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Green Hell revealed!

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Prime Evil    73

This looks interesting. I really like the attitude towards the Gods.

It reminds me of the attitude in Kij Johnson's recent Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe (which takes place in Lovecraft's Dreamlands).

Here is how she describes the Gods of the Dreamlands: 

"The gods of the dream-realms were vicious, angry, and small. History was filled with tales of their irrational rages and disproportionate vengeances, of cities buried in poisonous ash, of garden-lands laid waste. Annihilation. In her far-travelling days, she had walked in god-blasted wastelands. There were so many of them: a transparent plain that was a city buried in glass, the buildings intact and perfectly visible beneath her feet, but the bodies gone except for stained hollows in their shapes. An obsidian cliff a mile high where there had been farmland and fishing villages a scarce year before. Gardens turned to ash and poison, islands sunk. Once, she had found a child’s gold anklet, half-melted and still encircling a small, charred bone. There had been a charm hanging from the ring: Let no thing harm me. Everywhere, signs of the gods and their intemperate, petty angers."

Vellitt Boe is worried that an angry god might blast Ulthar and discusses her fears with the Preist Nahst: 

Ulthar’s narrow streets and pretty squares, its houses and halls and temples: all blasted by god-fire and melted to slag, to glass; and its people—the students and wool merchants, the grocers and stable masters and dressmakers and every one of them—all food for carrion beasts and ghouls....because it is what gods did: destroy things and people.

Nasht had been silent, watching her expressions; now he spoke. “Ulthar and more. Nir and Hatheg, and all the plains of the River Skai, even....perhaps Ulthar and the rest are just ants under the feet of fighting drunkards. Or perhaps a hate-filled god revels in destruction and pain, and causes it however he may. Veline, I’ve served them for twenty years, and I know little more than you.”

She said with a tight laugh, “I was taught to worship them, but how can I? How can any reasonable person? Mathematics does no harm, at least.”

“Worship? Is that what we do?” Nasht tipped his glass, watching the lamplight spangle through the wine. “We placate them, that’s all.”

In this work - one of the better examples of recent Lovecraftian fiction - even seemingly peaceful areas show signs of divine wrath: 

Summer was ending, and the first gingkos flared brilliant yellow against the green of those garden lands. This was gentle country, comparatively free of great beasts, so the farms and orchards were large. The air that blew across the deck was rich with the smells of ripening fruit and grain. She had not come this way in years, but the landmarks came back to her: now a red-tiled riverside inn, now the acres of reedy backwater called Bakken, now the hillside orchards, a boatyard, a silver-walled temple, a misshapen oak tree isolated in a ploughed field and bound tightly in chains. But there were also differences: a swath of fields had been burnt to the ground and the soil scarred the dark blue that indicated divine fire; and the water downstream was for many miles stained black as tea.

I haven't seen anyone do this approach in a mainstream fantasy RPG. In most cases, the relationship between deities and their worshippers is depicted as transactional in nature - it certainly isn't based upon the need to placate powers indifferent to human suffering. 

 

 

 

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