Ahura Mazda and company in Planescape?

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elderbrain
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Ahura Mazda and company in Planescape?

Would it be acceptable to incorporate Ahura Mazda, Angra Mainyu, and the other deities of Zoroasterianism as a "stand in" for the God of the three big monotheistic religions in Planescape? Since many people are touchy about incorporating Him into D&D, I'm been looking for a good substitute.
Officialy, the religion is monotheistic, with the other gods looked on basically as angels or evil spirits. However in actual practice, the other good deities allied with Ahura Mazda are invoked and do have spheres of influence (i.e. divine portfolios). Or is this too close to the other monotheistic religions to be acceptable?

Palomides
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Best path possible

Personally, I think this would be the way to go. I imagine you'll find more resistance from it not being the popular polytheistic choices.
But I think Ahura Mazda is far enough removed (or at least can be with a little tweaking) to not offend anyone's religious sensibilities.
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Personally, I wish they had done the something similar with the Hindu pantheon - creating "new" gods that were obviously inspired by the actual religion but allowing the writers to add a few new twists, etc. without trivializing anyone's beliefs.
But I don't think anyone currently has an attachment to Zoroastecism to get upset using the gods as playthings for your stories

Jem
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Ahura Mazda could reasonably

Ahura Mazda could reasonably be interpreted as an overpower and the Yazatas as a pantheon that directs worship eventually to him. There are a couple of million Zoroastrians in the world today.

Anyway, the prohibition elderbrain is talking about is a planewalker.com ban on threads on monotheism specifically. I guess one asking about how to mostly avoid it is okay. ;^)

elderbrain
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Hopefully! And yes, I am

Hopefully! And yes, I am aware that there are living Zoroastrians, and that the faith is not "dead" as is, say, the Greek pantheon (although even there, some Pagans DO still worship them... likewise with the Norse Powers. I actually work with a guy who worships Thor, no lie!) Anyway, if this is too touchy, I won't be offended if the mods shut the thread down, but since it IS a fascinating religion, I thought I'd at least ask.

Kaelyn
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There's a Planescape version

There's a Planescape version of the Persian/Zoroastrian pantheon, in On Hallowed Ground format, on the old Tiefling's Exultation site here (the word "here" is a link).

elderbrain
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Oh, yes! I see somebody has

Oh, yes! I see somebody has already beat me to the punch... very nice! That's very helpful. Thanks, Kaelyn!

Vaevictis Asmadi
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Is it OK to respond to an old thread?

The difficulty I have with introducing a Supreme Being (such as the Judeo-Christian God) into Planescape is the cosmological difficulty of good and evil. In Judeo-Christian religions, the cosmos is fundamentally Good, all Evil comes from falling, and eventually it will turn out well in the end.

But in Planescape, Good and Evil (and Law and Chaos) are equally powerful and equally ancient, as far as anyone can tell, and most people don't agree that the Multiverse is heading towards an End. Which means if there's an overdeity of Goodness... there needs to be an equally mighty Overdeity of Evil. And maybe ones for Law and Chaos too. That isn't true to the Judeo-Christian concept, but it might work with Manichaeanism. I don't know about Zoroastrianism.

elderbrain
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Vaevictis, I never stated

Vaevictis, I never stated that I intended to introduce Ahura Mazda as a Supreme Being. While some do see him as such, don't forget that there is a variant myth which makes both Ahura Mazda and his rival Ahriman the children of a higher being named Zurvan - and even Zurvan is said to have offered up prayers for a child to some unnamed higher power (the prayer resulted in the creation of Ahura Mazda, while a moment of doubt as to the prayer's efficacy resulted in the creation of Ahriman.) As to the deity of the Abrahamic faiths, gnostic accounts make that being, too, not supreme - so really, it's up to you what's "real" in your game. If you want a monotheistic deity in your game and don't want said deity to be the Supreme Being, well, there's support for that view. Pick the one that suits you and your group, or leave them out as you prefer. If the added deities aren't truly supreme, then nothing need change in the game cosmologically. (Even making one an Overpower doesn't change things - Overpowers have so far canonically been depicted as each having power over only one campaign setting, i.e. Ao is supreme over the other gods in Toril, but only Toril - he has no power or presence in Oerth, for instance. Their power is limited to one Prime-material campaign setting, they're not multiversal.) I just thought that Ahura and company were interesting.

Vaevictis Asmadi
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I wasn't criticizing you

I said I don't know anything about Zoroastrianism, and what I meant is that I have no idea if the Zoroastian Ahura Mazda is the Supreme Being or not.

I was only commenting on the concern elderbrain raised about introducing specifically the Judeo-Christian God.

I actually do agree with you that an overdeity of Good and an overdeity of Evil make sense as a depiction of gods from religions in which the Good God and the Evil God are equally "powerful" (for lack of a better word). I just can't remember which religions those are. *shrug*

I didn't intend to criticize you or anyone else on this thread.

elderbrain
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Oh, no offense taken by me

Oh, no offense taken by me (or, as far as I can tell, anyone else.) Anyway, the official, "canonical" Zoroastrian position is that Ahura Mazda is the Supreme Being - God with a capital "G", with Ahriman being a lesser deity, but as I mentioned there was a heretical sect of Zurvanites who held that both Ahura and Ahriman were on an equal footing, with Zurvan as their parent, and only Zurvan's intervention guaranteed Ahura's eventual victory (both the official and heretical version have Ahura Mazda eventually triumphing over Ahriman.) You could have a world where these two deities were both Overpowers, but again, they would only be the top dogs on that specific world, not over the whole multiverse. (Note, however, that I don't believe there is any precedent for an Overpower granting spells to Clerics - Ao explicitly does not; after people became aware of him during the Time of Troubles on Toril, a sect of worshipers emerged and tried to become priests - to no avail. They could worship if they liked, but no spells were forthcoming. Whether this means that Overpowers just choose not to grant spells, or whether they cannot for some reason, is a mystery.)

It has been suggested that there are higher powers than Overpowers in canonical material - the Overpower Ao of Toril is said to report to "a luminous being", so there might be a Supreme Being in the game... but then again, who's to say that "luminous being" doesn't itself report to someone yet higher? Also, in one 3rd edition adventure, "Bastion of Broken Souls", a god tried to take control over the Positive Energy plane and the souls created there, and a bunch of other gods took that god down for fear of something called "the Ban of the Unborn" - evidently they believe a being higher than themselves forbids tampering with preincarnate souls, and feared being collectively punished for the deeds of one of their own. So there could well be beings higher than the known gods of the planes.

For what it's worth, in my game Ahura would be a Greater power, not an Overpower.

Vaevictis Asmadi
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Overpowers

I don't really see the trouble with an Overpower having power on more than one world. On the old Mimir site, there's a concept of Io as an even greater world serpent which can affect any plane. Here: http://mimir.net/mapinfinity/dragons.html

ProphetZarquon
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Overpowers spanning planes

Yeah, but interplanar deities like Io & Lolth are not mere human deities.

... I'm semi-kidding: I see no reason why Overdeities wouldn't be able to try extending their reach to other planes; I'd just expect any associated or opposed deities of that plane to assert their priority or resist the incursion. I guess I always figured some variant of the old "double cost or half effectiveness for every plane removed from power source" rule would apply in such cases (not strictly related, & probably deprecated long ago, but it seems useful, for instance here)? Halving their power each step removed from their home plane seems like a decent way to limit the frequency of deific territorial disputes. Zorquan knows, the kids hate it when mom & dad fight.

Also, I'd like to mention that I personally, as one who'd be hard pressed to settle for anything but vultures when I die, am more offended by the ongoing refusal to legally recognize the ancient & ecologically sound (moreso than any other) funeral rites of Zoroastrianism, than by any interpretation of Ahura Mazda as less-than-totally-dominant. You can spin stories any way you like, just let my body be disposed of per my wishes when I die. (Vultures are exclusively carrion eaters. The practice doesn't hurt anybody, & in fact produces less dangerous waste & is more efficient than any other method including composting.)