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Gnosis

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Gnosis is simply the domain power of The Gods and Goddesses channeled to their mortal faithful (or enemies) through the use of Gnosis Marks. While Gnosis is related to Djed, it differs in a significant way in that not everyone has access to it. Gnosis isn't a learned ability that someone has to work with repeatedly to use. Instead, Gnosis is a power that is granted (or forced upon) - along with the knowledge of how to use it - from a deity to mortal person.

Contents

Introduction

The world of Mizahar has a vast pantheon of personalities and temperaments. The established deities throughout the known lands act as harbingers of change which greatly influences the people, places and even Mizaharian society itself. The Gods and Goddesses of Mizahar are comprised of complex individuals with a wide range of skills, beliefs, and histories. These divine beings are often seen as human-like in their personality traits but with enormously powerful additional abilities, knowledges, and perceptions. This range of extraordinary abilities are called Domains which constitute each deities sphere of influence. The Gods and Goddesses are thus super-beings that are often driven by their passions and needs much like normal people - controlling their spheres of influence completely. These deities have well established churches, cults, and tenants which bridge the gap between normal and supernatural making the fantastic often commonplace.

While Godly influence might be considered rare or superficial elsewhere, on Mizahar it is commonplace. The Gods and Goddesses gain a certain amount of their power through the faith of those who worship them. The more followers a deity has, the stronger they are or can potentially become. It is a well known fact that many rank four demi-gods and demi-goddesses have ascended to Godhood through sheer recruitment of followers, treachery carried out via their followers, and the fine art of divine politics. Rank three deities have moved up to rank two as well. Frankly, faith matters - and the collective support of a well rounded group of followers can mean the difference between life and death for a deity. Relationships between deities are also incredibly important. Often together they can achieve what one alone cannot.

Why Faith Matters

If Morwen and Izurdin (and their followers) hadn't teamed up to imprison Ivak and stop his blind rage from destroying the world during the Valterrian, then there might have been nothing left of the World to rebuild after wards. If Rhysol hadn't planted the seeds of hatred and betrayal in the Suvan Emperor's ear through the use of his Black Sun followers, Galifer Odalah wouldn't have had Kova, Ivak's lover and Galifer's new bride, executed and thus set of Ivak's rage which caused the Valterrian to begin with. All things are intertwined. There would be no healing in the world if Rak'keli didn't grant gnosis marks to her followers. Without the great wounded Aquiras there would be no Watchtowers. Nysel's work introduced Dreamwalkers to the world of sleep. Because of Uldr, the dead live again. And through Morwen, Tavasi, Bala, and Sivah, the seasons change and all the gifts that come with such things are loosened upon the world. The Gods and Goddesses of Mizahar have a hand in a great many of the doings of the world. And often, rather directly interfering (which can be dangerous in that it exposes themselves to direct attack or critique by other deities) they use faith and their followers, and thus Gnosis, to carry their meddling out.

Gnosis Marks - The Rewards of Faith

But Gnosis just isn't about what the Gods and Goddesses do. It is what their followers do as well - for the most part in the name of faith and loyalty and devotion. Faith can be rewarded, and generally is. Followers receive Gnosis Marks placed divinely upon their bodies which grant them power. Most Gnosis Marks are deep etchings (that resemble elaborate tattoo or brand-like designs) in the skin of a God or Goddess' followers that channel a portion of that God's divinity directly into the bearer of the mark. Thus that marked individual has access to a select portion of power belonging to the God or Goddess who marked them. This thread of attachment ties the person to that deity for good or ill and its granted abilities are absolutely controlled by the deity in question taking into account who is marked and why they were marked. Gnosis Marks can be given as rewards or punishments. Through a Gnosis Mark, a deity can always track the individual bearing that gods symbol. A God or Goddess can grant up to four Gnosis Marks per person, both good and bad, and that individual will wear that mark (or marks) for life.

For example, the Goddess of healing, Rak'keli can mark a young healer with a Gnosis Mark for devoting her life to healing and swearing an oath of service to the Goddess. If that devoted young healer then uses her powers granted by Rak'keli to cure the poison in someone's body and save their life - she in turn might earn the ire of Vayt, God of Poisons. This is especially true of the person poisoned was somehow carefully marked for death by Vayt. Her mark or marks by Rak'keli grants her the ability to heal, though Vayt's vengeful mark might in fact grant her the ability to poison what she touches - involuntarily. In this case her mark by Vayt is a curse, a punishment, for directly interfering. Such circumstances are rare, and must have some direct interference in order for a God or Goddess to set their negative marks. Vayt cannot, for example, take a dislike (from a distance) to one of Rak'keli's young healers and arbitrarily infect them with plague (via a negative Gnosis Mark) which they spread as they travel around healing. Instead, by the divine rules of the Gods, that young healer has to directly impact negatively Vayt (even unknowingly) to earn a negative mark. Gods and Goddesses have been known to bend rules, which is why set-ups are common. Mortals often play the part of pawns in the power struggles of the Gods, unknowingly acting or reacting to artificial circumstances set up to guide them into certain actions. This is one of the reasons that gnosis marks from Avalis are coveted (or at least the company of Konti Seers) since those particular gnosis marks tend to grant foresight and divination, allowing people an inkling that they are perhaps being artfully guided into traps.

Facts about Gnosis Marks

  1. Gnosis Marks are permanent. Only the deity that grants them (or curses with them) can remove them. Likewise wounds, or even a limb being hacked off that bears a mark will not affect the 'marked' person. The mark will show through the scarring, or appear on another part of a persons body after a limb is lost.
  2. A deity must manifest to create a Gnosis Mark on a player. They cannot do it 'long distance' or through a minion.
  3. If a Deity dies or is otherwise slain, those wearing Gnosis Marks from that deity will have their marks fade and any gifts from that deity cut off.
  4. There is a difference between rewarded/gifted marks and cursed/punishment marks. It is noticeable even to those without gnosis marks. Reward/Gift marks have a beautiful elegant appearance (even those granted by evil Gods or Goddesses to their faithful), while Curse/Punishment Gnosis Marks always appear sickly, ugly, or angry (as in a fresh burn - not one well healed). Some even have a foul smell, and can have the effect of making someone viewing one shudder.
  5. If someone is marked with a gnosis mark, they are also infused with a bond to that God or Goddess. They have a sense of where that god or goddess is, or at least understand when they are near. A person will feel, through the bond, what that gnosis mark grants them.
  6. The higher ranking the God, the stronger or more varied the gnosis marks can gift folks. Specialized rank three Gods can only grant abilities that are within their domain or sphere of influence. Gnosis marks are listed clearly with each deity writeup.
  7. Rank 1 and Rank 4 Gods and Goddesses (or Demi's) don't usually mark followers. By and large the majority of Gnosis Marks come from Rank 3 Gods and Goddesses, and occasionally the Rank 2 individuals.
  8. If a person bears a Gnosis Mark from a specific deity, they can instantly tell if someone else bears a mark (and how many) of that same deity, even if the mark is hidden by clothing or otherwise obscured. Positive or negative, it makes no difference.
  9. Gnosis Marks can change at the God or Goddess' Will. A reward mark can turn into a punishment mark, etc, and the deity doesn't have to be present to do so.

Restrictions on Gnosis Marks

First and foremost, several founders (Cayenne, Gillar, and Gossamer) have asked that they be consulted before a DS or above runs a gnosis mark quest for one of their deities. By clicking on a page's history, individuals can find 'original authors' of the page thus knowing who created what god or goddess. Permission must be acquired from one of these three founders to start a gnosis thread for one of their deities. They would like to see the PC's demonstrate a predisposition for the God or Goddess and a worthiness to be marked by them via faith and reverence before granting permission.

A single individual can have unlimited single Gnosis marks from individual Gods and Goddesses. An individual can also have unlimited second marks as well, though multiple second markings are uncommon. However, when an individual earns a third Gnosis Mark from a God or Goddess, they are effectively 'owned' from there on out and can receive no more Gnosis Marks from anyone else except the person who gifted or cursed them with their third mark. It is not uncommon for a person to have one or two marks from various deities they worship. In fact, some races have patron Gods and Goddesses that tend to watch over them. Myri's warriors, for example, almost all have at least one of the Warrior Goddess' Gnosis Marks upon them, giving them a slight edge in battle. Most Konti, likewise, are marked from birth on by their Goddess Avalis which gives them the gift of sight in all its various forms. Individuals marked with four marks from a single God or Goddess are considered champions - the highest honored (or cursed) of the followers (or enemies) of the Deity in Question. It is extremely rare (though it does happen) for a God or Goddess to grant four marks on more than one person at a time.

Timeframe for Gnosis Marks

Threads that involve gnosis mark acquisitions must be moderated by a Domain Storyteller, Regional Storyteller or Founder. These threads must be moderated fully and be considered challenging to the individuals involved.

Characters can start with a Gnosis Mark by acquiring Help Desk approval. They can also receive unlimited level 1 gnosis marks throughout the course of their adventures. However, when they get their first mark, they should spend on average one year in real time before acquiring a second mark by the same deity and have approximately ten threads in which they show reverence to their deity and demonstrate their faith. However, feel free to contact the Help Desk for advice if a PC falls under special circumstances such as being a part of epic quests or lengthy threads involving the god in question. Gnosis marks are incredibly powerful tools. We don't wish to hinder a characters ability to develop faith in a God or Goddess, but we want the relationship to build over time and be tried and tested. Level three marks should take an additional year and require help desk approval before a thread is started to receive one. The same is true for a fourth mark. There exists, as in all things, special circumstances. Please feel free to seek the Help Desk if you have questions or concerns.

Mark Opposition

There are some deities who are so directly opposed to one another that they will never mark mortals who bare opposing marks. An example would be Yahal who never marks those who have already been marked by gods such as Rhysol, Sagallius, Krysus, Vayt, Ssena or Uldr. Some deities may still mark those baring opposing marks though are rather hesitant to do so and usually only do so if marking that person may somehow help bring them closer to a certain god. For example, Rhysol may mark someone already marked by Rak'keli in hopes of igniting chaos and uncertainty in a person who is devoted to healing and health. One's healing touch may now come with a curse attached. Generally speaking though, the Gods of Light (those gods who embody things like peace, health, life, nature, purity and faith) will not normally mark those marked by one of the Dark Gods (those who embody evil, chaos, sickness, manipulation, fear and pain).

Thread Content and Post/Word Count Requirements for Gnosis Marks

In addition to the Timeframe requirements for a gnosis mark, the acquisition of a gnosis mark is not something that can be done in a single post or even a small handful of posts. While the gnosis mark often granted as a part of the Starting Package requires a background story detailing the acquisition, gaining marks after character creation is a bit more involved. It matters not the level of the mark, a character must put forth a good amount of effort to gain even a single mark from any deity. NOT including Storyteller posts, a gnosis thread should have AT LEAST 10 posts from the character to be marked (This does not include posts in the Divine Connections forum). These posts should be more than simple dialogue where the character and the deity are just conversing with one another. These posts should me more than just a few simple prayers. They should involve the character undergoing some sort of trial or taking actions that would be significant enough to make them stand out above everyone else, at least for that moment, in the eyes of the deity.

For Example: Someone seeking to gain the attention of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal, isn't going to get the god's attention simple by being a mean person. A simple murder isn't going to do it either. A single, uninspired act of betrayal probably won't do it either. These are all things that could also be done in a single post or a small few posts. Also, so many of these acts are done everyday that they wouldn't even make Rhysol blink once. In order to gain the attention of one like Rhysol, a character would have to take part in a thread that truly delves deep into the development of an action or group of actions meaningful enough to direct Rhysol to turn his attention to them. Details can be found in Rhysol's Lore write-up regarding what he looks for when granting his marks.

The above example is but one of so many. The gods do not grant their marks and thus a piece of their power to lesser beings on a whim. They do so as either a reward for significant service in the god's name or as punishment for actions that severely hinder the god's spreading influence. Gnosis marks are not given out for services not yet rendered. This means that a god will not mark a character until that character has done something for the god FIRST. It's not given on an I OWE YOU system.

As a general rule, the acquisition of marks should fit with the following thread requirement guideline (Storyteller posts and word count's not included):

1 mark = At least 10 posts with at least 5,000 words total of significant content and detail regarding the acquisition of the mark.

2 marks = At least 10 posts with at least 7,500 words total (more is preferable) of significant content and detail regarding the acquisition of the mark.

3 marks = Found Approval ONLY At least 10 posts with at least 10,000 words total more is preferable) of significant content and detail regarding the acquisition of the mark.

4 marks = Founder Approval ONLY and should be at least 20 posts with at least 25,000 words of significant content and detail regarding the acquisition of the mark.

Numbers Of Gnosis Marks - What They Represent

The Following is a general idea of what having a Gnosis Mark means. For specific examples of Gnosis Marks, see the individual writeups on each and every deity.

Positive or Reward Marks

  • One Mark - When a character receives a singular mark, it is because they've attracted the notice of a god or goddess. The Deity notices some unusual quality about the person that sets them apart or makes them stand out to the God or Goddess. The Deity finds something in them it likes, and perhaps covets or wants to nurture, so it begins a relationship with a mark, granting them some of that God/dess' divine power, and creating a link between the two. People who bear a singular Gnosis mark do not necessarily worship the God who marked them. But they do have a very positive first start of a relationship. Sometimes the God or Goddess will grant one time or rare favors. Depending upon how the relationship between the two go, the deity might move towards marking the recipient again.
  • Two Marks - The relationship is getting more personal at this point. The God definitely likes a character and has more than one interaction with them. One could even go so far as to say that a friendship is developing, one made up of like interests, mutual respect, and trust. The Goddess has granted the bearer of the mark more of the deities personal power and genuinely wants to see the person marked succeed in life. They might also be setting them up for a higher calling, preparing them for a future role as a priest or priestess.
  • Three Marks - The pc has taken a drastic turn in their relationship with the deity. Upon receiving a third mark, they are in all intent and purpose owned by that deity. A person with three marks from a single deity are expected to uphold the Gods creed in their behavior at all times. They are a direct representation of that God or Goddess and will start gaining a close and personal relationship with that deity. This relationship may dictate that the bearer of the mark spend significant time with the deity, learning their ways and developing a close familiar bond or friendship. The God or Goddess will trust them with dangerous mission and act to protect them when necessary if their loyalty merits it. They will often have gifts and tools tailored specifically towards their relationship gifted directly from the God or Goddess themselves.
  • Four Marks - There is no more close or personal relationship between a mortal and an immortal than a Champion bearing four Gnosis marks. Often the bearer will be like a son or daughter to the deity, or even perhaps a lover and best friend. The tasks the deity will ask of them are truly going to be monumental. Trust is absolute between the two as the champion wields a significant portion of the deities power, making them somewhat godlike themselves.

Negative or Curse Marks

  • One Mark - The player has been at the wrong place at the wrong time, either deliberately or accidentally and majorly interfered with the plans of the God or Goddess who thus marked them. This could also come about because the player stymied long drawn out plans or somehow messed with a God/dess' minions or allies. Now, though, the player is a target. The God/dess will often use them as a test for their loyal minions, sending out their minor agents to hunt them, make their life harder, or mess with their own carefully laid plans - or peaceful lives.
  • Two Marks - Somehow along the way, this negative relationship between the player and the God/dess has gotten personal. This player is now a big target and the God/dess is bent on corrupting their lives, destroying their happiness, keeping them distracted, or simply sending out minions to mess with them. They won't get a full nights sleep after this mark, and they will need to be constantly looking over their shoulder.
  • Three Marks - How to put it delicately? The players life is ruined and they are definitely on the God/dess' hitlist of people who need to be removed from the immediate vicinity of life. Nothing is sacred or safe anymore, and the player has lost the option to shelter under another God/dess' gnosis powers.
  • Four Marks - The player marked with four cursed gnosis marks is the arch nemesis of the deity who marked them and all their followers. There could be no larger target painted on them. If the God or Goddess who thus marked them could strike them dead, they would do so immediately and go to great lengths to make sure it happened (and that it was a long slow painful death). They are cursed beyond belief. Any possible negative thing the God or Goddess could make them do involuntarily they have done. Thus marked, they can have no friends, no family, no loved ones. Their time is limited and their curse enormous.

While positive Gnosis Marks are very common, negative marks are not. Since a God or Goddess must manifest and grant the marks themselves, they normally take the opportunity to destroy someone who has annoyed them that much. The threat of a third Gnosis mark by a God that hates someone is a strong motivation towards getting another Gods support and thus the protection three Gnosis marks grants (after three you can gain no new marks by anyone other than the God/dess that gifted you with the third). So, its nearly unheard of for anyone to have three or more negative or cursed Gnosis Marks... but it can happen. Rivalry between The Gods and Goddesses is fierce at best. Each and every one has another one opposing or despising them. So if someone notices someone gaining disfavor of an enemy, often the God/dess will court the favor of that mortal to irk their enemy further. To the Divine, the world of the living is often considered tools... nothing more nothing less.

It's also interesting to note at this point a God or Goddess can definitely successfully corrupt a player who bears multiple Gnosis Marks. Those cursed marks will then turn positive once the player makes the mental, physical, and spiritual leap to joining forces with the God or Goddess.

Gnosis Tables

Gnosis articles in Mizahar will usually feature a Gnosis table explaining in a broad sense what the Gnosis Marks of a particular deity grant the bearer. Primarily Gnosis Marks are granted as rewards for faith, though occasionally they will be forced upon a player as a punishment or curse. Negative Gnosis Mark titles are bracketed. These listings are intended as guidelines for players and moderators rather than strict limits and regulations. Individual relationships and abilities brought forth (either through rewards or curses) with the Gods and Goddesses will vary. The Gnosis table will look like the following.

Marked [Cursed] - 1 Gnosis Mark
Things the faithful will generally be able to do with this mark.
Favored [Despised] - 2 Gnosis Marks
Things the faithful will generally be able to do with this number of marks.
Priest/Priestess [Adversary] - 3 Gnosis Marks
Things the faithful will generally be able to do with this number of marks.
Champion [Nemesis] - 4 Gnosis Marks
Things the faithful will generally be able to do with this number of marks.


Summary

Gnosis Marks are as powerful as Djed. They can be as powerful as skills as well. Some skills mimic gnosis marks, but can't ever truly replace them. A great example is Healing. To use true divine healing, a person must bear the Gnosis Mark of Rak'keli. One mark equals a decent healer, four marks equals a healer well able to snatch a person from death and champion Rak'keli. A non-religious person can learn the skill of Medicine and Herbalism, which are ways to cure sickness and treat wounds as well. But if a person earns the ability to Heal through faith in Rak'keli, and also learns Medicine and Herbalism, they suddenly become a formidable healer, a single person with a rare ability to heal with faith, herbs, and conventional medicine. There are countless examples of overlap and cross-interest that can easly overlap and compliment each other using skills, Djed, and plain old fashioned know-how.

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Part of a series of articles on Magic
Concepts Magic · Magic list · Djed · Personal magic · Gnosis · World magic
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Gnosis Gnosis · Gnosis list· Gnosis Marks · Religion
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