Before we delve into describing the gods and their clerics, there are a few concepts that I'd like to share, so that everyone can understand the Old Lore D&D take on faith and gods in Greyhawk.
Most of this isn't revolutionary or radically variant from published canon, it just expands on that material, and develops it a bit to help weave the gods, pantheons and mortals into a more coherent whole than the publsihed setting provides. _________________ What would Raxivort do?<br />
OK, I lied This bit of material is completely unsupported by published canon and is solely the product the author, me.
This is the unifying creation myth that I have devised to allow the myriad faiths of Greyhawk to reach back to a common root. The biggest assumption that is made here is that Beory is the creator goddess, the being before time who brought the Oerth into existence and created the other gods. For this reason, Beory in the Old Lore D&D campaign material is not considered a human goddess. Beory is common to all faiths and religions, whether they actively worship her anymore or not, their folklore and dogma will at some point refer to her as the mother of whatever they do worship these days.
Unified Oerth Creation Myth Before all things, there was only Beory, the Mother of All, who wandered through the empty darkness alone and immortal. To pass the ages, Beory decided to create others, companions who would share eternity with her. Thus were created the primal beings, who are now called gods by mortals. Beory was pleased with her creations, and as the ages passed, she shared them with her children.
As time went on in the darkness of eternity, Beory began to lose her children, who curiously wandered into the darkness and were unable to find their way back. In order to bring light and order into the nothingness of eternity, Beory created Oerth, a great sphere of light and order to illuminate eternity, and give it shape.
As the children of Beory began to see the light of Oerth and find their way back to the Mother of All, they were overcome with joy and gratitude, and to thank Beory for guiding them back to her, they bestowed gifts upon her by shaping Oerth and its Heavens into an ever more beautiful form. This is how the Sun came into the sky, and the moons and stars. This is how the rivers and seas, and hills and mountains, and the valleys and plains, and all of Oerth's beauty came to be.
One of the children resented the light, however, and preferred to be alone in the darkness. He took upon himself the name Tharizdun, which in the language of the children of Beory means That Which Consumes. His story leads us to the next chapter in Oerth's history and the Pact of Divine Nonintervention...
You'll notice that aside from Beory and Tharizdun, none of the other gods are named, and the creation of aspects of Oerth and the Heavens are not attributed to specific gods. This allows specific races or faiths to assign their own gods to these roles, and also provides a DM the freedom to add his own touches to the myth. _________________ What would Raxivort do?<br />
The following posts are more friendly in regard to published canon, being simply slight reinterpretations of what has already been written, adjust to fit with the Unified Creation Myth presented above.
Tharizdun, That Which Consumes, sulked alone in the darkness for ages, his bitter hatred of the light and order of Oerth slowly growing. As the other children of Beory toiled away shaping the Oerth and placing their creations upon it, Tharizdun plotted only chaos and darkness.
Just before the coming of mortals to Oerth, Tharizdun made his move, and swept over the Oerth like a fell shadow, obscuring the light and tearing apart the order his siblings had created. This saddened Beory, and outraged the other children, who united against their brother in a divine war that last a milennia. At the war's end, Tharizdun sat imprisoned in a cage crafted from the very fabric of eternity, awaiting his judgement. Despite the outraged cries of vengeance from her other children, Beory could not bring herself to destroy Tharizdun, and instead willed him into a eternal slumber.
Tharizdun's sleep is fitful though, and at times his dreams manifest as horrible events or monstrosities on Oerth. More commonly, the souls of sleeping mortals feel the call of the sleeping god, and the chaos that draws them to him feeds their nightmares and insanity.
In the Heavens, there was much relief that Tharizdun's threat was locked away, but a concern among the gods now about other rivalries and fueds that might someday cause war between them and destruction on Oerth. It was at this time that all the gods came together and forged the Pact of Nonintervention, a binding agreement that forbids any god from directly using his power on Oerth. Weak manifestations of godly essence could be sent to Oerth, but this loophole was unpopular, due to the effort required and the recovery time needed if a manifestation was injured or destroyed.
This desire to still influence the agenda of eternity but remain loyal to the Pact led the gods to create mortals, pawns who could be used to act out a god's interests on Oerth, or soldiers to be used to wage the wars needed to settle divine conflicts.
As those mortals began to have their own interests, and question the authoritative will of the one god who created them, the next chapter in Oerth's history, The Schism Wars, began to unfold. _________________ What would Raxivort do?<br />
Last edited by chatdemon on Thu Feb 17, 2005 1:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
There is a subtle irony to eternity, and when the gods began to create their own mortal children to populate Oerth, that irony wove its way into history. As the gods had once fought with their own sibling, their mortal children found fault with each other, and began to disagree on which gods to serve, and how to serve them.
For many ages, the seeds of discontent were sowed among the people of Oerth until finally a great war erupted that enveloped every creature and every realm of Oerth, pitting brother against brother in a struggle to decide the shape of faith and community. Humans, once a unified race, splintered into dozens of cultures, Elves saw their defeated Drow kin retreat into the shadows of the Underoerth, and indeed, all folk of Oerth saw similar schisms unfold amongst themselves. Sages now speak of the need to study the past to avoid recreating it in the future, but again the irony of eternity had its hand in Oerth's events, causing the great Schism war to unfold just as mortals were at the brink of mastering communication and recording history. Ignorantly doomed not to learn the lessons of their past, the mortals of Oerth uphold the petty fueds and schisms of the past to this day... _________________ What would Raxivort do?<br />
I like your take on Beory and her locking away Tharizdun. It has a touch of personal drama too it that I have never seen attributed to many gods, especially her. Your creation story reminds me in tone of the beginning of Tolkien's Silmarillion. Hard to explain since its been so long since I've read it, but that the vibe I get.
I like your take on Beory and her locking away Tharizdun. It has a touch of personal drama too it that I have never seen attributed to many gods, especially her.
Certain gods in the GH mythos, especially Tharizdun, often get painted in really broad strokes of black and white. I dislike the "chaotic for chaos's sake" image and wanted to try and fit him into the pantheon a bit better, so the blacksheep brother of the family idea arose.
As far as Beory, she is called the Oerth Mother, and since I chose her to be the mother figure for the pantheon, it made sense to me to have her show pity on her errant son. It's a sometimes regrettable fact that mothers tend to try and overlook or excuse the bad behavior of their kids (to be fair, fathers are often just as guilty of this) and even in the case of the worst miscreants, there's a motherly sorrow that prevents outright condemnation. _________________ What would Raxivort do?<br />
In an effort to enhance my own knowledge of Greyhawk -- due to my long absence from the game -- I'm reading through many of the older posts. I was intrigued by the thesis presented in this one and I ask "your" forebearance in bringing it back to life.
Your take on Beory puts me in mind of the Greek Gaea, but without the primordial Chaos factor.
Your Tharizdun is reminiscent of Melkor (Tolkien's Silmarillion), but his described situation also smacks of Christianity's Satan. By having Beory put him to "sleep," you did away with the "combined Gods locking him away" concept, altering the entire Oerth picture.
Perhaps a Uranus figure would have been more suitable?
The other gods are Tharizdun's progeny, and thus "lesser," therefore the need for them to combine in order to lock him away.
I couldn't see the need for all the gods to "combine" if Tharizdun were only their "brother." Such a relationship wouldn't sufficiently explain his obviously superior power.
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