Apotheosis.   Posted by AO.Group: 0
AO
 GM, 643 posts
 Dreamer and Tale Spinner
Fri 3 Apr 2015
at 09:22
Apotheosis
This will need a revision but it gives you an idea of some ideas I was drawing from as such this thread is under construction

What are Immortals?

The first and most important question: what are Immortals?

Are they parasitic gods feeding off of mortals reverance and worship? Incarnate beings of enourmous power bent on goals incomprehensible to lesser mortals?
Pumped-up mortals with an inflated ego and thirst for power? Enlightened aliens slowly remembering their previous lives among bickering beings struggling to make something out of the Games of Divinity?

Certainly any of the above might somehow be possibilities but for the purpose of this game an immortal or a power is more than just someone who cannot die. He is more than the common vampire or ageless immortal immune to the rigours of time.
A True Immortal is a being able to harness the higher forces of the universe and indeed the multiverse for one if they choose.

Divine Ascension

On very rare circumstances, or if by chance a character may achieve the means
to ascend to the ranks of the immortals and become the stuff of legends. He may become scion to his immortal sponsor or possibly even be asked to join a pantheon of gods. This is not an action that should be taken lightly and without extensive
conversations with the Game Master and his approval. There are many paths to immortality each defined by the worlds and immortals that have come before.

The act of apotheosis itself is unique to every being. With factors such as alignment, group affiliation and spheres of influence all combining to be part of the experience.

Prerequisites

Birthright: Children of the gods, titans, angels, demons, many immortal races exist that may have Immortal Traits as part of the racial package.
They may have one or a few Gifts but cannot gain additional Gifts unless they complete their immortal challenges.

Knowledge: To become an immortal the character must be aware of the existence of immortals, and further know that some gods were once mortals themselves. Characters who wish to become Immortal must overcome a challenge. Once they do so, they gain a single victory. This victory allows them to begin the process of apotheosis, or "walking the path" as its sometimes called. In effect, the character’s apotheosis
becomes a template or second ‘character level’ track the character can follow in addition to, or to the exclusion of, his standard mortal class levels.

Experience: They must be of sufficiently high level. Below that, immortality is generally granted rather than gained. On some worlds however the Game Master may wish to withhold the possibility of immortality until the characters have reached epic levels. So as to fully explore all aspects of mortal roleplaying, and subsequently have a much better appreciation for immortality.

There are, however, other methods of ascension such as the "food of the gods" concept. Many mythologies make mention of apples, peaches, sometimes wine as a primal substance that elevates anyone who consumes it to divine status. It goes without saying that such food is extremely rare and very difficult to acquire for mortals.

Finally, there is one other way that a mortal may achieve divinity-by taking
control of a plane. Any mortal who gains control of a plane is automatically
ascended without requiring any assistance whatsoever from a more powerful immortal. He or she advances immediately to (undetermined) status, gaining all of the primal base for each advancement in rank, plus the primal base for the plane itself. Such beings who subsequently lose their planes are reduced to (undetermined) status (if they have spheres of influence however they do not) losing the primal base both for the loss in rank and for the loss of the planes. They do, however, remain immortals.


The most common way to become a immortal is to be ascended by an existing immortal. This requires an immortal of at least lesser immortal rank, referred to as the
Sponsor, to use 1,000 points of primal base to elevate a mortal, referred to as the aspirant to divine rank. In the process the sponsor immortal loses this base forever, and the aspirant becomes a godling with an initial primal base of 100 points. After ascension, the new immortal will feel a metaphysical bonding with the immortal who provided the ascension. This will fade over a period of approximately ten years as the new immortal's soul imprints itself onto the primal base, making the transfusion complete.

Those "not ready for the path" and the "so called rash gods"

Remember that powers are typically quite intelligent; if the character is not
yet ready to be divine, the powers will probably realize this and act accordingly.
On the other hand, some powers are also sometimes capable of rash or emotional decisions. While most deities will never refer to themselves as "rash," preferring to label such actions "initiative" or "decisive decisionmaking," it is quite possible that at one time or another a deity will make a hasty decision.

The Path of Immortality

Immortals progress along the path to immortality by taking up challenges associated with a power source. If they overcome the challenge, they gain a victory and with it a gift from the universe. They can then channel their power sources through their gifts to create effects.

Each time the character completes a challenge he gains a victory. When he accumulates enough victories he may attempt a Great Challenge. If he passes this Great Challenge, he progresses to the next step of apotheosis.


A character’s step affects both his Legend and his status among the other Immortals. This is summarised in the Apotheosis Table below.

Title                 Victories Great Challenges Legend

Initiate 1 0 100+100 per Victory
Demipower 1-3 0 300+100 per Victory
Lesser          3-6 1 600+200 per Victory
Intermediate    6-9 2 10,000+200 p Victory
Greater          9-12 3 20,000+300 p Victory
Primordial 12-15 4 50,000+400 p Victory
Supernal 15+ 5 100,000+500 /Victory


The victories column indicates the victory range allowed within a specific step. The character must have at least the maximum number of victories for the step in order to issue a Great Challenge.  The character can only ascend to the next step by taking a Great Challenge. If he succeeds he ascends to the next step.  The Legend column provides the formula used to calculate the character’s Legend. Each time the character ascends a stage of apotheosis his Legend increases in strength. An Immortal uses his Legend to fuel his gifts, increase the power of followers or protect himself in the case of an Immortal’s duel.

The Immortal Path

Those on the Path of Immortality must pass a successively more difficult series of challenges. Those who succeed become more in tune with a specific power If he fails and survives then he may attempt the challenge again, when he has recovered. Most likely though, he will not survive, ending his quest.  A succession of these challenges, leading from mortality to Transcendence, is called a "Path to Immortality". A specific campaign world may support a single path, several specific paths or an infinite number of them.

Examples of possible challenges include:


Trial by Sphere

Each player gets to choose one portfolio or sphere of influence their character aspires to personify. A second sphere is chosen for them by the Game Master based
on what they perceive the PC in question exemplified (or you could roll randomly
in the event you are creating the characters from scratch).


Trial by Pantheon

If the character already has some religious affiliation; openly worships a deity or is a cleric themselves, then they will be given the choice of joining that particular group of gods, be it a council, dynasty, hegemony or pantheon. This involves paying a tribute to the group in question. The tribute could be anything from finding a long lost relic, rescuing an immortal held by a rival group, or bringing them the head of a particular enemy. Those characters who petition to join a group they have no prior affiliation with, must first find one amongst its numbers to act as a sponsor.

They must perform a task for their sponsor before they can petition to join the group itself.

Quest

Quests often play a key role in preparing an underling for ascension. A quest
should be a task that is slightly above the character's capabilities and designed
to test his or her resolve and commitment Quests can be used as tools to shape the character or sharpen an edge of his or her personality. The ideal quest would accomplish something for the sponsor, expand the power of the character, and contribute to the prestige of the religion or the immortals sphere.

Not all ascensions will be performed at the pinnacle of a mortal's glory. In
some cases an immortal may wait until the mortal dies thus allowing the mortal to live a full mortal life.  This tactic is a bit risky, though; the mortal's brain must be intact at the time of ascension in order for knowledge and abilities to be properly transferred to the new initiate's primal base. A quiet, low-key ascension might also be used to build up a mystique surrounding the character's departure.

Each challenge is keyed to a specific power source. If the character succeeds in meeting the challenge’s conditions he gains a Victory in that power source. If he fails, then he suffers some painful (and most likely fatal), effect as specified in the challenge’s conditions.

What are Great Challenges?

A Great Challenge occurs when the character wishes to pass from one step of apotheosis to another. The character must have three Victories at his current apotheosis step in order to initiate his next Great Challenge. Passing the Great Challenge allows him to advance to the next apotheosis step.  Each Great Challenge incorporates between three and five ordinary challenges. The character must successfully complete the majority of the challenges in order to pass the Great Challenge.  Generally if the character fails the Great Challenge he immediately loses all accumulated victories. Each Path is different however and there are hidden secrets and exceptions to the rule.

A character may choose to accumulate more than three victories at his current apotheosis step before taking a Great Challenge to advance. Doing this dramatically increases the risk of each Great Challenge, as the character could lose even more investment in his path to immortality.



Ascension Strategies

Different deities will have different strategies for dealing with such issues as
the number of Godlings and Demigods appropriate to have in the organization,
what skills these underlings should possess, how expendable they are, how
mortal candidates are dealt with, and whether the immortal will consult with peers
on matters of ascension.

The number of mortals immortals ascend is largely a matter of personal preference,
but is also influenced by the amount of primal base that they have at their disposal. As an immortal gains power and influence, more underlings will be needed to take on various tasks and filter demands on the deity's time; Godlings and Demigods are often chosen for such duties due to their obvious importance in the deity's church.

Some will want to ascend individuals with a wide variety of skills, thus
creating diverse and well-rounded organizations. Other deities will prefer to
be highly specialized and will ascend only people with skills similar to their
own, thus creating godlings who can eventually refine the deity's sphere of
influence and help maintain it.

How mortal candidates are dealt with will also vary from immortal to immortal.
Some may not even announce the names of their Godlings and Demigods to the various members of their churches; mortals in such religions may not even realize that ascension is possible. On the other hand, promoting this information adds prestige to the deity's religion, and may even draw in ambitious young seekers.

Some immortals may consult with their peers before ascending a mortal, either
to gain advice or because a pantheon or council of which they are a member might have stringent rules and stipulations regarding ascensions.

This message was last edited by the player at 17:15, Tue 06 Dec 2016.

Cosmic Storyteller
 GM, 647 posts
 Dreamer and Tale Spinner
Fri 10 Apr 2015
at 05:05
Re: Apotheosis
Each time an immortal succeeds at a Challenge he gains access to a power source. This power source has many names depending where the Immortal is from. Some have called it Quintessence, the Flow, but most commonly Primal Energy and its represented in game as a characters Legend.

Legend can be acquired in game in four ways, each type determines how the character interacts with the source as well as the benefits and penalties it provides.

The first category of power sources, covenants, represent agreements between the character and an intelligent divine power. In return for the character performing specific duties as specified in the covenant’s terms the character receives access to power. The more power the character receives, the more terms he must abide by.

If the character violates the covenant’s terms he loses access to the gifts and powers associated with the covenant until he makes amends. This loss reduces the strength of the character’s Legend, but does not affect his place along the path to immortality.

The second category of power sources, taps, represent direct connections with the fundamental forces of the universe. The tap allows the character to access this power, shaping it using his gifts and skill into effects not unlike those created by mortal magic. It also transforms the character, granting both bonuses called blessings and penalties called banes. Each tap changes the character in different ways.


Each tap connects to a wellspring, a physical manifestation of a particular fundamental power.  Although nothing can interfere with the character’s tap, anyone may attempt to block the wellspring.  Once a wellspring is blocked the character looses access to the victories tied to it as well as the gifts, blessings and banes it provided. This reduces the character’s Legend but cannot affect his apotheosis step.


If some force destroys the wellspring the character loses victories, gifts, blessings, banes and apotheosis step.

The third method is by the faith and adoration of mortal souls. The immortals call this the Path of Glory and many immortals are true gods with legions of followers, fanatics and the faithful to the immortals tenets and beliefs. This need not always manifest out of adoration many dark powers rule by fear and collect that. Sometimes the collective beliefs, and devotion to a celebrity or well known individual will ascend them into an immortal at the end of their mortal life.


The fourth is the most rare the collection of the "Quickening" by slaying an immortal, not an easy task by any means. For the brave and truly legendary powers there is power to be had and taken by every bit of divinity your enemy has.

Gifts and Skills

Each time an Immortal achieves victory over a challenge he gains a gift. A gift is a means through which the character channels his tremendous power into the world. Gifts fall into three basic categories:


Artifacts, Attributes, and Servitors. In order to use his gifts to full effect he must make skill checks against one of the two Immortal skills: Channel and Infuse.

A character may select a gift when he gains a victory. The challenge or the Games Master may suggest gifts, but the final decision lies with the player.


In a roleplaying sense, gifts are just that – gifts the would-be Immortal receives from his association with the powers of the universe. They may be given to him by his patron, earned through his own actions or ripped from the still-beating heart of his greatest enemy. Each gift has a story associated with it (i.e. how the character overcame the challenge to gain it) and represents a step along the path to immortality.

In this latter sense gifts become the visible signs of the character’s progression along the path to immortality. Even Immortals on the same path will not necessarily share the same gifts, as their personalities and experiences are uniquely their own.


As stated above, gifts fall into four categories:


Artifacts, attributes, servitors and powers. Each category has a slightly different flavor and interface with the Immortal skills.

Artifact gifts create physical representations of the character’s power. Each Artifact is a unique object providing the character with several, distinct ways to manifest his power in the world. The Artifact contains a part of the character’s Legend; if he loses it then he loses access to the powers. If, however, the Artifact is destroyed the Immortal regains his Legend and can recreate the object. Artifact gifts have a specified minimum level of power when granted but can be enhanced through the use of the Channel and Infuse skills.

Attribute gifts dramatically alter the character’s form. Each gift carries with it a base power that operates so long as the Immortal retains his Legend.


This ability may be enhanced through the use of the Channel skill by investing more of the character’s power into it. Every gift also possesses a physical manifestation, a change to the character’s appearance that only another gift can hide.

Servitor gifts represent agreements between the character and a spirit/group of spirits.  The spirit serves the character for its own reasons, lending its aid in return for some sort of reward. The Immortal can strengthen the spirit using the Channel or Infuse skill, bolstering its powers with his own. The spirit can act independently
of the character or can stand by his side providing additional actions and abilities.

Power gifts allow the character to channel his power. Each power requires an investment of the character’s Legend to manifest. The stronger the manifestation, the more Legend it requires. Stronger manifestations may also require the Immortal to use his Infuse skill to activate or control it.



Also note that an immortal slowly gains base Legend over a period of time; and at each step of Apotheosis gains additional Legend.



Channel and Infuse

Wringing the most out of the character’s Immortality takes more than just raw power. It takes subtlety, talent and more than a little bit of practice. In order to represent this, all characters of at least Aspirants rank receive the following as class skills: Channel and Infuse.  Channel governs the character’s ability to manipulate power within his body. Channel is used whenever the character activates a gift that increases one of his mortal attributes, affects a
mortal skill or changes the effect of a mortal feat.  Infuse governs the character’s ability to project his power beyond his body. It is used whenever the character invokes a gift allowing him to alter the outside world, whether it be by infusing power into a magical object or hurling bolts of primal force capable of snuffing out the sun.


Unlike mortal skills neither Channel nor Infuse have any functions in their own right. Instead, both skills derive their functions from the Immortal’s gifts. Some power sources also possess unique effects available to a sufficiently skilled character.



Characters do not gain skill points as they advance along their path to apotheosis. This prevents a character focused entirely on his Immortality from fully developing his skills.  However, the Immortal does gain a bonus to both Channel and Infuse checks based on the strength of his alignment with a particular power source.  This bonus does not replace actual training but can supplement it or augment the character’s base talents. This bonus is generally +2 per victory invested in a power source, but may be more or less depending on the specific power source and the Game Master’s decision.

Primal Energy



Legend is also Primal energy, often shortened to just "primal," it's unique to immortals. Every immortal has at least a small amount of primal, and the more powerful the immortal the more primal the immortal possesses. Indeed, primal energy is the underlying basis of divinity.  Primal energy is the most fundamental energy in the universe and the most powerful, the most "raw." It can bypass all "normal" magical, physical, and mental defenses as if they weren't even there, and none of these forces can bypass a primal shield. This is not to say that primal energy is completely unstoppable-primal defenses can be worn down-but there is no normal defense against primal, and no normal attack can completely bypass a primal defense. Primal energy cannot be negated, bypassed, cancelled, dispelled, or absorbed; the only way to stop primal is with primal.



Primal energy exists in two forms, base and flux. Primal base is the pure stored energy of the immortals divine soul. In general, the more primal base an immortal possesses, the more powerful the immortal becomes. Primal Base is used with the Channel Immortal Skill.



Primal flux, on the other hand, is the active component of primal energy; immortals use flux in order to create primal effects.  The Infuse skill is used to manipulate Primal Flux and its effects.


Be warned, the expenditure of primal is not a trivial matter. immortals must conserve primal for other things, such as supporting their clerics, minions, creations, and possibly less powerful gods if they so choose, doing research into their spheres of influence, and so on. An even more important thing to consider is that immortals always want a reserve of flux; you never know what the day has in store.

Primal energy is a quantum energy. This means that there's no such thing as half a point of primal; primal must be used in whole increments. While this tends to simplify recordkeeping, it also has some far-ranging effects that will show up later.  As long as a immortal has even one point of primal base, the immortal lives on. With no primal base, the immortal ceases to be.

Primal Base

Primal base is primal energy in a stable form. It is what binds together a immortal's soul, and the more base a immortal has, the better that immortal can directly affect reality. Initiates, who are the least powerful immortals, enter godhood with 100 points of primal base. After that, as immortals gain rank, they attain more primal base. Flux generated from this base is what immortals usually use to affect reality.



Since immortals do not have to be in physical contact with their primal base one of the fundamental strategies an immortal learns very early is to keep a safe reservoir of primal base, possibly in several locations. Since primal base is very stable, it can easily be partitioned into separate portions; a immortal might divide primal base among several planes and an artifact, just to make its destruction particularly difficult. Primal base can also be converted directly to primal flux at any time, on a one-to-one ratio. Given the value of base and the difficulty in procuring it, this is rarely done.  When immortals split up their primal base, they retain only one level of consciousness;in order to have multiple levels of consciousness the immortal must use an Gift called Omnipresence.



Whether or not an immortal's base is split up, the flux generated by that base will always go directly to the immortal as long as the two are not separated some sort of force or shield that would stop such a transfer, such as another immortal's primal flux shield.

Nothing in the universe can use a immortal's primal energy, base or flux, against that immortal's will. Since the immortal's base and soul are inextricably combined, the immortal must consent to someone else's use of that primal energy. This means that primal base cannot be destroyed or harmed in any way short of a primal attack from another immortal.

Primal base is a running total corresponding to levels in a class-based system or ability scores in a skill-based system. As certain important events occur over the course of a immortal's life, such as becoming a immortal in the first place or gaining control of a plane for the first time, the immortal's primal base will increase. As the immortal suffers setbacks, or spends base to construct artifacts and creations, that base will decrease. Obviously, immortals want to maximize their primal base. They will occasionally use their base instead of their flux, but only sparingly and only if there is a clear advantage in doing so.

Primal Flux

Clearly, primal base is a precious commodity, and is rarely used directly. The form of primal energy immortals use most often is primal flux, which can support clerical hierarchies, set up primal-based defensive shields, and unleash "primal blast" attacks, among other applications. Though primal flux is very powerful it has a short lifespan. It must be used within a day of its creation or it will dissipate.

Primal flux serves as the physical manifestation of the immortal's will. This ensures that any use of primal flux will serve the immortal's will flawlessly; a primal blast will always hit its intended target, a primal shield will always protect its occupants, and a primal-enhanced spell will always be perfectly aimed. The only way to ruin this is if other immortals intervene with their primal energy.  Most of this flux goes into supporting the immortal's religion; the rest is what immortals use for personal reasons. Again, note that immortals will rarely use all of their primal flux. Even though the excess is wasted, immortals prefer to be ready in case of primal attack; immortals are very vulnerable when they are low on flux. The commitment of these reserves is an important tactical and strategic consideration in divine matters.

This message was last edited by the GM at 05:33, Fri 10 Apr 2015.