Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Reading fail

I gave up on two books I had from the library: Star Wars: Dark Disciple and Cold Dish, the first in the Longmire series.  The second one was the least interesting in terms of why it happened, so I'll get it out of the way first—it was clear that the plot for the novel was used to make one of the episodes of the TV show.  Whether or not it added more or did something else, I'm honestly not that interested.  It would be rehashing a story that I've already just watched recently on Netflix.  That may work for some types of books, but for mysteries, if you've seen the screen adaptation, reading the novel afterwards is usually a let-down.  Nevermind.

Too bad.  I would probably have liked to have discovered the novels before I discovered (belatedly) the show, but it didn't happen that way, and there's no point in wishing for something that didn't happen.

For the Star Wars novel, on the other hand, the story is quite different.  I was initially excited about it because it was based on a number of scripts written by Katie Lucas that were to have been episodes of the phantom Seasons 6 and 7 of The Clone Wars, a show which I greatly enjoyed and still rewatch on occasion (my son has been "marathoning" the episodes for a few weeks now; he's just finished Season 4, I believe.  They're on Netflix in HD which makes it easy and convenient.)  In fact, heck—I was really excited about all kinds of stuff that didn't make it into the season.  The novel was written by Christie Golden.

Instead, and as a result of this abortive attempt to read the novel, I've decided that I'm going to offer my answer to the infamous K. Tempest Bradford challenge.  I'm going go deliberately not read any author who isn't a white, straight male author, who appreciates Western civilization.  At least not without multiple, trustworthy recommendations.

Sure, there's the odd Leigh Brackett or C. L. Moore in the field, but by and large, I find that "diversity" authors do not write about things that I want to read.  Almost every so-called science fiction or fantasy book I've read in the last several years written by a woman has actually been a bodice-ripper romance novel in fantasy or science fiction drag.  And Star Wars: Dark Disciple is no exception.  The official publisher's summary of Dark Disciple is as follows:
"The only way to bring down the dark side's most dangerous warrior may be for Jedi and Sith to join forces.
In the war for control of the galaxy between the armies of the dark side and the Republic, former Jedi Master turned ruthless Sith Lord Count Dooku has grown ever more brutal in his tactics. Despite the powers of the Jedi and the military prowess of their clone army, the sheer number of fatalities is taking a terrible toll. And when Dooku orders the massacre of a flotilla of helpless refugees, the Jedi Council feels it has no choice but to take drastic action: targeting the man responsible for so many war atrocities, Count Dooku himself.
But the ever-elusive Dooku is dangerous prey for even the most skilled hunter. So the Council makes the bold decision to bring both sides of the Force's power to bear—pairing brash Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with infamous one-time Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress. Though Jedi distrust for the cunning killer who once served at Dooku's side still runs deep, Ventress's hatred for her former master runs deeper. She's more than willing to lend her copious talents as a bounty hunter—and assassin—to Vos's quest.
Together, Ventress and Vos are the best hope for eliminating Dooku—as long as the emerging feelings between them don't compromise their mission. But Ventress is determined to have her retribution and at last let go of her dark Sith past. Balancing the complicated emotions she feels for Vos with the fury of her warrior's spirit, she resolves to claim victory on all fronts—a vow that will be mercilessly tested by her deadly enemy . . . and her own doubt."
A more accurate one would be as follows, modified from the publisher's summary to 50 Shades of Grey:
"When self-proclaimed maverick Jedi Quinlan Vos goes to interview young bounty hunter and former apprentice of Count Dooku Asajj Ventress for a startling mission assigned by the council, he encounters a woman who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The naive, emotionally out of touch Vos is startled to realize he wants this woman and, despite her enigmatic reserve, finds he is desperate to get close to her. Unable to resist Vos’s wry humor, wit, and independent spirit, Ventress admits she wants him, too—but on her own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Ventress’s singular erotic tastes, Vos hesitates. For all the trappings of success—her successful bounty hunter business, her own ship, her undeniable skill—Ventress is a woman tormented by demons and consumed by the spectre of the Dark Side. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Vos discovers Asajj Ventress's secrets and explores his own dark desires.
Oh, and they try to kill Dooku, which obviously won't succeed, since he's still kicking around at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith."
Of course, even the official summary hinted at the uncouth romance genre nature of the story. But rather than learn to get better at reading between the lines, I'm just giving up on women writers completely.  It's been at least five years since I read a work by a woman writer that I'm honestly glad I invested the time in reading.  Major let-down.  And I've been let down far too many times now.  I don't want to read a crypto-romance in space or in fantasy drag.  I don't want to read a screed against Western civilization or "the Patriarchy" or white privilege or any other such inane, ridiculous, insulting concepts.  Never again.

So, like I said, I'm countering Bradford's challenge.  I won't read an author who isn't a white, straight, "cismale" writer this year.  I may not read one ever again, and certainly not without a really significant endorsement from multiple, trustworthy sources.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Borrowing from my own past

I totally ditched my old plot outlines for a potential novel set in the DARK•HERITAGE setting.  One of these days, I'm really going to kick myself for not having buckled down, written it, and put it out there on Amazon as a Kindle ebook.  But I've decided that for my first real outing, I needed more compelling characters than the ones I had whipped up, and in looking back at my gaming past, some of the most compelling characters to ever feature in a game I ran are probably the best place to start.

Scourge
Not saying that I'm going to use them per se, but rather that I think using the core concepts of them is where I want to start.  The following list of misadventures were referred to obliquely in the back stories of Lash and Ricardo, and gives an idea of the kind of people that Scourge and Raimundo will end up being.  Once adapted out of a more overtly D&D-like scenario into my own setting, of course.

  • While at a wharf saloon in Iclezza, Ricardo and Lash brokered a deal with a fight promoter and a goblin prostitue. The details are unclear, but what is known is that at one point they ended up upside down and naked.
  • Ricardo had at least one incident with a cross-dresser in Kadath. 
  • He also had a rather unfortunate incident with a pair of twins in Torregina.
  • Ricardo and Lash once ended up strapped to logs and floating toward the plateau edge in that little town in Nevistimo . Apparently this involved an innkeeper's horny widow that somehow pissed Ricardo off.
  • There was also a time in Iclezza when Ricardo told Lash to do whatever he thought best and two hours later everyone else in the tavern was dead.
  • And there was the time (location unspecified) when Ricardo was apparently keeping a noblewoman distracted while Lash robbed the house . Unfortunately, Her Ladyship the Duchess Borishonova screamed so loud she alerted not only her husband upstairs (busy with his neighbor's daughter), and the neighbor, but most unfortunately that troop of Kisraak's that just happened to be prowling the street, looking for "that cheating hobgoblin and his dandy friend." Lash just about had the safe open, too, when her husband, the daughter, the orcs, and the neighbor all arrived in the study at the same moment. Our heroes were forced to leave town in a manure wagon.
Raimundo
Lash was a hobgoblin con artist, thief and pirate motivated almost solely by greed.  Scourge, of course, can't be a hobgoblin, but I think letting him be a wildling accomplishes much of the same "vibe"—a member of a race typically seen as savage, but cunning and worldly.  His signature weapon (and source of his "name") is a whip, but he also carries plenty of knives and pistols.  He has a history of cat-burglary and general thuggery.

Ricardo, like Raimundo, is equally straight-forward; a dandy, a fop, and yet a sadist and dangerous swordsman, who is motivated almost solely by lust.  I see him as a cosmopolitan fellow, originally from somewhere like Sènt-Haspar, but who's favorite places are the picaresque dens of iniquity of Terrasa or Porto Liure.  He's a spadassin.

For whatever reason, the two of them have been together for almost as long as either can remember, and can't envision capering about the Mezzovian area without each other.  This is perhaps rather ironic, as the fatal flaw of the one character will frequently tend to foil the schemes of the other and vice versa and they argue like the caricature of an old married couple.

But as I cast my net wider towards protagonist archetypes, the notion of two buddy con artists, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby of the Road movies but with more competent action/fighting abilities was the one that appealed to me the most.  And since I had seen that archetype played out in a former game (two, actually) that I'd run, it seemed like the easiest place to start modeling novel characters.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mammoth Lords vs. Totems of the Dead

One of my setting germs is MAMMOTH LORDS, and it's one that I've actually been very excited about for a long time.  Not that I've talked about it much here, but it's still one of my favorite potential settings.

The idea of it was Howard's Hyborian Age but instead of using various Bronze Age, Iron Age and even Medieval peoples and nations of Europe and the Middle East, I applied the idea to the Viking settlement of America.  This allows me to use, as Howard did, alternate names for historical peoples, but because they're alternate, I don't have to worry about chronological exactness or correctness, or other details of actual historical fiction.  I whipped up a draft map that looks a little bit like North America, but not exactly, and put names and places down so I knew who was sitting around next to who.  Because it was specifically Hyborian style sword & sorcery, I also added some Atlantis in the moundbuilder area, and decided that the pre-Clovis peoples like Kennewick Man, etc. were from the sunken continent of Mu, and would be represented by New World Ainu or something like that.  Sounds like a great idea?

Well, apparently it was, because Gun Metal Games totally stole my thunder and did almost exactly the same thing when they published Totems of the Dead for the Savage World game.  I don't have this product still, but I do have the sample pdf that they released a while ago that had was a demo or teaser for the product, and which describes very briefly the concept, the geography and some of the peoples.

Sigh.

I also found their map.  It looks a lot like mine again.  Sigh.  Of course, I have the pluvial lakes, and I have a much bigger Chinese (Fusang) presence on the west coast, and I have my Vikings (Vendels) a bit more southerly as well; they're not just up there by L'Anse aux Meadows, they're also the builders of the Newport tower, and the Kensington runestone and the Spirit Pond runestone, etc.  In other words, it's not just a handful of villages far up on the Canadian east cost, it's a significant Eastern Seaboard presence.

LIike every other setting using the Hyborian model of fantasy everywhere, it's fairly easy to tell who is supposed to represent who.  Where I was Vendels for Vikings, they use Skadians.  Yeah, that's easy.  Where I use Fusang for west coast Chinese settlement, they have the one settlement of Shen.  Where they have Anazi badlands and the Ahabi desert, I have the Azani and Kayenta cliff-dwillers.  Where they have the Maztlani Empire I have... well, actually I don't really get into Mexico or have an Aztec analog—the American southwest is as far south as I really go.

Anyway, I found this map of the setting, and thought I'd post it.  Again: Sigh.  I need to make my own draft into something presentable and post it too, but given that I haven't even done that for CULT OF UNDEATH or even DARK•HERITAGE yet, don't hold your breath.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Cult of Undeath 5x5

Well, here's the 5x5 matrix.  It actually ended up being 6x5 when all was said and done, but I do have to point out that this ended up being a hybrid between the campaign model and the module model.  I think it's actually best interpreted or seen a "mega module" rather than a campaign per se.  And why not?  One of my big complaints about the Pathfinder adventure paths is that they are too long and end up being big sloggish death marches anyway.

In the campaign model, each box would be the equivalent of a "module" whereas here most of them end up being brief shorthand notes for an encounter or series of interlinked encounters at best.

A few other notes.  Ideally, there would be a lot of cross pollination between the various boxes, but because I did a rather simple "transcription" of the outlines of the various modules in the adventure path into the matrix, there isn't nearly as much of it as would be ideal.  Most of the columns end up being rather discrete "chimneys" that don't interact much with the others, and there is relatively little opportunity to bounce back and forth from one campaign stream (i.e., column) to another.  Assuming I'm happy with the CULT OF UNDEATH experience, I might try to do a slightly more radical restructuring of another one of the adventure paths down the line (Legacy of Fire, Serpent's Skull and/or Skull & Shackles stand out as the most likely candidates for me.)  But for the time being, each column reads a lot more like a traditional module than like something that can be remixed with other modules to create a more organic feeling campaign.

I'll need to add a few new optional monsters; I realized (somewhat belatedly) that while I have wraiths, I don't have any other kind of ghost or incorporeal monster.  Among a few other misses.  I honestly don't want a proliferation of ghostly like creatures, but I do want to have an a la carte option of special abilities that can be added or layered on as needed to basically turn the same monster into the equivalent of wraiths, ghosts, spectres, allips, and who knows what other similar standard D&D monsters.

Playing this as an m20 game, I'd figure that a "mega module" is still only a 4-5 levels at the very most, so if I start the game at 1st or 2nd level, I'd only get to 5-6 or so by the end.  That means we won't be fighting Orcus at the end, I guess.

To start the campaign off, prior to even embarking on the matrix, keep in mind that the PCs are all going to be called to Ialomita for the funeral of an old friend, a professor.  They won't know this yet, but he was murdered by followers of the Black Path, a cult that seeks to resurrect the Charnel God trapped under Grozavest.  They're on one of those rather video-gamey quests to assemble a bunch of artifacts, and the professor had at least one of them.

Anyway, the will of the professor gives the PCs some incentive to stay in town for a few weeks to make sure that his heir and daughter lands on her feet, and column #1 happens while they're still in town.

Cult of Undeath 5x5
Columns 2, 3 and 6 have an optional block, depending on how the pacing goes and what happens.  Pacing can also be modified somewhat, if desired, by throwing in encounters with bandits or the occasional monster or wild animal while traveling, or the proverbial Raymond Chandler advice, modified for the fantasy genre, of course—when in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun.

After you're done with the matrix the capstone adventure is a simple set of a few encounters, where the PCs go to the Pit of Neb Ankh where Tarush is buried under a gigantic, enchanted and chained pit.  They won't go all the way down to find Tarush, of course, which would be a foe well beyond the PCs no matter what level you're currently running at, but the Black Path's cult leader Grigore Stefanescu must be faced along with his inner circle of undead.  I thought about making Grigore a lich, but my liches according to the rules I came up are really formidable and are only suitable for really high level opponents to face in combat.  So I'll have to make him a unique statblock, I guess.  That's OK.

Grigore Stefanescu, the cult leader of the Black Path 
Anyway, what's next?  Over the next several weeks, I'll be filling out more details on each of the blocks in the matrix and the steps before and after the matrix, and when I'm done, this will be a complete, ready to run campaign of sorts.

Then, I just need to actually run it!

UPDATE: Have a slightly more detailed version of the matrix in Google Docs, which should be, I believe, made viewable to anyone with the link, which is right here.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cult of Undeath Outline

My method of adventure design usually bears little resemblance to the running of a pre-published game like Carrion Crown.  Not only do I like to incorporate a pseudo-sandboxish approach where the PCs aren't led by the nose from one encounter to the other, but where they feel like they have some elbow room to wander.  This doesn't mean converting adventures into hex-crawls, but it does mean offering a slightly different approach in terms of addressing the adventure.

Usually, I have several "hooks" and the PCs could potentially follow one of several hooks.  Each hook, in turn, has a number of "suggested" or likely outcomes, usually spelled out as vaguely defined scenes or encounters.  These aren't exact or precise, because depending on which hooks the PCs prefer to follow, and how they resolve the scenes and encounters, the following ones could be very different either in terms of what they actually are, or in terms of what characteristics they have when the PCs get there; i.e., the PCs might have a more or less hostile situation on their hands depending on what they've done previously.

There is a method that works very much like this already, although it's a bit more organized than my more intuitive approach, called the 5x5 model.  Strictly speaking, the 5x5 model is meant to be used to develop  campaigns rather than adventures, but it's also been adapted into the adventure design approach.  Given that I'm actually attempting to adapt the entire Carrion Crown adventure path into a simplified campaign, I can use the 5x5 model to do so, and then use the 5x5 model to adapt each of the adventures as well.

To be honest, the way I've done it in the past is often more like 3x5 or 3x7 or something like that, with many of the permutations down the line not ever really defined.  So specifically attempting to use the 5x5 method is very familiar to me, yet also a bit more disciplined and organized than what I normally do.  What the 5x5 method doesn't  really seem to offer, though, but which I think is important, is a 1x1 introduction and a 1x1 conclusion.  The PCs can start driving the adventure from what the options are on the table after they've managed to get a handle on their characters, but I believe in a little bit of "virtuous railroading" at the beginning of the campaign and then I prefer to funnel them back into a conclusion.

Also; check out Dragon Magazine #429 for the most recent (and author's favorite) write-up of the 5x5 method.  I'll be posting my 5x5 list/grid as soon as I've finished it up, which with any luck, will be quite shortly.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

m20 Updates

I've updated the m20 document to version 1.1.8.  This is mostly just a fix of some typos and a few minor issues.  It's more of a clean-up and very slight rebalancing than it is anything else.

Of perhaps more interest is that I added a Supplemental and Optional section; not to the document, but to the wiki.  Once I have enough material here—a critical mass, if you will—I'll create a Supplemental document pdf and make it available as well.  But until then, you'll have to get the goods on the wiki, which conveniently, I'll give you the link for right here:

https://sites.google.com/site/fowldwimmerlaik/home/system

A few designer's notes, if you please.

  • The Shadow Sword class was one that I wrote up quite some time ago on this blog.  If you search the m20 tag, you'll find it, and it's not much (if any) changed from that.  
  • Optional class features: I'd already played around a bit with making a la carte classes, similar to how I did races in my m20 Star Wars game.  This more or less incorporates that.  Each core class has a major schtick, or core mechanical conceit, if you will: for the fighter, it's the bonus to hit and damage, for the Rogue it's Sneak Attack, etc.  Each also has a minor mechanical benefit, a +3 to a skill.  This allows for you to trade in your minor mechanical benefit for a different minor mechanical benefit, to get a customized version of the class.  It can be as simple as changing the skill which gets the +3, giving non-Experts limited access to an Affinity, or even giving any class the ability to gain an animal companion or familiar.
  • As an aside, there is some play in terms of what is a core mechanical bonus vs. a minor mechanical bonus.  The Outdoorsman really has three minor mechanical bonuses rather than a core and a minor mechanical bonus, so I'm treating two of them as if they are together a single core mechanical bonus.  The Affinity bonus of the Expert, if limited to only one affinity, can serve as a minor mechanical bonus even though when it's one to start with but more to come as you level up, it serves instead as a core mechanical bonus.
  • The Shadow Sword isn't subject to modification in this way, at least not without more work than I was willing to put into it at this point.  It's core mechanical conceit is a bit more powerful than most, being basically a core mechanical conceit plus about half a minor mechanical benefit too.  To accommodate this, the Shadow Sword's minor mechanical bonus is more limited than for the other classes, meaning that you shouldn't be able to trade it out for a regular minor mechanical bonus.
  • Although the Outdoorsman animal companion is meant to be switched out for more powerful animals, I can see that one might rather keep the same signature animal and have it grow in power commensurate with what a switched out animal would be, more or less.  Since an animal companion (also a familiar, although there aren't separate rules for them if that's what you want to call it) is now a electable minor mechanical bonus, I figured the concept needed some bulking up.  I also added a list of more animal stats, including a number of what I would consider to be the most traditional animal companion or familiar type animals.
I'm keeping this at the optional house rule level for now.  I have to admit, though—some of these rules changes I like enough that I may decide at some future date to incorporate them fully into the main rules, and if I do, that will finally be what brings me to consider it a sufficient enough revision to update the version to 1.2.

Cult of Undeath updates

I've made a minor executive decision, and I'm going to rename Prezov County; I'm going to use the word Timischburg, which is a combination of the Romanian and German names for an actual city in Transylvania (Timişoara/Temeschburg).  I've decided over time that the name Prezov County just didn't really feel right, and in a game that's supposed to evoke the visceralness of the horror genre, how the name feels is important.  Prezov still works as a name for a location somewhere within the country, though.  I'll log that one away as a useful name I can still recycle.

In any case, I've also made a sketchy map, bulked out in pencil rather fast on a handy piece of printer paper.  Eventually, I'll make a nice map, on resume paper and with ink and watercolors, scanned and names and labels with Paint.NET or GIMP or something (I don't have Photoshop, and I'm not paying for a graphics package I'd rarely use.)  But the sketchy map is sufficient for now to block out the geography.  In fact, I'm somewhat following the guidelines from this article in doing the map in this format. But I love a good, beautiful map, and it's long past time that I really put one together for this world.  This isn't it, but it's a map at least, and like I said, it sufficiently blocks out the geography for my needs right now.



The map also, in case that isn't obvious, isn't labeled per se, and it applies equally to Timischburg and to Tarush Noptii, since I'm deliberately making them the same with one main exception: Tarush Noptii is meant to be a region within my DARK•HERITAGE setting, while Timischburg needs to stand alone for the CULT OF UNDEATH setting.

Anyway, let me give a little context to all of the labels.

  • Haunted Forest - infamous as the redoubt of a group of wildlings who brook no trespassers.  Very dangerous to pass through; makes an effective barrier to the world beyond to the north.
  • Eltdown Fens - actually fens, ings and carrs -- all a former lake that is gradually disappearing into marsh.  Rumors have it that the Lost Lake still hides somewhere in the fens, and that as it dries, the ruins of a fabulously ancient benighted city will reveal themselves.  Named for the nearby hamlet of Eltdown.
  • Eltdown - a small, suspicious little hamlet that has been here since before the rise of the modern nation.  Infamous for a number of inscribed pottery shards found nearby that, when partially translated, proved to be terrifying works of darkest occult provenance.
  • Thursewood - another dense forest, infamous for the ferocious thurses, or beastmen, who inhabit it.  Even more dangerous than the Haunted Forest.
  • Mittermarkt - in the shadow of a Lone Mountain, Mittermarkt is most famous for its Academy.
  • Vetala County - the lands that belong to the Vetala clan of vampires.  Mittermarkt is located within.
  • Strix County - rural, agrarian lands that belong to the Strix clan of vampires.  They have no major cities, but the land is dotted with many farming villages and hamlets.
  • Innsburough - on the shore, technically claimed by the Baron of Strix.  This decrepit fishing town is shunned even by the citizens of an already frightening country.
  • Vyrko County - lands claimed by the Baron of House Vyrko.
  • Ialomita - a prosperous village not terribly far from Baron Vyrko's castle.  Was once the site of the Hellstone Prison, which burned to the ground a number of years ago.
  • Nosferatu County - lands of House Nosferatu.
  • Grozavest - belongs to no county, but is the capital of the entire nation.  Located along the Black River, its most impressive physical features include the fact that it is always night in city and for many miles around it, an astronomically improbable occurrence to say the least, and the large sealed crater in the center of the city where Tarush the Charnel God is, according to legend, buried after his fall along with the Primogenitor Vampires.
  • Bitterwood - a large, forested part of Ubyr County where the nobles and well heeled often hunt.  Rumored to be frequented by werewolves who remain undiluted from the Ancient Days.
  • Ubyr County - lands of the Ubyr clan of vampires
  • Rusalka County - lands of the Rusalka clan of vampires
  • Dracul County - lands of House Dracul
  • Orlok County - lands of House Orlok
  • Veszok - large coastal city in Orlok County
  • Inganok - relatively large city associated with the onyx mining operations in the nearby chain of volcanic hills and mountains.
  • Prezov - city that grew around the castle of the Lord of House Dracul, one of the largest in the country and a rival, in many ways, to Grozavest itself.
  • Dragomiresti - site of a former town which is now abandoned; a terrible massacre during a three-way House War between Dracul, Ubyr and Orlok.  The conflict was resolved in the capital, but the site of the former town sits still abandoned.
  • Sighing Farms - farmland worked by slaves who lived in and around Dragomiresti.  For many years, the farms were undermanned due to the House War.  This resulted in widespread shortages and even famines across the country, but the Sighing Farms are gradually being reclaimed and reworked.  Many of them remain overgrown with weeds and wild beasts.
This list of locations that are charted on the sketchy map is not, of course, meant to be exhaustive.  Other cities or towns could easily be worked in all over the place, and hamlets and villages are assumed to be ubiquitous, although largely unshown on this map.  Other features such as additional rivers, brooks, streams, creeks, etc., hill lands, cliffs and bluffs, downs, wetlands, woods, are also assumed to exist that are not shown.  For the most part, I have only marked, labeled and described areas that either 1) I think are interesting enough to get a mention and I may yet have a desire to use them for something, 2) were identified in my trawl through the Carrion Crown adventure path as locations needed to adapt the adventures, 3) already existed as part of my development of Tarush Noptii, or 4) were so obvious that it seemed silly not to call them out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Minor pantheon updates

I decided that "Latinizing" my deity names was an unnecessary and in fact more troublesome than it was worth, since the benefit of suggesting that if Cthulhu were an actual entity that was worshiped in real life by a "Hispanish" culture it would probably be written something like Cathulo is a dubious benefit at best--one that really only caters to a kind of philology nerdism--I'm tweaking my DARK•HERITAGE pantheon yet again, a slight amount.  Whew.  Long sentence.

Here's the modified list:

The Four Horsemen

  • Chernavog - the Black Pharaoh.  Said to be the "father" of Baal Hamazi and the kemlings.
  • Perun - The Thunderer - a "slavic" Thor - a kozaky god who's worship has spread throughout the region
  • Culsans - The Judge
  • Charon - The King in Yellow.  Often followed in iconography by Tarush, the Fallen One
Other Major Deities
  • Ishtar - The Heirodule
  • Dagon - The Sleeping Sea God.  I prefer Dagon to Cthulhu.  Cthulhu's just a little bit too on the nose.
  • Susinac - The Traveler
  • Cernunnos - The Hunter, stag-headed god.  I liked the Celtic title better than the more esoteric Etruscan one for a god of the woods and wild-places.  Plus, I like the antlered iconography.
  • Surtur
  • Pan, the Great Beast of the Woods (ape-god)
  • Azathoth - Blind Idiot Daemon-sultan
  • Yog-Sothoth - The Gate
Lesser Deities
  • Grigori - The Watcher
  • Samyassa and Iblis - Fallen Angels
  • Herne - The Green Man, master of the Wild Hunt
  • Dog
The Heresiarchy (not actually deities, but demigod-like characters)
  • Bartolommeo, the Many Angled
  • Esmeraude, She Who Ushers the Apocalypse
  • Sébastien, He of the Beast Aspect
  • Kefte Taraan, Mistress of Forgotten Secrets
  • Kadashman, He Who Peers Into the Void
  • Djemaa Mennefer, the Gnomic
  • Amrruk the Ancient
  • Jairan Neferirkare, the Soul-less
  • Arzana, Clad in Black
  • Siggeir Sherihum, the Sangremancer
  • Shimut the Flesheater
  • The Master of Vermin