I’ll start with the Essence. We know it is a meta-physical energy or life force that can be manipulated to create what we would view as magic. The negative aspects of Essence is called Corruption. The Essence emanates from somewhere because we know that:
“Different planes would have different degrees of strength when it comes to the proximity of the Essence. The material plane is not the highest on that scale of being close to the Essence, and the gods exist on a plane that is most connected to the essence.”
The Void, where The Others and the Ancients are banished to, is the least connected to the Essence. Now I have questions!
[*] Where does the Essence come from? Does it come from an object or all-powerful being at the center of all the planes of existence? Is it a meta-physical plane full of raw energy that radiates out? Can it run out of juice, so to speak, signalling the end of all creation?
[*] Is it possible to be exposed to raw, unfiltered Essence straight from the source?
[*] If so, does being exposed to raw Essence change an object or being physically by itself? Like random mutations. Does it change the soul? Or does the Essence have to be shaped or manipulated by an intelligent creature or object to influence the body and/or soul?
[*] When using magic on Verra, is the Essence filtered or directed through one of the gods, or is it indeed just the caster or object manipulating it directly? Maybe it depends on the caster, so Mages use the Essence directly, and Clerics go through their god to cast magic?
From the livestream:
"Each person's soul acts as, in some way, shape or form, a conduit of the Essence across the planes. So that's essentially how the gods are capable of reaching into the material plane - one of the ways - is through the souls of their divine beings, which are the four great races and their descendants."
[*] Do the souls of the 4 divine races and their descendants exist in some form on all planes of existence at the same time? Including the Void? I would assume so, or they can’t be affected by the beings in those other planes.
[*] Do the Tulnar have souls similar to the four divine races? Any differences at all? I am here thinking of how the Tulnar also include characteristics from other minor races.
[*] Are there beings other than the 4 divine races, or their descendants, that have souls? I assume the Ancients have souls(?). Do all living beings in fact have souls?
We have 10 gods in the Pantheon, with 7 in the neutral to positive/good spectrum, and 3 in the negative/evil spectrum. We know 5 of them: Love, Creation, Fate, Hope and Truth. I am assuming the 3 evil gods, The Others, lie somewhere in the categories of Hate, Death, Destruction, Lies and Despair. The gods are beings of the Essence, and they all represent different aspects and feelings in the universe.
[*] Why do the gods exist? This is pretty much always my first question when I learn of a new god or pantheon. I mean, other than the obvious answer of “because Steven said so”. :p
[*] The next related question is, how were they created?
One theory of mine is that sentient beings made the gods. That mass numbers of their thoughts and feelings, via the conduit of their souls, shaped the Essence into coalescing into the 10 different aspects. This does clash a bit with the fact that the 10 gods also created this universe that Verra is in, so for that theory to hold water, there must be multiple universes. But it matches well with the type of gods we see in the pantheon.
Another theory of mine is that the Essence in the plane of the gods acts like the primordial soup that life sprung from on earth. Through millions of years and random mutations, the Essence coalesced into structures that at some point became self-aware and became the gods we know.
[*] So, what motivates these gods to create other races with souls? First the Ancients, and when that went awry, seven of them created the four divine races that we play in Verra.
[*] Why do the gods want to manipulate the material world through those souls?
[*] Do the gods become more powerful the more souls there are, that match their attributes? Do those souls have to be worshippers of that specific god for it to grow more powerful?
[*] Are there beings other than the 10 gods that can manipulate Essence through souls, from other planes of existence? Like lesser gods. The Ancients perhaps, but others as well?
We know that Corruption is both the negative aspect of Essence, and a gameplay mechanic where a PC becomes corrupt if they kill a non-combatant PC. Killing another player that fights back at any time after being attacked is, however, completely fine. I am trying to reconcile the lore aspect of Corruption with the gameplay mechanic here.
Verra must have some sort of divine rule put on it, for this corruption system to be able work like that. Someone or something is actively judging the actions of every player character, all the time, and if the PC breaks a very specific set of conditions at any given time, their soul and body is corrupted in a way that others can see visually from a distance.
Now, it could be a sort of Magic Law of Nature that the gods put on Verra, that just works in the background all the time.
My preferred theory, however, is more along the lines that this is a divine battle between the gods for souls. The Others and the Ancients want to destroy what The Seven has created, and diminish their power. When a combatant kills a non-combatant, The Others and/or the Ancients see an opening in the combatant’s soul and corrupts it a little bit. This corruption weakens the soul the more there is, causing the lower stats.
Dying as a corrupted PC removes a lot of corruption, so perhaps death acts as a hard reset of the soul that both weakens it a bit (XP penalty) and purifies it at the same time? Gaining XP also removes corruption. In lore terms, this can be described as one of two things as I see it: Either straight up XP Gain = stronger soul that can self-purify corruption, or it’s more a matter of the seven gods rewarding PCs that play by their Verran rules, by reducing the corruption of their souls. Like a redemption mechanic. I am leaning towards the redemption mechanic, because we know we will have quests to purge the overall number of PC kills from the soul.
[*] The Others and the Ancients use Corruption deliberately obviously, but I also wonder if there are other beings that do so as well, and if so, can those beings only do it as an extension of The Others or the Ancients?