On Gods and Shadelords...

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On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by S W Dickson on Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:43 pm

Caution! May contain scenes of a blasphemous nature!
(re-using the earth bound religious mythologies in existence)

Okay, as mentioned, I figured a pantheon of Gods would be good to have - for peoples to follow, be corrupted by, and generally be led by well-intentioned preachers on the way to live their lives. Doing this I figured as most religions have simply regurgitated bits of previous ones, we'd do the same. So, I've sketched out a list of what I deem to be the twelve best "archetypes" found in history, and started to flesh out the characters in their given roles. Twelve may not seem much, but it does seem to have a nice ring to it. These twelve will evolve on their own I'm sure, and have their own offspring with which to populate the spirit realms and create interest, and as you can see, they are twinned with their opposites - which may lead to strife, or teamwork (I see honesty and dishonesty as being fairly entwined rather than loggerheads). Anyways, I'm sure you can work out most of the inspirations of each of these, but have left them out for fear of clouding your own image of them. Their "Jurisdiction" is simply their main trait - it does not imply that they have no power outside of those areas, or are solely concerned with them - it's just their "badge" that they've got. The whole lot was spawned by what I'm calling Ourobouros/Jormangandr/Cosmic Serpent just now - the silently sleeping Snake slowly consuming the universe until the end, when it starts again - it's too common a theme in ancient religions to pass up.

Anyway, the list -

1. War - Anger, Marshall, Honour, Fire
2. Peace - Love, Forgiveness, Plants
3. Justice - Water, Balance
4. Evil - Betrayal, Scheming
5. Order - Sea
6. Chaos - Smoke
7. Honesty - Underworld, Fate, Luck
8. Dishonesty - Luck, Gambling, Vice
9. Sacrifice - Martyrdom, Sweat, Blood, Faith
10. Murder - Betrayal, Cunning, Stealth
11. Creation - Motherhood, Sexuality, Earth
12. Destruction - Death, Disease

I have not added too many traits on there - just trying to give an idea where they're headed. As you can see there's some overlaps, which is fine, it's good some agree on some things. Some I haven't the energy right now to go into. I am, unfortunately, not quite a deity, and need my beauty sleep. I quite fancy giving them specific colours, elements etc, so "subdeities" or their spawn may have a degree of uniqueness. It would also help with magick (I've gone all Crowley with my spelling - It sounds darker being called Magick over magic...) with specific elements being tied to specific patron gods.

Anyway, just to be clear, in this pantheon Ares, Mars and Thor are all the same god on a different day - they have mood swings you see - Prometheus, Jesus and Krishna are Sacrifice etc.

Whilst many ancient pantheons have semi-mortal Gods, these ones receive the blessing of Ourobouros, they will always return (albeit sometimes totally different - like dr.who!), until old father serpent gobbles them up and the universe with it to lay a new egg.

So I'm not saying that you shouldn't have Bhuddist Warrior monks, Templar Knights or whatever, hey, with this concept, they can at last agree with each other! Yay! I've invented a new religion that unites everyone - UN Peace Prize for me.

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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by S W Dickson on Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:21 pm

Just a quick design with this theme - for all those practitioners of magick -


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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by sucramreverse on Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:16 pm

12 gods with 6 pairs of opposites. I wonder if we could put them in 6 elements with 2 gods each.

Light - Everything: Chaos, Creation
Fire - Energy: War, Evil
Air - Fleeting: Peace, Dishonesty
Water - Give and Take: Sacrifice, Murder
Earth - Solid/Permanent: Justice, Honesty
Darkness - Nothing: Order, Destruction

Putting this on a pentagram is quite interesting, some cool connections.



the lines around the outside i just used to point out A+B=C,
Chaos + Dishonesty = Evil
Dishonesty + Murder = Destruction
Creation + Sacrifice = Justice
I only pointed out a few as you could keep going forever probably.

Of course we are talking about sentient gods, so it's not quite that simple (if you could call it that), but it's interesting to see the complex connections they all have intertwined with each other.
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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by S W Dickson on Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:48 pm

That's getting quite poetic and deep. That's a bleedin Venn diagram of the human psyche right there...

I'm thinking as everything comes ultimately from Ourobouros (The Universe), even the sentient gods are only a segment of this power - so you'd be ultimately excused to draw and mix the powers like this.

It's too late just now for me to think straight on that. I'm going for a sleep.

Not sure about the pentagram from a style perspective - just reminds me of too many bad Slayer records. I suppose that's why I was going for the twelve, which could be still be intertwined in such a way, in fact possibly moreso - it'd also be fairly unique.

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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by sucramreverse on Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:01 pm

Damn those metal bands and their terrible taste. Pentagram was originally meant as a diagram of nature in that exact way, but I know what you mean about style. Pentagrams just have a bad reputation these days, along with the swastika.

Anyways, I mostly just thought the connections were cool to look at, but the elements for each would work regardless. After all there's only so many elements to choose from, and having 2 gods each fits nicely.
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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by S W Dickson on Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:08 am

It's not even the bad reputation, like the swastika has - it's the "not quite" bad reputation. Yours is a magick pentagram used in many ancient religions. Which is fine - if you don't mind tree hugging hippies - it's really the inverted pentagram that irkles me. Look at me, I'm irkled!

I'm not offended by it in any way - I'm a fundamentalist Aetheist. (if there is such a thing). It's just its overuse on the aforementioned Slayer LPs, bad 70s/80s slasher pics, and Anton LaVeys Church of Satan which leaves me cold. It's like wanting to be "evil" but actually just trying to look badass, and failing miserably on both counts.

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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by S W Dickson on Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:05 am

Shiny Elemental Icons -

Light -

Fire -

Air -

Water -

Earth -

Darkness -

Just for fun and reference.

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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by S W Dickson on Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:31 am

Okay working on a rethink -

so far - Evil becomes Prejudice
Sacrifice become Penitence
Murder becomes Sacrifice.

Makes more sense as they are proper antithesis.

So, we have -

(Order - Chaos)

Justice and Prejudice
Torment and Revelry
Creation and Destruction
Penitence and Sacrifice
Peace and War
Honesty and Dishonesty

As you can see, torment makes it into the side of order. Chaos not always being such a bad thing. That being said, not happy about War being identified as chaos - as waging war should be well ordered as the god should represent. That being said he should be quick to anger...

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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by S W Dickson on Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:59 am

Okay, the new elemental association and images I have running in my head and a modified sense of Chaos/Order -

Light/Order - Justice (Huge armoured knight in gleaming white plate armour, carrying a sword of justice and a stoic frown on his brow.)
Light/Neutral - Torment (Tall and lithe with too many teeth, dressed in well tailored clothes of many colours)

Water/Order - Honesty (Jovial old man, balding head, a bit like Brian Blessed)
Water/Neutral - Creation (Beautiful mother like female with ragged hands)

Air/Order - Peace (Angelesque, Androgynous)
Air/Neutral - Penitence (ghoulish, lithe, many extreme modifications - a lot of bondage like gear!)

Fire/Chaos - Sacrifice (Needly teeth in a bony skull, darting yellow eyes - reptilian)
Fire/Chaos - Revelry (Well built and bronzed body, lionesque feature complete with mane of golden hair, prone to bouts of spontaneous laughter in booming guffaws)

Earth/Chaos - Dishonesty (Kind looking happy fellow, you wouldn't know it to look at him!)
Earth/Neutral - Destruction (Death like corpse, Brutish fists belie his build, corruption unbound)

Darkness/Neutral - War (Like a caged hound about to bite - a snarling but eloquent tactician)
Darkness/Chaos - Prejudice (Smoke and Mirrors, a shifting phantasm changing appearance to one thing to another)

As you see, no specifically good guys here. No specifically bad guys. Just a bunch of freaky badasses who play around with the lives of mortals.

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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by sucramreverse on Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:09 pm

I like that last listing, as well as their descriptions. One thing though, did you mean for both Fire to be Chaos? I have nothing against that, just everything else had one neutral.

Though if you use colors for the elements, Air should be green. Traditional color and sets it apart more from Light and Dark.
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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by S W Dickson on Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:58 pm

Yeah, was worried about both fire to be chaotic - but I figured by their nature they had to be. It's not that the "Chaos" thing is bad, it's just less reliable. May make "Sacrifice" more on the path to order - though in my chart he's close to neutral anyway - minor chaotic. Its just a way of how they operate. As for th elemental dedictation - again it's not in their nature to be wholly x, y, or z - it's more a kinda star sign for them.

Air has been represented with many colours, but I went for grey simply because of the neutrality of it - Green I was reserving for the mix of water and air (ice). I may use a may purpley hue for Darkness (strangely seems darker does purple) and use black as the mix of Earth and Darkness (Gravity).

On that note. I figured I'd come up with some Alchemical formulas to create some of the most common desires in magick and rituals.

Fire Magick - Fireballs, Wall of flame
Earth Magick - Earthquake, Landslide
Water Magick - Water Spout, Flood
Air Magick - Hurricane
Light Magick - Heal, Ressurect, Gaze of Judgement
Dark Magick - Death, Confusion
Fire and Earth Magick (Volcanic?) - Comet, Magma
Fire and Air Magick (Hot Winds) - Firestorm
Fire and Light Magick (Flaming Retribution) - Flaming Sword of Truth,
Fire and Dark Magick (Flaming Punishment) - Conflagration, Hellstorm
Earth and Water Magick (Mud) - Mudslide, Quicksand
Earth and Air Magic (Windblown Rock) - Sandstorm, Pebbledash
Earth and Light Magick (Earthbound Protection) - Elysia (zone of protection), Crucify
Earth and Dark Magick (Gravity) - Gravity Well
Water and Air Magick (Ice) - Iceshard
Water and Light Magick (Healing Waters) - Spring of Life, Babtise
Water and Dark Magick (Blood) - Eviscerate
Air and Light Magick ("Holy") - Guardian
Air and Dark Magick ("Daemon") - Shadow Guardian, Soulsuck
Light Magic and Dark Magick (Luck) - The Leveller.

I've tried to make them sound fairly obvious what each thing does - just as a concept. I know they don't all match up to how the gods have been distributed, but it's fairly obvious what the elements should do I think if not the gods.

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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by S W Dickson on Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:24 am

Water and earth should be plant based attacks.
Water, Earth and Fire should be wild animals.
Water, Earth and Air should be Birds.
Water, Earth and Dark should be Monsters.
Water, Earth and Light should be Heroes.

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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by sucramreverse on Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:41 pm

I like that. I like this thread in general, it's turning into Alchemy 101!

I think the question now is what can use this magick, how it is activated etc. Can I just chant a spell, or do I have to use a 'power crystal'? Is the magick channeled from one of the shadelords? or are shadelords just really powerful magicians or do the shadelords use the same method as human(/mortal) magicians?
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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by S W Dickson on Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:01 pm

Aha, the fundamental question from one who seeks power!

I would say it's a question of faith. Magick is contained in all things - some scientists in the far future have unravelled quarks and stuff and found that they "contain" even smaller basic elements that everything is made from. The fundaments of this in a sciencey way is this - everything is made from these basic "elements" in different proportions and arrangements. All these elements come from, and at the same time exist within the same location in space time - Ourobourous himself.

With blending of certain chemicals with naturally high elemental properties you may achieve some near magical results (life, engines, explosives etc.) in a form of "alchemy". The right ingredients could result in elixirs of life, regenerative tinctures etc.

When certain geological conditions are met (ultra high pressure, superheating etc.) the bonds between the elements can be broken down, and Magick crystals may be formed, which may then be used directly influence external forces (bound magick spells through simple activation process - creating portals, summoning creatures, casting fireballs etc.) or used in the alchemical processes to imbue certain materials with new properties (e.g. steel and Fire Magick crystal equalling flaming steel etc.)

In certain individuals and/or creatures, their makeup is unnaturally pure in certain core elements, i.e. the bonds of certain types are particularly strong. This can make them innate magick users, exalted priests, funtionally immortal, able to fly where others may not etc. Essentially providing the being with properties that they may be aware of and make use of (Trained Wizards, Necromancers, Vampires etc.) or be blissfully content just letting it pass as being the way of things (extradimensional creatures, spirits, skyfish!?).


So, dependent on the world view of things, everything is possible. The most common cause of creatures/beings having a high prevalence of "Magick" population is due to what science would call "Elemental poisoning" - that is a mutation brought on by proximity to pure elements - this could be local envrionmental short term exposure (An immortal born to human parents), or on a racial/planetary scale (whole races of lava-skinned humanoids). Many occurrences of these types of being tend to be misinterpreted as gods, prophets etc. Though these beings may have powers impressive to normal mortals, they are nothing to the gods. The interpretation can be forgiven however, as the crytsal purity gives a greater link to the ruling gods (who are simply ego-driven manifestations of Ourobourus' psyche - and therefore representative of the core elements that make up his being) - and therefore can be privvy to echoes and thoughts of the shades or shades immediate creations (AKA Angels, Daemons, Avatars, Messengers).

It would be impossible for earth bound mortals such as us to question the reality or indeed try and understand how the mind of a creature such as Ouroubourus. He is the creator of all things, and also the destroyer. He IS the universe, the void at the end and the beginning, the evil, the good, the sum of all things. To comprehend would be madness.

How could one "speak" to a shadelord?
You couldn't, not directly. A shadelord would not speak directly to mortals. They have many sub-entities to do that kind of thing. You would speak to, see visions of, or make undrstandings by the whim of their messengers, their avatars, whom are legion.

The gods do not play with us. They have their own games to play as time is short. When the universe was born out of Ourobourus it was created using his body, his mind and soul. The building blocks of which are the elements. The elements in their purest form are what we would call Magick, in a chaotic mongrel mix they become the norm. At the beginning of time there was only Magick and pure elemental forces, which slowly mixed and intertwined. From this the shadelords, the gods, were born, and in turn they helped mould the galaxy, first with light, and planets, and fire, and water - elemental forces. They warred and battled and laughed amongst these new creations, and destruction laughed at the joyous experience that came from undoing the others work. Over time the laughter grew quieter, the battlelines shrank, as the shadelords grew out of their elemental nature, as the elements became further mixed and chaotic. Normality as we know it grew out of this, although Magick can still be known, and elemental forces can still be seen, these are but shadows of the splendour at the birth of the universe. Thus we come full circle none the wiser but infinitely more knowledgeable.

We are all Ourobourus. Ourobouros is all things. Ourobourus is going to die, and then be reborn again, and again, and again. The nature of Ourobourus is that anything is possible, as he is all that has been and ever will be. Ourobourus, by his very nature, does not exist to mortal minds. There is no consciousness or soul within the body of Ourobourus, save for what has become of his body since his birth. What little id that Ourobourus could be described as possessing is contained in the primordial elemental minds of the slumbering shadelords.

I hope that makes sense. If not, even better - just call me the new L Ron Hubbard!

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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by S W Dickson on Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:44 pm

Sorry, but to answer you question -

Shadelords don't do anything. You'd maybe worship one or a few, but you wouldn't find them roaming about your local 7 eleven or local battlefield.

You'd maybe find a third level daemon manifesting out of pure elemental crystal naturally (consuming said crystal and returning to it once it has been "bested" - possibly turning it innert and shattering it if using a high powered counter elemental force)
This could be a particularly well balanced mix as well.

The same to be said for spells. A spellcaster will be "in tune" with one or more elemental forces. A bad one will use his own supply of that element until it runs dry and he reaches "normal" again, until he rests, and consumes enough minerals to replace that which is lost. (His balance is DNA coded, so he shouldn't lose a power, yet it has been known to be unable to replace the lost element in enough quantity. A good spellcaster will be able to use the elements in things around them as well, giving him greater power and less rest required.

Spells may be chanted, if it helps the user channel their energies (such as someone with a minor elemental imbalance - i.e. low-level spellcaster) , but some form of ritual involving a high grade elemental compound would be required - such as a feather from a "Magickal" flying beast for flight. They must be an innate spellcaster/Magick imbued.

Through the careful mixture of compounds, intent, and channeling, a skilled and knowledgeable magick user may imbue an item or area with "potential". That is a Magick effect that has the magick equivalent of an electrical switch to activate. This would allow a scroll, a sword etc. to have effects that may called upon by non-Magick persons. This could be a key and lock, a sword and a particular species/enemy, a scroll with a keyword to invoke a fireball etc.

So, there's no point becoming a crusading priest imbued with holy fire, if you're not yourself magick imbued, or don't know anyone who is. "God will protect me!", "Erm, God?" "Are you there? Doing the protecting thing?"

Of course, the interesting stuff is where there is a high concentration of Elemental Crystals - most stuff will have a fair degree of magick imbalance. So lots of Magick users.

Guess what happened when the asteroid hit Terra Obscura? Lot's of Crystal. Yay!

If a shadelord walked up to you, you'd die. They don't exist, but they do. If they REALLY wanted to manifest in some way on a planet, they could appear as a tiny wee mouse, or a towering gargantuan megalith. Whatever suited them. They could appear as a whole galaxy sized jellyfish if they wanted! They are magick. As in they are the idealogical representation of what magick is and can be. The elemental force of their nature is tied inexorably to the mix of pure elements in the universe, and as it ages, the more the elements become mixed, the less vibrant and pure force the shadelords represent. They also have periods of power and waning - a supernova will have short term implications on the power and purity of Revelry and Sacrifices arcana - making instances of Pleasure cults, Murders, and general obesity more common. On a longer term, Fire's peaks tend to be short lived as Destruction tends to be quick to gain a foothold on the upwards slope soon after an event that causes Fires ascension. Creation and Destruction are two of the more powerful Shadelords due to their polarity and ubiquity - as well as their iconography being so linked to Ourobourus as a whole.

Basically, if you go for a pee, Creation has a wee smile. If you yawn, then Peace will wonder why he's a bit stronger today. (okay, not quite so cut and dried as that, but you get the idea.)

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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by sucramreverse on Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:58 pm

That made sense...to me anyway, but then again Terry Pratchett makes sense to me too.

So, the shadelords have physical descriptions, are these to be considered myths, perhaps what their messengers tell mortals? or are these our omnipotent view of what the mortals in this universe haven't seen in their lifetime?

EDIT: How did you know I was going to ask that before I did...

And as for immortals(messengers, avatars, etc.), do you mean completely immune to death? or just extremely resistant to death and long lived? I ask because having immortals in a battle would be a tad pointless, so how far down the line of creation do we have to go until we get to the strongest, yet realistic, creature on the tabletop.
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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by S W Dickson on Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:52 pm

I've an image of the Shadelords sitting in a nice stately room, lounging around a huge table, gorging themselves on food and stuff. Just hanging out y'know?

That's where I took the physical descriptions, how I imagined they looked as a representation of their aspects. Their own version of Olympia I suppose - with less togas and more ruffs.
It was also to give an idea how their "messengers" - whom I shall call Shades - would appear. A look and feel to base them on.

Immortals was just an example - but coming to think more closely about it, sounds okay. But "Functionally" Immortal. The "never get old, never dies" type. Not the "Never gets killed by a cannon" type. So yeah, Immmortal is living until someone kills you. Which would mean you were resistant more to disease and decripitude than death itself. Again, they'd still be quite hardy as their youthful bodies would be able to be trained for lifetimes over anyone elses, and no infected wound is gonna get them. So you'd have to properly kill them.

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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by sucramreverse on Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:41 pm

So Terry Pratchett was the right idea, lol. He has his gods hang out around a tabletop game of the world, battling with dice. Shadelords sound a bit less friendly than that though.


hmm...so I can cut off their heads...do I gain their power if I kill one? possibly with dramatic lightning striking my body? Razz
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Re: On Gods and Shadelords...

Post by S W Dickson on Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:23 am

Only if you can do a terrible Scots accent.

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