Friday, November 23, 2012

Devas Are Cooler Than You Think

Devas come from a variety of backgrounds with a variety of motivations. Wouldn’t it be cool to play an awesome deva, rather than just another holier-than-thou Deva?

Really, folks, deva are cool but you just don’t know it. You could easily have an entire party of deva, with no two alike. So, to expand your options, and hopefully get you excited, here are some different types of deva.

The Holier-Than-Thou Crusader

Everyone knows this deva. They volunteered for this job. They show up on earth, eternally reborn, to kick the ass of evil and take no names. This might seem boring, but this laser like determination can blind them to their own evil, and lead them closer and closer to a bad rebirth, so while they are busy saving everyone else, they slowly lose themselves.

The Shamed

The Dead God was destroyed by his own angels. What became of his loyal servitors? Some fled that final battle, hiding themselves away from their enemies. When their god needed them most, they turned coward, and that is an idea that always haunts them. They fight, not so much to make good, but to atone for their cowardice.

The Regretful

Some deva come into the world and decide that they made a wrong decision. They do not want to be in the world. They want to leave and return to the heavenly realms. The only way to do that is to ascend again. These deva now care more for returning to the heavenly realms than they do about doing good. They can’t leave soon enough. However, they fear death, for death makes them begin their quest for ascension again.

The Atoner

Once a rakshasha, you have struggled your soul back to the side of good. You recall everything evil that you did, and now you must live with that. You cannot undo what you have done, but by doing some good, any good, perhaps you can make this time and this place better.

The Incomplete

Sometimes deva are reborn wrong. Something spiritual goes awry. They might not remember correctly, they might have some personality quirk, or they might have some sort of compulsion. Whatever the flaw, the deva is painfully aware that the flaw is there and fear their own rebirth, or worse, a cycle of increasingly flawed rebirth leading them into becoming who knows what horror. The power that they gain may make them whole, or make them a monsters, and they do not know which.

The Guide

Some devas do not come down to lead a fight, but rather, to lead societies themselves into being better, or to guide heroes so that they remain good. The fight that they lead is not against monsters, but against the temptations of the mortal soul. What use is it to defeat monsters when mortals only become worse monsters? Better that mortals reach towards heaven than reach towards hell.

The Freshman

USome deva have newly descended into the world. They know nothing of this place and its ways. Everything is new to them, and they have all sorts of lesson to learn. They may be wise in the way of immortals, but they are a fool in the ways of men. Their eagerness leads them forward, pulling others with them, but their eagerness forgets that their comrades are not immortal as well. They don’t yet understand mortality.

The Implications of Immortality and Rebirth

Unlike most races, a deva is immortal. They are continuously reborn. Some are reborn knowing everything from their past. Some are reborn just knowing their purpose. Some are reborn from great defeat. Yet, no matter the reason, they are reborn, whether they like it or not.

Deva remember the great battles in the beginning, for they were there. They know the gods by sight, and likely low other great beings by sight as well. They have seen history unfold. They may remember the ruins when the foundations were laid. They may have witnessed the depredations caused by great villains. They may have hidden treasure, then forgotten about it. They may even have a grave with their old gear, just waiting for them to return and claim it.

When it comes to mortals, they have seen all mortals die. This shapes their relationship. Do they savor their quick lives, like a parent enjoys children? Do they stay aloof, having learned to not build affections with such short lived beings?

All deva are eternally reborn. So exactly how long does that take? Are they reborn immediately? Are they only reborn when great evil arises? Must they wait a number of years, decades, or centuries before they are reborn? Are they reborn in the same location or different locations?

What do mortals remember of a deva? Was the deva well known? Did the deva leave a legacy? What do mortals think of an ancient and eternally reborn creature? Are they feared for their power, or sought after for their knowledge, or their purported ability to know the will of heaven?