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supergoji18
2015-02-04, 10:05 PM
Hey all! New guy to D&D here, so I have a noobish question regarding the gods of D&D.

I am a bit confused on how exactly divinity works in D&D, especially in relation to various worlds. As far as I can tell, Gods only rule in one world, and do not make appearances in any other. So for example: Chauntea is a god only in Toril and she only has power in this world, no other.
However, I am told that Asmodeus is a god in every world.
So how exactly is a god's, for lack of a better word, territory defined? Is a god a god no matter where it goes, and its portfolios apply no matter what world it is in? Or does it only have any divine authority one specific world?

On that note, I have a question about Overdeities. Do they rule only one particular world, or do they rule the entire multiverse? For example, Ao is described as the Overdeity in the Forgotten Realms. The wording seems to imply that his rule is exclusive to the world of Toril. Additionally, it seems that the Time of Troubles only affected the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Does this mean Ao only rules in one universe?

One last thing: how many Overdeities are there? I was told that Ao, Io and The Lady of Pain are all overdeities, but looking through the wikipedia articles it lists Io as a greater deity and the Lady of Pain is ambiguous. Are there more than one Overdeity?

Knaight
2015-02-04, 10:12 PM
Hey all! New guy to D&D here, so I have a noobish question regarding the gods of D&D.

I am a bit confused on how exactly divinity works in D&D, especially in relation to various worlds. As far as I can tell, Gods only rule in one world, and do not make appearances in any other. So for example: Chauntea is a god only in Toril and she only has power in this world, no other.
However, I am told that Asmodeus is a god in every world.
So how exactly is a god's, for lack of a better word, territory defined? Is a god a god no matter where it goes, and its portfolios apply no matter what world it is in? Or does it only have any divine authority one specific world?


It's not that Asmodeus is a god in every world. It's that there are a collection of unrelated worlds that are entirely separate entities, which happen to have pulled from the same source material including several deities. It's not that Chauntea only has power in Toril, it's that Chauntea doesn't exist at all in the other settings.

To use another example, there's "The Black Knight" as a character in several Arthurian stories. There's also "The Black Knight" in the Fire Emblem video game series. Gawain is only in the first category (probably, FE pilfers the myths for names all the time). It's not that Gawain only has power in the Arthurian myths, it's that they are a character in one story, and not in another, and thus in the setting of one story, and not in the other. That the same literary archetype and associated title show up in both means nothing.

Spriteless
2015-02-04, 11:30 PM
Depends on whether you like The Great Wheel and Sigil, or Spelljammer, or Eberron's moons/planes, something from rl mythology, or something else for your campaign. The cannon is loose and unrestrictive at powers so much greater than players. Overdeities exist so that even if you approach the power of the Gods, you see that there is still something more powerful in the distance. But Overdieties don't bother with things like setting up the cosmology, that is beneath them. They delegate that crap to Gods. Or maybe Titans. Those are different than Gods sometimes.

What I'm saying is, decide your cosmology and then have Gods with their niches to fit, and Overdeities out in the unreachable distance if you want the Gods to be beatable but not everything. Maybe Aether, Gaia, and Nox are enough primal deities for you. Or maybe you want the cannon D&D ones?

Vecna worships The Serpent, who is magic. Vecna was the last mortal The Serpent bothered to care about, back before Vecna ascended to God-hood. If you ascend to God-hood, even if you kill Vecna, there are worse powers to worry about. But you won't kill Vecna, because he's smarter than you. As God of secrets Vecna knows all the secrets, and has spies to know everything else. WTH is The Serpent that Vecna still worships it?

The Lady of Pain is a power, not a Deity. She is elusive, but there are rumors about her in Portal, the City of Doors, where she is. I heard if you worship her, she will murder you by passing her shadow over you, cutting you to ribbons. I heard she killed the god of Portals to get her precious city. I heard she banned all Deities from her city, so it can remain neutral, not a marching ground for their armies. I heard she once loved a cat god, and he loved her so much he became mortal for her, but when he cuckolded her she killed him. I heard she loved and hated another man so much she cursed him never to die, but I don't remember his name. I heard Vecna almost took her city once, and it caused a kerfuffle that broke AD&D.

Io is a dragon and cares about humanoids even less than dragons, and dragons less than dragon gods. Perhaps since dragons are so big and old and more likely to know someone orders of magnitude stronger than they are, they are fewer steps away from Io than the players are from The Serpent or The Lady.

Siberis, Eberron, and Kyber are the 3 dragons that are also the world and magic in the world of Eberron. They are grand dragons, they are the matrices of magic itself, they are the Superego, Ego and Id of every mind born in the planet (and reflected in the war over dreams), and they are worshiped in cults that form in disparate continents with no seeming related source. Asides from the fact that they are built into the fabric of that reality. The other Gods in that setting seem to be a matter of faith, they could just be made up. (the giant pillar of silver flame notwithstanding) I think the Daelkyr don't fit in to Eberron's reality.

They are also Aether, Gaia, and Nox by another set of names. Then again, it's a classic trio, Baker's cool to use it or reinvent it.

I don't know any of the rest. I would make some up to fill the gaps the players see should they get powerful enough.

jedipotter
2015-02-05, 12:33 AM
So how exactly is a god's, for lack of a better word, territory defined? Is a god a god no matter where it goes, and its portfolios apply no matter what world it is in? Or does it only have any divine authority one specific world?

In general, power level. The more powerful a god, the more worshipers they have, and more worshipers equals more worlds.

There are not exactly rules for any of this, and the few rules that exist are from different editions of D&D and even different versions of the Multiverse.

A god is a god, no matter where they go......but they often stick to the places that worship them. A god has ''divine authority'' where ever it has worshipers.

1E/2E Forgotten Realms books say a god like said a goddess like Chauntea is worshiped on lots of worlds and by many people. 3E, 4E and 5E FR does not even mention other worlds. 2E Planescape says Chauntea is a ''Single Planet God who is only a god on Toril''....but then is a little vague as to how is Chauntea a Greater Power with just one world of worshipers if Hera has a billion worlds that worship her.




On that note, I have a question about Overdeities. Do they rule only one particular world, or do they rule the entire multiverse? For example, Ao is described as the Overdeity in the Forgotten Realms. The wording seems to imply that his rule is exclusive to the world of Toril. Additionally, it seems that the Time of Troubles only affected the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Does this mean Ao only rules in one universe?

Fiction is written as if the setting was everything. So in the Forgotten Realms ''the whole Multiverse'' was effected by the Time of Troubles. The other stuff does not exist.

Planescape did a bit of a run around with this, but then just kinda gave up. Ao, for example is the Overdeity of the Realms....and they made one up for Dragonlance, and then just forgot about the whole idea ever sense.

Technically Ao is the Overdeity of Realmsspace: the whole solar system the Realms is in(the Crystal Sphere of 2E).



One last thing: how many Overdeities are there? I was told that Ao, Io and The Lady of Pain are all overdeities, but looking through the wikipedia articles it lists Io as a greater deity and the Lady of Pain is ambiguous. Are there more than one Overdeity?

Two: Ao and The High God are it. The Lady of Pain is just ''a mystery''.

Note: Io is the greater deity of dragons, and has nothing at all to do with Ao.

LooseCannoneer
2015-02-05, 01:22 AM
You seem to be getting confused between gods and settings. Gods are often highly specialized for particular settings, but Asmodeus and other demon lords are viable for almost any setting.

BWR
2015-02-05, 02:38 AM
Immortality (divinity) in Mystara works a bit differently than in other D&D settings. Divine ascension is codified and for amazingly hard values of 'easy', easily available to the general public. It's a bit up in the air whether Immortals need worshippers, with conflicting information here and there. Immortals aren't anthropomorfic personifications of their portfolios, they are powerful beings with areas of interest that may or may not overlap with other Immortals. You can have several sun gods and they all are equally the real sun god. They are more like characters - when finding an Immortal to worship in Mystara it's equally valid to read up on their personalities and find what you like as looking for a "god of knowledge".

You also have the Old Ones, which are basically overdeities. No one really knows who they are, what they are, how powerful they are or anything other than that they exist and are as far beyond Immortals as Immortals are beyond mortals. You can also ascend to Old Onehood though I haven't heard of anyone (PC or NPC) who has managed that, and there are no rules for it. Basically, if you do that you have come as close to officially winning D&D as is humanly possible.

Knaight
2015-02-05, 02:44 AM
You seem to be getting confused between gods and settings. Gods are often highly specialized for particular settings, but Asmodeus and other demon lords are viable for almost any setting.

They're not viable for almost any setting. They're viable for a very narrow stretch of particular fantasy subgenres, and the only reason they see all that much use is that D&D has a bunch of nearly identical pseudo-Tolkenien fantasy settings.

supergoji18
2015-02-05, 10:21 AM
So basically the cosmology that they give in the Player Hand Book only applies to the Forgotten Realms, not anywhere else, gods are universally worshiped in their own worlds, and I can do whatever the heck I want with the cosmology and the gods because I am the DM.

In that case, yay!

Thrudd
2015-02-05, 10:48 AM
So basically the cosmology that they give in the Player Hand Book only applies to the Forgotten Realms, not anywhere else, gods are universally worshiped in their own worlds, and I can do whatever the heck I want with the cosmology and the gods because I am the DM.

In that case, yay!

You got it! The reason asmodeus and other named devils and demons are in multiple settings is because they are from the 1e monster manual and have been in all the manuals since. Just like dragons, ogres, trolls and goblins, which are also found in pretty much every setting.

Mark Hall
2015-02-05, 12:12 PM
So basically the cosmology that they give in the Player Hand Book only applies to the Forgotten Realms, not anywhere else, gods are universally worshiped in their own worlds, and I can do whatever the heck I want with the cosmology and the gods because I am the DM.

In that case, yay!

Not quite... partially because it depends on which book you mean by "Player's Handbook." The cosmology laid out in the 1e Player's Handbook was pretty standard through 3e, though some game worlds modified it (Krynn, for example, the world of Dragonlance, had a notably more muddy cosmology, with a plane called "The Abyss" being the only real outer plane explored in the core cosmology).

But most of the other 2e-era settings were placed somewhere within that cosmology, sometimes with significant gymnastics (Athas, of Dark Sun fame, had at least 3 separate demiplanes associated with it exclusively, and several special conditions that explained why normal gods simply didn't work there). Greyhawk and the Realms shared the cosmology; Dragonlance was eventually loosely fit into it, so they could link it via Spelljammer. Planescape WAS the cosmology Birthright cheerily mostly ignored it, but didn't have any features that really precluded it.

The 2e core cosmology was roughly this: The Prime Material Plane is surrounded by the Ethereal Plane, which lies between it and the elemental planes (including quasi and paraelemental planes, and the positive and negative material planes). It is also, and in a different direction, surrounded by the Astral Plane, which leads to the Outer Planes, which are arranged in a great ring, with Lawful Good Seven Heavens/Mt. Celestia in the upper left, Chaotic Evil Abyss in the lower right, and the other planes arranged between them, and True Neutrality (Concordant Opposition or the Outlands) in the middle. 17 planes in all, with Lawful Good separated from both Chaotic Good and Lawful Evil by 3 planes each, representing the gradations between them. Gods existed on the Planes (usually the Outer Planes, but sometimes the Inner Planes, Astral, or even the Prime Material), receiving power from their worshipers and granting power to their priests in a symbiotic relationship.

3e-era settings (which I am less up on) diverged a bit; they reorganized the cosmology of the Realms, while maintaining the Great Wheel standard cosmology for the core game. I'm not sure of Eberron's cosmology; never was interested in the setting. By 4e, they made another massive shift in the assumed cosmology, introducing the Far Realms and the Feywild, removing the Great Wheel from standard conception. And I have no idea what 5e has done with it.

You can, of course, do whatever you like with cosmology, and it's likely to not have too big of an impact on the game.

BWR
2015-02-05, 01:51 PM
And Mystaran cosmology was somewhat similar to the Great Ring but added a number of extra features not found in any other cosmology, like dimensions (they are basically to to the known Multiverse what the Multiverse is to a single plane)

Ashtagon
2015-02-05, 02:27 PM
You also have the Old Ones, which are basically overdeities. No one really knows who they are, what they are, how powerful they are or anything other than that they exist and are as far beyond Immortals as Immortals are beyond mortals. You can also ascend to Old Onehood though I haven't heard of anyone (PC or NPC) who has managed that, and there are no rules for it. Basically, if you do that you have come as close to officially winning D&D as is humanly possible.

There are rules for becoming an old one. Basically, you have to start from 1st level, ascend to immortality, rise through the ranks to become the hierarch of a sphere, then sacrifice all your power to reincarnate as a 1st level mortal with all the frailties of a mortal once more. Then do it all again. When you try to reincarnate as a 1st level mortal for the second time, you instead become an old one.

Or maybe the old ones simply send blackballs to destroy your essence. It's never been clarified which of these actually happens.

Hiro Protagonest
2015-02-05, 02:31 PM
So basically the cosmology that they give in the Player Hand Book only applies to the Forgotten Realms,

Erm, no. Forgotten Realms is not the default setting. They don't even share any gods except race-specific deities and Asmodeus (and I guess Bane in 4e, but 4e Bane is cooler than FR Bane). And the reason they share gods is because do you really want to put in the work to make not-Moradin, not-Corellon, and not-Asmodeus when they're practically the same? They're still separate entities and are unaware of the other settings. D&D is not one big persistent cosmology.

BWR
2015-02-05, 03:39 PM
There are rules for becoming an old one. Basically, you have to start from 1st level, ascend to immortality, rise through the ranks to become the hierarch of a sphere, then sacrifice all your power to reincarnate as a 1st level mortal with all the frailties of a mortal once more. Then do it all again. When you try to reincarnate as a 1st level mortal for the second time, you instead become an old one.

Or maybe the old ones simply send blackballs to destroy your essence. It's never been clarified which of these actually happens.

I meant there weren't rules for Old Ones themselves because by then you'd won the game. Poorly worded on my part.

jedipotter
2015-02-05, 04:28 PM
So basically the cosmology that they give in the Player Hand Book only applies to the Forgotten Realms, not anywhere else, gods are universally worshiped in their own worlds, and I can do whatever the heck I want with the cosmology and the gods because I am the DM.


The 3.5E Players Handbook/Dungeon Masters Guide used the Greyhawk Cosmology. The 3.5E Forgotten Realms Cosmology is found in the FR books: The Campaign Setting and the Players guide mostly.

The 4E Players Handbook is more just ''random generic'' for it's Cosmology. But again, the Forgotten Realms Cosmology is found in the FR books. For example the 4E players handbook Asmodeus and the FR Asmodeus are different beings totally, that just happen to have the same names.

And yes, you can do whatever you want....the DMG says so.