test content
What is the Arc Client?
Install Arc

Ancient History

jonsillsjonsills Posts: 6,314 Arc User
edited September 2014 in Champions Pen and Paper RPG
What, if anything, is established about long-forgotten civilizations on Earth? I'm looking specifically for one that might have had a small pantheon of gods, whose worship ended after the civilization fell/was conquered and the last worshipers died/were slain. If the books mention anything about the gods of such civilizations, bonus! If not, I can wing it - I played D&D back before there were established settings, I know how to make a pantheon. :cool:
Post edited by Unknown User on
"Science teaches us to expect -- demand -- more than just eerie mysteries. What use is a puzzle that can't be solved? Patience is fine, but I'm not going to stop asking the universe to make sense!"

- David Brin, "Those Eyes"
Get the Forums Enhancement Extension!

Comments

  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 2,092 Arc User
    edited September 2014
    All right, there is in fact a great deal of information extant about long-forgotten civilizations on Champions Earth, and even about their religions and deities, although not in books for the Champions superhero line. Hero Games published fantasy-gaming source books for several "ages" of Earth's prehistoric past from their shared-universe time line, each age tuned for a particular style of play: Tolkienesque high fantasy (The Turakian Age, 73,000 - 65,000 BC, original era of Takofanes and the Crowns of Krim); Robert E. Howard-ish sword-and-sorcery (The Valdorian Age, 50,000 - 33,000 BC, when Nama and his siblings were born); pseudo-Classical mythic demi-gods (The Atlantean Age, 33,000 - 30,000 BC, when Atlantis and Lemuria ruled most of the world); and mythic Celtic-flavored fantasy (Tuala Morn, 28,000 - 20,000 BC, from whence Samhain and the Basilisk Orb originated).

    In the latter two eras some of the gods of the dominant faiths shared names and qualities with gods known to later historical civilizations, although they "evolved" over time. The gods of the Valdorian Age were notably absent from the affairs of the world, so little is revealed about them. By far the most info is provided for the Turakian Age. Numerous gods, of several faiths, human and non, are named and described, none of whom are carried forward to later eras. Those gods either died, mutated as their worshipers evolved new ideas of them, or possibly "fell asleep" as the level of ambient magic dropped.

    I might offer you a few highlights from the religion chapter of TA, but there's far too much for me to transcribe anything close to it here. If you would be willing to spend $10.00 US you can download a PDF of the book from the Hero Games website to peruse at your leisure: http://www.herogames.com/forums/store/product/418-turakian-age-pdf/

    The notes about gods for the Atlantean Age are much briefer, and if you think that sounds more like what would work for you, I can summarize them more easily; or you can spend $10.00 for that book instead: http://www.herogames.com/forums/store/product/157-the-atlantean-age-pdf/

    If you have specific concepts in mind I can probably narrow the info-dump, and suggest appropriate gods.
  • jonsillsjonsills Posts: 6,314 Arc User
    edited September 2014
    I was looking for one whose area of responsibility was primarily the administration of justice, although war could be part of that too (I'd been considering starting him off with Heavy Weapons). Other than that, is there anything involving, say, the pre-Celtic British Isles? (Had some preliminary concepts along those lines...)
    "Science teaches us to expect -- demand -- more than just eerie mysteries. What use is a puzzle that can't be solved? Patience is fine, but I'm not going to stop asking the universe to make sense!"

    - David Brin, "Those Eyes"
    Get the Forums Enhancement Extension!
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 2,092 Arc User
    edited September 2014
    jonsills wrote: »
    I was looking for one whose area of responsibility was primarily the administration of justice, although war could be part of that too (I'd been considering starting him off with Heavy Weapons). Other than that, is there anything involving, say, the pre-Celtic British Isles? (Had some preliminary concepts along those lines...)

    Dealing with the second question first, the Tuala Morn setting essentially is the pre-Celtic British Isles. The primary region is a land-mass pretty much fusing the islands of Britain and Ireland; Tuala Morn is the "Irish" part. The names, culture, religion, magic, are mostly lifted straight from Irish, Welsh, and Scottish Celtic folklore.

    The deity of the Tualans who most embodies the qualities you're looking for is Lugna, god of the sun, father and king of the gods, law-giver, master and teacher of all skills and crafts. As I'm sure you recognize, Lugna is a direct analogue and predecessor for the pan-Celtic god called Lugh, Lug, Lugus, etc. Within Champions Universe cosmology he undoubtedly survived the destruction of Tuala Morn and continued to be worshiped. Probably not the kind of deity it sounds like you're looking for.

    Going further back, I can think of a couple of good possibilities, one from the Turakian Age, the other from the Atlantean Age. I can even come up with rationales for how they could survive to the modern era, and why they might rouse to activity again now.

    During the Turakian Age, by far the most widespread religion was known as the High Faith. The great majority of Men, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Gnomes, Halflings, and Goblins followed some iteration of the High Faith. Let me quote the description of the god Kilbern from TA p. 208:

    The Skyfather and ruler of heaven, Kilbern is the most powerful and revered of the gods. Most people say a brief prayer to him when waking, and another right before going to sleep. He's portrayed as a tall, handsome, majestic lord, dark-haired and with blue eyes. When caparisoned for war, he wears armor crafted for him by Ishander [the divine smith], and wields the mighty sword Sarclaive and the shield Defender. He commands the host of the selestines [essentially angels] and leads them into battle.

    But Kilbern is more than simply the king of the gods; he's also the god of justice, truth, law, and order. Those who seek justice or wish to learn the truth pray to him. It's said the priests of the High Church can perceive any lie told in their presence thanks to the powers given them by the Skyfather.


    Because the Atlanteans made their pantheon the official religion throughout their empire, their gods were the mightiest of that age. Their similarities to the later Classical Greek religion are obvious. The ten most important gods dwelled atop Mount Oeranos on the island of Atlantis, and were often referred to as "the Oeranians." Some of them have the same names and similar attributes as the Olympians, including Ares, Helios, and Poseidon. However, their leader, Tikarion, isn't a Zeus-analogue, but actually very similar to Kilbern. The following is from The Atlantean Age p. 96:

    The eldest of the gods, and their king, is Tikarion the Justice-Bringer, who gave to the Atlanteans the laws that are the foundation of their society. It's said by some that Tikarion looks on Atlan Vondarien with as much favor as if he were the god's own son, and often visits the ruler of Atlantis in quiet moments to offer advice or observations.

    Beyond those visits, Tikarion loves to mingle with his mortal worshipers to judge whether they're living up to his precepts. As accomplished a shapechanger as Orikailos [god of magic], he usually takes on the form of some weak or helpless being: a feeble old man; a poor child; an injured animal. If the person he's testing does the right thing, he reveals himself and commends him, perhaps blessing hm or giving him some sort of gift. If he does not do the right thing, or tries to exploit the situation for his own gain, the Justice-Bringer punishes him, often severely.

    Atlantean artists usually show Tikarion as a handsome middle-aged man with brown hair and beard wearing robes of royal blue and carrying a staff like those traditionally held by Atlantean judges when hearing cases. When he goes into battle Tikarion wears golden armor whose breastplate is shaped to look like a lion's head, and he wields the sword Judgement and the impenetrable shield Righteousness.


    If any god could survive many millennia without worship, it would be the mightiest god of his age, although his power would undoubtedly be greatly diminished. An underwater remnant of the Atlantean race and culture still exists on Champions Earth, so the memory of Tikarion is probably preserved. However, the Atlantean chapter of Hidden Lands asserts that modern Atlantean worship centers almost totally on Poseidon as patron and savior of Atlantis. The Atlanteans don't consider his fellow gods important. While Kilbern is totally forgotten today, Takofanes was overthrown at the end of the Turakian Age with the aid of an indestructible sword named Auralia, filled with Kilbern's holy power, and that sword was buried with Takofanes to strengthen the bindings on him, providing a possible anchor for Kilbern's survival.

    Either god could have begun to "wake up" with the rise of magic on Earth in 1938. Tikarion could have been further roused by the renewed activity of the Atlanteans on the surface, while Kilbern likely responded to the rise of Takofanes throwing off the influence of Auralia.

    I hope that was helpful. If you'd like more info on any of the above, or if they don't work for you, feel free to post a followup and we'll see what we can do. :smile:
  • jonsillsjonsills Posts: 6,314 Arc User
    edited September 2014
    That was extraordinarily helpful, particularly the physical descriptions and inclusion of bit of the legends themselves. Thank you.

    Kilbern actually sounds like a good fit for what I'm looking at; while trying to revive worship (and gaining power as he gains in fame among mortals - leveling up, in essence), he will also seek to destroy Takofanes so he can acquire Tako's sword - if he were ever able to manage the trick, it'd be an instant jump to massive, godlike power once again.

    (Of course, game mechanics say he'll never get the sword, but he doesn't know that... :smile:)
    "Science teaches us to expect -- demand -- more than just eerie mysteries. What use is a puzzle that can't be solved? Patience is fine, but I'm not going to stop asking the universe to make sense!"

    - David Brin, "Those Eyes"
    Get the Forums Enhancement Extension!
  • jonsillsjonsills Posts: 6,314 Arc User
    edited September 2014
    And here's Kilbern's appearance, so far:
    Kilbern_zps96158410.png

    Haven't been able to get an action shot in time to show his sword, sadly.
    "Science teaches us to expect -- demand -- more than just eerie mysteries. What use is a puzzle that can't be solved? Patience is fine, but I'm not going to stop asking the universe to make sense!"

    - David Brin, "Those Eyes"
    Get the Forums Enhancement Extension!
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 2,092 Arc User
    edited September 2014
    :cool:

    I see you incorporated a few details from Tikarion's appearance. Personally, I think that's justifiable -- given their similarities, Kilbern might very well have mutated into Tikarion between the Turakian and Atlantean Ages.

    BTW, although "Kilbern" is the name by which this god was known across the widest area of Ambrethel (the known world of the Turakian Age), other regions, and various non-human races, had their own names for him, any or all of which would be fair to use: Nimvorus, Torbalor, Vonos, Zopeshtar Adhimatra, Hamarrek, Toltiradalyrunorion, Gella Thekar.
  • jonsillsjonsills Posts: 6,314 Arc User
    edited September 2014
    I'd completely forgotten that detail about Tikarion. :smile: I was just looking for a cool-looking armor chest, and the Spartan Armor caught my eye. I continued the motif on the shield.

    OTOH, I also forgot that I'd gotten a staff HW skin before, so I could have gone with Tikarion...
    "Science teaches us to expect -- demand -- more than just eerie mysteries. What use is a puzzle that can't be solved? Patience is fine, but I'm not going to stop asking the universe to make sense!"

    - David Brin, "Those Eyes"
    Get the Forums Enhancement Extension!
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 2,092 Arc User
    edited September 2014
    Well, as I suggested, there's reason to suspect Kilbern and Tikarion are in a way the same god in different eras. That kind of evolution implicitly happened to other gods mentioned in some of the source books. Heck, belief in real historical gods changed over time.

    If Takofanes and Auralia was the trigger for the god's revival and return, it would be reasonable for his "Kilbern" aspect to be dominant; but it could be fun to conflate his appearance and m.o. with Tikarion's. Use different skins for their outfits, gear, hair color, facial hair. In fact, since the Skyfather was worshiped by Dwarves, Elves, and Orcs (the last three names on the list I posted, respectively), you could even change his appearance from time to time to match those other races.
Sign In or Register to comment.