Friday, June 2, 2017

Gods of the Fall - Godly Visage



Being a god isn't always about supreme power and limitless possibilities. The mortals who worship you feed you your power and through them you have ties to the mortal world. A god of war whose followers never get a hand winning probably won't be holding onto his mortal powerbase any more than a god of harvest who's too busy "sowing oats" to help ensure that the crops in the world grow. But beyond godly duties there are other downsides to being a god. You might get caught up in the turnings of the wheel of fate (or ensnared in fate's threads, pick your metaphor), or you may find that once you're known for something it becomes all but impossible to shake off.

And then there's the whole look of being a god. You may become known for having an animal head, or missing a body part, or being lame, or any other physical cue. It's possible that this may happen in a way that you aren't terribly happy with. With great power comes a terrible skin condition.

Gods of the Fall presents a fantasy world, one where the characters (and thus the upcoming gods) are all depicted looking like the mortal race into which they were born (I was about to say looking human, but I didn't want to be racists against the Taran and Sleen players out there). It is likely that in this setting the gods are more like those of the Norse and Greek/Roman pantheons; they look like "us," and probably act like us.

But maybe one of your players isn't too keen on looking like "just some guy with some glowy SFX"? The divine aura being those SFX. So what do we do for him? Well, that divine aura doesn't have to just be limited to some glowing and a symbol right? These are gods right? Why can't the "divine aura" be a whole different appearance? Perhaps the god of fire isn't simply wreathed with glowing red and a flamelike symbol, but actually takes on the appearance of a charred body as well? Or perhaps his glow comes from within, and flames roar within his mouth and eyes! The god of war may wear only a light armor, but her divine aura may take the form of ultra heavy battle armor festooned with the trophies of her kills!

So that's my point, the divine aura of the gods need no just be a nimbus glow and a simple symbol. It could represent a more complex appearance shift, in the form of physical attributes or illusory equipment that represents the god's domain.

Unless your game isn't set in a fantasy world. Using the ideas of Gods of the Fall in the modern world (similar to the base setting of White Wolf's Scion), or an alternate history (my idea of Legends of the Wild West), or some other setting idea, is something I've discussed before. In this case instead of the divine aura being an illusory sign of divinity it is mechanically tweaked to be the god's actual divine form, subtly or substantially different from the mortal guise that the gods use to move about within the world.

Regardless of how you decide to use it, the Divine Aura can be as simplistic or as complex as you and your players desire it to be, and can help to deepen the nature of your games where gods walk among mortals, either deliberately hidden, or simply not radiating their full power.