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 Post subject: priests changing gods, again
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:52 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
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So I asked earlier if it is possible for a priest to change gods, if any of the skills they got as a priest of one god was transferable to another, and was given a pretty solid "no." But I've been wondering about the "almost and maybes?" Like, the priestess of the fire dragon that decided that the fire dragon is really just an aspect of nier. It is implied that priestess is still alive and powerful, and still a functional priestess, so she is getting spells from somewhere. Do those priestess's of the fire dragon/nier in that clutch get to choose whether they get fire dragon or nier spells? Or do they get both? Is this an indication that the fire dragon (and thus apparently Kassegore) really are an aspect of Nier? Or does their belief matter more than "reality?"

Additionally, how would this work for a priest of Anshar that discovers that Anshar is Yig? Does that discovery open up access to Yig's spells to ansharan priests? I assume not since apparently you must be taught a cant by a current priest who knows it, and I doubt that Yiggites are running out to teach Ansharan's their secret spells. I do find it interesting that Yig spell are now included in player books, though. What if someone were to decide that nier or some other PoM god is an aspect of Kassegore, and knew the truth about Kassegore/Fire Dragon? Could they learn the fire dragon spells? After all, they might be able to convince a player priestess of the fire dragon to teach them (though I doubt it).

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 Post subject: Re: priests changing gods, again
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:19 pm 
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Entirely unofficial answer here, but I'm guessing that from a 'world mechanics' standpoint, it is theoretically possible for a divine type to change the focus of their worship. In the example you gave, the (NPC) priestess would likely begin drawing spells from Nier instead of the Fire Dragon (aka Nier).

With that said, I would not expect for this to ever be an option for Heroes, simply because it would cause too many headaches from a mechanics standpoint. If you have a Hero gain access to a deity-specific Path, and then suddenly change their deity, what happens to the skills/talents/spells they previously had access to?

My thinking on it is that changing deities should be possible, but limited to NPCs.

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aka Rurik of Nol Dappa - Dwarven War Priest (Divine 2.3)


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 Post subject: Re: priests changing gods, again
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:49 pm 

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toodeep wrote:
So I asked earlier if it is possible for a priest to change gods, if any of the skills they got as a priest of one god was transferable to another, and was given a pretty solid "no." But I've been wondering about the "almost and maybes?"<snip>


If the question is specifically for the LoA campaign, the answer is a solid NO. Henry's been very clear about this. Changing gods requires a crisis of faith. Even the type of "enlightenment" you describe in terms of Fire Dragon / Nier is still a crisis of faith.

If you're talking about a home campaign then it's whatever the GM thinks is appropriate.

From a mechanics perspective you shouldn't suddenly unlearn a skill and pick up an equivalent number in a new one. A favored skill is one that particular god's followers train in, so it would make more sense to gain access to it or be required to have access to it in order to finish the conversion. As I don't see this happening outside of a home campaign, again it comes back to the GM.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: priests changing gods, again
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:37 am 

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But what about when you aren't really changing gods? I mean, changing from Anshar to Yig isn't really changing gods if you believe Anshar=Yig, right?

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 Post subject: Re: priests changing gods, again
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:56 am 
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But if you believe Anshar=Yig, then you're not actually changing anything so the point is moot. You're just adding an additional layer of complexity to your worship. Although if you know and believe that Anshar=Yig in character, there would be some real questions about why you'd worship her in the first place...

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 Post subject: Re: priests changing gods, again
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:20 am 

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toodeep wrote:
But what about when you aren't really changing gods? I mean, changing from Anshar to Yig isn't really changing gods if you believe Anshar=Yig, right?


I'd like to build on what Tony pointed out. Realize "belief / faith" in this context is powerful and deep enough to channel the power of the gods. When you start worshiping a god you understand how they're defined and you have that personal connection with them, that deep abiding faith that allows you to cast spells. Any idea of equivalents or aspects (Yig = Anshar, Fire Dragon is an aspect of Nier or vice versa) is a paradigm shift. It is a fundamental change in what you believe about the god(s) in question. It's deep and profound and of great significance to the worshiper regardless of the reality or truth of the matter. If a person could be so easily swayed, then their faith wasn't very deep. Certainly not enough to power divine abilities. If it is, then you've got a crisis of faith and those aren't resolved quickly. Especially not to the point of getting back to enough spiritual certainty and belief to power spells and abilities.

That can make for a powerful story - and made for a good mod. It's a long journey though. If you want to reflect it in game there are ways of doing that but really only half the story during the LoA campaign. Again, if it's a home campaign, that's a different story.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: priests changing gods, again
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:32 am 
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I agree with Paul. Henry has stated long ago that in order to be a 'true' priest of the gods (meaning one who can cast spells of that god and use their Talent powers) you have to have DEEP conviction and belief in the primacy of that god. You can give the other gods their due, but the paradigm of modern priests of the Pantheon of Man is that one god is primary above all others, and therefore you are taught from a neophyte to focus on only a single god.

To shatter this deep-seated faith in a god is no mean feat. Let's be entirely honest: If you can casually change your faith, you didn't have any to begin with, and you . In Arcanis, you are absolutely sure of the primacy of your god, and to have that challenged is enough to break a person. Look at Aulus in "In Darkness, Light." It took him decades to come to his level of jaded athiesm, and even at the end there was enough subconscious faith that he could come back (if the Heroes persuaded him enough). The same is true about a 'conversion' from Anshar to Yig, in that the theologies of these two powers are fundamentally different, even if the actual divine being is the same. To make such a major conversion is not something you can just 'do' any more than I can simply flip a switch and make myself a woman. It requires a lot of soul searching, a change in psychology, and a wide number of other changes that take years of time and effort (more or less depending on your definitions on the subject).

What wouldn't take a major change is a conversion between CHURCHES, but retaining the same gods. A switch between the Milandisian Orthodoxy and the Mother Church likely wouldn't change a significant amount of your faith in the God, just the bureaucracy involved. That said, Milandisians are taught from the breast that the Dark Triumvirate are evil and to be feared, while the Coryani DON'T, which means that there is a rather major change in the total theology involving those three gods. This adds complication, but not an unsurmountable one. In fact, I'm pretty sure it is easier to go from the Orthodox religion to the more liberal Coryani church than the other way.

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Haakon Marcus val'Virdan, Divine Holy Judge of Nier
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 Post subject: Re: priests changing gods, again
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:00 am 
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Cody,

I certainly don't disagree with anything you wrote, but I'm not sure I entirely agree with your overall argument. First off, I'm not suggesting that changing a patron deity would be a casual affair, nor am I suggesting it should be an option for Heroes. The question (I think) was simply whether it is theoretically possible for priests to change their patron deity in the world at large (a la the Ssressen who changed worship to Nier).

If, for instance, a Priest of (insert God here) witnessed Elandre being touched by divine power and blowing the lid off Solanos Mor, I would argue that it would be possible for that sort of display to cause someone to consider turning to Illir as their deity. I'm not saying that this would be an overnight affair, or that it would be incredibly likely, but can you argue it isn't possible at all?

Take the example of Aulus. It took him a long time to develop his faith (presumably), and then took him a long time to lose his faith. Hypothetically, couldn't he have then later had a powerful experience that renewed his faith, but perhaps something relating to Saluwe, or Yarris?

It is fairly well established that there are groups out there who believe that certain gods are dead/gone (Divine Trinity comes to mind). Is there nowhere on Onara where a Priest of God X hasn't gotten tired of their prayers not being answered, and considered turning somewhere that the priests say their gods still talk to them?

To that end, I've wondered in the past whether Althares (who supposedly still speaks to his priesthood) has a larger congregation than other gods.

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aka Raseri 'Crash' val'Emman - Master of the Incandescent Flame (Martial 3.6)
aka Leif of House Borghild - Skohir Human Myrmidon (Martial 2.6)
aka Rurik of Nol Dappa - Dwarven War Priest (Divine 2.3)


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 Post subject: Re: priests changing gods, again
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:22 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
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Location: Michigan
I'm not sure some of these "coversions" indicate a lack of faith. After all, doesn't every single Black talon high priestess face this exact problem? They are raised with the tale that they worship the fire dragon and escaped Kassegore, and then learn that the fire dragon is Kassegore? I don't think that the only ones to survive that revelation are the ones with weak faith.

I suspect this is the same stuff that priest of Anshar in the know and val'Inares that learn the truth have to make. So I think it is definitely something to be thought about.

My question had to do with a very odd character concept I had once - a val'Abebi who had learned about the "Secret of Semar" by accident in his youth, and seized upon it as an amazing idea. He would become a priest of Althares, but secretly believes that Althares is Kassegore. He believes in Althares and Kassegore. The same as the Ash Hide Ssressen believe in the fire dragon and Nier. Of course, he can't tell anyone this, as he knows he would be burned as a heretic. Since he believes in Althares, he should be able to get through to become a spellcasting priest of Althares, right? The question is, what happens afterward if he is right? What happens afterward if he is wrong?

For the first part, probably nothing, since the odds of getting a Kassegore worshipper to teach him Kassegoran cants is pretty close to zero, right? I mean, maybe if he learns that Kassegore is the fire dragon, he could get a PC priestess to teach him, but even that is pretty low odds. On the other side, if he learns he is wrong, that could lead to a serious crisis of faith. Not sure how I would handle that yet....

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 Post subject: Re: priests changing gods, again
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:02 pm 
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In many fantasy RPG worlds, it's an accepted fact of the world that "divine magic" comes from the Gods, but not so in Arcanis. It's entirely possible that the Mourners are right and that "divine magic" is just another form of the Arcanum learned in a certain way. The need for "faith" may just be self-confidence since any slight slip of the reciting of the Cants will cause them to fail. If someone continues to recite the Cants with faith that they will succeed yet now believes that it's powered from a different source (e.g., from Nier-as-Fire Dragon, or from intermediary Valinor instead of directly from Gods), then who [other than Henry] is to say it will fail?

To clarify, I'm not suggesting that one should be able to switch gods. The borderline cases mentioned previously don't bother me since they aren't switching churches.

Gamers who are used to standard D&D find it hard to grasp when I try to explain that Arcanis has "divine magic" yet no proof of the source of that magic nor proof of the existence of Gods. It blew my mind when I read that in the Codex Arcanis, and I love the realistic uncertainty of it.

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Sestius Ovidius val'Mehan Comma and Khamat - psion patrician diplomatic legate and his Myrantian tutor
Quintus Ovidius val'Mehan - patrician military tribune
Amadi val'Abebi - Monk of Althares
Talathos - choleric Kelekene dabbler


Last edited by Dante on Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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