Posts Tagged ‘Gods’

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Divine Artifacts in the Sea of Stars

15 February, 2021

We are about halfway through February’s RPG Blog Carnival for the Month of February, 2021, on the theme of Gifts of the Gods, divine artifacts, so time to add some more to that theme.

What will you make today?Unlike many worlds, the Sea of Stars has almost no new divine artifacts being created, almost all of the such items date to before the Sundering.  The God of Smiths, whose portfolio also included creation, was slain before the Gods War even began, throwing the primary chain for the creation of artifacts into chaos and confusion.  Of course, the forges of the militant gods keep working and the Law Lords and the Shadows of Chaos prepared for the coming war, sadly, they were preparing for the wrong one.

But at the end of the Gods War, almost all of the surviving divine artifacts were seized by various dragons, the majority (about three fifths) were grasped by the Empress and her agents, the next largest amount fell into the claws of Ba’ai’ai, the Dark Star, with the remained shared among the other dragons, almost every dragon who fought in the Gods War managed to acquire at least one divine artifact in the process.  Over the years, the Empress has drawn more and more of the surviving artifacts to her, soliciting them as gift, accepting them in lieu of taxes or fines, or, rarely, purchasing them. 

The Empress keeps these artifacts sealed against times of great need, for example she is well equipped to repulse any attempt by the Law Lords or the Shadow of Chaos, should either return by some means, to restore their power using the arsenals prepared by their opposites.  Further, the Imperial Arsenal lacks no number weapons optimized towards the slaying of angels, demons and devils.  For most situations, normal draconic might and enchanted weapons are sufficient, divine weaponry is only used when it is desperately needed.

Naturally, there are very few divine artifacts made in the Sea of Stars now, the Sun Cult produces a small number of items (such as the Sun-Blessed Diadem) but no weaponry . . . that the dragons know of.  (There may be a cyclops smith still producing Sun’s Champion’s Blades somewhere.)  The Moon Cult sporadically produces divine items for its members use, though with little rhyme nor reason.

There are a handful of hidden artifacts left, placed for divine quests which were . . . interrupted or never started.  It is possible that someone could stumble onto the items or into the quests (and thus, eventually to the items).  Unfortunately, the cyclops who made the divine artifacts were almost wiped out, a few were captured by the Empress, if any other survived they were likely hidden away by one of the Draconic Houses or the Dwarven Holds, the only groups with the resources to hide such a valuable being from the eyes of the Empress.

Notes: Who makes the divine artifacts in your campaign world?

Image “Venus at the Forge of Vulcan” by Louis Félix de La Rue (French, 1731-1777) is marked with CC0 1.0.

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Names and Nemesis (A to Z)

17 April, 2020

Names have power and true names have the most power over a being, power to shape and control the very nature of that being.  It is said the the Empress collected the true names of all the gods before she went to war with them.  So, naturally, dragons have become very protective of their true names but none more so then the Empress herself, even before she embarked on her planning to overthrow the gods, she was hiding evidence of who she was and would be.  Indeed once the dust had settled after the Sundering, she invoked a great ritual that erased any knowledge of her true name from anywhere in the Sea of Stars; Aa lesser version of that ritual hunted and obscured all references to the true names of her closest agents, the Seven Stars, who run the Imperial Government.  In is thought that the only one who knows them now is the Empress.

Just RetributionThis has not stopped people from hunting for those true names, after all, they are among the most valuable pieces of information in the Sea of Stars.  Lines of scholars have pursued esoteric lines of research across generations, to no avail, or if they have had any success . . . they have not revealed it.  Which would be sensible all things considered.

The Empress is careful about the security of her name, herself, the Imperial House, her treasures, all of it for she understands the concept of Nemesis, the due justice that falls to those that succumb to hubris.  The Empress considers herself the nemesis of the gods and has no intention of being the next turn of the wheel.  She watches for plots and conspiracies, gathers information, develops new techniques for defense and obsessively watches for the return of divine powers to the world.  Of course, she understands that someday she will fall, it is that knowledge that drives her to make it as difficult as she can for any who try to drag her down.  As she says, “I spent a millennium planning to overthrow the gods, if you intend to overthrow me, you should plan on putting in at least half that much effort before you make your move.”

Notes: The Empress is full of tricks and plans, she did not claw her way to the top of the world just to be pushed out by the first challenger that came along.

Photo (da) Nemesis. Nicolai Abildgaard. Statens Museum for Kunstnull. license CC0http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

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Legends and Lore – The Sun, the Last of the Gods

27 February, 2020

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is Legends and Lore hosted by Endarra.  As I like to contribute to the Carnivals when I can, here is my addition:

A Sun God something like thisWhen the dragons went to war with the gods, the Empress had a plan, she had studied the gods for hundreds of years, preparing weapons and magics for this confrontation.  She knew that the majority of the gods were too dangerous to let live but one god, the Sun, could not be killed for then the world would be plunged into eternal darkness.  The Sun had to be captured, chained and convinced to keep up his tasks.

She had prepared chains made of black steel and platinum quenched in dragon’s blood, imbued with the essence of beings of the deep frost, reinforced with draconic magic to survive even the raging of the Sun.  But more importantly, she had a plan.

The Sun was overpowered and bound, it was almost the first act of the war, and left to rage in the sky as the dragons and gods battled and died.  He was able to see his sister, the Moon, escape from the dragons as she tried to rescue him fleeing swiftly away from the grasping claws and teeth of the Empress’ guard.  He struggled and raged until the Empress appeared leading one hundred and one of his high priests and priestesses each with a golden collar around their neck.  The Empress explain that each time the Sun tried to break his bonds, the heat and fury would be transmitted to the collars in sequence.  Not trusting the dragons word, the Sun released a flare of solar fire against the chains . . . and the two eldest high priests collapsed into glowing ash under the radiant flame of the Sun.  The Empress has the collars cleaned and set around the necks of two more of the Sun’s followers.  He bowed his head as asked what she wanted.

Only what you have done since the world was young, bring light and warmth to the world and its people, she said.  Serve as you always have and your temples and followers are safe.  Chafing but seeing no other way to keep his worshipers safe, he agreed and since then has served at the Empress’ will.

The Empress ensures he is well tended with servants, good food and drink, books and music; The Sun is a pampered prisoner but a prisoner all the same.  The rare child from his dalliances with the servants are raised in the Imperial household and each wears a golden collar.

Notes: Image of Apollo from the Rijks Museum and is in the Public Domain.

Additional Notes: Endarra has taken itself offline so the links to the L&L Blog Carnival are no longer functional and the link to their main page is just an announcement that they are closing down.  A bit sad.  You can visit the site is it heyday via the Internet Archive here.

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A to Z – Quests, unfinished

23 April, 2018

While the gods are, mostly dead, many of their magics remain even after a millennium.  Many quests set in place and in motion when the gods were slain remain active, just awaiting someone to take them up.  The problem is that many of them cannot be completed . . . at least not easily.

Perhaps these quests are waiting to be fulfilled:

Message to the Ruler (of the Gods) , an ornate sealed scroll tube, those who grasp it have a compulsion to deliver it to . . . they are not really sure.  Someone in authority, certainly, but who?  The compulsion is not strong, but it is always there as long as the scroll tube is near by and worse when it is in sight.  Trying to take it to a local authority seems correct up until the point of actually seeing that authority, then it is obviously wrong, and the next authority up the ladder seems correct.  Delivering one to the Empress might work to end the compulsion, maybe . . .

Quests of Love, sets of tasks guaranteed to bring lovers together, the lists of tasks can still be found but without the guarantor . . . would they still work?  Or is there enough residue magic to activate it?  Does your heart ache enough to give it a try?

Secret Paths to Otherworld Realms though twisting ways and collecting proper keys, though the Sundering may have changed the end points of this paths.

White RoseThe White Roses of the Moon, grown and scattered to secret places when the Moon was whole and sane.  Those who found them could bring them to her, undergoing a set of trials along the way, and ask for a single boon.  But one would have to be mad or desperate or both to try and redeem one now, would one not?

Weapons made and hidden for heroes to use to slay monsters that no longer exist or that have been radically changed from when the weapon was forged.  The weapons still drive their owner’s to seek out this monsters . . . or monsters similar to them.

Notes: All good adventure seeds I think.  What sorts of uncompleted quests can you think of?

Photo “I needed a white rose, tonight” by Madalena Pestana is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

 

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Ypisara, (former) Godesses of Salt, Serpents and Fishes

17 July, 2014

As promised, some time ago, here she is:

Ypisara, (former) Goddess of Salt, Serpents and Fishes

Title             Mother of Serpents, Salt Mother, the Salt Serpent
Portfolio         Formerly Salt, Sepents, Fishes, Now indirectly Saltwork, Serpentfolk
Typical Worshipers     Fishermen, Salt Carvers and Workers, Serpentfolk
Domains         Earth, Repose, Scalykind
Subdomains         Ancestors, Salt
Favored Weapon     Curved Dagger or Kris
Favored Animal(s)     Snake

Light through saltYpisara was a minor goddess with an odd portfolio, the association with fishes was possibly inherited and the least portion of her worship.  The center of her believers were the serpentfolk who mined the salt of the Bitter Hills and hunted among the mangrove swamps of the Darksea Marsh. Not a numerous people but dedicated to their mother-goddess.

When the dragons went to war with the gods, Ypisara was one of the few who saw how the battles were going to play out, she found and submitted to the Empress, asking only that her children and followers be spared.  The Empress agreed and took the life of Ypisara personally, placing the lands and people of Ypisara under her personal protection and rule.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Ypisaran Blades and Scales

1 July, 2014

Sharp as crystal.

Blade shaping in progress.

“Snakefolk wearing scale armor just seems . . . odd,” commented Esseoros the Archer, following the others into the cool shade of the inn.

“The salt they are made from is not suitable for other types of armor,” said Izzar Vek, scholar and sorcerer, taking a seat.

Kindri Diamondedge rubbed beeswax over her hands.  “Generally I like places built of stone, but everything here being made of salt.  It is not quite right.”

“You use what you have,” said the served, placing glasses of spiced ale on the table in front of the travelers.

“True,” agreed Kindri, tossing the server a half silver.  “And salt is what we are here to buy, though not salt shaped into walls, weapons or armor.”

Ypisaran Blade (Salt Sword)

These weapons are carefully crafted from salt using both magic and craftsmanship, shaped and honed to a dangerous edge.  Traditionally, the grip is wrapped in either shark or snake skin.  The magically strengthened salt is sharp and hard, but brittle.   A freshly made Ypisaran Blade is a fine weapon which takes well to some enchantments but not to others.

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The Lupercalia Begins!

13 February, 2012

Welcome to another of the odd festival of Ancient Rome!  Today is the start of the Lupercalia, a purification ritual with very confusing origins.  (Purification was needed as February was considered ill-omened by the Romans.)

Palatine Hill, the cave is there somewhere

Palatine Hill

The ritual took place in a sacred cave, the Lupercal Cave, on Palatine Hill where two goats and a dog were sacrificed, to whom is still debated, but it was for purification and -as purification was linked to fertility- for fertility.  Two chosen boys, originally sons of the equestrian (aristocratic) order, who were marked on the forehead with the blood of the goats from the sword used to slain the sacrifice which was then wiped away with wool dipped in milk after which the boys must laugh(!).  The boys then took lashes made from the goat skin and run through the old boundaries of the city, dressed only in girdles of goatskin, striking people with the lashes.  Women would seek to be struck by these, offering their hands, as the touch of the lash was suppose to increase fertility, cure barrenness and ease the pains of childbirth.

Now, who exactly the sacrifices were to, where the ritual originated and many other details have been lost to the mists of time.  But a fascinating piece of history.

Notes: Photo by Rennett Stowe and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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Review – Threat Report 39: Eris

23 October, 2011

Eris, goddess of discord, has plans to plunge the world into chaos . . . and to benefit from it.  She is an excellent behinds the scenes villainess to bedevil your heroes with.

Threat Report #39: Eris is a 5-page PDF (3-pages if you remove the cover letter and OGL page) for the Mutants & Masterminds (3rd Edition) RPG written by Stephen Kenson and published by Green Ronin Publishing.  This is part of Green Ronin’s Threat Report line for M&M (3rd).

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False Prophecy and Hoaxes in RPGs

17 June, 2011

This morning I encountered an article of wikipedia on Drake’s Plate of Brass, a historical hoax, and it spiralled out into thoughts of prophecy in RPGs and the idea of deliberately false or hoaxed prophecy.

What better way to cement your religions place than to have a prophecy show that a member of your faith will save the King/City/Land at some indeterminate time in the future?  Or produce a prophecy that shows that is was because of your god(s) divine favor that the current ruler, rules, and that if the faith is not exalted, she or he (or it) will lose divine favor and fall from power?  What if they forgot that these prophecies are not real?

Equally, a rival faith might plant a hoax prophecy in an attempt to discredit or waste the resources of their enemies or encourage false prophecy to try and lure donations and worshippers away.  Even in a polytheistic setting, priests like to have nice things for their temple and status.

Though a prophecy does not even have to be false to cause problems, traditionally, prophecies are open to interpretation maybe they have just been misread all these years and only one mad scholar has figured out the truth?  Or they got recorded in the wrong order and the bad thing is much closer to happening than everyone thought.

What if a prophecy is inspiring a nation to hold fast against some evil and the characters find out it is all bunk.  Do they keep going along with it and try and force the prophecy to become real?  Do they go through the motions to keep up moral?  Or do they tell the truth?

Just some ideas for turning the traditional “fated heroes” trope on its head.

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Henotheism, Kathenothism and Polytheism

14 June, 2011

The gaming journals have suddenly been discussing polytheism, Evil Machinations talks about Fantasy Pantheons: Deities are more fun when there’s more than one, over at Harbinger of Doom there is Religion in Fantasy and Fantasy Gaming (which references Why D&D Polytheism is Flawed).

1280px-Greek_-_Procession_of_Twelve_Gods_and_Goddesses_-_Walters_2340

But, let me define my terms (all definition from wiktionary):

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