A god that is effectively an ascendant meme would be like this right from the get go. An ascendant mortal -particularly at first- would be much better than this, far more humane, but possibly in the worst sense of the word. Given time however they would become very distant from their mortal roots; the portfolio is always there in the back of their minds like a constant dull itch and they have got to learn a way to cope with it or it will drive them mad.
Embalming tools (AKA Necrotheistic plot hooks/quests)
1) The missionary
The quite old man isn't like other missionaries, instead of fiery rhetoric and roaring crowed he uses logical discourse in smokey backrooms. Recently graves have been disturbed and their have been mutterings of profane practices and the restless dead.
He looks surprisingly spritely for a man of his obvious age as he bears down on your party. Turns out he wants to hire you as bodyguards for his mission; something about teaching some local how its supposed to be done.
2) The philosopher
Renowned mage and philosopher Ash-Anh-Teq has gathered quite a following in the local intelligentsia and magical community with his theories on the soul and the divine; dark roomers have always plagued him however.
His recent arrest by the temple inquisition for blasphemy and "Unnatural magics" has caused the already strained tensions between the religious and arcane authorities to escalate to record levels. This city is a powder keg waiting for a spark.
3) The relic
Party is hired to retrieve a stolen relic, the only complication is that there is a three way tussle to retrieve it.
4) The lost necropolis
A group of adventurers is exploring an ancient haunted ruin for their gods, to release the souls bound there. Turns out the city was a necropolis, its people slaughtered at the gods orders and the souls are very happy where they are thank you very much.
5) The merchantman
The "Breath of life" is the newest arrival in the harbor, this pale vessel comes from distant lands as evidenced by its exotic goods and the strange lilt of its crew. The bosun is surprisingly pale and hasn't been seen outside. Of the captain there has been is no sign at all.
The local "guild" has tipped you off that they are carrying some very exotic and valuable cargo just innocently lying around waiting for someone to pick it up and give it a good home. It might be worth a look.
6) The cause
The time has come, for too long have we tolerated those godless heathens and their vile magics. The call to arms has been put out to destroy the necrothiests once and for all. "In the name of the gods, so shall it be!"
Odd thought "The chancellors throne"
The leader of a necrotic conclave has a special seat called the "throne". The throne has osmoticaly absorbed a lot of the souls of its occupants over the years. It allows its user to access the wisdom, insights and knowledge of their predecessors for a price. It slowly drains the vigor, the vitality out of the chairman and if they ever leave office then they lose the aspect of themselves that made them qualified for the office in the first place. This is why the chairman of any given conclave is always mortal.
The mechanics of necromancy
Thinking about how necromancy actually works. It is probably quite important for this setting to work properly so I intend to spend some time going into depth about it. Any help and ideas would be apreciated
Jane_smiths idea about the necromancy being the interaction of positive and negative energy is quite appealing but I want to re-gig to better suit my use for it.
positive and negative energy
Positive energy in this setting represents energy and stasis, it is raw potential. It is more closely aligned with the (in this setting) absent forces of law than those of good. Negative energy is representative of the entropy and change; it is the darkest heat sink imaginable. It is more closely modeled on the absent forces of chaos than those of evil.
[paraphrase] If necromancy was purely negative energy it would simply destroy the corpse, if it where positive it would heal/revive it. It must their fore be a complex admixture of positive and negative; used because it is more efficient than positive energy alone[/paraphrase]
I put it that large amounts of pure positive energy are as immiscible to life as negative energy. Negative energy dissipates, diminishes and drains, positive energy energizes, evaporates and immolates. Both conventional healing and necromancy use small amounts of both types, the difference being that healing uses more positive than negative and necromancy uses more negative than positive.
The anatomy of the soul
The animus is the only part of the soul that I have any strong conception of, it is a swirling orb of positive and negative energy. It acts kind of like a spiritual heat engine and its linked to stamina and life force; some call it elan others vitality and still others chakara. The animus expends energy when you work, concentrate or use magic. When you sleep your physical, mental and emotional turmoil are stilled; this allows the animus to settle into the smooth lamina swirls of energy required for it to recharge properly.
Death causes the animus to unbind, releasing its bound energy in a spiritual and mystical shock wave (the one of the primary reason for human sacrifice). After death their is a vestigial animus that slowly fades from existence.
This is the seat of memory. It is effectively a static field of your memories, skills and experiences, thus it grows over the period of your life. The Logos acts as a reservoir and capacitor for the mental energies used to manipulate the arcane. The logos is closely linked to the senses.
This is the part of you that is actually you. The part that does the thinking and the feeling, the part that does the watching. It is the inner core of your being and its what separates people from animals or constructs. It is very ephemeral and hard to pin down but it is thought to be comprised of three spheres (though this is a controversial model); one given over to thought, one to feeling and last one is only very loosely understood.
The natural fate of the soul
1)upon death the standing wave of the animus blows out its current reservoir.
2)The soul is expelled from the material plains by the force of the death shock.
3) The soul is usualy weighted either positvley or negatively. This causes them to be drawn towards either the positive or negative energy plains.
4) The spiraling souls are dragged beyond the event horizon of these plains. Nobody knows what happens after that but the general consensus is that the soul is destroyed or consumed somehow.
a) The gods, daemons and assorted others claim souls on their long voyage through the astral sea.
b) It is easier for them to find and hold onto the souls of their alignment (as good and evil repel each other but good attracts good and evil attracts evil).
c) Divine beings can find the souls of worshipers very quickly as the act of worship is kind of like a distress beacon. The strength of faith and worship is directly proportionate to the strength of the beacon.
How animate dead works
Necromancers take the vestigial animus and rekindle it. They transmute it into a source or font of negative energy and contain it in a cage of positive energy. This then reacts with ambient positive energy to create the vital energy needed to give the creature its volition.
How turn undead works
If good and evil are objective variable cosmic forces then it follows that spells can be good and evil and that the results may contaminated by this. By this formula undead might be 7 parts negative, two parts positive to one part evil (evil because they contain the cosmic residue of the evil used in their creation and not because they are broadly negative beings).
The basic concept is that good and evil repel each other and attract like. It follows that any creature with "evil" as an essential part of its make up and life processes will be repelled by a strong source of "good".
In this model it also follows that if an undead creature was created without the use of evil then turn undead will do precisely jack.
If attempting to interfere or extinguish the negative energy using positive then it should be noted that a large infusion of positive energy can cause an unstable runaway reaction, this can have unintended consequences. It should also be noted that undead are drawn to strong sources of negative energy.
The Concentric circle cosmos
NB The following will probably be farmed out to a concentric hub thread, until then it can live here.
This cosmos is dominated by the prime axis and the great wheal.
The Prime Axis
There are 3 major spheres, three major over plains of the of the prime axis. These are the positive energy plain, the negative energy plain and between these the fulcrum. Interconnecting these are the essential elemental axis; three pillars that are embedded in both the positive and negative planes as well as thrust through though the center of the wilds spheres. Laying between and around these spheres is the swirling elemental maelstrom.
The great duality
Some call them the font and the well, eternal light and the ultimate dark, the annihilator and the devourer. The energy exchange between positive and negative planes is one of the prime underpinnings of the cosmos. Without this there would be nothing but a great dark empty void.
the pillars of the world
These three axis are the essential elemental vectors. Without them reality would collapse and there would be no higher elements.
These are composed of the six essential elements. 3 negative and three positive forming three opposing pairs, these are:
+ <---> -
Mass <---> Void
Light <---> Dark
Heat <---> Cold
The elemental maelstrom
This large region lies between the positive and negative plains. It is a swirling maelstrom of elemental plains driven by the vast currents of conducting energy.
The elemental planes themselves are caused by the various conflicts and combinations of the essential planes. These planes are unstable, they collide, combine and transmute into new more complex elements. This is the gradual process of evolution that combined with accretion eventually created the prime material planes at the eye of the storm.
The great wheel
This is a disk of stable planes ejected from the maelstrom. They drift serenely in orbit around the cosmos. It is the home of the god and their divine hosts as well as the fiend legions.
The golden havens
Above, below and intermingled with the great wheel lie the celestial halls. These otherworldly planes are the physical embodiments of the gods power, its life force.
Within its heaven a god is all seeing and wields its maximum power. It may have one or more avatar within its celestial hall, whilst killing one or more of them will harm the god to kill it with violence you must kill that very plane itself.
The souls of dead worshipers -particularly the souls of more exalted individuals- can end up here, otherwise those post mortal celebrants are located on one of the one or more planes that a god claims for their eternal reward
The dark heavens
These are the bodies of dead gods. Sometimes they are occupied by fiends, sometimes they are claimed by other gods (who value them as neutral meeting points). There faded halls may be the haunt of the sad remnants of their former inhabitants, they may be abandoned or beset with other things.