Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Godmodding: Paiia

This month's excuse for a late post:

My Little Pony marathon.

A really long marathon.

So, I've been bouncing around a few ideas for posts over the last few weeks as I play Portal 2 and squee over ponies, and I've decided that rather than worry over them for days I will post as many as I can.

So, a while back I made a couple of posts about religion in my eternally-in-progress homebrew setting, and the pantheon I've been trying to set up. I've decided to put some more work into it and post about it, in the hope that

a) The process might make a good read;
b) Someone might point out something which blows that I've missed.

I got a couple of pieces of advice from the last two posts:

Study real religions and see what they do, instead of copying D&D and D&D clones, if you want to be unique.

This is actually a good tip, though I don't agree with the last part. Copying is copying, using real life just improves the quality of your sources. Then again, that is just me being an asshole on the wording, isn't it? Don't listen to me, listen to this man.

tl;dr, but I did skim through enough to say this: you've got a moderate to severe case of Lovecraftian Naming Syndrome. Srsly, Yzzyx? I love Colossal Cave Adventure as much as the next person, but (...) The only cure for Lovecraftian Naming Syndrome is spending half a decade learning linguistics or spending 5 minutes looking up the names of people and gods from extinct civilizations and then mashing the letters around. Then again, what do I know?

This one, not so much. The only lesson here is that if you don't read posts before you comment you'll end up looking silly, because the post containing the one name Anon here took exception to was also the one which contained Seokore.

So, yeah. Two pieces of advice there, actually. Be careful with your naming, using "tl;dr" seriously is for chumps.

Anyway, today's deity.

Developing Paiia

Paiia's origins were less than noble, but a fine way to make a deity on the fly if you have to. This is how it went down:
  • I liked Pelor, in a sort of all-purpose good deity way, but did not find Pelor himself interesting.
  • While flipping through Deities & Demigods years ago I thought Taiia, a different four-armed sun god, looked kind of cool.
  • I made Pelor a four-armed woman and mashed their names together.

Bam.

That was a good start, anyway. I needed more.

First... Pelor fit in Greyhawk because, well, it's Greyhawk. When you think of it you think of a charming 70s/80s fantasy setting where everyone worships Gary's friends' characters and bad guys can be the kind of unbelievable fuckbears who fill dungeons with deathtraps and other traps that turn you into a naked girl. Somehow Pelor is an icon of D&D to me, which is why I don't really want to use him here.

So, I need something that fits into Otherworld. That isn't too hard, because it's my setting, so I sketched out an idea of what a sun god would be like:

  • Should be fairly important, which is common in mythology as far as I know. The Sun is one of those things it's hard to ignore.
  • Looks forward to each new day, treating it as a chance to ditch yesterday's problems and start a new adventure.
  • Since I liked the parts of Pelor about searing your enemy's face off and smashing evil undead into sad little piles of ash, I kept that part.
  • While I was there, another setting I used to run used a deity of prophecy as the principal "human" deity. Since I quite liked that one and prophecy seems like a good portfolio for a goddess who always looks to the future, I threw it in.
  • Later, I heard of Sarenrae from Pathfinder, who is associated strongly with redemption. Since that fit nicely, once I was done being surprised that Pathfinder has something which wasn't printed by Wizards of the Coast already I threw that in as well. (EDITION WAR SLAMWICH!)

I have a rough idea what I want to do, but it could still use work. So I look up sun gods.

  • The Norse had Sol/Sunna, who was prophesised to be killed by a wolf during Ragnarok. I am pretty sure this is what happens to everyone in Ragnarok though.
  • The Romans had Sol, who was blatantly stolen from the Greeks in clear violation of copyright law. I am pretty sure this is how the Romans did everything, though. Had bitching Christmas parties, was associated with the moon goddess, later became Sol Invictus and was portrayed as a companion to the Emperor in what I can only assume was ancient Roman self-insert fanfiction.
  • The Greeks had Helios, who carried the sun around in his chariot (his big, hundred-times-the-size-of-Earth chariot) except one time he let his teenage son Phaeton borrow his celestial car and the kid wrecked it so bad Zeus shot him in the face. This is the sanest story in the Greek pantheon.
  • Helios was heavily associated with Apollo, god of light and prophecy and a lot of other things that aren't relevant. Greek gods had massive resumes.

At the moment I'm still unsure whether Paiia has a sister, but I feel this is enough to go on.

Paiia!

The sun goddess Paiia is one of the oldest deities around. In the early ages, curious of the fate of creation, she plucked a star from the sky and compressed it into the Third Eye of the Cosmos, which sees all futures.

And then the Eye predicted things she didn't like.

Paiia didn't take that sass, though. Instead, when it predicted a disaster or great triumph for the forces of evil, she set out to do something about it. When it predicted that Asmodeus would trick one of her greatest priests into committing an atrocity, she slipped him a warning note. When it predicted that her demise in the distant future would come at the hands of a monstrous demonic wolf, she killed it and hid the body. When it predicted she would lose her keys she made a spare set.

So far, Paiia is winning.

To her followers, the sun goddess Paiia represents the warmth of good, compassion, and healing. She's a goddess of prophecies, but urges her followers to make their own destinies - each sunrise heralds a new adventure and a new beginning. Planning and foresight is great, but you must back it up with action. Paiia is a fan of redemption - it's a new beginning for everyone - but is never hesistant to redeem evil's face with her fist.

Paiia is most popular among humans, especially in the older lands of Aldanath and Kaldoria. Sects of hers can be found almost anywhere humans reside. She also has a number of dwarf followers in mountain communities who like the cut of her jib, and almost any race which lives near humans can be found within her ranks if you look hard enough.

Paiia has allies in most good-aligned deities and is willing to talk with anyone, usually to barter for her services while she tries to convince them to change their ways. On the other hand she's never afraid to give bad news and will give vague or even wrong answers at times, usually to evil beings, to further her own agenda or just for fun. More gods seek her out for company than her services.

Paiia appears as a golden-haired woman with four arms. In her lower left she clutches the Third Eye of the Cosmos, a shining white orb, and in her lower right she carries a flaming sword. She can summon a blazing light from her hands, which can hurt or heal as necessary.

She also throws bitching Christmas parties.

Bam!

I've written out a bit more, but I won't bore you with the details. She does have the Good, Healing, Luck, Knowledge and Sun domains, because I still haven't gotten around to converting to 4E yet (and some of my current players aren't fans, I believe). Other than that it's mostly details about her servants (like Unforgivement, the ancient intelligent glaive who insists that was totally a word five hundred years ago), holy texts, et cetera, and it's best to not set them in stone until I need them.


That's all, for now. With any luck, I'll churn out a few more of these (and possibly improve this one) over the next week.

1 comment:

Patrick said...

The only complaint I can level is that "Paiia" makes me think of "Paella" and seafood dishes don't really make for particularly inspiring divinity.

Unless that guy's right and you're totally a Lovecraft fanboy