Is the Wall of Faithless in 5e?

Seramus

Explorer
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.
Sekhet-Aaru was the final gate. There were several possible destinations you could be sent to prior to that, starting with horrible and slowly getting nicer as you moved through each gate towards Osiris. And the gates were guarded by monsters if you tried to go past a gate you did not earn.
 

PsyzhranV2

Explorer
Sekhet-Aaru was the final gate. There were several possible destinations you could be sent to prior to that, starting with horrible and slowly getting nicer as you moved through each gate towards Osiris. And the gates were guarded by monsters if you tried to go past a gate you did not earn.
I was under the impression that Anubis sat before that final gate, and the rest of the journey through the underworld would come in the form of various challenges tailored to each soul to get past those monsters. Didn't mention it because it didn't seem that analogous to the FR Fugue plane, which is pretty much just standing in line; the judgment part was what I was focusing on. Is there an interpretation where Anubis guards an earlier gate and not the final one?
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
This is a fictional mythology. Even some real world mythologies can be very brutal. Many gods in many historical pantheons were not very just by our standards and may have been considered symbols of justice and goodness at the time. I like pantheons and mythologies that twist things up a bit.

Heck in Viking mythology drowning in sea was horrible. And not dying in combat meant no Val hala.

The Greek gods were very vindictive.
 
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Seramus

Explorer
I was under the impression that Anubis sat before that final gate, and the rest of the journey through the underworld would come in the form of various challenges tailored to each soul to get past those monsters. Didn't mention it because it didn't seem that analogous to the FR Fugue plane, which is pretty much just standing in line; the judgment part was what I was focusing on. Is there an interpretation where Anubis guards an earlier gate and not the final one?
It varies, since kemeticism has a loooong history full of changes and syncretization. Sometimes the Hall of Two Truths is the first place you visit, then you go through the gates to your final destination. Sometimes you started in front of Osiris and he judged your attributes and sent you back through the gates. Sometimes you work your way through the gates, get to the Hall, then pass that to Osiris.

But I wasn’t trying to undermine your point. Just highlight that there was a large amount of ‘unpleasant afterlife’ in Duat.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
This is a fictional mythology. Even some real world mythologies can be very brutal. Many gods in many historical pantheons were not very just by our standards and may have been considered symbols of justice and goodness at the time. I like pantheons and mythologies that twist things up a bit.

Heck in Viking mythology drowning in sea was horrible. And not dying in combat meant no Val hala.

The Greek gods were very vindictive.
There is a misunderstanding here, though a common one.

Valhalla is not “Viking heaven”. The ideal afterlife is getting to spend it with those you loved, ie your family.

Valhalla is a reward for brave warriors who died and potentially couldn’t be returned to their families. It’s an obligation and an honor, but not something bakers were sad about not getting into. Hel is, at worst, kinda boring.

Also, half the courageous dead go to Folkvangr, where Freyja rules, and she chooses her half first.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
Wow, some strange arguments about this.

Here's the deal: the original god of Death, a MASSIVE evil #%^* had control of how the afterlife works. The only way to avoid that was to have a patron deity that would claim your soul before you went to the City of the Dead. Once you got there, you were judged by the god of the Dead, who decided either you were false to your patron god (where you suffered endless torture for failing to appease your god) or you were faithless, lacking any patron at all (where your soul ended up decaying as part of the wall).

Kellemvor attempted to make changes when he (the first non-evil god of Death), because as he was once mortal, he felt the system unfair (as many here do). However, the multiverse is a structured place, and rules cannot be easily changed, as Kellemvor was censured for his actions and forced to return to the original system. Not all of the gods like the system, but that is the system of the cosmos. It does cause almost everyone to pick a patron deity (most would have done so anyway) and encourages them to actually follow their deity with more than just lip service. FYI, you can give prayers and offerings to deities other than your patron, so you're not henotheistic (for example, offerings to Umberlee before a sea voyage is always wise).

As for the author's decision to create this... I don't know. Ed probably wrote a story about it when he was younger, set in the Realms before it was a D&D setting. It is official canon for the Realms, but the great thing about D&D is that you can change whatever you want as the DM anyway. The odd thing is that it really has about zero impact on the game at all, since you stay on the Fugue Plain long enough for most spells to bring you back anyway, except for things that can go back years/decades/centuries (which never really matter IME anyway).
 

LuisCarlos17f

Explorer
You haven't seen the king, and you maybe don't believe in his existence, but you have to pay taxes anywave.

Being atheist in a fantasy world isn't easy when a neighbour has been attacked by undeads or divine spellcasters can use their magic to heal diseases and injuries.

I don't mind the canon. In my D&D worlds the most of souls are suffering penance in a purgatory plane, and later to celestial plane, always remembering the past. In the end when the soul is ready, this will go to the true Heaven with the saints and the supreme creator God. Some souls from the infernal planes can save themself (and they go to the purgatory), but they aren't destroyed really, but their fate is the true Hell. The penance in the purgatory is really hard. A century in a prison are softer than only a hour of divine punishment.
 

Mustrum_Ridcully

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.

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.
It seems to me a fundamental problem of all the stuff done with souls is that we "invented" the concept to basically give ourselves a sense of immortality, to define something that is truly the essence of being. Our body is basically just a (temporary) shell for our true self, and our true self exists forever without end.

Torturing souls... yeah, maybe. But dissolving them into nothing? That seems to defeat the point of the whole concept of souls. If your soul can be gone forever, it still means your existence will end for good. There will be a time where you're not, and never will be again.
Even if you're not a Faithless, that is true. Because what happens if you go to your patron god, and in one of the conflict between gods, your god is killed and some devil/demon/other-soul-eating entity snatches your soul? It kinda defeats the entire concept.

Additionally, it's just mean. So you can live a good life, help your neighbours, do the best to support your community, but you happen to never have found a god to worship, and the response is that you just get tortured until you're dissolved. Why couldn't a good god take you on out for the effort of trying to be a good person? Why does it have to be the Wall of Faithless? Why is that the best option for everyone involved?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
You haven't seen the king, and you maybe don't believe in his existence, but you have to pay taxes anywave.

Being atheist in a fantasy world isn't easy when a neighbour has been attacked by undeads or divine spellcasters can use their magic to heal diseases and injuries.

I don't mind the canon. In my D&D worlds the most of souls are suffering penance in a purgatory plane, and later to celestial plane, always remembering the past. In the end when the soul is ready, this will go to the true Heaven with the saints and the supreme creator God. Some souls from the infernal planes can save themself (and they go to the purgatory), but they aren't destroyed really, but their fate is the true Hell. The penance in the purgatory is really hard. A century in a prison are softer than only a hour of divine punishment.
The issue isn’t atheism, as such. You can believe in the gods without caring about their existence or their churches.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Explorer
You have to remember the difference between atheism and misotheism or the maltheismo.

Atheism is when you are sure God doesn't exist.

Misotheism is when you hate god(s).

Maltheism is when you think God is bad.

And monolatry isn't nor monotheism neither polytheism, but when you believe in the existence of some deities but only adore one.

Tolkien's Middle-Earth wasn't polytheism at all, but only a supreme god, Ilúvatar, and the other beings were like angels. Melkor and Sauron never were the "evil twin" but weaker than Ilúvatar, the pantocrator.

Voltaire said:

"I would not wish to have to deal with an atheist prince, who would find it to his interest to have me ground to powder in a mortar: I should be quite sure of being ground to powder. If I were a sovereign, I would not wish to have to deal with atheist courtiers, whose interest it would be to poison me: I should have to be taking antidotes every day. It is therefore absolutely necessary for princes and for peoples, that the idea of a Supreme Being, creator, ruler, rewarder, revenger, shall be deeply engraved in people's minds".

And then he didn't watch Joffrey Baratheon with a crossbow or Ramsay Bolton with his "wives" in an episode of Games of Thrones.

In a fantasy world not only the atheism is hard when you face supernatural menaces, but when you lose at least a brother when you are still underage. When you face suffering and death then hedonism or selfish pleasure is ephemeral like ashes scattered by the wind. And some religious traditions are too popular to be forgotten. The procession of Holy Week in Spain is a good example. Lot of people who never goes to church in Sunday for all the year love Spanish processions or they are in "cofradías" (brotherhoods) to carry the religious images.
 

Hussar

Legend
/snip
Additionally, it's just mean. So you can live a good life, help your neighbours, do the best to support your community, but you happen to never have found a god to worship, and the response is that you just get tortured until you're dissolved. Why couldn't a good god take you on out for the effort of trying to be a good person? Why does it have to be the Wall of Faithless? Why is that the best option for everyone involved?
Since when is "fairness" been a part of religion? What real world religion is based on "fairness"? There are many, many real world religions where simply living a good life is not good enough so it's not really all that out of place for that to be in a fantasy religion.

Seems pretty straightforward to me. The gods in Forgotten Realms aren't some far away abstract concept that must be taken on faith. They are very present in the setting. Anyone who says to themselves, "Self, I'm going to be a good person. I'm going to be nice to my neighbors. But, I'm going to 100% ignore all these miracles around me and never, ever bend a knee to the beings that created everything around me, even though I can see Their works every single day of my life." is kinda begging for it.

It's a setting where faith MATTERS. And that's fine. Other settings, not so much. Eberron doesn't have the same dogma. Cool. Other settings take it even further. Denying the gods in Scarred Lands brands you a heretic and is a quick journey to the nearest stake where you will be killed and your soul condemned to the Abyss so that you don't promote worship of the Titans. Every setting is different.

I'm just rather baffled why this is so objectionable.
 

gyor

Adventurer
This is a fictional mythology. Even some real world mythologies can be very brutal. Many gods in many historical pantheons were not very just by our standards and may have been considered symbols of justice and goodness at the time. I like pantheons and mythologies that twist things up a bit.

Heck in Viking mythology drowning in sea was horrible. And not dying in combat meant no Val hala.

The Greek gods were very vindictive.
It's important to seperate Greek Mythology from the actually day to day religious practice of the ancient Greeks and their relationship with their Gods. Plato found the Myths to often be impetuous and insulting towards the Gods for example, while the Neoplatonists tended to view Mythology is symbolic of higher truths. The Stoics had their own view of theology and the Gods.

Zeus in practice worshipped and usually seen as a good and just God, but you would rarely see get that from the Myths.

A religion is more then just its Mythology.

There were mystery cults, and different beliefs in different time periods, and regional differences. Unfortunately too much focus is on the mythology of the ancients and not enough on theology of the ancients.
 
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gyor

Adventurer
Just a weird thought, but what if most of the Faithless actually come from Abeir, not Toril, a place where originally no Gods were worshipped.

Anyways not all the Gods of Faerun support the Wall.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen... Be nice plz n_n
“Frigging edgelord deities”. I’ll have to remember that one.



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”.
Yes, basically.

I'm just rather baffled why this is so objectionable.
Because, there's a cosmos beyond the Realms, everywhere else in the Multiverse souls go to the plane that mostly matched their alignment in life -save for extreme devotees of certain deities-. The Wall is actually placed so no soul can go to its rightfully earned afterlife. The Wall is essentially trapping everybody born on Toril so they can be held hostage to the local deities. All of it so they can gain more and more power...


Anyways not all the Gods of Faerun support the Wall.
That is basically lip service, as they actively benefit from it and do nothing to change the situation. In Faerun there are no good Gods, just evil gods and hypocrite Gods.
 

gyor

Adventurer
Yes, basically.


Because, there's a cosmos beyond the Realms, everywhere else in the Multiverse souls go to the plane that mostly matched their alignment in life -save for extreme devotees of certain deities-. The Wall is actually placed so no soul can go to its rightfully earned afterlife. The Wall is essentially trapping everybody born on Toril so they can be held hostage to the local deities. All of it so they can gain more and more power...



That is basically lip service, as they actively benefit from it and do nothing to change the situation. In Faerun there are no good Gods, just evil gods and hypocrite Gods.
That is a gross over simplication. FR Gods have limits to their powers, they can't fix everything.

Besides in 5e they make it clear only the worst of the worst go to the wall, among the false and the faithless, the rest get lesser punishments now, they nerfed the wall.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
Because, there's a cosmos beyond the Realms, everywhere else in the Multiverse souls go to the plane that mostly matched their alignment in life -save for extreme devotees of certain deities-. The Wall is actually placed so no soul can go to its rightfully earned afterlife. The Wall is essentially trapping everybody born on Toril so they can be held hostage to the local deities. All of it so they can gain more and more power...
This is exactly right, but it seems people aren't willing to engage with it. Discussing whether a way of setting up your afterlife is fair should take into account how your actual neighbors are doing theirs, where theirs works just fine without the extras you have.

Given the enormous number if Greater Powers in FR compared to other settings that share it's multiverse, it seems that there is likely a connection. They appear to have it set up so that they get extra power by threatening you to choose a patron.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen... Be nice plz n_n
Given the enormous number if Greater Powers in FR compared to other settings that share it's multiverse, it seems that there is likely a connection. They appear to have it set up so that they get extra power by threatening you to choose a patron.
More like it is all but stated...
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
That is a gross over simplication. FR Gods have limits to their powers, they can't fix everything.

Besides in 5e they make it clear only the worst of the worst go to the wall, among the false and the faithless, the rest get lesser punishments now, they nerfed the wall.
But how in the Hells does “being indifferent to the gods, entire” quality as “the worst of the worst”?
 

Lancelot

Adventurer
I'm okay that the Wall exists in FR, but maybe that's because I view the FR a bit differently than some. For me, it is an evil of almost Cthulhu-esque proportions. Other posters have already explained why: it prevents non-devout souls from reaching their "destination plane" (as based on alignment), it's a violation of free will ("You must worship us FR gods, or else"), and it's simply degrading. Even if the ultimate "reward" of faithlessness is a painless oblivion, being turned into bricks-and-mortar is quite the dick move. It's the smug deities showing that if you don't serve them one way, you'll serve them in another.

I've played NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer at least 3 times and, every single time, I've sided against Kelemvor. I know it's fruitless, but there's something inherently noble about fighting the impossible fight. It's part of the human condition. Death is inevitable for all of us in the real world, but we keep striving against it. Fighting the Wall, and the gods who would support its existence, gives me some of the same vibe. It's bleak, but I don't necessarily see it as edgelord... unless the author, or some of the audience, think that it's somehow justified or deserved.

I choose not to interpret the Wall as being a deserved fate for atheists, and I certainly don't buy into the fact that it's part of the "deal" (i.e. FR can't exist without gods, so mortals need to do their part). The Time of Troubles proved that the FR can survive just fine without its deities... many of whom are not even worthy of the title, and are simply ascended mortals who got lucky.

Frankly, I revel any time an FR deity dies or is majorly inconvenienced. I kind of despise them all. The Wall is just part of it. There's the Time of Troubles, the Bhaalspawn crisis, everything involving Cyric, the arbitrary ways that the "Chosen" are... chosen... and the stupidly OP abilities they gain. Hey, just because you suck up to Mystra the hardest, you're automatically better than any other mage can ever be through natural talent, or plain ol' hard work. That's inspiring, in a way... it inspires my characters to want to eradicate every Chosen of every FR deity. Bunch of over-rated sycophants.

So, that's my view. I see the Wall's monstrous evil as a feature, rather than a bug. But it's a complicated topic, in part because atheism and agnosticism are real-world belief systems. I don't know how it is in the US but, in NZ, both are standard (and common) census responses here. There are plenty of D&D players worldwide who would list themselves as agnostic/atheist. If I was building a campaign world myself, I probably wouldn't include a statement like: "If your PC is a [real-world belief system or philosophy], all-powerful entities will eventually turn your PC into building supplies and then condemn your soul to oblivion". But maybe that's just me.
 

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