A Deity is any of a variety of classes of entities. As a player of Collabor or Collective, you'll create the most powerful kind of Deity, a True Deity. True Deities can come in a plethora of forms, ranging from the traditional god or goddess to a king, warrior or even an inanimate object. Any entity that derives power from Deific energy can be considered a Deity in the broad sense. Deific energy is produced by mortals as part of their higher thinking processes. A Deity is a True Deity if it is sentient and controls enough Deific energy to produce at least one full Avatar. Any Deity that is not a True Deity can be called a Pseudodeity.
True Deities can only receive power from steady sources of Deific energy. Thus, if a mortal produces Deific energy but its Zone is not claimed by any Deity in his area, no True Deity can claim it. Pseudodeities can tap this energy, which is also the basis for the magic of mortals. Deities direct the energy they receive into Manifestations, any of several creations that are directly empowered with Deific energy, most importantly including Avatars. Most simply put, a Deity can expand its supply of Deific energy by increasing the number of people who associate it with a particular Zone, increasing the number of Zones associated with the Deity, or increasing the frequency or intensity of existing associations. There are many ways to accomplish these goals, and just as many ways to decrease Deific energy.
Where do Deities come from?
A Deity is an entity that exists outside the world of Theonosis. The Deity, who has no true gender, race or other physical quality, may interact with the world through Manifestations, but the actual self-awareness of the Deity is located in an extradimensional pocket called Deific Space. A Deity does not technically have to "be" anything in the world of Theonosis - some Deities come into existence without a physical antecedent. Most, however, were originally a mortal creature who ascends into Deific Space. Besides mortal creatures, individual animals, plants, fungi and even inanimate objects and landforms can become Deities.
How does a person - or a rock, for that matter - become a Deity? In short, the person (or rock) must begin receiving a steady source of sufficient Deific energy, and then ascension happens, nearly instantaneously. A person can begin receiving Deific energy through one of two means:
- By becoming an iconic symbol of some cultural element, a person (or rock, plant, etc.) has a chance of attaining godhood. The more iconic and the larger the population that idolizes the would-be Deity the more likely ascension is to occur.
- When a given Deity is killed or a Manifestation of the Deity is destroyed, all or a portion of Deific energy is immediately released. Though some of this energy becomes dormant (i.e. nobody gets the Zone), most of it finds a nearby host. The host is most typically a person, but not necessarily so. The host is usually a figure of some iconic importance to each particular Zone, but the exact mechanism for this energy inhabited a new host is not known.
What do Deities do?
Deities expand their power and influence by creating Manifestations and Presence. A Manifestation is an actual projection of Deific power into the world of Theonosis. This projection can take the form of an Avatar - or a physical, "living" Deific entity - or a Temple, Artifact or Holiday, among other possibilities. A Presence is an insubstantial awareness that can monitor events and subtly answer prayers in ways directly related to a Zone. Presences can not, however, directly impact the world of Theonosis. All Presences and all Manifestations are only projections or embodiments of an extra-dimensional entity. Therefore, they all share one consciousness.
Aside from Manifestations and Presences, Deities can spend their Deific Energy on improving their ability scores, or perhaps use them in certain spells or other special circumstances. Because the rules are not important, you do not have to sit down and calculate how much Deific Energy your Deity is spending in various categories. This is not a math game, it is a creativity game. Be reasonable and mature and no one will be worried about exactly how much you've spent on various things.
How do Deities die?
Deities die through one of two means:
- People stop worshiping them. If a Deity's Deific Energy drops low enough, they will become a Demigod or other Pseudodeity before eventually simply ceasing to exist. Deities have no existence outside the Deific Energy that sustains them.
- One of their Manifestations is destroyed using orichalcium, a special, rare metal that can both detect and harm Deities. If any one Manifestation is destroyed, the Deity that created it is also destroyed. Note that a Deity can cancel a Manifestation at the last moment to avoid this fate.
Under the first method, the primary means by which a Deity's worship can be hindered is through destroying Manifestations. Since a Deity can cancel a Manifestation just before it is destroyed, no matter how it is destroyed, both of these methods boil down to "destroy Manifestations". The more Manifestations that are destroyed, the fewer worshipers the Deity has and the less competent that Deity will be at defending the rest of his Manifestations.
As you can see, it is virtually impossible to be certain a Deity is dead. The Deity could have - and many of them do - created a small, obscure Manifestation in a distant part of the globe, so the Deity will survive even a great assault on all the rest of his Manifestations. This is deliberate: this means that even if you leave the project and your Deity is killed by a different player, you can always bring him back, and makes it unlikely for any troublemakers to create Deities for the sole purpose of harassing other players.
When are Deities not gods?
Just because you are playing a Deity does not mean you must play a "god" in the normal sense of the word. Any entity that receives Deific Energy is a Deity (or a Pseudodeity). Keeping in mind that any idea can constitute a Zone if enough people have strong emotional associations with it, the following are possible Deities that are not perceived as Deities:
- A king or queen could become a Deity if he or she is closely associated with qualities like Leadership, or perceived as a potent symbol of a specific dynasty or state. Under the appropriate circumstances, a king or queen could become a Deity whose Zone is that specific individual.
- A martial arts master could become a Deity whose Zones might include that specific school of martial arts, martial arts in general, or other qualities like Concentration.
- A renowned jeweler could become a Deity of Jewelry. If that jeweler was closely associated with selling engagement rings, he could become a Deity of Marriage, or even engagement rings in general if enough people considered that important, distinct from their feelings surrounding marriage, commitment or other ideals.
- A fearsome monster could become a Deity of Fear, even if the monster was only a rumor and didn't exist before enough Deific Energy was created to power a Deity.