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Old 07-24-2013, 01:52 PM   #21
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: What a "god"?

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
This IS a gaming oriented question; a spinoff from the Loki question. What can the gods be in a game?

1. Purely imaginary gods. Any magic or miracles they seem to grant are applications of arcane magic just like that of the wizards (although they may have "secret spells" that make them seem special), or even advanced technology (which is a relative term. Flash powder is advanced to the right audience)

2. Gods which are products of belief made real by magic. That may mean they can be reshaped by memetic means, or belief may just be their genesis and if people's beliefs about a god were significantly changed, you might end up with two rival gods with the same name with the one no longer believed in beginning to fade unless he can find people to believe in the "real" him. Note however that worship may be primarily important as a method of instilling belief. Strong belief in entities who are not worshipped would also bring them into existence producing boogeymen, demons, and anything generally imagined.

3. Gods who are objectively real entities with supernatural superpowers and no dependence on human belief or worship, possibly with some role in making the world work the way it does. They may or may not like being worshipped, but when they help people, it's like a human rescuing a puppy whining for help. They get no benefit apart from the pleasure of being kind (or cruel). There may be equivalent entities, just as powerful and only not gods in that they have no fanclub. They do not have "spellcasting" clerics (except as before wizards with a religious bent), but may sometimes listen to requests for help. When they feel like it.

4. Gods who are objectively real entities with supernatural superpowers and possibly some role in making the world the way it does. However, they can get _more_ power and possibly an advantage over their rivals by drawing on the worship of supports which lends them magic power.

5. Gods who are abstract and elemental concepts given spontaneous form. They are powerful or weak as their concepts and elements are powerful or weak. Worship matters less than the strength of the concept. Pray for peace but make war, and the war god will be strong and the one you pray to will be weak.
Aren't most gods cosmic judges and nobles? Mythologies don't seem to focus just on the power(norse giants were as powerful as gods) but on the role.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:11 PM   #22
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Default Re: What a "god"?

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Aren't most gods cosmic judges and nobles? Mythologies don't seem to focus just on the power(norse giants were as powerful as gods) but on the role.
And keepers of order. Keeping the powers of Chaos at bay is important in many religions. Look at the Book of Job - God justifies his role by his keeping order in the universe (where were you when I...?) and fighting against chaos monsters (Leviathan, Job 41:1-34). Other semitic gods, like Marduk, had similar duties. Ditto Indo-European deities like Odin, Zeus, Jupiter, Indra...
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:53 PM   #23
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Default Re: What a "god"?

If it is really an issue in your world as to which came first, the worshipers or the god, I must direct you to the philosophy of nonduality. When the player asks the question, assume a sage-like poise and answer "nopeti" - which means, roughly, "there is an error in your question such that it cannot be satisfactorily answered", much like "Do you enjoy beating your mother?" Having this as a possible answer to all yes/no questions is also immanently useful in day-to-day life.
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:45 PM   #24
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Default Re: What a "god"?

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If it is really an issue in your world as to which came first, the worshipers or the god, I must direct you to the philosophy of nonduality. When the player asks the question, assume a sage-like poise and answer "nopeti" - which means, roughly, "there is an error in your question such that it cannot be satisfactorily answered", much like "Do you enjoy beating your mother?" Having this as a possible answer to all yes/no questions is also immanently useful in day-to-day life.
What language is "nopeti" from, or did you make it up? I like it, just curious - google only found me something here (http://gaybuddhist.org/archive/2004....%20Love%29.pdf).

Here is the extract from that page:
"Nopeti" literally means "it doesn't come up like this," that is, you think itís a question, but actually itís nonsense, and I canít answer it one way or another.

The question "Do you enjoy hitting your mother?", I suppose, could be "nopeti" if (1) the person has no mother, (2) the person doesn't beat her, or (3) the person has some neurological condition and can't really experience what we'd call "enjoyment".
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Old 07-24-2013, 07:04 PM   #25
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Default Re: What a "god"?

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Aren't most gods cosmic judges and nobles? Mythologies don't seem to focus just on the power(norse giants were as powerful as gods) but on the role.
That depends on the cosmology. In Shinto (where there is possibly a god for every concept), most gods aren't judges or nobles.
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Old 07-24-2013, 07:48 PM   #26
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That depends on the cosmology. In Shinto (where there is possibly a god for every concept), most gods aren't judges or nobles.
What are they?
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:08 PM   #27
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Default Re: What a "god"?

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If it is really an issue in your world as to which came first, the worshipers or the god, I must direct you to the philosophy of nonduality. When the player asks the question, assume a sage-like poise and answer "nopeti" - which means, roughly, "there is an error in your question such that it cannot be satisfactorily answered", much like "Do you enjoy beating your mother?" Having this as a possible answer to all yes/no questions is also immanently useful in day-to-day life.
I can't imagine how that wouldn't come off as a cop out translation for "I don't know, and don't care, so you just shut up about it."
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:20 PM   #28
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Default Re: What a "god"?

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I can't imagine how that wouldn't come off as a cop out translation for "I don't know, and don't care, so you just shut up about it."
"I don't think that word means what you think it means." ;-)


Hans

PS. Yes, I know you don't think it means that; I'm suggesting the proper response to someone who uses it like that.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:23 PM   #29
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Default Re: What a "god"?

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Aren't most gods cosmic judges and nobles? Mythologies don't seem to focus just on the power(norse giants were as powerful as gods) but on the role.
Not really, except insofar as it's wise to treat beings that power level as though they were nobles. Tyr, Odin, and to an extent Hel are the only Norse deities who are primarily judges of any sort; the difference between the Aesir, the Vanir. and the Jotun was largely a matter of tribes, although while all of the Aesir and Vanir appeared to have specific portfolios (i.e. being the god of something or other0, most Jotun do not seem to, being merely very powerful beings.

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What are they?
Genii locorum, embodied concepts, spirits of revered ancestors, and probably a variety of other things I can't think of offhand.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:26 PM   #30
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Default Re: What a "god"?

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"I don't think that word means what you think it means." ;-)


Hans

PS. Yes, I know you don't think it means that; I'm suggesting the proper response to someone who uses it like that.
To those old enough to remember, those explanations come of as the scene from Dinosaurs the tv series with the one character yelling, "You don't have a clue!"

I understand that such concepts are accepted in some real world religions. But I'm not dealing with that regardless of my personal beliefs about such things. I only mean to reference how it sounds in fully made up cosmologies. Even if I did believe in such things for real life, realism isn't about reality anyway.
If quantum physics was not true and you tried to game a setting with it, I would just as fervently call you a nutter.
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