Is Imperial polytheism realistic?

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Zisse
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Arabyans or dwarfs maybe have their own gods for this. This could be one of their major ones covering that aspect or just their own version of handrich.

I must admit that I am more story driven regarding the gods. I find this discussion interesting, but I don't need a complete or realistic pantheon fleshed out.

If an adventure requires an arabyan god of merchants I would just invent one.
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Orin J.
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Whymme wrote:
Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:49 pm
Zisse wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 8:04 am
Whymme wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 4:52 am
One could argue that this is because in the Warhammer world the gods actually exist - but if so, why would they adhere to country borders? It is clear for Sigmar, but a lot less for, say, Handrich or Morr. I could imagine a world where the Northern gods are particularly strong in Kislev, and the Southern gods in Tilea and Estalia, with the Empire the place where those pantheons get mixed. It would be quite believable, in fact. Instead we have a very different pantheon in Kislev. While Ursun clearly has much alike with Ulric, there is not such equivalent to Dazh, the god of fire and the sun, and Tor, the god of lightning, would at its best be only a small aspect of Taal.
Maybe the adhere to borders because their power depends on the amount of worship?
Perhaps. But why wouldn’t Arabyan or Kislevite (or dwarven for that matter) merchants pray to Handrich then?
plain ol' cultural prejudice, mostly. (ignoring the dwarfs, who have kind of a closed system of belief due to the "gods are ancestors are family" thing.

kislev and norsca both know about ulric, for example, but they consider him to be a "soft, southerner god" and so do not worship him in most areas (execpting the south parts of kislev, naturally) because they don't like their neighbors all that much.
Bifi666
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Guys, thank you so much for the great discussion, especially contributions by Orin, Knight of the Lady, Wolf and Whymme. You gave me a lot to think about.
I am currently on vacation and without access to my rulebooks or a PC, I will get back to this topic as soon as I am able.
Capitaneus Fractus
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This subject was once well worked by a Warhammer fanatic : Hachman who long ago held the Warhammer Heroes forum...

The original authors, when they designed WFRP's gods, inspired themselves from Greek polytheism, mainly, and a bit from Roman, Germanic, Celtic polytheism... They obviously also took inspiration from other fantasy works...

But, as in many other fantasy works, they failed to free themselves from a Christian monotheistic frame of thought... And their successors failed even more and worsened this situation... The Old World religion look way more like a cohabitation of many monotheisms rather than to a polytheistic religion. And the whole divide between orthodoxy and heterodoxies, which is more or less present among every gods and became fundamental for the cult of Sigmar is quasi incompatible with the essence of polytheism.

Whoever is able to understand spoken French might be interested by this very interesting registered cycle of lessons of Religion, History and Society in the Ancient Greek World, in the College of France: https://www.college-de-france.fr/site/v ... course.htm

My own view of the religion in the Empire is that Religion and Worships were somehow learned by prehistoric Old Worlder from Asurs, at the time of the height of the Eltharin Empire. Asurs themselves where teach on those matters by Old Slanns. That is to say that Kislevites, Imperials, Estalians, but also Asurs, Asraï et alii worship the same gods in a same pantheon, albeit each of those gods are perceived differently and sometime with different names... It also sometime appears that distinct gods were reunited into a same worship and perceived as a single god, or, on the contrary, that different aspect of a same god might be perceived and worshipped as being representation of distinct gods.
Old Worlders worship all those gods, without any discrimination, albeit they tend to worship some more often than others : all those gods are part of the Imperial society, and are useful to it. For that reason, Khaíne's cult isn't forbidden (it make no sense). Khaíne is openly worshipped as, for example, a god of Revenge and of Self Justice.

This pantheon might roughly look like this:

Code: Select all

Gia ✝ (Gea, la Déesse Mère)
× Gia ✝ (Gea, la Déesse Mère)
¦
+->Asuryan ✝ (Ishernos, Söll) 
¦  × Gia ✝ (Gea, la Déesse Mère)
¦  ¦
¦  +->Lileath l'Ancienne ✝
¦  ¦  ¦
¦  ¦  +->Kurnous ✝ (Taal)
¦  ¦  +->× Isha (Rhya, Déesse mère, Haleth, Dyrath, Ishea, Hyacinthe)
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦
¦  ¦  ¦  +->Lileath la Jeune (Ladrielle, Lilcarth, La dame du Lac)
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦
¦  ¦  ¦  +->les Ældars...
¦  ¦  ¦  
¦  ¦  +->Karnos (Taal, Karog)
¦  ¦  ¦  
¦  ¦  +->Torothal (Taal)  
¦  ¦  ¦  
¦  ¦  +->Ellinill (Taal, Lupos)
¦  ¦  +->× Isha (Rhya, Déesse mère, Haleth, Dyrath, Ishea, Hyacinthe)
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦
¦  ¦  ¦  +->Addaioth (Dazh)
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦
¦  ¦  ¦  +->Estreuth
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦
¦  ¦  ¦  +->Hukon
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦
¦  ¦  ¦  +->Mathlann (Manann, Stormfels, Olovald, Manalt, Manas, Manhavok, Mathann, Shark Lord, King of the Raging Seas)
¦  ¦  ¦  +->× Liadriel (Deanosius, Panasia)
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦  ¦
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦  +->Händrich (Haendrick, O Prospero, Mercopio)
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦  ¦
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦  +->Amex
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦     × Rigg
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦     ¦
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦     +->Kalith
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦        ×
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦        ¦
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦        +->les Amazones
¦  ¦  ¦  ¦     
¦  ¦  ¦  +->Drakira
¦  ¦  ¦  
¦  ¦  +->Eldrazor (Ulric, Olric, Ursash, Main-Rouge, Roi des neiges)
¦  ¦     x
¦  ¦     ¦
¦  ¦     +->les prétendus fils d'Ulric
¦  ¦
¦  +->Ereth Khial ✝
¦  ¦  × Asuryan ✝
¦  ¦  ¦	
¦  ¦  +->Nethu ✝
¦  ¦     × Morai-Heg (Corbeau, Corneille)	
¦  ¦     ¦	
¦  ¦     +->Sarriel (Mórr, Gazul, Forsagh)
¦  ¦     ¦  × Hœth (Véréna, Clio, Renbaeth, Scripsisti)
¦  ¦     ¦  ¦
¦  ¦     ¦  +->Myrmidia (la Furie, Margileo)
¦  ¦     ¦  ¦
¦  ¦     ¦  +->Shallya (la Purificatrice, Salyak)
¦  ¦     ¦
¦  ¦     +->Khaine (Bourreau, Manticore, Scorpion, Faucon, Taure, Guerrier navré, Panthère de fer, Porteur de mort)
¦  ¦        × Gia ✝ (Gea, la Déesse Mère)
¦  ¦        ¦
¦  ¦        +->Herkati (Ecaté)
¦  ¦        ¦
¦  ¦        +->Atharti
¦  ¦        ¦
¦  ¦        × Morai-Heg (Corbeau, Corneille)
¦  ¦        ¦
¦  ¦        +->les Banshees
¦  ¦
¦  +->Anath Rema (Ahalt)
¦  ¦
¦  +->Lœc (Adaman, Cegorach)
¦
+->Morai-Heg (Corbeau, Corneille)
¦  × Khaine (Bourreau, Manticore, Scorpion, Faucon, Taure, Guerrier navré, Panthère de fer, Porteur de mort)
¦  ¦
¦  +->les Banshees
¦
+->Vaul ✝
   × 
   ¦
   +-> Hœth (Véréna, Clio, Renbaeth, Scripsisti)
       x Sarriel (Mórr, Gazul, Forsagh)
       ¦
       +->Myrmidia (la Furie, Margileo)
       ¦
       +->Shallya (la Purificatrice, Salyak)
       
✝ = dead god (killed by Slaanesh, Khaine or Ellinil).
The very principle of polytheism is that there are many gods who constitute, together, a supra-human society with whom interact the human society. Those gods are numerous, but a same god, say Mórr, isn't described or worshipped the same way in all place of the Old World. That is why the concepts of heterodoxy or orthodoxy are not applicable to a polytheistic world...

There are, however, other Powers from the warp, who constitute a very distinct society of gods: the Chaos gods. This label encompass Chaos gods, Renegade Chaos Gods, and Law Gods. They aren't part of the Old World's gods society, hence they aren't part to the Old World's men society. They are even at war with those society, seeking their utter subversion or their total destruction. That is why their cults are indeed and of course forbidden in the Old World.

It can even be argued that those Chaos Gods do not really constitute a society together. Their relations are chaotic. Each god is the subject of a quasi monotheistic cult. Perhaps that the Sigmarite apparent obsession with orthodoxy betray a Solkanian successful corruption on it ? That might explain this otherwise very weird aspect.
Last edited by Capitaneus Fractus on Wed Oct 28, 2020 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Orin J.
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 1:39 pm
There are, however, other Powers from the warp, who constitute a very distinct society of gods: the Chaos gods. This label encompass Chaos gods, Renegade Chaos Gods, and Law Gods. They aren't part of the Old World's gods society, hence they aren't part to the Old World's men society. They are even at war with those society, seeking their utter subversion or their total destruction. That is why their cults are indeed and of course forbidden in the Old World.

It can even be argued that those Chaos Gods do not really constitute a society together. Their relations are chaotic. Each god is the subject of a quasi monotheistic cult. Perhaps that the Sigmarite apparent obsession with orthodoxy betray a Solkanian successful corruption on it ? That might explain this otherwise very weird aspect.
i want to point out here that while some in-lore sources suggest that the gods and the chaos gods share the same space, this isn't borne out by either mortal interactions with the gods or the interactions between the two groups themselves. it was also originally designed that they were explicitly occupying two separate metaphysical realms that do not interact and require the physical ("mortal") realm to encounter each other. this is further borne out somewhat by the wildly inconsistent positions the chaos gods claim to preside over compared to the very solid and generally unchanging domains of the gods in fantasy.
Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 1:39 pm
Khaíne's cult isn't forbidden (it make no sense)-
khaine's cult is forbidden because the cult murders people as part of their faith. it's not a religious position it's literally most of the are murderers and considered incitement to violence.

knowing what an edgelord khaine is he probably likes it that way.....
Knight of the Lady
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I mostly agree with Capitaneus Fractus in his points, although I would add that most species, cultures etc. probably have a few divine actors of their own to turn to in addtion to the gods that are worshipped across the lines.

In addition I don't see why pretty much every god could not have lax, moderate and zealous cults, factions and individual worshippers, including Khaine. I don't see some kind of great reason to ban pretty much any non-Chaos god. For the example of Khaine, yes, there are a thing for violence in his cult but there's should reasonably be ways to call upon him with ways that are not murderous but still that aligns with what people expect, or hope, he will be receptive too.

I recall that the Romans squashed the practice of human sacrifice among the Celts they conquered. They did not however forbid the practice of worshipping Celtic deities as a bad act of worship is not the whole thing for the worship of these, or any, gods.
Zisse
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Just a thought to add to all the interesting points all of you made:
Comparing to real world gods makes sense, but there is a big difference: in the old world you can assume these deities exist in some way. Miracles and the Warhammer rules prove it. In the real world we do not have that strong arguments to prove the existence of the various supernatural entities that humanity came up with.
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totsuzenheni
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I suggest three broad categories of gods (and a fourth if your Warhammer world includes interaction with those who are, or were, technologically more advanced):
  • Warp entities
  • Magical beings
  • (Technological superiors)
  • Fictions
There is nothing to stop people 'creating' fictional gods in the Warhammer world in the much same way people do in the real world, unless, i suppose, your Warhammer world gods are particularly jealous and omnipotent.
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Orin J.
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totsuzenheni wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 5:14 am
I suggest three broad categories of gods (and a fourth if your Warhammer world includes interaction with those who are, or were, technologically more advanced):
  • Warp entities
  • Magical beings
  • (Technological superiors)
  • Fictions
There is nothing to stop people 'creating' fictional gods in the Warhammer world in the much same way people do in the real world, unless, i suppose, your Warhammer world gods are particularly jealous and omnipotent.
really, the gods don't need to be jealous if their priests are. and the fallibility of man is always a fun part of preparing a game of warhammer.
Capitaneus Fractus
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Warp is a full synonymous to Magic (magic is the vernacular word, warp is the scientific word) and entity is a close synonymous to being. So the two first categories designate the same beings or the same entities...

The Universe is divided in two distinct and normally hermetically separated plans: the material cosmos and the immaterial chaos. The immaterial chaos is know by many names such as warp space, void Empyrean, realm of Chaos, Immaterium, sea of souls...

Every being in the material world, past ones (dead beings) and present ones (living beings); animate ones (bacteria, mushrooms, vegetables, elves, men and any other animal...) and inanimate ones (vira, rocks, soils and any other mineral...) is also present, through what is called his soul, in the immaterial chaos which is, for this reason represented as the sea of souls.
The conclusion is that everything is a warp being. Arguably, even ideas (such as fictions) are present in the warp through the resonance of souls who considerate, manipulate, forge, believe, &c. in those ideas... In some aspect, the sea of souls might be something that look like the Platonic world of ideas.

As, in the material cosmos, nothing is lost, nothing is created , everything is transformed, the reverse is obviously also true. However the link between the former soul and the unicity of its past material body can be argued be broken in many cases, especially in old ones, when the organic corps became dust and is now part of soil, trees, herbs, beasts... A fortiori since souls in the immaterial chaos are also transformed...

Those purely warp entities are, hence, colloquially called "warp entities". And their range goes from the soul of something such as a destructed wax earplug now recycled in various creepy things to the four major gods of Chaos. Quite a huge category.

A very long time ago, in the Milky Way, the Ancient stellar nation, whose individuals are known as "the Old Ones", opened gates between the material and immaterial plans in order to facilitate their galactic travels. Those where the first holes between the immaterial chaos and the material cosmos. The aethyrthightness was definitely lost... especially when warp gates collapsed, following the birth of Slaanesh.

The aethyr flowed into the material cosmos through warp gates. The aethyr is the immatters, the element of chaos which constitute the immaterial plan of the Universe. The aethyr is also known as ether, warp, chaos, magic. The aethyr is indeed the magic (sorcerers manipulate the aethyr or warp dust, that saturate matters and flow far away from warp gates through winds n order to counter laws of physics). The aethyr is even the root of all fantastic elements of the world (the aethyr, or warp matter, is what corrupt beings and counter laws of chemistry, hence of biology).

Sometime, part of the aethyr that saturate a space constitute an aware warp creature such as a spectre, a daemon, a god or something else (and who all designate the approximatively same warp phenomenon)... And sometime this aethyr incarnate a material body, such as mortal possessed by a daemon or decrepit dead corps still inhabited by their soul...

All of this to say that warp entities should rather be broadly categorized according to their awareness, to their power or to their link with the material world.

Ken Rolston imagined this categorization of warp creatures, based on power:
  • The Earth Mother, Greater Gods, The Four Powers of Chaos: 10,000,000,000 -1,000,000,000,000 MP
  • Lesser Gods (Examples: children of Earth Mother, including Manann, Ulric, Sigmar, etc., Lesser Chaos Powers): 1,000,000 - 10,000,000,000 MP
  • Greater Entities (Examples: Wisentlich, Daemon Rulers, Minor Chaos Entities, some hero, ancestral, and elemental spirits): 1000 - 1,000,000 MP
  • Lesser Entities (Examples: Rural and Wilderness Spirits (Leshy, Vodyanoy, and other ancient spirits of Kislev), some hero, ancestral, and elemental spirits, some magical beings like ancient treemen, fimir, giants, and dragons): 50 - 1000 MP
  • Mortals (Examples: all plants, animals, humans, most magical beings like unicorns, pixies, griffin, etc.): .001 - 50 MP
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totsuzenheni
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:59 am
Warp is a full synonymous to Magic (magic is the vernacular word, warp is the scientific word) and entity is a close synonymous to being. So the two first categories designate the same beings or the same entities...
It seems to me that the difference between warp and magic in the Warhammer world is that Warp is the 'other dimension', as it were, and magic is the 'twisting' of the material 'dimension' by the Warp. So the Chaos gods would be Warp entities, and Sigmar would be a magical being. But then i've been off doing my own thing for a while.
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Orin J.
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:59 am
Warp is a full synonymous to Magic (magic is the vernacular word, warp is the scientific word) and entity is a close synonymous to being. So the two first categories designate the same beings or the same entities...
that's just it, in fantasy the gods aren't magical in their powers. it's been fairly consistent throughout fantasy's history that miricles are not operating the same way magical matter does and instead are using a "divine" power source unrelated to the magic as we know it, diffused from the realm of chaos into the material realm.

the misconception is mostly just bleedover from 40k theology, which the community as a whole has erroneously chosen to assume works the same way.the two are operationally different and everything indicates that "the old world gods exist in the realm of chaos" is just an in-universe supposition (and a heretical one, which is funny considering.)
Knight of the Lady
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Zisse wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 12:32 am
Just a thought to add to all the interesting points all of you made:
Comparing to real world gods makes sense, but there is a big difference: in the old world you can assume these deities exist in some way. Miracles and the Warhammer rules prove it. In the real world we do not have that strong arguments to prove the existence of the various supernatural entities that humanity came up with.
Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say that it "proves" it. The priests' abilities to cast spells is certainly a thing which strenghtens their argument but there are a few things which I think makes it less likely that its a final proof as a opposed to a strong hint.

To start with miracles, I don't think these actually happens very often. I mean there are stories and such but I don't recall the gods of the Warhammer World often involving themselves in the same way that for example Greek gods can and supposedly did in the mythology. The gods always act with human agents and until the 4th edition I wasn't even aware of there being mentionings of supernatural servants of these gods in some kind of fashion interacting with the mortal world, even less so the system of actually sins as in the 4th edition. Before that I don't think that the gods seems to have cared much for what their followers did on Earth. So this absence of interaction between gods and mortals would seem to be lacking for most of Warhammer's history.

What the rules of the game proves is that some men, who dedicate themselves to a god, can cast essentially spells. Yes. But not all such men can cast spells as the presence of mundane priests and such shows. Furthermore I think its a bit of a leap to say that "this can is a priest and can cast spells" to "the god he serves is real". Its a strong hint, yes, but if a Fire Mage would go to the Border Princes and set himself up as a priest of a fire god called "Lokoch", would that prove that "Lokoch" is real as a god? The divine lores could, in my opinioin, just as easily be just another set of magical energies that flows through the world and operates differently from the Winds of Magic without anything we would identify as a god involved.

Now I will add that I personally run the gods as existing and present in my Warhammer games, and their priests tends to be very influential for good and bad (but most often more good than bad) but that's not really the point we debate here.
Capitaneus Fractus
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Orin J. wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:31 pm
that's just it, in fantasy the gods aren't magical in their powers. it's been fairly consistent throughout fantasy's history that miricles are not operating the same way magical matter does and instead are using a "divine" power source unrelated to the magic as we know it, diffused from the realm of chaos into the material realm.
Gods are full warp entities, hence are magical (Ken Rolston would spell it "magickal") in their powers just like they are magical in everything else.
It is indeed true that miraculous or divine magic doesn't operate the same way as sorcerous or profane magic: profane magic's use of aethyr is immediate (through direct manipulation of warp immatters such as warp dust in the so-called winds of magic) while divine magic's use of aethyr is mediate (through interacting with warp entities like so-called daemons and gods):
Eric Cagle, David Chart, Andrew Kenrick and Andrew Law wrote:"Sometimes a miracle is blinding for onlookers with Magical Sense, as the appropriate God or perhaps one of his servants appears to manifest in the local Aethyr;" (Eric Cagle, David Chart, Andrew Kenrick and Andrew Law, Tome of Salvation, WFRP2, p. 214.)
The operation is different, but the nature is the same: aethyr. Divine magic and profane magic being, themselves, the same as psychic powers:
Rick Priestley and Bryan Ansell wrote:"The relationship of magic and psychic powers is straighforward. They are exactly the same - any difference is one of perception in a scientific culture. However, the Warhammer [Fantasy] Known World is exceptional in that is is soaked through with Chaos. Magic works in a way directly related to this fact. Normal worlds are not so ridden with chaotic energy, so the process of using psychic/magic powers is more restrained." (Rick Priestley and Bryan Ansell, leaked Chaos - The fictional background in GW Games, WFRP1-WFB3-W40K1, p. 3.)

---
Orin J. wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:31 pm
the misconception is mostly just bleedover from 40k theology, which the community as a whole has erroneously chosen to assume works the same way.the two are operationally different and everything indicates that "the old world gods exist in the realm of chaos" is just an in-universe supposition (and a heretical one, which is funny considering.)
What you -wrongly- allege being an erroneous assumption by the community is, as a matter of fact, the explicit statement of Warhammer Fantasy designers, which never was contradicted in latter publications.
Rick Priestley wrote:"Although the [Warhammer 40,000 - Rogue Trader] game shares Warhammer Battle mechanisms, they have been suitably modified to allow for the very different weapons and equipment. Statistics follow the same form, for example, and many of the creatures cross over. In fact, the warhammer fantasy world and WH40K share the same universe; the Slann, as players of Warhammer already know, are extra-terrestrial anyway, and as for the place of Chaos... all will be revealed later", (Rick Priestley, White Dwarf #87, W40K1, p. 59.)

Rick Priestley and Bryan Ansell wrote:"The Warhammer [Fantasy] World is bound by storms of magic so that it remains isolated from the other worlds of the [Warhammer 40.000's] human galaxy. Elsewhere, the forces of the Imperium tenaciously fight the influence of Chaos, so that the open aggression of Chaos Champions and their forces is restricted to zones not controlled by the Imperium. On worlds where Champions of Chaos attain daemonhood or death there are monolith to their memory just as on the Warhammer World. Cosmic monoliths are tablets, flats stones, or death caskets that float through space itself. They can celebrate a Champion whose mortal life ended while battling an engagement between space fleets. Often they orbit a world, transmitting their inscriptions to passing craft or projecting their image directly into spaceships." (Rick Priestley and Bryan Ansell, The Lost and the Damned, WFRP1-WFB3-W40K1, p. 77.)

Ken Rolston wrote:"Warhammer World is a tiny but significant planet in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. This world possesses a late medieval culture and technology, enhanced by a sophisticated understanding of sorcerous and divine magics. Small though Warhammer Fantasy World may be against the background of Warhammer 40,000's galaxy-spanning Imperium, Warhammer Fantasy World is nonetheless at center stage for events of epic significance in the struggle between the Emperor and the Forces of Chaos, and in the ultimate renewal of hope for mankind as represented by the myth of the Star Child." (Ken Rolston, leaked Realm of Divine Magic, WFRP1, p.21-22.)


Or more recently:
White Dwarf wrote:"[T]he Realm of Chaos is a mystical place that spans all of existence, stretching across dimensions and time – sometimes it’s called the Realm of Chaos, sometimes the warp, Empyrean, Immaterium, Formless Wastes, Land of Lost Souls or simply the Abyss – it’s all pretty much the same thing. In the Warhammer 40,000 universe it’s said that Slaanesh was created by the aeldari. After his (or her) creation, Slaanesh was then free to journey across the Realm of Chaos, where he (or she) crafted a realm of pleasure and excess in which to dwell. From this point on, Slaanesh could send his (or her) minions – be they mortal or daemonic – across the Realm of Chaos, either into realspace, to the [Warhammer Fantasy] world-that-was or now the Mortal Realms (and countless other places)." (pseudo-Grombrindal, White Dwarf #June 2018, AOS, [p. 36].)



---
Orin J. wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:31 pm
everything indicates that "the old world gods exist in the realm of chaos" is just an in-universe supposition (and a heretical one, which is funny considering.)


Not exactly:
T.S. Luikart, Chris Pramas, Jeff Tidball, Robert J. Schwalb and Marijan von Staufer wrote:"The GM should bear in mind that [no good citizen of the Empire] would associate the Realm of Chaos or the hells of the Dark Gods with the Divine Realms of the Empire's more wholesome Gods [...] Few would think that good Gods and bad Gods come into existence and reside in the same metaphysical plane [...]
Few [...] identify the Divine Realms or Morr's Limbo as being the same place, state, or thing as the Aethyr that the Empire's magisters sometime refears to as the source of their power", (T.S. Luikart, Chris Pramas, Jeff Tidball, Robert J. Schwalb and Marijan von Staufer,Realms of Sorcery, WFRP2, p. 15-16)
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
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Orin J.
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ignoring the argument that the two settings were separated, (as it does neither of us, the setting itself, or the dignety of the board any damned good) nothing you brought up actually states that the gods exist in the realm of chaos (i'm not going to acknowledge the term "warp", as it is strictly in reference to 40k matters and they handle interaction with chaos exposure slightly differently not to mention tend towards being uselessly hyperbolic explanations), in fact only one entry actually refers directly to divine energies, and it simply implies a relation to magic through the local ambient energies. it's entirely plausable that divine materialization simply is harmful to those attuned to magical energies in the same way someone peering through the darkness feels pain of you suddenly turn a floodlight on into their eyes.

it's is commonly understood that "Dark" magick is the raw, natural state of the energies that come from the realm of chaos, and that "High" magick is a refined, highly ordered use of those same energies, drawn through the eight "Schools" of magic as we commonly understand them. these eight schools are derived elements of the material world (and in fact we know that even without the warp gates, some small portion of magical energies diffuse through the material world, filtered into the respective elements. isn't it plausible that these energies are being transmuted from "chaotic" to "divine" energies, similarly to how a steam generator transforms heat into electricity? this would explain how "natural" places are often strong with the power of gods, while places "defiled" with large amounts of dark magic are difficult for the gods to manifest in.
Bifi666
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Motivated by this board I have spent the last couple of days with reading the 1e rulebook and 2e Tome of Salvation (which I am not fully through yet although I found already many answers and confirmations of suggestions of other posters to my original questions - I will write about this more soon).

I agree that wanting to produce a one definite version of the Imperial pantheon is perhaps not entirely productive - not the least because the inhabitants of the Empire themselves do not have complete knowledge of these things and due to the local variations of worship as well as developments of and in the pantheon over time. 2e adopted what I dub here 'perspectivalism' in several of its products, most notably Old World Bestiary, where we see ingame entities through the eyes of the inhabitants or through fragmentary documentary sources with questionable reliability. Tome of Salvation also brought in some speculations and contradictions that are fruitful not the least because of the exciting 'what ifs'. And it does a good job.

I also find the idea that the pantheons overlap to some extent plausible and productive - either in the sense that Taal in the Imperial pantheon is the same deity as elvish Kurnous (horizontal overlap), or that some local deities such as Dyrath or Haleth are just aspects of Rhya, a major deity (vertical overlap), or that Ursun, a major deity in one pantheon, is just an aspect of Taal (a structurally similar example in another direction might be Stromfels and Manann - and both are cases of diagonal overlap). This of course begs the question of the 'transcendental mechanisms' of power between the deities as well as the relationships between followers and their deities (e.g. what happens to the deity when its cult is absorbed into the cult of another deity as happened with so many local nature deities and with Taal/Rhya? and what is the difference between 'racial' deities and Gods of Law or Chaos in this respect?).

Interestingly, the 1e rulebook says that the presented deities are just a sample with „more to come in future supplements“ – however, all major human deities were left intact (holy cows?) and future additions were targeted at the Chaos Gods, demihuman pantheons and minor deities.

I stumbled also, however, across some contradictions from oversight or lack of proper design and development. Some are relatively minor - such as Ranald being a cult without any real organisation yet every member must pay a tithe (to whom? how come collecting and allocating money does not require an organisation?). The much more significant one is mentioned by Fractus above: "The Old World religion look way more like a cohabitation of many monotheisms rather than to a polytheistic religion." The deity and cult descriptions in ToS are written from the perspective of belonging to a single cult (1e does this in particular in the friends and enemies sections of individual deities). They use formulations such as „cultists of the deity see others as this or that“, „people beloning to the cult are like this or that“ instead of the perspective of how the faith in all of these deities taken together (as a single multi-body organism or a society of deities) plays out in daily life of a single average person (say a farmer from Averland, a merchant from Reikland and a member of nobility from Middenland). Polytheism as a religious practice is mentioned only briefly ("everyone worships all the Gods to some degree or another", ToS p. 28), i.e. as the worship of different deities for different times and occasions such as Morr when somebody dies, Rhya during harvest time, Haendryk or Ranald when doing trade, Verena before a court process, Grandfather Reik when embarking on a river journey.

However, the cults seem to be described from the perspective of monolatrism (the recognition of the existence of many gods but with the consistent worship of only one deity) or at best henotheism (when the believer worships one god without denying that others may worship different gods with equal validity). The reference to Catholic saints and patrons is also relevant here, as almost each cult, with its saints and venerated souls represents its own quasi-polytheism... And apart from Sigmarite heresy, the relevance of interpretations along panentheistic monotheism (in the sense that all other deities are manifestations of but one god, which to some extent seems to hold for Taal/Rhya as well as Ulric, see also vertical overlap above) not really adressed.
Wolf
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:10 am

Is it a problem if some of Warhammer’s presentation of religion veers towards the henothestic, rather than a fuller polytheism? There is good evidence that many of the ancient Greeks inclined to this sort of worship; we know that different Norse gods were popular with different groups (Sagas refer to some as especially following Thor or Frey or Odin); the ancient Egyptians appear to have at times worshipped a god without failing to acknowledge others (Akhenaten’s heresy was the denial of other gods, not regarding the Aten as the source of divinity); in the modern world, Hinduism, an undoubtedly polytheistic belief system, often finds worshippers seeking to approach the greater divine presence through one particular god or goddess, whilst others do worship a greater range of gods, as I understand it (I am happy to be corrected by anyone with first hand knowledge). In other words, seeking a particular sort of religious practice seems unrealistic to me.

Those most deeply involved in the worship of a particular god or goddess are likely to see that deity as particularly important and - for them - will be greatest god, perhaps the most significant way there can be to approach a divine presence that goes beyond that one god: an almost monotheistic approach. For others, less religiously inclined, they would simply give their devotions to whatever god seemed best placed to answer their particular needs that day. Others still might primarily worship one god because it suited their political needs, out of habit or due to familial ties.

I do think the section on a character sheet saying ‘religion’ (with the name of a single deity in it) should be removed. The default assumption should be that everyone worships all gods a bit, with those who are particularly devoted to a cult making that a specific and unusual choice. Also, we should think in terms of some temples being devoted to several gods or tthe whole pantheon. And I would encourage the ‘bleeding’ of different gods from different parts of the world into the general pantheon. Those from the eastern Empire should be familiar with Kislevite deities (and nature spirits) and those from the north know Norscan gods too, for example.
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Orin J.
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Wolf wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:58 pm
I do think the section on a character sheet saying ‘religion’ (with the name of a single deity in it) should be removed. The default assumption should be that everyone worships all gods a bit, with those who are particularly devoted to a cult making that a specific and unusual choice.

it's part of a mentality in 4ed to mimic the "feel" of D&D that pervades throughout the system, albiet one of the ones easily pared off. i'd make the suggestion myself but i don't go into the discord they use anymore.
EDIT: i should never have let the catholic transcribe the character sheets into a xeroxable format. no resemblance at all to the one in the rulebook.
Last edited by Orin J. on Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Wolf
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It was there on the WFRP 1st edition character sheet, so it has a long history!
Capitaneus Fractus
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Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:41 am

A. On the fact that the Warhammer Fantasy world is a planet set in the Warhammer 40,000 Milky Way:
My point wasn't on how good or evil it might make to us, to the setting of to dignity. Everyone is free to make its own universe disagree with the official setting. I did showed that I disagree with how the official setting fail to render correctly the polytheistic religion it pretend to describe.

My point was simply that:
1. suggesting, as you did, that "the community as a whole has chosen to assume [40k and WFB theology] works the same way" is fallacious, because the community isn't the sole one to assume it, it in fact simply assume what Warhammer Fantasy creators and designers has chosen to assume.
2. alleging, as you did, that it would be "misconception, which the community as a whole has erroneously chosen" is false, because it is the exact, explicit and never contested conception of Warhammer Fantasy creators and designers.

It wasn't only to prove your claims wrong just for the sake of it. It is because, the logical consequence is that, as it should in one same universe, the physical and metaphysical rules of Warhammer Fantasy apply in Warhammer 40,000 and vice versa. You were denying that gods might be magic on the basis that the two universe would be distinct.



B. On the faulty allegation that <warp> would be a strictly reference to Warhammer 40,000 matters:
As a matter of fact, <warp>, as in <warpstone> (warp + stone) or in <warp gates>, is a word well used in Warhammer Fantasy.



C. On your claim that quoted sources wouldn't "actually states that the gods exist in the realm of chaos":
I invite you to read again this quoted source:
T.S. Luikart, Chris Pramas, Jeff Tidball, Robert J. Schwalb and Marijan von Staufer wrote:"The GM should bear in mind that [no good citizen of the Empire] would associate the Realm of Chaos or the hells of the Dark Gods with the Divine Realms of the Empire's more wholesome Gods [...] Few would think that good Gods and bad Gods come into existence and reside in the same metaphysical plane [...]
Few [...] identify the Divine Realms or Morr's Limbo as being the same place, state, or thing as the Aethyr that the Empire's magisters sometime refears to as the source of their power", (T.S. Luikart, Chris Pramas, Jeff Tidball, Robert J. Schwalb and Marijan von Staufer,Realms of Sorcery, WFRP2, p. 15-16)
Which can be completed by this one:
Ken Rolston wrote:"The Chaos Realm (also The Void) [is t]he World Beyond[, t]he Realm of the Gods and Powers[, t]he Province of the Shadowrealms [who are t]he innumerable fantastic worlds that lie beyond the Void Boundary. These worlds may only be reached by magical means, typically through sorcery, through divine aid, or through the Gate artifacts of the Old Slann. The shadowrealms best known to Warhammer cultists are the Afterworlds of the various Divine Powers and the Shadowrealms of the Four Great Powers of Chaos". (Ken Rolston, leaked Realm of Divine Magic, WFRP1, p.21-22.)
Or by this one:
T.S. Luikart, Chris Pramas, Jeff Tidball, Robert J. Schwalb and Marijan von Staufer wrote:"Many priests and clerics of the Empire believe this spirit realm [of Aethyr] is the limbo realm of Morr, the God of death and endings, and souls are drawn to it after the body dies. Some clerics of Sigmar's cult and many devotees of Ulric believe their specific deity has a divine realm all his own [...] there is a general belief among most Old Worlder that those who worship the powers and dominations of the Old Dark, the Daemon Gods, or those people who live without showing the Gods the respect and worship they require and deserve, will be sucked into the endless hells of the Chaos Realm.
In a sense, all these beliefs are true, but they are also limited in their vision[:] Few priests or clerics (or anyone else for that matter) identify the Divine Realms, or Morr's Limbo as being the same place, state, or thing as the Aethyr that the Empire's Magisters sometimes refer to as the source of their power". (T.S. Luikart, Chris Pramas, Jeff Tidball, Robert J. Schwalb and Marijan von Staufer, Realms of Sorcery, WFRP2, p. 16)
But that is also the logical consequence of having everything existing the the realm of Chaos, including inanimate...
Rick Priestley and Bryan Ansell wrote:"[...] the warp forms of things we regard as inanimate but which have their own immeasurably slow thoughts and lives such as trees, streams, rocks and whole planets." (Rick Priestley and Bryan Ansell, The Lost and the Damned, WFRP1-WFB3-W40K1, p. 87.)
... and animates beings
Rick Priestley and Bryan Ansell wrote:"Every flesh-and-blood creature has a simultaneous existence in [the realm of Chaos and material] dimensions. The physical aspect lives in the material universe, but its existence creates a shadow-self in Chaos. It is from this shadow-self formed from pure energy that humans draw their mental powers such as resolve, vigour and determination. Wizards and Psykers draw their magical energy directly from this shadow-self. Some people call this shadow­-self the soul. (Rick Priestley and Bryan Ansell, The Lost and the Damned, WFRP1-WFB3-W40K1, p. 6.)
So obviously, of gods too... This is how they appears in the warp:
Rick Priestley and Bryan Ansell wrote:The countless shadow-selves of the dead flow together because they are mutually attracted by their common traits. Thus the shadow-selves of deceased warriors retain their most warlike traits, and flow together into a huge co-joined entity. This movement causes eddies and tides within the warp, and leads to the creations of vortices or whirlpools formed almost entirely of common traits. ln the Realm of Chaos these whirlpools are called the Chaos Powers [...] and Chaos Powers also exist which typify fellowship, charity, law and other redeeming characteristics." (Rick Priestley and Bryan Ansell, The Lost and the Damned, WFRP1-WFB3-W40K1, p. 7.)
Even Gods of Chaos are made from redeeming characteristics and shameful and vicious characteristics, albeit the shameful, vicious and antisocial characteristics are overwhelming... On the contrary, Old Worlder gods (in my view: Eltharin Gods that men did learn, in the Warhammer World, from Asurs) are way more balanced and collectively set a quite redeeming example.
Wolf wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 3:38 am
It was there on the WFRP 1st edition character sheet, so it has a long history!
I used to suggest filling it with label such as: eltharin, old worlder, khazalid...
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
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