For a long time, far longer than I've been here, the old gods have been running the show.
What may not be completely apparent, though, is to what extent they are ingrained into the culture of the mud as a whole.
For example, consider the soul "fluff". It doesn't exist outside Discworld, except where players have propogated it. It's part of the background fun. Players shouting "FISH" over channels, people swearing using "Sek-damned" - these gods are part of the DW culture and as such removing them will harm our uniqueness. Saying "you can keep using those words" or "well, gods dwindle" is not an answer to this problem. Culture stays culture as long as it is supported. Faith and our seven rather silly and terribly interesting gods are part of our culture, and beneficial part.
There will be an argument made that new gods would be more in line with the novels. That isn't strictly true. Most gods in Pterry's works have only a paragraph or two as background. Our gods are so realistic and well fleshed out that many players find it odd they've "missed" the references in the novels. We're not slavishly devoted to the series here; we're _based on_ it. Otherwise, the entirety of BP had best be ripped out.
Now, consider the numberchasers. If this is a power-neutral shift, and balance, etc (Something which I will trust our cres on, since they tend to be astonishingly and consistently good at achieving), then new gods don't actually add anything for them. At best, they get to play with new primaries. If new primaries are going in anyway, why not simply have all priests temporarily removed from their churches, and let the numberchasers choose the new primaries they want? This should be as easy as coding new gods, and satisfies that side of the mud - since ostensibly pure numberchasers don't care about the name they follow (An idea I think is utterly untrue, but put forward for the sake of the hypothesis that numberchasers can't also feel character.)
Next, consider the coders and builders. That's the end of most rooms in Genua. Large chunks of every area, NPCs that we know and love (Vy of Fish, Kess of Sek), addons, room chats - all need to be redone. Sweeps of history will be wiped out.
Finally, and to my mind, most importantly, consider the roleplayers. There are a lot of people who roleplay consistently, and a lot more who dabble in it. We've created characters- priests AND followers - who are intrinscially and irrevocably entwined with the gods we worship.
Using myself as an example, everything I've done in the past year, from my choice of skills to advance, to the fact I purposely haven't acquired some commands, have been based on my character. My character is utterly faithful to Gufnork - if He never existed, then a year of writing is down the tubes.
Sasswots who focus on their Gappic clothing, hours of debate with the other high priests as to which god is superior, Hattites playing around and having parties, Sekkites with custom armour that reflects their faith, deludes and customs and vocabulary - all to be overturned for a power-neutral revamp?
Years of character building, interaction, fleshing out of philosophies and ideologies, debate about which sermons you'd preach if you could, debate over the political status of mixed faith marriages - all "didn't happen"?
Many major players on the mud rp and numberchase both. A number strictly roleplay.
For the sake of the roleplayers, the creators, the numberchasers, and the underlying culture we've built as a community for years, we must not delete these gods.
Look at our current gods, who are, at a first glance quite "silly". Gods are all about symbolism, metaphor, double-meaning and what lies beneath the semblance of ritual. Look at the symbol the god has chosen (fluff, fish, slight showers, clothes) and figure out what it could be a metaphor for. Because THAT is what the people are worshipping--what it represents. Possibly different cultures on the Disc interpret those metaphors differently - for example, while Gufnork might be revered in the Ramtops as a patron of the hearth, family, protection and comfort (since, fluffy blankets, clothes, etc, are VERY handy there), he could at the same time be viewed with hatred in, say, Djelibeybi, where He might be viewed as a stifling, misanthropic god of death/suffering (Ever worn a fluffy cloak in the desert? g'wan, I dare you). Cultures based on trade might very well overlook Pishe's role as a healer in favour of focussing on Her more mercenary aspects (Heal you? Fine, for a price), turning her into a Goddess who oversees trade. Fish's role as a predator/prey god is pretty self evident (with tons of cultural interpretations therein. Possibly even a god of sacrifices). Gapp could easily be adapted as a god of deception (a pretty veneer of clothes over a rotten, nasty soul...the best disguise there is? Appearance worth more than content? So many possibilities!). Sandalfon is just nifty with corridors/neutrality, again, city-dwellers are more likely to appreciate Him than those used to wide open spaces. Hat as a Loki-like god of surprises, the unexpected, and revelry has TONS of mythological possibility and, well, Sek...
Is just plain Seksy.
Not really thematically deficient at all, I'd say.
We HAVE a great pantheon. No, it's not serious (This is Discworld, after all...serious isn't canon), and no, I don't personally see myself building any temples to Pishe in RW (because then I'd be creepy), but what we have is adaptable, and (I'd argue) has served our playerbase very well.
Sure, at a first glance it's shallow. But it doesn't /have/ to be, and I guess the point I'm trying to make, is that for a lot of players (and, moreso, their characters), it isn't--because they've put the effort of thought into making it NOT shallow.
I think it'd be a right shame to see those efforts, and the existing possibilities for our current gods, thrown out simply for the sake of novelty and momentary lack of inspiration.
Just my $0.02, for exactly what it's worth. -Faridah/Yvain/Dywalgi
Right. That's a difficult question for me. I've just finished reading all the posts, from Sojan's initial question, up to here.
When I started playing, I started an assassin character. But PK isn't really my kinda thing, nor is the assassin thing in any case. I tried playing a witch, but she didn't last long; a short while later, I created my first priest, a Pishite. And I found that the priestly lifestyle, which I'd initially decided against when in the newbie area with my first alt, actually suited me. But Pishe wasn't my deity of choice, we didn't really get along.
Then Pythium came around, a priest of Sandelfon. I put a lot of time into Pythium, I worked out what he would look like, and, as High Priest of Sandelfon, I've also put time into working out what the faith of Sandelfon would really be about. In my opinion, Sandelfon, at least, has a lot of potential, story-wise, that is as of yet untapped.
I find Sandelfon, story-wise, works well for me. I like maintaining that balance. Not to mention the fact that I have several sets of grey clothing vaulted. Then there's the matter of unique rituals. I _like_ endless halls. It's fun, but useful, too, and while to some, a god of corridors might sound boring, Sandelfon isn't, and endless halls demonstrates that all kinds of exciting things can happen in corridors.
On the other hand, I admit to being interested in what new possibilities there might be for other gods. There could be interesting new rituals, interesting new stories for the new gods. And there are so many possible gods...
IC matters like 'I'm High Priest of Sandelfon, of course I should support Him' aside, I am loath to leave Sandelfon. I like worshipping the God of Corridors, I like being a character who's uncomfortable outside, and cheerfully explains to others that it's better to stay inside before drying them off when they're soaked to the bone due to rain. I like being neutral, being mediator between good and evil, maintaining my balance by balancing out an act of evil with an act of goodness, or perhaps the other way around. And I like exploring the facets of Sandelfon that are less well-defined, like Sandelfon, as god of corridors, being a god of communication, communication that flows in nicely organized forms, to allow for better comprehension.
As has also been mentioned in other posts, if this change is only so that the MUD is more in theme with the books, then I don't see it as necessary. Are not all seven of our current gods at least mentioned in the books? Sandelfon, at least, is mentioned in the books as being the God of Corridors; no more is known about Him. No more is known about some of the other gods I've seen mentioned as possible alternatives.
So why change a good thing? I agree, things might not be entirely balanced. But I'm sure it's possible to balance things without changing the entire story of the gods, but instead tweak the gods instead.
High Priest Pythium Veridicus of Sandelfon
This business rather saddens me. Many of our deities seem to have depth for every of their priests that are only willing to take the time to figure out what their deity means to them.
I wrote a treatise about the Way of Fish a few years back for those of a roleplaying persuasion, highlighting the path for ascetic Fishites and roleplayers willing to follow this. I and many others have been actively involved in fleshing out our deities and creating player-based clubs, organisations and communities around the existing gods and would hate to see all that go to waste. I have played priests for different deities and came to appreciate many of them, most prominently Fish, Hat and Gapp. There are Monks of Cool, they are in the Discworld Canon and on the Disc, why should Gapp not remain? Hat has always offered great perspectives for play, powerplay, roleplay and inspiration-wise for player and creator alike (at least I hope so, as regards the latter). Discworld isn't Roundworld and it follows that it needn't have exactly the same sense of faith and religion as on Roundworld, even so the gods find many followers and priests who spend much of their time devoted to these deities. The clothes of Gapp may be but a metaphor, an outward usage of symbolism for something deeper (such as the function clothes afford us or the role clothes can take in social life), Discworld is irony, satire, silly, let's keep it that way. As for Fish, the god of sea creatures, of the rivers and seas and oceans and all that lives within. These (his portfolio, as you will) have been inspiring legions of people to passionate beliefs, religions and lifestyles in the real world for millennia, how come the unfathomable depths and boundless distances of the oceans, the teeming lifeforce of the seas and the countless types of life within it are somehow but a shallow, uninspirational surface to you? I know it only says sea creatures, but that does not mean that the priests and followers can't see beyond these simple words. Even looking at sea creatures you have millions of years of evolution honed to perfection in perfect killers, in lightning swift hunters and camouflaging prey, in the use of poisons, firing tentacles or spines, squirting ink, using bioluminescence. Walk up to any lifelong sailor or fisherman and ask them about the sea and its life and you'll probably get a passionate response. That it may elude you when trying to write a room fills me with sorrow, but that does not mean it isn't there.
And that's just Fish, I'm sure the clergy of the other gods could give you quite some details and ideas and passionated responses about their own deities.
So please, be kind to the priests who have built their characters around these deities and fleshed out the concepts of these deities into the everyday MUD-reality that is their player life (be it roleplay or no) and keep the old gods. Many of our characters would become quite obsolete without their patron deities.
Waterrat Gairyunichattai, former Cap'n of the Temple of Fish.
 In my younger years, I admit, but I was certainly not the first Fishite to take an active interest in the course of their own temple and deity and wasn't the last, either.
I've sort of wandered during this entire discussion- at first, I felt that I'd rather have to pick a new god, than simply get stuck with someone else's interpretation of Gapp. I've argued to that end for the past two days on (Priests), but taking into consideration that there will be changes either way, and seeing just how incredibly attached people, even some people I hardly consider roleplayers are to their gods, perhaps it would be a massive waste to discard years and years of player-made atmosphere in the gods that we currently have.
Yeah, for those of us who hunt extensively, we could end up losing primaries and rituals, though I would hope not lots of them, but we're also the people most suited to adapt to the changes; any player who has been here for a significant amount of time could name dozens of changes to combat or commands that have forced them to change the way their character is played. One more change probably won't hurt us much.
For the roleplayers, or even just those very attached to their gods and their atmosphere, the stakes are much higher. They really do have their entire character (or at least as significant portion of it) invested into their god and the worship thereof. Every god on Discworld has years worth of culture that's been picked up along the way from various priests, which would be incredibly wasteful to discard.
Admittedly, some of the gods are a bit of a stretch when you consider their specialties (and I really don't want to spend any free time doing needlework or strutting about in fine clothing), but Discworld wouldn't quite feel the same if I didn't have followers of Gufnork leaving their damned fluff all over the place, or fishites screaming their god's name on every channel. I don't think it'd be worth it to give up all the history and MUD flavour in order to have gods that scream combat rituals.
I've thought about this a lot now, and read arguments from either side and those in charge.
I've still yet to see anything to convince me that there's any advantage at all in replacing all our gods. And there are clearly lots of disadvantages, as well as a HUGE amount of work and description-writing to be done if the plan goes ahead.
Change for the sake of change, I don't buy. As for being more 'realistic', there have been so many ideas and themes for the current gods posted on this board over the last day. A god of fluff can be seen to relate to padding and protection just as easily as (if not more easily than) a god of small animals who runs away a lot. I don't see how there are more possibilities for a god of justice than there are for a god of sea creatures.
I love most of the changes that go on in this mud, but I'm seeing all cons here and a distinct lack of pros.
I liked the idea mentioned already of having Gods worshipped under different names in different areas yet sharing a DP pool. It avoids the problem of not enough players for more Gods while giving us more Gods and keeping the old ones at the same time. On the creative side, different descriptions can be written for rituals, passage rooms and so on for the individual regional Gods. Sorted. Everyone wins.
Here's a suggested list then:
AM Fish - God of Sea Creatures (Fish) Gapp - God of Fine Clothing (Gapp) Gufnork - God of Fluff (Gufnork) Bibulous - God of Wine and Things on Sticks (Hat) Pishe - Goddess of Slight Showers (Pishe) Sandelfon - God of Corridors (Sandelfon) Bel Shamharoth - Sender of Eight (Sek)
DJB Silur - Catfish-Headed God *or* Jeht - Boatman of the Solar Orb (Fish) Nesh - Undefined (Gapp) Sessifet - Goddess of the Afternoon (Gufnork) Hat - Vulture-Headed God of Unexpected Guests (Hat) Bast - Cat-Headed God (Pishe) Ket - Ibis-Headed God of Justice *or* Khefin - Two-Faced God of Gateways (Sandelfon) Sek - Seven-handed (Sek)
Ephebe Flatulus - God of Winds *or* Libertina - Godess of the Sea (Fish) Hyperopia - Godess of Shoes (Gapp) Patina - Godess of Wisdom (Gufnork) Tuvelpit - God of Wine (Hat) Astoria - Godess of Love (Pishe) Fedecks - Messenger of the Gods (Sandelfon) Cubal - Fire God (Sek)
Genua Agwé - (Fish) Congo - (Gapp) Mister Safe Way (Gufnork) Hotaloga Andrews - (Hat) Lady Ban Anna (Pishe) Stride Wide Man (Sandelfon) Bacalou - (Sek)
I borrowed names of Voodoo Loas to round out the Genua selection as only four Genuan Gods were ever mentioned I believe.
Incidentally, I also liked the splitting worship between Gods idea. Lots of nice ideas coming otu of this discussion. Hope people like the list above. :o)
Regards Pendrake Mortificer