Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In Egypt no man may kill a cat.

(Apologies for the fonts jumping around in this post. The HTML for this post is all screwed up.)

So last night I started going over my copy of Gods, Demi-Gods, & Heroes, the OD&D precursor to Deities & Demigods/Legends & Lore. In tomorrow’s post I’ll explain what I had in mind when I pulled out this particular book. Today I want to talk about the Egyptian pantheon. As presented in GDH, the gods of Egypt are by far the most hands-on of the deities. Look at all the cool ways they can interact with the PCs:

There is a 5% chance that Set is watching when a being does a highly evil act (judge’s option) and if he is he will give the being 2-20 Minions of Set with no strings attached being confident that the being will only do evil with them.

Minions of Set are bad mofos who run around in plate mail and can turn into giant snakes. What’s not to love? Below is a pic of them from the Deities & Demigods, which makes sure you know the plate mail is black and also gives these guys the power to turn into giant scorpions, crocodiles and cave bears as well. Radical.Moving on:

This God [Osiris] is very aware of his priestly worshippers and if one does a great deed for the religion (judge’s option) the priest is given a wish.

Ptah enjoys new ideas and devices. When a being creates a device that is highly useful (judge’s option) there is a 10% chance that the God will reward that being with a Thet.

The book describes two kinds of Thet, one which allows you to go ethereal once a week, and one that projects an anti-magic spell that the wielder can cast through without difficulty. How cool is that? No clue is given in the text as to what the heck a Thet looks like. (I guess the amulet on the left in this picture is a Thet, if you're curious.)

Horus is very aware of any avenging person. If a lawful person seeks revenge there is a 15% chance that the God will aid by increasing the being’s categories to 18’s until revenged.

Bes looks favorably upon all gambles and the greater the risk the better he likes it (judge’s option). There is a 5% chance the God will, if really pleased, give the being a luck stone, no strings attached.

She [Isis] understands the fashioning of magical charms as no other being and is able to form these so they resist the effects of one spell only. She gives these to any being she favors of the lawful or neutral alignment. The giving of the charm does not depend on any action, just her whimsical nature.

Goibnie, Blacksmith of the Celtic gods, can make similar devices but there’s no note of him giving them away.

The God [Anubis] hates all thievery of any type and when a tomb is being robbed there is a 5% chance that he will come and kill the robber. If one of his statues is in the tomb there is a 25% chance he will appear.

Obviously I need to put more statues of Anubis in my dungeons.

She [Bast] is the protector of all cat kind and there is a 40% chance that she will see a being killing one of the cat race. When this happens she does one of 2 things: either she comes and kills the slayer, or if the being is very powerful she demands that he or she raise the cat to life and devote one half of the rest of their life to Bast.

I wonder how that “one half of the rest of their life” thing works in practice. Do you worship Bast every other day? That would put a major crimp into any longterm adventures. “I’m sorry but I can’t fight trolls with you today, as I have to glorify Bast. Yes, all day. Yes, I know you told me to leave that cat alone.”

It [Apesh, dragon turtle god of greed and evil] is very fond of allowing maps to its many treasures to be found by lawful beings and then taking a personal hand in killing them when they try to take the gold.

Being an adventurer in mythic Egypt is a pretty tricky business. A divine dragon turtle surreptitiously slips you a map to his lair just so he can eat you for lunch. Maybe the lair’s hidden in an old tomb, so Anubis shows up to kick your ass as well. And in the course of the fight don’t accidentally fireball a kitty cat or Bast might join the fracas. Meanwhile the good twin of the last villain you iced has sworn revenge, so he’s hunting you down while super-charged with Horus-power. Oh, and coincidently Isis gave this guy an amulet that protects him from your favorite attack spell. On top of it all, any random bad guy might have twenty thugs that can turn into giant snakes. Good times.