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Pinjata
2015-11-02, 07:38 AM
So my PCs made a jump into another world last session. I have a few sketches lying around regarding the new setting but I'd appreciate playgounds take on it.

There is a single Mother godess in it and (formerly completelly isolated) world is heavily affected by her. Since I love reading Slaine comic books (https://www.google.si/?gws_rd=ssl#q=slaine+danu) i want to go after a portrait of godess far beyond modern "kind and caring Gaia". I want this to be a bit politically incorrect and even quite wild.

There are two aspects I was thinking of:

- society never advances beyond hunter/gatherer stage. Priests are all female. It is not a misandric society. To men, Mother is like any other god in monotheistic societies. She grants boons to her devoted followers (hunters and protectors of the tribe and women). How should I develop this further?

- Domains of the godess. Life, Death, Destruction, Chaos, Lust, Love. I do not know about this one. I want to make it sharp and feral, scary yet also with promise of love and primordial protection (sense of being-in-the-womb safety). What do you guys think?

I'd really appreciate any feedback :)

thanks

Steampunkette
2015-11-02, 08:13 AM
Consider giving the priests a new, thematic, name. Instead of calling them Priests, for example, order them using female family member titles. The Daughters of (Godname), for example.

Grandmother, mother, aunt, sister, and daughter could all be official titles instead of Vicar or Pastor or Rabbi. Degender actual family relations. "She is my sibling", "He is my Parent." and things of that nature.

Have the goddess be given different titles for different roles. Lady Fire-Eyes for Lust. The Taloned Mother for Destruction. Mother Mourning for Death.

I noticed you separated hunters, protectors, and women as three categories. Don't. In a society that has a female centric religion, women may be seen as particularly lucky or even vital to success of any endeavor. A female hunter in the hunting party means the Mother will smile on the hunters, after all.

Maybe make up some convoluted social rules about interactions with women. For example, the female Hunter in the party must be either the first, or the last, to attack a prey animal, up to and including stabbing a clearly dead elk for the ritual of it. Maybe she has to do it on the first kill of a hunt, to consecrate the meat for consumption, and after that it's fair game all around.

Definitely step away from ownership of women as depicted by 18th century anthropology. Skip the dowry where a man buys his wife. Make women Free as the goddess, herself. And just as wild with their lives. A woman with three husbands? No one bats an eye, even if one is the norm. With a wild and lusty goddess and no view of women as possessions maybe kill marriage as an idea. There are only mates, and mates aren't always for life?

Seto
2015-11-02, 08:38 AM
- Domains of the godess. Life, Death, Destruction, Chaos, Lust, Love. I do not know about this one. I want to make it sharp and feral, scary yet also with promise of love and primordial protection (sense of being-in-the-womb safety). What do you guys think?

Take all of them, and split them into different religious traditions. The Mother is all that, and more. Just not at the same time. With any monotheistic God, you'll have worshippers of every alignment. There could be a cult specifically dedicated to the Mother as Bringer of Lust (CN for example, with Lust and Chaos domains), a cult dedicated to the Mother as Benevolent Protector (LG, with Good and Healing Domains), a cult dedicated to the Mother as Overseer of the Dead (TN, Death and Life) and a cult dedicated to the Mother as Mistress of the Hunt (NE, Death and Destruction). Or any number of them with different domains.
Then you can imagine the particular society the PCs arrive in. Is it a nomadic tribe that emphasizes hunt and survival ? Then the cults of the Mistress of the Hunt and the Protector are developed, and the Lust thing is underplayed or frowned upon.

In short, having a single all-powerful Goddess does not mean a unified religious vision. Even if they agree on worhsipping her, people will inevitably disagree on what she represents.

(Also, Steampunkette's advice on the gender aspect of things is golden)

MrZJunior
2015-11-02, 08:57 AM
Hunter gatherer tribes tended to be quite violent, fighting small skirmishes with each other quite frequently. Within the tribe they can also be violent, issuing death penalties for particularly egregious violations. This might take the form of exile from the tribe, without the tribe you cannot survive and other tribes are unlikely to take you in.

Tribes tend to maintain sexual parity, though you get some exceptions on the margins.

I would expect your priestesses to be able to move through different channels seperate from the ordinary tribal system.

Corsair
2015-11-02, 09:20 AM
A Hunter-Gatherer society sort of precludes any kind of wide-spread religion. How do you plan on preventing these tribes from raising their Golden Calfs, so to speak?

Mark Hall
2015-11-02, 12:49 PM
Also consider what the impact of technologically minded PLAYERS will be in this setting. Sure, the world is stuck at hunter-gatherer level... then some player totally on his own comes up with the idea for a giant bow that hurls spears, or a flat club with pieces of volcanic glass in it, or wearing three or four layers of leather before getting in a fight.

Arbane
2015-11-02, 04:59 PM
A Hunter-Gatherer society sort of precludes any kind of wide-spread religion. How do you plan on preventing these tribes from raising their Golden Calfs, so to speak?

If the golden calfs can't even provide Cure Light Wounds 1/Day (to use a D&Dism), the existing religion will have an obvious advantage.

Ravian
2015-11-02, 05:46 PM
If the golden calfs can't even provide Cure Light Wounds 1/Day (to use a D&Dism), the existing religion will have an obvious advantage.

It would be especially true if the goddess took a slightly more active role than most D&D gods. If a hunting party in one tribe witnesses a she-lion with fiery eyes take down a massive aurochs and leave it for them with a nod of understanding. While another tribe's greatest warrior returns after a week's disappearance telling about a wild woman who made healed his mortal wounds after a battle and made love with him. Both of these tribes are likely to end up worshiping the same sort of goddess.

This does add to the idea of different tribes with different interpretations of the Goddess.

Honest Tiefling
2015-11-02, 08:54 PM
I would shy away from the love/lust angle. Firstly, it raises a whole heap ton of warning bells to me, and I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one who feels that way. Many female gods of beauty/love for DnD are just outright bad.

I'd focus on the motherhood thing. She's a goddess of nature that provides food and the gentle aspect of motherhood. She's also the goddess of storms, earthquakes and the rampaging animals that will slaughter an entire tribe to protect their young. Nature is both fertility and rage, and motherhood is the same. Don't make mother mad, you'll probably regret it for about, oh say, five seconds as you bleed out and a wolf eats your lungs. That's why you don't **** with the husband of the lady wearing her enemies as fashion accessories.

An alternative is magic. Magic is scary, and only her priestesses get the divine magic. But magic is also downright useful, if not necessary. Perhaps only the womenfolk get arcane magic as well? I take it wizards aren't going to much of a thing, but more primal arcane casters, if your world has them, can only be women?

Plenty of female goddesses throughout history tended to go on rampages or were downright scary after all, many of which were connected to healing, motherhood or magic. So either way, I think you got the caring/savage thing down.

Nature, Farming, Fertility, Life, and War seem like good start. Replacing War with Rage will also work. Tacking on animals such as the she-wolf or the she-bear would emphasis the less then cuddly side of this goddess. Death tends to go the undead route, if you mean the 3.5 domains. You might want to figure out how the afterlife works.

Tarlek Flamehai
2015-11-02, 09:50 PM
The Morrigan!

Steampunkette
2015-11-03, 02:57 AM
I would shy away from the love/lust angle. Firstly, it raises a whole heap ton of warning bells to me, and I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one who feels that way. Many female gods of beauty/love for DnD are just outright bad.

I'd focus on the motherhood thing. She's a goddess of nature that provides food and the gentle aspect of motherhood. She's also the goddess of storms, earthquakes and the rampaging animals that will slaughter an entire tribe to protect their young. Nature is both fertility and rage, and motherhood is the same. Don't make mother mad, you'll probably regret it for about, oh say, five seconds as you bleed out and a wolf eats your lungs. That's why you don't **** with the husband of the lady wearing her enemies as fashion accessories.

An alternative is magic. Magic is scary, and only her priestesses get the divine magic. But magic is also downright useful, if not necessary. Perhaps only the womenfolk get arcane magic as well? I take it wizards aren't going to much of a thing, but more primal arcane casters, if your world has them, can only be women?

Plenty of female goddesses throughout history tended to go on rampages or were downright scary after all, many of which were connected to healing, motherhood or magic. So either way, I think you got the caring/savage thing down.

Nature, Farming, Fertility, Life, and War seem like good start. Replacing War with Rage will also work. Tacking on animals such as the she-wolf or the she-bear would emphasis the less then cuddly side of this goddess. Death tends to go the undead route, if you mean the 3.5 domains. You might want to figure out how the afterlife works.

Even dropping Love and Lust you're still clinging to tropes of motherhood and deities. Fertility, while plenty accurate to what we know of history, nature, and life are aalmost invariably tied to womanhood.

Here's a thought experiment, let's see describe a goddess of almost entirely stereotypically masculine domains.

War, Law, Knowledge, Freedom, Rage, Strength, Necromancy, Abjuration, Conjuration, and Evocation... What else? Money, maybe.

It would result in a very different society, I think, but an awesome one!

MrZJunior
2015-11-03, 09:21 AM
Even dropping Love and Lust you're still clinging to tropes of motherhood and deities. Fertility, while plenty accurate to what we know of history, nature, and life are aalmost invariably tied to womanhood.

Here's a thought experiment, let's see describe a goddess of almost entirely stereotypically masculine domains.

War, Law, Knowledge, Freedom, Rage, Strength, Necromancy, Abjuration, Conjuration, and Evocation... What else? Money, maybe.

It would result in a very different society, I think, but an awesome one!

Athena hit a couple of those boxes.

JeenLeen
2015-11-03, 09:33 AM
To confirm: she is the only deity in this world, correct? So all divine magic comes from her, and there's no demigods or rival gods?

Be prepared to say what happens and why if any of your PCs use divine magic from another deity.


Also consider what the impact of technologically minded PLAYERS will be in this setting. Sure, the world is stuck at hunter-gatherer level... then some player totally on his own comes up with the idea for a giant bow that hurls spears, or a flat club with pieces of volcanic glass in it, or wearing three or four layers of leather before getting in a fight.

From what the OP has said, I reckon such an action would lead to divine intervention, either against the PCs or wiping out the tribe they've 'infected' with 'bad' ideas. It sounds like this is a very active goddess who actively keeps her people in hunter-gathering, stymieing any advancement.

goto124
2015-11-03, 10:45 AM
If the GM is upfront about such in-world facts though, the players can choose whether or not they would like to play in such a world, and design their characters accordingly.

Marlowe
2015-11-03, 11:39 PM
Here's a thought experiment, let's see describe a goddess of almost entirely stereotypically masculine domains.

War, Law, Knowledge, Freedom, Rage, Strength, Necromancy, Abjuration, Conjuration, and Evocation... What else? Money, maybe.

It would result in a very different society, I think, but an awesome one!

Sounds like a few female Disney villains.

Honest Tiefling
2015-11-03, 11:49 PM
Sounds like a few female Disney villains.

I really want to know which Disney female Villain is a Lady of War. Because that sounds pretty bad****.

And yes, that version I proposed clings heavily to motherhood, which was sorta the point. Feminine, and dangerous. Motherhood gods also don't ping my Creepy DM alarm as much unless too much detail is paid to certain things.

Marlowe
2015-11-04, 12:08 AM
I really want to know which Disney female Villain is a Lady of War. Because that sounds pretty bad****. How about the really obvious one with the army, the castle, the Draconic wildshape, and Lady of War on her tvtropes character page? Although I don't think she does any necromancy.

Honest Tiefling
2015-11-04, 12:10 AM
How about the really obvious one with the army, the castle, the Draconic wildshape, and Lady of War on her tvtropes character page? Although I don't think she does any necromancy.

You mean the one with the army of dimwits, who had to take matters into her own hands at the end? That wasn't an army, that was a preschool with an odd dress code. Through Maleficent is still great.

Pinjata
2015-11-04, 01:22 AM
First of all, splendid input, I may only miss a bit the "gore" part. I love it how in Slaine "chosen ones" were sacrificed to mother. "The gift"(male or female i think) was stunned and then choked to death. What do you guys think on the dark side of Her?


To confirm: she is the only deity in this world, correct? So all divine magic comes from her, and there's no demigods or rival gods?

Be prepared to say what happens and why if any of your PCs use divine magic from another deity.


This is a crucial part of my next session. As soon as our Cleric of Pelor casts a spell, things will get ... interesting. (not sure exactly how yet, but idea of "infected tribe" is pretty close to it). Also eventually this world will be probably invaded by a bunch of "standard" advendurers with backing of gods from say, Faerun.

Arbane
2015-11-04, 01:48 AM
First of all, splendid input, I may only miss a bit the "gore" part. I love it how in Slaine "chosen ones" were sacrificed to mother. "The gift"(male or female i think) was stunned and then choked to death. What do you guys think on the dark side of Her?

Ever seen The Wicker Man? (The good one with Christopher Lee, not the dumb one with Nick Cage.) It might give you a few ideas....

Just remember: "Mother Nature is a bitch."

Poll Comics
2015-11-04, 01:59 AM
Even dropping Love and Lust you're still clinging to tropes of motherhood and deities. Fertility, while plenty accurate to what we know of history, nature, and life are aalmost invariably tied to womanhood.

Here's a thought experiment, let's see describe a goddess of almost entirely stereotypically masculine domains.

War, Law, Knowledge, Freedom, Rage, Strength, Necromancy, Abjuration, Conjuration, and Evocation... What else? Money, maybe.

It would result in a very different society, I think, but an awesome one!

That's an awesome approach.

My proposal: Imagine a goddess cult that has de-emphasized both motherhood and matronly wisdom. Instead, the ideal form of the goddess is seen as a young warrior- bold, confident, powerful. Capricious in mood, but rewarding of loyalty.

I would further propose that blood is important. Blood is obviously an important part of both hunting and warfare- but if the religion is based around women's experiences, there's another really obvious reason for it to be important.

Imagine a culture where menstruation is seen as a wound from a spiritual battle: every lunar cycle, the young warrioress is tested by the divine. Instead of associating it with reproduction, you associate it with vitality. A woman who is not strong enough (too young, malnourished, too old) won't be tested (though, perhaps the older women have been finally judged as having won the spiritual battle). If it's seen as a battle, then the women would have cultural reason to show vigor and power in their daily lives as they prepare. It also means that they are more worthy of leadership (after all, they're spiritually tested on a regular basis).

I wouldn't necessarily highlight menstruation during game- depending on your group, it might get focused on in a disruptive way or, given our own cultural standards, make the culture feel more 'other' than it needs to be. Just give blood a visible role in ceremony and magic. Show the ceremonies using blood from a hunted beast or a physical wound, and then let the connection between blood and the female leadership exist as an unspoken implication.

The main thing it gives you is a lynchpin for a social and theological interpretation of the female divine rather different than most you'd otherwise encounter.

Ha... as always, use or ignore at your convenience!

Satinavian
2015-11-04, 03:16 AM
A real monotheistic god/godess needs to adress all aspects of life where people might want divine guidance. Small portfolios like those from polytheistic deities are a bad match.
One can push some things more in the foreground as more important, but then those should be linked with a lot of other things by allegories.

Also, gender can't really be important for any monotheistic deity. Gender requires a counterpart and the more important, the more something will be seen as missing for a single entity. It could be an unimportant aspect because people often have problems relating to genderless deities, but you should never build a monotheistic goddess around femininity. You should build a monotheistic deity which would work as male or female and at the end declare her female and apply some female trappings, allegories and titles.

Well, that is if you want a believable religion. If you instead want to base the campaign on overblown gender stereotypes and partial reversal of gender roles (which is not in itself bad. gender reversal comedies are still popular, even if they can' work without stereotypes), you obviously shouldn't diminish the gender aspect of the religion.

Pinjata
2015-11-04, 05:30 AM
Thanks very much to all.

I do not intend to go full "must represent all aspects" line. The reason is, she fled from a pantheon (say, a "standard D&D pantheon) and has just grown in this new, virgin (formerly godless) world for centuries. But I really like most of ideas here.

One more thing. I'd like to introduce "the rebels". These guys are basically ents from LoTR who entered this world with her. They do not represent her opposition, but more "natural balance". They do not openly defy the Mother, but do so passively - presenting "natural ways" to the tribes and competing with the Mother for her followers. They are not violent, but are powerful casters and very long-lived. They are definitelly cuning enough to hide from Mothers' radicals and godess herself.

What do you think of this?

One more question: Do you think such a godess would shape the world (geography, climate) in any specific way?

Steampunkette
2015-11-04, 08:13 AM
If people can hide from a god it's not much of a god...

As for climate and geography... no? Why would it?

I guess if she were particularly artistic or creative she might sculpt natural formations into stuff she likes? But why make Unicorn Mountain when you can make actual unicorns?

Steampunkette
2015-11-04, 08:23 AM
Oh, wait, no, I've got it!

Rainstorms are scheduled in advance and come on specific days at specific times, providing enough for life to flourish without flash floods or droqning. Lightning never strikes living beings, and when it strikes a forest there are always natural fire breaks that protect sapient communities from forest fires. The weather is always pleasant, even when it snows, being just cold enough to have nice white and clean snow that melts instead lf getting muddy. And it never gets hot enough to kill people even in the depths of summer. And windstorms never get strong enough to hurt people.

That's right. Considerate Weather.

Arbane
2015-11-04, 02:36 PM
Also, gender can't really be important for any monotheistic deity.

I don't want to violate the rules, so I'm just going to leave this pristine jewel of absolute wrongness here for everyone to admire.

MrZJunior
2015-11-04, 02:37 PM
"The Rebels" seems rather generic. Perhaps you should name them after their leader like some Ancient Greek school of philosophy.

Closet_Skeleton
2015-11-05, 06:54 AM
There's a lot of different kinds of monotheism.

Henotheism: Worship of one god without denying the existence of other gods.

Pantheism: There's only one god who is the embodiment of the universe.

Monism: There are lots of gods but they're all just aspects/expressions of one transcendental principle.

Hierarchic Pantheon: There's only one capital D Deity but he/she/it is served by a host of lesser divine beings. Saints and ancestor worship may also go on.

Abstract Monotheism: There's only one deity but it isn't in anyway personified or anthropomorphised (except in temporary avatars in some versions).

So there's really plenty of wriggle-room for doing whatever you want.

If I wanted a really politically incorrect religion I'd have a single male god who is the submissive in a S&M relationship with his mortal Priestess who is considered to have all the real power and is elected every year by universal female suffrage.


Skip the dowry where a man buys his wife.

That's not how dowries work. A dowry is money the father gives to the groom (as a payment for getting her off his hands/a wedding gift/her portion of her inheritance which sexist property laws give control of to her husband/a stipend for her to live off depending on local ideas and or your level of cynicism).

Bride prices and men marrying their slaves did happen but aren't dowries.


Athena hit a couple of those boxes.

Female war deities are actually very common and have no relationship to whether or not mortal women were expected to fight. The Egyptian Lion Goddess Sekhmet is another good example and norse Freya had some level of war aspect to her.

sktarq
2015-11-05, 10:08 AM
One thing to point out. Just because the goddess is female doesn't mean that her ideals don't support masculine or even hyper masculine societal setups. Thing of the Spartan wife who sent off her man with "With you shield or on it". Tiamat's son was her war leader. The Morrigan drove men to glory and battlelust in order of being considered worthy of her.

And don't forget sif -Thor's wife with dwarven forged gold hair. . . Goddess of swordwork and skill at arms vs Thor's strength and passion or Odin's more strategic thinking role.

Ravian
2015-11-05, 12:18 PM
If people can hide from a god it's not much of a god...


Omniscience is not an automatic trait for every deity. Rhea hid Zeus from Kronos, and many of Zeus's mortal children were hidden from Hera. Some religions often had rules against things that might attract the attention of angry and/or malevolent deities. (Speak of the devil and he shall appear.)

Pinjata
2015-11-06, 04:42 AM
One thing to point out. Just because the goddess is female doesn't mean that her ideals don't support masculine or even hyper masculine societal setups. Thing of the Spartan wife who sent off her man with "With you shield or on it". Tiamat's son was her war leader. The Morrigan drove men to glory and battlelust in order of being considered worthy of her.

And don't forget sif -Thor's wife with dwarven forged gold hair. . . Goddess of swordwork and skill at arms vs Thor's strength and passion or Odin's more strategic thinking role.

Good points. That is also a reason I do not want to make her "pretty warm girl with cushion-y boobies".

Honest Tiefling
2015-11-06, 04:46 PM
Or even a character like Athena, who while being one of the wisest and most capable fighters of the greek pantheon, was not a symbol of feminine power. Her worship didn't just enforce and celebrate masculine values, but heavily favored and supported the patriarchy. In her city female children were so devalued that they weren't even fed the same food as their brothers, and women barely had any rights. When asked to judge a man (Orestes) on if he should have killed his mother to avenge his father, Athena voted yes in some versions because the dude is that much more important.

goto124
2015-11-06, 08:03 PM
Athena was part of a pantheon. Wouldn't a monothestic patriarchal society be far more likely to have a male god?

Also, did OP want to have a goddess whose femininity is such an important aspect it's worshipped?

Mith
2015-11-06, 11:54 PM
THis reminds me of a lovely book called Egalia's Daughters (http://www.amazon.ca/Egalias-Daughters-A-Satire-Sexes/dp/1580051251).

daremetoidareyo
2015-11-07, 01:23 AM
How do these people in this culture get their food?

This will greatly affect your representation of their god. A foraging/hunting culture is more prone to a maternal god. If you wanted to swap gender roles, you could have socially reinforced ideas: women sling babies over their backs to chase after animals hunted. Women are a special class unto themselves and thus must display material strength at all times: even while hunting after receiving a newborn. This leaves the function of men to be creators and builders. (Think of birds)

A pastoralist society sources its nutrition from herds of animals that represent their life. Their god may actually have features shared with the dominant food source. (if dire toads/ or aurochs, their god is similar to them).

An agricultural society will need some way to determine ownership of land. Leaders will tend to be associated with the god.

Ravian
2015-11-07, 05:29 PM
How do these people in this culture get their food?

This will greatly affect your representation of their god. A foraging/hunting culture is more prone to a maternal god. If you wanted to swap gender roles, you could have socially reinforced ideas: women sling babies over their backs to chase after animals hunted. Women are a special class unto themselves and thus must display material strength at all times: even while hunting after receiving a newborn. This leaves the function of men to be creators and builders. (Think of birds)

A pastoralist society sources its nutrition from herds of animals that represent their life. Their god may actually have features shared with the dominant food source. (if dire toads/ or aurochs, their god is similar to them).

An agricultural society will need some way to determine ownership of land. Leaders will tend to be associated with the god.

It sounds like the society is hunter/gatherer, which definitely fits for a female deity. History seems to show that paternalism tends to develop with Agriculture because land ownership tends to enforce roles and hierarchies in society. In hunter/gatherer societies the men will typically do the hunting while leaving the women to essentially run things back with the tribe.

noob
2015-11-07, 05:46 PM
Mind broken: Too much missing references about articles saying how hunter gatherer lived.

daremetoidareyo
2015-11-08, 03:08 AM
Mind broken: Too much missing references about articles saying how hunter gatherer lived.

You want citations? I can find citations. Hunting/gathering, once you get past disease, is totally a sweet set up. Think about it, you are surrounded by bounty all of the time. Only 4 to 5 hours of work a day. You know everyone in town. No one own claims to each other, so relationships can be made and broken easily. The community takes care of and rears the kids, not just a single parent. Literally being in an Eden...once you get past disease.

noob
2015-11-08, 05:18 AM
You want citations? I can find citations. Hunting/gathering, once you get past disease, is totally a sweet set up. Think about it, you are surrounded by bounty all of the time. Only 4 to 5 hours of work a day. You know everyone in town. No one own claims to each other, so relationships can be made and broken easily. The community takes care of and rears the kids, not just a single parent. Literally being in an Eden...once you get past disease.

You forget also dying of cold and dying of hunger.(Winter is extremely harsh for hunter gatherers in a cold climate so it is probably a lot worse than current modern society(we see very few people dying of hunger in rich countries(Basically it is anorexic people who can die of hunger)))
And killing each other.(Murder happens some times in all societies)
And being killed by savage animals.(There is always accidents)
Well you completely underestimate how many various dangerous things there is in the hunter gatherer tribes.(I am not speaking of the total amount of danger but of the number of different kind of dangers)
Except if you use the widest definition of disease which include starvation and death and aging and being wound and problems associated with excessive exposition to cold.
But in this case it is saying "if humans were immortal it would be awesome" which does not really bring a lot of information.
And the social relation part is probably going to be dependent on the society.

Ravian
2015-11-09, 02:01 PM
You forget also dying of cold and dying of hunger.(Winter is extremely harsh for hunter gatherers in a cold climate so it is probably a lot worse than current modern society(we see very few people dying of hunger in rich countries(Basically it is anorexic people who can die of hunger)))
And killing each other.(Murder happens some times in all societies)
And being killed by savage animals.(There is always accidents)
Well you completely underestimate how many various dangerous things there is in the hunter gatherer tribes.(I am not speaking of the total amount of danger but of the number of different kind of dangers)
Except if you use the widest definition of disease which include starvation and death and aging and being wound and problems associated with excessive exposition to cold.
But in this case it is saying "if humans were immortal it would be awesome" which does not really bring a lot of information.
And the social relation part is probably going to be dependent on the society.

No one's saying that Hunter-Gatherer societies are perfect, the main drawback is that they have limited capacity for adapting towards environmental changes. Agriculture is hard, and in comparison subsisting on hunting and gathering is easier and healthier (since you get a nice variety to your diet)

The issue is that if something bad happens, it is very possible that a hunter-gatherer society won't be able to cope with it.

That's why agriculture developed primarily in regions where famines, droughts and floods were common. If humans couldn't survive any other way they turn to agriculture. That's also why primative societies survive in largely tropical regions where there are plentiful food sources and the environment is unlikely to be destroyed by natural occurrences.

Humans by nature will not typically work harder than is necessary to survive, and hunting and gathering is the laziest way we can survive. Once things get harder though, we have to innovate, and work harder to meet those means, though from there most technology is about getting back towards thriving with the minimum amount of effort required.

Honest Tiefling
2015-11-10, 06:49 PM
You forget also dying of cold and dying of hunger.(Winter is extremely harsh for hunter gatherers in a cold climate so it is probably a lot worse than current modern society(we see very few people dying of hunger in rich countries(Basically it is anorexic people who can die of hunger)))
And killing each other.(Murder happens some times in all societies)
And being killed by savage animals.(There is always accidents)


How are any of these mitigated by agriculture? Also, you forget: The diet of a hunter-gatherer is far superior to that of early agriculturalists, resulting in better health in many ways.

AvatarVecna
2015-11-10, 07:07 PM
In regards to the Hunter/Gatherer vs Agriculture thing, I'm gonna take the Mythbusters approach of seeing what happens when things get/got put to the test.

Oh look, Hunting/gathering died out and farming continued. It must be based completely on luck though, rather than the overall superiority of farming. Because as we all know, short-term comfort is far superior to long-term security/safety nets, and history is written by the losers; that's why hunting/gathering is such a popular way of gathering food, and why farming is a long-since-dead industry. I mean, it's almost like a way of eating that produces nothing for future consumption is somehow worse than one that does!


That wasn't an army, that was a preschool with an odd dress code.

So quotable...


Just remember: "Mother Nature is a bitch."

Considering this is a monotheistic religion, I can't help but pray for the poor souls who make jokes when she goes all "10 plagues" on the nonbelievers and starts with a river of blood.

Ravian
2015-11-10, 10:00 PM
In regards to the Hunter/Gatherer vs Agriculture thing, I'm gonna take the Mythbusters approach of seeing what happens when things get/got put to the test.

Oh look, Hunting/gathering died out and farming continued. It must be based completely on luck though, rather than the overall superiority of farming. Because as we all know, short-term comfort is far superior to long-term security/safety nets, and history is written by the losers; that's why hunting/gathering is such a popular way of gathering food, and why farming is a long-since-dead industry. I mean, it's almost like a way of eating that produces nothing for future consumption is somehow worse than one that does!


The reason for that isn't because Agriculture is better for you on an individual level. It's because an Agriculture society can survive against famines and disasters better than Hunter-Gatherers can. If a drought happens, and all the plants and animals in the area become scarce, the local humans who depend on those animals also become scarce. With agriculture though, you can store food far more effectively and use that during times of crisis. Also agriculture can sustain much larger populations than hunting and gathering, so that leads to division of labor, which leads to innovation, culture, technology and government. And before long you have civilization. That's why Agriculture was the most important innovation in human history.

However, it's still not as healthy as hunting and gathering. You know how people were much shorter in the past? The average height of paleolithic males was over 6 feet. Early agriculture meant serious malnutrition for the human race. It meant that there were far more of us, but if the world was run by a god that provided abundant game and plants, its very likely we'd never develop past hunting and gathering.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention, so if we're totally comfortable with what's happening, there's no reason to invent.

goto124
2015-11-10, 10:18 PM
Cue the God of Droughts and the Goddess of Disease...

daremetoidareyo
2015-11-10, 10:24 PM
In regards to the Hunter/Gatherer vs Agriculture thing, I'm gonna take the Mythbusters approach of seeing what happens when things get/got put to the test.

Oh look, Hunting/gathering died out and farming continued. It must be based completely on luck though, rather than the overall superiority of farming. Because as we all know, short-term comfort is far superior to long-term security/safety nets, and history is written by the losers; that's why hunting/gathering is such a popular way of gathering food, and why farming is a long-since-dead industry. I mean, it's almost like a way of eating that produces nothing for future consumption is somehow worse than one that does!


That is too big an assumption to make. The advent of agriculture may have been an adaptive response to how highly effective foraging was. The population increased to such high levels that people made the economic decision to work more hours here at home rather than walk 30 days in a random direction in hopes of finding an adequate food supply that isn't already in another group's territory.

The present system destroys entire ecosystems as a fuel while hunter gatherers that exist today are due entirely to the excesses of the agricultural system. It's amazing that we, as humans, have the ability branch out like that. But that isn't necessary an incapability of hunter gatherers. It's how the cards landed for this dealt hand.

Steampunkette
2015-11-10, 10:45 PM
Hunter Gathering societies are much more susceptible to accident and chance resulting in the end of the group.

The skilled hunters get attacked by a rival warparty in a hunt and the whole tribe dies. A particularly brutal winter wipes them out. A landslide a hundred miles away forces the herd animals down a different migratory path because the pass is blocked.

All end in bad news for the group.

Stability of food source is the main benefit of agriculture. But the closeness of the group is another. There is less risk of accident far away with no one to help you. And when a defense must be mounted all hands are available in an area that can be fortified in advance for safety.

There is no way in which a hunter gatherer society is superior for survival of the group. Which is literally all that matters in this discussion. Ecological impact is irrelevant.

Steampunkette
2015-11-10, 10:58 PM
Plus, in a DnD setting, migrating with the herd means rolling on the Wandering Monster table once every 8 hours at least!

LudicSavant
2015-11-11, 12:43 AM
Hunter Gathering societies are much more susceptible to accident and chance resulting in the end of the group.

...

There is no way in which a hunter gatherer society is superior for survival of the group.

Tell that to the Greenland Inuit compared to the Greenland Norse. :smalltongue:

Guess which group survived accidents and chance in one of the harshest environments around? Guess which one got wiped out suddenly and completely?

We're not talking about a brief stay or an isolated expeditionary force or something, either. The Norse farmers lived in Greenland for hundreds of years, and enjoyed regular contact and trade with the Christian European mainland. Their entire society died out almost overnight when conditions changed. A ship from Europe came to check up on them, and found the entire population dead and gone.

The farming culture hasn't always been more resilient to the same survival challenges in history. Other factors mattered too, besides simply "this one farmed, this one didn't farm." I feel it's best not to make sweeping generalizations.

In fact, there's some cultures that lived in environments where farming simply wasn't possible or practical with technologies available at the time (you generally need soil for agriculture, for instance). Obviously "can populate X environment" is superior to "cannot populate X environment."

daremetoidareyo
2015-11-11, 01:39 AM
Hunter Gathering societies are much more susceptible to accident and chance resulting in the end of the group.

The skilled hunters get attacked by a rival warparty in a hunt and the whole tribe dies. A particularly brutal winter wipes them out. A landslide a hundred miles away forces the herd animals down a different migratory path because the pass is blocked.

All end in bad news for the group.

Stability of food source is the main benefit of agriculture. But the closeness of the group is another. There is less risk of accident far away with no one to help you. And when a defense must be mounted all hands are available in an area that can be fortified in advance for safety.

There is no way in which a hunter gatherer society is superior for survival of the group. Which is literally all that matters in this discussion. Ecological impact is irrelevant.

Ecological impact isn't irrelevant: watch the poor swim and die over the next 25 years in storm events.

The food source stability argument doesn't quite work. Environments tend to remain stable for long periods of geologic time. It is anthropomorphic affects that wiped out hunter gatherers, not inability to compete against other aspects of nature. The only part they couldn't compete on was how sociopathic are we gonna treat people that look different than us. And heck, if it weren't for small pox, america might have a different complexion today. That lack of biological immunity to a specific pathogen was chance, not genetic destiny. Lastly, agriculture is a recent achievement, evolutionarily speaking. We had 4.5 million years since we split from whatever form we shared with chimps. Only the most recent 10,000 years have we had land under plow. If we're going to use useless metrics to compare the viability of types of social structures, why not compare hunting/gathering to agriculture in terms of current record of longevity?

Read any first hand account of europe discovering new tribal peoples and recognize that many of the common folks, those dispossessed of class power from european structures of heirarchy, they abandoned their entire cultural heritage and joined the natives. If we keep what we're currently doing, we'll all be hunter gatherers again, yet.

LudicSavant
2015-11-11, 02:15 AM
In regards to the Hunter/Gatherer vs Agriculture thing, I'm gonna take the Mythbusters approach of seeing what happens when things get/got put to the test.

So hey, I just walked in on this discussion, and I got my hopes up just a little when you said this. And then I looked and saw that you did not, in fact, take the Mythbusters approach. You did not look at any data. You did not do any research. You did not perform any experiment or investigation. Color me disappointed. :smallfrown:

A couple of points I feel must be corrected:


Oh look, Hunting/gathering died out and farming continued.
Hunting/Gathering cultures still exist in the modern day.


I mean, it's almost like a way of eating that produces nothing for future consumption
Hunting/Gathering cultures often store food for future consumption, actually. Or do you think that the Inuit consume a whale in a day?

Steampunkette
2015-11-11, 02:49 AM
Yes. There are a handful of environments and situations where hunting and gathering are superior to farming due to the near inability to farm.

For the rest of the planet there's agriculture.

And we're not talking about a modern industrial setting, here, guys. We're talking about a fantasy world with dragons and deities and pseudo dark ages technology. Bringing up modern economic and ecological theory is a fast road to a flame war and a locked thread. While I respect your political views, and may even agree with some of them, this is not about our world.

But that's not even the point of the thread which is the discussion of the deity and ideas. So let's get back on that and maybe make a separate thread discussing different types of survival through different technological eras.

LudicSavant
2015-11-11, 03:35 AM
You forget also dying of cold and dying of hunger.(Winter is extremely harsh for hunter gatherers in a cold climate so it is probably a lot worse than current modern society(we see very few people dying of hunger in rich countries(Basically it is anorexic people who can die of hunger)))

If hunter gatherers in general actually had an extreme disadvantage in the cold, the Inuit wouldn't have had such long-term success.

Obviously modern technology helps, but that's not really an agriculture v. hunting/gathering issue so I'm not sure why you bring it up.


Yes. There are a handful of environments and situations where hunting and gathering are superior to farming due to the near inability to farm.

For the rest of the planet there's agriculture.

There wasn't a near-inability to farm in Greenland. The Norse farmed there just fine. Their society failed almost overnight after being very stable for hundreds of years.

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1581&bih=740&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=Greenland+farming&oq=Greenland+farming&gs_l=img.12...0.0.0.3061.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0..0.0....0 ...1..64.img..0.0.0.IhN9WlwLh_0
^-- That is not even close to a near-inability to farm.

The reason the Greenland Norse vs the Greenland Inuit are a good example is because they were relatively isolated, both from outside help and each other, yet faced the same ecological challenges. The Inuit strategy was able to adapt to and survive, as you put it, "accident and chance," while the Norse farmers could not, causing their society which had survived for hundreds of years to be wiped out entirely.

When I mentioned places where farming would be impractical, I was talking about environments like, say, a Polynesian island that is basically just an upthrust coral reef where there was no soil. Totally different case. By the standards of an agricultural society such a place is uninhabitable, and yet people survived in such places.


Ecological impact is irrelevant.

Quite to the contrary, every society in history has had to adapt to its environment, and changes in its environment.

Closet_Skeleton
2015-11-11, 05:33 AM
Hunter gatherers leaving behind healthier skeletons than early agricultural ones is a well known archaeological fact. Stone age medicine being very common and advanced is also well established in the archaeological record.

Larger societies, the type you need agriculture to support, are very susceptible to disease. Domesticated animals are also a major cause of disease and hunter gatherers don't have those (don't confuse them with pastoralists who are a third separate group).

On the subject of pastoral societies, if you want an amazons sort of thing you should think about those.


It sounds like the society is hunter/gatherer, which definitely fits for a female deity. History seems to show that paternalism tends to develop with Agriculture because land ownership tends to enforce roles and hierarchies in society. In hunter/gatherer societies the men will typically do the hunting while leaving the women to essentially run things back with the tribe.

In most agricultural societies, women actually run things while the men all go off to war. This does not make them matriarchal in the slightest any more than slaves doing all the actual admin work upsets a strict class system (of course, men with actual privilege complained about the influence of slaves and women all the time).



Stability of food source is the main benefit of agriculture.

Stability of food is terrible in pre-modern agricultural societies. All the same extreme winter and war stuff you're talking about hits agricultural societies as well and the populations are larger so famines are a lot worse.

Its nice if you're a slave owner though.



Quite to the contrary, every society in history has had to adapt to its environment, and changes in its environment.

Hunter gatherers in the amazon basin probably have as much of an impact on the environment as the agriculturalists chopping that same forest down. Without hunters the grazing animals would come in unchecked and turn it all into grassland.

Telonius
2015-11-11, 06:04 AM
I actually have something like this written up for a novel (though not a D&D campaign). Harrekh, the fantasy culture I was writing about, has a single Goddess. They believe she has infinite "faces," but has eight main ones that are the general modes of worship. Each corresponds to different times in a person's life, as well as the general ways that people relate to the Goddess: Mother, Teacher, Dreamer, Lover, Great Priestess, Gatekeeper, Deathbringer, and Unknown. Each one has a sect of priestesses that revere that particular "face," but it's completely understood that it's all the same Goddess.

The society is run by the Priestesses. (I never did figure out a word other than "priestess" that didn't sound either hokey or like it's trying too hard). It's matriarchal and matrilineal. The women make all of the major political decisions, and do most of the equivalent of "white-collar" work. The men generally run the army and do everything that requires heavy lifting. The homes are usually round, and arranged around a central chimney where the cooking happens. At meals, everyone sits in a circle around the center. Women are in charge of both cooking and distributing food to everyone. (Since the kitchen is the most powerful room in the house, they're in charge of it). Their temples follow the same general scheme, mirroring that: a central pole where the priestesses run the ceremonies.

To the East, there's a mountain range with a lot of rugged country leading up to it, called the Borderlands. The people here have been affected a bit by the neighboring land that used to be part of Harrekh. They were declared heretics when they started worshiping a second, male deity (equal in importance to the Goddess). Their gender roles are a bit more fluid, especially given the men's greater importance in fending off Heretic raids.

faustin
2015-11-11, 06:22 AM
I would allow some men to be allowed joinining priesthood and receiving the divine ordeals and powers. However, they must sacrifice their "masculinity " in ceremony so it doesn't corrupt their link with the Goddess. Also they will never be allowed to gain ranks ( and probably will suffer discrimination by their female peers).

Satinavian
2015-11-11, 06:32 AM
The big advantage of agriculture :

Less room needed to feed one person, thus way bigger population possible. Also societies can complete tasks involving lots of work. And you can have specialist workers where hunter-gatherers don't have enough demand per group for the specialist and coudn't feed him anyway.

The disadvantages of agriculture :

Lots of people at one place need logistics, are succeptible to disease, need some kind of organisation not based on everybody-knows-everybody else and so on.

It doesn't work everywhere.

JoeJ
2015-11-14, 12:45 AM
How do these people in this culture get their food?

This will greatly affect your representation of their god. A foraging/hunting culture is more prone to a maternal god. If you wanted to swap gender roles, you could have socially reinforced ideas: women sling babies over their backs to chase after animals hunted. Women are a special class unto themselves and thus must display material strength at all times: even while hunting after receiving a newborn. This leaves the function of men to be creators and builders. (Think of birds)

A pastoralist society sources its nutrition from herds of animals that represent their life. Their god may actually have features shared with the dominant food source. (if dire toads/ or aurochs, their god is similar to them).

An agricultural society will need some way to determine ownership of land. Leaders will tend to be associated with the god.

In my day job I'm an archaeologist.

Your description is not correct. Hunter/gatherer societies that are known ethnographically are mostly animist, invoking dozens or hundreds of spirits that are usually not conceived of in human form at all. Religious practitioners are typically shamans in this type of society.

Greater complexity in religion - including full time priests, and a pantheon of deities with specific portfolios - typically goes hand in hand with greater sociopolitical complexity in general. Some hunter/gatherer societies have this, but it is most commonly found in agricultural societies. True monotheism seems to have only appeared in a handful of places, but it has obviously spread hugely.

None of this is necessarily relevant to a fantasy world, however. In the OPs world, I'd expect the development of religious ideas to be due primarily to the actions of the goddess herself; what has she revealed about herself to the people of that world? Did she create the world? If not, how did it come into existence? What does she like? What does she dislike? Instead of trying to imagine what kind of religion the culture(s) of the world might develop, I'd go the other direction and start by asking what kind of person the goddess is, then have the world reflect that.