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  • Demon Cults and Prehumans

    I've been thinking about demonlogy and Prehuman races (since they fascinate me) and noticed we have at least one example of a God dedicated to prehumans(the Dragon King's sponsor in Ruins of Rathess) and apparently gods in Zen Mu still (somehow) wondered which is was more viable/intreasting/less likely to get stamped by Yu-Shuan:
    Prehumans worshiping 2nd-3rd circle demons
    Prehumans worshipping prehuman loyalist gods.
    And what sorts of societys come out of those? How does reverence for Ligier or Octavian effect a culture? Would demons attempt to cultivate organized priesthoods? I figure this is one of those 'depends on the demon' discussions, but it seemed like a neat thought experiment that I thought would be fun to share.


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  • #2
    First thing to remember is that before the war, they weren't demons. That's a big shift in how peoples would have treated them back them. Lots of these cults would be based on glory wrongfully stolen, and revenge for oppression.

    Demons do form cults. Pretty sure Sondak's assassin group orays and stuff enough to qualify as an assassin cult.

    Yu-Shan probably won't get involved. Some groups will, under certain circumstance. Sidereals will show up if you start letting too many demons in, for example.

    I will have to think about the rest, because my wife is rushing me to finish this post.

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    • #3
      Demons of Cecylene have a priesthood, so I imagine they would indeed try to cultivate an organised priesthood.

      Esoteric bizarre monsters living only on destruction less so.

      So yeah, probably depends on the demons.


      I play...
      Kovan, actor, librarian, sorcerer, great bear, Lunar Elder from the First Age
      Thutmose-Osiris, seventh son of a seventh son, descendant of the Supreme Deity Sukhmet, renegade demigod and bearer of the Ghoul-Banishing Bow. Also bright green.

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      • #4
        My take is that Yu-Shan doesn't care if non-humans worship their particular gods, as long as those gods aren't a threat. Leeayta is the goddess of reptilian conquest and city mother of Rathess. The important concept is that she is a goddess. The Lintha worship their ancestor Kimberry, the Sea that Marched Against the Flame. Yu-Shan wants a complete and thorough genocide against the Lintha. Part of this is because Kimberry is a Yozi. The dead of Stygia worship the Dual Monarchy, which apparently had the support of the Solar Deliberative and Yu-Shan. The Alaun dead presumably worship their ancient creators, and no one cares because their creators are forgotten and powerless. The Thousand worship First and Forsaken Lion, and they scare the hell out of heaven, because the Lion is a threat to anything he can reach.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
          Demons of Cecylene have a priesthood, so I imagine they would indeed try to cultivate an organised priesthood.
          In 2nd Ed, the Priests of Cecylene aren't actually demons, but something else entirely. They can't be summoned and exist outside the Demon City's laws, which they are judge, jury and executioner for. They do also run religious services and speak on the behalf of the Yozis.


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          • #6
            Sure, but it's a concept that Cecylene's demons are very used to.


            I play...
            Kovan, actor, librarian, sorcerer, great bear, Lunar Elder from the First Age
            Thutmose-Osiris, seventh son of a seventh son, descendant of the Supreme Deity Sukhmet, renegade demigod and bearer of the Ghoul-Banishing Bow. Also bright green.

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            • #7
              The gods that sided with the Primordials were generally destroyed or imprisoned; some almost certainly went into hiding, though whether any beyond Han-Tha the Carrion Lord persist to this day is gonna probably lie in the hands of one's ST. Worshipping such gods would very definitely be against the laws of Heaven, though it has to show up on their radar before they're likely to do anything about it.

              And yes, it's gonna vary based on the god or demon in question, though selecting a priesthood is not gonna be all that uncommon, since unless the demon has found herself summoned in Creation, she's already gonna be sharply limited in whom she can interact with. At that point, appointing someone to serve as her mouthpiece is just good sense.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Epee102 View Post
                which is was more viable/intreasting/less likely to get stamped by Yu-Shuan:
                Prehumans worshiping 2nd-3rd circle demons
                Prehumans worshipping prehuman loyalist gods.
                They would probably often have both, although it may be that the worship of certain races for a figure like Ligier is more a matter of veneration and adoration then, say, expecting him to intercede in their lives or for their benefit. Those spirits want worship, but are unlike gods.

                Originally posted by Epee
                ‚ÄčAnd what sorts of societys come out of those? How does reverence for Ligier or Octavian effect a culture?
                I think it means that that culture includes people who organise into distinct groups, possibly ones who express values similar to those spirits, but possibly just united in being enamoured of them.

                That kind of polytheism tends to accompany societies with a certain pluralistic tendency; a society that accepts the worship of multiple gods does not necessarily synthesize all of that into a single religion.

                That and you likely have trends based on spirits who are particularly fashionable at the moment. In real life, this has tended to follow things such as exposure to other cultures whose objects of worship are attractive on account of things like exoticism, or general respect for the newly integrated culture, or because the cult in question managed to achieve or attach itself to something that gives it a lot of political capital. Rome was particularly big with this, considering their attitude to religion; people tend to describe "the Roman gods" (who are still largely an import from Greece anyway), but by the time right before Christianity, those gods had largely fallen out of the mainstream in any respect besides still being referenced in state procedure, and you would have had more people interested in imports such as Isis, or the new elite cults of Mithras and Sol Invictus, which could be seen as accompanying the increasingly martial character of Imperial Rome.

                That's without accounting for how the observable existence of such spirits gives them an opportunity to do and achieve things themselves that create shifts in how significant their worshippers are within a society.

                I can imagine that one of the things that made the Time Before a bit Biblical was the proto-demons not exactly having a restraining mechanism to engaging in grandiose (and probably terrifying) feats constantly, compared to the nominal restrictions of the Celestial Order, the protection rackets of contemporary spirit courts, and any responses the Exalted might have.

                Originally posted by Epee
                Would demons attempt to cultivate organized priesthoods?
                Probably some of the more socially or practically minded ones would. I'd say somebody like Octavian is more suited to just letting his actions create their own response, and if a priesthood springs up naturally from that, he'll just keep an eye out to make sure they're inoffensive to him; more likely to revise an existing thing than create something new.

                On that note, I imagine that there can be a few instances in which a priesthood and even bureaucratized worship forms out of emergent organizational needs and opportunists that many a god never really cares about until that priesthood starts proverbially taking the god's name in vein (i.e. exploiting their positon to empower themselves rather than the god, in a manner that either detracts from the worship or offends or inconveniences the god), at which point the god steps in and either cleans house, wipes out the current authorities entirely and expects something preferable to grow out of the result, or starts taking a more direct hand in running things.

                For that matter, I imagine that's how the rule of many Exalted in the Time of Tumult might develop as well; one sets oneself up as king in a largely ceremonial and self-serving capacity, with established control over a territory that was not unified before, and a civil service develops within this newly established polity at several levels without central organization, and eventually starts taking liberties on the back of things like the supposed threat of the Exalt, until it gets to the point where the king has to actually step in and start engaging in administration and streamlining a bunch of institutions that grew haphazardly into something that is standardized and can be managed from the centre.

                (Incidentally, there's another story that conveys a collection of actions that Bureaucracy can be rolled for)

                Originally posted by Ikari Gendo
                Yu-Shan wants a complete and thorough genocide against the Lintha
                Then why don't they do it?


                I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                  They would probably often have both, although it may be that the worship of certain races for a figure like Ligier is more a matter of veneration and adoration then, say, expecting him to intercede in their lives or for their benefit. Those spirits want worship, but are unlike gods.
                  Kinda like how some parts of Creation revere the UCS, but don't expect much of it because he's 'got better things to do', I can dig it. I can't think of an Unquestionable in canon (looking Mr.Jaxus wonderful glacier) who would try and get a cult. It does seem like something second circles would benefit more from.

                  We do have (it seems) an increase in non-human groups hostile to Heaven however. Even without the Dreaming Sea teaming with them, we have the upcoming Niobaran Leauge (who were big enough to warrant a charm for fighting them) and presumably there own gods in addition to the Voice of the Deep. Are these 'non-threatening' enough for Sid's to up and ignore? That depends on the table, I guess, but the sheer longevity of some them implies some power.

                  It also occurs to me that you could certainly have a mixed culture, as Irked pointed out. A group could revere demons and gods at the same time, and in fact I can imagine some in heaven pushing towards demons where they can (rouge gods can gather and use power with far more impunity then demons, with demons still being bound by surrender oaths and all).



                  The Book of Laughing Serpents Series(Latest Here)
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                  • #10
                    Or just revere a specific demon for whatever purpose. I believe it was mentioned that Sondock had a decent sized cult dedicated to her since she's seen as an amazingly effective security guard for many a merchant.

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                    • #11
                      Definitely. Most Second Circle demons are interesting/strong enough to have some cult rating dedicated to their specialty. I'd imagine most are mystery cults or secretive, given that level of specialization though.


                      The Book of Laughing Serpents Series(Latest Here)
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                      San Jeanro Co-Op writer. Volume 1 here Volume 2 here Volume 3 here
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                      • #12
                        Prehumans and worship of demons and the likes...well I mean before they were called that, probably usual stuffs of pulp old religions, people prying to not get crushed by almighty Malfeas:

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ikari Gendo View Post
                          The Lintha worship their ancestor Kimberry, the Sea that Marched Against the Flame. Yu-Shan wants a complete and thorough genocide against the Lintha. Part of this is because Kimberry is a Yozi.
                          Are we sure that the Lintha are still held separate as being a partially inhuman race descended directly from Kimbery in 3rd Ed? I thought I had looked up every reference to them in the new core and it just says they're a family of pirates/criminals who tame sea-monsters, practice sorcery, and have sometimes developed gills by interbreeding with demons.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Epee102 View Post
                            Definitely. Most Second Circle demons are interesting/strong enough to have some cult rating dedicated to their specialty. I'd imagine most are mystery cults or secretive, given that level of specialization though.
                            ‚ÄčNot just interesting; virtually every Second Circle Demon has some need or interest that they require association with mortals to fulfil. Something they make out of them, a predilection towards socializing with them, an agenda in their world; possibly several of these at once.

                            As the new core defines it, all demons are divinities, and so implicitly crave worship, but I imagine that Third Circle Demons are so distant and monomaniacal that they couldn't often maintain much means or interest in maintaining cults for themselves, not nearly as readily as somebody who regularly traffics with people such as Makarios.

                            I would say that some Third Circle Demons delegate such tasks through the citizenry of Malfeas, and even that is a bit spotty.



                            I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                            Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Matt the Bruins fan View Post
                              Are we sure that the Lintha are still held separate as being a partially inhuman race descended directly from Kimbery in 3rd Ed? I thought I had looked up every reference to them in the new core and it just says they're a family of pirates/criminals who tame sea-monsters, practice sorcery, and have sometimes developed gills by interbreeding with demons.
                              I think it'd be sad for them not to be the bastardised descendants of a pre-human race (though actually mostly human due to interbreeding).

                              But on the other hand, that's probably not the sort of thing the Core Book should go into, because most people in the setting probably don't know that.


                              I play...
                              Kovan, actor, librarian, sorcerer, great bear, Lunar Elder from the First Age
                              Thutmose-Osiris, seventh son of a seventh son, descendant of the Supreme Deity Sukhmet, renegade demigod and bearer of the Ghoul-Banishing Bow. Also bright green.

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