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  1. #1

    A New Look At "Arachnia" and the Domain of Fear

    Note From the Writer:

    Arachnia is only directly found in the gw.dat file – and as such, may not even be able to be considered canon lore. Even so, this concept has interested me ever since I searched for the Realm of Torment landmarks that are mentioned in the gw.dat, and even if Arachnia is not canon, I want to explore the possibility of it being canon.

    Now, since Arachnia is most likely a tossed concept, at the very least, this could have been their plans before they switched to the whole “Elder Dragons” thing – and of my hypotheses, none of this is really canceled out by known lore.



    Arachnia and the Realm of Torment "Landmarks."

    There is only one source of Arachnia’s name, the Realm of Torment landmarks. The landmarks that relate to Arachnia are: Arachnia Plateau, Harvestman's Lair, The Spider's Heart, and Vale of Shadows. These four landmarks all either have a reference to Arachnia directly, or to spider-like things.

    Aside from that, the Gate of Fear and the Domain of Fear are riddled with spider legs and spider webs. Also, I have noted that all four aforementioned landmarks are in the Domain of Fear. Two of which are rather close to the Gate of Secrets exit in the area. It seems to me, that when/if Arachnia existed, the now Domain of Fear *and possibly the Domain of Secrets* was its main home/realm – not as it is now for the Domain of Secrets though.

    Landmarks

    Quote Originally Posted by Arachnia Plateau
    A field of soft, leathery soil broken up into rolling plates, like the palm of one's hand, or the underbelly of a spider. It gives only slightly when you walk on it, and makes a soft sighing noise.
    Spoiler


    The image is only a portion of the Arachnia Plateau. The whole of it all looks like all 8 legs of a spider, and the exit to the Gate of Secrets looks a lot like a mouth – though in the wrong position if it were a spider. Although I will not say this is Arachnia, this location could have been made in her image during the domain’s creation.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Spider’s Heart
    Glowing radiance of evil at the heart of Arachnia. Said to be the remains of a now-dead spider-god, older than Abaddon and the Five True Gods themselves.
    Spoiler


    Right next to the Arachnia Plateau is the Heart of Arachnia – or the best guess of the location. The location is believed to be the Heart of Arachnia due to an unusual glow on the map and the ground being lighter in a near-circular area. The glowing of the location fits with the “Glowing radiance” of the description. This is also the singular mention of Arachnia as a god.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harvestman’s Lair
    A flooded cavern filled with remains of the gods of insectoid beings. No native spiders are ever seen, but there is the scurry of thin legs and something made all those webs.
    Spoiler


    The Harvestman’s Lair easily continues the spider theme of the Domain of Fear and Arachnia. Along with that, it is a cavern “filled with remains of the gods of insectoid beings” – this imples there were more than just Arachnia as a insectoid god long ago. But more on this later.

    Quote Originally Posted by Domain of Fear
    Repository of fears of primitive men at the time Abaddon was imprisoned. May indicate the power of a previous, spider or dryder-like race in the world.
    A repository (a place where things are deposited) of human fears from over a thousand years ago – most of which is spider-like. Having spider-like things in an area of fear is not uncommon due to a common fear of spiders (arachnophobia) which was created through fearing deadly spiders and their venom. But the second part is interesting. The area may indicate ancient power of a spider or dryder-like race. It is possibly just ancestors of Spiders of Dryders (or both), but also possibly Arachnia and her original creations. Or perhaps it is all of the above.

    Arachnia’s link to Abaddon

    With knowing that Arachnia is a dead god, and that the Domain of Fear is at least based off of it, we can assume some more things about it. In addition to how the Gate/Domain of Fear look, and with the landmarks in there being mostly related to Arachnia (possibly all the Arachnia landmarks are in the Domain of Fear, and I have yet to spot the rest), as I said, it is highly possible that the Domain of Fear was Arachnia’s home. Now, another thing to look at is the Apostate. Everyone who has looked into Abaddon and lore should know the quest reward dialogue from The Apostate. For fast reference, here it is (and I bolded the important part, and underlined the very important part):

    Quote Originally Posted by Apostate
    Thank you for protecting me. And for your help, I shall now fulfill my end of the bargain.

    You may have wondered why I was being chased so vehemently by Abaddon's hunters, and I believe it is as simple as this: I do not believe Abaddon to be an eternal god. There were other gods before him, before he was imprisoned here. And I believe that while the power he uses cannot be destroyed, he may be supplanted, as he supplanted his predecessor.

    Use this knowledge for your benefit.
    This quote gives us two things. First, there were gods before him. Plural, implying generations or at least a whole pantheon of gods before his pantheon (Dwayna, Melandru, Grenth, Balthazar, Lyssa, and Abaddon). Second, knowing that Abaddon supplanted a god before him, and the Domain of Fear is based on Arachnia, and not to mention that Arachnia is dead, one can assume that Abaddon’s predecessor was Arachnia. Other then the given evidence, it should also be pointed out that the Apostate works in the Gate/Domain of Fear (he can be found in the Gate of Fear, and the quest by him deals within the Domain of Fear). So there are several supports for Arachnia being Abaddon’s predecessor.

    “Insectoid Gods” – Former Pantheon, or a new(old) one?

    Returning to the Harvestman’s Lair description, the area is filled with “remains of the gods of insectoid beings”. Now, this does not mean the gods are insectoid, but just that they were worshiped by insectoid beings. However, looking at the area, they can only be limbs of insectoid beings, and since those remains are of gods, the gods must have been insectoid as well. What connection do these have to the Six Gods – if any – is still unknown. However, due to Arachnia being a spider god, one can easily link him/her/it to being one of these gods.

    Now, there are a good number of theories link Dhuum to be an insectoid god (seen here). This landmark states that there were gods – plural. Meaning there was a pantheon (or part of a pantheon) of insectoid gods. This means these gods were connected to Arachnia, and if Dhuum truly is insectoid like some theories believe, then it could be that these insectoid gods were a previous pantheon of the True Gods. Add in the Apostate's words of gods before Abaddon, there is now even more support for a set of predecessors before the known true gods - and now their generic looks. Which further supports Arachnia being Abaddon’s unnamed predecessor – with Dhuum being Grenth’s predecessor (and now we have reason enough to believe that there may be no more than four unnamed insectoid predecessors of the other gods).

    If, however, Dhuum is not insectoid in nature, then this could in fact be leading to a second pantheon of gods.

    Arachnia as the God(dess) of Knowledge

    This is probably the hardest bit to think about. We don’t know about Arachnia so we cannot say if there was any personality trait that led to the idea of a god(dess) of knowledge. However, there is an idea that was stated to me by draxynnic:

    Quote Originally Posted by draxynnic View Post
    The other side of it - the knowledge aspect that seems fundamental to the role - does work quite well, however. Think how many metaphors there are about gaining and controlling knowledge that involve webs...
    However, there is another explanation for the god’s role and connection with knowledge…

    Quote Originally Posted by Gate of Fear
    The Gate of Fear is one of the great locks erected by the Five Gods to imprison Abaddon, weakened by the passage of the ages and the machinations of the God of Secrets. Past this gate lies a great plane inhabited by the primal fears of early man, and swept by the winds of panic.
    "A great plane inhabited by the primal fears of early man" – Being a god(dess) of knowledge, one knows the various kinds of fears there can be. It could be that Arachia wasn’t so much the God(dess) of Knowledge, but instead a “God(dess) of Fear” – through knowledge, Arachnia controlled fear. Eventually, the knowledge of fear would go to Abaddon and would be spread out to encompass general knowledge (though the darker side of knowledge, at least in his later millennium of existence).

    Arachnia as a City

    Although the main thought is that Arachnia was the God of Knowledge before Abaddon, there was a thought brought to my attention (i.e., not my own) that Arachnia was a city. This thought was given by the description of The Spider’s Heart – which to that person sounds like a "heart of a city." I personally disagree as the same description calls Arachnia a dead spider god. I only included this for vanity's sake.

    Arachnia's Creations

    Every god seems to have their own individual race. Dwayna had the harpies (if the legends are to be believed), Abaddon has Margonites, etc. etc. What did Arachnia have? Well, if there were a group of insectoid gods, then I don’t believe them all to be from her. However, based on the Domain of Fear’s description, and the area pertaining mostly to Arachnia, I’d have to say the Dryders were her own personal creation - possibly the Torment Claws as well. Now, they are under the control of Dhuum it seems (with a few in the Domain of Fear – possibly unaligned, possibly controlled by Abaddon). Why is this the case? My thoughts would be that they decided to follow the last insectoid god, as those gods where “theirs”, which would be Dhuum.

    Giant Spider in Nightfall Jahai

    Spoiler


    This giant spider like being can be found in the southwest corner of Nightfall Jahai (a quest leads to this spot). When staring at a part of it which seems to have burst open (the pink inner portion), one can see that it moves back and forth – thus, is living. As it is living, clearly not Arachnia itself. But possibly another insectoid god imprisoned? Or perhaps it is just a powerful creation of one of those gods. What connection, if any, this living but seemingly trapped creature has to Arachnia or even to Abaddon is completely unknown.

    For all we know, this could easily be Dhuum himself (again, assuming he is indeed an insectoid god).

    Generations of the Gods

    Based on the above information, I believe that the Six Gods have had their power passed down from “generation” to “generation” – that is, from predecessor to usurper. Whether willingly or not on the whole pantheon’s part - for instance, Grenth’s and Kormir’s Ascension into godhood may have been a plan by the other gods, however, the other 5 gods we know of (excluding Dhuum)? It may not have been volunteeringly accepted by the other gods – but if what we know of Dhuum and Arachnia is true and the past generation included the two and more gods like themselves, then they wouldn’t care of the fall of their godly brothers and sisters.

    I believe that the current Six Gods (not including Kormir – instead including Abaddon) are the most recent full generation (Kormir being the first of her own generation) of gods, and at least the third generation (meaning there are four generations total). I only say this because I don’t believe that the world could have been created by evil beings. So in terms of generations, of what we know, the gods could have been “good” overtaken by “evil” overtaken by "neutral" (I won’t call the current gods good by what we know of them…).

  2. #2
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    So, what it comes down to is that we don't so much have six eternal gods as six eternal "powers". Powers that can be contained by an individual, making him/her a god, and, under the right circumstances, can be transferred to a new individual. A process that has happened multiple times (three generations at least). An interesting thought.

    If that is so, then the Asura may be on to something with their claims that the gods are simply manifestations or aspects of the Eternal Alchemy. The gods are changeable. The six "powers" are not.

  3. #3
    This thread does support that mostly-already-confirmed thought, yes. I was also hoping to point out the idea of insectoid gods and giving more support for the old theory that Dhuum was insectoid (while also not denying Arachnia from being an insectoid god which people had issues with last time I looked into Arachnia, something about "two insect gods" seemed to annoy people...) - that is, aside from Arachnia possibly being Abaddon's predecessor and all that...
    Last edited by Konig Des Todes; 07-10-2009 at 15:05.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Konig Des Todes View Post
    Giant Spider in Nightfall Jahai

    This giant spider like being can be found in the southwest corner of Nightfall Jahai (a quest leads to this spot). When staring at a part of it which seems to have burst open (the pink inner portion), one can see that it moves back and forth – thus, is living. As it is living, clearly not Arachnia itself. But possibly another insectoid god imprisoned? Or perhaps it is just a powerful creation of one of those gods. What connection, if any, this living but seemingly trapped creature has to Arachnia or even to Abaddon is completely unknown.

    For all we know, this could easily be Dhuum himself (again, assuming he is indeed an insectoid god).
    Since the Nightfallen areas are "dreamt" by Abaddon, wouldn't that mean the Spider is also a dream of Abaddon?
    Though it could have been a "nightmare" from fighting them before when they fought the Insectoid Pantheon. It seems unlikely though Abaddon would be able to create new creatures that way, so maybe his dreams were even able to summon creatures banished to another realm.

    As for the Giant Spiders, GW has occasionally used the LotR universe as inspiration. In the LotR universe, there are also powerful being in the form of Giant Spiders.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ungoliant
    And similar to Ungoliant and it's offspring Shelob, there is also a "Giant" Spider we have to slay in Arachni's Haunt.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Jack View Post
    Since the Nightfallen areas are "dreamt" by Abaddon, wouldn't that mean the Spider is also a dream of Abaddon?
    Though it could have been a "nightmare" from fighting them before when they fought the Insectoid Pantheon. It seems unlikely though Abaddon would be able to create new creatures that way, so maybe his dreams were even able to summon creatures banished to another realm.
    Yes, I thought of that, which is why I said whether or not it had a connection to Arachnia and the other insectoid gods I am unsure of.

    But think of this: The land had to be something before, so there was land before in that spot - what was there before? Nothing shows any kind of pot-hole or the like for the spider in the original Jahai, so perhaps it is something that is always there, no matter how the surrounding changes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Jack View Post
    As for the Giant Spiders, GW has occasionally used the LotR universe as inspiration. In the LotR universe, there are also powerful being in the form of Giant Spiders.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ungoliant
    And similar to Ungoliant and it's offspring Shelob, there is also a "Giant" Spider we have to slay in Arachni's Haunt.
    Where has GW used the LotR universe as inspiration? Aside from jokes and easter eggs. Arachni was the spider queen of the Maguuma Spiders, why not have a spider dungeon? Just having a spider dungeon doesn't mean "OH! Lord of the Rings reference!" Arachni is clearly from Arachnid (much like Arachnia). Not to mention, aside from the spider idea, Arachni isn't linked to Arachnia.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by BrettM View Post
    So, what it comes down to is that we don't so much have six eternal gods as six eternal "powers". Powers that can be contained by an individual, making him/her a god, and, under the right circumstances, can be transferred to a new individual. A process that has happened multiple times (three generations at least). An interesting thought.

    If that is so, then the Asura may be on to something with their claims that the gods are simply manifestations or aspects of the Eternal Alchemy. The gods are changeable. The six "powers" are not.
    So this doesn't get dragged out in this thread, I'll just point you here and here.

    As to the topic, given the disclaimer, I have nothing to point out for the time being.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Konig Des Todes View Post
    Where has GW used the LotR universe as inspiration? Aside from jokes and easter eggs. Arachni was the spider queen of the Maguuma Spiders, why not have a spider dungeon? Just having a spider dungeon doesn't mean "OH! Lord of the Rings reference!" Arachni is clearly from Arachnid (much like Arachnia). Not to mention, aside from the spider idea, Arachni isn't linked to Arachnia.
    Several refences are made and there are a few striking similarities, the biggest probably being Pre-Searing/The Shire traveling to Abaddon's Mouth/Mount Doom.
    While this doesn't mean it is a LotR refence or inspired by it, it could be possible. An ancient unknown deity-like creature shaped like a spider somehow connected to another fallen God being the source of everything that went wrong the past couple of years? That's pretty similar to the LotR universe, except past couple of years should be replaced by "since the beginning of time".

    As for a possible Arachni/Arachnia connection, none is clearly stated. Arachnia being the Spider God and Arachni being the Spider Queen could mean that Arachni's ancestors (or herself, seeing as age isn't stated) were under the direct reign of Arachnia. Could be noted that Abaddon and so maybe Arachnia was also God of Water and Arachni's Dungeon is located near the ocean rather than more centralized into the Maguuma Jungle.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Jack View Post
    Several refences are made and there are a few striking similarities
    I already said several references are made, just as the easter eggs exist for things like Monty Python, or Alice in Wonderland.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Jack View Post
    the biggest probably being Pre-Searing/The Shire traveling to Abaddon's Mouth/Mount Doom.
    Ok, I really think that is pushing it with the similarities... Beginning and end are similar in that it is a green land going to a volcano. I highly doubt that was done on purpose... Too many differences in-between the two areas anyways.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Jack View Post
    An ancient unknown deity-like creature shaped like a spider somehow connected to another fallen God being the source of everything that went wrong the past couple of years? That's pretty similar to the LotR universe, except past couple of years should be replaced by "since the beginning of time".
    I still think that is a very big stretch. An insectoid pantheon of gods predating the (current) True Gods being linked as a reference to a powerful corrupted spider being connected to an evil being (excuse me for not being up to date on LotR beyond the movies...). VERY big stretch when you look at the whole picture.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Jack View Post
    As for a possible Arachni/Arachnia connection, none is clearly stated. Arachnia being the Spider God and Arachni being the Spider Queen could mean that Arachni's ancestors (or herself, seeing as age isn't stated) were under the direct reign of Arachnia. Could be noted that Abaddon and so maybe Arachnia was also God of Water and Arachni's Dungeon is located near the ocean rather than more centralized into the Maguuma Jungle.
    Or... there is nothing special about the insects on Tyria beyond them growing bigger than they do in reality and the spider queen is the same concept as one would find in a cave full of spiders in reality. That is, the queen is the mother...

    And due to the lack of water references beyond the Harvestman's Lair (which contains multiple god corpses), I wouldn't be sure to link Arachnia to water. Just like how the Great Dwarf is theorized to be a predecessor of Balthazar due to the forging/war and fire motif - Balthazar lacks the idea of cold or stone which the Great Dwarf is linked to in a couple implications. Of course, that comparison resides on the idea that the Great Dwarf is Balthazar's predecessor. Point is, the attribute of the gods may not always be exactly the same when passed down. Ice, Water, and Vapor can all fit together as the same attribute, but Abaddon wasn't even killed when Grenth got Ice (which he is linked to ice over 40 years before the Exodus).

  9. #9
    Hmm...Well the Realm of Torment might as well have been a suppository, because the realms (BUT NOT THE GATES), are all relics of Abaddon. Everything that was, is, or ever will be Abaddon is deposited there, for example, the Temple of the Five Gods. So, one can assume that monuments like the Heart of Arachni once had a home in the mortal world.

  10. #10
    I find this entire Arachnia thing endlessly fascinating, probably because so little is known about it, and because the implications on the lore of the world would be so great. Now though, I think they replaced the Spider-gods with the ancient dragons. It's the same concept (titanic beings older than the current Gods sleeping) with similar implications (the Gods turn out to be not nearly as almighty, or old as what you'd expect from Gods).
    Also, now we know that Dhuum is not insectoid. But who knows how Dhuum got his godhood anyway?

    The other thing that was mentioned, each God seemingly belonging to a race (Dwayna - harpy, Abbadon - Margonite) may imply that "Gods" are nothing more than more powerful members of a certain species, given great power (yet limited power) from some unknown source. A power that can be aqcuired by a mortal by killing one of those deities. Off topic; but I had to say it

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