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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Erythnul, the Many

    Part of my ongoing series on the mythology of my world, where my goal was to take "classic" D&D gods and remake them into more complete religious ideologies people might actually want to worship. (See Wee Jas, Corellon Larethian, Nerull, Olidammara, Hextor, Lolth, The Deep Ones)

    Also, intended to be readable in any order, and for it to be easy to transplant individual parts into other settings.

    Erythnul, the Many

    I TOLD YOU TO TEAR AWAY THEIR MASKS
    THE MASKS THEY WEAR TO HIDE THEMSELVES
    THAT THEY MIGHT SEE THE TRUTH
    THAT THEIR TRUE SELVES WOULD ALLOW THEM TO TRULY LIVE

    - Erythnul, from the epic poem "Estherian Odyssey"

    Expanded Domains: Chaos, Competition, Destruction, Envy, Evil, Gluttony, Healing, Knowledge, Madness, Mentalism, Passion, Planning, Suffering, Travel, Trickery, Vile Darkness, War, Wrath
    Portfolio: Slaughter, Aggression, Anarchy, Passion, Transgression (including things like the genre of Transgressive Art), Unfettered Invention, "Battle Trances," Ecstasy, "Fighting Spirit," Mercenaries, Extreme Personalities, Evolution, Violence, Psychology, Psychological Warfare, Hydras
    Theme: https://listenonrepeat.com/?v=L9pDhn...sturbed_Lyrics, https://listenonrepeat.com/?v=cCT491..._Dance_Parte_C

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 10:
    Erythnul is not merely a god of war so much as he is an amalgam of conflict itself, comprised of its horrific elements through the fractal perspective of a million psyches. It is said that she was once an unparalleled mercenary army employed by Hextor to kill the old god of fire before Joramy, before everything went horribly wrong.

    He is sometimes said to walk battlefields where ghosts are not laid to rest, inviting those consumed by conflict to become part of her. It is also said that the feeling of "battle trance" or "seeing red" that many experience during battle is a result of Eryhtnul's power.

    In prose, Erythnul is alternatingly referred to by "he" and "she." Erythnul is both male and female, and speaks with a thousand voices. He also is a creature of all races (including sapient, non-sapient, material and extraplanar) which engage in warfare, simultaneously. Erythnul's diverse depictions in art attempt to capture this multifaceted nature. Her symbol is the spiral, representing evolution.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 15:
    Erythnul was originally a host of unparalleled mercenaries employed by Hextor to kill the old god of fire (the one before Joramy). Fire is a tempestuous force, and the god had succumbed to madness... and nobody really wanted to clean up the aftermath of a supervolcano. However, everything went wrong, leading to a conflict of grand scale which ended an era and created a monster.

    Erythnul feels an affectionate kinship with the common man, seeing the potential for war and slaughter deep within every heart.

    Erythnul's... extreme nature may lead many to believe he is little more than a slavering beast, but in truth he is deeply intelligent, and a master planner capable of pulling off highly complex operations without a hitch... except for the hitches she desires. In myths, Erythnul is known to cause grand tragedies simply from being able to talk to someone, and his portfolio includes psychological warfare. In myths and stories, she is often presented as having a many-tracked mind which still seems to keep everything straight, coming off as mad and brilliant at the same time.

    In fact, Erythnul is a patron of some scientists, particularly fond of unfettered progress in magic and technology unchecked by ethical concerns or worries about what the progress might be used for. He is also a patron of psychology, encouraging us to come to a deeper understanding with our inner selves.

    Erythnul is occasionally hired as a mercenary by the other gods in myths, though this is much like opening Pandora's Box and rarely ends well for anyone involved. Erythnul also sometimes actually provides helpful advice in mythology, helping passionate individuals to realize their full potential or get to the core of their personal problems... though this often leads to extreme personalities.

    Joramy and Hextor are the primary enemies of Erythnul. Hextor regards Erythnul as a grand mistake, while Joramy in particular has an outright murderous disposition towards any who revere Erythnul or follow her principles. Somehow, the fact that fire always seems to twist and hiss at him as if it wants to kill him only makes Erythnul seem to like employing fire more, which drives Joramy up the wall. The fact that Erythnul seems to be embracing the march of technology also drives Joramy up the wall.

    Despite everything, not all of Erythnul's petitioners are evil. Soldiers sometimes offer him prayers to be able to do what they feel they must in war, especially if they are backed into a corner. Artists, scientists, and others passionate about their work also sometimes pay homage to her, as do anarchists.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 20:
    Though not of high divine rank, Erythnul seems to be all but indestructible, and always seems to find a way to regenerate and come back stronger. He seems to be every bit as difficult to fight against as the concept of violence itself, as indeed violence tends to beget violence.

    There used to be a deity named Garl Glittergold, before he tried to play a trick on Erythnul. When Garl realized that Erythnul had seen through the trick and turned it against him to render him vulnerable, it was too late. Nobody is sure exactly what happened to Garl Glittergold.

    Much of Erythnul is caged, deep within a divine prison, but this doesn't seem to stop pieces of her from being everywhere, or even simply working his schemes from behind bars.

    Erythnul's relationship with pronouns reflects the philosophical idea that everyone is Erythnul, and causes stories about her actions to read as if they are the cruelties of a flash mob.

    For many of Erythnul's followers, the philosophy of the church is the philosophy of passions driven to their full potential. They say that we should express our deepest selves, and the deepest selves of others, to their full extent. This can take the form of transgressive art, unbridled scientific invention, passionate devotion to your work, or even serial killers who make artistic exhibitions out of the bodies of their victims (Think half the characters from the Hannibal TV series). Some see the latter as a twisting of Erythnul's gospel, however, and would note that the detective who doesn't let red tape get in the way of serving justice to its full extent and puts everything of themselves into their work is also divine in Erythnul's eyes.

    To a follower of Erythnul, one should not compromise on their vision. We must put our utmost passion into our work. If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music ... Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. Aggression is not just about violence, but about striving to be the best at what you do.

    Many followers of Erythnul are also anarchists, believing that government and bureaucracy stifles human(oid) potential and believing that a wiser, more lively society could be born from the ashes of the old world. Hydras are symbolic not only of Erythnul's form, but also the ideal anarchist world: myriad wills and faces, all a single form with a single purpose.

    To many followers of Erythnul, war is divine not simply because of its violence, but because it is a place where the facade of polite society falls away and our motives become pure and unmitigated by pretensions, masks, or personas we construct to hide our true selves.

    Erythnul disdains "cattle" who act as part of a herd rather than distinguishing themselves. Being part of a collective is not what offends Erythnul (and indeed, Erythnul's form represents this). Instead, it is when the collective is dull and homogenous that Erythnul's ire is raised. Every face must be vivid and distinct.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 25:
    According to the Broken Bell, an anonymous Erythnullan scribe whose pamphlets have been cropping up in slums and academies alike for decades, conventional government inherently limits humanity's potential, for the regulator cannot possess the full talents of all those that he must regulate. The bureaucrat's job requires that he predict what the lives of others will require, but how can a bureaucrat foresee, let alone guide, the art yet to be conceived by others? Law and traditions, by their very nature, cannot keep pace with the rate at which the world changes. The ideal society, he argues, must be unlimited by the boundaries of any single intellect. Its rules must be fluid and emergent, as shifting as the landscape in a flood. Only then can the land reap the flood's bounty.

    Erythnul is said to have been created during the divine war to destroy the old, forgotten god of fire, whom Joramy replaced. Some say that he is the rage of mortal spirits fused together by a divine holocaust, an unintended consequence of the pantheon's efforts which seems to grow throughout the collective unconscious of every mortal race like a cancer threatening to usurp the comfortable divine order.

    Mainstream theology has it that divinity cannot be created or destroyed. However, it can be divided, devoured, hidden, given away, and so forth. So, you can kill a god, destroying their body and identity, but you can't destroy their portfolio or their divine essence. The energy has to and will go somewhere. In the case of Joramy and Erythnul, they inherited parts of the old god of fire (which, like all of the portfolios, had a good deal more than just fire in it).

    Now, usually when you destroy a god's body they die... or, at least, lose their identity. The trouble with Erythnul is that if you split her into two pieces, both pieces will still be Erythnul.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 30:
    Garl Glittergold realized all too late: Erythnul has no Truename.

    The Cerendine Prophecy claims that the final conflict for the fate of civilization will be brought on by the advance of mortal knowledge, and that should Erythnul prove victorious the world will be engulfed in a great cataclysm, and she will rule over those that people its ashes unchallenged. It is said that the only way to win this war against Erythnul is to never fight it, and that we must resist the urge of Joramy to simply destroy evil with fire.

    Organization: Enigma, the Agents of the Unseen Slaughter

    Enigma is a loose coalition of agents of pure viciousness and anarchy, intent on burning all civilization to the ground and creating something altogether new. These insidious individuals have learned the way society works... and are intent on seeing it tear itself apart by its own forces.

    Rather than openly cause chaos, Enigma generally prefers to set tragedies in motion through subtle plays and acts of physical and social sabotage. Often nobody will even know that an agent of Enigma graced their society, and yet a trail of horrors is always left in their wake.

    An agent of Enigma might be a cheery young half-elf, wearing bright colors, dancing in the rain, humming a cheery tune to himself, greeting all the nice people he meets. By the time he's walked through the city for a day on the town, a hundred lives will be ruined... and people will only blame their brothers and sisters.

    He kicks off a storm drain, causing a hall of businesses to be slowly flooded, costing numerous people jobs. She loosens a knot at the docks or darkens a lighthouse. He "loses" a bag of candy, because children know not to take candy from strangers but believe in the rule of finders keepers, and when they eat it it's not merely deadly poison, it's a hallucinogen that makes them violent and paranoid. She stuffs incendiary propaganda in mailboxes of districts with racial or nationalist tensions. He kicks over a mailbox and writes "Whore" in giant red letters on the home of a suspected lesbian. She guts a lost dog in an alley, and positions it right next to a sleeping homeless man. He rigs a sky carriage to have its magic suppressed in the middle of the day. She casually tosses trash off of a high balcony. He spikes an artificer's remedy to make people fearfully refuse to get one. Or she goes the way of Lorne Malvo, Shogo Makishima, or Hannibal Lecter and turns people into murderers simply by speaking to them in just the right way.

    And then he starts to get specific and creative.

    Organization: The Golden Company

    The Golden Company is one of the most feared mercenary companies in the world, drawing its eclectic band of deadly elites from just about every conceivable walk of life. The Company is born of a philosophy that believes in strength above all else, in whatever form strength takes, and that Erythnul is the one god who truly understands how to bring out the true strength of any animal: Survival of the fittest. A perfect design emergent from chaos.

    To gain entry seems simple enough: Get a license. There are only 1000 licenses in the world, and whoever has one is a member... no matter how they got it. Each license is an impressive object in and of itself: They are elaborately carved, distinctive, forged of adamantine, plated in gold, and powerfully enchanted. They are virtually indestructible, and engraved with a variant of the "Arcane Mark" spell that prevents forgery and allows them to be found by mid-level divinations if they are lost. They also allow telepathic communication with anyone else possessing a license, which makes it all too easy to hire the Golden Company through proxies.

    These infamous badges of office open many doors and earn powerful connections, as well as complete support from many priests of Erythnul who regard the licenses as holy artifacts crafted by Erythnul herself. However, they're also a death sentence for anyone not clever or strong enough to hold onto them. The emergent result is that everyone who has a license was either very lucky/unlucky or insanely dangerous, and the former don't hold a license for long.

    Code of Conduct: Paladins of Erythnul

    "Ah, the fire, see how it hates me? How wonderful... it means my art is worthy of the gods' notice!"
    - Mary Mitica, Paladin of Erythnul

    This code of conduct applies to those who would call themselves paladins of the faith, not just any follower of Erythnul.

    - Be true to yourself. Embrace that which makes you vivid and distinct. Make your mark.

    - Do not force others to live and act as you do. Erythnul disdains homogeneity, and each face must be distinct.

    - Disregard inhibitions. At most, you should only have the illusion of inhibitions, if necessary to wear the sheep's skin as camouflage. Do not fear contradiction; if you feel both love and hate for a man, express both.

    - Pursue your deepest passion to the fullest extent possible, whatever it may be. Spare no effort. Accept no compromise. Offer no mercy.

    - Be aggressive, not passive. Be so damned aggressive that the gods themselves should have to sit up and take notice of your fervor. Aim beyond the sky and pierce the heavens. DO IT. DO IT NOW! WHAT THE !@#$ ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Jendekit's Avatar

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    New deity write up, YAY!!!


    *EDIT*: Also WHAT THE HECK IS THAT FIRST PICTURE??
    Last edited by Jendekit; 2015-09-25 at 12:41 PM.
    Come check out my setting blog: Ruins of the Forbidden Elder

    Inspired by LudicSavant, I am posting deities: Erebos, The Black Sun

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    This is part of the same world as Nerull, the Reaper and Olidammara, the Laughing Rogue.

    Next writeup will probably be Olidammara or Hextor.

    Feedback is always appreciated! Let me know your thoughts and suggestions!

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    Olidammara next, please oh please
    Come check out my setting blog: Ruins of the Forbidden Elder

    Inspired by LudicSavant, I am posting deities: Erebos, The Black Sun

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    I love the golden company. I've gotta use that some day...

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    In-world myths depict conflicts between Joramy and Erythnul kinda like Roy's fight with Envy in Fullmetal Alchemist (Link may contain Fullmetal Alchemist spoilers)

    Except that Erythnul screams with a thousand voices, and his screams transition into laughing and lecturing like the Joker being interrogated by the Batman in the Dark Knight in the moments between each explosion.

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    *cracks knuckles*

    Well, here it is, as promised.

    Preamble: Since I really like the concept and most of the stuff, the overwhelming majority of what follows will be nitpicky/stylistic differences and that sort of thing.

    Opening questions: What sort of state is the world in, as a whole? Some things brought up here imply a world that's closer to a 19th or even 20th century one than the standard 'medieval-ish but not really'.

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Expanded Domains: Chaos, Competition, Destruction, Envy, Evil, Gluttony, Healing, Knowledge, Madness, Mentalism, Passion, Planning, Suffering, Travel, Treachery, Trickery, Vile Darkness, War, Wrath
    Portfolio: Slaughter, Aggression, Anarchy, Passion, Transgression (including things like the genre of Transgressive Art), Unfettered Invention, "Battle Trances," Ecstasy, "Fighting Spirit," Mercenaries, Extreme Personalities, Evolution, Violence, Psychology, Psychological Warfare, Hydras
    Is there a reason Planning is in bold?

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 10: It is said that she was once an unparalleled mercenary army employed by Hextor to kill the old god of fire before Joramy, before everything went horribly wrong. [...]

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 15:
    Erythnul was originally a host of unparalleled mercenaries employed by Hextor to kill the old god of fire (the one before Joramy).
    It seems odd that one of the pieces of information at DC 15 is basically given at DC 10, but that may just be me.

    In fact, Erythnul is a patron of some scientists, particularly fond of unfettered progress in magic and technology unchecked by ethical concerns or worries about what the progress might be used for. He is also a patron of psychology, encouraging us to come to a deeper understanding with our inner selves.
    This is related to what I said in the beginning - a codified study of the inner workings of the human psyche is something that arose fairly late in our history. It would likely develop differently and quite possibly have a different name if it has a divine patron. It may also change the way it's seen; rather than being some odd thing studied by a handful of academics at first, it may be seen as something in need to stamping out by authorities due to its association with Erythnul (and some who would likely fear it being used by their agents to better attack society).


    Joramy and Hextor are the primary enemies of Erythnul. Hextor regards Erythnul as a grand mistake, while Joramy in particular has an outright murderous disposition towards any who revere Erythnul or follow her principles. Somehow, the fact that fire always seems to twist and hiss at him as if it wants to kill him only makes Erythnul seem to like employing fire more, which drives Joramy up the wall. The fact that Erythnul also seems to be embracing the march of technology also drives Joramy up the wall.
    You use 'drives Joramy up the wall' to close two sentences in a row here - I'd change one, just out of read-aesthetic reasons. Something like '...embracing the march of technology only angers him further'.

    Despite everything, not all of Erythnul's petitioners are evil. Soldiers sometimes offer him prayers to be able to do what they feel they must in war, especially if they are backed into a corner. Artists, scientists, and others passionate about their work also sometimes pay homage to her, as do anarchists.
    Anarchists are another thing I feel is a bit out of place, even if it's just the name. It may be me, but I associate it too closely with modern concepts for it to mesh with a DnD setting. Maybe giving the people / movement a name, perhaps several depending on who's referring to them?

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 20:
    Though not of high divine rank, Erythnul seems to be all but indestructible, and always seems to find a way to regenerate and come back stronger. He seems to be every bit as difficult to fight against as the concept of violence itself, as indeed violence tends to beget violence.
    This is an interesting twist, and I like it that there's at least a theory as to why the Big Indestructible Thing is, well, indestructible.

    There used to be a deity named Garl Glittergold, before he tried to play a trick on Erythnul. When Garl realized that Erythnul had seen through the trick and turned it against him to render him vulnerable, it was too late. Nobody is sure exactly what happened to Garl Glittergold.
    Personally, I'd word this differently. 'It was Erythnul who brought about the demise of the deity Garl Glittergold', maybe, as it keeps the focus on Erythnul and implies more lore behind the disappearance / destruction of Garl, instead of making it seem like he was made just for the story of his destruction.

    Much of Erythnul is caged, deep within a divine prison, but this doesn't seem to stop pieces of her from being everywhere, or even simply working his schemes from behind bars.
    Maybe have some details of this explained in another knowledge check result?

    For many of Erythnul's followers, the philosophy of the church is the philosophy of passions driven to their full potential. They say that we should express our deepest selves, and the deepest selves of others, to their full extent. This can take the form of transgressive art, unbridled scientific invention, passionate devotion to your work, or even serial killers who make artistic exhibitions out of the bodies of their victims (Think half the characters from the Hannibal TV series). Some see the latter as a twisting of Erythnul's gospel, however, and would note that the detective who doesn't let red tape get in the way of serving justice to its full extent and puts everything of themselves into their work is also divine in Erythnul's eyes.
    I feel like Erythnul's 'church' would be a rather fractious thing.

    To a follower of Erythnul, one should not compromise on their vision. We must put our utmost passion into our work. If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music ... Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. Aggression is not just about violence, but about striving to be the best at what you do.
    This is especially good; the difference between 'eeeeevillll annarchyyyy' and philosophy/deity that makes sense becomes clear here.

    However...personally, I prefer to write lore and such from a very in-world perspective, and avoid references to historical figures from our world; not sure if it's an issue for you, but I'd change it.

    Many followers of Erythnul are also anarchists, believing that government and bureaucracy stifles human(oid) potential and believing that a wiser, more lively society could be born from the ashes of the old world. Hydras are symbolic not only of Erythnul's form, but also the ideal anarchist world: myriad wills and faces, all a single form with a single purpose.
    This does raise an interesting question: Are those who follow Erythnul's idea of anti-government aware or unaware of the implication within the hydra symbolism? That, despite having many faces and wills, the entire organism is controlled by a single force and bound together? It's certainly not absolute freedom.

    To many followers of Erythnul, war is divine not simply because of its violence, but because it is a place where the bullsh*t of polite society falls away and our motives become pure and unmitigated by pretensions, masks, or personas we construct to hide our true selves.
    I'd change the wording here, from BS to 'facade' or similar, to keep a more 'serious' tone in the text.

    Erythnul disdains "cattle" who act as part of a herd rather than distinguishing themselves. Being part of a collective is not what offends Erythnul (and indeed, Erythnul's form represents this). Instead, it is when the collective is dull and homogenous that Erythnul's ire is raised. Every face must be vivid and distinct.
    This makes me curious. If someone was following their passions and forming an empire, Erythnul would likely be happy about that, given what's written. But if they then set up a modern-esque system of totalitarian conformism to shore up their rule in the pursuit of absolute control, how would Erythnul view that? On one hand, it's all about the individual's passion and involves rejection of societal expectations, rules, morality etc. - on the other hand, it turns any who don't rebel and (likely) get killed or enslaved to become what he hates.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 25:
    Erythnul is said to have been created during the divine war to destroy the old, forgotten god of fire, whom Joramy replaced. Some say that she is the rage of mortal spirits fused together by a divine holocaust, an unintended consequence of the pantheon's efforts which seems to grow throughout the collective unconscious of every mortal race like a cancer threatening to usurp the comfortable divine order.
    This doesn't actually say much of anything that wasn't said before. It's a very well put-together explanation, and sounds pretty epic, but it's lacking in substance apart from a few more details on 'what went wrong, exactly?', otherwise bringing no more info than...the DC 10 check.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 30:
    Garl Glittergold realized all too late: Erythnul has no Truename.

    The Cerendine Prophecy claims that the final conflict for the fate of civilization will be brought on by the advance of mortal knowledge, and that should Erythnul prove victorious the world will be engulfed in a great cataclysm, and she will rule over those that people its ashes unchallenged. It is said that the only way to win this war against Erythnul is to never fight it, and that we must resist the urge of Joramy to simply destroy evil with fire.
    This sounds like something that would create sects of radical pacifists scattered throughout the world. People can interpret this to mean that any conflict brings the world closer to annihilation and strive to avoid that by completely avoiding conflict.

    Organization: Enigma, the Agents of the Unseen Slaughter

    An agent of Enigma might be a cheery young half-elf, wearing bright colors, dancing in the rain, humming a cheery tune to himself, greeting all the nice people he meets. By the time he's walked through the city for a day on the town, a hundred lives will be ruined... and people will only blame their brothers and sisters.
    This sort of thing sounds like it could quickly cause widespread paranoia and xenophobia, actually - all it takes is enough horror stories about Enigma and a friendly town instantly arrests and executes outsiders who are present when some kind of crime is committed.

    He kicks off a storm drain, causing a hall of businesses to be slowly flooded, costing numerous people jobs. She loosens a knot at the docks or darkens a lighthouse. He "loses" a bag of candy, because children know not to take candy from strangers but believe in the rule of finders keepers, and when they eat it it's not merely deadly poison, it's a hallucinogen that makes them violent and paranoid. She stuffs incendiary propaganda in mailboxes of districts with racial or nationalist tensions. He kicks over a mailbox and writes "Whore" in giant red letters on the home of a suspected lesbian. She guts a lost dog in an alley, and positions it right next to a sleeping homeless man. He rigs a sky carriage to have its magic suppressed in the middle of the day. She casually tosses trash off of a high balcony. He spikes a vaccine to make people fearfully refuse to get one. Or she goes the way of Lorne Malvo, Shogo Makishima, or Hannibal Lecter and turns people into murderers simply by speaking to them in just the right way.
    References to mailboxes and nationalism make me think of 18th - 19th century societies. Vaccines...well.

    Organization: The Golden Company

    They are virtually indestructible, and engraved with a variant of the "Arcane Mark" spell that prevents forgery [...] .
    I'm curious: How does the average guy, or even a wealthy noble or similar, tell if it's real?

    Also, unless the licenses are spread over a small area, it sounds like less of a mercenary company and more of a 'badass badge' system.

    as well as complete support from priests of Erythnul.
    This sounds odd, since it seems to clash somewhat with Erythnul's general theme. Why would a priest support someone with this badge any more than some other proven badass?
    Not Person_Man, don't thank me for things he did.

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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    Thanks for the detailed feedback!

    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    Preamble: Since I really like the concept and most of the stuff, the overwhelming majority of what follows will be nitpicky/stylistic differences and that sort of thing.
    I'll take it!

    Opening questions: What sort of state is the world in, as a whole? Some things brought up here imply a world that's closer to a 19th or even 20th century one than the standard 'medieval-ish but not really'.
    Actually, the pantheon was developed for a setting that was more like Eberron than Forgotten Realms. Magic is put to practical use rather than merely existing for the sake of fireballing goblins. Oh, and gunpowder was recently invented, though it's still very early stuff like the ishibiya (the picture is from Princess Mononoke). The Joramy entry has some details on that.

    Joramy in particular is growing in importance and influence as technology progresses to take greater advantage of fire, which will be covered in her entry.

    That said, I strongly disagree about how recent many of the developments you're referring to are, and it shouldn't be too difficult to remove the few bits that actually are more recent developments if you want to adapt this for use in your games.

    This is related to what I said in the beginning - a codified study of the inner workings of the human psyche is something that arose fairly late in our history.
    No, it wasn't. To quote wikipedia, "The ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, China, India, and Persia all engaged in the philosophical study of psychology. Historians note that Greek philosophers, including Thales, Plato, and Aristotle (especially in his De Anima treatise), addressed the workings of the mind. As early as the 4th century BC, Greek physician Hippocrates theorized that mental disorders had physical rather than supernatural causes."

    And we're not talking just some vague idle wondering, either. Some of these theories of psychology were incredibly elaborate. Medieval Muslim physicians developed treatments for "diseases of the mind" and everything. Check it out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histor...ogical_thought

    It would likely develop differently
    Oh, on that I certainly agree. And it has developed differently. In fact, the philosophy of the mind in this setting was pioneered partly by enchanters in order to make more effective use of things like Suggestion.

    Anarchists are another thing I feel is a bit out of place, even if it's just the name. It may be me, but I associate it too closely with modern concepts for it to mesh with a DnD setting. Maybe giving the people / movement a name, perhaps several depending on who's referring to them?
    Anarchy, like psychology, is thoroughly present in ancient philosophies. Why do you think this is a modern concept?

    This is an interesting twist, and I like it that there's at least a theory as to why the Big Indestructible Thing is, well, indestructible.
    Speaking of killing gods, here's how it works in this world:

    Mainstream theology has it that divinity cannot be created or destroyed. However, it can be divided, devoured, hidden, given away... whatever. So, you can kill a god, destroying their body and identity, but you can't destroy their portfolio or their divine essence. The energy has to and will go somewhere. This has a variety of important effects throughout the mythology. In the case of Joramy and Erythnul, they inherited the portfolio of the old god of fire (which, like all of the portfolios, had a good deal more than just fire in it).

    As for why I keep calling him "the old god of fire" that's because nobody actually remembers his name, since Corellon ordered his name erased from all records and Sehanine Moonbow erased him from people's dreams. But that's something I'll be delving into in other entries...

    Now, usually when you destroy a god's body they die... or, at least, lose their identity. The trouble with Erythnul is that if you split her into two pieces both pieces will still be Erythnul.

    Personally, I'd word this differently. 'It was Erythnul who brought about the demise of the deity Garl Glittergold', maybe, as it keeps the focus on Erythnul and implies more lore behind the disappearance / destruction of Garl, instead of making it seem like he was made just for the story of his destruction.
    I'll see if I can work something like that in.

    Maybe have some details of this explained in another knowledge check result?
    That does seem like something I could expand on if people are curious. I kinda wanted to leave it vague so that anyone adopting this for use in their own settings could build adventure hooks around it as they saw fit.

    I feel like Erythnul's 'church' would be a rather fractious thing.
    Yes.

    This is especially good; the difference between 'eeeeevillll annarchyyyy' and philosophy/deity that makes sense becomes clear here.

    However...personally, I prefer to write lore and such from a very in-world perspective, and avoid references to historical figures from our world; not sure if it's an issue for you, but I'd change it.
    Oh yeah, good catch. I forgot to change that from my original "personal notes" version of the writeup. It's an actual quote from Martin Luther King Jr.

    This does raise an interesting question: Are those who follow Erythnul's idea of anti-government aware or unaware of the implication within the hydra symbolism? That, despite having many faces and wills, the entire organism is controlled by a single force and bound together? It's certainly not absolute freedom.
    That is exactly the kind of thing I expect in-world people to argue about.

    This makes me curious. If someone was following their passions and forming an empire, Erythnul would likely be happy about that, given what's written. But if they then set up a modern-esque system of totalitarian conformism to shore up their rule in the pursuit of absolute control, how would Erythnul view that? On one hand, it's all about the individual's passion and involves rejection of societal expectations, rules, morality etc. - on the other hand, it turns any who don't rebel and (likely) get killed or enslaved to become what he hates.
    This is another thing that in-world philosophers are supposed to argue about. Just like with the Nerull entry, I wanted it to make it ambiguous who Erythnul herself would actually side with in theological disputes, and make it possible for religious conflict between worshipers of the same deity.

    Erythnul isn't exactly showing up in person to correct them. Even if the gods exist, most people have never actually met them (and heck, some that think that they have, haven't). Obviously you're getting divine spells and divination results from somewhere, but any skeptic worth their salt can tell you that that doesn't necessarily mean your specific theological beliefs are correct (especially since there are clerics and paladins loyal to a philosophy rather than a deity in D&D). The gods don't make a habit of showing up in person to rectify disputes about dogma or anything like that.

    The history books do talk about the gods showing up in person at various points in history (mostly during the Creation War, the First Civilizations, the Age of Winter, the devouring of Io, the slaying of the old god of fire and the subsequent campaign to expunge his name from all records and memory, Gruumsh's rebellion, and the occasional epic sagas of legendary heroes). However, different historians say very different things (just like they did so often in the real world).

    I'd change the wording here, from BS to 'facade' or similar, to keep a more 'serious' tone in the text.
    Okay. It really does stick out more with GitP's censorship anyways.

    This doesn't actually say much of anything that wasn't said before. It's a very well put-together explanation, and sounds pretty epic, but it's lacking in substance apart from a few more details on 'what went wrong, exactly?', otherwise bringing no more info than...the DC 10 check.
    You know, maybe I could fill out that section a bit with the notes about how killing gods works (see the bolded bit of my response). How's that sound?

    This sounds like something that would create sects of radical pacifists scattered throughout the world. People can interpret this to mean that any conflict brings the world closer to annihilation and strive to avoid that by completely avoiding conflict.
    DC 30 references are apocryphal or controversial or obscure. Few people have even heard of the Cerendine Prophecy, let alone care deeply about its opinion. But yeah, I can totally see it creating such sects .

    This sort of thing sounds like it could quickly cause widespread paranoia and xenophobia, actually - all it takes is enough horror stories about Enigma and a friendly town instantly arrests and executes outsiders who are present when some kind of crime is committed.
    Sounds like something Enigma would use to its advantage. Friendlyville probably can't actually prevent someone from sneaking in, and heck, they could even magically impersonate locals while committing crimes.

    In any case, such horror stories would require some enterprising adventurers to unearth them. Enigma operates in complete secrecy and does not take credit for its actions. Nobody's supposed to know that they exist. And if somebody does know, nobody's supposed to believe them.

    References to mailboxes and nationalism make me think of 18th - 19th century societies.
    My setting's technology level is a bit more like Eberron than Forgotten Realms, and Eberron totally had magic printing presses and nationalism. Shouldn't be too hard to remove mailboxes to adapt it to your campaign, though

    Vaccines...well.
    I should have said Remove Disease potions or something instead, shouldn't I?

    I'll fix it.

    I'm curious: How does the average guy, or even a wealthy noble or similar, tell if it's real?
    Arcane Mark authentication, much like in Eberron. Arcane Marks are unique to the individual who created them and cannot be forged.

    Also, unless the licenses are spread over a small area, it sounds like less of a mercenary company and more of a 'badass badge' system.
    Coordination is made possible by the telepathic links of the licenses... and by a sort of emergent culture of the Company itself. People who don't want the license (but can't have it easily taken from them) can potentially sell it off for a substantial sum (kinda like selling a Hunter's License in Hunter X Hunter, maybe?). And people who the rest of the members can't get along with might find the license being... reclaimed. And anyways, hiring only a handful of these guys is serious business in a world where mid-high level people have as much impact as they do in 3.5e.

    I suppose I could make it more than 1000, too. On the other hand, perhaps the licenses would have more social influence in lands where the Company was active as a group (thus making a bigger cultural splash), and as an emergent result the licenses tend to have a way of coming back together geographically.

    This sounds odd, since it seems to clash somewhat with Erythnul's general theme. Why would a priest support someone with this badge any more than some other proven badass?
    Because they're supposedly genuine holy artifacts of Erythnul herself. Of course, I'm sure not every priest of every sect of Erythnul would agree. I'll edit the entry to make this more explicit. It now reads "These infamous badges of office open many doors and earn powerful connections, as well as complete support from many priests of Erythnul, who regard the licenses as holy artifacts crafted by Erythnul herself."

    Edit: I've made a handful of edits to the original post based on your feedback.

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Actually, the pantheon was developed for a setting that was more like Eberron than Forgotten Realms.
    Ah. I don't actually know much about either, but I think I get what you're thinking of here.

    Magic is put to practical use rather than merely existing for the sake of fireballing goblins. Oh, and gunpowder was recently invented, though it's still very early stuff like the ishibiya (the picture is from Princess Mononoke). The Joramy entry has some details on that.
    How far down the Tippyhole does it go?

    No, it wasn't. To quote wikipedia, "The ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, China, India, and Persia all engaged in the philosophical study of psychology. Historians note that Greek philosophers, including Thales, Plato, and Aristotle (especially in his De Anima treatise), addressed the workings of the mind. As early as the 4th century BC, Greek physician Hippocrates theorized that mental disorders had physical rather than supernatural causes."

    And we're not talking just some vague idle wondering, either. Some of these theories of psychology were incredibly elaborate. Medieval Muslim physicians developed treatments for "diseases of the mind" and everything. Check it out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histor...ogical_thought

    [...]

    Anarchy, like psychology, is thoroughly present in ancient philosophies. Why do you think this is a modern concept?
    I didn't realize these were that old, actually. Thanks for correcting me.


    Speaking of killing gods, here's how it works in this world:

    Mainstream theology has it that divinity cannot be created or destroyed. However, it can be divided, devoured, hidden, given away... whatever. So, you can kill a god, destroying their body and identity, but you can't destroy their portfolio or their divine essence. The energy has to and will go somewhere. This has a variety of important effects throughout the mythology. In the case of Joramy and Erythnul, they inherited the portfolio of the old god of fire (which, like all of the portfolios, had a good deal more than just fire in it).

    As for why I keep calling him "the old god of fire" that's because nobody actually remembers his name, since Corellon ordered his name erased from all records and Sehanine Moonbow erased him from people's dreams. But that's something I'll be delving into in other entries...

    Now, usually when you destroy a god's body they die... or, at least, lose their identity. The trouble with Erythnul is that if you split her into two pieces both pieces will still be Erythnul.
    Interesting.

    That does seem like something I could expand on if people are curious. I kinda wanted to leave it vague so that anyone adopting this for use in their own settings could build adventure hooks around it as they saw fit.
    Aye aye.

    Oh yeah, good catch. I forgot to change that from my original "personal notes" version of the writeup. It's an actual quote from Martin Luther King Jr.
    I see.

    That is exactly the kind of thing I expect in-world people to argue about.

    This is another thing that in-world philosophers are supposed to argue about. Just like with the Nerull entry, I wanted it to make it ambiguous who Erythnul herself would actually side with in theological disputes, and make it possible for religious conflict between worshipers of the same deity.

    Erythnul isn't exactly showing up in person to correct them. Even if the gods exist, most people have never actually met them (and heck, some that think that they have, haven't). Obviously you're getting divine spells and divination results from somewhere, but any skeptic worth their salt can tell you that that doesn't necessarily mean your specific theological beliefs are correct (especially since there are clerics and paladins loyal to a philosophy rather than a deity in D&D). The gods don't make a habit of showing up in person to rectify disputes about dogma or anything like that.

    The history books do talk about the gods showing up in person at various points in history (mostly during the Creation War, the First Civilizations, the Age of Winter, the devouring of Io, the slaying of the old god of fire and the subsequent campaign to expunge his name from all records and memory, Gruumsh's rebellion, and the occasional epic sagas of legendary heroes). However, different historians say very different things (just like they did so often in the real world).
    We think alike in these matters, then.

    You know, maybe I could fill out that section a bit with the notes about how killing gods works (see the bolded bit of my response). How's that sound?
    Sounds good to me.

    DC 30 references are apocryphal or controversial or obscure. Few people have even heard of the Cerendine Prophecy, let alone care deeply about its opinion. But yeah, I can totally see it creating such sects .
    It only takes one or two influential people who make the DC 30 check.

    My setting's technology level is a bit more like Eberron than Forgotten Realms, and Eberron totally had magic printing presses and nationalism. Shouldn't be too hard to remove mailboxes to adapt it to your campaign, though
    Ah, makes sense. I prefer more...old-y settings, one could say. I can deal with some of the issues (in part because they give people options they may miss - i.e. 'no rapiers' could kill someone's concept) but I prefer to remove a lot of the 'modern setting in "medieval" clothing' stuff from my settings.

    I suppose I could make it more than 1000, too. On the other hand, perhaps the licenses would have more social influence in lands where the Company was active as a group (thus making a bigger cultural splash), and as an emergent result the licenses tend to have a way of coming back together geographically.
    Ah, makes sense.

    Because they're supposedly genuine holy artifacts of Erythnul herself. Of course, I'm sure not every priest of every sect of Erythnul would agree. I'll edit the entry to make this more explicit. It now reads "These infamous badges of office open many doors and earn powerful connections, as well as complete support from many priests of Erythnul, who regard the licenses as holy artifacts crafted by Erythnul herself."
    That works well, and I see what you mean.
    Last edited by PersonMan; 2015-10-10 at 04:43 AM.
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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    How far down the Tippyhole does it go?
    Not that far, because I place limitations on what some kinds of magic do with my houserules. Long range teleportation and magic traps, for instance. That, and high level people are pretty rare (NPCs don't gain XP the way PCs do or anything like that).

    I didn't realize these were that old, actually. Thanks for correcting me.
    No problem. Just goes to show, reality is unrealistic.

    Spoiler: Tangent: Other things I've seen people think are anachronisms that aren't
    Show
    Other things I've seen people think are anachronisms that aren't:
    - Convection heating (Romans had it for bath houses)
    - Animatronics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animatronics#History. Rome sometimes used them in temples. One of the famous examples involved enormous doors opening when someone lit a fire on an altar)
    - Complex clockwork (Rome again)
    - Water-driven factories (Rome again)
    - Sophisticated earthquake-proofing (Check out pagodas for a really cool example)
    - Basic Steam Engines (Rome had the Aeolipile, they just didn't do much with it)
    - Vending Machines (Rome used 'em for holy water)
    - Concrete (Romans used this for all kinds of stuff)
    - Running water, even flush toilets (Romans had it)
    - Atheism, skepticism, empiricism. (Carvaka is a lovely example of such ideas in ancient philosophy. Empiricism in general cropped up frequently... and was also frequently stamped out whenever intellectual ideas were politically inconvenient)
    - Knowing the shape and size of the earth (Screw you Columbus myths, people have known the earth was round basically forever, and Erastosthenes accurately measured its dimensions over 2000 years ago)
    - Egalitarianism (We're arguably worse at some aspects of this now than some old societies. Heck, in anthropology we actually categorize things as "egalitarian" and "stratified" societies. The USA is classified as firmly in the second category)
    - Complex monetary systems like stocks, securities, and insurance. (For instance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_market#History)
    - Theory of evolution (Totally shows up in ancient Greece)
    - Heliocentric model of the solar system (Greeks knew it)
    - Pacifism (The Moriori were such hardcore pacifists that they wouldn't raise arms when they knew that a cannibal invasion was coming to ritually humiliate and torture them to death then eat them)
    - Flamethrowers (Hand-pumped flamethrowers were mounted on ships to set fire to the other guy's boat)
    - Guns (Things like the fire lance are adapted for battle as early as the 10th century. Guns took quite a while to phase out knights and the like)
    - Repeating crossbows (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repeating_crossbow)
    - Building massive structures (Some people actually think pyramids and the like are anachronistic and that the methods of their construction are a mystery suggesting alien intervention or something, even though archaeologists have known how they were made for quite a while now. People need to stop watching Ancient Aliens. Ugh)

    And heck, I am only using Rome a lot in examples because it's a civilization I happen to be very familiar with. I know that it's not the only example for quite a few of these things. China had a ton of stuff show up that people mistake for "anachronistic."

    Perhaps part of the reason so many people think so many of these things are "new" is because a lot of people are acquainted with a (wrong, extraordinarily highly politicized, not widely endorsed by our community of historians) Eurocentric narrative of history where technology and culture are always advancing in a positive direction, driven by occasional leaps forward by Great Men, who are pretty much all white European guys. And then one might assume that if some point in history didn't have some advance or other, previous points in history must also have not had that advance. For instance, one might go "Oh, these guys in the 1600s believe that Galileo is crazy and should be tormented into recanting when he suggests that the earth revolves around the sun. Must have been some crazy new idea." Nope. Advances are lost or suppressed all the time in earth's history. Libraries are burned, intellectuals are silenced, cultures collapse, secrets are kept and thus lost, religions come up with ideas about heresy, rulers come up with ideas about sedition, prejudices wax and wane, etc etc.

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    Where do the expanded domains come from?
    May the gods watch over your battles, friend.

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderfist12 View Post
    Where do the expanded domains come from?
    Chaos: Player's Handbook 186
    Competition: Spell Compendium 272
    Destruction: Player's Handbook 186
    Envy: Spell Compendium 273-274
    Evil: Player's Handbook 186
    Gluttony: Spell Compendium 274
    Healing: Player's Handbook 187
    Knowledge: Player's Handbook 187
    Madness: Spell Compendium 276
    Mentalism: Spell Compendium 276
    Passion: Eberron Campaign Setting 107
    Planning: Spell Compendium 278
    Suffering: Spell Compendium 280-281
    Travel: Player's Handbook 188
    Trickery: Player's Handbook 189
    Vile Darkness: Lords of Madness 208
    War: Player's Handbook 189
    Wrath: Spell Compendium 282

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    Quote Originally Posted by Master Pavo
    Oh man, I want to play in this setting now just to play an Erythnul worshipper of some kind. I always found him one of the more interesting Greyhawk gods, and you've made her even better.
    I'm actually planning to DM an online campaign with this material as soon as I get it all posted up.

    NEXT UP:


    Wee Jas, the First Lich, Goddess of Transmutation and Reincarnation, Keeper of the Chain and Ruby Sorceress

    I would request that my body, in death, be buried, not cremated, so that the energy content contained within it gets returned to the earth, so that flora and fauna can dine upon it, just as I have dined upon flora and fauna during my lifetime."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Edit: And she's up! http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...ake-on-Wee-Jas

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    I'm actually planning to DM an online campaign with this material as soon as I get it all posted up.
    I've never played in an online game before but definitely mark me down as interested!
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    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    I'm actually planning to DM an online campaign with this material as soon as I get it all posted up.
    Hooooly crud. I want in on that. Saves me the trouble of figuring out a way to use it in a campaign of my own.

    Initially, I took a look at Erythnul because of Gnolls. The Gnolls have their own "god" but at least according to Deities and Demigods Gnoll Clerics get their spells from Erythnul even if they don't worship him directly. Gnolls don't get enough love, so I wanted to see if they'd get a reference here.

    What I found instead was something delightfully alien, fascinating, and terrifying. It actually reminds me of Alpha from Dollhouse mixed with the goddess of Chaotic Evil in my setting, who also takes the passion and lack of restrictions thing a bit too far, although she's evil largely because she doesn't care about the suffering such freedom causes. In fairness to her... in the world she'd create if she won, no one would care about their own suffering.

    Also, I'm amused that Erythnul killed Garl Glittergold with his own prank. Considering what he did to the kobolds in Greyhawk canon, I am not sympathetic.
    Last edited by Dusk Raven; 2015-10-30 at 03:57 PM.

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    This is amazing.

    Usually, the forces of Chaotic Evilness are some sort of cosmic malevolence, or one corner of an arbitrary "balance between good and evil." This makes much more sense; a divine accident that managed to take root in all the worst parts of the mortal psyche, and to evolve JUST the right traits to appeal to certain people.

    The Golden Company is awesome, could see them playing a starring role in a war campaign. The Enigma...well, a whole army of Jack Slashes is one well of an insidious foe.

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    I'm actually planning to DM an online campaign with this material as soon as I get it all posted up.
    I wouldn't mind playing in that game, when it happens.

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Raven View Post
    Hooooly crud. I want in on that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Watcher View Post
    I wouldn't mind playing in that game, when it happens.
    Quote Originally Posted by Master Pavo View Post
    definitely mark me down as interested!
    Anyone who's interested should send me a PM. It probably won't start for quite a while yet (after all I have quite a few more gods to post) but I often recruit from people who are already in my circle of contacts.

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    Thank you! Seriously, this is fantastic.

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    So I have been taking bits of this lore and incorporating it into my own setting, and this is a potential reason why gnomes are so crazy. When Glittergold was consumed by Erythnul, that ended up putting a link between the gnomes and Erythnul. It's not a very strong link, so gnomes are not so morally unrestrained 9usually), but it can be used to explain that race's more extreme focus on tech.

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    I like the Golden Company. It's got an "Afro Samurai" feel to it

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    I have made some edits to Erythnul's entry. The Paladins of Erythnul section has been expanded and partially rewritten. Additionally, the political ideas of an Erythnullan philosopher (known only by a pen name, the Broken Bell), were added to DC25 of the main entry.

    The bits about how divinity and the death of gods works in this pantheon were added in a while ago, too.

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    Default Re: Erythnul, the Many

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Now, usually when you destroy a god's body they die... or, at least, lose their identity. The trouble with Erythnul is that if you split her into two pieces, both pieces will still be Erythnul.
    This terrifies me far more than it should.
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