View Full Version : Um, a homebrew god

2008-01-28, 07:51 PM
I decided to make a homebrew religion because... well, who doesn't want to make a god?

So the idea is this. Instead of having multiple deities with different alignments and domains, Um has different 'incarnations' for each alignment.

LG: Incarnation of the Lion
NG: Incarnation of the Bull
CG: Incarnation of the Eagle
LN: Incarnation of the Ram
CN: Incarnation of the Coyote (thanks to greymachine)
CE: Incarnation of the Snake (Trazoi/Sir Shadow/Talisan)
NE: Incarnation of the Spider (thanks to Cnssvc)
LE: Incarnation of the Vulture?

The true neutrals followers follow “Um disincarnate” and are the mystical sect of the religion.

One idea I have is that in worlds where Um is dominate, followers of certain incarnations get different ability bonuses and favored classes, but I’ll save that for when I feel like homebrewing a whole world.

Interactions inside/outside the religion:
Although the followers of Um are opposed ideologically, they treat each other with careful courtesy. Generally the feeling is that religious wars are for other gods. For example, the followers of the Incarnation of the Lion launch a war against a Chaotic Evil group, and the followers of the Incarnation of the Wolf might attack a LG group, but treat each other with courtesy. Part of this is because Umites (Umians?) regard other gods at best as virtuous pagans. Umism is both very missionary and warlike, though they prefer not to start wars. They are, however. good at provoking other into delivering the first blow which is then avenged with extreme prejudice.

Coment and help me fill in the blanks please. : )

Proposed changes:
Wolf to LE/ not CE
Accepted Changes:
Boar as NE

2008-01-28, 07:58 PM
Hmm... could you clarify your thinking on some of the animals you chose for the various incarnations? I get CN fox for instance, but what about the eagle? The eagle is territorial, and has been known for unscrupelous (spelling) behavior at times. Therefore, it strikes me as more of a LE incarnation than a CG one. Also, wolves knowhow to work well as a team ( a lawful-leaning trait) and so they might be bumped up to neutral evil as opposed to chaotic evil. Perhaps boars for chaotic evil?

2008-01-28, 09:37 PM
Hmm... well, it's more about symbolism then reality. I dhose the eagle because it's generally brave noble etc. (Maybe that's just american, but still...) and it can fly, a symbol of freedom. So yeah.

And everyones heard of the big bad wolf. :smallsmile:
I can see boar as Neutral Evil, and umm... we can move wolf to LE, but lets just wait on that.

2008-01-28, 10:11 PM
I almost thought that Wolf should be LE, but then I decided that there are much better choices. Some include:

Organized Evil Stuff
-Fire Ants

Powerful Dominating Creatures
-Howler Monkey

Cold, Calculating Evil

2008-01-28, 10:22 PM
Goat maybe for Lawful Evil? Granted, goats aren't themselves especially evil, but sometimes evil things take on goat like attributes.

Bull? Pig? Raven? Spider?

I'd almost even suggest making Wolf Lawful Evil. Chaotic Evil is easy to find animals to fill in. Lots of sea creatures, insects and other arthropods, even Monkey or Ape could work (though that last is a bit of a stretch).

2008-01-28, 10:34 PM
I'd put the Cockatoo as CE, because they clearly are. :smallamused:

Alternatively you could go with Snake; I'd picture them as possibly NE or CE, and you've got plenty of real-world mythology to base it on. The Praying Mantis might be another interesting choice, or Squid or Octopus (although that's a bit overdone with the Cthulhu references, maybe Sharks, Piranha, Crocodiles instead?).

Big cats like Tigers, Leopards are another interesting choice, especially if you could work in a rival with the Lions. You could continue this by pairing off opposites for some interesting mythology; in any pantheon based relgion you've got to have feuds.

2008-01-28, 11:18 PM
Im forced to overhear two of my 4 male players converse over the greater evils all the time *Shudder* so as such i would say that ... well, read below...

LE: Pirranna's mate, the things work as a horde to tear apart there prey, visious little buggers, although aquatic, if a bleeding monkey falls in a river... it never comes out again...

NE: Id go with the wolf, hunt to kill and eat prey, just following instincts, doing what they can get away with.

CE: Wolveriene, thing can, and will, kill you just for getting within 5 feat of it, and its an extreme animal for an extreme alighnment, the things can kill bears for gods sake, BEARS!

calming down now, evil animals make me a little edgey...*twich, tiwch*:smallbiggrin:

2008-01-29, 12:51 AM
How about a snake for Lawful Evil? They strike me as lawful evil, anyway.

Sir Shadow
2008-01-29, 01:02 AM
I see snakes as nuetral evil...

and why are wolves evil at all??? they're way better than the damned eagles. For the most part eagles are friggin scavangers... they eat dead things other things kill... like vultures. I see wolves as noble creatures :/ at least lawful nuetral... and why are rams lawful? ever hear of billy goats gruff? I say ram is chaotic evil


main suggestion: wolf and ram switch. seriously... what's lawful about a ram? and what's evil about a wolf?

2008-01-29, 01:23 AM
I would suggest Coyote for the Chaotic Neutral slot, being the master of tricksters (as far as animals go.) I would point out that wolves would definitely be Lawful, given the intense focus on the pack (read ordered society.) Therefore, I would place them in the Lawful Neutral slot. The problem you are going to come up with with totem-based animals is that most are going to have neutrality in their alignment, since we are talking about animals. I would suggest instead, that you create "saints" of the religion (one for each alignment if you want to go that way) and delineate the groups based on that. I would also steer away from assigning a saint to each alignment (or any alignment for that matter) and rather attach them to an idea that they embody. I would point you to the Seven from George R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice for an excellent example.

2008-01-29, 01:30 AM
Also, what kind of society are we talking about here? Typically, animal veneration is only for the crudeist of cultures. If your talking about a culture that is roughly iron age, then the gods should be a little more complex. History shows us that as societies advance, the gods they make up become more complex.

2008-01-29, 01:38 AM
l/e = lawyers?

2008-01-29, 01:43 AM
Naw, lawyers would be Lawful Neutral. If you are looking for Lawful Evil, create some incarnation of a DM that is way too literal with Wishes. Maybe some teenager with a social disorder.

EDIT: Also, maybe a different name than "Um?" It sounds like you are stalling for time rather than naming a supreme being.

2008-01-29, 06:22 AM
Way I would do it for the alignments:

LG: Impala

NG: Buffalo

CG: Klipspringer

LN: Hyena

TN: Vulture

CN: Jackal

LE: Wild Dog

NE: Lion

CE: Crocodile


The herbivores take the good range - as providers.

The carnivors take the evil range - as predators.

The scavengers take the neutral range.

Lawful and Neutral are social animals, while chaotic is represented with loners.

2008-01-29, 01:52 PM
I disagree with predators being 'evil', myself. Though I can see your reasoning, I've always thought of animals like Lions and Eagles to be noble and good.

For example one of the Celestial animals you can summon with Summon Monster VI (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/summonMonsterVI.htm) is a Lion.

2008-01-29, 02:14 PM
This division is pretty pointless, since animals are always some shade of neutral.

(Wolf should be Lawful Neutral.)

2008-01-29, 02:47 PM
Why are wolves always thought so lowly of? There are other animals that could be "Bad" why do people always pick on the wolf. THE WOLF DID NOT OPEN PANDORA'S BOX DAMN IT! Sorry, I love wolfs and.......nobody gives them justice. Lawful evil at the most. It's the least you could do.

2008-01-29, 06:02 PM
Sorry, but it's about imagery. Everyone's heard of the big bad wolf. I like snakes, not so much small/swarm. I will put coyote down and cut out wolves though. That works.

Also, it's not animal veneration it's monotheistic, spiritual. The incarnations represent different aspects of the gods over all plan. He relays this to the spiritualists, (TN) who pass on the instructions to the incarnation heads.

So yeah, you can get LG and CE clerics, and blackguards and palidins working together toward the same goal, in the same group.

2008-01-30, 06:16 AM
The fox doesn't really work as an evil being (It is as likely to be a trickster hero as a villain. The fox is most often a symbol of cunning rather than outright malice.)

Okay, so how about...

LE: Vulture. (It is frequently used to symbolise crooked politics and makes a nice contrast to the Eagle.)

NE: The boar.

CE: The Snake. (Betrayal, which is most often associated with the snake, is essentially an overthrow of the expected order.)

2008-01-30, 06:29 AM
It goes without saying that no animals are really evil. And, different cultures look at them in different ways.

I'm assuming it's going to be a very European view, if not outright Anglo Saxon.

So, feel free to associate animals with whatever seems appropriate.

Remember, it's about perceived attributes, not real ones.

2008-01-30, 06:41 AM
What's wrong with the Boar?
Use a goat!
He'll eat your house, starting with the curtains. If that's not Neutral Evil, I don't know what is. :smallwink:

2008-01-30, 09:43 AM
Evil animals? I can name a few:

Hippopotamus: If they're not evil, I don't know what is. They kill for fun. (CE)

Elephant: Don't laugh; these creatures squish human and lion babies. For fun and sport. They even keep a score. If you ever see a bunch of humans and lions team up on a vengeance stroke, you know there's been elephants having fun. (LE)

Sea-elephants: They roll over one another, and kill one another, completely uncaring. They don't do it for fun, they don't do it for nescessity, either. It's just... That they don't care. (NE)

Humanoids: (Mostly humans and chimps) We kill people for property! We don't just fight and get it over with; we kill our adversaries. Even if there's no other reason to kill them other than they've lost. Most other animals will get the fight, win or lose, and walk away again. But not us, no. We kill the loser. And humanoids are the toughest, meanest fighters about. (LE)

2008-01-30, 09:58 AM
The Big Bad Wolf is a loner and a CE/NE archetype. Therefore wolf isn't a good LE analogy based on him.

Eagles don't strike me as anything good being hunter/scavengers. I don't why throughout history they've been associated with greatness. (OFFTOPICKY FUN FACT: I was just looking at Wikipedia and saw that some stupid basturd has added the line "Eagles have sexy asses" in the article. What is the world coming to?)

There's a certain species of ants that thrive on conquest. Don't know their name, but they're basically an all warrior ant species who has no hive or workers. They roam, conquer and plunder other ant hives, kill owner ants and take their larvae to grow them up as cannon fodder for future battles. If a "horde" can't conquer a hive, they're left in the open and die. That's a LE animal if there ever was one.

The common house cat is CE. Anyone who has seen a cat playing with its prey will attest to that.

Spiders are NE. Their method of digesting ensnared prey alive is far too painful for them not being evil. But they don't have a mouth, so they have to do that.

Ants and bees are LN. They are the only species that's utterly mediocre in every physical aspect so much that they have to form societies in order to live.

Turtles are LG methinks. Don't know why, but it feels right. They're certainly less harmful to others than any predator (esp lion and eagle).

One critter that fits the bill as NG is sheep. Dumb but so useful to have.

EDIT: Yeah, elephants are also quite evil. Years ago I saw a documentary with male young elephants raping and killing young rhinos while keeping score. I guess "young male" is an inherently evil/disruptive/stupid state regardless of species.

2008-01-30, 06:31 PM
hmm... as humorous as some of these suggestions have been (esp. the goats and cats, so true.) I kinda like Taliesan's picks. Except the vulture maybe. It's good imagery, but a vulture isn't all that worshipable. Ya know? so... maybe.

Spiders though... I like spiders.

2008-01-30, 06:43 PM
I think the main thing to look at when considering alignment isn't in whát they do, nor in hów they do it, but in whý they do it.

A spider kills through pain? Not really; it's venom makes sure of that, most of the time. Sure; a sentient prey will remain sentient, but at least it won't hurt. Stress does still apply, of course.
But most spiders, with some exceptions, can't actually think, or calculate. They just do it because they have to; they can't make a decision.

Cats playing with their food: Yes; that's evil. Hunting techniques can be learned through playfighting. They play with their food because it's fun, not because it actually serves a purpose.
Then again; domestic cats can't fight anything their own size or bigger. Not effectively, in any case. They can scratch and bite their opponents, and it hurts like hell, but they have real trouble in downing them. And to learn to hunt through playfight, you have to be able to down your opponent, while not actually harming them. So perhaps the cat playing with their food does serve a very important purpose: Getting more food in the future.

What I'm interested in is why predators are more easily labeled 'evil.' Especially since we are a species of predators, ourselves. Omnivores, yes, but our species has evolved and survived because of our predatory nature.
Predators are evil, while herbivores are good? Elephants are quite evil, and they're strict herbivores.
Yes; predators kill to survive, but they nééd to kill to survive. It's all just our point of view. Predators rarely kill other predators of the same type. (Like cats, canines and humanoids rarely kill in their own category... Homo Sapiens being, of course, an exception.)
Herbivores kill, too. If not other animals, like elephants and hippos do, they still kill plants. And even though plants aren't sentient, it's still killing. Insects aren't sentient, either, but when you kill a bug, you have, obviously, killed. So why would it be different for plants? They might not be animals, but they're alive.

As for turtles: Snapjaws are quite the ambushers.

2008-01-30, 09:16 PM
Predator's are viewed as evil because they can be nuisance to us. Occasionally they kill humans, but I think it's mostly because of damage to live stock and the likes.

Though, it may well be instinctual too. We fear things big things with sharp pointy teeth. Predators were probably much scarier when all we had were sharp sticks. Or not even those.

2008-01-30, 10:26 PM
My choices:

LG- Lion- "king" of his domain. Also, if we're aiming for symbolism, the lion has long been associated with a lot of good traits, and I think they keep their mates (maybe). Dogs also sound like a good choice (man's best friend and loyalty and all that).
NG- Dolphin- dolphins help people out at sea. *shrug* they just seem to fit.
CG- Some kinda bird- I really don't think eagle is your best choice,though it works, but if you're aiming for symbolism, keep in mind that some native americans saw the eagle as a sign of death.

LN- Ram- it doesn't necessarily say good to me (witches supposedly saw the devil in the form of a black goat, satyrs were often seen as wild, but not good, etc.,) but something about two mountain goats butting heads for mates reminds me of honorable duels between humans. Meh. Wolves are honestly a LN species if you want to go with non-symbolic stuff.
NN- Raven- not crow, because it was sometimes a sign of life. The raven has often been seen as a sign of death, and death (though we tend to fear it) is (imho) not necessarily good or evil in and of itself, merely inevitable. Also, some old stories I know have death as a character strictly between good and evil. Plus, I love the idea of an arcanist allied with NN Um carrying around a raven familiar (this is DnD, right?)
CN- Cats- cruel methods of playing with food (or just plain entertainment) aside, cats represent independence as much as dogs represent loyalty. Also, I have cats and couldn't bear to put them in CE :smallfrown: . Fox also works really well here.

LE- Maybe wolves? They DO work in packs, and symbolically, they've always been the badguys (mostly because of our dependance on livestock which they eat.) I also liked the idea of the ants mentioned before. Finally an excuse to work those ant people into the campaign. Although something about their lack of a permanent colony seems slightly chaotic...
NE- You might look into the various forms that Set from egyptian mythology has been known to take. One of those might appeal to you.
CE- Poor little kitties- they seem to fit the bill between the torturing of food and the bad luck superstitions associated with them. I hate to say it, but they do kinda fit.

2008-01-31, 07:30 PM
hmm... I like what I have so far.
Just need something LE that fits. I kinda likish ants, and wolves. Hard. So hard to pick. :smallfrown:

Anyway, If you want to add any input other then animal choices that works too.

Thanks for all the suggestions.