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    MindFlayer

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    Default The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Part of my ongoing series on the mythology of my world, where my goal was to take "classic" D&D gods and remake them into more complete religious ideologies people might actually want to worship. (See Wee Jas, Corellon Larethian, Nerull, Erythnul, Hextor, Lolth, Olidammara)

    Also, intended to be readable in any order, and for it to be easy to transplant individual parts into other settings.

    The Deep Ones (Procan, Sekolah, etc)




    "Call me king, call me demon. Water forgets the names of the drowned."
    - Tahm Kench, "League of Legends"

    Expanded Domains: There are many Deep Ones with many domains. Common ones include Dragon Below, Windstorm, Weather, Watery Death, Water, Vile Darkness, Metal, Madness, Life, Blackwater, Animal, Cavern, Corruption, Darkness, Chaos, Charm, Gluttony, Knowledge, Ocean, Shadow, Seafolk, Entropy, and Evil.
    Portfolio: Life (especially saltwater life, but all life has water in it), Aberrations (Aboleths, Mind Flayers, etc), Water, Oceans, The Abyss, Salt, Lost Technology, Psionics (especially Wilders), Bioluminescence, The Far Realms, Pressure, Madness
    Theme: https://www.listenonrepeat.com/watch?v=2e2e3QU4ft0

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 10:
    In this world, the popular vision of hell is not a place of fire and brimstone, but a deep, dark, wet place of crushing pressure and mad physics populated by luminous alien forms and the looming hulks of Atlantean machinery.... for in this world, magic enabled early peoples to witness the deepest depths of the ocean, and there lies creatures far stranger than any fire-breathing dragon.

    This is the Abyss, a place of terrifying contradictions. It is a place where water is all around you, but every drink is poison. It is a place of vast open spaces that exert a crushing claustrophobia. It is an unsheltered place of transparent fluid, yet Pelor's sunlight cannot pierce its depths, which are instead lit by the bright silhouettes of alien bodies. It is a place of poison and darkness, yet life flourishes. It is a place where lakes can exist underwater. No less strange is the bizarre architecture that can be found in some places in the Abyss; cyclopean ruins of towering metal and thick, snaking cables that seem to loop and twist in on themselves, with interiors resembling metallic innards of a behemoth.

    In these alien depths lie the Deep Ones, the chaotic font of primordial life and the source of all the world's oceans. It was the struggle of Corellon, Moradin, and Gruumsh to overcome the Deep Ones in the dawn times that made life apart from the poison seas possible.

    It is said that being too long at sea drives men to death or madness, and none know the truth of this as well as sailors themselves, who often sacrifice to the terrible Deep Ones in order to keep them appeased and sleepy. Seeking to explore the depths of the ocean is often regarded as madness itself.

    All aberrations are born of the Deep Ones. In this world, anglerfish and the like have the Aberration type.



    Knowledge (Religion) DC 15:
    Long ago, long before the First Civilizations, there was the Creation War, where the gods forged the world as we know it today from the primordial sea and sealed away the lords of the old world, the Deep Ones, in the deepest trenches of the Abyss.

    In the beginning, the world was wrapped in thick black clouds. There was no sunlight, and all beings glowed with their own, inner light, as did the volcanic earth itself. Before Moradin, land could not rise above the waves, and the world was wrapped entirely in water. Before Corellon, no life could exist apart from saltwater, and all blood was aberrant. Before Gruumsh, the sea was not subjected to the power of storm and sky, and water obeyed an entirely different kind of physics than it does today, flowing and writhing like the very life it spawned. Indeed, hurricanes are the result of Gruumsh wrestling the sea to keep it from rising up and consuming everything, returning the world to the briny depths from which the gods raised it.

    Gruumsh wrapped the earth in sky to hold the sea down, so that Moradin could raise the core of the world and forge the land from it. When Moradin first created land, life could only exist on its shores and beaches, and nothing could survive inland, where all was dry and barren. Pelor's first purpose was to purify the sea with the power of evaporation, allowing fresh water, free of corrupting salt, to rain down upon the land, creating lakes and rivers free of the influence of the Deep Ones. Corellon then created a new kind of blood, foreign to the Deep Ones, and seeds which could use sunlight and the new purified water.

    Though the Deep Ones are sealed away, their influence still seeps into the world around them, and their will spreads through their dreams. The deeper beneath the surface one goes, farther and farther from Pelor's light, the more it resembles the primeval world where the Deep Ones reigned over all. There, some still remember the old ways.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 20:
    Salt contains the crystallized power of the Deep Ones, and is thus an ingredient in many spells and rituals, as well as a reagent for fueling life itself. Salt is said to be the essence of corruption, and to salt the land is to corrupt it. Salt flats are seen as forsaken, haunted places.

    Unfortunately, theologians lament, we cannot live without salt or water. We are dependent upon the essence of the Deep Ones to live, and so it is, many priests say, that we are necessarily impure and imperfect. Others, such as the priests of Kord, might contend that it is a testament to our strength that we can overcome a base, aberrant nature. Some scholars claim that those of the most noble breeding have less connection to the Deep Ones (and more to Corellon) in their blood, and that through good bloodlines the influence of the Deep Ones can gradually be filtered out.

    The twisting caverns of the underdark are said to have been carved out by the Deep Ones. Vast subterranean seas can be found in its deeper depths, and it is from here that the aberrations of the underdark first emerged.

    Psionics comes from tapping into the power of the dreaming Deep Ones, which is present in all life, for all life comes from water. Bioluminescence is a sign of natural psionic potential, as indeed the first form of bioluminescence developed as a result of psionic displays. Sight developed later to see the psionic displays in a world that was otherwise all but completely dark. "Psionic tattoos" are actually a form of bioluminescence.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 25:
    Many aquatic creatures refer to the surface world as "the Lack" or "the Empty." This reflects a certain mindset amongst many aquatic creatures which is perhaps fortunate for us. After all, the Sahuagin are smarter and stronger, on average, than humans... and the oceans still cover most of the world.

    Aberrations tend to regard sunlight as alien light (that is, not coming from things on the earth itself, such as its molten core or bioluminescence), and "lightborne life" as otherworldly invaders. They see themselves as the native inhabitants of the world, and some Aboleths claim to still remember the beginning times when all things glowed with their own inner light. To them, we are the soulless aberrations, whose existence is only made possible by wretched artifice.

    The bizarre ruins of flowering metal towers deep within the Abyss seem to have some connection with the Deep Ones and the ancient aberrations that preceded the First Civilizations, but their ultimate purpose is unknown. Some Sahuagin nations are actively engaged in investigating these places. Most believe that going anywhere near these places risks disturbing the Deep Ones. Some aberrations may have some idea of what is going on down there, but if they do they aren't explaining it to us.

    Organization: Shadrahala, The City of Wisdom



    Even by conservative estimates, mind flayers need to consume a great deal of sentient brains over the course of their lifetimes. Moreover, higher quality brains are much preferred, offering both superior nutrition and flavor. As such, it is in the interest of a mind flayer connoisseur to maintain healthy, free range humanoid civilizations with high standards of education. In turn, some humans might see the value in super-intelligent administrators, even if they demand sacrifice.

    Enter Shadrahala, a thriving metropolis rising from the tides of a subterranean ocean. It is known by many names, depending on who you ask... the City of Wisdom, the Gates of Madness, the Hanging Garden. Though the great majority of the population is humanoid, illithids form the legitimate ruling class. The people are not slaves, but willful citizens of the great city-cult, living side by side with aberrations (perhaps to the horror of foreign humanoids and aberrations alike). Here, the city is alight with magic, health care is free, education is robust and fun, government is efficient and responsive, all manner of psychedelic entertainments can be found, but hey... don't break the law.

    The death penalty is applied liberally for rabble-rousers and troublemakers, via Shadrahala's swift and decisive justice system (after all, there is no shortage of psionic investigators). However, this is not the only source of brains for the illithid masters. Perhaps more shockingly to outsiders, many citizens of Shadrahala, especially the elderly or infirm, willfully petition for themselves to be eaten, for a variety of reasons. The faithful believe that through the consumption of their minds, they might live on as part of a greater being rather than wasting away of old age. Some even see it as a sort of way of being "elected to the governmental mind." Additionally, volunteers are granted honors, influence (such as giving political voice to a dying wish, a central tenet of Shadrahalan government), and pecuniary rewards. Shadrahalans are strong believers in this system's stability; any man willing to die to see his political beliefs enacted can do so, to at least some extent, without all the hassle of revolution. The system also works to ensure that any humanoid's political requests are directed towards the benefit of those they leave behind, rather than themselves. The illithids themselves are seen as relatively impartial, superintelligent mediators of political deathwishes. Volunteers retain the right to decide which illithid decides the fate of their brain (though this need not mean that that illithid personally devours it), which means that the best fed illithids are those who are most respected by the humanoid population.

    The city itself is constructed in layers. The lowest—and largest—is comprised of spiraling towers built into colossal (sometimes artificially fortified and enlarged) stalactities which occasionally even plunge beneath the water's surface, where airtight quarters allow men to walk among denizens of the deep (not to mention maintain rather unique aquaculture and fishing industries). The interiors of these towers pierce upwards through the ceiling, connecting to caverns above. Folk travel between the towers by roads (on higher layers), hanging bridges, boats, and occasionally flight.

    Example Deep One: Sekolah, The Great Shark


    Knowledge (Religion) DC 10:
    Sekolah is the god of sharks, a great devourer and great creator, exalted as one of the greatest of the Deep Ones, especially in many Sahuagin cultures. The Great Shark is credited by its worshipers as the ultimate adjudicator and incarnation of law, officiating over an endless struggle between mythic figures. These figures are the hunter, or "He Who Eats" and the hated, "It That Is Eaten." The struggle between these two figures is said to be reflected in every aspect of life.

    Sekolah is the judge of who is hunter and who is hated. The feeling of hunger is Sekolah devouring your insides bit by bit; a judgment for going too long without a successful hunt. This sentence is carried out until one changes their ways or finds death. The inevitability of this fate is proof of Sekolah's impartiality, for hunger knows not race, creed, or status. All who would live, must eat.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 15:
    In the beginning, there was blood. The entire sea was made of it, and throughout it all things engaged in an eternal feeding frenzy. It was a perfect existence, where all could eat their fill constantly. But over time, some beings near the surface began to hear strange whispers in the crashing waves, for it was the airy breath of the dry gods that caused these waves to form.

    The most foolish among them listened to the lies these whispers told them: "You need not eat forever. First, you must ensure that you are never eaten, for it is death." Hearing this, these fish became craven, and tried to flee the very paradise that sustained them. Seeing them, others were confused, and over time more and more followed their example. Those who still ate were now forced to sometimes stop and chase after new prey. The seas of blood thinned as feeding frenzies became rarer. The dry gods sought to encourage this, sending streams of fresh water from the land and sky in order to dilute the world even further. All this, Sekolah smelled, and his hatred for those who had abandoned his paradise was great and terrible.

    Those who had fled first, dolphins and whales, he punished with a terrible curse: to choke on water forevermore, forcing them to beg their dry gods for breaths of air instead. The whales sang in mourning, knowing that they were condemned to always return to the barren surface, living in fear of the waves that would always seek to strand them upon the beaches, where the dry gods would reward them only with death.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 20:
    Ruin, at its core, seeks to break the universe down into smaller bits. To let energy escape via entropy, until all is spread out and uniform. But Sekolah opposes this force. It gobbles up the uniform void, and thus becomes something not uniform. In this way, eating is creative, and indeed all things are created in this fashion. And so it is that Sekolah is the creative force of law and order, opposing the destructive force of chaos and entropy.

    Prey is tempted by entropy. They waste energy trying not to be eaten, rather than eating. This is represented not only in escaping prey, but also in the likes of concealed knowledge, lost opportunities, or stagnant wealth. Possessed of such deluded selfishness, what else could they be named but the hated?

    By contrast, the hunter is creative, allowing all things to grow by consuming the old to give rise to the new. The hunter and the hated eternally oppose each other, and sharks are believed to be judges in this conflict. This belief may have arisen from the use of sharks as bloodhounds by sahuagin, and the fact that these bloodhounds would often attack whichever side was bloodied first in a hunt... even if it was its own handler. In this way the holy animals passed judgment.

    The struggle between hunter and hated goes beyond food. In all things there is hunter and hated. The hunter seeks to consume and grow, be it in experience, knowledge, skill, strength, or anything else you are called to hunt. The hated simply tries to survive, to persist as things are. All of us have aspects of hunter and hated, but we should hate these complacent, cowardly parts of ourselves.

    Sekolah does not discriminate by method. For example, a person who works for a paycheck and then pays a trapper in order to procure a meal has still successfully hunted. So has a tree that has overshadowed its competitors to secure sunlight. Or a merchant who has simply manipulated others into giving him what they need. Such guile is the mark of many a fine hunter in nature. All methods of hunting are valid... save of course those that fail to procure the meal. It is as simple and natural and uncompromising as that.

    Sekolans praise dining as the highest form of pleasure, and Sekolan visions of heaven commonly emphasize feasting. However, the spirit of feasting can extend to all things, not just food, and many Sekolan celebrations play up alternative kinds of feasts, exalting in the consumption of knowledge, entertainment, opportunities, and indeed all things. However, Sekolan societies tend to have little pity for the have-nots. After all, their hunger is the punishment of a perfectly impartial arbiter. They are reduced to mere skin and bones, a fitting fate for those who have failed to hunt.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 25:
    "Sekolah" is a word in an old Sahuagin language roughly meaning "The Apex Predator." If something was ever able to eat Sekolah, it would simply be Sekolah, and take on the responsibilities of the position.

    Code of Conduct: Paladins of Sekolah

    "Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory."
    - Sun Tzu, discussing the merits of intentionally getting your own soldiers cornered in "The Art of War"

    This code of conduct applies to those who would call themselves paladins of the faith, not just any follower of Sekolah. It is perhaps worth noting that any mention of how to treat a hunt or a meal applies to how to treat anything, for the struggle between hunter and hated is reflected in all things.

    - Paladins of Sekolah are expected to act as impartial judges who can be trusted to resolve affairs with merciless fairness. Sekolah's judgments transcend the boundaries of race, creed, status, tribe, or even method. A true sahuagin will devour even its own kin, if it is just. Do not let worldly loyalties or petty biases cloud your righteous judgment.

    - Use the whole animal. When you consume a thing, see that it is consumed in its entirety. You need not do so alone, and you may share the fruits of your hunt or leave leftovers for scavengers and the like, but do not waste. To be wasteful is to allow prey to escape even in death.

    - Partake until you are sated. Do not settle for a half-empty stomach, unless doing so is an investment in an even greater meal in the future. Strive always to grow, for it is by eating that base chaos is ordered into higher forms.

    - Wounds on the back are a warrior's shame. Do not flee. Kill or be killed. To show your back is the mark of the hated... save when it is merely the ruse of the hunter, baiting a trap.

    - Emulate always the way of the hunter, and scorn the way of the hated. Do not concern yourself overmuch with petty self-preservation, for the success of the sea is greater than any individual fish. Undeath is especially offensive. Instead, focus your hunter's eyes solely on the best way to achieve your goals, rather than fear the consequences of failure.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Love it! Have you written something similar to this before? I feel like I have read this (or a very similar) Creation Story before.

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    Jendekit's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    I am liking these more and more and more! Now I just need to figure out a way to merge them organically into the future of the setting that I'm currently working on.
    Come check out my setting blog: Ruins of the Forbidden Elder

    Inspired by LudicSavant, I am posting deities: Erebos, The Black Sun

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Quote Originally Posted by Mith View Post
    Love it! Have you written something similar to this before?
    Yes, I've posted this creation story before. Also, many cultures have creation stories about forging the world from conflict or chaos.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jendekit View Post
    I am liking these more and more and more! Now I just need to figure out a way to merge them organically into the future of the setting that I'm currently working on.
    I'm glad you like it!

    Also, here's a song about the anglerfish, just because.

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    ReaderAt2046's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Continuing my series on the mythology of my world (see Nerull, Olidammara, Erythnul).

    The Deep Ones (Procan, Sekolah, etc)




    "Call me king, call me demon. Water forgets the names of the drowned."
    - Tahm Kench, "League of Legends"

    Expanded Domains: There are many Deep Ones with many domains. Common ones include Dragon Below, Windstorm, Weather, Watery Death, Water, Vile Darkness, Metal, Madness, Life, Blackwater, Animal, Cavern, Corruption, Darkness, Chaos, Charm, Gluttony, Knowledge, Ocean, Shadow, Seafolk, Entropy, and Evil.
    Portfolio: Life (especially saltwater life, but all life has water in it), Aberrations (Aboleths, Mind Flayers, etc), Water, Oceans, The Abyss, Salt, Lost Technology, Psionics (especially Wilders), Bioluminescence, The Far Realms, Pressure, Madness
    Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2e2e3QU4ft0

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 10:
    In this world, the popular vision of hell is not a place of fire and brimstone, but a deep, dark, wet place of crushing pressure and mad physics populated by luminous alien forms and the looming hulks of Atlantean machinery.... for in this world, magic enabled early peoples to witness the deepest depths of the ocean, and there lies creatures far stranger than any fire-breathing dragon.

    This is the Abyss, a place of terrifying contradictions. It is a place where water is all around you, but every drink is poison. It is a place of vast open spaces that exert a crushing claustrophobia. It is an unsheltered place of transparent fluid, yet Pelor's sunlight cannot pierce its depths, which are instead lit by the bright silhouettes of alien bodies. It is a place of poison and darkness, yet life flourishes. It is a place where lakes can exist underwater. No less strange is the bizarre architecture that can be found in some places in the Abyss; cyclopean ruins of towering metal and thick, snaking cables that seem to loop and twist in on themselves, with interiors resembling metallic innards of a behemoth.

    In these alien depths lie the Deep Ones, the chaotic font of primordial life and the source of all the world's oceans. It was the struggle of Corellon, Moradin, and Gruumsh to overcome the Deep Ones in the dawn times that made life apart from the poison seas possible.

    It is said that being too long at sea drives men to death or madness, and none know the truth of this as well as sailors themselves, who often sacrifice to the terrible Deep Ones in order to keep them appeased and sleepy. Seeking to explore the depths of the ocean is often regarded as madness itself.

    All aberrations are born of the Deep Ones. In this world, anglerfish and the like have the Aberration type.



    Knowledge (Religion) DC 15:
    Long ago, long before the First Civilizations, there was the Creation War, where the gods forged the world as we know it today from the primordial sea and sealed away the lords of the old world, the Deep Ones, in the deepest trenches of the Abyss.

    In the beginning, the world was wrapped in thick black clouds. There was no sunlight, and all beings glowed with their own, inner light, as did the volcanic earth itself. Before Moradin, land could not rise above the waves, and the world was wrapped entirely in water. Before Corellon, no life could exist apart from saltwater, and all blood was aberrant. Before Gruumsh, the sea was not subjected to the power of storm and sky, and water obeyed an entirely different kind of physics than it does today, flowing and writhing like the very life it spawned. Indeed, hurricanes are the result of Gruumsh wrestling the sea to keep it from rising up and consuming everything, returning the world to the briny depths from which the gods raised it.

    Gruumsh wrapped the earth in sky to hold the sea down, so that Moradin could raise the core of the world and forge the land from it. When Moradin first created land, life could only exist on its shores and beaches, and nothing could survive inland, where all was dry and barren. Pelor's first purpose was to purify the sea with the power of evaporation, allowing fresh water, free of corrupting salt, to rain down upon the land, creating lakes and rivers free of the influence of the Deep Ones. Corellon then created a new kind of blood, foreign to the Deep Ones, and seeds which could use sunlight and the new purified water.

    Though the Deep Ones are sealed away, their influence still seeps into the world around them, and their will spreads through their dreams. The deeper beneath the surface one goes, farther and farther from Pelor's light, the more it resembles the primeval world where the Deep Ones reigned over all. There, some still remember the old ways.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 20:
    Salt contains the crystallized power of the Deep Ones, and is thus an ingredient in many spells and rituals, as well as a reagent for fueling life itself. Salt is said to be the essence of corruption, and to salt the land is to corrupt it. Salt flats are seen as forsaken, haunted places.

    Unfortunately, theologians lament, we cannot live without salt or water. We are dependent upon the essence of the Deep Ones to live, and so it is, many priests say, that we are necessarily impure and imperfect. Others, such as the priests of Kord, might contend that it is a testament to our strength that we can overcome a base, aberrant nature. Some scholars claim that those of the most noble breeding have less connection to the Deep Ones (and more to Corellon) in their blood, and that through good bloodlines the influence of the Deep Ones can gradually be filtered out.

    The twisting caverns of the underdark are said to have been carved out by the Deep Ones. Vast subterranean seas can be found in its deeper depths, and it is from here that the aberrations of the underdark first emerged.

    Psionics comes from tapping into the power of the dreaming Deep Ones, which is present in all life, for all life comes from water. Bioluminescence is a sign of natural psionic potential, as indeed the first form of bioluminescence developed as a result of psionic displays. Sight developed later to see the psionic displays in a world that was otherwise all but completely dark. "Psionic tattoos" are actually a form of bioluminescence.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 25:
    Many aquatic creatures refer to the surface world as "the Lack" or "the Empty." This reflects a certain mindset amongst many aquatic creatures which is perhaps fortunate for us. After all, the Sahuagin are smarter and stronger, on average, than humans... and the oceans still cover most of the world.

    Aberrations tend to regard sunlight as alien light (that is, not coming from things on the earth itself, such as its molten core or bioluminescence), and "lightborne life" as otherworldly invaders. They see themselves as the native inhabitants of the world, and some Aboleths claim to still remember the beginning times when all things glowed with their own inner light. To them, we are the soulless aberrations, whose existence is only made possible by wretched artifice.

    The bizarre ruins of flowering metal towers deep within the Abyss seem to have some connection with the Deep Ones and the ancient aberrations that preceded the First Civilizations, but their ultimate purpose is unknown. Some Sahuagin nations are actively engaged in investigating these places. Most believe that going anywhere near these places risks disturbing the Deep Ones. Some aberrations may have some idea of what is going on down there, but if they do they aren't explaining it to us.
    This is good stuff, man. I may borrow some of this for a setting I'm working through.
    Prince Fraternal of Pudding, Snuzzlepal, Feezy Squeez Lover, MP, Member of The Most Noble And Ancient Order Of St. George, King of Gae Parabolae.

    Lego Ergo Sum

    "Everyone's cute if you just look at them the right way"~Rebekah Patton Durham, Princess of Pudding.

    "If they have stats, we can kill them... I'd like to point out that we also have stats..." ~ PhoenixGuard09.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    I didn't add any organizations or other "extras" for this one... thinking about doing so in the future. Any ideas?

    There's a ton of "aberrant" build options in supplements, so I'm looking into those. Aberration-shape druids and the like.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Perhaps the most compelling thing about this (at least to me) is that the Deep Ones that consider sunlight an artifice are technically right to think so, given that Pelor was constructed by the work of the 3 Kings.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I want to create a world that is full of possibility, and one of the best ways to handle it is by creating a bunch of stories that haven't yet been finished.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    At this point, however, I'm thinking way too hard about the practical problems of running a battle royale school for Russian assassins, so I think I'll leave it there.
    In my posts, smilies generally correspond to my expression at the time. As an example, means "huh?" and "Hmm..". Also, "Landis" is fine.

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    I didn't add any organizations or other "extras" for this one... thinking about doing so in the future. Any ideas?
    Perhaps a shadow cable that goes across the surface like the Kraken Society from the Forgotten Realms.

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Quote Originally Posted by Mith View Post
    Perhaps a shadow cable that goes across the surface like the Kraken Society from the Forgotten Realms.
    What's the Kraken Society? Source?

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    Perhaps the most compelling thing about this (at least to me) is that the Deep Ones that consider sunlight an artifice are technically right to think so, given that Pelor was constructed by the work of the 3 Kings.
    They could also be considered right to say that it is alien light. That is, the sun is literally extraterrestrial. When it broke through the thick black clouds that covered the world in an earlier geographic era, its bright light was utterly foreign. Some Aberrations even regard the change in geographic eras to be the result of a sort of terraforming by invaders (in many versions of the creation myth, those invaders are of course the gods of the royal pantheon).

    The story is also consistent with the fact that life can thrive without sunlight or photosynthesis in deep sea or subterranean environments. For instance, wikipedia says:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Since, at such deep levels, there is little to no sunlight, photosynthesis is not a possible means of energy production, leaving some creatures with the quandary of how to produce food for themselves. For the giant tube worm, this answer comes in the form of bacteria. These bacteria are capable of chemosynthesis and live inside the giant tube worm, which lives on hydrothermal vents. These vents spew forth very large amounts of chemicals, which these bacteria can transform into energy. These bacteria can also grow free of a host and create mats of bacteria on the sea floor around hydrothermal vents, where they serve as food for other creatures. Bacteria are a key energy source in the food chain. This source of energy creates large populations in areas around hydrothermal vents, which provides scientists with an easy stop for research. Organisms can also use chemosynthesis to attract prey or to attract a mate. [5]
    Life can even go without hydrothermal vents:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Oceanic crust

    In 2013, researchers reported their discovery of bacteria living in the rock of the oceanic crust below the thick layers of sediment, and apart from the hydrothermal vents that form along the edges of the tectonic plates. Preliminary findings are that these bacteria subsist on the hydrogen produced by chemical reduction of olivine by seawater circulating in the small veins that permeate the basalt that comprises oceanic crust. The bacteria synthesize methane by combining hydrogen and carbon dioxide.[6]
    Also, chemosynthesis. On top of that there'd be the energy output of things like psionics (who knows how that would work). Altogether this means that the idea of life thriving without photosynthesis in the highly volcanic dawn times is plausible.

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    What's the Kraken Society? Source?
    http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Kraken_Society

    It's a basic idea to use. Probably works better to have an aboleth run things though.

    Also, are mind flayers and beholders connected to this as Abberations that made it successfully onto land? Perhaps the Mindflayers are corrupted human cults, where the cult leader was turned into an Elder Brain, and the rest of the cult turned ito mind flayers. I have no idea about how to do an origin of the beholders though.

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Quote Originally Posted by Mith View Post
    Also, are mind flayers and beholders connected to this as Abberations that made it successfully onto land? Perhaps the Mindflayers are corrupted human cults, where the cult leader was turned into an Elder Brain, and the rest of the cult turned ito mind flayers. I have no idea about how to do an origin of the beholders though.
    Yes. They may not be aquatic, but their distant ancestors were. There's also a pretty direct route from the lightless sea to land-based environments: The underdark, large parts of which are a "Sunless Sea" type setting (after all, large cave systems naturally tend to get flooded). This is why you find so many aberrations living down there.

    In my setting, various cultures acknowledge evolution (at least, in terms similar to ancient Greek, Roman, Chinese, and Middle Eastern theories on evolution). It's also connected with some ideologies about reincarnation.

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Another thought: If it's generally known among the educated that psionic power is drawn from the deep, than psionics would have some of the same stereotypes as necromancy or diabolism does in more conventional settings. There could well be factions, even powerful and influential factions, of the surface religions that denounce psions as depraved followers of the Deep Gods, or places in the world where the use of psionics is banned.
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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Quote Originally Posted by ReaderAt2046 View Post
    Another thought: If it's generally known among the educated that psionic power is drawn from the deep, than psionics would have some of the same stereotypes as necromancy or diabolism does in more conventional settings. There could well be factions, even powerful and influential factions, of the surface religions that denounce psions as depraved followers of the Deep Gods, or places in the world where the use of psionics is banned.
    I could totally see some people scoffing at even referring to it as a type of "magic." Even if full psionics/magic transparency is in effect.

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Haven't read all the knowledge DC results, due to being pressed for time, but I always do like a touch of the Lovecraftian. Lovecraft's own work makes one wonder if he was an ichthyophobe, but the deep ocean is certainly a source of the unknown. I once heard it said that we know more about deep space than the deep ocean, and I can believe it.

    I think too many fantasy worlds neglect the ocean and focus on the land, so I always try and make sure my settings has at least a few sapient races in the ocean.

    Generally when I think of underwater monstrosities I think of The Ocean Hunter, but I do love those illustrations you linked. All aberrations coming from the deep ocean is an interesting idea, as is some real-world creatures being made into aberrations (deep-sea lie tends to look the part). I haven't read the full OP, as I say, but if aberrations come from the ocean, and life comes from the ocean... which form of life is truly "aberrant?"

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    First time using the shiny new reply button on this forum.

    Hi Ludic, I'm here to stalk you, but not really. Also, hi Duskydragun. <3

    The Lovecraftian vibe makes me happy. It kind of reminds me of the new Cove region in the Darkest Dungeon. In a good way, because I really like it. As somebody who is terrified of dark water, I am scared. Very scared.

    This is so cool. You're a great writer!

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    If I'm interpreting this correctly, the deep ones are actually the good guys in this story. They were just minding their own business when the Big Three came along and decided, arbitrarily, that it had to be destroyed to make room for something else.

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    For organizations, how about these two ideas:

    Aboleths have a racial memory that goes back before the present world (probably to the watery primordial chaos). How about a cult that tries to tap into their own racial memories? Elves have the Eternal Blade in Tome of Battle that does something like that, but I was thinking of a psionic cult that uses powers of knowledge and memory (Mindlink, Mindprobe, Schism, Fusion, Hypercognition, etc.) to create a kind of group-mind able to see into their own genetic past as a way to power.

    Alternatively, humanoid blood is still water and salt, like the sea. How about, then, a blood cult. BLood magic, in this setting, would be very aberation-themed. There's all manner of avenues, there. Drinking salt water. Drinking blood. Spreading your blood into the sea. Replacing your blood with salt water. Drinking the blood of aberrations. And of course thematic variations. Sharks smell blood in water. BLood-drinking fish, like the Candiru or lampreys.
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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Quote Originally Posted by Blake Hannon View Post
    If I'm interpreting this correctly, the deep ones are actually the good guys in this story. They were just minding their own business when the Big Three came along and decided, arbitrarily, that it had to be destroyed to make room for something else.
    The point, if I'm interpreting it correctly, is moral ambiguity. The religion of the Deep Ones is supposed to be something people might actually want to worship, so they can't all be one dimensional "I wanna destroy the world because I can" villains. It has to be understandable that people would worship them, and your reaction indicated that he succeeded.

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Apophis had similar goals to The Deep Ones, but he was still an enemy of Creation to the Egyptian people.

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Quote Originally Posted by SorenKnight View Post
    The point, if I'm interpreting it correctly, is moral ambiguity. The religion of the Deep Ones is supposed to be something people might actually want to worship, so they can't all be one dimensional "I wanna destroy the world because I can" villains. It has to be understandable that people would worship them, and your reaction indicated that he succeeded.
    The purpose is to create more compelling, thought-provoking, and verisimilar setting elements for PCs to explore... or even want to worship themselves! And, of course, to provide a well of plot hooks, interesting conflicts, and the like. Posing challenging moral questions is part and parcel of that, and I'm glad that you feel I've succeeded in that!

    To quote a relevant LessWrong article (http://lesswrong.com/lw/ux/tradition...talist_values/, which I think is good reading for anyone looking to put more verisimilitude into their worlds), "Real value systems - as opposed to pretend demoniacal value systems - are phrased to generate warm fuzzies in their users, not to be easily mocked. They will sound noble at least to the people who believe them."

    Real philosophies, no matter how heroic or vile, tend to paint themselves as the protagonists in their own narratives, or at least have some justification for why it's right for them to be the bad guy (such as what I did for Hextor). In the case of my pantheon, every deity can be seen as hero or villain by others in the setting. And, if you hear the case for a deity as given by one of their most intelligent and successful true believers, that case should appear convincing, at least on the surface.

    To one, Nerull is terrifying oblivion and the end of everything meaningful. For another, Nerull is merciful salvation and the beginning of a new and indeed better reality. Who (if either) is really correct? Perhaps you (or your PC) think you know, and will fight for what you believe to be the right course of action. Perhaps your opinion may change as new information is revealed during the course of a campaign. After all, stories of the gods are incomplete or shrouded in myth, and humanity is bad at playing telephone. This is all material that can be explored in a game.

    In the case of the Deep Ones, there are many sides to the story. Justifiable or not, one may not be so eager to go along with, say, a plan to collapse the land back into the sea or to block out the alien sun with a supervolcanic eruption. Or even just to, you know, eat brains.

    Speaking of which, here's a fun idea from my friend hiryuu on a possible mind flayer faction:
    Quote Originally Posted by hiryuu
    Let's talk about Illithids, this'll be fun. According to The Illithiad (shush, bear with me), a mind flayer needs one brain of a month to stay alive - that's bare minimum - and it needs to be from an intelligent creature with the ability to reason (no using Int 4 critters, the mind flayer needs meat). Smart and clever brains taste better. We are told they keep slaves for this, or make raids.

    This means one mind flayer, at minimum, needs to kill 12 people a year. Now, since the brains have to be adult brains, they need a maturation period of 16-17 years or more. That means the minimum brain input a mind flayer needs to get to a given brain is about 150 brains. That's a lot of raiding or slave raising. Illithiad also says there's ~100 or more illithids in a given city or town run by them, on top of what the elder brain eats (we'll ignore it for a moment). That's 15,000 brains over the course of 16 years, which may not seem like much, but that's the bare minimum - it's like forcing your entire population to live on unseasoned instant ramen for a decade and a half. In order for your population to maintain that level of consumption, you should probably have about ten times that - you need breeders and educators (you want your brains smart, they need to be tasty) and then you need to keep up their maintenance - feeding them and pumping away their waste is a big job. You also need to house them, can't keep them in cages, it makes for horrible food.

    Basically what this means is that you might have a small group of illithids in charge of a huge city-cult devoted to them and devoted to producing smart, intelligent members of the populace who might even petition to be eaten, on top of the rabble-rousers and troublemakers (this is probably why the ancient Gith had high enough numbers to stage a coup and win). Welcome to the city of mind flayers, where health care is free, education is robust and fun, but hey, don't break the law.
    How's that for an organization/faction?

    I like the idea of aberrations and non-aberrations having to overcome crazy obstacles like "we need to eat the live brains of your species" in order to achieve relatively peaceful co-existence... and actually seeking to do so! Perhaps to the horror of other humanoids and aberrations alike (kinda like how the elves and dragons alike were horrified by half-dragons in Eberron).

    I can totally imagine people petitioning to have their brains eaten, too. After all, they may believe that they live on as a component part of a greater being instead of wasting away in old age, or even that this is a sort of way of being "elected to the governmental mind." Also, it could come with honors, influence (such as giving political voice to a dying wish), or pecuniary rewards.

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    Lightbulb Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Interesting thread -- I'll be sure to check out the others.

    It's actually very relevant to something I've been working on for about week, an idea that has sort of temporarily taken over all the creative parts of my brain.

    And you used my favorite word (verisimilitude).
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2016-05-02 at 04:14 PM.

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Thoughts on the Deep Ones (that may already be reflected in this thread). This is what I have developed for my setting:

    The Deep Ones (and all aberrations) do not have a concept of Individuality. All organisms are part of the Deep Mind that connects all life. All aberrations feel this connection, which is the binding unification between all aberration races/nations/tribes. When one dies, their mind is absorbed by the Deep Mind, as their body is absorbed by natural processes to create new life. Evolutionary cycles enable for stronger life forms to arise that increases the power of the Deep Mind

    Gods of the Sea are more reflections of the mass belief of the worshipers, much like the "insane" Kua-Toa. Ancient denizens of the Oceans may gain enough veneration to gain divine status as well. These gods are constructs within the Deep Mind. This is explicitly different from divine gods where there are multiple aspects of the same deity.

    The Deep Ones views the mortal races created by the gods as true aberrations, because their sense of Individuality (aka "the soul") blocks their connection to the Deep Mind. While the body and mind of divine creations still undergo the absorption process upon death, these races do not feel the connection that exist between all life forms. The Deep Ones seek to destroy the divinely created life forms, since then the Deep Mind will eventually be able to overwhelm the land, and restore the primordial state to the planet.

    Hopefully this makes sense.

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Quote Originally Posted by Mith View Post
    Thoughts on the Deep Ones (that may already be reflected in this thread). This is what I have developed for my setting:

    The Deep Ones (and all aberrations) do not have a concept of Individuality. All organisms are part of the Deep Mind that connects all life. All aberrations feel this connection, which is the binding unification between all aberration races/nations/tribes. When one dies, their mind is absorbed by the Deep Mind, as their body is absorbed by natural processes to create new life. Evolutionary cycles enable for stronger life forms to arise that increases the power of the Deep Mind

    Gods of the Sea are more reflections of the mass belief of the worshipers, much like the "insane" Kua-Toa. Ancient denizens of the Oceans may gain enough veneration to gain divine status as well. These gods are constructs within the Deep Mind. This is explicitly different from divine gods where there are multiple aspects of the same deity.

    The Deep Ones views the mortal races created by the gods as true aberrations, because their sense of Individuality (aka "the soul") blocks their connection to the Deep Mind. While the body and mind of divine creations still undergo the absorption process upon death, these races do not feel the connection that exist between all life forms. The Deep Ones seek to destroy the divinely created life forms, since then the Deep Mind will eventually be able to overwhelm the land, and restore the primordial state to the planet.

    Hopefully this makes sense.


    Very interesting.

    What I ended up doing with the Deep Ones in my setting is that they are more akin to the jotun from Norse mythology. One of them ended up being a hostage (in the feudal sense) and marrying Boccob. To the surprise of everyone, the two hit it off really well. Opposites attract and all of that.
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    Exclamation Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Quote Originally Posted by Jendekit View Post


    Very interesting.

    What I ended up doing with the Deep Ones in my setting is that they are more akin to the jotun from Norse mythology. One of them ended up being a hostage (in the feudal sense) and marrying Boccob. To the surprise of everyone, the two hit it off really well. Opposites attract and all of that.
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    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2016-05-02 at 09:41 PM.

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    As with many other people, I'm sure, I'm bookmarking this for future reference.

    Unfortunately I can't offer much feedback- while I love the idea that a pantheon and/or cosmology is deeply tide into a campaign's setting, I also think it's very personal and so there's not a lot I can find to criticize. Some of it might be different from the way I'd do things, but it's definitely not wrong in any objective way. And if it works for you, then it works for me.
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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Cyclopean! Going full Lovecraft, you dirty, dirty boy you. Ah, the ocean. Vast, mysterious...and full of squidgy things that want to eat you. The Deep Ones are otherwise very sympathetic. Deep ocean horrifies me, yet it's so compelling. Another good installment.
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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    You rang, Winter_Wolf?

    More seriously, I'm loving the work on this pantheon. I'm definitely getting tons of inspiration for my own setting and I'm eager to watch the metaphysics develop.

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclopean View Post
    You rang, Winter_Wolf?
    *cough* well, uh hey there's some irony. Mentally I just had an image of John Cleese screaming that word.
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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    The first of two organizations I will be adding to the Deep Ones entry. Thanks to Raygun Goth for giving me the idea to make a mind flayer city in the first place.

    Organization: Shadrahala, The City of Wisdom



    Even by conservative estimates, mind flayers need to consume a great deal of sentient brains over the course of their lifetimes. Moreover, higher quality brains are much preferred, offering both superior nutrition and flavor. As such, it is in the interest of a mind flayer connoisseur to maintain healthy, free range humanoid civilizations with high standards of education. In turn, some humans might see the value in super-intelligent administrators, even if they demand sacrifice.

    Enter Shadrahala, a thriving metropolis rising from the tides of a subterranean ocean. It is known by many names, depending on who you ask... the City of Wisdom, the Gates of Madness, the Hanging Garden. Though the great majority of the population is humanoid, illithids form the legitimate ruling class. The people are not slaves, but willful citizens of the great city-cult, living side by side with aberrations (perhaps to the horror of foreign humanoids and aberrations alike). Here, the city is alight with magic, health care is free, education is robust and fun, government is efficient and responsive, all manner of psychedelic entertainments can be found, but hey... don't break the law.

    The death penalty is applied liberally for rabble-rousers and troublemakers, via Shadrahala's swift and decisive justice system (after all, there is no shortage of psionic investigators). However, this is not the only source of brains for the illithid masters. Perhaps more shockingly to outsiders, many citizens of Shadrahala, especially the elderly or infirm, willfully petition for themselves to be eaten, for a variety of reasons. The faithful believe that through the consumption of their minds, they might live on as part of a greater being rather than wasting away of old age. Some even see it as a sort of way of being "elected to the governmental mind." Additionally, volunteers are granted honors, influence (such as giving political voice to a dying wish, a central tenet of Shadrahalan government), and pecuniary rewards. Shadrahalans are strong believers in this system's stability; any man willing to die to see his political beliefs enacted can do so, to at least some extent, without all the hassle of revolution. The system also works to ensure that any humanoid's political requests are directed towards the benefit of those they leave behind, rather than themselves. The illithids themselves are seen as relatively impartial, superintelligent mediators of political deathwishes. Volunteers retain the right to decide which illithid decides the fate of their brain (though this need not mean that that illithid personally devours it), which means that the best fed illithids are those who are most respected by the humanoid population.

    The city itself is constructed in layers. The lowest—and largest—is comprised of spiraling towers built into colossal (sometimes artificially fortified and enlarged) stalactities which occasionally even plunge beneath the water's surface, where airtight quarters allow men to walk among denizens of the deep (not to mention maintain rather unique aquaculture and fishing industries). The interiors of these towers pierce upwards through the ceiling, connecting to caverns above. Folk travel between the towers by roads (on higher layers), hanging bridges, boats, and occasionally flight.

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    Default Re: The Deep Ones: Twisted Seas and Alien Light

    I love the city - mostly because I have spoken about illithid cities many times.

    I imagine the mind flayers have entertainment designed to give people a longer sense of time and lives, like psionic microcosms and memory orbs like the Society of Sensation or like the video game Roy from Rick & Morty. Spectator life-living inside a psionic microcosm!

    Cool science fairs all the time where the illithids judge cool magic item creation competitions like the World's Fair!

    Of course, people who live here will view the Githyanki as insane religious extremists who have no idea what they're doing. Rebellion would be insane. Like some kind of terrible monster that can't be negotiated with. Their queen has damned them to a life of sadness, ignorance, and eventual consumption by her not for any noble cause, but merely because she fears power other than her own. Such a sad people.
    Last edited by raygun goth; 2016-09-22 at 01:59 AM.
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