No, I don't think division by dynasty would work, but you could, in theory, divide the pantheon by creed. Some nuance would be lost, as there is a lot of syncretism and cross-over between those beliefs, but it's not as bad as in Japan (we don't properly explain that in the write-up for the Kami as it is now, because it will be a sidebar, but Buddhism and Shinto were historically one religion, the split there is fairly recent; in China, however, there has always been an awareness, at least among intellectuals, that there were several religions to choose from - although the common people still mixed them). I did consider doing that for some time when I began research, but I found that it would represent Chinese society badly, and would lose a lot of fun. But in theory, it's possible and makes a certain amount of sense. The five major sources for Chinese religion and mythology I'd name are ancient traditions, Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and folk religion. An ancient pantheon would include members like Nüwa, Huang Di, and possibly Xi Wang Mu, though I can't really make a guess for a PSP for that one. A Confucian pantheon is a bad idea, since, as I mentioned, Confucianism is pretty much agnostic-atheistic, and depicting Confucius and his students as deities would probably be considered quite disrespectful. A Daoist pantheon would be hard to do just for the enormous amount of highly complicated sources that religion produced, but it would then include figures like the Jade Emperor, the Three Pure Ones, the Azure Lad of Heaven, and could also contain Xi Wang Mu; the Daoist PSP would be about everything being unified in the flow of the Dao, about natural chaos triumphing over order, and about achieving absolute immortality (when we last talked about it, Daoism was probable as the main source for our Shen PSP, but nothing is certain at the moment). A Chinese Buddhist pantheon would be a bit of a strange choice (Watcher already mentioned how it's hard to separate Buddhist deities from the cultures they were adapted to), but it could still be centred around what makes these adaptations of the Buddhist deties uniquely Chinese, such as Guanyin's femininity; its PSP would be the usual Buddhist things, rebirth, incarnation, enlightenment, overcoming illusion, all that. A folk pantheon would again be a bit hard to separate from the Daoists (especially because it would need the Jade Emperor to function), but it would certainly be the most fun, with hordes of deified mortals acting as colourful, very fallible gods like Guan Yu, Mazu, Wenchang, and Sun Wukong; again, I would be a bit hard-pressed for a unique PSP to give that one. So, as I said, dividing the Chinese pantheon wouldn't be my choice, but it would be possible, and I would encourage you to do it, just because I'd be interested in seeing how you do it. But we'll do it differently. That'll mean about 15 major gods, and a literal armada of minor gods, not to mention months of reading and research, and probably even more typing than for the Kami. It'll be a hell of a lot of work and it'll take forever, but I'm pretty sure it will be grand.
No announcement yet.
The Kami Revision