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[Ending Spoilers, sequel speculations] Are the gods...


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...eating souls?

 

From what I've gathered, I think that the Wheel may be an artificial construction made by the synthetic gods to feed themselves, by which they're very slowly bleeding out and weakening the kith. Early on we learn that whenever a kith dies (except for Watcher souls), their soul loses a few parts, and then it intercepts some from another soul upon rebirth - but always less than it lost. It is suggested that the total amount of "soul stuff" leaving the Wheel is smaller from what enters it (so it's not just population growth or trapped/lost souls). So where does it go?

 

Well, since the gods are artificial, and were made out of souls (Thaos's memory), and can get stronger by consuming them (Woedica's plan), I think they're eating the soul bits in order to survive. In time this leads to weaker souls, less able to cope with struggles and adversity, and it may eventually result in a world-wide Hollowborn outbreak.

 

Also, this makes sense on narrative level. PoE is likely the first part of a trilogy (or something along those lines), and we already have plenty of clues that gods can be killed: Godhammer incident, the fact they were made by advanced animancy (so advanced animancy should be also able to unmake them), and that they were made from souls (which can be destroyed). I think that killing a god or two in an open battle, and then destroying the rest of them, would be a fitting end for the series.

 

Of course, this is all just speculation. Thoughts? :)

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One little problem with this: the Wheel actually predates the existence of the (artificial) gods the Engwithans created. IIRC, Iovara states that the Engwithans searched for generations in the hopes of finding the creators of the universe, but only found the Wheel (which they presumably already knew about) and empty silence.

That's not to say the gods can't interact with the Wheel, however. Berath may in fact have seized some measure of control over it, given his portfolio, or he's just a charlatan pretending to be in control of a machine beyond his understanding.

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One little problem with this: the Wheel actually predates the existence of the (artificial) gods the Engwithans created. IIRC, Iovara states that the Engwithans searched for generations in the hopes of finding the creators of the universe, but only found the Wheel (which they presumably already knew about) and empty silence.

 

That's not to say the gods can't interact with the Wheel, however. Berath may in fact have seized some measure of control over it, given his portfolio, or he's just a charlatan pretending to be in control of a machine beyond his understanding.

 

Hmm, I must've missed that part about the Wheel in her conversation (I was playing through the endgame around 4 am :D). Of course, it's possible she got that part wrong, or that the gods are simply leeching on the Wheel, yeah.

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It's also said that sometimes the souls come back greater, but that usually they come back lesser each time. So if the God's were made from souls, and it's possible or a soul to come back stronger in the next life, is it possible for a soul to eventually become a god?

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My thoughts were that the wheel (and souls) predated the Gods, but that soul "problems" did not necessarily predate the gods.  I suspect the creation of the Gods led to all sorts of wacky stuff happening, like soul fragments, awakenings, watchers, and all the other miscellaneous catastrophic metaphysical problems plaguing Eora.

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My thoughts were that the wheel (and souls) predated the Gods, but that soul "problems" did not necessarily predate the gods.  I suspect the creation of the Gods led to all sorts of wacky stuff happening, like soul fragments, awakenings, watchers, and all the other miscellaneous catastrophic metaphysical problems plaguing Eora.

 

I agree that, Wheel or not, the soul ecosystem almost certainly predates the gods. I was just thinking that the gods made some changes in it (I thought it was the Wheel part, 'cos it brought a water wheel to my mind, but I'll need to replay the endgame carefully, and see what exactly is being said about it there) to turn it into a power source. I think the Collector's Book mentioned a hypothesis of new souls being birthed deep within the adra formations, so perhaps the god-makers had a surplus of souls, failed to predict a population boom, and figured it won't hurt if their gods use that surplus as a power source - maybe even the surplus itself was causing some problems, so it seemed like a "two birds, one stone" solution.

 

@Katarack21: I think I've missed that bit of some souls returning stronger, but either way, I doubt one soul could fatten up enough to attain godhood. Thaos's memory suggests you need about 1000 or more souls to make a god, and those were ancient souls, much stronger than modern ones. Perhaps the Adra Dragon was trying to do something along those lines, but failed either due to not having the technology needed for fine soul manipulation, or due to its main soul not being strong enough to pull this off.

Edited by mph
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One little problem with this: the Wheel actually predates the existence of the (artificial) gods the Engwithans created. IIRC, Iovara states that the Engwithans searched for generations in the hopes of finding the creators of the universe, but only found the Wheel (which they presumably already knew about) and empty silence.

 

That's not to say the gods can't interact with the Wheel, however. Berath may in fact have seized some measure of control over it, given his portfolio, or he's just a charlatan pretending to be in control of a machine beyond his understanding.

 

You keep bringing this up, I've just went through her dialogue again very carefully looking specifically to confirm this. Yet the only reference to the Wheel she made was

 

 

What if the cycle of birth and death is nothing more than a tool of endless preoccupation?

which can be interpreted both ways.

 

Glancing over the actual dialogue files I can't find the support for Iovara claiming the wheel predated the gods either.

The path to the files is Pillars of Eternity\PillarsOfEternity_Data\data\localized\en\text\conversations\14_burial_isle, 3 files starting with 14_iovara.

Any chance you could extract the lines that convinced you? (:

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It's also said that sometimes the souls come back greater, but that usually they come back lesser each time. So if the God's were made from souls, and it's possible or a soul to come back stronger in the next life, is it possible for a soul to eventually become a god?

 

It's also said that souls sometimes split in two, both without being lesser in strength so this would allow population growth.

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I remember a conversation about them only finding the wheel and the empty silence. I wish I could remember where that was.

 

I also doubt a human could attain godhood through the passage of the wheel. Thaos had to use that big machine in order to create the current gods, so I suspect it's a much more involved process.

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You'd think Thaos would have been aware of that. At a minimum the gods he created would have picked up on there being another, greater force and Woedica likely would have given Thaos a heads up.

 

But you also may have a point. We don't have a clear motive as to why Woedica was trying to shore up power, other than to possibly make a power play (or get revenge) against the other gods. Perhaps future installments will see the return of who/what created the wheel in the first place?

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Aside from Woedica, I don't think they are.  Also if they are eating souls, then which one ate Eothas's soul?  You'd think there would have been a war over that amount of power but it would have had to been finished by the time the game started.  I'm actually thinking that any sequel is going to be very nihilistic probably about athiests vs the fake gods and ending with the athiests becoming just as evil as the religions before them.  It could also be about the tribal people, having lost a sense of purpose since those ruins they guard lack the meaning they thought they did, face upheaval of their own and might want a war to drive out the Dyrwood people who caused them to loose their purpose.  I mean that people was basically created by the leaden key to act as gaurds for the soul stealing machines.

 

I'm also open to the possibilty that the elder gods did exist but the Enwithians basically covered them up over time as a prelude to them rolling out their own gods.  Iovara could have been fed wrong information.

 

One thing I don't get is why did the gods wait for a random hero to show up if they knew woedica was bad?  Eothis was hinted at trying to intervene but I'm not taking that as the whole truth. Why did Thaos wait so long to start harvesting souls since he had what... hundreds of years or more?  Why was the hollowborn such a new thing?  He could have been taking souls for generations.

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"Rightful rulership" is in her godly portfolio and she does believe herself to be the rightful ruler of gods, so she's may be just doing what she was made to do. Also, it's quite possible that she's right, that she was originally designed to be the ruler of other gods. If so, then that'd explain why Thaos is going with her - he either wants to restore the whole system to how it "should be," or his being the priest of the greatest god was part of the plan, and he's stuck with it.

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Aside from Woedica, I don't think they are.  Also if they are eating souls, then which one ate Eothas's soul?  You'd think there would have been a war over that amount of power but it would have had to been finished by the time the game started.  I'm actually thinking that any sequel is going to be very nihilistic probably about athiests vs the fake gods and ending with the athiests becoming just as evil as the religions before them.  It could also be about the tribal people, having lost a sense of purpose since those ruins they guard lack the meaning they thought they did, face upheaval of their own and might want a war to drive out the Dyrwood people who caused them to loose their purpose.  I mean that people was basically created by the leaden key to act as gaurds for the soul stealing machines.

 

I'm also open to the possibilty that the elder gods did exist but the Enwithians basically covered them up over time as a prelude to them rolling out their own gods.  Iovara could have been fed wrong information.

 

One thing I don't get is why did the gods wait for a random hero to show up if they knew woedica was bad?  Eothis was hinted at trying to intervene but I'm not taking that as the whole truth. Why did Thaos wait so long to start harvesting souls since he had what... hundreds of years or more?  Why was the hollowborn such a new thing?  He could have been taking souls for generations.

 

There aren't really atheists in this game, just people (led by Iovara's philosophy) that don't consider manufactured entities, which are little more than very powerful Shades, as things worth worshipping. Iovara's whole point is that the existence of the pantheon stifles both individual freedom of thought and any meaningful search for real gods in the universe.

 

If you want to ascribe a name to them, call them misotheists, people who are against the gods.

Edited by Khrysophylax
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One thing I don't get is why did the gods wait for a random hero to show up if they knew woedica was bad?  Eothis was hinted at trying to intervene but I'm not taking that as the whole truth. Why did Thaos wait so long to start harvesting souls since he had what... hundreds of years or more?  Why was the hollowborn such a new thing?  He could have been taking souls for generations.

 

I think There's mention of some sort of agreement that requires the gods don't intervene too directly.

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Aside from Woedica, I don't think they are.  Also if they are eating souls, then which one ate Eothas's soul?  You'd think there would have been a war over that amount of power but it would have had to been finished by the time the game started.  I'm actually thinking that any sequel is going to be very nihilistic probably about athiests vs the fake gods and ending with the athiests becoming just as evil as the religions before them.  It could also be about the tribal people, having lost a sense of purpose since those ruins they guard lack the meaning they thought they did, face upheaval of their own and might want a war to drive out the Dyrwood people who caused them to loose their purpose.  I mean that people was basically created by the leaden key to act as gaurds for the soul stealing machines.

 

I'm also open to the possibilty that the elder gods did exist but the Enwithians basically covered them up over time as a prelude to them rolling out their own gods.  Iovara could have been fed wrong information.

 

One thing I don't get is why did the gods wait for a random hero to show up if they knew woedica was bad?  Eothis was hinted at trying to intervene but I'm not taking that as the whole truth. Why did Thaos wait so long to start harvesting souls since he had what... hundreds of years or more?  Why was the hollowborn such a new thing?  He could have been taking souls for generations.

 

There aren't really atheists in this game, just people (led by Iovara's philosophy) that don't consider manufactured entities, which are little more than very powerful Shades, as things worth worshipping. Iovara's whole point is that the existence of the pantheon stifles both individual freedom of thought and any meaningful search for real gods in the universe.

 

If you want to ascribe a name to them, call them misotheists, people who are against the gods.

 

Naythiests. And atheists actually works; Iovara doesn't consider them "gods" in any real sense, so she is an atheist as far as the pantheon of the world is concerned. As far as the existence of "real" gods is concerned, she is a hopeful agnostic.

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My thoughts were that the wheel (and souls) predated the Gods, but that soul "problems" did not necessarily predate the gods.  I suspect the creation of the Gods led to all sorts of wacky stuff happening, like soul fragments, awakenings, watchers, and all the other miscellaneous catastrophic metaphysical problems plaguing Eora.

 

I agree that, Wheel or not, the soul ecosystem almost certainly predates the gods. I was just thinking that the gods made some changes in it (I thought it was the Wheel part, 'cos it brought a water wheel to my mind, but I'll need to replay the endgame carefully, and see what exactly is being said about it there) to turn it into a power source. I think the Collector's Book mentioned a hypothesis of new souls being birthed deep within the adra formations, so perhaps the god-makers had a surplus of souls, failed to predict a population boom, and figured it won't hurt if their gods use that surplus as a power source - maybe even the surplus itself was causing some problems, so it seemed like a "two birds, one stone" solution.

 

@Katarack21: I think I've missed that bit of some souls returning stronger, but either way, I doubt one soul could fatten up enough to attain godhood. Thaos's memory suggests you need about 1000 or more souls to make a god, and those were ancient souls, much stronger than modern ones. Perhaps the Adra Dragon was trying to do something along those lines, but failed either due to not having the technology needed for fine soul manipulation, or due to its main soul not being strong enough to pull this off.

 

Who knows, though? It's been 2,000 years since the Engwithan Empire fell. That's a lot of time to game strength.

 

Specifically, Caldara de Berranzi (the dead dwarf in a tree) said "Souls pass on. Some say through the adra stones, which are the blood-viens of the world. They leave the world for a time and are reborn into it, sometimes more than they were before, but usually less and seldom the same."

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