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Eons ago, there was a war among gods that came close to destroying humanity and the mortal realm. Gods depend on humanity, and their destruction would inevitably hurt them as well. At the conclusion of this war, a pact was signed among the gods to prevent this cataclysm from happening again. Gods agreed to leave the mortal world and humans to their own devices. They enacted a barrier around the realm to keep outside forces from entering.

The mortal world is protected by a barrier covered in runes that are designed to keep out other entities. There are many dangers to the mortal world. Other realms exist, such as the fae and demon realms, each with supernatural creatures hostile to humanity. Invasions can occur, in which a being from these realms tries to take over the mortal world and enslave or wipe out humanity. They enter the realm through tears in reality created by sorcerers who summon them. This requires a complex ritual that must meet certain parameters, such as location, time, materials, etc. Although it is a difficult spell to cast, the summoners survive the process. These tears can be used by an opportunistic creature to enter the world and widen the opening, allowing others to break through. Sometimes the invaders are just too powerful or numerous for mortals to handle them, and can only be matched by a deity of rival power.

There exists an ancient spell that is used in times of need. Functionaries of the gods (priests, holy warriors, shamans, etc) can summon a powerful deity to fight on behalf of humans and help them fend off these supernatural creatures. Unfortunately, this ritual is so powerful that it takes the lives of the users, and requires hundreds of people to work. They sacrifice themselves to power the spell and bring a god into the world, and are seen as noble heroes who sacrificed themselves to protect the planet.

Why would a god require the lives of hundreds of worshippers to cross over into our world when other supernatural creatures simply require a traditional summoning?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Ash, ArtificialSoul, JBH, Vincent, Mołot Oct 7 '18 at 18:57

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ I can come up with several answers but ultimately this boils down to opinion rather than there being any solid answers to this based on the little information that you have so far provided. $\endgroup$ – Ash Oct 7 '18 at 9:48
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    $\begingroup$ Notorious cult leader Jim Jones knew, but he drank the Kool-Aid and died together with 900 of his followers. As far as we know, the summoning failed. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Oct 7 '18 at 9:58
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    $\begingroup$ Because I do like the question, I would prefer it to not get closed. I think that is going to be closed as primarily opinion-based, as there is no way by which anyone could argue any answer to be better than another one in solving the problem. Can you provide further information or add a metric of what you are going for so answers will be more in line with what you are envisioning? $\endgroup$ – ArtificialSoul Oct 7 '18 at 11:53
  • $\begingroup$ I do not think that this is a POB question, since animal and human sacrifices have a long history. Thus, "facts, references, or specific expertise" are satisfied by anyone with a knowledge of ancient history. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Oct 7 '18 at 14:32
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    $\begingroup$ @RonJohn, this site doesn't use SE's definition of POB otherwise no question about magic could be answered. Our version is: the OP hasn't provided enough information to justify the selection of a best answer. What this deserves is to be closed as not worldbuilding. It's 100% storybuilding unless the OP specifically (are you listening Incognito?) specifically states that they're looking for a rule-of-worldbuilding solution: a "natural law" that precludes every "because your god demands it" type answer. $\endgroup$ – JBH Oct 7 '18 at 15:44
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Gods only assists in really bad situations

Gods are all mighty creatures, and they don't want to intervene in our world. Besides that, they made a ritual to contact them and ask for help summoning them, even when they didn't.

This ritual is supposed to only be used in emergency situations and that is why it needs a sacrifice. Gods added a massive sacrifice to the ritual in order to make their call more difficult. Only in very desperate situations humanity would be willing to kill so many volunteers (are they volunteers... right?).

As another factor, maybe gods only accept important people or willings to the sacrifice, so it makes more difficult their call, and they are only asked for help in really bad situations and not in trivial problems.

We don't have much innate magic

We aren't fairies or demons, we aren't magical innate creatures, so we can't find that tears in the reality and less we can cross through them. That is why we need the sacrifices, gathering the souls of hundreds of people we can harvest that very but very little amount of magic we have and focus it on a big spell as fuel, enough to tear the reality and make portal to communicate with the gods.

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He Doesn't.

Maybe this god only needs the words of the ritual itself to be summoned, but in this case the god assumed it would be a cult of sorts summoning him so he added the ritual sacrifice bit.

Cults are high maintenance and clingy so being able to enter the physical realm and happen to get rid of that pesky fan club is a win win too me.

Note: Tried to be funny and didn't want to write a "He needs blood" or "those now released souls are eaten for fuel for his celestial chainsaw"

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I dont think this is a question of opinion but one of value. A sacrifice can be done for at least 3 value's: the energy or "life force" in the creature (mostly it's biological energy in terms of mass), the soul of the creature and the emotional/idealogical value the sacrifice represents.

The life force sacrifice would mean that sacrificing something more healthy or more mass would be more beneficial. Say sacrificing a cow instead of a human or hamster. Depending on your story the life force can change for example for mages or 'heroic' people with more willpower and luck to complete grand tasks. But this asks for sacrifices of the most powerful rather than yourself.

The soul sacrifice means that it depends on how valuable the soul is. So a (devout) human will have a more valuable soul than a horse, and some creatures might not even have a soul and be worthless to sacrifice. This doesnt explain why you couldnt sacrifice your neighbour instead of yourself should your neighbour have a better soul.

The emotional/ideological value is probably what you are looking for. Sacrificing a cow during a famine is going to be a lot more influential as you are sacrificing scarce and important food. Sacrificing a human that you would sustain with that food is going to be much more influential... And sacrificing yourself is the last and one of the most powerful sacrifices you can make. No firstborns or similar required (which could be an alternative your people rather not excercise besides that the religious people who can perform the rites likely arent allowed children in service to their God), just yourself and a willingness to lay down your life permanently in service of mankind.

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