ToT. Also, loss of worshipers doesn't necessarily mean the true death of the deity, at least if they deity is multi-spheric. They might "die" on Toril, but their existence in other planes would go on, so long as they had worshipers there.

But it is true that the deities do depend on worship. Every deity wants followers, and since ToT, they have become more reliant on them.

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KanzenAU
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Australia
742 Posts

Posted - 26 Jun 2017 :  23:59:22  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Misereor

And finally a question.
What is The Godborn? Novel? Source book? Canon reference?

The Godborn is the second novel in the Sundering series, and is written by Paul Kemp. It's canon, though people differ on how much credence they give the novels.

Here's a quote from Brennus Tanthul out of the novel (this view is also repeated by other characters).
quote:
Shar existed on many worlds, in many planes, and always her goal was the same—the annihilation of worlds. The process, The Cycle of Night, had run its course on many worlds, leaving voids in its wake, and had begun on Toril.

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Edited by - KanzenAU on 26 Jun 2017 23:59:55
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CorellonsDevout
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2010 Posts

Posted - 27 Jun 2017 :  00:26:04  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
@Misereor: as KanzenAU said, the Godborn is a novel in the Sundering series. Specifically, it's a follow-up to the Erevis Cale series. My suggestion is, if you haven't, read the Erevis Cale and Twilight Wars trilogies.

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KanzenAU
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Australia
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Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  00:32:59  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Are non-Realmspace origins for Selune and Shar explored anywhere other than the Godborn? It seems to me it's a pretty big deal to say Shar is an annihilator of multiple worlds.

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CorellonsDevout
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Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  00:51:53  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Twilight Wars (which comes before Godborn) talks about Shar, at least, and the Return of the Archwizards trilogy is about the return of Shade, so it deals with Shar somewhat, if I remember correctly.

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Edited by - CorellonsDevout on 28 Jun 2017 19:03:57
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Misereor
Learned Scribe

134 Posts

Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  08:59:05  Show Profile Send Misereor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by CorellonsDevout
The "ancient" gods, or the gods who created races, did not require worship to exist, since they existed before anyone was around to worship them.


Then what was the difference between an ancient god and a primordial?
And what would an ancient god want worshippers for?


What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder, stronger, in a later edition.

Edited by - Misereor on 28 Jun 2017 08:59:31
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dazzlerdal
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United Kingdom
3467 Posts

Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  12:29:13  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And this is where it all starts to break down.

All gods have to require worship to exist as gods. The ToT nonsense was a mistake. I just ignore that but about the deus ex tablets of fate and tying th gods power more closely to worshippers.

In my game a gods power has always been tied directly to worshippers.



Now you can achieve god like states of being and power without worshippers (the dark three did it by stealing power from a god, others did it by taking power from many powerful beings). The problem is that any super god like ability that is used expends some of your energy. Even maintaining a physical form uses up energy.

Eventually that energy will run out and you will become a non god once again. The quickest and most efficient way to gain more energy is through worship (or you could just steal more energy from beings and artefacts).


So these ancient gods talked of are just beings that achieved super power. If you look in the Immortals Handbook it gives a pretty good account of what they are and how they work. I think of it like dragon ball z and those super modes.

Without worshippers they ran the risk of being normal again. But with worshippers they are effectively invincible (ignoring ridiculour novels).


An immortal is just like a demigod. In fact a demigod is not a god. Its just the first stage of evolution to allow people to become gods. They have a single body and are very powerful but they can be killed.

A true god has multiple forms and is more belief than matter. He exists in a meta physical sense on the outer planes. The only way to kill him is to kill a belief.

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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
742 Posts

Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  12:46:18  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I guess when all comes down to it, the bottom line can best be said by the man himself...
quote:
Originally written by Ed Greenwood, posted by The Hooded One on 25th of February, 2011

The short answer to all of your questions, I'm afraid, is that "no one knows." Mortals in the Realms only know what priests, seers, sages, and various mad-wits tell them about matters cosmological, and as I've said before: even the gods lie.
We don't KNOW the origin of Ao or any of the "elder" gods, or what they did or didn't do or create. We have been TOLD some things, a few of them contradictory and none of them verified by any measure that doesn't involve (at some point) faith.
What's more, wise mortals have long ago realized that they can never know the truth. That is, they have no way of learning more except by trusting a tale told by someone, at some point.
To underline this:
There are sages of Faerűn who believe that the Inner and Outer Planes were around long before any of the gods (and uber-beings, like Ao) we have heard of.
There are Faerűnian scholars of matters divine who believe Shar is a relatively "young" or recent deity, and much of what is now said of her "dawn doings" are more or less flattering falsehoods put about by her priests to make her seem more powerful, or somehow "essential."
There are sages of Faerűn who believe that all deities create stars or moons or other celestial bodies, because they define godhood as the enacted ability to successfully carry off such creations (working alone). There are other sages who dismiss this notion as pure fantasy, and assert divinity has nothing (necessarily) to do with such activities at all.
Similar disputes mar almost every tale of the deeds of gods, particularly when interacting with other gods. The priests of Lathander see this event far differently than the clergy of Shar do, while the priests of Umberlee offer as "gospel truth" a tale about a particular storm that contradicts entirely a similar "gospel truth" tale told by the clergy of Talos . . . and so on, for literally hundreds of instances.
So we simply don't know.


Though I still think it's worth having these discussions to see how different people here interpret the gods and such, to help give more substance to our home games.

I'm still working on my own interpretation of FR's cosmology, and since remembering that stuff in The Godborn I'm now more inclined to think that "Shar" may be a local reflection of that annihilating cosmic force spoken of, but when it approaches they reunite. Perhaps Selune and Shar are both local reflections of universal Creation/Annihilation forces. These cosmic entities exist in the very fabric of the multiverse, and on Abeir-Toril they happen to coalesce as gods. Because Ao? Because Abeir-Toril has some special significance? Still more thought is required...

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CorellonsDevout
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Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  16:14:10  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Also, the sourcebooks and some of the novels do give us "food for thought" that allow us to develop certain theories. Unknowable or not, we have been given at least some teasing information that allows us to have these discussions. We'very been given info about the gods, and the Outer Planes. If there were nothing, we probably wouldn't be able to have as in-depth convos as we currently do.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  17:23:29  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by CorellonsDevout

Also, the sourcebooks and some of the novels do give us "food for thought" that allow us to develop certain theories. Unknowable or not, we have been given at least some teasing information that allows us to have these discussions. We'very been given info about the gods, and the Outer Planes. If there were nothing, we probably wouldn't be able to have as in-depth convos as we currently do.



Indeed. It's like the Dawn Cataclysm: they won't pin down a date and prefer to say it happened outside of time -- but then give us enough info for a pretty specific time frame for it.

I know that definitive uncertainty about things was something Ed intended to have baked into the setting -- but a lot of designers/authors since didn't get that memo, and I personally find the "it's uncertain!" stance doesn't work well with all the documentation we've been given since.

Call it the Greenwood Uncertainty Principle -- it's unfathomable and unknowable, until WotC gets a hold of it.

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14027 Posts

Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  19:06:30  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In one scene of the Everis Cale trilogy, the protagonists travel to the Plane of Shadows (which would now be the Shadowefell), and come across the 'Fane of Shadows' (IIRC), which is some sort of shrine to multiple shadow-gods, in the form of large statues. Its never stated if the others are from off-world (but one might assume at least a few were), and the only one actually mentioned to be 'recognizable' as another FR deity is Mask. Now, some might be from other regions of Toril, including some of the unnamed landmasses, but there were quite a few of them, IIRC.

The biggest 'reveal' of that scene is that Shar's statue towered over them all, and its hinted-at that the size of the statue may represent a level of power.

Thus, if that 'field of statues' was multi-spheric - and there's no reason to think its not, considering its in a transitive plane that connects to all others - than apparently Shar IS THE GOD of 'Shadows'. She could possibly be likened to Asmodeus; as he is to hell, she is to the Shadowfell.

Conjecture of course, based on the musings of the characters, which may or may not be 'the truth' (since we are dealing with gods of obfuscation and lying).

EDIT:
Further conjecture/theory:
IF all planes/spheres have their own Overpower (what I have termed in the past as a 'Spheric Guardian'), then perhaps Shar is the Overgod of the Shadowfell. What that would mean is that whereas Ao reigns supreme in Toril's Crystal Sphere, Shar would out-rank him in the Plane of Shadows.

In theory.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 28 Jun 2017 19:13:52
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CorellonsDevout
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Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  19:13:23  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Misereor

quote:
Originally posted by CorellonsDevout
The "ancient" gods, or the gods who created races, did not require worship to exist, since they existed before anyone was around to worship them.


Then what was the difference between an ancient god and a primordial?
And what would an ancient god want worshippers for?





By ancient god, I meant those who existed before their worshipers. Some were the gods of the "creator races". Because of this, they existed before the worship of their followers, so they didn't need followers to exist. That said, perhaps by some unknown law/force of the universe, the creation of followers would increase their power, though again, before the ToT, worship wasn't mandatory for a deity's existence.

As for the difference between primordials and ancient gods, I'll admit I haven't studied the primordials as much, but I would say primordials are more "primal". Not less intelligent, but their motives/desires/nature is different (though some have made the crossover, like Akadi).

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Markustay
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USA
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Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  19:33:29  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, 'Ancient (Elder) Gods' would be about as old as primordials - they would have all existed in the pre-Sundered world/plane. What would be differnt, IMO, would be their 'function'.

The way I look at it, the 'First World' was a vast plane (the concept of round worlds swimming in empty space, separated from each other physically, wasn't even born yet), and in that empty space the First gods (what I term Sidereals - each representing a physical dimension in M-theory) would have created other beings - actual ideas made sentient - in order to create things and fill the void. This is a very common theme in many mythologies (and I personally like the take from the classic movie, Time Bandits). They fashioned the Eternals (secondary concepts), who in-turn begat the Ordials. The Ordials were broken into several groups themselves, and the ones who were focused on the Prime Material (which, combined with the four elemental planes, was the dimension of 'Material', or, 'The Ymir') were the Prime Ordials (primordials). Other Ordials were in-charge of more esoteric concepts, like sentience, light, Good & Evil, shadow & Darkness, deception, etc., etc. Those other Ordials would be the Ancient Gods - the first Gods, that are NOT deities (ascended mortals). And, of course, amongst all of those there were various levels of power (and I would assume that this is when the first of them became 'power hungry', growing jealous of the amount others had control over).

In the beginning, the idea is that all these beings - really all just concepts within the mind of an even greater whole (whether that be THE GOD, or the universe t=itself - really just splitting hairs here) - were building something together. all were part of that original 'Celestial Bureaucracy'. But once the first Godwar broke out, they all took sides (including neutrality, which IS a side, whether they wanted it to be or not). In fact, in those early days of the war, presumably 'Good & Evil' were on the same side vs chaos (that from some of the lore regarding the 'fall' of Asmodeus), and by the end of the war the sides themselves had fractured into dozens of factions (probably the very first pantheons).

So, Primordials and 'Ancient Gods' are both 'Ordials' (my own term), but if we look at the Universe as a vast construction project, the Primordials were the engineers who got the job done, and those others - the Ancient, Elder Gods - were the 'planners'. THEY figured out the 'why' of what was being built, and where. In other words, the 'architects' (and perhaps that were the 'Archtypes' came from). Who knows? Maybe the Godwar started out as Union Dispute.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 28 Jun 2017 19:40:06
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  19:46:13  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

In one scene of the Everis Cale trilogy, the protagonists travel to the Plane of Shadows (which would now be the Shadowefell), and come across the 'Fane of Shadows' (IIRC), which is some sort of shrine to multiple shadow-gods, in the form of large statues. Its never stated if the others are from off-world (but one might assume at least a few were), and the only one actually mentioned to be 'recognizable' as another FR deity is Mask. Now, some might be from other regions of Toril, including some of the unnamed landmasses, but there were quite a few of them, IIRC.

The biggest 'reveal' of that scene is that Shar's statue towered over them all, and its hinted-at that the size of the statue may represent a level of power.

Thus, if that 'field of statues' was multi-spheric - and there's no reason to think its not, considering its in a transitive plane that connects to all others - than apparently Shar IS THE GOD of 'Shadows'. She could possibly be likened to Asmodeus; as he is to hell, she is to the Shadowfell.

Conjecture of course, based on the musings of the characters, which may or may not be 'the truth' (since we are dealing with gods of obfuscation and lying).

EDIT:
Further conjecture/theory:
IF all planes/spheres have their own Overpower (what I have termed in the past as a 'Spheric Guardian'), then perhaps Shar is the Overgod of the Shadowfell. What that would mean is that whereas Ao reigns supreme in Toril's Crystal Sphere, Shar would out-rank him in the Plane of Shadows.

In theory.



What's odd, though, about the Fane of Shadows thing, and about Shar's association with all things shady, in general, is the fact that even in 3E, Mask was the god of shadows, while Shar was the goddess of the dark. Certainly, there is overlap there, but the two are not wholly synonymous, since shadow cannot exist without light.

This has bugged me since 3E came out. We suddenly got this intense enmity with Mystra, the sudden prominence of a deity that hadn't been at all prominent before, the apparent usurpation of a portfolio, and then the connection of all evil in the Realms to Shar.

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CorellonsDevout
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Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  19:57:45  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

Well, 'Ancient (Elder) Gods' would be about as old as primordials - they would have all existed in the pre-Sundered world/plane. What would be differnt, IMO, would be their 'function'.

{...}

So, Primordials and 'Ancient Gods' are both 'Ordials' (my own term), but if we look at the Universe as a vast construction project, the Primordials were the engineers who got the job done, and those others - the Ancient, Elder Gods - were the 'planners'. THEY figured out the 'why' of what was being built, and where. In other words, the 'architects' (and perhaps that were the 'Archtypes' came from). Who knows? Maybe the Godwar started out as Union Dispute.



That's kind of what I was getting at. The ancient gods and primordials existed at the same time, but their nature/desires, whatever you want to call it, was different, and thus their function would be different. I have always viewed the primordials as more "primal".

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KanzenAU
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Australia
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Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  23:24:00  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
What's odd, though, about the Fane of Shadows thing, and about Shar's association with all things shady, in general, is the fact that even in 3E, Mask was the god of shadows, while Shar was the goddess of the dark. Certainly, there is overlap there, but the two are not wholly synonymous, since shadow cannot exist without light.


Spoilers for the Godborn below, on the relationship between Mask and Shar (from Drasek Riven's perspective):
quote:
Mask kept his secrets even from Riven, letting him in on the game only a little at a time. And the game, it turned out, had been a long con. Mask had played them all, including his mother, Shar. Mask had been Shar’s herald on Toril, the prophet who started her Cycle of Night, a divine process that had repeated itself countless times across the multiverse, and had, in the process, destroyed countless worlds. And each time, on each world, the cycle ended the same way, had to end the same way—with Shar consuming the divinity of her herald. The divine cannibalism of her own offspring allowed the Lady of Loss to incarnate fully, and once she did, she reduced everything in the world to nothing. Cycles of Night had left the multiverse pockmarked with holes. Voids of nothingness were the footprints Shar left as she stalked through reality. Riven knew the amount of life she’d destroyed in the process, and it nauseated even him. And apparently it had been too much for Mask, also, for when it came to Toril, he hadn’t played his part. “The cycle must be broken,” Riven said, the words exiting his mouth, but not feeling at all like his own words. On Toril, Shar had consumed only a portion of Mask’s divinity, for he’d hidden the rest away, and what she’d consumed was not enough to finish the cycle, not enough to allow her to incarnate.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 29 Jun 2017 :  00:45:58  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KanzenAU

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
What's odd, though, about the Fane of Shadows thing, and about Shar's association with all things shady, in general, is the fact that even in 3E, Mask was the god of shadows, while Shar was the goddess of the dark. Certainly, there is overlap there, but the two are not wholly synonymous, since shadow cannot exist without light.


Spoilers for the Godborn below, on the relationship between Mask and Shar (from Drasek Riven's perspective):
quote:
Mask kept his secrets even from Riven, letting him in on the game only a little at a time. And the game, it turned out, had been a long con. Mask had played them all, including his mother, Shar. Mask had been Shar’s herald on Toril, the prophet who started her Cycle of Night, a divine process that had repeated itself countless times across the multiverse, and had, in the process, destroyed countless worlds. And each time, on each world, the cycle ended the same way, had to end the same way—with Shar consuming the divinity of her herald. The divine cannibalism of her own offspring allowed the Lady of Loss to incarnate fully, and once she did, she reduced everything in the world to nothing. Cycles of Night had left the multiverse pockmarked with holes. Voids of nothingness were the footprints Shar left as she stalked through reality. Riven knew the amount of life she’d destroyed in the process, and it nauseated even him. And apparently it had been too much for Mask, also, for when it came to Toril, he hadn’t played his part. “The cycle must be broken,” Riven said, the words exiting his mouth, but not feeling at all like his own words. On Toril, Shar had consumed only a portion of Mask’s divinity, for he’d hidden the rest away, and what she’d consumed was not enough to finish the cycle, not enough to allow her to incarnate.




I've ready that... But it doesn't really change the fact that when Shade was unleashed on the Realms, everything shadow-related was connected to a deity that didn't cover shadows, while the deity who did cover them was shunted to the side.

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KanzenAU
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Posted - 29 Jun 2017 :  01:06:17  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Because all along he was Shar's herald! Just because we didn't hear about in earlier editions doesn't make it not true.

...of course, more truthfully, this was far more likely to be something added much later. But the fact remains is that it's the story FR canon seems to be going with. I think the developments in the Godborn could be used to help explain the 3e changes, but if you didn't like the 3e changes in the first place, it doesn't help you.

I'm still only scratching the surface in my own FR delvings, but I haven't yet come across any glaring inconstencies that can't explained by some gentle nudging. Hopefully that continues to be true in the many years to come... if I was in love with the Realms as they are now, and then the powers that be suddenly dropped the ToT/Shade/Spellplague on me, I might be disillusioned with their commitment to canon too.

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CorellonsDevout
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Posted - 29 Jun 2017 :  01:49:06  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, based on the events in Twilight Wars, and in the Godborn, Mask is, in a way, the hero who saves Toril from Shar lol.

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Misereor
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quote:
Originally posted by Markustay
The Ordials were broken into several groups themselves, and the ones who were focused on the Prime Material (which, combined with the four elemental planes, was the dimension of 'Material', or, 'The Ymir') were the Prime Ordials (primordials). Other Ordials were in-charge of more esoteric concepts, like sentience, light, Good & Evil, shadow & Darkness, deception, etc., etc. Those other Ordials would be the Ancient Gods - the first Gods, that are NOT deities (ascended mortals). And, of course, amongst all of those there were various levels of power (and I would assume that this is when the first of them became 'power hungry', growing jealous of the amount others had control over).



Very close to my take on it.
Primordals are generally descried as having been born of the primal chaos.

The way I see it, Life when it first arose, had to take *some* form, and it used what was available. That is why the first Gods/Primordials are related to universal stuff like Light, Darkness or Time, while concepts such as Honor or Lies only became sources of power (portfolios) much later, because they simply didn't exist at the time, or at least not in sufficient portions.

Sort of like the Original Death discussion. Life is prerequisite for Death after all, so it cannot have existed until some time after the emergence of Life, be it a milisecond or an eon of eons.

So while the primordials and ancient gods may not have been twins, they were at least first cousins, in that they emerged from naturally occurring phenomena. And by the mere fact of having forms, they began to influence reality around themselves, thereby seting the stage for more emergences (and incidentally creation myths).

Who or what or if anything preceded these beings is an excellent question, but since life didn't exist yet, their existence would not be 'life' as we understand it. Whether they consciously chose to create offspring or if other beings arose as natural cause and effect or both (and in which order) is a mystery. But whether they should be called ordials, eternals, etc. is IMHO a matter of grading/tiering their emergence, age, and power rather than categorizing them as a 'species'. The spontaneously spawned beings are all of one kind. The beings they created, whether immortal offspring or manifactured mortal species do not belong to the same category, even if they are (obviously) related to their parents.

So to sum up:
- Creation happens, whether spontaneously or by design.
(Maybe Ao & his boss(es) did it, or maybe they arrived later.)

- Reality starts taking shape, and the first beings emerge.
(Ptah, Shar, Selune. "Primordial" concepts, excuse the pun.)

- As reality becomes more structured, more beings emerge. Things are still pretty chaotic compared to later ages, and so in return are the beings which emerge.
(Which is why primordials tend to be destructive. They are not really compatible with the present level of structuredness of reality. This is also the age of the celestial bureaucracy you describe. They may fight, but they are not separated into factions.)

- Stuff like Suns and Stars are created, and so Sun and Star gods emerge. As of yet there is no worship.
(Also sometime during this or the previous step comes the Obyrith incursion, which is a rather significant tangent, since they manage to infect individuals amongst both gods, primordials and mortals.)

- Whether by design, natural cause and effect, or both, mortal species emerge.

- Mortal species spend time and energy wondering about the world around them, and come to conclusions = Belief/Faith.
(What is the Sun? --> Sun God suddenly gets a suprise energy infusion.)

- Some immortal beings start becoming dependent on Faith energy. Some by choice, others inadvertently. Sometimes others of their kind resent this, sometimes the faith-dependent resent their non-dependent peers.
(Now factionalism occurs. Also discovered at this time is the power and nature of souls.)

- Gods design faith systems, divine carrots and sticks, afterlives, start interfernig on behalf of their followers, etc. Religion is born.

- As mortals spread across the worlds, there is less room for primordials. Some are weakned, some die, and some becomes angry enough to escalate factionalism into all-out war.
(Dawn War. All-out slaughter.)

- Eventually mortals become numerous enough that mortal ideas become a major source of faith energy, and so a new type of deities emerge. This time they are not born from natural but rather mortal-induced phenomena or even pure metaphysical concepts, like Home and the Hearth, Livestock, Agriculture, Libraries and Glyphs, Honesty, Integrity, Rulership, Gluttony, Lust, etc.
(Since these gods are different, they should be termed differently. God, Power, Deity. Something.)

- The primordials are on the defensive, and take desperate measures. Dendar eats the sun. Asgorath tests his throwing arm. Ubtao defects.

- The conflict ends. Some primordials (like Asgorath) assume godhood, some die, smoe leave, and some are imprisoned or banished. And some bide their time.

quote:
Originally posted by Markustay
if we look at the Universe as a vast construction project, the Primordials were the engineers who got the job done, and those others - the Ancient, Elder Gods - were the 'planners'. THEY figured out the 'why' of what was being built, and where.


I firmly agree. But it certainly didn't happen because everyone agreed on how to proceed or what their place in the project should be.

What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder, stronger, in a later edition.
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KanzenAU
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Posted - 30 Jun 2017 :  09:18:08  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The stories about the beginning of Realmspace in Faiths and Avatars, Faiths and Pantheons, and the FRCS all talk about Selune and Shar "coalescing" out of the:
primordial essence of light and dark in the misty realm of shadows (F&A)
protoplasmic raw existence/swirling chaos (F&P)
shadowy essence of the misty realm of shadows (FRCS)

In the FRCG we get a bit more information:
quote:
...detritus remaining from [the universe's] creation coalesced around the universe as an ocean of silvery liquid. From this glittering realm of starlight formed beautiful twin beings, polar opposites of each other, one dark and one light.

I interpret this as: when Ao creates the crystal sphere of Realmspace, he creates a connection between it and the Outer Planes. This connection is the "ocean of silvery liquid" referred to as the FRCG - or the Astral Sea. We also know that Shar has been active annihilating other worlds, although the timeline of this is unclear. However, we also are led to believe that before the creation of Chauntea, Shar and Selune were friends - "so close they thought of themselves as one being" (F&A). The same tome even goes so far as to call them the "Two-Faced Goddess".

So here's my theory, based on the above and The Godborn:
Selune and Shar are local incarnations of multiverse-wide forces - the force of creation/light and the force of annihilation/darkness. Overgods like Ao serve the force of Creation/UberSelune, and try to bring the universe to a Balance from whence life can spring. Annihilation/UberShar however, is the destroyer of worlds described in The Godborn. Her servants are the greater obyriths. The multiverse exists in a state of dangerous fluctuation between the dominance of these two forces.

When Ao creates the crystal sphere of Realmspace, he connects it to the Outer Planes. In doing so, a reservoir of divine power enters the crystal sphere, which is needed for the first gods to form. Fresh divine power like this resembles the base state of existence - the raw potential for both creation and annihilation. Thus, that energy initially takes the form of Selune and Shar - local manifestations of the multiverse-wide forces of creation and annihilation. If avatars are the forms gods use when they want a presence on the physical world, Selune and Shar are more like uber-avatars: the gods Creation and Annihilation use when they want a presence in the universe. These gods are not created with the full understanding of what they are, and thus initially get along quite well - until the potential for life is discovered and they realize they are destined to be enemies.

In most crystal spheres, the Overgod shapes these proto-Selune/Shar gods into gods more desirable to its purposes. However, Ao decides to let them be. He chooses to have both creation and annihilation as fundamental forces in his sphere, perhaps to better replicate the circumstances of the multiverse as a whole. When they first enter the sphere, they blend as a misty realm of shadow, and then eventually coalescing into the Selune and Shar we know today.

Meanwhile, throughout existence Creation/UberSelune works to maintain the balance, while Annihilation/UberShar works to destroy all. UberShar destroys many worlds and planes, often using the obyriths to do its work. When it nears a certain crystal sphere, it sends a portion of its divine energy to that world. That portion of divine energy acts to begin the Cycle of Night that will result in the world's destruction. On Abeir-Toril that was Mask. UberShar also makes the local "uber-avatar" of Shar aware of the Cycle of Night, and uses her clergy to bring it to fruition. Thus, Shar acts for UberShar in The Godborn, and presumably the other Kemp books.

TL;DR: Selune and Shar coalesce into Realmspace as local godly uber-avatars of creation and annihilation, the fundamental forces of the multiverse.

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Markustay
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Posted - 30 Jun 2017 :  15:00:00  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I know Ed Greenwood is a fan of Michael moorcock's work (he used a lot of his gods in his original, pre-published FR article on 'The Gods' back in Dragon magazine). He is also a big fan of Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber series. He 'borrowed' (or rather, was 'inspired by') stuff from many sources. A third 'biggie' would be the Chronicles of Narnia (and more specifically, the concept of 'The Wood Between the Worlds' - what Moorcock calls the Mittlemarch, and would be the Border Ethereal in D&D*). Thus, having read all the same material myself, I can get a 'feel' for how Ed pictures his world (and the greater D&Dverse).

One big concept Michael Moorcock puts forth is the multiverse (also used in the Amber novels), and 'the Gods'. In his various series, different gods have prominence, and some that appear in more than one world/setting behave and even look a bit differently in another. However, the god is still technically the same god - in one story I recall, Arioch recognizes and interacts with Elric, even though Elric is in a different, alternate setting. Elric recognizes the differences immediately, and even ponders on them a bit (the god itself seems to be unaware that it is different). To me, that a pretty major concept, and one I think Ed applies to the Realms (and perhaps other D&D designers have applied to the D&Dverse - and the Planescape cosmology - over the years). "The same, but different". Its where I get a lot of my musings on 'perception, faith, and reality', and how dogma (the 'known facts' of a setting) can influence all of those things. Dogma IS 'fact' within a setting. Thus, everything poured through that filter will verify the Dogma to be true. However, a different world may have a different dogma, with its own, different set of 'facts' (which CAN contradict the facts known elsewhere). Gods are part of the universe, and thus are affected by that dogma - what people expect to see, and how they expect a deity to behave, is how they look and behave. But the God isn't actually changing at all - only your 'awareness' of it is. Gods are actually just balls of energy, that your frail, mortal mind has to interpret. Some of this is even touched upon in the FR novel Prince of Lies - Mystra learns how to shift her own perception to that of another, and realizes even the gods see things differently from each other (they view everything through the 'filter' of their own awareness, preconceptions, portfolios, and desires). Basically, everyone is "living in their own private Idaho", gods and mortals alike.

So the bottom line is, that every setting might have a Shar and Selűne (and even a Mystra), but they would (likely) be called by other names in those places. And their behavior can be quite different, and they could have different portfolios as well. 'The same, but different". Its a pretty major concept of multiverses. The big difference between Gods and mortals is that every world might have its own, private version of Elric, or Conan, or Superman, and those ARE separate beings (maybe - Moorcock also had the concept of the 'Eternal Champion'), but THE GODS are the same being from world to world - only mortal perception of them changes.

One caveat: I think Primordials would be above all that - that they would not only be the same being no matter what, but their sheer power forces their own perception onto everything else, so basically, what you see is what you get. I think most Gods can do this when they focus on doing so - manipulate perception so that mortals see what they want them to see, but I think once you start to get into the 'Overgod tier' and higher, this happens automatically. Thus, another major difference between 'Gods' and Primordials. Because of their connection to mortals (through faith), the Gods become bound by Dogma. Maybe thats why most Primordials don't bother with religion or worshipers - its a two-way trap. A primordial can never be 'erased' (forgotten about) the way a God can.


*Actually, I would think the Mittlemarch is the Border Ethereal, and the 'Wood Between the Worlds' is the Ethereal, but I'm splitting hairs here, and both are influenced by mortal perception as well. In fact, now that I am putting a bit of thought into all of this, the 'Wood between the Worlds' might actually make a better Border Feywild (thinking here that if the Ethereal has a border-plane of its own, why can't others?). To take it a step further, the 'Plane of Shadows' might just be the Veil between the Worlds (I think I got that one from the SoT series), and function as the Border Shadowfell. Not that mortals would be able to tell the differences, as they move through these regions, from one to another. Its also beyond our understanding, since you should be able to move in (at least) eleven directions to get to anywhere else, and beings from the Prime Material are used to only thinking in terms of three.

In fact, that could explain part of the reason why gods are so powerful - they can see into these 'other places' and moved toward them, in directions we can't fathom. Perhaps 'Godhood' is nothing more than Greater Awareness.
Maybe... 'Godhood' isn't something you earn at all. Maybe, everyone is a god, right form the beginning, but we just don't know it. Its almost like mortals are born with a birth defect - the inability to access all those 'higher planes of awareness'. Once that gets unlocked, they become a god. Faith (and the dogma that goes with it) is what can unlock some of that power.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 30 Jun 2017 15:09:38
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