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D&D General When did D&D gods first rely on their worshipers?


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Bugs Bunny: "Umm. Could be..." ;)

dream
noun

3 he realized his childhood dream: ambition, aspiration, hope; goal, aim, objective, grail, intention, intent, target; desire, wish, yearning; daydream, fantasy, pipe dream.
if dream is similar to hope I would infer you mean lie or deception as those seem closely related concepts to hope thought out my life.
 




dave2008

Legend
No, not true. It is absolutely stated in pre-Avatar Trilogy materials that the gods need worship (1981's "Down-to-Earth Divinity" and the 1e FRCS, for example, both written long before Ao was invented). Similarly, later works such as Faiths & Avatars establish that gods would decline and die from lack of worship before the Time of Troubles, most famously in the case of Amaunator.

It is true that in the novel Waterdeep (the third book of the Avatar Trilogy), the speech Ao gives includes the declaration that he's imposing the need for worship as a new punishment for the gods. This is a continuity screw-up by the author and editors of that book, and should be ignored given the consistent evidence, both pre- and post-Avatar publication, that the worship reliance existed pre-ToT.
Except for Ao correct? I don't think any mortals worship AO.
 



TheSword

Legend
I'd argue that Discworld might be the fantasy series with the most material to offer DMs, whether it's thinking through the consequences of elements of the world or just a cast of stock characters to pull from for home games. (I'm sure there are a few DMs who have a recurring street vendor NPC in their games who aren't Discworld readers, but Pratchett shows off why you should have one, or a similar recurring bottom feeder urban NPC, if you don't.)
I find WFRP is massively reminiscent of Prachett. Particularly the writing of Graeme Davis. It’s the sarcastic British humour + a bit of whimsy.
 


I would argue he desired not dreamed as dreams are normally surreal experiences.
"Dream" can mean "the vivid experience one has while sleeping," but it can also mean "a desire or aspiration sincerely held." Consider Dr. King's I Have A Dream speech; that speech makes no sense if we interpret it as, "I have a nightly hallucinatory experience that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood." It only makes sense if we understand "dream" to mean a hope, aspiration, or goal.

if dream is similar to hope I would infer you mean lie or deception as those seem closely related concepts to hope thought out my life.
Bit grim, don't you think? Hope and aspiration just mean the belief that something beneficial can happen, if you do the work to make it happen. And even if you do think hope is a deception (why do you even do things like play role-playing games, if so???), everyone has goals.

Maybe the gods worship Ao, and he gets his power from them?
Ao is pretty clearly ascribed a rather deist nature: he creates things and ensures that things adhere to some nebulous existence standard, but otherwise is entirely independent of the process. A facilitator who doesn't really get involved other than to fix "problems" (like the gods behaving badly) and then disengage again. If deities could get leverage over him, you can be sure they would've tried that during the Time of Troubles.

ah, that makes sense but that makes me like them even less.
I prefer the 4th edition take: gods are effectively living concepts. Bahamut is, in some sense, literally a living entity "made" of Hope, Protection, and Justice. These things don't so much "get power from worshippers," but rather just are powerful because they are things that matter in the world. This gives a reciprocal relationship: if you aid Bahamut, you are making a world that is more just, more peaceful, and more benevolent; and likewise, if you take actions that make the world a better, kinder, more just place, Bahamut's influence and power grow. This means belief in a deity is more than just "oh Robert Downey Jr., I'm your biggest fan!" It means that belief in a deity is a commitment to bringing about a particular way of existing or nature of the world. Ironically, this could mean that there is probably a 4e deity (or at least the potential for one) of atheism, a deity whose concept is noninterference, acceptance of the way things already are, and neutrality! I don't think any of the standard 4e pantheon quite fits, though. Melora comes close but is a bit too pro-nature.
 



Davies

Hero
Ironically, this could mean that there is probably a 4e deity (or at least the potential for one) of atheism, a deity whose concept is noninterference, acceptance of the way things already are, and neutrality! I don't think any of the standard 4e pantheon quite fits, though. Melora comes close but is a bit too pro-nature.
If you made Ioun a bit more like Boccob ...
 


see

Pedantic Grognard
Except for Ao correct? I don't think any mortals worship AO.
Ao isn't a "god" for that purpose, he's a "something else", a sui generis excuse for the whole Avatar Crisis. He also answers to his own, unnamed overseer of unknown nature (in a brief scene at the end of Waterdeep).

It was also hinted in older FR material that the great elemental lords (Akadi, Grumbar, Kossuth, Istishia) weren't exactly gods, and there were beings like Kezef the Chaos Hound and Dendar the Night Serpent which were deity-level in power but not gods. All of those got declared "Primordials" in 4th edition.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I never got this line of logic because how did they come about to begin with? they could not have created any one thus aside from getting power why worship them?
I like how they handle it in Mythic Odysseus of Theros:

Theros possesses a unique metaphysical property: things believed and dreamed here eventually become real. The collective unconscious of mortal people has the literal power of creation, though the process unfolds over the course of countless centuries. Thus, the gods of Theros and their servants were believed, dreamed, and narrated into existence, materializing and becoming fully real as a result of mortal belief in their power. As stories were told, sacrifices made, and devotion given over ages, the gods formed and gained lives just as real as the mortals who dreamed them into being.
 

Late as usual, but as a personal fan of deities in fantasy, I find this an interesting conundrum. In some cases, deities existed before their worshipers--indeed, many created their worshipers. In FR, I thought the need for worship to gain power was a post-ToT thing, but someone else here pointed out that isn't the case. Maybe upon creating a race/species, they then essentially became beholden to it. But if that were the case, it may make other gods reluctant to follow suit.

For those who follow Critical Role, possible spoilers below




Recently in CR, while venturing into weird city of Aeor, Calab found a journal in which the writer commented on the debate that the gods were formed by mortals. For one thing, this was a city that defied the gods, wanting to bring them down--and it didn't end well for them, so this could be pure speculation on their part, as they had a negative view of deities, anyway. But, regardless, I think the word formed is key here. While often synonymous with create, I don't think this is the case here. In C1, during the VM's talk with the goddess Ioun, she mentioned that her realm was her essence, and that the avatar they were conversing with was people's faith given form. Likewise, the Explorer's Guide to Wildemont said that in the beginning, the gods were formless, and were such when they created the elves, dwarves, and humans. So, mortals didn't create the gods, but their faith allowed the gods to take form--ie, have things like an avatar. On a practical level, this makes sense in that the mortal mind probably couldn't comprehend the "true" form of a deity.

So, if we go by this logic, then gods are dependent on mortals to give them form. Personally, this sits better with me than the idea of mortals creating the gods, especially in the case when deities (and having them) help determine the afterlife. The trope of gods being created solely from human faith seems like an attempt to give mortals more power and agency, which on the surface may sound ideal, but having gods doesn't mean mortals are deprived of agency and free will. This idea also just seems like a snub toward gods in general, as if anything having to do with divinity is bad, even in fiction. I'm not very religious, but divinity in fantasy can add to a setting, and mortals creating gods begs the questions: who/what created the mortals, and what about the afterlife? How would that work? Does everyone go to the same place, like in some real world beliefs? In Planescape, even the faithless have a chance at an afterlife, unless they don't even believe they possess a soul (at least from my understanding. My only real experience with Planescape is On Hallowed Ground, but it seems like even the faithless get a chance to be with a god, unless they dont' even believe in themselves). This may not matter much in the average campaign, but in cosmological discussions, I think it's worth considering.

This actually makes me think of the opposite of "seeing is believing". Think of stories where certain creatures are only visible to children, because children have their "eyes wide open", and don't yet have the skepticism and filters of adults. Instead of seeing is believing, you have to believe to see. So in a system that is shaped by belief, perhaps it is that we have to believe in order to have communication of any kind with deity. It's not that they can't exist without faith, but the mortal's faith sustains their ties to the mortals, and allows them to interact. It keeps them anchored. Without the connection of faith, the ties between deity and mortal are severed.
 
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MGibster

Legend
I'm a little old fashioned when it comes to my gods in that I prefer them to be powerful because they're gods and not dependent on their worshipers. Though you can do all sorts of fun things with the idea that worshipers are the source of their power. Why not get some worshipers yourself and become a new god? Good times.
 


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