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Mythic Underworlds and Their Keepers in CofD ... where would they fall?

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  • Mythic Underworlds and Their Keepers in CofD ... where would they fall?

    So I'm working on the early stages of a new Chronicle for my local gaming group and I've hit a slight snag in dealing with some of the "Greater Powers" that should theoretically exist in my setting - in one fashion or another - and that has got me thinking about the issue on a larger scale. Most historical mythologies have something to say about what happens to a person after they cease to draw breath - Norse warriors dreamed of Valhalla, the Celts expected to make their rest in one of several 'Otherworlds' depending on culture, beliefe and other factors, and almost always there are some sort of "keeper" of this world of the dead (Odin, Gwyn ap Nudd, etc.)

    Where I'm running into difficulty if figuring out how to model some of these within the game settings as presented in CofD (and the various gamelines.) Specifically, I'm working with a Welsh / Brythonic setting for a crossover game set in or around the 6th century. One of the "deities" of Welsh lore is Gwyn ap Nudd, ruler of Annwn (Welsh otherworld/underworld) and King of Faerie, in addition to being leader of the Wild Hunt. These various titles and duties seem to place him into two very distinctly different realms (Arcadia and Underworld) and his realm Annwn would seem to actually be both the land of the fae (Arcadia) as well as the land of the dead (Underworld) ... so I'm having trouble figuring out how to classify him and his realm - which is something of a sticking point for me since the game is specifically taking place in a post-Camelot landscape and drawing more heavily from the Arthurian legend of Welsh lore (as opposed to de Troyes and Malory) so entanglements with Annwn in some form are very likely.

    Thoughts? - either specific to my immediate situation or how to approach the same question for other mythoi that would place major lands/deity-figures into multiple realms at the same time?

  • #2
    First, a question: how liable are the players to actually meet such a figure? If they're never going to meet any representation of Gwyn ap Nudd then there's no reason to peg down what he is at all. If they can only interact with one type of entity, then just have them meet the version they can interact with if it becomes relevant.

    Beyond that, there could be an entity calling itself Gwyn ap Nudd that is a Chthonian, one that is a True Fae, one that is a Goetia, and one that is a Spirit; and all could exist simultaneously with no direct relation to each other.

    Or it could be some sort of composite entity if that's how you want to play it. If that's the route you go there's the question of which came first, the entity or the people that worship it? If the entity came first it probably started as a True Fae, a Chthonian, or a Spirit, made its influence known, and then consumed the Goetic entity that began forming.

    Personally, I wouldn't bother answering the question for any specific entity until it came up, and generally would assume there's no particular commonality between such entities' existence.


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    • #3
      Direct contact with Gwyn, himself, is unlikely until way later if ever. Indirect contact will be pretty likely, however, as part of the fun in playing in an Arthurian setting (even post-Camelot-apocalypse) is delving into some of the magical side of the mythos. I at least need to be able to define Annwn in a fashion. I suppose I could go the route of -everything- is Annwn - meaning that no matter whether Underworld, Shadow, Arcadia (or I suppose even Astral) they still call it Annwn and think of it as a single realm. Not certain whether that adds to or detracts from the magical feeling once the characters become able to interact with and thus recognize that there are, in fact, different realms and not just the one.

      On a semi-related note, I was, at one point, considering having the Celtic deities actually be extremely high-Wyrd Changelings and Annwn/Avalon/whatever being their Freehold, but this presented issues such as being able to present them with any sort of dominion over the Wild Hunt or their deceased followers. The idea of the "mortal gods" living for ~300 yrs and then continuing to live on in/as the Goetia that formed around their Legend is intriguing, though.

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      • #4
        If your for sure not doing actual underworld stuff, like, if your focus is more on changeling than giest, so to speak, then I recommend Fae hedge ghosts and a hedge that superficially meets your underworld requirement. You could even do a thing where, here at this time, they do overlap.

        It would also fit how in old old faerie stories, the concept of when something was fae or a ghost basically didn't matter, as all things outside every day experience like ghosts was linked back to the fae anyway. At least muddied.

        So I'd just go ahead and either mix-em with hedge bleeding into a section of underworld, or, have PCs encounter a section of the hedge thats underworldly or spooky and is populated by hedge ghosts.

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        • #5
          Some sort of overlapping of Hedge/Arcadia and Underworld/Depths sounds like an interesting concept - I'll have to think more on the implications involved

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          • #6
            If you die in the Hedge, you can become a hedge ghost, so there's that.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jmkoontz1980 View Post
              One of the "deities" of Welsh lore is Gwyn ap Nudd, ruler of Annwn (Welsh otherworld/underworld) and King of Faerie, in addition to being leader of the Wild Hunt. These various titles and duties seem to place him into two very distinctly different realms (Arcadia and Underworld) and his realm Annwn would seem to actually be both the land of the fae (Arcadia) as well as the land of the dead (Underworld) ...
              In various (1E) CoD books are pointed that each of realms - Arcadia, Underworld, Astral, Shadow Realm, etc. - have in many places portals to every other realm of possible combinations. So you have, for example, stairs down that lead from Arcadia to Underworld.

              Simply choose main environment of chronicles - like, mainly Arcadia, from what you write - and place plot near the entrance to the second realm. The being lording over this area - in this example True Fae - will simply have title of 'Lord of Boundaries, Watcher of Fearie, Dweller in Underworld' ( or something ). Hopes that helps!


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