Monday, May 18, 2009

A Regrettable Conclusion

Yesterday, while we were setting up the Sunday game, we were trying to decide on the cosmology of the setting. During the discussion, I came to the conclusion that I am tired of Lovecraftian Mind Destroying Elder Gods. I'm tired of Unknowable-Squamous-Tentacled-Things-With-Crazy-Ass-Names-From-Beyond-Time-And-Space. They have seeped into geek/gaming culture so much that, for me at least, their potency has been watered down. Lovecraft has become almost a genre unto itself, perpetuating a series of tropes and conventions that have become overexposed.

Don't get me wrong, I do like Lovecraft. Don't take my dice bag away just yet. I'm sure I'll be back into the fold soon enough, for for now give me some deities that are maybe just ambivalent jerks and who won't blast my mind into a thousand pieces for looking at them. Hell, give me a genuinely benevolent deity for a change.

...and that's what diversity means to me.


  1. I am partial to the Tolkien setup with a dash of Christianity. I don't have much detail published I have some here The Hamakhis is the only link with anything substantial. The Elves and Dwarves articles here at goes into a little of my creation myth

    The basic idea is that the demons are those at the beginning revolt against creation. Their reasons for revolting boil down to "We want to run things our way and damn anybody getting in our way."

    The Gods are such are not omnipotent or omniscient just very powerful with access to knowledge far beyond us poor mortals.

    The Demon Revolt and the God's subsequent victory did not leave them unchanged. Nearly all were effected to a greater or lesser degree. Some of the worse effected are Set, Kali, and Hamakhis. Set became tyrannical, Kali obsessed with revenge, and Hamakhis messed up from meddling with too much of the primal chaos.

    One reason for this scheme is that no human society worshipped an evil deity. Sure dark cults may rise but in general mass religions offer security and/or comfort to their worshippers. Of course what is considered security and comfort differs a lot between cultures.

    So I have "evil" dieities in that they are unpleasant to run a foul of form a PC point of view. However the true enemy are the demons.

  2. I understand your viewpoint. The Lovecraft mythos has always been something I've been comfortable with. I read a majority of the original pulps that were either written within his circles, or had majorly been influenced by them, so its always something that has seemed familiar to me.

    Like I said on Sunday, I think a majority of people who pull it out because they want to be able to have something horrendously evil without having to really account for the reason behind their depravity. I also think it makes for the justification of committing genocide against any number of enemies, alleviating the whole orc baby quandary.

    The reason why I kind of like the mythos in a lot of my gaming is more because of the ragnarok-ian nature that it presents the player characters - ultimately the world "loses", so any meaning that the PCs give their life, and anything they fight for seems all the more heroic.

    Granted, that is not always a cosmology I want in every piece of my gaming.

  3. @Rob- I like this and it has me thinking.

    @Justin- I agree that Cthuloid stuff is handy for instant motivation. (Or rather, unfathomable non-motivation) I think I just need to change up the flavor, as Cthulhu has managed to creep into just about every damn thing I've been involved in. Heck the Star Pact Warlocks in 4e are even getting in on the act.