IFAQ: The Beliefs of the Blood of Vol

Art by Laura Hirsbrunner

When time allows, I like to answer interesting questions from my patrons. This has been an exceptionally busy month and I’ve largely only been able to answer questions on my Patreon, but I’m going to try to get to a few more this week, starting with this one.

The Blood of Vol asserts that everyone has the potential to become a god, but that no one actually has yet. How does this appeal to a commoner? Maybe a player character can believe that they’ll be the first one to do it, but isn’t this kind of like saying it’s a religion in which no one’s ever made it to heaven yet, but hey, maybe you’ll get lucky?

So the first thing to recognize is that the typical Seeker (someone who believes in the Blood of Vol, short for “Seeker of the Divinity Within“) doesn’t expect to become a god. A basic principle of the faith is that we all could become gods, but that the curse of mortality was created to prevent us from doing so—that you will die before you can unlock your true potential. It’s not a question of “maybe you’ll get lucky.” You won’t get lucky. You will die first. That’s literally why death exists. That’s not the goal of the faith.

So what is the goal of the faith? Let’s look at the basic principles presented in Eberron: Rising From The Last War.

  • Everyone has a spark of divinity. Find that power within.
  • Death is the end, Dolurrh is oblivion, and if the gods exist, they are cruel. Stand with those you care for; all we have is this life and each other.

Working backwards, the first thing the Seeker faith does is to provide an explanation for injustice and suffering. Why is there death and disease? Why do our crops fail and our children die? Because the universe is cruel. There’s no benevolent skyfather, there’s no happy afterlife at the end of the rainbow. If there are gods, they’re jealous beings who hoard their power and laugh at our pain. This is why the faith thrives in the harshest parts of Khorvaire; it’s the faith of a people who see suffering every day, and who seek an explanation for it. And that explanation is life is cruel. But what the Seeker faith tells you is to FIGHT. The universe is against us. This life is all we have. So fight for those you care about. Protect your family and your friends, because the world WILL try to take them from you. To be a Seeker is to know that there is misfortune around every corner, to be ever ready for the next plague or famine, because you know the universe will take any chance to screw you over. But it’s also to know that you will not lay down and die… and even if you do die, damn it, let your family animate your corpse so you can keep fighting for them until your bones are ground to dust.

And when it comes to fighting… Everyone has a spark of divinity. Find that power within. The common Seeker doesn’t expect to become a god, to fully unlock their Divinity and to become an omnipresent entity with the power of a Sovereign. But the SPARK of that power is within them… and they CAN draw on that power. This is most obvious in the magic of Seeker paladins, clerics, and adepts. Seekers believe that their divine spellcasters draw power from their own divine sparks. Each Seeker cleric is, in essence, their own deity. But what of the commoner who can’t cast divine spells? Well, consider the Vassal smith, who asks Onatar for guidance when they start their work. Consider the Vassal soldier who asks Dol Dorn for strength and courage in battle. They aren’t paladins or clerics, but they believe that they can get strength and guidance from a higher power. The Seeker soldier or smith believes the exact same thing—except that the higher power is within them. The Seeker knows that they have divinity within their blood… that they CAN perform miracles. They have the courage they need. They have the ability to make the finest sword that’s ever been seen. They don’t need to ask some alien force to help; the power is within them. A Seeker doesn’t ask Olladra for good fortune; they know that they can make their own luck. And if it doesn’t work? Well, that’s the cruel universe for you; spit in its eye and keep fighting.

So how does the Blood of Vol appeal to the commoner? It explains why you suffer. It urges you to defy the cruel fates and to fight for a better life, and it tells you that you have the power you need to fight. It doesn’t promise some gilded afterlife at the end of the road; death is the end. But that is exactly why it urges you to FIGHT for yourself and for everyone you care about. Because this life is all we have. Make it count.


When you’re playing a Seeker, keep a few things in mind.

  • Some Seekers believe that the Sovereigns exist and that they are cruel. “As flies to wanton boys, so are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport.” Others believe that there are no deities, that the universe sis simply an impersonal engine of cruelty. Where do you fall on this scale? Do you believe that it’s theoretically possible to some day make the Sovereigns pay for their cruelty, or is the only fight that matters the struggle to survive?
  • As a Seeker, you’re always prepared for the worst. You expect nothing but cruelty from the world. Plague, disease, war, greed—whatever can go wrong surely will. You ration your food because there could be a famine next month… and when it happens you’ll be ready. The followers of the Silver Flame are prepared for the fiendish apocalypse; the Seekers are prepared for house fires, flash floods, flu outbreaks, and every other mundane, shitty thing that could happen. So as a Seeker, you’re never surprised when something bad happens. Of course you rolled a 1; the universe hates you.
  • … But again, part of what it means to be a Seeker is that you will fight against that cruelty. You’ll extinguish the fire. You’ll save your child from the flood and you will nurse them through the flu. You won’t give the universe the satisfaction of surrender.
  • And most crucially, you will fight for everyone you care about. You know that we can’t survive alone. Encourage teamwork. Try to form connections to the people you are working with, because you will need those connections to survive. You may be grim, but you’re not a lone wolf; you recognize the importance of standing with a pack.
  • As a divine spellcaster, you believe that your magic comes from within you. You’re drawing on your own divine spark. When you use divination, you’re being guided by the god you could become. Even if you’re not a divine spellcaster, you believe that you have that power within you, that you are being guided by your own divinity. Where others would pray to a higher power and say give me strength, you say I know that I have the strength I need within me.

What about necromancy? The Seeker refuses to surrender to death. We were cursed with mortality by the cruel universe; necromancy is a way to give that universe the finger. You killed my father? Well, he’s right here fighting alongside me. The Seeker faith asserts that death is oblivion and, therefore, there is no reason to have reverence for a corpse; a corpse is a tool, and if it can serve the greater good, that’s something any Seeker would want. Beyond that, Seekers have learned how to channel the energies of Mabar into necromantic rituals as a way to contain the negative environmental effects of those energies; in places like Atur, Seekers make significant use of necromancy because it’s actually vital to the ongoing health of the city.

So as a Seeker you may be grim and stoic. You may expect the worst from the world. But you know that we need to stand together to survive. You value friendship, love, and community, and you will fight fiercely for those you care about. And as seen in Atur, make sure to celebrate the joys of life when you can.

That’s all for now. Thanks as always to my Patreon supporters for making these articles possible, and look for a bigger article later in the week!

16 thoughts on “IFAQ: The Beliefs of the Blood of Vol

  1. What a fantastic idea. Clerics and paladins that channel their own divine power. I am a god.

  2. Thanks, Keith.

    I like the idea of an imp or quasit that keeps answering Seeker calls to be a familiar- just to see if This is the mortal that makes it, to be the witness of history to pass along to the gossip to the other immortals when it returns to the other planes.

  3. Hi Keith,

    Favourite topic, Keith; couldn’t resist asking a question:

    How does someone like Malevanor explain to Seekers why some are able to access the divinity within to produce tangible magic, and not others?

    (Do paladins, clerics and adepts of the Seeker faith have a recipe for how they unlocked their power, and is this recorded by say, The Crimson Monastery, for others to reference?)

    • How does someone like Malevanor explain to Seekers why some are able to access the divinity within to produce tangible magic, and not others?
      Why can anyone do divine magic when others who share their faith cannot? The power is within you, my child. You just have to believe in it. You have to find it. Some of us hear the voice of our Divinity calling to us; this power is a gift, but it is also a duty, as we must use it to help those in need. Perhaps you cannot hear it so clearly; perhaps you have a different calling. But know that the power IS within you, that it can give you strength when you need it most and steady your hands in times of trouble.

      Do paladins, clerics and adepts of the Seeker faith have a recipe for how they unlocked their power?

      There’s no one perfect way to find the Divinity Within, just as there’s no perfectly approved way to draw on the power of the Silver Flame. That makes even MORE sense for the Seekers than it does for the Flame, because YOUR Divinity Within isn’t the same as mine; we are all following the call of OUR OWN INNER DEITIES. There are surely treatises and texts on meditative exercises that may help, but ultimately it’s a personal calling. It’s about faith and knowing yourself, and if your Divinity isn’t ready to be found or if it has other plans for you, you can’t force it.

  4. I’m an existentialist, so the Seekers have always appealed to me. The fact that there is a group in a fantasy world that believe that the world is a fucked up place but we should fight for each other anyway, it’s just so much fun to me. Definitely the group for me.

  5. Always love a Blood of Vol post. I’ve been immensely enjoying my Seeker Scribes wizard who believes her awakened spellbook contains a portion of her inner divinity.

  6. I personally think that it should be a valid high-level plot for there to be a Seeker who has somehow cracked the code of personal cultivation and is genuinely on the cusp of becoming a genuine god, an unprecedented feat in Eberron. (Almost unprecedented, anyway, given the ambiguity surrounding the Sovereigns and Six, and the concrete existence of the Undying Court.) Perhaps such a Seeker could even be a max-level PC.

  7. Other than Karrn ex-pats, Lhazaar sailors, Zil dabblers, do the Five Nations see any pockets of Cyran, Aundairan or Brelish Seekers? I imagine Thrane’s genuine hand-in-glove philosophical compatability with the Silver Flame precludes them, but would Aundairan (or Eldeen) seekers combine national character for passion to say “we will protect what’s ours, we will stand against” or could a Brelish cynical type see the antimonarchist and humanist approaches of their nation as extension of anti-Sovereign ideals? Did south and east Cyre’s harsh conditions and harsh lords leave anyone thinking the Seekers might be right?

    • Yes and no. The Blood of Vol doesn’t spontaneously spring up the way you see serpent cults across Khorvaire, precisely because you DON’T have an outside force like the Silver Flame creating Voices of the Flame on behalf of the Divinity Within. This is also shown by the fact that it’s one of the youngest faiths of Eberron.

      So there are Seekers in every nation, certainly. But a sect is always going to START with a Karrn ex-pat, Lhazaar sailor, Zil dabbler, or someone else who has direct experience with it. In Sharn, there’s a Shrine to the Blood of Vol in the Karrnathi district of Graywall. But what happens in Sharn doesn’t stay in Sharn. A Karrn ex-pat might move to Ardev and shared their faith with their new neighbors. A Boromar enforcer might be shaking down marks in Graywall and find they really connect with the faith. It’s not called out as having a significant presence in these nations, but it CAN appear anywhere—but it does need a vector, it doesn’t just appear spontaneously.

  8. I read somewhere that the undead clergy of the faith, liches and vampires, etc, had sacrificed their chance at divinity to help guide others to it because the faith believes that one needs a body and a spirit to be able to to access the divinity within. Forgive my ignorance, but was that you or another writer? Can you explain how that might reconcile with the ideas in this article?

    BTW, thanks for taking the time to do these.

    • I read somewhere that the undead clergy of the faith, liches and vampires, etc, had sacrificed their chance at divinity to help guide others to it because the faith believes that one needs a body and a spirit to be able to to access the divinity within.

      This is covered on page 58 of Exploring Eberron. An excerpt…
      (A) common misconception is that Seekers want to become undead. Some do, driven purely by the fear of oblivion, but undeath is a miserable half-life, not a triumph. The divinity within is bound to your blood and your soul, and Seekers believe that the spirits of undead are trapped in their corpses, the spark of divinity lost to them. Those who embrace undeath are seen as martyrs, and generally expected to protect and serve their Seeker community.

      It further explains how undead priests draw on the power of the blood of the living to perform their magic; we’ve called out that a common ritual in Seeker communities is the donation of blood to sustain these undead champions. Again, the core idea is that the power is in the blood of the living. The undead defy death—but in doing so they still lose their LIFE, and life is where divinity lies.

  9. What about Zil and Blood of Vol? I think that the problem of sudden death is solved thanks to Trust, and blood ties very important, then why is the universe cruel and unfair? And can there be any other traditions unique to this country or gnomes undead npc. Was Darius Alire
    Is irKorran a seeker or at least a prominent figure in their society?

    • The Eberron Campaign Setting says this:
      The people of Zilargo are extremely broad-minded when it comes to religion. Most gnomes try a few religions before settling on a single patron deity. Some never make a final choice; there are gnomes who attend and even perform services for both the Sovereign Host and the Silver Flame. Temples to virtually all religions can be found in the major cities of Zilargo.
      The Blood of Vol arose in response to harsh conditions and tyranny. Zil explorers discovered it, analyzed it, collected it and brought it home to Zilargo, where other gnomes embraced and explored it from a purely abstracted, philosophical perspective. It’s never been an especially powerful force within Zilargo, but there those who find it to be a compelling philosophy.
      And no, ir’Korran definitely wasn’t a Seeker. He was pursuing a variation of the draconic religion of Thir—a faith the dragons don’t like humanoids embracing—which espoused the idea that mortals can ascend to replace the Sovereigns after death; he believed that he could become Aureon. It’s a different sort of concept than the Divinity Within.

      • Thank you for the answer, it’s just that in my Eberron there is a Zil sect of Vol Blood that believes that Dorius really ascended as a god of nation, and that’s why the country has such a high level of safety and success

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