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Gods are powerful beings which normally exist in heaven, a place outside of the World. Communication with these beings forms one of the fundimental activities of theurgy.

Nobody claims to know who all the gods are, or even how many there are. Priests and theurgists will generally develop relationships with a certain selection. These may either be ones they were introduced to by their masters during apprenticeship or ones they've come across on their own one way or another. While some gods are clearly more powerful than others theurgists have found it impolite to rank them, instead ranking the incantations and invocations which call them by degree of difficulty.

Laymen virtually never bother with learning the names of specific gods, since only theurgists can rely on getting a specific deity's attention. Usually prayers are directed to categories of gods or any god who might be listening, to increase the chances of reaching someone.

There's no ruling hierarchy of gods. Some are obviously more important and powerful than others but there's no king, queen, or central group. The gods are assumed to be anarchists; after all, since they're incapable of evil and are believed to be unable to even lie they have no use for law enforcement. Such beings don't need public works and with certain peculiar exceptions they don't use money, so they don't have taxes or coinage or tariffs. The gods conduct no trade, so they don't need regulations. Thus Ethsharites just don't see any reason gods would need a government and the gods have made no indication that they have one.

In practice, the gods are seen as well-intentioned but detached and whimsical, with little understanding of mortal existence. It is a known fact that any time you talk to the gods there's a good chance demons will listen in. Dealing with gods is therefore seen as something best left to the experts. Even those who use proper means to communicate with the gods can offend them and find they are unable to call upon them for aid in the future. The consequences of this offence vary; refusing to honor a bargain may lead to the god withdrawing protection over the individual and their family, while failing to maintain a shrine might cause other misfortune. Unlike demons, gods generally do not act directly or violently.

Gods percieve the World differently from humans. For example they recognize humans by their souls, not their physical shape. Because of this they do not recognize some magicians as human. This is particularly true of wizards with their split souls. During the Calling they similarly did not recognize warlocks as humans because their own energy was overwhelmed by the otherworldy energy of the Call which they were channeling. Demonology can similarly render people invisible to some gods, by tainting their own energy until they no longer "appear" or "smell" human. The gods frequently percieve such things by their effects, but not directly- wizardry being a large example of this. The gods cannot provide any information regarding wizard spells and very little information regarding wizardry itself. For this reason the gods generally deny the existence of spriggans.

While the gods are known to reside in heaven, the actual nature of this space is something of a mystery. It is believed to be above the World, with light shining through the floor to make stars.

There's a rather uncomfortable, widespread, but rarely-mentioned belief among the magicians of Ethshar that some gods and demons died in the course of the Great War, and some talents and powers were therefore lost forever.[1]

The gods can set conditions before granting boons, but they cannot refuse a correctly-performed invocation. Gods either do or do not. There is no persuading or negotiating; either you tell them to do something and they do it, or nothing you can do will make them do it. They have no free will. When they are asked to do something it doesn’t mean they have a choice — if you ask, and it’s something they CAN and MAY do, they will do it. [1]

See Category:God for a partial list of dieties.

  1. Tue 19 Oct 2010 01:57:11a sff.people.lwe post titled Re: Vond Draining Lumeth Source