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Ehlonna & Obad-hai: Reason for Antipathy

 
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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:30 am    Post subject: Ehlonna & Obad-hai: Reason for Antipathy Reply with quote

Friends of Oerth,

Many sources speak of the antipathy between Ehlonna and Obad-hai, but I have yet to read of the reason as to this rift between them. Furthermore, nowhere does it say there is an antipathy between Ehlonna and the Old Faith in general, or even Beory as well, so wondering just why she and The Shalm have some type of dislike for each other.

Please cite your reason if you have found something written in text (canon). Hopefully it's more than just 'she spurned him.'

Additionally, how would this affect rangers who revere Ehlonna (as many do, especially the Gnarley rangers) who have working relationships with druids (as many do...read the Complete Guide to Rangers as well on this topic), much less druidic followers? How would this reconcile between them?

I have discussed this topic with a fellow player/DM and he sees the rift as a difference in perspective in how to protect and manage the wilderness, and perhaps that they are both competing for the same 'territory.'

thanks for your suggestions and input,

Lanthorn
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Vulcan
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Might be as simple as pantheon-rivalry, or even competition for the same followers.

As I recall, Beory is Flan, and Obad-Hai is Baklunish. I don't remember offhand; wasn't Ehlonna not part of any of the existing pantheons? So it might be Obad-Hai resents her being a newcomer intruding on his domain, and she returns his dislike.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Ehlonna & Obad-hai: Reason for Antipathy Reply with quote

Lanthorn wrote:
Many sources speak of the antipathy between Ehlonna and Obad-hai, but I have yet to read of the reason as to this rift between them.


Their main difference is Ehlonna is good, while Obad-hai is neutral. A Guide to the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Setting is explicit that their rivalry is rooted in their alignment differences. Page 73: "Because of Obad-hai's particular neutrality, a rivalry and antipathy exists between this deity and Ehlonna of the forests." Gender also seems to play a role.

Quote:
Furthermore, nowhere does it say there is an antipathy between Ehlonna and the Old Faith in general


Eric Menge's article Druids and the Old Faith says that Flan worshipers of the Old Faith venerate both Ehlonna and Obad-hai.

Quote:
Additionally, how would this affect rangers who revere Ehlonna (as many do, especially the Gnarley rangers) who have working relationships with druids (as many do...read the Complete Guide to Rangers as well on this topic), much less druidic followers? How would this reconcile between them?


In first and second edition, rangers had to be of good alignment and druids had to be of neutral alignment. Sometimes this creates conflict. Both love the wilderness, but neutral characters are more harsh and unforgiving towards those who threaten it. Rangers and druids can still work together, but sometimes they'll have different ideas about what to do with well-meaning folk who harm nature.

Simply put, Ehlonna's tendency toward empathy and mercy sometimes puts her at odds with Obad-hai's relative lack of both.

Vulcan wrote:
As I recall, Beory is Flan, and Obad-Hai is Baklunish.


Both Beory and Obad-hai are listed as Common and Flan.

Quote:
I don't remember offhand; wasn't Ehlonna not part of any of the existing pantheons?


Ehlonna is a Common deity, which means she's worshiped in most areas, irrespective of racial composition.

Obad-hai is both Common and Flan, which means he too is worshiped in most areas, irrespective of racial composition, but his racial origin is Flan.

I interpret this to mean that Ehlonna was always known to multiple races (and part of multiple pantheons), while Obad-hai was known first by the Flan, but his influence has since grown. I don't think there's any reason to think it means Ehlonna is younger than Obad-hai, though she might be. The opposite might as easily be the case. Note that Ehlonna is considered to be equally a human and elven goddess, and "brownies, gnomes, and halflings" are said to be equally attuned to her. The Shalm is known to take the form of a human, dwarf, gnome, halfling, centaur, leprechaun, pixie, satyr, sprite, treant, or woodland creature as it suits him.
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GreyhawkGrognard
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know where I got the idea, but I always thought the root of the problem was Ehlonna's embracing of hunting, to which Obad-Hai objected.
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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obad-hai does not object to hunting, but likely wants hunters to follow the natural order of taking the weak, old, young, or sickly instead of trophy animals. I am sure, however, that Ehlonna wouldn't want hunters killing and wasting the animal either.

From what I am gathering from these posts, and the scant information that I have gleaned from various sources, it seems their antipathy stems from his purely Neutral view of nature (Nature can be beautiful but also seemingly callous and cruel...deal with it) whereas she is softer in her perspective and wants to nurture and protect it, and its denizens as well (NOT humanoids, of course, and rapacious beasts, whereas Obad-hai sees them as integral to Nature).

That's my take I guess.

I remain unsure why she doesn't take exception to Beory, but maybe that's because Obad-hai and Ehlonna have a large overlap in 'territory' whereas Beory encompasses ALL of Oerth, and is more detached, almost cosmic in her perspective of Nature, and doesn't deal with the day to day interactions (?).

-Lanthorn
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tarelton
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My interpretation is that the Old Faith is practiced as pantheon worship, i.e. Obad-hai, Beory, and the other Flan gods are worshiped as a group, whereas the dominant Oeridians worship their gods as individuals. Thus Ehlonna could be seen as a competitor or worse, if she is of Flan origin, as a scab, as she allows an outlet for nature worship in the Oeridian style. In my conceptual Greyhawk, the Old Faith is closer to True Neutral and the balance (not Neutral I do not have an opinion). Thus the Old Faith largely comes down to a form of pantheon worship or propitiation through the cycles of life. To worship one of its members alone without the others breaks the natural cycle and is antithetical to the Old Faith as a whole.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lanthorn wrote:
I remain unsure why she doesn't take exception to Beory, but maybe that's because Obad-hai and Ehlonna have a large overlap in 'territory' whereas Beory encompasses ALL of Oerth, and is more detached, almost cosmic in her perspective of Nature, and doesn't deal with the day to day interactions (?).


Yeah, I think it's that Obad-hai and Ehlonna are of equal divine status, while Beory is a greater deity, completely out of Ehlonna's league. It'd be like a housecat deciding that a lioness was her nemesis.

And I think the rivalry between Ehlonna and Obad-hai is rooted in Obad-hai being more punitive against transgressors, while she's inclined to defend the well-intentioned regardless of their crimes. For example, in Greek mythology, Agamemnon accidentally killed a deer in a grove sacred to Artemis, and in retribution Artemis demanded that Agamemnon sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to her. I can imagine a myth where Obad-hai demands a human life as atonement for a crime against nature, while Ehlonna defends the Iphigenia-equivalent and the two gods quarrel over this.

Beory, by contrast, wouldn't care in the slightest about either side of the quarrel. According to From the Ashes, "The worldly doings of humans, demihumans, and their kindred are of almost no concern to Beory. Only events which affect the integrity of Oerth as an entity concern her."

Obad-hai's particular neutrality means defending the balance of nature with punitive harshness. Beory's particular neutrality means standing aloof from either Obad-hai's or Ehlonna's point of view. What's one grove, one forest, one innocent mortal in the scheme of things? Beory is more concerned with threats of a planet-wide scale (and thus she indirectly supports Saint Cuthbert in his vendetta against Iuz, since Iuz truly does threaten the world).

Lanthorn wrote:
Obad-hai does not object to hunting, but likely wants hunters to follow the natural order of taking the weak, old, young, or sickly instead of trophy animals. I am sure, however, that Ehlonna wouldn't want hunters killing and wasting the animal either.


In fact, Obad-hai is the god of hunting. "Nature, Wildlands, Freedom, Hunting, Wild Beasts." But I think you're right that he opposes the wasteful slaughter of his wild beasts. I don't think he'd get too bothered unless the survival of a local population was at stake. That is, killing a wolf for no reason other than to mount its head on a wall and leaving its body to rot might be bad, but it's not as bad as decimating the local population of wolves so that the elk population grows out of control.

As you say, Ehlonna opposes the same things that Obad-hai opposes, but I think their solutions are where they differ. Obad-hai would think "the local human population threatens the survival of the wolf population, so my druids should slaughter the local humans until they're no longer a threat." Ehlonna, on the other hand, would be more likely to seek a peaceful solution to the problem rather than indiscriminately killing human settlers. Beory would let the problem sort itself out.
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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rasgon, we are in total agreement. Love your 'housecat vs. lioness' analogy, and my friend and I made the same type of assertion that Beory IS Oerth itself, and is thus well beyond the scope and scale of Ehlonna due to her Greater Power status.

I now see Beory as the Prime Material equivalent of Celestian. Whereas Celestian seeks knowledge and a balance of the cosmos (mainly Astral, Ethereal, and Inner Planes), Beory oversees the balance of the entire scope of Oerth as a whole. Thusly, I was hoping she, and perhaps other Powers who rate Oerth as their native Plane (like Ehlonna, Fharlanghn, etc.) would try to directly (or indirectly) thwart and oppose Iuz during the Wars instead of the usual "good guy" Powers.

thanks to all for posting,

Lanthorn
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