Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Where do the Gods fit in?

I've been working on creating a post for each of the Gods in Shatterworld. I have five of them done, with two left to go.

Part of the challenge in creating a theogeny/mythology is figuring out just how these gods fit into the lives of the average joe. Are the gods "good", "neutral", or "evil", in terms that we understand.? Or do thy have their own agendas which are mysterious? How are they worshipped? Do they have temples, festivals, shrines or some other such way to pay reverence to them?

I've settled on a mythology that focuses on seven main gods. Each day of the week is named after one of The Seven, and this also mirrors the "seven days of creation", which are not quite the same as the biblical days of creation.

There are five gods who would be considered "elemental". They are gods of earth, air, fire, water, and time. The other two are gods of flora (plants) and fauna (animals and people). The idea is that flora and fauna are made up of combinations of each of the other five elements. These flora and fauna make up the "mortal world"... the world that we recognize.

Reverence for the gods is brought "down to earth", as the gods are credited with such daily things as:

The invention of the sail: Aeros, god of wind
Location of wells: Hyrdos, god/goddess of water
Smithing: Pyros, god of fire, and Gaia, goddess of earth
Engineering: Kronos, god of time

I don't associate the gods with abstract concepts like "war", "revenge", etc...
Such things would be broken down into their components. When going into battle, you might invoke Kronos in the aspect of planning and tactics. Hyrdos and Aeros in their aspects of weather gods. Seldom is one god invoked to the exclusion of all others.

One interesting thing here is that entities with opposing goals will often be appealing to the same gods for intervention. The question then becomes, "who's side is the god on?"

By keeping the motivation of the gods "selfish" or "neutral"... that is.. they really don't care about things outside of their own realms of influence, the position of the particular god in the conflict might be easier to assess. Each would want to preserve their own domains on earth... streams, forests, agriculture... a group that is destroying everything in their wake is likely to attract the wrath of more than one god.

Gods would tend to be neutral in overall political conflict. Certain gods abhor particular things. Phanes as the god of life is the enemy of all undead. He isn't too fond of murder either. Extinction of a species really pisses him off. Phusis, god of plants, doesn't like forests being chopped or burned down, or crops being salted.

If you want the gods on your side, it is more about respecting their taboos rather than just being "good" or "evil".

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