Showing posts with label goddess. Show all posts
Showing posts with label goddess. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

D&DGII The Black Forest Mythos: Helga, Goddess of Witches, Ghosts and Magic

Helga
Helga is likely one of the Goddesses I have thought about the most. She is the goddess of witches, ghosts, and magic. She is the syncretized goddess of Hecate of the Greek/Roman myths and the Norse Hel and Heiðr, and the Germanic Frau Holt/Holda. This also ties her closely to Mother Goose and Grimm fairy tales.  

Additionally, I have been using her as a character in my Wasted Lands games. This has allowed me to build her up from the ground up; Hecate and Hel are just her "backstory."  So, part of this write-up will be based on the myths and legends and all the rules I have for them AND some in-game ideas I have had.

Helga

Helga is interesting one for me since her genesis really predates this project during a time I was working on creating new gods and goddesses for my home campaign. Some of that creation continues on in this project. In particular they formed my ideas on Großvater & Großmutter (originally Ouranus and Gaia in my home campaign). Helga though remains largely intact from that time since she was always a mix of Hecate, Hel, and a bit of Ereshkigal. She was a dark Goddess of Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts. I have even kept her name intact.

As this project grew I pulled in more details from previous work I had done, namely writings about Frau Holle and other, older myths that fit under the umbrella of "The Crone" archetype.  Helga is very much the Crone, but she can appear at any age.

HELGA (Goddess of Magic, Ghosts, and Witches )
Intermediate Goddess

ARMOR CLASS: 1/-3
MOVE: 18" / 24"
HIT POINTS: 288
NO. OF ATTACKS: 2
DAMAGE/ATTACK: via Spell
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Death Touch
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Aura of Darkness
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Special

SIZE: M (5' 6")
ALIGNMENT: Neutral (Evil)
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: Any (those who use magic, witches, undead)
SYMBOL: Image of the Goddess' face
PLANE: Hölle

CLERIC/DRUID: 20th level in each
FIGHTER: Nil
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: 20th level in each
THIEF/ASSASSIN: Nil
MONK/BARD: Nil
WITCH/WARLOCK: 20th level Witch
PSIONIC ABILITY: II
S: 10 I: 22 W: 24 D: 18 C: 18 CH: 20

Helga is the Witch Goddess, the Ghost Queen, and the Crone of the Trinity.  She knows all secrets since they are whispered to her by the dead.  Thus she knows all the secrets of magic. She is the guardian of the crossroads and the gates of Hölle, where the dead reside. 

Helga will often appear as an older woman wearing simple robes of black. Her face is often hidden in shadow so that only part of it can be seen; her mouth or eyes. During the winter months, she will be seen wearing a crown of dried branches and leaves. 

As the goddess of magic and witches, she knows every spell since they are whispered to her by the dead. She can cast two spells per round as she chooses. She casts as a 20th-level spellcaster. She can also command undead to do her bidding as if she were a 20th-level cleric. She can speak to the dead at will.

Helga is the mistress of magic, therefore she is immune to the effects of any spell of third-level or lower. This includes any area of effect spells.  For spells of fourth-level and greater, she has a saving-throwing bonus of +3.  She is also surrounded by an aura of darkness that obscures her features and provides protection. When active, she gains a +4 to saving throws and a +4 bonus to AC. This is in addition to her normal saves. 

Animal: Hounds
Rainment: (Head) circlet of dead leaves and branches (Body) Simple garments of black. Robes of black
Color(s): Black
Holy Days: Samhain, Winter Equinox, Beltane
Sacrifices: Animal sacrifice at the Equinoxes. Animals are burned to ash. Milk left out each night.
Place of Worship: Graveyards and Crossroads.

Her faithful hound is Heuler, the Guardian of the Gates of the Dead.

Heuler
Heuler

Heuler ("Howler") is the syncretized guardian of the Underworld ("Hölle"). He combines elements of Cerebus, Hell Hounds, and the various wolves of the Norse/Germanic mythology, in particular Garm.

HEULER
FREQUENCY: Unique
NO. APPEARING: 1
ARMOR CLASS: 2
MOVE: 24" 
HIT DICE: 22+88 (187 hp)
% IN LAIR: 100%
TREASURE TYPE: Nil
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 bite, 2 claws
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 4d10 + Poison/Disease, 1d8+4, 1d8+4
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Howl
SPECIAL DEFENSES: +3 or better weapon to hit
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
INTELLIGENCE: Average
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
SIZE: L (18' at shoulder)
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil

Heuler is a monstrous wolf-hound hybrid monster that stands 18' tall. His fur is soot black, his eyes burn with hellfire, and his jaws drip with poison. He is tasked with making sure none enter Hölle that do not belong, and none leave once they are inside.

He attacks with his massive jaws biting with 4-40 hp worth of damage. Each bite carries a rotting disease similar to mummy rot. Victims must save vs. Poison or contract this rotting disease. It is treated the same as Mummy Rot. He can also attack with his massive claws for 5-12 hp worth of damage each.

Three times per day, Heuler may howl to summon the dead to aid him. After he howls he will be joined by 3d12 wights who will fight whoever the beast is fighting. These wights will fight till destroyed.

If Heuler is killed then one of his pups will be elevated to the position of the new Guardian of the Gate. 

A Reminder Note About Translations

I have had a few comments from people saying my translations are "off."  While that is true, it is also on purpose. I am not looking for a perfect translation into modern German here. I am looking for something that common folk might have called these (See Rule #2) AND something I would have written in 1985-6 when my only resource was my High School German textbook and dictionaries (See Rule #3). So yeah, there are proper ways to translate these, but that is not what I want to do here.

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Friday, October 20, 2023

D&DGII The Black Forest Mythos: Ides

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)
Demigoddess

ARMOR CLASS: 2
MOVE: 18" / 36" (with winged steed)
HIT POINTS: 90
NO. OF ATTACKS: 2
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d8/1d8 (sword)
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Healing touch, Radiance
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Radiant aura
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 25%

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

CLERIC/DRUID: 8th Level Cleric
FIGHTER: 10th Level Paladin
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: Nil
THIEF/ASSASSIN: Nil
MONK/BARD: Nil
WITCH/WARLOCK: Nil
PSIONIC ABILITY: II
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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Friday, October 13, 2023

D&DGII The Black Forest Mythos: The Divine Twins

 This is really a fabulous October. We have five weekends, a full moon near Halloween, a Friday the Thirteenth (today) AND a total Solar Eclipse in some parts of the country tomorrow.  In celebration of tomorrow's solar/lunar event, I thought it would be good to discuss my God of the Sun and Goddess of the Moon, as well as other Divine Twins.

Jäger and Jägerin

The Divine Twins in the Black Forest Mythos

The motif of the Divine Twins is one that comes up again and again in most religions and myths. Usually they are the children of the main sky God, and they serve complimentary functions. Other twins are heroes who have many adventures with the gods.

Jäger and Jägerin

These gods are my syncretized versions of the Roman Apollo and Diana with the Norse Freyr and Freyja. They are the gods of the Sun and Moon respectively. Their names mean "Hunters" to help stress the importance that hunting, more than war, is to these people. They also see these gods as Nature gods, so sometimes they are depicted with stag horns.  Curious note. The Norse and Germanic peoples of this time measured time in "Nights" not days. So these combined gods are both the stewards of time.

When needed, Jägerin can don the armor of war and gather Die Kriegerin, the Goddesses of war (much like the Valkyries).  They are also the patrons of the arts bringing music and poetry to the people. 

When the moon eclipses the sun, it is said that Jägerin has put up her shield to protect her and her brother in battle. 

JÄGER (God of the Sun, Music, Hunting)
Intermediate God

ARMOR CLASS: 2
MOVE: 18" / 36"
HIT POINTS: 300
NO. OF ATTACKS: 3
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2d8/2d8/2d8 + Fire
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Sunbolt
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Firey Aura
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 75%

SIZE: M (6' 2")
ALIGNMENT: Neutral Good
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: All (mostly Good)
SYMBOL: Sun Disc or Bow
PLANE: Himmel

CLERIC/DRUID: 10th Level Druid
FIGHTER: 20th Level Fighter
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: Nil
THIEF/ASSASSIN: Nil
MONK/BARD: Nil
WITCH/WARLOCK: Nil
PSIONIC ABILITY: II
S: 20 I:18 W: 18 D: 20 C: 20 CH:20

Jäger is the god of the Sun but is not the sun. He rides his chariot across the sky, searching for the best game to hunt. His tales of his hunting prowess are matched only by tales of his amorous exploits. He is married to Liebhaberin, but both gods are free to choose other lovers as they see fit. He is the model of youth in his prime.

As the god of the sun he can cast any light, fire, or sun-based spell as a 10th-level spell caster and spells he can cast as a 10th-level Druid. His main weapon is his bow. He can fire three arrows per round each hitting a different target. If he chooses, each (or any) arrow can burst into flame for an additional 1d8 points of damage. Additionally he can fire a Sunbolt for 1d10 points of damage. He can also wreathe himself in the Aura of the Sun. This causes Blindness to any that look at him and 1d8 hp of damage to any with 5' of him every round.

He is often accompanied by a group of deathless hunters. These are men who died while hunting or who wished not to move on to their afterlife after death. They hunt in ghostly processions across the land. Anytime a person sees a falling star, they know a new hunter has joined Jäger's ghostly party. Each acts as 10th level fighter and are similar to spectres.

Additionally, he is the god, or rather patron of, music. When not hunting, he can be found singing or playing an instrument.

Animal: The hunting dog or stag
Rainment: (Head) a solar disc or a crown of antlers (Body) Simple hunting garments
Color(s): Yellow, Gold
Holy Days: Every day at sunrise and noon
Sacrifices: Animal sacrifice at sunset. Animals are then eaten by congregants.
Place of Worship: Any open space.

JÄGERIN (Goddess of the Moon, Poetry, Hunting, War)
Intermediate Goddess

ARMOR CLASS: 2
MOVE: 18" / 36"
HIT POINTS: 300
NO. OF ATTACKS: 3
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2d8/2d8/2d8 + Chill
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Moonbow
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Aura of Madness
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 75%

SIZE: M (6' 1")
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Good
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: All (mostly Good)
SYMBOL: Moon disc or Bow
PLANE: Himmel

CLERIC/DRUID: Nil
FIGHTER: 20th Level Fighter
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: Nil
THIEF/ASSASSIN: Nil
MONK/BARD: Nil
WITCH/WARLOCK: 10th Level Witch
PSIONIC ABILITY: II
S: 20 I:18 W: 18 D: 20 C: 20 CH:20

Jägerin is the Goddess of Moon, hunting, poetry, and war. she drives her chariot across the sky as does her brother. On the days of the Solar eclipse she is holding up her shield to protect him. On days of the Lunar eclipse he is providing her protection.

Like her twin brother, Jägerin can attack with a bow. Her arrows do 2d8 and can also add an extra 1d8 hp of chill damage. She can surround herself with an Aura of Madness, any who come within 10' of her will attack anyone else but her.  She can cast any spell relating to night or the moon as a caster of the 10th level and as a 10th-level Witch.

Jägerin also has a retinue of hunters with her. These wild women will run through the forest with her in a blood lust for the hunt. They are not dead, but they are no longer alive either. Each acts as a 7th-level fighter and can transform into an animal. Wolves are most common. When needed though, she can call on her Hunt and don the armor of war. These wild women are then known as Die Kriegerin, or the Goddesses of War.

Like her brother, Jägerin is also the patroness of the arts, in this case poetry. She is equally as lascivious as her brother. One tale is told how she boasted she could hunt and kill as many animals as a group of men hunting in the wood. The all agreed to set out in the morning to hunt and return by night fall. Jägerin spent the night having sex with all the hunters and making them too tired to hunt the next day. She was able to go to the wood and hunt at her leisure, easily beating all of them.

Animal: The hunting dog or stag
Rainment: (Head) a moon disc or a crown of antlers (Body) Simple hunting garments
Color(s): Yellow, Gold
Holy Days: Every moonrise
Sacrifices: Animal sacrifice after sunset. Animals are then eaten by congregants.
Place of Worship: Any open space.

Siege and Glücke
Siege and Glücke

These are the Goddesses of Victory and Luck, respectively. 

SIEGE and GLÜCKE (Goddess of Victory and Luck)
Lesser Goddess

ARMOR CLASS: 4
MOVE: 18" / 36"
HIT POINTS: 150
NO. OF ATTACKS: 2
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d8/1d8
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Change Outcome
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Change Outcome
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 25%

SIZE: M (6' 0" and 5'19)
ALIGNMENT: Lawful Neutral (Siege) and Chaotic Neutral (Glücke)
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: All
SYMBOL: Spear
PLANE: Himmel

CLERIC/DRUID: Nil
FIGHTER: 10th Level Fighter (Siege)
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: Nil
THIEF/ASSASSIN: 10th Level Thief (Glücke)
MONK/BARD: Nil
WITCH/WARLOCK: Nil
PSIONIC ABILITY: II
S: 16 I:18 W: 18 D: 20 C: 18 CH:18

These goddess are not worshipped in the strictest sense, but are called on often enough to grant favors to mortals. Siege is the Goddess of Victory; she represents success through skill and determination. Glücke is the Goddess of Luck; she represents success through luck and happenstance. 

Both Goddess can offer a boon to a mortal in the form of gift of Success. Mortal with this gift can re-roll any missed attack, ability check or saving throw and take the better of the two rolls. Most mortal only get this gift once in their lives. Others, such as the hero twins Magni and Muthi, get this boon often. 

Magni and Muthi
Magni and Muthi

Magni and Muth are the Demigod hero twins of this myth. They are two fun and adventure-loving brothers whose tales are often used to teach moral lessons but also entertain. They typically begin with the brothers getting kicked out of their home because their mother (usually described as a hideously ugly witch but also described as the best cook in the world) is tired of them breaking things. The brothers devise a scheme to either get rich, get drunk, or find some maiden to bed. They often run afoul of some person in power, a barkeep, angry husband, father, and/or brothers. The more they try to solve their problems, the more (comical) trouble they get into. Magni is the Strongest Man alive, and there is nothing he can't lift or break. Muthi is the Bravest Warrior known, and he fears nothing, no man, demon, or god. Their tales will sometimes emphasize how much Magni is afraid of something or how something is too heavy for Muthi.

In the end, the brothers usually come out ahead. They get the money, the ale, and the girls and will be seen headed home, where their mother has made them a fantastic meal. They are mischievous but rarely evil. They only kill monsters and prefer to make fools out of human or divine opponents. 

It is said they are deeply in love with Siege and Glücke, but can't make up their minds about who is in love with whom.  

The only time the brothers fight each other is when they have their eyes on the same woman. And in these tales, the moral is always the same. While fighting each other, they lose the girl to someone else, and they return home to a scolding by their mother.

MAGNI and MUTHI
Demigods

ARMOR CLASS: 4
MOVE: 12" 
HIT POINTS: 110 (Magni), 120 (Muthi)
NO. OF ATTACKS: 3
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d10/1d10/1d10
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Nil
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Nil
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Nil

SIZE: M (6' 1" Magni) (5' 11" Muthi)
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Good
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: NA
SYMBOL: NA
PLANE: Erde (Earth)

CLERIC/DRUID: Nil
FIGHTER: 18th Level Fighter (Barbarian)
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: Nil
THIEF/ASSASSIN: 10th Level Thief
MONK/BARD: Nil
WITCH/WARLOCK: Nil
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
S: 25 (Magni) 18 (Muthi) I:10 W: 8 D: 18 C: 20 (Magni) 25 (Muthi) CH: 19

Magni and Muthi are twin brothers. They are not worshipped in the traditional sense but are demi-god heroes of these myths, and their stories are told to children (about how they fight monsters) to adults (how they stop evil people and their sexual exploits). 

Magni can add +7 to his to hit and damage rolls due to his strength. Muthi is unaffected by any sort of fear, mundane or magical. This also extends to giving him +3 against any save vs. magic.

Characters encountering Magni and Muthi will often find them "mid-scheme." That is whatever it was they were trying to do has already failed spectacularly, and now they are either running from the authorities or an angry husband/father/brother. 

--

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Wednesday, October 11, 2023

D&DGII The Black Forest Mythos: The Mother Goddesses Herde Oberin, Mutter Natur and Großmutter

Herde Oberin
Three more Goddesses today for my Black Forest Mythos. All are "mother" Goddesses and have quite a lot of control. Herde Oberin is the wife of Unser Vater and represents the home and hearth. She has aspects of Juno/Hera and Frigg as well as Hestia. Mutter Natur, or "Mother Nature" is the anthropomorphized Nature.  The last is Großmutter or "Grandmother", who is Gaia in the Greek myths. She is the mother of the Gods but is also the mother of many of the other creatures in these myths, including the Álfar.  

I am undecided whether Großmutter and Mutter Natur are not aspects of the same goddess. Often times you see gods and goddesses getting reduced as the pantheons age.  BUT also you see gods and goddesses splitting off.  In this case, I am keeping them separate for now but keeping in mind they might in fact be the same being.  Mutter Natur could be an aspect of Großmutter that is in an easier-to-understand concept for these people.

Herde Oberin

Herde Oberin is the wife of Unser Vater and one of the trinity of Goddesses which includes Liebhaberin the Maiden and Helga the Crone.  She represents the Mother aspect of the trinity and is the protector of the home and hearth and the family.  She is responsible for all things that happen within the home.  Unser Vater may be the chieftain of the gods, but in the home, her word is law. Spells and prayers to protect a home or children always invoke her name.

She combines aspects of Frigg/Frigga, Hera/Juno, and Hestia. She is not a jealous sort as is Hera/Juno because she is the regal queen who knows how to get what she wants/needs through her own power. 

HERDE OBERIN (Queen of the Gods)
Greater Goddess

ARMOR CLASS: 1
MOVE: 12" 
HIT POINTS: 350
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 3d8
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Magic
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Commanding Presence
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 75%

SIZE: M (5' 6")
ALIGNMENT: Lawful Good
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: All (mostly Good)
SYMBOL: Distaff
PLANE: Himmel

CLERIC/DRUID: 20th level Cleric
FIGHTER: Nil
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: Nil
THIEF/ASSASSIN: Nil
MONK/BARD: Nil
WITCH/WARLOCK: Nile
PSIONIC ABILITY: II
S: 15 I:20 W: 23 D: 20 C: 20 CH:25

Herde Oberin is the Queen of the Gods, wife to Unser Vater, and mother to many of the younger gods. She is the rule of the home and hearth where her word is law. She provides order and calmness to the gods and their dealings. She is the peacemaker between the gods, but they all fear her wrath. 

She prefers not to attack anyone, god or mortal, but when threatened, she can. She can cast any cleric spell at the 20th level of ability. She also wields a distaff that she can use to strike anyone for 3d7 hp of damage. Within her home on Himmel she also has a Commanding Presence. She can speak and any mortal who hears her will obey. Gods and other divine beings are allowed a saving throw. Undead, constructs and other creatures normally immune to the effects of mind-affecting magic are destroyed when she uses her commanding voice.  Likewise, she can use any Power Word spell once per day.

Herde Oberin is part of a Trinity of Goddess who see the well-being of mortals from birth to death. Liebhaberin the Maiden sees life begin, Herde Oberin the Mother sees life grow and flourish, and Helga the Crone sees life end and takes the souls beyond.  In this manner, they interact with the Fata Norne.

Animal: Dog or cat
Rainment: (Head) circlet or crown (Body) Simple garments
Color(s): White, 
Holy Days: Summer and Winter Solstices
Sacrifices: A small bit of food and drink left out at night
Place of Worship: The home

Mutter Natur
Mutter Natur

The Goddess of Nature and the Earth. She is the Mother of Ôstara, and she holds the same place in these myths as Demeter/Ceres. Likewise she has a mystery cult dedicated to her as Demeter did with the Eleusinian Mysteries. From the Germanic/Norse people she takes on aspects of Frigg (like Herde Oberin) but also of Woden/Odin do to her mystery cult. As Odin knew many secrets, so too does Mutter Natur. 

Mutter Natur is the goddess that druids would worship. Her mystery cult is comprised of a type of early European Celtic type of Druid adapted from the La Tène culture of Europe.

MUTTER NATUR (Goddess of Earth and Nature)
Greater Goddess

ARMOR CLASS: 1
MOVE: 18" / 24"
HIT POINTS: 300
NO. OF ATTACKS: See below
DAMAGE/ATTACK: See below
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Blight/Bless
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Blight/Bless
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 60%

SIZE: M (6' 1")
ALIGNMENT: Neutral 
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: All (Farmers, Druids, Mystery Cultists)
SYMBOL: A circle
PLANE: Prime Material

CLERIC/DRUID: 25th level Druid
FIGHTER: Nil
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: Nil
THIEF/ASSASSIN: Nil
MONK/BARD: Nil
WITCH/WARLOCK: Nil
PSIONIC ABILITY: II
S: 11 I:20 W: 24 D: 25 C: 20 CH:20

Mutter Natur is the Goddess of the Earth, Nature, and all growing things. If Herde Oberin is the Goddess of Domestic life then Mutter Natur is the Goddess of all things wild. She is the daughter of Großmutter and the mother of Ôstara. She waxes and wanes with the seasons. 

She does not attack, but she can summon any weather of her choosing to hinder or even destroy anyone that would cause her harm. This can include spells like Gust of Wind or Lightning Bolt. She can also cast spells as a Druid of the 25th level.  At her choosing, she can also have a continuous Blight or Bless aura about her that extends to 60'.

Mutter Natur has a mystery cult. This cult resembles the practice of Druids and Shamans. Here, great secrets are revealed to the members and only the members.  To divulge these secrets results in a loss of all status and power. Some even say that the Earth itself will open up and swallow anyone before they can reveal these secrets. To date no one knows what these secrets are outside of her cult and none within will risk her wrath.

Animal: All
Rainment: (Head) circlet of flowers in the spring, leaves in the fall (Body) Simple garments
Color(s): Green
Holy Days: Equinoxes
Sacrifices: Animal sacrifice at the Equinoxes. Animals are then eaten by congregants.
Place of Worship: Any open space

Großmutter
Großmutter

While she is called Grandmother, she is more appropriately the mother of the Gods,  Die Hüne, and many of the other creatures in this myth. She is equal to the Greek Gaia and the ancient Tiamat. Her brother/husband/lover Großvater is destroyed by their son Vater Hüne to make the night sky. Großvater is equal to Uranus/Ouranos in Greek and Roman myth and Ymir in Norse.

GROẞMUTTER (Goddess of Creation)
Intermediate Goddess

ARMOR CLASS: NA
MOVE: NA
HIT POINTS: Infinite
NO. OF ATTACKS: NA
DAMAGE/ATTACK: NA
SPECIAL ATTACKS: NA
SPECIAL DEFENSES: NA
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 100%

SIZE: Varies
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: None
SYMBOL: Infinity sign
PLANE: All

CLERIC/DRUID: Nil
FIGHTER: Nil
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: Nil
THIEF/ASSASSIN: Nil
MONK/BARD: Nil
WITCH/WARLOCK: Nil
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
S: - I: - W: - D: - C: - CH: - 

Großmutter is the creatrix goddess and has no physical form save for all the Earth people walk on. She can communicate to others via dreams or other sending. It is said she can talk directly to gods, but her voice would destroy any others that hear it.

It is believed that Mutter Natur may be her aspect in an anthropomorphic form, and this is one of the many secrets learned in her secret Mystery cult.

--

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Thursday, October 5, 2023

D&DGII The Black Forest Mythos: Sisters of the Dawn, Liebhaberin and Ôstara

Ôstara
Two sister goddesses today who might, in fact, be the same goddess depending on who you talk to and when you talk to them.  I'll detail that more below, but let's discuss them as two separate Goddesses for now.

These Goddesses cleave closer to their ancient roots than their Norse ones. In addition to Roman and Greek influences, these Goddesses can be traced back to their Mesopotamian antecedents, with Astartē, Ishtar, and even Isis as their inspiration. Primarily, this is due to the vital importance Spring has had throughout time to an agricultural society.

Ôstara

She is the goddess of spring, rebirth, and the dawn. She is the daughter of Mutter Natur and one of the gods that has retained her old name.  Her title is "Geliebte," which means "beloved." She is celebrated on the Spring Equinox when she rises with the dawn to wake up the world from its long winter slumber. She goes to the underworld in the Fall and world weeps and sleeps, but not before her bounty is brought into the world in form of her harvests.

Ôstara is one of the overtly Pagan goddesses in this pantheon. She retains much of her earlier character and strongly aligns with Persephone/Proserpina in the Spring and Dionysus/Bacchus in the Autumn. 

ÔSTARA (Goddess of Spring)
Intermediate Goddess

ARMOR CLASS: 1 / -5
MOVE: 18" / 24"
HIT POINTS: 200
NO. OF ATTACKS: 2
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d10/1d10 
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Radiance of Dawn
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Blinding Defense
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 50%

SIZE: M (5' 4")
ALIGNMENT: Neutral Good
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: All (mostly Good)
SYMBOL: An egg or rabbit
PLANE: Himmel

CLERIC/DRUID: 15th level Druid
FIGHTER: Nil
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: Nil
THIEF/ASSASSIN: Nil
MONK/BARD: 7th level Bard
WITCH/WARLOCK: 8th level Witch
PSIONIC ABILITY: II
S: 17 I:18 W: 18 D: 20 C: 20 CH:24

Ôstara is the Goddess of Spring and Rebirth. She is the maiden that heralds the dawn and new beginnings. She is a peaceful Goddess but terrible to her enemies. She always appears as a young woman wearing a garland of flowers and dressed in bright yellows and blues.

She can charm any animal as per the spell with no chance of saving throw, they will all do her bidding to defend her if she but asks, even to the death. Afterward, she will raise them back from the dead to perfect health and maximum hp. She can also raise dead on any mortal once per day.

She prefers not to attack, but if she is she can cast her Corona of Dawn once per day. This power blinds all within 100' of her and deals 6d6 fire damage to those within 30' of her. Any who make their saves take half damage.  This power also acts as a shield, providing her with -5 AC.  She can also strike with a beam of searing light for 1d10 points of damage twice per round. 

While she would rather not attack any living creature, she has no such qualms against the undead or demons.

She is the wife of Jäger and sister to Liebhaberin. She is honored by druids and witches who look to the return of spring.

Ôstara grows the Golden Apples of Immortality. Her sister then will give them to gods or mortals of her own choosing. 

Sphere of Control: Spring

Animal: Lambs, Rabbits
Rainment: (Head) Bare (Body) Simple white garments
Color(s): White, Green
Holy Days: Spring Equinox
Sacrifices: Burning incense and apples.
Place of Worship: Any open area, fields of grains


Liebhaberin
Liebhaberin

The goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality. Where Ôstara brings life back to the land, Liebhaberin brings it to young lovers. She is the ever-young, ever-beautiful goddess of spring. She is the morning star seen after the Spring Equinox. She has aspects of Aphrodite/Venus and aspects of both Freya and Iðunn. She, along with Ôstara, keeps the Golden Apples that keep the Gods forever young and immortal. No human (likely rendered "No Man") may eat of them. (To further confuse the myths here I am going to say that because of the "No Man" statement, a woman may eat of these apples and give them to a man. That's how they explain away Adam and Eve.) 

Liebhaberin is also the patron goddess of all nymphs and dryads. Her retinue is occupied only by the most beautiful nymphs. 

LIEBHABERIN (Goddess of Beauty, Love, and Sexuality)
Intermediate God

ARMOR CLASS: 3
MOVE: 18"
HIT POINTS: 220
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: Emotional damage
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Charming 
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Pact of the Beloved (see below)
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 50%

SIZE: M (5' 6")
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Good
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: All (mostly Good; lovers)
SYMBOL: The Morning Star
PLANE: Himmel

CLERIC/DRUID: 10th level Cleric
FIGHTER: Nil
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: 4th level Illusionist
THIEF/ASSASSIN: Nil
MONK/BARD: 9th level Bard
WITCH/WARLOCK: 6th level Witch
PSIONIC ABILITY: II
S: 16 I:16 W: 18 D: 18 C: 20 CH:25

Liebhaberin is the Goddess of Beauty, Love, and Sexuality. She is the ever-young maiden. While her sister Ôstara stirs life back into the Earth and nature, she does the same for lovers.

She can appear as whatever the person viewing her most desires and can charm any mortal with no save. 

Due to ancient pacts between the gods and all living things, no mortal or immortal that has ever been loved can bring her harm in any way. This includes direct attacks and even area-of-effect magics. Since everyone has been loved by someone at least at one point, this effectively makes her invulnerable. Undead, constructs, and mindless elementals are immune to this. Demons are also immune to this and are enraged by this.

Like her sister she is loathe to engage in violence. She can touch a person and they feel whatever emotion she chooses. Her tactic is often to calm an aggressor or make them fall in love with her or someone nearby. She can also cause jealousy and rage; a common tactic when she dealing with a number of hostile mortals. 

She keeps the Golden Apples of Immortality, which are hers to give to whoever she pleases. 

Many Gods, Goddesses, and mortals claim to be her lover, and this is all likely true, but she can't limit herself to just one lover.

Sphere of Control: Sex, love, beauty
Animal: Rabbit
Rainment: (Head) Bare (Body) Simple white garments or bare
Color(s): White, Red
Holy Days: Mornings, Weddings
Sacrifices: Libations
Place of Worship: Any area of natural beauty, the bedroom.

One Goddess or Two?

One of the crucial things to consider when making a new pantheon, even one with historical basis, is that gods are not compartmentalized easily. For example, Apollo is the God of music, archery, and the Sun. Pan is also the God of music. Hellios is also the God of the sun. This is because we are looking back at these myths through our times. Apollo rose and fell (but mostly rose) in importance over the centuries. This is even more true of the Egyptian myths. Gods rose, fell, were merged, split apart, and more.  

What does this have to do with these two?

Simple, these two goddesses could have been one goddess. They could have been aspects of the same goddess.  They could be sisters, mother and daughter, or something else. Gods can be a lot of things at the same time that mortals can't be.  I had considered making them Divine Twins, but that role is being served elsewhere.

So, where does that leave me? Simple I go back to my rules. I follow what would work best for an AD&D game. I will keep them separate for now, but knowing full well, they could be combined into one goddess as time goes on.

I like my gods to be messy and have some unnecessary overlap. 

Plane

Until I come up with something better, the Plane these Gods all live on is called Himmel, the German word for Heaven. 

Where is Himmel? Well if you ask the worshipers, they will look at you strangely and point up. Beacuse where else would it be? 

Consequently, the land of the dead and the place of evil is Hölle (Hell, but it also sounds like hole).

Where either of these is on the Great Wheel cosmology is anyone's guess. I am not sure yet myself. I *like* the great wheel, but I am not beholden to it. At least I don't think I need to be even if not using it violates my Rule #1.

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Thursday, June 15, 2023

Deities & Demigods II: Part 1, Hecate

Let's kick off this inaugural Deities & Demigods II post by trying to figure out what should be in the standard stat block for these gods. Let me begin with some assumptions.

The Triple Hecate, 1795. William Blake
The Triple Hecate, 1795. William Blake

  1. I will favor AD&D 1st Edition. This is the system I have used the most. This is also the system that was the genesis of my original One Man's God feature. So I would like as much overlap as I can.
  2. I will pull in material from any other edition or variation of D&D as I see fit. In particular, some of the Avatar details from AD&D2 and D&D3 as well as any other material that might fit the bill.
  3. I am working under the assumption that these stat blocks ARE NOT designed as super-powerful monsters to kill. In already borrowing from AD&D2, and a house rule we used in the 80s, these stat blocks represent their avatars or mortal manifestations on/in the Prime Material. Their true forms on their own plane are at least 10x more powerful. Likely more.

Now these assumptions are working under a much larger assumption of how my Deities & Demigods II posts will be like moving forward.

Today I want to focus on the stat block. I am not detailing anything about this god, yet nor am I even defining things like standard divine abilities or power levels. Let's go with AD&D 1st Ed standard until I have reason to do otherwise and see where this goes.

I am going to start with the example of Hecate from Greek Mythology. After this, I will use her and this example to develop a new pantheon of gods. I spent a lot of time with her yesterday in preparation for this post. 

Let's look at how Hecate is presented in the various D&D books.

Hecate across the Editions

Deities & Demigods: AD&D 1st Edition

For this I want to break down the AD&D 1st Ed Deities stat block.

Roslof Hecate sketch
HECATE (goddess of magic)
Lesser goddess

ARMOR CLASS: -2
MOVE: 12"
HIT POINTS: 289
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: See below
SPECIAL ATTACKS: See below
SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 89%

SIZE: M (51⁄4')
ALIGNMENT: Lawful evil
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: Any being working with magic
SYMBOL: Setting moon
PLANE: Nine Hells

CLERIC/DRUID: 14th level druid
FIGHTER: Nil
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: Special
THIEF/ASSASSIN: Nil
MONK/BARD: Nil
PSIONIC ABILITY: I
S: 12 1:25 W: 9 D: 20 C: 22 CH:25

I separated the sections with hard returns. I would use color, but that gives some screen readers for the visually impaired issues. So instead, I will go with the sections.

The first section starting with AC is very combat-focused. The number of attacks, damage per attack, special attacks, and more.

The second section starting with size is personal information and worshiper's information. This one is great for expansion.

The last section starting with classes is somewhat combat-focused and somewhat personal. For Hecate here, we expect she has some spellcasting ability but maybe not a lot of fighting.  Though as a personal note, I disagree with her Wisdom being so low.

After this follows her description. 

Ok. One of the most common complaints about the presentation in the D&DG is that this is too much like a monster. I high-level monster, but a monster all the same. It has AC and HP, so it must be able to be attacked and killed.  This is not what we want or need. We have nothing here about her Clerics (save for those that use magic), holy days, or anything a worshiper might need/want.

There is a table in back that is actually much more useful than anything in the stat-block above.

Deities & Demigods Tables

This includes their name, Sphere of Control, Clerics [M,F,N-H], Rainment [head, body], Colors, Holy Days, Sacrifice [Frequency, Form], and Place of Worship.

For Hecate, these are: Magic, Hell Hound, yes, yes, no, bare head, tunic, blue-white, fall equinox, monthly on the full moon, ox, and mountain glen. 

This is good material. 

Legends & Lore: AD&D 2nd Edition

I don't need to go into as much detail here since the entries for all gods are typically shorter. But let's have a look at what we have anyway.

Here we get into the concept that the stats are not the God, but their avatars on the Mortal plane.

Hecate's Avatar

Ok, so you can't fight the god, but their avatar instead. A little better I guess.

There is mention here of the duties of the priesthood, what spell domains they gain, what Weapon and Non-Weapon prophecies they have access to, and so on. Though nothing about holy days, animals, colors or the like. Each pantheon/mythos does have some new spells and artifacts listed so that is also nice. 

So the avatar and details on the priest characters are a good takeaways from this one.

Deities & Demigods: D&D 3rd Edition

Lastly, let's look at 3rd Edition, even if it is very different than the first two.

Ok I did pick this for a reason. There is a lot of information here for the players of the Clerics of these gods, which also gives us a Rosetta Stone of how to talk about the gods of other editions. That Rosetta Stone is the D&D Patheon, which at this time was primarily the Greyhawk one. Other editions use a similar set of gods and talk about what their priests can, can't, and could do.  BUT that is all for another time. Let's get back to Hecate.

Hecate 3e

We get Domains, Divine Rank, her Alignment, favored weapons (which can be used by her priests) and Portfolio.  All good information.

Unfortunately, 3.x goes on to embrace the worse parts of the 1st and 2nd Ed's books and then makes a bunch of their own. 

Hecate 3e

I mean yeah, there is lot of information here, but is any of it needed by her clergy? Ok the sections on Dogma and Clergy and Temples is good. But do I *really* need to know or care how many Feats she has. No. Not unless she is going into combat. Which she shouldn't do.

There is an "Avatar of Hecate" on the next page that is reminiscent of the AD&D 2nd Ed one, but still, not exactly something we need.

What, if anything, can I get from all of this?

Well. Sadly the default presentation for the first 25 years of D&D appears to be "God as High-level Monster," which is not at all helpful.

I broke down these stat-blocks WAY back in 2010 when I was detailing a new cult, the Church of Lolth Ascendant, for the Drow Goddess Araushnee. There I captured the stats that seemed most valuable to the clerics (and players of the clerics) of that particular Goddess.

This has me wondering.

What should the format of a "Deities & Demigods II" be? What is the purpose of a book of gods for a D&D-like game?

Given what I have worked through here and in previous posts, I can see two different but related projects.

First, I can see a need/desire/want for a continuation of the format of the 1st Ed AD&D Deities & Demigods, monster-like stats, and all. 

Secondly, I also see a need for a book of gods, demi-gods, and heroes, along with all the above-identified positive things like duties of the priesthood, holy days, and more. I would add new divine spells that are only available to those priesthoods. That's a much larger and more exciting project to be sure.

Deities & Demigods II is something I can do here, with some work.  The other project, the so far unnamed one, that will be something that will take longer. 

I think for the next post, I should first figure out what would be needed for a D&D-game god write-up.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Wasted Lands Playtest: The Three Faces of Hecate

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2023, May 8). Hecate. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Hecate
Hecate. Encyclopedia Britannica.
Trying out a few things today.

First, I wanted to play-test a Sorcerer character, which is the Wasted Lands equivalent of the Witch from NIGHT SHIFT.  In particular, I wanted to try out Hecate since I had already done Ereshkigal, even though I knew they shared certain similarities. 

Secondly, I wanted to do Hecate because she is the first focal point of my new series on the Deities & Demigods II project/feature here.

Thirdly, and related to both points above I wanted to work out how my Heka (the Hecate of my Grecco-Egyptian myths) and Helga (the Hecate of my Roman-Norse myths) would work out.

And lastly, I wanted to try out the Divine Touchstones feature of this game. As it turns out, this feature makes all the difference in the world. 

The Character: Hecate

For my second (and third and fourth) character, I am choosing Hecate, the goddess of witches, magic, the crossroads, and ghosts. She has been a favorite for a long time.  She will also be the first Goddess I cover for my D&DGII project.

Hecate is a Sorceress in the Wasted Lands, no doubt. Well...some doubt. While her main deal is magic, she also has that aspect of Ghosts. In the end, I stuck with Sorceress and found a nice way to add the spooky stuff I wanted.

Hecate
Hecate

Class: Sorceress (Persona Aspect)
Level: 7
Species: Human

Alignment: Dark Neutral

Abilities
Strength: 12 (0)
Agility: 14 (+1)
Toughness: 16 (+2) N +1
Intelligence: 15 (+1) N +1
Wits: 13 (+1)
Persona: 17 (+2) A +2

Fate Points: 10
Defense Value: 8
Vitality: 5 (d6)
Degeneracy:
Corruption:

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +4/+2/+1
Melee Bonus: +0
Ranged Bonus: +1
Saves: +4 to Magic based

Special Abilities
Arcana, Arcane Powers

Corruption
- Unnatural Parlor

Divine Touchstones
1st: Sense Ghosts
2nd: First Level Spell: Nightvision
3rd: Summon Hellhound
4th: Class level: Necromancer (1 level)

Necromancer (Divine Touchstone 4th)
Channel the Dead 22%
See Dead People
Summon the Dead 15%
Command (Spirits)
Protection from Undead
Turn Undead 20%

Spells
1st: Mystical Senses, Create/Extinguish Light, Sense Death
2nd: Animal Summoning, Eternal Flame
3rd: Fly

Arcane Powers
1st: Beguile
4th: Shadow Walking
7th: Exorcist

Divine Notes: Magic, Witchcraft, Crossroads, Ghosts
Background: Priestess

Gear
Dagger: 1d4

This version of Hecate is the Greek Goddess of magic, witches, ghosts and the crossroads. I leaned into the last two to give her powers over spirits and undead. She gains her Divine Touchstones as part of significant aspects in her adventuring career. Sense Ghosts would be something that came to her naturally along with Nightvision, she is also the Goddess of the Night. Giving her a level for her 4th Divine touchstone was really what sold me on the touchstones. If she wants another level then she will need a higher-level touchstone to get it.

This is really what sets Wasted Lands apart from other gritty Swords & Sorcery games. 

It is also what helps set one character apart from another.

Heka and Helga are by definition just other versions of Hecate with something a little different. What is that something? Well here it is the arcane powers they get, but mostly it is the Divine Touchstones they earn.

For these next two characters I am keeping the base stats all the same. Human, 7th level Sorceress. But the differences now come from the spells, Arcane powers, the Divine Touchstones. One note since Sorcerers can choose their Aspect between Intelligence, Wits, and Persona, I picked different ones for each. 

The Character: Heka

Heka is the Hecate of the Greeco-Egyptian mythology.  While she is not a goddess that research into the Ptolemaic dynasty existed and would have worshiped (like Serapis or even later Hermes Trismegistus), she could have been in a D&D-like world. 

In this mythology, Heka is more focused on the learning aspect of magic and is the goddess of Dark Secrets. Her relationship with Isis is the same as that of Ishtar with Ereshkigal.  Dark and Light sisters. So for this, I switched her Aspect to Intelligence.

Like Hecate, Isis is connected to the underworld, so Heka would also be an underworld guardian and more of a protector of occult secrets.  While this could lead to "Wisdom" and "Wits" I felt intelligence was the better choice. I have also always felt that Isis was one of the more intelligent gods in any myth.

Heka
Heka

Class: Sorceress (Intelligence Aspect)
Level: 7
Species: Human

Alignment: Neutral

Abilities
Strength: 12 (0)
Agility: 14 (+1)
Toughness: 16 (+2) N +1
Intelligence: 17 (+2) A +2
Wits: 13 (+1)
Persona: 15 (+1) N +1

Fate Points: 10
Defense Value: 8
Vitality: 5 (d6)
Degeneracy:
Corruption:

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +4/+2/+1
Melee Bonus: +0
Ranged Bonus: +1
Saves: +4 to Magic based

Special Abilities
Arcana, Arcane Powers

Corruption
- Uncomfortable Aura

Divine Touchstones
1st: First Level Spell: Read Languages
2nd: Enhanced Senses
3rd: Class level: Sage (1 level)
4th: 1 level of Necromancer

Sage (Divine Touchstone 3rd)
Lore: 27%
Mesmerize Others: 10%
Spells: 1st Level: Prestidigitation

Spells
1st: Beast Speech, Command, Protection from Undead
2nd: Beguile Person, Extra Sensory Perception
3rd: Clairvoyance

Arcane Powers
1st: Detect Thoughts
4th: Telepathic Transmission 
7th: Polymath

Divine Notes: Magic, Witchcraft, the Dead, Occultism
Background: Priestess

Gear
Dagger: 1d4

This version of Hecate combines part of the concept of Isis. So her connections to magic and the underworld are the same. As I said I consider Isis one of the most intelligent gods, so Heka reflects this. By combining that with magic, witchcraft, and the underworld she becomes a figure of Occult knowledge. Much like her fellow syncretized god, Hermes Trismegistus. Indeed, if Hermes Trismegistus is the "patron" of the various Hermtic Orders, then Heka would be the patroness of various Occult orders. Maybe even laying claim to secrets from that great temple of learning from the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, the Library of Alexandria. It certainly ties into the lesser-known Roman Goddess Cardea, the Goddess of Doors, and access to knowledge that has been conflated with Hecate before. 

I deal with the Roman Hecate below.

The Character: Helga

Helga is the Hecate of my Roman-Norse mythology. She combines aspects of Hecate, Hel, Hades, and Frau Holt. She also has connections to Frigga and Freya and would be the patroness of seers and seiðr. For this reason and the Frau Holt connection, I see her as more of a Crone-like figure. 

I also gave her the Wits Aspect for her connection to wisdom. 

Helga
Helga

Class: Sorceress (Wits Aspect)
Level: 7
Species: Human

Alignment: Dark Neutral

Abilities
Strength: 12 (0)
Agility: 14 (+1)
Toughness: 16 (+2) N +1
Intelligence: 15 (+1)
Wits: 17 (+2) A +2
Persona: 13 (+1)  N +1

Fate Points: 10
Defense Value: 8
Vitality: 5 (d6)
Degeneracy:
Corruption:

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +4/+2/+1
Melee Bonus: +0
Ranged Bonus: +1
Saves: +4 to Magic based

Special Abilities
Arcana, Arcane Powers

Corruption
- Unnatural Parlor

Divine Touchstones

1st: Empathy
2nd: First Level Spell: Sense Death
3rd: Class level: Psychic (1 level)
4th: Spirit Guide: Hound

Psychic (Divine Touchstone 3rd)
Psychic Power: Temporal Sense
Supernatural Attack
Sixth Sense
Supernatural Power: Precognition

Spells
1st: Command, Glamour, Predict Weather
2nd: Invisibility, Invoke Fear
3rd: Fly

Arcane Powers
1st: Enhanced Senses
4th: Beguile
7th: Wild Form

Divine Notes: Magic, Witchcraft, Seer
Background: Priestess

Gear
Dagger: 1d4

This version of Hecate leans more into the dark side as befitting a Goddess of Magic, Ghosts, and Witchcraft that was syncretized with the Goddess of the Underworld and Goddess of Magic and Witches. 

In many ways Helga feels like a better fit to me. Maybe because my whole idea of a Roman-Norse pantheon stretches back to a time when I was first reading myths and had a book that had both of them (along with Beowulf), which was the same time I was learning to play D&D.

Helga is the darker side of Witchcraft. while she has "good" figures in her mix like Freya, Frigga, and Frau Holt, she has Hel as well. 

Taking the base "Hecate" stats wand moving forward I emphasized her connection to the psychic world and her Seer powers. This gives her the Divine Touchstone of Psychic to gain some of those powers and a few more spells and powers.

Three Faces of Hecate

--

I am EXTREMELY pleased with these characters. Not just as characters but as a means to work out my ideas on who these Gods should be.  The Divine Touchstones are a great way to help build what later could be called divine abilities. I also see all three of these goddesses as being active as goddesses in a NIGHT SHIFT game. 

This game, the WASTED LANDS, is going to be really great and I am looking forward to seeing the final versions in print.  Please sign up for Kickstarter if you can

This also gives me a LOT of ideas for my new Deities & Demigods II feature. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

One Man's God Special: Syncretism Part 5, Chariots of the Gods and Alien Gods

One of the great bits of synchronicity of my education back in the late 70s early 80s was my discovery of two very different authors.  The first was Erich von Däniken who had a lot of ideas that appealed to my young self, a self that was fed a steady diet of mythology, astronomy, UFOs, and new-age ideas.  For me, at age 9 to 10, this seemed like great stuff.  It all seemed to fit so well.  Then I discovered the second author, Carl Sagan.  I had seen the various episodes of "In Search Of..." and all the episodes of "Cosmos." So at age 10 there seemed to be a worldview that *could* include both.  I mean, the fringes of science were the fringes, after all. Sagan told me that in black holes, the laws of physics break down.  Maybe there were other places/things/times like this?

Chariots of the Gods
"Chariot of the Gods"

It is no stretch of the imagination that Carl Sagan and Cosmos utterly changed my life.  I always had wanted to be an astronomer, and Sagan was the model I wanted to follow.  Too bad I get to a point in Calculus where I stop understanding it.  Thankfully it was enough to help me out in statistics.

And I read, with abject horror and then absolute delight, Sagan's masterful takedown of von Däniken (and Velikovsky). He so utterly destroyed everything von Däniken had said and claimed.  The evidence and case were overwhelming for me; Erich von Däniken was a fraud, and Sagan was the true visionary.  At the age of 10, I tossed out, mentally speaking, all the things that were spiritual or pseudoscientific.  I relegated all my "magical thought" to my new obsession, D&D. 

But I never really let the ideas go away. Even Sagan himself entertained the possibility of ancient aliens, but as always, he met it with his famous standard, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

One of those ideas was about ancient aliens visiting Earth and being interpreted as gods or angels. 

Von Däniken was not the only one to have these ideas. There was Zecharia Sitchin, who gave us, among other things, the 12th Planet and Nibiru.  But the biggest one was Immanuel Velikovsky.  There are more, but this is not a post on pseudohistory or pseudoscience.  This is a post about gods.  I'll try to recover from my self-inflicted irony wound here later. 

The Aliens

I would like to reconstruct the "Ancient Alien" idea with some major changes.  First, since this is a One Man's God post, these are not aliens but actual gods. I am going to present them as such. They can be "Alien Gods" to be sure, but these are Gods in the D&D/FRPG sense of the word.

I will do it, though in such a way as to leave enough doubt in the readers' minds. That "doubt" is really just my wiggle room so I can use them as "gods" in my various D&D campaigns or as aliens in my various modern games like NIGHT SHIFT.

I want to build something that feels like it came right out of the occult-infused 70s.  

Given all of this, it should not be a huge surprise that I will be drawing on many of the same research and literature reviews I did for my April A to Z of Conspiracy Theories.  I am going to include and draw on the following posts (many of which were originally written for an earlier version of this very post):

I would take a lot of this material and put them together as a group of gods. I have PLENTY of examples. 

Case in point: The Norse Gods and the Nordics.  Take the "alien race," the Nordics, for example. Called such because, well, they are tall and blond. In my take here, the aliens become the Norse Pantheon, essentially what you see in the Marvel Movies with the Asgardians.  

Case in point 2: The entire plot behind the Stargate movie and TV series.

Mine will not be so neat and certainly not so benevolent as those. 

Also, I want to avoid some well-documented racist tropes inherent in the Ancient Aliens as Gods theories. This can best be summarized as "white people couldn't figure it out, so therefore Aliens!" Even in the 70s, I saw this. 

Union of the Snake

The academic work on this is known as the Ophiolatreia: Rites and Mysteries of Serpent Worship. This covers many religions and practices. But it also plays a little loose with the definition of "Serpent." 

Let's try something simpler. There are 1000s of Gods, and there is no way I am going through all of them to find "interloper" gods or ones that don't quite fit with the rest. But I can start with the same resource I have been using this whole time, the Deities & Demigods.

I will work it this way. I'll take all the Gods in D&DG and find the ones that don't fit, and for the most part, I will focus on the reptilian or snake-like gods. I will add a couple more because they fit well with my ideas. 

The Flock

Given the fixation on snakes and reptiles, there needs to be a good representation of those sorts of gods in this new pantheon.  Also, many of these gods will be "sky" gods. While there are archetypes all gods fall into, I am not going to necessarily follow that here like I did in the Roman-Norse Pantheon.   

While the people here are reasonably "Good" aligned, I can't say the same for the gods.  In fact, I am going to have this pantheon of gods be primarily evil.  Their design here is to enslave humans and make them build these giant temples for whatever reason. Conquest? Food? I'll see as I build them.  The humans here are doing what they can to appease these powerful beings in the only ways they know how given their times and tools at hand. This is what makes the process more "Stargate" and less "Marvel's Thor."

So who are these people? This has to be Bronze Age or long before; the Neolithic sounds better. 5,000 BCE feels right.  This also allows me to use some Proto-Indo-European notions of gods.  Indeed I might even reconstruct my own versions of the PIE Gods, not unlike what I did with the Roman-Norse Pantheon.  OR, and here is an idea, the PIE Gods existed, and these "Alien Gods" were the ones they warred with.  This tracks with the common element in many PIE myths of the Hero/God slaying the Dragon/Serpent.  Could the Dragon/Serpent be these Alien Gods?  This is the Chaoskampf of many myths.

Remember, I am not putting together a Master's Thesis or Ph.D. Dissertation here. I am building something for the D&D, NIGHT SHIFT, and WASTED LANDS RPGs. I get to bend the rules of proper academic research as much as I like.

I will use these ideas to expand my monsters, Ophidians, and Saurians.

The Gods

Here are some gods that look like they fit my criteria of a snake/reptile/non-human god in a pantheon of human gods. Eastern religions, or, more to the point, non-European ones, have far more variety in their gods. Note: I am also going to get into the subject of Good vs. Evil here. Some, like Queztequotal (Aztec) and Shāhmārān (Turkey) are objectively good figures. Others are not.

While I will focus mostly on the myths as presented in the DDG, there are far, far more. I am going to avoid monsters for the most part, but some will sneak in.  Though I will add more gods that I know as appropriate.

American Indian Mythos

  • Snake-Man

Babylonian, Sumerian, and Akkadian Mythos

  • Apsu
  • Aži Dahāka / Dahak
  • Inshushinak
  • Ištaran
  • Nirah
  • Tiamat
  • Tishpak

Celtic Mythos

  • Caoránach
  • Oilliphéist

Central American Mythos

  • Kukulkan / Queztequotal
  • Huhueteotl
  • Tlaloc

Chinese Mythos

  • Ma Yuan

I talk a lot about Ma Yuan and Ma Yüan-shuai in my discussion of the Chinese myths, I think I might keep him "as is" for this.

Egyptian Mythos

  • Apep
  • Flame Snake (monster and enemy of the Gods)
  • Mehen
  • Nehebkau
  • Set (to a degree)
  • Syöjätär (a monster, but that is the closest thing they have)

Greek Mythos

  • Enceladus
  • Gorgons
  • Hydra
  • Ophion
  • Ophiuchus

Indian Mythos

  • Bhenswara
  • Nagas
  • And dozens more

Japanese Mythos

  • Ugajin
  • Yamata no Orochi

Norse Mythos

  • Jormungandr

This could be a pantheon all on its own. Several of these have their own "portfolios."  And there are so many more.

While I am considering this as something to use with NIGHT SHIFT as "Ancient Aliens." In the WASTED LANDS, they could be heroes (still aliens of a sort) that become gods. Though in at least one case, Jormungandr is another name for Yig.

I could revisit these as part of my Deities & Demigods II since this might be my last Syncretism post for a bit while I spend some more time on my Deities & Demigods II ones.

One Man's God Special: Syncretism