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Old 02-27-2013, 10:04 PM   #11
Agemegos
 
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Default Re: Bronze-Age city-states and the gifts of their gods

Aster-Who-Is-Seen-In-Profile, god of Courage

Charn stands in the last of the foothills of the west, on the edge of the vast and level plain. Is soil is too silty to make bricks, and yet it has too little stone to build walls. The city on its three hills is surrounded by three ramparts of logs and earth, and all the houses are built of timber and thatch.

The god of Charn is Aster Who Is Seen In Profile, a shy and retiring god who never seems to appear at his festivals, nor to take lovers, nor to issue directives to the governing priests. But when a man or woman of Charn is standing before an enemy, or trudging on through danger and adversity, he may often discover that, without having been heard or seen to arrive, his god is standing or marching beside him.

The gift of Aster Who Is Seen In Profile is the GURPS advantage Unfazeable, subject to a Pact (never bully anyone nor ever use your might to do an injustice to one weaker). He grants it at an annual festival to everyone who applies for it, and who submits to three ordeals: that they take a bungee jump off a gantry on the highest town in on the ramparts, that they box for three rounds against a champion chosen by the priests, and that they grasp a burning brand while they swear an oath never to rob the weak, never to submit to the strong, and to do justice to whomever comes before them. He has also been known to grant it extra-ordinarily to people whom he sees doing conspicuous acts of fortitude, defiance, and justice when there are few if any friendly witnesses.
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Last edited by Agemegos; 02-28-2013 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:00 PM   #12
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Default Re: Bronze-Age city-states and the gifts of their gods

Obwyx delights in the creations of potters, perhaps because her city of Dossoth (Brick-wall) is built adjacent to some of the best clay fields and so she has grown used to recieving fine pottery as offerings.

Whatever is smashed against the doorstep of her house will be made whole and taken inside if she shows favor; not only pots but other objects and even living things. Living things may fly or crawl back out at a later hour, but inanimate objects almost never reappear (the few that do are deemed holy relics, for they would have remained broken if Obwyx found them ugly). If she finds the sacrifice wanting, she leaves it be. Crushed human infants, potsherds, broken staves, and other debris or rejected sacrifices are collected and recycled by her silent priesthood, a ragged brotherhood who dwell in low, plain, windowless houses built around the goddess two-level house of glazed bricks and terracotta tiles.

The infants dashed against her doorstep sometimes are taken in and made whole. Those that crawl out again invariably show a talent for building in brick, sculpting clay, and other tectonic or plastic arts. Not only that, but they often seem to mend faster from broken bones, cuts, and other hurts.

Rapid healing and an appropriate Talent in art or building, with routine sacrifices of pots or other items to be paid or else the talent will fade and the cursed one suffer some infirmity as his infant injuries reappear.

The bricklayers of Dossoth seal small animals into their walls, which they believe strengthens the wall. Humans were used in this fashion when the city wall foundations were laid.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:01 PM   #13
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Chancurr, goddess of Knowledge

The city of Maktebah stands partly on the riverbank and partly on piles in marshes and lagoons, at the edge of the Sea of Reeds, where the river Sluugh dawdles into the wetlands of the southern delta. Building in stone and brick is impossible here, and good timbers are so rare and precious that most are used for pilings. Houses and halls are built of sedges and reeds; where structural members are required to hold up the roofs, tied bundles of sedge are found to be adequate. Some poor folk even live, not upon the land, but in reed shacks on floating mats of rushes. Maktebah has no walls to defend it, but its surroundings of marsh and bog make it unapproachable by any army.

Lacking fuel to burn corpses or soil to bury them, the people of Maktebah truss and weight their dead and sink them into tannic bogs.

Maktebah naturally subsists to a great extent on fish, water-chestnuts, water-lily roots, lotus, and tender shoots. It exports sedges, reeds, and canes, using boats and rafts of bundled sedges to sail cargoes up the several rivers that branch and braid into the Sluugh. Its most famous industry is making papyrus, a writing material made by a secret process from the pith of a giant sedge, and which is valued widely for being lighter and more compact than clay tablets.

The goddess of Maktebah is Chancurr, who is politely described as fish from the waist down but lovely woman from the waist up, but is actually halfway between a mermaid and an eighteen-foot manatee. Intensely moved by curiosity, Chancurr swims through the Sea of Reeds drinking the knowledge that flows in the water down each of the rivers than flows into the Southern Delta. Whether she ever swims up a river for scouting, and if not why not, is unknown to Man.

The gift of Chancurr is Photographic Memory combined with the disadvantage Curiosity (9-)*. She grants it to anyone who brings her a book for her library, or who tells her a new song, poem, or story, or who brings her knowledge that she doesn't already have. Additionally, people so blessed are allowed access to her library and may read and copy the books there.


* Recipients who make their roll too often find their Gift diminishing to Eidetic Memory limited by Curiosity (12-).
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Last edited by Agemegos; 02-28-2013 at 02:26 AM.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:06 PM   #14
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Rzhazh is the goddess of the city of Tsarrl, which stands in the cool hill regions rising out of a monsoon area. The people of Tsarrl are orchardkeepers who grow peaches, apples, and other tree fruit. Such trees are pollinated by honeybees, and Rzhazh is a bee goddess. She wears a distinctive helmet, from which her hair emerges to hang down her back, with distinctive alternative light and dark horizontal stripes, and she carried a shortsword, colored like bronze but extraordinarily sharp.

The characteristic drink of Tsarrl is mead. To provide honey for it, and also to pollinate their trees, the Tsarrliryu are beekeepers of considerable skill; the perk Good with Bees is one of Rzhazh's minor gifts. Ordinary mead is an export; some forms of mead, mixed with the resin of certain herbs, are used in religious rituals. Honey's use as an antiseptic is also known. Honey plays the role of a medium of exchange and a store of value in the Tsarrka economy, in which women act as the main traders.

Both men and women are eligible for training in warfare, though women who follow this path are rare. Rzhazh makes another gift available to her warriors: The perk of Teamwork, enabling a small unit to cooperate more effectively in combat.

However, Rzhazh's most important gift is reserved for her priestesses: Higher Purpose, giving them +1 to any roll to defend their city and its people. This includes not only rolls to take direct physical action, but rolls to influence or lead the people. Legends tell of greater priestesses who received multiple levels of this gift. For a woman to receive this gift she must have borne daughters.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:26 PM   #15
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In the bleak city of Shuul, the necrotic deity Yaldath rots in his crypt of black stone and tarnished copper, while the people who remain have fallen into madness and the practice of dark arts. Once it was not so, and Shuul was as healthy as other cities. Yaldath granted wisdom in dreams to those he favored. But he slept long, and the people began to neglect his rites. They grew impious and often forget to feed him. He fell ill and seemed to die. The priests doubled and then redoubled sacrifices of flesh and grain till food grew scarce and the people began to flee in droves. But other tribes regarded the men of Shuul as accursed. No one wanted them, not even as slaves. Some fled to the wilderness and died, others took up brigandage, and a desperate few trickled back into Shuul. The priests of the city lead the gaunt citizens in strange rites to raise their rotting god. Outsiders should beware, for their blood may soak the altar stones if they are captured by the priests.

The curse of Yaldath hangs on every man of Shuul, and all the sons of the people who do not find acceptance with other gods and tribes (few indeed have earned that).
• Bad reputation
• Nightmares (vary in intensity)

• priests (not every man or woman) learn to speak with the dead in dreams, by sleeping with the corpse or over its grave or place of death


Fear of the curse of the dead god keeps enemies away from the city.

Last edited by combatmedic; 02-27-2013 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:28 PM   #16
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Default Re: Bronze-Age city-states and the gifts of their gods

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett View Post
Somewhere in the north-eastern part of the Bronze Age there is a broad and fertile plain. It is at least as big as Mesopotamia or Hungary, and although there are snow-capped mountains on one side, a dusty plateau on another, highlands cloaked in cedar on a third, and somewhere, far off, a vast complex delta of marshes, lagoons, and meandering river-courses, it is large enough, and foreign lands are distant enough that the inhabitants vaguely image the world as a giant bowl with mountains around the rim and a fertile plain in the bottom. The climate is mild and sunny; though there is a season of rains it is well worth drawing water from the many rivers of the land and using it to irrigate. This new scheme of planting crops has been working out terribly well for a few generations, and beer is a total hoot. We have specialist craftsmen now, and scribes, doctors, and priests.
Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Julian Jaynes's The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, which I don't propose as a serious scientific model, but which is wonderfully productive of sfnal ideas, perhaps as much so as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.
Stop stealing my setting idea! :-)

Okay, fine.

Logala is the god of knowledge. He delights in curiosity, debate and (oddly) architecture. The temple in his city, Gala-Bana ("Shining Roof"), is the most ornate in the land, with a burnished copper frieze above the monumental entrance, and a mighty store of scrolls and tablets within.

His city is not blessed with the most fertile fields or any particular resources, but his people are the pre-eminent traders and merchants of the land, and acquire by trade what they cannot produce themselves. They are often accompanied by priests eagerly recording the customs and sayings of the cities they visit. Some consider them mere gadflies, always questioning and debating, while others believe them to be spies and conspirators. Most just consider Galabanans to be those people who talk too much.

Galabanans who emigrate are perhaps the only people who don't particularly care about their social stigma in their new city.

Those who receive Logala's Gift are blessed with Literacy (Accented) [3], Area Knowledge (the land) [2], and Cultural Adaptability (the greater land only, -50%) [5]. Priests all have Language Talent [10] and Public Speaking [4] and occasionally get Talent (architecture, art (sculpture & metalwork), engineering, masonry, carpentry) [5], but are doomed to be eternally Curious [-5].


ETA: Dammit, Brett, our posts crossed in the mail.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:36 PM   #17
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http://www.petefernbaugh.com/2012/07...phinx-for.html

Garbabel!
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:01 AM   #18
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Keen, god of Wondrous Invention

Keenset stands on the edge of the deep and mysterious Lake Bleme, which is dark-watered and circular and smells of pitch. No streams flow into or out of Lake Bleme, nevertheless its waters rise and fall in wet seasons and dry. Its fish are unlike those of the rivers, and it is the source of a very high grade of bitumen, which occasionally floats to the surface in large blocks. The bitumen is rumoured occasionally to contain marvellous objects as inclusions.

The city of Keenset is rich and strong, with high walls of baked brick mortared with bitumen, and sharp spikes of bronze on the gates. It is also a source of wonders, selling (in small quantities and for high prices) marvellous weapons and tools, toys and machines made of magical materials that are the puzzlement of the wise everywhere. Keenset is the city of glass and steel.

The god of Keenset is Keen, about whom the Keensetti are close-mouthed and reticent. The secret is that Keen is in a coma; he has a wound in his head as though he had been stuck with an axe, and his priests keep him alive only by ingenious and diligent nursing. There is a tax on all lactating women in the city: they must express milk as tribute for the god, and his priests pass this into his stomach through a tube. Quite incidentally to the gift of the god, the priests of Keen have developed clever methods for nursing the sick and injured, and Keensetti doctors are widely respected.

And what is the gift of Keen? Well. People who eat any of the god's tissue gain High TL (TL2). When this was first discovered the procedure was to eat little scraps of tissue from around his wound, scabs and so forth. Later, a technique was invented of picking at his wounds and eating the scabs, but producing a little flow of blood to renew the scab. The prevailing technique is for the priests to draw a little of the god's blood with a scratching implement and to dispense it to initiates. A completely non-invasive technique is in development.

People who ate tissue from the god's brain used to get Gadgeteer, and it was they who invented the magical crafts of Keenset. But unfortunately there is now little enough left that the priests dare not allow any more to be taken.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:19 AM   #19
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Iqual the Hairy Dancer dwells in the hilltop city of Thabak. Though he is seldom encountered outside his high house of imported cedar-wood, men may spy his leaping, shaggy silhouette on the horn windows and hear the patter of his dancing feet on the polished floors.

Tiny manlike creatures with tails and fur haunt the roof and grounds of his house; men say pilgrims brought these creatures from a far-off country not long after the city was founded, but before written records were kept. These animals dwell only here of all the cities in the world, and will sicken and die if taken away. The creatures gibber, mock, and fling excrement at passer-by. The locals eagerly rub this dung on their faces and will be incensed if outsiders do not follow this simple custom out of respect to the god.

Weekly festivals held before the god's house draw crowds of dancers, musicians, and revellers. The little beasts of the house often descend into the crowd to cavort with humans, snatch food whether it is offered promptly or not, and pinch or prod small children and babies (good luck!) The folk of Thabak claim that sometimes the creatures play music on tiny silver pipes, but no outsider has ever seen this thing.

Iqual may bless musicians and dancers who please him with manic states of creative inspiration or virtuosity, but his favored also become prone to animal-like behavior when feeling his power.

Grants boosts to dancing and music making while under the god’s influence but these transports also inspire beast-like responses to strong emotions.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:35 AM   #20
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I'll be interested to see what Brett does with Galun, Missu, Rold,and Walas.
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