Is the Wall of Faithless in 5e?

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The Gods are obviously real, they're obviously super powerful, and they make no bones about being in charge of what happens to you after you die. If the Gods are remotely like people, you can imagine they wouldn't look to kindly on mortal souls who deny them. Being an atheist or agnostic in D&D is nothing like in real life.

Worse, loose souls are the equivalent of barrels of gunpowder laying around. Devils use them as tank-fuel (not to mention just plain warping souls into devils), etc. So you could think of the wall as a toxic waste disposal system. If you're a big jerk like Myrkul, you'd render some punishment (again, mortals know this wall exists!) If you're Kelemvor, maybe I don't see Kelemvor letting this be so awful. But it is up to the God of death who gets the first crack at these souls. And generally the god of Death isn't interested in letting a big stream of unclaimed soul-power getting lose.

If I recall right, part of the (4E?) Raven Queen's issue was fending off planar soul thieves for just this sort of reason.

It makes a certain internal sense at least. If you want to say the D&D authors are being mean to RL people who are atheists and agnostics, well... they can play D&D without gods and the wall.
Or without the wall but with gods, like every other dnd setting. 🤷‍♂️

The wall makes the gods Evil. Full stop.

Edit: like...a person who doesn’t care about the gods, would count as faithless. Also, so what if some guy believes the “gods” are just powerful people who found a path to immortality and extreme power? Literally so what? The idea of it being appealing to have divine retribution for such a thing is...disturbing.
 

Seramus

Explorer
..a person who doesn’t care about the gods, would count as faithless. Also, so what if some guy believes the “gods” are just powerful people who found a path to immortality and extreme power? Literally so what? The idea of it being appealing to have divine retribution for such a thing is...disturbing.
Kelemvor was found guilty of incompetence due to humanity, because too much good in the prime material plane would unbalance the cosmos. So people go back in the wall. The way I understand it's a fairly peaceful boring process these days. None of that horrible torture business.
 
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Zardnaar

Hero
It's because the afterlife in the FR world is very well known.

Say if you are LE your soul is going to the 9 hells. One way around that is to have a patron deity.

If the LE wizard follows Azuth the soul goes to Azuths domain.

If you believe in the gods your soul goes to an alignment plane.

The false are ones who screw the gods over and don't really believe and switch around willy nilly. Your soul is wall candidate.

The faithless are the agnostics and athiests which is a silly position on FR to take since the gods have walked the world. Once again it's wall material.

It's polytheistic, not everyone has a patron God but if the believe and pray to multiple gods they're not at risk they just don't go to a specific gods domain in the afterlife.

A gods power was also tied to number of worshippers 2E onwards. It's in the gods best interests to encourage people to believe.
 

Xenonnonex

Adventurer
If the Gods are remotely like people, you can imagine they wouldn't look to kindly on mortal souls who deny them.
If this is the case what is even the point of the people in the setting worshipping the gods? Especially as the gods are tangible beings of the setting.

If the PC I am playing is a jerk but the god they worship is an even bigger shite why even debase yourself to worship.

Worse, loose souls are the equivalent of barrels of gunpowder laying around.
The designers could have them reincarnate. They have them eternally wander. Having psychopomps who usher the souls would make sense here.

Having them mortared into a wall without hope of escaping. And then getting slowly dissolved into the Wall is the edgiest edge.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
If this is the case what is even the point of the people in the setting worshipping the gods? Especially as the gods are tangible beings of the setting.

If the PC I am playing is a jerk but the god they worship is an even bigger shite why even debase yourself to worship.


The designers could have them reincarnate. They have them eternally wander. Having psychopomps who usher the souls would make sense here.

Having them mortared into a wall without hope of escaping. And then getting slowly dissolved into the Wall is the edgiest edge.
Doesn't work that way.

In FR an evil being can go to a good aligned plane by having faith in a good aligned goddess. Mystara is the obvious one here.

Having faith in her can keep your soul out of the 9 hells.

Other people will follow a god because their portfolio lines up with a large portion of their life. Farmers for Chauntea.

The gods don't force you to believe but there are consequences if you don't.

In 3E it limited how long you could be raised or resurrected as well. No resurrection for you.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
The Gods are obviously real, they're obviously super powerful, and they make no bones about being in charge of what happens to you after you die. If the Gods are remotely like people, you can imagine they wouldn't look to kindly on mortal souls who deny them. Being an atheist or agnostic in D&D is nothing like in real life.
Yeah, but when they walk the world, they mess it up bigtime. Which is a good enough reason for a character to be an antitheist.

Worse, loose souls are the equivalent of barrels of gunpowder laying around. Devils use them as tank-fuel (not to mention just plain warping souls into devils), etc.
This isn't such an undesirable outcome, at least those souls will be used to hold back the demon hordes in the blood war. :devil:
 

PsyzhranV2

Explorer
This is my interpretation of the arrangement. As a relative newcomer to D&D, I may have gotten some lore stuff wrong, so feel free to correct me.

From my reading of it, Toril is a world where the touch of the gods can be felt in all aspects of life. Their hands and their wills are seen behind every stroke of fortune and misfortune. A bountiful harvest is not mere luck or a farmer's wisdom, but Chauntea's blessing. Hurricanes and tsunamis are not coincidences of weather but a sign that Umberlee's wrath has reached its apex. The sun rises every day and shines upon the land because Amauanator makes it so. A prospering business owes its success to Waukeen and Tymora's presence, and Basheba's absence.

As such, unless you're an acolyte to a specific deity and are involved in clerical duties, the line between religion and daily life is... nonexistent. For the people of Faerun, they owe their lives and the world to the gods. Divine influence on their culture is pervasive. You go to work? The gods are watching. You come home to your family? It is the gods' blessing that your family is prospering. Your son has found a lover and is thinking of getting married? Sune had a hand in that. Your daughter has saved enough money to go to university? Oghma and Deneir will be taking interest in her studies. Your rival was interfering with your business but suddenly died of a heart attack? That was the hand of Hoar. And in some cases, that is not mere metaphor but actual, conscious divine intervention, and it has happened enough times that people have begun to believe that it is the rule rather than the exception. For in many cases, if a god is incapacitated, or neglects their duties, the rules of reality around their domain begin to fall apart. Tymora bites it? No more luck or good fortune. Auril disappears? No more winter, and summers become more intense.

So somebody who refuses to even give lip service to any of the gods, whether out of spite or for some other reason, would be seen as equivalent to denying the laws of physics. They'd seem as crazy and deviant as, I don't know, let's say an anti-vaxxer would in real life. And I don't know about you, but a lot of people I know really wish those people could get shut up in a wall. Or just imagine that you went back to Athens at its golden age and started yelling about how the Olympians are gluttonous tyrants and rapists that care not for the mortal man. You might be right, but you're gonna end up denied service at most respectable institutions at best, and outright mobbed at worst, if only out of fear that your blaspheming will cause a sudden chance of thunderstorms. Just ask Socrates.

I come from a really religious household, and while I'm only going to church as lip service nowadays, there's still enough in my upbringing left to grok how a religious cosmology like Toril's could be seen as remotely acceptable. I mean, is there any real difference between "believe in and honour God for it is God's will and if you repudiate him you go to hell" and "believe in and honour the gods for it is by their hands that the world turns and if you repudiate them you go to the Wall of the Faithless"? Hell, in the latter scenario, you have an all-you-can-eat plethora of gods to choose from, and will probably unconsciously end up with one of them due to the fact that pretty much every trade in the land has a patron deity that you'll be praying to to bless your work or crying out to in desperation if your business comes crashing down. If you were a good person - or even a bad person - in life who at the very least followed the ideals of their trade, there will probably be at least one god who will vouch for you when you're standing in front of Kelemvor's judgment seat.
 
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Seramus

Explorer
@PsyzhranV2 comparing it to the anti-vaccination movement it's very accurate. Because worship is literally required for the survival of gods, and the gods are required for the elemental stability of the realms, not worshipping the gods contributes to losing herd immunity.

Barring AO intervening if the gods started dying in droves, of course.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Kelemvor was found guilty of incompetence due to humanity, because too much good in the prime material plane would unbalance the cosmos. So people go back in the wall. The way I understand it's a fairly peaceful boring process these days. None of that horrible torture business.
Thats just very weird, and very obviously an excuse to return a thing to how it was while technically not using a retcon.

It's because the afterlife in the FR world is very well known.

Say if you are LE your soul is going to the 9 hells. One way around that is to have a patron deity.

If the LE wizard follows Azuth the soul goes to Azuths domain.

If you believe in the gods your soul goes to an alignment plane.

The false are ones who screw the gods over and don't really believe and switch around willy nilly. Your soul is wall candidate.

The faithless are the agnostics and athiests which is a silly position on FR to take since the gods have walked the world. Once again it's wall material.

It's polytheistic, not everyone has a patron God but if the believe and pray to multiple gods they're not at risk they just don't go to a specific gods domain in the afterlife.

A gods power was also tied to number of worshippers 2E onwards. It's in the gods best interests to encourage people to believe.
In DnD as in real life, harming people for your own self interest is Evil.

Also in DnD, alignment, and thus moral judgement, as above the gods, and they are just as subject to it as mortals.

The gods of Abeir-Toril are thus Evil. Or perhaps it is Ao that is Evil, since he determines the cosmology.

The idea of expecting people who remember the Time Of Troubles, Spellplague, and the Second Sundering, to revere and love any of the gods is pretty silly. To punish them if they don’t...yeah, that’s evil.

And super edgy edgelord from edgington.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Second sundering had sod all to do with the gods.

The other 2 where triggered by evil gods doing evil things.

The bigger issue is hack writers blowing upstuff they don't understand.
 

Hussar

Legend
Huh. I've always wondered where this resistance to the Wall comes from. It's not like there aren't real world examples of similar concepts, so, that's not it. It's not that it doesn't actually make logical sense to some degree - since the gods are dependent on worship, those choosing to actively not worship the gods are seen as a problem.

I think this has a lot more to do with players just being so hell bent on never, ever being told that they have to do anything.
 

Xenonnonex

Adventurer
Huh. I've always wondered where this resistance to the Wall comes from. It's not like there aren't real world examples of similar concepts, so, that's not it. It's not that it doesn't actually make logical sense to some degree - since the gods are dependent on worship, those choosing to actively not worship the gods are seen as a problem.
Even real world depictions of purgatory are more "benevolent" than this. Even the concept of Nirvana which is essentially extinction of the conscious self is more "benevolent" than this.
The cosmological concept of the Wall of the Faithless just means the gods are not worthy of worship. Being petulant and childish. It is also all rather evil.

I think this has a lot more to do with players just being so hell bent on never, ever being told that they have to do anything.
The Wall of the Faithless could be opened up to an awesome campaign idea. Players though would rarely visit let alone know about the Wall of the Faithless. I am talking about it as a core conceit of a setting.
 
A side note, there is no such thing as FAITH "strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. " in the Forgotten Realms or any other DnD setting to be honest. Faith is belief when proof is impossible. Proof exists every day in a world where clerical spells exist and Gods wander the world at times acting like whiny tweens.

The only area where faith might exist would be faith in AO the real deity that created the ones that everyone worships in the FR since there is no proof that he exists from the point of view of any mortal.

Even he is not truly THE Supreme Being as the end of the Time of Trouble novels ends with AO speaking to the being that granted him his power and authority as a parent would a child.

Overall I think the best setting when it comes to religion would be Ravenloft as that realm had no deities. Instead clerical powers were powered literally by the faith of the clergy.
 

Xenonnonex

Adventurer
A side note, there is no such thing as FAITH "strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. " in the Forgotten Realms or any other DnD setting to be honest. Faith is belief when proof is impossible.
Eberron is a setting where faith empowers belief. And where belief powers faith. Because you cannot prove the existence of the gods in Eberron. And the gods do not manifest their existence.

Proof exists every day in a world where clerical spells exist and Gods wander the world at times acting like whiny tweens.
Frigging edgelord FR deities.
 
The cosmological concept of the Wall of the Faithless just means the gods are not worthy of worship. Being petulant and childish. It is also all rather evil.
The deities of the FR ARE petulant vicious children. The Time of Trouble series of books clearly explains that for all of existence NONE of the deities bothered to gather their faithful from the field of the dead where they awaited them. The deities just ignored them and the poor souls spent all eternity walking in massive groups calling out and begging their "Gods" for some attention.
 

Bitbrain

Adventurer
“Frigging edgelord deities”. I’ll have to remember that one.

If you want to say the D&D authors are being mean to RL people who are atheists and agnostics, well... they can play D&D without gods and the wall.
In my experience, I have witnessed the exact opposite of this, at least with regards to the players.

The atheists and agnostics are the ones interested in exploring the gods, faith, and the afterlife.
Meanwhile, the Christian players want nothing to do with such concepts, and find D&D’s general approach to such things “heavy-handed and distasteful”.
 

Seramus

Explorer
Even real world depictions of purgatory are more "benevolent" than this. Even the concept of Nirvana which is essentially extinction of the conscious self is more "benevolent" than this.
The fields of Asphodel are pretty horrible. “The dead approach him in swarms, unable to speak unless animated by the blood of the animals he slays. Without blood they are witless, without activity, without pleasure and without future.”

Digesting in Mot’s stomach is probably pretty unpleasant. So is standing around or walking through fields of razors to “earn” nothingness. Or wandering off to be lost and forgotten forever. Falling into mud riverbanks and being stuck there forever, the waters rising and falling around your head. Being judged so that either your heart is eaten, or being sent to one of several mostly unpleasant places. Being locked up in spiritual prison, hoping someone slips you religious contraband so you can be ‘enlightened’ and escape.

Benevolent afterlives are pretty uncommon.
 
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PsyzhranV2

Explorer
Even real world depictions of purgatory are more "benevolent" than this. Even the concept of Nirvana which is essentially extinction of the conscious self is more "benevolent" than this.
The cosmological concept of the Wall of the Faithless just means the gods are not worthy of worship. Being petulant and childish. It is also all rather evil.


The Wall of the Faithless could be opened up to an awesome campaign idea. Players though would rarely visit let alone know about the Wall of the Faithless. I am talking about it as a core conceit of a setting.
Nirvana is treated by Buddhism as something to strive towards, for it is freedom from dukkha (suffering). It's not meant to be a punishment; living itself and being trapped in Samsara is punishment enough. (Albeit, Buddhists do believe that suuficiently wicked people would be reborn in Naraka and be subject to torment for incomprehensible lengths of time as penance for their accumulated karma).

In my view, the closest analogue to the Wall of the Faithless in real world mythology is the judgment of Anubis. The ancient Egyptians believed that the souls of the dead would be brought before Anubis, the jackal-headed god of the Underworld, who would weigh their hearts against the feather of Ma'at (truth, justice, and harmony). If the heart was lighter than the feather, then they would be admitted into the Sekhet-Aaru where Osiris dwelled and ruled, effectively being reborn. However, if their hearts proved heavier than the feather, then they would be devoured by Ammit, dying a permanent death. Appeasing the gods, maintaining religious morals, and following the proper funerary customs would tilt the scale in the favour of the deceased.
 

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