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  1. Thinking about the unanswered question we've been pitched as important to the early lore, the nature of the soul, I run into a conundrum. There are gods. These gods occasionally intervene\fere with mortal affairs according to the devs. Religions and cultures have their own ideas about the cycle of souls and, presumably, worship their own god(s). Why can't a god just tell them how it is? Obviously they're going to want to spin it their way or maybe even outright lie, but wouldn't the cosmic being that came out with "the truth" be the most popular? I can think of lots of ways to write around that, but in brain storming I came up with one particularly appealing idea. Re-wind from the Age of Sail P:E is geared up to be in, take us to the days where men and mer were in loincloths and bludgeoned to death what they ate. As they transition from this to agricultural river valley societies, gods are developed without concrete "proof" of existence like we find in many fantasy RPGs for the same sociological reasons they appeared on Earth (the exacts of which are up for debate and I don't want to light that fire here, not the point). They worship, build altars\temples/mazes, and perhaps even sacrifice for them. When these followers die, their souls enter this soul cycle and their soul is a reflection of their beliefs. Everyone who worshiped that same god in life's soul conglomerates and melds, some to a great metaphysical degree and some only tangentially, and then that's when the fantasy RPG gods come in-- they remember to a degree where their living selves had been, and the god is connected to those places and more highly aware and powerful in them. But souls don't stay out of bodies forever in P:E; they come back. Eventually, parts of the god will fall away and return to the cycle-- perhaps as their own worshipers if they have some control over the process or perhaps not. New souls will come in, and the old ones may leave residue or splinters of themselves behind that bolster the power of the god a slight bit and leave a reminder of that worshiper who was greatly attached to this meta-god. Here having worshipers whose souls stay out of the living realm is an advantage, but may also be disadvantageous. The god might be able to send out Godlike races with a powerful soul of one of the devote (now de-individuated as part of the god and re-individuated when born into a body) as prophets to spread their religion where ever they are born, creating the stereotype of Godlike as prophets or holy peoples. But over time, souls will filter in and out and the people worshiping will change with the ebb and flow of ideas through generations: one example could be a fertility goddess. The fertility goddess starts out in the early days as someone invoked for crops to grow and children and mothers to survive child birth in a dangerous time. This goddess is a protective, agricultural figure and her representation and worship would reflect this. Perhaps live stock are sacrificed to her. Could be animal or have animal traits. Hundreds of years pass, and leaders become concerned with producing copious competent issue, perhaps of a particular gender. Here the fertility goddess becomes less about the good of an entire society and more about the good of a ruler. They'd still be invoked for childbirth and harvests, certainly, but gradually their focus would broaden or shift greatly towards this other idea. The souls that die and go to join the meta-god hold these concepts in their consciousnesses and it becomes an element of the celestial being more and more over time. Perhaps the goddess is even perceived as or obtains a male persona, a figure whose seed insures strong children. Probably more human than the original incarnation, but whatever the goddess was before is still a part of him\her now-- those shards of souls left behind are still there, melded together, although slowly over thousands of years they may blend with the others not exactly the same but similar to them. Hundreds of more years pass, and the time's a bit more Elizabethan or perhaps Victorian. The fertility goddess has become a sex symbol in an increasingly radical and free thinking society; concepts of having strong young and marriage, while still present and unmoving parts of society, are not as fervently felt as lust and desire. Agriculture is an after thought or perhaps gone from the mortal perception of the goddess while still a part of her repertoire and to some degree under her power. People now implore her for virility and stamina in less-than-living room appropriate ways, and prayers that they might seduce or be seduced become more commonplace (although to say they had not always existed and been a part of some of the souls going to the goddess would be silly). By the period P:E starts, the goddess would have become a sex symbol to some degree but still associated with children having/rearing-- which could create different sects or separate places of worship to celebrate the different "aspects" of this god, who could have two personas or fill her own pantheon depending on which way the society trended. This goddess would likely co-exist in a society with others, so the souls going just to her in the aforementioned period would likely be very interested in the sexual side of things. Rites of the flesh and acts of sodomy could be used to revere her in cults that members of the upper echelon discretely participate in while hymns and donations to hospitals might be the public, more popular and cross-class form of celebrating this deity. Conversing and interacting with this goddess would be something else entirely-- a composite being of all these ideas and desires, who perhaps the PC themselves was once a part of, with many interlaced agendas and worshipers spread throughout their decision making process on what to tell the PC and what to ask of them. One interesting idea could be a quest to gain an audience with a high ranking member of this goddess's following. One route could be just making their way into the temple through sneaking, breaking-and-entering, or teleportation magic-- but each of these would be icky and they're not likely to remember a PC who did this fondly or offer them much in the way of help. Another route would be gaining favor with the goddess. There could be three routes: helping discreetly deliver an "enhancement" to a ruler to help them impregnate (or be impregnated by) their spouse, either of which is a devotee of the goddess. Another would be aiding the priest/esses of the goddess in a way not necessarily related to the goddess but which would help further the goal of spreading the faith or maintaining the faithful's position in society. Lastly, you could gain entrance by some means into the secluded soirees of the rich and influential persons who are devoted to the goddess. I'm not saying get yourself involved in an orgy, but perhaps deliver the "enhancement" to them instead of the ruler to win you the affection of some of her most carnal worshipers rather than an under-performing ruler. Also: that horrible supernatural event? What about the PC witnessing the death of a god? Imagine in ethereal cries of pain as a hundred thousand souls implode and then rip outwards with the very fabric of their celestial being dismembered and scattered across the world and possibly various planes. Seems to me like a Watcher might be someone who a god/council of gods deputized, who'd seen this and was privy to their nature, to safeguard that knowledge and chase after the Godkiller or Godkilling utility-- knowledge, weapon, rite, whatever. In conclusion, I think interweaving the concept of gods and souls should be very important regardless of religion's role in the game ((which I think should be significant but isn't absolutely necessary for this idea to be present, it just seems like something that's worth persuing)). [so please don't merge this thread, it's different]. If this were how they did it, how do you think the particulars with souls/splinting c\should work out? Should the player ever really know, should there be context clues that they can extrapolate arguments from but which in the end leave the argument largely in the air?
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