One of my inspirations for this game is the Legend of Zelda video games, and I like the mythology in that setting. For example, I like how each one of the three Golden Goddesses embodied a different quality – courage, wisdom and power. They are not directly involved in any of the games, but their influence can still be seen. You see statues of them on buildings. There are spells named after them. And, most importantly, each of the three pieces of the Tri-Force represents one of the qualities they embody.
Another game that I think has a very cool setting is the Legend of the Five Rings roleplaying game. The mythology here has the human society of Rokugan founded by eight deities that were all siblings. Each of them influenced the values of the empire they founded in different ways. These deities are a good deal less powerful than the three Golden Goddesses, but they are still heroes of exceptional renown. Legend of the Five Rings also adds an evil deity who is a sibling of the others that went bad.
So, basically what I’ve got here so far, is that I think my setting’s mythology will have the world being created by a group of siblings who were super-powerful beings – generally regarded as deities. I want each of these siblings to also embody one quality that is therefore highly valued by most of the people in the setting. I don’t want to use the courage-power-wisdom triad from Zelda. But I also don’t want it to be too complicated. The deities in Legend of the Five Rings embody certain qualities, but it would take a few sentences to explain each of them. In my setting, I want the qualities that each deity embodies to be able to be summed up in one word.
One idea I’m considering is: four siblings that embody the qualities of love, justice, wisdom, and power. Many of you can probably guess the inspiration for this. One thing that I like about this is that I personally think those are pretty much the four highest qualities in the universe. Any other desirable quality could be considered a derivative of one of those four. Four deities also means you could easily match each one to one of the four classical elements – earth, fire, water, and wind. You could have, say, a deity of wisdom and wind, since both are ephemeral, and another one of justice and fire, since flames are often associated with testing the true quality of something. Perhaps love and earth could go together, since both are often associated with life and living things. That would leave power and water, which works because of the sheer power of the ocean tides, and the power of rivers to cut through terrain.
Now, I also like the idea of one or more evil deities that work against the efforts of the good deities. There should be at least one, but more than one might allow for some variation in goals and outlooks. For example, you might have one evil deity that wants nothing more than to see the world burn. But then, you might have another one that would rather twist the creations of the good deities into a dark reflection that’s more to his liking. I think it would be cool if all of these deities were siblings, as it makes the conflict very personal.
I don’t see any of these deities making an appearance in your typical campaign, but you should be able to see their influence in the world. Most of your heroes and sages will be inspired by the good deities, or at least be paragons of the virtues they embody, while most of your villains will demonstrate an outlook and a methodology reminiscent of one of the evil deities.
So, those are some quick thoughts and some rough ideas. I’d be curious to hear what you think about any of this. I’ll be posting again soon with some more thoughts on the setting for this new project. Until then, good gaming!