Reply To: Demon power ups
Some of my thoughts.
As one has new experiences, if you learn from them, you grow. Think of it like kind of like a well. You start out in life with a shaft down into the “bedrock” of your potential. When you start out with a well, only a certain amount of water(animus) will collect at a given time based on the size/depth of the well. As you grow, the well grows, thus allowing more and more animus to collect. So if a demon(or human) grows through experience then it can accumulate more animus, and thus more mana. This would be a long process, picture chipping away at the bottom of that well with a little hammer and chisel. In the case of a demon, however, I see there being a special point in the initial summoning. Basically if the summoners perceive a “demon” to be more powerful, they force mana into it during the binding. In this analogy I’m thinking of the mana as a combination gravity/air pressure, it is what gives the animus(water) structure and holds it together. So if you FORCE extra mana(air) into the well, it over pressurizes it, causing an artificial enlarging of the well. This allows the requisite amount of animus that is required to maintain the level of mana imposed on the “demon”.
Without this the extra mana could “strangle” the animus, as if increased air pressure were pushing the water back into the rock around the well, decreasing the amount in it. Enough of this could take you below the point of self-awareness, so since demons are obviously self aware, they must acquire the amount of animus capable of offsetting the mana forced on them.
So through this mechanic Tom could have acquired more animus than his experience would allow for. It is possible that this increased animus, or enlarging of his soul, could explain the stability he has shown despite the fact that his own personal level of growth should not have allowed it. If you are thinking of animus as a soul, then it is possible that because Tom’s was artificially increased, it allowed more of a buffer, or stretching room, or something for the shock.
On gods. If you assume that the gods were not always there, and judging by the statements that multiple pantheons exist we can infer that this is probably the case, then one can further assume that they were created through some process. Now if you assume that you are starting from a mortal idea/belief, then one has a possible way in which this can occur(if I am understanding the relationship between mana and animus correctly). If you have a large enough base of mortals, channeling mana into an extra-planar space, then it is conceivable for this channeled mana to over time increase up to a tipping point. Once this point is reached there will be enough mana to form its own “plane” through pressure against whatever there is in-between planes. Once this plane is established, there is a place for animus which is attracted by the large amount of mana to collect. And once this animus reaches its own tipping point, you have self awareness. Now since its only source of contact and sustenance is the believers, it is not that far of a jump to assume that this animus will take on the values and form that the believers give it (along the lines of the formation of a demons body. But since it is not self-aware before this point it does not start with its own conflicting beliefs as a demon would). However after it reaches self-awareness it can begin diverging from the original template, and thus shift, and be shifted by, the believers over time.
This would also explain why most cults (the starting point of any religion) do not produce lasting gods. They are either unable to reach the tipping point, or once reached are unable to sustain it.
Also if an established religion declined, then due to a lack of influx of mana the plane of that religions gods might implode, or if there is enough mana before hand to maintain an equilibrium simply split off from the host plane and drift until either it implodes, or another connection is made, or the god is able to find a way to shift to another plane(maybe what happens with new religions adopting and changing old gads?)
Ofcourse I could be COMPLETELY wrong in all of this, but figured I’d weigh in!
Edit: Additional thought. If my assumption on the increased animus from summoning is correct, it could also explain Tom’s new “ruthlessness” in certain situations. Since the increase was formed by the forced mana, it would be imprinted with the expectations of the summoners, not by Tom’s own experiences. This would also explain why it was originally like a switch being turned on and off, but later he found it becoming more a part of him. This would be because as he assimilated the new animus it would change and be changed by his original animus, thus incorporating aspects of both in the final result.