View Full Version : My take on Gods/Religion/Homebrew Pantheon (PEACH)

2012-02-03, 06:15 AM
I've been working on my homebrew campaign world and houserules for quite a while, and I've still got quite a bit left to do, but as of recently I've been working on my deities and how religion works in my world. I've got a lot to say and I don't exactly have a point. I want to get this out there and hear what people think, then use that input to improve my homebrew, and I also want to link to this page. Of course, I'm always happy if others want to use what I make, whether in part or in whole, so its here for your enjoyment as well. I'm not sure what to spoiler, so a lot of it is out in the open.

I like a lot of the greyhawk deities, and I enjoy Faerun's cosmology, but I decided that neither of those are satisfactory for my world. Faerun has too many deities (who are too involved), and even Greyhawk's are too specific for my tastes. On the other hand, Eberron's are too vague and uninvolved. I wanted a pantheon that makes sense, is internally consistent, packs a punch, isn't bloated, and is involved in the material plane for a good reason without making mortals unnecessary.

I've decided not to use the Deities & Demigods book (as well as the Epic Level Handbook) for my game. I don't like how the gods are powerful outsiders with basically a Divine template. Each god is effectively just a very powerful person. This didn't mesh well with how I pictured The Gods.

I did a lot of thinking, and I decided that the gods should be Powers beyond human comprehension, as immortal and untouchable as the stars in the sky, beings that work in mysterious ways and cannot be affected by the means of mortals. A God is more than a person. "It" is not a man or woman, elf or dwarf, warrior or mage, "it" is more like a cloud of power, an overmind that is both one and many, that can materialize parts of itself (or all of itself) in a form of its choosing.

On Gods:
First, I need to detail what a god "is". I said that they are clouds of power. Instead of being one physical being with divine senses, a God is an omniscient/invisible/intangible/immaterial overmind. By overmind, I mean it knows everything that each of its smaller minds knows, and each smaller mind is the overmind, but focused/focusable on a specific thing while the rest of the overmind focuses on other things. Imagine if the internet were self-aware, and aware of everything that it is composed of, everything that anyone uses it for, everything within sight and earshot of every screen and cable, all at once. That is a God.

A God is also power, in that it can manifest some of itself in many different ways, such as a thought in a beings' mind, a physical object like a steel sword, a ray of light, a disembodied voice, magic energy, an entire being, etc. When it manifests, a portion of its overmind is used to fuel the manifestation, and that portion is unavailable until the manifestation ends. The more a God is currently manifesting, the less powerful its overmind-cloud-of-power is, and the less omniscient it is.

A God can manifest as a creature, such as a human, and act directly through that human mind and body, with preconfigured knowledge, memories, and thought patterns, until the rest of the overmind stops the manifestation. Such a thing is called an avatar. An avatar could be a simple human, or it could be a powerful outsider with many powers. The more powerful the avatar, the more manifestation is required. A God could theoretically manifest ALL of its power/overmind into one avatar, in which case it would be an awesomely (godly) powerful being, but it would lose its omniscience. Also, instead of creating a body, a God can take over an existing body, though being let into a willing mind-body is less costly than dominating one.

The Gods do not directly affect the Material Plane. They are tied to the outer plane that best matches their alignment, and that is the seat of their power. A god can utilize all of its power in its homeplane, but it cannot physically manifest any of itself outside of that plane. It can see anything that it wants, anywhere at all, but outside of its homeplane it must give its power to other beings if it wants to affect something, or manifest an avatar and send it there, though avatars and outsiders must be intentionally summoned or gated into the material plane in order to get to it.

What ends up happening is the God grants some of its power to mortals of the material plane. It is much more economic to manifest a thought or a spell in a beings' mind than to manifest actual matter or force. A God will choose wise and faithful mortals to give its power to, and through them affect the material plane.

Why? Life, or positive energy, is pulled from the positive energy plane by the negative energy plane. Leaving the positive energy plane, life passes through the inner planes to the material plane, from the material plane to the ethereal plane, and from the ethereal plane to the outer planes. As it gets to the material plane, it attaches to matter through a spirit (like a bone to muscle through sinew) and becomes a soul. While on the material plane, the soul is exposed to alignment energy through the spirit (through the body's actions). The ethereal plane filters the spirit from the body upon death, and the soul drags the spirit to the outer plane that matches the alignment of the spirit. The spirit then exists in the outer plane until it fades, leaving the soul to merge with the plane. A God is composed of spirits that were faithful to it in life. Since spirits fade, in order to exist, survive, function, and succeed, it needs to manipulate the material plane to route spirits to itself. The minds of a God want what any being of its alignment wants.

So, that's what Gods are and what they do and why. How exactly does it happen?

At any given moment in time, a God has a number of souls on the material plane that are faithful to it. Its primary concern is these faithful souls, as they are money in the bank so to speak. Through and with them, it "invests" in the world, in order to aquire even more souls in the future.

Its primary tools in the material plane are wise mortals who are faithful to it, to whom it lends some of its power. These are its clerics. The wiser, more experienced, more faithful, and more driven the cleric, the more power the cleric gets. Through the influence of the clerics, it aquires other non-cleric faithful souls, some of whom become clerics. The more effective the clerics, the more souls it gets.

Basically, a God is interested in attracting souls (spirits specifically) to it, in whatever way its alignment allows (for instance, a lawful good God doesn't want to force anyone to be faithful, and won't), while manifesting as little power as possible (a God can't keep its eye on as many things if it wastes power).

Whether or not a mortal worships a god is a confusing subject. Regardless of whether a mortal conciously worships a God or not, its soul still goes to the corresponding afterlife where it is rewarded (or punished, depending on how you look at it) for its actions during life. A chaotic good person goes to Arborea whether they worship The Liberator or The Luminator or not, but if they do, their spirit gets to be part of that God (but still gets its afterlife at the same time Ė itís confusing).

A god has a somewhat symbiotic relationship with its homeplane. It helps draws souls to its homeplane, making the plane larger and more powerful, yet uses the homeplane to further its own aims (which in turn further the interests of the plane, and so on). I can't say whether or not a plane is sentient - who knows. Outsiders are also a curiosity, sometimes a plane generates them (as far as anyone knows, they don't exactly remember being created), and sometimes a God creates them, whether it uses them directly or not.

Now, I decided that I want each God to cover as many portfolios as possible, while still allowing plenty of choice between each God. I want an efficient pantheon that is neither restrictive nor bloated. I decided on 18 Gods, two of each alignment. Each alignment has a "hard" God and a "soft" God. "Hard" Gods might be described more as doers, more practical, more physical, more warlike, more concrete - they fits clerics better than cloistered clerics. "Soft" Gods are more thinkers/philosophical/cerebral/abstract - they fit cloistered clerics better than clerics. However, each God isn't purely one or the other, there is a lot of overlap.

Each God is composed of an amalgamation of other gods from various sources. Since a God is such an expansive, complicated being, each one covers a wide portfolio, and may be worshiped or followed for a fraction of its portfolio by any one being or group. Since each God is composed of various other gods (or parts thereof) that I drew from various sources, I've given each God a broad categorical name to distinguish whether I'm talking about my God or one of the gods its composed of. For instance, "The Liberator" is Trithereon, Valkar, Thor, Kord, Anhur, Stronmaus, and part of Corellon. "The Liberator" will likely never be referred to as The Liberator in game, the people in the game world will refer to it as Trithereon or one of its other names, depending on the people in question and where and when they exist (whether they know that Trithereon is Kord and the rest or not).

I guess why I'm posting this thread is to ask what other published gods might fit within each God, and what aspects should this pantheon incorporate. I donít want any gaps in my pantheon, everybody should have a God to worship, but I donít want to get too specific with any god or their portfolios. What exactly should I detail? Are there any gaps my pantheon should fill in? Is anything not clear enough? Are there any flaws or holes-in-logic in what Iíve said in this thread? Do you have any other questions?

Since my homebrew world is actually many different planets all connected by wormholes and portals, the "world" is freakin' huge and has many, many different cultures in varying levels of isolation/connection, even within the same race. It would take more power than it's worth to get every faithful being to see its god as Trithereon rather than Kord or whatever it calls its god, since the God is being worshiped regardless. Also, since any given being or group might worship a god for one reason and possibly not another, they might not be interested in the Trithereon part of The Liberator, only the Kord part (even if they're aware that their God has many different "parts").
A cleric must be the same alignment as its God Ė this might be restrictive, but given the structure of my pantheon, no one alignment has a monopoly on a given concept. As for domains, a cleric can always choose an alignment domain that corresponds to its alignment, and a cleric can choose any domains that can be reasonable justified to their God. A cleric of an extreme alignment (LG, CG, BN, LE, CE) can choose not to worship a God but instead follow a philosophy, and can pick the alignment domains that match their alignment (BN is ďbalanced neutralĒ Ė they can choose air, earth, fire and water). A cleric can also pick the Outer Plane domains from the spell compendium, and must match their alignment exactly.
So, here are the Gods, broken up into alignment:

Lawful Good: 1. The Righteous: Composed of Heironeous, Torm (Faerun), Tyr (Faerun), and Moradin. Key concepts: Honor/Justice. Patron god of Dwarves. Basically the God of knights.

2. The Noble:Composed of Bahamut (4th ed), Athena (Greek), Delleb (Greyhawk), and Rao (Greyhawk). Key concepts: Reason/Nobility.

Neutral Good: 1. The Creator: Composed of Pelor, Deneir (Faerun), and Eldath (Faerun). Key concepts: Peace/ Community.

2. The Giver:Composed of Ehlonna, Isis (Faerun), Meilikki (Faerun), and Chauntea (Faerun). Key concepts: Life/Fertility/Good Beasts.

Chaotic Good: 1. The Liberator: Composed of Trithereon (Greyhawk), Valkar (Complete Warrior), Anhur (Faerun), Kord, Thor (Norse), Stronmaus (Greyhawk - Defenders of the Faith), and the warrior aspect of Corellon. Key concepts: Liberty/Independence/Vengeance.

2. The Luminator:Composed of Corellon, Liira (Faerun), and Liir (Greyhawk). Key Concepts: Art/Beauty/Joy. Patron God of Elves.

Lawful Neutral: 1. The Watcher: Composed of Azuth (Faerun), Savras (Faerun), Boccob, and Zuoken (Greyhawk). Key concepts: Discipline/Knowledge/Truth.

2. The Protector:Composed of St. Cuthbert, Helm (Faerun), Siamorphe (Faerun), and Halmyr (Complete Warrior). Key concepts: Harmony/Order.

Neutral: 1. The Balanced: Composed of Obad-Hai, Melora (4th ed), and Silvanus (Faerun). Key concepts: Balance/Nature.

2. The Prosperous:Composed of Waukeen (Faerun), Farlanghn, Mouqol (Complete Divine), and Vergadain (Faerun). Key concepts: Civilization/Prosperity.

Chaotic Neutral: 1. The Free: Composed of Olidammara, and Xin (my homebrew). Key concepts: Freedom/Anarchy/Mischief. Xin is a god of freedom, anarchy, and mischief Ė basically Olidammara with his mask on. The Joker to Olidammaraís Thief.

2. The Mighty:Composed of Garagos (Faerun), Tempus (Faerun), Uthgar (Faerun), and Konkresh (Complete Warrior). Key concepts: War/Might. I feel like this one is a bit narrow and simple, but I donít know what to do about it.

Lawful Evil: 1. The Tyrannical: Composed of Hextor, Bane (Faerun), Tiamat (4th ed), Maglubiyet, and Laduguer. Key concepts: Conquest/Oppression. Patron God of Hobgoblins, Duergar, and Kobolds.

2. The Diabolical:Composed of Asmodeus (4th ed), Gargauth (Faerun), and Zarus (Complete Divine?). Key concepts: Corruption/Power/Control.

Neutral Evil: 1. The Keeper: Composed of Vecna, Velsharoon (Faerun), and Shar (Faerun). Key concepts: Undeath/Secrets/Shadow.

2. The Taker:Composed of Nerull, Talona (Faerun), and Incabulos (Greyhawk). Key concepts: Death/Disease/Famine/Drought.

Chaotic Evil: 1. The Destroyer: Composed of Erythnul, Gruumsh, Karaan (BoED), Malar (Faerun), and Talos (Faerun). Key concepts: Slaughter/Havoc. Patron God of Orcs.

2. The Wicked:Composed of Cyric (Faerun), Beshaba (Faerun), Mask (Faerun), and Lolth. Key concepts: Intrigue/Strife/Poison. Patron God of Drow.

I donít really know what else to say.

2012-02-03, 07:24 AM
Mask doesn't quite fit 'the Wicked'. He gets on well with Brandobaris, who's definitely not evil; and his clerics don't go for the whole 'cackling evil assassin' thing.

I suggest dropping Shar from the Keeper and adding in either Myrkul or Mellifleur. Mellifleur, being a god of liches and magic, might fit better; Myrkul, as god of wasting, decay and the dead, fits the Taker more. Mydianchlarus and Anthraxus might make good representatives of Keeper and Taker respectively. Falazure also fits the Keeper archetype.

Zarus is more a god of human supremacy; he fits tyranny more than diabolism. I'd suggest adding Druaga of the Sumerian pantheon; he's closely aligned with the Lords of the Nine and often joins in on the Blood War.

Chronepsis definitely fits the Watcher. It's actually his title, if I'm not mistaken.