Religion and Spirituality

This is an alternate system for magic and gods in order to better explain divine magic and arcane magic. It also seeks to explain why gods don't just waltz around the material plane doing whatever they please. Any feedback can be sent to any of this campaign setting's authors. On a serious note, this is a work in progress and an incomplete work at that. It's probably rife with typos and half-complete sentences. Questions will gladly be answered.

Mana
Mana is the essence of the natural world. It forms the majority of the Inner Planes and makes up most matter and energy. The manipulation of mana to produce supernatural effects is called Arcane Magic.
Aether
The spark of divinity comes from the existence of something. It is the physical object, life, and place that is the genesis of aether, from which comes Divine Magic. When the divine magic from a source, a river for example, builds up enough, a spirit is born from it. That spirit essentially becomes the divine manifestation of its origin, a representation of its qualities and power as a sentient being. The physical object is called the Arkna, the spirit is called the Ethna. Instead of being made of mana, spirits are creatures of aether and only the most powerful can tap into mana not directly under their portfolio.
Comprised of aether, the soul is the non-physical remains of a life. Souls allow living creatures to tap into the aether to manipulate it or interact with spirits. When the mortal body fails, the soul either lingers through force of will or flows to the outer planes. Most souls eventually dissolve into the plane's natural aether. Or at least that's what I think. It'll be mostly DWind's call I think. Souls left on their natural planes become spirits, but are not Ethna.

Spirits
A spirit's Arkna both falls under and defines that spirit's portfolio. Arkna that are large and powerful create more powerful Ethna. Not all physical objects have a spirit, especially if they are recent. For example, a large boulder fallen from a mountain will probably form an Ethna after its unique aether has time to coalesce. Most spirits are small entities that are barely notable. They may be the Ethna of a single rock or tree. Greater Ethna come from mountains and rivers. It is not uncommon for an Arkna to fall under multiple Ethnai. On rare occasions, Arknai have been known to exclusively possess multiple Ethnai. Often, noble or accomplished families develop Ethnai that can serve as guardians or to perform other functions.
An Ethna's role in relation to an Arkna is often defined by the Arkna itself. The spirit of a forest could either serve any number of rules from a selfless guardian, to a source of council, to an oppressive and aggressive ruler. Alignment often plays a significant role in this characteristic.
The most powerful of Ethnai are the gods. They are usually the eldest Ethnai with Arknai that include sources from across the planes. Gods are typically the Ethna of a race or the highest embodiment of a primal force. Most importantly, gods cannot be destroyed completely without the total annihilation of their Arkna. Though difficult, gods can be slain and killed, for they are very mortal. Gods naturally die after a few millennia. However, the god soon reincarnates into a similar form. The changes are usually slight and cosmetic, though often the personality, memories, and attitudes of the god do shift slightly between life cycles. Such shifts are always very minor; any larger change is due to an outside influence.
Though gods have their own planes, they are able to produce a limited presence on the material and other planes. The physical manifestation and power of a god at a location can only be as strong as its immediate Arkna. An ocean god would have a very difficult time appearing uninvited at the heart of a desert. Likewise, the power of the Human god is very limited in a civilization with few humans.

Note: Ethna 'spirits' are corporeal unless otherwise noted.
Binders, due to their ability to form pacts with the Ethnai, are often prominant members of the various churches of Eressëa.

Gods

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