Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mythology, Part 1


I’m still working out some of the details of the various locations in the local area map, but even still, I’d like to move forward a bit with the next ,and final, sections on world creation—History and Mythology.  

Following the World Builder’s Guidebook, I first need to focus on creating a mythology for this world.  I’ve already dabbled in this a bit over the course of creating my world, but this is the first time I’ve focused on it. 
To recap, each of the three major human groups are associated with a particular faith—the Fairians follow a bastardized version of the Elven faith, with a heavy focus on ancestor worship and Buddhist-like philosophy.  The Umbrians follow “the Old Faith” one rooted in Druidism, local gods and nature spirits.  The Galts have a primary pantheon of various deities; their faith is unified in a bureaucracy ruled by the Synod—a collection of various high priests and other important dignitaries. 

First thing, I need to determine if the how wide spread the faiths are in this world—is there one “true” pantheon, a collection of separate pantheons, or something else?  Rolling a 31 on the chart, I get “One Universal Pantheon”—which means that where ever in the world the characters go, the gods will be the same.  This does not imply that the religions are universal merely that the gods are. Different cultures and people will have different names and different cults for each deity, and in fact might even interpret their relationships and tales in completely unique ways.

Next, I need to determine how many gods are in the Pantheon.  As a “universal” pantheon, I get a +25% on this roll, guaranteeing that it’ll at least be “medium.”  Not that it ends up mattering, as I rolled a 98, and with or without the +25, this means I’m dealing with a “Huge” Pantheon.  Each Pantheon is then divided up to various deities of different power—Great, Intermediate, Lesser, and Demi-Gods.  Using Greece as an example, Zeus would be a Great Power, Dionysus an Intermediate, Eros a Lesser, and Heracles a Demi-God (of course, this a gross simplification for game purposes).  There’s a random number of each, and rolling for a Huge Pantheon, I end up with 4 Great Powers, 6 Intermediate, 10 Lesser, and 1 Demi-God.
That 1 Demi-God certainly stands out, and my first thought was to reroll.  But, so far following the random unusual rolls have at least provided me with something to think about, so I’ll keep it for now.

Now, I need to determine how the various powers are related and how the Pantheon is organized.  I roll a 68, and add 20 since my Pantheon is “Huge” and get “Mixed.”  Mixed means that there isn’t a simple organization—other options were “family” or “Nature” or the like.  Mixed is more like the Greek gods—the earliest ones are primal elemental deities (Sky, Sun, Earth, Water, etc.) but then mixed up as they add gods that are children or family.   I won’t bother detailing this organization until I figure out what the gods are interested in, which comes up later on.

Moving on, I roll to determine the involvement of the deities in this world.  I roll a 75, and get “meddlesome”:
The powers take interest in even the fairly minor evens or situations concerning their followers, and the manipulation of their temples’ fortunes is the primary means of discourse (and field of rivalry) of the deities. Moderately important followers receive advice and guidance, and the highest-ranking followers are in frequent communication with their patron. Deities create avatars at will order to interact with their followers or meddle with mortal affairs.
This is a bit more involvement that I was thinking of, but I kind of like it.  It’s different than what I’ve done before, and fits in with some ideas that Marcus had talked about earlier.  The climate and environment of the world was created not by physics, but by the gods themselves.  There really is a divine North Wind that makes the north cold, and the sun is actually a god (or pulled by a god, or something), and that’s why it rises in the east and sets in the west.

Now, I need to determine what the Portfolios of the various deities are. The WBG provides a nice chart, as well as the instructions that Great and Intermediate powers have 1d3 Portfolios, Lesser’s have 1d2, and Demi but 1.  I roll on the table a number of times, and here are the results:

Type
#
Portfolios
Great-Power
3
Fertility, Mischief, Death
Great-Power
1
Competition
Great-Power
1
Moon
Great-Power
2
Magic, Agriculture
Intermediate
3
War, Fire, Mischief
Intermediate
2
Marriage, Prosperity
Intermediate
1
Animals
Intermediate
3
Earth, Prophecy, Arts
Intermediate
1
Time
Intermediate
3
Agriculture, Weather, Oceans
Lesser
1
Strength
Lesser
1
Fate
Lesser
2
Seasons, Nature
Lesser
1
Prosperity
Lesser
2
Death, Sky
Lesser
2
Sun, Peace
Lesser
1
Messengers
Lesser
1
Children
Lesser
2
Animals, Mischief
Lesser
1
Love
Demi-God
1
Rulership

This is, to say the least, an interesting group of deities.  The Great Powers are the dominant gods in the Pantheon, but this doesn’t mean that they were always in charge…they could have usurped these positions from previous deities.  In any case, this is not a very lawful or even good group.  I’ll need to spend some time coming up with names for all these gods, as well as how they are inter-related.  It’s too much work to develop each god, so I’ll most likely pick 3 or so of them to detail, and leave the rest for if/when they come up in the game. 

Here are my current thoughts though—the gods are jerks.  They’re meddlesome in the affairs of mortals, and in general, are not “good.”  In fact, the only gods that I feel at this point could be called Good would be the Intermediate god of Marriage & Prosperity (though Neutral could work equally as well) and the Lesser God of Sun and Peace.  The rest would be at best Neutral.  So, in this world, it’s less about having a personal connection with the divine, and more about placating the gods—honoring them and making sacrifices in return for their gifts/leaving you the hell alone.  The gods are a chaotic and disruptive force in this world.

Most communities, while honoring all the gods, devote themselves to a small handful of them.  Given that this is a Huge Pantheon, I’m assuming there are dozens if not hundreds of other “gods” who are at best minor spirits.  These are the gods of glade and lake, which are honored and served by local communities and druids, but not elevated to the heights of the “true” gods.  The Elves, frustrated by the chaos of the gods and their demands, turned to their own reason, their own history, and to magic instead.  Many humans believe that is was this “turning from the gods” that sealed the fate of the Elven Empire.

Also, there’s the one demi-god in the group.  I admit, I actually rolled probably a dozen times for him.  As the sole demi-god, I felt he needed something unique about him—another god of war or mischief or nature didn’t seem fitting this stand out.  I finally got Rulership, and decided to go with it.  I’m thinking that he’s the deified forefather of the barbarian people, and that each of the tribes are named for one of his sons.  Each ruling family, and most of the nobles, can trace their lineage back to this legendary founder.  The throne may be elective, but you still need to have the blood of this god in your vein if you seek to rule.  

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 11

With their boat beached after escaping The Maw of the Pelluria, Eirik takes some time and evaluates the repairs necessary to ensure the rest...