I’m a bit proud of this idea from the game I’m running, so I wanted to share. It will make the most sense to those who already know the cosmological setup for White Wolf’s Scion system, but for everybody else, I can quote the nutshell description I gave when I posted about my concept for the game:
The underlying enemies in this scenario are the Titans, the parents of the gods themselves. They’re truly impersonal, elemental powers: the “body” of the Greater Titan of Fire, for example, is more or less equivalent to the D&D Elemental Plane of Fire. However, Greater Titans can manifest more concretely as avatars, which are god-like beings reflecting a particular aspect of their concept. Prometheus, for example, is an avatar of the Greater Titan of Fire; so is Kagu-tsuchi, but they embody different things. The Titans aren’t precisely evil, but they’re not friendly to the world, and their influence usually isn’t a good thing.
Got that? So, it mentions in the books that some of the Titans were never bound. Hundun because it’s the Greater Titan of Chaos and can’t be bound; Logos because the Greater Titan of the Word struck a deal with the gods. Etc.
I was trying to decide what to do with the Mississippi River, cosmologically speaking. I failed to turn up any useful info on how tribes along its length viewed the river — no deity names or anything — and I knew “Old Man River” was a relatively late concept, but at the same time it seemed necessary and appropriate to have some kind of unifying entity for use in the game.
What I settled on was this: that Iteru, the Great River, is a Greater Titan, and it, like Logos, struck a deal with the gods way back in Ye Old Mythic Times. Part of its body now serves as the Godrealm for the Pesedjet, the Egyptian gods. (In the game books, Iteru is the name of that realm, and it’s also the Egyptian name for the Nile.) Major rivers around the world are avatars of Iteru, and they individually formed contracts with the gods of early civilizations along their banks: the Tigris and the Euphrates in Mesopotamia, the Ganges in India, the Yellow River in China, etc. Old Man River is just a recent (from the viewpoint of game-time) name for the Titan avatar that is the Mississippi River, which hasn’t had a contract with any society since the decline of the Mississippian culture exemplified by Cahokia. But since this game is in part about the attempted land- and people-grab of a whole bunch of pantheons, you can bet they’re all courting Old Man River’s favor . . . .
Anyway, this is what happens when I let Archaeologist Brain out to play with Folklorist Brain. I come up with ways to mythologize and then translate into RPG terms the frequent pattern of early civilizations forming on the banks of rivers.
Next task: figure out what I’m doing with 1876 New Orleans.