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rasgon
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:34 pm    Post subject: Demigods of Oerth Reply with quote

The problem with the idea of nine demigods being imprisoned by Zagig Yragerne was long that the World of Greyhawk campaign setting didn't have nine demigods in it. We've learned from Gygax and Kuntz that the captured "demigods" in their original campaign included deities that are not presently considered demigods: Celestian, Erythnul, Heironeous, Hextor, Iuz, Obad-Hai, Olidammara, Ralishaz, and Tritherion.

The current canon has the nine demigods bound by Zagig as each belonging to a different alignment. We know the names of five of them for sure: Zuoken, Iuz, Wastri, Rudd, and Merikka. But we need to stretch a bit to fill out the roster with demigods of nine different alignments. I'd also like to make sure the capture of each demigod results in an interesting plot hook or at least a change in the campaign setting - there's not much use in having an imprisoned god in the setting's background if nobody notices.

I covered my thoughts about Merikka here.

In compiling a list of every demigod that might be available to use, I included the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Scarlet Brotherhood, Beyond the Crystal Cave, Lost Shrine of Tamoachan, Monster Mythology, Fred Weining's "Vault of the Drow" article, the Living Greyhawk list of deities, and even, for completeness, the Book of Vile Darkness and Book of Exalted Deeds. I would be reluctant to use any of the deities from the latter two sources in a final list, but they're demigods and no other world is using them, so I listed them here.

So here's a list of all the demigods:

Al'Akbar (LN)
Ayailla (NG)
Chitza-Atlan (LE)
Caoimhin (N/CG)
Chaav (CG)
Damaran (NE/N)
Diinkarazan (CE)
Earth Dragon (LE)
Estanna (NG)
Fionnghuala (NG)
Gaknulak (LE/NE)
Gorellik (CE)
Green Man (CN)
Hurakan (CN)
Iuz (confirmed) CE
Karaan (CE)
Keptolo (CE)
Kiaransalee (CE)
Kuraulyek (NE)
Laogzed (CE)
Lastai (CG)
Mayaheine (not around yet) LG
Merikka (confirmed) LG
Parrafaire (CN)
The Patient One (NE)
Phieran (LG)
Rallaster (CE)
Rudd (confirmed) CN/CG
Scahrossar (LE)
Squelaiche (CN/CG)
Skiggaret (CE)
Stalker (NE)
Stern Alia (LN)
Stillsong (unknown rank) NG
Urogalan (N/LN)
Valarian (NG)
Vara (NE/LE)
Vecna (NE)
Wastri (confirmed) LN/LE
Xammux (NE)
Ye'Cind (CG)
Yeathan (NE)
Zagyg (the perpetrator, and not yet a demigod) CN
Zuoken (confirmed) N

Putting them on the alignment matrix, these are the available possibilities for each of the nine alignments:

LG Merikka
LN Stern Alia, Urogalan, Wastri
LE Wastri, Chitza-Atlan, Earth Dragon, Gaknulak, Vara, Scahrossar
NG Stillsong, Fionnghuala, Estanna, Ayailla, Valarian
N Zuoken
NE Vecna, Damaran, Vara, Stalker, Gaknulak, Patient One, the Xammux, Yeathan
CG Rudd, Caoimhin, Squelaiche, Ye'Cind, Chaav, Lastai
CN The Green Man, Hurakan, Parrafaire, Rudd, Squelaiche
CE Iuz

Some of them are listed more than once because they lean toward multiple alignments. Vara is somewhere between LE and NE, and Wastri is somewhere between LN and LE. It's also worth pointing out that Vecna was LE in 2e, though I'm of the opinion that the retcon was a good one. He seems more concerned with his own power than law or chaos.

It's also worth noting that Gary Holian has St. Benedor, foe of St. Kargoth, as the NG demigod. I haven't seen him listed in any official roster of gods, though, so I left him out. He'd certainly be a good candidate for the NG position, though.

I'll save my personal preferences for another post.
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Derfelca
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You forgot Al'Akbar (LN) on your alignment matrix.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Derfelca wrote:
You forgot Al'Akbar (LN) on your alignment matrix.


Whoops! That was a typo. Al'Akbar is lawful good.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vaprak the Destroyer is a demigod.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interestingly Vaprak caused much destruction in the War Tower dungeons in Greyhawk Ruins.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OleOneEye wrote:
Vaprak the Destroyer is a demigod.


He's listed as a lesser god in Monster Mythology, which is what I was using as a reference, but you're right - in 1st edition Deities & Demigods he's given demigod status.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In case you're interested, Rip, in addition to the original GH campaign gods listed by EGG and RJK, in Bottle City, Rob mentions five additional alien, Lovecraftian-style gods in the Bottle City environs:


  • Aza - Neutral
  • Lolatho - Evil
  • Zirx - Evil
  • Phanon - Law
  • Ntee - Evil


The gods were done for OD&D, and don't have demi/etc. designations, nor nine-pointed alignments.
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xammer99
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kelanan - N - Demigod of Swords
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

xammer99 wrote:
Kelanan - N - Demigod of Swords
I am pretty sure thet Kelanan is a quasi-deity and not a full demigod.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

making Vecna one of the 9 imprisoned demigods makes a certain sense in helping to explain his long absense from world events (and works better then dragging other settings such as ravenloft into the mix IMO).

and I agree NE suits vecna much better the LE.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vecna is a great idea. I haven't thought about putting him in the microwave magic absorbing god machine. I have scoured my library and nothing explains how he became a Lesser Deity! And this all happened without his two artifacts! (Note: Without starting a new thread here, I will post this question unless somebody can tell me in a few words - how he became a Lesser Deity? I am thinking the writers of D&D 3rd Edition elevated him because they thought he would be a cool nemesis. Simple as that.)

Vecna's absence could explain the animosity with Iuz? Possibly, Vecna drained Iuz of a full status rank, say, when he escaped or was let go and that is how Vecna had risen from demi-god to Lesser god, eh? I love the idea because I am in the middle of organizing my pantheon from the hundreds out there, but I knocking him down from Lesser status unless the new PC's can not stop him in Die Vecna Die!.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reply to xammer99 & cwslyclgh: Kelanen is a hero-god in AD&D Greyhawk Player's Guide, which is the same status as quasi-deity in D&D 3rd Edition.

General: How about adding Joramy (NG) and Pyremius to the mix? I can't remember where I read this and I just checked a few books to verify and it seems I am wrong, but Pyremius stole Joramy's fire thus making her go mad? But, Scarlet Brotherhood explains Pyremius stole fire from Rent? a Suel goddess of fire. Either way, Pyremius could have laid in wait for Joramy, weakened from her stasis in the Godtrap and by poisons submitted to her by the God of Murder? Joramy loses her Lesser status becoming a demi-god while Pyremius elevates to Lesser Rank? Or, Rent (alignment?) is killed while being released by Pyremius?

I like Zuoken, because he was rewarded his divine status from by Xan Yae upon leaving the Godtrap and that is where he would be able to gift his skills of martial arts/monk fighting class and psionic's to the Flanaess. A good way of introducing these classes into a campaign. But, if this is the case, Zuoken must have been a divine rank before entering imprisonment and thus could not be one of the 9!!! which leads me to my reply below.

Reply to ragon: The problem with 9 demigods is they escape or released from the Godtrap AS demi-gods! I think the list of gods should be from the Lesser Rank list as Zagyg traps them and syphons off their ranks in becoming a demi-god! And, if this is true then the deities syphoned from must be rank 6 because Zagyg needs 9 ranks in becoming a rank 1 demigod, or Zagyg should be a lesser deity because 9 ranks would put him over the top of demigod! Or, the gods are demigods but have their ranks lowered to a minimum of 1 or a maximum of 4 when drained by the Godtrap.

How many ranks are needed to fuel the Godtrap, to capture and maintain and imprison 9 deities, and then energize Zagyg to a demigod power? A Lesser Deity sounds more logical as a demigod would be sucked dry from this machine.

What do yee all think?@
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gravenhurst wrote:
Vecna is a great idea. I haven't thought about putting him in the microwave magic absorbing god machine. I have scoured my library and nothing explains how he became a Lesser Deity! And this all happened without his two artifacts! (Note: Without starting a new thread here, I will post this question unless somebody can tell me in a few words - how he became a Lesser Deity?


He became a lesser deity during the events of Die, Vecna, Die! Basically, he tricked Iuz into entering Ravenloft and completing a ritual in Vecna's presence. Iuz believed it would give him Vecna's power, but it actually caused Vecna to absorb him entirely. As a result, Vecna became a greater deity for a time, enabling him to escape the Demiplane of Dread and use the mists of his collapsing realm to enter Sigil, the City of Doors. His power was limited there, as the Lady of Pain forced him to inhabit a single avatar. The party of PCs, armed with pieces of Vecna's original body (not the Eye of Vecna, which Vecna had recovered - they have things like the Heart of Vecna, Hand of Vecna, and Skin of Vecna) are immune to Vecna's divine powers, and after a tough battle they're able to destroy the physical form anchoring him to the city. Vecna falls through the planes, weakened, and Iuz managed to escape, also weakened. Vecna eventually stabilizes as a lesser deity, and Iuz regains his power as a demigod.

I do like the idea that Vecna was one of the imprisoned nine, because it explains why he only started his schemes recently, and because Vecna is much more of an iconic Greyhawk god than the other neutral evil demigods available. It took him centuries to rebuild his power after being slain by Kas and to climb up to demigod status, and just as he's ready to begin, Zagig pops in and imprisons him beneath his castle. That must have been frustrating!

Gravenhurst wrote:
Reply to xammer99 & cwslyclgh: Kelanen is a hero-god in AD&D Greyhawk Player's Guide, which is the same status as quasi-deity in D&D 3rd Edition.


Hero-deities can grant spells, which requires at least one divine rank. Hero-deities are explicitly more powerful than quasi-deities, who cannot grant spells. See "Blood of Heroes" in the Living Greyhawk Journal #3, for example. It's true that the 3rd edition Deities & Demigods treats quasi-deity and hero-deity as the same rank, but I believe this is incorrect by Greyhawk's definition of what the two ranks are and can do. For example, Murlynd recently graduated from quasi-deity to hero-deity status according to the Greyhawk Player's Guide and Slavers, which would be meaningless if they were the same rank. Therefore, I think quasi-deities are Divine Rank 0, and hero-deities Divine Rank 1. Technically, this would make them demigods by the standard 3e definition, but because hero-deity and demigod are clearly different ranks in Greyhawk canon, I'm counting only gods of ranks 2-5 as demigods for the purpose in this list, which leaves the various hero-deities out.

Quote:
I just checked a few books to verify and it seems I am wrong, but Pyremius stole Joramy's fire thus making her go mad?


Pyremius poisoned Ranet, the Suel goddess of fire, during the height of the Suel Imperium, killing her and stealing the portfolio of fire from her. Joramy wasn't officially involved, though someone suggested at the Greytalk chat last Thursday that Joramy might be the reincarnation of Ranet.

Quote:
I like Zuoken, because he was rewarded his divine status from by Xan Yae upon leaving the Godtrap and that is where he would be able to gift his skills of martial arts/monk fighting class and psionic's to the Flanaess. A good way of introducing these classes into a campaign. But, if this is the case, Zuoken must have been a divine rank before entering imprisonment and thus could not be one of the 9!!!


Zuoken was officially one of the nine imprisoned demigods. The PCs even find him, still in the Godtrap, in the course of Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, and set him free.

I would assume all of the imprisoned gods (even Iuz, though this is disputed) were at least Divine Rank 2 before they entered imprisonment.

Quote:
The problem with 9 demigods is they escape or released from the Godtrap AS demi-gods! I think the list of gods should be from the Lesser Rank list as Zagyg traps them and syphons off their ranks in becoming a demi-god!


A problem with that is that Iuz actually gained power while he was in prison. His cult didn't really take off until he vanished - maybe he seemed too mortal to worship when people saw him all the time, and when he was seemingly swept away into another plane they could think of him as a god more easily.

It's also possible that Iuz wasn't a god at all before he was imprisoned, though he had already siphoned power from the Soul Husks, which was certainly part of the recipe for his ascension. Because the text says that Zagig captured nine demigods, not eight demigods and a mortal cambion who later became a demigod, and it seems like dramatic overkill for Zagig, Keoghtom, Kelanen, Murlynd, and St. Cuthbert to all gang up on a mortal cambion. If Iuz wasn't actually a god yet, St. Cuthbert's aid (and the price the gods of good had to pay for allowing one of their own to manifest on Oerth in his true form) surely wouldn't have been needed.

The Living Greyhawk Gazetteer implies Iuz didn't begin granting spells until after he was imprisoned, which might suggest that the Old One was at most a quasi-deity at the time, or might mean he just didn't have any true clerics yet. At any rate, he definitely left the Godtrap more powerful than he entered it.

It is possible, of course, that he would have grown even stronger if Zagig hadn't been siphoning his power. On the other hand, Iuz the Evil implies that the ritual of Zagig's ascension might actually have given Iuz power rather than taking anything away. Maybe the magic formula of nine demigods in the same space made everyone more powerful, not just Zagig.

Quote:
And, if this is true then the deities syphoned from must be rank 6 because Zagyg needs 9 ranks in becoming a rank 1 demigod, or Zagyg should be a lesser deity because 9 ranks would put him over the top of demigod! Or, the gods are demigods but have their ranks lowered to a minimum of 1 or a maximum of 4 when drained by the Godtrap.


Because the other imprisoned demigods probably didn't experience the surge in worship after they were imprisoned that Iuz did, it does seem likely that they became weakened in prison. It's possible that some of them were lesser deities before they entered, but again the text says Zagig imprisoned nine demigods, not some assorted demigods and lesser deities, so I'm inclined to think they were no more than rank 5 when they entered and no less than rank 2 when they left.

Quote:
How many ranks are needed to fuel the Godtrap, to capture and maintain and imprison 9 deities, and then energize Zagyg to a demigod power? A Lesser Deity sounds more logical as a demigod would be sucked dry from this machine.


I don't agree. Zagig only needed two divine ranks to qualify as a demigod under the system I describe above, or only one divine rank to qualify as a hero-deity. With nine demigods available, he wouldn't even need to siphon a full divine rank from any single deity.

If every demigod lost a divine rank, Zagig would have had nine divine ranks to play with, which would have made him a lesser power. Even assuming the process was wasteful, or that half the power went to Boccob and Iuz, Zagig would have had plenty of ranks for himself with only a single divine rank from each deity. Because I assume that every demigod had at least two divine ranks to start with, none of them would have been drained down any further than hero-deity status (divine rank 1). Assuming they were all at least divine rank 3, all of them would have exited as full demigods even if they lost a full rank. And as I said, there's no reason to assume any of them lost a full rank.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

grodog wrote:
In case you're interested, Rip, in addition to the original GH campaign gods listed by EGG and RJK, in Bottle City, Rob mentions five additional alien, Lovecraftian-style gods in the Bottle City environs:


  • Aza - Neutral
  • Lolatho - Evil
  • Zirx - Evil
  • Phanon - Law
  • Ntee - Evil


The gods were done for OD&D, and don't have demi/etc. designations, nor nine-pointed alignments.


I am interested! It's strange that the alignments include "neutral, evil, and law." That's not the Lawful-Neutral-Chaotic axis of standard 0D&D, and it's not the five-point Lawful Good/Chaotic Evil/Lawful Evil/Chaotic Good/Neutral graph from the Holmes set, and it's not the nine-point AD&D system either. That must have been a stage of the game that never saw publication.

Do we know anything else about those gods other than that they're Lovecraftian and either of lawful, evil, or neutral alignment? Were they connected to Dalt at all?

Thanks for posting that.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
OleOneEye wrote:
Vaprak the Destroyer is a demigod.


He's listed as a lesser god in Monster Mythology, which is what I was using as a reference, but you're right - in 1st edition Deities & Demigods he's given demigod status.


The LG Deities doc lists him as a lesser god but Complete Divine has him as demigod so it's still 2 even. Take your pick.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the ascension ritual of Zagyg, was it not the Obelisk involved ?
I read somewhere that Zagyg took a chip of it ( and using the Codex of the Infinite Planes ). That also could explain why all demi-gods were not drained of their divine ranks and why some gained power. The Obelisk could have been like a "power battery" where Zagyg fueled divine energies. Power leakage benefited others after he ascended.

Imprisonned Vecna is well fitted in the plan ( and almost evident ; as in "why did I not think about it before" ).
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
I am interested! It's strange that the alignments include "neutral, evil, and law." That's not the Lawful-Neutral-Chaotic axis of standard 0D&D, and it's not the five-point Lawful Good/Chaotic Evil/Lawful Evil/Chaotic Good/Neutral graph from the Holmes set, and it's not the nine-point AD&D system either. That must have been a stage of the game that never saw publication.


I think it's likely a predecessor form to the five-point Holmes system, or some variation of the original system with good/evil starting to be layered in.

rasgon wrote:
Do we know anything else about those gods other than that they're Lovecraftian and either of lawful, evil, or neutral alignment? Were they connected to Dalt at all?


Hmmm. That (Dalt) is a good question; I'm not sure there. We don't know a ton about the gods, but a bit more is revealed in the module. I'll have to go dig it up for more details.

rasgon wrote:
Thanks for posting that.


Happy to! :D
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

grodog wrote:
In case you're interested, Rip, in addition to the original GH campaign gods listed by EGG and RJK, in Bottle City, Rob mentions five additional alien, Lovecraftian-style gods in the Bottle City environs:


  • Aza - Neutral
  • Lolatho - Evil
  • Zirx - Evil
  • Phanon - Law
  • Ntee - Evil


The gods were done for OD&D, and don't have demi/etc. designations, nor nine-pointed alignments.


Grodog, did you get my e-mail? I still haven't got Bottled City yet. I forwarded to you a copy of my e-receipt. Please PM me. Thanks.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
Pyremius poisoned Ranet, the Suel goddess of fire, during the height of the Suel Imperium, killing her and stealing the portfolio of fire from her. Joramy wasn't officially involved, though someone suggested at the Greytalk chat last Thursday that Joramy might be the reincarnation of Ranet.


Rasgon,

That was me. Its a campaign secret tied to a holy warrior of Joramy PC (I dislike the monolithic nature of the Paladin class and I use GR's Holy Warrior class originally found in The Book of the Righteous). As a side note, I made Joramy's holy warrior domains Champion, Emotion, and Fire.

Basically Pyremius poisons Ranet and steals her portfolio of fire at "the hight of the Suel Imperium". Since gods cannot truly die, her husk was floating in the astral. I haven't detailed how she was reincarnated as Joramy but that is unimportant to my campaign right now. The only thing I have determined is that Joramy doesn't remember her previous incarnation but has disturbing half-memories of something dark and venomous attacking her in the god equivalent of a dream.

Blue Witch liked the idea and suggested Joramy/Ranet rising from a volcano as a very powerful and interesting image of her rebirth.

Anyway, end of my threadjack.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember that you need not constrain the list of deities to just demi-gods/hero-deities. When the orignal list of the Nine was made, the gods had not been so precisely defined according to a system of divine rank. I'd leave the major deities out as possible choices to be sure, and probably most of the intermediate ones as well, but the lesser deities would be totally up for grabs.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cebrion wrote:
Remember that you need not constrain the list of deities to just demi-gods/hero-deities. When the orignal list of the Nine was made, the gods had not been so precisely defined according to a system of divine rank. I'd leave the major deities out as possible choices to be sure, and probably most of the intermediate ones as well, but the lesser deities would be totally up for grabs.


I'd strongly prefer personally that all the "demigods" be literal demigods, if only because it puts less strain on our belief in Zagig's personal power and makes the list of possible candidates more manageable. While it's true that the ranking system hadn't been defined in the early 1970s when Gygax and Kuntz ran their campaign, it had been defined in 1983 when the notion of Zagig Yragerne imprisoning nine "demigods" was first published, so I'm inclined to assume it said what it meant to say. I mean, the alignment system was different in 1972 as well, but that doesn't mean we should read Hextor's's lawful evil alignment as meaning "possibly chaotic evil, neutral evil, or lawful evil, since when the character was created there was evidently only one "evil" alignment that could have meant any of the above." Subsequent canon clears up exactly what "evil" means in Hextor's case, as I believe it clears up what "demigod" means in the case of the imprisoned nine. So when the books say nine demigods were captured and nine demigods were freed (as they do, see the LGG page 189, for example), I'm inclined to accept this at face value.

That said, others' personal preferences may of course vary, or someone might care more about keeping the list limited to human deities strongly associated with Greyhawk more than they care about keeping the list limited to literal demigods. Or you could assume that some of them have risen to lesser deity status only in the decades since they were freed. Coming up with a list of appropriate lesser deities would be an interesting intellectual exercise, if nothing else.

My list of the imprisoned deities, if we open the list to include lesser deities, would be:

Lawful good: Merikka
Lawful neutral: Stern Alia
Lawful evil: Wastri
Neutral good: Zodal (surely one of the least campaign-significant of the lesser deities, I think he would work better as a demigod anyway - and he's little-enough written about that a dramatic downturn or upturn to his faith could have happened recently without altering anything else. Perhaps this is when he and Joramy became estranged.)
Neutral: Zuoken
Neutral evil: Vecna
Chaotic good: Dalt (this helps explain why he's referred to as a "lost god," and why he's become forgotten everywhere outside the southeastern Flanaess. Perhaps Mordenkainen even freed him during his explorations of Castle Greyhawk, and was granted his Silver Key then).
Chaotic neutral: Rudd
Chaotic evil: Iuz
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
Do we know anything else about those gods other than that they're Lovecraftian and either of lawful, evil, or neutral alignment? Were they connected to Dalt at all?


RJK wrote some more about the Cthluhu-like gods in Greyhawk in his article "Advent of the Elder Ones: Mythos vs. Man in the Lake Geneva Original Campaign, 1973-1976 by Robert J Kuntz" in AFS#2 @ http://hallsoftizunthane.blogspot.com/2012/12/afs-issue-2-is-released.html (alas, currently OOP).

He also has lots of HPL-related content in the RJK's El Raja Key Archive @ http://www.tlbgames.com/collections/archive

Allan.
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vestcoat
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
Cebrion wrote:
Remember that you need not constrain the list of deities to just demi-gods/hero-deities. When the orignal list of the Nine was made, the gods had not been so precisely defined according to a system of divine rank. I'd leave the major deities out as possible choices to be sure, and probably most of the intermediate ones as well, but the lesser deities would be totally up for grabs.


I'd strongly prefer personally that all the "demigods" be literal demigods, if only because it puts less strain on our belief in Zagig's personal power and makes the list of possible candidates more manageable. While it's true that the ranking system hadn't been defined in the early 1970s when Gygax and Kuntz ran their campaign, it had been defined in 1983 when the notion of Zagig Yragerne imprisoning nine "demigods" was first published, so I'm inclined to assume it said what it meant to say.

No assumptions needed: Olidammara made the leap from the original campaign's Nine Demigods to an official lesser god in 1983 and Gygax maintained both Olidammara's imprisonment and relationship with Zagyg.

You've dismissed this point before, but it puts MORE strain on our belief in Zagyg's personal power to say he imprisoned nine demigods AND Olidammara.

I don't like to dismiss later canon either, but since we're STILL scraping the bucket to complete The Nine forty years later, and since Sargent already broke down the strict "demigod" requirement in WGR5 (Iuz was explicitly a non-divine cambion), can we just PLEASE set aside rigid interpretations and accept the canon prisoner Gygax implicitly gave us in the very first boxed set?

GH gods change ranks in virtually every new book and edition and it's ridiculous to shoehorn modern denominations into a piece of GH canon that appeared in the late seventies. Hextor and Zodal were peers in 1983. Now Hextor the one-time demigod prisoner is equal to Lendor, patriarch of the Suel pantheon. Times change!

I like the list of mixed demi and lesser gods. I would leave Dalt out, move Rudd over to CG to maintain canon, put Olidammara in the CN slot to maintain canon, and use someone more mysterious for Vecna. Maybe Xammux, Yeathan, or throw out Erik Mona's different-alignment system altogether and use Erythnul, Hextor, or Vaprak. Vecna is iconic, but he's also been overused since 2e. I like WGA4's description of him, secretly drifting and building power for centuries, beneath even Zagyg's radar.

The Nine work fine as a loose assortment of demigods, a cambion, a lesser/intermediate god or two, and maybe a hero or quasi deity. It doesn't matter exactly how powerful Zagyg was because we know these captures weren't always a fair fight: Zagyg used trickery, allies (Cuthbert, Heward, et al), the Obelisk, a huge stash of magic, an army of apprentices, he was sponsored by Boccob, and, like anyone who gets anywhere, he had rich parents Neutral

We also know deities' power fluctuated during their imprisonment and exposure to strange magic. Olidammara probably gained power like Iuz.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vestcoat wrote:
You've dismissed this point before, but it puts MORE strain on our belief in Zagyg's personal power to say he imprisoned nine demigods AND Olidammara.


Keep in mind that you're replying to a post from 11 years ago. I mean, I'm still around, but the post I made above on April 10, 2008 isn't exactly the same as what I'd write today.

I'm still fond of the "Olidammara was captured while trying to rescue Rudd" idea from Dragon #342, though, and if he captured Olidammara either way then an extra demigod more or less doesn't make that much difference to my suspension of disbelief. We know he can capture demigods, so it's not particularly straining to say that he captured Rudd as well as Olidammara. It's the Olidammara part that's somewhat taxing. As you mentioned, there's an obelisk beneath Castle Greyhawk that weakened the divine abilities of gods in its vicinity and prevented them from calling on aid, so it's not that difficult to believe that Olidammara might lose a battle once he's there, but actually luring him there... well, there's the rub. WGR1 made it too easy—the gods were simply summoned into the conjuration circle in room P903, making team-ups with quasi-deities or the aid of St. Cuthbert unnecessary. Olidammara could have simply been there to rob Zagyg, but canon has it that he did so in revenge for being captured, so it's likely his initial motivation was something different. Like rescuing an already-captured protégé!

The circumstances of Olidammara's capture, as detailed in A Guide to the World of Greyhawk, are very different from the way the Godtrap works in Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk and even WGR1. Rather than Olidammara being imprisoned in a magical chamber, we're told "the Mad Archmage forced him into a carapaced animal shape." Obviously he could have done both, but turning Olidammara into an armadillo seems like an extraneous step if Zagyg had a prepared prison carved with runes specific to Olidammara.

I've always read Olidammara's capture as a relatively brief battle of wits between two tricksters, along the lines of the transformation battle between Ceridwen and Gwion in Welsh myth (or Merlin and Madam Mim in The Sword and the Stone), where Olidammara was briefly bested but soon escaped, rather than an imprisonment that lasted the better part of a century as Iuz's did. If Olidammara only robbed Zagyg's trove after Zagyg had already abandoned Oerth as a demigod in his own right, it was a poor revenge (and why is his trove intact again as of WGR1? I suppose he could have restocked it as a reward for adventurers exploring his castle, but why bother?). I think Olidammara must have already escaped and had his vengeance before the Godtrap was activated, which means someone else must have been in [what would otherwise be] his place for Zagyg's apotheosis to work.

Quote:
since we're STILL scraping the bucket to complete The Nine forty years later


I mean, as far as I'm concerned I have a list that I like a lot and don't feel I had to scrape very hard to make. The biggest stretch is probably Stillsong (from Monster Mythology) in the neutral good slot, but Stillsong was always so intriguing to me and Sargent left him as such a mystery I feel like he deserves to be developed more, and this is a good opportunity to do so. But the reason I did a whole song and dance with a long list of demigods instead of just saying "guys I have a good Stillsong story to tell" is that I know nobody else loves Stillsong like I do and would probably prefer someone else.

So, like, I'm open to alternate lists, which is why I made one above that included lesser deities, but I strongly prefer my own demigods-only list.

Quote:
and since Sargent already broke down the strict "demigod" requirement in WGR5 (Iuz was explicitly a non-divine cambion)


I disagree with "explicitly," since Sargent didn't, in fact, make this explicit. What he said was that Iuz was no longer a mere cambion when he returned after his banishment, and that the circumstances of his apotheosis were a mystery. It's suggested that the magics Zagyg unleashed beneath Castle Greyhawk might have played a part in Iuz's ascension, but it's not certain. In Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, the Godtrap drains the powers of the gods imprisoned within it. Iuz was already tapping into the Soul Husks before his incarceration, and if Iggwilv, Graz'zt, Zuggtmoy, and Lolth had some part in Iuz's increase in power, which Sargent suggested was the case, this too likely began before he was cut off from communication with others. It's in fact very likely Iuz was already more than mortal at the time he was captured, though perhaps not yet a true demigod.

We were told that it took the coalition of Zagyg, St. Cuthbert, and four quasi-deities to capture Iuz, and that St. Cuthbert's involvement was only possible with the permission of all the other Powers. We're told that this incurred a terrible debt, allowing the gods of evil to strike directly upon Oerth at a future time of their choosing. It seems like not just overkill for such a team to take on a merely mortal cambion, but incredibly foolish and short-sighted for the Powers of Good to approve such a thing when they could have saved St. Cuthbert's intervention for a more formidable foe.

Quote:
, can we just PLEASE set aside rigid interpretations and accept the canon prisoner Gygax implicitly gave us in the very first boxed set?


I mean, I can accept that Olidammara was transformed into a carapaced animal and he subsequently escaped, but I tend to think this was a different event than the capture of the nine demigods. Having the whole thing be a botched rescue of Rudd seems like a good way of reconciling the different stories.

Quote:
GH gods change ranks in virtually every new book and edition and it's ridiculous to shoehorn modern denominations into a piece of GH canon that appeared in the late seventies. Hextor and Zodal were peers in 1983. Now Hextor the one-time demigod prisoner is equal to Lendor, patriarch of the Suel pantheon. Times change!


Indeed they do. Hextor, Heironeous, Celestian, Erythnul, Ralishaz, Trithereon, Olidammara, Obad-hai, et al were demigods when Robilar freed them in the original Greyhawk campaign, and obscure enough that Rob Kuntz and the other original players hadn't heard of them. Published Greyhawk, at least as I read it, is a very different world where these gods are major parts of the religion of the Flanaess, and their absence for a century would have major effects that we don't see in canon. Imagine how different the history of the Great Kingdom would have been had Hextor's priests suddenly lost all contact with their patron in 505 CY! Or, at least, I'd strongly prefer it if there was some measurable effect on the Great Kingdom's history if something so momentous had occurred. Similarly I'd expect some great upheaval within the druidic hierarchy, and in County Ulek, coinciding with Obad-hai's disappearance, and upheavals within the criminal underworld and the cult of Kurell coinciding with the disappearance and reappearance of Kurell's rival Olidammara. A version of the World of Greyhawk in which such upheavals did happen might be interesting, mind you.

My major criteria in choosing the nine prisoners are:

1. Does the disappearance and reappearance of this deity tell an interesting story?
2. Does it have a measurable effect on the world?

If a lesser or intermediate god should disappear for long, I fear the effect would be too measureable, too cataclysmic, so using demigods feels about right.

Quote:
We also know deities' power fluctuated during their imprisonment and exposure to strange magic. Olidammara probably gained power like Iuz.


In fact, all the prisoners likely lost power, unless like Iuz they had other sources of power they were drawing from. Iuz also likely lost some amount of power at the moment of Zagyg's apotheosis, though he may have gained more over the ensuing decades than he lost. And the idea that Olidammara was a mere demigod a century ago... seems unlikely to me. He's usually portrayed as an ancient and significant god in the religions of the Flanaess. The Scarlet Brotherhood suggests (page 32) that he was a significant deity among the ancient Tilvanot Flan. I get that this is all very subjective and I'm not saying your campaign is bad if you portray Olidammara as a deity who was only a minor demigod until he got a power-up from Zagyg's arcane engines, but that's not how I see him at all.
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Kirt
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vestcoat wrote:
Gygax maintained both...imprisonment and relationship with Zagyg.


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