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General In the Beginning ...

Archade

Azer Paladin
Got a creation myth for your world? How many years ago did the celestials fall to the Nine Hells? Why is sorcery different than wizardry? Why do people worship the gods? Here's my blog article explaining what I wrote for my campaign world ...

 

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Azzy

Newtype
In the past that's something that I've barely (if ever) touched upon. In a setting that I'm designing (and taking my time with), I will have a multitude of religions (varying on culture) from monotheism, polytheism, animism, ancestor worship, etc.). Each will have their own creation myths (not likely I'll detail them all—that'd be overwhelming). I'm taking a page from Eberron in that the gods are not provably real (allowing for justifiable atheism)—clerics do recieve magic and there are celestials and fiends, but the actual reality of the gods and the outer planes (if they exist) is not something that is knowable by motals (queue philosiphers debating the nature of things).
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
In the past that's something that I've barely (if ever) touched upon. In a setting that I'm designing (and taking my time with), I will have a multitude of religions (varying on culture) from monotheism, polytheism, animism, ancestor worship, etc.). Each will have their own creation myths (not likely I'll detail them all—that'd be overwhelming). I'm taking a page from Eberron in that the gods are not provably real (allowing for justifiable atheism)—clerics do recieve magic and there are celestials and fiends, but the actual reality of the gods and the outer planes (if they exist) is not something that is knowable by motals (queue philosiphers debating the nature of things).
I’m doing something similar. I do, however, hint at an underlying truth behind the various world myths. Just as many real-world myths have common elements, so do the myths in my setting. Common themes include a war between the gods (or angels in monotheistic religions), a betrayal by one of the good gods or angels of their own side, a winter that lasted an unnaturally long time, the death of the creator god leading to the birth of other gods. Probably others I’m not specifically thinking of. Basically I’m using 4e’s Dawn War as the baseline inspiration, but adding many obscuring layers of myth instead of having a single accurate account of events.

At first I had a pretty clear idea of what the truth was behind this mythical past, but the more I develop the setting and its belief systems the less clear I get on what, if anything, “really” happened. Which is as it should be; I want the various stories to point towards some common inspiration, but I don’t want whatever that inspiration actually was to be clearly defined. No hard answers, just common themes and motifs.
 



aco175

Legend
I created some generalizations along the way, but mostly stayed out of creating something long and detailed. This is mostly because the players will not or care not to read it or use it. This may be like some of the other things we talked about before like tracking rations or less so, PC background in an AL game.

Some other points that make things hard for a complete origin story is elves living so long and gods walking the earth. Some races outlive other races great-grandchildren. If the neighbor remembers when Columbus came over then history becomes changed over what we have now. Not as bad as clerics being able to call god up on the augury phone and ask him directly.

This may lead to some problems with other gods telling their people that they may have created the world instead of the other god. This can explain some of the race conflict.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I created some generalizations along the way, but mostly stayed out of creating something long and detailed. This is mostly because the players will not or care not to read it or use it. This may be like some of the other things we talked about before like tracking rations or less so, PC background in an AL game.

Some other points that make things hard for a complete origin story is elves living so long and gods walking the earth. Some races outlive other races great-grandchildren. If the neighbor remembers when Columbus came over then history becomes changed over what we have now. Not as bad as clerics being able to call god up on the augury phone and ask him directly.

This may lead to some problems with other gods telling their people that they may have created the world instead of the other god. This can explain some of the race conflict.
This is why I take the Dragon Age approach with elves. Their legends say they were once ageless in their ancient and glorious past, but whether or not there is any truth to those myths, today they are as mortal as any other race. They age more gracefully than humans and have slightly longer average lifespans, but they don’t live hundreds of years. It’s speculated that this has something to do with their unique “sleep” cycle. Likewise, my dwarves live longer and healthier lives than humans due to their innate toxin resistance, but still don’t tend to live longer than 120-150 years. Dragonborn in my setting do live exceptionally long lives - in fact, they exhibit negligible senescence. But they are on the verge of extinction.
 

The setting I've cobbled together, no one really worries about the creation myth - the players haven't even asked much about religion. Five years back, something large crashed to the planet and created an impact winter. The object was the corpse of Ymir, from another plane's Ragnarok. It impacted the planet and created an ice age, so people are more concerned with survival than any real before-times.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Chaos and Law created the stars and the planets and the moons and the other cosmic objects and bodies.

Sol (a star god) marries Gaia (a planet goddess) and become the Sun and Earth. They create life on Earth with Sol's angels and Gaia's fey.

The 3 moons of Gaia have big moods about this wedding. Chandra is fine with it. Luna is envious of Gaia. Monday is jealous of Sol and creates demons to strain the marriage hoping for a divorce. Chandra doesn't care aout this wedding and wants her own man now.

Various religions are blatant shipping wars between stars, planets, and moons by the mortals.

Sunist Religions
  • True Sunism. Sol and Gaia created life and protect the lives they created.
  • Lunarism. Sol may have knocked up Gaia and married her but Luna is the one who raised the baby. Luna deserves to be Sol's wife. Gaia is a bad mom who volcanoes people. (popular with people who live near volcanos or near fault lines)
  • Sunday-Monday Church. Something drow BL fangirls thought up.
Moonist Religions
  • True Earthism. Sunism but with more focus on Gaia.
  • True Moonism. People who think Gaia should leave Sol for Monday. Big fans of demons.
  • Second Moonism. People who think Monday should give up on Gaia and get with Chandra. Only with 2 divine pairs can everyone reach harmony. Big fans of fiery demons.
  • Third Moonism. Second Moonism but Monday marries Luna instead.
  • Fourth Moonism. Why should Monday make just one goddess unhappy if he can make all the goddesses unhappy?
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Islands World: the world rests upon sleeping dragons/turtles. Someday they will wake, and the world will end, though new children will be born, live, and eventually slumber, allowing a new world to grow on and around them.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Typically not. Or, more specifically, I expect each culture in the world to have its own, and I don't specify all of them. They don't really matter, unless they are relevant to the plot.
 


Now that's a cool idea!
Thanks! It all started with thinking about an apocalypse game without zombies. And then how do you do a nuclear winter in fantasy? And spiralled out of control. There's a setting book for Savage Worlds that I lifted some ideas from/stole from called Winter Eternal, plus I took things from Monte Cook's Requiem for a God which deals with issues about a god's 'corpse'.
 

I'm interested in creation myths, but in general they seldom matter in an RPG. Greyhawk, my favorite setting no has creation myth because records from more than a 1000 years ago are lost after the Twin Cataclysms. The gods don't care enough to tell the priesthood, because everyone's far more interested in the present.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I'm interested in creation myths, but in general they seldom matter in an RPG. Greyhawk, my favorite setting no has creation myth because records from more than a 1000 years ago are lost after the Twin Cataclysms. The gods don't care enough to tell the priesthood, because everyone's far more interested in the present.

The creation myths in official setting don't matter by design. D&D clerics don't really do much religious stuff by default. They are warriors sent by churches to crush enemies, protect flock, and bring back riches.

But it is easy to make a creation myth matter.

What is created can be destroyed or altered. And the processes can affect both immortal and mortal.
 


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