Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Re: Which Religions believe in an Afterlife?

Subject: Re: [GREYTALK] Which Religions believe in an Afterlife?
Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 14:20:25 -0500
From: The Watcher
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List

Haile and Fair Greetings All,

Jay Hafner writes:
>Here're a few of my ideas:
>Beory & nature gods- Generally no. You become food for the worms and
>join the cycle of life.

Well... this isn't generally true of druidic/nature cults, though. Mainly, they typically share a belief in some form of evolution of the spirit/soul. In some cases, there is an "interim" afterlife in which the collected wisdom of the life left is incorporated into the total knowledge collected. Where the game is concerned, this may interpret as a temporary stay in the planar realm of the Power.

If the religious belief is one of complete evolution, they might believe in origins as non-sentient but still living plant-to-animal-to-"humanoid" form; ever learning and evolving until whatever lessons are valued by the Power have been learned. This may take several attempts, if the religion believes in reincarnation. Once mortal lessons have been acquired, the next stage might be a planar life as a "petitioner".

If it is the will of the Power, the entity might travel the planes learning the lessons of belief incarnate. Since many druidic/nature Powers tend to be N in outlook, experience with various "out-of-balance" philosophies teaches the traveling petitioner about the over-all outlook of the multiverse. Once a full scope has been achieved (returning to the home realm between forays for mental "processing" as
when mortal), the spirit/soul finally understands the full nature of its beliefs, it returns finally to its home, where it will eventually become one with (absorbed by) its Power.

>Nerull- Nothing but blackness here.

Optionally, those who actually worship Nerull may either seek to placate him in order to fend off death eternally, else seek to find a place as a servant in the realm of the Power. In this case, it's not an afterlife of "reward", until one considers for the type who worships Nerull, aiding him in the death and destruction of all life probably *is* a reward.

>Istis (ToEE spelling) - You will only haunt if you were unable to
>fulfill your destiny.

Also, Fate is all things. It can be destruction upon passing, as well as endless return to fulfill that destiny. In serving the Power in some kind of afterlife, it may also mean assisting others in achieving their destinies. Which is not to say showing up and spilling the beans so much as insuring that key events in unfolding Fate take place "as they should". Success and failure are still options.

Becoming a haunt or ghost is an intriguing potential for such worshipers, since they might actively believe in this Fate as a consequence of their failures. For as bad a product as _Fate of Istus_ was, what it does show us is that Fate constantly tests us, even warns us (if the clues are detected) of impending events. This is no doubt why Istus' priesthood are accomplished diviners. Regardless of the precise
"why", Istus seems interested in making us conscious of our choices -- one of the core ingredients in learning. (See nature cults, above.)

>Pelor and Pholtus - No. Just the thrill of being alive I guess.

Whysoever would you think *that*? Without falling into the trap of thinking the Pale the only example of Pholtus, these two have the greatest chances of having a "reward for all your good" type of afterlife so popular in Christendom.

>St. Cuthbert - I figure this guy has to have something to do with the
>afterlife, otherwise why would he tell the peasants to work so hard in
>the fields? There has to be something better than the toils of life.

Fair enough. But keep in mind Cuthbert isn't just emphasis on toil. It's overlooking, or rather, working beyond, the short-comings of life: pretensions, evil, etc.. Cuthbert emphasizes common sense applications over convoluted philosophies which only support what one really wishes to do. He's perhaps the singular GH Power who views promote a "we are all equal under the sky" mentality (much to the
discomfiture of nobility, to be sure).

>Pelor - No. Just like Beory, except become fish food...

No doubt you meant Procan, here. I'd be curious to learn if the Procaners, see human-form existence as a building block to "greater " forms of life, be it: mermen and there ilk or aarakocra and their kin. The mention of flying creatures comes less from any Powers list (83 book, FtA, or GH:PG) I've seen and more from Eric L. Boyd's curious interpretation of the Power in POLYHEDRON #130 (inland temples, emphasis
on weather there, etc.).

>Iuz - This guy lives on the same plane as his worshippers..they're
>not going anywhere.

::Eek:: Too true. His "subject" have the dubious honor of having their soul energy sucked out by Iuz upon passing (if not before!) or serving his whims on the planes (no planar realm) as proxy or petitioner "tool". Belief in any kind of afterlife does seem proximate to keeping in Iuz's extremely volatile good graces. Much luck to them.

>Hextor, Heironeous - I'm imagining a Valhalla here.

Maybe if you blended them. For Hextor, the afterlife would be one of an endless military campaign. Blood War comes to mind, but I rather expect the battles to be ones of specific conflict with enemy Powers or attempts to further power acquisition. Heironeous almost strikes my as the UN of the multiverse. His portfolio suggests one of being prepared to fight for the right cause, yet ever hoping it doesn't come to that. Honor and leadership through example would be stressed with the realm of the Power being a "perfect" sanctuary from the "torments" of existence.

>Delleb, Rao - I guess we'd all become part of the collective "Thought."

Ultimately, probably. Just how could equate to parts of a collective consciousness. Sure, once "perfection" is achieved and absorption into Rao occurs, there's no more self, but until then, perhaps it's a place of perpetual seeking of "Truth", sagely research, and open sharing of knowledge. This also leaves open the potential for planar adventures (by petitioners or as contracts) to seek out answers to specific questions.

>Trithereon- Nope, you'd better get your things in order while you are
>here. Some would be created into spirits/haunts if they were unable to
>avenge themselves.

Failure to achieve the correct life as a mortal might result in being cast out of Trithereon's realm (to the plane most in tune with the actual alignment), though I can definitely see this taught on Oerth as "oblivion". "Joining with Trithereon" may be what's taught on the Flanaess as ultimate reward (giving over to a supposition there is no afterlife), but this may translate after death to serving the Power's
goals in his planar realm. Since the memory core is abandoned before formation as a petitioner, noone in Trithereon's realm actually gets there and says, "What do you know about this...". I can just see it now -- his planar following going about taking vengeance for wrongs to their Lord and others from chosen foes. A few adventures there, I think ::smile::.

>Phaulkon - "We're all just dust in the wind..."

See notes concerning Procan, above, whom I can see interested in flying forms more than that Power. There's also the sentient cloud creature and air elementals as potential advancement forms.

>So, all tallied: That makes two. War gods, and gods that say "life
>is hard here, It'll be better when you die."

Don't forget Zilchus' philosophy as "You *can* take it with you." Here not literally, as they well know death equates to someone inheriting, but more like your achieved place in life equates to your position in the afterlife.

So, there's a different take on these specific Powers. I'd be given to think there'd have to be *some* kind of reward for life devotion, else the kind of devotion required (esp. where the radical alignments are concerned) wouldn't be nearly as popular as one who did offer something.

Soft Winter and Sweet Flowers,


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