How would you go about setting Godbound on Earth? One approach I'm considering is having history diverge during the Renaissance and a magical singularity happening in the 18th Century with a Final War taking up much of the 19th Century. The Godbound start appearing in the early 21st Century. My other approach is simply to kill off the Creator offscreen with the only inkling of their death being a rain of glorious Celestial shards. Nobody knows what's going on or why the world stops making sense. Your thoughts?
I've thought about this a few times, but my ideas tend to part from the ideas of a Final War, and all of that.
One idea is that there was sort of a Final War, but it was in Heaven. Most of the gods killed each other. Unfortunately, their primary reason for existence was to protect mankind from Uncreated Night. Now, many years later, the Uncreated are returning, establishing secret cults, ala Silent Legions. The Godbound are kind of like the world's immune system - the power of Creation infusing certain humans to fight against the Uncreated.
Another thought was to just take a page from the second edition of Scion. The Godbound are children/creations/avatars of the gods who fight supernatural forces in ways their divine parents can not. This means lower level Godbound are certainly a known thing, and maybe even celebrities.
My current campaign does this, sort of...only I ripped off a good chunk of JAGS Wonderland and a bit of both Scion and Unknown Armies for my cosmological setup. Something broke down in cosmic machinery and while Nyarlathotep (aka the First and Last Man) is down in the allegorical boiler room under the stairs trying to fix it, things are popping out of the woodwork. Including deific powerups for the occasional random mortal. The existence and/or vital state of any worshiped deities of record has not been firmly established. (The original idea involved trying to use Silent Legion tags to help build adventures, but that didn't work out too well. Live and learn! Sixteen Sorrows was a better idea.)
(Another campaign that a friend of mine is running is doing something on Modern Earth, but I have no idea what his ooga booga big picture is.)
Personally, I'd prefer the second option you present. Better to leave it one of those unsolved mysterious things, rather like The Scream. That leaves more room for the PCs to be the big damn demigods. :-)
+Nessalantha Great minds think alike. And type responses at the same time, to boot! (grin)
At the most basic, maybe our Earth is just a particularly large Realm, the Celestial Engines only whole enough to allow for life to remain on a single planet. Time shenanagins might be going on.
Alternatively, maybe Magic is coming to the world, whether it was once lost or it's leaking from somewhere else, and Godbound are the humans who have become linked to this force in a way that sends them on the road to godhood.
The angle that Earth is a stable, somehow self-contained Realm is an interesting one because it may assume that there's a divine being 'holding it together' but then it wouldn't really be the One, wouldn't it? What if it's a FAKE GOD? What if it's the Demiurge from Gnosticism....with the twist that this Fake God (on his Fake Throne) is not a willingly malicious god but rather the poor, crazy sod trying to hold that dirtball in space together before the Uncreated Night eat it. It was an angle I was already aiming for my interpretation of the One God but it's an idea which could be recycled for modern Earth, even going into that cliche and overplayed idea that, somehow, monotheism and/or 'science' tried to 'kill the magic' or 'hold it bacK'.
And then one day he (or whatever else is running the show) disappear. Or dies. Or run out of juice. Then what? Sure, all the edgelord and post modernist will go HOORAY, WE CAN REWRITE REALITY NOW but...that also mean that from then on, Earth's Celestial Engines aren't working properly. The Mundus/Empyrean Wards have shut down.
It's a free for all of outside cosmic forces, as well as any local Godbound and/or Parasite God which emerge.
+Bob Something Interesting; Iwasn't thinkingabout that, but it works. My first thought would be a loyalist angel or one of the humbled Theurges of the former empires, maybe one of the ones who stormed the Throne that unhappy day.Perhaps they figured out a way to supress magic without damaging the engines responsible to prevent a repeat, but now once useless lore is starting to remainfest evenas reality slowsly begins to crack...
Here's an interesting detail about Godbound lore that Kevin presumably left vague for us to decide: we don't know the nature or shape of the world BEFORE the era of the Former Empires, who were basically so advanced that they went full Clarke's Third Law.
Was the old world a more scientifically-coherent one, like ours (safe for the hidden engines and the angel's deal)? Or was it a more fantastical place where true magic (and just super advanced quantum super science) did exist? Was it flat or round? We don't know just how much like our world the old pre-war Godbound universe was like.
If it indeed was more like ours before the Sundering, then perhaps 'our' Earth is one which got hidden away by whichever nation or faction during these days, when they fought for the empty throne, held to a more rigid and scientific viewpoint, one which held earth and existence as a secular reality. One where all things were coherent and explainable within the confines of science which left no room for superstition? Then within the Godbound setting, our Earth is one where this (even if technically incorrect within the setting) paradigm was maintained.
Or, more disturbingly: this viewpoint is utterly wrong in the Godbound universe but the inhabitants don't realize it because their world is so bound in 'rules' that the supernatural is unable to exist there.
I would take inspiration from the Persona and Shin Megami Tensei series, explaining the presence of angels, demons, gods, etc. as extradimensional manifestations of humanity's collective unconscious, brought to our universe by some bizarre cold fusion-esque technology that ruptured space-time. While the angels and demons and whatnot certainly believe that a Final War has or will soon take place, they are completely reliant upon humanity's mental and emotional energies to stay in our universe and thus have every reason to subjugate humanity and maintain a ceasefire with one another. Godbound are, similar to how you described, the universe's way of exterminating these extradimensional parasites and restoring equilibrium to our universe. .
+Kyle Moss SMT+The not-too-terrible aspects of the World of Darkness seem like a pretty solid place to start when it come to Gods and Demons in the modern world.
+Bob Something The historical fluff on p.68 of Godbound implies the world of the Former Empires was round like ours.
+Rebecca Ashling Oh? Well I suppose I did miss this detail, then.
+Bob Something Ultimately the actual reason(s) for Godbounds' and mythological creatures' existence isn't as important as the goal: players can do whatever they want with their powers, as long as they exterminate the invading entities and don't destabilize or destroy the universe. Restrictions that help structure play early in the campaign and serve as things to rebel against or protect later.
Now that Lexicon has come out, I'm going to run a Godbound game set on Earth. It just happens, now there are Godbound, yesterday there weren't. Or maybe they were there all along. Either way, I see no reason to rewrite all of history. Maybe the engines powering Earth and the observable universe have even working really, really well until now.
My approach was to run it a bit like Scion, but with only a single "heir" for each god at most, and with heavy overtones of the conflicts between civilizations' ideals and perspectives having metaphysical meanings on the coherence of reality. It had some interesting implications, and the players enjoyed watching their and their character's perceptions of morality constantly being challenged.
I really like the OP's idea, though, and might try that sometime. I'm enough of a history buff that I enjoy such things.
One idea I have is the approach taken in "Ash" by Mary Gentle. Have an aɡe of miracles completely retconned then have it start to leak back into current reality.