Old cultures since the dawn of written time have seen pictures in the night sky and asked questions of them. Who they were, where did they come from, and why do they return? The earliest efforts to distinguish these nightly visitors and give them names and meanings dates back to before the Contention of Aborior. Those first observations were different than what is seen today but most still hold true to their original origins.
The story behind the major constellations is one of anguish and peril and selfless loyalty.
Story of Mortals and their Fall from Grace
It is said that in ages past when mortal walked among the gods as near equals a trial began. The trial of mortal sin and their worth. A task was given the mortals and only one man stepped forward. He knew his life would be tested to its extreme and yet he willingly took up the task of proving the worth of man. The gods told this Crusader to travel the lands looking for the Sage of ages to find the worth of mortal man. A mortal beyond his years, as old as the gods itself, as the sky some even whispered. They said to find him and seek out the worth and meaning of existence.
So travel he did. For years he traveled enduring hardships at the hands of the gods who wanted him to fail until at last he found the sage they spoke of. He was an ancient being of wisdom and contempt. Contempt for the gods for giving him his eternal life, and contempt for mortal for their enduring lives at the side of the gods. The Crusader came to him and asked for this knowledge but he would not give it.
His plea’s were too much for the ancient Sage and he broke telling him where to find the answer. To visit the Oracle and it would tell all. So the Crusader traveled again for years searching for the mysterious Oracle. Some said that it was a myth and could never be found. Other said it could only be found by those not looking. Near broken of spirit he stumbled across the path of the Oracle. It was beauty beyond his dreams, giving him warmth were he was cold, and giving him strength where there was none. It answered the crusaders question, telling him that the worth of Mortals was as limitless as a grain of sand. Not understanding his questioned the answer. It told him that to know the worth of man; the Crusader would have to prove his own worth to understand what it has meant.
The Crusader traveled to the King, knowing that he was wise and knew the worth of his men. The King cried and told him that the worth as he knew it was little. He bade him to see the Captain and to have him travel across the blackened sea where it was rumored other nations had grew. Perhaps they knew more than he. So the Crusader traveled with the Captain and his crew across dangerous waters unknown to them before. A storm grounded the Captain and his ship throwing the Crusader over, washing up on a black sandy beach alone. He sat and studied the coarse sand for days trying to grasp the Oracles cryptic meaning but was unable to, he wept knowing he would never find the answer.
Not normal to self despair, he gathered what he could and began searching for his prize, vowing to not stop until the answer killed him. He traveled an unknown jungle, sickening with the bites of insects and snakes. Slowing his march but never faltering. He came across a boar who told him that if anyone could help find his prize it would be the Huntress. He found the Huntress stalking her prey by the directions given to him by the boar. He bade her to help him. He told her of his tale but she believed the sickness and not him. She took helped him on the condition that he helped her track her prey. He slowly agreed, not wanting to wait another day in his search but realizing the answer may be where she traveled.
So the Crusader and the Huntress traveled her lands on her Chariot looking for the giant reptile as she named it. Curious as to her meaning, and her lack of explaining he grew wary. They finally found its lair and she bade him to stay as it was her task to slay the beast. The Huntress stood before the lair and called to the creature, calling it weak names and insults of great proportions. The Crusader cringed at the lack of civility but let the Huntress continue.
The Huntress called forth again and the beast emerged, huge beyond comparison to anything the Crusader had before seen, but he knew what it was. The mighty Dragon stood before the Huntress and proceeded to snap down at her breaking through her meager defenses. Seeing her falter the Crusader sprang forth and engaged the Dragon and slew it with a mighty stroke. He towered over it with pleasure and sorrow, wondering who had been the enemy. His answer was soon found when the Huntress plunged her knife into his back whispering in his ear of his folly. She was supposed to have destroyed the beast herself as per her culture. He had stolen that from her as she had now stolen his life, the circle was complete to her.
The Crusader fell and knew the answer to the question of the gods finally. The worth of mortals was in his grasp and the oracles meaning was on his lips. He whispered it to the Huntress least she not forget and it be lost. ‘The Crusader spoke to her, “Our worth is like the grain of sand. Short and small, coarse as our actions are in the world as we all return to the earth when we fail.” The Crusader knew both answers and brought them forth to the gods and told them his tale. The anguish and sorrow was not lost on those in attendance but the result was the same.
Seeing the failure of mortals as a whole the gods saw what the Crusader saw, the futility of mortal man. They cast them from their side and to return to the earth in the hopes that they would learn their worth as did the Crusader. He was given a place of rest in their hall and granted their respect, as for the mortals below them. The gods decreed that they would have to earn it.
1) The Crusader
2) The Sage
3) The Oracle
4) The King
5) The Captain
6) The Huntress
7) The Chariot
8) The Dragon
9) The Judge
10) The Tree of Life
1) The Falcon
2) The Boar
3) The Mad Bear
4) The Rogue
5) The Ugly Sister
6) Errant Knight
7) The Unicorn
8) The Scorpion
9) The Wolf
10) The Murderer
Side Notes: While this began as an original Hewdamia submission. Due to a few queries asking me about adding their own ideas to this scroll I am openning it up for everyone. The 10 minor constellations I have listed here are with the Hewdamia setting.
Now that this is completed as a Hewdamian sub, I would like for others to add to the depths of their Constellation Myth’s that dot their worlds/ systems. Add to the depth so that their is a resource of constellations for all GM’s to use.
The Crusader is highest at the beginning of the year. He is seen as a lone man, standing proud looking to the heavens. The Huntress can always be seen following him in the night sky, tracking his movements. During the later months of the year when the Dragon rises high the Crusader looks to the fallen beast with sadness. The myth is that the Crusader causes the fall rains begin because of his sorrow. It is said to be an omen of good character to be born under the sign of the Crusader being thoughtless and selfless to the point of ruin at times.
Seen as a bent crooked man, the Sage sits in sorrow at his never ending life. His knowledge is surpassed by only the gods but he weeps at his existence. Winter is ending when he is highest as he brings the warmth of spring away from the winter colds. Once every two decades a bright star, actually a comet, lights up the Sages right eye. In that time the stories say that he can be found and asked a single question. However cryptic his answer may be, he still gives the answer true. To be born under this sign it to possess a unique knowledge and gift of the mind rarely forgetting what you have learned or heard.
The Oracle is a myth as much as the gods are. It is not known which came first the Oracle or the Gods. To ask that question one is answered with a series of confused tales of difference between animals related to the birth of suns. It is seen as a circle of eight red and yellow stars around a void of blackness. The Oracle is both truthful and devious in its own right. It knows no right and wrong, only that that when it speaks, mortals should listen. The Oracle never has a high point as it sits relatively in the same spot throughout the year; some say this is a testament to its unwavering nature. Many a sailor and captain will use the Oracle to guide their ships by, knowing that it will never lead them astray. Those born under this sign are usually aloof and seem a bit off. However they can spout wisdom when the time calls for it.
The King is highest during the summer months, ruling his kingdom over the pleasant times of the year. He is seen only as a crown in the sky, the top most star a jewel beyond brightness. His guidance for those on land have been wonderful, as his guiding light shines brightest over the desert lands bringing those who know to follow him safely home. Those born under this sign are usually gifted with a commanding demeanor and make good leaders.
Seen as a ship with furled sails, the Captain raises and lowers in the night sky as a ship on turbulent waters. When he is the highest the summer squalls hit the coastal waters and pour forth their nurturing drink to quench the thirst of the land. Any farmer knows to plant soon after the Captain rises as planting most crops before result in swamped land, losing most if not all of the harvest. Planting afterwards has been a boon to most coastal farmers however. Every sailor knows though not to follow the Captain to ofar as faithfully following him will lead to your doom broken on the rocks of some unknown shore. Anyone born the sign of the Captain is resourceful, yet often fail in their tasks, like crashing on the rocks of life.
Like the tale tells, the Huntress is a powerful warrior. She is seen standing on a corpse of a lion, spear held high. She constantly stalks the Crusader for taking the kill of the Dragon and she will never forgive him for that. She stalks him to the end of time waiting for him to falter. Anyone born under the sign of the Huntress is known for their physical prowess but also for their twin-sided nature. Siding with what makes it best for them.
The Chariot is what the Huntress rides when tracking her prey, except the Crusader that she tracks on foot. It is a guiding light and seen as a good omen to start any travel with as it is highest just before winter during the end of summer and the beginning of fall. It's faithful in its service to those who travel during its race across the sky. Anyone born under this sign are seen to be blessed with luck, caravan drivers will usually try to find guards born under the sign of the Chariot to protect their goods.
The beast of the sky, the Dragon is the largest constellation seen. It snakes behind the Huntress and seems to be facing away from the Crusader, knowing that to look him in the eye means death. It is seen as a wingless dragon, having its wings removed in the fight with the Crusader. It stalks the night sky just before winter looking to find a place to hide from his enemy the Crusader but stalking the Huntress at the same time. Those born under the sign of the Dragon are seen as powerful but blind, not knowing who their enemies are.
Seen on high, the Judge is always the highest during the last months of the year as if judging all the past transgressions that have happened during the year. It is said that to do a deed of ill under the gaze of the Judge is to condemn your soul to an unspeakable life after death as a servant to his cause. He is viewed many ways, but his most common image is that of a sightless man holding a large gavel placed on top of a staff. It is said he uses this gavel to claim the condemned to their fate, or to clear a soul of guilt or blame.
The Tree of Life
The branches of the Tree of Life spread throughout the stars as the loving hands of a mothers embrace. It is the only tree in the winter that does not loose its foliage and is commonly looked at to see when winter will leave and spring will return. Large in its size, the tree of Life sits the highest among the other constellations, never moving only rotating around the others watching each to see it is in their place. Those born under the sign of the Tree of Life are blessed with a long life and a healthy virtue.
The Ugly Sister
Cast down from her family for being different the Ugly Sister haunts the winter months with her crooked stare. Her mistreatment at the hands of her family caused her to be vengeful and filled with hate. Her cold heart helps fuel the winter snows year after year. Those born under her sign are usually uncaring of others feelings and emotionless.
Majestic and graceful, the Falcon is one of the many who fights with the Ugly Sister to bring the world out of her cold wintered clutches. It is swift and flowing, bringing in the smells and sights of spring on fluttered wings. Those born under the sign of the Falcon tend to be outgoing and free willed letting little get their spirits down.
The mythical creation of the Unicorn dates back to the early days of the gods when Xukthalis watched over the world below with his insatiable intrest. When he turned into the moon due to his unmoving vigil, he shed tears. They fell to the earth and became the beauty of the unicorn. Now, in respect the unicorn constellation preceeds the moon in its never ending arch across the sky, pulling it around the world so that Xukthalis, the moon, can view the world in all its magnificence.
Unicorns can usually only be seen during the full moon. This could be due to the myth of them being a creation of the tears of Xukthalis. More information can be found here 1417 about Xukthalis.
Silent and quick, the Rogue stalks the night sky with a purpose that few understand. Seen in the night sky as an oval mask of darkness, the Rogue is seen during the colder months of the year sitting low in the sky, hiding from his prey. It is often thought that the Rogue tries to steal the warmth and glory of spring every year. When the winter chills refuse to fade and winter holds on tighter, spring fails to fall. It is thought he keeps the stolen spring in his pocket to warm his cold heart.
The theory of Groundhogs day is common with this myth.
Always seen in the sky right before and after a blood moon, the Murderer is said to be responsible for the killing of the gods. On the days when the gods fell and were lost to the ages, the Murderer bathed in the fountain of blood which turned the moon red. Once a year for a week the moon bleeds red and the Murderer rises in the eastern sky to relive his moment of triumph over the divine.
Roaming aimlessly through the night sky, the star cluster known as the Errant Knight has no set period in which it falls. Some say he is a ghost in the sky, wandering forever searching for the adventure he never had in life, the soul of a restless knight that was captured by the dreams of the gods and forever lost in the void of night. Some say that he is seen during times of festivities and grand adventure, often soldiers pray to the Errant Knight during times before battles to hope he arrives to relieve them of some of their burden.
Always seen together with the Mad Bear, the Scorpion constellation follows behind his arch enemy viciously and forever. In ages no long past and forgotten the Bear came across the Scorpion and not knowing tried to eat him. The scorpion was angered by the insolence the Bear and hunted him. For centuries the Scorpion stung at the haunches of the Bear turning his mind and sickening his body until his mind shattered. The Mad Bear is a result of the unending torture from the devious and relentless Scorpion. This constellation is usually looked on by murders and assassins for its longevity and cunning.
The Mad Bear
Not always mad, the Mad Bear was a once warm and welcome sight during the ending of winter as he was one of the sure signs that the cold was ending and sprint was near. The then Bear would frolic about the night skies during the spring and summer catching star fish in its paws. Then his existence changed when it came across a new creature, the Scorpion. Not knowing who or what it was the Bear tried to eat it as it had the star fish all these centuries. The punishment he received at the stinger of the malicious Scorpion changed the Bear. The sickness that seeped into his body affected his mind and he was forever changed to the Mad Bear. When he is first seen in the sky he is now seen as the coming of the rock storms of early spring, no longer caring that they fall to the world below.
The star fish it speaks about are early descriptions of comets and or meteor showers.
Long has the Boar been free to roam the skies from the Huntress but it was not always so. The Huntress stalked the Boar for centuries, never able to capture the elusive creature. She would leave it be for a few decades and hunt other prey, but would always come back to the one true animal she could never claim. The meeting with the Crusader was a boon to the Boar who led the Crusader and the Huntress to their fateful meeting. Since then the Boar has been restful, not having to evade the forever determined Huntress. He knows that one day she may take up chase again but not until the Crusader falls to her spear. The Boar is seen mid year in the eastern sky and is often called upon for fertility of women as he comes out during mating season for most wild animals.
Interesting enough, the constellation of the wolf is seen all year round unlike some of the other minor constellations. But its purpose and meaning is two fold. During the warmer months of the year, in the spring and summer times, he is seen as a noble guide and friend, allowing travelers to follow his nightly trails without fear and by keeping the predators at bay. In the colder and later months however, he changes. He tires of bending down and subjugating himself to the whim and desires of others. Travelers know not to follow him in the winter months as he will always lead them to their doom or peril often times coming down to the unwary and taking them in the night. During certain times of the year when the Wolf constellation is prevalent in the sky packs of unusually large animals, mostly wolves and other feral animals, gather to attack the unsuspecting. As if telling the mortals to leave the winter months to the Wolf and the wild animals and to stay indoors.
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? Responses (28)
fix a little grammar. such as the last line (long life, health life)...Otherwise, Great!! Damn it Mourn. You beat me to something I always wanted to post..a bunch of constellations.
Good job. Nice backstory, bringing it all together.
I love the quirkiness of the various signs. I love the psuedo-relevance they have in any given game. Not something you always think about (the constellations), yet they are always there, arent they? twinkling and laughing at us mortals.
This is great. You can play around with the combinations, make up a thousand of them if one wishes, and finally, for those GM's on the fly, you provide a (soon to be) complete 'constellation companion', easily inserted into any world.
Unlike other subs, which I have sworn to add scrolls to (but as of yet havent), I really mean it with THIS one! :D
I'll HoH this in anticipation of the completed work!
Hewdamia's depths of detail becomes more and more impressive folks. Make sure to link the other Constellation article to this as well.
When you have worked more on this, send me a pm. I will review it then (so you do not take all the great votes and HoH's and quit working on it ;)
Absolutely... I plan on working on it some today if I get a chance.
5/5 for this-I spent many a night in Greece staring up at the sky and making my own names for the stars-such as the Saucepan for the Plough.
but nothing beats your Cat Poo in Greece story :D
This I have got to hear.
no trust me..you dont :D
btw...this turned into a great sub!
This is really nice Chrome. I am going to drop this into my gaming world tomorrow.
hmmm...pay attention folks. Mourn is doing something good here. I HoH'd this already. Somebody else check it out!
Yep, an excellent sub from the dungeons of the Citadel!
I never voted on this, but I think it deserves some attention.
This has to be one of my favorite posts ever, certainly in my top 5 that I enjoy rereading.
After all this time I finally noticed what you said. That does me great honors.
i never thought of his or voted on it. how can we have all these game worlds without knowing the stars...truly we spend too much time in books and online.
I would contend rather that it simply gets overlooked. The Industrialized world doesn't rely on stars to the extent that ancient cultures did, and so we don't even think to consider how the people in our games would view the night sky.
And that should then make you think: what else might we be overlooking or downplaying the importance of, thanks to our modern lifestyle?
Nice, very good. I too have thought of creating a constellation myth but never got around to. Hats off!
Lovely work and really useful. Very easy to plug into any campaign or world and thus I have to emphasise again, very useful.
4.0 for a standard, well written post.
+ 0.5 for the amount of work and love put into this.
+ 0.5 for the sheer usefulness of the piece.
Well done Mourn, glad I got a chance to read it.
A wonderful idea, well thought out and nicely implemented. I think the amount of detail is what really sets it apart.
Thanks for the votes for the Golden Sub guys. This wasn't the one i had hoped to see up here but the fact that it is my first one makes me happy regardless and I'm glad that it has some helpful use for someone here at the site.
What was the one/s you had hoped would make golden?
A truly amazing submission, well deserving of the top score!
Plug and play constellations and legends. Outstandingly useful! Something that should be used in any campaign just for that extra flavor while you spend yet another night of 'I will take first watch.' Now you can throw some interesting details in there about the sky and the legends that surround it. I love the thought of that opportunity.
Thanks strolen. It amazes me sometimes the things to put to paper for no apparent reason and have never really used myself.
High five! Thanks for putting this one up Mourn!
Can I add my own constellations here?
Don't see why not.