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Level Up (A5E) Sins of the Scorpion Age: Deities, Gods, and Religion

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
Restore the Sacred Breath one is actually super relevant to Annam...

The Egyptians believed that life was breath. Not just "If you stop breathing you die" but straight up Life and Breath shared use pretty interchangeably. Foreigners, for example, would ask the Pharaoh for "Breath" as in "Spare me, I submit to you, as you get to decide whether I keep breathing".

Well. Them and Warmth. Anywho... yeah. That could be important. Or just straight up "Inspiration" in the sense of "Breathe" rather than "Empower".

Not 100% Sure.

But yeah, Definitely gonna do the group-comment thing on Magic rather than going spell by spell.
 

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niklinna

Looking for group
If I was going for simplicity, I'd change the material components of healing spells to plants found in the world. Healing word/cure wounds needs Sarga Petals, revivify uses a rarer herb (that has net vallue equal to the diamond cost)... things like this
It seems assumed in 5e that material components are trivially obtained. And there are good reasons for this, but still...it makes magic seem common and mundane. If you can find a way to make it interesting, consequential, and fun to seek, harvest, and track inventory of such resources, you'll really be on to something!

I know people spend lots of time harvesting in MMOs, but it's usually a solo activity. Maybe there's a way to slip that in to all the usual party-based questing and murder-hoboing and exploration.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
It seems assumed in 5e that material components are trivially obtained. And there are good reasons for this, but still...it makes magic seem common and mundane. If you can find a way to make it interesting, consequential, and fun to seek, harvest, and track inventory of such resources, you'll really be on to something!

I know people spend lots of time harvesting in MMOs, but it's usually a solo activity. Maybe there's a way to slip that in to all the usual party-based questing and murder-hoboing and exploration.
It's definitely a thing that would be a benefit to the Journey System as an expansion and specific goal option for the Journey Activity of Harvesting. Instead of getting your Material Component Pouch filled you actively search the area for Sarga, Pokenkwo, or other herbs that can be used for magical or medicinal purposes.

Putting names to these things, and setting up explicit narrative expectations, however, is key to making it work.

If plants are only ever mentioned in a single "Flora and Fauna" side-bar or chapter and exist nowhere else in the narrative it'll just be a cute footnote in the structure of the overall setting.

... You've given me a lot to think about, here, Niklinna. Thank you, for that! Expanded options for the Journey Activities... Narrative use of herbs in story excerpts, and mechanical functions/benefits make a nice trifecta.
 

Faolyn

Hero
It seems assumed in 5e that material components are trivially obtained. And there are good reasons for this, but still...it makes magic seem common and mundane. If you can find a way to make it interesting, consequential, and fun to seek, harvest, and track inventory of such resources, you'll really be on to something!

I know people spend lots of time harvesting in MMOs, but it's usually a solo activity. Maybe there's a way to slip that in to all the usual party-based questing and murder-hoboing and exploration.
"Gather Components" is a journey activity in A5e, which makes that really easy.
 



niklinna

Looking for group
Ah yes, I should have downloaded those all when they announced the removal. But I figured, well, if the finished product is shipping so soon, I won't need 'em!
 
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I am...less keen on ultra-bleak perspectives on the divine, but I suppose this gives a different tack we can consider. These gods were inspired by Conan, so why don't we take that a step further? Go all the way to the Hellenic idea of heroes who challenge the gods themselves--and sometimes even become gods (Hercules, Psyche, Asclepius, Ariadne, Ganymede).

If The Flower is really a power of some kind, it implies one of three things:
1. The prayer roll can be expanded through human effort. We can make gods, including more-benevolent ones.
2. You can't add to the roster, but you can alter it--the gods are not static, but can be changed.
3. You can't add to the roster...but the roster wasn't comprehensive before. Who's to say it's comprehensive now?

This gives rise to both a dark perspective and a bright one. The dark perspective is, quite simply, Vecna: people who dream of becoming gods, or of having power/immortality/whatever because of rewriting a current god or discovering a god that will bless them. The bright perspective is, more or less, saying that the success of The Flower can be repeated, and that, with time, the divine may be more mixed (or even net positive) rather than cruel and bleak. This then gives rise to two possible organizations, of the "loose cult" variety: the ambitious cult that wants to usurp the powers of the gods for their own benefit, and the benevolent cult that wants to reform/replace/overthrow the cruel gods that currently exist. Sort of a miniature version of "defilers" vs "preservers" from Dark Sun.

Whether or not either of these efforts has any chance of success might be best left as a DM's-choice kind of thing, much as "can Athas be fixed" is very much a case-by-case thing. For some, it would ruin the appeal; for others, it makes the heroic striving actually worthwhile, so long as it's legitimately difficult but still possible.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
Heroes can definitely challenge the gods, @EzekielRaiden!

By going with a less "Western Theology" and more Early Semitic/Early Mediterranean angle we open up a lot of options in how people interact with the gods. And by diving whole-body into a Pulp Adventure style godhood, we crack that puppy even wider.

In addition to the Eight Divines, 6 of whom have cursed the world, there's also going to be lesser Manifest Gods. These entities will include powerful elementals, undead, fey, and even outsiders of various styles being worshipped as physical deities by cults they typically protect and/or control.

For example, the Island of Eroga on the Khufu sea, a former part of the now defunct Ellenic Empire, has Rovara the God of Love. Rovara exists as a physical entity in the world, flesh and blood, and is incredibly powerful. During the War of Transgression Rovara directly battled against the "Strange Gods" of Ancais to protect his twin islands and their occupants. He's said to be a tall, beautiful, powerful humanoid with the softest and fluffiest wings imaginable, shining and pink.

He gets his title by falling in love with mortals who live on the islands. Whomever his heart wends toward is immediately elevated in society, given festivals and parties, food, wealth, power, whatever they desire during the courting period before they are delivered to Rovara to be wed to the God of Love. This usually happens a few times a year, but during the years he fought against Ancais, it's said he loved -most- voraciously up to three dozen adults in a year! Love restores him, after all.

Meanwhile Ancais' whole story is that they were the most technologically and magically advanced people in the world. They had their own gods and called forth -more- from the heavens, making signs and symbols to call them forth from the darkness between the stars to join the Acain people on this world... Until eventually, in their hubris, they called upon a destroyer god. A wicked deity who pressed their people into war against the world. A God of Conquest... (Aliens. Not D&D style Deities)

Most of the Strange Gods were destroyed with Ancais. But not all of them were on the landmass when it was cast to the bottom of the Shallow Sea. And they yet live around the world. One such god is said to remain in the depths of an Ancais fortress-temple at Sepfar, where Ashuro the Mad has spent centuries building his ziggurat upon and around the ruined temple, to contain the God and take it's power for himself. The Altar of Ashuro, as the Ziggurat is called, is now host to sacrifices as Ashuro tries to force that God to give him whatever it is he wants.

Put simply... Players should be expected to be capable of killing evil gods and meeting benevolent ones by level 10. But even the benevolent gods will often be strange in their logic or actions.

As far as -attaining- godhood... That's another question, entirely, that will be left up to Narrators. There's no way to know for -sure- that the Flower is, in fact, Nefia the Martyr who sacrificed herself to see Ancais defeated during the War of Transgression. It could be a deity created, whole cloth, by combined faith. It could be some kind of interloper answering to her name in order to gain power for itself, or it could be Nefia's spirit elevated to the Divine...

But because "Godhood" is something that can be attained by those who have great power, anyone could be a "God" so long as their power were mythic enough. A Lich, by most people's definition in this world, would be a god. A Petty one. A Local god. But definitely a god.
 


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