1. Seattleite
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    Deicide: How to make readers understand how impressive this is.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Seattleite, Feb 6, 2013.

    Well, as long as my writer's block hasn't remains regarding this setting, I've decided to write in a setting I know better. I haven't published the setting info on my blog, but I'll write it now and publish it there (out of order though it may be) if that helps anybody. The current work I am writing is a couple short fables, one being the exploits of an adventurer, another a general and another a small party of soldiers best described as commandos. The adventurer is reknowned for killing two gods single-handedly (even if one was a cold-blooded murder), the general for leading an army that killed not one but twelve gods (mostly minor dieties, but still) throughout his career and the soldiers for assassinating two gods. All of this is before the stories, the stories themselves are about the aftermath of their deicides. (They'd all be published in one post. It's part of an anthology.)

    In this setting, dieties regenerate from all wounds other than cardiac trauma, do not bleed or feel pain from wounds unless they reach vitals, (or major blood vessels, but even those don't bleed much or for long) and even if they die from most wounds they will come back to life if their heart is intact. (It also has to be in their chest and that means they need to have a chest for it to be in. Destroy every other organ in their body, their heart won't matter.) And to make it more challenging, gods are so durable that minor heart trauma isn't always fatal for them, and their flesh is much tougher than mortal flesh.

    I'm having two issues. First, I want the reader to understand how impressive such an accomplisment is and take the character seriously for it. Second, want to do this and do it without the reader losing respect for the remaining dieties within the stories. If the reader doesn't take all the major characters seriously, what's the point in them taking any seriously?
     
  2. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    So what you call gods or deities can be described as a superpowered race rather than actual gods or deities. Since your mcs alone have killed sixteen of them.
    A way for you to do what you want would be to provide your readers with a baseline for the power level of your deities, like describing a fight where few gods overpower many humans. Since your adventurer managed to murder a god in cold blood, one of two things is true. Either gods are not hostile to humans from the getgo and as a result live among them allowing the adventurer to get close to him and kill him, or your adventurer is too overpowered in some way.
    Either way, if you want to show how much of a feat it is to kill a god then you will have to establish the gods as superpowered beings before that.
     
  3. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    I think that the sheer amount of gods these characters have killed will take away the impressiveness of the feat. If they are so damn powerful, how can a normal human being kill twelve of them? The character who did this would probably be a talking torso by the time he was done with all of them. He'd probably be missing both of his eyes and have massive scars all over his body.
    Of course, I don't know if the number of gods slain has a lot of significance in regards to the overall story, but it does have a lot of significance in regards to the character. He sounds much too powerful, and this power makes those gods seem weak in comparison.
     
  4. Seattleite
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    You misunderstand. He's a general, he didn't do it personally. Technically, his armies killed them. (Also, he wasn't human. He's a winzig mensch, or "winsch." Winsch are the dominant species on Eo, exist in every element, and are basically miniature humans with natural spellcasting potential.)

    This is still quite a feat and it was his stroke of genius that lead to it. It's difficult to retaliate effectively when gods enter into warfare. The daemons he killed were mostly fire daemons. (A headless creature whose legs stop just past the knees and end in spell nubs, has wings around its waste and as second arms, has no head but has a maw between its shoulders, eyes on its chest and thick, cocaine-white skin.) They fly, so melee isn't an option against them. They move quite quickly, and are difficult to hit with artillery. The general fixed this by predicting their path (they are strongly order aligned, and thus extremely predictable) and having his men firing canister shells and high-power spells into it, while his infantry held spears up so when it crashed it would be impaled. This was followed with much stabbing. Since he was at war with an order-aligned nation it worked multiple times before the ordvr generals stopped ordering their daemon to exterminate companies. (This used to work great, a daemon normally has the speed and power to wipe out an entire company in under a minute as long as it closes the distance. They can do a lot of damage from a distance as well, qualifying as an entire artillery battery by themselves, but a lot of armies use walls of shields to block their fire spells and magic to limit the damage that still gets through, so the daemon might have to close and break the walls or overwhelm the defenses.)

    Once that was done, the ordvr-lead armies switched to using siege weapons on infantry (which is a slight hassle and doesn't work as well) instead. By robbing them of the ability to use daemon against heavy infantry and using surprise to avoid bombardments, he managed to get his soldiers into range much faster and easier in battle and turn the battles. His soldiers also managed to defeat two ordvr in battle, one a general and another the general's daughter. This is difficult because of the ordvr's large size, martial might, nigh-invulnerability, thick high-quality armour, excellent armament and magical power. His solution to this was to have airborne troops (succubi/incubi) ram them by surprise and in mass and then have reise (a fair bit bigger than the already big ordvr) beat them with hammers and clubs before they could get back up. This is followed by removal of their cuirasses stabbing them through the heart. (Normally, blades can pierce armour just fine. To the tip of a sword, platemail is normally a minor hinderance. Most ordvr armour is made of a dense hard, high-strength maraging steel, and has several thick layers to it. Few are strong enough to pierce it and none accurately or reliably and the blade usually gets stuck in the plate.)

    The gods are physical beings, much like the Norse gods. Of the 16 there, 12 were lesser dieties (and eldritch abominations, usually with many limbs and a humanoid torso) called daemon, the remaining four were greater dieties (and humanoids) and were ordvr, (gods of order) chaovr (gods of chaos) or neutvr. (gods of balance) They are labelled as gods because of the religions based around them and their incredible amounts of power. Wether they qualify or not is an opinion, but they're creatures with positions of power of an element or alignment and great deals of power, so I think they qualify. Daemons are elemental entities that have a natural affinity for the creatures of their element, leading them in times of war and defending them in times of peace. They are also often subservient to the greater dieties, even if they aren't openly subordinate. They either follow their orders as given or act in their best interests on their own prerogative.

    It's also worth noting all the deities here are descendents of the nine elder gods. (In terms of power, an elder god is to a middle god what a middle god is to a mortal.) The elder gods are artificially produced beings of great might who arose from Eo shortly after the apocalypse. Said apocalypse was a 100-year civil war in a fragmented civilization on the six worlds. This involved many, many orbital bombardments, the deployment of many weapons of mass destruction and the destruction of not only the infrastructure of the civilization but also the environment of all of the planets. The planets were ruined decades before it was over. How the elder gods came to be is unknown, all that is known is that the elder gods are the only reason Eo has civilization at all, let alone such an advanced one. (Eo's tech level is late pre-industrial.) It's only been 2,000 years, they shouldn't have recovered yet. The gods we see today were created by the elder gods in their own image, and are much less powerful. The elder gods are still alive today, without exception, because all attempts at killing them have been met with failure. Many of the creatures and races on eo today were created through the interplay of the lesser or middle gods and either mortals or animals, and many more were created through the elder gods' magic, but many more existed pre-war. The elder gods cannot reproduce normally, so there aren't any more elder gods than before, but a few lesser gods have ascended to similar levels of power just as many mortals have ascended to a level of power comparable to a lesser or middle god or even been granted divinity by an elder god.

    I already covered how the general achieved his kills and why it was still impressive even though he used armies to do it, but the others warrant explanation as well.

    The adventurer, (who was a incubus, not a human) then a retired privateer, had sex with a female neutvr, then ran a sword through her heart in her sleep and ransacked her house. (It's common for both chaovr and neutvr to engage in interspecies intercourse.) He also kidnapped her newborn daughter, hoping to ransom her back to her family (a really dumb idea) but got attached to her before he could plan out the ransom and decided to keep her. The other god he killed was an akti daemon, a smaller aquatic daemon that is basically a large human torso with eight tentacles (four as arms, four as legs) that branch into eight smaller tentacles each that end in spell nubs. These daemon are native to the littoral regions around the Naichi supercontinent, and have dominion over the creatures within this region. They can command entire armies of non-sapient aquatic creatures, and are talented at gathering the aid of sapient ones. They often act to defend the ecosystem and relieve pressure on species that are being threatened by the actions of creatures who are not a natural part of the ecosystem. (For instance, they tend to destroy Eo's equivalent to whaling vessels.) During his career as a privateer, such a daemon attacked another of the vessels in his fleet and his ship killed it by firing multiple broadside volleys into it and once it died he boarded the heavily damaged vessel where he personally ran a harpoon through the creature's heart so it wouldn't come back to life.

    Finally, the assassin team was twelve sirens (airborne troops, fire element, order's equivalent to cubi) and they killed one chaovr and one swamp daemon. (Similar to akti daemon and likely related, but smaller and with snakes instead of tentacles. Said snaked spit water and chemicals, while the body can cast curses. They also bite and use both contriction and blunt force in combat.) They killed the swamp daemon with a surprise attack, burning and stabbing it. The chaovr (their intended target, they just spotted the swamp daemon and their briefing demanded engagement of any diety they found) attacked them before they could deliver a coup de grace trying to defend the daemon and killed over half of them before they outmanuevred her (both can fly, but sirens are more agile in the air and aren't as easily tired by flight as chaovr) and wounded her. She killed another three before she finally ran too low on energy to fly and crashed. After that she killed another one during the ensuing exchange of spells. Both dieties were finished by the commander, who stabbed them through the heart with a sword.

    All three of these people killed gods only because the gods made a mistake or were taken off-guard (usually both) and it still required clever (or at least skillful) application of a lot of force in most instances. The assassins were just lucky that they took the daemon by surprise, and the chaovr was too overwhelmed with emotion (they were attacking her friend, after all) to outwit them. (Normally, her kind are absolutely brilliant.) Otherwise, the entire squad would have been wiped out without inflicting a single significant injury to either of them.

    Normally, a single neutvr (which is human-sized and has grey skin, is strongly neutral aligned and can not only cast spells of all elements but also both alignments) is a match for an entire battalion of soldiers. They usually wear medium armour of incredible quality, use powerful magic right from the start, breaching lines and splitting the enemies up so they can be engaged in smaller groups, then powering through those groups quickly enough that the others can't reinforce them. Obviously, the neutvr woman was nude at this point and because she was asleep she didn't know she was being attacked until his sword was in her heart.

    Normally, a single ordvr (which is about 3m tall, has white skin, can cast spells of all elements and order alignment) is also a match for an entire battalion. They wear nearly-impenetrable heavy armour, use powerful magic and normally cast spells to breach enemy defenses before wading into them. Their armour is so thick and their bodies so tough they can afford to be hit quite a bit in combat, and they can defend against any threat that could breach their armour quite easily. Their fighting style against a company of infantry has been compared to a gardener cutting grass, occasionally stopping to swat a fly or pull a weed. By being taken from behind and knocked on their knees, they were open to attack from reise, who were using blunt weapons (more effective against armour) and were strong enough to injure them through their armour with them.

    A single chaovr (hobbit-sized, black skin, can cast all elements and chaos spells) usually can't wipe out a battalion, but it can render an entire regiment combat-ineffective. They attack with stealth and surprise, bombarding them with high-level spells from a distance and changing positions too quickly to be tracked so enemy defenses aren't effective. They then retreat once the enemy gets its shit together, leaving the regiment with hundreds dead and hundreds more wounded. If this is done, the entire regiment is incapable of fullfilling any mission it was given due to a deficit of able bodies and working equipment, and a surplus of corpses, destroyed material and wounded. Better yet, the chaovr doesn't put itself in unnecessary danger doing it. In this case, they didn't have the luxury and the force was too small and too mobile to simply bomb. So she was forced to engage them in close quarters with single-target spells, and she didn't engage them effectively because she was emotionally compromised.

    Daemon are powerful enough to sink ships, destroy villages, kill companies and breach fortresses. Fire daemon are better at destroying material than most, stone daemon are better at resisting attacks, flesh at killing personnel, water at sinking ships and wind at engaging other deities. Fire daemon are predictable, and that was their downfall here. The akti daemon (a water daemon sub-type) made the mistake of attacking a ship in a fleet and taking long enough for the others to retaliate, as well as not bringing a legion of sea monsters with it for the attack. Finally, the swamp daemon (a water/flesh daemon) was taken by surprise by flying enemies with ranged attacks, which are its achilles heel. All of them ended up in situations where their natural weaknesses were exploited by their enemies, which is the only reason any of them were killed.
     
  5. Seattleite
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    I just can't finish the Eo setting info tonight and I have class tomorrow. I'll have to finish it friday, and I'll post a link here when I do. I don't know how much it'll help, but I'm certain it'll help at least a little bit. Or just entertain the reader. Either way.
     
  6. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Any murder in fiction is meaningless unless it demonstrates universal emotions - fear, pain, struggle, victory etc. Just making the enemies/victims gods doesn't make the fictional murder any more impactful than a murder of an old lady in her flat by a couple of robbers, and it doesn't make deities a more formidable enemy to the killers than an old lady would have. It all depends on successfully communicating universal emotions in a narrative and convincing the reader why this achievement was epic.
     
  7. The Tourist
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    Well said.

    My concern was the stance that "gods" are at the crux of the plot point. I'm a mortal, so if a demi-god dies, how does that relate to me, or any other mortal?

    They're sitting on cloud, downing copious cups of ambrosia, and I'm sweating a nine-to-five. Then one dies. Your comment of "more impact" comes into play because now I have to figure out why I should care at all.
     
  8. Seattleite
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    These aren't those kinds of gods. These are the kinds that (usually) have agendas and actually work to complete them. And that should be obvious from the one attacking ships and the twelve engaging in battles. Although granted, not all of their agendas are of much import. The murdered neutvr's agenda basically amounted to "raise my child and have as much sex as possible." But then, the same could be said of most mortals.
     
  9. spartan928
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    I don't grasp a plotline here Seattleite in a way I would feel a novel or story should play out. That is, a drama that unfolds and evolves based on characters I can relate to. All this plays out to me more like a video game than a story. As others suggested, even superhuman fictional characters need to be developed in such a way that the reader cares and relates to them. We need to really feel what is at stake with the characters on an emotional level. Otherwise, a huge pile of raw conflict becomes rather mundane and tiring to read through.
     
  10. Seattleite
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    First off, your view of video games is shallow, completely unjustified and indicative of a complete lack of knowledge on the subject. You insult everybody who plays them and everybody who makes them when you say things like that.

    Other than that, you appear to be misinterpreting the presented data. The deeds here do not happen during the stories, they happen beforehand. They are related to the stories, and are important to the characters' backgrounds, but do not actually occur during them. The privateer's story is about fleeing the worshippers of the goddess he killed. (Why does an unimportant goddess like her have worshippers? Because she's the only goddess within 100 leauges, and she was very... intimate with her worshippers.) He's also trying to keep the little girl in the dark about why people have been chasing him for ten years. The general's story is about trying to secure a peace treaty with a nation after his armies killed twelve of their deities and drove them off the island. The assassins are trying to withdraw from the territory where they killed two deities and return to their fortress when ten of their teammates are dead and they've pissed off everybody in the region. The deicide isn't the story, it's the setup.
     

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