Is Imperial polytheism realistic?

For general discussions about WFRP
User avatar
Totsuzenheni Yukimi
Posts: 306
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:38 pm

Is there a clear dividing line between henotheism and polytheism? I could imagine a polytheistic society with henotheistic tendencies and cults. Also, i don't know that the real world provides enough samples by which to reach any hard and fast conclusions about how realistic a given fictional polytheism is.
Capitaneus Fractus
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:41 am

There are polytheistic societies with henotheistic and monotheistic tendencies. The Warhammer cults are, however, presented as being polytheist but are, in fact, described and understood by rules to be monolatric (and sometime even lightly suggested being henotheistic, with the idea that all gods would be aspects of one undivided chaotic cosmic god).

The real world provide enough polytheistic samples, which allows to reach studied academic conclusions about what are the characteristic of polytheism. Those academic studies exist, and academic lessons were build on them. I ground all my answers, there, on the teaching I've received from those lessons. Then, obviously and as always, I could had understood things badly. (However, whoever understand spoken French can simply follow the lessons I've received, as they were recorded. I gave the link in a previous message).
Last edited by Capitaneus Fractus on Fri Mar 05, 2021 3:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
Visitor Q
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2021 8:29 am

But the real world doesn't provide anything like the same conditions as the Old World to provide a control setting for how a religion would manifest, does it?
Capitaneus Fractus
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:41 am

I may be wrong, but I feel there are two distinct debates in our exchanges:
- is Warhammer Fantasy's Imperial polytheism realistically described as a polytheism? My answer is: no it isn't, because the Imperial society description do not fit for polytheistic societies, but to monolatric's (while chaotic cults are monolatric with henotheistic tendencies, with the notion of undivided chaos).
- could Warhammer Fantasy's imperial society could realistically be polytheistic? Your answer, if I understood you correctly, is: no, it couldn't, because the Imperial society should had to become monolatric with monotheistic tendencies, in reaction to the chaotic pressure.
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
Dustman
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:57 pm

Might as well emphasize that Imperials would never call their own religion polytheistic. In comparison to what? This is purely a technical term used in game manuals. If their beliefs are functional and plausible but not polytheistic, that's an error in terminology, not evidence for their system being unrealistic. Multiple tolerant monotheisms isn't inherently or obviously impossible.
Capitaneus Fractus
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:41 am

(1. Greek polytheists didn't called their own religion polytheistic neither, nor even did they called other polytheistic religions being polytheistic.
2. Multiple monotheisms tolerant up to the point to recognize others gods as gods is, obviously, inherently impossible. Monotheists believe in the existence of only one god, that is the main characteristic of monotheism.
3. Henotheism and monolatry would allow an acceptation of multiple gods, however).
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
User avatar
Overlord
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:57 am
Location: Eye of Terror/Sword Coast/Hochland

Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Fri Mar 05, 2021 2:22 pm
(1. Greek polytheists didn't called their own religion polytheistic neither, nor even did they called other polytheistic religions being polytheistic.
2. Multiple monotheisms tolerant up to the point to recognize others gods as gods is, obviously, inherently impossible. Monotheists believe in the existence of only one god, that is the main characteristic of monotheism.
3. Henotheism and monolatry would allow an acceptation of multiple gods, however).
Isnt it up to GM to set up how religion works in Warhammer? It mostly is a open book
I have ocean of treasures at the bottom. You can search it If You want, but You may never come back.
Capitaneus Fractus
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:41 am

It is always up to the game master to master the game, not specifically in Warhammer Fantasy but in every roleplaying game, just like it is up to the filmmaker or the author to set up how things function in their works. Nevertheless, that GM decides to set up unrealistic set up wouldn't make it realistic, just like that GM decides to set up boring parties wouldn't make them exciting.

The question was on the realness of the alleged omissions of Warhammer Fantasy's Imperial polytheism, and as an expanded question, of the realness of Warhammer Fantasy's Imperial polytheism in itself.
The side question, was on the realness of having culturally and technologically advanced societies, such as the Imperial one of Warhammer Fantasy still practising polytheism and, as an expanded question, if the Empire of Warhammer Fantasy could had realistically kept polytheism despite Chaotic threats, and, as an ever more expanded question, on how realistic would be Warhammer Fantasy's Imperial religion, would it be monolatric, henotheist or monotheist...

The openness of roleplaying games allows GM to easily correct unrealistic aspect, to keep them unrealistic or to make them even more unrealistic to suit their whims and fancies.
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
Visitor Q
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2021 8:29 am

I sort of get where some of your arguments are coming from but I still think you are conflating the real world narrative inclusion of the pantheon with how that then plays out in the warhammer world.

What I mean by that is that there are two separate areas that seem to be merged but they are different.

First is the WFRP pantheon particularly creative? If we are all being honest, not really. it's a bit of a cobbled together D&D generic gods meets Catholism meets Protestantism mash up.

But once you get past that then I think questions like 'would the Empire still have a polythiestic religion?' are a bit strange if they don't directly and squarely address the gods factually existing.

If the Empire stopped worshipping Ulric the winter would be much harsher, if they stopped worshipping Morr there would be more incidents of undead spirits and so forth.

Equally if you want to trade with Dwarfs including the benefits of Rune Magic you're probably going to end up acknowledging if not worshipping Dwarven gods.
Capitaneus Fractus
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:41 am

Visitor Q wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:12 am
But once you get past that then I think questions like 'would the Empire still have a polythiestic religion?' are a bit strange if they don't directly and squarely address the gods factually existing.
This question is directly related to that point:
Dustman wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 7:48 pm
The problem is that polytheism, with it's vagueness and uncertainty, is ripe for chaotic infiltration. You need official orthodoxy to keep out Long Night. The people of the Old World would be under tremendous pressure to move towards something that looked like monotheism. Anywhere that fails to control Chaos will end up looking like Mordheim.

The earliest men worshiped the Old Ones and were thus polytheistic. Even after the collapse of the warp gates, the winds of change mostly diffuse by the time they reach Nehekhara, so the Nehekharans wouldn't be under the same pressures towards monotheism. The early barbarian tribes would have retained the ancient polytheism but it wouldn't be such a problem as in later civilizations. With low populations, they'd personally know each other and notice when their fellow tribesmen started summoning daemons and mutating. Even so, the barrow wights testify that a lot of these tribesmen were corrupted by their dabbling in dark magic.

Elven resistance to Chaos means they wouldn't be under the same pressure towards monotheism. Dwarves even more so.

Visitor Q wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:12 am
If the Empire stopped worshipping Ulric the winter would be much harsher, if they stopped worshipping Morr there would be more incidents of undead spirits and so forth. Equally if you want to trade with Dwarfs including the benefits of Rune Magic you're probably going to end up acknowledging if not worshipping Dwarven gods.
If each man of the Empire worship both Ulric and Mórr and other gods of the Old World pantheon, then their religion is polytheistic. If some men of the Empire only worship Ulric, while still believing in the divinity of Mórr and other gods of the Old World pantheon, then, their religion is monolatric. If some men of the Empire only believe in Ulric, whom they worship, while believing that Mórr and others are false gods, then, their religion is monotheist.

I agree with that presentation: for me, each man of the Old World, including in the Empire, believe and worship all gods of the Old World pantheon, and also believe in the existence, and sometime even worship, Khazalid ancestor gods (especially Grugni). It is how function polytheist societies. But it implies few things that are more or less contradicted by the spirit, and sometime by the letter, of official publications. Mainly that no lay man would ever be a follower of just one god and even priests would worship all gods albeit they'll dedicate most of their acts -hence most of their worships- to the specific god they serve. It can be easily corrected by GM, by remembering to players that they have to worship all gods and by playing NPC according to it.

Also that orthodox religion is antinomic to polytheist societies. That is more difficult to correct, as it sometime is deeply rooted in some scenarii. I personally feels that orthodoxy is not widespread, but sometime happen as the result of the corruption of the Old World by law. The cult of Sigmar, which is the most subject to orthodox thinking in official publications, is simply one of the most corrupted cult. Cultist of Solkan have deeply infiltrated the cult of Sigmar to the point that this cult now mimic the behaviour of the cult of Solkan. We now even see witch hunters among cultists of Sigmar (!).
That is, one of the many way to explain it... It might be related to the question of the capacity of polytheism to stand. There, it still stand, but it is somewhat corrupted.

Also, if all men worship both Sigmar and Ulric, who are part of the same pantheon, then a political conflict between Sigmar and Ulric couldn't lead to a full religious conflict on the reality of Sigmar's or Taal's divinity... A political conflict between two cults might perfectly lead to a civil war. But it wouldn't become a religious conflict with such theological implications. This aspect have to be strongly reworked, if one wish to make it "realistic".
The corruption might explain the transformation of some of their cultists toward monotheism (something that lead again to the question of the capacity of polytheism to stand), but, it seems doubtful that it would concern enough cultists to make a civil war a religious war...
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
Visitor Q
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2021 8:29 am

Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 2:45 pm

If each man of the Empire worship both Ulric and Mórr and other gods of the Old World pantheon, then their religion is polytheistic. If some men of the Empire only worship Ulric, while still believing in the divinity of Mórr and other gods of the Old World pantheon, then, their religion is monolatric. If some men of the Empire only believe in Ulric, whom they worship, while believing that Mórr and others are false gods, then, their religion is monotheist.

I agree with that presentation: for me, each man of the Old World, including in the Empire, believe and worship all gods of the Old World pantheon, and also believe in the existence, and sometime even worship, Khazalid ancestor gods (especially Grugni). It is how function polytheist societies. But it implies few things that are more or less contradicted by the spirit, and sometime by the letter, of official publications. Mainly that no lay man would ever be a follower of just one god and even priests would worship all gods albeit they'll dedicate most of their acts -hence most of their worships- to the specific god they serve. It can be easily corrected by GM, by remembering to players that they have to worship all gods and by playing NPC according to it.
I think I agree with all of this. Certainly in my games I emphasise that all of the gods are given their own worship in their specific domain. I think this is the intention of the Lore but the writers occasionally forget it.
Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 2:45 pm
Also that orthodox religion is antinomic to polytheist societies. That is more difficult to correct, as it sometime is deeply rooted in some scenarii. I personally feels that orthodoxy is not widespread, but sometime happen as the result of the corruption of the Old World by law. The cult of Sigmar, which is the most subject to orthodox thinking in official publications, is simply one of the most corrupted cult. Cultist of Solkan have deeply infiltrated the cult of Sigmar to the point that this cult now mimic the behaviour of the cult of Solkan. We now even see witch hunters among cultists of Sigmar (!).
That is, one of the many way to explain it... It might be related to the question of the capacity of polytheism to stand. There, it still stand, but it is somewhat corrupted.

Also, if all men worship both Sigmar and Ulric, who are part of the same pantheon, then a political conflict between Sigmar and Ulric couldn't lead to a full religious conflict on the reality of Sigmar's or Taal's divinity... A political conflict between two cults might perfectly lead to a civil war. But it wouldn't become a religious conflict with such theological implications. This aspect have to be strongly reworked, if one wish to make it "realistic".
The corruption might explain the transformation of some of their cultists toward monotheism (something that lead again to the question of the capacity of polytheism to stand), but, it seems doubtful that it would concern enough cultists to make a civil war a religious war...
I quite like the idea of Solkan infiltrating some Temples of Sigmar. I might actually use that.

As for the Sigmar vs Ulric interestingly I was actually going to post a very similar point conceeding that this is one area that is sort of unrealistic within the Lore. So obviously I agree with that. I suppose thematically it could be argued that Sigmar represents Civilisation (albiet very nationalistic) whilst Ulric represents Barbarism and this is what causes the political and religious tension.

So overall I agree with you. But I still maintain the early posts weren't clear! ;)
Capitaneus Fractus
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:41 am

Sorry for that :)

There are two reasons for that. The main one is that my English skills are wretched. It is quite easy for me to sympathise in English speakers, to give some instructions in English, to ask for information and to receive them... However arguing on comparative theology and religions is way beyond my English skills (it is quite clear that I have, alas, to simplify and to make more approximative what I want to say, in quasi each of my posts here).

The second is that I didn't wanted to repeat myself too much, because that was something I already somewhat developed in this thread.

On the worship of all gods in a polytheistic society:
Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 1:39 pm
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 [monolatric] 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.
[...]
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.
[...]
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...
On the Solkanite corruption of the cults of Sigmar:
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 [monolatric, if not] 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.
This corruption of the Sigmar cult by Law is also evoked in the following point:

On Sigmar and Ulric:
Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 4:13 am
Orin J. wrote:
Wed Oct 21, 2020 8:49 pm
i want to just lean over and point out that the sigmarite/ulrikan schism is entirely because the sigmarite church insists that sigmar is The god now and the other gods of the empire are subservient to him (with one source implying some splinter groups think that the other gods no longer exist having become one with sigmar, but it was a bad source anyways) where ulric's faith asserts that if ulric raised sigmar to godhood sigmar remains benieth the other gods here. that's not just copy pasta, it's them writing the setting to fit the way they sell it publicly, with sigmar's faithful being overbearing in the extreme. which makes sense given sigmar's place in the pantheon is unclear and highly political compared to other gods that aren't ALSO the real-life founders of the empire they're the patron deity of.
This relation to trueness is very much typical to Abrahamic religions. Other religions weren't religions of revealed truth. They didn't had the overconfidence to state "truth" and to impose it over those who do not agree with it.

Knowing if Sigmar "is The god" or if he "remains benieth the other gods" is, in a polytheist context, a question that would be the subject of poetry, comedy, tragedy, of philosophical hypothesis, of philosophical controversies, of various interpretations... Answering to it would be as much important as knowing who came first between the chicken or the egg: a fascinating question to whom individuals might strongly disagree... Nevertheless a question that wouldn't trigger a war between those who like chickens and those who like eggs.

This conflict is simply unthinkable in a polytheist context. Obviously, if the cult of Sigmar become an Abrahamic-like cult (something it does in many aspects, especially in later editions), the conflict become plausible. The cult of Sigmar or of Ulric might follow a path toward monolatry and the civil war might be a first steps before a monotheist Empire. It fit with what you write on "splinter groups think that the other gods no longer exist having become one with sigmar". Other possibilities would be that the cult of Sigmar might be infiltrated and corrupted by Law cultists since a very long time, which would explain its Solkanian taint. The official publications also suggest the infiltration and corruption by Chaos cultists, which might work also...

In any case (monolatry, law corruption, chaos corruption), it mean a deep, fundamental and very significant corruption of the cult of Sigmar, not just few key cultists here and here, because this conflict start so fast and to so high level of violence, along the whole Empire, with so huge divides between two factions, hitting simple believers and not only political official. It underline a process -not only toward monotheism, but toward "revealed truth" monotheism- quite close to be achieved in the Empire...
If the Imperial religion is, for a so huge share of its inhabitants, so much centred around one major god, Sigmar, and other gods either subservient to him or having been one with him, the Imperial religion could hardly be labelled being polytheist. That polytheist aspect is, hence, quite corrupt.
Here are two interesting links that were gave in previous posts on polytheism:
- https://acoup.blog/2019/10/25/collectio ... knowledge/ (in written English, in four articles)
- https://www.college-de-france.fr/site/v ... course.htm (in spoken French, in four courses of a dozen lessons each).
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
Capitaneus Fractus
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:41 am

Dustman wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 7:48 pm
The earliest men worshiped the Old Ones and were thus polytheistic. Even after the collapse of the warp gates, the winds of change mostly diffuse by the time they reach Nehekhara, so the Nehekharans wouldn't be under the same pressures towards monotheism. The early barbarian tribes would have retained the ancient polytheism but it wouldn't be such a problem as in later civilizations. With low populations, they'd personally know each other and notice when their fellow tribesmen started summoning daemons and mutating. Even so, the barrow wights testify that a lot of these tribesmen were corrupted by their dabbling in dark magic.

Elven resistance to Chaos means they wouldn't be under the same pressure towards monotheism. Dwarves even more so.
My view follows:
Asurs did learn gods names (id est the way to contact them individually, in order to appease them, to incite them to do something, &c.) from the ancient stellar nation whose member were called Old Ones, Old Slanns or, among whom were distinguished Old Ones, Old Slanns and Younger Slanns. Some of those gods might had been those ancient people themselves, as suggested by Dustman, in an evhemerist tradition, but we know that Earth Mother predate the landing of the Old Ones (and that the planet was already inhabited, including by sapient life forms such as pygmies, dragons and by Drachenfels himself), so, even if it is the case, not all of them were Old One.

At the time of the birth of Slaanesh, when the warp portals collapsed and the ancient stellar nation was suddenly crushed by a massive invasion of Chaos into the material world, most of the most significant gods worshipped by Asurs, were absorbed by Slaanesh. Among the supreme gods, only Isha, Loec and Kháine survived in a very bad condition. Lesser gods, however, were more numerous to survive. Having repelled the Chaotic invasion, Asurs became the new imperial power of their part of the world, and established colonies in the Old World. In the Old World, men already worshipped the divine beings, but were not exactly aware of who they were, how to please them and how they would be useful for men. Their ancient religion is now called the Old Faith. Hence Asurs, directly or indirectly teached the "names" of surviving gods to Old World men, then Old Faith believers, like Ægyptians did to the Early Pelasgi according to Herodotus:
Herodotus wrote:ἔθυον δὲ πάντα πρότερον οἱ Πελασγοὶ θεοῖσι ἐπευχόμενοι, ὡς ἐγὼ ἐν Δωδώνῃ οἶδα ἀκούσας, ἐπωνυμίην δὲ οὐδ᾽ οὔνομα ἐποιεῦντο οὐδενὶ αὐτῶν· οὐ γὰρ ἀκηκόεσάν κω. θεοὺς δὲ προσωνόμασαν σφέας ἀπὸ τοῦ τοιούτου, ὅτι κόσμῳ θέντες τὰ πάντα πρήγματα καὶ πάσας νομὰς εἶχον. 2 ἔπειτα δὲ χρόνου πολλοῦ διεξελθόντος ἐπύθοντο ἐκ τῆς Αἰγύπτου ἀπικόμενα τὰ οὐνόματα τῶν θεῶν τῶν ἄλλων, (Διονύσου δὲ ὕστερον πολλῷ ἐπύθοντο). καὶ μετὰ χρόνον ἐχρηστηριάζοντο περὶ τῶν οὐνομάτων ἐν Δωδώνῃ· (τὸ γὰρ δὴ μαντήιον τοῦτο νενόμισται ἀρχαιότατον τῶν ἐν Ἕλλησι χρηστηρίων εἶναι, καὶ ἦν τὸν χρόνον τοῦτον μοῦνον). 3 ἐπεὶ ὦν ἐχρηστηριάζοντο ἐν τῇ Δωδώνῃ οἱ Πελασγοὶ εἰ ἀνέλωνται τὰ οὐνόματα τὰ ἀπὸ τῶν βαρβάρων ἥκοντα, ἀνεῖλε τὸ μαντήιον χρᾶσθαι. ἀπὸ μὲν δὴ τούτου τοῦ χρόνου ἔθυον τοῖσι οὐνόμασι τῶν θεῶν χρεώμενοι· παρὰ δὲ Πελασγῶν Ἕλληνες ἐξεδέξαντο ὕστερον.

"In early times the Pelasgi, as I know by information which I got at Dodona, offered sacrifices of all kinds, and prayed to the gods, but had no distinct names or appellations for them, since they had never heard of any. They called them gods (Theoi, disposers), because they disposed and arranged all things in such a beautiful order. After a long lapse of time the names of the gods came to Greece from Egypt, and the Pelasgi learnt them, only as yet they knew nothing of Bacchus, of whom they first heard at a much later date. Not long after the arrival of the names they sent to consult the oracle at Dodona about them. This is the most ancient oracle in Greece, and at that time there was no other. To their question, "Whether they should adopt the names that had been imported from the foreigners?" the oracle replied by recommending their use. Thenceforth in their sacrifices the Pelasgi made use of the names of the gods, and from them the names passed afterwards to the Greeks." (HERODOTUS, Histories, II, lii, trad. by George Rawlinson)
Hence, men learned Isha (and called her Ishea, Haleth, Dyrath or Rhya, in their languages), Karnos (and called him Karog, albeit most confuse him with Taal), Torothal (and called him Taal), Ellinill (and called him Lupos, albeit most confuse him with Taal, or even Ulric), Mathlann (and called him Mathann, Manann, Stormfels, Olovald, Manalt, Manas or Manhavok in their languages), Eldrazor (and called him Ulric, Olric or Ursash)... to name some of the main older lesser Eltharin gods.
They also did learn about the dead supreme gods, and while they no longer worship them, they commemorate Asuryan (as Ishernos and Söll). They however feel that Kurnous, confused by men with Karnos and Torothal as Taal, is still alive.

Not all men adopted those teachings and the new practices, and the Old Faith still survive in the 25th century I.C.

Men in the Empire perfectly understand that, albeit the way the worship is done might differs a bit, when Asurs, Eonir and Asrai worship Sarriel, they worship the exact same god as Imperials, Tileans or Bretonnians worshipping Mórr (considering that even in Middenland, someone from Carrobourg and someone from Delbrez will not worship Mórr the same way) and also believe that they worship the exact same ancestor god worshipped by Khazalids as Gazul.

The connexion between all those interpretations should be précised on a point: How Khazalid ancestor gods really connect to Eltharin gods? Gazul is interpreted being the same god as Sarriel and Mórr, but is he associated, in fact confused, with them only because they share some common traits, or is he, really the same manifestation in the warp? If he is the same manifestation and if the evhemerist aspect of Dwarven cults is true to their past, was, in those days, Gazul Sarriel, or was he someone else (like a priest of Sarriel) who ended amalgamated to Sarriel? Who was Gazul? Was he really one of the first dwarves or was he an Old One or an Old Slann ?

What is Gazul's relation to Kháine, who is presented as Mórr's (half?) brother in the Imperial mythology? Is Grimnir Kháine, Gazul Mórr-Sarriel and Grugni Ishernos-Asuryan and Valaya Gia?

Or do Old Gods (Taal, Rhya, Ulric, Manann...) come from the Eltharin pantheon, but classical gods (Mórr, Kháine, Shallya, Verena, Myrmidia...) to the Khazalid one? Did, at the time of their alliance, Eltharins and Khazalids shared the secret of their respective gods and, in the consequence, merged their two religions in a new syncretic one, that was then lectured to men? The Asurs, at that time, had lost most of their significant gods, after all...
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
User avatar
Orin J.
Posts: 438
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

it's probably best to leave the Dawi gods out of this, since their pantheon is also an ancestry thing and they can trace their lineage back to somewhere in the southern mounatan ranges, which would drastically complicate things for everyone. i'd like to agree the dwarf gods are something unlike the elf gods, which would explain why no elves recognized them when Grimnir met them during the early meetings of the two races.
Capitaneus Fractus
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:41 am

On Imperial cults, three kind of cults might be distinguished:
- public cults: cults organized by the public powers, to honour gods and to ensure their benevolence, to appease their grievance, and to seek their help in favour of the community. All Old World gods are publicly worshipped, including gods such as Kháine.
- private cults: cults organized by families, to honour gods (especially domestic gods, such as Penates, Lares, Genii, Manes...) for more private issues. Some private cults are forbidden, such as Kháine's whose sole authorized cult is the public one.
- secret cults (mysteries): initiatory cults organized by initiates. Most if not all gods have a secret cult, albeit some are strictly forbidden (such as Kháine's, again) and all are the source of suspicions. Still, all priest are educated to serve gods through mysteries. Among secret cults, appears to be the cults of strange gods (such as the Chaos gods' cults that we see in many scenarii), but some autochthonous Imperial gods happen to be, too, perverted from within their own mysteries.

This is how the cult of Sigmar is so deeply corrupted by Solkanite and Tzeentchians cultists.
The apparition of monasticism, among many cults, is also the clear trail of a significant corruption by Law Gods, in their willing to strengthen resistance to Chaos (which is compatible with Dustman's comment on the resistance of polytheism to Chaos).

So, who are Law Gods? Just like Chaos Gods, there are four main Law Gods:
1. Solkan, also knows as Solden, is the Law god of Law (which is found on a framework of precedents and fend off innovation), Vengeance, Retribution, Recompense, Despotism and Reform (which return to order things that have been upset). It is the most popular Law God among men. Its arch-enemies are Khorne and Malal, nonetheless, it quite hate -at worst- or despise -at best- non-law cults...
2. Arianka Astasis, is the Law god (myths view it as a goddess captured by Tzeentch) of Stasis (which mitigates against change), Statesmanship (which assure the stability of institutions), Architecture (an outstanding example of an art meant to endure) and War (which is always defensive against Chaos). Its arch-enemies are Tzeentch and Necoho.
3. Illuminas, is the Law god of Light, Æsthethics, Perfection, Eternal Truth. Its arch-enemies are Nurgle and Zuvassin.
4. Hashut, is the Law god of Mechanics, Workmanship (the imposition of order on the naturally chaotic material of mindless nature), Craft Corporations, Fire and Tyranny. It is the most popular Law God among dwarves. Its arch-enemies are Slaanesh and the Horned Rat.

Law cults happen to be the exacerbated enemies of Chaos. Still, enemies of one's enemies aren't necessary his friends. Chaos exacerbate mutations, but mutation is a fundamental principle of life. On the contrary, Law stop mutations, stop evolution, it fix things and bring death to lifeforms.

Here are two roughly kind of “immutations”:
-devolution: progressively going back to previous evolutionary forms, or to parallel but more perfect lifeforms such as threes. When one start to have roots, it will be the end of wandering adventures…
-petrification: progressively transforming the ephemeral organic aspects of the mortal with more eternal mineral aspects… Obviously, at the end, the immutant become nothing more than a statue. Something that the official material already attribute to Hashut.

And, because I had some time to lose, I draw this rough to illustrate how might look immutants:
Image
A law cultist, immobilized by the immutations gifted by his gods just after he let his bag fall on the ground: his new roots penetrating in the ground and by the bark taking shape in his articulations. He no longer need to hunt nor to gather to eat: his roots and his new foliage allow him to take nutriture from soil and from sunshine.
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
User avatar
Orin J.
Posts: 438
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

is the hashut thing homebrew or is there a source on that?...
Capitaneus Fractus
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:41 am

Hashut is the Chaotic God of Chaos Dwarves, designed by Rick Priestley for Warhammer Fantasy Battle and, in WFB, its cultists tend to be petrified.
Its understanding as a chaotic god of Law is, however, homebrew.
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
User avatar
Orin J.
Posts: 438
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

i was gonna say, the 5th edition army book says the petrification is the dwarf's natural resistance fighting against the chaos magic coursing through their bodies to work magic.
Capitaneus Fractus
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:41 am

So the petrification is still related to the resistance against magic, hence against chaos in official publications...

Perhaps that it could be said that, in the Immaterium, soul’s desires tend to create chaos gods -desires to get what seem forbid to them, which lead to worship a god whose cult favour the total subversion of the society-, soul’s fears tend to create law god -fear to lose what they have, which lead to lead to worship a god whose cult staunchly oppose to any change- and soul’s needs tend to create “neutral” gods -more concrete needs, more distant from passions, such as the need to be successful in hunt and gathering in order to eat which lead to worship Taal whose cult favour good compromise between men and the rest of the nature-. Albeit it is certainly too much schematic…

I would order like that the four main chaotic powers:

wrath : Khorne | Malal or Malice | Solkan or Solden
vainglory : Tzeentch | Necoho | Arianka Anastasis
accidie : Nurgle | Zuvassin | ᾼlluminas
concupiscence : Slaanesh | Horned Rat | Hashut

key:
passion related to the assuaging of the desire or to the confrontation against the fear : chaotic god of Chaos | renegade chaotic god | chaotic god of Law
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
Visitor Q
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2021 8:29 am

Not sure I buy Hashut being a god of law even within homebrew stuff. Kad'ai fire demons, Bull centaurs, fangs and mass human sacrifice all seem pretty Chaotic to me. Seems like you'd have to write out so much official material there's not much point keeping the name.
Post Reply