Magic, Gods and Religion on Yantas

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sangi39
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Re: Magic and Gods on Yantas

Post by sangi39 » 21 Nov 2017 22:48

Creyeditor wrote:
21 Nov 2017 21:58
Could a philosopher in Yantas propose then, that humans are just gods that still have their physical bodies and thus are not yet 'allmighty'?
Assuming that they could come to understand that this is the way things work "in the real world", then yes. The same would also hold true of the Kovur.

As with the magical field and deities, however, this is one of those aspects of Yantas that goes on behind the scenes, so while they might be more or less correct in stating that, the evidence from which they'd draw that conclusion would be indirect.

On the other hand, deities arise directly from the magical field through belief, which ancestral figures are remnants, so the two are distinct in terms of their origins, although they function in essentially the same ways (I'd be tempted to say that at least early on, souls of the deceased have a greater ability to affect the physical world than deities do in their early days, because of the previous link to the physical world, but then physical interaction is dependent on belief, so souls tend towards growing less interactive while deities tend toward becoming more interactive, especially in cultures where remembering ancestors is less important).
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Re: Magic and Gods on Yantas

Post by Creyeditor » 21 Nov 2017 23:06

Can deceased immediatly communicate with the living?
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Re: Magic and Gods on Yantas

Post by sangi39 » 21 Nov 2017 23:42

Creyeditor wrote:
21 Nov 2017 23:06
Can deceased immediatly communicate with the living?
My thinking at the moment it no, at least not in a way we'd recognise. They'd be able to nudge things here and there, and their presence would cause changes in the air (think your stereotypical signs of "ghosts", air gets colder, things move around, the floor creeks), but direct communication would have to be learnt over time and would predominantly occur "inside the head" of the living person (in the same way deities communicate).
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Re: Magic and Gods on Yantas

Post by gestaltist » 22 Nov 2017 10:25

I like this idea. If you go with it, a byproduct of historiography will be generation of deities, which is quite original.

One thing you might want to think about: to what extent is the "soul" affected by the contents of their connection to the real world. E.g., if a cruel tyrant starts an empire and is whitewashed by later generations of historians, will his divine form be more like he was in life, or more like what people remember him as.

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Immortality, Zombies, and Vampires (Yantas, Magic, and Gods)

Post by sangi39 » 18 Jan 2018 03:27

So I started having a think about how the magic system found on Yantas, and how it ties in with its deities, might allow for forms of necromancy and, to a point, vampirism.

As explained in other threads, Yantas' system of magic relies on humans and Kovur, through various means, both direct and indirect, of persuading deities to affect the physical world in a way that suits the will of the individual, e.g. someone sacrifices a chicken asking a deity to make their crops grow that year, another person recites a phrase with the intent of causing a fire to start, etc. (the system relies entirely on deities affecting the physical world, but whether or not the humans or Kovur actually invoke a deity directly doesn't matter, strictly speaking).

Anyway, one thing I was thinking was whether or not those deities could reanimate the dead or lengthen the lifespan of the living and I decided on "yes, given certain conditions".

In the case of necromancy, it's not simply a case of raising the dead. The soul, also discussed in other threads, does survive as distinct from the wider magical field for a time, meaning that it should be possible to reconnect the soul to the body. However, I don't want the resurrection to be a singular event, with the reconnection being final and complete. The reconnection has to be maintained, with the body continuing to decay, albeit at a slower rate, and the soul does naturally start to "drift". Continued human/Kovur sacrifices need to be made over time, with the deity using the influx of new souls in order to maintain the reconnection.

Similarly, a human/Kovur can prolong their own lifespan (but not affect their vulnerabilities), again by sacrificing other humans or Kovur in order for the connection of their soul to their body to allow the deity to slow down the ageing process.

And that's where we move on to "zombies" and "vampires". The sacrifice doesn't have to be directly consumed by the individual, as long as theirs a belief their, supported by a deity, that the sacrifice will have those effects, and the deity actually follows through on those beliefs (some deities do, some deities don't, some deities to some of the time but not all of the time). However, some do directly consume the sacrifice, instead believing that their directly taking in the soul/life-essence/whatever of the sacrifice.

There is still a limit to how long the reconnection can be maintained, with reanimated corpses tending towards soul drift more quickly. As time goes by, more and more effort needs to be made on the part of the deity to maintain the reconnection, meaning that more and more sacrifices need to made over the years. This means that reanimation and prolonged lifespans inevitably lead to more and more bloodshed once the process begins and the intent to maintain that process continues.

I'm not sure yet if there would be any affects on the mental state of the one being kept alive as a direct result of the magic keeping them going (as is the case with deities communicating with mortals, which often leads to increasing mental deterioration over time which is sort of how you can tell the difference between those who deities have spoken to and "prophets", with the latter having had little to no direct contact with deities, merely acting upon their belief that communication has occurred), or whether the increased need for sacrifice would just affect each individual differently on a natural basis.
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Re: Immortality, Zombies, and Vampires (Yantas, Magic, and Gods)

Post by gestaltist » 18 Jan 2018 10:25

Loving this, especially this part:
sangi39 wrote:
18 Jan 2018 03:27
The reconnection has to be maintained, with the body continuing to decay, albeit at a slower rate, and the soul does naturally start to "drift".
I'm imagining a half-rotten Genghis-like conqueror ruling over half of Yantas for three centuries with human sacrifices all over the place.

What are Kovur? I haven't seen any mention of them before.

As an aside, I am a fan of systems requiring ritual. I feel like "doing magic through the power of will" is the current default and it's honestly boring. Sacrifices, weird concoctions, chants, etc., is much more evocative and interesting.

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Re: Immortality, Zombies, and Vampires (Yantas, Magic, and Gods)

Post by sangi39 » 19 Jan 2018 03:49

gestaltist wrote:
18 Jan 2018 10:25
Loving this, especially this part:
sangi39 wrote:
18 Jan 2018 03:27
The reconnection has to be maintained, with the body continuing to decay, albeit at a slower rate, and the soul does naturally start to "drift".
I'm imagining a half-rotten Genghis-like conqueror ruling over half of Yantas for three centuries with human sacrifices all over the place.
Ooo, I hadn't even thought of that. I mean, their ability to actually be killed doesn't decrease, so if they were really, really good at avoiding successful attempts on their lives, then in theory it could happen [:P]


gestaltist wrote:
18 Jan 2018 10:25
What are Kovur? I haven't seen any mention of them before.
Oh, the Kovur are the "second" sapient species on Yantas. I don't bring them up much, but I they do have a very short thread here from 2013 (although the "band" and "gang" stuff is outdated, the rest of it still holds). Effectively they're there as sort of a "those stories of strange looking people in the East are true", sort of like if the Sciapods turned out to not just be mythological. On the other hand, they're also a in-world version of "werewolves", although more grounded in reality. They're bipedal, sapient descendants of wolf-like creatures, in the same way that humans are bipedal, sapient descendants of apes.


gestaltist wrote:
18 Jan 2018 10:25
As an aside, I am a fan of systems requiring ritual. I feel like "doing magic through the power of will" is the current default and it's honestly boring. Sacrifices, weird concoctions, chants, etc., is much more evocative and interesting.
That was the hope, as well as to come up with something consistent... kind of... As I mentioned in the original "magic" thread, it depends hugely on the deity behind it, so in the physical world it might look like certain groups of people, families or individuals might just happen to be super good at bending reality to their will, but the deity can't just do that. They do need belief behind them.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.

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Re: Magic and Gods on Yantas

Post by sangi39 » 19 Jan 2018 04:32

gestaltist wrote:
22 Nov 2017 10:25
I like this idea. If you go with it, a byproduct of historiography will be generation of deities, which is quite original.

One thing you might want to think about: to what extent is the "soul" affected by the contents of their connection to the real world. E.g., if a cruel tyrant starts an empire and is whitewashed by later generations of historians, will his divine form be more like he was in life, or more like what people remember him as.
Took me long enough to notice this post [:P]

It's a damn good question. Initially, I'd say that what's happening there is a) belief that that person existed, but b) belief in a different "version" of that person takes over. Honestly, I'm not sure how that might be resolved. On the one hand, people are definitely remembering their name. On the other hand, they aren't remembering who they actually were.

My initial thought is that the original personality of the deceased wouldn't be directly affected by changes in perception of the deceased (if they change at all, then it would be a conscious effort in response to changes in perception). So if you've got this complete and utter sadist who's remembered for centuries after his death, and he managed to hold on for a bit, then all of a sudden people start thinking "huh, maybe he was actually all right, look at all the lovely mooses". He'd have two choices (at least), a) keep on being a malevolent spirit, or b) actually start "being nice".

What I'd imagine would happen is that a "nice" version of him would arise from the magical field through mere belief, which he then has to compete with. Either change and survive, or be out-competed by the newer, more popular version of youself.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.

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Re: Magic and Gods on Yantas

Post by Ànradh » 20 Jan 2018 02:43

I love that idea.
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Re: Magic and Gods on Yantas

Post by Salmoneus » 22 Jan 2018 14:57

sangi39 wrote:
19 Jan 2018 04:32
Initially, I'd say that what's happening there is a) belief that that person existed, but b) belief in a different "version" of that person takes over. Honestly, I'm not sure how that might be resolved. On the one hand, people are definitely remembering their name. On the other hand, they aren't remembering who they actually were.
...
What I'd imagine would happen is that a "nice" version of him would arise from the magical field through mere belief, which he then has to compete with. Either change and survive, or be out-competed by the newer, more popular version of youself.
This seems philosophically troubling. You are implicitly comparing this case where our "memory" of someone isn't "who they actually were" but of another "version" of them.... with presumably some case where our "memory" of someone IS "who they actually were" and NOT "a different version". This doesn't immediately seem sustainable to me. Surely all remembering is misremembering?

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Re: Magic and Gods on Yantas

Post by gestaltist » 22 Jan 2018 15:15

Salmoneus wrote:
22 Jan 2018 14:57
sangi39 wrote:
19 Jan 2018 04:32
Initially, I'd say that what's happening there is a) belief that that person existed, but b) belief in a different "version" of that person takes over. Honestly, I'm not sure how that might be resolved. On the one hand, people are definitely remembering their name. On the other hand, they aren't remembering who they actually were.
...
What I'd imagine would happen is that a "nice" version of him would arise from the magical field through mere belief, which he then has to compete with. Either change and survive, or be out-competed by the newer, more popular version of youself.
This seems philosophically troubling. You are implicitly comparing this case where our "memory" of someone isn't "who they actually were" but of another "version" of them.... with presumably some case where our "memory" of someone IS "who they actually were" and NOT "a different version". This doesn't immediately seem sustainable to me. Surely all remembering is misremembering?
The way I understood it is that memory/belief creates deities, and the "original" deity would remain due to latent belief/memory, and a new one emerges due to the new, incompatible belief.

But I agree it requires some thought: everybody believes/remembers things differently. Are deities really beings or is there some universal "belief field" upon which people's beliefs are impressed and this belief field radiates back somehow?

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Re: Magic and Gods on Yantas

Post by sangi39 » 23 Jan 2018 18:10

Hmmm, good point... To the laboratory!!!
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.

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Re: Magic, Gods and Religion on Yantas

Post by sangi39 » 06 Dec 2018 17:27

So I got to thinking about, as per usual, how death might be handled on Yantas, more specifically amongst people living in the Kusan Empire (or at least in some Kusan society in general at some point), and I'm going to try and pull together the ideas that have been going through my head, hopefully in some sort of coherent way:

1) Humans are composite: The Kusan perceive the human body to be a composite of five "elements", a) the bones are represented "wood", forming the stronger framework around which the body is built, b) the flesh is represented as "earth", like clay which is moulded around the bones, c) the blood is represented as "water", flowing through the body, d) the "soul"/"spirit" is represented as "fire", keeping the body warm and active, and e) "breath"/"life" is represented as "air", keeping the fire lit, with the chest acting almost like bellows.

2) Upon death, the body breaks down: When a person dies, they stop breathing, so that's "air" or "life" gone (so here we see "life" as distinct from "soul"), but this means this also means that the "fire" or "spirit" also begins to "die" (it's believed that the human spirit never actually dies in Kusan culture, but we'll get onto that). As the body rots, the water (blood), the earth (the flesh), and the wood (the bones), slowly begin to return to the earth, but...

3) The soul is trapped: The body decays slowly, and because of this the fire/soul remains trapped and begins to "rot" in a similar way. Lingering around death, without the air in body, the fire begins to become "impure", so it needs to be let out, which is where cremation comes into it..

4) Corpses are cremated: To release the soul, the body is burnt, which reignites the flame and allows the spirit to rise out of the physical body and up into the air, towards the sun (in many areas, cremations are predominantly held between sunrise and noon). The remains (ash and burnt bone) are then placed in a jar, which is then buried in a wooded area, normally a specific area (in some areas, the blood is drained from the body before cremation as well, and poured into a river). Through this process, the body is broken down into its composite parts, which are all then returned to where they came from.



Running water (rivers, streams, waterfalls, etc.) are considered to be purifying, as are standing flames. "Inanimate" water (in the form of lakes, seas, oceans) is largely considered to be a collection point for impurities that have accumulated in the running water that feeds it (the major exception are water sources, which are considered "pure". Fish, as a result of this, are largely considered to be "impure" and avoided as something to eat.

Fire in all of its forms are referred to as "purifying", but fire in a destructive form is still considered something to be avoided (nobody wants a lamp falling over and burning there house down, but it will be rationalised by a local priest as "well maybe you annoyed the gods or something, pay attention to the way you're living your life").

Temples, as places to worship, are most often built around a central fire located on the highest point within the area. In a lot of places, temples are built on artificially raised foundations on top of this, raising the temple higher into the sky and closer to the sun (by extension, temples are predominantly located towards the eastern areas of settlement, closer to the rising sun). Something like a temple, like a ritual bath house, are located on the banks of the nearest river, spring or waterfall.

Temples are most often attended earlier in the day, when the sun is at its "strongest", while bath houses are attended at dawn and at dusk (removing the impurities gathered over night before attending the temple, and the impurities gathered during the day's work).

Most houses contain a hearth at the very, very least which, like the temple, is located on the eastern side of the house, although in increasingly wealthier households, this hearth becomes a separate "home shrine" and in the wealthiest of houses a separate room within the house (the very wealthiest of families extend this trend to a separate wing of the house). Cooking meat in a fire in and of itself is considered an act of sacrifice to the gods and spirits, with the fire/spirit of the animal being release upwards as the meat is cooked. In households which can afford a separate shrine/temple-room, a portion of this meat is placed within the shrine and cooked there, instead of on the main hearth, and then shared as part of the usual meal, although eaten first.

Similarly, most houses contain some sort of water store, for the purpose of washing the body. The water must be running, though, so washing is often a family activity, the head of the household pouring water for the rest of the family to wash under, after which the head of the household will have water poured over themselves by the family as well. In this activity, the head of the household fills in the role of the priest (or the priest fills in the role of household heads at bath houses).

Wooded areas are considered meeting places between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead (the trees reaching out from the earth and into the air, bridging the two), and this is where shrines to the ancestors as a whole will most often be found. Stones are often places above where cremated remains are buried, and depending on the social standing of the individual in life, these can vary from a small stone pile near the edge of the forest to a large stone pile in the interior. Generally speaking, though, these stone piles go unmarked. Nothing is present saying "here lies X", and instead it is up to the memory of the individual to find the place their ancestors are buried. (I think over time this might mean that larger piles might grow even larger, while smaller piles might end up getting forgotten about and possibly have their stones moved from place to place as people just steal from their piles).



I think this idea of purity, cremation, and attitudes towards fish (and other water-dwelling creatures), might lead to some impact on how the Kusan treat the bodies of enemies (instead of letting them come and collect their dead, they might just take them and cremate them separately to stop their spirits rotting, coming back and cursing the land), and how class might end up being viewed (if you live on the coast and you have to eat fish, then how might the social elite view you and your family?), as well as travel by boat, especially for long journeys (and what happens if someone dies on board?).
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.

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Re: Magic, Gods and Religion on Yantas

Post by eldin raigmore » 07 Dec 2018 04:55

@sangi: to my mind that all hangs together unusually well!

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Re: Magic, Gods and Religion on Yantas

Post by gestaltist » 07 Dec 2018 11:17

A great, coherent philosophy, congrats.

One question: is this how things really are on Yantas or is this just a set of beliefs of one culture? If the latter, how does it correspond to reality? If the former, I'd imagine every culture would only get a part of the equation right.

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Re: Magic, Gods and Religion on Yantas

Post by elemtilas » 08 Dec 2018 01:07

I concur. You present a very well thought out and cohesive description of a beautifully conceived system!

I see resonances with aspects of beliefs in The World and echoes of primary world religious belief. It stands on its own, and it does so lovely!

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Re: Magic, Gods and Religion on Yantas

Post by sangi39 » 09 Dec 2018 01:06

eldin raigmore wrote:
07 Dec 2018 04:55
@sangi: to my mind that all hangs together unusually well!
Thanks [:D]


gestaltist wrote:
07 Dec 2018 11:17
A great, coherent philosophy, congrats.

One question: is this how things really are on Yantas or is this just a set of beliefs of one culture? If the latter, how does it correspond to reality? If the former, I'd imagine every culture would only get a part of the equation right.
I'd imagine that they've pretty much got the concept of a "spirit" that lives on after physical death right, and communication with those spirits, and gods of course, being a thing you can do. The specifics, though, like the five elements, probably way off [:P] I'm not sure about the cremation thing, though. I quite like the idea of a person's beliefs affecting the way their spirit behaves after death. So, maybe if they do believe that they need to be cremated or their soul will rot, will actually mean having their soul "rot" if they don't get cremated.


elemtilas wrote:
08 Dec 2018 01:07
I concur. You present a very well thought out and cohesive description of a beautifully conceived system!

I see resonances with aspects of beliefs in The World and echoes of primary world religious belief. It stands on its own, and it does so lovely!

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Thanks [:)] I don't know how much influence I took from what real-world cultures (this mostly started as a random thought in the shower), but the fact it came together at all is a positive.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.

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Re: Magic, Gods and Religion on Yantas

Post by elemtilas » 10 Dec 2018 01:25

sangi39 wrote:
09 Dec 2018 01:06
Thanks [:)] I don't know how much influence I took from what real-world cultures (this mostly started as a random thought in the shower), but the fact it came together at all is a positive.
That's where some of the best ideas happen!

Also where many of those ideas fail to get written down...
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If we stuff the whole chicken back into the egg, will all our problems go away? --- Wandalf of Angera

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