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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    For one of my (non-D&D) settings, I've got what are essentially yuan-ti who worship a group of gods known as the Crawling Clutch, ancient serpent deities that were imprisoned beneath the earth by the Sun long before his eventual demise. I came up with the idea of a single predominant matriarch (Ena'es, goddess of might, age, fertility), her three mates, and her three daughters by those mates (or at least, that is the family tree as it is understood by the yuan-ti; that's the sort of thing that's easily mythologized). When thinking up the portfolios for the other gods, I was reading Wikipedia to look for various threefold themes in mythology that weren't grossly overplayed, and I found references to a threefold death: death by strangulation, by poison, and by wounding. I thought those seemed appropriate for serpents, so I made the three mates of Ena'es have portfolios relating to those ideas:
    - Sigeta, god of poison, trickery, and finding strength in weakness;
    - Jaẋ, anaconda god of jungles, constriction, brute strength;
    - Ca'asli, god of weapons, fighting, bloodshed.

    And here's where I'm falling short and asking for assistance. I was only able to come up with one good daughter for the next trio: Xe'i'ta, goddess of knowledge, secrets, "hearer of all things," et cetera, daughter of Siegta and Ena'es. I got the idea that the daughter goddesses would be more about civilization than their parents (and include portfolios that make them useful to worship), but I'm kind of shy about having any about anything so prosaic as, say, agriculture or blacksmithing. I wanted the Crawling Clutch to be the sort of deities that the Sun (a paranoid megalomaniac) would have flagged as threats and gone out of his way to imprison. So I'm asking for ideas for the other two, things that kind of fit the idea of mixtures of "brute strength" and "weapons and bloodshed," respectively, with a less primal bent. Any thoughts?

    (Don't worry about names, by the way. I've got a particular phonology in mind for the serpents.)

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    And here's where I'm falling short and asking for assistance. I was only able to come up with one good daughter for the next trio: Xe'i'ta, goddess of knowledge, secrets, "hearer of all things," et cetera, daughter of Siegta and Ena'es. I got the idea that the daughter goddesses would be more about civilization than their parents (and include portfolios that make them useful to worship), but I'm kind of shy about having any about anything so prosaic as, say, agriculture or blacksmithing.
    Gods reflect what is important to the people that worship them. If they don't have agricultural or blacksmithing deities, that suggests that they don't place any cultural importance in those activities - which is fine, maybe they don't grow much of their own food or make their own weapons. So then, what do they do? Maybe they use obsidian weapons, so they have a mining/underground/sharp rock goddess? If they don't grow their own food, what do they eat? What they hunt? In which case, a goddess of the hunt, of patience and waiting in shadows might be appropriate?

    Alternatively, often the society is reflected instead. If the society is stratified, do the rich worship one goddess, the middle class another and the poor the last one? The difference between them being reflected by the classes - so the daughter of the brute strength god be the dominating upper classes, the secretive one the poor classes, learning to watch, listen and not get stomped underfoot, leaving construction guy's daughter to be the middle class - goddess of economic activity that'd appeal to shop owners?

    Yes, you don't want prosaic, but you want the society to have reason to worship them - you will have to find some kind of middle ground between those two, because most of the society won't want extreme fun gods - they want everyday gods, for their everyday issues.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    Gods can also shape how certain things are seen in a society.

    If blacksmithing is considered a subdomain of the goddess of secrets it will inform how blacksmithing is practiced.
    if blacksmithing is tied to the earth god (because it involves ore) it may well be seen different than if it tied to a fire goddess, a general craft god, a trade deity, or a war goddess.

    If there is a field/grain god that covers agriculture, vs a sun/ or rain deity vs a nature deity vs a family of seasonal deities that may well effect how they see the act of farming. How is regulated socially, who does what and who is attached to whom.

    so figuring out how members of society relate to each other doesn't necessarily mean that everything has to have their own deity but things that are important to society will have a connection to basically everything else in the society , including religious views.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    For one of my (non-D&D) settings, I've got what are essentially yuan-ti who worship a group of gods known as the Crawling Clutch, ancient serpent deities that were imprisoned beneath the earth by the Sun long before his eventual demise. I came up with the idea of a single predominant matriarch (Ena'es, goddess of might, age, fertility), her three mates, and her three daughters by those mates (or at least, that is the family tree as it is understood by the yuan-ti; that's the sort of thing that's easily mythologized). When thinking up the portfolios for the other gods, I was reading Wikipedia to look for various threefold themes in mythology that weren't grossly overplayed, and I found references to a threefold death: death by strangulation, by poison, and by wounding. I thought those seemed appropriate for serpents, so I made the three mates of Ena'es have portfolios relating to those ideas:
    - Sigeta, god of poison, trickery, and finding strength in weakness;
    - Jaẋ, anaconda god of jungles, constriction, brute strength;
    - Ca'asli, god of weapons, fighting, bloodshed.

    And here's where I'm falling short and asking for assistance. I was only able to come up with one good daughter for the next trio: Xe'i'ta, goddess of knowledge, secrets, "hearer of all things," et cetera, daughter of Siegta and Ena'es. I got the idea that the daughter goddesses would be more about civilization than their parents (and include portfolios that make them useful to worship), but I'm kind of shy about having any about anything so prosaic as, say, agriculture or blacksmithing. I wanted the Crawling Clutch to be the sort of deities that the Sun (a paranoid megalomaniac) would have flagged as threats and gone out of his way to imprison. So I'm asking for ideas for the other two, things that kind of fit the idea of mixtures of "brute strength" and "weapons and bloodshed," respectively, with a less primal bent. Any thoughts?

    (Don't worry about names, by the way. I've got a particular phonology in mind for the serpents.)
    Off the cuff really fast--can amplify later if desired--

    Follow through on the idea that these daughter-goddesses are aspects of the parents, but within the yuan ti cultural framework.

    So...Xe'i'ta is a goddess of secrets and knowledge because those things are, within the cultural frame, conceptualized as analogous to aspects of her sires. Secrets are poison of words, knowledge is might of the mind.

    Now apply this "logic" to the two other consorts:

    So the daughter of Jax governs over harsh discipline, but also bondage (not the kink kind, the thralls and slaves kind). She's the darker aspects of a law-giver deity...eye-for-an-eye type punishments, power justifying itself, the rightness of hierarchy. It would be interesting if she were also hunting deity.

    Ca'asli's daughter has the role of brood-protector--equivalent to a deity that raises and protects children, but with more of an emphasis on instilling to the young their place, plus contempt for outsiders and the not-brood "Other". It would be interesting if she were also the deity presiding over revenge and curses...twisty negative things that tie into family and belonging and defining the boundaries of the group.

    I propose these two because they form a trilogy of concepts about power and "might": information is power, dominion is power, the in-group willing to bleed the outgroups to survive is power. Together, they form a deeply unpleasant statement of worldview and what is important.
    Last edited by Yanagi; 2020-09-09 at 04:07 PM.

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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by Yanagi View Post
    So the daughter of Jax governs over harsh discipline, but also bondage (not the kink kind, the thralls and slaves kind). She's the darker aspects of a law-giver deity...eye-for-an-eye type punishments, power justifying itself, the rightness of hierarchy. It would be interesting if she were also hunting deity.

    Ca'asali's daughter has the role of brood-protector--equivalent to a deity that raises and protects children, but with more of an emphasis on instilling to the young their place, plus contempt for outsiders and the not-brood "Other". It would be interesting if she were also the deity presiding over revenge and curses...twisty negative things that tie into family and belonging and defining the boundaries of the group.

    I propose these two because they form a trilogy of concepts about power and "might": information is power, dominion is power, the in-group willing to bleed the outgroups to survive is power. Together, they form a deeply unpleasant statement of worldview and what is important.
    These seem cool to me. I was going to suggest that Jax's daughter be considered a goddess of great works - pyramids, temple complexes and hidden tunnels built by the labour of masses. But I think that actually would fit better as part of the portfolio of a goddess of exploitation and enforcement - a goddess of law in a way. My first thought for Ca'asli's daughter was propaganda and leadership but you could but that with the above suggestion and have a sort of goddes of culture. That gives you deities of knowledge, law and culture - a pretty typical trio but with a unique bent.
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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by GaelofDarkness View Post
    These seem cool to me. I was going to suggest that Jax's daughter be considered a goddess of great works - pyramids, temple complexes and hidden tunnels built by the labour of masses. But I think that actually would fit better as part of the portfolio of a goddess of exploitation and enforcement - a goddess of law in a way. My first thought for Ca'asli's daughter was propaganda and leadership but you could but that with the above suggestion and have a sort of goddes of culture. That gives you deities of knowledge, law and culture - a pretty typical trio but with a unique bent.
    I like that idea...law and monuments are very much a thing that travel together. Monuments...whether they're statues in a square or a ziggurat...are about commanding a physical space. And megastructures can also represent a kind of conspicuous consumption of labor...an individual or a system has to have power to get people to labor that intensively.

    Same with propaganda and leadership as a subcomponent of culture. Depending on how the yuan ti conceptualize themselves, top-down dictation of core conceptions through repeated messages and tightly-controlled imagery could very much be viewed as the cultural center...the place from which individual yuan ti derive their sense of belonging and identity.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by Yanagi View Post
    Off the cuff really fast--can amplify later if desired--

    Follow through on the idea that these daughter-goddesses are aspects of the parents, but within the yuan ti cultural framework.

    So...Xe'i'ta is a goddess of secrets and knowledge because those things are, within the cultural frame, conceptualized as analogous to aspects of her sires. Secrets are poison of words, knowledge is might of the mind.

    Now apply this "logic" to the two other consorts:

    So the daughter of Jax governs over harsh discipline, but also bondage (not the kink kind, the thralls and slaves kind). She's the darker aspects of a law-giver deity...eye-for-an-eye type punishments, power justifying itself, the rightness of hierarchy. It would be interesting if she were also hunting deity.

    Ca'asli's daughter has the role of brood-protector--equivalent to a deity that raises and protects children, but with more of an emphasis on instilling to the young their place, plus contempt for outsiders and the not-brood "Other". It would be interesting if she were also the deity presiding over revenge and curses...twisty negative things that tie into family and belonging and defining the boundaries of the group.

    I propose these two because they form a trilogy of concepts about power and "might": information is power, dominion is power, the in-group willing to bleed the outgroups to survive is power. Together, they form a deeply unpleasant statement of worldview and what is important.
    Quote Originally Posted by GaelofDarkness View Post
    These seem cool to me. I was going to suggest that Jax's daughter be considered a goddess of great works - pyramids, temple complexes and hidden tunnels built by the labour of masses. But I think that actually would fit better as part of the portfolio of a goddess of exploitation and enforcement - a goddess of law in a way. My first thought for Ca'asli's daughter was propaganda and leadership but you could but that with the above suggestion and have a sort of goddes of culture. That gives you deities of knowledge, law and culture - a pretty typical trio but with a unique bent.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yanagi View Post
    I like that idea...law and monuments are very much a thing that travel together. Monuments...whether they're statues in a square or a ziggurat...are about commanding a physical space. And megastructures can also represent a kind of conspicuous consumption of labor...an individual or a system has to have power to get people to labor that intensively.

    Same with propaganda and leadership as a subcomponent of culture. Depending on how the yuan ti conceptualize themselves, top-down dictation of core conceptions through repeated messages and tightly-controlled imagery could very much be viewed as the cultural center...the place from which individual yuan ti derive their sense of belonging and identity.
    Thanks a lot! These ideas are good. I may tone down the darker aspects a little, since I don't want the yuan-ti to be antagonists or even "evil" per se, but perhaps not that much; I've won a reputation for making cynical settings where everyone is kind of terrible, and I did plan on having the yuan-ti be hierarchical and sectarian, so deities of rigid despotism and in-group bias would work.

  8. - Top - End - #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    Thanks a lot! These ideas are good. I may tone down the darker aspects a little, since I don't want the yuan-ti to be antagonists or even "evil" per se, but perhaps not that much; I've won a reputation for making cynical settings where everyone is kind of terrible, and I did plan on having the yuan-ti be hierarchical and sectarian, so deities of rigid despotism and in-group bias would work.
    Take and discard what you need, I'm just glad what I came up with was helpful.

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    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    For one of my (non-D&D) settings, I've got what are essentially yuan-ti who worship a group of gods known as the Crawling Clutch, ancient serpent deities that were imprisoned beneath the earth by the Sun long before his eventual demise. I came up with the idea of a single predominant matriarch (Ena'es, goddess of might, age, fertility), her three mates, and her three daughters by those mates (or at least, that is the family tree as it is understood by the yuan-ti; that's the sort of thing that's easily mythologized). When thinking up the portfolios for the other gods, I was reading Wikipedia to look for various threefold themes in mythology that weren't grossly overplayed, and I found references to a threefold death: death by strangulation, by poison, and by wounding. I thought those seemed appropriate for serpents, so I made the three mates of Ena'es have portfolios relating to those ideas:
    - Sigeta, god of poison, trickery, and finding strength in weakness;
    - Jaẋ, anaconda god of jungles, constriction, brute strength;
    - Ca'asli, god of weapons, fighting, bloodshed.

    And here's where I'm falling short and asking for assistance. I was only able to come up with one good daughter for the next trio: Xe'i'ta, goddess of knowledge, secrets, "hearer of all things," et cetera, daughter of Siegta and Ena'es. I got the idea that the daughter goddesses would be more about civilization than their parents (and include portfolios that make them useful to worship), but I'm kind of shy about having any about anything so prosaic as, say, agriculture or blacksmithing. I wanted the Crawling Clutch to be the sort of deities that the Sun (a paranoid megalomaniac) would have flagged as threats and gone out of his way to imprison. So I'm asking for ideas for the other two, things that kind of fit the idea of mixtures of "brute strength" and "weapons and bloodshed," respectively, with a less primal bent. Any thoughts?

    (Don't worry about names, by the way. I've got a particular phonology in mind for the serpents.)
    Snakes don't farm, they hunt. So if Jax is a god of brute strength, and Ena'es is a goddess of might and fertility, then perhaps the daughter of Jax and Ena'es is the goddess of the hunt and of travel, perhaps including winged messenger-type stuff as a minor aspect of her character? Securing sufficient food is (a) something that requires might/strength to accomplish, (b) is usually pretty important for having children, and (c) is especially important for civilisation building, and hunting would be crucial for snake-folk, at least assuming they share key anatomical features with the snakes.

    As for the daughter of Ena'es and Ca'asli, if you don't want to take a darker view, perhaps this goddess could be a bit counter-intuitive and be a goddess of healing? Being in good health is pretty important for both being a good warrior and successfully producing offspring.

    Those portfolios would make those goddesses popular, which would be reason enough for a paranoid megalomaniac deity to want to ensure they're locked away.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by Composer99 View Post
    Snakes don't farm, they hunt. So if Jax is a god of brute strength, and Ena'es is a goddess of might and fertility, then perhaps the daughter of Jax and Ena'es is the goddess of the hunt and of travel, perhaps including winged messenger-type stuff as a minor aspect of her character? Securing sufficient food is (a) something that requires might/strength to accomplish, (b) is usually pretty important for having children, and (c) is especially important for civilisation building, and hunting would be crucial for snake-folk, at least assuming they share key anatomical features with the snakes.
    I was thinking the serpent people probably practice some sort of intensive aquaculture or animal husbandry, or they wouldn't be able to support the societal complexity they have. And at least some of them are human enough to eat vegetable matter. That said, if their farming practices require labor-intensive alteration of the environment, that would fit in well with the portfolio of the Jax/Ena'es daughter concept mentioned by GaelofDarkness.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    hmmm...I was just thinking about snake-y ideas as options to use for the basis of deities or as ways of adding to deities you've already decided on.

    Renewal and change...dealing both with imagery of a snake shedding its skin but also things like the Ourobouros symbol...the idea that classical Yuan-Ti can move up from tainted, to half-blood, to abomination but also would be a good lead in to all those magically modified snake type monsters.

    Motion. Snakes don't move normally and you can exploit that. While we understand mechanically how they work now they very much appear to move just by willing themselves forward. Combined with ideas of strange motions like sidewinders or the "hypnotic" swaying of a cobra and you have a foundation. Both for dexterity based fighters and rogues but also dance...and if you lean into the idea of will then you have good lead in to psionics. but also charm and hypnosis.

    Scent/taste...snakes have weird senses. Vipers with heat vision, tasting their prey before they bite it, feeling vibration through their bodies...This could be combined with idea of one's smell being one's "primal essence" or some such and also leads into the Ossira (sp) Oils that are talked about in classic Yuan Ti...which could lead into al sorts of alchemy etc.

    Questions of Earth and or Water. Snakes sit totally on the earth, and are often associated with it. Yet they move very much like water. So they have often associated with water as well. not necessarily as god/goddess in and of itself or being some sort of deeply primal nature deity.

    Snakes have no eyelids...many can hibernate.... so they can seemingly sleep without sleeping...so as some sort of prophet of the future waking/earth hatching of the full clutch they could be very useful. or perhaps they have to be target of trying to wake the clutch....could be combined with the above earth/water idea pretty well IMO

    Sun and Fire....Snakes use the sun to warm themselves otherwise they have trouble moving much...this sounds like a great Promethean style myth foundation. Egyptian images of snakes (Apep) trying to eat the sun. plus some classic salamander and flamesnake monsters and things seem quite thematic.

    Also there is the whole idea of Parthenogenesis which could well mean your matriarch could have a daughter all her own, or possibly from seducing a different male god eons past (perhaps even the sun god)
    Last edited by sktarq; 2020-09-15 at 03:51 PM.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    Deliberately ropey biology, but eels and worms give you easy connection to the 'water snake' and 'death snake'.

    Constriction could relate to justice / bondage / the noose. Which would give a civilized form, but I'm struggling for the other two.

    At a more desperate stretch, perhaps from weapons you could possibly go to tools or bandages.
    Again playing on the mad biology, perhaps from poison to lacation? (something fire related, or possibly just sleep)

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    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    So I'm asking for ideas for the other two, things that kind of fit the idea of mixtures of "brute strength" and "weapons and bloodshed," respectively, with a less primal bent. Any thoughts?

    (Don't worry about names, by the way. I've got a particular phonology in mind for the serpents.)
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    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    just throwing in my 2 cents. Snakes in lots of cultures are connected to rejuvenation and even medicine. If the fathers are gods of death, perhaps the daughters should be gods of survival and perseverance. The daughter of the god of poison could hold dominion over medicine, and rest. For the god of strangulation, boa constrictor mothers lie coiled around their unhatched eggs, protecting them from predators, so the daughter of Jaẋ could be the goddess of motherhood, of familial bonds and protection. Finally, some reptiles, snakes included, use an egg tooth when hatching. The final goddess could be one of birth, possible even a pacifist, giving her followers/people at birth "the only weapon they should need", alternately she could be a goddess of the hunt

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    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    For one of my (non-D&D) settings, I've got what are essentially yuan-ti who worship a group of gods known as the Crawling Clutch, ancient serpent deities that were imprisoned beneath the earth by the Sun long before his eventual demise. I came up with the idea of a single predominant matriarch (Ena'es, goddess of might, age, fertility), her three mates, and her three daughters by those mates (or at least, that is the family tree as it is understood by the yuan-ti; that's the sort of thing that's easily mythologized). When thinking up the portfolios for the other gods, I was reading Wikipedia to look for various threefold themes in mythology that weren't grossly overplayed, and I found references to a threefold death: death by strangulation, by poison, and by wounding. I thought those seemed appropriate for serpents, so I made the three mates of Ena'es have portfolios relating to those ideas:
    - Sigeta, god of poison, trickery, and finding strength in weakness;
    - Jaẋ, anaconda god of jungles, constriction, brute strength;
    - Ca'asli, god of weapons, fighting, bloodshed.

    And here's where I'm falling short and asking for assistance. I was only able to come up with one good daughter for the next trio: Xe'i'ta, goddess of knowledge, secrets, "hearer of all things," et cetera, daughter of Siegta and Ena'es. I got the idea that the daughter goddesses would be more about civilization than their parents (and include portfolios that make them useful to worship), but I'm kind of shy about having any about anything so prosaic as, say, agriculture or blacksmithing. I wanted the Crawling Clutch to be the sort of deities that the Sun (a paranoid megalomaniac) would have flagged as threats and gone out of his way to imprison. So I'm asking for ideas for the other two, things that kind of fit the idea of mixtures of "brute strength" and "weapons and bloodshed," respectively, with a less primal bent. Any thoughts?
    Wait? Do you mean a mixture of brute strength and weapons and bloodshed? or do you mean a mixture of fertility and brute strength plus a seperate mixture of fertility plus weapons and bloodshed?

    I had interpreted it as the former initially as that was what was actually stated, but from context it looks like you probably mean the latter.

    In that case...

    Fertility+Brute Strength = some kind of infestation; bugs, rats, mice, fleas, lice, etc

    Fertility+Weapons & Bloodshed = Biological Warfare/The Plague
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFred View Post
    just throwing in my 2 cents. Snakes in lots of cultures are connected to rejuvenation and even medicine. If the fathers are gods of death, perhaps the daughters should be gods of survival and perseverance. The daughter of the god of poison could hold dominion over medicine, and rest. For the god of strangulation, boa constrictor mothers lie coiled around their unhatched eggs, protecting them from predators, so the daughter of Jaẋ could be the goddess of motherhood, of familial bonds and protection. Finally, some reptiles, snakes included, use an egg tooth when hatching. The final goddess could be one of birth, possible even a pacifist, giving her followers/people at birth "the only weapon they should need", alternately she could be a goddess of the hunt
    I had thought about medicine and rejuvenation as something the Crawling Clutch grants as a whole (to the part where the highest-caste serpent people become immortal, renewing themselves through shedding their skin periodically), but not as something a particular entity within it might specialize in, which seems like an oversight on my part.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Wait? Do you mean a mixture of brute strength and weapons and bloodshed? or do you mean a mixture of fertility and brute strength plus a seperate mixture of fertility plus weapons and bloodshed?
    I meant the latter.

    Continuing on some of the ideas presented, I was thinking about making the daughter of Jaẋ (named Ɣenata for now) the goddess, essentially, of coordinated (and especially compelled) labor, making things like aquaculture, architecture, monuments, hierarchy, and discipline all fall into her domain. Her counterpart, Linsasil, the daughter of Ca'asli (although I'm considering switching her with Xe'i'ta), would conversely represent sort of the "carrot" aspects of civilization: art, dance, inebriation, ecstasy.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2020

    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    Perhaps a god(dess) of beauty, after all Yaunti can come in all kinds of different, pretty colors. Combine with the mesmerism idea too?



    Perhaps another about community. I'm thinking of the images you can find of hundreds or thousands of garter snakes all swarming out of a communal den after hybernation.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    Default Re: Help Fleshing out a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by Stattick View Post
    Perhaps a god(dess) of beauty, after all Yaunti can come in all kinds of different, pretty colors. Combine with the mesmerism idea too?



    Perhaps another about community. I'm thinking of the images you can find of hundreds or thousands of garter snakes all swarming out of a communal den after hybernation.
    That's sort of where I was going with Linasil, though hypnosis might be good to add to one of the others.

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