Who is the Greek god of RP gaming?

Hermes? Athena? I suppose that it has to be one without children about the house.

And who do you suppose might be the patron saint of RPGs?

1 Like

My natural inclination leads me to Athene – and at the very least she’d be in charge of wargames.

(There is a Greek d20 in the British Museum.)

Saints are trickier. Balthasar or Cajetan, I guess. https://weirdcatholic.com/2018/07/12/the-patron-saint-of-gamers/ has more.

For solo gamers, I nominate Theoktiste of Lesbos (“At the island of Paros, she was able to escape her captors, and lived in solitude there for 35 years, until she was found by a hunter (sometime in the 870s).”) (And let’s face it there aren’t enough Lesbian saints.)

2 Likes

Dionysus was the god of theatre. Tyche and Caerus covered different elements of luck. Hermes handled oratory and sports (and thieves, come to think of it). And there’s always Momus.

Can’t help you on the saints, they’re too weird even for my tastes.

1 Like

I should think one of the muses. Or maybe two: Calliope for tabletop (where people narrate the actions of their characters) but Melpomene for LARP.

Addendum: Though Apollo, as the patron of the muses, might have claims also. Or maybe Dionysus for immersive play and Apollo for nonimmersive play.

2 Likes

Definitely not Terpsichore, though. I’ll be damned if I’m going to play via the medium of interpretive dance.

3 Likes

which always makes me think of The Web Planet

For muses, epic poetry is certainly a possibility (“a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doings of the extraordinary men and women who, in dealings with the gods or other superhuman forces, gave shape to the mortal universe for their descendants, the poet and his audience, to understand themselves as a people or nation”); plenty of Greek comedy is overtly fantastic, and one might even make a case for tragedy. But I think it’s Calliope or Thalia.

When one has arbitrary categories that are meant to include everything, I naturally think of the decanic division of the universe, and I think that’s probably Ruax: “creates strength of will, connects perceptions to the mind, and governs sanity, drunkenness, the hotter emotions, sleep, and the material phenomena of dreams (although their content may fall within another decan)”.

3 Likes

Well yes. I mean, who doesn’t?

2 Likes

I grant that those are common associations, but I tend to think of the categories in terms of classical literary theory, where lyric is the poet speaking in their own voice about their own concerns; epic is the poet speaking in their own voice (primarily) about the deeds and concerns of other people, and narrating their actions; and dramatic (both tragic and comic) is the poet speaking in the voices of other people. Tabletop rpgs are epic/narrative because players mostly say “I hit him with my sword” or “Fred the Barbarian hits the troll with his sword,” which is narrating. LARPs are dramatic because players are expected to spend most of their time speaking in the voices of their characters. Drama can be comic or tragic, but I think that Vampire, at least, tended more toward tragedy; it invited a tone of deep seriousness in which joking, humor, and satire would be out of place, and it was morely likely to end with someone being dead than with someone being married . . .

3 Likes

My copy of Mythic Rome (Mythras RPG has a handy list of deities). All Roman obviously, but does anyone know the Greek counterpart of these candidates for the job?

Felicitas - goddess of success
Lua - goddess of captured weapons (for the dungeon looting)
Penates - household gods of the storage cupboard (for the RPG shelves)
Sentia - goddess of mental development (for learning yet another system or setting)
Sors - god of luck

Or perhaps we should take pity on Verminus, god of cattle worms, and adopt him, since I doubt he gets many worshippers these days. :slight_smile:

Well, someone has to be responsible for Dice Lice.

Probably Tyche or Caerus.

I’d go with Dionysus. The Dionysian mystery aspect of using play as an altered state to modify individual inhibitions and social constraints. The opportunity for both comedy and tragedy. The opportunities for seasonal death-rebirth cycles in play as campaigns begin and end, groups begin and end, and systems are selected as a form for the rite.

Also the regular importance of wine to the proceedings.

2 Likes

The Penates, at least, had no Greek counterparts; they were distinctively Roman, like the Lares and the Genius.

I do generally agree that RPGs have a ritual structure, taking place in a bounded space, and having a ceremonial opening (the upgrading of characters and the recalling of what happened last time) and closing (the awarding of experience).

I do not drink . . . wine. Or anything else with alcohol. But it hasn’t seemed to hinder my gaming.

And it hasn’t been my experience that RPGers do so at games, even if they use alcohol at other times. Though that may be peculiar to my groups.

I think my preference is for the RPG experience itself to be the source of decreased inhibitions.

However, the envisioning of a fictional world and of its inhabitants seems to be Apollonian more than Dionysian. Dionysus is about expressive art; Apollo is about mimetic art.

Once RPGs are invented on the Discworld, it won’t take more than thirty minutes before they’ll have a god of RPGs. Perhaps it’ll end up as part of The Lady’s domain, although that would make it very difficult to pray for success in your next game.

Blind Io would be worshipped as the god of critical hits, because of all the eyeballs flying around.

By the same token, crit-fails might fit (very loosely) under the heading of Bilious, the oh God of Hangovers.

Also, they’ve definitely got a god of rules lawyers: Nuggan.

1 Like

For Saints, Cajetan is traditionally associated with games, but that’s due to their connection with gambling, which doesn’t strike me as fully in line with RPG.
I would lean more towards St. Aloysius Gonzaga, because he reportedly stated that, if he was playing Chess, and God gave him an hour left to live, he would probably just finish the match, because clearly it was God’s will that he continue what he was doing.

2 Likes

Jeff, the God of Biscuits

The Roman gods were specialized enough so they might have had a god of biscuits. But keeping the biscuits safe is the job of the Penates, making them is the concern of Vesta (the goddess of the hearth), and growing the grain falls to Ceres (the goddess of agriculture and especially cereals). The Roman gods divided things up as finely as a bunch of labor unions.

Its an Eddie Izzard reference. I am very aware of the Roman Gods.

Ah, okay. I’ve heard the name Eddie Izzard but I know nothing about him.