The Monday Mythology series is meant to be a discussion about what I have in my head and how to best portray it on paper and in game. If you have any comments or critiques, please feel free to leave them

I originally was going to discuss both the creation myth and the Godswar here, but I was not quite as happy with the creation myth as I originally thought. It took me a while to re-write it because I was unhappy with my original portray of Akos, the female embodiment of chaos. I kept, in my head, revolving around two terrible archetypes for her: The raped victim and the treacherous seductress. Neither were ideas which conveyed what I really wanted to have happen in my world.

Instead, I have created this:

In the beginning, there was a twisted sea of four elements, neither separate from each other nor a single whole. There was only chaos.  Fire was not separate from Earth and Water was no different from Air.
The rolling elements, after a time, gave forth a son and a daughter.
The daughter was named Akos. She was mistress of Chaos, born of the universes primal destruction
The son was called Sae-Oon, and he was the master of Peace, born to sort the universe into its separate components.
Where Sae-Oon walked, the chaos separated and organized.
The Earth formed under his feet so he would have land to tread on. The Air coalesced above and around him so he would have a place to move.
Fire, his sword, to his right, and the water, his shield, to his left.
Akos only brought destruction where she went. The roads that Sae-Oon tread were torn apart, the sky filled with fire and waters sunk away. Akos, seeing all that Sae-Oon was, desired him.
But Sae-Oon treasured his creations, and was enraged at the destruction that Akos caused. When Akos approached him, he rebuked her
“Why do you come, Akos, destroyer of all I create”
“I desire your company, Sae-Oon. I am alone in the universe, without equal, Save for you. I would give all of creation for your company! There is only us! You are my match!
“It cannot be, Akos. You destroy all that I create. You cannot keep yourself in check. I will be alone, and you will be alone. I despise you! ”
Akos, spurned, and dejected, walked back alone into the Maelstrom.
But Sae-Oon soon felt the truth of Akos’ words. He created vast mountain ranges, deep seas, and clear skies. He created too, rivers of fire, flying icebergs and great clouds of ash. Nothing, however, appeased his loneliness. He desired company.
So he created from the primal elements the first Gods, his children. Evalrun, from cold logic of stone
Takkannas, from burning wrath of the fire
Nera, the capricious desires of the cold
a
nd Conadral, the silent expanses of air
These four beings, though, were reverent to him, and though they gave him respect and love, they were not his equals. Whatever they could do, he could also do. He felt no kinship to his creations. The loneliness only amplified itself, compounded by the absence of Akos, who he had started to long himself. On a particularly terrible bout of loneliness, Sae-Oon drank himself into a stupor, though it took precious little of the Godsmead to do it. It was a concoction created by all his children together, and he very much enjoyed it. With ferocious vigor he set into the Maelstrom, calling out for Akos, over and over. His children had never seen him this way.  Akos heard his calls, however, and came out. She took him in, and they lay together. Throughout the night, there was much commotion, and the Gods were terrified. The next day, Sae-Oon woke alone, deep in the wilds of the Maelstrom. When he returned to his children, they would not look him in the eyes. They would not tell him what his night had contained. The months passed, and while Sae-Oon was curious what had happened that night, he did not press his children. Life returned, and while he wondered what had happened to the vanished Akos, he was not disappointed she was gone. His world was orderly and he was happy.
Akos, however, did not stay away forever. One day, she returned, large with child.
“Sae-Oon!, “ she shouted, “look what we have made! A true child of the universe!”
Sae-Oon was wracked with shame, his shame. It bit to the core that he had allowed such a thing to happen, and asked his children if all was true, and as they told him everything, tears rolled down his eyes.
 He fled without a word, deep into the Maelstrom, never looking back. Eventually, alone in the mire of fire and earth, the mix of air and fire, Sae-Oon curled up in shame and slept. The Maelstrom around him  solidified and ordered itself without his conscious direction.
First came fire, his rage, to surround him.
Then, Much later came earth, enclosing his rage in defeat.
Then, shortly after, as he grew to accept it, he became calm and the waters pooled, cooling his defeat.
Finally, he was blanketed in the silence of death, and the air filled the space around him, cushioning the blows what was left of the Chaos. An enormous plane of earth, water, fire and sky now existed where there had once been only chaos. The gods, though, had saved a small bit of their connected element,  infinitely large as they were, to dwell in and on. They set these bits in motion around the  body of Sae-Oon, their father, so they may watch over him.
As all of this happened, Akos was forced to retreat into the world of shadows that was left between the planes. Here, in the darkest recesses of the universe, she gave birth to the greatest evil. Born of lust and failure, of desire and weakness, the Demon Queen ripped herself out of her mother’s womb fully formed. The experience was traumatic in the extreme for Akos, who bleed out her life as her daughter watched unconcerned.
Thus was the world, and its greatest foe, created. 

What I wanted here was a Father earth, created in shame of his part in birthing the great evil on the world, though he never saw it to fruition. His literal body was to be the world, much in the manner of Tiamat of Mesopotamian myth.

Let me know what you think of the creation story, this is the first time I’ve ever shared it with anyone, so I’m eager to see what people think!

 

So, that’s it until after NOVA! I’ll see you again for another Mythology Monday on Sept. 1!

After trying a number of ways to breakdown the Pantheon into families, especially given that many of the gods are spontaneous creations that aren’t tied to a given bloodline, I think that moving in that direction is an error. While I figure out how to explain how I wish to convey the elemental strength of the gods in a manner that isn’t familial, I’m going to move over to a second primal god and her direct  surviving progeny: Nera, Oranna and AmaraanContinue reading

Xe, Accursed of Ferocity

Other Titles: The Wild King, Unnameable, Scourge of Civilization

Alignment: CE

Weapon: Claws

Major Domains: FerocitySavagery, Feral Animals

Minor Domains:  Erosion, Natural Calamities, Cannibalism

Totem Animal: Hyena (The warform is composed of Wind, Lightning and clouds)

Holy Symbol: A simple, left-curving bone Claw or Fang, sometimes with a background of deep green.

Favored Appearances: Xe is a wild and unkempt creation, and both his forms display that lack of regard for personal hygiene and his inability to care for himself in any way. His male for is that of a ragged and tattered elven man, Long past the point of deprivation. He wears old, tattered leggings, stained with blood and dirt. Shirtless, his skin is drawn tight across his rib cage, creating a horrid, nearly starved look. his black, greasy hair reaches well past his shoulder blades, and hang loose, creating a disgusting mane. The skin around his face is tight, creating an almost skull like effect, with his eyes are sunk deep in his head, his lips pulled back to show yellow, rotten teeth. Thankfully, he chooses an elven form, as his facial hair is light and sparse but coarse. The only sign of even the barest hint of intelligence beyond his breeches are the articulated metal gauntlets that end in great bone claws in place of his amputated final digits on his fingers.

His female form is of the same gaunt stature and taken care of in the same neglectful manner, though generally takes the form of a female human instead of elven, for reasons known only to Him. Her hair is more flat, lying along her back as if it has just stormed, and a vivid brown. Her eyes are a fiery green, where his are only pools of darkness. She too, is gaunt, with features marred by the singular lack of any signs of health. Its as if Xe stayed a single night, death would come in the night from starvation.

Personality: Xe is the wildness and the ruthlessness of nature, combined with the uncaring and violent destruction of storms all wrapped into one package. He is almost completely alien, even to the other Paltonarchs and Accursed. Many wonder if Xe even has intelligence, though those who know him are keenly aware that even if it is not intelligence, its the vicious cunning of a predator.  He is wild and quick to anger, though swift also to forget and let those who wronged him moments before approach. He holds no grudges, and does not despair when those around him perish or fail.  He is the uncaring claws and fangs of the universe, and he loves it.

Teachings: Xe does not teach through priests and doctrine, but by example. He hunts only enough to barely satisfy his hungers, but he will kill those he finds dangerous or who confront him. He tolerates other predators within his same space, but only as long as they respect his boundaries. Those who are strong, in times of need, take what they can from the week, but not simply because they can, but to survive.  There is also strong reverence for the ferocious, untamed and wild beasts of all types, as they are the most free creatures in the universe. They live only to eat, to kill and to pass on their legacy; and that is what Xe Stands for.

Abode: Xe lives in no man made, or god made, structure. He wanders the bleak and desolate places of the Iron Marches, sleeping in caves and under the cover of trees. A simple and violent entity, his existence is one constantly on the edge of annihilation, staving it off one day at a time.

Cultits: The Cult of Xe is one that has no internal structure or strata; there are simply equals among the wilderness of existence. Those few who follow him ask him for guidance in the hunt, to find enough to eat to stave off death for but a single day. Living squalid lives in caves, caverns and ruins, these cultist are a scourge on any society they live near, killing and eating whatever is vulnerable.

Clerical Attire/colors: The natural colors of golden grass, dark, rotting vegitation and the black clouds and earth are the colors of Xe. 

Followers: Few Follow Xe, though many are warriors and rogues. Rangers of a particularly vile bent may also worship him. Few Dwarves connect with the lord of savage wilderness, though many feral spirits and fey do.

This Monday Mythology is not going to be on a god or accursed, but I’ve realized two things about the article series.

The first is that I am up by three on Paltonarchs v. Accursed. This will leave me, at some time, writing back to back Accursed articles for three weeks, unless I do something creative.

the second is that I have jumped right into creating the Accursed without really exploring their motivations, history or really just a general backstory other than the very distilled down bad gods.

I figured I’d take this time, then, to delve a little deeper into the life and times of the Accursed and let them catch up a little bit. Its likely that I’ll go over how the Godswar is fought on the next one, allowing the Accursed to get completely caught up.

Before we get to the Accursed, though, we need to do a little bit more of a digging into how and what the gods are. While the first three articles do plenty of Explaining on the Godswar, Creation, and Cosmology, there is very little behind how the gods, now affect the world and those in it. To understand the Accursed, one must understand all of the deities.

Though the Accursed are truly among the first of the damned, they are not all evil. They are now, however, trapped in the irreversible pact that they have made with the Demon Queen.

This, the Black Pact, stems back to the Siege of Dawn, and the darkest days of the Godswar for the Paltonarchs. The Rebel gods, numbering in their hundreds, with armies millions strong, were laying siege to the Fortress of Dawn, the final stronghold of the Paltonarchs (an Old Killbaran word meaning “Rulers of the Heavens”). Their numbers and armies were of similar, if lesser, numbers.

It was this turning point that decided the entire war, thus far, and has caused millenia of warfare among brother and sisters, fathers and sons. The Prime Accursed, Ferosh, god of Ambition, Trickery and Deception, desired above all things the destruction of the other gods who had oppressed him. He had conceived and executed the Savage Nightfall, slaying numerous powerful gods and setting off the rebellion itself. He had personally slain the god of Luck on that night, and was one of the recipients of an heretofore unknown natural law: The deific slayer of another god will absorb their portfolio and therefore their powers. Ferosh, now the dangerous combination of Luck and Ambition,was approached by one of his fellow rebels, Nemisht, god of Prisons and Confinement, with the proposal of turning the Fortress of the Dawn into the greatest prison in the planes. He would create a race of Guardians who would rival the Paltonarchs in power and capacity, immune to diefic powers and able to forever hold the gates of the fortress shut. Here, at the edge of the world, the enemy would be forever contained, shut in their own fortress.

Many of the rebels cheerfully agreed with this plan. After thousands of years of conflict, they wished the fighting and the death to be finished, and this plan offered the quickest and strongest way to force an end to the fighting. Ferosh seethed! The death of so many of those who defied him were within his grasp if he could just have more time, more power, and just a little bit of luck. Fortunately the Demon Queen was watching this all play out. Those she considered her inferior siblings fought among themselves, and she saw a way to continue the devastation and death. She sent an emissary to Ferosh, an incubus of unparalleled beauty and power. He spoke seductively to Ferosh, telling him of the immense power that could be his, with an ally such as the Demon Queen. while before he was limited to the power and strength of his domain, with her aid that would be eliminated. No one truly knows what was told to Ferosh, but after a fortnight of persuasion, he brought his plan to his closest of allies: Kalboras, Chremiss, Adremach and Kara. Kalboras completely agreed with the plan, with Chremiss and Adremach joining in after some short discussion. Kara, the god of Deception, Trickery and Thieves, agreed vocally after some convincing, but could not, in any frame of mind, agree to a pact with the Demon Queen. She started plotting, based on the timeline Ferosh had given her, to somehow depose him prevent the pact, but Ferosh acted to swiftly to prevent it. He swore his oath to the Demon Queen alongside the Chremiss, Kalborass and Adremach deep in the Iron Marches, the Prison to which the Demon Queen was trapped. Taking their new found power to their followers, they announced their new powers, and invited all to swear the Black Pact. There was turmoil among the rebels which none of the quartet has expected. Some were livid, and others were simply outraged, and within the Hallowed Chambers of the Divine Court, there was chaos. In that chaos, Kara struck and Ferosh met his end, though no one other than Kara has witnessed his end. The Chambers became a bloodbath, with gods slaying each other in a grand melee, those appalled at the Pact attempting to flee or fight its adherents. That night was the greatest single loss of life among all the gods, with the few Pact adherents managing to flee, along with whatever of their armies they could muster. The next day Kara led a contrite army to the doors of the Fortress of Dawn, opened them, and surrendered, explaining the Black Pact to those assembled gods. Conflict resumed across the world, with the Paltonarchs and those who had surrendered among the rebels hunting the now-Accursed gods. Though there were nearly 50 Accursed and hundreds of gods, the Demon Queen proved her worth, for each Accursed hunted down and trapped killed dozens of gods before being slain themselves. The toll on the Paltonarchs was devastating, but they could not turn back. The Accursed suffered, and they too, fell back, and eventually, after long, bloody years, they fled the the Iron Marches, to the Prison of the Demon Queen, where the ever larger armies of the gods could not follow them. They were followed, however, by the Paltonarchs, and the Iron Marches became a land of war. While the armies of humans, dragons, giants, elves and others could not follow their leaders to the Iron Marches, their souls could.

Part of the Black Pact had altered how souls functioned. When a person died, instead of their soul being absorbed into the god that they worshiped or left to wander the Shadow Plane for all eternity if they had no god, they were now pulled directly into the Iron Marches after death. Those who were unclaimed by the gods were given over to the Demon Queen to use as they liked. From the first thousands that were given to her she created the legions of the Iron Marches; Demons and Devils in the common parlance. Once the Paltonarchs realized this twist in the pact, they created the Harvest Angels, who’s sole job it was to retrieve the souls dedicated to the gods. Now, with the ability to create an army on the iron marches and the Accursed and Demon Queen trapped there, they Paltonarchs followed. Sadly, the souls and bodies of those who were claimed by no god were abandoned to the Demon Queen, who gained double on each death. In the Iron Marches, she would create a demon of equitable power to the slain, and on the earth, the corpse would rise after a day and a night to torment the living. Only with the death of the Accursed and the Demon Queen herself could the world return to its rightful state. However, what made the Iron Marches the great prison for the Demon Queen also imprisoned its new inhabitants. Much like the physical forms of those minor beings who live on the Prime cannot travel to the Iron Marches, it is extremely hard for those powerful beings on the Iron Marches to return to the prime. Now, Trapped in a war ages old in a land not of their choosing against an enemy of their own blood, the Paltonarchs are resolute and determined. One day, the Accursed and the Demon Queen will fall, and with them, the Iron Marches, and the world can return to being ruled by the gods directly.

So whats so special about the Accursed that makes them reviled and, when all things are equal, not worthy of worship? Why are their cultists cast out and unable to be part of the greater world?

The largest part of the revulsion is that the Accursed are known to have thrown the world out of balance. By choosing to take the Black Pact, they damned anyone who’s faith wasn’t strong enough to be consumed by the Demon Queen, and gave rise to the Undead. a slight second is the knowledge that each one of the Accursed chose to give the souls of their followers to the Demon Queen. While on Kasan they may gain earthly powers, once they die, their souls are consumed and given new form consummate to their attained power. Some of extraordinary power even retain a bit of themselves. Finally, its the knowledge that the corpse of the person who worships the Accursed will return to life, hungering for the flesh of the living.

The Accursed chose to commit the souls of their followers to the Demon Queen so that they could destroy a great enemy of their own flesh and blood. In each of them is a selfishness and arrogance that, while not unknown among the Paltonarchs, is much more all consuming. While they once fought for freedom and to break out of the chains of oppression, all that is left for the Accursed to fight for is self interest and the hunger for power. Keep that in mind as you read each of the Accursed profiles. While some of them might sound like normal goods, within each is the seeds of betrayal, selfishness and avarice!

Woan is the first Accursed, in any manner, that I am going to be detailing to any great degree, so I’ll have to first set some ground rules

The Accursed are just as powerful as the gods. They were once counted among the gods in their own rights, but had to flee to the realm of the Demon Queen after the Dark Pact in order to survive. in addition, not all the Accursed are evil. They have made a pact with a great evil, so few of them are definitively good, but it was done for what they thought was legitimate reasons. The accursed also foster cults in their name. These small cults have to be extremely secretive about their nature, as they are rooted out when discovered. The Accursed, though, tend to be more actively involved in the cult than the gods, as they have so few worshipers and agents to bring to the Iron Marches to fight on their side.

Woan, Accursed of Madness

Other Titles: He of Many Faces, Tomelord, The Dread Voice

Alignment: CN

Weapon: Twin Flail

Cultist Attire/colors:
Traditional Cultists of Woan favor a deep maroon robe with long, flowing sleeves and hoods and a mask divided into three distinct, unique sections. Each cultist chooses their own trio with which to make their mask. Once the mask is donned, that is the face of the cultist to all other cultists. Many times they are combination animal, humanoid and some form of the cultists personal creation.

Major Domains: Lost Knowledge,  Madness

Minor Domains:  Truth, Oracles, Suicide, Deformity

Totem Animal: Moth

 Holy Symbol: Woan has no specific holy symbol, and his cults, much like each cultist, each create a unique and specific three part mask symbol to represent him.

Favored Appearances: Woan very rarely wanders the earth, instead he will make his way into lost and unclaimed libraries and temples seeking for knowledge long lost and buried. When doing this he favors a stout yet deformed dwarf, with one eye much larger than the other, a club foot and an arm that ends in a single, grasping digit. He is hairless, covered in warts and boils, and looks to have never bathed.

His female form is none better, though he favors a battle-scarred human woman missing and eye and an arm. She has bright red burns along her face and back, and walks stiffly. Her hair is long, black, and patchy where it exists and it unkempt and knotted. They both wear dirty, crusted Maroon robes.

Warform: The Warform of a moth is generally not impressive, but Woan is known to lead from his position of knowledge and surety in the rear.  When forces to take warform, he is an enormous moth with crackling wings of lightning and storm clouds while ice forms the creatures face and body.

Personality: Woan is legitimately insane, and has completely embraced it. He is truthful in his answers, though often cryptic, and he never lets his oracles lie. He Is an immensely prepared general, and can assault the most dire of positions with confidence. He is beloved by the rest of the Accursed for his undying ability to tell the truth to the faces of the group, and they have learned to take his absolute word on any aspect of the war. Sadly, however, he is only vaguely aware of whats going on, and from time to time all he says is nothing more than gibberish.

Teachings: The Cultists of Woan are an honest, truthful bunch for the most part, but will slide around topics and answers with ease. While they hold the truth sacred above all others, many will bend the truth to remain hidden, as worshipers of the Accursed are in dire danger at all points in time.  Woan teaches to tell the truth, and to make it available to anyone who asks, though should not be easy to decipher. The ability to cut through to the truth is an ability that all can appreciate.

Abode: When not leading troops to battle, Woan lives alone in a giant tree of blackened, Rusted Iron and Corroded bronze. Its wide, leaden leaves are the home to thousands of native birds from Lead to Iron. The inside of the trunk is carved into a great fortress, though the rooms, hallways, and stairways are always on the move like some living creature.

Cultists: Woans cults are learned, subtle affairs made up of nut jobs, oracles and sages. They tend to be small, no more than a dozen or so individuals with no contact with a greater organization or even the accursed himself sometime. They give honest, truthful answers to those few who seek them out and charge vast sums of money for the privilege of perusing their library.  The Cultists themselves are a little unpredictable as well, and no two encounters manage to be alike.

Followers: Madmen, Cripples, Deformed, Knowledge Seekers, Lore hoarders, Mages, and Sorcerers.

As I move forward with each god, I’m hopefully going to do more discussion and theorizing about them. Takannas is one of the gods I have the firmest and best grasp on, but I still have questions, and I might change what goes on with each god, but I’ll make sure to keep a running tally. In addition, keep in mind that the world I am originally looking to explain the gods for is slightly colder than normal. Warforms are hard for those creatures that wouldn’t generally live in that environment or directly south of it. Of course, things like Elephant/Mammoth or Rhino/Woolly Rhino can be justified, animals that cannot live in cold environment will get a thorough looking at first.

As the gods killed each other, some of them would have happened to kill gods that don’t necessarily align with their original portfolio, and will have some strange contradictions or dichotomies. If you think of any, let me know!

I’ve also added Knightly Orders to the descriptions, as well, as in my world almost every god has one or more order dedicated directly to their teachings.

Farlorn, God of Knowledge

Rank: Minor Younger

Other Titles: Father of Writing, The Old Man, Lorekeeper

Alignment: Lawful Neutral

Weapon: Maul (The Historian)

Clerical Attire/Colors: 

Clerics and Priests of Farlorn tend to wear long, hooded, gray robes with voluminous sleeves and great pockets within. The robes will generally have green stripes running along the seams and trim. A holy symbol is generally not displayed predominately, as Farlorns faithful tend to be the subdued type.

The Monastic order of Khelm, or the Khelmik Monks, are the martial arm of the church. They Wear loose-fitting grey clothing, with bands of green showing their dedication and training. They wield both the immense Mauls and can attack with their bodies, and tend to be completely shorn, like their patron

Major Domains: Knowledge, Learning, Writing, Magical Information

Minor Domains:  Clarity of Mind, Knowledge over Power, Commitment, Dedication, Logic

Totem Animal: Crow: The Crow is wise and smart, depending on the flock for survival while also innovating and remembering deeds, both good and Ill

Holy Symbol: An Open book with a bookmark in the center. On the bookmark is written Victory, while on the left page is written Knowledge, and on the right is Understanding

Favored Appearances: Farlorn is one of the great wanderers of the material plane through one of his aspects. He is known to have two or even three of them on the material hunting information and gathering lost bits of knowledge. His male favored form is a small but sturdy, though not dwarfish, individual wearing a green toga and a gray belt. He is hairless and smiles both disarmingly and widely and carries himself with a regal bearing.

The favored female form is that of an ageless elf, tall and regal, with the same wide smile and quick wit. This form tends towards long, conservative green dresses, using a gray ribbon to tie back her long black hair. She is neither beautiful nor ugly, and tends to pass unnoticed until she wishes you to see her.

Warform: Though rarely personally involved, the Warform of Farlorn is an immense crow of mist and steam. Its beak and claws are of pure ice as well as the razor sharp tips of his wings. He can, and will, fight, but prefers to lead Nera’s troops to battle as a general and a leader

Personality: Farlorn is generally stoic, measured, and polite. He listens to those around him, and speaks only after having thought over all the possible angles and ideas that he has been exposed to. He is a consummate tactician and historian, and studies war constantly looking for the edge with which to defeat the Accursed and return to his desired studies of creation, the world, and its people. While he can seem dour and direct, he is simply speaking form the vast wealth of knowledge he has accumulated.

Teachings: Farlorn teaches that the quickest way to a solution is often not only the wrong one, but the most damaging outcome as well. Instead, one should search for the correct answer throughout their life experiences and what they have learned from others. Inaction, however, is also a damaging decision. When given no way out, Try and make a logical assumption based on the information at hand. He also teaches about the preservation and accumulation of knowledge, the value of both learning and teaching. Finally, writing down information is the most sacred and valuable task that can be given or accomplished, and each written letter is proof of your dedication.

Clergy: The Clergy of Farlorn tend to run schools and academies for both Magical and sectarian studies, teaching that reliance on one’s self for judgment and decision making is the way to hubris and folly. One can only come to the correct conclusion through study, reflection and application of Logic

Knightly Orders: There is but a single order dedicated to Farlorn, and it’s the Khelmick monks. Founded by the late Chosen of Farlorn, Khelm, this monastic order is dedicated to the defense of the sacred texts, sites and schools of Farlorn. Thought they generally act only as guards, they are required to study an equal amount to their martial training every day. In addition to being trained and having studied almost every martial and weapon technique that they have record of, they have been imparted the knowledge of how to turn your body into a weapon when all else fails. Many warlords, kings and sorcerers have looked to plunder the wealth of the undefended Farlorn Temples only to learn to late that some of the studious individuals within are also the most deadly.

Followers: The Followers of Farlorn tend to be librarians, mages, tacticians, dwarves, and scholars, but he can also count among his faithful warrior-philosophers, bards, students and teachers.

Concept of the God

The concept of this god is to be a more active god of knowledge. He is meant not to be like Vecna, the god of secrets, or a god of learning and study, but a god that makes informed or logic based decisions. He encourages study, but not paralysis in the face of danger. Most often the knowledge gods are boring or uneventful, but like all the gods I have, I wanted this one to be capable and meaningful in combat and in standard life. 

First a quick note: Updates will come and kinda change whats going on with the pantheon, because as I dig deeper I am bound to encounter things I’d not thought about.

Quickly, though, a topic I somehow missed.

The Nature and Power of a God.

Many people transport over the concept of a christian God to the pantheons of fantasy worlds when discussing them. They are all powerful and all knowing, which cannot be so accurate in a world where there are more than one god. The god of a pantheon will be vastly more powerful than the mortals in their world, and more powerful than most celestial or diabolic creations, but they are not unlimitedly powerful. They may seem so from the point of view of the mortals, but they are simply extremely powerful. They also know some of the deepest secrets of the universe, but they do not know everything. They are some of the most powerful, knowledgeable beings in the universe, but they are still fallible, and can still die.

I mentioned earlier that when gods kill other gods, they absorb their portfolio. This is known as consumption. However, when two gods birth a child, which was fairly common ages ago, they loose a portion of their powers, which are divested into the child. Most often, this is in the form of decoupling specific aspects of the god or goddesses main portfolio and giving the new being a portion. For example, Marija, the Late god of wild beasts, grain, wilderness and plants was the son of Takannas and Khami. Takannas is god of strength, ferocity, battle and fire. Khami was god of wilderness, reproduction and wild passion. At birth, he was divested plants and wild beasts, each being a portion of his parents: plants from Khami’s domain of wilderness, and wild beasts from Takannas’ wild ferocity. Sadly, Khami would eventually be turned to the side of the Accursed, and her son was forced to slay her in battle, thus absorbing her domains.

Also, a god has the ability to split themselves into fractions, called avatars. These avatars are portions of the gods sent to do a specific task, rule a particular area, or lead a given army. These avatars are a fraction of the strength of a true god, though being a fragment, but retain all this knowledge and powers. The avatar is not an independent split, but an actual chunk of the god, so the god knows what the avatar knows up to this very second, and the avatar is fully apprised of the gods goings on. Both the god and the avatar have the ability to coalesce into on at the others location at a moments notice. An avatar on Kasan cannot call upon the full powers of a god on Kasan, but the other way is possible.

But, enough of that. Onto the Gods.

Takannas, God of Fire. 

Other Titles: Baron of Flames, Iron Duke, The Great Liar, Father of Tales
Alignment: Chaotic Good.
Weapon: Twin-Headed Battleaxe
Clerical Attire/colors:
Clerics generally wear black robes trimmed with thread of gold, emblazoned in various places with the outline of their holy symbol. They also tend to go unshorn on head and face, imitating his male favored form while women tend to wear their hair in a single three strand braid starting at their brow line.

Templars wield great, double bladed axes and dress in black lacquered plate or mail with gold trim and tend to fight on foot. Depending on the climate and weather, it is not uncommon to see different variations on the armor types, though most skew towards the heaviest that can be tolerated for the area. 

Major Domains: Strength, Fire, Ferocity, War

Minor Domains:  Fortune in Battle, Self Reliance, Drunkenness, Braggarts, Bards and Stories

Totem Animal: Bear

Holy Symbol: 
A double-bladed battle axe, the head wreathed in flames. The axe is always face-up and silver, with the flames are orange.

Favored Appearances: Takannas, as all the other gods, is naturally of no gender. That being said, he vastly prefers his male, human form over all other. That form is just a shade over 6′ tall, with a great, manicured grey beard and long, flowing hair to match. He sports hundreds of scars on all of his exposed flesh, though most of his face maintains its youth. It is clearly a well-used form. His shoulders are broad, and his arms and legs are well muscled and toned. He is pale, though not overly so, and weathered, and seems in his early 50’s though he swings his axe easily.

His female form is little different, with fiery red hair in a braid starting at her brow, broad shoulders and scarred skin. She is handsome, though not beautiful or ugly, with limbs used to the rigors of battle. Her eyes, like his, are black, cold, distant and often haunted.

Warform: one of the strongest and mightiest creatures in all the realms, the great brown bear is the warform and totem spirit of Takannas. The warform, like all of them, is larger than a building, made of crackling fire with blue-flame eyes and coals as hard and sharp as swords for teeth and claws. The bear is strong, fierce, and self reliant, able to thrive alone but also able to come together in times of great need.

Personality: Takannas is a loud, boisterous, bombastic warrior and drunk. His personal fighting ability is second to none in the whole of the Pantheon, and has only been bested in battle once: by the Scion of Blood and Thunder, the firstborn of the Demon Queen. He fights, he drinks and he tells fantastic tales of the wars with the Accursed. He also suffers greatly from the losses of the Godswar having many thousands of friends and relatives, those he had fostered and those he had grown with, slain. As such, he is a grim fighter in combat, giving little quarter and expecting none. He tends to favor the side of freedom and liberty in combat, and given a choice, he will side with the rabble rousers and the troublemakers, giving the established system hell for squeezing the common man to hard.

Teachings: Takannas main teachings are Battle from strength, Strength from power, power from self reliance. What little that cannot be solved through brute force isn’t worth devoting time to, but may better be served discussing over a number of beers. Stories exist to enhance the strength and prestige of a person, who while may not have done the exact deed as explained, probably would have if given the chance.

Clergy: His followers preach self reliance and personal strength, but that is not to the detriment of others. Instead, his clergy lead by example, showing what each person could have if only their lead was followed. While many of the Clergy are warriors as well, some are not. These few choose to focus on sports, competition, and storytelling as their main vocations.

Next to the sworn clergy of his temples are his Templars. Guardians of the sites sacred to Takannas, they are also superb warriors who are eager to join the right causes. Each Templar must Quest for the first 10 years of service, before they are assigned a site to guard and are given a grand retirement of drinking, bragging, and telling stories of their exploits. This questing time is where they prove their mettle, earn their scars, and demonstrate their devotion to the god of battles through invocations to him during the inevitable combats that they enter.

Followers: His followers tend to be orcs, dwarves, warriors, fighters, and athletes, as well as bards, liars, cheats and scam artists.

 

 

This should be the last of the large updates to get everything ready to go.Next week I’ll put out a god/goddess and see what I can come up for them.

The Cosmology of my world is fairly simple, but I don’t have any artistic skill or talent, so we’re going to have to go with my descriptions.

  • There are a few types of planes
  • Elemental – Fire, Air, Earth (Stone) and Water (Cold)
  • The Prime Material Plane – Kasan
  • The Outer Plane – The Iron Marches
  • and the Shadow Plane

Kasan and the Iron Marches occupy, simultaneously, the center of the cosmos. Around the Iron Marches/Kasan orbits the Elemental Planes. Surrounding them all is the plane of shadow, used to travel between each plane.

The Elemental Planes

Thanks to Sae-Oon the great chaos that was the universe was separated  into the three realms. The Elemental Planes, The first of these realms, are spheres of pure Fire, Ice(Water), Air and Stone (Earth) of tremendous size. They are separated from one another physically, but bleed into each other, The Iron Marches and the Prime through vortexes of pure elemental matter. These spheres are finite in size, though of an unknowable proportion. Each is as inhospitable to life and terrifying as the next. Fire is a land of condensed soot and ash, awash in flame and choking debris. Stone is an orb of ever-shifting mountains and avalanches riddled with caves and canyons. Water is a globe of choppy seas and roiling oceans covered in colliding icebergs and vest glaciers. Air is a sky full of clouds and razor winds with powerful cyclones of air ripping through it. Very few beings can survive here, but those that do are extremely suited for the task.

The Elemental planes orbit the Iron Marches vertically, across the Known Width, each in their own orbit, which is crucially important. Each god, and each Accursed is connected to one or more elemental plane, having a conduit them from which they draw some part of their powers. With the rising and falling of each orb, the strength of the related Paltonarchs and Accursed also waxes and wanes, providing for literal tides of war on the Marches.  In addition, their orbit  also provide the seasons for the Kasan: when fire is in apex, Summer  comes, which while rare and quick here, is long and drawn in the Iron Marches and by contrast, when cold is close to Kasan, winter reigns.

The Iron Marches

The Iron Marches is a plane of fierce warfare and bitter conflict between the gods and the accursed. It is the plane which was created by the will of the gods as a prison to for the Demon Queen, the plane to which the Accursed fled to hide from the armies of the Paltonarchs, and where the Paltonarchs made a pact to hunt the Accursed for what they had done, remaining there until the deed is done. With great forests and deep oceans, jagged mountains and unruly bogs, every type of terrain is represented in the Marches. It all suffer a slight change, however. Here, the primary mediums of creation are metal. There are rivers of molten bronze and trees of iron growing on rusting mountains and fields of golden flowers. The Marches themselves, however, are bitterly divided. The Accursed control one edge, and the Paltonarchs control the other.  The thousands of miles of contested land between each edge is a gradual gradient of the influence of the respective powers. the center of the plane houses giant forests of iron trees, and great plains of gold grasses, but as you approach the Accursed lands the mountains start to rust, and the clouds howl in silver fury while drops of mercury falling from the sky to form great silver rivers raging to the edge of the corroded plains to plummet infinitely into the world of Shadow. There the trees grow leaden, blackened with the soot of a thousand molten furnaces forging the weapons of warfare from the vile tainted metals of the land. Conversely, the landscape glows and shimmers as it approaches the land of the Paltonarchs. Iron trees become great Brasswoods, and the golden grasses flow into adamant shrubs and great, shining platinum tundra’s with towering blue hued fortresses of Cobalt dominating the land. Deep within the recesses of the plane, close to the edges of their respective sides, the Accursed and the Paltonarches make their homes in vast fortresses of precious and corroded metals. Every home is always in jeopardy here, in the Iron Marches as the constant war threatens to consume everything. When there is not immediate warfare, there is the constant threat and the preparation for it. Where there is rest, there is also readiness. The war here is eternal, the struggle between the Demon Queen, and her brothers and sisters the Elder Paltonarchs, and can only end with the complete genocide of one side or the other. Armies march across the plane in constant flux dictated by the primacy of the nearby elemental planes, each side trying to take advantage of waning powers by countering with their own waxing forces.

The Plane of Shadow

The Shadow Plane is the strangest to an outside observer. Where the other planes are either hostile, or slightly changed from the basic concepts of reality, the shadow plane is a shifting, ever shifting semi-representation of the other planes. When you exit Kasan into the shadow, you will come upon a warped, twisted version of were you left. Trees will be cut or warped, buildings may be ruined or simply missing, and roads may be overgrown or paved in completely different stones. It even shifts as you look, with living objects dying or vanishing and buildings crumbling to ruin before your eyes. The same is for the Iron Marches, which resembles Kasan closely. The Elemental planes are even less stable in the plane of shadow, simply because the elemental  planes themselves are constantly shifting, making it  extremely hard to represent them in even a decayed form. This plane was the original habitat of the Demon Queen, after her birth and the creation of Kasan and the elemental planes. Within it lives shifting, terrifying alternate versions of many creatures.

Belief, The Soul, and the Armies of the Dead

The gods and accursed reside on the Iron Marches, and there they absorb the worship of their followers. While followers do not directly create power, it is through them that the domain of a god is expanded, and therefore their base power grows. Due to the Black Pact, this is a beneficial relationship for both parties. Gods gain power through the deeds of their followers, and the souls of the followers are preserved from the clutches of the Demon Queen. What is so insidious about the Black Pact is that it blocks the gods knowledge of the death an individual who does not worship them. This allows, if the person worships no god, or worship is significantly minimal so as to not heavily alert the god, the Demon Queen to use the body, and its soul, for her own purposes. Because of this, each god has their own cadre of attendants that have the sole job of collecting the souls that the god, or accursed, dictates should be brought to them. Rarely two gods will claim the same soul, and often it comes to an accord between the gods.

The soul, once freed of its mortal shell, is then able to follow these attendants to the Iron Marches to begin their eternal servitude to the god of their choice. For some this will be on the front lines leading armies, and for others it will be logistics to supply the armies or tactics to maneuver them. Each soul is put to use to support the eternal war in the heavens. One of the things that perplexes even the gods, though, is the duration of a soul on the Iron Marches. some souls are reincarnated death after death for a thousand years, yet others vanish after a single death, never to return. Piety, devotion and personal prowess seem to have some sway, but even then there have been exceptions.

The Iron Marches are huge and war torn, with massive armies of soul-soldiers tied to their patron god marching to and from war as they follow the elemental connections. its a bleak, perilous and violent life for many, but it beats an eternity of slavery to the Demon Queen, unable to make even the most simple choice.

The Goal 

Remember the goal here is to have gods that are undeniable, distant and yet still matter. It took a lot of work over many years to get this mythology to the state it is now, and I think even that can be improved. What comes next will be a look at each of the gods, goddesses, and accursed that embody the pantheon, and showing how they are involved both in the Godswar and the mortal realms. I don’t know who is next week, but we’ll get there.

Make sure to ask questions if you have any, both for clarification and for edification if necessary.

Thanks for bearing with my absence! Though it was longer than I thought, NOVA was a ton harder on me than I’d anticipated. It was an amazing time, and I’ll talk about it tomorrow, but I really needed a day of recovery, which meant that I wasn’t going to be writing last night for any reason. Instead, I’ll get it going today, and move to on to the Godswar and general Cosmology, because they are connected together.

After the creation of the earth, the death of Sae-Oon, and the birth of the Demon Queen, the cosmology was set. There was the earth, Kasan, the body of Sae-Oon covered in the four elements. Around it orbited the four elemental planes, the pools of pure elements that the gods had saved for themselves from the coalescence. Between each of these, surrounding each individual plane in a dark mockery of itself, is the plane of Shadow. Each of the four gods built palaces on the newly formed world, as they could not survive in each others planar homes. The orbits of the elemental planes caused the seasons to emerge on Kasan, which caused curious events to arise. Rain fell onto the earth, and with it came the god of rain. Grass, trees and other plants arose, and with them as well, came gods. What Sae-Oons death had brought was the gift of primal essence. Each new event, each new creation brought with it its own god or goddess. Kasan was to be populated with his children. Thousands of gods were born in those years, and made their homes on Kasan as well. There were gods for each color, and for every animal, though none of the animals were sentient yet: That was a gift only for the gods. There were gods for every thought process, concepts place. Their numbers were as grains of sand upon a shore. While these spontaneous gods were many, there were also the birthed gods, the sons and daughters of passion among the gods themselves. These gods were granted domains upon their birth, and were generally powerful, wide domains under which several other gods fell. Marija, for example, was given the wilderness, and Gestril weather and storms.

The gods also had needs that must be met. Castles must be built and food must be served and palaces cleaned. While gods are powerful, their power was based on the quantity and abundance of their domain. The god of green was extremely powerful, while the god of exotic birds was quite weak, but they all had tasks they could not accomplish by themselves, and most were to vain to get their hands dirty with these simple tasks. To this end, they pooled their considerable powers and created, for the first time, a being. Perfectly suited to the tasks they needed, they created Humans. Short life spans, strong backs and a rabid desire to reproduce, they became the perfect servants.

But even this was not enough to quell the growing resentment in the younger gods, especially those created inadvertently from the creation of humans. The god of ambition, Ferosh, was the first to speak out against the greater gods, and Siaron, the god of invention, was the first to be seduced by his words. It was not long before they had gathered a great host, and in an incident of violence unparalleled prior to this time, ambushed and murdered several gods in their homes. There were two consequences of this horrific event. The first, and intended consequence, was the sparking off of war between the gods. The second was completely unknown and unexpected: The death of a god bestowed upon its killer the domain and powers associated with the now-dead god. This was revolutionary and escalated the conflict swifter than anyone had expected.

The war, however, drug on. Gods killed each other, and gained powers doing it, until it seemed that each side was unassailable to the other. There seemed to be no end in sight, and no solution. The Rebel gods – who by now had recruited to their side a number of elder gods, though none of the Primal – were the first to arm their attendants, the races of the world, with powerful godslaying weapons and march them to war alongside the gods themselves against their stronger and more plentiful opponents. The Primal gods responded in kind, and soon the struggle reached even greater heights, with millions and millions of lives being spent attacking and slaying single gods on both sides.

Even this, though, was not enough to turn the tide.  One god, though which one has been lost to time, looked at his armies and thought that they could be even greater. He granted them great strength and size, and martial prowess to kill a hundred human servants, and created giants. Soon, his idea was taken farther and farther, granting scales and teeth to make lizardmen; wings and elemental breath for dragons; stout fearlessness for dwarves and wild, ferocious abandon for Orcs. The world became populated with living weapons off all sorts created for all sorts of specific purposes.

This was enough to turn the favor of war towards the rebel gods, and they pushed forward, slaying hundreds of gods, and getting even more killed from their own side. The brutality was unhindered in every way, and the armies destroyed great swaths of Kasan in their quest to rid the world of their hated oppressors. The rebels finally trapped the Primal gods and their most trusted friends and allies in the Fortress of the Dawn, the sun gods own palace at the edge of the world. Here, the rebels were unable to enter the fortress. It was as old as the Primal gods and as strong as their combined might. Here, truly, the war ground to a halt.

Some of the rebels wanted to end the war, leave the Primal gods holed up in their fotress, sealed off from the rest of the world, but the leaders of the rebels were not content to have almost the entire world to themselves, instead they wanted to eradicate the Primal gods from existence. And Ferosh, now the god of Ambition, Deception and Trickery, thought he knew the way. He had contacted the Demon Queen out in the Plane of Shadow and she had convinced him that she could give them all powers unmatched by the Primal gods, and could enable their victory. He shared his plan with a select few, and contact was initiated. No one knows what the powers that were granted to the rebel leaders was specifically, but it had a cost, one that the rebels agreed to for generations unto eternity – any soul not claimed by a god was to be given to the Demon Queen a night and a day after their death. Their bodies, as well, belonged to her.

Now, with the power of the Demon Queen and the Black Pact made, they prepared for the final assault against the Primal gods. What had happened, though, was spread among the Rebel gods, and very few were pleased at the turn of events, and especially with the concession and signing of the Black Pact. In an event that Ferosh and the others had blindly ignored could happen, many of the Rebel gods rebelled once again, attacking the group that would forever more be called Accursed. The Primal gods saw the chaos in the camp around the Fortress of Dawn, and sortied out into the rebel camp, and with the assistance of their newly allied gods, pushed the rebels out.

When the Primal gods were told what had happened, and of the Black Pact, they sent a party out to find the Demon Queen, while others created a great prison for here where  she would be unable to aid the rebels. She was swiftly hunted down, though being the child of both the Proginetors, was unable to be destroyed and was cast into the prison created for her: The Iron Marches. Shortly thereafter, as the Accursed were being hunted down, they managed to feel the pull of the Iron Marches and they escaped the wrath of the Primal Gods by fleeing there as well, leaving their armies of hundreds of millions behind, abandoned in their hour of greatest need. The Primal gods knew there was no choice, now, and followed the Accursed into the Iron Marches, where even today the war still rages on. The accursed are assisted by the Legions of the Demon Queen in defending against, and occasionally attacking, the Primal gods.

What had made the prison so enticing was now the cause for eternal struggle, as very few of the beings created on Kasan could transition to the Iron Marches. Many would have their souls torn apart in the attempt, and others would simply vanish from reality. However, each side could recover their great champions and their hallowed dead from the realm of mortality to the iron marches, though they would only slowly regain their memories and skills. It is through this capacity that the Godswar is still fought with massive armies of soldiers lead by gods in their Warforms and the greatest champions of the ages.

 

I know this isn’t as complete, and doesn’t contain the cosmology, but this took way longer than I thought. Next week, I promise, we’ll get Cosmology! Also remember: This is meant to be a discussion, please comment and let me know what you think, and if you have any ideas, though don’t be insulted if I don’t use them!

The fifth edition of D&D has released the first of the three core books, the Players Handbook,  to WPN retailers and the Gencon audience, with a full release to come tomorrow, 8/19. Picking this book up on Friday has really rekindled my interest in filling out my world, and I think putting it out here for suggestions and comments will be extremely helpful.

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