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Amaril
2013-04-21, 02:56 PM
Hey folks! It's that completely arbitrary time again--another community world-building project :smallbiggrin:

This time, I had the idea to make a world with an Indian flavor. I don't know much about Hindu or Buddhist scripture, but I know that Indian myths and legends tend to feature incredibly powerful divine avatars as their protagonists, so this setting would probably be pretty high fantasy and more suited to high-powered games. I also know that Hinduism has about a billion gods, which could make it interesting to play divine spellcasters.

So, let's get started!

Grinner
2013-04-21, 03:15 PM
As good of an idea as this is, I think we need a starting point and maybe a little background first.

It should probably be something simple. A sword-and-sorcery setting in the vein of Exalted, perhaps? Except that divine powers are not granted though coincidence and reincarnation, but they are earned through enlightenment. Or maybe both can be true. Maybe there's sects of mystics who can match the powers of natural-born demigods.

Edit: It's really a good idea. I'm just afraid that it's uncharted territory for most people here.

Edit 2: Isn't universal understanding the goal of enlightenment, and the purported superpowers are just a side effect?

Mephibosheth
2013-04-21, 03:22 PM
Fantastic idea! I love homebrewing India-flavored stuff.

Here's what I have in terms of homebrew just laying around that might be helpful. You didn't specify the system so some of these might become useless, but I figured I'd submit them anyway.

Prestige Classes
Sant-Kavi of the Mahabhagwan (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=222342) - Legends about famous poets and singers abound!
Seeker of Kaivalya (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11790) - So do legends about renunciates with supernatural powers
Snake Charmer (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=270505)
Wielder of the Astras (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=276110) - Incredibly powerful divine weapons from Indian epic poetry
Vanar (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11676207&postcount=2) - Monkey-like humanoids based on Hanuman from the Ramayana - toward the end of the post

Elephants in Fantasy Warfare (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=173654) - The power of mythological and historical Indian armies was often measured in how many elephants they had.

In terms of campaign setting information, it might be helpful to nail down what kind of game you want. A lot of Indian folklore deals with the activities of divine and semi-divine figures, so the power scale would be far higher than conventional low- to mid-level D&D. I'm not too familiar with other systems, but there might be one out there that is better at representing this sort of thing. Then you have epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, where the scale is very epic but the characters are humans (or humans who turn out to be gods). Then you have folklore about saints from a number of religious traditions, where gods don't feature so much in the actual stories except as granters of power and boons. So what the setting turns out to be will depend greatly on what type of folklore you're interested in.

Another problem will be the board's restriction on discussing real-world religions. This might skirt very close to that line, so maybe talking to a mod would be helpful before getting started.

C.J.Geringer
2013-04-21, 03:33 PM
The Vanara race from oriental adventure should be a good fit.

Xuc Xac
2013-04-21, 10:04 PM
Isn't this kind of like saying "I want to make a Viking-based setting, but all I know is that the legends feature a bunch of blond guys with hammers"?

Amaril
2013-04-22, 09:15 AM
Isn't this kind of like saying "I want to make a Viking-based setting, but all I know is that the legends feature a bunch of blond guys with hammers"?

Yes. And I want to learn more in the process of creating something cool.

Yahya
2013-04-29, 02:53 PM
This is very very cool, I'm definitely in!

If we're still deciding on a system, I'm naturally inclined towards Pathfinder, but a tweaked Exalted would probably be great too.

atomicpenguin
2013-04-30, 11:22 AM
I'm down for this. Here's a little info on the category of religions called the "Indian Religions". These religions are so-named because of their proximity to the Indian subcontinent and consist of a number of religions including Hindu, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. I prefer the term "Dharmic religions", as this emphasizes some of the beliefs these religion hold in common. These beliefs include samsara, the cycle in which things that die are reborn as other living things, karma, the idea that your good deeds and bad deeds in one life affect your standing in the next, dharma, the idea that every living creature has a purpose in life, and moksha, the idea that one can accumulate enough good karma to free one's self from samsara and become one with all being.

Hindu is a very old religion originating from various tribal beliefs in the area of the Indian subcontinent. In Hindu, God is an omnipresent supreme entity known as Brahman, the embodiment and source of all life. It is also accepted in Hindu that lesser gods known as avatars exist that represent specific facets of this supreme being's power. Chief among these dieties are Brahma, the creator who sleeps until the next cycle is to be created, Shiva, the destroyer, and Vishnu, the preserver, and each of their female counterparts. The larger sects of Hindu choose to place either Shiva or Vishnu at the center of their worship. Other gods to consider are Ganesha, the elephant-headed trickster and remover of obstacles, Kali, goddess of death, and Indra, the leader of the gods and bringer of storms. Also central to Hindu is its caste system, which establishes a hierarchy of, from highest to lowest, the priests, the kings and soldiers, the merchants and tradesmen, and the hard laborers. There is also a 5th caste known as the Untouchables which performs labor deemed detestable or unclean, but this has fallen out of modern practice.

Buddhism began with the prince Siddhartha Gautama, who was fortold at birth to become either the greatest of kings or the wisest of sages. When he saw suffering and death for the first time, Siddhartha made it his goal to find a cure for death and suffering and became an aesthetic. After years of fruitless aestheticism, Siddhartha realized that enlightenment would come neither from the life of luxury he was raised in nor the life of poverty he chose, but rather from the Middle Fold Path. Siddhartha meditated on this and became truly enlightened, becoming the Buddha in the process. Another concept to look into is the Eightfold Path, which lays down the rules required in order to attain enlightenment or Nirvana. It is also worth mentioning that the Buddha is acknowledged in Hindu as one of the incarnations of Vishnu.

Jainism is a relative of Hindu that emphasizes non-violence and self control. In practice, it is very aesthetic and all followers of Jainism are required to practice at least lacto-vegetarianism and some sects even require followers to abandon clothes.

Sikhism was founded in the 15th century in the Punjab region by Guru Nanak. All Sikhs are encouraged to embody the principles of a soldier-saint, which is partly emphasized by the practice of carrying a ceremonial dagger at all times. Sikhism teaches that there is one god, that all people are equal, that human life is precious above all other life, and that Sikhs should all defend against injustice. Sikhs were traditionally lead by a Guru, a spiritual leader whose role was passed on after the previous Guru's death.

It is also worth noting that there is a strong Muslim community currently in India and it might be worth your time to make a small yet thriving religion from a foreign land to represent this.

Grinner
2013-04-30, 11:42 AM
Thank you for this.

Now there's the question of how true to life the setting should be on a scale of actual Hinduism to Avatar: The Last Airbender. Do we rip concepts and entities from it wholesale? Or do we try to copy the basic structure, file off the serial numbers, and incorporate gratuitous amounts of sword-and-sorcery?


Buddhism began with the prince Siddhartha Gautama, who was fortold at birth to become either the greatest of kings or the wisest of sages. When he saw suffering and death for the first time, Siddhartha made it his goal to find a cure for death and suffering and became an ascetic. After years of fruitless asceticism, Siddhartha realized that enlightenment would come neither from the life of luxury he was raised in nor the life of poverty he chose, but rather from the Middle Fold Path. Siddhartha meditated on this and became truly enlightened, becoming the Buddha in the process. Another concept to look into is the Eightfold Path, which lays down the rules required in order to attain enlightenment or Nirvana. It is also worth mentioning that the Buddha is acknowledged in Hindu as one of the incarnations of Vishnu.

Jainism is a relative of Hindu that emphasizes non-violence and self control. In practice, it is very ascetic and all followers of Jainism are required to practice at least lacto-vegetarianism and some sects even require followers to abandon clothes.

Fixed.

CinuzIta
2013-04-30, 01:06 PM
i love the idea! Some days ago I created a prc inspired to Thugs [the indian sect of stranglers] maybe it could fit your setting!

About the religion, you could consider using Taiia as the main deity [Brahman]. You can find her in Deities and Demigods. She is described as a solar deity, appearing as a beautiful woman with three eyes and four arms. She possess every alignment and domain cause she is the principle [and ending] of everything [if I remember correctly], infact she has two aspects: the Creator and the Destroyer! It sounds quite fitting to me and Taiia herself look somewhat indian to me!
You could use the normal d&d's deities as lesser deities and change their names as you see fit:)

atomicpenguin
2013-04-30, 04:36 PM
Here's an idea: I like the idea of keeping Brahman Brahman. You can change the name or whatever, but Brahman is more closely to related to the Force from Star Wars than any deity with a face and personality. However, I like the idea of making Taiia an avatar of this force. And as a counterpart, because duality, especially in gender, is another important theme, maybe have a male god to represent the preserver. The other thing to consider is that, once you get past the three big gods, the other deities are more common stuff (gods for fire, storm, agriculture, trickery, etc.)

As for the rest, keep the themes inherent in the real religions, but change around the names and faces. It would also be really neat to have a god that is clearly based on Ganesha, but not (so elephant heads are off limits, but perhaps another animal's head or another trait that makes him half-animal, half-human)

Amaril
2013-04-30, 05:09 PM
Wow, okay, I thought everyone saw my suggestion as offensive and didn't want to participate. Glad to see I'm not being insensitive.

Great ideas, people :smallsmile:

Grinner
2013-04-30, 05:42 PM
Okay. Now that that's settled, what do people actually do in the setting? Do they fight the adharmic forces pulling at the edges of reality? Have foreign invaders destroyed civilization? Basically, what would make the setting interesting, and how would dharmic philosophy fit into it?

My vote is on the Buddha vs Cthulhu. :smallbiggrin:

Amaril
2013-04-30, 06:01 PM
Let's go with something high-fantasy, more like the first option--I'm in that kind of mood.

Yanagi
2013-04-30, 07:35 PM
Wow, okay, I thought everyone saw my suggestion as offensive and didn't want to participate. Glad to see I'm not being insensitive.

Great ideas, people :smallsmile:

Your proposition isn't offensive unto itself. The chance of offensiveness and insensitivity lies in how fast collaborators start broad-stroking real-life religious beliefs and cultural issues to make cool game stuff. atomicpenguin (sorry...I'm really, really, not intending this as an attack), for example, is well-meaning-ly trying to provide basic data, but has already either gotten stuff wrong or is using a not-very-good source.

Indian mythology and folklore is rich, as has a certain feel to it, and maybe that can be emulated. But trying to file the serial numbers off the theology and philosophy is going to slide rapidly into caricaturing things taken seriously by actual people. My suggestion is that you need to figure out what "Indian Mythology-Style Setting" means with a circular reference to India or Hinduism. Big heroes in a very high fantasy setting? Martial skill crossing into magical skill? Highly interventionist divinities in a direct military conflict with antagonist forces, running about the lands? Immense personal power obtained through asceticism, alchemy, or divine blessings? Lots of anthropomorphic animals and magical weapons scattered about the landscape?

And two suggestions based on fifteen years as a gamer and thirty as a Hindu:

(1) Caste is a really complicated subject, and I wouldn't recommend representing it unless you're willing to really go down the rabbit hole of researching it properly...for example understanding varna versus jati, and how regional systems trumps the simple four-layer system in the Rg Veda. I especially wouldn't turn it into a mechanic. It's also problematic in two ways, (a) because issues like untouchability still crop up, and (b) caricatures of the caste system are a continuing aspect of ugly ethnic stereotypes used against Indians.

(2) Even the scariest Hindu deities are Good, actions of nutty followers such as the Phansigar (Thuggees) notwithstanding. Insisting otherwise (which happens to me on a regular basis by forum "experts that don't practice my faith) is both rude and ignorant. Concepts like death and destruction aren't coded the same way they are in Western myths...nor for that matter, are the visual traits that make non-Hindus think Kali and Shiva evil. If you can't do that minimal level of code switching, don't bother claiming the setting is "Indian-themed." If you want evil deities, look to the large body of super-powered demons in the mythos.

Amaril
2013-04-30, 07:53 PM
Your proposition isn't offensive unto itself. The chance of offensiveness and insensitivity lies in how fast collaborators start broad-stroking real-life religious beliefs and cultural issues to make cool game stuff. atomicpenguin (sorry...I'm really, really, not intending this as an attack), for example, is well-meaning-ly trying to provide basic data, but has already either gotten stuff wrong or is using a not-very-good source.

Indian mythology and folklore is rich, as has a certain feel to it, and maybe that can be emulated. But trying to file the serial numbers off the theology and philosophy is going to slide rapidly into caricaturing things taken seriously by actual people. My suggestion is that you need to figure out what "Indian Mythology-Style Setting" means with a circular reference to India or Hinduism. Big heroes in a very high fantasy setting? Martial skill crossing into magical skill? Highly interventionist divinities in a direct military conflict with antagonist forces, running about the lands? Immense personal power obtained through asceticism, alchemy, or divine blessings? Lots of anthropomorphic animals and magical weapons scattered about the landscape?

And two suggestions based on fifteen years as a gamer and thirty as a Hindu:

(1) Caste is a really complicated subject, and I wouldn't recommend representing it unless you're willing to really go down the rabbit hole of researching it properly...for example understanding varna versus jati, and how regional systems trumps the simple four-layer system in the Rg Veda. I especially wouldn't turn it into a mechanic. It's also problematic in two ways, (a) because issues like untouchability still crop up, and (b) caricatures of the caste system are a continuing aspect of ugly ethnic stereotypes used against Indians.

(2) Even the scariest Hindu deities are Good, actions of nutty followers such as the Phansigar (Thuggees) notwithstanding. Insisting otherwise (which happens to me on a regular basis by forum "experts that don't practice my faith) is both rude and ignorant. Concepts like death and destruction aren't coded the same way they are in Western myths...nor for that matter, are the visual traits that make non-Hindus think Kali and Shiva evil. If you can't do that minimal level of code switching, don't bother claiming the setting is "Indian-themed." If you want evil deities, look to the large body of super-powered demons in the mythos.

Thanks so much for your input :smallsmile: The last thing I want to do, of course, is offend anybody, and not being particularly knowledgeable about the subject matter myself, I realize now that my risk of doing so is substantial. I hope that you (or anyone else on this forum who happens to have the same understanding) will let me know if this project starts to drift into any uncomfortable territory.

Regarding the setting, the deities versus demons thing will probably be very important to keep in mind.

Grinner
2013-04-30, 08:12 PM
Regarding the setting, the deities versus demons thing will probably be very important to keep in mind.

I'm in no better of a position than you, but from an hour spent researching dharmic religions, I've gathered that they hold the natural order of things, like the circle of life, in utmost regard. By that token, things that oppose the natural order, described as being "adharmic", are regarded poorly (thus my Lovecraftian horrors suggestion). In fact, the word "dharma" itself basically translates to the phrase "natural law", according to Wikipedia.

For reasons already stated, I would like to avoid taking any mythological figures from the dharmic religions. Really, what's important is that we capture their feel and their fundamental ideas (dharma, karma, rta, samsara, moksha, and nirvana?). Their deities and doctrines (i.e. the Eightfold Path) are non-essential to the project. In fact, a single, monotheistic deity could represent the cycle of life just as well as multiple deities.

NothingButCake
2013-05-01, 12:14 AM
Haha, I was waiting for the site to come back on to post here.

I guess you have to figure out what you mean by "Indian mythology" since the Indian subcontinent is bigger than Western and Central Europe combined. Like, what do you hope to encompass or include? Hinduism by itself is a collection of very vast and varied traditions over millenia; Buddhism is also very vast and varied though you can cut out many of the East/Southeast Asian versions.

Also, an avatar is a physical incarnation of a god, not an aspect of a god. So, Vishnu is not an avatar of the Brahman, but Rama (a human) is an avatar of Vishnu.

One thing to consider is that Hinduism has many interpretations of the universe and its forces which are not inherently contradictory but rather, are seen as different ways of perceiving the divine, which is many things at once.

For example, Brahman is the highest and truest reality of which all things and all beings are merely temporary expressions. But Hindus can variably believe it to be impersonal or personal. Brahman can be a supreme deity or an immanent force, but either way, it is beyond understanding.

An example of how beings occupy or are many things at once is naga, which are not humanoid serpents or serpentine humans but beings with serpentine and human qualities at the same time. In a story, a naga may act as a human at one point and as a snake at another, as appropriate. (I don't think this is unique to Hinduism, to clarify.) Another example is the many arms of Hindu deva, which is not necessarily a representation of the deity actually having that many arms, but rather, it is a way to represent how a deva is and does many things at once. The many arms are a way to show the deva carrying all the appropriate weapons and items and making the appropriate mudras at the same time.

Shakti is the creative force of the universe. For some, she is the Supreme Being, while for others, she is the complementary female force for Vishnu as Lakshmi or for Shiva as Parvati. But Parvati is also Sati and Durga and Kali, the last also being worshiped by some as the most principal force in the universe.

If one has read Neil Gaiman's American Gods or, more relevantly, Anansi Boys, the divine characters occupy several realities of form at the same time, of which humans only perceive one at a time. In Anansi Boys, as mentioned before re: naga, the animal gods are simultaneously animal-shaped and human-shaped, taking on characteristics of either as needed.

What I am doing here is trying to convey that this simultaneously contradictory nature of the divine is 1. difficult to capture in a mechanically definite system, e.g., there is a need to establish statistics for even deities in D&D and 2. meaningful for a setting based around Hinduism.

Another important question I think is whether you want to build the setting towards a certain system or do you just want to build the setting?

atomicpenguin
2013-05-01, 01:21 PM
First of all, sorry if I misrepresented anything in the information I provided. I was under the impression that my sources were good.

Secondly, in every myth from that region of the world I have read, demons are plentiful and sort of a catch-all villain. Demons should definitely be the enemies in this campaign. However, the demons aren't portrayed as truly challenging foes in any of the stories I know. I'm pretty sure its just the way that the story was meant to be written, but what would be really cool is if demons are everywhere and (relatively) not very challenging, but behind them is something else, something that could be a demon or related to one but is so vastly powerful compared to your average demons that the relationship is hard to spot or define. You could also stagger it if its for a system that imposes leveling; like in Heroic tier in DnD you're fighting the run-of-the-mill demons and for paragon or higher tiers you find out about something way, way worse.

Also, I think lets try to keep from choosing a system as much as possible. Everyone's going to have a preference there and I think the world will be better and more accessible if we try to avoid playing to one specific system as much as we can.

Amaril
2013-05-01, 01:39 PM
Secondly, in every myth from that region of the world I have read, demons are plentiful and sort of a catch-all villain. Demons should definitely be the enemies in this campaign. However, the demons aren't portrayed as truly challenging foes in any of the stories I know. I'm pretty sure its just the way that the story was meant to be written, but what would be really cool is if demons are everywhere and (relatively) not very challenging, but behind them is something else, something that could be a demon or related to one but is so vastly powerful compared to your average demons that the relationship is hard to spot or define. You could also stagger it if its for a system that imposes leveling; like in Heroic tier in DnD you're fighting the run-of-the-mill demons and for paragon or higher tiers you find out about something way, way worse.

Also, I think lets try to keep from choosing a system as much as possible. Everyone's going to have a preference there and I think the world will be better and more accessible if we try to avoid playing to one specific system as much as we can.

That's a cool idea...maybe we could work in some of that Cthulhu stuff that's been floating around after all.

And yeah, projects like this are typically system-agnostic, so let's keep it that way.

atomicpenguin
2013-05-07, 10:15 AM
I guess this is the point where we start laying down the names and faces. To start us off, I figure that the main nation will definitely have to be a monarchy or possibly a theocracy. Most likely any neighboring nations will be similar.

hotrodlincoln
2013-05-07, 06:58 PM
I was working on an Indian setting some time back, although I never got around to completing the whole thing. I did do up this history of the chief empire of the land, though. Perhaps it could provide some inspiration, or a useful spring board. I use the words Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, and Sikh herein mostly as placeholders for similiar belief systems in game. The idea was to have some customized classes for different religions, with a specialty cleric for Hindu Brahmins, and a specialty fighter for Kshatriyas. The Jains would have a specialty Healer type class. The Buddhists (Bear with me) would have a psionically inspired class, as their intense meditation had unlocked greater powers of the mind (Yes, it's silly...it's also fantasy. :p). The Sikhs were to have a paladin type class to act as defenders of all beliefs.

The Prabodhi Empire

The early life of Samraat Chakravartin Prabodh is shrouded in legend despite the extensive historical record. What can be stated with certainty is that Prabodh, who was then known as Narendra, grew up in the shadow of his grandfather, Samraat Mahavira, who had led his empire through many conquests before passing the empire to his son and retiring to a life of asceticism. Prabodh envied his grandfather's conquests, and sought to do the same. He studied the arts of war above all else, so that he could take part in the glory of leading the war from the front. Only one thing stood in the way of his dream. His elder brother, Isha, was next in line for the throne. When young Prabodh and Isha were first sent to observe a battle on the empire's eastern frontier, Prabodh took a poisoned arrow, and stabbed his brother Isha during the confusion. He claimed that Isha was killed by an enemy archer, and his family were none the wiser. When Prabodh took the throne on the death of his father, he wasted no time in exapnding the empire. One by one, the smaller kingdoms of the east fell beneath his marching armies.

Prabodh, who was then known as Narendra, was known to be a wicked man during this time. He would prove his wickedness during the siege of Lakimhala, a well fortified city on the eastern coast. His army had exhausted themselves for many months trying to tear down the walls of Lakimhala, and each day, Narendra's anger grew. His other victories had been so quick, yet here a swift victory was denied to him. When finally the walls were broken and the gates caved in, Narendra's army descended on the town mercilessly. Everything of value within the city was plundered, and all citizens who could be found were put to the sword.

Narendra himself entered a monastery devoted to the teachings of the Buddha (tentative name). As his men made off with the few valuables in their possession, Narendra entered the shrine itself, where he found all the monks in quiet meditation, despite their city burning around them. Narendra disrupted their meditations and demanded to know what they were doing. Why were they not pleading for mercy before their new ruler as the people outside had done. All returned to their meditations save one. A young monk named Jai stepped forward, and explained that all these men knew they soon would die, only to be reborn. They did not wish to die with thoughts of hatred or violence upon their minds, or worry of their fleeting material possessions, for all of these would inhibit their spiritual progression.

"We know we soon shall die, by your hand or another's, Lord. We have no hate in our hearts for you, only a great sadness that you have chosen to walk this path. We forgive you what you have done to us, and the city of Lakimhala. May you one day find the peace that has eluded you in this life." Jai said to Narendra, with no hesitation, fear, or anger. The young monk exhibited a great calm, even as Narendra ran the monk through with his sword. It was then that the emperor first came to question his actions. He dropped his sword and ran from the monastery as tears began to well up in his eyes. He looked upon the destruction he had wrought upon Lakimhala, the tortures he had inflicted for the crime of existance. Narendra dropped to his knees and openly wept for the great wrong he had commited.

He ordered his men back to the camps, then he returned to the monastery. In the courtyard, he found several monks surrounding the now burning body of Jai, and chanting for his spiritual journey. The monks looked up at the arrival of Narendra, then continued their sacred task. Narendra joined in, wishing Jai well in his next life. When it was over, he apologized to the monks for what he had done. He was immediately forgiven. Narendra ordered his troops back to the capital, Palikhora, and left the empire in the hands of his favorite wife, Lavanya, while he stayed at the monastery, living alongside the monks. He emerged a year later, and adopted the name Prabodh. he knew that he had left much death and destruction in his wake, and it would take more than his lifetime to undo the damage he had done.

From then until his death, he ruled with a gentle hand. The military acted only in wars of defense, not offense. Houses of healing and education were constructed all throughout the empire. The death penalty was abolished. The ranks of his army were vastly reduced, and his men were given new employment as the work force of his empire, building vast networks of irrigation, temples, monasteries, hospitals, schools, and works of art. The people grew to love him, rather than fear him. When he died, he finally knew the peace that Jai had wished him so many years ago.

It has been many generations since the death of Prabodh, and his descendants have ruled by the teachings of the Buddha just as he had. However, much has changed. While Prabodh built places of worship for men and women of all faiths, his successors have only built temples for the Buddha. The empire's many schools now teach only the philosophy of the Buddha, forcing the Hindus, Jains,(names pending) and others to found their own schools.

The empire has begun to weaken and shrink as well. The children of Prabodh have grown up lacking in their father's instincts at war, and many kingdoms of the south have broken away from the empire, confident in their abilities to maintain their borders. Samraat Palikhoresh, great-grandson of Prabodh tried to rectify the empire's situation by building up the military once more. He embarked on a great many costly wars in the north, and succeeded only in expanding the empire's borders by a miniscule amount.

Now Palikhoresh has died, and his son, Bharata is to claim the throne. However, Aruna, younger brother of Palikhoresh has objected to this. He claims to have recieved visions from Shiva, that warned him of the fate of the empire, and what would happen to his people. More importantly, warned Shiva, was that the widespread indifference to the gods caused by the Buddhist teachings would cause mankind to forget their teachings, and thus damn themselves to an eternity in samsara (the cycle of reincarnation, from which Hindus and Buddhists seek liberation by different means). Aruna has defected from the empire and travelled to the eastern lands, where has fomented revolt among the Hindus. The recently conquered northern lands have begun to rebel as well, sensing the weakness of the empire. A full scale civil war is brewing in the once peaceful Prabodhi empire, and conflict is beginning to erupt between the dominant faiths of the land. Soon, even those truly devoted to the principle of Ahimsa (nonviolence) will be forced to take up the sword, or be slaughtered.