Arcane Renaissance: Terra Rynn
Most ancient myths in civilization speak of the gods in one form or another. Supernatural beings from beyond this world, their power is immeasurable and mysterious. While many civilizations have written and studied their religious and mythical histories, no single conclusive idea of the gods has ever been confirmed by ancient or modern scholars. However, a few trends and patterns have been observed through careful study.
The gods were thought to have once walked on Rynn. Their exact reasons are debated, but most attribute their presence as the birth of civilization as it is understood today. More specifically, it is generally agreed that the gods chose certain races for enlightenment for a purpose, namely to fight demons. For a time, they led the fight directly, and through celestial servents. However, the demon threat rose to meet every victory. With every loss in mortal life, it seemed the god's resolve weakened.
Eventually, a final offensive was made by the gods and their allies to force the demon threat from the mortal world. Once completed, the gods are said to have sacrificed themselves, severing the connection between worlds to protect the mortals. This event, commonly known as the Sundering, marks the end of the gods direct involvement in mortal affairs.
For whatever reason, the connection was not completely severed. Recorded history has yet to show any evidence of direct action by the gods since the Sundering, but there are instances of intervention from their servants. More importantly, divine agents have been recorded countless times, and their power has been demonstrated as undeniable, though the limits remain in question.Excerpts from Kaothin's A Case for Divine Providence, pg. 57
Celestials are beings born from the Astral Sea, created by the gods as servants and warriors. Due to their nature, celestials, upon death or some other limit, return to the Astral sea once they have served their purpose. Almost no remnant remains upon their passing, leaving little known about their form or power. Some sources speak of artifacts or occult rituals that have managed to preserve the power of celestials, however, these records have yet to be verified by contemporary scholars. From what is known, there are a few key facts that are considered reliable:
Angels, while not constituting the whole of celestials, are considered to be the most common variety. It is now considered likely that Angels served as the primary soldiers during the Demon Wars, as well as rulers of the First Cities. Some argue that it is also angels who are responsible for gifting mortals the knowledge of art, science, agriculture, and magic. Yet sources are unable to find sufficient evidence to disprove conflicting accounts of these talents being developed in regions outside the suspected domain of the First Cities, to which archeological findings seem to indicate aspects of society having grown as well. In either case, it is generally accepted that Angels played no small part in the advancement of society.
Because of this conclusion, there are countless speculations on the decline in angelic events recorded in history post-Sundering. It should be noted that Angelic evidence did not disappear entirely, as clearly noted in the account of the Angel Guard during the fall of Teh-Rah, or the Ascension of the Aasimar during the Turathi Empire, circa 984. Yet, their appearance and influence on the world is markedly diminished in the millenia since the sundering, such that accounts of their intervention in mortal affairs is second or third hand at best. Furthermore, the growth of magical dominance within society leaves question to how reliable such accounts truly are.
Information on other Celestials is scattered at best, though the foremost scholars argue that one or more of the serpent godsthat are said to reside in the jungles of Nabare might possibly be of divine origin. Information in this region and the societies who live there is scattered at best, though, and not considered reliable.from Tools of the Gods, by Titania Rosinka
The talents of divine agents are widely documented. From the Disciples of the Pentad, the Paladin's of Al-Kur-Baham, or the Clerics of Turen, there has been marked clear evidence of power and magic granted and demonstrated from individuals who otherwise have no indication of magical power. Some arcane scholars argue that such individuals might actually be sorcerer's able to trace their lineage back to celestial ancestors, however at least a few unique scenarios describe circumstances in which divine agents were able to influence the weave under abnormal circumstances.
Most accounts of divine agents indicate that their talents are inherent, and are not transferable. Theologians debate to this day on the exact requirements necessary to secure divine empowerment, though there is general agreement in the need for the individual to be of a certain mind and spirit. However, because these traits are not obvious, or even easily observed, detecting who and who does not possess such talents remains a mystery to any and all arcane practitioners. Only in the moment that the power is tapped can it be observed and witnessed.
Once utilized, there is little that distinguishes divine power from arcane power, as recorded by mages that have observed the phenomenon. Whatever source possesses a divine agent, the result allows an individual to manipulate the weave to produce equivilent outcomes in nearly all cases. As such, it is the exceptions that prove the rule, and are as follows:
Some practioners are able to channel energy directly from the Astral Sea (as is best observed). While this energy is not nearly as flexible in terms of spell variability, its raw power seems remarkably adapted to counter the effects of demonic or planar influence. This suggests that creatures and magic from differing dimensional planes are demonstrably separate and reactive when combined.
While not unique, it is often observed that the weave is suited to channeling magic of the restorative class. The standing theory is that this is often a result of the alignment of the user, rather than an intrinsic attribute of the power itself.
Finally, such agents have reported in various occasions of having a connection to the gods, or to a consciousness beyond sensation. Due to the nature of such a connection, and the inability to intercept or study it remotely, such evidence is subjective at best. As such, any account of divine inspiration is taken as a matter of faith, even in spite of other magical prowess
Lastly, it appears that for all the advantage of divine power, it is not limitless. Indeed, one of the most interesting phenomenon is the suspension or loss of power from individuals. There are accounts of Clerics whom, despite multiple witness attesting to their previous abilities, were unable to call upon those powers in times of peril (usually their own). It can only be presumed that whatever source such agents draw from, it is not immutable. However, no clear pattern has been demonstrated to indicate what can trigger the gain or loss of such power.On Theology, an inquiry by Roberto de Facina, Dean de Spiritas, Ciecero Divine College
The soul remains one of the great mysteries to mortal science and education. In theory, it is defined as that which exists both part and beyond the mortal body, and serves as the anchor or origin of divine power. In practice, is has never been observed directly, and can only be presumed based on the observation of its absence and effect upon the world.
As the nature of divine power has been demonstrated to be mutable and subject to alteration, gain, or loss, it must be posited that the soul is not the source of divine power, but rather its home. Certain creatures and forces of supernatural forces, such as outsiders and especially undead, have shown an inability and/or violent reaction to divine energy. If we agree with the notion that different dimensional energies are diametrically opposed and reactive, we can propose that such creatures are examples of soulless entities.
Under this premise, we can therefore conclude that those aspects which are shared amongst creatures who do not share such a reaction to that power must in fact have a soul, as it is understood. From this premise, we can see that souls rely in creatures of consciousness of predominant will and independence. A creature without autonomy or willpower, therefore, should be considered to be without a soul. This is not to ascribe a moral nature to soulless entities. While such life forms, such as plants lack independence or will, they are generally considered a necessary good of the world. However, it is the aspect of the soul which ties creatures, such as mortals, to the astral plane, and by that measure all other dimensions.
The Domain is considered a crude metric of categorization, except for the failure of all other models. Classical theory teaches that domains are aspects of the soul, and serve to shape the behavior and personality of the entity it resides in. Scholars have cataloged between 8 to 15 different domains, which arguably mark distinct differences in the capabilities and potential for behavior. If such agents of divine power exemplify the most powerful souls, and such individuals can channel power linked with any domain, than by that argument, all souls must possess aspects of all domains. Likewise, if such agents can channel power from one or more domains much more efficiently or effectively, this suggests that the domain balance within a soul is naturally asymmetrical. These conclusions, of course, presuppose a soul in the first place, which as been mentioned previously, are considered real only under tenuous confirmation.A Treatise on Soul's, their Form, and Function by Idris Arthur