Loremaster

Atheos, God of Skepticism's page

249 posts. Alias of thunderbeard.


Classes/Levels

"Lord of Atheism" | Not-a-Lesser-God | Attack 3d6, Defense 5d6, HP 40

Alignment

LN, with true neutral tendencies

About Atheos, God of Skepticism

Epigraph (Bava Metzia 59a-59b):
Rabbi Eliezer said to them: "If the halakha is as I say, let it be proved from the heavens." A heavenly voice came forth and proclaimed: "Why are you contesting R. Eliezer, when Halakha follows him in every area?"
Rabbi Yirmiyah said: We pay no heed to heavenly voices, since it has already been written in the Torah at Sinai, 'follow the majority.'"
[Shortly after, in heaven,] Rabbi Natan came upon the Prophet Elijah. He said to him: "What is the Holy One, Blessed be He, doing at this time?"
Elijah said to him: "He is laughing and saying, 'My children have defeated me; My children have defeated me.'"

Titles: Lord of Atheism, The Voice of Reason, The First Philosopher, No One, Nobody, Nothing

Domains (Portfolios): Knowledge (Deduction), Law (Physics), Community (Cities), Harvest (Farming)
Inquisitions: Conversion, Illumination, Truth, Tactics
Theme: Atheism
Alignment: LN

Basic Stats:
-Lesser
-Attack 3, Defense 3, HP 40
-Abilities (1/1): Immovable Object (+2 Defense)

AP spent (common knowledge):

Week 1 (12 AP):
-Gain ability: Immovable Object (5 AP)
-Create plane: "The Great Axis" (5 AP)
(Plane details: 7 layers; center of plane is timeless, static, and law-aligned, though these effects grow weaker further from the center, with normal time and neutral alignment in the outer few rings)
-Upgrade Create Land>Forge Land: creating the moon (1 AP)
-Join Pantheon: Gods of the Vault (1 AP)
(15 start; 3 remain at end of week)

Week 2 (8 AP):
-Create demigod: The First Librarian (5 AP)
-Advanced concept: Animal husbandry/Domestication (2 AP)
-Monstrous life: Axis hounds (1 AP)
(3 start; 4+1 gain; 0 remain)

Week 3 (2 AP):
(0 start; 4+2 gain; 4 remain)
-Create sentient life: Humans (2 AP)

Librarian
-Alter land: Sea of Fire (1 AP) (bioluminescent lake)

Week 4 (10 AP):
(4 start; 4+2 gain; 0 remain)
-Blessing: Fertilize and clear a barren island (1 AP)
-Basic concept: Agriculture (1 AP)
-Advanced concept: Seafaring (2 AP)
-Basic concept: Fishing (1 AP)
-Basic concept: Democracy (1 AP)
-Create society: City of Quarrel's End (1 AP)
-Gain domain: Community (Cities) (3 AP) (Great Axis: 5, Democracy: 1, Society: 1)

Librarian:
-Basic concept: Education (1 AP)

Week 5 (4 AP):
(0 start; 4+2 gain; 2 remain)
-Basic concept: Irrigation (1 AP)
-Gain domain: Harvest (Farming) (3 AP) (Domestication: 2, Hounds: 1, Agriculture: 1, Blessing: 1, Fishing: 1, Irrigation: 1)

Week 6 (0 AP):
(2 start; 5+2 gain)

AP spent (Crystal Seers only):

Divine Symbols and Quirks:

Holy Symbol*: “Nothing." Devout worshippers of Atheos carry small, featureless rectangles, symbolizing a blank slate.
Favored Weapon*: Iron Brush
Favored Animal*: Jackdaw
Favored Colors*: Black and white, the colors of ink on paper

*Atheos and his followers hold nothing "sacred" or "holy," though for the sake of convenience and aesthetics choose to identify themselves through symbols and metaphors just as any other religion.

Worshippers and Alignment: LN; but while Atheos and most of his servants tend towards lawful and neutral alignments, he does not believe in any concept of “holiness” or religiously-dictated ethics. As a result, worshippers of Atheos can theoretically be any alignment, as he grants spells and favor to his followers based on their actions and writings rather than their beliefs or morality.

Granted Spells: Atheos considers direct intervention the work of a lazy god, and refuses to perform miracles on principle. Clerics of Atheos lose access to the Miracle spell, but may instead prepare Wish or Limited Wish. Worshippers of Atheos may not cast Augury, Divination, or Commune, replacing these on their spell lists with Castigate, Rebuke, and Telepathic Bond.

Special: Though powered by faith, Atheos’ clerics must study their magic daily. A cleric of Atheos requires a spellbook to prepare spells, though this may simply be a borrowed wizard’s spellbook or simply a primer of magical principles. Such a primer takes 24 hours and 10 gp of materials to recreate if destroyed, and does not need to contain any information on the specific spells to be prepared.

Protection from Dogma/Magic Circle Against Dogma (signature spell):
As Protection from/Magic Circle Against Evil, except that the deflection and resistance bonuses apply to attacks made by creatures capable of casting divine spells or SLAs. The target receives a new saving throw against control by divine creatures and creatures summoned by divine magic cannot touch the target.

Appearance: Atheos normally appears, and is depicted, as a short, bespectacled orator in simple archaic robes. In his true form, he appears as a chaotic swirl of mathematical and magical equations attempting to define his divinity as a convergence of natural and magical phenomena, and it is considered sacrilege to depict him in any form other than a list of physics equations.

Teachings and Beliefs:

Teachings: Atheos, as a sort of reluctant divine force, has little interest in seeing the gods meddle their petty affairs in what would other be a fine world driven by the exceptionalism of humanity (and other intelligent life). While other gods of knowledge might reward their worshippers with inspiration, Atheos teaches self-reliance in the face of an “easy out” divine solution, rewarding only those of his followers who refuse to call him by name, and who serve their devotion through study, teaching, and reasoned argument rather than prayer or worship. And while the Church of Atheism espouses no official creed, it does teach patterns of good behavior.

His influence on the world is subtle. While Atheos occasionally travels the planes, in disguise, attempting to teach those he meets, he also believes strongly in increasing the progress and knowledge of the world. In his role as a guardian of lost knowledge, he seeks to bring forgotten teachings back into the world, leaving inspiring hints or copies of previously-destroyed books in the right places. While his direct involvement in the world is subtle, it often conceals grander plans, and his followers note that his influence—in all the places they refuse to acknowledge it exists, but admit it would be present if there were such a god—is always positive, usually with far-reaching effects. And his revenge against false prophets, incorrect teachings and charlatan miracle-men comes subtly as well, often with sudden revelations of falsehood or failed “miracles” appearing at sudden, inopportune times.

Paladin Code: As a LN deity, Atheos does find himself with the occasional paladin follower. He neither encourages or discourages such behavior, an while he does not believe in a fixed code for his followers, his clergy themselves, often varied, tend to follow a general set of principles that Paladins of Atheos take especially seriously:

- Humans are fallible, and no appeal to authority makes them infallible. I will never accept any teaching as absolute truth, only teachings with evidence behind them, and that includes my own ideals and beliefs.
- I will never destroy a work of knowledge, nor allow one to come to harm, unless greater knowledge is gained or saved by its loss.
- The human mind is a great treasure. I will attempt to convert, dissuade, capture or cripple my enemies whenever I can avoid needless killing by doing so.
- I will never assume new enemies are evil or blasphemous, only ignorant of how to think for themselves. It is my duty to teach the error of their ways, if I think my arguments have a chance to make a difference.
- There is no greater beauty than the truth. Reason is its own reward, and enlightenment of all things will be my goal and highest satisfaction in life.
- I teach by example, not with my sword. An appeal to violence is the last retreat of one who has no valid argument left to speak on their behalf. I will only use violence to oppose violence, where it is necessary to protect others or their teachings from destruction.
- Lazy argument is a disservice against truth. I will debate with logic and honor, not trickery or deception.

Current Relations:

(ranked, across groups, from most to least favorite)

The nice list:
Forces/entities that prefer action to worship, and who have a great positive impact on the world. Atheos and his followers will sometimes work to actively help followers of their faiths.

The mailing list:
Extraplanar beings of great power who contribute some good to the world, though Atheos would like them a lot more if they picked more interesting goals and stopped insisting on worship. Atheos's followers might occasionally antagonize their priests or followers in an attempt to spur critical introspection, but rarely try to convert them, instead offering aid if their goals align.

The do-not-call list:
Forces or entities Atheos regards as a natural part of the cosmos, which he believes should have no need or want to be worshipped as petty personified entities. While he will not act against their plans, he usually refuses to speak with them personally, and his priests will actively encourage their followers to stop ignorantly worshipping natural phenomena that should not want or need such rituals.

The naughty list:
Extraplanar beings, forces or entities that defy logic, Atheos tends to regard these deities as dangerous or harmful forces that should be ignored, reformed, or destroyed; his followers tend to regard their churches with verbal hostility and aggresive debate. Theirs are the churches that led Atheos to his original distrust of organized religion.

The hit list:
Entities Atheos regards as little more than surviving Elder Evils, embodying everything the God of Skepticism despises about divinity. Most of them also represent a significant threat to either the world itself or his beliefs in particular, and he will willingly form alliances with entities he "does not believe in" in order to foil their plans.

* * *

Memories from a Forgotten World:

Domains (Subdomains): Knowledge (Thought), Law (Judgment)
Inquisitions: Conversion, Illumination, Truth, Tactics
Portfolio: Philosophy, Physics, Debate, Prepared Magic, Scientific Discovery

Origin: Once, the being now called Atheos was a powerful wizard and philosophical orator, known far and wide for his teachings of skepticism, reason, and the scientific method. Upon his death and disappearance, he discovered to his dismay that many of his old followers had begun to worship him as a god—and to his further dismay, he had somehow become one. Unable to remember or measure the forces that had conspired to grant him divinity, he instead turned his attention outward, scrubbing his old name from the memories of his former students and tormenting those priests that continued to worship him fervently.

But his followers, many of them influential artisans and wizards, needed something to believe—and so, worried that another god of knowledge would swoop in and corrupt these learned men by forcing them to worship him in exchange for knowledge—he decided to guide them down a different path. They became followers of the Church of Atheos, or “no gods.” Their deity was “No One,” “Nothing,” or “Definitely Not a God.” While the subtlety was lost on many of his more commonplace followers, who began to regard “Atheos” as a subtle force of inspiration, the wiser members of his church caught onto the message, teaching self-sufficiency, self-motivation, and skepticism in all things. If the other gods held as much sway as they claimed, so Atheos’ creed went, then an omnipotent deific force would protect rationality’s truest believers as well—but it would be a deity that desired no praise or worship, instead pleased only by followers directing their energy elsewhere.

The Great Library: (now only a memory) Atheos’s home plane is filled with endless rows of impossibly high bookshelves, containing all manner of teachings and writing collected from around the multiverse. While Atheos has little patience for the teachings of other religions or the literary arts, his library gathers knowledge, observations, and reasoned arguments on every subject. While most of his followers are reincarnated or simply cease to exist, according to their own philosophical musings, Atheos’s most talented servants become Librarians, patrolling the near-endless Library, collecting and curating information through divination spells, and seeking new ways to spread those teachings. In addition to Atheos’s librarians, his library is staffed by Book-Keepers, constructs and minor Inevitables programmed to preserve knowledge, and support self-sufficiency both within his home plane and outside it.

In that way, The Great Library is less an afterlife for people, and more an afterlife for knowledge—great works and information are collected before they can be destroyed on the Material Plane, given a new purpose, and often brought back into the world.

Servants and Worshippers:
The Analytical Engine — Atheos’s herald is a large, construct-like outsider; an Inevitable built and programmed to analyze and respond to any argument. Shaped like a giant mantis, this creature of wrought bronze, gears, and arcane energies towers nearly fifteen-feet tall. While the Analytical Engine is strong enough to defend itself from any attack, it prefers to stand in place, unmoving, as it asks and answers questions of those worthy enough to receive its knowledge, capable of solving nearly any problem that can be determined through computational or logical analysis.

The Head Librarian — This ancient Axiomite appears as an elven aristocrat, robed in jeweled finery but capable of dissolving into a coil of equations and symbols in an instant. Like Atheos himself, the Head Librarian often travels the material plane seeking to engage great thinkers in public debate, often while wearing a disguise that bears some deeper meeting.

Riddler — This favored servant of Atheos is a powerful Gynosphynx, who enjoys accosting travelers with long strings of riddles on the nature of reality itself

Atheos’s other servants and planar allies consist primarily of Aximotes, Inevitables, Sphinxes of all varieties, the occasional Aeon, and the Librarians (modified Axiomites of his own creation). On the Material Plane, he is worshipped primarily by Wizards, Arcanists, and Investigators. Monasteries of Atheos often spring up spontaneously around important libraries or universities; while his Monks follow less strict codes than other religions, monks of Atheos usually prefer self-improvement to prayer, and dedicate themselves to protection of knowledge. Clerics of Atheos are rare but not unheard of, with his priests more often consisting of Oracles or arcane casters. His traveling evangelists, the Iconoclasts, prefer to cripple enemies of the faith through debate rather than battle, and consist primarily of Inquisitors, backed up by the occasional unusual Paladin.

[ooc]The Confederation of Praxis (long forgotten)
Nicknames: “The Floating Isles” “The Paper Kingdoms" “The Eoric Archipelago”
National Alignment: TN
Inspiration/concept: A combination of the (politically varied) philosopher states of Ancient Greece, and the Sea Nomads of SE Asia
Architecture/Phonetics/Clothing/Culture: Mediterranean
Languages: Eoric (local), Rimean (trade language)
Government: National Syndicalism
Ruler: Many
Religion: Varies by State; primarily Atheism
Size: Moderate (but mostly sea)
Geography: Arid/tropical archipelago consisting of mostly sea and mountainous non-volcanic islands
Magic: Advanced (widespread waterproofing, water purification, and fabrication magic)
Technology: Early Renaissance (tech; science is at late renaissance levels)
(Travel: Age of sail; Weaponry: Advanced metallurgy, pre-gunpowder; Industry: Printing press, water mills, some magical construction; Metaphysics: Recent scientific revolution has led to major advances in theoretical physics and thaumatology; Chemistry: Decent alchemy, basic physical chemistry)
Races: Mostly human, with some half-elves and halflings; longer-lived races tend to avoid Praxis, which has only become a well-functioning nation in the past century
Major industries/exports: Fishing, wine, literature, physics, recycling (as wood and metal are scarce in Praxis, the islands have developed magic for recycling them)
Description/History: The Confederation of Praxis was founded, centuries ago, on a single unifying presence: that as no form of government was incorruptible, citizens should be allowed to choose not just their rulers but their government itself. In elections, held every six years (or more frequently in states undergoing no-confidence crises), all citizens of the Confederation choose their government itself, voting between various democracies, republics, trade guilds, theocracies, mageocracies and petty kingdoms. The cities of Praxis themselves have evolved to reflect this; while some states allow other states’ citizens to live within their borders, the states themselves are composed in large part of houseboats, barges, and large wooden blocks that can be set afloat, sailing from island to island as climates change and states rise and fall.
Few laws unite the entire Confederation, save that of citizenship; all citizens of Praxis are free and entitled to vote on their national identity (though sometimes nothing else) and declare new states as they please (though they may have to do so at sea, if they own no land on the island state they’ve seceded from). Citizenship and adulthood in the Confederation is defined simply by literacy, with most states either supporting or opposing strong education as a result.
The states themselves are unified in defense of the islands, and nothing else. Years at sea have provided Praxis with great knowledge of shipwrighting; while the various states boost meager navies and smaller armies, they have proven time after time to be adept at repelling invading fleets, often with a flurry of new and surprising alchemical weapons. Beyond this, the states of Praxis bicker endlessly, sometimes even fighting minor skirmishes.
When Atheos still walked the world, Praxis was a primitive nation, advanced in its musings on political and moral philosophy, but generally chaotic and disorganized in all other ways, prone to frequent crime and corruption, with little industry or technology. The general state of disagreement allowed cults of dangerous and reprehensible deities and demons to flourish, often in six-year cycles that tricked and then tormented large groups of citizens. As a human, Atheos founded a powerful meritocratic state, using magic to raise new islands from the sea floor; though his state has since dissolved into many, it formed the base of the Church of Atheism. After Atheos’s death and ascension, his influence remained focused on his home islands; gradually, the scientific method became a widespread principle, and his nation’s famous rag-covered philosophers began to debate principles of magic, science, and observation instead of intangible metaphysics and arbitrary morality. In the past century, Praxis has undergone a renaissance, flourishing economically and socially as advancements in magic and science bring a better standard of living, increasingly free of the restrictions of paranoid kings and corrupt cults as its scientists apply humanist principles to their old and stale moral philosophies.

An Anecdote of Atheos:

The Island of Korsolis was once considered a holy site of Atheism, and featured the first temple to Atheos ever built. Immediately after its completion, the temple was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. A second, larger temple was built; this too immediately burned to the ground. The third temple, built of fire-proof volcanic stone, was destroyed by an earthquake before it was finished, and lightning struck the construction scaffold, leaving scorch marks on the scattered stone. The High Priest of Atheos, at this point, declared that clearly his god did not want to be commemorated by a temple, and was also struck by lightning, leaving him forever burned, scarred, and scared of speech; the next High Priest said nothing on the subject whatsoever, and finally Atheos was pleased.