Sunday, March 14, 2021

The Vintages of Nysa

A bit more background for setting and work-in-progress that is Nysa, in this post we're going to go over a few of the main factions that make the plane their home, the Five Vintages.

The cults of Dionysus are still active after his apparent death. The once jocular term of Vintage has become the common means to refer to a particular cult or faction. Most of the remaining or new demigods are involved with or otherwise lead these organizations, using them as a means to bind the damned of Nysa together as they were in happier days. There are five such major Vintages spread across the plane, each of them contending, making alliances and betraying one another often enough that clear lines between them are sometimes hard to see. They are as follows:

  • Xinomavro, or The United, are the largest in both their numbers and territory held in their name. The former military of the plane before the fall, the Xinomavro are by far the most organized, possessing a clear military hierarchy, descending from their leader Oenopion on down. Almost never encountered alone, the United defend their enclaves aggressively, their patrols radiating outwards from the city of Phleon. Enemy strong points are identified, troops massed, and the defenders overrun. Beyond the patrols, press gangs search the Lykaion Woods for new arrivals, swelling the United’s ranks through promises of glory or threats. The only reason that the Xinomavro have not been able to overwhelm the rest of the plane is due to the efforts of the Assyrtiko and Agiorgitiko, who are the only forces able to meaningfully oppose them. The Xinomavro favor depictions of the Ivy Throne as their symbols, or their ranks within the organization itself.

  • Assyrtiko or The Faithful, are the followers of Thyone, and consider themselves the only legitimate cult in Nysa. Once the priesthood and main spiritual body of the plane, it was the Assyrtiko who provided the population of the holy mountain with structure and meaning to their lives. Responsible for the oversight of the many festivals and religious processions that the schedule of the year was based around, the death of the liberator shattered the belief that underpinned their authority. Driftless and without the ability to control their flocks, the Assyrtiko followed the lead of their mistress Thyone, and largely pulled back from the world up into the hills and glens that held the temples sacred to Dionysus--save for the Great Temple which still remains shut from them. Lacking in raw numbers, the small communities which make up the Faithful have outsized influence due to their proximity to their leader, and the personal power of Thyone. Members of the faithful can be identified by their gold-fringed tunics and robes, or by the grape-cluster badges that they often wear.

  • Agiorgitiko, or The Enduring, were once the principal bodyguards of Dionysus, acting as gatekeepers and police within his realm. Trusted with not only guarding him, but the grounds of the Great Temple itself, membership in this cult could only be granted by Deianira herself. This selective recruitment quickly grew to be a thing of the past after the Fall, and the ranks of the Agiorgitiko quickly swelled to become the second-most numerous of the cults. Much like their main rivals the Xinomavro, the Agiorgitiko are organized along military lines, with members assigned to units, units assigned commanders, and commanders answering directly to Deianira. Unlike the Xinomavro, the Enduring typically stick to the mountain passes of Nysa, or the area surrounding the Great Temple. Their members still fancy themselves as authorities, and will try to command or cajole those they perceive as of lower ranks. Members of the Enduring can be identified by their Aspis badges or red-painted armor.

Fuck Orpheus tho, amirite?

  • Limnio, or The Revelry, are the oldest existent Vintage in Nysa, representing the ecstatic (and violent) forms of worship practiced by the Maenads and their attendants. The Limnio had always been held at arm’s length by their fellow Nysans, given their propensity for wine-maddened bouts of violence and anthropophagy, but their behavior grew completely uncontrollable after the death of the Liberator. Hounded relentlessly by the more organized forces of the Agiorgitiko and Xinomavro, the Limnio have largely been pushed to the borderlands of the plane, lurking in the forests that ring the edges of Nysa. The Revelry are “led” by the irascible Comus, who does little more than direct them to the riotous ends they already intended, and the slippery Silenus, who tends to those of their number too mutated to go on. The Limnio have no consistent appearance, but are instead usually known for their wild-eyed countenances and torn up clothes.

  • Rhoditis, or The Masked, once made up the ranks of the poets, writers and actors whose plays were vital to the festivals of the Nysan calendar. Attaining membership in the Rhoditis was a competitive process, with new members only being admitted by dint of their skills in the performing arts. With a prestige unmatched by any vintage other than perhaps the Assyrtiko, the Masked were able to leverage their position as entertainers into being made members of Dionysus' court. This proximity to the Ivy Throne intensified competition even more, delighting their leader, Phthonus, to no end. Believing that the cutthroat atmosphere that they have fostered enhanced the creative output of their cult, Phthonus did nothing to stop his followers from tearing each other apart in public. After the Fall this became quite a great deal more literal, with the vintage largely breaking down into individual gangs centered around a particularly talented playwright. Performances became ever more tense, as they often were attacked by their fellows in the middle of their productions. Phthonus still considers this to be ideal. Given their name, the main identifier of the Rhoditis are their masks, which are either worn or slung from the hip.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Beloved of the Gods


Hercules (1997) -- Credit to Disney.

     Hey there folks! Sorry if I have been a little quiet this month, school has been in full swing--and I've been working on a product for a cosmic horror game jam! Focusing on the demigod children of the Titans, this short book is free, and is both system generic and rules-lite. Thanks for reading.