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The celestial god of Hope and Despair

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  • The celestial god of Hope and Despair

    Not hope in the sense of "a good thing that one trusts will happen in the future", but hope only as the emotion inspired by that trust.

    I imagine that the celestial purview of "a future where everything is made right" is a very small office, if it even exists. Any duties relating to such an uncertain future might belong only to the Maiden of Secrets.

    The Bureau of Fate isn't in the business of making everything right for everyone, after all. Only in trying to make things right for the gods.


    As emotions, hope and despair are two sides of the same coin. You couldn't feel despair without the capacity to hope, and only the strongest feelings of hope can cause the deepest plunges of despair.

    Such a god would have a pair of subordinates to monitor each side of the coin, but they would still be coworkers with mutual interests. This trio's true rival would be the god of Apathy and Indifference (who is also the true rival to the gods of Love and Hatred).*

    Neither the chief god or specific god of hope would need to care too much about what things human beings hope comes to pass, or what they choose to believe or trust will bless them in the future. False hope is as good as true hope, because even these celestial gods can't infallibly tell what hopes will or will not be fulfilled. The most certain hopes can be shattered and the most foolish hopes can come true.

    To the extent that these gods care that humanity has hope, it's only that this ensures their jobs grant them power and status. Especially since human morale has a strong impact on the purviews of so many other gods. Gods of human industry would be greatly impacted if all of humanity gave into despair and stopped working.

    Naturally, rival gods of cities and industries have vested interests in the humans under their rivals' purviews to suffer catastrophic bouts of despair.


    * The gods of Love and Hope would be members of Venus' court of Serenity, which already encompasses apparently contradictory elements like Hatred and Despair. Apathy and Indifference might also be a member, though they might be a social pariah within the department.


    formerly Tornado Wolf, formerly Inugami

  • #2
    This makes me think of the idea that there might plausibly be instances where a purview is kind of bigger than the god responsible for it, but a lot of it is pretty nebulous and abstract and it's difficult to tell how consequential it is.

    In particular, since this is apparently focused particularly on the emotional experience, I would feel as though the responsible god would be something like Essence 4 and maybe mid-level in the bureaucracy, even if a lot of humans might presume that such a thing would have greater prominence in the Celestial Order.

    Although as an alternative to "hope might be a deeply felt emotional experience in the moment, but is still ultimately part of a whole tapestry of personality traits that have to function as part of a bigger world", I could also imagine a matter in which less powerful gods can be assigned duties over fields that kind of look after themselves. The notion that one of the biggest things a god of hope takes away from having compiled reports on the topic for millenia is that people will often come up with a lot of hope with little rational basis just because they need it to get through the day or have faulty evaluations of their situation.

    I wonder if that might work for why Wayang is not quite as powerful as his authority in the Department of Endings might imply; silence effectively looks after itself, and is perhaps not the most empowering field.

    But I'm feeling as though the kind of agenda such a god might have might be the most interesting if it doesn't originate with the god, but is the kind of thing an Exalt brings as a proposition before them, or as part of a wider proposition for Heavenly reform.

    I get when people seem dissatisfied with the idea that the gods are not more active participants in shaping the substance of Creation, but right now I'm seeing that as actually presenting an opportunity to play Exalted characters who come up to the gods and talk about how a better and more functional world could be made if they applied their powers in a more direct and systematic fashion.

    Mind, I'm personally averse to giving the gods too much capability (or interest in using it) lest it seem as though the best thing for Creation is if gods took over the running of everything. I'd probably be inclined to give such a narrative a trajectory that leads to it not quite being the good idea that it seems; something like illustrating problems with making levels and applications of people's feelings of hope and despair by dependent on or heavily influenced by the projects and decision making of any god, even if it was one with more power, transcendence and insight. If it actually is one who was less powerful, then it might get into the territories of bureaucrats trying to totally overturn traditional farming practices to implement new methods that only have a theoretical basis.


    I have approximate knowledge of many things.
    Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
      This makes me think of the idea that there might plausibly be instances where a purview is kind of bigger than the god responsible for it, but a lot of it is pretty nebulous and abstract and it's difficult to tell how consequential it is.
      I think the opposite of the god of "things will work out" was mentioned in an official capacity, once. Some line of text about god of "doom", who was finding himself increasing in power along with his previously-tiny domain, which was causing the gods around him to begin quietly panicking.


      I wonder if that might work for why Wayang is not quite as powerful as his authority in the Department of Endings might imply; silence effectively looks after itself, and is perhaps not the most empowering field.
      If silence effectively looks after itself, then so would everything else.

      True, I forgot that the purpose of the terrestrial and celestial gods is simply to monitor their domains and report on unfated interference from the Wyld, Malfeas, or Underworld.

      But the most enduring impression I have of the gods are beings who are always and ever seeking to expand their power and influence, either by ensuring there is "more" of their domain in the world, or by disposing of another god through personal or bureaucratic means and then taking over their victim's domain.

      I can't ever recall a god who abhorred the thought of expanding the influence of their purview on the idea that it would just mean more hours of paperwork and less leisure time.



      As an aside, I've decided that the god of Apathy and Indifference does belong in the Cerulean Lute. Apathy and indifference are, in a way, a kind of Serenity.


      formerly Tornado Wolf, formerly Inugami

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
        I think the opposite of the god of "things will work out" was mentioned in an official capacity, once. Some line of text about god of "doom", who was finding himself increasing in power along with his previously-tiny domain, which was causing the gods around him to begin quietly panicking.
        I think that might be the guy holding the keys on various worldwide disasters mentioned in Manual: Sidereals?


        Originally posted by Sunder the Gold
        If silence effectively looks after itself, then so would everything else.
        Well, maybe. Perhaps it should be phrased in terms of there being many other things in the world that are more vulnerable and have more agendas set against them. Various factors can redirect, dam or dry up a river. Wars can be promoted or reduced by various political and economic trends. Cities have a fair number of circumstances that lead to becoming tumbled ruins even without a dedicated serpentine god pursuing that end for them.

        Much of the world can just remain reliably silent as a matter of course, when there's nobody really interested in or capable of making it noisier. That and the probable connotation of things ultimately falling silent through death, which Wayang can expect to come inevitably.

        I think it's at least a consistent idea.

        Originally posted by Sunder the Gold
        True, I forgot that the purpose of the terrestrial and celestial gods is simply to monitor their domains and report on unfated interference from the Wyld, Malfeas, or Underworld.
        I still think the core book suggests a slight transition from that; an element of the Celestial Order on the whole having a function in devising destinies for the mortal world.

        Originally posted by Sunder the Gold
        But the most enduring impression I have of the gods are beings who are always and ever seeking to expand their power and influence, either by ensuring there is "more" of their domain in the world, or by disposing of another god through personal or bureaucratic means and then taking over their victim's domain.
        I think some of that constitutes a bit of compounded exaggeration in the game line, which sets itself at odds with references to Celestial gods whose sin is that they just kind of rest on their laurels.

        There are, after all, significant things in the DNA of Exalted in which the divine is portrayed as something indifferent to mortal life and that being a problem. I think one wants some of that in Yu-Shan; not just for what's compelling about it in its own right, but to relieve the burden of portraying it as something that is constantly cutthroat.

        Besides, I think when it comes down to it, there are so many gods where their capacity to actually do anything that profoundly expands their domain are actually pretty limited, and there's only so much more power they'd get out of it anyway, so it becomes a question of whether or not such endless growth is a thing worth pursuing. I think for a lot of gods it can be enough that their corruption consists of finding a few vulnerable spots to establish tributaries and be open to under the table deals when they come up; not the kind of thing you'll move into a bigger house with, but it will keep you at a level of comfort that your salary alone wouldn't manage.

        It's like how a crooked person on a city council's planning committee isn't necessarily looking to expand into provincial and then national government, it can be enough to accept or solicit kickbacks for when somebody wants to build stuff.

        But that being said, I do think there's something interesting in the idea of a god with some particularly grand ambitions, even beyond what might be considered really within reach, up until the point where they become associated with Exalted who might actually be capable of facilitating their rise or dreams.


        I have approximate knowledge of many things.
        Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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