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9W Lexicon (long!)

Started by Matt Snyder, May 30, 2003, 03:35:39 PM

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Matt Snyder

Here's a sneak peak at the Lexicon that will tentatively appear in the introduction to the Nine Worlds book:

Aether -- The aether is a cosmic sea of stars and currents of swirling mist. It is the corpus of the fallen Titan Oceanus and the Eternal Poseidon. It acts as a medium that connects all the Nine Worlds, as well as other lost domains like Atlantis. Travelers, both mortal and immortal, navigate this medium on Aetherships to journey among the Nine Worlds.
Aethership -- Aetherships are wondrous ships and crafts that can traverse the aether. They vary widely in appearance and function, some looking like traditional sailing vessels, others like strange metallic scarabs, fish, and stranger things.
Aphrodite -- The Eternal who rules Venus. On her tropical world, Aphrodite acts as divine matchmaker, inspiring love, hate, jealousy and lust in grand games of the heart in which she delights greatly.
Apollo -- The Eternal who rules the Sun. Apollo is second only to Zeus in power and influence among Eternals and the awakened. He rules Heliopolis, golden city of the Sun, as an ambitions, sophisticated, and erudite politician and scholar.
Ares -- The Eternal who rules Mars. Ares is a fickle emperor who pits warring citystates against one another, giving and taking away his favor and support to encourage violence and war, and above all keep himself in position of ultimate warlord in the universe.
Arete -- One of the two Archon virtues. Arete is excellence according to the judgment of the Eternals. This virtue represents thoughts, words and deeds that adhere to natural order of the universe. This characteristic determines how many cards a player draws for his character's action in a conflict phase.
Archon -- Mortal agents of the Demiurge. Archons are awakened humans who possess extraordinary talents and supernatural power. All player characters are Archons, though the game master may also control non-player character Archons.
Artemis -- The Eternal who rules the Moon. Artemis is an unforgiving warden who deals harshly with those who interfere with her wilderness domain on the moon. She maintains a careful ecology of mythic flora and fauna.
Atlantis -- Atlantis is the lost city of myth. The city is now adrift on the aether like a floating island. Atlanteans are mortals who have been isolated for centuries. They now terrorize the aether at the behest of their king, Atlas the Titan.
Atlas -- Atlas is a Titan and king of Atlantis, the lost city. He guides a campaign of piracy and terrorism across the aether with his aethership navy of corsairs and reavers.
Awakened -- Term for any mortal who recognizes the true nature of the Nine Worlds, rather than the cosmologies mortals typically acknowledge by science, religion or other means.
Chaos -- One of the four Urges. Chaos is the power to dismantle or destroy matter and thought.
Cosmos -- One of the four Urges. Cosmos is the power to organize or create matter and thought.
Cronos -- Chief of the Titans. Cronus is an extraordinarily powerful Titan who lead the Titans' escape from Tartarus and the subsequent struggle known as the second Titanomachy. He rules Saturn, one of the Nine Worlds.
Demiurge -- The penultimate force in the Universe. The Demiurge is the incarnation of all the words and deeds, all the acts and decisions made by Archons. It is the embodiment of the ebb and flow of reality as shaped by the empowered denizens of the universe.
Earth -- One of the Nine Worlds. Earth is, essentially, the 21st century world readers of this book know and live in. It is different in that Earth is the locus of the Nine Worlds, the domain around which all other worlds revolve. It is home to mortal humanity, which the immortal Titans and Eternals both desire to rule.
Eternals -- Eternals are immortal beings of immense power. Awakened humans recognize these beings as the gods of Greek myth, though the Eternals may have influenced ancient humanity in many guises. Several Eternals act as the ruling lords of many of the Nine Worlds, while other Eternals serve these lords. There may exist other Eternals from myth, while others, like Poseidon, have fallen in the second Titanomachy.
Fate -- The force that decides the ultimate path of experience that all beings pursue. In game terms, Fate is the numerical measurement of a character's success in conflict.  Fate may also grace a character with Tricks, with which he or she can use to affect characteristic ratings, thereby altering characters, objects or other entities.
Furies -- Spirits that violently enforce the natural order. Typically perceived as a trinity of female spirits, they descend upon mortals who offend the Eternals with excessive Hubris.
Hades --  1) One of the Nine Worlds. Hades is the Ninth Worlds, or the Underworld. It is the land of the dead, and the realm is divided into three main realms. Hades proper is the eternal home of shades, the tormented souls of dead mortals. The second realm is Tartarus; it is a hellish black pit with walls of bronze. Tartarus is a place worse than hell. It imprisons many terrible beasts, vile souls, and even a few Titans remain imprisoned there. Finally, Hades includes Elysium, a pastoral paradise for the graceful souls of mortals who live there in eternity. Elysium is their reward for greatness and excellence in life.
2) The Eternal lord of the Underworld. Hades is brother to Zeus, and he rules the Ninth World that bears his own name and all its strange and dark inhabitants. Hades is reclusive, and rarely travels beyond his domain.
Hermes -- The Eternal lord of Mercury. Hermes governs Mercury like a shrewd CEO, though he often does so remotely as he travels constantly among the Nine Worlds.
Hubris -- One of two virtues. Hubris is outright defiance of the natural order as a means of personal expression, independence, or judgment. This characteristic determines how many cards a player draws for his character's action in a conflict phase.
Jupiter -- One of the Nine Worlds. Jupiter is the largest of the Nine Worlds, though it remains less populated by far than Earth. Its terrain varies as greatly as Earth's, and upon its majestic mountains sits Zeus' throne. He rules Jupiter from his high altitude capital, the bustling city Olympia.
Mars -- One of the Nine Worlds. Mars is a world of sprawling deserts and badlands populated with independent citystates like New Illium and Sparta Nova. These citystates war constantly, to the delight of Mars' Eternal lord, Ares.
Mercury -- One of the Nine Worlds. Mercury is dominated by a mutable city called Mercury Station, which changes constantly like a living organism, with new buildings and lanes shifting and reforming frequently. Mercury Station is a thriving center of commerce and trade in the Nine Worlds.
Metamorphosis -- One of the four Urges. Metamorphosis is the power to change or transform.
Moon -- One of the Nine Worlds. Much of the moon is a vast wilderness known as the Wild Lands, though the moon is also home to the idyllic city Arcadia. The Eternal Artemis rules as lady of the Moon.
Muses -- One of the three main attributes of characters. Each player character (and some non-player characters) has one or more Muses, which motivate the character to act and make decisions in the game.
Ninth World -- A common phrase for the underworld, Hades.
Non-player character -- Any character, being or entity controlled by the Game Master.
Player character -- Any character controlled by a player who is not the Game Master. All player characters are Archons.
Prometheus -- A rogue Titan who awakens Archons and guides them as they discover their power. Prometheus is a renegade immortal who acts only according to his own agenda. He seems to have a benevolent interest in humanity.
Power -- Power is a non-player character attribute that supplants virtues. Power represents a non-player character's potential to affect change by whatever means he or she can. This characteristic determines the number of cards a non-player character receives in a conflict phase.
Saturn -- One of the Nine Worlds. Once a water-world governed by Poseidon, Saturn is now a barren, brutal wasteland governed by Cronos, his Titan kin, and many of the terrible beasts of myth.
Sleeper -- Slang for mortals on Earth who remain unaware of the true nature of the Nine Worlds or the potential of the Demiurge.
Sun -- One of the Nine Worlds. The whole of the world of the Sun is a huge city of silver and gold called Heliopolis. Apollo reigns as sun king over the world.
Stasis -- One of the four Urges. Stasis is the power to prevent change and enforce constancy and even permanency.
Titans -- The Titans are immortal beings who ruled the universe upon its creation. They are primal forces incarnate, and capable of extraordinary power and insight, but also terrible rage and destruction. They were usurped and imprisoned by the Eternals in ancient days, but have recently re-emerged from their imprisonment.
Titanomachy -- Titanomachy is the term for the cataclysmic battles between the Titans and the Eternals. In the first Titanomachy, the Eternals overthrew the Titans and cast them into the hellish prison of Tartarus. In the second Titanomachy, the Titans escaped Tartarus and captured Saturn from the Eternal Poseidon. This second Titanomachy remains unresolved, and the war between the Titans and Eternals is ongoing after more than a century of Earth's time.
Tricks -- The metaphysical currency of Fate. Players may earn Tricks in victorious conflict. They can then use the Tricks to affect the characteristics of their character or other characters participating in the conflict.
Urges -- One of the three main character attributes groups. Every character in this game has four Urges: Chaos, Cosmos, Metamorphosis, and Stasis.
Venus -- One of the Nine Worlds. Venus is a tropical paradise world of cerulean seas, sandy beaches, and luscious forest and jungles. Aphrodite rules as queen of this often-tumultuous paradise.
Virtues -- One of the three main character attributes groups. Each player character (and some non-player characters) has Arete and Hubris characteristics. Together, these are called virtues.
Zeus -- King of the Eternals. Zeus is the most powerful Eternal, though his influence has waned over the ages. He rules as lord of Jupiter.
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra


Question:  Why did Posiedon rule Saturn and not Neptune?

Its too bad he's dead.  He's such a loose cannon in the myths that he'd be a great source of conflict.  Any chance he's just in hiding?

Matt Snyder

Quote from: ValamirNice.
Question:  Why did Posiedon rule Saturn and not Neptune?

Its too bad he's dead.  He's such a loose cannon in the myths that he'd be a great source of conflict.  Any chance he's just in hiding?

Heh, you don't miss a thing, do you Ralph? The reason he's not on Neptune is that the cosmology follows ancient astronomy/astrology, not modern observations. The ancients knew nothing of Neptune, Uranus and Pluto. In this game, Poseidon got Saturn as a gift following the first titanomachy, and he made it his own w/ seas, etc. When the Titans escaped in the second Titanomachy, they kicked the crap out of that damn squatter, Poseidon.

But, the guy's immortal, you know? So, what happened is that they did to him what the immortals once did to their kin, Oceanus. Basically, they disemboweled him, and let his blood intermingle with the aether. The Aether is actually the blood of Oceanus and Poseidon. Therefore, neither is truly dead and both fued and manifest routinely as wild, terrible aetherstorms and aether monsters/spirits.

Can he resurface? Sure, but that'll be up to the game's players and GMs. I will not put forth huge metaplot-like changes in this game, though I do foresee lots of places to offer up supplemental material (more setting details on each world, for example). Shaking things with things as dramatic as Poseidon's return will be up to the players, not me. I'm going to attempt to keep that as "policy" for the game. I will leave deliberate gaps for players to fill. For example, I'll keep Prometheus' real motivations vague, and explain to readers that this is intentional so THEY can define motivations for this crucial setting character.
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra

Spooky Fanboy

Well, that's certainly refreshing to hear that there will be no metaplot involved.

I loved the description of the realms, especially Mercury the quicksilver city. That one was sweet.

Okay, I'll just hand over my wallet right now, then. ;-)
Proudly having no idea what he's doing since 1970!

Jonathan Walton

Nice, Matt.

It's going to take a while to get used to the Demiurge and Archons as potentially positive beings.  Been reading too much Gnostic scripture lately, like the Hypostasis of the Archons.

I assume Poseidon took over Saturn from Chronos the Titan?

Mike Holmes

That would be Cronus the Titan, son of Uranus. Right? Chronos was the Greek emodiment of time, and a separate character of Myth.

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Matt Snyder

Quote from: Jonathan WaltonNice, Matt.

It's going to take a while to get used to the Demiurge and Archons as potentially positive beings.  Been reading too much Gnostic scripture lately, like the Hypostasis of the Archons.

I can understand that. I've done some more research, and found that the Demiurge I've put forth is more in line with Plato's concept (as he wrote about in Timaeus. I intended this. However, I'm also realizing there are gnostic influences here, especially in naming the Archons, which is what the gnostics termed similar beings, I believe. I can't explain how they "snuck in" -- chalk it up to subconscious influences or faulty memory about my creative process. ;)

Think of it this way; I used the Platonic model for the Demiurge, which is quite benevolent, rational and "good." But, I co-opted some fantastic elements from the Gnostic model. The game comes out of the blender as something a bit new, not quite either "proper" model, but hopefully entertaining!

This same effect is happening in my treatment of Greek mythology. I borrow from liberally it and then turn aroun and ignore it at my leisure. Again, the end result might be familiar, but not exactly "right." Still, hopefully its something new and altogether entertaining.

QuoteI assume Poseidon took over Saturn from Chronos the Titan?

Yes, indeed he did. His trophy for "slaying" Oceanus. Of course, then Cronos took back his domain when he and the other titans escaped from Tartarus. In "Earth terms," this "reconquista" occurs near the end of the 19th century, and they've been raising hell ever since.
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra

Jonathan Walton

Quote from: Mike HolmesThat would be Cronus the Titan, son of Uranus. Right?

Yeah, but Chronos' Romanized name is Saturn, and they named the planet after him.  That's why I asked :)

I actually like the melding of Platonic and Gnostic models, Matt, though I probably would have chosen the name "Aeons" over "Archons."  But, then again, too many games already use "Aeons" (heck, White Wolf got sued over it, as I recall), so Archons all the way!

Matt Snyder

Quote from: Mike HolmesThat would be Cronus the Titan, son of Uranus. Right? Chronos was the Greek emodiment of time, and a separate character of Myth.

Right on, Mike, we're talking about Cronus the Titan, son of Uranus. Not Chronus, the embodiment of time. The two are often confused, and for good reason, not least of all similar names. Cronus is associated / synonymous with Saturn. Saturn, the Roman god, was a corn god, and carried a sickle, which makes it even more confusing with Chronus, akin to "Father Time," who carried a scythe.

Neither here nor there for 9W, though! Cronos is a bad guy. The Bad Guy, in fact. He's a titan, he rules Saturn. 'Nuff said.
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra

Jonathan Walton

Sorry, Mike, I just got what you meant, on the second reading.  The difference between "o" and "u" is hard to make out on this old monitor.  My apologies.  You're totally right.