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KanzenAU
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Australia
742 Posts

Posted - 09 Jul 2017 :  14:28:06  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I'd like to preface this by saying I haven't yet read the Avatar series. I'll get there eventually, I'm working on it. Lots to read. However, I have bought them and scraped some quotes from them here and there.

Near the end of Waterdeep, Ao basically says "now the gods are reliant on mortals". Talos straight out states that that seems crazy. The implication seems to be that the power of the gods did not rely on mortals before this moment.

So how did divine power on Toril work before the Time of Troubles then? Did the faith of mortals just flow to all the gods equally, so they didn't have to worry about how big their churches were? If it flowed to them all equally, why would they even get into fights about things?

I've tried searching around and found naught on this. As far as I can tell, all mortal worship flowed to the gods equally. The gods then tried to hurt each other so they could grab bits of divinity from each other. The only reason they interacted with mortals was to get them to hurt other deities somehow, so they could rip off some of their divine spark.

A bit lost, help?

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Irennan
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Italy
2696 Posts

Posted - 09 Jul 2017 :  14:31:36  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think that the only thing that changed was the degree to which deities get their power from faith. Before the ToT, they could sustain themselves, after it they are no longer able to. However, my impression is that worship has always been the same as power for a deity.

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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
742 Posts

Posted - 09 Jul 2017 :  14:37:01  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

I think that the only thing that changed was the degree to which deities get their power from faith. Before the ToT, they could sustain themselves, after it they are no longer able to. However, my impression is that worship has always been the same as power for a deity.


I should have included this in my original post, but I got sidetracked somewhere in writing it.

That was a possibility, except for gods like Amaunator, who we know "died out after 1,000 years", well before the ToT.

It can be argued of course that Amaunator didn't really die, he came back - but the point is that the gods are basically being threatened with the same thing post-ToT: if you don't have worshipers, you'll die. But they already did pre-ToT!

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dazzlerdal
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United Kingdom
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Posted - 09 Jul 2017 :  14:55:20  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Kozah died of lack of worshippers long before ToT. Auppenser might as well have died. We dont know how murdane died (other than lathander caused it), but i suspect it was a lack of worshippers.
There are no raumathari or narfelli gods because most of those people died or were forced to abandon their gods by demon cultists in charge of the realm.
The dragon gods long suffered with lack of worshippers and a few almost died out.

The gods dont actually die when they run out of worshippers, they simply return to what they were before they attained godhood. They can then be killed and die like normal non-gods. But that doesnt stop people believing again and the god returning.

The Ao stuff is really bad mcguffin writing. Im ignoring it.

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Irennan
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Italy
2696 Posts

Posted - 09 Jul 2017 :  15:00:20  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For Amaunator, we could perhaps that he was the same as Lathander as we were orignally led to think, but that maybe the Second Sundering made it so that one of his aspect took a life and identity on his own (given what Sernett said), due to how many people were still worshiping Amaunator as a separate entity, and drew a pretty definite distinction between the two Sun gods.

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Edited by - Irennan on 09 Jul 2017 15:03:14
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Irennan
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Italy
2696 Posts

Posted - 09 Jul 2017 :  15:02:37  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

Kozah died of lack of worshippers long before ToT. Auppenser might as well have died.



Isn't Kozah the Netherese for Talos? As for Auppenser, he is inactive, but not dead. I don't like attributing stuff to Ao either (in fact, I ignore the ToT as well), but I believe KanzenAU was referring to the canon Realms.

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dazzlerdal
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United Kingdom
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Posted - 09 Jul 2017 :  15:31:49  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Kozah was Kozah.
Talos is Talos.

Now we equate the two but back then the Netherese had their own pantheon and Kozah was in it (not Talos).

Now Kozah remains only as a crazy semi sentient force of destruction while Talos is a god.

Plus canon really is badly written. Chuck out the rubbish and Ao with it


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Aldrick
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909 Posts

Posted - 09 Jul 2017 :  17:18:46  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is one of the more poorly written and considered parts of canon.

As you point out KanzenAU, prior to the Time of Troubles, deities already clearly relied on their worshipers as evidenced by Amaunator. Auppenser suffered a similar fate after the fall of Jhaamdath, though it is said that Mystra somehow sustains him and that he is in a deep slumber or coma. It may be that Sseth is in the same state as Auppenser, though it is unclear why he slumbers. It may be by choice or simply due to the belief of his faithful.

Both the lore around Amaunator and Auppenser, the result of the loss of worship, is all well established canon and covers events pre-ToT. There are lore holes that the Time of Troubles creates so large that you can drive a truck through them, and this is just one of them.

Irennan has the most reasonable explanation that attempts to reconcile the lore. Namely that it is just a matter of degree. Which effectively means what happened to Amaunator and Auppenser should be more common and more frequent.
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Aldrick
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909 Posts

Posted - 09 Jul 2017 :  17:31:14  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Re: Kozah and Talos.

Kozah was a Netherese deity and Talos was a Talfric deity. After the fall of Netheril, and likely sometime during the events of the Dawn Cataclysm--as the various human pantheons began to merge--Kozah supplanted Talos, though kept the name. Alternatively, it could have been the other way around--though Talos is pretty identical to Kozah. In any case, both were likely deities of storms.

There are also other deities of storms and destruction that Talos has "absorbed." Baelros was likely a Calishite deity that is now part of Talos, who was a deity of sandstorms and destruction. Baelros still has some minor cults devoted to him throughout Calishite lands. There may be others that we do not know about as well.
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CorellonsDevout
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USA
2012 Posts

Posted - 09 Jul 2017 :  21:15:07  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am going to agree it has to do with the degree. As I stated in another thread, some of the more ancient gods (those who existed before their followers, and/or created said followers), wouldn't need followers to necessarily sustain them, but every deity wants worshipers--and perhaps the rules change once a deity does have followers. Creating a race would be a big triumph for a deity (shaping a mortal in your image, if you will). Now, they have mortals who will spread the word of their teachings, and pay homage to them in some form or another. The catalyst to this would be that now those deities have to rely on their worshipers to, well, worship them and "feed them power".

From F&A:

"Deities need the power provided them by worship to exist. One way for a power to die is to have no more worshipers. To intentionally cause a power's death through this method is difficult even for most greater powers. Basically, all the worshipers of a deity have to die, or the power has to gradually lose worshipers so slowly that it does not realize its inevitable fate until it can do little to stop it. Powers can hang on as demipowers as long as they have even one worshiper. And even after they lose that worshiper, it takes them awhile to wither away while they wring the last bits of deific sustenance from the use of their name, their sovereignty over the principles and ideals of their portfolio, and even the awe inspired by tales told about them as myths or parables. During this time they would make every ever effort to get anyone to worship them. To effectively ensure the death of such a deity, in all likelihood it would have to be imprisoned on its home plane and rendered unable to communicate with any mortal being. Eventually, then, it would die." (pg 14).

Pre-ToT, it wasn't paramount the deities have followers to sustain them. Or, rather, worshipers was only one way for a deity to maintain its powers. Post-ToT, it became more of a concern.

Deities can be absorbed by other deities, as was pointed out. Perhaps this is what happened to Amaunataur, but he had a few followers who worshiped him as Amaunataur still, not as Lathander. This later created the division in the Lathander faith, where some believed Lathander would one day become Amaunataur. Then, in 4e, he did, but now in 5e, they are separate entities, as are most of the deities who were made to be "aspects" of other deities in 4e (which I am glad for. I like the variety). Now, cheap 5e explanations aside, this could mean that the "dead" deities in fact still had a few worshipers before the Sundering, and were thus able to be brought back, or they had been absorbed by other deities, but were then taken out and became individual entities again.

Sweet water and light laughter

Edited by - CorellonsDevout on 09 Jul 2017 21:20:16
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Zeromaru X
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Colombia
663 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  00:00:02  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Seeing that other gods from other worlds do not need worship to be alive (neither to sustain or maintain their powers), and that this was a rule imposed to them by their behaviour... the gods of the realms had to be a*holes to be punished like that...

Long ago, in the distant past, they fell into decay. The philosopher’s path... The river of glory... Even the saints resting in the darkness rise up without response and block the way...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 10 Jul 2017 00:01:15
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CorellonsDevout
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USA
2012 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  00:12:23  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think it was a form of collective punishment. Because of the actions of some deities bringing about the ToT, Ao decided *all* deities should face the same criteria, as it would make little sense to have only certain deities confined to that rule. It's like in kindergarten. One or two kids misbehaves, and no one gets recess.

Sweet water and light laughter
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KanzenAU
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Australia
742 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  03:28:31  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

Re: Kozah and Talos.

Kozah was a Netherese deity and Talos was a Talfric deity. After the fall of Netheril, and likely sometime during the events of the Dawn Cataclysm--as the various human pantheons began to merge--Kozah supplanted Talos, though kept the name. Alternatively, it could have been the other way around--though Talos is pretty identical to Kozah. In any case, both were likely deities of storms.

There are also other deities of storms and destruction that Talos has "absorbed." Baelros was likely a Calishite deity that is now part of Talos, who was a deity of sandstorms and destruction. Baelros still has some minor cults devoted to him throughout Calishite lands. There may be others that we do not know about as well.


Empires of the Shining Sands p55 does imply that Bhaelros was a separate deity to Talos, who subsumed him.

However, I believe Kozah and Talos are the same deity. The writeups for Kozah in Netheril: Empire of Magic and for Talos in Faiths and Avatars are copy and paste jobs. They're quite literally exactly the same - no personality differences at all.

We also know from Faiths and Pantheons p68 that Talos was created from the first battle of Selune and Shar. It would seem odd if Talos was linked so heavily to Selune and Shar that he was in some distant pantheon - it's much more likely that he was Kozah.

There is also no evidence of Talos being a deity of the Talfir, to my knowledge. However, Races of Faerun (one of the few tomes mentioning that group), says that the Netherese brought worship of Talos/Kozah to the ethnic Tethyrian group.

Edit: You may have been getting towards this point in your post, but I think it's possible there was a "Talos" deity of the Talfir (or Jhaamdath, or elsewhere) that was later subsumed by Kozah. Kozah then took the name "Talos" to become more widespread.

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Edited by - KanzenAU on 10 Jul 2017 03:37:21
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sleyvas
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USA
5825 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  03:41:33  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal


There are no raumathari or narfelli gods because most of those people died or were forced to abandon their gods by demon cultists in charge of the realm.



Bhalla, Khelliara, The Hidden One..... these may or may not be the deities that Faerunians equate them to.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Aldrick
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909 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  04:38:56  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KanzenAU

However, I believe Kozah and Talos are the same deity. The writeups for Kozah in Netheril: Empire of Magic and for Talos in Faiths and Avatars are copy and paste jobs. They're quite literally exactly the same - no personality differences at all.


Yeah, I know that. It is basically implied that Kozah somehow subsumed Talos of the Talfric pantheon and just stole his name. It is also quite possible that Talos was just an alias that Kozah used when being worshiped by the Talfric, and thus they were always the same. I do not think that has been explored, but I would wager it as reasonably possible due to the regional proximity.

quote:
Originally posted by KanzenAU

We also know from Faiths and Pantheons p68 that Talos was created from the first battle of Selune and Shar. It would seem odd if Talos was linked so heavily to Selune and Shar that he was in some distant pantheon - it's much more likely that he was Kozah.


That's mythology not actual historical fact. There are many creation myths in the Realms. The Sisters of Light and Darkness is just one of them. Why should Sarrukh creation mythology or Dragonic creation mythology be discounted in favor of the one believed by the Netherese and since popularized across Faerun after the Dawn Cataclysm?

quote:
Originally posted by KanzenAU

Edit: You may have been getting towards this point in your post, but I think it's possible there was a "Talos" deity of the Talfir (or Jhaamdath, or elsewhere) that was later subsumed by Kozah. Kozah then took the name "Talos" to become more widespread.



Yes, that is exactly what I meant.
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KanzenAU
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Australia
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Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  05:15:52  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

That's mythology not actual historical fact. There are many creation myths in the Realms. The Sisters of Light and Darkness is just one of them. Why should Sarrukh creation mythology or Dragonic creation mythology be discounted in favor of the one believed by the Netherese and since popularized across Faerun after the Dawn Cataclysm?

Yeah, thing are going to be murky if we get into the myth stuff. I prefer to take those myths as representing a part of the truth, but YMMV massively.

The 4e FRCG expands on the myth, saying:
quote:
The most common account of Toril’s prehistory traces its roots back to ancient Netheril. This popular human myth recounts the creation of the universe by Lord Ao and the epic struggle between the gods of light and darkness that followed. Only recently have other, more ancient legends come to light, recounted by the sarrukh of Okoth and echoed by the dragonborn of Returned Abeir. By combining common threads from both accounts, backed by diligent factfinding missions, scholars and historians of today have gained a clearer understanding of the creation of the universe.

(later)From this glittering realm of starlight formed beautiful twin beings, polar opposites of each other, one dark and one light. The twin goddesses birthed of the Astral Sea quickly moved to defend the virgin worlds from the destructive primordials. Other gods were created from the residue of the deific battles or summoned from other dimensions to aid in the fight against the primordials and their monstrous servants.

My take on that and the different myths presented is that Shar and Selune were the earliest gods. They likely did clash at some point, and from that Kozah (among others) was born. But regardless, mortals can't know the truth - this is just my own thoughts based on what I've read.

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CorellonsDevout
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USA
2012 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  06:25:21  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That passage does suggest Shar and Selune were the earliest gods, and that other gods were made from the battles or summoned from other dimensions. It is unclear whether these "interlopers" were created before or after the twins, as they come from another dimension. These summoned deities over time likely set up shop on Toril, so to speak, though some sooner than others. I actually find that line "other gods were created...or summoned" rather fascinating. It gets my mind turning, but I can't put my thoughts together right now lol. Idk, just made me think.

Sweet water and light laughter

Edited by - CorellonsDevout on 10 Jul 2017 06:32:37
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Markustay
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Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  06:57:18  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've reasoned that it had to do with the power they got just from their portfolios.

On most worlds, most of a god's might stems directly from the power of their church, but on Toril - and its probably because of The Weave* - the gods were able to get an enormous amount of their power just from folks partaking of things related to their portfolio. Now, some of that happens on other worlds, but somehow, this got vastly magnified on Toril (perhaps it also had to do with the 'One god per portfolio rule'? In earlier times, maybe dozens of gods shared portfolios, which would have lead to much smaller chunks of power coming their way from that source). For example, here on Earth we've had probably over a hundred 'death gods' who would have all had to share the wealth, as it were. On Toril, there was just Myrkul, and then Cyric and then Kelemvor (and originally Jergal). One god, getting all 'the juice' from all those deaths.



*The Weave - this all goes back to my theory that the Weave has a secondary function that acts as a 'easy to use' (Plug & Play?) divine conduit, both able to deliver spells to the Faithful, and also able to scoop-up all that Elan (that 'divine energy' that mortals apparently generate) from those same faithful, and ALSO from any use of their portfolios. By making the whole system fully automatic - and incredibly efficient - gods could just sit back and let the power flow to them, without lifting so much as a finger. Gods do not have to use The weave to do this - they could "do things the old-fashioned way" (meaning, they would have to allocate time and resources in the collection of Elan, and the deliver of clerical spells). This is why Mystra was able to shut-down Cyric's magic, but she isn't able to affect other gods she's been at odds with (like Shar - she has her own Weave, or rather, installed a 'back door' in Mystra's). Cyric would not have known - AT FIRST - there were other ways to accomplish his divine tasks. Some gods - like Kozah - just never bother with Mystra's Weave, or she denied them its use right from the get-go (and BTW, Mystra's no saint - she get her 'cut' from everything, because all this 'Weave Using' directly contributes to her own portfolio). Its like the difference between getting info from an encyclopedia set, or going to the library (back in the 'good old days'), and how today we have the internet for all of that. Its not just easier, its BETTER... more POWERFUL. All that Divine Energy passing through it is causing synergistic connections that take everything to a higher magnitude - Toril's Gods were 'super-charged'.

So, because of the nature of the Weave, and how efficient it is at these things (it would almost act like a ginormous 'power inverter' in this circumstance), for many, many years Toril's gods were able to simply ignore their faithful, since they had set their religions on 'auto-pilot'. Thats the thing Ao put a stop to - they had to go back to the old ways and interact with their worshipers. This also probably why Elemental Lords (Primordials) could not longer grant spells (for a time), because it even allowed non-deities to grant spells and receive elan from their Faithful (and perhaps Fiend Lords, and Arch-fey, etc.) Post - ToT Ao cut back its usage, and during the Wailing Years there wasn't even a weave there to use (hence, none of those primordials could do anything with their religions). With everything back the way it used to be, Elementals Lords can now grant clerical spells again. I'm not sure how much of the rest of the Weave's 'God interface' is back to how it was, though - I'm sure Ao had Mystra add certain sub-routines to avoid any future abuses. Its not as bad as it was during 2e-4e era, but its certainly not the party it was in 1e and earlier (probably right up until the time Mystryl died - her Weave seemed VERY different. Gods may not have been using it for their faiths. Thats something i can see having come about after Mystra 'rose from the ashes' of Mystryl's demise).

So, pre-Karsus' Folly mortals reigned supreme (magic had almost no limits). After Netheril's fall, Gods reigned supreme - they didn't even have to bother with their faithful. post-ToT, no-one reigned supreme (except Ao)- magic was curtailed all around. Shade returns (3e), magic gets thrown out-of-balance (the Shadoweave takes an upsurge), and for a time mortal magic users AND Gods begin to 'run amok'. Spellplague hits, everything collapses (Weave and Shadoweave), and magic is at an all-time low during the Wailing years. By 4e (Year of the Ancient One), new methods for doing everything have been devised... probably by using very raw/primal magical energies (things like 'pact magic' become prevalent). You basically needed a connection to a 'power source' to do anything. Now 5e is here (post-Sundering 2.0), and it seems Ao, The Gods, and mortals have struck a new cosmic balance. lets see how long it lasts.

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


Edited by - Markustay on 10 Jul 2017 07:01:45
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Markustay
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USA
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Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  07:09:10  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So yeah, that was just me re-spinning my 'The Weave is just a GUI for magic use' theory, comparing it to Windows. Some revisions are incremental and go smoothly (1e to 2e), some are bit rougher, with lots of headaches, but in the end it was worth it (once you get new drivers LOL). But 3e to 4e - that was HUGE. They pretty much gutted the system and started fresh, and all our old 'legacy software' (Elemental Lords) tanked, with no way to get them working again.

Now 5e is here, and it has an emulator, and some of that old software is back up and running (not as good as it once did, but at least we can use it). Ao just set the planet to 'Classic Mode'; it might be running on top of a new engine, but at least it now looks the same as it used to.

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


Edited by - Markustay on 10 Jul 2017 07:10:31
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Aldrick
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Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  08:55:06  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In case anyone is interested this is a Dragon Creation Myth from 2nd Edition Draconomicon as well as the subsequent in-character discussion of it pg. 2-3:

quote:
". . . The World was still flat, here before the beginning of Time, before Asgorath the World-Shaper folded the cloth of existence into its final form. The World was flat, and above it hung the Crystal Sun that Zotha had wrought before Asgorath cast him down. Asgorath soared above the World and looked down upon it, and she saw that it was good.

"And so Asgorath bent her form around the Crystal Sun, and touched her breath to it. And the Crystal Sun burst into fragments that pierced the flesh of Asgorath, and her blood fell on the World. Where the drops fell, the Powers of the World and the Powers of the Crystal Sun came together, and the Spawn of Asgorath came forth upon the face of the World.

"Red, they were, red that would later depart from its purity But here before the beginning of Time, their red was the pure red of the shattered Crystal Sun. They spread their wings and took to the skies, circling around the still, cold form of Asgorath. One after another score upon score, they bent their breath against the body of Asgorath, and the skies rang with their lamentations. Only one of the Spawn of Asgorath withheld his breath. Instead, he pulled a shard of the Crystal Sun from the flesh of Asgorath, and used it to draw blood from his own flesh, and this blood fell upon the face of the World.

"As before, there was movement where the blood fell, but the creatures that came forth from this blood were not of the pure red. Colored like the products of the World they were, like the unliving metals. And the Renegade raised his voice, and his voice was a trumpet: 'I too have Created.'

"The form of Asgorath began to stir, as the Renegade knew it must. The Renegade spread his wings and flew, and the Spawn of the Renegade followed him into the farthest reaches of the world."


--from the Book of the World

Excerpted from The Origin Myths--A Treatise by Dunkelzahn of Candlekeep, 1354 DR



Perhaps surprisingly, there are very few origin myths that relate directly to dragons. One of the few is a tome known as the Book of the World. Only one copy of this book has ever been found#151;and that in the land of Asram, about 100 years ago. The language of the book is Thorass--#151;more correctly, an even more archaic form of Thorass than most samples of this language#151;--but the script used is a simplified runic form. (No doubt the selection of runic script was necessitated by the construction of the book: it consists of 300 sheets of thin, flexible metal onto which the runes have been scribed with great precision.) This combination of language and script explains the difficulties and delays involved in translating the tome.

From its content and the mythic forms used, it is obvious to scholars that the Book of the World is an example of holy literature--that is, it once was at the center of a body of religious beliefs. The nature of some of those beliefs can be inferred from the myths contained in the Book, but there is insufficient cultural context to confidently analyze the belief structure. (For example, it is not known whether the creation myths are symbolic or intended to be taken as absolute truth.)

The sheer volume of mythic material within the Book, and the relatively organized chronological and contextual structure used throughout, imply that it originated from a fairly sophisticated culture. This is paradoxical, since no cultures of sufficient sophistication apparently ever arose in Asram. The possibility cannot be overlooked that the Book was transported from elsewhere and abandoned in Asram, but that theory also has its problems. There is no modern culture that contains even the vaguest mythological or symbolic echoes of the Book's content. Judging from the oxidation of the Book's metal pages, the specimen under examination was probably no more than 500 years old. In that time, it seems unlikely that an entire religio-mythic tradition would vanish from Toril. But that seems to be the case here. (The wild speculations that the Book of the World did not arise in Toril at all are discounted by most reputable scholars.)

The Book provides a fascinating origin myth relating to dragonkind. From a close reading of the text, it becomes obvious that Asgorath the World-Shaper is a dragon. The implication#151;that a dragon created the universe, and that dragons were the first creatures to exist--is quite fascinating. A further point arises from the sentence that reads, "And so Asgorath bent her form around the Crystal Sun, and touched her breath to it." In the original Thorass, the word "breath"--normally used as a singular or uncountable noun in this context#151;--has been given a plural suffix ("breaths"). Is this meant to imply that Asgorath is a multi-headed dragon?

The text is clearer when it comes to the "Spawn of Asgorath." There can be no doubt that these creatures are red dragons. The following sentences hint that this religion holds the red dragon as the most important species of dragon. All others would "later depart from . . . purity."

When the Renegade ("bahmat" in the original Thorass) duplicates the actions of Asgorath, the dragons that arise are "not of the pure red," but rather "colored . . . like the unliving metals." The implication here is obvious: The Spawn of the Renegade are the metallic--and primarily good-aligned-dragons, What the Book of the World contains is not only an origin myth of dragons--which makes it important enough in its own right--but also one of the few surviving evil-oriented origin myths.

It is easy to speculate, based on this myth. The plural inflection of the word "breath" might be taken as implying multiple heads; the Thorass word for renegade is "bahmat." It seems almost too close a correlation--can Asgorath be Tiamat and the Renegade be Bahamut?

An interesting speculation has recently arisen. It has long been thought that the Book of the World represents a body of human, demihuman, or humanoid myth. Is this a short-sighted and humanocentric assumption? The key features of the origin myth--sacrifice, betrayal, and rebirth--are common to almost every humanoid ethos, but in all of those myth-bodies the central characters are anthropomorphic. In other words, humanoid myth-builders create gods in their own image. In the myth presented in the Book of the World, there is not a single humanoid character.

Might not the Book of the World present an origin myth that was originally developed by dragons--probably red dragons--themselves? At a later date, humanoids adopted the myth, and incorporated it into the Book--for the Book of the World is obviously a humanoid artifact.

Dragons have never been thought to be great mythographers. Does this statement tell us more about dragons or about the prejudices of researchers?

(The following is excerpted from an address to the Council of Sages by Kelmara of Arabel, 1346 DR)


This is important lore, here, not only because it shows us another creation myth. It is important lore because it makes clear that there are many creation myths in the Realms. This makes sense. We would expect that. It also makes clear that there are many human creation myths.

This ultimately means that the Sisters of Light and Darkness is just a Netherese creation myth. It likely holds very little truth at all. I cannot find the Sarrukh creation myth off-hand (and I've been looking!). However, I know one exists somewhere because I recall reading it some time ago.

Regardless, it makes sense that the Sarrukh would have a creation myth that would revolve around the World Serpent. It is established on pg. 59 of Serpent Kingdoms that the World Serpent granted the Sarrukh "the secrets of magic, civilization, and power." Considering the Sarrukh also created the Nether Scrolls, literally on the Golden Skin of the World Serpent, is it hard to believe that the World Serpent was the original deity who made the Weave? We know the World Serpent fragmented into numerous other deities. Deities have schisms form within their faiths, have aspects of themselves break off, subsume other deities, etc. all the time. It makes sense that the World Serpent fragments, one of the fragments becomes the new guardian of the Weave, then somehow it lands in Mystryl's lap by the time the Netherese are rising to power... and wouldn't you know? There is the Tarraseer, a Sarrukh involved with the group who helped craft the Nether Scrolls, to help them out! Just a huge coincidence, right?
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6286 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  09:12:39  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Prior to Ao's proclamation, the gods had more freedom to do whatever they wanted without consequence. Post ToT, only Cyric and Mask (along with Mystra, and later, Shar) conducted their godly affairs with the sort of reckless freedom enjoyed by all 1E-era deities - and it could be argued that all but Cyric (and perhaps even Cyric) continued to obey the strictures defined by Ao and their portfolios.

Looking at it from the point of view of just reading the Realmslore in 1E and 2E ... there wasn't much "soap opera of the gods", the gods were largely uninvolved and rarely mentioned. Indeed, adventures/modules involved Realms deities less often than foreign/interloping deities or archfiends and the like. The gods just didn't seem directly active.

But they did seem indirectly active. Specifically, their Faiths and followers were always visible, building more churches and temples, destroying more churches and temples, engaging each other in all sorts of ad-hoc miniature holy alliances, wars, crusades, jihads, inquisitions, and the like. More often than not an adventure/module would feature some priest or group of priests or monks or pilgrims of this or that god doing something in the "background" (typically some kind of deadly conflict with their adversaries from some other faith). We didn't really personify the gods, "Mystra attacked Cyric" or "Tempus marched on the city", we instead read about their clergy and churches performing such actions instead. It's almost as if the gods in 1E were always as "well behaved" as in 2E, but more tolerant of (less accountable for) the indiscretions of their followers.

Interestingly, the 2E Arcane Ages materials presented "retro-1E" gaming rules. Campaigns in the pre-ToT Realms logically must have followed 1E rules (and, indeed, "pre-retro-1E" rules prior to Netheril's Fall), so 2E rules to simulate 1E rules were provided, lol. The "1E" rules didn't have much to say about gods and their clergy. But the "pre-1E" rules operated differently, depending on a more direct and personal interaction between the priest and the deity, the deity's of the times seemed more interested in how their Faithful behaved (and in what was being done in their names), they encouraged and rewarded behaviour of their proxies in very definite fashions.

[/Ayrik]
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Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  09:32:08  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

I've reasoned that it had to do with the power they got just from their portfolios.

On most worlds, most of a god's might stems directly from the power of their church, but on Toril - and its probably because of The Weave* - the gods were able to get an enormous amount of their power just from folks partaking of things related to their portfolio. Now, some of that happens on other worlds, but somehow, this got vastly magnified on Toril (perhaps it also had to do with the 'One god per portfolio rule'? In earlier times, maybe dozens of gods shared portfolios, which would have lead to much smaller chunks of power coming their way from that source). For example, here on Earth we've had probably over a hundred 'death gods' who would have all had to share the wealth, as it were. On Toril, there was just Myrkul, and then Cyric and then Kelemvor (and originally Jergal). One god, getting all 'the juice' from all those deaths.


The issue with that is the 'one deity per portfolio rule' only applies to individual pantheons. This is why we have Kelemvor as the deity of death / the dead in the Faerunian Pantheon, Osiris as the deity of both the death and the dead for the Mulhorandi Pantheon, Dumathoin as the guardian of the dead in the Dwarven Pantheon, Sehanine Moonbow as the goddess of death among the Elvish Pantheon, Segojan Earthcaller as the deity of the dead for the Gnomish Pantheon, Urogalan as the deity of death for the Halfling Pantheon, and Yurtrus as the deity of death among the Orcish Pantheon. They are fighting for that sweet, sweet death-juice.

However, in all seriousness, a deity of death of some type seems to be a requirement for every pantheon. My guess is that said deity is responsible for collecting the souls from the Fugue Plane for the entire pantheon. No idea how they would split the soul if someone worships deities from multiple pantheons--a lot of Halflings do that! (It would be hilarious if this caused thousands upon thousands of Halflings to get placed into the wall on some deific technicality.) "No! No! I was faithful to both Tymora and Yondalla! I did everything right! I made the offerings! I said the prayers! I attended the festivals... no... please... not the Wall! NOOOOOOO!" (Right at this moment there is the voice from Mortal Kombat that echoes, "BESHABA WINS!")
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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
742 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  09:32:10  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

This is important lore, here, not only because it shows us another creation myth. It is important lore because it makes clear that there are many creation myths in the Realms. This makes sense. We would expect that. It also makes clear that there are many human creation myths.

This ultimately means that the Sisters of Light and Darkness is just a Netherese creation myth. It likely holds very little truth at all. I cannot find the Sarrukh creation myth off-hand (and I've been looking!). However, I know one exists somewhere because I recall reading it some time ago.

Regardless, it makes sense that the Sarrukh would have a creation myth that would revolve around the World Serpent. It is established on pg. 59 of Serpent Kingdoms that the World Serpent granted the Sarrukh "the secrets of magic, civilization, and power." Considering the Sarrukh also created the Nether Scrolls, literally on the Golden Skin of the World Serpent, is it hard to believe that the World Serpent was the original deity who made the Weave? We know the World Serpent fragmented into numerous other deities. Deities have schisms form within their faiths, have aspects of themselves break off, subsume other deities, etc. all the time. It makes sense that the World Serpent fragments, one of the fragments becomes the new guardian of the Weave, then somehow it lands in Mystryl's lap by the time the Netherese are rising to power... and wouldn't you know? There is the Tarraseer, a Sarrukh involved with the group who helped craft the Nether Scrolls, to help them out! Just a huge coincidence, right?

The sarrukh and Netherese creation myths are combined into the 4e myth mentioned above. Ouroboros gets a mention as the leader of the Elder Gods during the conflict against the primordials. There are other creation myths too, to be sure. I'm pretty sure the pre-genie peoples of Calimshan had some creation myths in Empires of the Shining Sea from memory. I don't think the existence of multiple creation myths necessarily has to mean they're all entirely false - maybe they all contain some element of truth, or maybe one resembles the true early history of Abeir-Toril while others resemble the early history of other worlds. They may all be false, too - we just don't know.

The Draconomicon/red dragon one gets a bit more clarity in later editions, when we learn more about the Tearfall. Even within the Draconomicon the veracity of the myth is debated. I personally sell it as the dragons claim Asgorath to be their creator god (whom they believe is the same as Io), but they're actually confused with Asgoroth the World Shaper, who threw down the ice moon that precipitated the Tearfall (4e FRCG), created by an old god named Zotha. So it's a creation myth born out of the events of that time. This story gets a little clarification in the same area of the FRCG as the sarrukh/dragonborn of Abeir/Netherese creation myth.

The FRCS and the FRCG sell their creation myths as "accepted as fact" because they're echoed in a lot of different Faerunian myths. The bottom line is of course, mortals cannot know. I choose to believe that since the twins of light and darkness thing is mentioned in all three myths (as mentioned in the FRCG), it holds a little more truth than the others. I think this is as close to a published canon origin myth as we're going to get, so it's what I'm going with for my own game. Others of course are entitled to their own opinions.

Regional maps for Waterdeep, Triboar, Ardeep Forest, and Cormyr on DM's Guild, plus a campaign sized map for the North
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Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  10:01:04  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KanzenAU

quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

This is important lore, here, not only because it shows us another creation myth. It is important lore because it makes clear that there are many creation myths in the Realms. This makes sense. We would expect that. It also makes clear that there are many human creation myths.

This ultimately means that the Sisters of Light and Darkness is just a Netherese creation myth. It likely holds very little truth at all. I cannot find the Sarrukh creation myth off-hand (and I've been looking!). However, I know one exists somewhere because I recall reading it some time ago.

Regardless, it makes sense that the Sarrukh would have a creation myth that would revolve around the World Serpent. It is established on pg. 59 of Serpent Kingdoms that the World Serpent granted the Sarrukh "the secrets of magic, civilization, and power." Considering the Sarrukh also created the Nether Scrolls, literally on the Golden Skin of the World Serpent, is it hard to believe that the World Serpent was the original deity who made the Weave? We know the World Serpent fragmented into numerous other deities. Deities have schisms form within their faiths, have aspects of themselves break off, subsume other deities, etc. all the time. It makes sense that the World Serpent fragments, one of the fragments becomes the new guardian of the Weave, then somehow it lands in Mystryl's lap by the time the Netherese are rising to power... and wouldn't you know? There is the Tarraseer, a Sarrukh involved with the group who helped craft the Nether Scrolls, to help them out! Just a huge coincidence, right?

The sarrukh and Netherese creation myths are combined into the 4e myth mentioned above. Ouroboros gets a mention as the leader of the Elder Gods during the conflict against the primordials. There are other creation myths too, to be sure. I'm pretty sure the pre-genie peoples of Calimshan had some creation myths in Empires of the Shining Sea from memory. I don't think the existence of multiple creation myths necessarily has to mean they're all entirely false - maybe they all contain some element of truth, or maybe one resembles the true early history of Abeir-Toril while others resemble the early history of other worlds. They may all be false, too - we just don't know.

The Draconomicon/red dragon one gets a bit more clarity in later editions, when we learn more about the Tearfall. Even within the Draconomicon the veracity of the myth is debated. I personally sell it as the dragons claim Asgorath to be their creator god (whom they believe is the same as Io), but they're actually confused with Asgoroth the World Shaper, who threw down the ice moon that precipitated the Tearfall (4e FRCG), created by an old god named Zotha. So it's a creation myth born out of the events of that time. This story gets a little clarification in the same area of the FRCG as the sarrukh/dragonborn of Abeir/Netherese creation myth.

The FRCS and the FRCG sell their creation myths as "accepted as fact" because they're echoed in a lot of different Faerunian myths. The bottom line is of course, mortals cannot know. I choose to believe that since the twins of light and darkness thing is mentioned in all three myths (as mentioned in the FRCG), it holds a little more truth than the others. I think this is as close to a published canon origin myth as we're going to get, so it's what I'm going with for my own game. Others of course are entitled to their own opinions.


It should be noted that the 4E FRCG also treats it as myth, and even explicitly states it as such as well as naming its origin as Netherese. Here is the relevant text from pg. 42:

quote:
The most common account of Toril's pre-history traces its roots back to ancient Netheril. This popular human myth recounts the creation of the universe by Lord Ao and the epic struggle between the gods of light and darkness that followed. Only recently have other, more ancient legends come to light, recounted by the sarrukh of Okoth and echoed by the dragonborn of Returned Abeir. By combining common threads from both accounts, backed by diligent fact-finding missions, scholars and historians of today have gained a clearer understanding of the creation of the universe.


It states that it is the most common (correct), that it is most popular among humans (correct), and that it traces its roots back to Netheril (also correct). All of this also, like what I quoted previously, implies that there are many more creation myths out there.

You are right to state that the Sisters of Light and Darkness myth is pushed as the established 'wink, wink, nudge, nudge, this is what really happened' canon . Although, I would argue that is because it is the most commonly believed myth, and the focus is on the Faerunian Pantheon.

There is also the issue, as you point out, of no living person being able to verify it. I mean, it's a creation myth, and therefore by default stuff happens before people are around to record it.

The reason this debate is important is that it gets to the heart of what you are asking about the deities. Where did they come from? How did they get their power? You rightfully point to the influence of mortal worship on the deities... yet if you embrace a creation myth then you are caught in a problem. You now have a deity who is powerful enough to create the world, as well as having the power to create other deities as well, but has zero worshipers since they do not yet exist.

I suppose if we really wanted to take all of the fun out of it, and just go with the most simple solution it would be something along the lines...

Ao created the world. Ao created the Weave. Ao assisted the first beings in ascension to godhood. Ao gave one of them control over the Weave. History moves forward as normal.

...but where is the fun in that?
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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
742 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  10:14:18  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think what you bolded in that quote should be taken in the context of the whole thing you quoted - they acknowledge it as just one of the myths, and formulate the 4e myth based on at least 3 different myths.

And having a creator deity isn't necessarily a problem if they're an Overgod. We understand little of what an Overgod is or their intentions. Waterdeep also portrays Ao as having interests in multiple worlds. Ao's Master even asks him about his "cosmos".

I don't think anyone wants to take the fun out of anything. Even the myths don't say Ao created the world. He created the crystal sphere, the primordials had already shaped the world, then Selune and Shar come... they fight the primordials, other gods like Ouroboros are summoned... plenty of fun for everyone!

Regional maps for Waterdeep, Triboar, Ardeep Forest, and Cormyr on DM's Guild, plus a campaign sized map for the North
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
5825 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2017 :  12:47:39  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I look at it like this. The gods were always dependent on worshipper's faith after worshippers were created in order to perform their more "flashy" abilities (like making an avatar). Prior to that they could do things, but they really had to store up the energy first, like a trickle charge on a battery. The faith energy allowed them to charge the battery so much faster, and if they stopped getting that faith energy, they could live off what they had stored in the battery for a long time if they didn't waste it (thus deities going to sleep, etc..). In this way, it might take a thousand years for a deity to starve to death. What I see Ao having done was change out their batteries with ones that will hold much less of a charge, thus requiring them to have to draw more readily on their worshipper's faith. Now, with the sundering 2 passed, did he give them their batteries back?

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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