Re: Big God Secrets

From: KYER, JEFFREY <jeff.kyer_at_...>
Date: Tue, 06 Jun 2000 13:44:05 -0400

drastic_at_... wrote:
> 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. :)

Disclaimer noted.  

> > > 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
> it
> > > means is 'you learn the secret, you use the secret successfully, you
> > > become one with the god and vanish'. Reasons I think this are
> twofold.
> > >
> >
> > 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.

On a more poetic note, the dancer and the dance become one.  

> 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.

Okay. But in essence, you now do the God's work and not yours. Becoming one with the Force (ahem)  

> 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.

Okay, that's much more fun and interesting that what I thought as I had been told that you went poof by Roderick when I asked this question in February (but that was several drafts ago, I think!)  

> >
> > > Firstly for Maximum Game Fun it's a lot more interesting if the
> > > Incredibly Aged Patron who has spent the last umpteen years learning
> the
> > > 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
> dying
> > > 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.

Ah, good. I figured that if you had one of the great cosmological secrets of the universe, it might not backfire on you. Though, if you used it against someone else with the same secret or a related one (Yelm vs Orlanth, etc or trying to usurp, then you might see soem dice rolling. But that's a concept that is far too rich for my blood.  

> >
> > > Secondly, the fact that the Secret can be abused (the book only
> mentions
> > > on p167 serious consequences when someone fails in their attempt to
> > > overwhelm the god: shouldn't there be serious consequences when
> someone
> > > 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.

I did not realize he'd gotten in so deep. Eeeep. =)  

> 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.

Yow. Which could also explain some of the other die-offs historically.  

> > > 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
> that
> > 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.

Ah, if this passage was in the stuff I had, I'd have not quibbled in the least. Sigh. =(  

> 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!

*crack* Back to work!  

> Stephen Martin

Thanks for the explanation, Steve.

I really, really wish I had a *proper* copy of the rules and not a freaking galley copy.


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