rating: 0+x

Basic Information

In Mesopotamian Mythology, Abzu or Apsu is a primordial being of fresh water, especially that coming from underground hotsprings or aquifers. Abzu lives in, or perhaps is, the subterranean body of water that separates the surface of the earth from the Underworld.

Abzu is the mate of Tiamat, and father of her children. Those children include the Anunnaki deities who later slew him. They thought their dad was out to get them, so they knocked him off before he could do the same to them.



Game and Story Use

  • For the cultures living in the deserts of ancient mesopotamia, water is vital, precious, and life-sustaining. Water that wells up from the ground is extra-special and holy. But the gods ganged up to kill that water. So you have this interesting and paradoxical contrast where the water is precious, and yet it is also diametrically opposed to the very gods that the people worship and emulate. That is some neat thematic head-space worth exploring.
  • Syncretically shading other mythic notions and traditions into the story of Abzu could prove interesting.
    • What if all spring-water had the properties of holy water? If the land was over-run with undead, you'd find that every oasis or geyser becomes a sanctuary of another sort.
    • The notion of an underground River Styxx that is self-aware seems pretty interesting. The PCs may be ready to deal with Charon or another Psychopomp, but what if the river of the dead itself starts talking to them, either to demands tribute, or enlist them in a war against the gods?
    • Abzu vs the Anunnaki has a lot in common with the Olympians vs the Titans. You might well have them cross-pollinate, or be the same thing in your campaign.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License