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Thread: Deity to Human?

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Deity to Human?

    I've been putting together a campaign, and I have it almost all done; but a core premise is still a bit weak.

    In the plot, one or more of the deities need to have taken mortal form. I've been working with the premise that they just liked interacting with humanity; but that just doesn't feel right. What are some reasons a deity would willingly take mortal form for a period of time, before returning to wherever they reside as a deity?

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Deity to Human?

    Found a new cult.
    To expand into new territory or to compete with a cult which has been drawing away adherants.

    Create a heresy.
    To correct a dogmatic church or to appeal to a class which otherwise would feel unwelcome in the current church.

    Divine punishment from a greater deity.

    Competition between deities.

    Preparation for a future disaster.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Deity to Human?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stryyke View Post
    I've been putting together a campaign, and I have it almost all done; but a core premise is still a bit weak.

    In the plot, one or more of the deities need to have taken mortal form. I've been working with the premise that they just liked interacting with humanity; but that just doesn't feel right. What are some reasons a deity would willingly take mortal form for a period of time, before returning to wherever they reside as a deity?
    1. Maybe the deity fell in love with a mortal.

    2. Maybe the deity wishes to test a mortal and so assumes the guise of a mortal, as he knows he will behave differently in front of a god.

    3. Maybe the deity was defeated by another deity, and was cast out of the patheon a long time ago and was forgotten, until some mortal stumbles upon the ruins of his his temples and begins a ceremony which opens the gate to where the deity was banished to. The other deities which cast him out are no more. The god which steps through the gate is little more than a mortal herself, but she has a plan tp regain the power that she lost.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Deity to Human?

    "To correct a dogmatic church or to appeal to a class which otherwise would feel unwelcome in the current church."

    Hmmm That seems to be going down the right path. I think I can work with that. Thanks.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Deity to Human?

    Perhaps there is something beyond the deities that influences their behavior...Be that an overgod like Io or fate in classic Norse mythology etc...

    So becoming human for a time may allow a deity to try to "get out of" a bad prophecy or inter-deity law (if deity isn't allowed to attack mortals directly then being "mortal" is an effective way to hide from retribution)

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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Deity to Human?

    The Marvel Comics Thor was punished by Odin and became human to learn humility. (More or less.) The same thing happened, more or less, in the Forgotten Realms when all the gods were forced to roam Fearun in avatar form.

    It's a mystery. Some gods are suddenly losing their immortality and are kicked out of olympus/asgard for not being gods anymore.

    Edit: This may be a no brainer to some, but what is the purpose of your gods in the setting? (Beyond being a plot device and RPG mechanic.) In other words, why are there gods in the first place? What do they do? What is their relation to humans? Why do the humans worship them? What is the meaning of life?
    It might help if you answer these questions first.
    Last edited by the_david; 2019-08-17 at 04:19 AM.

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    Beleriphon's Avatar

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    Default Re: Deity to Human?

    There's plenty of ways to go. Some operate on a deity literally manifesting as a human with a full life cycle from birth to death to teach a lesson to people. Others might be part of a cycle that deities go through, being both fully deity and fully human the same time. The later requires some metaphysical mind bending because it means that Pelor is both Pelor and Pete. Killing Pete doesn't have any impact on Pelor, and any affect on Pelor doesn't affect Pete, but they are one and the same being with two bodies.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Deity to Human?

    A great evil was inprisoned deep within the planet. As humanoids have the potential for greatness they were chosen to defend the planet from demonic invaders who intend to free the great evil. This can get problematic so sometimes the gods have to go to the material plane to reeducate the mortals. The unfortunate side effect is that gods can only go to the material plane by becoming mortal.

    This probably falls apart on logic somewhere. Suspension of disbelief or something like that. Why send a god when you can send an angel instead? Why imprison the great evil when you could just kill it? That sort of thing. I'd say it's still better than the philosophy/theology behind the great wheel cosmology.
    Maybe the gods need a different motivation? What if they don't all agree? So you could get:
    - A deity who wants to educate the mortals on how to properly defend the planet.
    - A deity who wants to destroy all mortals as they have put the entire universe in danger multiple times.
    - A deranged deity who wants to free the great evil so they can kil it.
    - A deity who wants to stop another deity from whatever they intend to do.
    - The elven elders who keep the existence of the great evil a secret because the last time humans found out the truth they started a cult that intended to free the great evil and nearly succeeded.
    - Demons who want to kill the now mortal gods, so they can free the great evil.

    I could go on, this stuff basically writes itself.

    Spoiler
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    I think I just plagiarized the plot of the Order of the Stick comic.

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    Lvl 2 Expert's Avatar

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    Default Re: Deity to Human?

    It could be the only way out of a trap of some sort. Another deity or even a lower creature like a demon or an ancient evil dragon pulled the perfect ambush, preferably made possible by some sort of weakness of the deity, like him/her being too prideful, cocky and overconfident, or him/her not understanding how lesser creatures think and act. Now the deity is trapped in an anti-magic eternity stone block prison flower device. There is one way out, but it's considered more of a feature than a bug, an extra torment. The deity could incarnate as a mortal, but they'd have to give up all of their power, and if they die while in human form before they can break the prison from the outside and restore their godhood, they die for real.
    The ultimate OOTS cookie cutter nameless soldier is the hobgoblin.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: Deity to Human?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stryyke View Post
    I've been putting together a campaign, and I have it almost all done; but a core premise is still a bit weak.

    In the plot, one or more of the deities need to have taken mortal form. I've been working with the premise that they just liked interacting with humanity; but that just doesn't feel right. What are some reasons a deity would willingly take mortal form for a period of time, before returning to wherever they reside as a deity?
    1) With immortal life come infinite madness. How does one mind actually manage to remain healthy while having knowledge of all the wars and deaths in this world, while seeing countless devout priest falling to darkness, while seeing mankind times and times again fail at the same thing? The life of an immortal always end with madness as even though their body and soul cannot die, their mental health is not immune to the passage of time. Though one solution exist, one way to remain reasonable, and to find back the meaning of life: reincarnating yourself as a mortal. Every thousand years, each deity (among those who are still sane) take a "mortal holiday", where they live a life from birth to death, in order to re-understand the life of a mortal, to keep themself in check with how the world has changed, to fill themselves back with the hope of mankind, to understand what are the new challenge of this millennia, and to recover their sanity. This reincarnation is kept secret, as being venerated while being reincarnated would defeat most of the purpose of this reincarnation.

    2) Lesson of humility. Similar to the film Thor, after having shown too much hubris, the god must show he/she is worthy to become back a god.

    3) The loophole. Gods cannot interfere directly with the mortal affairs. That's the rule. But there is a loophole: incarnating yourself as a mortal. (Note that this does not need to really be a loophole, maybe it is an exception willingly build in the rule).

    4) The succession. The God is looking for a successor (either for themself, or for someone very important), so seek through the mortal world by themself someone unique, observing how they react in dire situations, and possibly mentoring them.

    5) Death. The God has been killed. But his essence is reborn in a mortal child, that will latter ascend to take the place of the dead god.

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    Bohandas's Avatar

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    Default Re: Deity to Human?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    The Marvel Comics Thor was punished by Odin and became human to learn humility. (More or less.) The same thing happened, more or less, in the Forgotten Realms when all the gods were forced to roam Fearun in avatar form.
    They also did it on Star Trek in the episode "Deja Q"

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    Wizard_Lizard's Avatar

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    Default Re: Deity to Human?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    The Marvel Comics Thor was punished by Odin and became human to learn humility. (More or less.) The same thing happened, more or less, in the Forgotten Realms when all the gods were forced to roam Fearun in avatar form.

    It's a mystery. Some gods are suddenly losing their immortality and are kicked out of olympus/asgard for not being gods anymore.

    Edit: This may be a no brainer to some, but what is the purpose of your gods in the setting? (Beyond being a plot device and RPG mechanic.) In other words, why are there gods in the first place? What do they do? What is their relation to humans? Why do the humans worship them? What is the meaning of life?
    It might help if you answer these questions first.
    only know the answer to the last one.....
    Current characters:
    Drakirr (Blue Dragonborn Warlock)
    Alyfyldyr Hyalythki (Rock Gnome Wizard)
    Harilidir (Half-elf Bard)
    Kazaharad Akaztkl (Goliath Barbarian)
    Luft (air-genasi druid)
    And of course Lizard Wizard (Lizardfolk Sorcerer)

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Deity to Human?

    A bit late to the party it seems, but here goes.
    Since you specify they assume mortal form, that probably means that your gods have immortal/divine/incorporeal forms and in that case the *scrubbed* approach recommended by a couple of people here is good :)

    *scrubbed*

    With this approach you don't need the god to assume a mortal form, he'll already have one, he just needs to go to "earth" for whatever reason. *scrubbed*

    EDIT: Falling in love would actually be an interesting reason, I feel. Not one that anyone would immediately guess :O
    Last edited by flat_footed; 2019-10-01 at 11:48 AM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Deity to Human?

    Two big questions:

    Is this something specific to humans (as opposed to elves, dwarves, or other demihumans)? Or do you mean that this is a human only setting, and/or that deities might incarnate as other humanoids if that better suited them?

    How inconvenienced would the deities be if their mortal forms were killed? Does the bulk of the god wake up with a massive hangover if their mortal form is defeated, or does the god wind up dead?

    Especially the latter makes a big difference. Gods could chose to incarnate in a mortal form for a mortal lifetime every now and then, to help gain more perspective (semi-relevant). This becomes a much less attractive prospect if doing so became a mortal risk.

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