A deity or god is a powerful being involved in the creation and maintenance of a realm. They are typically worshiped by the inhabitants of the realms they created, as well as the descendants of those inhabitants who have settled elsewhere in the Sora. Deities typically embody one or more physical aspects of reality (such as an element, geographical feature, or creature), metaphysical phenomena (such as magic, death, or dreams), or abstract concepts (such as war, artistry, or love). These are most often known as domains or spheres, with the entire collection called a portfolio, though other terms exist. Most inhabited realms have a pantheon of deities which are responsible for the spiritual advancement of the sapient populace.  

Physical Properties

Deities are extremely varied in form, personality, and power. Deities of different pantheons often have great differences between them, even those with similar portfolios, greatly reflecting their realms of origin. Within a pantheon, deities can be very similar or greatly dissimilar.  


Most deities are capable of changing their appearance at will, but the majority have a handful of forms they commonly take. Some rare deities seem to be locked into one form; whether this is simply according to the preference of the deity or lack of shapechanging ability is rarely made certain by the deity themself. The form(s) they take tend to be related to the domains the deity embodies, such as a god of the forge taking the form of a gold dwarf (or whatever local species or culture is most known for metalwork) or a god of life taking the form of a phoenix.  


Deities have personalities that run the full gamut of mortal temperaments, often to even greater extremes than mortals. These personalities tend to be related to their portfolios, especially gods with elemental domains. Fire gods are prone to anger, war gods are violent, and life gods are cheerful. This is not always the case, some deities embody contradictions, and this is often connected to how their followers view those concepts. The followers of a peaceful god of war may view defensive warfare as acceptable, while the followers of a calm god of fire could emphasize the warmth and life-giving aspects of flame.  


The true extent of the power wielded by the gods is highly debated. The gods themselves are cagey at best about the answer, though the fact that multiple pantheons of gods exist on different realms means they are not omnipotent or omniscient. Gods gain their power from pneuma, which comes from worship and belief. Every mortal that holds some degree of reverence for a god passively generates a small amount of pneuma. The greater the reverence, the more pneuma that is generated. Similarly, the stronger the believer, the stronger the pneuma. When believers actively worship, such as through rituals, sacrifices, and other observances, they generate large amounts of pneuma. Gods thus try to cultivate reverence wherever they can.   Those who lose worshipers similarly begin to lose power, eventually becoming incapable of influencing events beyond their immediate vicinity. Forgotten gods, those who are no longer worshiped, offered prayers, or given reverence, are thought to litter the heavens of realms, cut off from the ability to influence or interact with the world.  


At least some gods are not immortal and can be killed; the god Odr is the most widely known example, though others may exist. The amount of power required to slay a god is immense. Most mortals are incapable of mustering power of that level and, in Odr's case, it required the host pantheon to reject the god. It is not known if and how other gods could be killed.  


Most pantheons of gods follow similar rules when it comes to interaction with followers. Some act as distant, unapproachable beings which involve themselves in the world only tangentially, while others are so involved that they live and walk among their followers. Most, however, exist somewhere in the center, staying distant from their followers while still answering prayers for the devout, issuing commandments through prophets, and seeking worship from mortals. Pantheons tend to be fairly consistent in the level of interaction they have with their followers. Some may be more active within a pantheon, but very rarely are there highly active gods with very distant gods.   Gods have a general perception of anywhere a believer is, no matter the distance or any type of known magical barrier. These believers need not be specifically devoted to the god, involved in their church, or otherwise follow the god's dogma. Instead, they simply must hold a reverence of sorts for the god. This often means that a single person has many gods who sense their whereabouts. This feeling is only a vague sensation rather than direct knowledge, with the sensitivity increasing the greater the gathering of believers. Devotees of a god, such as clergy, holy warriors, or initiates into their mysteries provide more precise and stronger senses. Those with stronger allow their god to passively see, hear, and feel all that they do. Gods can focus on any of their devotees to actively have full knowledge of the area immediately surrounding the follower.  


In the most general sense, gods have some level of control and influence over the aspects of their domains. How great this level of control entails is highly variable, but at the very least, gods appear able to subconsciously sense any manifestation of their domain. For instance, a god of fire will know where any burning fire is and when a new fire is lit, a god of childbirth will know when a woman enters labor, a god of gemstones will know where all gems, cut and uncut, lay, and so forth. The greater the collection of manifestations is, the more it attracts the god's notice and the more power the god holds over it and its vicinity. A flame allows a god of fire to see and hear as far as the fire's heat carries, a few yards for a campfire, a bonfire up to a furlong, and a conflagration for miles.   All gods have some ability to manipulate the manifestation of their domains, though their control varies greatly depending on many factors. The individual power of the god is the largest factor; minor gods can only mildly influence manifestations, such as causing flames to flicker or water to ripple, while major gods could cause those flames to flare wildly or entire rivers to recede. The importance of the manifestation to the god has a great effect as well. A god can cause the fire in their temple to form into an elemental or a sacred river to flood. Finally, the strength and history of belief in a god in an area has an effect. A god cannot influence their domain on a realm where their believers have not set foot. Once a believer has been on a realm, a god's influence there can begin, starting with the ability to slightly influence the area around the believer. The longer the follower stays on the realm, the more the god's power grows. The more believers and the stronger their devotion, the faster it grows. If a god loses most or all of its believers on a realm, its influence there begins to wane. With no believers, its power will eventually disappear entirely.   On occasion, two or more gods from different pantheons with the same domains find their worshipers inhabiting the same world. In general, the deity with more local power has precedence. This can result in enclaves of influence, as one deity may have more power on a global or regional level, another has power on a city level, a third has power within a single temple, with a fourth having power in the vicinity of a powerful follower.

Cover image: by Denis Khusainov


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