For clarity, the posts above are in response to a debate that sparked on the Discord. I pinned the message where it started so that anybody who cares can jump up to it and read through, but I also told everyone to post the gist of their arguments so that others can more easily see and that it'll be easier to keep track of what's decided.
There were a few things that came up, most related to Katharsos and the current model of souls and recycling souls as it was implied in my CS. Obviously I'm quite invested in the argument because Katharsos would become absolutely pointless were some of the proposed changes to be made, and for that reason I'm going to at least wait for @BBeast
to weigh in.
1. The souls in the universe were let in when the Architect opened up the hole to Beyond, allowing entry to the souls of both the gods and everything else. There is a finite number of souls in the universe; more cannot be created. This is why Katharsos has the Sky of Pyres and why he insists upon recycling them.
2. [This idea has since been REDACTED by Cyclone, who was swayed on the Discord, mainly through the argument that this means demigods make no sense.] Gods have souls too, just like mortals. This is supported because they were brought in alongside everything else, how some gods also have seemingly mundane backstories like having been a weatherman or a fish in their previous existence, by how Katharsos believes he must one day burn the souls of the other gods (and my OOC opinion that such an event would make a cool thing IC).
3. Souls decay and get worn down over time, which is why Katharsos believes that he must recycle them, and which can pose potentially big problems to immortal races/beings whose souls would invariably decay.
I feel like the finite soul thing simply contrives conflict in what I believe is an uninteresting way. The demon god and undeath god no longer become enemies or allies based on ideological grounds, but we will need to fight them because they are hogging a finite resource.
There isn't really any interesting outcome to a soul-shortage. It seems like it really just come down to having the artitect give us more souls, or bully demon boy or undeath god to shake some souls loose.
Edit : Further thoughts, My problem is that it seems like every other god has no reason to care about souls except at a seemingly random point when it suddenly an issue we need to worry about, and it will effectively force all humanity-sided characters to side with Kath since there isn't really any alternatives.
I have little to say other than that I fundamentally disagree with almost every premise asserted. Most of these arguments are subjective. Concerning the last point I will say that Katharsos is extremely logical and the very pinnacle of utilitarian in his thought, and it'd be rather unrealistic to expect everyone to take his side even if it ends up looking like the "correct" one from an OOC perspective. I could go on about this more, but it's not the main point.
I think the first big thing to answer is whether souls should be conserved or if they can be created, as in 1. Personally I think it'd drastically change Katharsos' character (and render his Sphere largely moot) if it turns out that souls can simply be created and that there's no necessity behind his actions. Furthermore, I don't think this is anything more than a thematic complaint, because the way Katharsos' system works is that the recycled "soul ash" just drifts back down to Galbar and sits around until it can clump back together into a soul and be a part of some nascent lifeform. Any god could just scoop up souls and use them; they're not monopolized. Though a crisis emerging from a lack of souls could be pushed back and handwaved indefinitely and until convenient (or explained away through other means; for instance, as mortal populations rise, wildlife and animal populations will fall, keeping the number of required souls somewhat constant), I maintain that it'd be an interesting plot arc that could go several ways and potentially even have an entire Age centered around it.
Issue number 2 can be brought back up again if needed, but at this point I think it's safe to say that we're mostly all on board with gods having "divine essence" that is distinct from other souls. This may have come to be because they were gods in a previous existence, or it may be because the Architect thought he didn't have enough helpers and he arbitrarily "promoted" some ordinary souls into divine essences. The net effect is that demigods make more sense in that they have some divine essence to distinguish them from other beings, and that what happens upon a god's death is somewhat uncertain, but that could be tackled IC; perhaps Katharsos is wrong in his belief that he can just recycle gods' divine essence like he can mortal souls.
Issue 3 is a big
one that's still on the table. I was going to have Katharsos explore this IC, but now it's pretty clear that was a poor idea. I'll explain now what I've been thinking: souls are like ropes, and that over time they start to fray, so given immortality a mortal soul might grow weaker and this could manifest as a creeping madness or overall weakness. Some beings have larger souls than others, explaining how some beings are longer lived with little ill effect and how heroes can be created (just enlarge their soul as part of the process). The "soul fraying" would mainly come up if a mortal, say a human, used some means other than acquiring divinity or herodom to extend their lifespan far beyond what is natural, or with undead. As undead grow older and older, they start to become less predictable and more dangerously erratic, which doesn't seem incompatible with Foe and Mourner's Hollow) and is why Katharsos would be fundamentally opposed to permanent states of undeath.
I missed most of the discussion, so I'm coming in with a very limited perspective, but I gathered that souls are a finite resource. There's a 'pool' they're drawn from and recycled into when things are born and die.
However, what I'm not understanding is why this exists when we, as gods, can hocus-pocus things into existence. I understand we're not omnipotent, but we have the means to create. So why are souls so distinct?
You have a point in that the distinction is somewhat arbitrary, but in laying down the metaphysics for this universe the owners of the relevant Spheres get a big say in what is canon. In my case for Katharsos, souls being finite is a core idea. The obvious reason that I'm so opposed to that idea being overturned is that it largely renders Katharsos (as he's currently portrayed) unusable for the RP; he'd be transformed into something evil, which is the exact opposite of what I wanted him to be.
Ultimately the creation of souls can just be handwaved off as a power beyond the capacity of our gods, much like teleportation and time travel.
"It oculd lead to a Thanos situation where more souls are needed, so some gods see the solution as being to eradicate a significant fraction of life so as to free up souls
...or it could lead to trying to ask the Architect for more souls
OR it could lead to trying to free the souls trapped in the undead Sphere
see how many possibilities there are?"
Which really covers only pro-Kathy options.
I feel like this might be a bit much, one of the things that got Sartravius accepted was going with "source of all flames" instead of "source of all heat", which I take establishes some limits of just how influential a sphere can be, and if truly everyone needs to dance along with Kath or risk the death of everything, eh, that is a bit more serious than the latter case.
What would you expect or want for an "anti Katharsos" option? Killing him and putting someone more lenient in charge of the Sky of Pyres, someone who might simply "temper" souls rather than fully burn and recycle them? Not unreasonable. I quite expect for many gods to hate, defy, and misunderstand Katharsos; his conception was of a god that's incredibly benevolent (probably the most
benevolent), wise, and even noble, but only if you're willing to accept his extremely detached and utilitarian view of the world. One can argue that he's borderline Satanic, so I'd say there's definitely a shade of gray and that he's not completely white.
I'm amenable to other solutions for such a potential arc, too. And see my previous comment about it being believable (and honestly preferable) that not every god have the foresight and emotional capacity to see things from Katharsos' perspective and take the pragmatic solution.