So Blood of Pangea is pretty sweet and simple but I'm especially found of its supplement. For context, BoP is very clearly a not!Hyborian Age Sword & Sorcery game with a small attached setting which ticks all the Howardian fantasy boxes. Meanwhile, its supplement the Opherian Scrolls very much ticks all the Moorcockian dark fantasy boxes. Its basically very much Elric with the serial numbers filed off. As such I've decided to expand upon it and give it my flair and style, within the reasons and confines that I can't directly reproduce the content of the PDF.
|This post is not complete without|
a picture of THE White Wolf!
Options for Crossover
There are a few ways to combine a pre-existing game with Godbound, some mutually exclusive as I once outlined in the post on combining Red Tide and Godbound. Hell, go all 'cosmic' and combine all three. Add Yoon-Suin too! Go nuts! Bwahahaha...ahem, anyway:
- Blood of Pangea As Base: In this version, the BoP setting is the base for all the cosmos. There is an eternal struggle between Chaos and Law, Moorcock-style and everything. The 'Godbound' powers simply represent beings with God-like powers, such as (cursed) Champions of Chaos and Law, archmages who have mastered dread powers and possibly godlings and other super powered beings.
- Godbound As Base: In this version, the history and cosmos of Godbound form the base. The world of Pangea is a Realm somewhere in the fractured universe of Godbound. In ages past, the Opherian were posthuman (similar to those of Polyarchy of Kham but of different stock and of different origin) who ruled their decaying world before it reverted into absolute barbarism, taking away all traces of the advanced theotechnical wonders found in that world. The Opherian struck many bargains with the Uncreated pouring from the void to the point these beings began to change, becoming more interested in raw chaos and change than complete unmaking. These are the beings known as the Demons of Chaos. The Gods of Law, meanwhile, are all the divine beings of other origins who would very much prefer to rule a slightly-less-crappy Pangea rather than an eternal hellscape if the Opherian had their way long ago.
It is worth noting that the Opherian Scrolls mention that the Gods of Law include both gods of Good and Evil. As such their ranks would include all manners of creatures, from benevolent ascended beings to vile and brutal Parasite Gods who nonetheless are a slightly lighter shade of grey. Dark Fantasy isn't very happy, after all. That said, this made me think of an third option which is a variation of the second:
- Godbound is the PAST: In that version, the rough 'present time' of Godbound was anywhere between centuries to millennia in the past. In this grim future of the Godbound universe, the decay of the Celestial Engines was never remotely repaired. The Godbound appeared, challenged the old gods and in time replaced them. Much like the Made Gods before them they waged war for supremacy and the kinder, more reasonable Godbound were destroyed. Today, the dreadful Gods of Law are embittered beings who have formed their own Paradises (see the Deluxe version of Godbound for that). They try to influence beings in what may be the last remaining realm to still support normal life: Pangea.
Yeah that seems dark enough, doesn't it? This setup basically implies that, ultimately, the Godbound universe was cursed to endure a repeat of the war which destroyed Heaven, albeit likely as an even slower burn. Great magics and cosmic powers were used and ultimately lost, possibly forever.
Uncreated - The Demons of Chaos
Godbound established that there is such thing as the Uncreated: demon-like eldritch abominations, unliving, unnatural things. Horrific fusions of flesh and inorganic material or monstrous perversions and mockery of existing life. Uncreated seek nothing else than to unmake reality if they can. The Demons which Opherian made pacts with are the least horrible (but not by much!) of the Uncreated: the sort of wicked powers which seem more interested in the slow corruption and tarnishing of the world. Some Opherian and sages hold that there are Demons whose true motivation is to simply bring change itself and thus alter and eventually unmake existence to lead way to the next creation. Just what exactly is the truth (if there even is such a thing) depend on which option was chosen above.
Redesigning the Opherian
The book describe the Opherian as very much accurate to the appearance of the Melnibonean. Which is to say they look kind of like elves. Now that's fine and all but, personally? I think we can do better and make them stand out tiny bit more. Plus, 'evil elves' is a bit overplayed these days. As such, here is my proposed redesign:
Opherian are an hybrid race of a stock similar to Men. Taking cues from the Melnibonean being related to dragons, the Opherian (and hey their name vaguely rhyme with Ophidian!) posses serpentine and/or reptilian traits, albeit to a very vague degree. While they retain their elfin beauty, it is one which is cold and terrifying. Their skins are pale and their hair range in the white, gold, pale blue or pale green. They have piercing, exotic eyes which seem to never blink enough. Their teeth are pale and long, not completely fang-like but certainly a bit too sharp. Their skin is smooth, scarless and has an almost unnatural sheen. Their grace is almost alien, as if they have too many bones. Opherian women remain forever thin and the disturbing reason for this (that outsiders remain unaware of) is that they lay eggs and then nurse the hatchling. As such pregnancies are short. Eating the unborn eggs of a rival is a great way to insult them: Opherians care more about their pride and failure to protect their assets than the life of the child, however. Very few of them live anyway: sacrificing a child is a great way to earn dark favors.
|Kain (from Legacy of Kain) is already an Elric-lite as it is|
so its no surprise he's how I imagine a more deformed Opherian.
The Opherian Nobles display a bit more reptilian traits, a side effect of a combination of inbreeding., magical experiments and their connection to Chaos. Very few of them are completely and utterly deformed but those that are have truly terrifying visages. These individuals are shunned in Opherian high society yet their status as outsiders make them excellent spies, assassins and eccentric sorcerers. In time they either die or find ways to make themselves indispensable.
- The 'crown' mutation is a bony growth found on Opherian nobles, which form ridges and spikes above their eyebrows, which curve up into stubby and useless crowns of horns as they reach adulthood. Many of them enhance this deformity by jamming metal and gems into it, creating an organic crown of nobility. This is seen as a favorable mutation and is generally seen as very attractive to other Opherian.
- Eye mutations usually result in a more reptilian appearance but a few unlucky Opherians are born without eyes. Some are slightly more lucky and merely blind. The myths of the Younglings have given Opherian the ability to bring chaos and mutation with a mere glance, like some messed up Gorgon but this is likely the stuff of myths and tall tales. Or is it?
- Forked tongues, claw-like nails and colorful scale-like patterns exist within the Opherian bloodlines and these are seen as relatively normal. True freaks, however, are born misshapen, bald, with clove feet or bug eyes: the stuff of chaos wrought upon the flesh. These are often killed at birth which would appear paradoxical but, to the Opherian mind, they are offering the blackened souls of these blessed children to their true parent: the lords of Chaos.
- Other sickness are tolerate and accepted as part of the Opherian bloodline: deafness, myriad flavors of insanity and other forms of crippling are the norm and not the exception.
Words (and their Alignment?)
The Words of Godbound represent primordial and/or fundamental concept. As it is, there is currently no Word of Chaos or Word of Law, as Kevin Crawford once argued that such terms are so hard to define in any universal term that it would be impossible to make a suitably generic Word for either. In any case, here's some quick ideas on what Words would lean more toward Chaos or Law. Assume the others are Neutral and open to both alignment. These include some which were homebrewed by other people and can be fond here.
- Chaos: Fate, Shapeshifting, Entropy, Madness and Decay*.
- Law: Knowledge, Covenant*, Hearth* and Truth*.
* From the aforementioned homebrew document.
If anyone has better ideas, by all mean post them in the comments. This is the part of the post I'm the least satisfied with anyway.