Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Hammersong's Legacy: Of Gods and Mortal Souls...

Good Afternoon, All:

Below are some thoughts on the general nature of the Gods in the Hammersong's Legacy setting.

There is no individual god or goddess that governs death, as all deities govern the souls of the mortals that follow them. Those unfortunates that choose not to follow a god or goddess of the Manors Divine find their souls forfeit. Such aimless souls are one of the two major sources of the undead that haunt the realms of Terantha. (For the curious, I would like to mention that the second major source of undead on the Plane Prime are those who die while cursed. There are a number of minor sources of undead as well, too numerous to list here, but these two are the most prolific of reasons behind the existence of undead.)

Among the more scholarly of sorts, it is known that other gods and goddesses do exist, but they hold no power within the Plane Prime. Priests of such divine powers may be encountered on other planes of existence, but are rarely found in the realms of Terantha, unless they have had occasion to become lost among the planes, and have found their way to Terantha as opposed to their own native plane of existence. Such mortals, if unable to return to their own native realms, are typically forced to court a god or goddess of the New Order, unless they have some heretofore unknown means of maintaining contact with their previous divinity of choice.

Then, I decided to expand on what happens to souls upon death:

Within the realms of Terantha upon the Plane Prime, the gods place significant value on preserving the souls of their faithful. Many mortals, to avoid their souls being lost forever to the curse of undeath upon the moment of their death, choose a particular god or goddess of the Manors Divine to follow. Indeed, in many communities, this choice is one of the first acts a child is allowed to perform of their own free will, although some allow more freedom of choice in these regards than other communities permit.

Ultimately, the divine relationship between a god and a mortal follower culminates when the mortal dies and passes from this world. The god or goddess often sends their sacred servitors to collect the soul of their fallen faithful shortly after the mortal has passed on. This usually occurs after three days have passed, either at dawn or dusk, depending on the whim and predeliction of the deity in question. For the undecided, undeclared, or accursed, their souls remain trapped within the Plane Prime, doomed to haunt the mortal realms Plane Prime until such time as they are eventually released their imprisonment on this plane through the works and deeds of others.

In the days before a god or goddess lays claim upon a soul, any priest with the appropriate spells can likely restore that person to life, should that soul so determine to return to the land of the living. However, once a god claims the mortal’s soul, only the devout priesthood of the deity that claims the soul can make such a request of the deity. Frequently, such requests of the god or goddess often come at a price, such that life is restored to the fallen mortal in exchange for a quest in service to the god and his followers. The god will typically place the raised mortal under the effects of a divine compulsion, which is only removed upon the completion of the deity's quest of service.

What, then, should one know about changing gods within the setting?

Although such efforts are rare, should a mortal decide to change his declaration of allegiance from one god to another, they must simply find a cleric of the god or goddess of their intended faith, and undergo a simple ritual of atonement that binds them from that point forward to the god of their choice. It is the nature of this ritual which allows the new god to acknowledge the mortal's decision, and accept the responsibility of harvesting the mortal's soul upon their death. The unwise should be warned, however, that the priest casting this spell may first assign a quest to the atoning mortal to allow them the opportunity to demonstrate their new convictions and dedication to their new god or goddess. It is unlikely that the quest will be easy for anyone who is returning to a god or goddess that they have once cast aside for another.

This shouldn't change the rules so much as provide some flavor and adventure opportunities regarding the relationship between gods and mortals. What do you think? How do you handle such elements in your game?

With Regards,


James said...

Intriguing stuff, Flynn. I am increasing looking forward to seeing the finished product of your Hammersong setting.

Flynn said...

Thanks, James. I'm about three-quarters of the way done, I think. The hard part lies ahead. The text work I have left isn't a problem for me, obviously, but the maps are still an outstanding issue.

This weekend, I begin work on the "home base" for the setting, a Duar village in the Black Hills called Rynoc's Reach.

Should Be Fun,