Monday, 8 February 2010

The Pantheon of Argos

In the Second Age, the Mythic Age, Man turned his back on the gods; some were forgotten, some were slain by heroes, some wandered off into oblivion, and some withdrew from the affairs of the world. A few of the old gods remained, worshipped in the far reaches of Argos, guarding their followers from the dark things that lurk in the deep.

The Third Age, the Age of Reason, was a time where Man was his own guide and protector. Craft and reason were the ideals that led the growth of civilizations, magic and mystery were pushed to the fringes of mortal society, and the wonders and dangers of the old world were forgotten. The halls of the gods stood empty.

With the ancient bulwarks against the Deep left unguarded, dark forces moved to awake their fell master, the Lord of the Locust. Then came the time when destinies converged. Among the Orc a great leader was born. In Eria two men found themselves thrust into the center of history and a great dragon was freed from its bondage. A wizard sailed out of the North in search of an ancient artifact. The Age of Reason was ending, and magic was awakening again.

Over the following generation the few old gods who remained returned to Argos, and new ones ascended. In this changing world Man now must find his place again, or perish together with all of Creation -- that which sleeps is awakening, and those who stand against it are hard pressed. Older and Younger Gods alike are again mustering, and the ancient struggle is renewed. The Game of Gods is not yet ended.

The gods of Argos are divided into a few different groups. There are the Older Gods -- those few who were worshipped before the Age of Reason, and the Younger Gods -- those who have ascended to divinity after the Awakening. Not all gods have the best interests of Man heart, though. The gods of the Court of Stars serve the Exarch, and their goal is to bring about the End of Days, to see the oceans swallow the land and darkness engulf all.

The system used to define these gods are White Wolf's Scion, tweaked to be compatible with the Storytelling System, and adapted to fit the Book of Worlds.

Note that this is a draft, contents may be amended and/or edited without warning.

  • Arkon (Older God)
Aka.: St Markus, Hunter, Huntsman, Old Mumblebeard, Progenitor
Symbol: The all-seeing eye

A tall warrior, his long beard and hair gone silvery white ages ago, dressed in varnished mail. He has the relentless gaze of a bird of prey.

The legends of Arkon are many, but the one most often told is that of the dragon. As is the nature of legends, it has been told and retold and told again, each teller adding some and leaving some out. At the core of it is the tale of a great dragon, and a dark, endless winter that gripped the world in its merciless embrace, and of how spring again came to the lands after the wyrm had been locked beneath a mountain.

In the olden days he often walked the lands, sometimes disguised as an old man, other times as a hunter. Now he rarely sheds his true visage, nor does he often journey into the realms of mortal men. In stead he sits, in his great hall in Aethlingagard, watching the dark, keeping his hearth burning; it has been said that should the last embers of Arkon's fire go out, an endless winter will fall on Argos.

In the younger days of the world, the benches of Arkon's hall seated many gods, and laughter rang between the rafters. Now his line has all but ended, and so he sits, alone, watching the fire.

Associated Powers: Epic Presence, Epic Intelligence, Epic Manipulation, Epic Stamina, Epic Strength, Epic Wits, Death, Guardian, Magic, Mystery, Prophesy, Psychopomp, War
Abilities: Craft, Occult, Investigation, Weaponry, Stealth, Survival
Rivals: Alaÿna

  • Aziz (Younger God)
Aka.: Gahalar, Servant of Man, the Last Prophet
Symbol: An open hand

Aziz was the servant of Franko da Cola, and as such he witnessed things too horrible for any human to bear without losing his soul and sanity. Even so, through the endless love and devotion of the young boy, not only did he survive, but he also saved his master.

When Franko, on one of his many journeys, was about to be slain by a fallen Daeva imprissoned in one of the hells, Aziz threw himself before the demon and begged it to take him instead. The Daeva thus spared Franko, and through entering the body of Aziz escaped his prison and came to Argos. Here Aziz eventually managed to cast the Daeva out of his body.

Grishnak's Army of Light was eventually defeated by the combined forces of Aziz's followers, the fearless Mujaheed, and an army of Nightmares led by Morpheus and Gilgûl. In the final battle, the Battle of the White Tower, Aziz took the blow intended for Morpheus, thus allowing the Dreamlord to strike down the Daeva. Aziz lost his life.

The followers of Aziz believe that when he is most needed, he will return to Argos to save mankind again.

Associated Powers: Epic Presence, Epic Composure, Love, Magic,
Abilities: Academics, Craft, Emphaty, Medicine, Seneschal, Socialise
Rivals: Alaÿna, Caracalla, Shaitan

  • Dìs (Older God)
Aka.: Death, Charōn, Moros, Thanatos
Symbol: A death-mask

Clad in a black cloak and a white death-mask, Dís is easily recognized by anyone who should lay eyes on him -- after all, everyone knows death. Occasionally he choses to appear in a different guise, sometimes a ravaged maiden or a putrid corpse.

Of all the gods, Death is the one who is most involved in mortal affairs. The Stygian Empire on the Dark Continent is ruled by the Necrophants, an order of arcane clergy who are in direct communication with their deity. When the Dark Horde had conquered the northern colonies it turned on the Stygians -- the prophesy says that when death dies the Exarch will rise again -- and for almost a generation now Death has been locked in combat with the dark gods and their followers.

Recently, Dís has been slain by the Dark Triumvirate. It is still too soon to know what the outcome of this foul act will be. What is certain is that already souls are becoming lost on their journey to the Underworld.

Associated Powers: Arete, Darkness, Death, Epic Composure, Epic Intelligence, Epic Resolve, Guardian, Magic, Mystery, Prophesy, War
Abilities: Craft, Medicine, Occult,
Rivals: Alaÿna, Caracalla, Shaitan

  • Geminon (Younger God)
Aka.: Al Azwad, the Black Man, Lord of Crossroads
Symbol: Two identical masks

Dark and cunning, he appears as a tall, thin man with a narrow face and a sharp goatee, dressed in black (always the latest fashion). He is suave and well mannered, although sarcastic. He came into being when Franko da Cola and Sir William Blackstaff slew the great dragon; ripped from the flesh of Franko, born of magic and dragonfire.
His agenda is known to no one, save himself, but amongst the Younger Gods he is the most active. Geminon walks behind the scenes, giving advice and nudging mortals in the right direction as he sees fit.

Geminon is one of the Trinity, the remaining two being Morpheus and Shaitani. The three are rivals, sometimes enemies, but rarely do they interact directly.

Associated Powers:
Chaos, Epic Presence, Epic Manipulation, Magic, Mystery, Psychopomp
Abilities: Academics, Emphaty Investigation, Occult, Politics
Rivals: Alaÿna, Caracalla, Morpheus

  • Gilgûl (Younger God)
Aka.: Lord Justice, Warmaster
Symbol: Sword and scales

A tall, gaunt shadow, clad in a white full-plate armour, wielding a great sword. Gilgûl seldom speaks, but when he does, his voice booms as if it comes from within a cavernous hall.

Though a young god, he is a most ancient entity, summoned into this Age by the wizards of the Ordo Hermtica to bring Franko da Cola to justice for his soultheft. However, the man Franko had ceased to be by the time Gilgûl came into being, and the god Morpheus had ascended to the throne of dreams. When this new age ends, Gilgûl will bring the Dreamlord to justice -- for even a god cannot escape his judgement.

Now ascended to godhood, Gilgûl has assumed the mantel of command over the Legions of Nightmare, and he now holds the Dreamshell. Every night his provosts press the dreams of the guilty into service in the great war, every night the guilty dream of desperate battle and violent death.

Associated Powers: Arete, Epic Strength, Epic Resolve, Justice, War
Abilities: Brawl, Empathy, Intimidation, Weaponry, Persuasion, Politics
Rivals: Alaÿna, Caracalla, Shaitan

  • Morpheus (Younger God)
Aka.: Morfæus, Lord of the Dreaming, Prince of Nightmares

Tall, gaunt, gray-faced, typically dressed in flowing, dark robes, Morfeus  is the first of the Younger Gods. The man Franko da Cola was a Corinthian witch-hunter who, after having suffered a shipwreck ended up somewhere on the Forsaken Coast around YE 990. What happened there has been swallowed by myth, but only two survivors, Franko and William Blackstaff, made it back to civilization; some stories says that Franko freed an ancient dragon in the North and some that he unlocked some great magical secret. Blackstaff made it back to the world after crossing the Wild on foot, while Franko reappeared on the Dark Continent as the vizier to the Kahn of the Orc.

In the years between the shipwreck and the Ascendance, Franko gained enormous power and accomplished monumental feats of magic. After he became a god, his miracles are many, there amongst the gathering of the Dreaming, but perhaps most spectacular: the War of Light. Here Morpheus joined forces with the Prophet Aziz and defeated the fallen Daeva Grishnak in the Battle of the White Tower. Still, perhaps the greatest of the miracles of Morpheus is the construction of the Dreamshell, a vast fortification of the world of Argos against the coming of the Eldren.

Recently, the Dreamlord has disappeared. Rumors say that he has gone mad, and that he now wanders the Dreaming aimlessly. In his stead, other gods have taken control over various aspects of the Realm of Dreams.

Morpheus is one of the Trinity consisting of himself, Geminon and Shaitan.

Associated Powers: Arete, Epic Intelligence, Epic Manipulation, Magic, Prophesy
Abilities: Academics, Occult, Intimidation, Investigation
Rivals: Alaÿna, Geminon, Shaitan

  • The Warlord (Younger God)
Symbol: Crossed warhamers

Of all the gods, bar perhaps Dís and Caracalla, the Warlord is perhaps the one who is the most directly involved in the affairs of men. He first came into the world when the last free city in the Colonies fell to the Dark Horde. As a young warrior, mortally wounded, screamed his rage and defiance at the overwhelming forces that overran his home, his soul found its higher purpose. It filled him with great strength, and even if the city fell, scores of his enemies were killed before the flesh gave in.

Since then, several warriors have given their bodies to the god of war in a desperate moment, and thus the tide of battle have turned.

Associated Powers: Arete, Epic Stamina Epic Strength, Fire, War
Abilities: Brawl, Craft, Firearms, Intimidation, Weaponry
Rivals: Alaÿna, Caracalla

The Dark Gods: The Court of Stars
The gods of the Star Court have one thing in common, apart from their blood (Caracalla is the son of Alaÿna and Franko da Cola; Shaitan carries a part of the soul of Franko), namely their allegiance to the Lord of the Locust.

  • Alaÿna (Older God)
Aka.: Aleastra, Alanya, Alyssa, Mother, Queen of Sorrow, the Succubus
Symbol: Cresent moon

Alaÿna can appear in a number of guises, ranging from the 30 foot tall, dark skinned demonesse the Orc revers as Mother, to the sensual, voluptuous, fiery-haired temptress that lures mortal men to their doom. The form she favours the most in this Age is that of an impossibly beutiful woman with sharp features, the ears of an elf, and dark eyes that will destroy the willpower of those who gaze into them.

In the dawn of days the Succubus was a great elven queen of one of the most illustrious houses. After the Fall, she became the goddess of the Orc, and today she has decended onto Argos; together with her son, the demigod Caracalla, and the great Khan of the Orc, Ghurandakh, she rules the Last Empire on the Dark Continent.

Associated Powers: Blood, Chaos, Darkness, Epic Dexterity, Epic Manipulation, Epic Presence, Epic Wits, Fertility, Moon, Mystery, Prophesy
Abilities: Craft,  Empathy, Expression, Intimidation, Occult, Persuasion
Rivals: Arkon, Morpheus, Geminon, Shaitan

  • Caracalla (Demigod)
Symbol: Shooting star

Incredibly beutiful, dark eyed, with a magnetism that will capture and enthrall anyone who encounter him, Man, Elf or Orc. He wears nothing but the finest clothes, of the finest fabrics, and he bears himself with the grace and refinement of a prince. Not truly a god, but his lineage makes him more than human, by far.

Of the Star Court he is the one who has the closest connection to the physical world, he is both the High Priest of the Cult of Shaitan and Prince of the Northern Shores. While the other two are fettered to their Umbral realms, Caracalla, being half human, has full access to both the physical and metaphysical worlds. Why be a child amongst gods when you can be a giant amongst men.

Associated Powers: Epic Appearance, Epic Manipulation, Chaos
Abilities: Occult, Socialize, Persuasion
Rivals: Alaÿna, Shaitan, Morpheus, Dís

  • Shaitan (Younger God)
Aka.: the Drowned Man
Symbol: Abyssian glyph

Tall, gaunt, with the skin of a corpse long submerged, dead-eyed, long, black hair that seems to flow as if under water -- the Drowned Man is a truly horrifying sight. When he appears in person, he usually wears a heavy sea-coat, and around him, sprays of cold seawater whips at his surroundings.

Once he was Franko da Cola, but the part of that soul that was swallowed by the Deep was severed from its main corpus and ended up in the possession of Alaÿna. Somehow it was given form and substance, and through some unknown, though unquestionably most sinister ritual. Shaitan's ascent to godhood is shrouded in mystery, but none who have encountered the Drowned Man will deny him.

Shaitan is one of the Trinity, the remaining two being Morpheus and Geminon. The three are rivals, sometimes enemies, but only rarely do they interact directly.

Associated Powers: Arete, Cheval, Darkness, Magic, Mystery
Abilities: Academics, Craft, Occult,
Rivals: Alaÿna, Caracalla, Morpheus, Geminon, Dís

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