Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Double Capybara
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<Snipped quote by The WIP sphere rules in the doc>

Is there a reason why a more earthly sphere cannot take the above caveat and just pick whether it's more celestial or cthonic?


To me, this created an unclear middle and in the end its all the same thing. Allowing the non-euclidian 'fairyland' will lead to the exact same thing as land realms, and even if the fairyland is banned, three might later and it will be the exact same but it is now an orb up the sky or something. And that is kinda the gist of this thing, in the end, its all wording and aesthetics I guess. This discussion feels silly without more examples of spheres from other players, and I guess it was only ever an issue to me because I always liked me some land gods, lol, and in turn, to leave the celestial realm to gods that feel celestial instead of river and tree gods.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Cyclone
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Alright. That's 2/3 GMs for B, so we're going with that unless BBeast comes in a few hours, disagrees wholeheartedly, and writes a really convincing post on why he feels that way.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Vec
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I am of the opinion that spheres should be influenced by their respective god's actions. If a god constantly strives to be close to Galbar's sphere, but his own sphere is a celestial one, the sphere itself magically descends down and closer to Galbar, as if answering to its god's wishes.

This can potentially bring about a dynamic relationship between the Gods that came about later on, or that have spheres in the upper realms but want to have more influence over Galbar, and the Gods that are already closer to Galbar and want to retain their position of power there.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Double Capybara
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<Snipped quote by Cyclone>

Ninja'd!

In that case, I'm going to throw my hat into option B. I don't see why a god should be linked strictly to Galbar as a sphere when their sphere could still be linked closely to a physical aspect of Galbar, such as forests or wildlands.

And just because a sphere like that isn't so accessible, it doesn't restrict you from finding ways for inter-sphere travel to happen thematically. If a little girl gets lost in the woods, you can easily fudge together her unnoticed stumbling into the sphere of forest god by mere chance and then having a hell of a time finding her way home, all the while the rangers of the previous woods having no idea where she disappeared to. Any other contrivance can be made to facilitate stories.


Wait, so even with option B you can still make spheres exactly like option A and C? I thought B meant a ban on the 'fairyland' non-euclidean sphere, going from Octopus' posts and the whole 'no middle sphere' allowed.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Muttonhawk
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<Snipped quote by Muttonhawk>

Wait, so even with option B you can still make spheres exactly like option A and C? I thought B meant a ban on the 'fairyland' non-euclidean sphere, going from Octopus' posts and the whole 'no middle sphere' allowed.


No, I don't think option B implied doing away with non-euclidean spheres. Option B only mandated them being hard to access and being classified as celestial or cthonic.

Correct me if I'm wrong, Cyclone, I might be confused.
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<Snipped quote by Double Capybara>

No, I don't think option B implied doing away with non-euclidean spheres. Option B only mandated them being hard to access and being classified as celestial or cthonic.

Correct me if I'm wrong, Cyclone, I might be confused.


Nope, you're right. I don't think anyone took issues with the parallel Spheres existing, provided the Spheres were actually elusive fairylands and not just "the canopy of the forests" or "the earth 20 yards down, just a bit below bedrock and the city sewage systems".
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Crispy Octopus
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Yes my issue was in entering the god of the Earths Sphere being as easy as digging a hole or the God of Forests as easy as climbing a tree.

IMO B resolves this by having celestial realms and underworld realms connected to Galbar magically, rather than physically. So a girl could still get lost and wake up on the forest moon of the wilds or something, but her passage to it would have been magical.

Thats my two cents.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Cyclone
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On the Google doc we're ironing out MP costs, and the topic of temporary portals came up--or rather, the topic of just banning them altogether. I'm of the opinion that temporary portals (as in, spend 1MP for a one-time, one way ticket to somewhere else) are something that we're better off without, as they defeat the purpose of us making travel difficult and that they're a lot less interesting than spending your MP to make a cool steed/ship/chariot or a permanent portal like the Bifrost.

Any strong opinions?
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Crispy Octopus
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Perma portals > Temp Portals
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by AdorableSaucer
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Yeah, permanent portals are probably more convenient - and cooler. Could make for some interesting RP too, as mortals hear the legends of [divine sphere name] Gate and try to seek it out, and then we get "guy tried to climb Olympus and got zapped by Zeus"-scenarios.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Antarctic Termite
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the great thing is that you can still have temporary portals if you want by, so to speak, burning your bridges.


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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Frettzo
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I believe option B would be the most suited for Divinus, to be honest.

Also, why is everyone talking of 'wannabe forest God' like that? My Goddess will be one of the cool kids, I swear :(
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Scarifar
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Hmmm.... I was considering making another Light goddess, maybe actually make a plan with a storyline rather than just coming up with things on the fly, but it seems like someone's already laid dibs.

Oh well, I got other ideas.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Double Capybara
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@Scarifar Hmm? Who has light?
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Scarifar
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The new guy, Crispy Octopus.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Crispy Octopus
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Hi, that's me :p

Sorry for nabbing that, but I kinda have a wip sheet already.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by BBeast
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Okay, time to do some writing.

Re: Avatars. I think Avatars should stay mostly the same. Avatars are not simply relics; they are extra bodies for your god. With the introduction of Abilities constraining the forms your god can personally take, Avatars will be even more important. We could tie Avatars even more closely with the Abilities somehow, such as by giving Avatars access to the Abilities system.

Re: Spheres. Okay, this one's a biggie. I may have gotten a little carried away.

Point 1, Topology of the Universe

tldr: Distinctions between Upper/Lower/Middle etc are only meaningful if the allowed direct connections between Spheres are restricted.

My personal preference is option D : There is no formal 'Upper' and 'Lower', with us instead characterising the Spheres purely by their connections and providing no cosmological constraints to how they have to be connected. Then the whole categorisation problem goes away because there are no arbitrary categories.

I'm getting the impression that most people are rather keen on keeping these categories, but the idea of connectivity being the primary feature relating the Spheres is still pivotal. If we can define how the Spheres are (or can be) connected, that is, if we define the topology of our universe, we can work from there.

First, I should define what I mean by a connection. A connection is any physical link between two Spheres. It could be a portal you could travel through. It could be being able to see a feature of one Sphere from another. It could be the border between two Spheres (which is especially relevant if you insist on the Spheres existing in three-dimensional space only). If there is no connection, the two Spheres have no direct interactions and cannot be seen or travelled between directly.

Consider the sample cosmology below, in which we have Galbar in the middle, the Core and Barrier below and above, and three (nominally) Upper and Lower Spheres. (I have drawn them as planes for simplicity. Wrap them around in your head if you want to get back to Spheres, but we're working in higher-dimensional space so drawing them as Spheres will get problematic once I start connecting them.) Note that nothing can get to the other side of the Barrier and Core without first passing through them. At the moment, none of the Spheres are connected. The topology is such that I can rearrange Galbar and the other Spheres freely, making the categorisation of Upper and Lower arbitrary. (There are other possible arrangements which I shall explore later.)



Now consider the next example. If we want a strict hierarchy of Spheres, we will have a connectivity where each Sphere links to the adjacent Spheres. Note, however, that one could equally define 'adjacent' as what Spheres a Sphere is linked to, rather than by arbitrary positioning in some kind of hierarchy. If we wanted to cement the distinction between Upper and Lower, we could have U3 (the uppermost Sphere) connect the the Barrier and L3 (the lowermost Sphere) connect to the Core, otherwise from a cosmological perspective there is nothing really stopping us from flipping the Upper and Lower Spheres around. We might decide that such a linkage occurs by default, or we could make it such that each link needs to be created. It appears people have been leaning towards the latter.



However, if people are to create their own connections, they would most likely want to connect directly to Galbar where all the action is happening. This will give an initial connectivity like the one below.



However, in such a linkage scheme there is no hierarchy or strict distinction between Upper and Lower. An equivalent way of expressing the above linkage is in the scheme below, where there are no distinct layers. If some layers started connecting to the Barrier and some the Core, then the Upper and Lower distinction could be used on them, but why would anyone want to make a portal there?



Under natural play, if we don't constrain which Spheres can connect to what, we'll get something which looks like a bunch of organic connections without strict order, as below. This is fine. There will likely remain a thematic upper/lower distinction, primarily on where the connections are placed on Galbar, but it won't be strict. Middle Spheres are just as plausible as Upper and Lower.



But how does this tie in to the options? Well, the different options have different topologies for the Spheres. The examples I have presented above fit in with my option D with no strict Upper/Lower categorisations.

If we want an ultra-strict hierarchy, like the Greek celestial spheres model, then each Sphere would be represented not as a mobile blob in my abstractions but as complete layers similar to the Core and Barrier, as illustrated below. It is not possible to connect to another Sphere without passing through the intervening Spheres. This option has the downside of there being no flexibility in the nature of the connections.



I have not seen people advocate for this option specifically. One strongly advocated similar option is Option B, having a strict demarcation between Upper and Lower. This can be achieved by making Galbar the border and having it such that Upper Spheres can link to Galbar and each other, and Lower Sphere can link to Galbar and each other, but Upper and Lower Spheres cannot directly link. I illustrate this set-up below. If you drop this restriction, then there is no distinction between Upper and Lower except for in name, and a distinction only in name is a meaningless distinction.



But what about option A, where we allow Middle Spheres? There are two possible topologies which allow this. One, illustrated below, is for the Upper, Lower and Middle Spheres to be separate categories, with connections allowed within the categories and with Galbar but not with the other categories. The Upper Spheres can also connect to the Barrier and the Lower Spheres can also connect to the Core.



However, this isolates the Middle Spheres in a manner one might consider strange for a cosmology meant to be built upon a concentric sphere model. An alternative is to have the Upper and Lower Spheres separated by the Middle Spheres, of which Galbar is the most important. This cannot be represented with a two-dimensional topology, but I make a representation below anyway. The Upper Spheres can connect to the Barrier and the Middle Spheres (including Galbar). The Lower Spheres can connect to the Core and the Middle Spheres. The Middle Spheres can connect to Galbar, the Upper Spheres and the Lower Spheres. This gives us good behaviour for the connectivity of the Middle Spheres, but it makes Galbar less special by making it essentially a glorified Middle Sphere. Due to enhanced connectivity, people might favour Middle Spheres to other Spheres.



Option C instead considers subdividing the Upper/Lower categories into those which are close and distant from Galbar. In this topology model, these extra layers can be modelled by having the inner Spheres as a barrier between Galbar and the outer Spheres. So the Upper Outer Spheres can connect to the Barrier and the Upper Inner Spheres, the Upper Inner Spheres can connect to the Upper Outer Spheres and Galbar, Galbar can connect to the Upper Inner Spheres and the Lower Inner Spheres, the Lower Inner Spheres can connect to Galbar and the Lower Outer Spheres, and the Lower Outer Spheres can connect to the Lower Inner Spheres and the Core. This is more simply seen below.



So, that's a lot to take in, so let me summarise below. I have 6 options: Unrestricted Connections; Strict Hierarchy; Upper/Lower; Separated Middle; Galbaric Middle; Upper/Lower Inner/Outer.



My preference is for either Unrestricted Connections or Upper/Lower. Strict Hierarchy is too restrictive and has the complication of everyone having to decide their position relative to everyone else and is broken if any new Spheres are created. Separate Middle and Galbaric Middle feel rather odd in their implementation of Middle Spheres, although maybe some will like it. Upper/Lower Inner/Outer feels like too much added complexity; if a god wants an Inner Sphere, they can connect to Galbar; if they want an Outer Sphere, they can opt not to connect directly to Galbar. It's up to them.

I'll repeat that categorising the Spheres a priori as we are currently trying to do is only meaningful if there is a physical difference between them. The main physical difference we can control without dictating the resultant pantheon and physics too much is controlling the connectivity between Spheres.

Point 2, Connectivity and Access

The portals connecting the Spheres are very important, as they define travel between the Spheres. But the portals are also created by players. Therefore, subject to the constraints we put above, the nature of the connections should be up pretty much entirely to the player creating the connection. The Portal need not be a discrete location.

Consider the hypothetical god of dirt, who wants the Sphere of Dirt to be accessible by digging in the dirt. The Sphere of Dirt is not automatically accessible from Galbar. It influences the dirt to make it fertile and whatnot and it creates dirt on Galbar, but it is not physically accessible unless the god of dirt creates a Portal. In this case, the Portal is a region of dirt, and the condition of access is digging into it. We might rule that having 'all dirt' is too broad to be a Portal, but you could make it a specific region of dirt, perhaps under certain sacred hills. If we insist on Portals out of Galbar being difficult to traverse, then we might attach extra conditions, or make it necessary to dig really deep.

Now consider a hypothetical god of sky, who wants the Sphere of Sky to border Galbar along the whole sky, so anyone who flies up high enough enters the Sphere of Sky. They could put their Portal as the whole sky. If we want to impose a 'difficulty' condition, then there can be storms and wind which makes flight difficult.

The god of the wilderness might like the have forests connect to his Sphere. As previously suggested, the Portals might be very difficult to find reliable, but it is quite possible to just stumble across them without noticing. Perhaps the exact location of the cross-over between Galbar and the Sphere varies, although is in random locations deep in wild forests. The god of the wilderness could control where the Portals appear (possibly as an Ability) because he is attuned to his Sphere and the Portal's location is rather nebulous.

These points indicate that a Portal need not be a discrete location, but is instead any connection between two Spheres of any form.

Another customisable feature should be the ease of access and strength of connection. A god may or may not want a strong connection between Galbar, so should be free to choose. A god might also like an easy or difficult connection. The benefit of an easy connection is that allies can readily access your Sphere and any facilities within. The benefit of a difficult connection is security against monsters, mortals and enemy deities. If you want to reinforce difficult travel, you could specify that a Portal between Galbar and another Sphere must be difficult to traverse, if not by design, then by the pressure of the Sphere's influence flooding downwards. How the traverse is difficult is up to the player. Although I'd argue that we need not be too stringent here.

Also customisable is how it connects. The connection would have to be extra-dimensional (read: magical), otherwise the Spheres aren't special planes of existence but just regions on a planet. That said, if a god wants, they could have what essentially amounts to a physical border with another Sphere, but that would be chosen when the Portal is created.


Now, I've been writing this post all day and I'm out of comments on these matters for now. I've laid bare my thought processes. Let me know what you think.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Cyclone
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Happy New Year, fellas!

@BBeast we don't deserve you, but we sure do need you.

In my mind I've been imagining things by your Galbaric Middle model for much of this time, but our talk the other day about option B does lend me to favor the Upper/Lower model by forcing any of the 'Galbar-parallel' Spheres to choose to be nominally Upper or Lower. Before the distinction would have been rather arbitrary, but it is made more impactful and significant by your proposed Upper/Lower model in that it restricts direct connections.

The disadvantage of the Galbaric Middle is that it introduces significantly more complexity to an already potentially confusing system. Having a divide between the Upper/Lower gods along the lines of the Aesir and Vanir, Aedra/Daedra, or any other example was a topic I found intriguing and was a primary reason behind me conceptualizing the distinction. Where would the middle gods under Galbaric Middle fit into this? Would they be neutral and of neither side? That might make the whole thing less thematic, but then again, I expect that some gods won't really see the universe in such a divisive way and won't care so much about exactly where any other given god lives so much as what said other god does.

IC the reason to justify not adhering to the strict hierarchy model is to simply say that even though the Spheres like do fall into some rough hierarchy based upon height relative to Galbar, there's enough empty space between them to enable a direct physical length (or even a magical gateway) to bypass any intermediary Spheres and link straight to Galbar. As a practical example, if we divided the solar system into Spheres then the moon would definitely be encompassed within a Sphere below that of the much more distant planets like Mars. However, there's enough empty space in the Cosmos to bypass the moon and travel straight to Jupiter without landing on any celestial bodies along the way. OOC, the reasons for not adhering to the strict hierarchy were covered pretty well by BBeast. I don't think it's a feasible system even if it makes a lot of sense thematically.

I favor Upper/Lower over Unrestricted Connections because I don't see a reason to throw the categorizations out altogether, and with unrestricted connections I think the universe would ironically feel a lot more disjointed and less connected. Even if it wasn't more nebulous in practice, it'd feel that way; I imagine it would seem like we have Galbar plus a bunch of random pocket universes, separate planes similar to the current private planes of Mk. 2.

Re: Portals, I find no disagreement in any of what you said, and I do like the idea of imposing some sort of difficulty condition along the lines of examples.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Double Capybara
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@BBeast

I think a big theme in your post, and one that I think is misguided, is to see the difference between upper and lower as a physical difference. It is a thematic difference, and I think treating each sphere as a formless blob with no content is detrimental.

Take magic.

Celestial magical sphere: Linked to stars and the sky, maybe be related to the movement of the stars, the time of the day, definitely related to the "star" that is how Galbarian mortals see the sphere.

Chthonic magical sphere: Related to earth, likely more telluric in nature, if a mage in the former case would raise his hand to reach for the magical realm, this one needs to connect with that which is bellow, walking bare-feet, channeling magic through the body, whatever.

Take soul

Celestial soul sphere: Probably Heaven or Valhalla like, angels and Valkyries, sky burials and funeral pyres

Chthonic soul sphere: Hades for example, boatman and reapers, crypts and graves.

There is a big change, and that goes beyond portals and physical place.

@Cyclone

One thing I expected in the docs, but couldn't really find, is a model of what you are thinking. With examples, models, something like a few example spheres and how they interact. It clearly isn't the Aristotlean model what we are doing here, there is a weird mix of Aristotles like layer spheres and orb spheres, and each time these things are discussed, I go out of it knowing less and less, with mixed messages like "There are no exceptions except the exceptions"

The disadvantage of the Galbaric Middle is that it introduces significantly more complexity to an already potentially confusing system. Having a divide between the Upper/Lower gods along the lines of the Aesir and Vanir, Aedra/Daedra, or any other example was a topic I found intriguing and was a primary reason behind me conceptualizing the distinction. Where would the middle gods under Galbaric Middle fit into this? Would they be neutral and of neither side? That might make the whole thing less thematic, but then again, I expect that some gods won't really see the universe in such a divisive way and won't care so much about exactly where any other given god lives so much as what said other god does.


It is better to have a complex system that deals with its issues than a nebulous unclear system. I think if you want a strong thematic difference between Celestial and Chthonic, you need to at least state that and what you overall view on what is Upper and what is lower. Once the themes are put on the table, we can discuss them properly.

Speaking of which, I still think land gods are a problem, from what I see, the Chthonic realm is way too limited, and throwing trees to the sky because of canopies is... eh. I don't know crap about the nordic myths since I found them boring, but in terms of Aedra/Deadra, all Aedra would be Celestial, and... most of the Deadra as well, since they are outer gods, Azura, Clavicus, Hircine, Vaermina.

It also makes the metaphysical maps of the world weird, with the realm of rives, trees and the fairyland all side by the side with sun, with the stars. It makes sense in a world like Tamriel where all worlds are outer worlds, but is this what we are going for here? Weren't we going with Aristotlean layers, with a realm of wind, a realm of fire?

We need to have a guide, a base, we can't have cake if the invitation says "bring ingredients for pastry, maybe?"

Then we can decide what to do about connections, if we are to have a separate mini realm of the skies or have it be the layer which we call the sky. What to do about land gods, what differs the underworld from the upperworlds.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Lord Zee
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Just a quick update from me, I think I'm going to create the moon for Galbar. Or at least one of its moons, if others want to do the same. Also I will say that all of this sphere talk is a bit confusing to me, but I'm good with anything that's picked.
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