Origins of the Gods.

Cubicle 7 // 2018
User avatar
Hyarion
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:56 am

Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:53 am

I'm putting this under the 4th Edition sub-forum because (eventually) it is in relation to the 4th edition campaign I am running. If that is a mistake, my apologies, please move it to the proper forum.

**Brad, Mael, read this at your own risk. **

A lot of this stems from my recent re-reading of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, combined with my annual reading of the first Thomas Covenant trilogy. In the Malazan books, some beings are considered akin to Elemental Forces, that is, they are considered gods because they can't not be gods. Other positions (perhaps best called Demigods) are tied to recognition from the rest of the pantheon and also general received worship. Obviously a lot of this is due to the author's convenience, but it did spark a thought in me:
A) How malleable are the various pantheons of the Old World? Sigmar obviously ascended to godhood (or did he? *dramatic music*), what about others?
B) To which category (or some new category) to various gods of The Old World belong? SPECIFICALLY: Hoeth, Ulric, and possibly Sigmar/Morr/or Grungni (haven't decided on the last one).

Let's separate, for a moment, the Position/Role of the Gods and the Being that currently occupies that position.
C) For instance, Ulric is the current human god of war and winter, if he were to be suddenly removed from that position, what might be required to restore him to that position? What circumstances might have lead to his ascencion in the first place?
D) Same for Hoeth.
I hold the glaive of Law against the Earth.
User avatar
Orin J.
Posts: 188
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:35 pm

1: what makes a god in warhammer is intentionally unclear. this isn't a bad thing, but if you're trying to establish where the line is it can be a bit frustrating. the lazy version i've worked with (mostly to slam the door in the face of that one guy that tries to ascend to god-status in every RPG since he read about it in AD&D2nd) is divinity makes a god. this works pretty well for warhammer, as there's chaos gods, which aren't gods but are equal to gods and ancestor gods, which are gods but aren't equal to gods. nobody can define divinity, but you can establish if someone has it or not which makes things much easier for the GM than otherwise might happen

2:each of the different cultural pantheons in warhammer tend to operate differently, but follow a few rules. First is that inside of a pantheon, a god does not meaningfully share their realms of influence. they can make distinctions to divide a concept (ulric's warriors vs. myrmianda's knights- the concept of warriors divided by ferocity vs. strategy as an ideal) but once that's established they don't fight over it. Secondly is they don't lose their position- godhood isn't a position, it's a right of their being a god. even when ranald wasn't a god they were a godly patron of thieves and such. you cannot take that from a god, either forwards or backwards. by the same stretch, no god can abandon their realm (Morr may not LIKE being the god in charge of minding the souls of the dead, but it's his role).

so in short divinity is sort of an innate right, at least in warhammer. some forces are destined to be gods, most aren't. sigmar effectively became a god by creating the realm of influence he would represent in godhood when the other gods just didn't want the role.

things are a little more complex for the non-human races. the elven gods are essentially all representations of aspects of the elven psyche (yes, even the elves' gods exist to reflect how great the elves see themselves). so their influence is directly connected to the elven feelings related to them. khaine is the god of war and murder, and exhibits the contempt and egocentrism of the race because that's what motivates them to kill. this can help explain the elven mind sometimes, but it's mostly just a giant damn mess because elves are a buncha drama queens trying to act above it all.

dwarfs are both better and worse because their gods weren't gods n the same sense as all the other gods. they're their own thing and have direct descendents but are still divine beings (hence ancestor gods) which means their status of godhood is also a position that establishes the position of the noble clans (said descendents) and therefore an ineffible legal right.

in short, i suggest you take this line of reasoning out back and shoot it several times with a few bottles of cheap rum. we haven't even addressed the chaos gods nonsense and it's already like explaining quantum physics to someone who failed jr. high but thinks the big bang theory taught them about that stuff.
User avatar
totsuzenheni
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:38 pm

Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:20 pm

It seems to me that the diversity of the apparently different natures of the various different gods reflects the origins and influences of the Warhammer Fantasy universe from which they came. The dwarf gods seem to me to be Tolkienesque, based on the idea of the seven ancestors of the dwarves in Middle Earth. The human gods seem to me to be based on a mixture of Norse and Ancient Greek and Roman and other similar gods. The chaos gods seem to me to be based on Cthulhu mythos spliced with Christian apocolyptic ideas.

It occurs to me that if any two gods are alike then at least one of them is not a god.
User avatar
Orin J.
Posts: 188
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:57 pm

totsuzenheni wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:20 pm
-The chaos gods seem to me to be based on Cthulhu mythos spliced with Christian apocolyptic ideas.
Sorry to bother, but could you explain this? I've heard this for years but as (too) much as i've read lovecraft's works never once has any parallels in their actions or motives come across. Is this just "they cause tentacles" or summat?
FasterThanJesus
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:30 pm
Location: UK

Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:50 pm

I think it's just to do with the Chaos Gods having a Cosmic Horror angle. The bleak, nihilistic, doesn't much matter what we do as we will eventually succumb to entities far beyond our comprehension.

As Lovecraft is cosmic horror (probably the author to really expand the theme and popularise it) anything else that is also cosmic horror is grouped in with him.

I don't know if anyone else here is a fan of Bruva Alfabusta's If The Emperor Had a Text to Speach Device series on Youtube, one episode parodies this quite well, 'The Shadow Over Immateriums'

Let's not forget Shadows Over Bogenhafen, either.
Capitaneus Fractus
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:41 am

Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:57 pm

Orin J. wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:35 pm
things are a little more complex for the non-human races. the elven gods are essentially all representations of aspects of the elven psyche (yes, even the elves' gods exist to reflect how great the elves see themselves).
I admit that I have a bit forgot how it worked, since I leaved Warhammer books since two lustra but if I'm remembering correctly, that is the case of all gods, including human gods: All gods are amalgamated souls in the warp (also knows as Immaterium or Realm of Chaos, Aether, Void, Empyrean...) which are venerated in the material world.

Every living things have its soul in the warp and every thing is anyway reflected in the warp. When the body cease to live, the soul stay in the warp and sometime, souls amalgamate to form warp creatures. Some of those ethereal and warp creatures become daemons and gods (the distinction between those two being as much blurry as it is arbitrary... a same creature might be called a weak god or a powerful daemon).

Those ethereal and warp creatures are only present within the immaterial world and do not have means to intervene within the material world... except when they incarnate in a material body or when immateriality and materiality confuse themselves, like it happen in a lot of places of the Warhammer Fantasy world, because the collapsed warp gates saturate the material world with warp dust, which is a fundamental aspect of Warhammer Fantasy.

The specificity of elven goods is rather that they are... dead gods, for most of them at last: they've been killed by Slaanesh about seven thousands years ago before present. Only Khaine and Loec did survive.

So, to take an example, it isn't because Shallya exist as a warp creature (that we would call a goddess) that men believe in her, but because men believe in her that Shallya exist... But, why Shallya have her specific mythological aspects? Why does her cultists have specific dogma and liturgy and mysteries? That is the way the culture of the society lead believers to see her and to structure her cult. Shallya isn't a crying gentle goddess, but men represent that way this warp creature. That is the product of a society's culture, which roots in too many aspects to be simply summarized here.

So, to answer:
Hyarion wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:53 am
A) How malleable are the various pantheons of the Old World? Sigmar obviously ascended to godhood (or did he? *dramatic music*), what about others?
B) To which category (or some new category) to various gods of The Old World belong? SPECIFICALLY: Hoeth, Ulric, and possibly Sigmar/Morr/or Grungni (haven't decided on the last one).

Let's separate, for a moment, the Position/Role of the Gods and the Being that currently occupies that position.
C) For instance, Ulric is the current human god of war and winter, if he were to be suddenly removed from that position, what might be required to restore him to that position? What circumstances might have lead to his ascencion in the first place?
D) Same for Hoeth.
A) Sigmar ascended to godhood because, for many reasons (mainly because his great deeds, because he was quite certainly venerated by some even during his life, and the political interest that some had to present him that way after he did disappeared) made imperials believe in him, and this faith was -as always- reflected in the warp. The same process is certainly at the roots of the creation of dwarrows gods (who are mostly ancestor gods).
B) All are warp creatures, except Hoeth who most probably was a warp creature.
C) That is a cultural aspect, which depend of socio-demographic and cultual changes. Why Tyr started as the skyfather, the main god of the Germanic pantheon but ended being a secondary god and saw Odin replace him as the skyfather? For reasons that might happen to be similar than those who would trigger what you suggest.
D) Hoeth is most probably dead.
Last edited by Capitaneus Fractus on Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:26 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
User avatar
totsuzenheni
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:38 pm

Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:12 pm

Orin J. wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:57 pm
totsuzenheni wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:20 pm
-The chaos gods seem to me to be based on Cthulhu mythos spliced with Christian apocolyptic ideas.
Sorry to bother, but could you explain this? I've heard this for years but as (too) much as i've read lovecraft's works never once has any parallels in their actions or motives come across. Is this just "they cause tentacles" or summat?
SPOILER - The Enemy Within campaign.

Perhaps the reason it seems that way to me and not to you is, in part at least, because i haven't read much Lovecraft, but then the Cthulhu Mythos is of course substantially larger than the works of Lovecraft. I'm more familiar with much more recent interpretations and versions of the Cthulhu Mythos and i could be quite wrong, though i do have some vague memory that this is something a number WFRP authors have mentioned. Also bear in mind that the nature of the Chaos gods has changed somewhat over time, or at least certain aspects of their nature have been pruned back, which has meant that they have become somewhat different in sum. So now, yes, the last vestige of their Cthulhu Mythos origins, such as it is, would be mutation, but in the earlier editions of the various Warhammer games there was a sense that they were beyond the human capacity to understand, and the cults surrounding them SPOILER, such as Teugen's cult in Bogenhafen,/SPOILER were similar to those found in Cthulhu mythos. Or so it seemed to me.
User avatar
totsuzenheni
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:38 pm

Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:03 pm

I took a look at Gideon's 'Awesome Lies' blog and i found some references to Lovecraft and Cthulhu in these posts:

https://awesomeliesblog.wordpress.com/2 ... -part-two/
https://awesomeliesblog.wordpress.com/2 ... eme-davis/
https://awesomeliesblog.wordpress.com/2 ... -of-chaos/
https://awesomeliesblog.wordpress.com/2 ... -of-chaos/

Note that the whilst Lovecraft is mentioned as an influence the only specific mention of what Lovecraft influenced is the look of the Chaos gods.


And there are these posts of the gods of WFRP:

https://awesomeliesblog.wordpress.com/2 ... -part-one/
https://awesomeliesblog.wordpress.com/2 ... -part-two/
https://awesomeliesblog.wordpress.com/2 ... iabolical/
https://awesomeliesblog.wordpress.com/2 ... -of-chaos/
User avatar
Orin J.
Posts: 188
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:14 pm

okay, so just visual cues like i've been saying the whole time. thanks, i was wondering if maybe i was unaware of some bit of lore that got obfuscated.
User avatar
totsuzenheni
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:38 pm

Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:08 am

The influence of H. P. Lovecraft on Anthony Ackland in his development of the WFRP 1st edition depiction of the Chaos gods has been specifically stated, but Call Of Cthulhu has also been mentioned as one of Graeme Davis' gaming influences. Given Graeme Davis' involvement in WFRP 1st edition i think it's fairly likely that the aforementioned cult, along with cults in general in WFRP 1st edition, and also to some extent the early versions of the Chaos gods, were all influenced in part by Cthulhu Mythos. I searched for 'Lovecraft' on Graeme Davis' blog and, looking through the search results there (https://graemedavis.wordpress.com/?s=Lovecraft), i can see that Graeme Davis has written about writing for both WFRP 1st edition and Call Of Cthulhu at around the same time. That's what i can find without much effort or investigation, there could well be more.
Capitaneus Fractus
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:41 am

Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:21 am

The influence of Lovecraft and of Call of Cthulhu over Warhammer is undeniable but it influenced Warhammer's mood and occult horror investigations roleplay scenarii.
This influence isn't significant on the nature of Chaos Gods... Mythos's gods are asleep space creatures hidden in the beneath of Earth, while Warhammer Chaos god are creatures created by (mainly human and eldar) souls in the warp who happen to interact -like other Warhammer Gods- with the material world in areas close to collapsed warp gates, saturated by warp dust (like is the Warhammer World).

My feeling is that links that one might found between those two natures are quite superficial in my humble opinion... I think that the proximity is easier to establish between Mythos's cultists and Warhammer's cultists than between gods they worship.
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
User avatar
totsuzenheni
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:38 pm

Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:09 am

Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:21 am
This influence isn't significant on the nature of Chaos Gods... Mythos's gods are asleep space creatures hidden in the beneath of Earth, while Warhammer Chaos god are creatures created by (mainly human and eldar) souls in the warp who happen to interact -like other Warhammer Gods- with the material world in areas close to collapsed warp gates, saturated by warp dust (like is the Warhammer World).
That the Chaos gods are now simply as you describe is so, but in the early days of the Warhammer universes there were all sorts of descriptions that have now fallen by the wayside. My memory is vague on this though and i couldn't point to any one description, though it may exist.
Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:21 am
My feeling is that links that one might found between those two natures are quite superficial in my humble opinion...
I'm not sure superficial is the right word, but i'd say they are, or were, tenuous.
User avatar
Orin J.
Posts: 188
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:58 am

Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:57 pm
Orin J. wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:35 pm
things are a little more complex for the non-human races. the elven gods are essentially all representations of aspects of the elven psyche (yes, even the elves' gods exist to reflect how great the elves see themselves).
I admit that I have a bit forgot how it worked, since I leaved Warhammer books since two lustra but if I'm remembering correctly, that is the case of all gods, including human gods: All gods are amalgamated souls in the warp-

That's 40k, and AoS. this was never established in fantasy products, which establishes fairly thoroughly that divine magic is unrelated to the realm of chaos.

i'll set fire to my head long before i take anything in age of sigmar as canon to fantasy. terrible stuff. anyways.
totsuzenheni wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:09 am
Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:21 am
My feeling is that links that one might found between those two natures are quite superficial in my humble opinion...
I'm not sure superficial is the right word, but i'd say they are, or were, tenuous.
i'd say "imagined" is the right word, honestly. it would likely be more fair to say Call of Cthulhu influenced the design of chaos cultists, and that led people in incorrectly project a lovecraftian influence onto the chaos gods. the chaos gods themselves show no meaningful influence, especially in behavior.
User avatar
totsuzenheni
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:38 pm

Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:38 am

Orin J. wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:58 am
totsuzenheni wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:09 am
Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:21 am
My feeling is that links that one might found between those two natures are quite superficial in my humble opinion...
I'm not sure superficial is the right word, but i'd say they are, or were, tenuous.
i'd say "imagined" is the right word, honestly. it would likely be more fair to say Call of Cthulhu influenced the design of chaos cultists, and that led people in incorrectly project a lovecraftian influence onto the chaos gods.
Other than their depiction you mean? That may well be the case, or at least it might be the case in my case.
Knight of the Lady
Posts: 89
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:04 am

Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:19 am

Just gonna throw in that my concept of divinity in Warhammer is influenced by Greek mythology (love that stuff) an the Artesia RPG (which is also based on Greek mythology to a degree :P) which has rules for ascending to godhood upon your death.

To me certain beings were gods from the start and have never been anything else while some have ascended. Each major god has a whole bunch of servitors of various strengths and some of these may be considered lesser gods tied to a greater one. Once a creature or being becomes a god, it can never lose that position. Yes, it can fall into obscurity or isolate itself from world, for one reason or another. But unless destroyed it can never really stop being a god. And in fact I would think there are several lost gods in Morr's realm who just can't fall into oblivion but must remain due to their divinity.

And to this I add that mortal beings can become gods. Sigmar did it, so did the Dwarf ancestor gods and so on. But to become a god, as opposed to a servant which a god can pluck any creature or person at their deaths for, that person must make a certain impact on the world and in their lives send out repeated and great shock waves through the world(s) that they have effectively moved from the mortal realm to the divine one. A kind of breaking the chains of mortality by incredible actions. Don't need to be violent ones, but they need to be so big that the cosmos itself takes noticed, and that they are done several times in a life time.
Capitaneus Fractus
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:41 am

Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:24 am

Orin J. wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:58 am
That's 40k, and AoS. this was never established in fantasy products, which establishes fairly thoroughly that divine magic is unrelated to the realm of chaos.
I do not know AOS. I've never opened an AOS book nor read a line of it: I stopped following Warhammer Fantasy and other GW products around AD 2010, or so... (the two lustra I did talk about).

What I state are my memories from established and published sources of Warhammer Fantasy (like Realms of Chaos: the Lost and the Damned and Realms of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness) and leaked Games Workshop's working documents (such as Ken Rolston's Realms of Divine Magick, his Realms of Sorcery and Rick Priestley's and Bryan Ansell's Chaos the fictional background in GW games). By the way, it was stated and established by many explicit and implicit sources that the Warhammer World is a planet of the Warhammer 40k universe (To quote The Lost and the Damned, p. 77: "The Warhammer [Fantasy] World is bound by storms of magic so that it remains isolated form the other wolds of the [Warhammer 40.000's] human galaxy"), so what apply to the warp in 40k apply to the very same warp in Fantasy. QED.

Hence, what I can state is that, if it is in AoS as you say, then AOS keep it from WFB and WFRP.
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
Theo
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:25 pm

Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:55 pm

Regarding the Lovecraftian influence on Warhammer's Chaos, I'd say it's mostly indirect - by way of the Call of Cthulhu RPG, mostly. Shadows Over Bogenhafen, which became an extremely influential and tone-setting WFRP adventure, famously began with Bryan Ansell telling Graeme Davis to write a Call of Cthulhu adventure for Warhammer. The early CoC adventures and campaigns, and their second-hand treatment of the Cthulhu mythos, cults and so on, became important templates for WFRP stuff.
Theo
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:25 pm

Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:57 pm

This blog post from last year is kind of interesting too. http://cavegirlgames.blogspot.com/2018/ ... orror.html
User avatar
Hyarion
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:56 am

Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:57 pm

What I had planned was to have a grand plot of Tzeentch to eject Ulric, Hoeth, and Grungni from the Aethyr and put into bodies to take away the Empire's ability to fight/courage (Ulric), the Elves' magic (Hoeth), and the Dwarves' iron will (Grungni). Part of the PC's jobs, then, would be to find a way for those three to re-ascend to the Aethyr.
I hold the glaive of Law against the Earth.
User avatar
Orin J.
Posts: 188
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:19 pm

Theo wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:55 pm
Regarding the Lovecraftian influence on Warhammer's Chaos, I'd say it's mostly indirect - by way of the Call of Cthulhu RPG, mostly. Shadows Over Bogenhafen, which became an extremely influential and tone-setting WFRP adventure-
...what?

like, seriously, what? it bored everyone to tears whenever any group i knew tried to run through it. fun read, but terrible adventure.
Post Reply