Saturday, November 28, 2015

High Fantasy - Gods

Switching the high fantasy gears for a second (see previous article and the one before that) - The gods in a high fantasy RPG need to be more important!

In a FRPG if you worship the goddess of dawn, you would believe that the dawn will not come if that goddess decides not to bring it. For a modern person who believes that the world circles the star - this seems foolish. Of course dawn will come tomorrow - it is a matter of physics. But not to the FRPG character. Physics be damned, if the goddess either decides not to bring the dawn or is in some way defeated or prevented from bringing the dawn, then the night will continue eternally. Therefore, every time the sun rises, this character would give thanks to their goddess.

But if it is a high fantasy game, it should be possible to prevent the dawn from coming. I don't know all or what implications would come of that, but it must be possible. If it isn't possible, then magic doesn't work. The same needs to be true of the other gods. If the god of the harvest decides to shift the rains, then a drought comes. Forget the weather men (they're never right anyway). If the harvest god wants the harvest to end, it ends. This might be easier to understand because we can more easily picture a drought or pestilence than dawn not coming, but they should be equally possible. That’s why there are gods. That’s why worshiping them matters. Because if they don’t get what they want, then they take away the things that mortals need to survive - like the sun, water, sleep, dreams, death (OK, obviously not to survive here, but there are some cool fictions about death taking a holiday).

This influence should be all over the place. Wine does not make you drunk because it has alcohol, but because the god of wine deems it so. My best example of where I have actually put this to use in is Rhum. Despite the spinning of the planet and the weather patterns, the winds near Rhum blow from west to east. This is because the more powerful spirit of the east wind (the wind that blows west or from the east) has given his younger sister (the wind from the west) this region as her own and he will not interfere, at least not too much. Yes - This causes weird weather patterns in this area! But again, the wind does not blow the direction it blows because of planetary physics, but instead because of magic and the “gods”.

This does work both ways. There is a humongous earth spirit deep beneath the surface on the continent of Hughijen. He is moving northwards at a very slow pace (because it is not easy to displace that much earth and rock). Every once in a while, about every ten years, the forces of the plates and rock layers shift to allow him to push forward, causing massive surface earthquakes. So are the earthquakes caused by a god/spirit? Yes. Are they caused by tectonic pressures of the plates rubbing together? Yes - but that pressure has become personified in this spirit. So since it is a high fantasy world, I still have some idea of the physics, I just give them different reasons for acting the way they do. High fantasy = Magic over science!

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