When we hear the word 'gods', we typically think of vastly powerful beings capable of immense acts of creation (or destruction.) The Primals, original creators of everything in the universe, certainly fit this bill. But the Primals are dead, their essence shattered into many, many fragments, and it is from these fragments, these Godshards, that divinity originates.

When an intelligent living being (meaning anything that possesses a soul and is sentient) first touches a Godshard, they become imbued with a fragment of the creative power of the Primals. This power will stay with them until they die, because it directly alters the nature of their soul. It grants that being immortality and allows them to alter themselves to just about any form they wish.

A Godshard's power is akin to the power the Primals wielded, with a few limits. First, unlike the Primals, a Godshard is not capable of creating an entire cosmic Realm. It cannot create a new fundamental concept, such as Good/Evil, Order/Chaos, and thus it cannot create from scratch a being of the same inherent potential as Graces/Viles, Eminents/Dragons. However, it can create new forms of lesser life, hereafter referred to as mortals. (One of the critical differences between fundamental beings and mortals is, while fundamentals can be killed, they will never die of natural cell degeneration.) It can claim a Domain, a certain radius around the Godshard in which its powers are amplified, where souls aligned with that god will travel after death, where the very nature of the place is easily shapable to that god's will, and where other gods cannot exert their divine power. And lastly, it is capable of granting (and taking away) a fraction of its divine power to other beings, a bond that works no matter how far away they might travel.

A Godshard allows a god to enforce their will on reality itself to a degree that no other being in all of creation can match. However, it also means a god is, to an extent, subject to the will of lesser beings. This is called Faith, and it means everything to a god. When a mortal worships a god, it grants that god a constant trickle of power that adds to their divine potential. The more mortals who have faith in a god, the stronger that god becomes. With enough power gained from faith, a god can even manifest their will in another divine Domain, to the point where they could potentially overpower another of their kind. It is also the ONLY means by which any god can increase their divine power. For the most part, a god's agenda will revolve around gaining more faith, protecting what faith they have, and scheming to diminish the faith of their enemies.

The playing field for this game of Faith, for the most part, is the Materium. This is where the vast majority of mortal life resides. Gods are, however, greatly limited in their ability to operate on the Materium, because the presence of a god will cause the entire Realm to shudder, fracture, and ultimately explode. This is because of the inherent instability of the Materium, which was formed out of a gathering of cosmic detritus from the many, many proto-Realms lost in the Abyssal War. The only means by which a god may directly exert their will on the Materium without setting foot there is by using the extra power they gain through Faith, and even then it's incredibly difficult.

Instead, gods primarily act through their mortal servants, those mortals to whom the gods grant their power in exchange for loyal service. Souls that are drawn to a god's Domain after death by virtue of their strong devotion maintain that devotion upon reincarnation, and the gods have some control over which body one of these reincarnated devotees will be born to, so this is one of a god's best tools for cultivating Faith and building up new candidates for service as their divine agents in the mortal world. A soul powerful enough (through continuous reincarnation) can be converted into an immortal being, nearly akin to a fundamental in power, from which tales of angels and other such celestial emissaries are contrived.

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