Friday, July 9, 2010

Spirits of the Age

As I mentioned earlier, despite the professed monotheism of most of the people of the City and its world, there are beings or powers, bearing some resemblance to the pagan gods of old. Scholars call them eikones, whereas the common man doesn’t even officially recognize their existence--despite often evoking them in a variety of ways. Some mages, however, are aware, and treat with these entities to gain their aid.

The exact number of eikones is unknown, mainly because there’s no consensus on where the line between these beings and lesser spirits or thoughtforms should be drawn, if at all. Here are a sampling of the most commonly recognized, and recognizably powerful ones:

Is the personification of government, bureaucracy, order, law, and the status quo. He’s also known by such names as High Muckamuck, Final Authority, and the Chief Bureaucrat. It’s his acolytes people unknowing condemn when they disparage “city hall” or complain about “pencil-pushers.” His authority is called upon every time a “proper procedure” is quoted, a regulation cited, or a problem referred to a superior.

Management can be call upon to lend false authority to a request and thus cut through red-tape or bureaucratic delay, or his power invoked for spells that lend the power of doublespeak for obfuscation. Unwanted attention from Management can lead one to bureaucratic entanglements, imprisonment, or even execution in extreme cases.

Some hold that Management is an avatar of the actual creator of the universe--a harried. bureaucratic demiurge, that his the true creator of even the god venerated by the monotheists. Manifestations of Management ignore this question unless submitted through the proper channels--a feat no one has yet to accomplish, as far as is known.

Management is often depicted in the garb of a wealthy gentleman of the end of the last century, though his depictions are as various as his rolls.

Is the spirit of solidarity, and fraternalism. He is invoked when people unite in common cause, and, more darkly, when they turn on the outsider. His power is felt in armies marshalling for war, and workers trying to unionize, but also in the anti-minority raids of the white-hooded Knights-Templar of Purity.

Invoking Phile can help create a feeling of solidarity in a group, bolstering moral. His influence can also be used to sway mobs and move to or from a particular course of action.

Phile always appears as a stereotypical (one might say exemplar) member of whatever group is gathering at the moment.

Is the spirit of sex, sexual attraction, and to a lesser extent feminine beauty. She resembles ancient fertility goddesses in some ways--though she has no association or role with fertility or procreation. Doll is invoked by those looking to impress or seduce, or in any way gain power over another through the use of sexual attraction. Her energy is felt in performances of dancing girl revues, and her regard can be felt in the smoldering gaze of Heliotrope “it” girls, or the coquettish glances of “spicy” magazine models.

Doll’s depictions are legion, but her pose and expression always suggest more than they show.

Is the builder, the planner, and the engineer--the spirit of progress from science applied. Blueprints are his scrolls, schematics his sigils. His hymns are the hum of machinery.

Maker is invoked by those involved in any task of engineering or industry.  His influence can be used to solve mechanical or engineering problems. His power can coax “a little extra” from engines, or get something working at a critical moment.

Maker is depicted as a steely-gazed man in a hardhat, or as a anthropomorphic piece of machinery.


Unknown said...

Very cool how your eikones reinforce the zeitgeist of your setting. I imagine that these particular spirits have been around since the dawn of civilization but recent cultural developments of shaped them into their present forms. Management is particularly inspired.

Daddy Grognard said...

I like these, especially Management - there's a strong vein of Pratchett in that one. And a nod to Gaiman's American Gods there too, methinks.

James said...

Loved American Gods. As always, another Great Post Trey!

Trey said...

Thanks guys. American Gods is need good, but the most immediate inpiration is the humorous 1967 peice "Bullwinch's Mythology" by Poul Anderson in the collection Fantasy.

netherwerks said...

These eikones are great. I especially like how you've adapted the Maker. Very cool, and a great eikone for any industrialized setting. Poul Anderson's piece is very fun. Dunsany is also a great inspiration for 'other gods.'

Trey said...

Thanks. Dunsay's work is good for loads of inspiration.

I've also frequently considered adapting gods from William Blake's work for one setting or another, but have never got around to it.

Fran Terminiello said...

Great stuff, and highly believable compared to 'gods' of any pantheon. People really do invoke these forces, nice to see them in black and white.

Scott said...

What, no Lady Luck? I mean, I assume the City has race tracks, casinos, and sports betting...