The Demon Cult of BA'AN
Imagine a land to the East (or just Far Away) that trades with your lands with the occasional Caravan. This land is all about The Civilization: The Order of Things, The Celestial Bureaucracy, The Mantle of Heaven, and clerical abilities defining who was in charge (due to their being touched by the Gods). The Buracracy spoke with the voice of the Gods and could channel their power. Imagine what happens when their Gods die.
The Decay was quick the day when the Gods died. The People of The Civilization had spent millenia trying to match the Celestial Bureaucracy. Priests utilized the power of the Gods to build and maintain The Civilization. Those powers were intergrated into society: its rituals and functions. Try as they might, the Priests could not contain the fact that something was wrong... that divine power was no longer residing in The Priests AND the Worldy Bureaucracy of The Civilization. It was the end of the world.
People prayed that they might be taken into the Celestial world before they and their soul were trapped in the Material world. Some committed suicide in an attempt to reach there before the Grand Gates closed. Then there were riots (as people believed they were denied the celestial rewards that were theirs...). Many were killed in the riots and mayham. Mobs killed a number of people that manifested actual demonic powers. Many died from lack of healing and clerical care. Others died from lack of fresh food or water (created by clerical abilities). Many just died of dispair.
A few people in The Bureaucracy managed to impose order. While the clerics were useless, some of the administrators kept hold - trying to keep a semblance of The Civilization going. They put out the fires, formed militia to keep the order, kept people focused on their needs... and not on the end of the world as they knew it. The cities and towns managed to get some order, while the country went uncontained a bit longer, but eventually fell into the cycle of work. All hoped The Great Bureaucracy would solve the problem, so they huddled in their homes and waited.
The Clerics were lost, their Gods were unable to answer.
The man that would be known as The Falcon Mask was one of those clerics. Civilization needed the Divine Powers to run properly. But unlike the others, he realized that any spirit who could grant those powers would be preferable to no Divine Powers at all. He knew the lore of the non divine ways, but no text survived on how to perform such things. He did what he could. He took a Shadow Name. He drew a circle. Then he did all that he knew how, he prayed out to any being that would answer. He prayed out in the traditional format, 'Grant me this and I will do x and y for you'. And a Power answered. Ba'An granted him the skill and the powers needed to help restore his city. Thus that poor cleric became the first Bargainer: The Falcon Mask.
Many clerics would rather die than give up their gods. Eventually they did.
Others realized for The Civilization to survive, they too would bargain with the Power.. with Ba'An. Each took a Shadow Name like the sorcerers of old. Rather than sell their souls like the sorcerers, they would just make bargains with this 'power' Ba'an. Their 'worship' was a bit more legalistic than it used to be with the Celestial Order, but it was a secret worship. No one would publicly claim their worship. Privately, they knew the shameful thing they did. Publicly all used the term 'A Power', but in secret they knew he is a Demon God that had destroyed the Celestial Order.
These new Bargainers took the place of the Celestial's Clerics. They interceded for mortals to the lone higher power that would answer them, and brought the word to the peoples. Rather than be part of the Great Bureaucracy as the Clerics had, Bargainers had to be outside of it. They functioned as 'Lawyers', 'Consultants', and 'Contractors' for the now non-clerical government of The Civilization. They provide healing and guidance for their clients. Occasionally they provide other magical services as well.
The common people were left adrift in all this. Only those who follow this demon upsurper, who has destroyed the celestial order, had access to The Power. Some still worshipped the Celestials. However, only those Gods that bowed down and knuckled under survived. They were not proud Gods, they lied to hold their now limited power and their existence. They granted a trickle of power, but only at the whim of Ba'an. Humanity has been tricked by those Gods. The Gods are not what they said they were. The very foundation of The Civilization was shaken. Where once there was bliss, honor and faith, there is now cynicism, legalism/ deal making, and self interest (some of it even enlightened self interest).
With Bargainers as 'priests' interpreting the Power's will for the People, The Civilization continued. In some ways the faith of the 'Old Bureaucracy' has been replaced by a more secular and pragmatic faith of Ba'an the Power, Ba'an the Demon Lord. Now even common folk 'bargained' (prayed) with Ba'an, hoping for little advantages to help them get through these turbulent times.
If you need a handle on The Civilization as it is now, think of a cyberpunkish dystopia. There are now too many people. Resources are scarce. Business and legal relationships are more important than people (or faith). Humanity is nothing, only Civilization important. Here, odd bits of clerical magic take the places of technology. While things are publicly 'great', important things are done in the shadows and the reality is often a lie. In short a non techical roughed edged place.
The Message did not reach here yet. When it does things might change. However, it might not. This culture has been turn on its head by the destruction of the Celestial Order. It is possible they had a Messenger of their own, but that person was lost to the riots. The first people who manifested clerical powers, but were not priests, were obviously killed by the Mobs of the riots. Because these people panicked and reacted the way they did, they lost their chance to accept Ba'an as he really is. Their worship of Ba'an is colored by their old traditions as they really refuse in their hearts to accept that the world could change.
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? Responses (6)-6
This one did not appear on the new post list when I moved it from the work area.
Make sure to read all the associated posts for this to make any sense.
Fifty some odd views since I posted it and no comments or votes? Is it just that bad? It is because it is a multi part entry (if you are not familiar with BA'AN and the messenger, this makes no sense until you read that)? Are you all tired of religions? Is it because it is one of the fantasy monotheistics?
What killed the Old Gods? A Celestial power struggle? It must take a lot to kill a god/goddess.
All that is explained in BA'AN and The Messenger submission 1775. In short, The Deity who created everything, including a whole bunch of spirits to administer it, came back after finishing the rest of the universe to find these spirits proclaiming themselves as The Gods. He casually broke them to his will and is now the only available god.
Not bad actually, and I get what happened in that world (which is a darn interesting plot in itself).
It just seems somehow... dry, or spread out too thinly. It is one topic written into several different posts, with much repeating from different angles (which is, I understand, necessary at the same time *shrugs*). Not sure what to do about it... make one of the subs a Codex? Or put some together? ('BA'AN and The Messenger' and this one could really go together - the other is very short anyway.) It has the idea, but somehow not the spark. Oh, and, add a little formatting for the sake of it - helps the message of a submission to get across easier. Also, I sometimes find making sections makes me write more on a given aspect than simple paragraphs in a bland text.
The point of the New Citadel is to have posts that cross support each other. That is why we have six different ways to link submissions to each other. That is why we have three ways to group submissions.
People need to follow links and make connections, just like in a wiki. In fact, in many ways, the new Citadel is very Wiki like. Embrace the connections.
BA'AN and The Messenger links all of these posts together. However, each is independent and can be used 'as you will', they just make more senses as an intergrated whole.