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Apieros

Spirit Axiom & One True Religion

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This is a fork from the Living Land discussion. Rather than hold another topic hi-jacking, I'm starting a new thread (as johntfs recommended).

 

Yeah, I had thought of that (the way that miracles of faiths other than the dominant faith become contradictory at high Spirit axiom levels), but I kind of skipped over it. That rule has always seemed a bit dodgy.
I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise, I just want to make a couple of comments about the rule.

 

How is this similar to other axioms? You don't see one branch of science or one arcane knowledge becoming dominant in high Tech or Magic axiom levels.
So, what we're talking about is multiple religions in a cosm. As the Spirit axiom gets insanely high, one of them becomes "true", all others lose divine power.

 

That isn't the same as Tech, because Biology, Quantum Mechanics, and Chemisty aren't separate and irreconcilable belief systems. Religions make claims about metaphysical and cosmological truths, which cannot be reconciled. They inevitably diverge. In contrast, all the various areas of Science are just ways of focusing on smaller bits of a huge whole.

 

Chemistry has rules, rules that arise because of the atomic structure of atoms. (Carbon's 4 co-valent bonds a consequence of lacking 4 electrons in its outer shell, and so forth.) Biology has certain phenomena, that arise from the chemical nature of the materials involved (carbon, DNA, etc.) Science inevitably converges, a higher Tech axiom reflects ever more comprehensive understanding of one thing: the physical laws of a cosm.

 

Spirit, as an axiom, cannot inevitably converge.

 

Magic: The issue is complicated, because "magic" is a complicated subject, scattered over thousands of different sources: books, RPG's, movies, real world beliefs. If we were to take all of that as valid source material, and amass it and analyze it, what patterns emerge?

 

The vast majority of the time, high-magic settings have 1 form of magic. 1 magical system. Mage: The Ascension. D&D. Case of the Toxic Spell Dump. GURPS Technomancer. The Wheel of Time. Elantris. Torg itself.

 

The real world has many magic Traditions, high-magic worlds tend to have only one. If we take this as emblematic of an overarching progression, then fantasy worlds would eventually discover that all seemingly different magics come from one source.

 

The One Power. Dor. Etc. So, in that way it's like both Tech and Spirit.

 

Finally, Spirit. So many issues are involved here, including personal biases or views, real world beliefs, and Torg's munged cosmology, that I'm no going to claim any one authoritative solution.

 

So, here's my approach. As I may have mentioned, I think Torg can and should support a large number of settings, and the rules should apprehend this and allow for it.

 

Cosms should be able to be atheistic- no gods, souls, or afterlife. Other cosms should be able to have false faiths (Dragonlance). Other cosms should be able to have a myriad of Divinities, each from different pantheons (D&D, typically). And other cosms should be able to have one true religion. A Spirit axiom/rules set that outlaws any of these doesn't meet my needs. (Yours may vary.)

 

What does the Spirit axiom represent? It represents the increasing ability of the Divine to influence the world. Miracles begin as unprovable, become provable, and so forth.

 

So what would a high Spirit cosm represent? The Divine gaining the ability to have total power over a cosm, to mold it as they see fit. Whether it was true or not before, cosmological and metaphysical claims of the religion are verifiably, wholly true.

 

If we suppose a cosm of Jews, Catholics, Mormons, and Deobandi, then at the highest Spirit axiom we have a problem. Their cosmological and metaphysical claims cannot be reconciled.

 

That's the crux of the problem. Solutions:

 

1. Revise the definition of a high Spirit axiom.

 

2. Ignore the issue.

 

3. Decide that only one religion can dominate an insanely high Spirit cosm, so only its metaphysical and cosmological claims come true.

 

All of these are valid solutions, and which you prefer will vary according to individual preferences and views.

 

After all, not all faiths are exclusivist. Many embrace the validity of other faiths; so, if the dominant faith of a cosm is non-exclusivist, how does this rule apply?
The exact same way: that religion (call it Ecclecticism) is dominant. Ecclectic metaphysical and cosmological truths are real. If Ecclectics say other religions have religious power, then those priests can invoke miracles.

 

But Divinities with conflicting cosmological and metaphysical truths cannot impose them. Catholics claim their God has sole dominion over all people. In an Spi-29 Ecclectic cosm, that claim is false. Even if Catholic priests can cast miracles, their god cannot judge the souls of Ecclectics. Or Buddhists. Or Jews. Etc.

 

Can of worms topic. Sorry for the great many divergences and assumptions.

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All that said, there's really no reason why priests of other faiths can't take advantage of the LLs high Spirit axiom. "Enemy miracles" are a contradiction in the LL, but so what? So are guns. And magic fireballs. And Psychology. Storm Knights cause contradictions all the time and as long as they don't invoke the Everlaw of One by dropping a natural 1, they're golden.

 

So, while in the LL, that high Spirit axiom works for everyone. Healing can be a prayer instead of a ritual, even if a Core Earth Doubting Cleric casts it.

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To be honest, this issue is a wholly different one that the one Monarch asked about. But it has the virtue of originality, of not having been argued over a thousand thousand times.

 

So, while in the LL, that high Spirit axiom works for everyone. Healing can be a prayer instead of a ritual, even if a Core Earth Doubting Cleric casts it.
Why should this be the case?

 

Just walking across the borders of the Living Land doesn't magically alter the religious rites of a priest. If a high Spirit axiom represents the increasing ability of the Divine to exert power in the reality, then the Living Land's axiom represents the increasing power of Lanala.

 

Why would a priest of another god, a god wholly alien to the Living Land, a god without any presence in the Living Land, suddenly become empowered because he walked across the border? Does the spiritual power granted Lanala and her followers suddenly adhere to another religion? How? Why?

 

That's not how (stock) Torg works with any other axiom. A hand gun doesn't magically become a laser pistol. You have to acquire the laser pistol. A sword doesn't automatically become a magical weapon, nor does a miracle automatically become a wholly different miracle from another reality's higher axiom.

 

The ability to create a contradiction means only that your own gear works in the alien reality. It does not mean your own gear suddenly gains the abilities of gear from that alien reality.

 

I'm not telling you what you must do in your game, just pointing out that the game as written doesn't inevitably lead to your conclusion. Other people can do it differently, and it would be just as logically valid.

 

All that said, there's really no reason
What you seem to be saying is that the Living Land, as currently written, obviously should support alien gods' miracles, and any other option makes no sense.

 

Now, I'm one of the people to suggest lowering the Spi axiom of the LL and creating other native faiths, so I agree that it should be done. My writeup of the LL (linked to in the other thread), mentions other religions as well as other gods in a Lanallan pantheon, so it's something I've already done for my game.

 

What I don't understand is why you think so obvious that the Living Land, as currently written, must do so, as a matter of simple common sense.

 

I don't think the situation is that clear. There is no reason why the Living Land must do so, that I can think off, and several reasons why it might not.

 

• The basic rules of the game say it doesn't.

 

• The Living Land has no other faiths, so all gods other than Lanala are alien to the Living Land.

 

• Lanala is everything in the cosm, and everything exists because of Lanala. Why would the will of other gods matter at all?

 

As written, there isn't any reason why the LL must support the miracles of alien gods. To change that, you have to change the reality, change the setting. (Which is a good idea.)

Edited by Apieros

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I see it working like this: A priest from Core Earth sees an enemy shaman cast the Healing miracle on one of his fellows. Later, when one of his party is wounded, he calls out to Almighty God to Heal one of his own party. And God answers his prayer, because the ambient power of the LL is so great. It's much the same as if the priest used a laser pistol in the Cyberpapacy or a magical sword in Aylse. Yes, he's creating a contradiction, but as long as the Everlaw of One is not invoked by the dice, he can use those tools.

 

The Spirit axiom of 24 says that in the case of the LL it is a contradiction for any power other than Lanala's to work miracles. It also states that soem rituals became castable as prayers. So, as long as our cleric passes the contradiction check to work his miracle, he can cast it as a prayer because of where he is.

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I see it working like this: A priest from Core Earth sees an enemy shaman cast the Healing miracle on one of his fellows. Later, when one of his party is wounded, he calls out to Almighty God to Heal one of his own party. And God answers his prayer, because the ambient power of the LL is so great.
I suspected something like this would be the case.

 

The cosmology of Gods and religions in Torg is confusing, contradictory and never stated clearly. You could probably find 5 quotes from 3 random sourcebooks that would support your personal model of religious power. So you can make it work however you wish.

 

But…

 

The official game mechanics don't work that way. A miracle is as rigid as a spell or a gun. Neither get better in a higher axiom cosm. Guns might not work off of ambient power, but spells do and they do not change (barring world laws). They don't just get better in a higher Magic reality (nor does the cast time just decrease). Nor do miracles, in a higher Spirit reality, pool of power or not.

 

Possible objection: "But he's just praying to his god!" That's not what a miracle is, in Torg. A miracle is a specific religious ceremony that invokes the power of the Divine in one specific way. They are not fluid. They are not wishes.

 

Fluid miracles exist: they are called "Divine Interventions", and there's specific rules for them, and those rules do make DI easier in high Spirit realities. Not miracles, just Interventions.

 

There are also rules for seeing a miracle used by another faith and acquiring it. These rules are printed in the "Miracles" chapter of most books (Cyberpapacy and Orrorsh, for certain.)

 

So, your idea is present in two ways. if the priest saw the alien miracle and made his check, it becomes a new miracle for him (albeit of a very high axiom) and he can use it later. If the priests is asking for a Divine Intervention, that is easier in the Living Land.

 

But miracles don't just get better in higher axiom realities. And if they did, wouldn't they have to get worse in lower axiom realities? And do you really want to nerf the already-crippled LL like that?

 

Like I said, you can run it however you wish. I just wanted to break down the official mechanics for you.

 

(And the "pool of power" cosmology is answered in my earlier post: if it's a pool of power for Lanala and only Lanala, why would alien priests get to tap into that?)

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This is pretty interesting. I am no expert on TORG, but I always assumed that the Spirit Axion was linked to Faith itself (and being able to Focus that Faith), rather than a specific deity. The power of the Divine is the same, but the ability to channel one's faith is strenghtened by a high Spirit Axion. But that was just my perception, not sure if the rules actually support that view...

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This is pretty interesting. I am no expert on TORG, but I always assumed that the Spirit Axion was linked to Faith itself (and being able to Focus that Faith), rather than a specific deity. The power of the Divine is the same, but the ability to channel one's faith is strenghtened by a high Spirit Axion. But that was just my perception, not sure if the rules actually support that view...

A specific deity or pantheon, in fact.

If Nile Empire were to get Spirit 24, the entire Egyptian Pantheon would be supported, IMHO.

A Rabbi or Priest would not only be risking disconnection but would be stuck at the Core Earth of Spirit 9, in such a situation.

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This is pretty interesting. I am no expert on TORG, but I always assumed that the Spirit Axion was linked to Faith itself (and being able to Focus that Faith), rather than a specific deity.
Well, like I said above: "The cosmology of Gods and religions in Torg is confusing, contradictory and never stated clearly. So you can make it work however you wish."

 

That said, so far as I understand it, a cosm's Spirit axiom isn't specifically linked to 1 deity. In this one case, however, the LL is Spirit 24, which mandates only 1 religion. All others are contradictory. So, isn't that the LL's Spirit axiom is linked to Lanala, it's just that Lanala is the only allowed religion.

 

The power of the Divine is the same, but the ability to channel one's faith is strenghtened by a high Spirit Axion.
Sort of. The axiom itself limits what the Divine is capable of doing in the cosm (according to one part of the Rulebook, at least.). It doesn't limit the strength of one's faith.

 

A higher faith skill makes miracles more effective (as faith is typically the EV of the miracle), but that's not specifically limited by the axiom (positively or negatively).

 

Is that a relatively clear answer?

Edited by Apieros

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Hmmmm....

 

Well, this doesn't actually answer the question, but let me throw a couple of thoughts out.

 

1. Does the power of faith come from the deity/pantheon? It seems, rules-wise and, in a way, theme-wise, that the power comes from the faithful. Each person who believes in a faith, by virtue of having the Faith (whatever) skill, contributes to the pool of power into which characters of that faith who use the Focus skill tap. This comes into play in the game when a character with Focus gains more power by having a congregation of characters with Faith supporting him. Likewise, presumably, this same power is focused naturally by the specific doctrines, beliefs and expectations of the faithful to render the "truths" of the religion literally true. Specifically, the Spirit axiom molds reality to increasingly resemble the "truths" of the faith. The higher the Spirit axiom, the more reality is altered, in addition to miracles becoming more common and powerful.

 

2. Here's another thought that could be important: does the power of a faith reach between cosms? Is there a limit to how well it can do so? Presumably, when a cleric invokes a miracle, either on his own or with a small local congregation, he forms a connection to the pool of power that is created by the faithful of that faith. If he is in another cosm, where that faith is not significantly represented, is it more difficult to reach across the barrier between cosms to form that connection? Does a high local Spirit axiom make that connection easier or more difficult? Does the formation of a reality bubble make the connection as easy as it would be in the cleric's home cosm?

 

I'm not really asking how things work in the current rules, but how they SHOULD work, based on dramatic need. There may not be a lot of difference between the two; all in all, I absolutely love the Torg rules. But no system is perfect.

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Hmmmm....

 

Well, this doesn't actually answer the question, but let me throw a couple of thoughts out.

Lets see how I fare on this.

Though I will admit that too much of TORG is dangerously open to interpretation when one should have a clear ruling/understanding instead.

 

1. Does the power of faith come from the deity/pantheon? It seems, rules-wise and, in a way, theme-wise, that the power comes from the faithful. Each person who believes in a faith, by virtue of having the Faith (whatever) skill, contributes to the pool of power into which characters of that faith who use the Focus skill tap. This comes into play in the game when a character with Focus gains more power by having a congregation of characters with Faith supporting him.

The power of the faith comes from Axiom.

Just as it does in the case of every other Axiom.

Even so, you are right in that the Faith can channel more towards the user of the Focus, but its like applying a magnifying glass, the sun did not grow larger or more powerful (the Axiom didn't increase) nor did it shine any less brightly elsewhere, but the person in question still finds the miracle easier to invoke.

 

Likewise, presumably, this same power is focused naturally by the specific doctrines, beliefs and expectations of the faithful to render the "truths" of the religion literally true. Specifically, the Spirit axiom molds reality to increasingly resemble the "truths" of the faith. The higher the Spirit axiom, the more reality is altered, in addition to miracles becoming more common and powerful.

Oh yeah, this is very very true.

At sufficiently high level of the Axiom one can even reach places that otherwise only exist within the religious texts, etc.

Spirit 33 is exactly as close as possible to the religious truth as can be achieved.

 

2. Here's another thought that could be important: does the power of a faith reach between cosms? Is there a limit to how well it can do so? Presumably, when a cleric invokes a miracle, either on his own or with a small local congregation, he forms a connection to the pool of power that is created by the faithful of that faith. If he is in another cosm, where that faith is not significantly represented, is it more difficult to reach across the barrier between cosms to form that connection? Does a high local Spirit axiom make that connection easier or more difficult? Does the formation of a reality bubble make the connection as easy as it would be in the cleric's home cosm?

It doesn't reach "between" Cosms.

Certain religious/spiritual beliefs can be replicated in different Cosms, each to its own level of acceptance within the Cosm.

It was opined that the beings/concepts being worshiped, had a place where they dwelt outside of the Cosmverse, outside the Infiniverse.

They radiate outward a perfect understanding of themselves towards the Cosms, some Cosms are more able to accept a particular "frequency" (or "frequencies") over the rest but the origin itself is perfect.

In this way, does the concept of one deity/pantheon finally becoming the ONLY one in the Cosm makes a strong sort of sense -- after all, the increasing of the fine tuning of the "frequency" (a rise in the Spirit Axiom) does tend to lose the other "frequencies".

The Spirit Axiom is like a radio receiver, at the lowest level there is barely any power but one can hear almost every single signal from all across the "frequency band".

As the radio receiver increases in power it also increases in narrowing out some of the noise (the other signals) to get one certain signal in better. (Read up on the "Signal to Noise" ratio)

Eventually, there's one radio station coming one and its doing so very very clearly that it is like being in the same room.

 

 

I'm not really asking how things work in the current rules, but how they SHOULD work, based on dramatic need. There may not be a lot of difference between the two; all in all, I absolutely love the Torg rules. But no system is perfect.

Well I'm not certain how much of one over the other I was able to give, but I hope some was useful.

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1. Does the power of faith come from the deity/pantheon? It seems, rules-wise and, in a way, theme-wise, that the power comes from the faithful. Each person who believes in a faith, by virtue of having the Faith (whatever) skill, contributes to the pool of power into which characters of that faith who use the Focus skill tap. This comes into play in the game when a character with Focus gains more power by having a congregation of characters with Faith supporting him. Likewise, presumably, this same power is focused naturally by the specific doctrines, beliefs and expectations of the faithful to render the "truths" of the religion literally true. Specifically, the Spirit axiom molds reality to increasingly resemble the "truths" of the faith. The higher the Spirit axiom, the more reality is altered, in addition to miracles becoming more common and powerful.

That's correct. Skel is wrong in saying that the power comes from the axiom, the axiom is more like a gatekeeper which regulates in broad terms what the power can be used for but the power itself is generated by the belief of the followers.

 

2. Here's another thought that could be important: does the power of a faith reach between cosms? Is there a limit to how well it can do so? Presumably, when a cleric invokes a miracle, either on his own or with a small local congregation, he forms a connection to the pool of power that is created by the faithful of that faith. If he is in another cosm, where that faith is not significantly represented, is it more difficult to reach across the barrier between cosms to form that connection?

Under the rules there are no penalties on performing miracles due to being physically isolated from your community ,other than the fact that he will have to rely on just his own Faith skill to power his miracles of course.

 

I'm not really asking how things work in the current rules, but how they SHOULD work, based on dramatic need. There may not be a lot of difference between the two; all in all, I absolutely love the Torg rules. But no system is perfect.

On a purely game mechanical level I think that they have to be able to work when a character is physically isolated from his community, because otherwise PC miracle workers become fairly useless once they leave their home realities. (Mages keep their spells, gun bunnies keep their guns, psychics keep their powers, ninjas keep their martial arts, but priests lose their miracles if they stray too far from home? I wouldn't want to play one.)

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I'm not really asking how things work in the current rules, but how they SHOULD work, based on dramatic need.
So you want opinions on how religion should work in Torg?

 

Alright. Here's mine. Predicate assumptions:

 

1. I envision Torg as a system that apprehends and supports many settings. Torg's mechanics should be as versatile, extensible, and ecumenical as possible (bearing in mind other considerations, like playability.)

 

2. For me, this means maximal flexibility in designing the metaphysics and cosmology of a reality. Any cosm should be able to have:

 

  • True atheism: no gods, souls, or afterlife.
  • False/partially false religions. (e.g. Dragonlance)
  • A myriad of Divinities, each from a different mythos. (your typical D&D setting)
  • One true religion.
  • "Belief makes gods."

Any model of the Spirit axiom that outlaws any of these doesn't meet my needs. (Yours may vary.)

 

Each person who believes in a faith, by virtue of having the Faith (whatever) skill, contributes to the pool of power into which characters of that faith who use the Focus skill tap.
This is a model of religion in Torg that many adopt. (In fact, so far as I know, it is the model Jim chose for 1.5.) I dislike it, because it explicitly outlaws several options I think need to be available.

 

If belief creates the gods, then there are no false or mistaken religions. I think there must be, so this model doesn't work for me. YMMV.

 

(Also, group belief creating otherwise impossible results? That's not a religion, it's a psychic gestalt, an early form of group mind. That makes all religions into psi. Blech.)

 

Here's another thought that could be important: does the power of a faith reach between cosms?
In the original rules? Yes, absolutely. All religions have a home cosm, a Spi 33 cosm where all beliefs of that religion are true, and spiritual power comes from that cosm.

 

But no, entering another cosm doesn't make it more difficult nor does a reality bubble make it easier (other than preventing disconnection).

Edited by Apieros

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If belief creates the gods, then there are no false or mistaken religions. I think there must be, so this model doesn't work for me. YMMV.

 

(Also, group belief creating otherwise impossible results? That's not a religion, it's a psychic gestalt, an early form of group mind. That makes all religions into psi. Blech.)

 

 

Torg-wise, it kind of already is a type of psychic gestalt. Reality is shaped by consensus; the conceptions of the intelligent inhabitants of a cosm determine the progress of the axioms. The axioms, meanwhile, act as a force of inertia, keeping reality consistent throughout the cosm while slowing the advancement of progress (or devolution).

 

The Spirit axiom is a sticky point, in that religion can be touchy. If the power of religion comes from the faithful, then that offends the sensibilities of those who think that their religion is true simply by merit of being true. But, in each cosm, different "truths" exist. Does each cosm have a pre-determined "one-true faith," a religion that will become dominant as the Spirit axiom rises no matter how many people believe in it, or don't? Of course, the rising dominance of that religion would cause more people to believe in it. But it's a chicken-and-egg argument.

 

Can there be a religion followed by only one person? In our world, yes, there can be. But it's tough to separate out such religions from heresies and psychoses. Could such a belief system be supported in Torg? By the rules, kind of. There's no limit on what you can put in the parenthesis after your Faith skill. But, each cosm has a catalog of supported miracles, and you don't invent custom miracles the way you create magical spells.

 

These points can come up easily in play. Religions are infectious memes (if you don't know the term, look it up; it's a neat concept). Once cosms come into contact with each other, religions will spread between cosms. But will the faiths?

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Torg-wise, it kind of already is a type of psychic gestalt.
Well, what you actually said was (to summarize) "in Torg all axioms, and the mechanics of the Everlaws, are psychic gestalts."

 

Even if we accept that as true, Tech is less of a psychic gestalt than Social. And the "collective belief" model of religion evaporates religion and replaces it with psionics. It moves religion to the "wholly psychic" end of that spectrum. I think this is a terrible basis for the axiom.

 

[i also disagree with the consensus-reality model of Torg. Torg isn't Mage: the Ascension, which [i]is[/i] consensus-reality. There are many things in the Infiniverse, and most of them exist and operate in specific ways no matter what people think or believe: Everlaws, cosms, axioms, possibility energy, eternity shards, Apieros, the Nameless One, and so forth. But that's a different thread.]

 

offends the sensibilities of those who think that their religion is true simply by merit of being true.
For me, it offends my desire to have rules that are as ecumenical and extensible as possible (bearing in mind other considerations).

 

Does each cosm have a pre-determined "one-true faith,"
Of course not. But it should be possible to design a cosm which does.

 

But it's tough to separate out such religions from heresies and psychoses.
It may be tough for those in the game world (and should be, in some realities), but a writer, GM, or designer should know which exists in a given setting. Or, if they wish to leave it vague they should be able to state that clearly: "No one knows whether this is true or not, evidence exists to support many different interpretations."

 

But, each cosm has a catalog of supported miracles, and you don't invent custom miracles the way you create magical spells.
Actually, the way the Sourcebooks are written, the only cosm with a menu of common miracles for all religions is Core Earth (and most of those miracles became standard for all religions). Most of the others describe miracles specific to one religion: Cyberpapacy (Cyberchurch), Orrorsh (Sacellum), The Living Land (Lanalla). Even Tharkold, which describes two specific religions, indicates which miracles are exclusive to each. The Land Below divides miracles into those for the Darooni, the Kefee, the Leopard Men.

 

(I don't think this has any affect on the discussion, just pointing it out.)

 

Once cosms come into contact with each other, religions will spread between cosms. But will the faiths?
In the original Torg, faiths spread between cosms without them needing to come into contact. (I'm not recommending the "Spi 33 Cosm" idea, just identifying one of the quirks.) Edited by Apieros

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It may be tough for those in the game world (and should be, in some realities), but a writer, GM, or designer should know which exists in a given setting. Or, if they wish to leave it vague they should be able to state that clearly: "No one knows whether this is true or not, evidence exists to support many different interpretations."

 

Given. Okay, I'll take it from a different angle. What "creates" a true religion, for reality purposes in Torg? By what virtue is a religion able to give its adherents access to miracles and invocations? Possibilities:

 

1. There is enough pooled faith, possibly not just in the one cosm but in the entire cosmverse as a whole, to exceed some "threshold" and make the religion true. This would factor in not only the number of believers, but the strength with which they believe (their adds in Faith).

 

2. There is a subdimension that contains literal versions of the entity or entities that provide the power of the religion. Faith allows individuals and communities to contact that subdimension and draw the power to them. Let's not worry about where the subdimensions come from or how people learn about the religion in the first place.

 

3. Religions which are true are those which resonate in some way with a real, unified force that is endemic to the Infiniverse itself. This is likely to be Eternity/Apeiros, although it could be the whole dualistic entity made up of of Eternity (Apeiros) and Entropy (the Nameless One). Whatever the one force, all true religions encompass some aspect of this single, central Truth, and that allows them to draw on the power of that Truth. This is an extension of the philosophical point that all religions are one religion, seen in different lights.

 

Now that I think of it, I support the last option, mostly because it fits my own personal beliefs, but also because it would seem to allow rationales to allow for the different possibilities that you listed as needed for dramatic roles of the Spirit axiom.

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Given. Okay, I'll take it from a different angle. What "creates" a true religion, for reality purposes in Torg? By what virtue is a religion able to give its adherents access to miracles and invocations?
Excellent question, it gets to the heart of the matter. And, your three solutions are also reasonable.

 

Since we're discussing opinions, the Official Rules are less important. IMHO, they adopt something similar to #3, your preferred option (statements to this effect can be found in the World Laws of the Space Gods Sourcebook.)

 

My solution is partially 2 with a touch of official cosmology. If the question were: "What is the ultimate (or most fundamental) truth about religions in Torg?" (That is, "where do 'true' religions come from?"), my answer would be consciously and deliberately vague: "No one knows what exactly is true or not, evidence exists to support many different interpretations."

 

Why? By leaving the answer vague, I allow people to project whatever they want. If an Atheist believes the cosmverse came about from random events, they can. If some religion wants to believe that their God created it all, they can. I don't care, it doesn't matter to the game which is true, and GM's can decide the truth for themselves.

 

[Obscure reference: "rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty."]

 

Official cosmology: There is a Place, outside the Infiniverse, where gods dwell. It existed before the cosmverses and might well continue to exist after the Infiniverse is destroyed.

 

Now, the Rulebook said there were 4 gods, and 4 gods only living there. I decide to change that. In this Place (I've started calling it Eternity, to differentiate it from the Mortal World), there may be Gods. Or God. Or ancestor spirits. Or nothing. Or it might not exist at all.

 

But Divine force comes from somewhere, and "Eternity" is as good an explanation as any other. (And semi-official to boot. Not that that matters.)

 

All of the above is just my opinion. It allows me to build Torg cosms as ecumenically as possible, which meets my needs. YMMV.

Edited by Apieros

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Sounds good to me. Especially when comparing it to real-world religions; while doctrine tries to pin down very hard "truths," faith seems to defy rational or straightforward definitions... much like quantum physics.

 

Certainly the number of deities existing in a pantheon is flexible. In Christianity, by modern doctrine, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all considered to be part of a single godhead. A similar situation exists in (some interpretations of) Hinduism, where all deities are emanations of Brahma.

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