> He was born with the gift of laughter and the sense that the world
> R. Sabatini, Scaramouche
WARNING! FORGOTTTEN REALMS NETHERIL and "AVATAR CRISIS"/"TIME OF TROUBLES" SPOILERS FOLLOW! *PREVIOUSLY* it was NOT impossible for a mortal to become divine in the Forgotten Realms. Karsus the Archwizard stole his divinity (and picked the one deity he should have left completely alone), resulting in his "death" and global changes in how magic works. Had he picked a less important deity (such as Borem of the Lake of Boiling Mud or a doorkeeper in the Celestial Emperor's bureaucracy, HE might have been screwed, but he wouldn't have taken a third of the world down with him.)
Three mortals (Bane, Bhaal and Myrkul) got their divinity (Intermediate and Greater Godhoods) as a forfeit after gambling with a (supposedly bored) Greater God, having already killed at least two minor godlings themselves -- poor Borem and the Lord of Paraelemental Ooze, not someone whose portfolio most humanoids would want, but a godling worth many experience points, nonetheless. The leader of that trio, Bane, (currently dead in my campaign, soon to be reborn; already reborn in the "official" timeline; possibly never killed in Ed Greenwood's own home campaign) is a worlds-traveling humanoid who has more character levels than ANY other FR deity (and more than most deities from other pantheons, too). Cyric, the petty adventuring fighter-thief who (temporarily, so far) killed Bhaal (with the help of another deity), inherited all three portfolios when they were all (temporarily) "killed" in what is known as the "Avatar Crisis" or "Time of Troubles" -- the ToT).
Also in the Avatar Crisis, Mystra, the goddess of magic (Mark II) was killed by the only deity not thrown down by the Overpower, and Midnight, an adventuring partner of Cyric's, one-time object of his affection, and eventual rival, and then outright enemy, having assisted in the killing of Myrkul, took Mystra's place, becoming the goddess of magic (Mark III -- or Mystra Mark II, if you prefer). Another of their adventuring band (romantic rival to Cyric for Midnight's hand) is eventually granted two of Cyric's portfolios after the bad boy is driven insane (hoist upon his own magical petard) and deemed incapable of fulfilling all of his divine duties.
The Archwizard who was tricked into becoming a lich and then becoming god of the (evil) undead, was human through and through. In my campaign, my character is his sometime student and completely unwitting rival for the portfolio of undeath, although, as I've said, the prospect of lichdom has lost its appeal to my boy, who is now coldly calculating just what divine role he CAN fulfill without changing alignment or undergoing any unpleasant physical transformations. Hence, all of my questions about Glorantha.
There are hero-legends about ascended mortals of humanoid and non-humanoid species, and one demon, chased out of the Abyss, has achieved godhood through establishing a successful cult, while Orcus keeps vacillating between demonhood, "death," undeath, and divinity, depending upon what the game requires.
I have NO qualms about planning my own character's ascension, because this summer Hasbro is killing off the Forgotten Realms as they have existed for thirty years, by having Cyric kill Midnight (goddes of magic Mark III), with consequences far worse than when Karsus briefly stole the portfolio of magic. Hasbro is totally gutting the setting, changing decades-old rules and guidelines, and telling players that their characters are, or will become in August 2008, most likely either dead or irretrievably insane. They are, basicly, ripping off Warhammer and sticking the Chaos Lands into the Forgotten Realms, with pitiful little forethought, and complete stupidity if they think that D&D players are incapable of recognizing what is being flat-out stolen and just shoved into the second-oldest D&D campaign setting. Next year they plan to similarly gut their newest campaign setting, which is only three or four years old.
Considering that Hasbro has been publishing and selling (grossly overpriced) books rooted in the Realms they are about to destroy right up to the end of 2007, many FR players are completely abandoning the setting, and many thousands of players will probably quit D&D, either dropping role-playing altogether or else switching to a new system. (Hence my praise of Mongoose, which seems inclined to open as many doors for players as possible, and not making old characters unplayable when they introduce new editions of established games.) My firmly stated position is, "Screw off, Hasbro, and keep all of this new carp, I am not buying it and I will actively discourage my players from buying it -- I have decades-worth of already published FR adventures still left to play, I have hundreds of dollars worth of D20/OGL books from other publishers, hundreds of dollars worth of books from non-D&D games which I can adapt, and I am NOT killing off all of my characters just because you are publishing the D&D 4.New.Coke Player's handbook." Other DMs are beginning to strongly agree with me, particularly since Gary Gygax's death a couple of months ago, facilitated, many believe, by Hasbro rooting out EVERYTHING he and Dave Arneson introduced as D&D, except a few vaguely similar character class names.
World- and plane-hopping has long been a part of D&D, and, as I've stated, other publishers have made provisions for D20 Myth Cycle planes, so I can readily insert RuneQuest and Gloranthan materials into my campaign without violating the fundamental tenets of the game as I currently run it -- with the D&D Third Edition Rules, which I have absolutely no doubt that Hasbro published 10 years ago with the covert intent to publish a 3.$ edition a few years later, and then a few years (and many millions of player-dollars later) a 4.New.Coke edition which makes everything else published by TSR and Wizards of the Coast obsolete. I bite my thumb in their general direction and look towards other systems and setting: Conan RPG, RuneQuest (new or old), Empire of the Petal Throne/Tekumel, Warhammer, GURPS, etc. Glorantha simply seems the most adaptable setting to loot for what I have had in mind for the highest levels of a campaign arc which I started last millennium, while my players already know that they will be taking a detour through the Conan RPG sometime soon.
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