About Atheos, God of Skepticism
Epigraph (Bava Metzia 59a-59b):
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)
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):
Week 3 (2 AP):
Week 4 (10 AP):
Week 5 (4 AP):
Week 6 (0 AP):
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):
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.
(ranked, across groups, from most to least favorite)
The nice list:
The mailing list:
The do-not-call list:
The naughty list:
The hit list:
* * *
Memories from a Forgotten World:
Domains (Subdomains): Knowledge (Thought), Law (Judgment)
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 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)
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.