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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Idaho isn't a real state.

    Default Idea to Explain Hands-Off Gods & Goddesses

    I have this idea to explain why gods don't heavily interact with mortals in my setting, though I want to bounce it off of other people's heads and see how it works.

    For starts, Divine and Arcane magic, though recognized as dissimilar forms of magic, there are points where they intersect (though the sources are different, casting Burning Hands uses the same magical patterns and will set things on fire regardless of whether it was a cleric or a wizard).

    Basically, between the "Mortal" realm and the "Immortal" realm, there is a barrier that prevents direct interaction, as well as stems the flow of magic. Though people can contact the other side, it is often described that it is like attempting to see through a thick mist and hear through thick wool, many inexperienced seers and oracles often experience claustrophobia or feel like they are being smothered as they attempt to contact the divine. The Churches and Shrines say that this veil was built to help prevent war and allow mortals a greater degree of freedom.

    Arcane magic users can and have attempted to pierce this barrier, with those that succeeded raising the dead and accessing immense power through "Truths," a revelation of how the world and its magics work, with the downside of rendering the mage who discovered it insane.

    An Atheistic society has begun to rise in power, claiming that there are no true gods and that the veil between the Mortal and Immortal realms is merely a wall made by ghosts to keep arcane power for themselves and shepard mortals around by claiming to be gods They worship no one, their fanatics are nihilistic and often suicidal. Their goals are to take down the barrier completely and allow magic to flow freely onto the people, allowing the Truths of the universe to be accepted by all creatures and peoples.
    "My new favorite spell is Ice Knife, because it is a throwing knife made from ice, and a grenade."

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Santa Barbara, CA

    Default Re: Idea to Explain Hands-Off Gods & Goddesses

    my question is "why does this cause the divine beings to be "hands off"

    you describe an effect where those attempting to gain access to the divine have trouble. This does not explain why the divine would have trouble causing effects BACK into the mortal world. Or why this effect will prevent wars etc. (it could be involved, some kind of no touchie rule being given form from a divine pact or something that does exist to prevent divine war but that would be a separate thing)

    it does not explain how any of this makes it unwise or difficult for the divine to do anything.

    and if it does block the divine from doing stuff-how do spells get granted, do temples and "sacred ground" matter etc

    and how do you want it to interact with the arcane? because the insanity driven "Truths" etc seem to place them right next to "Things mortals were not meant to know"TM (Truths and the Divine)...perhaps the Arcane Truths are basically unchanneled knowledge of the Immortal realm (would also explain where liches eventually go in order to become Demi-Liches they spend more and more time in the Immortal realm)

    and if you have an Atheistic society when divine spells (especially ones like commune) exist what do they think is granting the spells etc?

    but a lot of these ideas could work-but I don't think they are ripe yet.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground

    Join Date
    Apr 2015

    Lightbulb Re: Idea to Explain Hands-Off Gods & Goddesses

    Obviously we need to bear in mind forum rules regarding religion... But here is my best effort at general feedback as pertaining to what you seek to create and some links that hopefully will provide you with more information that cannot be discussed within the forum itself.

    Very short note that hopefully does not violate forum rules: atheism (absence of belief in gods/spirituality in general), nihilism (belief in the essential pointlessness of human existence), and mental disorders (impaired cognitive faculties) are overused and misused in modern fiction in the creation of allegedly "irredeemable" antagonists. Trying to avoid too much detail, I recommend against using these at all in developing your villainous faction. I can explain via private message if you want me to clarify (I think that's allowed...?).

    In contrast, consider this quote by Sir Terry Pratchett in Small Gods: “There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.” In-comic, Redcloak, Laurin, and Malack are both great examples of villains who try to, and in Malack's case succeed in, mentally reconciling decent-sounding intentions with horrific actions. Note this doesn't justify what they do at all, but it does explain why they do it in a way that can make your players/audience deeply uncomfortable with any perceived moral superiority.

    What you imply is the reality in setting is known in real life as deism: a god or gods exist, but aside from making the universe, and maybe enforcing basic laws of physics and metaphysics, they do not engage with mortals or the material realm at all. I agree with the previous poster that establishing why your deities are bound by, or choose to respect, the veil between realms is crucial for developing the setting.

    What you have is definitely a spiritual movement, since it seeks some kind of transcendence/enlightenment by piercing the veil, and they believe in spirits that interfere with that process (resembles maltheism - the so-called divine is evil). Consider deriving a short belief statement of why people would follow this organization and what they think they get from it. What does getting the "truth" mean? How do they justify their choices? How do they attract new adherents (especially those that might be leery of a doomsday cult)? For that matter, how does this cult rationalize its denial of gods with the existence of ghosts? Are these ghosts manifestations of self-doubt and mortal weakness? The cast-off shells of those who attained true ascendance? A "fallen" race that seeks to deny truth-seekers their destiny? Beings that test seekers for worthiness (which isn't incompatible with being evil)? Even if this religion is wrong in your setting, you need something more than just "mad power-seeker" to justify this organization becoming large enough to meaningfully challenge anyone.
    Last edited by Paleomancer; 2019-05-13 at 10:11 PM. Reason: clarity - hopefully
    2B or not 2B, that is... a really inane question

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground

    Join Date
    Dec 2017

    Default Re: Idea to Explain Hands-Off Gods & Goddesses

    You may want to look into Gnosticism:

    It does have some basic assumptions that are pretty much similar to what you describe, namely the "divine sphere" being separate from the world we live in and "god" acting indirectly through "emanations" ("aeons").
    There are and have been a lot of different currents in this philosophy/religion and the concepts inside can be pretty complex, but I think it could be a good inspiration. I, for one, am using it in my own worldbuilding.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    The material plane (duh?)

    Default Re: Idea to Explain Hands-Off Gods & Goddesses

    Is one of the truths™ that tge world is just an RPG?
    Knowing that would drive anyone nuts.
    We're all just humans who like other humans... or we don't...
    What am I?
    I am me, and will continue to be me, as hard as I can.
    Professional Ancient Relic
    Beware, Monologues
    Ambassador from Gen Z

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