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What exactly makes your religions unique?

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In Bendarith, in the Kingdom of Feridia, they believe that in the beginning there were only the falcon gods - a father and his 3 children. The king was incredibly tyrannical, and so his children overthrew him and killed him. As a result, marriages in Feridia usually have three people in them to represent the unity of the three gods.

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they believe that in the beginning there were only the falcon gods

 

So... is it true?  Are there the three kids of the father falcon god out there in your world somewhere?

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That's a more difficult question than it seems at first glance. 

 

I like to think that my religions in my novels are unique, but there's no guarantee that some other fantasy author hasn't come up with similar concepts at some point.  Nothing new under the sun, remember?

 

All of my deities are involved to a degree with their worshippers.  Some take a keen personal interest, whereas others only intervene in times of extreme need.  It is a deity's duty to answer every single prayer and there's a cautionary tale about that.  The God Baejaal left a prayer unanswered, which led to his worshippers abandoning him, his temples being left to fall into ruin and his name being forgotten.  Over time, he became known as the God of Lost Causes, the last hope of desperate people who have nothing left to lose.  He learned his lesson, but is seldom worshippped anymore. 

 

Most of my deities are elemental - fire, air, water, earth, darkness, etc.  I also have a Goddess of Justice, a Goddess of Wisdom, a Goddess of Sorcery, a God of Knowledge, a Goddess of Technology and a Goddess of the Beyond.

 

There's no hard and fast rule as to who worships which deities, although the elementals tend to be worshipped by those who live in harmony with the land.  I also made the Goddess of Air be the go-to deity for writers, artists and gamblers.  Academic types worship Knowledge and Wisdom.  Everyone has need of the Goddess of the Beyond and they pray to her to keep their deceased loved ones safe in their next life.

 

The Goddess of Technology started out as an ordinary human woman but there was a need to unite four planets against hostile invaders, so a new deity was created to bring them together and to make them see the need for using technology, both for information gathering and for weapon manufacture. 

 

As to whether they're unique, I've no idea.  I can only hope that readers enjoy them. 

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they believe that in the beginning there were only the falcon gods

 

So... is it true?  Are there the three kids of the father falcon god out there in your world somewhere?

Yes, all the gods of the religion in the world exist, but some try to hide away more than others. All are reclusive, though.

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Yes, all the gods of the religion in the world exist, but some try to hide away more than others. All are reclusive, though.

 

...because I was wondering if one of the more unique things I've done with a fantasy world religion, is create one that worships gods that don't exist within that fantasy world (which doesn't actually have any 'real' gods... although the world itself has a soul, so I guess maybe you could count that as a 'god' if you really wanted to?), and then I went and built an entire "zodiac" based fortune-telling system for that religion, that naturally doesn't actually work -- although the believers think that it does, because its 'fortunes' are so wonderfully vague.  Fortune-telling can be sneaky that way. 

 

My 'standard' fantasy world has gods, but for long-background-story reasons the ability of all but one of them to interfere in the world has been strictly limited.  So... not a lot of prayers being answered—Xanxa's gods would be outraged.  :)

 

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One of my religions, the one is Asiah, isn't too unique on it's own. What I think makes it unique is that the nations that share the religion all view it differently. (This might not be that unique, I've just never seen it in much fantasy before). For example, the first human made in this religion is a woman known as the Paladin, is described as "perfect" by the texts they have. The Erreans portray her as beautiful in all images; beautiful features and elegant postures and grace nothing could compare to. Valin are the other main culture in the story and they always thought of the Paladin as completely average on the outside and the texts refer to her personality as "perfect" (So she's strong, and kind, and generous, and fierce, etc.)

 

My current project's major religion says that the gods are dead. There is no doubt about. The gods are dead and humans physically killed them. It's partially a basis for the caste system that the world uses. Whether the gods were evil or neglectful or some ambitious human just decided they weren't needed anymore, I don't know. I've only been working on this for a few days.

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So... not a lot of prayers being answered—Xanxa's gods would be outraged.  :)

R

 

Indeed they would!  Divine Justice would be visited upon them by ... stating the obvious here ... Iraevesh the Goddess of Justice! 

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My current project's major religion says that the gods are dead. There is no doubt about. The gods are dead and humans physically killed them. I

 

Interesting concept - humans killing Gods.  Must have taken some doing.  I'm intrigued to know how humans could manage that. 

 

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SecretRock[/member] if you'd like a suggestion of a book series I suggest Trudi Canavan's Age of Five Trilogy (the first one is called Priestess of the White). There was also a huge god war pre-series which leaves them with five left, which one character says is some of the worst who survived.

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SecretRock[/member] if you'd like a suggestion of a book series I suggest Trudi Canavan's Age of Five Trilogy (the first one is called Priestess of the White). There was also a huge god war pre-series which leaves them with five left, which one character says is some of the worst who survived.

 

Sounds interesting! I'll check it out when I have time.

 

My current project's major religion says that the gods are dead. There is no doubt about. The gods are dead and humans physically killed them. I

 

Interesting concept - humans killing Gods.  Must have taken some doing.  I'm intrigued to know how humans could manage that.

 

So far I have two ideas. One is that the gods were just very powerful magicians, one specialising in each branch of magic, or just ageless instead of immortal. That means they could easily be defeated by anyone smart enough or overwhelmed by numbers. The other is that the gods' physical forms were defeated but their "energies" or something similar live on. They might regain their physical forms but it will take a while so they can't interact with mortals anymore so they're perceived as dead.

I might not ever expand on this within the story though. Since the gods were killed, they became more of an Aesop than a religion.

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SecretRock[/member] if you'd like a suggestion of a book series I suggest Trudi Canavan's Age of Five Trilogy (the first one is called Priestess of the White). There was also a huge god war pre-series which leaves them with five left, which one character says is some of the worst who survived.

 

Agreed.  This is an awesome series.  I love Trudi Canavan.  She has written some amazing books.  I should re-read it while I'm waiting for her next book to be released. 

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Quote from: Xanxa on October 07, 2017, 07:33:35 PM

 

    Quote from: SecretRock on October 05, 2017, 03:20:23 PM

 

        My current project's major religion says that the gods are dead. There is no doubt about. The gods are dead and humans physically killed them. I

 

 

    Interesting concept - humans killing Gods.  Must have taken some doing.  I'm intrigued to know how humans could manage that.

 

 

So far I have two ideas. One is that the gods were just very powerful magicians, one specialising in each branch of magic, or just ageless instead of immortal. That means they could easily be defeated by anyone smart enough or overwhelmed by numbers. The other is that the gods' physical forms were defeated but their "energies" or something similar live on. They might regain their physical forms but it will take a while so they can't interact with mortals anymore so they're perceived as dead.

I might not ever expand on this within the story though. Since the gods were killed, they became more of an Aesop than a religion.

 

Both of these make sense to me.  I have Ascended Masters who are basically humans who were made immortal by the Gods.  They exist as pure energy but can take mortal form at times.  When they first ascend, they have to learn how to use their new powers, so a newly ascended being would find it difficult to maintain a corporeal form.  In fact, there's not a great deal of difference between a deity and an Ascended Master in my universe.  It's only that the Gods are worshipped and the Ascended Masters aren't. 

 

It seems like we're working with simiilar concepts here.  I also have deities who no longer exist, such as Martius the Warrior God.  I haven't explained how he ceased to exist, but I refer in passing to the fact that Gods of War are no longer worshipped due to a new climate of peace-making in the universe after the Maker and the Goddess of Technology united the four main planets against the hostile invaders. 

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If I'm doing a project with a setting loosely based on a culture in real history, I tend to base their religion on whatever religion that culture practiced. For instance, if my setting is based on ancient Egypt, their religion would be based on the Egyptian pantheon. The more I diverge from the historical basis, the more about the religion (and other facets of the culture) I get to make up.

 

That said, I've long been partial to the idea of a sun goddess as a creator figure believed to have given birth to the world. It makes a lot of sense when you consider the "solar nebula" theory of our own solar system's origins.

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I have my own rather skewed religious beliefs that play a part in my world, but the main religion in my series is strongly based on Catholicism. The only thing that (may) make it unique is that they actively support the idea of magic and even go so far as to control it- ie, if you are not trained by the Church to use your magic, you are Rogue or Fallen and therefore automatically evil or in violation of the law. The Church pretty much runs the world with an iron fist, doing away with entire kingdoms when they don't like what they're doing, but they're sneaky about it- causing dissention and distrust to make the people turn against the ruling families.

 

The people in my world believe that five angel of their Lord Sulis came from the heavens to chase away the Endless Winter and bring warmth and life back to he world. The basic idea is that God (basic Christianity God) likes to experiment with life and starts it on different worlds, encouraging religion in different ways to see what happens. He is trying to create the perfect religion, one that doesn't get corrupted by humans. (That goes very badly on this world.) There is a devil character and I suppose a Jesus character? But she doesn't show up until the end. And I guess what would make it a little more unique is that the truth of everything is based on my own ideas of things like the devil really isn't evil (angels don't have freewill, ergo, God made him that way and/or he was only following God's orders) and some gender swapping.

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The lack of gods.  Or anything even god-like. Or even the concept of gods. One of my big pet peeves with a lot of fantasy is the frequency of gods coming and intervening and fixing things. Or when someone accuses you of having a plothole because there is nominally a god in your world (even if they never speak to the protagonist, even if there's no account of them ever having manifested to anyone, let alone directly intervened anywhere for several millennia, just...someone people believe in) and that god does not come down and fix it personally. So there are just no gods in the shamanistic, nature-worshiping, animistic religions of my world. When they're communing with nature, it's not the goddess of rivers or the skygod, it's...well...that tree, that river, that rock.

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Yeah, I have nothing involving gods in my writing, either. I've never been interested in writing religion in my stories, and quite frankly...I don't even do much with religion in real life, so I think that's largely why.

 

I could possibly have more to say about this when I'm not so tired.

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In one of my worlds with a more firmly thought out religion, it's...well, you could call their beliefs hijacked. They live with very powerful beings who are fueled/created by/embody/create nature.

 

Basically, it's the concept that everything has a spirit, but that "spirit" has a certain symbiosis with their area. It gives them power, sometimes great power, but because they are also their own individuals, that means they can increase their power on their own, and even influence or shape the regions they're connected to. They can also leave it to go wandering. And they can have families and even be killed; they're not immortal, and upon their death the power will either birth a new spirit or pass to a one of the spirit's family (or many). It...gets complicated.

 

But, they're still able to kick human ass all over the map.

 

Humans followed the normal pattern--wars for territory, etc, but the empire fell into factions, with the noble houses having their own standing armies and the emperor holding the reins practically in name only. The battles between the noble houses were constant and destructive and not just to the humans, so the "spirits" got pissed and made the emperor a deal--they'd put everything back in order and back him as the highest human authority if he'd in turn back them as the highest authority, period.

 

People had already worshiped these spirits, but now they actually coexisted with them, worshiping them as minor gods who protected and cared for various areas of land. Any notion they'd previously had of any other type of gods sort of...faded away. Now they have only the spirits.

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Yeah, I have nothing involving gods in my writing, either. I've never been interested in writing religion in my stories, and quite frankly...I don't even do much with religion in real life, so I think that's largely why.

 

I probably should have been a little clearer on this. I have a plot involving a state religion, the religion it pushed out of public acceptance, and another race's indigenous religion that's even more taboo where they live among that population. And there are no gods. It's not like it's not there or way in the background. It's the basis of the political argument that forms the spine of the plot. And there are no gods.

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Mythology of the world is the basis of my 2018 NaNo Story.

 

I haven't actually gotten down to the worshiping part, so I'm not sure what makes my world's RELIGION unique.

 

But the deities are confirmed as real within the story, though that's complicated because the person telling the story used to be one of the Gods from a Universe that is now destroyed.  I haven't even touched on the religion/mythology/divinity of the world she's currently in.  (Sorry if that sounds confusing.) 

 

Anyhow, the Gods didn't knowingly create humans, as they do in many stories.  Rather, the humans are descended from Gods.  It  turns out that the power of the divine can only be stretched so far, and when they started having children past the range of the 'Divine Spread' the results were mortal children.  So the worship of the Gods is also the worship of their ancestors.

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For me, it's that the nomads of the desert, usually regarded as savages, got it right.  They believe that "heaven" is inhabited by giant versions of the ferocious arthropods they have in the desert, and that if you die doing great deeds you might go there; otherwise oblivion.  I mean, they're not 100% right, but they're oddly close.

 

Otherwise, in a world with various magical anomalies and "spirits", a kind of spirit-worship akin to traditional Shinto or the Roman religion has arisen.  Also Buddhism.  Lots of Buddhism, but then it's derived from Buddhism imported from our world.

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In my WIPs, religion is a bit of an unknown. All the protagonist knows is that by looking for signs in natural occurrences, one can receive and decode messages, and that by sending up prayers, one can - alledgedly - manipulate the natural world in small but significant ways. She hasn't really come across many priests and the only church she's been involved is a whackjob fringe sect that pursues her. But as she goes through her journey, she discovers some shortcuts of the soothsayer trade, and she is definitely conscious that there is a powerful and unseen entity, and while she doesn't know what it is, she is curious about it. So - my religion is unique in that it is not entirely clear what it is about; we discover it alongside the MC.

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I don't really strive for uniqueness if I'm being honest.

 

The religion of my protagonist is a chaotic blend of Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Egyptian paganism, and traditional Tibetan faiths.

 

His tribal people worship the Xodan, who is believed to be the gestalt consciousness of all their past rulers back to their mythical first king, Sardar. They believe that after uniting the tribes under his banner, Sardar descended into the underworld and usurped the Xodayan Kohan, the animal-headed old gods, claiming for himself the throne of Shagal.

 

Nobles also worship their ancestors, with whom they believe their consciousness will meld upon the hour of their death. These ancestors, called Maniya, protect their descendants from the evils of the world and are said to have significant influence over the lives of mortal men. They serve the Xodan as his court, and vie with one another for power and influence in the underworld.

 

Occasionally peasants will also worship the ancestors of the feudal lords who rule the land they work, believing that their noble ancestors will bless the land with a rich harvest and protect them as they protect their descendants.

 

Everybody worships the Xodayan Kohan despite their usurpation by Sardar. They represent concepts like luck, fertility, and plague while also serving as the embodiments of the sun, moon, and planets. They are depicted either as humans with the heads of animals or as outright animals. Some strains of this religion teach vegetarianism as a result of this belief, claiming that every animal is kin to the divine and that it is not man's place to taste their flesh.

 

It's common practice for duelist, travelers, and anyone undertaking a venture which includes a significant degree of risk to wrap ivory depictions of the elephant goddess Pyl, She Who Clears the Way, in between the layers of their leg wraps or within the folds of their sashes. They believe the practice brings them luck.

 

None of these things are unique. I stole them all from somewhere. Tibetan pagans, for instance, allegedly believed that their rulers became one with their sky god when they died. Ancestor worship is widely practiced throughout China. Animal headed gods is obviously a nod to ancient Egypt.

 

It's the execution that matters, not the ideas themselves.

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That's so cool, Somaq[/member]! Writers are all thieves by nature, but it's turning the little seeds of ideas pulled from everywhere into something new and different that's important. I love all your little details. I can see some of the inspiration you pulled from, but also that you've shaped it into something special for your world.

 

bdcharles[/member], sounds like your mythology is somewhat akin to my own beliefs. That's pretty neat. I like that the mythos will be explored and uncovered in your work.

 

I've struggled a bit with the mythos for my world. It's changed a lot over time. The only really solid concept I have going right now is that reincarnation is real and that people can study Auramancy, which can be used to read past lives and even help someone reawaken memories of their past lives.

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Uniqueness isn't something I'm trying for, but something I hope to hit along the way. For me its more about consistency and having the religions work within the setting in a plausible way.

 

My current setting has many gods, and came about as me trying to reconcile science and magic. There was the big bang, and in addition to all the bits and pieces that eventually formed suns and planets and galaxies, there was an energy, like magic, that grants consciousness. This energy accreted into the gods, with kind of a background radiation of bits of this magic that are pulled into humans etc in the womb, giving them consciousness. Kind of like soul energy, but I'm not using that word here.

 

There are as many gods as there are stars, but only a couple dozen (as story purposes require) are present on the planet my story is set on. Being a fantasy, I'm only dealing with one, maybe two continents though, so it being a planet is irrelevant. I'm getting off track. 

 

The gods each have a realm of influence. There was war early on when life was developing on this world, the gods developed alongside humanity and took on traits and realms of influence based on the development in society. The wars came as gods wanted the same realms of influence (and the resulting adulation from the mortal population). Gods were killed, or more accurately, disassembled or splintered. Energy can't be destroyed, so the energy that made up the gods was released. Some reformed into smaller gods, other gods took on some of the free energy to become more powerful. Eventually the fighting petered out and territories were established.

 

The gods also have an area of effect. There is a small handful that encompass the entire planet, like the god of death, who ushers souls into the afterlife, and there are some that span continents, like the goddess of healing. There are also many smaller gods who act as patrons for cities or countries. It goes to even tinier gods that rule over just a forest or a particular river. This area of effect means their priests can't use the powers their gods give them outside this territory. Inside the territory the gods can hear whenever someone invokes them. They are like an energy field most of the time, but can concentrate their mind into one place at a time to appear physically.

 

To prevent more fighting over worship and territories they have agreed to a treaty, stating that if any god tries to encroach on the territory of another, all gods are required to band together to defeat the offending god. This hasn't stopped backroom deals and infighting thought.

 

This treaty also led to the rise of a god, made up of broken fragments of the defeated gods, who polices this treaty. His followers act as bounty hunters, bringing in priests who have broken their oath to their own god, and those who threaten the treaty, either by interfering with the practices of other priests, or who try to destroy the treaty in other ways.

 

Not all gods have priests and temples, but most at least have a shrine. Some gods grant their followers certain powers, like followers of the goddess of healing can heal wounds, whereas the gods that act as patrons for cities may invest the city guard with some extra stamina, but not much beyond that. Varies from god to god.

 

This ended up long and rambley, whoops! But I enjoy talking about this system so hopefully someone else will find it interesting too.

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Uniqueness isn't something I'm trying for, but something I hope to hit along the way. For me its more about consistency and having the religions work within the setting in a plausible way.

 

My current setting has many gods, and came about as me trying to reconcile science and magic. There was the big bang, and in addition to all the bits and pieces that eventually formed suns and planets and galaxies, there was an energy, like magic, that grants consciousness. This energy accreted into the gods, with kind of a background radiation of bits of this magic that are pulled into humans etc in the womb, giving them consciousness. Kind of like soul energy, but I'm not using that word here.

 

There are as many gods as there are stars, but only a couple dozen (as story purposes require) are present on the planet my story is set on. Being a fantasy, I'm only dealing with one, maybe two continents though, so it being a planet is irrelevant. I'm getting off track. 

 

The gods each have a realm of influence. There was war early on when life was developing on this world, the gods developed alongside humanity and took on traits and realms of influence based on the development in society. The wars came as gods wanted the same realms of influence (and the resulting adulation from the mortal population). Gods were killed, or more accurately, disassembled or splintered. Energy can't be destroyed, so the energy that made up the gods was released. Some reformed into smaller gods, other gods took on some of the free energy to become more powerful. Eventually the fighting petered out and territories were established.

 

The gods also have an area of effect. There is a small handful that encompass the entire planet, like the god of death, who ushers souls into the afterlife, and there are some that span continents, like the goddess of healing. There are also many smaller gods who act as patrons for cities or countries. It goes to even tinier gods that rule over just a forest or a particular river. This area of effect means their priests can't use the powers their gods give them outside this territory. Inside the territory the gods can hear whenever someone invokes them. They are like an energy field most of the time, but can concentrate their mind into one place at a time to appear physically.

 

To prevent more fighting over worship and territories they have agreed to a treaty, stating that if any god tries to encroach on the territory of another, all gods are required to band together to defeat the offending god. This hasn't stopped backroom deals and infighting thought.

 

This treaty also led to the rise of a god, made up of broken fragments of the defeated gods, who polices this treaty. His followers act as bounty hunters, bringing in priests who have broken their oath to their own god, and those who threaten the treaty, either by interfering with the practices of other priests, or who try to destroy the treaty in other ways.

 

Not all gods have priests and temples, but most at least have a shrine. Some gods grant their followers certain powers, like followers of the goddess of healing can heal wounds, whereas the gods that act as patrons for cities may invest the city guard with some extra stamina, but not much beyond that. Varies from god to god.

 

This ended up long and rambley, whoops! But I enjoy talking about this system so hopefully someone else will find it interesting too.

 

I really like the idea of the God that polices the treaty being made up of fragments of other gods, and that his(?) followers are bounty hunters.  That feels very particular to your story/world, and it just FITS. :)

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