Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Kill Your Gods (part 2) and the Woman in the Woods (Deities in older D&D)



Somewhere in internet land is this forum post from back in November wherein Mr. Carcosa says he likes the idea of Gods being kill-able and others disagree. As someone who has a minor deity generator, and author of a "Kill Your Gods" post already, it's pretty clear where I fall on this.


Working on Dark Souls D&D, and stumbling across the forum post, this matter feels pertinent again.


Consider the woman in the woods


She eats locusts and grubs, the food she grows in her garden. Occasionally she snares a rabbit or squirrel. What education this woman has comes from oral history and gossip. She probably ran away from something bad that happened to her, or her people were nearby and have mostly died off, or she serves in a kind of spiritual capacity for the village along the forest fence - kept separate because of but also respected for her purported facility with things so other that the villagers consider it irredeemably supernatural. If that's the case then it's possible she may be a bit insane or suffer from some form of epilepsy or that she's a bit mentally challenged.

Deep in her forest is a swamp and among the things in that swamp is a troll. On a visit to their camp up the mountain, she has come upon the troll devouring some charcoal burners, shoving a sooty writhing torso into its mouth like Saturn devouring his young, she has seen it crush one of the lizards of the swamp to death, seen the wounds the big cats of the high mountains left knit shut, seen it bat away an elf scout like a flea as the elf's arrow wormed its way back out of its eye, the eye now whole.

She knows well the religious significance of the big cat and the large serpent and the weird elf and its changeling babies. Does not the Deceiver prowl in the night, roaring like a hungry lion? Does not the serpent devour the living even as it promises salvation? Does not the elf eat the human babies it replaces with its own?

And so she includes this terrible being in her prayers and, while she now sometimes stinks of the bog when she's not been there for weeks and while she's been growing prodigious warts, sometimes she can command the night to fall around her, sometimes her touch spoils any food or drink, sometimes she can borrow the troll's strength, causing the stray dog digging in her garden last week to open like a pansy pod at but a touch.

the woman in the woods
Chaotic Human Adept
3 HP, AC 9, 12", dagger, walking stick, a ragged and match patched dress of many pockets and hood, 1/session may cast darkness, ruin food and drink or cause light wounds

attribution: Hendrick Goltzius (detail from Cadmus)
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