- Religion is intended to be a motivator, not an aesthetic.
- Choosing a religion enables players to walk a light or a dark path through their choice of questlines and other actions.
Sometimes games in the past have tried to shy away from heavy emphasis on religion because of the parallels that can occur between what is in the real world and this fantasy realm. I don't really subscribe to that theory. I think that religion plays a very significant role in the story of what Ashes of Creation is about and it is very much this almost monolithic idea of good vs. evil; so that is really at the crux of what the overarching narrative will be in the game; and I'm not trying to pigeonhole players into "everyone has to be good", like I said earlier there will be opportunities for players to deviate from that, should they so choose to roleplay in that regard. – Steven Sharif
The progression of the Tulnar- while they are still the staples of what were once the primary deities of the good pantheon remained for the Tulnar, over the time they existed and evolved into the society that they are at the return to Verra. It's much more similar... to the way the Creole religions advanced, with using components of Christianity as well as Voodoo and other smaller, more "paganesque" religions; and incorporated them into one. To that degree, you can correlate the way that society around the Tulnar has this almost combination of what were pagan beliefs from the minor races as well as the introductions of the major beliefs and religions from the major races, because they all came together in the Underrealm and survived in that regard. So you’re gonna see naturally a combination of those two things. – Steven Sharif
Story of creation
The story of creation tells us of a race of beings known as The Ancients. Created in the likeness of what was once The Ten. The Ten imbued all of their qualities into one race to have stewardship over all of creation. The power of the Ancients grew and a rift divided the Ten in how to accommodate their new creation. Three of the Ten separated from the others and began to teach the Ancients the Secrets of the Essence. When the Seven learned of this, a great celestial battle ensued. Eons passed and you watched as the fight continued within the celestial kingdom. Some say it was the fight that created the stars and heaven we see today. With every blow between the Ten a star was born. When the battle was complete, the others and the Ancients were banished by the Seven into the Void. The Seven found the error of their ways and decided to split their qualities into four races instead of one; and this is how the Humans, Elves, Orcs and Dwarves came to be. You watch as the Seven created Verra and placed each of the races within their respective locations. As the story came to an end, a dark figure at a distance grew closer to you. Until all you could see was the darkness. And you wake up in a sweat after a nightmare. – Steven Sharif
The essence is a stream that exists across all planes of existence, but it exists at different levels of strength essentially at different levels that can be utilized; and the void is the furthest... There is a very minute amount of essence that can be found within the void. However the planes of existence that are in Ashes of Creation- they are connected across bridges created by the essence. So these ley-lines in a sense that exist within the different planes provide conduits of access and on Verra, which was a planet that was made after the ancient- the celestial battle. – Steven Sharif
The Essence is a metaphysical energy or life-force (Chi) that can be manipulated to create what could be viewed as magic. There are different planes of existence (realms) with varying degrees of strength (of magic), determined by their proximity to the Essence. The planes of existence in Ashes of Creation are connected across bridges created by the Essence.
- The Gods exist on the plane of the gods, which is the most connected to the Essence.
- The material plane is not the highest in terms of proximity to the Essence. Verra exists in the material plane.
- The Void is the plane that is the furthest from being connected to the Essence. Only a minute amount of essence can be found within the Void.
- There hasn't been a definitive understanding of how many planes of existence there are.
Souls acting as conduits is a very integral component of some broader features in the storyline. If you think about souls being a conduit for Essence and you think of the gods as masters of the Essence: If you think of the Essence being separate from the Gods- let's say they're parallel to eachother- one didn't create the other, but they coexist in this almost symbiotic form with one another; almost to the point where their manipulation of the Essence is perfection: They can perfectly manipulate it and lesser beings; and I say 'lesser' in a sense of their alignment or closeness to Essence. They're still perfecting that manipulation and some never achieve perfection almost to the degree of ascendency or enlightenment- Essence being that sort of Chi that exists. In that regard, when a perfect being such as the gods- and I'm not saying 'perfect' as the correlation between sin and not sin, I'm thinking perfect in the sense of how you can control and manipulate the Essence: That control is perfection for them. – Steven Sharif
When you think about souls being a conduit, what are conduits used for? Conduits are passages; they're methods by which Essence can travel between realms, between planes. And there hasn't been any definitive understanding of just how many planes exist. We understand that there is a disparity between the planes when it comes to their connection to the Essence, and because Essence is so powerful; and it flows through these planes almost like a river. You can think that conduits help to maintain that flow and/or even exaggerate the flow; and there might be something at play, that I don't wanna touch necessarily, as to why one would want to create these types of conduits, these souls, this creation on the material plane: Something of significance. – Steven Sharif
- The gods are masters of the Essence, but they are separate from it. One didn't create the other, but they exist together in a symbiotic form; where the gods have achieved an almost perfect manipulation of the Essence and of "lesser beings" who exist further from the Essence.
- The Essence is so powerful it flows through the planes almost like a river. Soul conduits help to maintain or even exaggerate this flow. Detail surrounding this has not yet been revealed but is said to have some significance in the story.
- King Atrax was the first ruler of Verra to discover the purpose of The Essence, allowing the manipulation of matter and exploitation of magic for any means.
- The Tulnar have souls and these souls act as conduits for the Essence.
- Shape-shifting (changeling) is done so through the Essence by focusing on that specific type of magic.
- Any form of changeling or shape shifting that's capable is done so through the Essence. There’s a few ways that a soul can become attuned to a specific type of magic in manipulating the Essence; and overtime as you manipulate the Essence in the same way, your soul can start to develop a tendency to gravitate towards that type of magic. So in that sense- those shape shifters and/or changelings that are capable of changing their form- they do so because they have mastered to a degree that type of magic; and their souls have become attuned to that type of magic. – Steven Sharif
- The Ancients themselves are more sedentary in their physical form and less capable of instantaneous shapeshifting. Their physical manifestations as Lieutenants, captains, generals, and raid bosses were honed over time due to their perversion of the Essence through corruption.
- They are literally bred into a role and that role has perfected over time because through the delineation of specific subsects of the soul of the conduit that this race has, those different castes become attuned to different roles. That's why they are traditionally in a caste society. – Steven Sharif
Pantheon of gods
The ten deities within Ashes of Creation formed a pantheon of gods that existed in a realm outside of the material plane. There was a celestial struggle among the gods that fractured them into good and evil. Some gods influence the corrupt side of beings that exist in the Universe. It is possible through questing and player decision to join or worship those gods.
- The Others are three of the ten gods who embraced teaching all facets of The Essence (both good and evil) to The Ancients, and elevating them to the plane of the gods.
- The Seven gods' opposition to the Others resulted in a great celestial battle. The Seven were able to defeat the Others, banishing them and the Ancients to The Void. They went on to create four divine races and split their qualities between them.
- The Gods are capable of reaching into the material plane through the souls of their divine beings. In the case of The Seven these are the four great races and their descendants.
There were these pantheon of gods that existed in a realm outside of the material plane that Verra exists in and they were really beings of what's called The essence. The essence is essentially this almost metaphysical energy or life-force that can be manipulated to create magic and/or what we would we would view as magic; and different planes have different degrees of strength when it comes to their proximity to the essence. The material plane is not the highest on that on that scale of being close to to the essence; and the gods exist on a plane that is the most connected to the essence. – Steven Sharif
- Goddess of Love.
- Goddess of Creation.
- The Phoenix is the celestial avatar of the Goddess of Creation.
- Goddess of Fate (Norlan).
- God of Hope (Resna).
- God of Truth (Shol).
- The sphere of influence of the three "Other" gods has not yet been revealed.
- The Ancients learned from The Others how to use The Essence to achieve immortality. This was a pure form of immortality, more akin to the godhood that exists among the Pantheon. This immortality prohibited them from encompassing undeath in the manner of King Atrax.
- The Ancients were imbued with all of the traits of the Gods, whereas the four parent races of Verra had those attributes spread amongst them.
- King Atrax unwittingly alerted the Ancients to the location of Verra in his efforts to discover and exploit The Essence.
- The Ancients arrived at Verra through the Harbingers, which are comet-like celestial bodies powered by a very strong source of magic that essentially acts as a bridge between The Void and the Material plane where Verra exists.
You're going to see lieutenants, captains, generals, and raid bosses and they're all going to take different forms because their whole perversion of Essence through the corruption is to take creation on the material realm, that the Pantheon of good Gods did, and twist and bend it to the corruption that exists within the Essence, because they view that as a more powerful form, a more raw and arcane form of what magic is meant to be used for. There's no point in these false constructs of morality when utilizing and harnessing the power that comes from the Essence. That is a social construct that was created by inferior gods, according to the Others; and it limits the ability of their creation to really capitalize on what the Essence is to be used for in its pure, innate nature. – Steven Sharif
- The Ancients' race exists in a caste-oriented system because the Essence has a profound effect biologically, physically, and visually on the appearance of the creatures that are manipulating it and are corrupted by it.
- Grunts are the peons or soldiers on the front lines who are specifically geared toward combat, or magic utilization, or specific environments or climates.
- Lieutenants have wing structures and more asymmetrical appearances.
- Captains and generals are also ranks in the caste system.
- Large raid bosses and/or world bosses are monolithic in their appearance and unlike what standard creatures look like. These are huge, imposing creatures.
The gods... wanted to represent their qualities, their characteristics, their attributes within creation with the creation of something, so they started with a race that are now known as The Ancients; and they imbued them with all of their qualities. Essentially now that that turned out to be a mistake because with those types of qualities all in one species there was a a pride that happened- a desire to become more; and that led a little bit of conflict between the Ancients; and actually there was a partition created between some of the the gods within the pantheon that embraced the idea of introducing the Ancients as part of essentially their plane of existence and teaching them the ways of the Essence, in all of its facets: not just what can be used for good, but also what could be used for evil as well. And three of the gods kind of split off and went against the quorum that was established about not interfering with the Ancients after they started this down this road of learning more of the essence and how to manipulate it; and these three gods are known as The Others. So the others really kind of embraced teaching the Ancients knowledge of the essence that they had learned through their eternal existence; and this caused a celestial battle to occur; and the pantheon of the Seven were able to defeat the others; and they banished the Ancients and the Others from the material plane and from the plane of the gods to the void which is the furthest from being connected to the essence. – Steven Sharif
- There will not be temples to worship The Others, but there will be quest paths that will enable darker forms of worship.
Orders of the Seven
- The Order of hope is an Aelan human order based in the capital city of Aela. The patron deity is Resna.
- The Order of fate is a Kaivek orc order headquartered in the capital city of Ren. Patron deity is Norlan.
- The Order of truth is a Pyrian elven order headquartered in the capital city of Amera. Patron deity is Shol.
Within the temples of the seven there exist different levels of organizations that call on only the most devout followers to serve. Depending on the follower's skills, services could mean many things. For those among the followers who hold a certain set of skills, there are the orders of the seven. Each of the orders answers to a different hierarchy within the various grand temples of the seven that are found throughout Verra. – Steven Sharif
- Even though these orders are from different temples and religions of the primary gods, their goal was to work together to subvert the aspirations of The Others and The Ancients and those who seek to pervert The Essence through the means of Corruption.
- There are key individuals within the Lightpact and within the religions that have a longer objective that ties into the overarching metanarrative, in terms of the reason for the return to Verra.
Even though they have different focuses and reasons why their followers worship specific gods, at the end of the day, they're all a Pantheon of good. So there's a reason for them to work together to subvert the goals and/or aspirations of the Others and the Ancients. And those who seek to pervert what the Essence is capable of through the means of Corruption. – Steven Sharif
Standing against the heralds of corruption, the Lightpact once carried the hopes of all Verrans on their shoulders. Their flames would ultimately be dashed on the rocks of betrayal and destruction. Corruption, death, and evil now grasp and consume the light that once led the way. With the re-emergence of the Divine Gates, will the beacon of faith be set ablaze once more?
- Unique titles.
Let's say you go to the temple and you sign up to be a follower of that religion. There is an inter-organization quest line that can advance and rank and title and only one person can be the leader for a period of time. If they advance all the way to the top. So like during sieges they'll have special benefits like they can you know grant divine prayer buff to allies within x amount of distance of them during the siege. – Steven Sharif
- Unique shop items.
- Roles that open up during events or node sieges, providing that node has a temple dedicated to the player's deity and the player is a citizen of that node.
- Unique augments are top tier achievements within a religion.
- Recipes are be unlocked based on a player's status within the religion.
Certain titles will have special abilities. They'll be able to do special things during a siege or an event. So as a bishop you maybe have access when these events or sieges come online a secondary hot bar that provides you with those abilities. You may get additional hit points. You may have additional damage mitigation. You're sort of like a leader amongst your citizens in that regard; and that would be true for the mayor as well and other positions. – Steven Sharif
- Religious augments are considered top-tier achievements within a religion.
- These augments can be stacked on top of class augments. They will have a give-and-take system based on the choices a player makes.
You're going to have advancement within the religion and within the church that you're a part of. And those advancements are going to be both reflective of the community's development of that religion out in the world: Building temples, building infrastructure for that, completing certain quests for it; and then you will benefit from the community's development of that specific religion via having certain augment abilities that you'll gain access to be able to apply on top of your secondary class augments to skills; and it's going to reflect what the nature of that religion is. – Steven Sharif
- Players may follow only one religion at a time.
- Religious progression is based on quests that are only offered to followers of that religion.
- Religions have a ranking system based on a player's performance in these quests and the number of quests completed.
- Changing religion will cause loss of progress in a player's previous religion.
It depends on their dedication to the religion itself; their performance when it comes to certain religion's religious objectives; their contribution to the development of that religion within the world. There's a lot of different markers that we use at each stage to determine how they progress within the religion. – Steven Sharif
If you want to abstain from the religion progression path you may do so... It's not gonna hurt you I guess, because a lot of these augments are kind of "sidegrades". But I think you'd be missing out on a lot of what the game has to offer. – Jeffrey Bard
To answer, "do you have to go down a religious path". You don't have to. The idea of that path is to provide a horizontal progression. So it doesn't become a requirement in order to maintain parity with other people advancing. – Steven Sharif
- Shrines may grant access to certain tithes that can be made to your deity.
- These could be a stepping-stone to unlock deeper progression within a religion.
- Shrines will not provide the same benefits as Temples but they are the "next best thing".
- Players may be able to pay to use other player's freehold shrines.
- Corrupted players can be attacked regardless of other affiliations. This is something that will be tested during Alpha-2.
- Node citizenship.
There's node citizenship. There's guild. There's alliance. There's party. There's raid. There's family. All of these types of affiliations have a hierarchy. The highest of which is your node affiliation: So your citizenship is your greatest superceding relationship, which means if you were a part of a guild and the guild has multiple nodes in which its members are citizens of, if there was a war between two of those nodes, the members of those nodes would be first and foremost citizens who defend that node, even against their own guild members. – Steven Sharif
All of these things have some hierarchy; and within that hierarchy there's the ability to participate within certain systems. So for example, if you have a node that has fallen under your vassal state and you're a citizen of the parent node, then you could participate in a siege against the vassal node but if you're a citizen of the vassal node you could not participate as an attacker against the parent node; so there's a hierarchy, unless you were to renounce your citizenship. – Steven Sharif
- Node series part II – the Metropolis.
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