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Old 10-03-2017, 03:43 PM   #1
martinl
 
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Default DF Implied Cosmology

There's been a bit of back and forth about demons, but if we take a step back, what exactly IS the cosmology, implied or explicit, of DF?

Good, Evil, Bunny, Squid is only sort of a joke, since the GEBS categorization works for a lot of things.

Some random evidence I've observed:

Capital G "Good" seems implacably in opposition to capital E "Evil," and vice versa. Both are associated with advantages and disads that are roughly in line with common conceptions of those moralities. They are not REQUIRED to have any of these however. A delver can have a lot of power that is Good without seeming to be a good person. It all seems very faux biblical.

Natural power seems to have little in the way of morality other than SoD: Nature. Despite this common SoD, they are not razing Civilization to the ground.

"Things" are nutzy-kookoo Lovecraftian evil, and seem conflated with "Evil" evil in the minds of most folks. SPOILERS IN FOOTNOTE [1]

Lots of stuff is "truly evil" which seems to mostly mean that you shouldn't try to ever cut a deal with it, and is a qualifier for certain powers to work against it. Seen it apply to Evilies AND Squiddies.

Hell seems to be a place in DF. Maybe Heaven, but I'm not sure.

Squid come from Somewhere Else, I think. Visiting is probably not recommended.

Nature may have its own special Place (Faerie?) but that is not a sure thing.

There are Elemental planes, right? Natural elementals live in the setting, but the summoned ones are from the planes, I think.

Lots of stuff needs magic, and it doesn't seem to have any associated moral compass or location. I am unclear on if sanctity of various sorts is loosely tied to magic (mana) or completely separate from it. (There do not seem to be direct ties, but the spell mechanisms are very similar...)

Weird magic critters are often dependent on mana. This has more to do with being weird than with ties between magic and any facet of GEBS though.

Souls seem to be a verifiable thing.

Undead are a thing, but seem to be mixture of power sources, including magic, evil, and squid.

Chi is another thing entirely from all of this.

Other thoughts, observations, theories?

[1] Including the folks in the intro adventure.
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Old 10-03-2017, 03:45 PM   #2
sir_pudding
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

DF7 has Good, Evil, Neutral/Nature, and Insane alignments for deities.

I very deliberately treated order and chaos as non-axial concepts in "Clerics of Order and Chaos".
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

Sanctity and Mana are not influenced by each other.
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Old 10-03-2017, 06:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

From what I've gathered, by the book there are gods and the Devil.

I like a dualistic world, so I'm going to cut those gods down to one, and differentiate clerics by something like Monastic Orders.
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Old 10-04-2017, 07:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

If you want to make things more morally ambiguous, you can trade in "Good and Evil" for "Light and Dark", and then twist things around so you occasionally have Imps who are more mischievous then malicious, or Knight-Templar Zealot Angels.
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Old 10-04-2017, 07:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragondog View Post
Sanctity and Mana are not influenced by each other.
Yes, but the spells work basically the same way. This may be just a game mechanical convenience. Another possibility is that sanctity is mana run through a service provider. Or possibly mana is an unusual kind of sanctity.

Not relevant for most Delvers or most delves, but it is a valid question about cosmology. How complicated IS supernatural stuff?

On one hand, you might argue that all supernatural stuff can trace it's power back to "magic" in the end. (GURPS mana magic, that is.) All other apparent sources are channeling it through some channel that can ignore mana levels, etc. My feeling is that this is NOT the default case in DF RAW.

But DF cosmology is not explicit, and I think this is a good thing, cuz rolling your own in sort of a GURPS tradition, and usually the players don't care much anyway. The fine distinctions between how Things and Martial artists put mind over matter don't really affect loot that much.
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Old 10-04-2017, 08:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

Sanctity, Nature's strength, and mana are not related in any useful way. To paraphrase the relevant parts of Spells, pp. 5-8:
  • Sanctity is a deity’s power, as channeled by a cleric. It emanates from a god.

  • Nature's strength is ambient life force. It emanates from all living things.

  • Mana is a reality-warping force that predates the gods – or perhaps it's higher-dimensional leakage. Either way, it's innate to the multiverse.
What they have in common is that when ritually channeled to specific ends – that is, when used to enable spells – they produce changes in reality. These changes are resisted both by one another (spells can resist other spells) and by certain beings' innate immutability (called Magic Resistance).

A martial artist's chi has nothing to do with any of this! It's inner strength, not magic. It doesn't attempt to change the outside world. It changes the wielder, giving that person a superior capacity to change the world through physical action (fists, the shout of a Kiai, etc.). When those actions are resisted (as with Kiai or Pressure Points), that's no different from resisting poison, disease, or somebody else's ST.

One possible partial cosmology explaining this:
  • Mana is the collective life force of all deities, associated with no one of their kind and capable of existing independently of them as long as there are any gods.

  • Sanctity is the "chi" of specific gods – the inner strength of particular deities, which is so mighty that lesser beings can borrow part of it.

  • Nature's strength is the collective life force of all living things, associated with no one creature and capable of existing independently of living beings as long as there are such beings.

  • Chi is the life force of specific living things – the inner strength of particular creatures. Some people have learned to control theirs.

  • The gods used the reality-warping power of unfiltered mana to create the temporal world and all life within. Some of that mana remains there, very much stepped down, as a residue – and so does some of each god's inner strength, or sanctity. The living things in that Creation possess their own inner strength, some of which remains internal as chi and some of which is shared externally as Nature's strength. All of these forces admit manipulation by mortals with the right attunements, but those exterior to a person (mana, sanctity, and Nature's strength) tend to warp that individual and thus are resisted.

  • Gods and mortals alike are divided into Good, Evil, and Neutral, which represent factions whose precise purposes are probably unknowable by mortals, but probably akin to "Creation is great!", "Creation was a bad idea!", and "Why can't we all just get along?" These factions aren't forces in themselves, like those discussed so far. However, they are labels a bit like individual beings' True Names, and labels give magic power. Magic – be it clerical, druidic, or wizardly – that would be too uncontrollable if it were fully general can be made manageable by targeting and manipulating a specific label.

  • Elder Things are innately reality-warping and live in the higher dimensions from which mana leaks. They don't belong to any faction; they're a threat to every faction, divine and mortal alike. Their powers are some sort of mana unfiltered for mortals – much as gods' powers are unfiltered for themselves but "stepped down" for clerics. While the undead are a mockery of Life, and demons and members of the Evil faction often have little respect for Life, neither is Anti-Life. Elder Things are Anti-Life because they exist outside the Creation that brought Life into being, and even outside the level of existence of the entities that manifested that Creation (the gods). As druids and others who wield Nature's strength most directly champion Life (which isn't the same as Good . . . Life can be Good, Neutral, or Evil), they often stand in direct opposition to the Anti-Life of the Elder Things.
Or you can ignore all this. :)
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Old 10-04-2017, 09:18 AM   #8
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Nature's strength is the collective life force of all living things, associated with no one creature and capable of existing independently of living beings as long as there are such beings.
This interpretation would mean that the presence of cities wouldn't affect it, as cities are also full of living beings.

Hmmm.


Maybe all those sophonts in the cities are dampening it down, constraining it somehow? Where as in the 'wilds' where there are less sophonts, it's "free" so to speak?
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Old 10-04-2017, 09:47 AM   #9
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

OK, so in Kromm's cosmological framework supernatural power seems to all be various filters on Unfiltered (Cosmic) "mana" from higher dimensions. (No filter required if you are a Squids, or an actual God.) Works as a solid default assumption for me.

However, two observations:
1. Both gods and Squids can mess with Cosmic mana directly. The Gods used it to build the reality they and the delvers live in. Other Squids come from "outside" but are not generally powerful as Gods. I have a mental model where reality is a house, the Gods are the "owners," Squiddies are "vermin," and the rest of creation is "furniture" or "servants."

Perhaps the legendary capriciousness of the Gods can be put down to good and bad "days at work."

2.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Nature's strength is the collective life force of all living things, associated with no one creature and capable of existing independently of living beings as long as there are such beings.
I think this means Jedi & Sith are feuding Druid clans.
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Old 10-04-2017, 10:26 AM   #10
Kromm
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

Quote:
Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post

This interpretation would mean that the presence of cities wouldn't affect it, as cities are also full of living beings.
Cities are basically insulators. Just about all magical hokum has sources and insulators and amplifiers and so on. Pollution is harmful to life, ergo it soaks up life energy – something like that.
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