Is Zeus just a big faerie?

Trying to get a sense from the community on the differentiation between the Realm of Faerie and the Realm of Magic as it relates to Classical (and for that matter Norse, Germanic, Celtic, Slavic, Egyptian, Hitte,...) Myth and their deities. I'm mainly interested in the Mythic Greek deities - are the faeries, really powerful genii loci, powerful mages that managed to deify themselves?

It seems that the meme for the fey falls best into the Seelie and Unseelie of Northwestern/Central Europe. The fey are imitators of humanity, unable to create anything new without human inspiration. To badly paraphrase the HOH:MC, they are creatures created by human dreams and imagination.

Arguably, the Olympians could fit within the fey - they represent human dreams and imagination, they are empowered by human activity and interaction, they are frequently fey in behavior, they propagate with humans (just like the fey). Many of the Olympians embrace something out of nature (sky, earth, field, sea, fire) similar to the faerie of earth, sky, water, and fire. Lots of similarities.

On the other hand, going with more of a Seeker theory (aka the In Nomine theory), the Olympians are very power magic entities and through a variety of rituals and other actions had great power, worshippers and interaction with mere mortals. Over time they faded as they had become dependent on their worshippers who turned from them embracing philosophy, human self reliance and the Dominion. Also, it just seems wrong to fit Zeus (or Odin or Ra) into the same group of beings that includes Oberon, the Queen of Winter, and the like. But, if the Olympians are of the magic realm, then what about nymphs and muses. They seem to be very much faerie.

I think the distinction matters because I believe it would effect the type of aura that would be produced. Powerful or long time fey presense would seem to generate a faerie aura (and regios) wheres magical auras and regios are triggered by the presense of magical beings and magical acts.

Any thoughts or direction?

I would say yes. They mention Pagan dieties being powerful magical spirits, attuned with nature. Alot of the greek pantheon cross over with the fae, satyrs, dryiad, nymphs, etc. Seems a good fit.

A theory that will start to show up in books coming out fairly soon is that the Titans were Magic, and the Olympians were Faerie. The Titanomachy was a war in which one Realm pushed the other off its position of supremacy.

The Titans work very well as beings of Magic; they are concerned with the vast forces of the universe, and don't have a deep interest in humans. The Olympians, on the other hand, are constantly meddling in the affairs of mortals, which is a much more Faerie trait in ArM5.

So, I'd say that Zeus is just a big Faerie.

Sounds awsome, can't wait to read about it.

That sounds outstanding. So generally the various pantheons of mythic Europe are faerie but the Ymir, Gaia, Uranus and such are magical.

I was thinking that an interesting distinction between the faerie gods and magic gods would fall along the lines of the changing peoples of ancient Europe, i.e., one tribe conqueors another and subsumes the old faiths into the new pantheon. Such as the Vanir of the Norse (more nature-oriented deities) being subsumed by the "Asgardian" camp or the Minoan being subsumed into the Mycene.

I wonder how the worship and rites of ancient priests and oracles would work. For the most part, at least for the Classical World, the rites are ritual (that will eventually grow into Mercurian with the rise of the Romans). Because such worship/ritual/spells generates an aura over time would it be a fey aura (worship of fey) or would it be a magic aura? Could an aura have both flavors depending on how used? Could an entity move between the two realms - generate auras, create regio or have the origin of their "magic" move. Sounds like a job for the Bonisagi magi!

Also maybe a distinction between fey and magic is the innate "wildness/wildernessness" of the entity involved. GoF and HOH:MC-Mertina has this theme of - nature without humans is the wilderness which has a magical aura (Path of the Forest, Nature Mysteries) versus nature bumping up against the mundane has a faerie aura with faerie courts, story magic and such.

In our saga, located on an Ionian island, it is dwelling place of the goddess Chloris/Flora. The magi have built their covenant around her rego, bask in her magical aura, and the surrounding lands are fruitful and abundant. Festivals are held surrounding the return of Spring (Zephyr's appearance), the promise and growth of Spring (Chloris' power) - Florinalia (sp), and the birth of Carpus - the fruition of Spring (happens in the summer). We have a magic aura being generated because of these natural or godlike presence along with some vis from various sources. But maybe there is also some faerie to this whole thing.

David, this is all very cool and could lead to some really great stories. To statisfy the community's needs I propose that Atlas simultaneous release in the near term a book on Ancient Magic, the Thebean Tribunal book, and HOH: Societes (just to satisfy the Flambeau, Jerbiton, and Ex Misc players in our saga). :smiley:

I have decided, for the purposes of running my games, that fairies are from Fairy and magical spirits are from the magic realm and to not worry about it.

This may sounds unhelpful, but what it means is I don't sweat the distinction and organization. And if there's overlap, so be it. Some magical creatures are much like fairy creatures and vice versa. And it also means that if you come across a water spirit, you don't know which of your spells and powers will necessarily affect it.

But it also means that the definition starts with the creature's source, as opposed to taking a creature and decidin where it fits in. I have been unconvinced that the whole "interest in mortals" is the defining element of where something belongs. (It seems like a too modern concept for me... see someone else's post about belief and religion for the general thrust of my thought.)

Fortunately, this distinction hasn't come up a whole lot in game yet, and if Atlas is able to wow me with their logic (which I truly hope for) it will be simple enough for me to change to fit new material.

This being as it should - but how do you explain the Magic realm alignment of Mercurian magi, unless Hermes/Mercury (Thoth etc.) is something other than an Olympian deity?

(I don't have TMRE yet being in Oz, so if anyone can enlightne me on the "Mercurian Magic" section if this helps I'd appreciate it).

I can envisage Hermes/Mercury as transforming into a more esoteric "power" of Magic (like an Endless from Sandman for example) rather than a faerie deity, but where does that leave Erik's Cult of Mercury who worship Mercury as a Faerie power?

I know Mark has stated that Diana (from the Huntress of the Wood) might be either a Magic or a Faerie power - is it similar with Mercury then?



If forced to come to a conjecture, I'd point out that he is the son of Maia, who was the daughter of Atlas, who was the general of the Titans in the Titanomachy, and that his grandfather was still alive when he was being bought up. There are a few other guys who come from the other side and are around to make sure young Hermes turns out interested in the old ways. For example, Prometheus, who arguably gave mankind tha ability to use magic, is still around and he's a Titan.

Interesting point.

I guess I'll wait till Ancient Magic then, eh?


Alternatively, Zeus could be a demon, deceiving people away from the true faith.

I'm surprised no one has referenced the Cult of Verditius and its evolution. In the Mystery Houses book it describes what definitely looks to be a magical being; Hephaestian, his birth, life, successes and failures, plus the fact that he was born of the gods, meaning they were either magic as well or he was perhaps a bastard or strange mistake. Hephaestian was raised by faerie beings though for awhile (nymphs when he was cast into the sea).

But the Verditian House talks of sacred places of Hephaestian (very likely to have magic auras), and even Vulcan (though they appear not to have liked that incarnation/interpretation of him). They also describe some of the legendary items that may still exist at Verdi and other parts of Europe and finally that Verditius himself was thought to perhaps be the reincarnation of Hephaestius.

In this case it seems obvious that one of the beings venerated by the Greeks as a god was of the Magic realm, but it also could be that he was a freakish offspring of powerful Fae parents perhaps.

If forced to have him as a magical being, I'd suggest he mastered techniques pioneered by the hundred handed giants. These guys were his teachers, and they were magical and thus corrupted his nature.

Well, that's my handwave...

That can work, also one of the reasons he was cast out was because he so deformed, perhaps a magical being born of fae parents would be considered deformed?

The problem I have is that Hephaestion took on 12 companions, 2 with the Gift, and set up sacred sites. It would seem strange to me if these sites were Faerie Regios/Auras rather than Magic.

Apart from having some personal character faults (Lecherous, mostly, but also Proud and Wrathful), Zeus actually encourages his worshippers to engage in fairly moral and selfless ways: respect the supplices and the laws of hospitality, do not abuse the weak, etc. The hallmark of demoinic religions is that sooner or later they all end up urging their faithful to descend in the cesspool of moral corruption and atrocities: if you wish examples, you have to look to other examples: Aztecs, maybe, or Aum Shirinkyo or Jim Jones or David Koresh or good ol' Osama.

I don't know that eventual decent into worst possible behavior is necessarily the hallmark of a demonic religion. I think that just as an Story Guide needs to determine for themselves how common demons are and how sinister or gruesome they are, one could also determine how insidious they are. There is many ways to look at this, just because Zeus encouraged some good, the encouraging to some bad may be enough to damn a soul. Also, if the object is to lure people away from God and the Dominion, then just being not-God and being good enough to make people prefer the creature to the creator then teaching some true would be more effective than teaching no truth. The most effective lie is hidden between two truths and all that, you know.

You don't need demonic guidance to descend a following religion into dark paths. A single guiding 'light' going down the rabbit hole can lead all its followers astray.