Re: Big God Secrets

From: drastic_at_...
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 10:08:36 -0700

Hi All,

As the one who came up with most of the mechanics used for the Secrets, I thought I would address Michael's comment directly, briefly, and without response (otherwise, I will become embroiled in a list, and Anaxial's Roster will not come out even on its current schedule).

Please note that, as usual, all interpretations here are my own, and are not necessarily the opinions of Greg Stafford or Issaries, Inc. :)

> > The book says 'you learn the secret, you become one with the god and
> > vanish' but I don't think that's what it means exactly. What I think
> > means is 'you learn the secret, you use the secret successfully, you
> > become one with the god and vanish'. Reasons I think this are
> >
> I would suspect you'd disappear, at least from a PC standpoint.
> Think of it as 'joining the force' as it were. I treat folks that are
> trying to get that deep into the god's ways as pretty close to being
> mad. If nothing else,
> You get to be Obiwan or Yoda in the movies ante mortem.

This is a part of it, but not all. Actually, the secret descriptions do NOT say that the player becomes ones with the god and vanishes, simply that he becomes one with the god. At the narrator's option, this can have many effects.

For example, when I learn the secret, I might simply vanish, bodily ascend into the Sky, turn into light and shoot off to all the corners of the sky, or whatever. That is possible, it does happen. But rarely.

More appropriately, however, my player hero simply becomes a narrator character. I, the player who created him, no longer determine his fate or actions. He might become a prophet, a hermit out in the wilds, a raving madman, a guy who floats in the air near the top of Mount Kerofin, or a guardian of a temple. I would more likely be killed by some rival pantheon's former player hero who knows their Great God's Great Secret, though that might not happen immediately.

This is supposed to be a tool for the player and narrator. From the description, it is obvious that no player is going to have their character learn the Great Secret unless they want to retire them from play. This mechanic gives a way for the player and narrator to do this not only gracefully, but also in a way that allows the hero to return from time to time, whether it is as a divine agent or as a high-level political, religious, or just plain magical encounter.

> > Firstly for Maximum Game Fun it's a lot more interesting if the
> > Incredibly Aged Patron who has spent the last umpteen years learning
> > Inner Secret of Orlanth can leave it to the end of his life to try to
> > unify his soul with that of the God. Imagine the scene as he lies
> > in a Hero's arms and calls out for Orlanth to take him....
> Yoda... but its good for a bit of pathos.

Yes, this is appropriate. One of the things that was discussed is that the moment of ascension might not come immediately, but only after the player has gained some level of mastery in the great secret. Again, this is up to the narrator. It doesn't really affect anything, because Michael _is_ right here -- the first time the hero even _attempts_ to use the secret, he is out of play. In essence, a Great Secret, even one with an ability rating of 12, is an automatic ability.

> > Secondly, the fact that the Secret can be abused (the book only
> > on p167 serious consequences when someone fails in their attempt to
> > overwhelm the god: shouldn't there be serious consequences when
> > succeeds too. Have there been successful usurpations recorded? When
> > exactly?)

Yes, there are recorded historical instances when a successful usurpation was performed. Everyone here _ought_ to be able to name at least one, the very famous one that I was thinking of when this line was written: Lokamayadon. For a short time (what, 40 years?) he took over Orlanth in all successful Heortling rites. He _was_ Orlanth, and it took some pretty kick-ass magic to dislodge him.

Exactly how the dislodging works, I don't know, but his actions exterminated tens of thousands of Orlanthi throughout Maniria and southern Peloria, who died when he did. An entire way of life almost disappeared because of him.

> > means to me that it doesn't totally overwhelm the person
> > learning it and they can partially or temporarily become the god.
> > Remember if KoS when Argrath is referred to by one of the epithets of
> > Orlanth?
> I think as soon as you learn the secret, you are gone. Poof. At that
> point. No sticking around to incrase the skill, no. And I don't seem
> to see the word 'usurp' in the writeup. I am not sure why you have
> interpretation of the act.

Page 167 of Hero Wars, first paragraph -- "Some individuals in the past have attempted to learn knowledge of the great secret and replace the great god rather than join him. Such abuses cause serious damage to the cosmos if or when they fail, and have been the cause of great destruction in the past."

Although "usurp" was not used in the rules, that is the intent of this passage.

Note that this type of usurpation of the gods is actually very common in the Vithelan pantheon -- when the Sun God achieves full enlightenment and passes out of the world, a new being will take his place, so that there is always a Sun God, with the same name and powers, even though it has been different entities at different times. Similar situation, but part of the mythos, so is OK when done properly.

Hope this helps clarify things. Now, back to work on Anaxial!

Stephen Martin

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