In my research about what 5e did to the drow gods in the Realms, I found this (apparently from EG himself).
''Hi again, all. Irennan, heeeere's Ed:
Communications being what they are in the Realms, with caravans bringing news and gossip and inevitable distortions as things get told and retold, most mortals can't be certain of much; they always have to trust (or not trust) retellings from afar.
However, the word spreading about the return of Eilistraee and Vhaeraun comes from excited reports of mortal worshippers personally meeting MANIFESTATIONS and AVATARS of the deities; i.e. yes, Vhaeraun and Eilistraee are both "back."
Now, as to whether they'll appear face to face with a given mortal in a given location in the Realms, that's a far different matter. The gods in general seem more "distant" post-Sundering, more "heard from" than "personally seen."
And there you have it.
The Word of Ed, so to speak.
I think that this is cool, at this point it looks like almost all the gods have been restored.
>Vhaeraun and Eilistraee are both "back."
Fuck that. They sold me on their deaths in the war of the spider queen series. Eilistraee got a good death and her plan b did go off. Is it so bad that I want closure on a fantasy character?
I think it makes sense that gods have difficulties staying dead, and drows were funnier when they had multiple gods.
Also her death was silly and far fetched.
But Vhaeraun's death and their union into one deity was nice and should not be altered.
I completely disagree that Eilistraee's ''death'' was a good one. First off it is possible that she didn't even die, for many reasons.
1)The blade needed to hit the deities themselves in order to kill, and Halisstra didn't even strike at Eilistraee-Masked Lady herself, but at Qilué while she was being possessed, so only whatever part of power Eilistraee channeled in her was destroyed ((and it would have been immensely stupid to channel all of her power, if that is even possible without destroying/overloading the mortal vessel. Besides ''On Hallowed Ground'' also explains the rule that deities can directly manifest on the prime only through avatars, a rule that is valid through all spheres).
2)Even setting that aside, as said in ''On Hallowed Ground'', deities can only be killed on their home plane, or by being starved of followers (yes, ''Faiths and Avatars'' points that the use of artifacts has a chance to go around this, but then -as I said- the sword needed to be used against the deity herself, like with Selvetarm, and that didn't happen). As I said, when Qilué was killed, she basically was an avatar of Eilistraee, I guess one very powerful, since Eilistraee was trying to break Lolth's hold on Halisstra through her. So I think that Qilué's death was a huge blow for the Dark Dancer, perhaps reducing her in a state similar to Mystra's before her return, either way reducing her to a non factor and forcing her to become non-active. This would also explain her absence.
3)There are also other factors, like Eilistraee's realm not being destroyed, and the fact that the Crescent Blade was -after all- an artifact created by a lesser goddess, its power couldn't have been enough to destroy deities more powerful than that (like the merged Eilistraee-Vhaeraun were, in fact IIRC the plan was to strike at Lolth while she was ''helpless'' in her slumber, but the sword needed to be used before her awakening).
And in the worst of the cases, the Crescent Blade lost all its powers of inflicting permanent death/soul destruction, since it was destroyed and then reforged and if even Cavatina's soul survived it, a goddess' soul would have no problem doing so. And even if all of that doesn't count, remember that it is Ao's power which is bringing deities back during the Sundering.
Lisa Smedman left many loopholes to allow the return of Eilistraee and Vhaeraun (or their survival), she said that herself, because she didn't like what WotC was doing with the drow pantheon.
Secondly, her plan ''b'' had literally mothing to do with who she is, it was completely out of character.
Just look at any previous lore on her, the Dark Dancer and her followers have never fought to get some curse removed, the redemption and freedom that she wishes for the drow is in the CHOICE, not in changing skin color or in getting rid of some random magic.
Her drow have already made this choice, they are already redeemed because of that and because of their actions. The followers of the goddess don't want to be changed, neither Eilistraee has ever fought for that (to them, drow is what they are, they are born like it, why should they change their identity -- especially since it doesn't force them to choose evil or something like that--?), they strive so that their people can forge their place in the world, in harmony with all other races and accepted for what they are, creating a future of life together.
From Demihuman Deities: ''Eilistraee is forging her own path, one that welcomes beings of all races who revel in life and freedom of expression of all that entails''. She wants the drow to be accepted for their choices and for who they are, not because some magic has been removed.
After so much time, ''drow'' is no longer a curse, but an identity, Eilistraee can't simply impose such a change on those who join her, nor she would have any reason to fight (even less ''sacrifice'' for that.
In addition to that, why would the followers of the Dark Maiden ever want to give away their cause and the very goddess who gave them love and the hope of a new life? Even more puzzling, why would they want to do that for something that at the end of the day is a luxury, definitely not needed and probably -as I said- not even wanted?
And yet (this is the worst part, the core of the problem) if we went with the ''sacrifice'' speculation, the story would have Eilistraee all of sudden, without explanation, decide to leave so many drow behind, still needing her, still in her mother's grasp -therefore abandoning the quest she dedicated her whole life to-, giving herself to accomplish so little for her purpose (and for a small number of people --a narrow minority of the drow-- who didn't NEED it). It really goes against Eilistraee's character. Just imagine Jesus saving only like 20% of mankind --or even 50%--, or -more fitting- a mother that leaves most of her children to starve just to give very few of them a piece of a cake that may or not be enjoyed. It's really messed up (in fact that ''sacrifice'' is just an interpretation of the events, not canon).
At the end of the day, the novels were just WotC's way to remove Eilistraee and all her followers, because they wanted to make Drizzt ''more'' special. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?373500-Letter-Dealing-with-Forgotten-Realms-as-a-setting-for-5e-and-the-Drow).
Do the elf gods are all futanaris or only their chief god I can't remember his name but he smithed the orc god Gruumsh (proving once and for all that you can't rape an elf, especially an elf god with a big throbbing dick)
It should be stated that Seven Sisters book did show that a god can put a great deal of their essence into a mortal, but doing so kills the mortal and the divine essence can only keep the body going for so long (a number of years which involved a lot of time reinforcing the magics that held it together) before it just deteriorates entirely.
The other points are solid though, especially the last bit about how the entire 'fix' doesn't make sense within the Forgotten Realms, and even within Eilistraee's own lore and dogma it has massive problems.
@ 39772252 A god can put a great deal of essence in a mortal, but not all of it (per ''On hallowed Ground'', and because it would have been extremely stupid to do so). A part of Eilistraee's essence could have very well survived, per canon rules, therefore she probably was greatly diminished in power and forced to hide -much like Mystra-, but still survived.
Oh, I misunderstood. Well, Qilué's plan was sacrifice her body to destroy Wendonai, so Eilistraee's overloading her to prevent Halisstra from screwing things up would have not been a great deal at that point. @39772507 Bane=/= Gruumsh now, they are listed as different and separate deities in the 5e PHB.
Actually it was Gruumsh who was Tempus in disguise, which is even stupider since the former is older than the latter in this case. And yes, it was retconned super hard.
You're thinking of Velsharoon, who would indeed be 110% redunant now that Myrkul is back.
The worste part is that they could have gotten away with that whole retard affair if they had gone for the different-aspects-of-the-same-deity angle. But no, the whole thing where he masqueraded as the patron deity of the orcs for THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF YEARS was just a clever ruse.
Perhaps, but I don't like the aspect thing either. But now it doens't really matter anymore, I'm just enjoying seeing my favorite deities returning (Eilistraee, Vhaeraun, Mask, Mystra, Lathander) and other stuff that popped out of nowhere (like this X god was actually Y all along!!!) getting reverted.
Try 375% redundant. The whole reason Velsharoon was introduced to the setting in the first place was because they needed someone to fill the gap that Myrkul left as Big Scary Evil God Of Undeath (Kelemvor couldn't be menacing if he tried, Jergal had already Been There Done That, and Cyric is... well, Cyric). Hell, by the end of 3e it was even hinted that the way Myrkul would eventually come back would be by eating Velsharoon when the latter completed his quest for the Crown of Horns and tried to harness the dead god's power. He was literally just Myrkul's understudy.
(Published) FR has had the comic syndrome of characters coming back from the dead for a long time now, and for gods it doesn't even feel that cheap. Gods are, well, gods: they perceive reality in a way that mortals can't, they prepare contingencies and backup plans, they split their power in order to avoid being permanently killed and all that stuff. It's natural that it is hard to make them stay down. As for Eilistraee, there is even a substantial possibility that she didn't die at all, for reasons listed in a few posts above this.
1) Gods are notoriously not very good at dying, and aren't that great at staying death either. That's kind of why they're called "gods" and not "mortals".
2) Neither Ed Greenwood nor any of the major writers for FR were consulted at any point during the drafting of the 4e changes to the lore. This would excusable if were not for the fact that the 4e changes to the lore were shit. These retcons are quite welcome.
3) As one anon pointed out earlier, the drow are more fun when small dissenting cults are mixed in with Lolth's monolithic theocracy.
How many cases are there of FR Gods actually dying?
Every example I think of (except the Dead Three) involves the god's barely alive corpse floating in the Astral waiting for something to wake it up.
Though the writers did say they wanted the Dead Three to stay dead, hence why they were such a big deal among god deaths, even in the stories where they died it was implied they weren't going to be dead for long.
Bane's son was becoming more and more like his father by the day, even developing more divine traits, and would eventually explode into flames as his father was reborn through Iyachtu's destruction.
--The whole bhaalspawn thing
--An avatar hidden in the moonshaes (though that was later retconned to be an avatar of malar iirc)
--The river near where he died turned horribly black and killed anything that so much touched the water, completely destroying the eco-system around it and leading to the belief that he would be resurrected there
--And the fact that during the Time of Troubles he didn't even have a body as he was just going around possessing people for shits and giggles.
Myrkul had the Crown of Horns of course, and as stated earlier in the thread, it was flat out said he would return eventually.
Eilistraee, Vhaeraun, Lolth, it makes no difference
Ghaunadaur is best drow deity
Dark Seldarine a shit
Yeah, that was my point. Gods never truly die in FR, they can always come back. The only case where they actually die is if their worship is completely erased (and that's only after the Times of Troubles).
I don't even know why Ghaunadaur is even considered a drow deity. Underdark god? Sure. Drow god? Meh, drow happened to worship him in the ancient past and some still worship him, but he really has nothing to do with the drow as far as I can see. I'm happy to see him out of the Dark Seldarine, as this pantheon's theme is the struggle between Eilistraee, Lolth and Vhaeraun and their opposition with Corellon and the Seldarine (yes, even Eilistraee, her relationship with the Seldarine is described as strained at best -even if still ''allies''- and she has chosen to walk and forge her own path), just like a big messed up family, lol.
>it was flat out said he would return
Was it? I know it was strongly hinted at, what with Velsharoon essentially runnig with scissors when it came to the Crown, but they could have easily had that end with Velsharoon eating Myrkul instead of the other way around. I mean, it was pretty unlikely seeing as how Myrkul was a greater deity and Velsharoon was a barely-a-god chucklefuck, but still.
The details have not yet been released, but that seems unlikely given that they're trying to go back to 'old school' Realms in terms of lore, especially after Ed Greenwood's book of how he runs the Realms was the first FR related thing to sell decently in a long while.
Almost every piece of lore regarding the crown said that Myrkul was still 'alive' within it and would return through it.
Some even suggest he was just having too much fun being a dickhead who can teleport around the realms and fuck with mortals at a whim to bother with fully resurrecting himself right away.
Some gods may take the name of a previously dead god in order to gain their worship, or other entities may take up the mantle of godhood (like Kelemvor with Myrkul, Midnight with Mystra) but no, generally new gods aren't created just to take the place of previously dead ones, and they ususally don't retain the same name.
Sometimes, sometimes not. For exqmple, Mystra has died and come back in the way you descibed several times. The resurrected Dead Three, on the other hand, are the same guys that challenged Jergal for ultimate power. Other times you get stuff like Lathander, who inherited the position of the dead god Amaunator, or Kelemvor, who was granted Cyric's powers over the dead because Cyric is an incompetent asshat manchild.
The Lathander thing is weird. From what I've seen, the sequence of events is like this:
>Lathander takes over Amaunator's portfolio
>Lathander changes his name to Amaunator in 4e
>Then changes his name back to Lathander for some reason
Are they doing a thing where he goes through phases like a celestial body?
He apparently is the same as Amaunator, they're 2 faces of the same deity and one faces shows according to what is needed in a give period of time
It's personal opinion. I think that it makes sense for gods to survive and come back, for reasosn already sicussed
The closest thing FR has to a central theme is "the gods fucking up." They keep dying and coming back and trying to clean up their room before Overgod Dad gets home, and it's all played for comedy. Gods in Greyhawk are more stable, and gods in Krynn keep coming and going, back and forth, and intermittently fighting over different interpretations of something Overgod Dad told them.
My personal preference is for a setting to have a feeling that consequences matter. In FR, the Gods are the root of the setting. If they are above consequences, so is everything else.
Consequences matter very little, if gods are played as deus ex machina and their deaths are merely tools to apply desing philosophies to the setting. They feel cheap and pointless. For example the whole Spellplague, or even the fact that the drow pantheon was removed just to make Drizzt ''more special'' and in a way that diminishes and has nothing to do with their character/goals as deities.
True, if the writers don't have the balls to keep them dead they shouldn't kill them in the first place. The overall effect produced is like a Keystone Cops routine but instead of falling over they're dying.
I didn't like 4E FR, but every change it made ultimately mattered to the setting (before Retcon). Familiar places were destroyed, the world became less predictable and reliable, the monomyth that had basically consumed the setting wasn't around to guide it any longer, and mortal hands took charge of destiny. That mattered in a way that the dramas between the deities never did nor will.
The drow pantheon really needed to be restored for the role that they play for the race and the depth that they provide, and -as said before- there are solid chances for Eilistraee -at least- to have not even died at all. >>39774991 true, but -stayong on topic- gods were nto just deus ex machina for kewl dramas or to implement changes
Writers don't decide anything, WotC sets the changes. Lisa Smedman was even opposed to removing the Drow pantheon, for exmaple-
>>Lathander changes his name to Amaunator in 4e
Part of 4e's ham-handed attempt to simplify the FR Pantheon (because removing opperatunity for conflict and intrigue totally will make the setting more compelling). Try not to think about it.
In the AD&D Lore, Lathander and Amaunator existed at the same time as part of different pantheons.
Amaunator was the god of the sun of the Netherese (and later Bedine) pantheons, while Lathander was from a different human civilization that wasn't too heavily detailed.
During the Dawn Cataclysm they both were involved, though we don't know how or why since all of the information on that event was left purposefully vague since almost no mortals were involved in it.
All we know is by the end of it Amaunator finally was forced into his deep slumber, where canonically he was floating in the Astral Plane.
Towards the end of 3.5e this was retconned into him vanishing before the Dawn Cataclysm happened and Lathander showing up just in time to take his place, also for some reason Amaunator's followers who claim he and Lathander are the same person are getting magic, ooh weiirrrd.
4e then said that they are in fact the same person, deal with it.
5e said, well yeah they are, but Lathander time is back since he's nicer than Amaunator.
In short, it was a retcon that they didn't know what to do with so they retconned it back.
This bothers me to no end as well. I wish the Realmslore could simply be a background setting, but TSR and now WotC insist that they know exactly what fans want the setting to evolve into and don't get why there are so many complaints about the forced changes that often ignore years of background setting that came before.
Whether it be because they want to push some character more into the spotlight, or market an edition change as happening 'in setting' it's retarded and trivializes the conflicts within the setting.
>true, but -stayong on topic- gods were nto just deus ex machina for kewl dramas or to implement changes
No, the death of so many deities and the overall reduction in their power was done for several reasons. The first was, in fact, for design goals. The game had to feel more fun to play by making players the ones in charge of the direction of the world. The second was, in fact, to make a new direction for Forgotten Realms: The Age of the Gods is over. The Age of Heroes was supposed to begin.
It's surprising that they actually have someone editing all this shit. Is there a high turnover rate among these editors, because they've done a lot of takebacksies in only 8 years.
How does changing a current deity to an obscure dead deity from two editions ago make anything simpler?
I truly don't get this. In the original Realms gods stayed in the background, because of various rules that prevented them from directly intervening. In 2e-3e they decided to make gods superheroes. If they wanted to shift the spotlight on mortals, then they should have just done that. Make gods shift in the background (because of some Ao's edict about them having to not meddle or something). Killing gods left and right doesn't empower mortals, it makes gods' disappearence feel cheap, it adds nothing while just removing depth and flavor from the setting, especially when unique and menaingful deities -like the drow pantheon- get removed. In 5e they did something like what you describe. They said ''ok, many, many gods are back (and the names are trickling down through novels, modules, or Ed Greenwood's word -which, btw, is canon- and others'), but they are all more distant after the Sundering. ''The Age of Heroes'' has begun.
And -btw- that was my point, gods being used as deus ex machina to implement changes, and not because it is the natural continuation of the story (I mean, why all of sudden Mystra's death blows up the world and other deities and makes planets collide and so on, why all of sudden Eilistraee decides to give up on everything she has fought for to give her followers something that they don't need or even want?? -- just because they wanted those changes and those gods had no place in their new vision).
>And -btw- that was my point, gods being used as deus ex machina to implement changes, and not because it is the natural continuation of the story
The story already wasn't natural. The gods meddled more than in a Greek Play (so fuck your Deus Ex Machina bullshit) and their narratives consumed the entire setting. Fuck their narratives with an icepick.
>It's surprising that they actually have someone editing all this shit. Is there a high turnover rate among these editors, because they've done a lot of takebacksies in only 8 years.
It's because they don't have lone design editors as much as they have marketing teams telling them how the setting has to change to stick with the times and "what the kids like."
As to what you asked about Amaunator, it has to do with the fact Lathander represented a lot of things before his simplification.
Even though he was known as the Morninglord and his most famous artifacts are sun related, he was primarily the god of athleticism, who would regularly send an avatar down every few years to honor the Thulbanian games (FR's Olympics before Chessenta got wiped out so they could put more Genasi into the setting). The other aspects to him being a god of hope and shit was also seen as a bit too messy.
Amaunator on the other hand, was a god of the Law and a god of the Sun. He cared not if you were good or evil, he simply cared if you followed the letter of the law, and if you failed to do that you suffered his burning wrath. This is a god afterall who refused to provide aide to his followers attempting to prevent the magic failing during the Fall of Netheril, because by the law of the gods, Magic is not his domain so he has no right to interfere in their events until a goddess of magic grants him permission (despite the fact she had just died). He's simple, he's easy to use, and more importantly, he sounds a lot like THE BURNING HATE which 4e was trying to push as their sun god across the 4e books at the time.
>he sounds a lot like THE BURNING HATE which 4e was trying to push as their sun god across the 4e books at the time.
But Pelor was not the Burning Hate. I don't know what the christ you're talking about.
Prior to the Time of Troubles the only instance I can think of of Gods still actively meddling in the Realms is that of the Mulhorandi God-Kings, who by the Decree of Ao were unable to set a single step outside of their holy cities. Everything else tended to be gifted servants, or unleashing favored pets/monsters.
Though as the person you replied to said, 2e and even moving into 3e decided that people really like gods being involved in fucking everything, so now they're super heroes who regularly show up or get involved in mortal affairs.
Some did, some other gods didn't (Eilistraee, for example, is described as seldom taking part in mortals' affairs, but helping them in practical, everyday life ways). And the story felt like a drama with all the meddling after the ToT, but end 3e-4e changes really felt as something forced on the setting to apply given changes, and not because it was the natural direction for the story (again, ooc behaviour, or out of nowhere consequences, like Mystra's death blowing up the world, which never happened before). And they clearly were, even WotC confirmed that they were removing gods because they felt that they were too many, or for other reasons in specific cases (drow pantheon, Mystra).
Also, it stills stands that randomly removing gods does nothing to make mortals feel heroes, it just cheapen gods and deprives the setting of depth and flavor.
>it just cheapen gods and deprives the setting of depth and flavor.
Qualify this statement, and furthermore qualify what the actual value of a god is supposed to be in any given setting. I can't take this opinion at face value.
I'm still waiting for the dust to settle. Why do they need to kick the Realms over every time they change an edition?
And they're more accessible when they're not stuck up their own asses.
>Be me in a Half Price Books
>Going through the D&D novels and wonder where to start
>Here's some about Elminster, he's famous. I should probably learn what his deal is.
>Holy crap, Elminster in Hell. That sounds badass. Time to read about a high-level crusade into Hell
>Turns out the novel is a fucking clip show
>90% flashbacks to characters who are not explained that I'm given no reason to care about
>and the flashbacks are out of order
Ed Greenwood belongs in a padded cell
It depends on the god. A deity is a part of the culture of the various people inhabiting the setting. Deities play an important part in their lives in the Realms. Faerun is characterized by a multitude of cults, with their goal, motivations and intrigues -- and even realtively minor gods can play an interesting role in the events of the setting through them. Deities can also influence mortals' belief and mentality with their dogmas/teachings, so many different gods would contribute towards varied thoughts.
For certain gods, it runs even deeper. Mystra is linked with the Weave, and her relationship with it (she is the Weave, takes care of it, is forced to share it -and herself- with active gods), the way it works are one of the main elements of the setting. For the drow pantheon, Eilistraee and Vhaeraun are truly iconic to the drow, beacuse of their story, their relations with the drow and what they mean to them (Eilistraee's being a mother goddess to them, having chosen to share their exile, suffering, battles and hopes, to be one of them in order to be able to give them the hope of a new life, and help grow and flourish in a world hostile to them) -and no, contrary to what many think, Ed Greenwood created them before Drizzt saw the light of the day, for his personal setting, he made them official when TSR asked for more drow deities-
Like these things or not, they are an integral part of the setting, that contributes towards defining it. Removing these makes the setting poorer. Removing them as a tool to implement some changes, having plenty of those removals, to the point of not even being a shock factor anymore, cheapens them.
But this is part of the problem. Everything is about the gods. An entire culture is defined by its deities quirks and squabbles. How can the setting be cheapened, be lessened, by forcing it to look beyond these handy archetypes which calcify large portions of the setting?
Nope, it isn't that everything is about the gods, they play an important part in their lives (and it is pretty -forgive me- ''realistic'', if you look at the Real World -and in RW people religious people don't even have eny reassurance about their belief-), but they aren't the most important one, ruling over everything else. It's just natural that deities contribute to defining a culture, and that some culture --because of their history-- are more religious than others.
And it isn't the deities' squabbles that do that, but their ideals.
It also is a part of the setting, FR is characterized by gods' influence and -while drama is bad- that is just a trait of the world. Removing it is like syaing that Dark Sun is bad because of the desert.
For the examples that I cited, I find them very interesting and quite unique, and they are not just about the deities, but also -and mainly- about the mortals that drove their decisions (yes, even for Mystra, as -to quote EG- she has to care about mortals -all mortals- even in her non good incarnations, because mortals are part of the Weave and thier use of magic is deeply tied to that)
The sad part is
Ed Greenwood would prefer not to write endless about Elminster and his super heroics across the Realms. He has said on countless occasions that a lot of his 'super powered NPCs' were just supposed to be regular characters with interesting powers or backgrounds, as he as a writer much prefers writing about background details, about how people interact with the world, what people do for work or food, what kinds of slang exist in different regions, etc.
But TSR kept saying that Elminster, the chosen of Mystra, and other caster characters were more interesting to the setting and he has to keep writing more and keep making them more godly and important.
And I guess if it's write about parts of a setting you aren't as interested in or not writing about it at all...
First of all, please stop using dashes as if they were parenthesis or italics for emphasis. There's no need to do that here and it just makes you look stupidly new. This has no bearing on anything else I'm saying, but I get an aneurysm every time I read your posts because of it.
Anyway, I disagree using your own goddamn words. Simple Example: Mystra's personality is central to a foundational conceit of the setting, magic, and so she as a character defines a gigantic portion of the setting itself. A single, fucking character that most games should never ever see, but she's still just that important to the setting. Doesn't this strike you as a disconnect from FR's purpose as a game, not a comic book, not a series of novels?
Oh, c'mon! You get my point, mortal are important in the context of magic because they are a major factor and Mystra has to take care of them.
Sorry about the dashes, it's a bad habit of mine.
And about disagreement, well yes: it looks like we'll have to disgaree. Everyone has their own preference, but I don't advocate for settings to lose characterizing elements because I don't like it.
Personally, I don't see a problem with Mystra. She is a personification of the force of magic, but she has several rules that must respect. First, she can't do as she pleases with that. While previous iteration of the setting hyperpowered her by giving her the ability to remove access to magic, that was WotC/whoever's decision (same as making her and chosen some kind of Justice League). In truth, per EG, she HAS to share the Weave (and with it part of her essence) with all other deities, even her foes, because it is her nature to nurture all that is magic (and can only deny magic to other gods/creatures when their doing would severly damage its structure). Genial spellcasters -evil or good- magical races, and so on are all things that she is meant to protect and help flourish. Also, I like a lot the concept of her filtering the energy of the various natural processes into the refined from of the Weave (basically, it is as if all the energy in the world had a duplicate ''image'' in magic, but in a raw state that is then refined) and her taking care of this sophisticated structure. This is unique to the Realms, and -if portrayed right- Mystra will never play the comic-book like superhero or be the elephant in the room.
If you remove Mystra, the Weave still makes sense, magic still works, and anything you do to or with magic doesn't have to get run through the Mystra filter. There is no reason for Mystra to exist except that for some reason there is a god of any and everything.
I think you're missing the point. These little fiddly bits about how the Gods interact with metaphysical facets A, B, and C don't have anything to do with their value as characters nor as setting elements. This is a huge and perfectly valid criticism of Forgotten Realms and why the deities in particular are lambasted. To your many paragraphs talking about how Mystra or whoever is tied to XYZ element, I respond with a big, fat, vitriolic: "Who cares?"
But I (and many others) also like magic having a personification. I like Mystra's being the Weave (together with the creatures connceted via it). In fantasy nothing is truly NEEDED. I mean, why have the god of X? Or ''look, that NPC is superfluous'', lets remove all of that!
However fantasy (or fiction) is not about what is needed, but about what is enjoyable. Mystra's and many other deities' characters are not trivial, they add flavour and fun to the story/world. Why remove them?
You remove them because simplicity is strength in all things. You only add as many elements as you need to create the finished product. FR's deities are, by and large, superfluous and complicate what should be simple matters.
Why not? They add lore and depth to the world, the enrich it with details and characterizing elements. They are also neatly defined, with their goals, ideals, cults and their cults' actions. Why doesn't this give them value as characters?
Sure you may not care about it or like it, but -as I said- they are a integral part of the setting. It's up to your preferences, it's the same as criticizing Dark Sun because too Dark, or Eberron because ''too tech'' (I mean, that tech is just reflavored magic, where's the need to add it??).
You're editorializing as if it was an argument. You can't just say something is "enriching" or "characterizing" in response to someone saying that it isn't.
Just because something is neatly defined doesn't make it worthwhile to the setting. Forgotten Realms has a lot of situations where a god of something exists to legitimize a concept, when it didn't need the god to lend legitimacy in the first place. These gods don't add depth, they're just excuses as vapid as saying "a wizard did it". Except, you know, you might be able to do something about that Wizard.
Untrue. This is for fun, not for practical purposes. As I said, FR deities have value as a characters, even if you don't like them. If people enjoy reading about deities (setting the drama and stupid use of them apart) and their influence on the world, or if they enjoy them being an important part of their character's story or whatever, why should them (who are one of the big traits of the Realms) be removed? There's the option for those who don't like them to ignore that lore, but for those who do enjoy them (and picked up the setting ALSO because of them) and see what they like getting trashed (because ''man, who need it')' and then not supported, well it sucks and it is unfair.
And you may say ''but new people are going to be in troubles and so on''. Well, it's all in the presentations, Write up a FRCS with all you strictly NEED to know about the setting, the most important deities and then that's all people need to play. Then, further lore will be picked up by those who want it.
Good lord, condense your fucking thoughts. You've just been repeating, in myriad ways, that you like the gods. Sometimes you sprinkle in words like depth or character, but nothing you've said actually discusses anything approaching what could be considered literary depth. You're just going over fictional metaphysics over and over again, but it doesn't make the point you want it to make and it just isn't convincing.
But I've explained what they add, I didn't just say ''yo, it's as I say''. Then the reply was that what I said simply has no value, and I ask why.
And yes, FR gods are a characterizing part of the Realms, they are iconic to them just like other settings have iconic elements. You don't like them? Fine, ok, but that doesn't automatically make them superfluous or irrelevant.
FR deities are very different when it comes to their role. Some have something really strong to define them (Mystra and other major deities, and even minor ones, like Eilistraee&Vhaeraun), and others are the reflection of cultural differences between various people, races and so on, and to me that definitely isn't superfluous.
Ok, then I don't know what you mean. I've tried to explain why these characters and their roles are well defined and that their value is also in the infleunce and variety that they contribute to bringing to mortal cultures. So, I ask you, what do you mean by ''literary depth''
The Great Wheel is back
Well, then that depends on your tastes IMO. In the examples that we have discussed, what I said about Mystra and the drow pantheon seems to be meaningful characterization to me. If you find it to be ''meh'', then I don't know if we'll come to anything discussing over that.
Still unknown. I guess 'The Sundering rearranged the planes', basically like in 4e 'The Spellplague rearranged the planes'. This is basically a reboot masked as a continuation of the story.
Literary depth means that there are many facets to a character. Not in what they do, such as a profession, but in their persona and pathos. A character means something on many different levels of analysis, and being important to a culture or a fictional magical construct does not merit this. None of the gods are this.
Well, we may also argue that the gods have never been explored in such depth in novels. I may sound biased here, but I'll point you to Eilistraee.
She is a beacon of hope and light for her people, a goddess who has chosen to be a mother to them, sacrificing her own happiness to be ''at their side'' when they would have needed her and teach them the life that Lolth deprived them of. She is capable of accepting any creature for who they are, and can be an idealist and a dreamer, but is also an underdog, a rebel who fights to stand up to tiranny, forging -together with her drow- their own path in the world. She is a melancholic ''woman'', but despite this she also tries her best to spread joy, create beauty, show kindness and just make life flourish. Eilistraee brings a constant anger within her for what was done to her people and can be quite moody and unpredictable, to the point of wild action, when her followers are hurt. Despite her idealism and belief in redemption she -even setting aside the period under her brother's influence- is able to make drastic choices when needed (like her attempt to kill her mother during the latter's slumber shows).
>Goddess of Darkness
>Was one of the first two beings of the universe discounting the embodiment of the universe itself.
>The other was her sister, Selune
>The two worked so wonderfully well together, that they acted as though they were one, always together, always playful
>As they saw their father create them, they thought to practice their hand at creation, bringing the worlds into being.
>While life existed on these worlds it was small and insignificant.
>But their newest creation, Chauntea, the embodiment of the worlds themselves, was saddened by the lack of warmth, she begged and pleaded her mothers for the light of warmth so that she may grow plants and create further life of her own design.
>For the first time, the two sisters were not the same being, but split apart, the Silver Haired Selune wishing to see more creations form within this universe of theirs', while the Dark Haired Shar wished for the opposite, starting to believe their creation a mistake, wishing to erase it all and start again.
>As they argued their growing anger produced more aspects upon the worlds, war, disease, even murder and death.
>At last, seeing as there was no arguing her dark haired sister down, Selune stole a shard of the ever-living flames from the lands of eternal fire, bringing them back to the universe to create the sun, the greatest light and warmth.
>Enraged, Shar decided the argument was over as well, and attempted to consume all life within the universe, even that of the twin she once loved with all of her being.
>Hurt, and fearing for the end of all things, the Silver Haired Selune ripped from herself a core essence to her being, the essence of magic, and struck her sister with it with utter hatred in her heart.
>The potentially suicidal maneuver worked, Shar was stunned as the essence of magic ripped a piece of the Dark Haired Goddess' essence from her, and congealed into the most powerful of the twin goddess' creations.
>Mystryl, the essence of Magic, was born.
>Formed of both light and dark, but more powerful than both, she forced peace between her mothers, siding more with her light mother than her dark.
>Shar, unable to erase her perceived mistakes, now hated by her twin sister whom she still loved, and hated by all others as well, she would spend the eons in her bitter loneliness, with nothing at all but what little darkness she had left.
>And thus, she is known as the Lady of Loss, who desires nothing more than the nothingness that will consume all things at the end of time.
Shar and Selune are not drow goddesses.
That's a creation myth. but there's depth in Shar's character, the Lady of Loss (even if they recently reduced her to ''me smash the world!'')
>Worship of Shar differs from person to person and from group to group
>For some it is the desire of the darkest and most ancient of powers the universe has known, with intentions for it despite the knowledge that by taking it they sacrifice their soul to the endless void of nothingness instead of a true afterlife.
>For others, it is all they have left, they have suffered great losses of family, of friends, of all they hold dear, and simply wish for an end to the suffering.
>And then there are those who embrace the darkness, the nihilists who wish nothing more than to see the destruction of all, for it is all without meaning, and for meaning to be found everything must be started again.
Kay. Was more just to address the Pathos thing.
Shar is not a Drow goddess, Pelor does not exist in the Forgotten Realms, and Drow are weakened by sunlight due to unexplained magical radiation from the Underdark.
You are totally free to not like her, but she does have uniqueness and meaningful characterization (and there are many who enjoy her). At this point it's a matter of opinions, and it doesn't really make sense to argue over what we enjoy.
Being niche doesn't mean that she doesn't have depth or brings meaningful additions to the table. She is iconic and a defining trait of the FR drow, like Vhaeraun. They're basically the only things that differentiates them from GH drow.
But I've already discussed her personality/role, and they are meaningful, to me and others. As I said, at this point it is a matter of tastes.
Kind of butting into this discussion late, but you didn't describe how she's not meaningful.
You said you could remove her from your game without anyone noticing, that's nice and all, but in most modern games I've played you could remove all references to jesus christ and catholicism and no one would care or notice unless you, as the GM, brought it up.
Hell, even in most fantasy games, no one would notice if you removed all of the pantheons but the big few gods that casual players know about, or all of the vampires, or all of the beholders or mind flayers.
You described that she's not meaningful to your campaigns, which is reasonable, 90% of any setting likely has nothing to do with your campaign and shouldn't be meaningful to it, but to say something is not meaningful at all just because you don't use it is to come off as being an idiot at best.