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Old 03-18-2021, 09:06 AM   #21
RyanW
 
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Default Re: What makes a god?

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Originally Posted by dcarson View Post
The way a country becomes a country instead of a province with fighting going on is other countries recognizing them as a country. The way a god becomes a god instead of a powerful non god is other gods recognizing them as a god.
That has some confusing implications for monotheism.
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Old 03-18-2021, 09:18 AM   #22
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Default Re: What makes a god?

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Originally Posted by Michael Cule View Post
You do know that if you explain how something becomes a god, the players will want to give it a shot don't you?
In my experience, players' ambitions are rarely limited by whether something is statted up or not.

I do find it interesting how GURPS, a system that sells itself on its versatility, still draws detractors and naysayers when a GM wants to flex their muscles and test out how to stat up various divine aspects in the system.

In my other thread, I had GURPS authors warning me against this - and then after just a bit of digging I found that several of the same authors had published actual stats for divine or semidivine beings in official GURPS books. Maybe it's a bit like a lifelong smoker telling somebody younger "Don't get started smoking, kid - it ain't worth it"...

Some days I just want to test out the system's theoretical abilities, without worrying about the speculative table talk and interplayer politics.
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Old 03-18-2021, 09:21 AM   #23
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Default Re: What makes a god?

In AD&D 2nd Ed, which seems to encourage the creation of one's own universe, I did make a pantheon. The game treats the alignment system as one of the fundamental forces, so I figured one god per alignment. In each case, they had once been ordinary people, but in the massive cataclysm that first birthed the world they had each been exemplars of one of the traits of their alignment, so they got the position.

Theoretically, if a mortal can convince or force the gods to acknowledge their right to be one of the Nine, it might be possible to replace a god; they don't have any more than the nine positions, though, so no "new gods" thing for them. (Also, the last time someone tried, it sparked the Godswar that ruined the world's surface (again), collapsed the Grand Empire, and very nearly caused the extinction of dragons and humans. Nobody's really that anxious to try again.)
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Old 03-18-2021, 12:29 PM   #24
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Default Re: What makes a god?

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A good point, but it assumes the existence of a pantheon. Even if warring among themselves, gods do acknowledge the existence of other gods. That's not a given in all settings. Believers of god A might deny the existence of god B first of all because that's what their god does.
There are places where there is a dispute on if it is a country. Or who is the country's government. But if no one will consider you one you aren't. China is one country but has two governments that consider the other illegitimate. N. Korea isn't recognized by a couple nations. Somaliland has had a government since 1991 but no one recognizes them. Several others in the disputed range. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ed_recognition

Sounds like plot hook possibilities to me.
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Old 03-18-2021, 12:33 PM   #25
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Default Re: What makes a god?

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Originally Posted by Michael Cule View Post
You do know that if you explain how something becomes a god, the players will want to give it a shot don't you?


That said the routes seem to be:
.
OR you could eat one. A clever idea possibly, but not a wise one ... you would hunger so. (Let's see who gets that one...)

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That has some confusing implications for monotheism.
Well, you could start with Monolatry ... there is precedent.
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Old 03-18-2021, 01:36 PM   #26
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Default Re: What makes a god?

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That has some confusing implications for monotheism.
The priests will manage to tapdance around the issue somehow. Probably turns out that the One True God actually has three aspects, so there's plenty of room for the ascendant to become a god while there's still only one God. We poor limited humans can't always understand the deep mysteries.
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Old 03-18-2021, 05:08 PM   #27
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Default Re: What makes a god?

I seem to recall one of the possible historical or political reasons why Zeus was such a lecherous deity was that local rulers kept tracing their own heritage back to some godhead. Later on, these had to adapt as the local traditions of "whatever god is the most powerful" also changed.

After the passage of sufficient generations the narrative eventually concentrated all divine authority into one widely-acknowledged "king of deities". In order to keep up, a ruling family probably didn't want to get into the weeds about where exactly Perseus their ancestor came from genealogically, when they could just refer to an intervening dalliance with the king of gods in a rain of gold.

A similar mechanic might also explain why one deity might ultimately come to represent multiple seemingly unrelated concepts, such as Artemis representing both virgin virtue, as well as childbirth pain relief - two concepts that would seem to be contradictory.

Last edited by SolemnGolem; 03-19-2021 at 07:36 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 03-19-2021, 07:34 AM   #28
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Default Re: What makes a god?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcarson View Post
There are places where there is a dispute on if it is a country. Or who is the country's government. But if no one will consider you one you aren't. China is one country but has two governments that consider the other illegitimate. N. Korea isn't recognized by a couple nations. Somaliland has had a government since 1991 but no one recognizes them. Several others in the disputed range. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ed_recognition

Sounds like plot hook possibilities to me.
To me that kind of criteria - making godhood strictly political matter - undermines the whole divine nature, at which point why have gods in a setting at all when you can do the same thing with something less grand, like megalomaniacal spellcasters.
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Old 03-19-2021, 11:39 AM   #29
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Default Re: What makes a god?

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Originally Posted by dcarson View Post
There are places where there is a dispute on if it is a country. Or who is the country's government. But if no one will consider you one you aren't. China is one country but has two governments that consider the other illegitimate. N. Korea isn't recognized by a couple nations. Somaliland has had a government since 1991 but no one recognizes them. Several others in the disputed range. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ed_recognition
Sure, interesting things, we have a few of those even in old Europe.
However, they are the exception, not the rule; the rule among states is mutual recognition.

On the contrary, a gameworld is conceivable where each god maintains that he/she is the only one true and existing god, all the others being hoaxes. Or maybe religions have pantheons, but all the gods of each pantheon maintain that their own pantheon is the only one existing.

That, of course, is not as easy if the setting has gods who routinely act overtly. In that case, it would take Delusion (I'm the only god actually existing) to deny the others. But if gods only act covertly...
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Old 03-19-2021, 02:04 PM   #30
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Default Re: What makes a god?

On the other hand, China and Taiwan do acknowledge the existence of a rival organization that quite firmly controls part of their claimed territory. They just call them and treat them as something other than a government.



I suppose that works with hostile pantheons and dieties as well.
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