Sunday, May 6, 2012

D&D Most Cosmic

Before I talked about the possibilites of fantasy gaming enlivened by concepts of gods borrowed from comic books. In that discussion, I neglected the abstract cosmic entities, peculiar to Marvel--several of whom were the creation of Jim Starlin. Adding these sorts of deity-level beings also suggests a way to revitalize the hoary old great wheel or develop a trippy planar travel sort of setting wholly different from Planescape.

Let's take a look at a few of Marvel's concepts given form:

The Living Tribunal has three faces representing equity, vengeance, and necessity, and he likes to go around judging things.  He might be the supreme being--or he might just be the supreme being's prosecutor.  He's probably lawful neutral (or maybe just lawful).

In a lot of fantasy Law and Chaos are in opposition.  In the Marvel cosmic entities pantheon, Lord Chaos and Master Order work in tandem, perhaps manipulating events to show the superiority of one side or the other? Maybe they're engaged in a debate or a game rather than a battle?  Separately, Lord Chaos has a visage that could easily hang above a humanoid altar and bald Master Order could easily be the patron of monks.

Chaos and Order also have a servant embodying both of their philosophies (perhaps the True Neutral of balance?) called the In-Betweener, who sometimes seems to pursue his own agenda.

Eon is a weird looking guy that guards the cosmic axis. (Maybe that's what the Great Wheel spins around?) He can also dole out "cosmic awareness" if he needs to.

That's just a few examples.  Perusing the list of the beings appearing in Marvel's various cosmic sagas out to offer a lot more ideas.

10 comments:

Jack said...

Galactus shows up from beyond the stars to devour the planet. Sounds Cthulhoid to me...

Herald of Galactus = empowered cultist.

Tim Shorts said...

I am no way an expert in comic books and most of my reading of them was in the 70s. I remember Galactus, but I also remember The Watcher. He seemed to be working for someone else or something. I always thought he was interesting when he showed up.

Trey said...

@Jack - Very true. The Ultimate Comics Galactus saga played on this sort of idea. The Silver Surfer was an angelic appearing object of worship, preparing an apocalyptic cult for Galactus's arrival. I think it's interesting, too, the consider the visual differences between the traditional fantasy/horror literature tentacled monster approach and the awe-inspiring gigantism of Galactus.

@Tim - Yeah, the Watcher is anothergood one.

Tim Shorts said...

You're making me want to break into my old comics. I still have a bunch of my old comics, mainly FF4 and Marvel Two in One. "The Negative Zone, man. Even god can't can't get you there."

Joshua said...

Not quite sure if you can fit the Celestials into D&D, or if it's too "genre breaking" for most fans...

Trey said...

I don't know. Among fans of old school games, I bet somebodies already done it. It's really only 2e D&D and after that the genre becomes strictly defined.

Black Vulmea said...

I like where you're going this, but then I'm a big Dr Strange fan, so no surprises there.

seaofstarsrpg said...

I have always liked the In-Betweener, cannot exactly say why. Well, partly it is the stark black and white costume.

Johnathan Bingham said...

I've been a comic book fan since before I knew what an RPG was. I love the concept of Marvel's Cosmic entities (and DC's for that matter). I think the Jim Starlin cosmic stories are some of my favorites along with Jack Kirby's cosmic wackiness and Steve Ditko's Strange trips.

Trey said...

@seaofstarsrpg - He always reminded me of the Charonians in the Star Trek episode "Let this be Your Last Battlefield."

@Johnathan - I've always been a big fan of Starlinian cosmicism, myself. I particularly like his post-Marvel stuff: Metamorphosis Odyssey and Dreadstar.