View Full Version : Deities of my Campaign, pt. 1: The Ancient Gods (R&R plz lolr)

2007-02-13, 06:22 PM
The Ancient Gods

Figures who exist only in legend and folklore, yet are acknowledged by no human authority, the Ancient Gods are nevertheless known through various names and forms to every culture of Eerath. Their origin exists in a legend known only to the most ancient histories of the Grey Elves and Lizardmen, a tale almost forgotten, and the certainty of its truth is dubious at best.

Nevertheless, this story was recounted to human Scholars of the Alliance when they made first contact with the High Elven explorers, who had kept the story from their progenitors, the Grey Elves. It defies every explanation of the world's origin, thelogical or otherwise, and not even the Elves truly believed it. Yet.... none of the elder peoples deny the Ancient Gods exist. Only the young and vainglorious peoples--mankind and orcdom--relegate them to superstition.

The Origin of All

In the beginning, there was a vast, bottomless sea of darkness that was the listless, entropic mass of Negative Energy. Above it soared a sky bright beyond seeing, the pulsing, restless light of Positive Energy. And for aeons never could the two have met until....

Out of the sky blazed a radiant figure on a golden chariot wreathed in fire, drawn by two suns. This was Lord Om, the first being and the epitome of the power and vibrancy of Positive.

Out of the well of darkness congealed and drew forth a form as beautiful as twilight and cool as moonfire. This was the Lady Aisha, who's skin was the color of the night sky and hair black as the void.

As was inevitable, Lord Om took Lady Aisha in passion, and a desire to forge matter from the abyss. The demiurgic act of their union mixed Positive and Negative and threw forth all the matter that would be and has yet to be. When he was satisfied, Lord Om sculpted from this a fine palace for his Lady, crafted from gleaming ivory. This vast palace is today our moon, though at the time there was yet no earth to bind it.

But though he was a restless conqueror, Lord Om was slack as a husband. He took his chariot out and circled the universe everyday, bringing light to all darkness and inspecting his domain with a suspicious eye. Aisha dwelled in her palace, growing lonely and listless, until at last she begat from her man's seed nine children, and birthed them together so she would be alone no more.

These nine were the Ancient Gods, the first beings to be created by other beings, the power of creation and destruction distilled in them to create a unique temperament for each. Their minds would be the template of all persona to come. Yet when Lord Om found them, he grew jealous that any should share his wife and his house, and attacked the Gods. They fought back and slew Lord Om, his body bursting into an everlasting fire that would become our great sun, where before there had been only many little ones.

But this was more than their mother could bear. Grieving, she retreated into the deepest chambers of her palace and remains there to this day. The Nine, left to their own devices, took a great amount of the remaining matter and set about crafting a world for themselves.

So they hammered out the mountains, sculpted the forests and set clouds in the sky. They poured out seas and rivers, seeded plains and created snow and dust to fill the most desolate parts. When this labor was done, the Nine parceled out the world amongst themselves, giving each an equal share.

But ultimately they could not coexist. Three of the Gods inherited most of their father's light and became Good. Three more were filled with their mother's darkness and became Evil. The last three were in equilibrium, but ultimately Good and Evil could not stand the sight of how the other kept his own house. By this time, each God had created legions of servants---the most ancient races such as Treants or Lamia---and sent each into battle. The ensuing war devastated the new earth, shattering one land into many, burying all that was green and leaving only scorched stone beneath smoke and dust.

On what happened after this, legends differ. Some hold that the first Gods of light and darkness destroyed each other. Others say that both factions alike drew back in horror at having almost destroyed their precious labor the earth, and decided to leave their creation alone before further tampering annihilated it. They may have drifted off into the void beyond the light of earth, or taken to deathlike slumber in great tombs beneath the deepest caverns of the ocean. In anycase, only those three Gods balanced between good and evil remained to steward the earth through countless aeons.
These are the three, the Ancient Gods of Eerath.

The Wild King
Titles: Shaelmalagh, Kouros, Tae-Kal, many others.
Status: Greater Deity
Portfolio: Wilderness, plants, animals, music & art, carnal lust, natural selection
Domains: Animal, Plant, Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Trickery, Gluttony, Lust, Protection

The Wild King is one of the oldest and most powerful Gods of Eerath, though few amongst the common races are aware of him. He is True Neutral, though he favors growth and change (chaos) over set rigidity (law). Since ancient times, he has guarded and lorded over all wild places---forests, jungles, mountains, swamps, tundra and desert alike. The earth is his servant, as much as he is bound to protect her. He is unknowable, enigmatic and has little sympathy towards city-building races. Thus, only only those humans who take the path of the Druid or dislike the state of their society are found to worship him. Chief amongst the Wild King's followers are the Fey races, most of whom owe their creation directly to him.

The Wild King's existence is not publically acknowledged by any human church or state, yet all know of him on a deep, instinctual level suggesting genetic memory. He walks always in the wild places, trackless forests or bitter tundra. His most common shape is a stately, powerful elk-like creature though he takes many forms. He almost never takes a humanoid shape, and only "speaks" by shaping the wilds around him in signs of pleasure or displeasure. The faeries, satyrs, creatures of the forest and all Fey instinctively know him as their creator and master. They offer up a great many rituals and revelries in his name; some debauched and vile, others beatific and solemn depending on the creatures' mein.

The Wild King's stance towards civilization is uncertain. There are ancient stories of the forest, jungles or other wilds rising up and swallowing whole cities that became so vain as to try to subjugate all the land and harvest its resources recklessly. However, such incidences are wholly confined to legend and have not happened in all recorded history. It is likely the Wild King does not yet consider the young races such as men and orcs threats, while the old races (elves, dwarves, lizardmen etc.) learned to live in balance and respect the wilds long ago.

Clerics of the Wild King are not common even amongst the most savage races. His "clergy" (which has little formal organization) are mostly druids, spirit shamans, totemists and the like. The King's symbol is usually an antlered beast wreathed in vines or flower stems. His favored weapons tend to be natural attacks like teeth and claws, and his humanoid followers often emulate this with bladed gauntlets or fighting claws.

The King of Tides
Titles: Foamdancer, Setagogh, Sturmhess, many others
Status: Greater Deity
Portfolio: The oceans and their tides, seastorms and hurricanes, sea travel, madness, all creatures of the sea, speed
Domains: Chaos, Water, Storms, Destruction, Luck, Travel, Madness, Celerity

The King of Tides is the ruler of all the seas, and thus the greater part of the earth. He is Chaotic Neutral. The King is very protective of his domain and sees land creatures intruding into his watery realm as an affront. Only the g reatest placations and sacrifices will sway him to grant passage to man and his ships.

Like his brother the Wild King, the King of Tides is enigmatic and makes his will known by actions rather than decrees. Sailors never know if their offerings have been sufficient until they are safe upon the opposite shore. Unlike his terrestrial equivalent, however, the King of Tides is known by only one form: a powerful and tall stallion with a hide of light blue, its mane and tail sea-green. the beast iis encrusted with barnacles, starfish, anamanes and other sea scum. It is always seen running madly, either along the coast or upon the crest of waves. Its appearance is invariably a portent of doom.

All official governments and churches dismiss the King of Tides as an old legend, but any sailor worth his salt knows the reality. Sailors around the world know the King in at least one of his aspects, and for every succesful voyage there is at least one astute seafarer who makes the proper sacrifices. The King of Tides has only a few clerics amongst the Sea Elves, Locothah, Merfolk and Sahaguin. There are virtually none amongst the landwalking races. His symbol is a cresting wave , and his favored weapon is the trident.

The Sad Piper
Titles: Dancing Jack, the Master of Puppets, Dancer in Darkness, many others
Status: Greater Deity
Portfolio: Death, traveling, melancholy, rain, cemetaries, music and art born of sorrow, depression or tragedy, widows, stillborn infants, famine and plague
Domains: Travel, Death, Entropy, Luck, Law, Pestilence

The Sad Piper is what scholars call the psychopomp---a guide on the journey to the afterlife. he is lawful neutral. One of the nine Ancient Gods born to Lady Aisha, he was the only one slain by the jealous Lord Om before the nine killed their father. Yet his spirit stayed with them, even as they crafted the world and parceled into their domains. The mournful ghost was given his own eigth to rule, and this was the land of the dead where all mortals would eventually go.

Though his era is long past and the Ancient Gods' dominion forgotten through millions of years, the spirit walks the earth still. Bitterness rules him, but he deals fairly with all who have passed, leading saved and damned alike to their final reward. The Sad Piper never appears but to those who are doomed, and only the dead can truly see him. The haunting, steady drone of his "pipe" (the actual instrument varies based on his depiction) can supposedly be heard by those who near danger.

When one's time comes, forth marches the piper, and his sorrowful song calls the spirits of all---from the mightiest wizard to the greatest king and meanest peasant. Irresistably, they are drawn to follow the piper in a Danse Macabre as he leads them into eternity. Of course, no official inquiry has ever proven the truth of this legend. It is held as a superstition by church and state, yet more than even the other Ancients the piper is believed in by all the common folk.

If he had any clerics, the pper would probably laugh at them. He marches his march and dances his dance alone, mourning still the life he never lived. The pper is a fixture of popular art, often depicted holding gruesome revelries of the dead or manipulating unaware mortals by a puppet's strings, always smiling his rictus smile at the ignorant living. He is most often depicted as a fleshless skeleton in ragged, hooded robes of black, or occasionally a bright jester's outfit. Sometimes he holds a long flute crafted from a human femure, other times pan's pipes and sometimes the violin or mandolin.