The most consistent element of mythological traditions is the creation myth. Don’t get caught up on wondering which one is correct: they all are. In The World, every myth is true and tangible, and there is no conflict between The World being the back of a giant turtle and also being the clumps of mud stirred up from the sea floor by Izanagi’s staff any more than there is a conflict with light being both a wave and a particle.
The Gods stamp themselves into the mortal World from the outside, making imprints in reality. Those imprints are called Incarnations, aspects of themselves spun through The World as individuals who live and laugh and love as mortals do. Incarnations are one of two ways that Gods can interact with The World without wading through the murky waters of Fate that cover it. The other way are the Scions, the children of the Gods.
The World writes you into its stories; making you meet the same people over and over, making you perform the task written for you in a story, playing the role of your life as a comedy or a tragedy or anything in between. It isn’t mind control: you still make your own choices. But those choices are made in response to certain patterns in your life, and those patterns arise again and again because of Fate unless you make the achingly difficult decision to break with your destiny and do something else (and few do).
Part of the reason the Gods refrain from direct action is because doing so shakes up the ordered destiny of the cosmos, and because it alters the way their divine power might manifest itself in the future (not to mention their very conception of themselves). By embracing this radical change, Gods who interact with their peoples during a crisis can find themselves completely and permanently altered.
Most religions have some tale of it: a war of the Gods against their cruel and uncaring predecessors. Even for those cultures that prefer tales of rehabilitating or ignoring the monsters at the beginning of time, there exist tales of binding these creatures, locking them away in distant lands or slaying them so they can do no further harm. Today, the majority of the Titans are kept sealed by mystic rituals or enormous prisons, while the free remainders are watched closely for any sign of perfidy.
This universe was born in violence, destroyed and reborn, again and again. Whether this is an eternal cycle or occurs along a straight arrow of history is a matter for clashing myths, debates among learned Gods and mortals, or secrets known to the monsters and immortals created during such catastrophes. Many pantheons wouldn’t even know how to imprison a Titan anymore — the Gods simply forgot, or it was dependent on some irreproducible magic, or they never truly imprisoned them in the first place.
And cracks in those prisons are beginning to show.
The Titans are coming back but, in a sense, they never left. They partake of The World’s essence after all, and their Purviews will continue until the end of it all, but the discrete beings themselves are growing more active. They send ever-stronger aspects of themselves through cracks in their prisons. They whisper to sleeping, monstrous servants. These agents are titanspawn, though not all of them are literally born of the Titans, and some are even nominally allied with the Gods. The reason for this swell of activity isn’t well-understood; scholarly Gods enforce the limits of what mortals may know, and their priests often say the ebb and flow of the Titans’ power is not for human understanding.
The heart of the conflict pits Gods against Titans, but they act through Scions, titanspawn, cults, and individual operatives. Other factions advance their interests in the backdrop, and are willing to work with any side that helps them achieve their aims. Battles occur across innumerable fronts, from the fringes of mortal wars to alleys, boardrooms, and forgotten ruins. This Cold War phase of the Titanomachy has Great Games of espionage too, along with double agents, sleeper operatives (sometimes literal ones, in caves), and people who don’t know which side they’re on, confused by love, hate, or moral paradoxes.
Born of the Titans but tied to the World, the Gods once blatantly interfered in the development of human civilisation and, in turn, were shaped by the beliefs of man into the deities we recognize from Classical mythology. The Gods long ago retreated from the mortal world to avoid the dangers of being drawn into conflict via Fatebinding to their mortal followers. When one of the Gods visits the World now, it is almost always done incognito and for the purpose of reacquainting himself with humanity. In the course of “reacquainting themselves with humanity,” many Gods manage to sire Scions.
The Pesedjet, originating in Egypt, is the oldest (though not necessarily wisest) of the pantheons. This family of Gods claims that its origins go back over 7,000 years to the banks of the Nile River in northeast Africa, and it has endured through cultural, mythic and physical changes in the World's very structure.
As a pantheon, the Pesedjet concerns itself with ma'at - justice expressed through social order. For the Pesedjet, everyone must know his or her place, and each post must be filled with the right person. In the times before time the Titans destroyed appropriate relationships between people, and the Pesedjet created a social order in which people could live knowing their place in an established hierarchy.
Today, the Pesedjet's Scions tend to concern themselves with disruptions in social stability caused by the Titans' actions. Movements of refugees, discontent caused by spiritual poverty and unemployment, revolutionary movements - these come to the Pesedjet's notice as disturbances in the mythic realms. Other divine tribes view the Pesedjet as hidebound and conservative, but they grant that the Egyptian Gods really know how to impose long-lasting order in a chaotic world.
Second oldest of the divine tribes, the Dodekatheon comprises the Olympian Gods of Greco-Roman legend. Their origins are murky, since the ancient Greeks already knew their Gods when they migrated to the Mediterranean Sea around 4,000 years ago, but they were still changing and growing 2,500 years ago, and their forms only became set around 1,500 years ago.
Where the Pesedjet emphasizes social and cultural stability over and against individual rights, the Dodekatheon has sought to impose patterns of individuality within the community on humanity. Arete (personal excellence in service to humanity) is the motivating urge of this tribe of Gods and its Scions. It is important for most people to know their place, but it is equally important for some to rise above their stations and create new patterns for human life.
In modern times, the Dodekatheon's Scions seek to manifest and awaken great spirits in society-as artists, warriors, spiritual seekers, judges, leaders and poets. Extraordinary individuals can strengthen the fabric of reality so that Titans can gain no purchase on it or rip through illusion's curtains. Sometimes, the Scions of the Olympians challenge mortals, and sometimes, they are the mortals challenged by the Gods. Both routes lead to greatness-an exaltation of human endeavor that blocks the Titans from destroying the World.
Born in the wastes and ruin of Northern Europe, among Germanic warriors and Nordic pirates, the Aesir compose the fourth oldest of the divine families. Their pantheon is the product of a shotgun wedding around 1,000 years ago, when the Aesir and the Vanir (an earlier pantheon) were both devastated by the Titans during a war in the North. Relying on the safety of numbers, the Aesir absorbed their rivals into their ranks and thus preserved themselves in difficult times.
The Aesir represent a third option apart from those espoused by the Dodekatheon and the Pesedjet. Aesir Scions promote community stability as a hedge against modern life's harshness. Yet, they also emphasize personal rights and individual honor. Therefore, while family and nation are important, injustice against a single person is cause for action and even vengeance.
Coming into being sometime between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago, the Aztec Gods have no name for their pantheon. Other divine tribes usually call them the Atzlanti. Capricious and cruel in a way that the other pantheons are not, the Aztec Gods are bloodthirsty, aggressive and violent. They most often sire Scions with mortals descended from the tribes that spoke Nahuatl, wherever such native peoples exist.
For the Atzlanti, continuity is more important than community or individuality. A specific human is unimportant. Likewise, a specific village, family, clan or nation is equally unimportant. The most important issue for this tribe is that the sun continues on its daily course, that the moon follows the sun in its appointed rounds and that the stars continue to shine on their proper schedule. Yet astronomical normality and regularity require bloody sacrifice, and even if the other Gods deplore the Aztec Gods' methods, they cannot deny that at least the calendar proceeds in its usual and expected way.
Of all the divine tribes, the Atzlanti are the least concerned with the dictates of Fate or the potential doom of the Gods. They are the most mutable of form, the most mutable of apparent purpose and the least suspicious of the ambitions of their Scions. Of course, part of the reason for their carefree attitude toward their children is their attitude toward pain and death. What better blood to spill to ensure the continuation of the sun's course than the blood of a glorious child of the Gods?
The Amatsukami are the heavenly divinities of ancient Japan. When asked how long they have been around, they are certain to reply "forever." Other tribes usually estimate their age as falling between that of the Dodekatheon and the Aesir, though it is possible that the Amatsukami are not lying about their age. Regardless, the Amatsukami certainly have a different way of working in the World.
For the Amatsukami, to light a candle is to cast a shadow, and to kill a butterfly is to cause a drought. No action is truly separate from any other; all choices occur within a seamless framework of Now. Therefore, this pantheon works for the right and proper balance of all being: human individuality in cooperation with community in cooperation with nature in cooperation with divinity. Its Scions work to establish “ecological” solutions to complex problems, believing that only many-leveled, beautiful answers will keep the Titans at bay.
The downside of such elegant and serene natural resolutions is that they take time to implement, and there’s a fair amount of dithering about what exactly to do. The Amatsukami tend not to take the most direct route to whatever their solution is, so as to gain more time to perfect that effort. In situations where time is an issue, the Scions of the Japanese Gods all too often run out of it.
The Loa are divinities of ancient West Africa, transplanted through slavery to the Caribbean and North and South America. They make up the most mixed of the pantheons in terms of age. Gods only a few hundred years old dwell by Gods who walked the earth millennia ago. Other Gods might mock the Loa as mere spirits elevated above their rank and station, but their actual power and authority certainly matches that of their detractors. Much of the mockery against them, therefore, is social rather than metaphysical. Of all the pantheons, the Loa remember their origins as Scions. They tend to treat their progeny with respect and honour. Indeed, the divinities of Voodoo seem to believe that their pantheon has not yet finished growing, and each God has an array of spirits, minor divinities and borrowed Catholic saints to call upon as messengers, allies and companions for their Scions.
Because the pantheon is still growing, the Gods rely on an active community for worshippers who fill them with spiritual energy. As a result, the Voodoo deities suffer from a degree of myopia. In the pursuit of unity, prosperity and peace at the local level, they sometimes lose sight of bigger issues, such as vanquishing the Titans.
A Titan is an archetypal being of incarnate chaos. Though not necessarily evil, such beings are driven only to follow their primal, typically destructive, urges and to revenge themselves on their rebellious offspring, the Gods.
The exact mechanism keeping the Titans bound is kept secret from mortals and Scions alike, though legends of their imprisonment might provide hints. One theory holds that the Gods harness their special bond with mortals to keep the Titans bound. The Titans are so powerful it seems impossible for the Gods to have captured them without making use of some resource the Titans lack, but with the God's presence in the World now dwindling are the Titans’ prisons growing weaker? Another theory claims the Gods took the power to bind Titans from entities even older than the Titans, either by negotiation or force.
Yet two truths have become apparent. The first is that when Gods weaken, the Titans gain more freedom. This seems to be dependent on the mythic relationships between individual Gods and Titans. If Zeus was slain, Cronus might be able to escape Tartarus. The second truth? When Titans use their Purviews in a realm (through some trusted proxy such as greater titanspawn, or a mythic event), their presence in that realm strengthens. This may be one the reasons Titans intentionally breed titanspawn, rather than corrupting Legendary creatures with their essence.
These are the monstrous offspring of the various Titans. The most powerful titanspawn are equal in power to the Gods themselves. Currently only the weakest of the titanspawn are capable of forcing their way into the World, but these tirelessly strive to pave the way for their mightier brethren.