By The Mirrorball Man (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The purpose of Deity: The Worship is to allow players to play the roles of ancient deities, gods belonging to old pantheons, but still roaming the earth in our time. Call them Aesir, Olympians or Heliopolitans, these beings are the offsprings of humanity's hopes, dreams and cravings. They are the protectors of Reality, and the symbols of human culture and nature. I won't deal much with mythology in this article. If you want to learn about Greek gods, there are better sources than this. The gods whom players will create and play will be lesser divine beings, protectors of newly-created concepts or small things.
This is not meant to be a full game, just a funny digression. Obviously, English is not my first language so please be magnanimous. This text is full of mistakes.
If you are shocked by the mention of the word "god" outside of a religious context, or if you are vexed by the evocation of pagan religions, I really can't see why you would want to read this. You've been warned haven't you?
"Her ears prick forward: someone is praying to her. A young human female whose cat-companion was recently hit by a car. The cat is beyond recovery, and Bast sends it an easy death. The effort tires her. She remembers when the prayers and offerings swarmed around her at all times, uncountable, when she would pick, and choose between them, selecting prayers on merit or on whim, accepting or rejecting offerings... She is beginning to be scared of dreams. Bast is getting old."
In the beginning, mankind needed gods. It needed explanations, structure, a world with a beginning and an end, something to replace chaos and absurdity. And from the dreams of humanity, gods arose. They were created by mankind, yet they tapped into a power beyond, into the divine. And the gods gathered, and formed Pantheons. And they gave Mortals explanations. They told them how the sky was built, what was the true nature of stars, what lived under the surface of the ocean. They gave Reality a form. Nowadays, most of these Deities have been forgotten. Their temples have crumbled; their cults have dwindled. They have lost most of their power, but they still exist. They still cling to whatever in the Universal Consciousness fuels their existence. They try and survive with the little worship Mortals have to offer, and they keep on protecting Reality from Confusion.
So here, proceed just as usual. Pick a concept. Post-modern gods can be anything from street artists to engineer to barkeepers. You know how it works. If you pick a good concept, most of the work is already done. Then you can move on to the technical part of character creation. First of all, Deities belong to a Pantheon. A Pantheon is a family or a group of gods who share the same cultural origins and usually some blood. In this article, you can only choose between the Olympian (Greek), the Aesir (Scandinavian) or the Heliopolitan (Egyptian) Pantheon. If you want to play Japanese or Indian gods, you'll just have to do some research of your own. Gods belonging to different Pantheons have different advantages and drawbacks. They also have different cultural backgrounds.
The second thing you have to choose is your House. Houses are categories of gods, classified according to the kind of things they rule over. There are six Houses: Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Concept and Hearth. They bring advantages to the character. We'll deal with them later. Then you have to choose your Dominion. Your Dominion is the thing you're standing for, the thing that is under your responsibility. It's what you add after saying "I'm the god of...". Your Dominion must have something to do with your House, obviously. For example, Cassandra Victor is the goddess of Goldfishes (it's her Dominion) and of course she belongs to the House of Water.
You character's Title is her position among the divine beings. A character's title starts at Demigod, the first rank. She can then get promoted to Lesser God, God or even Greater God. A character's Dominion changes with her new Title. If Cassandra, the Demigoddess of Goldfishes, got promoted to Lesser God, she could become the Goddess of Sea Mammals, for example.
Then you choose your character's Nature and Demeanor.
Abilities: 13/9/5. Deities don't have superhuman abilities because they are limited by what they learn on this Earth. They cannot know more than human beings do.
Deities have Spheres, just like Mages. However, they have to choose a Sphere which will be listed as their First Sphere, and another one which will be their Second Sphere. In these two, Magick is easier to perform. The God has more affinity with it, because most of the time, it is somewhat related to her House. Deities may learn other Spheres but learning them will be harder and the Effects they'll produce will be less effective. Gods are not versatile creatures. Every Deity begins with 3 dots in her First Sphere, two in her Second Sphere and one in any other Sphere. Gods can't have any point in Prime. They are tied with Reality as it is, and can't control the Tapestry. They may, however, produce Life/ Forces/ Matter effects which require Prime 2, by spending Nectar Points (see below) Gods don't need foci.
Willpower begins with five points.
Gods don't store Quintessence nor Paradox. Deities have two other traits that Mages don't have: Nectar and Reality. Nectar represents the amount of divine energy stored in the God's body. It is not Quintessence and has nothing to do with Magickal energy. It is the energy of belief, of worship, that gives the God its substance. Nectar is a rating, not a trait. It begins with 10 points and can't exceed 20 (for a Demigod), 30 (for a Lesser God) or 50 points (for a God).
Reality is a trait that represents the relationship between the God and Physical Reality, which they call the Mundo. A God is a mythical creature and may be rejected by physical reality just like a Bygone. If a God keeps ties with the Mundo and with human beings, she will be able to stay on this Earth. The Reality rating begins with ten points.
You may spend 15 freebie points.
Traditionally, Olympian rulers have been the children of the Titans: Zeus, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon, and their children: Apollo, Athena, Aphrodite, Hephaistos, Ares, Hermes, Artemis and many others. Zeus was the King of Olympians, Hades ruled over the Underworld and Poseidon was the Lord of the Seven Seas. Recent times have brought many changes. First of all, Old Gods grew tired of their jobs. Zeus left his throne and came to Earth during the 1930's. Since then, he has been in love with many mortals and has spawned many new Gods. Hades has left his kingdom as well. He now roams the Earth and resurrects people. He is considered a traitor. Hera, Apollo, Athena and Artemis have become very passive.
Three new Gods appeared just after Zeus left. They have been created to be the new rulers of Olympus and have been accepted as such by most. Traditionalists call them "The Dukes" of Olympus; others just call them "boss". The Old One, Kremata, is the God of Money. The Middle One, Dzetesis, is the God of Information. And the Young One, a child, Parresia, is the God of Freedom. Together, they are building a new, more efficient Olympus, and are busy rightsizing and re-engineering its divine forces. Ares, Hermes and many of the new gods are on their side. Olympian characters will probably be supporters of the Triumvirate or Children of Zeus. Anyway, they will be caught in webs of intrigues from their birth.
The Olympians have always managed to remain very close to Mortals and to keep up with the latest cultural trends. They are not at all limited to Greece. Their influence spans across the western world and is especially strong in North America. They have discovered that they have affinities with Hollywood, comic books and other products of pop culture and are trying to use them as new mediums to spread their faith, even in a watered-down version.
The Realm of Olympus is of course located in the High Umbra. It looks like a mountainous region on which huge and magnificient greek temples are built. Gods live in the halls of the temples, grouped by Houses, and from there they can observe the whole of the Mundo.
The Gift of Change: Olympians are strongly attached to Reality. Therefore, they don't have to perform a Reality check every day. They just have to roll the dice after botches (see the chapter on "Nectar and Reality")
The Blood of Zeus: Olympians are creatures of passion and they tend to fall in love on a daily basis. Whenever they meet a person of their sex of choice, they have to roll their Willpower against a difficulty of 8. If they don't get any success, they'll feel the urge to court this person and may not regain willpower until they catch his/her attention.
Aesir: Creatures of the past. This is what we may become one day.
Heliopolitans: All their lectures about the importance of the Third World are nothing but petty idealism that belongs to an age long foregone.
Mages: These Mortals are like Olympians. They promote change and enjoy intrigue. Avoid them: we have enough of that on our own.
Other Monsters: We have some ties with the Black Furies and some Sidhe Changelings. The King needs a court after all . . .
The Age of the Aesir is long foregone. Nowadays, they don't have much influence anymore. They prefer to stick to German, Scandinavian or English-speaking countries and are very traditional folks. They tend to have a cultural jetlag of more than one century and usually spend their time brooding and waiting for Ragnarok. The most active of the Aesir hunt Giants and their agents, and fight most Monsters that live in Midgard, and who could have a connection to the Giants. This includes Vampires.
Asgard is a grey and cold land, located in the High Umbra. A thick and damp mist is constantly covering the place. Every God has a palace in Asgard. Odin's is made of gold and called Gladsheim. Thor's is so big it would take weeks to visit all its rooms.
Legacy of the Warrior: Aesir are born warriors. They were born to fight the Giants and are good fighting machines. Thus, they always add their successes to their damage dice, even in hand-to-hand combat. And all their combat difficulties decrease by -1.
Heart of Stone: Aesir don't belong to this age and have difficulties learning new things. Any Ability or Attribute raise costs as much as if it were one dot higher.
Olympians: These are vain and fickle people. They don't care about Mortals. All they care about is their little intrigues.
Heliopolitans: They are our brothers, but we don't share their optimism.
Mages: Manipulating Reality is a gift that should not be left in the hands of Mortals.
Other Monsters: We have friends among the remaining Faeries. Some of them even remember the Old Times. The Get of Fenris, on the other hand, are working for the Giants. They must be eliminated.
For Heliopolitans, the World was once a vast ocean. Then isles of mud appeared, and on one of them, the first sign of life, the God Ra. Ra is the source of the Ba, the soul of the world and of all people. Ra, along with Geb and Nout -- earth and sky -- still exist, but they are not active Gods anymore. Heliopolis is ruled by Isis, Osiris, Seth and Nephtys. Other important Gods include Anubis, Horus, Sebek and Thot. The latter has gained influence in recent history, and some young gods think he should rule Heliopolis. But Thoth is satisfied with his present status as Osiris' counsellor. The Egyptian Pantheon is fairly united. There are no big court intrigues, and most conflicts are dealt with on the open. However, the organisation is loose and every God is more or less minding his/ her own business. Horus, for example, has not been in Heliopolis since World War 2, and some young gods who follow his path have never been there.
Most of the conflict comes from the frequent divergences of opinion between Osiris and Seth. The former is a fervent supporter of humanity, seeing gods as their guides, and the latter thinks that Deities are the masters of human beings.
Beginning characters are likely to be following either Osiris, Seth, Horus or Thoth.
The Gods of Heliopolis have decided to be the protectors of the Third World. They have spread all around the world trying to protect the enslaved masses of the poor countries. They are mainly dealing with practical problems, such as famines, wars and epidemies, and don't spend much time studying the supernatural.
Since mass media comes from rich countries, Heliopolitans can't use it as a tool. Therefore they don't have much influence on the Universal Consciousness. They are underground gods.
Heliopolis is Egypt as it never was. There are pyramids as big as mountains, huge walking sphinxes and beautiful temples. But Gods don't spend much time here. They prefer to stay on Earth, or in their personal Umbral Realms. Heliopolis is just a meeting point.
The Force of Ba: Heliopolitans are masters of symbols and they're better than most Gods at using Magick. Therefore, their Second Sphere is exactly like their First Sphere in game terms.
Children of the Nile: Heliopolitan Gods are not completely human looking. Most of them have animal faces, strange body features or odd skin color, etc... If they want to bear the appearance of a normal human being, they have to spend one Nectar point every hour (or to use Mind or Life Magick)
Olympians: They've always been devoured by hubris and narcissism.
Aesir: These poor Gods will not even last until Ragnarok.
Mages: Knowledge is a double-edged sword. Mages should guide humanity on this path.
Others Monsters: Bubastis, Mummies, Hem-Ka Sobk and others are close to our culture but most of the time they don't share our ideals.
Air Gods never take any damage from falling.
Gods are the masters of all the meteorological phenomenons, such as clouds, thunder and wind. An Air Demigod's Dominion could for example be alto-cumuli clouds. They also preside over all kinds of gases, and over birds and other flying animals. They are the gods of flying machines and of electricity. Theirs is also deep space and the stars. One might be the Demigod of an asteroid. All kinds of pollutants are also possible.
Earth Gods always know where they are in the Mundo and in Realms that are not too alien.
Earth Gods are the protectors of some specific geographical regions. They are also involved with nature, plants and any animal that doesn't fly nor swim. There's plenty of choice for a Dominion. An Earth Demigod's Dominion could be Nevada, Roses or Diamonds, for example.
Fire Gods are immune to the effects of fire and heat. They are also able to see clearly in complete darkness.
There are not a lot of Fire Gods, because there are not a lot of Fire Dominions. Fire Gods might be in charge of combustibles, such as oil or coal, or of chemical reactions, such as explosions, corrosion or nuclear fission. A beginning Demigod might be the Demigod of Matches, of Thermometers or of Hotplates, for example.
Forces and Entropy
Water Gods are able to breathe underwater and are immune to all kinds of poisons.
Water Gods may be the protectors of a particular body of water, or of any animal that lives in the sea. Ships and submarines also belong to their domain. They preside over all kinds of liquids, and there could for example be a Demigod of Tears or Syrup.
Gods learn Knowledges as if they were one dot lower.
All feelings and theories might be Dominions. These might be political, economical or scientific theories. One could be the Demigod of Pi, of ISO 9001 or of Bad Hair Days. These are always raw theories or emotions, not complex cultural constructions.
Hearth Gods are by far the most numerous of Gods. They started as household protectors and are now responsible for the incredible diversity of human culture. Most of them have an attitude problem, but you can never tell in advance which.
Hearth Gods speak all languages.
Any cultural construction might be a Dominion. Languages, trends, arts, brands are all possible. There could be a Demigod of Coca-Cola, or of Short Skirts. Anything is possible.
Lesser Gods' Dominions are specific and dedicated. They are the protectors of small groups of ideas, or of unimportant ideas. They have at least twelve Sphere points and they may have Abilities up to 7.
Gods' Dominions are broad, but not all-encompassing. They rule over important things, over things most people know and care about. They have at least twenty Sphere points and may have Abilities up to 8.
Greater Gods' Dominions are more or less equal to their House. These are Very Powerful Beings; you can call them Incarnas if you want. Giving characteristics for a Greater God would be pointless. In game terms, a character who becomes a Greater God instantly becomes a NPC. If a character wants to move up one rank, she has to wait for a superior Deity to die or to resign. Then, if she has enough Sphere points, she might propose herself for the new Dominion/ Title. A kind of contest might be set up in order to determine who will gain the new Title.
When creating Patterns in the absence of Prime, Deities have to spend a point of Nectar to fuel their creations.
Worship: A Deity may gain Nectar through direct worship. For ten people really believing in her (True Faith) she gains one point of Nectar every morning.
Ward: Usually Nectar is gained when you do something for your Dominion, according to the Storyteller appreciation. Exceptional actions grant the God with a number of Nectar points equal to the result of a Manipulation+Enigmas (6) roll. Daily business (such as being a book seller for the God of Semicolons) produce one or two points a day.
Witness: Just meeting Mortals and living among them earns one point a day. Being in love or living a complete and enrapturing human experience might produce even more Nectar (ST's appreciation)
|Reality Rating||Length of Exile|
|1||Permanent. The Deity slowly ceases to exist.|
|*||Ten believers. One Nectar every day.|
|**||Twenty believers. 2 Nectar every day|
|***||Thirty believers. 3 Nectar every day|
|****||Fourty believers. 4 Nectar every day.|
|*****||Fifty believers. 5 Nectar every day.|
|*||The Deity is the child of a respected and well-known Demigod.|
|**||The Deity is the child of a Lesser God.|
|***||The Deity is the child of a God.|
|****||The Deity is the child of a Greater God.|
|*****||The Deity is the child of something beyond all that, a Titan, a Celestine or some Primordial Entity.|
Asgard: The Kingdom of the Norse Gods. A bleak Realm in the High Umbra.
Confusion: A force opposed to Reality. It stands for Primordial Chaos, uncertainty, or mystery.
Deity: The generic term for divine beings who live on Earth.
Demigod, Demigoddess: Very weak and young godlings, usually in charge of a small and unimportant Dominion.
Divine: Of the Deities.
Dominion: The things, people, concepts over which the Deity exerts her influence. The part of Reality protected by the Deity.
Giants: Traditional enemies of the Aesir. Nowadays, the term is used for most supernatural creatures, such as Vampires, Werewolves, Umbroods and Unseelie Changelings.
God, Goddess: Common name for a Deity. Also a Title in Divine society.
Greater God, Goddess: The ultimate Title in Divine society. Greater Gods are usually in charge of whole Houses.
Heliopolis: The beautiful Realm of the Egyptian Gods.
Heliopolitan: Egyptian God.
House: A group of Deities who share similar Dominions. There are six Houses: Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Concept and Hearth.
Lesser God: The second Title of Deities, between Demigod and God.
Midgard: The Aesir term for the Mundo.
Monster: A Mortal with supernatural powers (Vampires, mages, Werewolves, etc...) The term is slightly pejorative.
Mortal: Any person who is not a God and who may potentially worship one. This includes supernatural creatures.
Mundo: Physical reality, as opposed to "Umbra."
Nectar: The energy of faith, that creates and feeds Deities.
Olympian: Greek God
Olympus: The mountainous Realm of the Olympians. Located in the High Umbra.
Reality: Both Mundo and Umbra. Also the solidity of a God's existence.
Ragnarok: The end of the world for Aesir. Similar to the "Apocalypse" of the Werewolves.
Title: The rank of a Deity within a Pantheon, according to the importance of her Dominion.
Triumvirate, the: The three rulers of Olympus, Kremata, Dzetesis and Parresia.
Universal Consciousness, the: Also called the Paradigm. The collective force of human belief and superstition that produces Gods and myths.
Ward: Gaining Nectar by protecting one's Dominion.
Witness: Gaining Nectar by living among Mortals.
Worship: Gaining Nectar by being worshipped by Mortals.
Dominion: Carbon dioxide.
Attributes: Str 2, Dex 6, Sta 2, Cha 1, Man 2, App 3, Per 3, Int 2, Wits 3
Abilities: Alertness 4, Awareness 3, Brawl 4, Dodge 2, Culture 3, Occult 2
Backgrounds: Arcane 4, Resources 2, Dream 1.
First Sphere: Forces 3
Second Sphere: Matter 2
Other Spheres: Correspondence 1
Image: Dana Swartalf is a tall Swedish woman. She has long blonde hair and nice blue eyes. Most of the time, she is hiding her body under oversized woolen pullovers, and she puts littles make-up on, if any.
Role-playing hints: Dana is an old mannered woman. She is living like a recluse, with no electricity nor central heating. She doesn't like the way the Mundo has evolved, and for her, Carbon dioxide pollution is one of the plagues that is destroying the Earth and leading to Ragnarok. She does everything she can to promote pollutants and has often enough been the target of Garou's suicide squads. She doesn't care. If she dies, another Deity will take her place.
History: Dana has recently emerged from the Universal Consciousness. As a Goddess, she is only 24 years old. She has been accepted as a member of the Aesir, although most of them don't like the part she has to play in the order of things.
Title: Lesser God
Dominion: The American Dream
Nature: Bon Vivant
Demeanor: Avant garde
Attributes: Str 2, Dex 3, Sta 4, Cha 7, Man 4, App 3, Per 4, Int 3, Wits 3
Abilities: Alertness 3, Awareness 4, Streetwise 4, Drive 5, Firearms 3, Stealth 2, Survival 1
Backgrounds: Heritage 4, Allies 4, Resources 3
First Sphere: Mind 5
Second Sphere: Time 4
Other Spheres: Correspondence 3, Forces 1, Matter 3
Image: The Mirrorball Man looks like a skinny black-haired man in his late twenties, wearing elegant clothes, black glasses and a stetson hat covered with mirror shards.
Roleplaying hints: Joe Gold is the God of the American Dream. He is the perfect synthesis of Elvis Presley, Abraham Lincoln, James Dean and Rockfeller. He embodies the America of the fifties, a kind of wild innocence, of freedom that has left the United States for a long time. He usually spends his time travelling from Coast to Coast and from city to city, and has appartments in LA, New York City and Las Vegas.
History: The Mirrorball Man is the son of Zeus and Miss America 1956. He has become the embodiment of the American Dream after being the Demigod of Italo-American Movies for years.
Attributes: Str 2, Dex 4, Sta 4, Cha 5, Man 8, App 4, Per 7, Int 5, Wits 3
Abilities: Alertness 4, Awareness 5, Intuition 5, Research 5, Cosmology 3, Occult 3, Linguistics 4, Lore (most of them) 5, Science 4
Backgrounds: Heritage 4, Cult 5, Allies 3, Dream 5
First Sphere: Mind 5
Second Sphere: Entropy 5
Other Spheres: Life 3, Spirit 4, Time 4, Correspondence 2
Image: Maât is a beautiful African woman. Her dark hair is very long, almost down to her ankles. She usually dresses entirely in white and wears little jewelry and no make up. In her normal form, her skin is blue and her eyes are violet.
Roleplaying hints: Maât is the Goddess of Truth. She always has been. She knows more about reality than most Gods. Nowadays, she is trying to help people all throughout Africa by working as an international lawyer.
History: Maât is the doughter of Râ. She has been in the Mundo since the Creation of Reality by her father. She is now working on her own but is a strong supporter of Osiris.