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Nodens (huh!) what is it good for.................?


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#1 ReydeAmarillo

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Posted 21 September 2016 - 12:18 PM

I have recently been thinking about Nodens and how to use it in CoC.

Although Nodens seems to be helpful to humanity, is that just purely a side effect of its desire to oppose the Outer Gods, and Narly in particular?

Is the conflict between the two N’s purely a light vs dark, or is there more to it? Could they actually be in competition with each other for ultimate power? Are they each the “messenger and soul” of their respective pantheons in an Olympians vs Titans slugfest?

Both present themselves as helpful to humanity, but ultimately only for their own reasons (and gain?). Although Narly’s “help” always comes at dreadful price, it does seem helpful at first - so maybe Noden’s help equally comes with a covert penalty?

Could they actually be a personification of the folklore Seelie/Unseelie – one outwardly malevolent, the other not so dangerous, but still twisted and tricky?

Or, even worse, could Nodens actually be the 1,000th avatar of Narly - it’s schizophrenic alter ego, in opposition to the other 999??

Either way, maybe a dispute between the two could form a campaign deep background, with the Investigators caught up in the middle as the two N’s strive against each other to increase their power & influence in a given locale?

After all, any being that has those creepy Night Gaunts as servants can’t be all good !!




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#2 johnmcfloss

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Posted 21 September 2016 - 12:57 PM

I've always been a fan of the "big monster that wants to eat the world"/"opposition that wants to stop the eating, but doesn't actually care about the world" conflict for this kind of thing.

In this situation, Nodens doesn't actually care about protecting Earth or Humanity, but he cares about foiling Nyarlethotep, and those two goals currently coincide.

 

Woe betide us when he decides a slash-and-burn strategy is more effective.



#3 JeffErwin

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Posted 21 September 2016 - 11:11 PM

Nodens always seemed like a jumped-up Great One rather than anything bigger, because he's so... well, terrestrial. But there may be ways around it.

 

The name Nodens is linked, btw, to Indo-European root words meaning hunter, fisher, catcher, at least by Tolkien, and I think current scholarship concurs. The god is also connected to dogs and healing in his Lydney temple. I could also make a serious case (footnotes and pages of discussion) that links him to the Fisher King of Arthurian legend, which draws in such symbolism as castration (cf. Kronos/Saturn - a somewhat more sinister figure), sin, blood, and sacrificial kingship; as the Welsh Nudd he is the father of Gwyn, the God of the Dead and the Wild Hunt, but Gwyn ap Nudd is also used as folklore shorthand for the Devil in Welsh; and we know who he is... Nuada, his Irish counterpart, is the head of pantheon of gods/spirits who have been associated with technology (he has a prosthetic hand) and illusion and abduction (the Tuatha De), so he has a certain resemblance - with his family - to the motifs of modern aliens - ranging from Superman to the Greys. So he and Nyarlathotep may be kin of a kind. "Nudd" has also been understood as "mist, cloud", which suggests the Nameless Mist, of course. Hope this gets your gears going...



#4 TMS

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 02:41 AM

I think it helps to remember that Lovecraft's use of Nodens was probably inspired by Arthur Machen's novella "The Great God Pan." In that story, Nodens is mentioned as the "god of the Great Deep or Abyss," hence Lovecraft's Nodens is "Lord of the Great Abyss." It seems from the context of Machen's story that Nodens is to be identified with Pan, which drives a woman insane when she's enabled to see its true form. So I always figured that the Nodens from "The Strange High House in the Mist" is basically a human-like avatar of a much more alien entity. Though, of course, according to the RPG, Pan is an avatar of Shub-Niggurath (as is He Who Walks Behind the Rows from Stephen King's "The Children of the Corn;" note that King himself identifies that entity with Randall Flagg/Nyarlathotep, funny enough).



#5 Lengite

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 01:02 PM

Noden does not have to be 'nice' in TOC Bookhounds of London there is a Ripper scenario with a not nice Nodens.
He's pretty cool in the Dreamlands but ultimately he seems to avoid a fight. Have him support players and then leave them in the lurch, that seems apt. Nyarly actually likes humanity, in a cat plays with mouse way.
I like Nyarly to be inquisitive not all knowing. Eternity is boring. I prefer him to tantalise and tease and try to 'turn' players. Or trick them into doing the wrong stuff!
Nodens could join in with a kind of mythos 'Smileys Prople'.

#6 DAR

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 07:01 PM

I used to use Nodens a fair amount, lately/currently I have a player character who swore an "Indomitable Oath" to Vorvadoss instead because I wanted something the player would have a harder time recognizing. It worked, and while he's quite happy with the benefits, he keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop with a certain level of increasing anticipation...

 

I, at one point, envisioned Nodens as essentially an ascended human or transhuman or some sort from the far, far future which is why he was favorable to humanity in the era but also somewhat uncaring, distant, and essentially alien.

 

D. 



#7 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 08:11 PM

I kind of half imagined Nodens in Dreamquest... as being a product of Randolph Carter's power as a dreamer:  a Monster of his Id which happened to start working for Carter as his dream became increasingly more lucid and Carter's power over the dream grew stronger and stronger just before Carter woke up. 

 

Similarly to the Ghouls, Zoogs, Cats, and Nightgaunts, there's no particular reason for Nodens to help Carter in any way, except that Carter rationally dreamed them friendly or at least cooperative, while Nyarlathotep increasingly lost its ability to counter with irrational nightmares the closer that Carter got to the Truth of his dream.


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#8 Shimmin Beg

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 08:53 PM

Nuada, his Irish counterpart, is the head of pantheon of gods/spirits who have been associated with technology (he has a prosthetic hand)

 

So does Nudd, under his Bunberrying name of Lludd Llaw Eraint.  If you read some of Lludd's exploits with the right mindset, he's a powerful sorcerer-king who defeated dragons and enslaved a giant.  Diana Wynne Jones (avoiding spoilers) has Nudd leading a procession of grim riders to bear away enemies to... well, something unspecified and very bad.

 

 

I, at one point, envisioned Nodens as essentially an ascended human or transhuman or some sort from the far, far future which is why he was favorable to humanity in the era but also somewhat uncaring, distant, and essentially alien.

 

I think you could certainly read him as somewhere between a demigod, a stereotypical "I will sit in my tower and ignore humanity's problems" wizard, and a Dancer at the End of Time or one of the very powerful wizards of the Dying Earth.  Or heck, the Doctor.  He takes it into his head to visit the Strange High House, and finds an inquisitive human there? 

 

"Hoi, join us in our merriment and, why not, it pleases me to take you up in my conch-chariot and show you the wonders of the universe, and then leave you back on earth without a single friend who can understand that experience.  What's that?  Contact with such profound mysteries is too great for the untrained human mind?  Your brief trip into enlightenment only made the return to normal life meaningless?  Your imagination has burned out under exposure to true marvels, and now you can only take refuge in pure materialism?  Our very presence is as poison to your soul?  Huh, interesting."



#9 ReydeAmarillo

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 10:16 PM

Folks many thanks for all your comments and tried and tested takes on Nodens.

I think all your expositions reinforces what I was starting to imagine and makes this, (for me) never used, being an excellent, although not very obvious, Mythos adversary.

I think what comes across is that Nodens just doesn't care.

Yeah sure, obstruct the Outer Gods where he can, which just happens to help this fifth rate little ball of mud orbiting a third rate star in the corner of an unmemorable galaxy. What is it the natives call it? Muck or somesuch? But actually be interested in us, go out of his way to help us because he is good? Doh No!

Toying with a London campaign, I note that Ludgate in the medieval/roman London Wall is (allegedly, although now disproved) named after Lludd. Many archaeological maps of London seem to postulate a temple just outside the wall there. Maybe a temple to Nodens buried under Fleet Street?

Considering a campaign where Nodens and Narly jockey for power in the capital city of the British Empire, with the Investigators caught in the middle. Maybe they are originally seeing Nodens as an assistance, an Archangel opposing Narly's Satan?

Until Nodens gets bored or just decides there's a better way to achieve the goal (sound of Investigators being dropped from a great hight!).

Edited by ReydeAmarillo, 25 September 2016 - 10:19 PM.


#10 Deodanth

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 08:25 AM

The old TOME scenario Secrets of the Kremlin introduced "The Brotherhood of Nodens," an early example of a protagonistic (if such a thing is possible) Mythos organization which recruits the player characters.  In this treatment, the Nodens cult struggles not against N. but instead the worldwide cults of Shub-Niggurath.  It seems true devotees of the Black Goat are unable to pronounce the name "Nodens," making that the universal password for the brotherhood.  Other than that, sadly, the scenario mentions very little having to do with the persona or attributes of the Elder God Nodens.  (Sorry, no wizened adepts whistling up blizzards and Nightgaunts to save the day.)


Edited by Deodanth, 26 September 2016 - 08:45 AM.


#11 DarkSeeker

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 07:20 PM

I believe the Delta Green setting is planning to do something with him in an upcoming book. IIRC Agents of the DG conspiracy who are unable to function in normal duty but can't go back to their normal lives turn to Nodens and the Dreamlands to continue the good fight against the Mythos. Worth noting though that this group is described as a major antagonist... You could probably strip the DG setting out and have his cult be damaged scholars and the like who were exposed to the Mythos.

 

I'm hoping it will be covered in the new book out sometime this year-early 2017, but don't know for sure.



#12 ReydeAmarillo

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 09:31 PM

Well, Nodens seems to have been exposed for the indifferent and apathetic, fake white hat wearer it truly is.

The next question is, what use (if any) are it’s servants the Nightgaunts?

They sneak and tickle – wow that’s really useful - about as much combat ability as your average Investigator!

As the terrifying beings from a juvenile HPL’s nightmares, I can appreciate their ability to scare. But when it comes to offering any sort of threat to Investigators they seem(imho) to be a bit lame.

Maybe they are fine in the Dreamlands, but for the waking world, I wonder whether they should be exchanged for something like this:-

http://khurasanminia...oul-spirits.jpg

Still sleek and whale like and flying (and sneaking) but able to do some real damage and so present a real physical threat. Also having a bit more SAN loss potential since they are not mostly anthropomorphic?

Or, given Nodens Greek God-like appearance, maybe a sort of harpy-like being instead?

#13 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 09:58 PM

Well, Nodens seems to have been exposed for the indifferent and apathetic, fake white hat wearer it truly is.

The next question is, what use (if any) are it’s servants the Nightgaunts?

They sneak and tickle – wow that’s really useful - about as much combat ability as your average Investigator!

As the terrifying beings from a juvenile HPL’s nightmares, I can appreciate their ability to scare. But when it comes to offering any sort of threat to Investigators they seem(imho) to be a bit lame.

Maybe they are fine in the Dreamlands, but for the waking world, I wonder whether they should be exchanged for something like this:-

http://khurasanminia...oul-spirits.jpg

Still sleek and whale like and flying (and sneaking) but able to do some real damage and so present a real physical threat. Also having a bit more SAN loss potential since they are not mostly anthropomorphic?

Or, given Nodens Greek God-like appearance, maybe a sort of harpy-like being instead?

 

Alas, poor Nightgaunts!  By default, they are like the lampshade-wearing, pull-my-fingering, weird uncles at the family reunion of Lovecraft monsters, with their sneaking-about-at-night-and-tickling habits.

 

I do kind of like the idea of re-imagining them as the "Winged Devourers" from Beastmaster:

 


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#14 DAR

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 11:10 PM

Ok, I like them as the things from Beastmaster...

 

Of course, I have always played up the tickling as potential side effect of close physical proximity - that the human nervous system is just psychically affected in this strange, almost painful way - that has nothing to do with tails or fingers or whatever.

 

D.



#15 Lisa

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 04:13 AM

I like the idea of Nightgaunts as Harpies.

 

I ran an odd campaign many years ago, crossing Call of Cthulhu with NightLife and several other things, so we're talking higher than normal PC power levels. I'd decided that the Mysterious Background of two of them involved Nodens being their divine ancestor a couple or so generations back. A friend of mine helped out to make this more ominous, talking about Jaynes's book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind and about how Nodens intended his descendants to rule like God Kings over the earth, but then, Nyarlathotep created normal human consciousness. So, to Nodens, humanity was these annoying kids with their radios too loud, and if humanity were to, say, wind up a tenth its current size, that would be so much more pleasant, right?



#16 TMS

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 04:50 PM

I don't think the night-gaunts need to be changed any in order to become deadly. Even in Lovecraft's stories they had a habit of dropping captured enemies to their deaths. I also had a night-gaunt stab an investigator with its tail in one scenario I ran. Maybe you can have one crawling rapidly towards investigators while brandishing its tail like a scorpion.


Edited by TMS, 27 September 2016 - 04:53 PM.


#17 JeffErwin

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 05:45 PM

I like the idea of Nightgaunts as Harpies.

 

I ran an odd campaign many years ago, crossing Call of Cthulhu with NightLife and several other things, so we're talking higher than normal PC power levels. I'd decided that the Mysterious Background of two of them involved Nodens being their divine ancestor a couple or so generations back. A friend of mine helped out to make this more ominous, talking about Jaynes's book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind and about how Nodens intended his descendants to rule like God Kings over the earth, but then, Nyarlathotep created normal human consciousness. So, to Nodens, humanity was these annoying kids with their radios too loud, and if humanity were to, say, wind up a tenth its current size, that would be so much more pleasant, right?

 

 

 


Nudd or Lludd or Nuada actually appears in Welsh and Irish pedigrees; he's in my family tree (as he is of thousands of other people). This is, admittedly a fictional construct to support the royal claims of Celtic chieftains, so it still applies to your reading. Nuada's enemy was the one-eyed Fomorian (a word that may mean 'from the sea') giant Balor, with his blazing destroying eye (the word for sun and the word for eye are very similar in Celtic languages), who was interpreted in Bookhounds of London as a specific GOO. Balor has been seen by mythologists as a personification of the malignant sun, i.e., drought, wildfire, plague (like Apollo with his deadly arrows of disease). If Nudd is "mist" as well as "grasping, fishing" he is also the cooling sea-air. Wikipedia says: "One legend tells that, when Balor was slain by Lugh, Balor's eye was still open when he fell face first into the ground. Thus his deadly eye beam burned a hole into the earth. Long after, the hole filled with water and became a lake which is now known as Loch na Súil, or "Lake of the Eye", in County Sligo." (This sounds like a meteorite). 
 
But more dangerously, if Nodens represents cold and water and the antithesis of a burning Sun, he also might seek the extinguishment of the Sun. Perhaps if Azathoth is destroyed, if that is Nodens' intent, the universe will end. This makes him similar to the Gods of Law in Moorcock, rather than a benevolent figure.
 
Krappe suggests that Eithne, Balor's daughter and Lugh's mother, might be a cow-goddess and relates Balor to Saturn, the thresher, the God of death and patriarchy. Nuada, however, does not kill Balor - that is the act of Balor's grandson. Thus he is ultimately - in a Mythos sense - a (potentially) a mastermind of Balor's destruction, but never the agent of the actual deed. In Welsh mythology, Nudd/Lludd seems to be Llew (Lugh)'s uncle.


#18 Dante7

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 08:39 AM

Here's a thread that gave me some ideas on how to better use Nodens:

 

https://forum.rpg.ne...p/t-237417.html

 

 

I also took some ideas from Cthulhutech's Savatiyya (depicted there as the true face of Nodens) and also from the Ally in the Repairman Jack books- where the force that "helps" humanity really doesn't care about us, they just hate the Adversary forces so much that they'll do anything to screw them over. Since the Adversary, or at least their representative, wants to destroy us, the Ally wants to prevent it from doing that.

 

 



#19 ReydeAmarillo

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 12:42 PM

Here's a thread that gave me some ideas on how to better use Nodens:

 

https://forum.rpg.ne...p/t-237417.html

 

 

I also took some ideas from Cthulhutech's Savatiyya (depicted there as the true face of Nodens) and also from the Ally in the Repairman Jack books- where the force that "helps" humanity really doesn't care about us, they just hate the Adversary forces so much that they'll do anything to screw them over. Since the Adversary, or at least their representative, wants to destroy us, the Ally wants to prevent it from doing that.

 

Dante7 many thanks for your comments and the link. I love the idea of Nodens as unflinching, stifling order and stasis, opposing the chaos of the OG's and GOO's.

 

This has helped me find a use for Nodens in the 1920's London campaign that I am considering. The British Empire at the time was nothing if not traditional and old authority, and yet, in this era, probably more than before the forces of change were starting to have a real impact. From Suffragettes to Flappers to Irish  independence movements to scandalous film and theatre stars to a little more freedom for women  - all seem to threaten the centuries old status quo.

 

As already noted in this thread, Ludgate in the medieval/roman London Wall is (allegedly, although now disproved) named after Lludd. Many archaeological maps of London seem to postulate a temple just outside the wall there. Maybe a temple to Nodens buried under Fleet Street? Maybe a club held there of investigative journalists, publically uncovering and exposing scandals and the influential forces of chaos infiltrating British traditions and society?

 

Obviously the authority figures mixed up in it all will be kept out of the limelight (but the truth kept by the club, just in case they need a favour or two later.)

Senior members are aware of the Mythos and that Nodens is the clubs patron, and will offer assistance to any fighting the Mythos. For as long as it suits Nodens, of course, after which they probably get exposed in the press themselves! 


Edited by ReydeAmarillo, 29 September 2016 - 12:44 PM.


#20 Dante7

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 08:59 AM

My pleasure! Glad to have helped!  Really, that thread and Savatiyya made Nodens fall in to place for me.

 

It looks like you have some great ideas of your own brewing there!

 

The Nodens cult in Fall of Cthulhu are not exactly nice people either, having a fondness for releasing captured prisoners (rival cultists and people who get in their way) so that they can hunt them down later, and generally being rather on the unthinkingly fanatical side, and Nodens is depicted as entirely concerned with hunting his chosen quarry rather than having any care about humanity. 

 

Dante7 many thanks for your comments and the link. I love the idea of Nodens as unflinching, stifling order and stasis, opposing the chaos of the OG's and GOO's.

 

 


Edited by Dante7, 30 September 2016 - 08:59 AM.