I suspect that some might feel that I'm being needlessly nitpicky or acting in poor taste when every other review has something along the lines of, "We're concerned about what you'll do IC; please assuage our fears by telling us about your plans!"
It's quite typical for a huge fraction of applicants to mysteriously vanish early on in an RP on this site, presumably because the creative juices stall out and they realize that they didn't actually go in with a plan and they don't know what to post. We truly believe that by holding sheets under an above average level of scrutiny and mandating that everyone indicate at least some level of planning, we'll be able to stave off that problem which plagues much of RPGuild. So I just hope you can see this from our perspective and that you all don't think I'm beating a dead horse as much as I feel that I am as I write these reviews.
In particular, your Sphere is to be commended. You have a very nice and thematic natural connection with the Pit. You've also explicitly considered the essence of your Sphere and its effects, and on the topic of effects, Mourner's Hollow does some cool things on Galbar. It opens the potential for all sorts of spooky places and mischief.
Your Portfolio is also quite nice. I think that our talks went well and that you have a good niche in that Foe offers an alternative to Katharsos' afterlife and throws a sizable monkey wrench into the plans; they'll be natural rivals. I also note and appreciate that you've also left some breathing room for others to do things with undead.
Where weakness enters your sheet and character design in is the persona section. The 'collector of souls' is a tried and true creepy trope and you apply it well here, with the added twist that Foe collects souls moreso out of loneliness than malice or morbidity. The only qualm that we have with your sheet is that Foe is set up to be quite passive, probably even more passive than Katharsos. His ambitions seems quite simple and limited, and ultimately it looks like he won't have much in the way of natural conflict or friendship with anybody else. What will you actually do IC, especially in the very early turns before there are things to have as undead? And after that, what sort of interaction (besides a simmering mutual distaste with Katharsos) can you foresee between the other gods? Have you got any plotlines brewed up?
The three of us are quite concerned about your ability to find things to do IC. If you can address that, you'll have alleviated our sole objection and you'll be left with a very good sheet. I'm hoping that doing so won't be too hard.
But until then, sheet rejected with some questions that we'd like answered. Don't give up because you're almost there!
I will begin by saying that Ekon treads a bit on the toes of some of our other 'edgy' gods that have already been accepted. Some overlap is acceptable and indeed almost inevitable; however, this means your sheet gets held to a somewhat higher level of scrutiny. It's not entirely fair because it gets harder tostand out or occupy a unique niche as we get more and more crowded, but we need to try to avoid overlap where we can, and we won't ask those that have already been accepted to make many changes to their sheet.
I didn't say that to lead into an immediate rejection on the basis of your Portfolio, so much as to emphasize that you should talk to those with similar gods (probably Melantha, Orvus, perhaps even Eurysthenes) to make sure that you're going to be able to branch off along your own path and not make one or both of your characters feel redundant or like repeats. I seem to recall from the Discord that you've expressed interest in taking a Monsters Portfolio; if that's the case, then I'm glad to hear that you've planned ahead a bit and that you've found a path to take that hopefully will give you some more breathing room.
Bearing all of that in mind, your Portfolio is still acceptable. You describe it well, have powers that make sense, and have a character that fits. I will mention that making someone's fears truly come alive to create an actual bogeyman might often warrant MP expenditure even with your Portfolio, although your adding the caveat that they are "limited in their lifespan" certainly helps justify you doing this for free in some cases.
Your Sphere is thematically solid and nice mirror of the Palace of Dreams. I can see interesting potential for you and K'nell to interact. On the topic of interaction, we wish you'd solidify your Sphere's position more thoroughly and talk with some more people about natural connections.
Ekon's persona has drawn some criticism from Muttonhawk, and he raised what I find to be an interesting and perhaps valid point, "[Ekon's persona is a] cute for the sake of being unsettling personality and I don't think it has enough depth or longevity to go very far without extra details. If Ekon behaves this way for no reason, there's nothing to explore, nothing to change, and no stories to tell. He's just going to inflict himself on the world in this nihilstic and detached way. It's in danger of getting boring for the author just as fast as it gets boring for the rest of us."
I don't think that the idea of Ekon sometimes acting creepily juvenile to either set someone at ease or set them very much at unease is a bad one, but it probably could use fleshing out. I also think you'd definitely be overdoing it if that's the baseline for his behavior and how he acts unless he has a rare reason to behave otherwise. For instance, having him often "describing blood-soaked conflicts as 'Da big kapow kapow' and roaring monstrosities as 'snarlies'" without good reason would get old fast and I personally don't think it adds much. In short, by adopting this trope it feels like you're trapping yourself and restricting what you can do with Ekon, and for little narrative benefit.
And as was implied in the paragraph above and as I've said for many reviews now, there was some concern over what you'd do over the first few turns and then what sort of plotlines you'd line up thereafter to keep yourself busy. Have you got any solid ideas brewed up yet that you could share with us?
With the overlap of Portfolios, lack of natural connections, and tumult over persona, there was a fair amount of talk about rejecting your sheet. But most of the discussion took place a few days ago and I can see that you've made recent edits, and I personally think you're pretty close to getting Ekon to the threshold that I'd feel good accepting him.
Our conclusions generally came with backing motivation of keeping options open, keeping ambiguities present to be explored IC, and to provide opportunities for storytelling.
Diffused around the universe is soul ash. This is the raw substance of souls. There's more of it closer to the Sky of Pyres but it's present throughout every sphere unless otherwise specified. It's imperceptible to most mortals. It even escapes gods at times, the individual motes mysteriously disappearing at times only to reappear somewhere else in the universe.
When living beings are created, soul ash coalesces naturally into a soul within them. This natural coalescence is the only known way to create a soul. Souls come in all different shapes and sizes, generally dictated by intelligence and personality. If a creature loses its soul, it loses the intelligence and personality that caused the soul to coalesce in the first place.
Souls degrade (or fray) over time without some kind of treatment. The exact amount of time and rate of fraying varies from soul to soul. The effects of fraying can take the form of some mix of mental and physical degradation but the exact symptoms are up to the author. The only constant is that this continual degradation generally results in souls losing their will to resist Katharsos' vortex.
The degradation can be prevented in a great number of ways that can be explored IC. It doesn't have to be restricted to god stuff, but heroes, demigods, and gods don't suffer this degradation because of divine essence or an MP product holding them together.
Souls do not have to be coupled with divine essence and vice versa. Gods are just discreet amounts of divine essence. If they exhibit the intelligence and personality of a being with a soul, they more than likely have a soul themselves. That said, there could be a divine essence without a soul. It probably wouldn't be intelligent like the gods we know are.
Instances of divine essences without souls mostly occur when a god 'dies': The divine essence scatters and the soul of the 'dead' god goes on its way, probably to the vortex. The essence, however, reforms after a while. It reforms into a living being, into which a soul inhabits. Boom, new character. This is generally how we can justify dropped players being replaced with new players gunning for similar portfolios.
A neat detail: This opens up the option of an unintelligent divine essence without a soul doing all sorts of shenanigans.
Just about everything else can be handwaved or independently explored. - External theological ideas? Not relevant. - Souls as energy sources? Up to you. - The role of souls in magic? Defined by the magic. - How do demons or liches work? Whatever. - The majority of other accreted contrivances added for flavour or to cover bases that don't have a narrative connection yet? Make it up yourself.
All of this extra stuff should be explored by the players IC, not codified in a book of metaphysics.
Feel free to ask if you have any clarifying questions. However, be prepared to get answers that could include 'Your character doesn't know,' 'It doesn't matter,' or 'Great question! How about you decide the answer and write it into the IC.'
Sitting pretty, beneath a cobalt sky resides Ekon’s domain. Heavily peppered with vibrant stalks of green grass from its rolling hills to open plains. It is a seductive oasis that beckons with the inviting warmth of a yellowed orb above. Groves of trees bearing fruit stand mightily over the expanse, offering their labor to any passersby. Pools of water dotted throughout its landscape tease with the promise of relief. Even the winds smell of sweets, bidding guests to stay a little longer. Unspoiled by progress, one could almost get lost in its sheer vastness and lack of any significant landmarks. Though, idealistic it is a celluloid paradise that unravels with time, all the while exposing its guests’ deepest fears.
Ekon’s sphere reveals its true self through trickery, toying with its guests like a toddler. Fields of emerald suddenly appear barren and flat, before returning to their sunnier appearance. Fresh fruit withers within seconds of being plucked, worms exploding from it shortly thereafter, only for it to vanish entirely. Old fears dead and buried, arise without provocation or reason, summoned forth by the sphere’s magic. Whether that be some horrifying creature of the victim’s imagination, a resurfacing of a petrifying phobia, or the suppressed fear of a loved one’s imminent demise. All terrors emerge within his realm. Despite appearances, these frightful phantasms are illusions spawned from the mind. A Fitting albeit cruel reflection of a deity born to sow dread.
The true face of the Fear God’s sphere is that of an uninspired wasteland, lightly seasoned with desiccated plant life. Illuminated only by the slivers of light offered by perpetually cloudy skies. The land seemingly stretches into infinity, with only a single mountain at its center. Atop its jagged crown stands a lone tower, battered by age and painted black. Its inky surface barely visible against the domain’s dimly backdrop. From this rotted construct, the infantile Fear God rules over his empty kingdom.
It should be noted that Ekon is not tied to his terrible sanctuary, it simply mimics him much like the “homes” of his fellow god’s imitate them. Though, his realm is not entirely self-contained either for its effects can be felt throughout Galbar, particularly when someone is alone. You could say his territory “bleeds” fear that seeps into Galbar’s vast landscape, saturating its inhabitants. Whether it be a familiar “cry” from a darkened cave or the glimpse of some horrible thing in the dark. Travelers emotions will race when they find themselves lost, ever heightened by an unseen forcing tugging at their heartstrings. Indeed, even those outside of the realm are not free from its taint.
Sandwiched betwixt The Palace of Dreams and Sheol, Ekon’s hideaway is buried far beneath the rock and soil of Galbar. Due to its infectious quality, The Ugly Underbelly poisons its surrounding with terror. By that same token this very trait also makes it vulnerable to the tampering of its neighboring realm. Of the two spheres Ekon's shares his closest connections with the demon realm. United by an elaborate tunnel system, The Underbelly is also home to the things that make up Sheol.
Before Ekon, mortal hearts weep with dread. King and peasant alike falter, driven to their knees by an ever-escalating horror they cannot fathom. Knights clad in iron wielding weapons of steel shiver and shake, their armaments rendered useless. Childhood dreads long since conquered, return with a renewed potency. Phobias manifest, terrorizing the innocent and guilty alike for fear cares not for the morality of men, only to spread endlessly across creation. Even titanic monsters of supernatural ancestry cower before dread’s might. Terrible though this emotion may be, it can also be harnessed for a person’s betterment. In fact, if someone is willing, they can master their fear, reshaping it to temper their ego. Nevertheless, fear is inescapable, and no matter how hard mortals try they can never outrun it.
Chief amongst Ekon’s power is his ability to rip the fear from a creature’s soul, granting it a new existence. As a corporeal entity freshly realized, the horror lives to torment its former host. Controlled by the Fear God’s will alone, he derives pleasure from the agony he inflicts upon others through their “demons.” Unlike his domain where the manifestation is, but an illusion these creations are tangible, though limited in their lifespan.
Despite his mantle of godhood, it is beneath Ekon to flaunt terror’s majesty. Instead, he prefers a subtle approach, by guiding his victims into the maws of despair. Aware that mortals are ambitious beasts, he implores them to delve further until they are ensnared. He delights in the madness that results from a people gripped by fear, and his actions demonstrate this. Through his manipulations, he cultivates and terrifies, not only exploiting man’s fear of the unknown but themselves. It is to the people that harness their dread that Ekon considers the greatest prey.
Humility, humor, and, charm are Ekon’s chosen masks, robbing most of whatever suspicions he invites. Honeyed words and a relaxed demeanor take the place of the monster expected from one such as he. A short-lived, but observant God experience has instilled within him, the virtues of deception and patience. Rarely will an ill word slip his lips, opting instead for a cooperative and friendly demeanor. Ever the schemer he knows that mortal and god alike is a more compliant beast when greeted with a smile. Even challenges to his existence are greeted with a bizarre enthusiasm. Aware that conflict breeds turmoil and simply feeds into his desire to spread terror.
When he isn’t seeding the world with fear, Ekon is an extroverted soul that actively seeks out others. Largely driven by a mixture of boredom and curiosity, the unlikely fear god is drawn to the goings on of his “family”. Much like a child he is always curious about the various plots and activities of other gods. This is especially true for gods whose agendas are compatible with his own. If he is enthusiastic enough about a scheme he will happily throw himself into it.
Rage does not come natural to Ekon, but when it does it arises in explosions. It is at these points that Ekon’s true nature emerge, and he seems most fitting of his title. What brings about these “tantrums” are the usual clichés, conflicts settled through peace and bravery in the face of absolute terror. Like the typical schemer he becomes undone when his plans are.
@Kho I did. There's a god of darkness, the abyss, puzzles, recorded knowledge, speech, light, desolation, etc. So I was just wondering if a god that is invested in the advancement of mortals was possible.
@ZAVAZggg I think it really depends. A Portfolio should be more specific while Clusters should be more widespread, what would be a Cluster in which Innovation could fall into? To me, it feels more like a cluster material.
Also, in your profile you kinda mentioned not liking rules and regulations, which has a bit of a history of being one of the most regulated aspects of Divinus, considering players kinda want to experience eras such as the stone age or the bronze age and in the last one, Mk2, we had a bit of an issue with a player advancing a civilization way too fast.
Though the areas related to crafting and technology are indeed very free, there are not many whose purpose is to advance civilization, versus three gods who want to inhibit it for the sake of the wildlands. Kho has already talked about CSs, and you can also skim over a bit of Mk2to get a feel.
I would also suggest, if you are interested in joining, to already start making a draft of a CS for when some GM shows up, so its easier for them to judge what sort of idea you are going for.
@Double Capybara I've already started working on a CS, but I'll change the portfolio to something other than invention as it is more of a Cluster thing rather than a Portfolio.
And yeah I did say I didn't like too many rules or regulations, but I'm willing to make an exception if the rules are reasonable and make sense, which yours do. And if I don't get something right away I can always access the information easily due to how you've structured everything.
This looks interesting, but I feel my writing skills might not be up to snuff, so to speak, for me to be able to participate.
I don't think it's a matter of skill so much as dedication. If you are willing to devote enough time and creativity to creating a character, you can make a good and unique one. If you are then willing to hold onto that same level of dedication as you go into the IC and write and edit posts and plan storylines, I believe it's possible for almost anyone with a decent grasp of the English language to make a post that would pass our threshold.
Now the question of dedication is a big one--I can fully understand and appreciate that since writing here is a thing we do for fun and as a hobby, many people don't want to "push themselves" so to speak. If you feel like you're up to the task, write a character sheet and we'll review it.
Now, I will say that the window for applying as a god has all but closed as I'd like to get the IC up tonight if not tomorrow, and I don't think you'll have time to write a sheet or that we'll have time to review it beforehand even if you did. Perhaps the solution here is for you to wait a bit, solidify some ideas in your mind, and then apply as a demigod in a few days.
As far as technology goes, our GM BBeast had a god that more or less did that in Mk. II. Here's his sheet, if you'd like to look it over for some inspiration: roleplayerguild.com/posts/3368493
There's still some more work to be done here. The IC will likely go up before you get accepted, but provided you don't dither, I think it's still quite possible for you to get accepted in time to do things on turn 1.
First and foremost, I've said over and over that you need to read the OP thoroughly. We see several telling indicators that you haven't. You need to read this material yourself and not expect us to spoon feed you everything over Discord conversation. This alone is cause for rejection; however, I'll still address the contents of your sheet.
The Portfolio is good. Note that all gods can talk to animals as that's among their baseline powers; again, it's the small details like your acting like that's not the case which makes us suspect you haven't read the OP nearly thoroughly enough.
Your Sphere certainly has an interesting and important effect, which makes it passable. I particularly like the shifting nature of the climates. We'd like to see more about natural connections to different Spheres, and also for the Hunting Grounds to have some more details than just that it's close to the Purlieu, because surely the two would interact somehow, right? There's a lot of untapped potential there.
The persona makes sense and I'm quite pleased with how you've given him a few ambitions. It's especially interesting that he doesn't condone the killing of one's one species (So he's against murder? How would that tie in to the likes of Narzhak and war?) and how the thought has crossed his mind to potentially test himself against the Architect. BBeast did have one remark, though, "...one thing that's missing is his mannerisms. We can infer the stances he takes on issues, but we don't know what he is like to meet in person. I'd like to know what he is like to interact with in person."
So looking back over this, the sheet's pretty good overall. You've certainly improved it a lot since the first version.
Still rejected for now because we remain suspicious that you haven't read the OP.