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Chrysalis
Nephilim are beings who appear in the Hebrew Bible, specifically in the Book of Genesis, and are also mentioned in other Biblical texts and in some non-canonical Jewish writings. Genesis Chapter 6, verses 1 through 4 describe the origin of the Nephilim:

"Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the Lord said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown."

A while ago when I was thinking of Behind the Shadows, the game I am running on the forums here, I thought of a dead ended story arc concept, which would be the use of several divine hosts and three celestial choirs. The idea was that Gabriel and Michael with the departure of God from Heaven end up squabbling about the role of man. Each believe that they have a role in the cryptic instructions left by God.

Slowly there is a division and a battle and Heaven reaches closer to man. Equally Hell takes on the role of the Sixth World. The manifestation of elves, dwarves, orcs, and trolls are but the manifestation of Hell in the Sixth World. Some of the fallen angels take on the roles of dragons.

It is a definitely a darker and grittier Shadowrun. There is the underlying question is the Sixth World actually hell and that those who live in it are but manifestations of the damned.

The Nephilim would be the silent fourth front to this war. Wanting to being about a different kind of hell, one where they had mastery of men as they did of old. They lie in the shadows and wait, waiting for the apocalypse which is inexorably nearing.

It would be a way to sort of bring in concepts from In Nomine into the game.
Wesley Street
Check out Douglas Rushkoff's Testament. You may find it interesting.
Ancient History
While I'm all for obscure occultism of all stripes, the main problem with including Nephilim is that it explicitly confirms one or more belief systems as "real" or "true" - whereas in SR all belief systems could be seen as implicitly correct (or incorrect, if you prefer) in that all are equally valid in terms of the manipulation of magic and none have unique manifestations of their beliefs.

Well, except for insect spirits. (All hail the Original Insect!)
Chrysalis
What's wrong with confirming one set of belief systems as "true"? I am not writing Shadowrun; I am simply choosing to think about what kind of world would it be if the mystical side of the world was built in accordance to the apocrypha removed on the behest of the Council of Mycenae.

The problem of having other religions (actually the Nephilim neatly saddle the divides from Judaism to Islam), is not of their validity (I am all for the religions), but it is a question of genre and storytelling.

The inspiration for the original post: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prophecy
Ancient History
While The Prophecy is a terrific movie, and nephilim are based on actual Christian theology, mythology, and apocrypha, they're not very appropriate to Shadowrun, any more than the sin eaters presented in The Order or the holy shotgun of Constantine would be. Cool on their own, but not appropos for most SR games unless you're going for an explicitly biblical twist. Otherwise we end up with another Black Madonna, SR's own version of The Da Vinci Code (albeit with a much better plot).
Chrysalis
What's Black Madonna?
pbangarth
QUOTE (Ancient History @ Apr 7 2009, 10:11 AM) *
While I'm all for obscure occultism of all stripes, the main problem with including Nephilim is that it explicitly confirms one or more belief systems as "real" or "true" - whereas in SR all belief systems could be seen as implicitly correct (or incorrect, if you prefer) in that all are equally valid in terms of the manipulation of magic and none have unique manifestations of their beliefs.

Well, except for insect spirits. (All hail the Original Insect!)


Except these particular manifestations of beliefs could be considered to be just that, mana given form by the beliefs of millions and shaped by the subconscious archetypes maintained by the believers.
Ancient History
Which is fine, if all beliefs manifest equally. If you want nephilim to start showing up alongside afrits, the Garuda bird, and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, knock yourself out. Preferential treatment for one religion over another is counter to how SR works right now (let's avoid the whole "proof of a religion ruins belief in a religion" schtick, not in the mood).
Stahlseele
QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Apr 7 2009, 07:22 PM) *
What's Black Madonna?

A Novel, more or less the Shadowrun Version of the Da Vinci Code.
Before the Da Vinci Code got big.
Ancient History
1982: Holy Blood, Holy Grail
1996: Black Madonna
2003: The Da Vinci Code

Please note, both books essentially stole the core conceit of their respective plots from Holy Blood, Holy Grail. The difference is that Black Madonna is at least well-written and entertaining, if still over-the-top-insane, while Dan Brown makes my brain want to chew its way out of my skull.
Stahlseele
i liked it somehow . . some funny scenes in there ^^
Chrysalis
I found the Da Vinci Code entertaining as airport novels go.

While I have read Holy Blood, Holy Grail which is an amusing piece of pseudohistorical fiction based on the forged Dossiers Secrets d'Henri Lobineau. I still liked Eco's Foucault's Pendulum more.
The Mack
QUOTE (Ancient History @ Apr 8 2009, 02:29 AM) *
Preferential treatment for one religion over another is counter to how SR works right now (let's avoid the whole "proof of a religion ruins belief in a religion" schtick, not in the mood).


I agree.

Which is why I think a name other than "Shedim" should have been chosen.
nezumi
Nephilim are oftentimes described as giants (that, or their half-human offspring are). Perhaps coincidentally, several other major religions, including the Norse religion, describes giants wandering the land during pre-history. If you feel AH's comments are valid (and they may or may not be, based on how much you like the canon books and flavor), it is nearly trivial to convert your nephilim to a more broad-base 'superhuman giants/angel creatures' and apply to several religions simultaneously.
Matsci
QUOTE (The Mack @ Apr 7 2009, 10:12 AM) *
I agree.

Which is why I think a name other than "Shedim" should have been chosen.


I prefere the term "Frakking Zombie Jellyfish"
Demonseed Elite
Granted, the Shedim don't call themselves Shedim. They probably don't even respond to that name. It's just the term the Sixth World applied to them.
Method
While I think AH's comments are reasonable in the context of maintaining the SR product line, I think this would be an interesting theme for a house game, especially if the PCs were members of a religous order or some such.
pbangarth
QUOTE (The Mack @ Apr 7 2009, 11:12 AM) *
I agree.

Which is why I think a name other than "Shedim" should have been chosen.



QUOTE (Demonseed Elite @ Apr 7 2009, 12:14 PM) *
Granted, the Shedim don't call themselves Shedim. They probably don't even respond to that name. It's just the term the Sixth World applied to them.


Weeelllllll..... it's the term applied by SR writers to entities in the Sixth World, as if it had been applied by Sixth World citizens to whom the word Shedim was especially meaningful, very much in the fashion Ancient History suggests is inappropriate for SR writers to apply terms. Hence The Mack's retort.
Ancient History
There is a difference. People call them shedim, but very few actually consider them the shedim of Jewish myth. In Shadowrun, many critters and species are called by names drawn from old mythology (which is just a polite term for somebody else's religion), but which are not literally intended to be those creatures of myth. Calling a critter an elf is a recognition of its superficial similarity to the popular conception of what is an elf, which has changed considerably over time. Calling a critter a vampire because it appears to die and then has to drink blood to survive doesn't mean that the critter takes on all the mythical attributes of the vampire (if that were even possible), and its (general) lack of reaction to holy symbols and cultural superstitions reinforces the concept that no one culture is absolutely correct, while at the same time suggesting that the ancient myths and legends of those cultures may be relevant today and worthy of scrutiny for the factual information they do contain.

So yes, it's one thing to have very tall metahumans and call them nephilim, and something else again for them to actually be the nephilim of myth. Shadowrun works well with the former, SR even works well for the latter if it is a pocket belief held by a subset of the population who the rest of the world believes to be crazy religious fanatics.
Stahlseele
Wonder if there is a reason for Nephilim and Nifflheim looking/sounding so similar to each other O.o
Sticks
I always saw the Nephelim (in the SR Universe) as leftover legends from Earthdawn myself, allegorical examples of Dragonkin and their descendants
Malicant
QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Apr 8 2009, 01:18 AM) *
Wonder if there is a reason for Nephilim and Nifflheim looking/sounding so similar to each other O.o
Coincidence.
Stahlseele
yeeaah . . suuree . .
Malicant
Are you serious?
Stahlseele
If you do not see one conspiracy hidden beneath, inside, behind and everywhere else concerning other conspiracies, you are doing it wrong <.<
pbangarth
QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Apr 7 2009, 05:18 PM) *
Wonder if there is a reason for Nephilim and Nifflheim looking/sounding so similar to each other O.o


Niflheimr is from the Norse tradition, part of the broader Indo-European mythos. Nephilim is from a Middle -Eastern, non-Indo-European mythos. One could make a case for a cross-over, given that there must have been contact, IF the subjects were similar enough. Semantic similarity by itself is not enough.

Niflheimr refers to a place, a primordial region of mist and ice which, in opposition to Muspelheimr, the primordial region of fire, was part of the generation of the world. Nephilim refers to a race of beings who mated with human females and produced gigantic offspring, who themselves were a source of problems for humanity. While there is sort of a parallel in the aspect of generation, I don't think it is enough to make a link. Now, the 'heim' as place and 'im' as race could be argued as being related, but that is pushing it. And 'Nifl' as cloud/mist and 'Nephil' as ??heaven??. Hmmm...

It is kind of cool though, that in Eurasian myths as well as in American myths there are so many references to an ancient race of giants, against whom the progenitors of 'the modern us' strove.
The Mack
QUOTE (pbangarth)
Weeelllllll..... it's the term applied by SR writers to entities in the Sixth World, as if it had been applied by Sixth World citizens to whom the word Shedim was especially meaningful, very much in the fashion Ancient History suggests is inappropriate for SR writers to apply terms. Hence The Mack's retort.


Yeah that's how I feel about it.

Why would the Japanese or Native Americans, or any peoples from a dozen other cultures call them Shedim?

Why would westerners even call them Shedim?

It's a name that's been applied to them by the writers, which has connotations with one group of religions. Avoiding that has generally been one of the hallmarks of Shadowrun (and something I very much appreciate).



QUOTE (Ancient History)
There is a difference. People call them shedim,


Yes, but why would they?

It's a very specific and somewhat obscure term to suddenly apply to a race of beings. The only reason to name them such is because the name isn't heard everyday, and researching Shedim gives them automatic links to "evil".

They could have just as easily been called "demons" which many more cultures have references to.



QUOTE (Ancient History)
In Shadowrun, many critters and species are called by names drawn from old mythology (which is just a polite term for somebody else's religion), but which are not literally intended to be those creatures of myth.


I disagree.

While that may work as a retcon, those beings are called what they are in SR because that's what they were based on, and because they were inspired by popular fiction and other RPGs.


QUOTE (Ancient History)
Calling a critter a vampire because it appears to die and then has to drink blood to survive doesn't mean that the critter takes on all the mythical attributes of the vampire (if that were even possible), and its (general) lack of reaction to holy symbols and cultural superstitions reinforces the concept that no one culture is absolutely correct, while at the same time suggesting that the ancient myths and legends of those cultures may be relevant today and worthy of scrutiny for the factual information they do contain.


Actually Vampires appear in a vareity of cultures, so using that term is appropriate for what they do.

And that's what I liked about the variant metas. It gave a nice link to other cultures and their versions of all the different metahuman races. So while SR may have started using Elves, Dwarves, etc. It was eventually expanded and filled in the cultural gaps from cultures that had very different versions of those.
Ancient History
QUOTE (The Mack @ Apr 8 2009, 03:45 AM) *
Why would the Japanese or Native Americans, or any peoples from a dozen other cultures call them Shedim?

Why would westerners even call them Shedim?

News media. Why do you think we get stuck with stupid names like Watergate and the Dot Com Bubble?

QUOTE
They could have just as easily been called "demons" which many more cultures have references to.

Don't be obtuse.

QUOTE
I disagree.

You're allowed to be wrong.

QUOTE
While that may work as a retcon, those beings are called what they are in SR because that's what they were based on, and because they were inspired by popular fiction and other RPGs.

Have you read any of the old critter books?
TheForgotten
QUOTE (Malicant @ Apr 7 2009, 11:52 PM) *
Are you serious?


Lets see:
Greeks: Before the Gods where Titans and the hundred armed ones
Hebrews: And in the dawn times where giants
Norse: In the beginning there where giants, who are generally hostile to the gods.
Celts: Older deities where giants

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that the pre Indo European's saw their gods as giants (i.e. large = god) while the indoeuropeans saw their gods as dwelling in the sky realm (i.e. flying = god).
TheForgotten
multipost
Draco18s
For a minute here I thought people were trying to get something from Alpha Omega into ShadowRun.

Which I'd be cool with, really. Only I'd rather take SR's idea of magic and port that into AO. In AO you have to have your hands (both of them) free of items in order to wield (cast magic). They're explanation? No one knows why; you just do.

Which annoyed the crap out of me as my Anannuki (half-angle / half-demon crossbreed) had a tower shield for extra damage reduction only to find out that Wielding required both hands free (the Anannuki's "I'm awesome" is having a wider range of innate spellcasting at the cost of lower skill rank char-gen maxes).
KCKitsune
Chrysalis, I think this sort of campaign can be run, but honestly... making every other metahuman race the spawn of Hell is just... weak. Unless all your players are playing humans, it's going to annoy them. I know I would be upset.
Chrysalis
The Hebrew of nephilim is נפילי? (singular: naphil; נפיל), which may mean "those causing others to fall". Abraham ibn Ezra proposes that they were called this because men's hearts would fail at the sight of them. Some (e.g. Jean Leclerc and Peter of Aquila) suggest that it is derived from the warlike nature of the Nephilim, comparing the usage of Naphal in Job 1:15 "And the Sabeans fell upon them" where Naphal means "to take in battle". Alternatively, Shadal understands nephilim as deriving from the Hebrew word פל? Pela which means wondrous. An alternate possibility is that the term Nephilim (Hebrew: נְפִילִי?) is a generic term for "giants" in general, which is consistent with the Septuagint and Vulgate translations of the word. Some expositors believe it may refer more to the ferocity and strength of the people who are referred to, rather than their physical height, though in the Book of Numbers, intentional stress on height is apparent.

The Hebrew root of Shedim (singular šed שד;1) is most certainly derived from the Akkadian, šêdu. In art they were depicted as hybrids, as winged bulls or lions with the head of a human male (Centauroid). There are still surviving figures of šêdu in bas-relief and some statues in museums. Notable examples of šêdu/lamassu held by museums include those at the British Museum, Musée du Louvre, Metropolitan Museum of Art and one extremely large example kept at the Oriental Institute, Chicago. The Shedu is a celestial being from Mesopotamian mythology. He is a human above the waist and a bull below the waist. He also has the horns and the ears of a bull. The bull man helps people fight evil and chaos. He holds the gates of dawn open for the sun god Shamash and supports the sun disc. He is often shown on Cylinder Seals.

Chrysalis
QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Apr 8 2009, 09:18 AM) *
Chrysalis, I think this sort of campaign can be run, but honestly... making every other metahuman race the spawn of Hell is just... weak. Unless all your players are playing humans, it's going to annoy them. I know I would be upset.



Thanks for the constructive feedback smile.gif

Maybe we can just keep the battle between heaven, heaven, and hell in Shadows of the sixth world and not even explain the reasons for the other types of races. Let the players fill the blanks smile.gif
Blade
You might find inspiration in the French game "Nephilim" which is (I'll get killed by fans if they find out I wrote this, but it's not far from true) a bit similar to Vampire (you play an immortal creature who belongs to the secret race that manipulated humanity since the beginning of History and we're nearing the "End of the World as we know it") without the emo-goth bits and with more subtle powers.

I don't know if it had been translated. There had been 3 editions and there's a huge difference between the second and the third (a lot of 2nd ed players were disappointed by the third which was considered far less subtle but I can't tell you if that's true).
Blade
Double Post
Blade
Triple post - "Jamais deux sans trois"
Neraph
Don't forget how Goliath was one of the last of the Nephilim. And how IRL we've found tons of giant skeletons. And how the Nephilim (war-like giants) have amazing paralells in other religions (making me believe they actually plaigarized from Judaism), such as (obviously) the giants in Norse mythos, the Titans, and Hercules.

I believe there was some truth to Herc. I believe he was a Nephilim. A Son of God (Angel) came into (the only way to do that is to leave God's will, so the fallen angels [demons] did it; see also where Jesus said "You'll be like the Angels in Heaven" when asked about procreation in Heaven) the Daughters of Man (humans). I have no doubt that a fallen angel would claim to be a god to cause others to stop worshipping the real God. So he calls himself Zeus, impregnates a woman ("But I say to you even Satan can appear as an angel of light" - Peter [I think]. a goose wouldn't be that hard either) who gives birth to a super-strong, massive child (Nephilim).

You could allude that all Trolls are Nephilim (especially since many older pictures of gods, including Hercules involved horns...), but I honestly don't know where the other metas would come into it..

@ the debate of Shedim above: I really don't think an evil jellyfish shares anything other than a name with a good human-headed goatman. Maybe whoever designed them just liked the name.
Stahlseele
Wait what?
Herc had Horns in older Pictures?
Well, a Troll or Orc being Hercules would make some kind of sense . .
pbangarth
QUOTE (Neraph @ Apr 8 2009, 09:06 AM) *
Don't forget how Goliath was one of the last of the Nephilim. And how IRL we've found tons of giant skeletons. And how the Nephilim (war-like giants) have amazing paralells in other religions (making me believe they actually plaigarized from Judaism), such as (obviously) the giants in Norse mythos, the Titans, and Hercules.


I'd be interested in knowing where some of those giant skeletons have been found.

The Norse and Greek giants of myth hearken back to earlier forms in Indo-European myths. As do the Fomori of Celtic legends. Such giants are also in Mesoamerican myths, such as those of the Maya. I don't think there was contact between the Hebrews and the Maya. A more robust explanation might be that there is something archetypal about the opposition of humanity and a precursor or early race of giants. Or, stretching things a bit, a deep memory of the powerfully built Neanderthals or other robust humanoids. There was a time, a couple (?) of million years ago, when there were two or three separate species of humanoids wandering around Africa at the same time.
BlueMax
Is this thread about our world or Shadowrun's? I wanted to contribute but got lost.
Stahlseele
neither nor and both actually
nezumi
Or it could just be that people, just like today, continued to unearth mysterious, giant bones. Today we assemble the bones and put them in museums, of course, but at the time they made up stories about them. Hence dragons, giants et al.


Or you could argue these shared words are descendents from the proto-world language, the one mother tongue from which most other languages descended (there are a handful of other words that are similar across the globe; mother, cow and so on.)
Wesley Street
QUOTE (pbangarth @ Apr 8 2009, 11:41 AM) *
I'd be interested in knowing where some of those giant skeletons have been found.


They haven't been found. It was a giant (nyuk-nyuk) hoax perpetrated by someone who snatched a Photoshop competition entry and tried to pass it off as 'fact'. What's even more amusing is that the story has moved from Saudi Arabia to India but uses the same image.

It's unlikely the Greeks cribbed from Judaism as there's about a 1000 year gap between the Bronze Age Greeks and the Covenant between God and Abraham which established the Jewish faith. The Greeks already had their "giants" long before the Jews rolled onto the scene.
Neraph
QUOTE (Wesley Street @ Apr 8 2009, 03:14 PM) *
They haven't been found. It was a giant (nyuk-nyuk) hoax perpetrated by someone who snatched a Photoshop competition entry and tried to pass it off as 'fact'. What's even more amusing is that the story has moved from Saudi Arabia to India but uses the same image.

By your logic then, I say no dinosaurs existed. One dinosaur was a hoax, so obviously no dinosaurs can exist, right? What about the ones in Egypt, the Middle East, the United States, Canada, Mexico.... I could go on and on.

Marriages also don't exist, since one person pretended to be married to some woman. Therefore marriages can't exist, since we have one that's a hoax.

Irregardless, what I meant earlier about Herc having horns was the early pictures of Zeus had horns (like most depictions of demons do, though it should be noted that horns are also a sign of male fertility and power), and his son Hercules was massivly powerful (hence, Nephilim). Although with a little digging I did find some hints that earlier depictions of Herc did include horns. He was also (theorhetically) adapted from a Celtic-ish "Rude Giant" (NOTE: If you do an image search, prepare to see vulgar images) that was dug onto a hillside somewhere.
Chrysalis
QUOTE (Neraph @ Apr 9 2009, 07:28 AM) *
By your logic then, I say no dinosaurs existed. One dinosaur was a hoax, so obviously no dinosaurs can exist, right? What about the ones in Egypt, the Middle East, the United States, Canada, Mexico.... I could go on and on.

Marriages also don't exist, since one person pretended to be married to some woman. Therefore marriages can't exist, since we have one that's a hoax.

Irregardless, what I meant earlier about Herc having horns was the early pictures of Zeus had horns (like most depictions of demons do, though it should be noted that horns are also a sign of male fertility and power), and his son Hercules was massivly powerful (hence, Nephilim). Although with a little digging I did find some hints that earlier depictions of Herc did include horns. He was also (theorhetically) adapted from a Celtic-ish "Rude Giant" (NOTE: If you do an image search, prepare to see vulgar images) that was dug onto a hillside somewhere.


Argumentum ad logicam et argumentum ad ignorantiam

Shall we start using citations?
hyzmarca
There are giants. We know this to be fact. Hulk Hogan bodyslammed one. His name was Andre.

But giants are just people with a rare pituitary gland disorder.

There have been pituitary gland disorders since the beginning of time. An overabundance of human growth hormone before the growth plates close leads to very tall people. An over abundance of HGH after the growth plates close leads to very wide people. People who have way too much HGH all of their lives end up being both very tall and very wide. They can be muscular and powerful, but tend to have heart problems that lead to early death.

Every ancient mention of giants is likely caused by such people. Just as ancient mentions of two-headed creatures were likely caused by conjoined twins.




About the original idea. It is Earthdawn canon that a certain type of spirits can impregnate humans. Take from that what you will. Personally, I'd just have it that well, humans and spirits of all sorts sometimes bone. And a human can become pregnant from boning a spirit, if the mana level is sufficiently high. Some spirits think they're angels, or at the very least play into the fantasy for their own amusement.
KCKitsune
QUOTE (hyzmarca @ Apr 9 2009, 05:43 AM) *
And a human can become pregnant from boning a spirit, if the mana level is sufficiently high.


In other words, during the 4th age, Fantasy Genetics worked. grinbig.gif wobble.gif silly.gif
hyzmarca
More like, spirits don't have DNA, but some can cobble together a reasonable facsimile of it out of mana.
The_Vanguard
I'm having trouble to see how this scenario would benefit from Shadowrun. Why don't you take In Nomine or maybe Kult with some tweaks to the fluff?

If I'd be set on incorporating Nephilim into Shadowrun, I'd look to the usual suspects: The Immortal Elves and The Enemy.
The myth of the Nephilim could be the half-remembered last exploits of the Immortal Elves just before the mana vanished from the world. Their children were already mostly human looking, but significantly larger, and in the possession of knowledge and artifacts inherited from their parents.

Alternatively, we know that the Enemy can survive on earth even when the mana level is low. Maybe a couple of them were trapped in a lost caer where the occupants sacrificed themselves in order to bind the horrors with blood magic to the place. The enchantments eventually failed when magic disappeared from the world, releasing their prisoners once again. To the unsuspecting humans they appeared as divine beings, deceiving them with false prophecies and turning them into spawns.
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