Godworld

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Godworld is a term used to refer to those gods of Loge on the surfaces of which humans and other mortal beings live (as well as, in some cases, in their interiors). Most godworlds float in an expanse called the Sacred Sea, although a scattered few are located elsewhere. It is widely believed that most gods are godworlds, but this may not be the case; it may simply be that those gods that are godworlds are the ones that are best known, because, after all, they're the ones mortals are closest to.

Whether or not all godworlds pertain to the same species is a matter that remains completely unsettled. Certainly they show a wide diversity of forms, but there are known species with comparable variation. For the moment, the etorical community has more or less agreed to place godworlds in the order of Gaioides, but their taxonomy within that order—whether, as some etorists would have it, they comprise a single species, Terramater augustus, within the single family of Gaiidae, or whether, as others insist, they encompass a multiplicity of families, genera, and species—remains unsettled.

It is not clear what would happen if a godworld died. It's not entirely clear if it's even possible for a godworld to die, though since they are ultimately biological organisms, albeit extremely complex ones, it seems quite probable that, even if they aren't subject to senescence, they could in principle be killed by sufficient damage, even if this might be virtually impossible in practice. In any case, the death of a godworld presumably would not mean the disappearance of the world; its corpse would remain, and presumably still be habitable. The divine corpse might then be subject to putrefaction, however, and the resulting gases might poison the atmosphere. The various enchantments inherent in the godworld, too, might—or might not—end with the godworld's death, which, depending on the nature of those enchantments, may have various effects on any inhabitants. Since there are no recorded cases of godworlds dying, however, all of this remains sheerly hypothetical.

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Form

Godworlds are no more constrained to spherical shape than are other gods. They may have any form and texture, and may well be closer to long cylinders than to spheres, or have all manner of limbs and protrusions. Nevertheless, the godworlds are so enormous that on the human scale most points on their surface will be very close to flat. Furthermore, they tend to be covered with earth and rocks, so that the actual surface of the god is mostly not actually exposed. However, even if the immediate surroundings seem like flat earth, a distant part of the god may be a perpetual presence in the sky. And in some cases the immediate surroundings may not seem like flat earth at all; to those who live at the bases or tips of long, thin appendages or at other places where the curvature of the gods' surface is high enough to be significant on human scales, and to those who live on or near those rare places where the god's surface is not covered by earth, the alienness of their surroundings—relative to most terrestrial worlds—will be apparent. In any case, on a world where most of its inhabitants don't travel far (which describes most of the godworlds of the Sacred Sea), the full form and geography (theography?) of the world won't be known to most, and perhaps not to any, of those dwelling upon it.

The godworlds' internal anatomy is at least as variable, and far more enigmatic. Certainly the godworlds do have internal anatomy; beneath their "skin" are networks of tubes, organs, and structural scaffolds that may be analogous to human bones, though not necessarily made of any similar material. But the purposes of all of these viscera remain undetermined. In particular, some people have sought out the godworlds' brains, hoping there to find more enlightenment about their workings. No such search is known to have met with success, however; the godworlds' brains are either well hidden, well protected, distributed throughout their bodies, or so alien as to be unidentifiable as what they are.

Inhabitants

Many godworlds are basically terrestrial worlds, inhabited by humans and other Euterran life forms, as well as more exotic entities, some with magical powers. These organisms seem to have evolved originally on the godworlds, adapting to that habitat, though it's not impossible that the gods had a hand in their creation. It's not altogether clear why so many of the same life forms exist on so many different godworlds; certainly parallel evolution is altogether insufficient to explain such a close similarity. It could be that some early humans or other sophonts traveled between the worlds long ago, and that many alogous species came along for the ride; it could also be, again, that the gods are responsible, with some gods transplanting life forms that originally evolved on others. Considering all else that remains poorly understood about the gods, it could also be that some connection exists between them that causes some organisms evolved on one godworld to be mirrored on another through some feature of the gods but without their conscious intervention.

In many cases, the interior of the godworlds is inhabited by mortal beings as well as the exterior. Sometimes mortals from the surface have penetrated to the inside and made homes within some of the gods' inexplicable organs; if this has bothered the godworlds, it apparently hasn't irked them enough for them to take any obvious measures against the intrusions. More often, the godworlds' interiors are home to separate ecosystems totally different from the ones above, and only rarely coming into contact with them.

The inhabitants of a godworld may or may not realize they are actually living on (or in) a god. Even those that actively worship the god they live on may not realize that the object of their devotion lies beneath their feet. In any case, direct, in-depth communication with the gods may be impossible; they are so much more complex than humans that it would be comparable to trying to communicate with an amoeba, only in reverse.

Influence

The godworlds do exercise some influence upon their surfaces and their inhabitants. Many celemologists believe that most of this influence is subconscious, but given the difficulty of communing with the gods it's hard to know how this could be verified. In any case, every godworld has some indelible rhegi over all or part of its surface, though the details vary widely according to the nature of the god. In some cases, the enchantments may grant powers to some or all of the world's inhabitants (said powers perhaps being always active or perhaps being sparked by certain conditions); in others, they simply alter the conditions on the world in some way. Sometimes the enchantments change over time, leading to caeric worlds. In any case, as unusual as these enchantments may seem to outsiders, to inhabitants of the godworld they're likely to be considered perfectly normal.

Of course, the godworlds also produce a social influence in the sense that they serve as objects of worship to their inhabitants (and perhaps to those of other worlds). In furtherance of this—and perhaps for other reasons—godworlds often choose to create other enchantments, placed in local areas or on specific objects and life forms. These enchantments, however, vary too widely to make practical any in-depth discussion here.

Worship

The gods take various attitudes to their worship. Some gods seem more or less indifferent to the matter, gaining worshipers despite their indifference because the link their mortal worshipers establish with them grants them powers whether the god consciously wills it or not. Many gods, however, do take a more active part in furthering their cults.

Some gods try to ensure that all their inhabitants will worship them as the only god. They do their best to prevent knowledge of other gods from arising among their populace, securing a monopoly on their worship, and causing their establishment of a monotheistic belief system. However, almost inevitably their stranglehold is imperfect. By one means or another, it usually happens that some few inhabitants do learn about the existence of other gods, and perhaps some of them choose to worship them instead of the main god of their culture. The monotheistic god may punish these heretics, but they may be protected by their own gods, and despite their homeworld's best attempts a few such recusants may continue to thrive.

Other godworlds, however, may condone the worship of distant deities, but presumably not without expecting something in return. Certain groups, or pantheons, of godworlds seem to have come to mutual agreement to allow the inhabitants of each god to freely worship any of the other gods in the pantheon. Some gods, however, perhaps including some that have no inhabitants of their own (and thus are not considered godworlds), seem to have somehow forged a foothold on several godworlds without entering into such a pantheon. Like so much else about the unfathomable gods, how they manage to do this is unascertained. Those of these gods' own worshippers who are aware of the godworlds' relations like to claim that these gods can get away with it because they are so much more powerful than the other godworlds where they are worshipped that these gods dare not challenge their claim. It's at least as possible, however, that they promise favors to the other gods to allow them worship, or that the presence of their cult somehow benefits the other gods (by, perhaps, "leaking off" to them some power)... or perhaps that the gods have some reasons, in their incomprehensible complexity, inconceivable to man.

Powers

The powers of the godworlds are for all practical purposes nearly infinite. Certainly there must be limits to their abilities, but these are limits that mortals have no way to test. Not only is the full extent unclear of what the gods can do; it's not even clear what they do do. The godworlds seem to spend all their time merely floating in the space of the Sacred Sea, raising the question to many of how exactly they occupy their time. Many possibilities have been suggested. Do they amuse themselves by controlling the actions of the paltry mortals who teem on their surfaces? Are they in constant mental communication with each other, and engaged in an eternal conversation of profundity beyond anything man could imagine? Are they, while existing physically on one plane, shaping or watching others of which man is unaware? Or are they, in their vast mentality, beyond the need for any such amusement, and content merely to be?

In any case, so vast are the powers of the gods, it seems, that the godworlds themselves cannot hold them. The worlds' inhabitants are able to learn to tap into the gods' power to produce some effects of their own—meager effects in comparison to what the gods themselves are capable of, but effects nonetheless that mortals could never produce alone. This is the origin of magic in Loge. Every godworld is associated with a separate arcanum, though some arcana may be available on multiple godworlds. Certainly the inhabitants of each godworld have access to the arcanum associated with that world, but beyond that the factors controlling what arcana are available on a given godworld remain poorly understood. It certainly isn't a matter of simple proximity, nor does it seem to straightforwardly correlate with which gods are worshipped on a world. Some celemologists theorize that in principle any arcanum is accessible from any godworld; it's just a matter of learning how to tap it. In any case, though, there is one form of magic that definitely is accessible anywhere; known as void magic, this seems to stem not from any one god, but from some general combined background effect.

Aside from the general ability of mortals to use magic by tapping the gods' power, some godworlds intentionally choose to imbue certain people and places with powers the better to further their worship. In particular, many godworlds choose to appoint powerful entities to serve as intermediaries between them and mortals. Called angels, devas, or saints, among other names, these beings share only a fraction of the powers of the gods, but still much more than any but the most magically puissant mortal. Angels often serve as patrons of particular professions, races, or locations, though they may also choose to associate themselves with other concepts, or may form a looser organization with no nominal specialties. Many godworlds also set aside parts of themselves as separate entities, with their own consciousness, to create a sort of a divine genius loci; called sanctoria, these enchanted locations can have a panoply of powers.

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