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[2e Homebrew] The Thần - the Gods of Vietnam

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  • [2e Homebrew] The Thần - the Gods of Vietnam

    "Mother Goddess grants her a name, it is Third Princess,
    She descends and is born in this realm, to help this world.
    With whom does she follow the current then go against?
    As much water as there is in the rivers and lakes,
    That be the love the Princess has for her people."
    - Invocation Song of the Third Princess




    Hello everybody! After a few months of research and writing, I have almost completed a pet project of mine and my first homebrew: the Thần, the Gods of Viet folk religion. They are a loosely affiliated pantheon of gods, nature spirits, and saints, who care much more about their duties towards their mortal communities than about trivial things like running the universe. Their PSP is built around their identity as tutelary gods, as intermediaries between Heaven and their mortal charges, and the weight of their Legendary Titles. The Thần are an excellent choice of patron for Scions that like to act as divine protectors, be responsible for a community, have a close relationship to their mortals and the places they live, and that want to fight for the little guy.

    There are many fairly disparate traditions of Viet folk religion and I have done my best to include aspects from different branches without erasing the heterodoxy within. I would like to highlight that the religion of the Thần is extremely adaptable, highly syncretic, and has no single unified theology. However, for several of the 'top-level' aspects (like Cosmology and Primordials), I have primarily drawn on the popular Four Palaces theology and the related Đạo Mẫu religion, a specific cult that primarily focuses on the worship of mother goddesses. Đạo Mẫu and Vietnamese folk religion in general are living, breathing faiths practised by millions. In fact, in the last decades, belief in the Thần has seen something of a renaissance.

    If you are interested in East Asia or East Asian religion in Scion, the Thần are an excellent addition to your game. You will recognise much of the strong influence the Shén had on the gods of Vietnam and the two pantheons have a fascinating, messy, often imperialistic love-hate relationship with one another. If you enjoy the excellent Burmese and Tai pantheons written by Svarogg, they further flesh out the complicated and diverse cultural landscape of Southeast Asia.

    You might also be interested in the Thần if you like the Deva or the Orisha. Like the Hindu gods, the Thần are loveable sweethearts, they are influenced by and preside over many different traditions, and they like to shift Mantles or Incarnate as one another whenever they feel like it. Their religious importance of motherhood and powerful goddesses also resonates with the Deva's own Shakta tradition. On the other hand, the Thần share the Orisha's closeness and benevolence towards their worshippers, their powers of spirit possession, and they are an interesting contrast to another pantheon that was radically changed by imperialism, but in a very different way.

    I still see some room to develop the Thần further. I will certainly revisit and perhaps revise them soon, when all the ongoing troubles wind down and I can finally get a hold of the last few books I've been missing. There are still two or three deities that I am thinking of including once I can research them more in depth and I still need to provide stats for the various Birthrights, plus maybe some Antagonists. Additionally, the PSP is currently rather wordy and hasn't been playtested yet. Additionally, I should point out that I'm neither Vietnamese nor an expert on Viet religion, just a dedicated amateur, so I appreciate any comments, corrections, and criticisms. Finally, I would of course be delighted to answer any of your questions on this truly fascinating and loveable pantheon.
    Last edited by Mr Wopsle; 06-09-2020, 05:04 AM.


    Scion 2e Homebrew Pantheon:
    The Thần of Vietnam

  • #2
    I’m looking forward to reading this!

    you should talk to Svarogg. You two could coordinate for a Storypath Nexus supplement on the pantheons or Southeast Asia and their interrelationship (Svarogg has done the Nat of Burma and is working on the Phi of the Tai)


    Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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    • #3
      Loving everything! If I was going to suggest anything, and this is minor, now that Covenant Birthright is a thing, you might want to consider how that interacts with the PSP.



      Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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      • #4
        Thanks, I'm glad you like it! And that's a good recommendation, as well, thank you. Covenant will be in the Companion, right? I don't have access to the backer pdf but I'm going to revisit the PSP when the Companion is out. There's some other things there I'm still trying to iron out, too. I do like the focus on Legendary Titles, though, because those work pretty well with the mythology.

        My other next step is going to be to revise some parts (especially the Cosmology and a few deities) when I have access to better sources again. In the future, I'd also like to dig into the Khmer to see if there's room for another pantheon. They certainly have some interesting figures, but I'm still not sure if there's enough there for a full pantheon or if they're more of a sub-pantheon of the Deva. So yes, there might be a chance of a Southeast Asian supplement coming to the nexus some time in the future.


        Scion 2e Homebrew Pantheon:
        The Thần of Vietnam

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        • #5
          This is so cool! I know you mentioned a Vietnamese pantheon project and I'm glad it's actually completed. Now, Southeast Asia has a few pantheons to fill that gap between the Devas and the Shen. I think there is a good chance that there could be a Scenario for a campaign with just these few pantheons in the region.

          I haven't been able to work on the Phi as of late (bc of COVID and libraries closing down nearby) but I hope I'll get to be done with them in the next few months.


          Scion 2e Homebrew Pantheon(s):

          The Nat, the Spirits of Myanmar

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mr Wopsle View Post
            Thanks, I'm glad you like it! And that's a good recommendation, as well, thank you. Covenant will be in the Companion, right? I don't have access to the backer pdf but I'm going to revisit the PSP when the Companion is out. There's some other things there I'm still trying to iron out, too. I do like the focus on Legendary Titles, though, because those work pretty well with the mythology.

            My other next step is going to be to revise some parts (especially the Cosmology and a few deities) when I have access to better sources again. In the future, I'd also like to dig into the Khmer to see if there's room for another pantheon. They certainly have some interesting figures, but I'm still not sure if there's enough there for a full pantheon or if they're more of a sub-pantheon of the Deva. So yes, there might be a chance of a Southeast Asian supplement coming to the nexus some time in the future.
            That’s just staying on the mainland too. I’m sure the Hyangs (Indonesia) and the Anitos & Diwatas (Philippines) would love to party...

            i don’t know enough about the Malay to know how definable mythic traditions are distinctly from the Shen.


            Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Svarogg View Post
              This is so cool! I know you mentioned a Vietnamese pantheon project and I'm glad it's actually completed. Now, Southeast Asia has a few pantheons to fill that gap between the Devas and the Shen. I think there is a good chance that there could be a Scenario for a campaign with just these few pantheons in the region.

              I haven't been able to work on the Phi as of late (bc of COVID and libraries closing down nearby) but I hope I'll get to be done with them in the next few months.
              Thank you so much! I'm very much looking forward to the rest of the Phi and whatever you might work on next. Actually, a campaign scenario sounds like a very good idea. I'll have to get in touch with you about that...

              Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
              That’s just staying on the mainland too. I’m sure the Hyangs (Indonesia) and the Anitos & Diwatas (Philippines) would love to party...

              i don’t know enough about the Malay to know how definable mythic traditions are distinctly from the Shen.
              Oh yes, the Hyang are high on my own list of pantheons that I would be interested in doing! From my preliminary research, they're a delicious mess because of how closely they are often intertwined with Buddhism and Hinduism and also because the Javanese, Sundanese, and Balinese people all use the term Hyang to refer to sometimes very different pantheons.

              If you're interested in Southeast Asia, there actually are many other pantheons around. There are many small Austronesian peoples living primarily in the highlands of Southeast Asia - like the Jarai and the Mnong - who are often labelled collectively as the 'Montagnards' or the 'Upland Khmer' (even though, just to avoid confusion, they're not actually Khmer). I've only scratched the surface on them, but they are quite interesting and in some cases very marginalised peoples, some of which have their own gods, cosmologies, even pantheons. That being said, researching them seems quite difficult, especially for someone who doesn't speak any of the languages from the area.



              Scion 2e Homebrew Pantheon:
              The Thần of Vietnam

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