godsoffortune: (yato)
The Far Shore Mods ([personal profile] godsoffortune) wrote2017-08-14 09:04 am
Entry tags:

God 101 [version 2] 26-03-2017

God 101

Foreword: This guide is meant as a summary of the world-building in “Noragami” concerning gods, and a supplement to our FAQ. I hope that it will be helpful to players who want to be true to the setting, and in turn make the gameplay more enjoyable by understanding and applying the mechanics.

In order to give some context, in this guide I use the gods in canon, such as protagonist Yato and his rival Bishamon, as examples. Therefore, there are some mild, out-of-context spoilers.
I have also supplemented this with some links to pages from the manga, shown with *. While it gives the example in more detail, it also has the potential to be much more spoiler-y. I have tried to avoid anything too big or far into the story. (Please pardon the links to fan-translations. The official ones are generally much better with some of the terminology. Please support the official releases!)

Information supplemented from the FAQ is shown with °.
Information specific to the game is in bold, and in the section at the end.


Gods are born from the wishes of humans. So long as humans remember them, they will exist.


Existence
Gods can be born of any kind of wish, including negative ones. From the moment a god starts to exist, he has some idea of his own purpose.*

A god has no sense of what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, as everything a god does is just. Gods come to understand the concepts of right and wrong gradually through their shinki and by following the advice of their exemplar, which is their lead shinki.

__
In the game, new gods are plucked from wherever they are and suddenly placed into this role, and are not born from wishes. They are welcomed by an emissary of Amaterasu and told more or less about what's going on, including their powers, abilities, and duties as a god. °

New gods retain their personal moral compass, although they are still strongly encouraged to listen to the guidance of their shinki.



Physical
A god has a corporeal form that can feel sensations such as heat, cold and hunger. Amazingly (as Yato proudly states), gods don't poop.

Although neither gods nor shinki will die of starvation*, eating is useful on some level for keeping up their energy. For instance, Daikoku worries that a pained-looking Yato hasn’t been eating properly.*

Likewise, gods seem to function better when they get some sleep, although it is not necessary.

__
New gods also retain these traits.



A god's shinki
A god is able to name a spirit wandering on the Near Shore and have the spirit become their shinki.* Shinki are spirits called and named by a god to remain on the Far Shore to serve as a god’s divine instrument. The instrument can take nearly any form, from house-hold items to beasts.

Shinki are honour-bound to the god who gave them their name and generally serve faithfully. (Within the limits of their personality, at least.)

Among a god’s shinki, one will be the exemplar, a lead shinki. Gods have to rely on their shinki, and particularly the exemplar, to guide them in the 'right' path of morals, because shinki were once human.
Among one god’s many shinki, the exemplar is usually one who exhibits exemplary behavior, upright moral standing and responsibility. In the case of a god having only one shinki, they are by default the exemplar, for better or worse.

__
In the game, for practical ooc reasons, new gods are not able to name wandering spirits to become their shinki.

Gods will be assigned soulless shinki if there are no shinki characters available to be assigned to them, unless the player requests otherwise. ‘Soulless’ shinki are shinki with minimal but agreeable personalities found in the game, who fill the role of shinki until a player shinki partner can be found for the god. They are played by the player they are assigned to like an NPC.

New gods are strongly encouraged by Amaterasu's emissaries to heed the advice of their exemplar and work as a team.




Bond with the shinki and Blight
Between god and shinki there is a particular bond. A god is aware of his shinki’s state of mind, but not vice-versa. Although the god cannot tell why their shinki is feeling negative in any way, they do clearly feel negative emotions such as fear, anger, lust or resentment. This is manifested as the god feeling an ache over his heart, and an awareness of what the emotion is. For example, when the shinki is feeling afraid, the god has an ache in his chest and knows that his shinki afraid, although he don’t know why. A strong, sustained emotion can cause the god pain.*

Although a god doesn’t know why their shinki is feeling the negative emotion, they are of course free to guess based on what they know about their shinki. For example, Yato knows that his shinki Yukine is afraid of the dark, although Yukine never told him that. Yato knows this through a combination of the ache he feels when Yukine is out in the dark, and a knowledge that how Yukine died is connected to that fear (although of course Yukine himself is unaware of that past).

If the shinki's emotions lead them to negative actions, such as stealing, lying or self-harm, the guilt the shinki feels will 'sting' or 'blight' the god.* * It should be noted that the shinki will only sting the god this way if they themselves feel guilty over the action. A shinki with low moral values* or who can clearly justify their actions to themselves* will not sting their god.

In the case of a shinki feeling guilty over something that they “weren’t able to do”, for example, defend their god against an attack or arrive at their god’s side in time to help them, that feeling of guilt will be conveyed as an ache. Although there is guilt, stinging happens when the shinki acts on their emotions.


Stinging firmly informs the god in what is 'right' and 'wrong'. However, a shinki who excessively stings their god puts the god in danger. As opposed to an ayakashi’s blight, this blight comes from within. It appears the skin like a painful bruise, being hot to the touch and infectious.* It starts at the neck, and spreads to the back and then the rest of the body. It makes the god feel sick and exhausted, and if it goes on long enough can be fatal.

Mild cases of this blight can be cleansed with blessed water from a shrine and the shinki apologizing for his wrongdoing. However should the shinki not repent of what he is guilty of and continue stinging his god, the blight will go deeper and ayakashi eyes will begin to grow on the shinki. For cases that far advanced, the shinki must undergo an ablution. (A painful purifying ritual.)*** (Official translation notes: **)

Should a god have many shinki and they all start becoming distressed, the god will get stung harshly because the effect is amplified over so many shinki. In the god’s society it is common practice for shinki to purposefully repress their emotions in favour of always being ‘happy’, in order to not risk stinging their god. In an example contrary to this, Yato prefers that his shinki Yukine vent his troubles and gets it over with, because although it hurts it’s better in the long run.

A shinki stinging his god is considered a very serious crime in the god's society. Most gods will revoke the name of a shinki that stings them. Unless it is done discreetly, the shinki may find it impossible to convince a new god to name him.

The symptoms of blight in both god and shinki can be concealed using particular medicines, although this would be considered a gross deception.

In canon, positive emotions are not shown to be relayed to the god from the shinki. However, naturally a lack of negative emotion weighing the god down will lead to the god feeling more healthy and energetic.

A god can tell a general direction of where their shinki is, if they stop and concentrate on it.

Should a shinki die, the god is at once aware that 'a name has disappeared', although they do not know which name. This loss is accompanied by a sharp pain in their chest.

__
In the game, all of the above applies to new gods. In addition, if a shinki is feeling a very strong positive emotion, an awareness of what that emotion is will be conveyed to the god.



Ayakashi and Blight
Ayakashi are beings of the Far Shore that are basically a bundle of curses and negative energy in a spiritual form. They often take the shape of distorted animals.

Ayakashi affect humans by drawing out their dark impulses, making the human do bad things. These actions range from mischievous impulses and taunting to the most serious actions of murder and suicide.

Mid to larger sized ayakashi are able to speak. However what they have to say is limited to simple vocabulary, prompting a human to commit an evil act or otherwise entice them. For example, "Cut him! Cut him! You've almost reached paradise." or "Your mama is with us. Come here. Come here..."
Within range of a god, shinki or spirit they will also say "smells good", as they smell delicious and good to eat to ayakashi. They will attack in an attempt to devour the target.

Ayakashi mostly come to the Near Shore through vents from Yomi, the underworld. A large surge of ayakashi spilling from a vent leads to a sharp increase in bad happenings in the Near Shore.

Where there is a lot of negative emotion, a ‘storm’ of ayakashi gathers. For example, it would get stormy around a high school around the time of final exams due to all the pressure and high emotions of the students. A variety of ayakashi would gather there.


Gods and their partner shinki often come across ayakashi in the course of fulfilling prayers for their followers. Gods are able to dispel the ayakashi using the skill ‘Rend’ in conjunction with their shinki.

Ayakashi can give blight to a god, shinki or spirit merely by touching them. The blight appears as a painful dark bruise, is hot to the touch, and is contagious by direct touch.
Shinki in vessel form are resistant to blight. For instance, a sword shinki is not blighted by cutting an ayakashi, and an animal shinki is not blighted by using its teeth or claws to bring an ayakashi down.
Clothing is also effective to prevent being blighted by touch. For example, an ayakashi can be kicked because the shoe would protect the skin from direct contact. However it is not advisable to risk prolonged touching an ayakashi, even though clothing. The blight can slowly creep through clothes, and secretions from an ayakashi such as slime or saliva can also cause blight.
It is possible for a spirit or shinki to die from an ayakashi attack. Although it would be extremely debilitating and painful, it is unlikely for a god to be killed by ayakashi.

Blessed water from a shrine or temple, such as what is found at the entrance for ritual hand washing, can cure blight from an ayakashi’s touch. Splashing some water on the blight makes it disappear.

Ayakashi can be deterred by blessed water as well. For example, the god Yato opened a bottle of water in the mouth of a large ayakashi when it tried to eat him. The Ayakashi quickly spit Yato and the water up, and was incapacitated for a moment.
Smaller, weaker ayakashi would be able to stand the water even less. While it would harm them, it would not kill them, as only the ‘Rend’ ability can kill ayakashi.

__
In the game, all of the above applies.



Skills
Gods have the ability to perceive the true form of a wandering human spirit lingering on the Near Shore, name it, and have that spirit become bound to them as a shinki.
They can also revoke the name they gave a shinki.

Simply wielding a shinki allows a god to destroy an ayakashi. Essentially, they combine their power with their shinki's in order to 'Rend' the ayakashi, which is a specific spell used when the ayakashi is caught off-guard or is sufficiently weakened. As not every shinki is an overt weapon, it's up to the god and shinki to work together to find the best way to use their powers.
The god can wield shinki, wear shinki, ride shinki, etc. It really depends on what their vessel form is. (For a visual example, please try watching this.)°

A god calls his shinki into their vessel form by simply calling their vessel name. For example, “Come, [Sekki]!” The shinki must be within hearing range of their god to be called into shinki form. However once they hear the call and transform, they will travel as a beam of light to materialize at their master’s side in vessel form. In the case of clothing shinki, the god is immediately wearing it. In the case of most items, the god is immediately holding it.

The god and shinki can communicate by speaking to each other, however what the shinki says can only be heard by his god and that god’s other vessel-transformed shinki while in that form. There are some exceptions, such as beast shinki being able to speak to others.
Also, the shinki is able to have a perception all around them, and is therefore able to watch their god’s back no matter which way their vessel is facing.

A god cannot use another god's shinki. A shinki’s vessel form can be picked up and held by others. However there is a sense of 'wrongness' about another god trying to use it, and the shinki would not be able to use their full abilities or powers. For instance, a vessel that is a knife would still be able to cut in the usual way, but not be able to Rend an ayakashi.

A god reverts a shinki from vessel form to human form by calling their true name. No one except the god who named them can revert a shinki.

A god alone is basically ‘naked’ and at a severe disadvantage, but that being said, do not make the mistake to think a god without her shinki is useless.* Gods can, for example, skillfully defend themselves with even stick or a bottle of purified water. Some have their own particular talents as well.

Gods can teleport themselves, and a spirit or shinki touching them, between the Near Shore and into Takamagahara (heaven). They can also teleport around to locations in the Near Shore and heaven. This works better with the help of a connection, such as appearing in front of someone that the god is currently on the phone with.
Gods cannot teleport residents of the Near Shore (living humans).

Gods are able to jump extremely well, going far distances in both length and height in a single bound. They are also able to hover in the air and fly, although it is not commonly done. They seem to prefer to rest (dramatically) on an electrical pole or traffic light rather than hover.

Should a god have a follower that trusts them completely, the god may be capable of a 'divine possession'. The god can force out a person's spirit and take over the body. * In canon the details are unknown, but presumably the spirit stays nearby and returns to the body once the god is finished.

__
In the game, new gods are able to use all these abilities with the exception of naming a wandering spirit to become a shinki. For practical ooc reasons, new gods are only able to name existing shinki.

In regards to teleporting between the Near and Far Shores, the teleportation of pets is allowed.

The ability to possess a follower is restricted by the god's power; that is, number of followers. Should a player need to use that ability, they should contact the mods.
In regards to followers, it is a tangible number that is calculated by the mods based on how many comments you make. The 'followers' are awarded after Activity Check.




Naming shinki
Gods innately know how to name a shinki, without being told.
To name the spirit, the god intones: "My name is [Yato]. Grasping thy true name, I bind thee here. With borrowed name, I dub thee my servant. The name answers, the vessel to sound. I call thee as my divine instrument. The name, [Yuki]. The vessel, [Setsu]. Come, [Sekki]!"

In canon the god gives a shinki three names, making use of the fact that in Japanese kanji have at least two ways to be read.
One name is the ‘true name’, the kun-reading of whatever kanji the god chooses as a name, and it gets inscribed somewhere on the shinki’s body. (For example, Yuki 雪) Second is the ‘vessel name’, the on-reading of the kanji. (ie: Setsu 雪) This reading plus –ki 器 is what the god calls the shinki when he wants them to transform into their vessel form. (ie: Sekki 雪器; the name always ends in ‘ki’.)
Last is a common name so that the true name is not used excessively. It is usually a god’s habit to use the same ending for all their shinki. Yato uses a –ne ending as in Yukine and Tomone. Bishamon currently uses a –ha ending as in Kuruha and Aiha*. (Official translation notes: *)

The nature of the master and the attributes of the spirit come together and materialize into a shinki’s vessel form. Once the god calls for their shinki by vessel name, the shinki becomes a beam of light, re-materializing at their master’s side in shinki form.

When a god names a spirit for the first time, or creates a nora by naming an already named shinki, almost immediately afterwards they have a vision of a portion of the person’s past, focused on when they died.
How much is seen is unclear in canon (and note that the anime and the manga are quite different on this point, with the anime having shown many more details). However, Yato was able to understand that Yukine had troubles with his father, although that was not part of what was shown to the reader in the flashback image. So we can infer that the god can understand, and sees, much more than we as readers get to see.

Should a shinki wish to be released from service from their current god and become the servant of a different god, it would be proper of them to ask to have their current vessel name removed by their god before becoming named by another god.
Releasing a shinki is simply done by the god calling the shinki’s name, and intoning “I release you.” The name comes off the shinki’s body and shatters.

__
In the game, the above applies except that in the intonation the ‘true name' will be the shinki character's full regular name, seeing as they kept that with them coming into this world. The second will be the on-reading of the chosen kanji.

The words for naming a shinki are a spell, and should any of the words of the spell be changed (for example, trying to make the language more casual or omitting parts that sound too ornate) the naming will not work.
Whether you look at the fan translation or the official translation for the formula, the words must be the same.

Gods can use this procedure to name an existing shinki and make them nora.

In regards to how much the god knows of the shinki's past, we encourage players to confirm that between themselves. But as stated in the application and FAQ, it absolutely includes how the shinki died.




Shinki's memories
Gods have an innate sense telling them to not talk about a shinki's past while they were alive. This is referred to among gods as the "god's greatest secret". This sense to keep the secret is urgent and extremely difficult to resist, whether or not the god knows the consequences.

Should a shinki regain memory of their past, the 'seal' of their god-given name breaks. The karma of their past turns the shinki into an ayakashi immediately. The only known way of dealing with the fallen shinki is to kill them.
Hence all the secrecy.

__
In the game, gods also have this innate sense to not speak of the secret. Gods who break the secret and talk specifically to shinki of their past will cause their shinki to turn into an ayakashi. The monster will need to be killed, and the shinki can return through the game's death mechanic.
The only exception to this are memories regained to the shinki through the game's regain mechanic. In this case, the shinki can speak about that memory freely without turning into an ayakashi.

See the end section about 'Far Shore Mechanics' for more details.




Prayers
Gods fulfill the prayers of humans. This benefits them by allowing them to remain in the minds of many humans, thereby securing their existence.
In canon, this usually happens by a human leaving a prayer at a god’s temple written on an ena (wooden plaque). The god can delegate the task to his shinki or do it himself. Gods can also make requests of other gods to take on the prayer, like the way Tenjin, a god of learning, passes off requests requiring ayakashi extermination to Yato, a god skilled in killing.

__
In the game, fulfilling prayers also gives benefits. Specifically it can help you gain more 'followers', which in turn can be used in the game’s regain mechanic.



Interactions with the Near Shore
Gods, their shinki, and ayakashi: these beings of the Far Shore live in the ‘blind spots’ of people.

Similar to how you don’t remember every person you’ve passed on the street, or how a few of the waitresses in a restaurant might escape your notice, so the people of the Far Shore are.* If a god calls sufficient attention to himself he can be noticed and interacted with normally.* Ayakashi are further back in the blind spots, so they largely go completely unnoticed.
Animals, children, as well as others who have a reason to be 'close to death' can more easily notice things of the Far Shore.*

__
In the game, the above applies normally.

Should a god or shinki have a picture or video of themselves posted to social media, people of the Near Shore would not notice them properly unless they were playing close attention to the image, or were a person who was ‘close to death’ enough to notice things of the Far Shore.°




Reincarnation
Gods can be killed with a tremendous amount of power. Usually heaven assembles the fighting force needed to bring down a god in the form of an army.
An ayakashi attack is very unlikely to kill a god, although it can severely disable them.

Once killed the god disappears, to be reincarnated immediately. The god appears before their shrine in child-like form and has no remembrance of their previous incarnation. Some knowledge is also lost, as was shown with Ebisu and his research into ayakashi.
New gods are highly dependent on their shinki at this point for knowledge and direction. Shinki carry over to the reincarnated god.

__
In the game, should a god die the game mechanics for death will apply.



Shrines
A god who has a shrine is able to travel to Takagamahara (heaven) from the Near Shore. A shrineless god can still go to Takagamahara by asking another god for permission to use their shrine and be sent there by that god.

Should a god die, the main shrine is where they will reappear.

__
In the game, all gods have shrines and can freely travel between Shores. The new gods also have shrines internationally that they can visit.

When a new god dies they will reappear at their temple in heaven.




'Nora'
Also called ‘strays’, these are shinki who have more than one name.* (‘Nora’ is also what one particular girl stray is called as a name in canon.)
Generally nora are looked down upon in the god’s society, holding a stigma similar to that of a prostitute, and seen at best as vessels with which to do ‘dirty work’.* Nora are known to hold no loyalty as they take on names against the god who originally named them.

A god's perception of their shinki's state of mind still applies. The god will be aware of a nora's condition just as much as their regular shinki's. Should a nora do something they feels guilty of, they will sting all the gods connected to them.

The nora themselves find advantage in their multiple names, one tangible example of which is that all the nora’s names need to be called before a spell can affect them.*

In the case of a nora, if they are in a vessel form then called by another god by that other vessel name, they will (should they will it) transform into the new vessel and go to the other god.**
Any god with a name for the nora can call them to revert them to human form. For example, once Nora transformed for Ebisu (god1), Yato (god2) can still revert Nora to her normal form.* Anyone who does not have a name for the nora will not be able to revert them, just as no one besides their own god can revert a normal shinki.

__
In the game, shinki are able to become nora by having other gods name them. All of the above applies.



The Far Shore Mechanics
This section will further address mechanics specific to 'The Far Shore' game.

Entering the world
Gods arrive at their temple with whatever they had on their person when they were 'snatched' into this world. Basic tech/weapons would be included, like comm devices, knives, guns, etc. Anything more than that would have been taken away.° They are welcomed by an emissary of Amaterasu and told more or less about what's going on, including their powers, abilities, and duties as a god. °

Gods have a vision of their shinki's death basically upon arrival, but the shinki arrive at the Meeting Hall of the gods, so the god has to find their shinki. As they just saw their death, they can recognize them on sight.
Note that god characters did not necessarily die to arrive in this situation - they were simply pulled out of where ever they were and appeared here.


Temples
Players are free to make up what their temple is like and submit the details to the Locations page.

When a new god disappears, so does their temple. The temple turns into an empty lot overnight, looking as if it was recently bulldozed.
Should another player app and ask for a god that was in the Far Shore previously, they will get to design their own temple for the god.
Should the same player return with the same character and god request, they can have their previous temple reappear. °

The exception to the above are the temples of Japanese gods. The new god gets to take over the existing temple in heaven that belonged to the old god that they replaced. If this new god representing a Japanese god drops from the game, the temple will remain in heaven.
In practical terms, this means that the first player to represent that Japanese god gets to design the temple, and should any subsequent players ask for that god, they will get that temple. However, players are free to make some additions and small changes to the temple as they like.


Powers and skills
Ayakashi can only be defeated with the god’s ability Rend. A character's 'natural' (from their own canon) powers can help to weaken the ayakashi, but cannot ultimately destroy it.° A character can use their natural powers at any time. However, players may want to keep in mind any particular requirements for those powers that may be unique to their own world but lacking in Noragami's modern Earth environment.


Shinki and Nora-ing
Should a shinki wish to become the servant of a different god, it would be proper of them to ask to have their current vessel name removed by their god before becoming named by another god. Players are welcome to do this.

Once a shinki takes a form for a god, they will always take that form for that god. The god cannot release and rename a shinki and have the shinki's vessel change.

Players are also welcome to make their shinki characters nora. That is, to become named by more than one god. OOC-ly please discuss it with all players involved, and once it is played out please update your information with the mod team on the god and shinki pages.

It is also possible for a god to name a shinki against their will, as well as refuse to renounce a name given. OOC-ly, this must absolutely be planned out and agreed upon before being played out in the game.


Memories in game
In order to not 'break the world', but rather stay true to the rules of the world, the mechanics for new shinki remembering a part of their past are handled differently.

Can a god speak freely to a shinki about their past? Not entirely. Gods have a strong innate sense that telling their shinki about their previous life or their death will have dire consequences. Shinki also have a natural aversion to talking about their own past. Gods may slip here and there about how 'such and such' may remind them of 'so and so time' as long as it is vague. It will confuse the shinki and make them feel uneasy though.°

For example, in the case of something like a nickname from a god's and shinki's shared past, the nickname can be used but the shinki will only think of it as a nickname with no particular meaning. Should the god speak in specific terms about the significance of the nickname, that is, to tell a story of the shinki's past, it will cause the shinki to fall into being an ayakashi.

To put it another way, the god directly telling the the shinki that 'this was true of you in the past' or 'this happened to you' will trigger the shinki's fall. The god obliquely saying 'I knew someone like that' or 'I know someone who this happened to' is passable.

In the case of shinki who have a god castmate who knows them well, the shinki may pick up on passive information about themselves. For example, that the god knows about powers they have that the shinki has not discovered for themselves, or the god mentioning something like "you were really cool, how you handled that back then." The shinki can come to understand that those statements are about them, but wonder just how the god knows about that power, or when that was that they were cool.
Shinki who start to gather that those passive comments are potentially about their own past will be struck with a sense of discomfort and even dread- the kind of feeling that makes them think, 'I shouldn't think about this too hard.' It is like a fierce but unconscious self-preservation instinct.
To the shinki that past did not happen, as far as their memory is concerned. It's blank, after all. And just how much the god knows about the shinki is part of the 'god's greatest secret.'

What memories a shinki and god can talk about are limited to the ones that the shinki regains. A new shinki can regain a memory without any ill effect to themselves or others around them.
Once a new shinki regains a memory, they can talk about it with others, including their god. Should the conversation wander to other memories however, the instinct gods have to preserve the "god's greatest secret" will prevent them from speaking about it any further. If the shinki gets told and remembers any further memories they will be transformed into an ayakashi and need to be killed.

Canon gods will be naturally terrified of the emergence of shinki who can remember even a portion of their past, and may choose to completely avoid contact with that god and their shinki to avoid 'contamination'. The past is something that canon shinki don't think about, but when they start to it can consume them.

Gods are free to speak with other gods about both their own memories and their shinki's memories. Canon gods will think that it makes for a strange topic though- even distasteful, in the case of shinki memories.