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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    The game I'm running now, the party leader is a Lawful Good charismatic priest of Khemra the Lawful Neutral Good. They do typical good adventures but the priest character/player also plays politics and solicits a lot of donations to his temple. Then he often reaps political favors and magical support from his temple as a thank you for all the donation he helps collect. In a way it's pretty secular.

    The donations the temples collect provide food and lodging for their staff. They buy weapons and army and materials for making magical items from lowly potions to mighty flaming swords. Temples also like to hire artists and architects to make the temples look nice so they can one-up the rival temples. You can follow the money trail to figure out what the money is spent on pretty easily.

    The deity in question may or not notice the person making a donation in their name and they may or may not bestow favor on the giver someday in some way.

    But what about giving something to the gods directly. It's one thing to donate a chicken to the temple and then priests there enjoy a chicken dinner that evening. It's another thing to sacrifice a chicken to a god directly.

    I'm long been weighing in my homebrew setting Scarterra/Scaraqua. if the deities NEED worship to sustain them or enable them to have powers or if they just WANT worship because they feel validated.

    I've been pondering Order of the stick 1144 and considering using it as a baseline for how gods are strengthened by their worshipers.

    https://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots1144.html

    Most of my gods have a secondary elemental aspect. I figure earthy deities would have direct sacrifices buried, fiery deities would take burned offerings, airy deities would have offerings hurled off a cliff, and watery deities would have sacrifices thrown into a pool.

    With good and neutral deities an offering is to ask for a blessing and a sacrifice to an evil deity is like paying tribute to stave off their wrath. I especially like the idea of evil deities receiving goats as sacrifice. That is essentially where we got the root word of scapegoat. The goat was to absorb the curse intended for a human.

    When receiving an offering, does the god or goddess metaphorically drink up the mortal's devotion (making the actual object sacrificed essentially irrelevant) or does the deity receive a material benefit based on the type of object sacrificed (making the actual object sacrificed very relevant?

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    Something I like for gods is that material goods are meaningless to them, they have food and drink beyond anything a mortal can give them, such as the Greek idea of Ambrosia and Nectar. What they actually get from sacrifices is proof of devotion (or fear.) Burning the finest cuts of meat from your annual slaughter, pouring your best wine upon an altar or killing your firstborn all provide no meaningful benefit to the god in any way, but the gods appreciate the gesture and look kindly on those who do such things without prompting, and may stay their wrath from those who appease them situationally.

    If the goods given to the gods are imperishable, like jewlery, they generally need to be placed in sealed containers in their shrines or temples, and their removal will strip any blessings or favours bestowed, or renew a previously placated act of wrath. If carefully removed with proper rites and transferred to a new temple to the same god within a reasonable timeframe (and not used in the meanwhile) then their removal is harmless, and may even shift certain boons from one place or another.

    Some gods, generally the more benevolent ones, take a proportionate view on tribute, considering a coin from a beggar as the same as a diamond from a king, others take a bigger is better perspective and will only ever reward large tributes. That said most sacrifices have no noticeable benefits, it's just the occasional one that makes people consider them worthwhile.
    Sanity is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    I have found this guide very helpful, and it skims through a bunch of subjects (I have the first part linked).

    I think the base here is that while people should believe their own religion, gods caring what you personally believe is a major part of Christianity, but no other religion I'm aware of. My (very rudimentary) understanding is that Muslims dropped it as well, and I have no idea about the Druze, but every polytheistic religion I know about specifically does not (or did not) care here.

    Note that one thing I've seen common in religions with built temples is that the temple is often officially the god's home (away from their main home, if there is one). The Sumerian gods lived in their temples and needed burnings for sustenance. The Greek gods just found the nice smells a treat, but were assumed to treat the temple as their home in the community. The WANT of particular luxuries might be a nice alternative to "feel validated," although this is mostly in response to your odd explanation of why temples get built to be nicer than others.

    Note that in other polytheistic religions the gods lived in the wild and the temple equivalents were standing stones or similar outdoor ornamentation, and the type of place of worship should change based on the particular god.




    For what type of sacrifice they want, I would have the formal events dedicated to the god have their sacrifice provided by the communities leaders using resources taxed for the occasion. This would likely have been set up by the authorities in order the help them maintain power, and of course keeps the event organized for the relevant god. If the gods want verbal requests, they should be very legalistic: you are in practice bargaining with the god. If you're using the D&D alignment chart or an equivalent, that might apply particularly to lawful deities and/or chaotic non-good deities.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    eh a couple things that come to mind.

    That a properly performed sacrifice could increase the value of a prayer/dedication that comes with that sacrifice.
    This way you can have people of high faith (high base) match those with just lots of sacrifice (a high multiplier) in terms of effect so that either can be used for story purposes.

    And related to that a somewhat differently performed sacrifice could redirect prayers, dedication, or a soul to the god being sacrificed to instead of the deity they would otherwise go to. This would incentivize the whole sacrificing people to dark powers trope.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Portent View Post
    Something I like for gods is that material goods are meaningless to them, they have food and drink beyond anything a mortal can give them, such as the Greek idea of Ambrosia and Nectar. What they actually get from sacrifices is proof of devotion (or fear.) Burning the finest cuts of meat from your annual slaughter, pouring your best wine upon an altar or killing your firstborn all provide no meaningful benefit to the god in any way, but the gods appreciate the gesture and look kindly on those who do such things without prompting, and may stay their wrath from those who appease them situationally.
    That is more or less what I was thinking originally though a tiny voice in my head is telling me to think outside the box here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Portent View Post
    If the goods given to the gods are imperishable, like jewlery, they generally need to be placed in sealed containers in their shrines or temples, and their removal will strip any blessings or favours bestowed, or renew a previously placated act of wrath. If carefully removed with proper rites and transferred to a new temple to the same god within a reasonable timeframe (and not used in the meanwhile) then their removal is harmless, and may even shift certain boons from one place or another.
    Thatís a good idea. In the real world, there were issues with people stealing relics and moving them to different holy sites. That was more about tourism than holy favor since relic based pilgrimages were medieval Europeís equivalent of the tourist industry (they even had tacky souvenirs and overpriced junk food stands).

    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Portent View Post
    Some gods, generally the more benevolent ones, take a proportionate view on tribute, considering a coin from a beggar as the same as a diamond from a king, others take a bigger is better perspective and will only ever reward large tributes. That said most sacrifices have no noticeable benefits, it's just the occasional one that makes people consider them worthwhile.
    I donít think proportionality would be generally the province of benevolent gods. I think an evil deity would take sadistic pleasure from the owning the last copper piece of a dying beggar.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    I have found this guide very helpful, and it skims through a bunch of subjects (I have the first part linked).
    That is a proverbial gold mine, thank you! Iíll keep the trial and error method in mind, but Iím not sure if that method would hold up in a world where spirit minions of the gods can come down and bestow literal messages from the gods.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    I think the base here is that while people should believe their own religion, gods caring what you personally believe is a major part of Christianity, but no other religion I'm aware of. My (very rudimentary) understanding is that Muslims dropped it as well, and I have no idea about the Druze, but every polytheistic religion I know about specifically does not (or did not) care here.
    Given my background, aspects of Western Christianity are going to bleed into my fictional pantheons much as they did with Tolkienís. Whether or not of conscious of it, my biases assumptions color what fiction I come up with.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    Note that one thing I've seen common in religions with built temples is that the temple is often officially the god's home (away from their main home, if there is one). The Sumerian gods lived in their temples and needed burnings for sustenance. The Greek gods just found the nice smells a treat, but were assumed to treat the temple as their home in the community. The WANT of particular luxuries might be a nice alternative to "feel validated," although this is mostly in response to your odd explanation of why temples get built to be nicer than others.
    I hadnít thought about temples as the home of the gods. I guess thatís because of my biases and assumptions again. I never thought of a place of a worship as a home for a deity, but I think of them as places for worshipers to congregate and practice their faith and theology in a safe and organized fashion.

    In my fictional world, I have nine deities that are the gods of everyone and everything. They are collectively called the Nine. Most villages have a Nonagon. One modest shrine for each of the nine deities arrayed in a simple equilateral nonagon. Most rural temples are built wherever the priests and their core worshipers find it convenient. Some larger towns and cities have Nonagons where there are nine full temples in the same plaza but in most cases rivalries between different priesthood cause some to refuse to put their temple there. Alternatively sometimes they put a public temple for show while their ďrealĒ temple is elsewhere and hidden, especially for the Chaotic or Evil deities.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    Note that in other polytheistic religions the gods lived in the wild and the temple equivalents were standing stones or similar outdoor ornamentation, and the type of place of worship should change based on the particular god.
    That seems to fit better for minor or specialized gods and as of yet, I donít have minor gods. I guess my setting does have powerful supernatural beings that act like local gods in some ways though, especially in wild places.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    For what type of sacrifice they want, I would have the formal events dedicated to the god have their sacrifice provided by the communities leaders using resources taxed for the occasion. This would likely have been set up by the authorities in order the help them maintain power, and of course keeps the event organized for the relevant god. If the gods want verbal requests, they should be very legalistic: you are in practice bargaining with the god. If you're using the D&D alignment chart or an equivalent, that might apply particularly to lawful deities and/or chaotic non-good deities.
    My Nine are based on the D&D alignments, at least initially. For anyone who read the Second edition players handbook, there is a hilarious story where a party of adventurers from each of the nine alignments goes on a quest together. I based my cosmology on that.
    The Big Bad super god, Turoch, created nine servants to help him manage the universe and he gave them different value systems so they wouldnít be able to unite against him. The true neutral god foresaw that Turoch was going to kill and replace them all and he managed to convince his siblings to work together long enough to overthrow Turoch and usurp his godhood. Now they have been running the universe since then and squabbling.


    Since drafting my ďCreation of the world storyĒ I have tried to move away from alignment stereotypes a bit since I eventually nixed alignment restrictions on characters, but I do have some generalities. The three Lawful deitiesí priesthoods have world spanning organizations and rigid ranks and hierarchies and mostly static traditions and lots of written canon. The three Chaotic deitiesí priesthoods are decentralized and operate on a mentor-apprentice system. Priests can recruit anyone they want as an apprentice and the apprentice graduates whenever the mentor says she graduates from lessons based largely on loose oral traditions. The neutral gods fall in between.

    My three good gods believe their values will make every mortalís life better. My Lawful good deity pushes honor, chivalry, hard work, and strength. My neutral good deity pushes compassion, harmony, and peace. My chaotic good deity pushes freedom, ingenuity, hard work, and strength. Now that I think about it, my good deities may be my most boring deities. Iím guessing all three deities would prefer their followers help the downtrodden than to provide things to the deity itself.

    My evil deities are more diverse. My lawful evil deity, Phidas, is an avatar of Machiavellian politics with a touch of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. He wants to be feared and loved, but fear is more important. Phidas himself wears a mask to hide his deformities so his priests all wear masks. They seek to be villains with good PR. Phidas is very much a god that tries to give the image of rewarding with his right hand and smiting with this life, though he is pretty stingy with his rewards.
    My neutral evil deity, Greymoria, is sort of childish. Greymoria had the fewest followers initially because she was so terrifying. This caused her to lash out with monsters and curses to punish mortals for not loving her enough. This only causes mortals to worship her with even less love so the cycle repeats. She creates a lot of new sapient races to love and adore her (and punish the other races) but they nearly always get tired of their canon fodder role and turn away from their Dark Mother causing her to lash out with more monsters and curses.
    My chaotic evil deity, Maylar, just likes breaking stuff. He has a Darwinist credo of ďthat which does not kill you makes you strongerĒ but thatís really just a thin veil over his cruelty. Though over millennia of repeating his Darwinist mottos he started to believe it. If you kill one of Greymoriaís monsters she is likely to seek revenge on you, but if you kill one of Maylarís monsters (or one his disease, he is god of disease too) he will shrug and say ďI guess you are strong.Ē He doesnít keep hounding mortals with misfortune if they survive the first or second misfortunes with head unbowed. Based on the link you put in above, Maylar is probably the most straightforward to appease. He would probably appreciate followers undergoing a difficult and painful ordeal in his name.

    I didnít plan it this way but my neutral deities are less concerned with receiving worship than the other six. As long as nature is respected, Korus, my true neutral god does not care much if he is worshipped personally or not. My lawful deity Khemra is still miffed that the other eight deities have more or less abandoned the Compact they all agreed on. She keeps trying to force everyone back into a system where all nine deities are worshipped equally. Barring that, she values societies with order and traditions even if they donít worship her directly. My chaotic neutral deity Nami might embody Epicureanism. Originally the first mortals DID worship all nine deities equally because they were programmed to, but Nami gave them all Free Will just because she was bored. Nami sort of treats the mortal world as theater. She bestows her blessing and wrath mainly when it is interesting to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    eh a couple things that come to mind.

    That a properly performed sacrifice could increase the value of a prayer/dedication that comes with that sacrifice.
    This way you can have people of high faith (high base) match those with just lots of sacrifice (a high multiplier) in terms of effect so that either can be used for story purposes.
    I guess that assumes divine favor or miracles are sometimes enacted on command. Iím still working out how active the gods are. I did decide that direct miracles are pretty rare. The Nine tend to act through proxies, either mortal spell-casters or spirits (outsiders like angels and devils). In general the lawful deities have lots of mortal spell-casters and few spirits and the chaotic deities have few spell-casters and lots of spirits.

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    And related to that a somewhat differently performed sacrifice could redirect prayers, dedication, or a soul to the god being sacrificed to instead of the deity they would otherwise go to. This would incentivize the whole sacrificing people to dark powers trope.
    That is an intriguing ideaÖ

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    I guess that assumes divine favor or miracles are sometimes enacted on command. Iím still working out how active the gods are. I did decide that direct miracles are pretty rare. The Nine tend to act through proxies, either mortal spell-casters or spirits (outsiders like angels and devils). In general the lawful deities have lots of mortal spell-casters and few spirits and the chaotic deities have few spell-casters and lots of spirits.
    Yeah....I actually don't see any conflict here.
    Because a miracle on command is basically just a divine spell.
    So work through that.

    Either a caster needs to make the sacrifice in order to get much of a benefit (though may be able to perform on behalf of another) and the benefit may well be something like a metamagic boost. Perhaps an increase in caster level, or a major bonus to duration (for something that may consecrate an area for example or provide a boon in that space) or turn a bull's endurance spell to an area of effect spell instead of one target....of course the additional time it takes to make a sacrifice may well make this pretty much useless in combat but that is probably for the best. Otherwise for spirits one would need to attract the spirit and then the sacrifice would empower it or it may just attract a spirit of the appropriate type and temperament.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    The advise I received was that the worship should reflect the gods character. And I think sacrifices should be a part of worship. The other part is what you would get out of it.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    That is a proverbial gold mine, thank you! Iíll keep the trial and error method in mind, but Iím not sure if that method would hold up in a world where spirit minions of the gods can come down and bestow literal messages from the gods.
    My person assumption in this case is that the procedures will be standardized across the world, and typically be able to provide specifically what the diety wants. Regional differences n theology could be the result of the gods deciding they want multiple things and organizing the sacrifices they get to the areas best able (none of your descriptions fit with them making this difficult) based on what they have a comparative advantage producing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    Given my background, aspects of Western Christianity are going to bleed into my fictional pantheons much as they did with Tolkienís. Whether or not of conscious of it, my biases assumptions color what fiction I come up with.
    I 100% agree with the latter, and was specifically listing a case where someone with a background of western Christianity might not think of. That said, I shouldn't have assumed a particular background.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    That seems to fit better for minor or specialized gods and as of yet, I donít have minor gods. I guess my setting does have powerful supernatural beings that act like local gods in some ways though, especially in wild places.
    I suspect this would work well for Korus. I linked part 1 of a four part series before; part four goes into the "powerful supernatural beings," as well as minor supernatural beings and powerful natural rulers.

    I like that Greymoria cares about the willingness of what she receives. Some variants off the top of my head:
    • Phidas wanting luxuries given at a standard pace. Inability to continue providing at the previous level is severely punished, as is a failure in provide more if production increases. Perhaps a bumper year becomes a bit of a catch 22, which could require burning excess crop or something similar to avoid Phidas' wrath. Maybe with the priests claiming it'll avoid plagues as a method of gaining public support.
    • Your idea of a Trials of Maylar I like. Perhaps a few areas could treat it similar to an Olympics, with competitions to determine the most capable in various fields.
    • Korus requires areas of nature to be maintained. Deer parks, areas of natural growth where wood and medicinal herbs are collected, swampland left to absorb storm surges, that sort of thing.
    • Khemra has a festival in which all gods receive equal sacrifices, to try to uphold that ancient idea of how they likely worked before free will was introduced.
    • Nami has a festival in which events serve to ease pain and provide pleasure. Plays, philosophical lectures, dancing, feasting, medicine provided to the whole community, and more in that vein. With a big seat open on the front row of events as an invitation to Nami.


    To differentiate the good gods a bit, perhaps the chaotic one could have a bigger emphasis on innovation, thinking that technological progress allows for greater good to be done (new medicines, for instance). To go with that medicine example though, testing a medicine requires trying out a material that could have nasty side effects (and this is without going into inventions equally usable to intentionally do evil). The other two could have oppose views on hierarchy: one believes even the lowest person in the hierarchy deserves equal aid to those at the top, while the other considers it a greater good to help those most capable of fighting evil. This would make them draw their worshipers from opposite portions of society, and cause some friction.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    Yeah....I actually don't see any conflict here.
    Because a miracle on command is basically just a divine spell.
    So work through that.

    Either a caster needs to make the sacrifice in order to get much of a benefit (though may be able to perform on behalf of another) and the benefit may well be something like a metamagic boost. Perhaps an increase in caster level, or a major bonus to duration (for something that may consecrate an area for example or provide a boon in that space) or turn a bull's endurance spell to an area of effect spell instead of one target....of course the additional time it takes to make a sacrifice may well make this pretty much useless in combat but that is probably for the best.
    Sacrifices to boost spells is an interesting idea. My RPG system is a sort of a cross between White Wolfís d10 and D&D spellcasting. Perhaps meaningful sacrifices can add automatic successes to a roll or a difficulty break on casting.
    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    Otherwise for spirits one would need to attract the spirit and then the sacrifice would empower it or it may just attract a spirit of the appropriate type and temperament.
    Sacrifices to aid in summoning spirits is such an obvious idea Iím proverbially kicking myself for not thinking of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xalyz View Post
    The advise I received was that the worship should reflect the gods character. And I think sacrifices should be a part of worship. The other part is what you would get out of it.
    Indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    My person assumption in this case is that the procedures will be standardized across the world, and typically be able to provide specifically what the diety wants. Regional differences in theology could be the result of the gods deciding they want multiple things and organizing the sacrifices they get to the areas best able (none of your descriptions fit with them making this difficult) based on what they have a comparative advantage producing.
    Thatís a good idea. I have the same nine gods for the entire world but I am trying to create regional differences so this is a good baseline to work with.


    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    I suspect this would work well for Korus. I linked part 1 of a four part series before; part four goes into the "powerful supernatural beings," as well as minor supernatural beings and powerful natural rulers.
    An interesting article but Iím not sure if it applies to Korus more than the others. The material on minor gods could apply to spirits or Fair Folk. Iím not 100% whether I even want my world to have Fair Folk but thatís a topic for another day.

    I like that Greymoria cares about the willingness of what she receives. Some variants off the top of my head:
    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    ]Phidas wanting luxuries given at a standard pace. Inability to continue providing at the previous level is severely punished, as is a failure in provide more if production increases. Perhaps a bumper year becomes a bit of a catch 22, which could require burning excess crop or something similar to avoid Phidas' wrath. Maybe with the priests claiming it'll avoid plagues as a method of gaining public support.
    Thatís an intriguing idea.
    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    Your idea of a Trials of Maylar I like. Perhaps a few areas could treat it similar to an Olympics, with competitions to determine the most capable in various fields.
    A Maylar inspired Olympics is interesting. I was thinking of this for Zarthus more (Zarthus is my Chaotic Good diety). Perhaps a major athletic games for the general populace to appease both deities while hard core followers of Zarthus and Maylar try to bend it towards their favorite deity and/or figuratively or literally destroy their rivals.


    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    Korus requires areas of nature to be maintained. Deer parks, areas of natural growth where wood and medicinal herbs are collected, swampland left to absorb storm surges, that sort of thing.
    I had similar thoughts. Korusí Stewards get a lot of land ceded to them by kings and potentates. The Stewards of the Gift (Korusí Gift to mortalkind is agriculture) are essentially farmer friendly clerics and the Stewards of the Dominion (Korusí Dominion ceded to him by the rest of the Nine is the balance of nature) both wield a lot of passive power. Kings and potentates want their crops to grow well and they want to avoid natural disasters so they are likely to make offerings to both Steward camps.

    Unrelated note. Korus has very few enemies but his followers have more vicious civil wars than the other eight priesthoods because on some level the Stewards of the Gift and the Stewards of the Dominion are at cross purposes. Farmland takes up wilderness after all. Also, Korus is a bit schizophrenic straddling the line between Law and Chaos, Good and Evil, Masculine and Feminine, Nature and Civilization.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    Khemra has a festival in which all gods receive equal sacrifices, to try to uphold that ancient idea of how they likely worked before free will was introduced.
    I created a small religious group called the Cult of the Compact which supposedly upholds rituals dating from the time before free will, but I hadnít considered Khemra sponsoring rituals like that. I DID figure that Khemra priests would shield the Cult of the Compact from hostile actions of the other eight priesthoods.
    Khemra can be somewhat of a hypocrite. One some level she wants all the Nine to be worshiped equally, but she also directs minions to increase her political influence. My worldís largest theocracy is run by her priesthood. Most kings and queens have priests of all three lawful deities jockeying for their favor and Khemra wins these contests more often than not.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    Nami has a festival in which events serve to ease pain and provide pleasure. Plays, philosophical lectures, dancing, feasting, medicine provided to the whole community, and more in that vein. With a big seat open on the front row of events as an invitation to Nami.
    I figured Nami festivals would resemble debaucherous parties but I hadnít considered plays and philosophical lectures. I figured Nami worship is very broad but not very deep. In that most mortals worship Nami a periodically but very few worship Nami as their primary deity.

    Unlike the other deities, Nami festivals are not very standardized from nation to nation. Since some places have their annual Nami festival in the Spring, some places the Winter, some places the Fall, and some places the Summer a small number of Nami priests could run a circuit with a priest presiding over four or five annual festivals every year. Nami is also a patron of travelers so most of her core followers live nomadic lifestyles.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    To differentiate the good gods a bit, perhaps the chaotic one could have a bigger emphasis on innovation, thinking that technological progress allows for greater good to be done (new medicines, for instance). To go with that medicine example though, testing a medicine requires trying out a material that could have nasty side effects (and this is without going into inventions equally usable to intentionally do evil). The other two could have oppose views on hierarchy: one believes even the lowest person in the hierarchy deserves equal aid to those at the top, while the other considers it a greater good to help those most capable of fighting evil. This would make them draw their worshipers from opposite portions of society, and cause some friction.
    Hallisan is my Lawful Good deity. His dominion over nature is the stones and minerals of the Earth. He is the patron of metalwork and just war. He is also the creator of dwarfs. As you alluded to, he is often viewed as a god for nobles so he is generally pro-heirarchy. Most commoners donít give Hallisan much thought unless the commoners are dwarves or soldiers.

    Zarthus is my Chaotic Good deity. His dominion over nature is the moon. Originally Khemra split the day into 12 hours of day and night as a compromise between the good and evil gods, but Zarthus thought 12 hours of darkness was too much so he created the moon. He is a patron of music and art. Zarthus is definitely a fan of the common man. He is also the patron of orphans, half breeds and bastards. The one place where Zarthus is the state patron is a nation of half-elves that arose to defend themselves during an Elf-Human war where they got abused by both sides. Zarthus produces a lot of protests and would-be coups. The hard part for kings and potentates is that if they squash Zarthus backed rebellions it makes them look like tyrants whereas when kings squash Greymoria and Maylar cults they look like heroes.

    Mera is my Neutral Good deity. Her dominion is the sea and water. She is also the goddess of medicine and the family. Given that she doesnít make political waves but is integral to daily life most of the stuff in the article about small gods applies to Mera. Maybe itís not politically correct, but Zarthus and Hallisan arguing over whether Law or Chaos is a better path to serve the common Good in some way is Hallisan and Zarthus competing for Meraís affections. Mera finds the violence of Hallisan and Zarthus somewhat off-putting and is more interested in Korus, but Korus doesnít like her that way. I can easily add a class struggle conflict into Zarthus and Hallisanís romantic rivalry.
    Last edited by Scalenex; 2020-09-13 at 09:19 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    An interesting article but Iím not sure if it applies to Korus more than the others. The material on minor gods could apply to spirits or Fair Folk. Iím not 100% whether I even want my world to have Fair Folk but thatís a topic for another day.
    I did not remotely write that out clearly. I was trying to respond to two separate notes:

    If any of the gods have their temples basically be a natural monument or erected outdoors, I take Korus to be the most likely candidate.

    People in a polytheistic setting aren't going to treat different powerful entities differently here. If there's an ancient white dragon in the region, expect locals to give sacrifice (presumably in food). If there's a strong copper dragon known, the village would likely have a festival of jokes, pranks, and riddles in the dragon's honor (either as a regular thing or when they want to appease the dragon specifically). Point being, what matters is that this is the procedure for dealing with beings of power. Whether the being of power counts as a "god" is irrelevant when it can have your village wiped out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    I figured Nami festivals would resemble debaucherous parties but I hadnít considered plays and philosophical lectures. I figured Nami worship is very broad but not very deep. In that most mortals worship Nami a periodically but very few worship Nami as their primary deity.
    You mentioned epicureanism, so I figured I'd take from that. Maybe worth noting that hedonism doesn't inherently imply debauchery; I think the traditional example is that hangovers reduce net pleasure quite a bit, so a person could decide avoiding them leads to greater pleasure. Epicureanism traditionally falls more into this case.

    Although, your description of Zarthus makes me think he and Nami are drifting into each other's alignments slightly. The philosophy you've listed for Nami teaches removing fear/anxiety (which I would place as vaguely good). Moonlight for safety would certainly be good, but a chaotic stupid "freedom for everyone" deity could also be considered "a fan of the common man." I would also expect both to patronize the arts, party because Nami provided free will to create more varied forms of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    Zarthus is my Chaotic Good deity. His dominion over nature is the moon. Originally Khemra split the day into 12 hours of day and night as a compromise between the good and evil gods, but Zarthus thought 12 hours of darkness was too much so he created the moon. He is a patron of music and art. Zarthus is definitely a fan of the common man. He is also the patron of orphans, half breeds and bastards. The one place where Zarthus is the state patron is a nation of half-elves that arose to defend themselves during an Elf-Human war where they got abused by both sides. Zarthus produces a lot of protests and would-be coups. The hard part for kings and potentates is that if they squash Zarthus backed rebellions it makes them look like tyrants whereas when kings squash Greymoria and Maylar cults they look like heroes.
    I don't see anything connected to the modern concept of the Olympics. Meanwhile I don't see your description of Maylar meaning he cares at all about the sort of Olympic events that took place in ancient Greece but aren't touched in the modern day events of the same name. So I'm not clear on your thought process here:
    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    A Maylar inspired Olympics is interesting. I was thinking of this for Zarthus more (Zarthus is my Chaotic Good diety). Perhaps a major athletic games for the general populace to appease both deities while hard core followers of Zarthus and Maylar try to bend it towards their favorite deity and/or figuratively or literally destroy their rivals.
    I was thinking that the theme of testing athletes would be a way to tell Maylar "we're testing ourselves so there's no need to send a monster or disease for that."

    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    I can easily add a class struggle conflict into Zarthus and Hallisanís romantic rivalry.
    Perhaps it would make a good thing for them to bicker over completely separate from Mera. Give their relationship a second dimension that's philosophical rather than a personal desire, which I would consider would create more places of tension in the campaign.

    Maybe to reduce the Zarthus/Nami issue I have, Hallisan has a Greco-Roman idea of Liberty (where the focus is on giving some people wide rights to act) and Zarthus has the Enlightenment idea of it (where the focus is on giving everyone a minimum right to not be interfered with). This would be a rational for philosophical disagreement, let you make regional differences for what kind of struggles it leads to, and shift Zarthus' alignment more clearly away from Chaotic Neutral.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    I did not remotely write that out clearly. I was trying to respond to two separate notes:

    If any of the gods have their temples basically be a natural monument or erected outdoors, I take Korus to be the most likely candidate.
    Agreed. I already created a bunch of outdoor Korus worship sites. I started brainstorming non-Korus sites of nature. Mera tends to impose her presence on beautiful clear sources of water (where healing spirits are hiding) and Greymoria embodies her presence in treacherous waters (where spirits fond of drowning children are hiding).

    The Great Stone marks the natural site where Hallisan brought the first dwarves to life. In addition to it's history, the Great Stone magically sustains a lot of fungus which lets the area support more life underground than science dictates.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    People in a polytheistic setting aren't going to treat different powerful entities differently here. If there's an ancient white dragon in the region, expect locals to give sacrifice (presumably in food). If there's a strong copper dragon known, the village would likely have a festival of jokes, pranks, and riddles in the dragon's honor (either as a regular thing or when they want to appease the dragon specifically). Point being, what matters is that this is the procedure for dealing with beings of power. Whether the being of power counts as a "god" is irrelevant when it can have your village wiped out.
    I hadn't thought of this parallel that any being that holds your life and prosperity in it's hands can be placated in the same manner as a god.

    I noticed the setting I created kind of resembles political factions more than appeasing the local monster. It's generally the case if you have Greymoria mad at you, Mera's minions will provide you protection and succor. Via priests and spirit as their proxy, the Nine are sort of competing to sell themselves to the populace and they each staked out a niche population of sorts with a lot of turncoats and coverts moving about making the process messy. I'm not 100% sure that's a good idea, but that is more or less what I have.

    You mentioned epicureanism, so I figured I'd take from that. Maybe worth noting that hedonism doesn't inherently imply debauchery; I think the traditional example is that hangovers reduce net pleasure quite a bit, so a person could decide avoiding them leads to greater pleasure. Epicureanism traditionally falls more into this case.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    Although, your description of Zarthus makes me think he and Nami are drifting into each other's alignments slightly. The philosophy you've listed for Nami teaches removing fear/anxiety (which I would place as vaguely good). Moonlight for safety would certainly be good, but a chaotic stupid "freedom for everyone" deity could also be considered "a fan of the common man." I would also expect both to patronize the arts, party because Nami provided free will to create more varied forms of it.
    I figured Nami and Zarthus both are pro-art. Ironically while Nami is the goddess of individuality she has a lot of overlap with the other two Chaotic deities.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    I don't see anything connected to the modern concept of the Olympics. Meanwhile I don't see your description of Maylar meaning he cares at all about the sort of Olympic events that took place in ancient Greece but aren't touched in the modern day events of the same name. So I'm not clear on your thought process here:
    I was thinking that the theme of testing athletes would be a way to tell Maylar "we're testing ourselves so there's no need to send a monster or disease for that."
    I guess I kind of went off the rails without explaining myself. Before starting this thread I thought about having an athletics competition be part of a Zarthus festival now I'm thinking it might fit for Maylar as an "offering" and my mind drifted to mixing the festivals for the two of them, but in hindsight that's not a great idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    Perhaps it would make a good thing for them to bicker over completely separate from Mera. Give their relationship a second dimension that's philosophical rather than a personal desire, which I would consider would create more places of tension in the campaign.
    That's a good idea. I should make Hallisan and Zarthus class differences be unconnected to them trying to court Mera.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    Maybe to reduce the Zarthus/Nami issue I have, Hallisan has a Greco-Roman idea of Liberty (where the focus is on giving some people wide rights to act) and Zarthus has the Enlightenment idea of it (where the focus is on giving everyone a minimum right to not be interfered with). This would be a rational for philosophical disagreement, let you make regional differences for what kind of struggles it leads to, and shift Zarthus' alignment more clearly away from Chaotic Neutral.
    I need to do some research on Graeco Roman liberty. Though I did reach Jon Stewart Mill (years ago, I'm a bit rusty) and I did sort of try to shape Zarthus' ideals around Libertarian principles of non-interference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    The game I'm running now, the party leader is a Lawful Good charismatic priest of Khemra the Lawful Neutral Good. They do typical good adventures but the priest character/player also plays politics and solicits a lot of donations to his temple. Then he often reaps political favors and magical support from his temple as a thank you for all the donation he helps collect. In a way it's pretty secular.

    The donations the temples collect provide food and lodging for their staff. They buy weapons and army and materials for making magical items from lowly potions to mighty flaming swords. Temples also like to hire artists and architects to make the temples look nice so they can one-up the rival temples. You can follow the money trail to figure out what the money is spent on pretty easily.

    The deity in question may or not notice the person making a donation in their name and they may or may not bestow favor on the giver someday in some way.

    But what about giving something to the gods directly. It's one thing to donate a chicken to the temple and then priests there enjoy a chicken dinner that evening. It's another thing to sacrifice a chicken to a god directly.

    I'm long been weighing in my homebrew setting Scarterra/Scaraqua. if the deities NEED worship to sustain them or enable them to have powers or if they just WANT worship because they feel validated.

    I've been pondering Order of the stick 1144 and considering using it as a baseline for how gods are strengthened by their worshipers.

    https://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots1144.html

    Most of my gods have a secondary elemental aspect. I figure earthy deities would have direct sacrifices buried, fiery deities would take burned offerings, airy deities would have offerings hurled off a cliff, and watery deities would have sacrifices thrown into a pool.

    With good and neutral deities an offering is to ask for a blessing and a sacrifice to an evil deity is like paying tribute to stave off their wrath. I especially like the idea of evil deities receiving goats as sacrifice. That is essentially where we got the root word of scapegoat. The goat was to absorb the curse intended for a human.

    When receiving an offering, does the god or goddess metaphorically drink up the mortal's devotion (making the actual object sacrificed essentially irrelevant) or does the deity receive a material benefit based on the type of object sacrificed (making the actual object sacrificed very relevant?
    In most settings there is some sort of deal meant to keep the Gods from fighting or directly interfering on the planet. I would just add that whatever pact that makes the rules includes a "can perform miracles based on sacrifices." The type and scale of sacrifice allows them to circumvent the rules to differing degrees; like if a priest of each god collectively work on an enormous sacrifice the rules are thrown out in favor of a casting of Epic Miracle, because it is assumed something has gone critically wrong with the world.

    I prefer worship as a form of bet to worship for energy personally. The stakes are set at the beginning of each world, and the gods follow the rules to win some prize. The Prime is literally trillions of bets.
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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    I hadn't thought of this parallel that any being that holds your life and prosperity in it's hands can be placated in the same manner as a god.
    I'm going to be pedantic about "same manner." There are many manners to appease different gods, and many manners to appease other powerful beings, many of which overlap. I doubt living creatures want "genuine," worship the manner Greymoria does, but both Phidas and a lot of creatures probably want to receive material wealth under some PR approved excuse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    I noticed the setting I created kind of resembles political factions more than appeasing the local monster. It's generally the case if you have Greymoria mad at you, Mera's minions will provide you protection and succor. Via priests and spirit as their proxy, the Nine are sort of competing to sell themselves to the populace and they each staked out a niche population of sorts with a lot of turncoats and coverts moving about making the process messy. I'm not 100% sure that's a good idea, but that is more or less what I have.
    I mean, if the faiths compete, yeah. The Great Stone sounds like a good place for a Pope or Patriarch to have their base of operations, for example. If you want to reduce movement between converts, maybe have some areas be peaceble to specific other faiths in exchange for a diferent method of supporting the state. Perhaps Worshipers of Mera are tolderated, for instance, but instead of serving in the milltiary they are instead expected to pay additional taxes (see the jizyah for ways this can fuel and/or mitigate tensions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    I need to do some research on Graeco Roman liberty. Though I did reach Jon Stewart Mill (years ago, I'm a bit rusty) and I did sort of try to shape Zarthus' ideals around Libertarian principles of non-interference.
    Basically, liberties are seen as being provided by and withdrawn from someone by some authority such as the gods or the law.

    So the ruling class has wide ranging positive liberties and are exempt from most restrictions placed on the citizens (wearing purple in Rome, for instance). Then citizens have plenty (but fewer) positive liberties and are exempt from most restrictions placed on inhabitants (citizens were exempt from most taxes in the early days of the roman empire). This then repeats for inhabitants verses slaves (you can't beat inhabitants being to most common example). The philosophical benefit being that wide ranging liberties are thus given to people based on some recognizable characteristics like oratory skill or metaphysical ones like being chosen by the gods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    The game I'm running now, the party leader is a Lawful Good charismatic priest of Khemra the Lawful Neutral Good.
    Does that mean lawful neutral with good tendencies or neutral good with lawful tendencies?
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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    I'm long been weighing in my homebrew setting Scarterra/Scaraqua. if the deities NEED worship to sustain them or enable them to have powers or if they just WANT worship because they feel validated.
    I really hate the idea of gods needing worship. I'm not sure where it comes from. It makes gods less divine to me. To me, the point of religion is to give meaning and purpose to life. That may sound vague, so let me give you 2 examples.

    In Norse (North Germanic actually.) mythology the purpose of humans (or probably just men) is to die in battle, go to Valhalla or Folkvangr to party like a king and then fight in the final battle of Ragnarok alongside the gods.

    In D&D the meaning of life is to be a pawn of the tyrannical LE gods.
    The gods send out their clerics to convert mortals to their religion. The souls of the mortals eventually reach their gods in the afterlife where they can become powerful angels... or demons... or be used by demons for an upgrade, etc. The demons and angels and whatnot then fight in the outer planes on behalf of the gods in wars like the Blood Wars.
    Different deities use different methods. Demons use suicide cults for a quick batch of souls, while the good deities send clerics to protect mortals from harm so that they can prosper and produce more mortal souls for the gods.
    Lawful evil gods that just want your soul so you can fight for them. It's just that the good gods have a more pleasant approach to it.
    There's more to this. You could also just end up on the Infinite Battlefields of Acheron for your war crimes, or in the Tarterian Depths of Carceri for being a remorseless criminal or something like that. Dying in glorious battle would send your soul to Ysgard. Some sources mention alignment as a determining factor. (That's probably just a simplified version.)
    Yes, this is a somewhat problematic view of the afterlife in D&D. Part of that is due to D&D having 46 years of continuity errors, part of it is that the creators/publishers of D&D aren't all experts in mythology/philosophy/theology. This doesn't have to be a bad thing, it just is what it is. I'll also note that the Great Wheel cosmology wasn't meant to be picked apart like this. It's more of a story thing. Like a good story with plot holes.

    I can't mention real life current religions on this site, so let's not get into that.

    So I don't think the gods need worship. That's just silly. If you want to go for the need for souls you can definitely do that. You could work in devotion as a sort of last will and testimony for your soul and specific rituals to express your devotion. (Like the suicide cult. I know, extreme example.)

    I hope this helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Does that mean lawful neutral with good tendencies or neutral good with lawful tendencies?
    It's a typo. The goddess is Lawful Neutral. The player character is Lawful Good.

    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    I really hate the idea of gods needing worship. I'm not sure where it comes from. It makes gods less divine to me. To me, the point of religion is to give meaning and purpose to life.
    That's fair. I've thought similar things myself. I don't know if my deities NEED worship and praise, but my character concept for Greymoria is that she certainly WANTS worship and praise. It really sticks in her craw that Mera gets so much worship and praise without seeming to try.


    Whether they admit it or not, most of the Nine appreciate worship and praise even if they don't really need it to survive or sustain their power.

    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    That may sound vague, so let me give you 2 examples.

    In Norse (North Germanic actually.) mythology the purpose of humans (or probably just men) is to die in battle, go to Valhalla or Folkvangr to party like a king and then fight in the final battle of Ragnarok alongside the gods.

    In D&D the meaning of life is to be a pawn of the tyrannical LE gods.
    The gods send out their clerics to convert mortals to their religion. The souls of the mortals eventually reach their gods in the afterlife where they can become powerful angels... or demons... or be used by demons for an upgrade, etc. The demons and angels and whatnot then fight in the outer planes on behalf of the gods in wars like the Blood Wars.
    Different deities use different methods. Demons use suicide cults for a quick batch of souls, while the good deities send clerics to protect mortals from harm so that they can prosper and produce more mortal souls for the gods.
    Lawful evil gods that just want your soul so you can fight for them. It's just that the good gods have a more pleasant approach to it.
    There's more to this. You could also just end up on the Infinite Battlefields of Acheron for your war crimes, or in the Tarterian Depths of Carceri for being a remorseless criminal or something like that. Dying in glorious battle would send your soul to Ysgard. Some sources mention alignment as a determining factor. (That's probably just a simplified version.)
    Yes, this is a somewhat problematic view of the afterlife in D&D. Part of that is due to D&D having 46 years of continuity errors, part of it is that the creators/publishers of D&D aren't all experts in mythology/philosophy/theology. This doesn't have to be a bad thing, it just is what it is. I'll also note that the Great Wheel cosmology wasn't meant to be picked apart like this. It's more of a story thing. Like a good story with plot holes.
    Originally the god Turoch (I named him after the Terrasque) created the world and everything in it so he could eat souls. The entire prime material plane was basically a giant cosmic farm. Turoch got too fat and lazy to run the farm himself so he created the Nine to be his servants.

    The Nine figured out that Turoch was plotting to eat them and create a new batch of servants so they resolved to kill Turoch first. The evil deities mostly wanted to save their own skins while the good deities were happy to stop the cycle of all mortal souls be obliterated.

    I guess after Turoch died, there really isn't a purpose for life anymore. Maybe I need to work on my cosmology some more.


    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    So I don't think the gods need worship. That's just silly. If you want to go for the need for souls you can definitely do that. You could work in devotion as a sort of last will and testimony for your soul and specific rituals to express your devotion. (Like the suicide cult. I know, extreme example.)

    I hope this helps.
    I kind of agree that the gods shouldn't literally NEED worship but that does leave the universe kind of rudderless.



    Here's me spit balling what form offerings to the Nine might look like.


    Zarthus: The moon, light, exposing the corrupt (such as werewolves masquerading as normal people), finding the hidden, music, art, self-reliance, community, bastards, half-breeds, orphans, freedom, vengeance, trickery to reach objectives, centaurs

    Zarthus priests and priestesses are nicknamed Lanterns because they use lanterns in their religious services and to decorate their temples all the time.
    Chaotic Good. Most fervent followers are usually artists and musicians, homesteaders on the edge of the frontier, half-whatevers, and revolutionary and reform minded people.

    The Black Sheep followers are artists with rich powerful patrons. Itís rare for Zarthus backed coups to succeed. When they do succeed the Lanterns often become Black Sheep because they become enmeshed in whatever new government forms.

    Zarthus probably doesnít get a lot of offerings because he is not especially beloved or feared.

    Mortals seeking his favor would probably pray for safety. Safety at night and safety in danger in general. Zarthusí favor would be sought in finding lost or hidden items. Zarthus probably appreciates songs in his honor accompanied by processions of lit lanterns at night.

    Mortals avoiding his wrath are probably rulers. Rulers sometimes try to avoid Zarthus back protests and coups by publicly patronizing artists. Rulers who want to go all out might have a Zarthus festival where they go through symbolic humiliations by their subjects, hear complaints, and/or make their jester king for a day.



    Maylar: Disease, decay, hunting, animal husbandry, murder, debauchery, cunning in battle, war, strength, toughness, Darwinism, terror, orcs
    Maylarís priests and priestesses call themselves the Testers of Strength, or more commonly Testers. If you survive their ďtestsĒ you have proven your strengthÖfor now.

    Chaotic Evil. Most fervent followers are bandits and raiders. A few jaded nobles and rich people are Maylar followers on the down low and use Maylar to justify letting loose their worst impulses. The most feared and hated Testers are the ones that spread disease and then extort people for medicine.
    Herders and hunters give a nod to Maylar but arenít usually fervent followers though some Black Sheep followers are tough herders and hunters that are actually NICE to other people (though they hang out in rugged areas where they assume anyone who can survive here must not be a weakling).

    The only time the general populace seeks Maylarís blessing or gives him thanks is probably at the onset of winter when livestock needs to be slaughtered in preparation for winter. Maylar is probably ceremonially given the first kill or a portion of the first kill. Maybe hunters cut themselves ever so slightly before undergoing a hunt and offer Maylar a drop of their own blood.
    Most of the time, the general populace wants to avoids Maylarís wrath. Maylar would probably appreciates shows of endurance and strength. The practice would be rare and extreme but Maylar would probably appreciate it if a community ritually sacrificed their old and infirm to him.



    Nami: Weather, freedom, prophecy, madness, arson, theft, alcohol, travel, merriment, chaos, unorthodox wisdom, warlocks, humor, orcs, gnolls

    Namiís priests and priestesses are called Rovers on the Wind, or just Rovers.
    Chaotic Neutral. Many people worship Nami on her holy days and then donít give her much mind. Her core followers are often traveling entertainers or vagabonds. A lot of brewers and winemakers worship Nami heavily.
    Black Sheep followers are extreme variants of Chaotic Good and Chaotic Evil that try to rope other Rovers into their intercine fights.

    Most Nami festivals involve wild parties. In the real world during Saturnalia groups of people would go to the houses of rich people and demand food and booze in exchange for not burning their house down (it got toned down to trick or treat). I can see that working for Nami. Nami would probably also appreciate plays and debates.

    Nami controls the weather and this can be used as a blessing or a curse, but Nami may be the deity in my roster less likely to be swayed by an offering than any other. One ritual people might do to try to win Namiís favor is to act like whatever weather they receive is awesome whatever it is. I can see Nami worshippers dancing in the rain or making short-lived sculptures in Namiís honor out of snow.



    Hallisan: Stone, minerals, metalwork, mining, chivalry codes, bravery, just war, oaths of service, strength, protection, life stones, dwarves
    Hallisan priests and priestesses are nicknamed Guardians for fairly obvious reasons.

    Lawful Good. Core followers are often craftsmen and professional soldiers.
    Black Sheep followers are Guardians that widely prioritize punishing the guilty over protecting the weak and accept any means to achieve their ends. There is also a schism between Guardians that believe there should be a worldwide structure for all Guardians and others that prefer more localized temples tied to secular governments.
    Hallisan offerings would probably be alms for the needy in his name, though both Mera and Zarthus would probably do that too. I donít really know what offerings straight to Hallisan would look like. Maybe Hallisan would appreciate fasting and irksome oaths in his honor.



    Phidas: Defense against the Void, oaths/contracts, commerce, legal cunning, disguises, pragmatic ruthlessness, protection, life stones, subterranean monsters

    Phidas priests and priestesses are nicknamed Masks because they always wear masks during formal services. Some almost never remove their masks, Mandalorian style.

    Lawful Evil. Core followers are often merchants and traders.
    Phidas is the only deity that has zero favored souls. The Masks say itís because Phidas neither needs or wants favored souls. The Masks enemies say itís because Phidas cannot empower Phidas Souls. A Black Sheep heresy is made of Masks who prophesized that the first Phidas powered favored soul is coming someday and will usher in a golden age.

    People would pray to Phidas to experience prosperity and avoid hardship. Phidas offering would be pretty straight forward. Items of wealth and value are valued. Like Hallisan he might appreciate irksome oaths and fasting in his honor.



    Khemra: The sun, literacy, history, law, oaths of fealty, hierarchies, translators, traditions, travel, regulation of the Nine as a whole, grandeur, royalty
    Khemraís priests and priestesses call themselves the Keepers of the Compact,
    commonly shortened to Keepers. The Compact is the original agreement the Nine drafted but have apart from Khemra tossed out about half of it.

    Lawful Neutral. Core followers are often bureaucrats and scholars.
    The Keepers are formally divided into dawn, dusk, day, zenith, and eclipse orders each with their own prescribed tasks. An unsanctioned faction known as the Night Order does a bunch of clandestine dirty work.

    I think Khemra would appreciate acts in her name on behalf of mortals. Acts that help the state or acts that spread wisdom or lore.



    Mera: Sea travel, fishing, purification, drinking water, protection, peace, medicine, family, hearth fires, inter-group cooperation, gnomes
    Meraís priests and priestesses call themselves Tenders of the Sacred Hearth, usually shortened to Tenders. Their detractors say they are tender and weak.
    Neutral Good. Core followers are family oriented peasants.
    The Tenders have a radical faction that establishes freedom stifling police states in the name of protection that is barely tolerated by the other Tenders. The Tenders have another radical faction of ultra-pacifists who will stand idly while orcs torture people to death in front of them that other Tenders have mixed feelings about.

    I figure there would be a lot of small Mera rituals performed in an around the home but relatively few grand public rituals. Mera probably appreciates acts done for the lowly in her name. Sacrifices to Mera and her spirit minions directly probably take the form of homey touches such as home cooked meals and the like.



    Greymoria: Magic, wizards, warlocks, sorcerers, monsters, necromancy, poison, drowning, darkness, secrets, spite, jealousy, spiders and spiderlike monsters.
    Children of the Dark Mother refers to both Greymoriaís priests and priestesses and her pet monsters. Commonly shortened to ďthe ChildrenĒ
    Neutral Evil. Core followers are anti-social people and monsters and power hungry mages.
    The Children are a fractious and decentralized lot, but they USUALLY try to avoid fighting each other outright because they recognize they have too many external enemies to be able to afford a civil war. Some Black Sheep extremists attack other Children for not worshipping Gryemoria correctly. Of greater interest is the faction known as the Bearers of the Book which tries to win Greymoria favor and praise by using wizardry to ease the life of commoners rather than afflicting misery on them.



    Korus: The seasons, predator/prey balance, forests, fishing, agriculture, plant creatures, horses, horse-like creatures, compromises, prophecy
    Most of Korusís priests and priestesses are farmer-friendly clerics officially called Stewards of the Gift (agriculture) or nature-friendly druids called Stewards of the Dominion. Thus, Stewards is the general term. The two groups keep their distance most of the time recognizing that plowing fields for agriculture requires clearing the wilderness so the two groups are somewhat at odds. The Black Sheep Stewards are the hardline Stewards of the Gift and hardline Stewards of the Dominion that come to blows with other.
    True Neutral. Core followers are farmers and hunter gatherer nomads.

    I imagine Korus offerings would be to give thanks for natureís bounty by symbolically returning a portion of the harvest/hunt/catch back to the earth. A little pedestrian but I guess it works.
    Last edited by Scalenex; 2020-09-22 at 02:59 AM.

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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    I very much like that you mention nonstandard religious ideas. Might the first time I've seen it mentioned by default, actually.

    Specific notes:
    I Korus' case I would maybe do "returning the waste back to nature." This could maybe be a political ploy to help keep the streets clean (A big problem in major cities, and something to keep him relevant there).

    Korus is tied to "horse-like creatures," while Zarthus is tied to centaurs. double checking this is intentional.

    Systemic Notes:
    I feel like there should be multiple events of different types for each god, but that might be easier to fill in over campaigns. Otherwise, the gods should probably have some holy symbols. I'll list a few off the top of my head.

    Zarthus: anything bioluminescent, winter cherries, flexible plants
    Maylar: apex predators, cacti, strong bulls
    Nami: hyenas, rain lilies, birds
    Hallisan: some fungi, corals (to offset Zarthus' creatures that live in Mara's domain), oak trees, whatever material The Great Stone consists of
    Phidas: the bleeding heart plant, valuable incense.
    Khemra: plants that fruit/flower at specific times of year like snowdrops
    Mera: flying fish or flying squid (which can get themselves caught without much work on the fisherman's part)
    Greymoria: Henbane, hemlock, malachite, anything else poisonous that people can work with. Manchineel
    Korus: living things with both wild and domestic varieties. bees, maybe?

    I assume this will be filled in mostly at the table, but it would probably be good to have a working list and some concepts off hand.

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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    It honestly just depends on what feeling you want to portray with your deities. Are they vengeful, narcissistic entities full of self-love, wrath and arrogance? Groveling, material sacrifices and devotion is the way to go. Are they benevolent, altruistic powers, devoid of any need of petty sacrifices? They would still love for you to perpetuate their ideals and ideas. Are they proto-deities with a simplistic focus on a portfolio? Seeds for the farm god! Kindling for the fire god! Is it a monotheistic cult that believes their god above all? Maybe sacrifice some non-believers.

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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    I very much like that you mention nonstandard religious ideas. Might the first time I've seen it mentioned by default, actually.
    Since I decided I am only going to use 9 deities for every culture and people in the world I wanted to create lots of variants. Most of the variants are fairly small, so I only mentioned the extreme cases.

    For example of minor order distances, a lot of religious orders encourage their priests and priestesses to take vows of celibacy so they can be married to their faith and other encourage their priests and priestesses to get married so they can raise children in the faith.



    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    Specific notes:
    I Korus' case I would maybe do "returning the waste back to nature." This could maybe be a political ploy to help keep the streets clean (A big problem in major cities, and something to keep him relevant there).
    That's quite clever. I will definitely use that.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    Korus is tied to "horse-like creatures," while Zarthus is tied to centaurs. double checking this is intentional.
    Indeed. Centaurs like Korus and Zarthus a lot and give the other deities the minimum worship to avoid their wrath.

    Most of my nomadic barbarians worship Korus and someone else.

    Systemic Notes:
    I feel like there should be multiple events of different types for each god, but that might be easier to fill in over campaigns. Otherwise, the gods should probably have some holy symbols. I'll list a few off the top of my head.

    Zarthus: anything bioluminescent, winter cherries, flexible plants
    Maylar: apex predators, cacti, strong bulls
    Nami: hyenas, rain lilies, birds
    Hallisan: some fungi, corals (to offset Zarthus' creatures that live in Mara's domain), oak trees, whatever material The Great Stone consists of
    Phidas: the bleeding heart plant, valuable incense.
    Khemra: plants that fruit/flower at specific times of year like snowdrops
    Mera: flying fish or flying squid (which can get themselves caught without much work on the fisherman's part)
    Greymoria: Henbane, hemlock, malachite, anything else poisonous that people can work with. Manchineel
    Korus: living things with both wild and domestic varieties. bees, maybe?

    I assume this will be filled in mostly at the table, but it would probably be good to have a working list and some concepts off hand.[/QUOTE]

    These are all good ideas. The sea creatures are a little complicated because I am sort of creating two linked worlds. My main world is Scarterra. The world inhabited by Merfolk and other sea creatures is called Scaraqua because I'm all about googling Latin words. Anyway, my nine deities have different names and personalities in the eyes of their underwater worshipers. Some of my gods and goddesses are gender swapped in Scaraqua. Most Scaraquans are matriarchal so their most important deities are female.

    Most Scarterrans address Mera as "Mera" but at very formal events priests will call her "Mera Enosha." Most Scaraquans address the goddess as Enosha but at very formal events priests will call her "Enosha Mera."

    Scarterrans view Mera Enosha as the sea goddess, but Scaraquans don't really see Enosha Mera as the sea goddess because all the deities are of the sea. In Scaraqua, Mera, Greymoria, and Korus are collectively called "The Three Daughters of the Sea."

    The other six deities are viewed as relatively unimportant to Scaraquans. Maylar is the Mother of Sharks. Khemra and Zarthus are Sons of the Sky. Phidas and Hallisan are Sons of the Earth (and the sea floor). Nami is a trickster that regularly travels between the earth, sea, and sky for kicks.

    Enosha Mera tends to encourage her undersea followers to peacefully work with land dwellers whenever possible.

    Taedi Greymoria tends to encourage her undersea followers to exploit and/or eat land dwellers whenever possible.

    Mubete Korus, generally believes that good fences make good neighbors and encourages peaceful separation between land and sea people.

    The deities would almost certainly have different symbols, offerings, and rituals under the sea. I am still not sure if my world is going to have an etensive Underdark or not, but if I do decide to have an Underdark, the Nine are going to have somewhat different identities there too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spore View Post
    It honestly just depends on what feeling you want to portray with your deities. Are they vengeful, narcissistic entities full of self-love, wrath and arrogance? Groveling, material sacrifices and devotion is the way to go. Are they benevolent, altruistic powers, devoid of any need of petty sacrifices? They would still love for you to perpetuate their ideals and ideas. Are they proto-deities with a simplistic focus on a portfolio? Seeds for the farm god! Kindling for the fire god! Is it a monotheistic cult that believes their god above all? Maybe sacrifice some non-believers.
    I'm still unsure what feeling I aiming for, but I'm leaning towards your second option.

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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    This is tangential, but I've got the idea kicking in my head of anything placed on the altar effectively being in two places at once such that it could be picked up and removed from the altar by somebody near the altar, but it could also be picked up and removed from the altar by someone in the deity's dibine realm
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    Default Re: How should sacrifices to the gods and goddesses work?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    I have found this guide very helpful, and it skims through a bunch of subjects (I have the first part linked).
    You beat me to it, I was going to recommend the same 4 article series on that blog.

    One big thing to consider is that in many ancient religions, the relationship with the divine was transactional, not... devotional might be the word I'm looking for.

    (Can't give examples, sorry.)
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2020-09-27 at 02:53 PM.
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