Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Truly Naive

Ah, True Neutral. Probably the most popular alignment among sentient species, and probably the hardest alignment to maintain as a player character. As a character with the passions to try and enact change in the world, players naturally tend toward one side or the other, along one axis or the other. Not to say that it's impossible to play a True Neutral character, but over the course of an adventure the time will inevitably come when a character must choose one side or another. And a side, once chosen, is difficult to un-choose.

On an unrelated note, I would say that robots are much more True Neutral than Lawful Neutral. Like animals, they are what they are programmed to do. The exception would be true AI, but true AI would be whatever it wants to be, like any sentient creature. So, I take issue with the Lawful Neutral robot stereotype.

Anyway, first we have the Goddess of the Harvest, formerly the Goddess of Growth, who goes by the name Rooka. She was originally named Barouka, a bastardization of the name of Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Really, though, I just liked the name, and Rooka shares no other qualities with the spoiled brat from the movie.

While once Rooka oversaw the maturity of all living creatures, now she focuses primarily on the growing of crops and livestock. Her favor feeds all settled civilizations, making her by far the most popular deity among the peasantry. Small shrines and temples to Rooka stand in almost every field, farm, and village, cobbled together from whatever the peasantry can find. Often depicted as a healthy, motherly figure, dirty from a day working the field, Rooka doesn't seem like the sort to mind the lack of marble finery that defines the temples of other, "greater" gods, even if her followers likely outnumber those of any other deity.

Rooka has played no major part in any of my campaigns so far, though her sacred artifact--a book that teaches skills to those who read it--is one of the most memorable artifacts players have gotten their hands on.

Neoindae is the Goddess of Knowledge, formerly the Goddess of Wisdom. Whereas once Neoindae strove to understand the whys and hows of nature, matter, civilizations, and how they all interconnect, now she seems devoted purely to the accumulation of facts and data without much concern for their practical effects. After all, if we would all just start focusing on understanding our nature and the nature of the world we live in, wouldn't that solve most of our problems?

Though she is a goddess of magic, she is likewise the patron deity of all scientists (heh). She is also the heart of the three gods of magic, keeping the other two on the task of further understanding the nature of magic when otherwise they might get tangled up in moral stances and vengeful grudges. In short, she is the de facto leader of the gods of magic, respected as the most knowledgeable in a group dedicated to education in some form or another.

Her followers dress in red robes, and her preferred schools of magic are Conjuration and Transmutation; practical schools that dig deep into the mysteries of magic. Conjuration not only creates real, tangible objects seemingly from nothing, but it also helps red mages in their travels, as first-hand observation is important in the accumulation of knowledge. Transmutation is all about changing the characteristics of matter: in effect, chemistry. But while standard chemistry tests the effects of matter on other matter (a gross simplification, but bear with me), transmutation tests the effects of magic on matter, which basically adds a whole new dimension to the field.

Like the other gods of magic, Neoindae is at least partially revered by almost every magic user, especially when they deal with her preferred schools of magic. Her most devoted followers split their time between time in the laboratory and time afield. When called to choose a side on some moral issue, most often her followers ask: which side is on the side of knowledge?

Neoindae is one of my favorite deities, so it's a shame she hasn't really come up in a campaign yet.

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