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 Post subject: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:51 pm 
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I am currently working on creating the mythology for Odeon. I am using some of the concepts from Norse and Germanic mythology. Specifically, I am using the idea of the Jötunn, the legendary frost giants. I want to take out all the traditional gods, and have a mythology based around these Jötunn as gods.

Here is my issue. How close is “too close” to the original mythology? Would it be appropriate/cool/allowed to use some of the original names of the Jötunn? What about using some of the stories as a basis for the stories I want as the central mythology?

So, in terms of writing mythology with connections to Norse and Germanic mythology, how close is “too close”?

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 Post subject: Re: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:51 pm 
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I haven't ever been interested enough in Weyrth to answer your question, but Nancy Farmer's The Sea of Trolls has a very interesting take on jötunns. Basically, they can read minds and thus it is impossible to fight them... as they know what you will do before you do. So, the only way to defeat a jötunn is to drink bog myrtle and go berserk. If you don't really know what you're doing yourself, the jötunns can't take advantage of their ability. :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:16 pm 
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That's a cool concept... I may have to throw that in in some way...

As for the question at hand... Whats your opinion form a general gaming perspective? Would it bother you to be in any game environment, any setting or environment, that you feel was too close to some sort of original mythology? Would it take away form something? Or would it help in creating a flavor of reference? Or would you not care either way?

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 Post subject: Re: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:34 pm 
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theWestWinds wrote:
As for the question at hand...
For several reasons, I'd prefer a historical setting with a twist. First off, if you're doing your research for it, this is a lot of work and people who who search stuff online will most likely do it with historical keywords. In other words, your work is more generic and more usable for different purposes.

For example, Michael has put a lot of work in The Seat of the Xanarian Empire. I know he's a ancient Roman historian by profession and would his work be of ancient Rome, I would be interested. I would probably have tried to run a Roman one-shot a long time ago using his stuff that would complement my GURPS Imperial Rome. I could ask questions from the researcher I couldn't ask when simply reading a book and this would build up my knowledge immensely. But his work isn't about Rome, it's about Xanarian Empire, and reading that, I can see it is heavily based on Rome, but I have no blinking idea what is historical and what is made up for the sake of fitting it to Weyrth. In the end, the information is just confusing, which is a shame. :(

Secondly, if you go historical with a twist, you can keep all the names and terms. :)

Of course there are drawbacks in the historical approach, but if you're doing it with a twist (and be frank about period-incorrect or self add-ons to the best of your ability) I believe it would bring the most interest and feedback.

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 Post subject: Re: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:32 pm 
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theWestWinds wrote:
As for the question at hand... Whats your opinion form a general gaming perspective? Would it bother you to be in any game environment, any setting or environment, that you feel was too close to some sort of original mythology? Would it take away form something? Or would it help in creating a flavor of reference? Or would you not care either way?


The only drawback to this approach -- whether it is a historical mythology or a historical setting -- that I can see is the situation where the players become more familiar with the material than the referee. Because the setting is "real" anyone can Google it -- and start contradicting the referee's material or start predicting what is coming based on their own research.

Like Higgins I game in an historical setting (1350s Lyon in France in my case) with certain pre-defined anomalies wherein the game diverges from the history. I certainly prefer to game in a "real" environment because I believe every element of a setting is interconnected and if you take a real setting and place it in a fantasy environment then the things that gave rise to the real setting are now out of context.

So go for it. And if you can get your hands on a copy of "The Saxon Mirror" then you'll have a great source of material for the transition period between oral and written law in the Germanic states. Lots of interesting facts there (for example, by law if it was proved that a woman had been raped then the perpetrator was punished and the house in which it happened was burned to the ground -- whether the law was enforced to that letter or not at the very least it gives an insight into the things that were seen as important by the society).

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 Post subject: Re: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:12 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
The only drawback to this approach -- whether it is a historical mythology or a historical setting -- that I can see is the situation where the players become more familiar with the material than the referee. Because the setting is "real" anyone can Google it -- and start contradicting the referee's material or start predicting what is coming based on their own research.


I couldn't agree more!!

thewestwinds wrote:
As for the question at hand... Whats your opinion form a general gaming perspective? Would it bother you to be in any game environment, any setting or environment, that you feel was too close to some sort of original mythology? Would it take away form something? Or would it help in creating a flavor of reference? Or would you not care either way?


My thoughts on the subject of creating a Mythology (and running a TroS game) more than likely run counter to what many folks do, so this is certainly not a put down on anyone else's game. Enjoy your god building...

But...

I'm sure we're all aware of the phenomenon in fantasy franchises of "Grand Unified Theories." Usually prologues, appendices, wise characters, and so forth provide the exposition, usually along the lines of:

"88,000 thousand years ago the universe split into two halves, Kerishala the bright aspect and Valkalka the dark aspect. They worked together to make the world but quarreled thereby engendering a whole bunch of history. History.. history.. history... Magic is the lifesblood of Kerishala and Valkalka flowing through the matter of the world. Yadda Yadda Yaddaa... Prophecy this, Prophecy That."

Of course the protagonist(s) are tied up with all this business, as well as the plot of the next three or thirteen books. And there's detailed large-scale and small-scale maps, sometimes of the entirety of known civilization!

Although this can be done well, usually I hate this crap. Too many contemporary fantasy rpg settings lay out the history of the world, who/what the gods are, in excruciating detail.

Fantasy at its most primal deals in the Unknown. The world is a collision between the logical and the illogical. Incomprehensible forces are at play. In old school pulp fantasy(which I am a fan of), the default setting was a world in which only fragments of history were known, where magic and the gods were mysteries; where the world was largely unmapped and unknown.

It's hard to reconcile that weird, unknown fantasy vibe when the universe has a known history and a heavy internal logic. At this point in my life, if a setting starts with an exhaustive History of the Cosmos and/or the Gods, I put it away immediately. Outside of some flavor text to kick off the campaign, who needs an exhaustive amount of information?

I do use a few gods, but they are only detailed enough to give my players a hint of what's out there. Normally its pretty dismal when the gods pay attention to you in my world.

Hit the ground running and make history happen, that's what players should be doing, not fretting over ten thousand years of past events. Spare your players the phone book thick history of the gods/cosmos and they will thank you...

See also: pointless, made-up fantasy calendars.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:27 am 
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pbj44 wrote:
Although this can be done well, usually I hate this crap. Too many contemporary fantasy rpg settings lay out the history of the world, who/what the gods are, in excruciating detail....

See also: pointless, made-up fantasy calendars.


Harn anyone?

:lol:

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:36 am 
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:lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:00 am 
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pbj44 wrote:
"88,000 thousand years ago the universe split into two halves, Kerishala the bright aspect and Valkalka the dark aspect. They worked together to make the world but quarreled thereby engendering a whole bunch of history. History.. history.. history... Magic is the lifesblood of Kerishala and Valkalka flowing through the matter of the world. Yadda Yadda Yaddaa... Prophecy this, Prophecy That."
An excellent recap. :lol:

pbj44 wrote:
It's hard to reconcile that weird, unknown fantasy vibe when the universe has a known history and a heavy internal logic.
Are you proposing that game is more fun with less internal logic? Or are you merely against this logic being generally exposed to everyone before the play?

pbj44 wrote:
See also: pointless, made-up fantasy calendars.
It's an aside, but the inpronouncible month and day nomenclature aside, I simply love Birthright calendar. 8 day weeks make 32 day months make NO hassle with moon phases whatsoever. Plain and clear. Most of the cases, it's not going to be important, but I appreciate that the ease of use is there. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:32 pm 
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pbj44 wrote:
It's hard to reconcile that weird, unknown fantasy vibe when the universe has a known history and a heavy internal logic.


higgins wrote:
Are you proposing that game is more fun with less internal logic? Or are you merely against this logic being generally exposed to everyone before the play?


Without speaking for PJ I think this comes under Grettir's gaming approach which could be summarized as:

"Don't define it until it is needed -- in-game."

It's not that the internal logic isn't there. It simply isn't known, to referee or player, until it comes up in-game. And then the referee can define it or the player(s) can define it (through Drama expenditure).

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:09 pm 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
"Don't define it until it is needed -- in-game."

It's not that the internal logic isn't there. It simply isn't known, to referee or player, until it comes up in-game. And then the referee can define it or the player(s) can define it (through Drama expenditure).


Sorry if I was vague on that point which Ian stated much more clearly.

In a game like TroS, with it's shared Narrative premise, it just seems like you are asking for a major headache by designing an elaborate Mythology in which the players have had little or no input. And if they have had an open collaboration in the material's creation, where's the mystery??? So...

"Don't define it until it is needed -- in-game."

IMHO, thats much more satisfying for all concerned.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:08 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
"Don't define it until it is needed -- in-game."
In case of shared setting creation, I agree. When the game is short, I agree even more. But making background up from the established facts for six years as you go? One of the worst refereeing pains I've known. :|

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 Post subject: Re: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:19 pm 
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higgins wrote:
In case of shared setting creation, I agree. When the game is short, I agree even more. But making background up from the established facts for six years as you go? One of the worst refereeing pains I've known. :|


Absolutely right! If I was playing Tunnels & Trolls, Shadowrun, ect., and the characters were entering into my non-collaborative world, then yes, having to build as you go would be perceived by many as sheer drudgery.

Thankfully though, for our community, TroS is a collaborative game experience where storytelling is shared by the GM and players.

Thus we are in perfect agreement.

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 Post subject: Re: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:23 am 
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BTW, I just discovered an awesome Swedish wordplay I'd defintely try to use somehow when creating a north-themed setting.

Troll = Troll
Kvinna = Woman
Trollkvinna = Sorceress

Yeah. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Creating a Mythology
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:53 pm 
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;)


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