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A Divine Magic-only Setting

Terra Novan

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There are several settings where gods and divine magic (to use DnD term) doesn't exist, or where divine and arcane magics come from the same source, but I don't think I ever saw a setting where divine magic is the only form of magic available.

Anyone ever saw or thought about such a setting, and how would such a setting play out?
 

Terra Novan

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Author
Anyone? Personally I think it won't be that different from the arcane magic setting since many religions have a long history of sponsoring and operating educational institutions, the same as magic schools of many fantasy settings.

Perhaps they would have more powers here, with secular nobility subordinate to the church and its bureaucracy, instead of the other way it was in RL.
 

Alias

Bean Daddy
Moderator
If you did a setting/story would you have one kind of divine magic or several different types of divine magic?
 

Terra Novan

Well-known member
Author
If you did a setting/story would you have one kind of divine magic or several different types of divine magic?
Don't know. I was thinking with DnD when I made this thread, so perhaps a different 'domains' for clerics depending on their deity?
 

Eliar

Well-known member
Don't know. I was thinking with DnD when I made this thread, so perhaps a different 'domains' for clerics depending on their deity?
Not to sound as a smartass but several settings such as the Forgotten Realms have what amounts to divine only magic? As in the Weave is run and controlled by a goddess, Mystra and everyone gets magic from her/with her permission?
 

Terra Novan

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Author
Not to sound as a smartass but several settings such as the Forgotten Realms have what amounts to divine only magic? As in the Weave is run and controlled by a goddess, Mystra and everyone gets magic from her/with her permission?
What I meant was, what if the only existing spellcasters are cleric and paladin, or local equivalent of them?
 

V4Guss

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Author
An idea for such a setting is if all magic is empowered from a god or god like beings have sources of magic discovered that every god or god like being that empowers everyone clearly hates and will give a reason for disparate believers to team up against the threat they can all agree is worse than each of them worshiping different gods and would possibly threaten the world if used too much. This could also be used to get several disparate schools of magic together to form a group of heroes to save the world if the threat is large enough.

Eldritch magic derived from cosmic horrors or beings outside the normal reality gods and humans reside in would probably serve well for this. Other alternatives could simply be some form of demonic beings that reside in the setting itself that are clearly evil or corrupt people when used to draw on for magical power or have some form of Religion of Evil to act as the antagonist of the story.
 

Eliar

Well-known member
What I meant was, what if the only existing spellcasters are cleric and paladin, or local equivalent of them?
Insta Theocracy?

I mean if your religion(s) are the ones holding power cosmic it stands to reason that you will rule everything.

A Kingdom of Heaven below to match the Kingdom of Heaven above and all that.
 

Terra Novan

Well-known member
Author
An idea for such a setting is if all magic is empowered from a god or god like beings have sources of magic discovered that every god or god like being that empowers everyone clearly hates and will give a reason for disparate believers to team up against the threat they can all agree is worse than each of them worshiping different gods and would possibly threaten the world if used too much. This could also be used to get several disparate schools of magic together to form a group of heroes to save the world if the threat is large enough.

Eldritch magic derived from cosmic horrors or beings outside the normal reality gods and humans reside in would probably serve well for this. Other alternatives could simply be some form of demonic beings that reside in the setting itself that are clearly evil or corrupt people when used to draw on for magical power or have some form of Religion of Evil to act as the antagonist of the story.
Well, DnD Clerics and Paladins don't have to be Good, and there are plenty of evil deities in it.

Insta Theocracy?

I mean if your religion(s) are the ones holding power cosmic it stands to reason that you will rule everything.

A Kingdom of Heaven below to match the Kingdom of Heaven above and all that.
I assumed as much. How would such a theocratic setting be organized, though? The nature of deity in question could work against the theocracy as well.
 

Eliar

Well-known member
Well, DnD Clerics and Paladins don't have to be Good, and there are plenty of evil deities in it.


I assumed as much. How would such a theocratic setting be organized, though? The nature of deity in question could work against the theocracy as well.


:ROFLMAO:

Well assuming it is a multideity world the God in question cant be too insane for a major polity to form around them?

Doomsday cults excluded.
 

Terra Novan

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Author
:ROFLMAO:

Well assuming it is a multideity world the God in question cant be too insane for a major polity to form around them?

Doomsday cults excluded.
I don't know much about DnD, but are there any deities that are explicitly anti-civilization and/or hyper-individualistic in some way?
 

V4Guss

Well-known member
Author
Well assuming it is a multideity world the God in question cant be too insane for a major polity to form around them?

Doomsday cults excluded.
In fictional polytheistic settings usually the gods are close enough in power that they can't just sweep each other under the rug or wipe each other out. There's also several fictional examples where a Ruler of the Gods like Zeus or Odin keeps all the other gods from acting up too much because they're just that powerful.
I don't know much about DnD, but are there any deities that are explicitly anti-civilization and/or hyper-individualistic in some way?
Anti-civilization? A lot of fictional nature or Earth deities are such in one way or another. Some real world neopaganist and modern pagan religions have some elements of it in the sense that technology dominates human lives too much and we need to get back to nature as it were.

Trithereon represents individuality and liberty in the Greyhawk setting.
 
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Eliar

Well-known member
I don't know much about DnD, but are there any deities that are explicitly anti-civilization and/or hyper-individualistic in some way?
Any that identifies as Chaotic Evil?

And then there are the *Primordial* deity levels that seem to want to return everything to nihility.

:unsure:

It has been ages since I actually looked but Sharr in Forgotten realms is a non insane deity but whose actual goal is the destruction of everything? She is the goddess of Darkness and supposedly seen creation itself as an abomination that is actively hurting her.
 

Terra Novan

Well-known member
Author
Anti-civilization? A lot of fictional nature or Earth deities are such in one way or another. Some real world neopaganist and modern pagan religions have some elements of it in the sense that technology dominates human lives too much and we need to get back to nature as it were.

Trithereon represents individuality and liberty in the Greyhawk setting.
Any that identifies as Chaotic Evil?

And then there are the *Primordial* deity levels that seem to want to return everything to nihility.

:unsure:

It has been ages since I actually looked but Sharr in Forgotten realms is a non insane deity but whose actual goal is the destruction of everything? She is the goddess of Darkness and supposedly seen creation itself as an abomination that is actively hurting her.
So we would have deities and their followers who want to conquer the world, the ones who want to destroy it, and the worst of all, the anarcho-primitivists.
 

Terra Novan

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Author
Also, a deity who is basically a patron of Sovereign Citizens.

And the plague deity, backstabber deity, disaster deity, etc...
 

beast_regards

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In polytheistic religions gods are usually personifications of some aspect of the world they oversee, they might represent both negative and positive aspects, and together they form some equilibrium to make the world tick. Even God of Murder won't want to kill everyone, as once everyone is dead, there is no world for him, and he can't represent what he was meant to do. Even gods of evil (aspects, things) are interested in world continued existence.

Agents empowered by those gods would be either clerics or paladins in D&D terms.

Natural opposition of those gods would be something that can also grant powers to their followers, but isn't really tied to any aspect of the world, and has no interest in world existence, as they are outsiders from all the system of divine balance and technically not gods. Whether they are fiends, primordials, great old ones, it's up to you how would you call them.

Their followers would be more akin to warlocks in D&D.
 

Terra Novan

Well-known member
Author
Natural opposition of those gods would be something that can also grant powers to their followers, but isn't really tied to any aspect of the world, and has no interest in world existence, as they are outsiders from all the system of divine balance and technically not gods. Whether they are fiends, primordials, great old ones, it's up to you how would you call them.
How to define a 'god' would be a question here.

Their followers would be more akin to warlocks in D&D.
Not Blackguards or whatever Evil Paladin is called now?
 

beast_regards

Well-known member
How to define a 'god' would be a question here.
It's actually relatively easy, as this cosmology gods are entities that embody concepts from the mortal world. They are tied to the existence of the world, and the world is tied to them.

If there is an entity that doesn't follow this mechanic, yet has similar power, there are similarly something that is "from beyond creation" or "from the time before gods"

There are creatures in D&D that remember a time before gods, so it isn't that unlikely for fantasy.

Not Blackguards or whatever Evil Paladin is called now?
In 5e, paladins can be evil from the start, they no longer have always Lawful Good alignment, they have Oaths. Some of them don't sound good, like Conquest, Threachery, Vengeance and so on. Or you can go straight away Oathbreaker.
 

Terra Novan

Well-known member
Author
It's actually relatively easy, as this cosmology gods are entities that embody concepts from the mortal world. They are tied to the existence of the world, and the world is tied to them.

If there is an entity that doesn't follow this mechanic, yet has similar power, there are similarly something that is "from beyond creation" or "from the time before gods"

There are creatures in D&D that remember a time before gods, so it isn't that unlikely for fantasy.
Aha, so gods as the reality, not-gods as the non-reality? That makes sense.
 

Terra Novan

Well-known member
Author
It's actually relatively easy, as this cosmology gods are entities that embody concepts from the mortal world. They are tied to the existence of the world, and the world is tied to them.

If there is an entity that doesn't follow this mechanic, yet has similar power, there are similarly something that is "from beyond creation" or "from the time before gods"

There are creatures in D&D that remember a time before gods, so it isn't that unlikely for fantasy.
Admittedly, I am more interested in social aspects, not cosmology.
 

V4Guss

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Author
An alternative route is less having gods tied to metaphysical aspects of the world, but instead people's belief in them and what's been invested in them. A God of Murder is not so much tied to the metaphysical concept of Murder itself, but rather the belief in that concept and time and resources invested in it.

What I like about the idea of gods being sustained and empowered by continued worship, belief, faith, and sacrifice in a setting that focuses on such things is it gives a major incentive for gods to actually care about their worshipers, all gods. It also allows for new gods to be born from a myriad of concepts from people simply believing or devoting enough time to something which can produce interesting concepts for gods on its own as well as driving the plot due to older gods having to be concerned with younger ones that might cause them to lose power being born.

Even without gods being empowered by the people mechanics, in a setting where gods are the focus and a major aspect of things a younger generation of gods being born to challenge older well established ones for whatever reason, in effect a Titanomachy plot, could be interesting whether shown from the viewpoint of gods or mortal followers takings sides.
 
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