Campaign of the Month: February 2017
The Netjer god of darkness, wastelands, and storms
I’m sorry, miss—who are you?
Set is a frightening figure, the god of darkness, storms, and the empty wastes of the desert, representative of chaos and the breakdown of civilization; even his visage is terrifyingly uncertain, a typhonian beast that cannot be easily identified as any animal known to man. Yet he is also a god of protection and maintaining the natural order, defender of the sun and protector of Egypt and its pharaohs; He is the only living being with the strength to stand up to Apep, the great serpent of darkness, and it is only because of his steadfast service that Ra’s journey through the underworld always ends in a new dawn. His complicated loyalties to others of his pantheon are as twisted and contradictory as his rivalries with them.
Set and Ra
Set and Horus defended Ra’s barque each day as it sailed down the river, keeping the servants of Apep at bay; one day, however, Set was called away to oversee the birth of his child and Horus was forced to defend the barque alone. Sensing this weakness, Apep rose up out of the waters and overcame Horus, swallowing the sun and plunging the world into the midday darkness of an eclipse. Hearing Ra’s call for help and the cries of the people of earth, Set returned with a great shout and smote Apep’s mouth with his sword, cleaving it open and causing the sun to come spilling back out. The great serpent withdrew to nurse its wounds, and Set returned to his post as guardian of the sun.
Set and Osiris
Osiris took power as the king of the Netjer, and ruled happily alongside his wife, Isis; Set was jealous of their happiness and power, however, and angered by his brother’s presumption in taking the throne. He waited until Osiris was walking alone one day and waylaid him in the wilderness, attacking him with a sword and cleaving his body into fourteen parts, which he scattered to the winds. Osiris was never able to become king again, and Set was free to contest the throne with his son, Horus.
Set and Isis
Though Isis wished her son to be the king of the gods and follow in his father’s footsteps, she could not abide violence against her brother Set and continually thwarted it whenever she saw it. When Horus and Set competed by turning themselves into hippopotami and submerging themselves to see who could remain at the bottom of the Nile the longest, Isis feared that Horus, who was younger and not as strong as Set, would lose; she fashioned a copper harpoon and threw it into the water to strike Set, but hit Horus by mistake. One her second cast she speared Set, but her brother reviled her for her behavior and begged her to withdraw the spear, which she did, ashamed. Horus was so angry that his mother had thus betrayed him that he leaped out of the river and beheaded her, running away into the hills with what he believed to be her head, though she had in fact turned herself into a statue at the last moment and was still alive. Set appealed to Ra for this crime and received permission to punish Horus for attacking Isis, and wounded Horus grievously in his sleep in recompense for the attack on his sister.
The Followers of Set
Set, the mighty god of the deserts, once had many followers, both man and beast, but Horus called upon his mother and sons to tear them from him, weakening his power. First Horus cursed all donkeys, Set’s sacred beasts, for walking upon the ground where his body had lain, sentencing them to be beaten for eternity; then Thoth read a great spell of power and struck Set with it, forcing him to take his human shape and weakening him so that he fell to the ground. Anubis, who had been convinced to aid Horus, tied his father up and skinned him; when Set’s followers, enraged at this treatment of their god, attempted to rise up, Horus and the other gods slaughtered them. Set was too strong to be contained and escaped, however, healing his wounds and gathering new followers in the hills and deserts; Isis, Hathor and Horus pursued him and changed themselves into great beasts who again killed all of his worshipers, declaring that he would never be worshiped as fervently as themselves again.
Set and Hathor
Set one day happened upon the goddess Hathor bathing in a river; her beauty was such that he was overcome with desire and he threw himself upon her, ignoring her cries for him to stop. Hathor was a goddess of fertility and life, however, and as he raped her she sent her seeds to take root in his head, growing within his skull and causing him immense pain and suffering. Distraught that her husband was dying, Nephthys went to her sister, Isis, and begged her to aid them; Isis, by means of magical spells, removed the seeds from Set and cured him, and he was restored after she warned him sternly not to antagonize Hathor again.
Set and Nephthys
The sea of the northern shore of Egypt was a greedy being and demanded constant tribute; the gods sent several emissaries to provide it with choice offerings, but it was greedy and still demanded more. Angered by this, Nephthys, Set’s wife and sister, went down to the sea and gave it tribute, but mocked and insulted it when she did so, claiming it did not deserve their placation. The sea was furious at her words and demanded that the gods give it Nephthys herself as tribute in repayment. Geb ruled that she should be sent to the sea, but Set went down to the shore with her and fought the very ocean itself, finally defeating it and forcing it to promise never again to encroach on land or to seek out his wife.