Sunday, February 9, 2014

Where I read the Bible for Gaming Inspiration - Genesis 1:8-22

Continued from here.

Chapter 1, Continued

"[11] And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
[12]And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good."

The phrase "after his kind" is curious, as at least in English - since plants tend to use the "neutral" gender instead of the masculine. So "whose kind" do the plants produce seeds of - God? This implies that the seeds of herbs and fruit trees - or at least, those herbs and fruit trees initially created by God - are also the seeds of Godhood, or at least immortality. This echoes many myths such as the Peaches of Immortality and, of course the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life from the biblical Garden of Eden.

Looking at the list of Urbis deities, the most likely candidate for plant-based ascension to divinity would be Kortus - but he is also the God of Death and the cycles of nature. Let's say that back in a mythical age Kortus was a mortal farmer, but the most proficient farmer of all times. He improved his plants until they made all beings who ate from them whole and stopped their aging, and shared their seeds and fruits freely with others. His greatest creation was the Tree of Life, whose fruits caused his ascension to Godhood when he tasted them. However, upon ascension he became aware of how his gifts had been abused - despots hoarded his seeds and doled them out to their loyal followers while oppressing those without access to them and fighting their rivals with the goal of maintaining their monopolies. Thus, he removed his Garden from mortal eyes and decreed that the cycle of life was meant to be, and that mortals questing for immortality were wrong. Nevertheless, some of his seeds and fruits of Immortality may have survived or smuggled out of his Garden, and the faith maintained that some rival deities attained their status only because they stole a fruit from the Tree of Life.

"[14] And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:"

The obvious interpretation of this are the stars, but of course we want to go beyond the obvious (especially since stars are mentioned separately in Verse 16), and look for another high-atmospheric phenomenon. Since they "divide the day from the night", this phenomenon would be especially visible during dusk and dawn. And as it happens, Urbis already has a suitable phenomenon - Rods (named, of course, after the cryptozoological phenomenon of the same name), which are visible "especially at dusk and dawn and other times with unusual lightning conditions." Since they are "for signs", sometimes they gather in vast constellations in which diviners may be able to read the future. Since they are "for seasons" and "for years", these constellations will be especially common during the equinoxes and solstices.

"[20] And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
[21] And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
[22] And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth."

What is noteworthy here is that "great whales" are the only type of creature mentioned specifically. Furthermore, the waters "brought forth abundantly" "every living creature that moveth". What if all these creatures that sprang from "the waters" did actually come from the "great whales" - which are not actually whales at all? This brings to mind the aboleth-made aquatic brood factories which I mentioned here for the Cold Frontier campaign. What if most life that sprang up on Rothea (the main world Urbis is set on) sprang from such aquatic factories - that it was seeded on this world by the aboleth (or their distant ancestors)?

Also curious is that fowl (meaning birds) are not supposed to multiply on, or above, but in the earth. Is there a vast subterranean refuge for birds somewhere in the depths of Terra Profunda? Perhaps this is a vast subterranean cavern complex (illuminated by phosphorent fungi and plants, no doubt) sufficiently isolated from the rest of the world that no mammals ever got there, similar to New Zealand (which only had bats as native mammals until humans arrived on the scene). The sole entrance is somewhere on a remote island within the World's End Archipelago, and when some birds accidentally reached those caverns millions of years ago, they multiplied and filled every conceivable ecological niche otherwise filled by mammals.