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[Publishing] What Makes A God?

Baron

Sovereign
Retired Staff
#1
A brief essay has been posted outside of the tavern at Storm's Landing. The writing, is somewhat ink-spattered from the rushed writing. Neater copies have been deposited in various public locations, left on tables and shelves for perusal by the curious.

What makes a god? Is it perhaps their dominion of their spheres of influence? Is it their innate divinity expressed at large? Perhaps the belief of their followers?

One examines the theories.

A god is the undoubted master of their spheres of influence. For the purposes of this hypothesis, a sphere of influence may be considered as a domain in which that god wields measurable power, such as Shalherana's power over nature, or Crusade's power over war. And yet, can the god be said to be the master of this influence? For it is known that before Crusade's steel gauntlet directed phalanxes into order, Korigon and Kilrox's names fielded armies. Before Shalherana was mistress of all things natural, the records of the past reveal no goddess of nature at all. Indeed, as one examines historical records and religious texts, it becomes ever more clear that the domains which Gods wield influence over were first defined and mastered by mortals, and that the gods later took hold of these domains. They are not the masters, merely the deed-holders.

Then perhaps it is their innate divinity that makes them gods, worthy of worship. But their divinity is not innate. In accordance with the theories of the delvers in the dimensions, the master mages of the past, and by example, one becomes aware that the line between "God" and "Spirit" is deeply blurred. Before Silas was the God of Knowledge, the title was held by She Who Is Beyond Names. Yet Silas existed before he was a god: the Seventh Sorrow of Gluttony. Silas himself even acknowledged this at his first summoning in the Grand Library of Port Silver; he had taken the domain of knowledge from the spiritual shreds of the previous holder, and so took up the mantle. It is then apparent that the domains gods hold may exist independently of the god, and that divinity may be acquired by those who are not divine. We may consider another example: Vermella. Vermella did not exist as a goddess for a great span of time, and was herself the youngest member of the pantheon, born to wield a domain previously defined by mortals. As Silas did, perhaps she filled that empty space and so acquired divinity, elevating herself from spirit to god.

There are more examples of beings sprung into divinity. Crusade did not exist until the death of Kilrox and Korigon. Harateth died and was arguably reborn as Ignis, though a new deity may have claimed that space at the opportune moment. Visage was born of a spiritual spark given definition by mortals (and objectively so!).

Finally, we can consider the belief of followers. Let us take the previously considered examples of Silas and Vermella. These two gods did not exist until they as spiritual precursor beings claimed the domains mortals had defined. Domains which mortal belief poured, perhaps creating metaphysical gaps in the planar realm for gods to occupy. We can take another example: Jax and Bilworth. Described as brothers, Jax held domain over luck and gambling, while Bilworth held domain over the mercantile crafts. When Bilworth died (Arguably killed by Jax), Jax then claimed his domains and became the god of trade as well as luck and gambling.

We can from these points of interest detach the god from the domain. Does belief flow into a god, or into those domains which they wield? Does Ignis' form receive love and adulation, or do light, heat, and order - concepts she claims to embody, and from which she benefits.

We know gods can die. They can be killed by other gods or by mortal hands. Other beings can then spring into place, but no gods exist in places that have not been defined by mortals beforehand. The pantheon is not immutable, nor is it invincible. These are facts.

Divinity is not innate, and the domains provide the power to the god. With this knowledge, can gods not be redefined? Can new gods not be made?

- A Scholar of The Pantheon's Potential