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The Zemí - The Pantheon of the Taíno People(s)

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  • The Zemí - The Pantheon of the Taíno People(s)

    As the islands are whipped by the punishing rains of the hurricane, beaten by a capricious tropical sun, as revolutions pass by and empires fall, there is a place away from all of that. Deep in the caves, down in the darkness from whence humanity once emerged, the images of Gods glitter, carved into the living rock. Up on the surface, images like these that were their countless individual bodies were smashed and burned, but down here, they persist. And yet, they have seen it all, seen a thousand hurricane seasons come and go, seen their people enslaved and gone extinct. And still they are here. Or parts of them, at least.

    The Zemí were once the ancestors and lords of the Taíno, native people of the Caribbean islands. Now, they have survived their own children and grandchildren, have become the shadow that remains even when what threw it is long gone. Of all the peoples and Pantheons of the Americas, the Taíno and their Zemí were the first to know the horrors of European invasion. At some point along the way, the Taíno disappeared as a culture of their own. Their line ended. But that of the Zemí hasn’t. They have weathered the assault on the people among whom they lived as family members and prized possessions, and now they wait for their chance to return to the World in full force, to bring back all that used to be. A new line shall begin, a divine descent of blood and power. A new generation of Scions to bind together the people in the name of the divine will of the Zemí.

    But as clear as their quest back into the World is, as stony is the path the servants of the Zemí will have to walk to achieve that goal. Are you, Scion of the Zemí, first of a fledgling bloodline, ready to take this battle on? To represent a Pantheon of survivors and misfits, to revive a way of life half forgotten, to face the vicious hatred of the storms and stars and the siren song of the sea? To stand up to other Pantheons as they not only deny you equal standing with them, but even the hand they had in the Taíno’s destruction? Are you truly the kind whose likeness will end up etched into the bowels of a cave? Or will you be forgotten as well?

    Hello everybody, once again! We hope you are still enjoying Scion Second Edition and are excited for the upcoming books! Especially the newest one announced, an upcoming book on Saints!

    We, once again, have a new homebrew gift for you, the Zemí, the Pantheon of the Taíno People(s). They are an excellent addition to The World of Scion, adding a Pantheon with a cultural focus around survival, incorporation of new ideas, and one which suffered gravely at the hands of European Colonization. They are, in fact, our own echo of the upcoming Nemetondevos coming in Scion: Companion, a Pantheon that has been badly damaged historically, leaving scant records for us to reconstruct a Pantheon through. At the moment, they are written in terms of Scion: Origin and Scion: Hero, and when Scion: Demigod and Scion: God (as well as other books, such as the upcoming book on Titans) come out, we will amend and relaunch these documents to include these new rules and levels of play.

    We have provided here a retelling of the creation myth of the Pantheon, an explanation of our methodological approach for this more challenging Pantheon, in-depth cultural notes explaining who the Taíno are and what you need to know about them to represent them respectfully in your games. Major Deities, Minor Deities, Titans, Primordials, the Overworld, Underworld, various Terra Incognita, Birthright concepts, and a Hero-Tier Pantheon Specific Purview based around bolstering and supporting the Band itself is found within.

    If you like the rich and colorful world of Latin America, the Teotl playing ball over life and death, ancient gods hiding behind the painted masks of saints, the Zemí will become the part and parcel of your games. They are the Gods of the first Native American culture to meet the Spanish and suffer the effects of the Columbian Encounter. In many ways, they are at the core of everything that has happened in the world south of the Río Grande since, and they bring all the life, grief, and power of that world right to your table.

    If you like the Pantheons of Atlantic Africa like the Orisha, Abosom, and Loa, it's time to meet their old friends. Wherever in the Caribbean the oppressed rose up against their self-proclaimed masters, where the enslaved broke their shackles and workers burned plantations, the Pantheons of the indigenous peoples and those brought forcibly to their land stood and fought together. There's no mix, no cultural blend that packs more vibrancy and more fight than that between the Zemí and their allies from Africa.

    If you like playing as a team, if you want to explore all the possible dynamics and relationships in a Band of Player Characters, the Zemí bring you a PSP that is all about strengthening and rewarding these bonds. The Zemí will have your characters not just fight together, work together, survive together, but play and party and grow together to become the best team there ever was.

    If you have any questions at all about the Zemí, we would be more than happy to answer them! Or, if you have any thoughts on our mechanics, want to discuss the Pantheon, or anything else, we are happy to facilitate the discussion!

    Up Next: Secret Project or Revised Pantheon Specific Purviews.

    Scion 2e Homebrew Projects:
    The Šiuneš, The Enduri, The Sgā’na Qeda’s, The Abosom, Lebor Óe In Dea, The Zemi, Nemetondevos: Revised, and Mysteries of the Otherworld.

  • #2
    When you guys release a new pantheon, it's better than Christmas.

    I'm in the process of reading through it right now, I just finished the cultural overview, now it's time to read about the Zemi themselves. I'll keep you posted on commentary as I go through it, but I'm very excited to begin.


    • #3
      Random comments as I go through:

      How omnipotent is Yucahu supposed to be?

      The look on the Spanish's face when they saw the Taino burying and pissing on the statues of saints they'd demanded that they worship must have been priceless.

      Iouiouca sounds interesting.

      Attabeira sounds a lot like Yacumama and Mama Dlo. Any connection here?

      Deminan is quite fascinating. The approach to disease and deformity here is pretty unique. I'll bet he'd get along with Xolotl.

      To be honest I'm surprised that there aren't more conjoined twin deities in mythology that I've heard of.

      Baibrama is pretty cool. He reminds me of Jurupari, in the sense that he's a once-proud god who was gradually transformed into a demon in modern folklore. I wonder if they've met?

      I live in Florida, and, given that Guabancex is the Zemi I was most familiar with and knew of her fearsome reputation, I've developed a habit of jokingly stating that Guabancex is pissed whenever there's a hurricane. I always hope that someone asks me what I'm talking about. No one ever does.

      Maquetaurie is the other one I was already familiar with to some degree. Someone I knew online years ago wrote him up as a deity in a Caribbean-based homebrew setting for Pathfinder, though he spelled him Maketaori. That was the first time I'd ever heard of the Zemis or of Taino myth. He sounds a lot like Yamaraja. Though I suspect he might be friends with the good Baron.

      Corocote reminds me of Kurupi.

      I'd like to track down an image of an idol of Opiyelguobiran as I'm a bit curious how this guy would have been envisioned.

      Yayael is fascinating. The idea that there could be an all-loving chief god and still be evil just because the chief deity was loving to such a degree that he was reluctant to do anything about the beings responsible for causing suffering in others is honestly quite intriguing,

      Nice, you did track down the name of the solar titan. Guey reminds me a lot of Aten. What is known about Macacael? Is he still around? Forgive me if this gets addressed later on in the PDF.

      The imagery of Anacacuya drifting endlessly and aimlessly in the cosmic ocean, all the while waiting to seek vengeance upon humanity, with an eerily serene grin on his face, is quite unsettling.

      I'm picturing Aicayia as manatee-like. That's just too strange and amusing a creature design to pass up.

      Oh, I was wondering when Yucahu's wife would be addressed. That's um, that's something.

      Not really sure what to say about Bayamanaco other than that he sounds like a huge asshole.

      Anyways, so there's my random commentary on all the major players here. Needless to say, this is quite fascinating.
      Last edited by Wannabe Demon Lord; 02-12-2020, 12:15 AM.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Wannabe Demon Lord View Post
        How omnipotent is Yucahu supposed to be?
        Good question, hard to say. We haven't got much in terms of Taíno theology preserved, and as you can tell from the sidebar, we aren't even quite sure whether Yucahú and Yaya are supposed to be the same person.

        Attabeira sounds a lot like Yacumama and Mama Dlo. Any connection here?
        No connections there, I think. Yacumama is from Peru, which is a good way away from the Caribbean. Mama D'Leau is a goddess of the Mami Wata type originating in West Africa. She might have absorbed some elements from Native American figures, but neither are any features of Attabeira clear in her, nor are Trinidad and Tobago part of the Taíno cultural area (which is limited to the Greater Antilles and Bahamas).

        I'd like to track down an image of an idol of Opiyelguobiran as I'm a bit curious how this guy would have been envisioned.
        This one here is often identified as possibly depicting the Opiyelguobiran, though with reference to our Cultural Notes, I have to remind you that while what we have of Taíno mythology comes only from one region on Hispaniola/Haiti, the objects that one tries to interpret through that lense often come from Jamaica, Puerto Rico, or Cuba.
        Last edited by Sacerdos; 02-16-2020, 02:34 PM.


        • #5
          Wannabe Demon Lord I only just realised that in my last post, I copied your message instead of the link to the idol. Here it is:


          • #6
            Thank you Sacerdos! That is not what I expected, but definitely interesting.


            • #7
              I gotta say, their PSP is probably one of my favorites. Granted, I like Teamwork Enablers and the idea of playing a Ball Game for bonuses is one I really like.

              Disclaimer: In favor of fun and enjoyment, but may speak up to warn you that you're gonna step on a metaphorical land mine


              • #8
                Well, guess what's getting an official version. I'm very excited to see what they do differently than us with the very limited sources and I hope it helps increase the awareness for this culture.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sacerdos View Post
                  Well, guess what's getting an official version.
                  Specifically, in God.

                  Scion 2E: What We Know - A wiki compiling info on second edition Scion.