Monday, September 15, 2008

Playing with Primordials

I mentioned yesterday that I wanted a conflict between the gods and more primordial powers. For the sake of tradition, and to keep things easy, I’m going to call these primordials titans. In Greek myth, the gods were the children of the titans. I’m thinking of playing with something similar.

This as-yet-unnamed world was created by a small collection of powers I’m calling the Eldest. They include a mother eldest who manifests as the sun, her first son who is the moon and commands transitions and transformations, including lycanthropy, death, and childbirth. He’s not the power of the dead or of fertility, but the eldest of moving from one state of being to another. The sun’s other children include a son who angered her and was transformed into the earth, and a daughter who is the seas. Is this daughter also being punished by her mother, or is she seeking to comfort her tormented brother?

Their children are the titans, and these titans are, as I said before, primordial powers. They’ll be the spirits of certain places, like mountains, forests, rivers and the like. Yes, that means the distinction between some of them and certain fey, like dryads, isn’t very clear, and that’s just fine with me. Ambiguity is a feature, not a bug. Some of the stronger titans might also have jurisdiction over emotions, seasons, and weather. I want an elder, wise, trickster crone titaness whom I’m calling Grandmother Spider for right now. Yep, she’s based a bit on the stories of Old Spider Woman told by Native Americans. I’m also stealing Tiamat from the Mesopotamians as the mother of monsters, now trapped within the world’s second moon, the red one. Trapped, but not destroyed, because of her influence over the powers of fertility. And yeah, I might even make her a five-headed dragon. ;)

The gods are children of the titans, but simply being a child of the titans isn’t enough to get you into that club, because that’s exactly what it is: an association of like-minded individuals. The gods are self-identified, an organization dedicated to improving the lot of those who live on the world. Some of the titans are rather indifferent to all the various creatures they share the world with, but the gods are very interested, and seek to organize the world and promote civilization. Why? Maybe because they just enjoy the creature-comforts that come with civilization. Maybe because they draw power from worship or sacrifice. Or maybe it just gives them something to do while eternity rolls on.


helium3 said...

Interesting. I'm going with the primordial vs. gods aspect as well.

In my case, I'm hewing pretty closely to the 4E assumption that the Primordials created the everything but have since either been killed or imprisoned by the gods or simply have gone to sleep.

In my capaign, the overall story is about an imprisoned primordial that is trying to break out so that "he" can reclaim his part of creation.

Nick Crayon said...

That's one of the things I really like about 4e- the primordials are straight out of greek mythology, and it's pretty cool.

That said, I'd go with the "something to do while eternity rolls on" route. It's more or less the precedent set by ancient mythology- their gods weren't interested in the grand scheme as much as meddling and playing with their little pet schemes and keeping themselves busy.

After all, isn't that what you would do in the same situation? ;)

Anonymous said...

Great post! I love mythologies that have primeval entities whose power rivals the deities. I'm working on a system of Totem Creatures, massive legendary creatures that are essentially the "forefathers" of various creatures in Memory Fading, that has a similar ring to it.

Anonymous said...

Post, you! I grow restive!