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  1. #1
    Senior Member Trithemius's Avatar
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    Cerilian Apotheosis

    Gary:
    > I don`t recall it saying anywhere that the Gorgon`s bloodline
    > was sufficient for him to become a deity. In fact, I seem to
    > recall the opposite. A couple of points:

    I believe that it says it somewhere (since I remember it from before
    Daniel mentioned it). I can`t for the life of me remember where though.
    I still contend that the idea is silly.

    > 1. We don`t know that the Gorgon`s bloodline was in the
    > triple digits after Deismaar. In fact, it probably wasn`t.
    > Other true bloodlines are lower than his, and in certain
    > cases (most notably the Serpent) even those characters have
    > made strides towards a divine status.

    Usurping the Roele line probably gave him a big kick up. I also like to
    think that the Serpent`s "divine powers" are due to his powers of
    conjuration and probably have more to do with the ability of the
    sorcerer-kings of Athas than to do with actual diviity. Don`t get me
    wrong here though - I am not saying that the Serpent has a Living Vortex
    (or whatever it was called), but I associate his powers with ritual
    arcane magic - not true divinity. We have examples of the Serpents great
    magical power that, I believe, support this interpretation of mine.

    > 2. A bloodline of 100+ is a good place to start in a bid
    > towards transcendence. After all, the same energies that
    > made the human inheritors of the gods` divine power is what
    > created bloodlines. It`s the same stuff, so wouldn`t rising
    > one`s bloodline be a way to achieve godhood? A bloodline of
    > 100+ seems like a good starting point for certain characters
    > who are trying to ascend.

    Um. No. I just disagree. I don`t feel that mortals in BR should be able
    to become gods through their own works alone. I don`t think that there
    is anything in the source that out-and-out supports either of our
    positions though, so I guess it comes down to taste.

    > 3. A 100+ bloodline, however, should not be the only
    > requirement for transcendence. First of all, the Gorgon is
    > around as powerful as a few other D&D characters (Iuz,
    > Elminister) who are described variously as demi-gods or
    > rivalling that sort of power, so character levels aren`t
    > really a problem for him, but that should be some sort of
    > requirement for a mortal.

    See above. High character level might indicate to a god that a person
    may be worth elevating, but it is probably not essential. I imagine,
    given there self-enforced distancing from terrestrial affairs the gods
    only notice the truly "bright stars" though.

    > 4. The humans who became gods at Deismaar took on the exact
    > same aspects of the gods that perished, so they didn`t have
    > any need to find a role/niche/portfolio or whatever. Any
    > human who transcends is going to have to define his/er place
    > in the pantheon. The Gorgon hasn`t really done this (neither
    > has the Serpent) though various interpretations could apply.

    Fair enough.

    > 5. Tasks. There has to be a series of specific and epic
    > tasks on the path to divinity. I`ve always liked the idea
    > that Raesene`s task was to sit on the Iron Throne.

    This is a nice idea. I am nt sure I`d use it in BR though. I think it
    better suits another campaign setting much more. (I do not mean this
    badly in anyway, I just don`t think that ascent to godhood needs to be a
    feature of the BR campaign).

    --
    John Machin
    (trithemius@paradise.net.nz)
    -----------------------------------
    "Nothing is more beautiful than to know the All."
    Athanasius Kircher, Ars Magna Sciendi.

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  2. #2
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    Cerilian Apotheosis

    At 10:30 PM 9/2/2002 +1200, John Machin wrote:

    > > I don`t recall it saying anywhere that the Gorgon`s bloodline
    > > was sufficient for him to become a deity. In fact, I seem to
    > > recall the opposite. A couple of points:
    >
    >I believe that it says it somewhere (since I remember it from before
    >Daniel mentioned it). I can`t for the life of me remember where though.
    >I still contend that the idea is silly.

    OK, I think I`ve found the text you guys are talking about. In BE (p30)
    the introductory text says that at Deismaar Raesene "gained much as Azrai`s
    third Champion, though not as much as Azrai`s other favorites. My anger
    against my brothers kept me on Cerilia."

    The truth value of that text is, however, very questionable. It`s
    described later on the same page as being "peppered with subjective
    half-truths, to say the least." I don`t think we`re supposed to believe
    that particular bit of text. It isn`t really silly, it`s just NPC
    role-playing text.

    > > 1. We don`t know that the Gorgon`s bloodline was in the
    > > triple digits after Deismaar. In fact, it probably wasn`t.
    > > Other true bloodlines are lower than his, and in certain
    > > cases (most notably the Serpent) even those characters have
    > > made strides towards a divine status.
    >
    >Usurping the Roele line probably gave him a big kick up. I also like to
    >think that the Serpent`s "divine powers" are due to his powers of
    >conjuration and probably have more to do with the ability of the
    >sorcerer-kings of Athas than to do with actual diviity. Don`t get me
    >wrong here though - I am not saying that the Serpent has a Living Vortex
    >(or whatever it was called), but I associate his powers with ritual
    >arcane magic - not true divinity. We have examples of the Serpents great
    >magical power that, I believe, support this interpretation of mine.

    If he started off with a bloodline strength score of 90 and raised it 1
    point every 10 years he`d have a bloodline strength score of 240 by the
    time the campaign setting begins.

    > > 2. A bloodline of 100+ is a good place to start in a bid
    > > towards transcendence. After all, the same energies that
    > > made the human inheritors of the gods` divine power is what
    > > created bloodlines. It`s the same stuff, so wouldn`t rising
    > > one`s bloodline be a way to achieve godhood? A bloodline of
    > > 100+ seems like a good starting point for certain characters
    > > who are trying to ascend.
    >
    >Um. No. I just disagree. I don`t feel that mortals in BR should be able
    >to become gods through their own works alone. I don`t think that there
    >is anything in the source that out-and-out supports either of our
    >positions though, so I guess it comes down to taste.

    Why shouldn`t a mortal be able to become a god in BR?

    I would take the existence of mortal bloodlines as evidence in support of
    the idea that a mortal could improve himself to the level of godhood in
    BR. In fact, it`s the kind of thing that doesn`t exist in other campaign
    settings (or most fantasy settings, for that matter) so it gives BR mortals
    an advantage that doesn`t exist elsewhere in D&D.

    Using that bloodline they can collect RP which is described in several
    places as having the same sort of effect that the worship, adoration, etc.
    of the gods has, and is the energy used to influence events at the domain
    level in a way that is easy to extrapolate into the way the gods influence
    humanity. They are at a different scale, of course, but they are aspects
    of the same process.

    > > 3. A 100+ bloodline, however, should not be the only
    > > requirement for transcendence. First of all, the Gorgon is
    > > around as powerful as a few other D&D characters (Iuz,
    > > Elminister) who are described variously as demi-gods or
    > > rivalling that sort of power, so character levels aren`t
    > > really a problem for him, but that should be some sort of
    > > requirement for a mortal.
    >
    >See above. High character level might indicate to a god that a person
    >may be worth elevating, but it is probably not essential. I imagine,
    >given there self-enforced distancing from terrestrial affairs the gods
    >only notice the truly "bright stars" though.

    I can certainly see mythical or "realism" objections to such an event, but
    it seems to me that in a level-based game a 36th level character is pretty
    impressive and the difference between him and a low level divinity is
    pretty slight in relation to similar creatures in various published
    materials. Divinity for such a character depends quite a bit on the
    campaign setting, of course, but in the supposedly low-level BR setting if
    a 36th level character isn`t getting that kind of attention or near the
    beginning of taking road to divinity all by himself then what`s it going to
    take?

    > > 5. Tasks. There has to be a series of specific and epic
    > > tasks on the path to divinity. I`ve always liked the idea
    > > that Raesene`s task was to sit on the Iron Throne.
    >
    >This is a nice idea. I am nt sure I`d use it in BR though. I think it
    >better suits another campaign setting much more. (I do not mean this
    >badly in anyway, I just don`t think that ascent to godhood needs to be a
    >feature of the BR campaign).

    Well, it really needn`t be the feature of any campaign setting. The point
    here is just that it would be possible. Whether one wants to DM that
    process or not isn`t really here nor there. BR characters have several
    significant advantages over other characters if one wanted to run such a
    campaign.

    Gary

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  3. #3
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Gary" <geeman@SOFTHOME.NET>
    Sent: Monday, September 02, 2002 6:47 AM


    > Using that bloodline they can collect RP which is described in several
    > places as having the same sort of effect that the worship, adoration, etc.
    > of the gods has, and is the energy used to influence events at the domain
    > level in a way that is easy to extrapolate into the way the gods influence
    > humanity. They are at a different scale, of course, but they are aspects
    > of the same process.

    Both humans and fires consume air and fuel, we`re both warm, but we`re not
    fires, and fires aren`t alive. The similarities between blooded rulers and
    gods may have more to do with the fact that both are in the direction of
    others business, than it does in the fact that the mechanisisms are of a
    single piece.

    As you mentioned on July 3rd, 2002:
    "It`s debatable how directly the gods can get involved in such situations.
    The standard in D&D has been that the gods often take a very active role in
    adventures. Some of the 1e materials would even indicate that they are
    hovering about adventuring parties, manipulating their events in a way that
    smacks more of DM manipulation more of divine participation"

    I think this is the result of D&D`s game quality (players are the center of
    the action, unlike our actual experience in life where much is beyond our
    control and just happens to us) combined with some wishful readings of
    mythology to read our PC`s as a bunch of Ajaxes with patron dieties who seem
    to pay as much attention to us as two the whole of Beoetia. It reveals how
    embeded the power-gaming notions of heroic models are embeded into the
    assumptions of D&D. That every character could rise to divinity is one of
    these conceits.

    But, if BR rejects the heroic power of other campaigns, and we have abandon
    the idea that the gods hover above out adventuring party, should we not also
    abandon the idea that one day our PC`s will stand next to Haelyn and take
    over the portfolio of justice?

    Reading the descriptions of Greyhawk gods in the PHB, its full of what are
    evidently some old PC`s from the 70`s. St Cuthbert and Vecna especially so.
    Do we want our Elminsters performing divine acts this side of the mortal
    divide? Or does BR, by introducing no new gods since Deismaar except by
    procreation, suggest that hero`s don`t become gods (unless the gods destroy
    themselves to transfer their power)? The idea that our characters will
    become so epic that we`ll actually ascend and need rules to cover our godly
    status, and combat with gods, and so forth implies a seemless march from
    first level character to king of the gods. That`s not a neccesary model for
    role playing. Its a style of play.

    Its not instrinsic to the game and not instrinsic to the setting. As such
    its fundamentally optional. Unlike, say the idea that by talking people
    will make friends. This effect is built into the concept of role-playing,
    as well as specific rules like the Diplomacy skill and the Diplomacy action.
    Even the game in which the party kills everyone they meet and never try to
    talk their way through an encounter is predecated on the assumption that at
    some point the characters in question met, talked, became friends, and have
    since been on a killing spree.

    It is, therefore, just as appropriate to read all talk of ascension as just
    as much in-character talk as Raesene`s "My anger against my brothers kept me
    on Cerilia."

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  4. #4
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    On Mon, 2 Sep 2002, John Machin wrote:
    > > I don`t recall it saying anywhere that the Gorgon`s bloodline
    > > was sufficient for him to become a deity. In fact, I seem to
    > > recall the opposite. A couple of points:
    >
    > I believe that it says it somewhere (since I remember it from before
    > Daniel mentioned it). I can`t for the life of me remember where though.
    > I still contend that the idea is silly.

    I found it. Blood Enemies, first paragraph of page 30. It`s part of
    Raesene`s in-character diatribe, though, which makes it somewhat suspect.
    --
    Communication is possible only between equals.
    Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu

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  5. #5
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 10:28 AM 9/2/2002 -0500, Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    > > Using that bloodline they can collect RP which is described in several
    > > places as having the same sort of effect that the worship, adoration, etc.
    > > of the gods has, and is the energy used to influence events at the domain
    > > level in a way that is easy to extrapolate into the way the gods influence
    > > humanity. They are at a different scale, of course, but they are aspects
    > > of the same process.
    >
    >Both humans and fires consume air and fuel, we`re both warm, but we`re not
    >fires, and fires aren`t alive. The similarities between blooded rulers and
    >gods may have more to do with the fact that both are in the direction of
    >others business, than it does in the fact that the mechanisisms are of a
    >single piece.

    I don`t think the human/fire analogy is very apt since the similarities
    between divinity and bloodline are much more sequential. The gods` actions
    directly led to bloodlines and, in fact, it was the essence of their
    divinity that created the bloodlines. A bloodline represents a fraction of
    what it is to be a divine being. Flamethrower to Bic lighter is probably a
    better analogy. Can a mortal Bic lighter lighter analogy eventually grow
    to the power and majesty of a flamethrower? Well, not directly. He`d have
    to go threw several stages of evolution (Bic to Zippo, Zippo to blowtorch,
    blowtorch to... well, whatever comes after blowtorch) but that`s the process.

    >I think this is the result of D&D`s game quality (players are the center of
    >the action, unlike our actual experience in life where much is beyond our
    >control and just happens to us) combined with some wishful readings of
    >mythology to read our PC`s as a bunch of Ajaxes with patron dieties who seem
    >to pay as much attention to us as two the whole of Beoetia. It reveals how
    >embeded the power-gaming notions of heroic models are embeded into the
    >assumptions of D&D. That every character could rise to divinity is one of
    >these conceits.
    >
    >But, if BR rejects the heroic power of other campaigns, and we have abandon
    >the idea that the gods hover above out adventuring party, should we not also
    >abandon the idea that one day our PC`s will stand next to Haelyn and take
    >over the portfolio of justice?

    I don`t think BR does necessarily reject the heroic power of other
    campaigns, I`m afraid. Many aspects of the setting seem very much of the
    heroic power ilk right up to an including the basic background of the
    setting, Deismaar. It`s an epic, continent-wide (blatantly Tolkienesque)
    history with all the necessary heroic power aspects.

    In any case, my concern isn`t really that players will eventually take over
    for the portfolios of existing gods, but whether or not characters (PC or
    NPC) can raise to such heights and perform such tasks that they will
    eventually gain access to the "divine level" of events. Several of the BR
    characters seem to have this as a goal, and still more could potentially
    rise to that level without too much extrapolation. There is even the
    occasional non-awnsheghlien/ersheghlien who is of high enough level to
    challenge the avatars presented in the Rulebook. (2e avatars were, of
    course, ridiculously weak, but let`s ignore that for now.) If characters
    have the power to confront gods they should have the power to join them.

    BR is really the only published setting I know of that has a system of
    domain rules, granting access to a "higher order" of play. It seems
    inconsistent for such a campaign setting to preclude what really amounts to
    just another "order" of play when it so dramatically illustrates how the
    national/political level of play can work in a fantasy setting.

    Gary

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  6. #6
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    Hello,

    remember that deities have lots of powers not gained by characters by
    earning levels... Divine powers are far more powerful than epic feats, and
    they have divine rank that gives them some very nice abilities not related
    to character level (inmunities, sr/pr, always hitting in combat, extra
    ac,...).

    And also remember that the numbers given in the Deities and Demigods
    book are mere guidelines, not the normal character levels of a deity. Just
    examples.

    Greetings,

    Vicente

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  7. #7
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Gary" <geeman@SOFTHOME.NET>
    Sent: Monday, September 02, 2002 11:03 AM

    > I don`t think the human/fire analogy is very apt since the similarities
    > between divinity and bloodline are much more sequential.

    Its that sequential quality I am arguing against. Its a qualitative
    difference, not just, "powered up" (quantitative) difference.

    > The gods` actions directly led to bloodlines and, in fact, it was the
    > essence of their divinity that created the bloodlines. A bloodline
    > represents a fraction of what it is to be a divine being.
    > Flamethrower to Bic lighter is probably a better analogy.

    The soul was often described as a divine spark. That, in the minds of
    medieval theologians made humans capable of recieving the divine. We could
    perform the mysteries of the mass (spellcasting), some of us were capable of
    miracles (from OT to stuff the saints did in the early middle ages), and
    ultimatly we had the potential to ascend to heaven. This came from God, was
    itself a divine spark, but didn`t make us gods. Nor does it make us angels.
    Angels were a seperate creation that preceeded the world. The idea that
    people die and become angels is a result of not knowing their XP theology.
    My point being not that XP theology must dictate BR play. But that its not
    a neccesary step to go from a divine essence in some heroic figures (John
    Machin mentioned Abraham) to aspiring to divinity.

    > [My concern is...] whether or not characters (PC or NPC) can
    > raise to such heights and perform such tasks that they will
    > eventually gain access to the "divine level" of events.
    >
    > * Several of the BR characters seem to have this as a goal ...
    > * There is even the occasional non-awnsheghlien/ersheghlien
    > who is of high enough level to challenge the avatars presented
    > in the Rulebook. If characters have the power to confront
    > gods they should have the power to join them.

    I`ve reformated your points in bullet, and eliminated expositional text. If
    that`s not a proper summery of your position, I`m sure you`ll let me know.

    Point 1) Some BR characters do seem to aspire to "divinity" whatever they
    think that means. This is one of the better arguments for the possibility
    that some powerful figure (say, the Gorgon, as initially imagined) could
    ascend. However, my addition of the phrase "whatever that means" is there
    because I don`t think that even if successful, these abominations would be
    gods in the same sence that Haelyn, Avani, & company are. As John suggested
    earlier, they are tapping into an alternate power (IMO the Shadow, just like
    a witch might). This is closer, from my POV to the employment of 2E forces,
    than it is actuall divinities. Its easy to read such aspirations as
    evidence for possible ascension. And some will like that flavor. But, its
    also possible to read it as something else, and I will put myself under that
    banner.

    Point 2) I don`t think the defeat of an avatar is meaningful. I think that
    avatars have stats because it easier to simulate a divine force by stats
    than by descriptions. Haelyn`s avatar would fight longer because, IMO,
    Haelyn fights stuff. Not because he has more hit points that Rournil. Both
    are indescructable. Ruornil`s avatar will just stick around for a shorter
    time under attack than Haelyn`s is, because Ruornil doesn`t fight stuff.
    When those avatars are sent back home, its really a reflection of the style
    of the gods, not their actual power. AFAIC, its a shorthand, because
    actually bothering to write a couple of pages of text would A) take to long,
    B) not get read, C) require some serious research. After all, that`s what
    stat blocks are fore. Instead of sumarizing the prowess of someone in
    prose, we stat it up. Character sheets and NPC descriptions have very
    little prose. My own character write ups use prose only for character
    history and politics, in part because I have no short hand way of providing
    stats for that. In the case of characters, stats represent a reality for
    the character. His strength is his ability to be strong. For a diety, its
    not a limit, its a matter of style. Ruornil`s avatar shouldn`t lift
    bolders, he should appear to use magic to make the bolder move.

    > BR is really the only published setting I know of that has a system
    > of domain rules, granting access to a "higher order" of play. It
    > seems inconsistent for such a campaign setting to preclude what
    > really amounts to just another "order" of play when it so
    > dramatically illustrates how the national/political level of play can
    > work in a fantasy setting.

    I`m not saying BR should preclude it. I`m saying I preclude it, because its
    not appealing to my sense of play. I play BR, with my own set of
    assumptions and preferences, and I just don`t think divine ascension fits.
    My post are intended to provide an alternative explation about these things,
    because I don`t think there is just one side to the question. BR`s strength
    in many places is its maliability. The same is true here.

    > I think there are large and fundamental differences that are
    > significant enough to differentiate the BR bloodline system
    > from that of real life, mythology, or any other campaign
    > setting, for that matter. When it gets right down to it, I don`t
    > think the BR domain rules or bloodline do a very good job
    > at representing the real world beliefs/systems.

    That`s because you have no desire to harmonize them to real world models. I
    think I can say from experience that if you want to interpret BR rules as a
    model for a mixture of real world beliefs, you can do it happily. You have
    to start with a certain set of assumptions, because assumptions guide the
    interpretive process. Everybody homebrews to a certain extent. Do your
    house rules tend toward modeling reality to away from it. When a rule can
    be interpreted a dozen ways, do you pick the one that is most like the
    explicit POV of hictorical actors, or look for some other method of
    interpretation (internal consistancy, tolkienesque, arthurianism, they way
    we played some other game/campaign, &c, &c). When I tried to use the BR
    rules to model the Hundred Years War, I had no problem what so ever. On the
    other hand, that experiment did influence how I interpret rules (what is a
    vassal, how do trade routes work) and required some extrapolation for things
    that don`t exist in Cerilia (my Anuirean Empire would not reflect the way I
    handled the large monarchies of France and England).

    Everyone read the BR materials, got some inspirations, made sense of what it
    all meant, and then began to interpret BR in light of that understanding.
    Sometimes we see something (LoTR) and that adjusts our interpretation of
    what BR is. But in the long run, our sense of what BR is will guide our
    problem solving through vague rules, home expansions, things that don`t fix
    our sense of what is appropriate, and so on. This is why we discuss things
    like what province levels represent, or how do trade routes work, and in
    this case, can a character aspire to godhood. There are no right or wrong
    answers to be sure, or perhaps better stated, there is a capacity for BR to
    support a large number of right answers, and very few really wrong answers
    are suggested by the documentation.

    So, if you want it to, BR domain rules or bloodline can do a very good job
    of modeling real life. Anuire doesn`t exist, but you can draw from a
    variety of sources. Since the most precious commodity in RPG`s are new
    ideas to try out and more ideas to apply, discussing this stuff and hearing
    what other people have to say is a good thing (so everyone contribute as
    much as you can) even when that point of view differs from your own. And so
    I will continue to explore ways that BR could just as easily support a
    non-ascension POV as others will explore others POV`s. Hopefully people
    will develope their thinking on these questions, some people might
    synthesize different ideas, and some people might change their minds
    (lurkers I expect, without firm attachment to one POV). Thats` what we`re
    here for.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  8. #8
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    John Machin wrote

    >I also like to
    >think that the Serpent`s "divine powers" are due to his powers of
    >conjuration and probably have more to do with the ability of the
    >sorcerer-kings of Athas than to do with actual diviity. Don`t get me
    >wrong here though - I am not saying that the Serpent has a Living Vortex
    >(or whatever it was called), but I associate his powers with ritual
    >arcane magic - not true divinity. We have examples of the Serpents great
    >magical power that, I believe, support this interpretation of mine.


    I totally agree with the notion that the >Serpent`s "divine powers"< have nothing to do with divinity. However, I don`t believe that the ability of his followers to cast spells has anything to do with ritual arcane magic on his own part. To my mind, this would be out of the scope of even realm spells. I know jack about the sorcerer-kings though, but the Serpent`s wizard levels seem a bit low for this amount of power.

    BE (p. 79) leaves this subject purposely open. quote:

    >Has the Serpent made contact with some divine powers other than those previously known to Cerilia? Has he madesome unholy >bargain with them? ... how can logic explain the spells that the Sons of the Serpent, the Serpent`s worshipers, are able to cast? If the >Serpent himself is not divine, what power fuels their magic? <

    Well, I can think of a number of possible explanations:

    1. The Serpent`s worshipers receive their spells indeed from a new pantheon of (reptilian?) gods the Serpent has bargained with via Contact other plane or a new realm spell. This would be the way to go for those of you who want to introduce new gods to Cerilia.

    2. A surviving part of Azrai (residual essence or whatever) supplies the spells. Perhaps that`s a first step on the way towards Azrai`s return to godhood and to Cerilia.

    3. Another god of the Cerilian pantheon amuses himself by granting divine powers to the Sons of the Serpent. That seems to be the most boring solution, but I think Belinik would fit the bill nicely. He is chaotic evil and may have decided to do this on a chaotic whim. In addition, the uncertainty that this unknown power generates among the Serpent`s enemies (and potential victims) may alone be enough to instill them with fear and terror, thus furthering Belinik`s cause.

    4. This one is a little difficult, but I find it rather intrigueing. When reading John Machin`s post (Thanks to you) I recalled an obscure 2E sourcebook about shamans. The shamans` powers were explained as resulting from the combined power of the belief the shaman and his tribal people have in these very powers. To me that sounds a lot like a combined pool of psychic energy. So, perhaps the Serpent`s priests are no priests at all but psionic characters who only think that their powers derive from the Serpent. This may sound heretical to some of you guys, but I think it has great adventure potential. If you want to introduce psionics to Cerilia, I believe this is the way to go.

    Afterthought: With regard to a possible ascension to godhood, having people worship you even before you`re a god should be of paramount importance in my opinion. Has the Gorgon already managed to convince his goblin followers that he is worthy of worship?


    Christoph Tiemann

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  9. #9
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    At 05:17 PM 9/2/2002 -0500, Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    > > I don`t think the human/fire analogy is very apt since the similarities
    > > between divinity and bloodline are much more sequential.
    >
    >Its that sequential quality I am arguing against. Its a qualitative
    >difference, not just, "powered up" (quantitative) difference.

    What`s the qualitative difference that blocks the quantitative
    progression? If a character could somehow gain a bloodline strength score
    that was in the middle triple digits and gain essentially, all the blood
    abilities for that derivation plus additional ones that were greater than
    great abilities wouldn`t he be for all intents and purposes a divine
    being? I`m not saying there shouldn`t or couldn`t be such a qualitative
    difference, I`m just curious how you define it.

    From my POV, the bloodline strength score system is pretty easily
    extrapolated, at least conceptually. If we took a character like the
    Gorgon and assumed he was adding 1 point/year to his bloodline strength
    score through bloodtheft or spending RP he`d have a bloodline strength over
    800. Now, we`d need a system of blood abilities other than Table 12 in the
    Rulebook, of course, since that assumes no additional blood abilities after
    a bloodline reaches 80 (and it never made any sense anyway.) If we had
    such a table, however, and it even included blood abilities more powerful
    than "great" abilities standard for characters with a bloodline strength
    score from 1-100 (an "epic" level of blood abilities if you will) then what
    is the qualitative difference between the Gorgon and a lesser god? Any of
    the qualities of a lesser god could be acquired by additional blood
    abilities and more powerful ("epic") versions of blood abilities available
    to characters with a bloodline strength score well into the triple digits.

    I don`t think bloodline strength score should alone determine
    divinity. There should be accompanying tasks, requirements, sacrifices,
    etc. But the nature of that system can be extrapolated into a system of
    divine ascension, and even the quests and tasks associated with becoming
    divine that are quantitative are pretty easily conceived to gamers since
    they are just an extension of the same process.

    > > The gods` actions directly led to bloodlines and, in fact, it was the
    > > essence of their divinity that created the bloodlines. A bloodline
    > > represents a fraction of what it is to be a divine being.
    > > Flamethrower to Bic lighter is probably a better analogy.
    >
    >The soul was often described as a divine spark. That, in the minds of
    >medieval theologians made humans capable of recieving the divine. We could
    >perform the mysteries of the mass (spellcasting), some of us were capable of
    >miracles (from OT to stuff the saints did in the early middle ages), and
    >ultimatly we had the potential to ascend to heaven. This came from God, was
    >itself a divine spark, but didn`t make us gods. Nor does it make us angels.
    >Angels were a seperate creation that preceeded the world. The idea that
    >people die and become angels is a result of not knowing their XP theology.
    >My point being not that XP theology must dictate BR play. But that its not
    >a neccesary step to go from a divine essence in some heroic figures (John
    >Machin mentioned Abraham) to aspiring to divinity.

    I feel obliged to contend that real life mass equates to spellcasting. It
    strikes me as being more like the adoration that creates RP or whatever the
    godly energy the empowers the gods is. Certain real world rituals might
    equate to D&D spellcasting, but this is I think the heart of the difference
    between these POVs. Even if real life rituals do equate to D&D
    spellcasting, I don`t think D&D spellcasting is a particularly accurate
    reflection of real life any more than hit points accurately portray
    physical damage, the intelligence score accurately reflects intellect or
    the domain rules accurately represent the way nations and how they engage
    in their politics.

    Aside from that I don`t think I`m getting the relevance of the above to the
    point that bloodlines are created from the divine essence of the gods and
    are, therefore, more closely related to the process of ascension than real
    world theological figures. Bloodlines are what makes divinity possible for
    BR characters where figures like Abraham remain human. Abraham et al have
    no direct aspect of divinity in them, or no more than the rest of us. The
    Christian figure who does have a divine spark actually does ascend to godhood.

    When it comes to Christian ascension, however, can`t one interpret
    beautification as the process by which mortals become immortals? Saints
    essentially act as lesser immortal beings in D&D terms. People pray to
    them, they (supposedly) grant benefices, they have a portfolio, etc. So
    I`d contend even the real life example of Christian doctrine since it has
    many features that coincide with the D&D paradigm. Most religions have
    some sort of ascension that turns mortals into divine beings.

    You`ve suggested that a mortal couldn`t become immortal without some sort
    of divine assistance. I don`t really agree, but even using that standard
    doesn`t the bloodline system itself represents the kind of jump start
    needed to enter into the ranks of divinity?

    > > [My concern is...] whether or not characters (PC or NPC) can
    > > raise to such heights and perform such tasks that they will
    > > eventually gain access to the "divine level" of events.
    > >
    > > * Several of the BR characters seem to have this as a goal ...
    > > * There is even the occasional non-awnsheghlien/ersheghlien
    > > who is of high enough level to challenge the avatars presented
    > > in the Rulebook. If characters have the power to confront
    > > gods they should have the power to join them.
    >
    >I`ve reformated your points in bullet, and eliminated expositional text. If
    >that`s not a proper summery of your position, I`m sure you`ll let me know.
    >
    >Point 1) Some BR characters do seem to aspire to "divinity" whatever they
    >think that means. This is one of the better arguments for the possibility
    >that some powerful figure (say, the Gorgon, as initially imagined) could
    >ascend. However, my addition of the phrase "whatever that means" is there
    >because I don`t think that even if successful, these abominations would be
    >gods in the same sence that Haelyn, Avani, & company are. As John suggested
    >earlier, they are tapping into an alternate power (IMO the Shadow, just like
    >a witch might). This is closer, from my POV to the employment of 2E forces,
    >than it is actuall divinities. Its easy to read such aspirations as
    >evidence for possible ascension. And some will like that flavor. But, its
    >also possible to read it as something else, and I will put myself under that
    >banner.
    >
    >Point 2) I don`t think the defeat of an avatar is meaningful. I think that
    >avatars have stats because it easier to simulate a divine force by stats
    >than by descriptions. Haelyn`s avatar would fight longer because, IMO,
    >Haelyn fights stuff. Not because he has more hit points that Rournil. Both
    >are indescructable. Ruornil`s avatar will just stick around for a shorter
    >time under attack than Haelyn`s is, because Ruornil doesn`t fight stuff.
    >When those avatars are sent back home, its really a reflection of the style
    >of the gods, not their actual power. AFAIC, its a shorthand, because
    >actually bothering to write a couple of pages of text would A) take to long,
    >B) not get read, C) require some serious research. After all, that`s what
    >stat blocks are fore. Instead of sumarizing the prowess of someone in
    >prose, we stat it up. Character sheets and NPC descriptions have very
    >little prose. My own character write ups use prose only for character
    >history and politics, in part because I have no short hand way of providing
    >stats for that. In the case of characters, stats represent a reality for
    >the character. His strength is his ability to be strong. For a diety, its
    >not a limit, its a matter of style. Ruornil`s avatar shouldn`t lift
    >bolders, he should appear to use magic to make the bolder move.
    >
    > > BR is really the only published setting I know of that has a system
    > > of domain rules, granting access to a "higher order" of play. It
    > > seems inconsistent for such a campaign setting to preclude what
    > > really amounts to just another "order" of play when it so
    > > dramatically illustrates how the national/political level of play can
    > > work in a fantasy setting.
    >
    >I`m not saying BR should preclude it. I`m saying I preclude it, because its
    >not appealing to my sense of play. I play BR, with my own set of
    >assumptions and preferences, and I just don`t think divine ascension fits.
    >My post are intended to provide an alternative explation about these things,
    >because I don`t think there is just one side to the question. BR`s strength
    >in many places is its maliability. The same is true here.
    >
    > > I think there are large and fundamental differences that are
    > > significant enough to differentiate the BR bloodline system
    > > from that of real life, mythology, or any other campaign
    > > setting, for that matter. When it gets right down to it, I don`t
    > > think the BR domain rules or bloodline do a very good job
    > > at representing the real world beliefs/systems.
    >
    >That`s because you have no desire to harmonize them to real world models. I
    >think I can say from experience that if you want to interpret BR rules as a
    >model for a mixture of real world beliefs, you can do it happily.

    Well, my experience has been happy, I just don`t find a lot of "realism" in
    it. The BR domain rules need substantial alteration (or a whole lot of
    rationalization) in order to play them under the supposition that they in
    any way represent "real life." I enjoy playing them, but I don`t find them
    particularly real, but I guess that`s the appeal for me. I don`t much care
    for realism in RPGs. If one came up with the most realistic game
    conceivable I`d probably not play it. I get enough realism in my real life.

    I don`t mind trying to sync up certain game effects with "reality" (though
    I find many people more often than not have a "reality" standard that is as
    unrealistic as D&D) but I don`t think any game system or mechanic can
    really reflect reality accurately. Reality is too complex and much more
    significant than is accurately portrayed with a few numbers, dice and
    character sheets.

    Gary

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  10. #10
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    Kgauck and Gary talk a lot... ;)

    IMC, my players are on 5-6 level, so I still have much time to think about ascension and gods!
    And the most high-level pc I ever played (from the 1º level) is now 13º level, so I don't give much thought to Epic level to be sincere!

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