Tales of Tadeusz

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Mythology of Multiverser

My current favorite tabletop Roleplaying game is Multiverser by Valdron Press. One of its basic rules is that every story is true somewhere.

This includes tales of Creation. So the Universe being created from Ymir the Frost Giant's body is true, and so is Evolution (punctuated equillibrium, gradualist, and pothole graded unbalanced evolution), and so is a literal Six-Day Creation by the Trinity, along with dozens of other Creation stories.

But these stories are true in one or more of the many universes of the Multiverse. So in one, the Hindu gods built the world, and in another vertical motion somehow turned to circular motion and the stars condensed. And in another, the chaos heard "Fiat Lux" ring out, and indeterminacy obeyed to allow the possibility of light existing in that Universe.

Lets look at it from the other side.

In Eternity Past, the Creator made the gods, all the gods. And He created with the help of these gods the Multiverse because one universe was not enough to contain his creativity. And He gave charge over some universes to groups of deities such as the Nordic Pantheon, and others he gave to spirits of wind and wave, and others he gave to single Masters, and to others he gave it to two Brothers, and for some He reserved to Himself, and onward into more variations than the limited Human mind can list or even comprehend.

And then some gods rose up against their Creator, and challenged him for rule of all of space and time. This is reminiscent, of course, of the Bible. These are called the Anarch powers.

Sauron is a destroyer. C.S. Lewis's Satan in the Space Trilogy is a vicious toddler without any redeeming virtue. Milton's Lucifer might be grander. White Wolf has the Wyrm. Loki schemes, never quite all the way evil, but in the end he chooses evil. Ares, according to Neal Stephen's Cryptonomicon, is a crude, talentless bully...the type of person who eschews a rifle for a nail-studded club.

Other gods stayed true to their vows, and these are called the Alliance. Still others wanted nothing to do with each side which are the Neutrals. Zeus, Athena, and most of the rest of that Pantheon; the Odinite deities even though they are convinced that the Alliance is going to lose; Mithras, Amateratsu, and the Great Spirit are on the side of the Alliance.

In Dungeons and Dragon mythology, the Neutrals are not really neutrals, but Nature deities. In Multiverser, the designers did a better job. A Neutral tends to being a hobbyist. That is, they have an obsession, and they focus on it. Nature, technology, pretty rocks, defenders of a particular country, etc, and so on are the focus of their obsession.

A Master of Technology might not care how tech was used, except with skill. A lover of green, growing things might let the sentients on his planet die off to make room for the plants. A lover of songs, or a guardian deity of particular countries also exist here. As do the Fey who exist more for wild laughter than for good or evil.

An example, and then I close.

For my twin Steampunk Universes, the backstory has Ares and Athena, both Greek gods of war, tussling over possession of two universes. Ares is a crude bully...the sort of tinhorn dictator with a chest full of medals whose only kills were unarmed civilians. Vicious, unprincipled, and chiefly terrifying to the weak. Athena is a goddess of craftiness and talent...a SpecWar soldier.

So these two deities appeal, as Greek deities do, to the nearest judge. Hephaestus, a god of technology who has no brief either way, a Neutral. He gives one world to Athena, and one to Ares, and promises to give both of the worlds to whichever one develops the most interesting technology.

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