Question about two Powers...

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elderbrain
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Question about two Powers...

The goddess Eris is briefly mention in On Hallowed Ground, but not given a write-up or even included in the cut-down entries. Given that she started a major war over that bit with the golden apple ("For The Fairest"), it seems like she should be a "player" in Planescape. How would you write her up in Planescape terms? Seems like she would be a terrific deity for a Xaositech!

Also, about the Egyptian demigod Apshai... I can't find this Power listed in any of my books on ancient gods. Even the one I got from the library specifically ABOUT Egyptian deities didn't give Apshai a mention. Is this an actual, historical deity, or did TSR invent Apshai from thin air?

Jem
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There's an evil insect

There's an evil insect-monster called the apshai in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, but it's only a brief mention. Making Apshai a deity (of insects, from what I can gather) appears to be a D&Dism.

Eris could probably be given several different roles depending on the source material you care to use. Here I'm just going off Wikipedia.

She of the golden apple would likely be a lesser deity, strongly chaotic and evil, one of many trickster deities. She apparently views it as her right to be invited to the wedding of Achilles' parents, so she is seemingly permitted on Olympus occasionally; several myths have Zeus or Hera sending her somewhere to cause trouble among groups of people that anger the king and queen of the gods. She is not likely welcome regularly on Olympus, so perhaps she is forced to wander other planes, such as the Prime or some Lower Plane where she can not get kicked out for making trouble -- a small realm on Pandemonium would be a good fit for such a troublesome, quarrelsome goddess.

On the other hand, Hesiod elsewhere suggests a larger, darker role for her: a primordial deity, a child of Night, mother of a multitude of travails such as battle, lies, and anarchy. Nonnus says she escorts Typhon to battle with Zeus. These make her predate the Olympians, and even the Titans themselves. Despite the woes she births, Hesiod also gives her two positive roles: she births Lethe, the river of blessed forgetfulness, and the jealousy and envy she brings also stirs men to work to better themselves. In this role she would be the competitive spirit of the free market! This deity would perhaps dwell in Limbo itself, not often taking on a human form, an intermediate deity, chaotic neutral with perhaps only evil leanings.

Chaos, Trickery and Madness seem to be appropriate domains for any clerics particularly devoted to her.

Unsung
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^ What Jem said. Apshai doesn

^ What Jem said. Apshai doesn't seem to have been an important figure in the original mythology. Here's what I turned up:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/ebod/ebod09.htm http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/bestiary/insects.htm

Incorporating Apshai into On Hollowed Ground as a demipower, then, is probably an in-jokey reference/homage to this early D&D-inspired computer game: http://www.filfre.net/2011/08/temple-of-apshai/

As for Eris, there is also the more recent Discordian interpretation of her, with whom the Xaositects would likely find a deep mutual sympathy. Compare and contrast:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discordianism

elderbrain
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OH YES, I am definitely aware

OH YES, I am definitely aware of Discordianism - I own a copy of the Principalia Discordia...! Fnord.

Kaelyn
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Eris was detailed in Dragon

Eris was detailed in Dragon Magazine #133, for what it's worth, as part of an article on the Roman pantheon. In that article, she's a chaotic neutral greater goddess with a special cause chaos attack when she throws her apple. Her realm is said to be in Gladsheim (Ysgard). Her worshipers' alignment is "any chaotic, though rarely evil."

Class levels: cleric 21, fighter 16, magic-user 10, illusionist 25, thief 13

Those are first edition-style stats, so she would have been an intermediate deity in 2e-terms (intermediate gods didn't exist in 1e). I'd probably have made her a lesser goddess, personally.

Quote:
Eris demands that her worshipers and clerics (collectively known as "Discordians") value freedom and practice what they preach. If any of her clerics enslave other beings or deal in a friendly and willing way with any devils, demons, daemons, or lawful beings (particularly lawful-evil ones), they must pay the cult 1,000 gp/level, go on a difficult quest, and either free the slaves or kill the evil beings. Eris sees lawful evil as particularly repugnant.
Unsung
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So the Wikipedia article on

So the Wikipedia article on Eris calls out a passage from Hesiod wherein Eris's two aspects, Strife and Discord, are viewed as distinct if not necessarily separate.

There's a hook there somewhere. There's not a Roman Pantheon separate from the Greek Olympians in Planescape, yet there are gods distinct to each subset. The parallels between Janus and Aoskar have come up before, but Janus is one of the Roman gods who has no Greek analogue. Meanwhile, Eris is equated with Bellona, Roman goddess of destructive war, a daughter of Jupiter and Juno, as is Eris the daughter of Zeus and Hera...but only in some myths. In others, she was the daughter of Erebus and Nyx (Darkness and Night), and thus granddaughter of the primordial deity Chaos.

Even Discordisanism introduces us to her sister Aneris, goddess of order and non-being, which could be thought of as an equivalent to Bellona/Strife, but the mention of Non-being also draws some tantalizing thematic ground in common with the decidedly non-malevolent destruction goddess Shiva and her hidey-hole in the Negative Energy Plane.

So maybe there are actually two separate-but-connected beings who bear the name Eris. Perhaps learning which is which and how to please either one or the other or both becomes the object of the players' quest?

Hesiod's Theogony:

Quote:
So, after all, there was not one kind of Strife alone, but all over the earth there are two. As for the one, a man would praise her when he came to understand her; but the other is blameworthy: and they are wholly different in nature. For one fosters evil war and battle, being cruel: her no man loves; but perforce, through the will of the deathless gods, men pay harsh Strife her honour due.

But the other is the elder daughter of dark Night (Nyx), and the son of Cronus who sits above and dwells in the aether, set her in the roots of the earth: and she is far kinder to men. She stirs up even the shiftless to toil; for a man grows eager to work when he considers his neighbour, a rich man who hastens to plough and plant and put his house in good order; and neighbour vies with his neighbour as he hurries after wealth. This Strife is wholesome for men. And potter is angry with potter, and craftsman with craftsman, and beggar is jealous of beggar, and minstrel of minstrel.

I'm not sure where to go with this yet, still pondering. But these kinds of interpersonal webs between the gods have always been one of my favourite things about Planescape.

Jem
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the decidedly non-malevolent
the decidedly non-malevolent destruction goddess Shiva and her hidey-hole in the Negative Energy Plane

Just a quick comment. Shiva's a he, Final Fantasy notwithstanding. :^) For a deity of destruction, you may be thinking of Kali.

Unsung
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...Oops. Conflating the three

...Oops. Conflating the three, perhaps. Shiva is who I mean (Siva in On Hallowed Ground), but I do have a habit of thinking he's a she. Partly the sound of the name, partly Final Fantasy, and in large part the same assumptions reflected back on the part of the people I game with.

So yes, make that destruction goddess in his hidey-hole. Ahem.