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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Gods that gain power from being envied, not worshiped.

    Hate filled, murderous envy, the kind that makes you want to kill someone and take its place, grants magical powers to those who feel it and increased competence to those that are envied.
    For mere mortals, the increased competence rarely amounts to much, but for the gods it is everything. The increased competence applies to every action an individual takes. The gods accumulated such power for tens of thousands of years and designed all human societies around harvesting it.
    They also kept the truth about envy hidden.

    Side note: this world will probably not include any non-human humanoid races.

    Spoiler: Magic
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    For the layman, magic is believed to come from hate that will eventually consume the caster.
    It is not far from the truth. Murderous envy is not so different from hate, and dwelling in it is not healthy for the mind. If the envy is gone, the magical powers quickly diminish until they are gone too.

    I havenít built the magic system in depth, the basis is that casters can cast a few spells with destructive and short lasting effects, that thematically tie into their specific envy.


    Spoiler: History
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    A very long time ago, the forgotten gods created the world
    and ruled with wisdom and harmony. But some people didnít like that. Born as regular humans, they grew in power and overcame their creators, slaughtering them and taking their place. They established a new social order with them on top.

    This historic precedent leads to the societal standard that power is legitimacy. Taking what you want from someone who is obviously much weaker then you is considered just, but those who use this right often tend to create too many enemies to survive. Nobles and rulers tend to hone their personal fighting abilities to make themselves more legitimate.

    This history is just a bunch of lies and not even remotely close to what really happened. It is crafted to make the gods feel more unfit to rule and give people hope of defeating them, since it states such precedent for mortals. The real history is summarized under the monsters section.


    Spoiler: Gods
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    I hadnít named any of them.
    God of rulers
    According to legend, as a human he was a very spoiled king. Several kingdoms claim he was their king, that the dynasty extends from his blood, or both. He was a tyrant, exploiting his power and authority without caring how it would affect his people.
    He helped defeat the forgotten gods, but hadnít performed any noteworthy feats in the war. After the victory he became the king of gods, or anounced himself as the king of gods.
    Goddess of executions
    She is the only god with the authority to execute another god.
    Her mortal clergy is also equipped with such authority, each executioner is allowed to judge and execute anyone who is in an equal or lower social status. Traditionally they all judge people in the same social class. There are executioners in every social class, from slaves to an executioner king.
    Despite their absolute diving authority to execute for any reason, or without a reason, people are often not so cooperative, so they are well trained in combat. They use weapons that would be good for executions, usually big axes but could also be executioner swords.
    According to legends, she killed more forgotten gods then any other god.
    The birther, mother of monsters
    The great birther, the mother of monsters and successful people. Certain leaders claim she birthed and raised them. There is more about her in the monster section.


    Spoiler: Monsters
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    Children of the great birther, those big beasts come in a variety of shapes, but they all have several common characteristics. They do not eat, they do not sleep, they do not tire, they do not fear.
    And they do not fall easily. Rare are those who managed to slay a monster, as beneath their strange skin, lies a body as hard as steel.
    Thatís because it is steel, the skin is usually just rubber put mainly for aesthetics. Fighting robots with medieval weapons is hard.
    Spoiler: Real history
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    Tens of thousands of years ago, humanity settled the globe. They knew how envy really works and they were careful. Still, a few individuals managed to gain great power, helped by communication networks that spread across the globe. Those people would later be known as the gods.
    The civilization was advanced, a few decades ahead of our own.
    With great technological advancements comes great weapons and with them, humanity almost went extinct. The gods preserved the survivors through the nuclear winter and then began the long process of redesigning human society. They decided to keep humanity technologically backwards so such a thing could never happen again.
    The goddess known as the birther builds the monsters manually, for many different purposes. Some are guardians of places that the gods want no men to see, some are built for environmental conservation. Occasionally, some robots develop sapience or malfunction. In some of those cases, the gods care.


    Spoiler: Handling heretics
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    Since the gods gain power from those who envy them, they want to keep them alive for as long as possible. However, they donít want to be perceived as wanting or not caring about such hatred, which is sometimes stated publicly and repeatedly.
    So their clergy ruins their life without harming them. Executioners execute some of their allies, clergy of the god of wealth steal their possessions and ban trading with them, clergy of the god of rulers strip them of their honors and declare them as slaves.
    There is generally a gradual escalation, executioners wonít immediately execute someoneís mother after heíll declare his hate for their goddess. The clergy focuses on those who gained magical powers, and donít react with more then scolding towards minor bitter remarks.
    A world behind the mirror (stand alone plane)
    (Wall) passer, a rogue variant
    My not realy extanded homebrewer signature

    Quote Originally Posted by Grinner View Post
    In a world ruled by small birds, mankind cannot help but wonder how this state of affairs came about.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Gods that gain power from being envied, not worshiped.

    It's an interesting idea, though I think you need to decide what you actually mean by envy. I'm having a hard time conceptualizing why any of the gods would be important whatsoever in this world. If the power granted by envy is temporary and fades, the gods would have to foster it at all opportunities wouldn't they? In my mind this means that they parade around their wealth and position constantly to create jealousy to the point of violence? If this is the only way to ascend to godhood, wouldn't the world be in a constant state of war as people try to take other's power or possessions with magic that just comes from want? No offense meant or anything but if power is derived from envy, the gods would never have a chance to rest and would most likely die constantly, including the top dog, as any death would just inform others that power is real and achievable, and if something is achievable, humans start to think that they deserve it. All in all, the more I think about it, stylistically it sounds nice, but it wouldn't work for a society if magic is real and gained through wanting other stuff. Never mind the androids you stuck in there as remnants of the old world I guess, which would easily take over if they are capable of sentience? I don't really see why humans wouldn't be envious of the androids not needing anything, vaulting them to the top of the power structure immediately? I think you just need to decide if you're going to do magic or technology, the mix of both isn't really working in this case. Also, there is no believable way that people think it's just hate that gives power, as soon as someone wants something they would gain competency and magic it seems, allowing them to snowball to greater and greater things rather quickly?

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gods that gain power from being envied, not worshiped.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghendrickson View Post
    It's an interesting idea, though I think you need to decide what you actually mean by envy.
    Envy that makes you want to kill the person you are jealous of, envy for a specific person works best.
    Being a little jealous doesn't count, you need to be willing to commit murder.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghendrickson View Post
    I'm having a hard time conceptualizing why any of the gods would be important whatsoever in this world. If the power granted by envy is temporary and fades, the gods would have to foster it at all opportunities wouldn't they?
    There are two types of powers that their gain is related to envy, I'll refer to one as Magical power and the other as increased Competence.

    Magical power is for the individual that feels envy, the person who wants to kill someone else because of his envy. It doesn't simply fade away, if the person with the Magical powers stops feeling envious, then the power begins to fade away. For example, if you're envious of a person and murder him, you probably won't envy him anymore. Envying gods is more sustainable for your magical powers, as you will never be able to kill them.
    The greatest caster alive can probably cast spells that are equivalent in power to 5th or 6th rank D&D spells (I haven't properly designed the magic system yet, so I don't know).

    The increased Competence is for the one that others envy. It doesn't fade away, it only accumulates. If I'll make a D20 system for this world, it would be like a bonus to every 1d20 roll and every damage roll.
    A great tyrant of a kingdom might have a +2; a legendary and scandalous hero might have +3; the most a living human has is probably +4 or +5.
    For the weakest god, it is more than +3000. This bonus also affects things that aren't rolled, that's how the gods don't die of old age.
    Since the gods don't have anyone to envy, they do not posses any magical powers.
    Pity has the opposite effect from envy, but that's rarely relevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghendrickson View Post
    In my mind this means that they parade around their wealth and position constantly to create jealousy to the point of violence?
    They don't need to, they have clergy for that. Although the gods sometimes operate personally, but usually with some subtlety.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghendrickson View Post
    If this is the only way to ascend to godhood, wouldn't the world be in a constant state of war as people try to take other's power or possessions with magic that just comes from want?
    Being envied is a better way to "ascend" to godhood and people don't know how the world works.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghendrickson View Post
    No offense meant or anything but if power is derived from envy, the gods would never have a chance to rest and would most likely die constantly, including the top dog, as any death would just inform others that power is real and achievable, and if something is achievable, humans start to think that they deserve it. All in all, the more I think about it, stylistically it sounds nice, but it wouldn't work for a society if magic is real and gained through wanting other stuff.
    As I wrote above, the difference in power is too great for people to realistically ever catch up, and if someone shows a potential to do so, a god can just personally kill him.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghendrickson View Post
    Never mind the androids you stuck in there as remnants of the old world I guess, which would easily take over if they are capable of sentience?
    The gods would not let robots take over, they want to keep humanity alive. They might not care if some specific ones develop sentience.
    Being able to think is very far from being a threat to humanity's existence, they don't automatically know how to build more of their kind and it is not easy to learn or easy to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghendrickson View Post
    I don't really see why humans wouldn't be envious of the androids not needing anything, vaulting them to the top of the power structure immediately?
    They don't think of them as androids, they think of them as monsters. They look like big beasts.
    And envy only works well with sentient, organic beings, both as the envier and the envied. The birther managed to build some envious robots to harvest power from (she keeps them isolated and guarded), but they supply her with very little power.
    Sentient robots might also be able to develop proper feelings of envy towards the gods, so that's another reason not to kill them immediately.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghendrickson View Post
    Also, there is no believable way that people think it's just hate that gives power, as soon as someone wants something they would gain competency and magic it seems, allowing them to snowball to greater and greater things rather quickly?
    A) The magic and competency are separate.
    B) It's not as soon as someone wants something. Murderous envy is much rarer then regular envy. Also, developing it to a great power demands time.
    C) Those who are jealous often deny their jealousy, and since it's only murderous envy that counts, it pretty much always looks like hate.
    D) There are no institutions of research in the world, the gods made sure of that, so there is no proper study of anything. It's all rumors and common wisdom.
    E) The gods would interfere if someone figures it out and tries to spread the knowledge.
    F) If you still think it is unrealistic that people haven't figured it out, remember that in the real world, people had greater misunderstanding without there being a conspiracy to keep the truth hidden.
    A world behind the mirror (stand alone plane)
    (Wall) passer, a rogue variant
    My not realy extanded homebrewer signature

    Quote Originally Posted by Grinner View Post
    In a world ruled by small birds, mankind cannot help but wonder how this state of affairs came about.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Gods that gain power from being envied, not worshiped.

    So they are basically celebrities that get superpowers? I can dig it. The god/goddess of beauty showing up at weddings to out shine the bride and groom, the god of war sneaking into athletic events to be the mystery participant who beats the local hero (Might Casey has Struck Out), etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gods that gain power from being envied, not worshiped.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    So they are basically celebrities that get superpowers? I can dig it. The god/goddess of beauty showing up at weddings to out shine the bride and groom, the god of war sneaking into athletic events to be the mystery participant who beats the local hero (Might Casey has Struck Out), etc.
    No, no. The gods might do something like that from time to time, and they were originally a lot like that (scandalous international celebrities in a culture that had internet), but society itself is shaped towards encouraging envy towards them.
    A person need not be present in the company of the king of gods to envy his status, and pretty much anyone who hates the gods would envy the executioner goddess and her authority to kill them (and there is no shortage of people that hate the gods).
    It helps that the gods are represented as evil bastards, so it's harder to admire and appreciate them. Philosophically you're only supposed to serve them because they are powerful, and they have no obligation to do anything nice for you. "With great power, comes no responsibility".
    A world behind the mirror (stand alone plane)
    (Wall) passer, a rogue variant
    My not realy extanded homebrewer signature

    Quote Originally Posted by Grinner View Post
    In a world ruled by small birds, mankind cannot help but wonder how this state of affairs came about.

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