Friday, October 20, 2023

D&DGII The Black Forest Mythos: Ides

Continuing my syncretism of the Roman and Norse myths, I wanted something that covered several different concepts. Possibly one of the recognizable beings from Norse mythology are the Valkeries. These warrior women come down from Valhalla and take the honored dead back to Odin's hall to train for the final battle of Ragnarök.  They are central to Wagner's Ring Opera and have even made their way in places like the Marvel movies, Xena, and Charmed. But they are not particularly Roman.

Scandinavian women had far more freedoms than Roman women, who could not even leave their homes unescorted. So how do these fierce women warriors get reclassified in my Black Forest mythology? By combining similar creatures from both Roman and Germanic myths.

One of the first things that struck me when I first read the Deities & Demigods was how similar many creatures were across the myths and times. For example, take the Norse Valkeries and the Finnish Air Maidens.  One of the things I looked into was were they related. Rereading the Kalevala leads me to believe there is a connection, that the Air Maidens were the Valkeries for the Finns and Lapps. I also investigated the notion of the anthropomorphic representations of the various Scandinavian countries, ie Lady of the Mountains (Iceland). Ola Nordmann (Norway), Holger the Dane (Denmark), and Mother Svea (Sweden). This anthropomorphism reminds me of the Genus Loci we also see in Greek and Roman myths. 

Romans had psychopomps, which is the type of gods/goddess the Valkeries were. These include Hermes/Mercury, Charon, and even Hecate. But I have other plans for these sorts of creatures. Instead I want to look to other spirits that exist between the realms of mortals and gods. The Roman Nymphs and the Germanic Idis. 

These creatures are often depicted as lesser Goddesses. Linguistics have tried tying idis/ides to Deus for example with no real success. Nymphs are also depicted as the offspring of some god, goddess, or titan. Ides have also been described as the offspring of or the mothers of the jötunn.

There is just enough blurring of lines here between all of these creatures that they could, through many nights of campfire tales and bedtime stories, to get them to blend into one creature.

The Ides of these myths are Demigoddesses. Their task is to protect and guide heroes under the will of Unser Vater. They combine aspects of the nymphs, Idis, Valkeries and other local female divinities. 

IDES (Demi-Goddess of Protection and War)

MOVE: 18" / 36" (with winged steed)
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d8/1d8 (sword)
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Healing touch, Radiance

SIZE: M (5'10")
ALIGNMENT: Lawful Neutral (Good)
SYMBOL: Glowing Sword
PLANE: Erde (Prime Material)

CLERIC/DRUID: 8th Level Cleric
FIGHTER: 10th Level Paladin
S: 15 I:15 W: 16 D: 18 C: 18 CH: 20

Ides appear as warrior women in the peak of health. Looking upon them, they radiate power, strength, and divinity. There is no doubt of their divine lineage. Some sages claim they are the spirits of the brave who died in battle; others say they are the offspring of Jäger or Jägerin. Others still claim they are the spirits of the land, given life and purpose by the humans and gods around them.

The ides are good fighters who can attack twice per round with their long swords. Their radiant aura (which is why men say they are the daughters of Jäger) does damage to undead creatures and constructs at the rate of 1d8 per round to any within 30 ft. 

They are also healers, able to cast spells as an 8th-level cleric and they have the lay on hands abilities. They can heal with a touch for 2d6 hp of damage three (3) times per day. 

Their task is to aid heroes. They can help them in battles or heal them. The hero must enter the area where the ides resides. Each one is tied to a particular area that usually (but not always) is related to some natural feature of the land. So a valley, or the area near a lake. The ides also bring the spirits of the dead back to Himmel. It is rumored that an ides will help a brave warrior three times in their lifetime. When the third time is complete the next time they see the ides will be when they are taken to Himmel. 

They are nominally under the control of Unser Vater, but they can be summoned by the Goddesses Siege and Glücke. Under times of war, they can also be called by Jägerin.

When summoned by Jägerin, they become known as Die Kriegerin, the Goddess of War. At this time they can leave their areas and ride off on winged steeds to join in whatever battle they are needed. 


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Lance Duncan said...

I'm really liking this mythology your building up. I've been thinking of how I can use it in my version of mystara. Maybe they could work with my gothic parallel people, I've got standard Germans, Norse, celts(both proto and post roman), and I have been trying to come up with how to differentiate my east Germans(goths) from my regular Germans after some roman influence without having their culture completely assimilated like in the real world. This syncretization idea would fit nicely

Timothy S. Brannan said...

#Lance Duncan,

By all means, take what you like! If you do build them up for Mystara then please let me know how it works out.