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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Deities Divorced From Alignment

    D&D has alignment baked in, and every deity is coded into exclusive camps which make specializing easy, but it is harder to be a 'generalist cleric.'

    From a pantheistic PoV, exclusion of worshippers makes little sense. A pantheistic worshipper might pray to a dawn deity upon waking, a hearth deity at breakfast, an agriculture deity while taking in a harvest, a trade deity while selling the crop, a travel deity to get home safely with the money, a marriage deity while arguing how to spend the money, and a dream deity when going to sleep. This person would be poorly served by a cleric of Thor.

    Likewise, alignment restrictions would make it difficult to pray to most of these deities, no matter what the character's alignment might be.

    So, I will propose a domain-based pantheon in which deities have alignments based on their characterization, but it does not restrict who may worship them or who may receive spells by praying to them.

    This creates the opportunity for a cleric to be a Generalist Cleric who worships a pantheon rather than the standard cleric of a pantheon. A PC could choose to worship ond deity above others and follow the PHB rules, but most NPC clerics would serve the pantheon.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    D&D has alignment baked in, and every deity is coded into exclusive camps which make specializing easy, but it is harder to be a 'generalist cleric.'

    From a pantheistic PoV, exclusion of worshippers makes little sense. A pantheistic worshipper might pray to a dawn deity upon waking, a hearth deity at breakfast, an agriculture deity while taking in a harvest, a trade deity while selling the crop, a travel deity to get home safely with the money, a marriage deity while arguing how to spend the money, and a dream deity when going to sleep. This person would be poorly served by a cleric of Thor.

    Likewise, alignment restrictions would make it difficult to pray to most of these deities, no matter what the character's alignment might be.

    So, I will propose a domain-based pantheon in which deities have alignments based on their characterization, but it does not restrict who may worship them or who may receive spells by praying to them.

    This creates the opportunity for a cleric to be a Generalist Cleric who worships a pantheon rather than the standard cleric of a pantheon. A PC could choose to worship ond deity above others and follow the PHB rules, but most NPC clerics would serve the pantheon.
    That's how I run mine. There are 16 "true" gods (those that can grant cleric spells). Each one has an alignment purely as a descriptive matter. Most people spread their worship around to a subset of the gods, and different cultures worship different aspects of the gods (or understand their character differently, likely leading to different beliefs about what the god's alignment is).

    I don't have any "worship the pantheon" clerics, but I do have false-belief clerics. Those who are clerics who believe that they're sponsored by <god X> but are really sponsored by <god Y>. Usually <god Y> is the god of practical jokes and change, because he finds it hilarious. And sponsor is the right word--the gods don't really do the granting of spells. They instead grant partial access to the operating system of the universe, counting against that god's quota of energy/changes/influence. Effectively the gods act as gatekeepers to grant access to the system[1]. They can later deny access, but not at an individual spell level (except putting an access restriction like "my clerics can't use spell X"). And qualified clerics (those with enough strength-of-faith and strength-of-perception to be good channels) aren't exactly growing on trees, so "fallen" clerics tend to get snapped up by other gods. Often without actually telling the poor cleric that his authority comes from somewhere else now.

    [1] That's what divine spells are--authenticated API requests against the universe. Arcane magic is more like using a mix of undocumented and undocumented system calls. Divine magic can do much more subtle things more easily, while arcane magic has a broader scope and can be used without as much oversight.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    D&D has alignment baked in, and every deity is coded into exclusive camps which make specializing easy, but it is harder to be a 'generalist cleric.'

    From a pantheistic PoV, exclusion of worshippers makes little sense. A pantheistic worshipper might pray to a dawn deity upon waking, a hearth deity at breakfast, an agriculture deity while taking in a harvest, a trade deity while selling the crop, a travel deity to get home safely with the money, a marriage deity while arguing how to spend the money, and a dream deity when going to sleep. This person would be poorly served by a cleric of Thor.

    Likewise, alignment restrictions would make it difficult to pray to most of these deities, no matter what the character's alignment might be.

    So, I will propose a domain-based pantheon in which deities have alignments based on their characterization, but it does not restrict who may worship them or who may receive spells by praying to them.

    This creates the opportunity for a cleric to be a Generalist Cleric who worships a pantheon rather than the standard cleric of a pantheon. A PC could choose to worship ond deity above others and follow the PHB rules, but most NPC clerics would serve the pantheon.
    What you describe is less a strict mechanic rule and more flavour. Which isn't at all bad; Eberron has a similar rule in allowing clerics to be of any alignment and worship any deity they choose, which definitely expands the possibility of narrative conflict. I suspect there would still be clerics of, say Obad-Hai, simply because bureaucracy and administration is hard enough without fears of divine retribution because the monthly offering got bungled. Priests of smaller or remote communities are probably few enough that they need to be proficient with the entire pantheon, and maybe even some local mythologies to boot.

    It also might help to imagine why someone might worship a deity who doesn't share their alignment. LudicSavant on this site has some really nice takes on Greyhawk deities like Lolth (though sadly they haven't posted a whole lot recently), which go into why someone would ever worship nongood deities in the first place. See here on Lolth specifically, LudicSavant has links to their other deity posts there as well: https://forums.giantitp.com/showthre...olth-Lady-Luck
    Last edited by Paleomancer; 2021-04-04 at 11:27 AM.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    In the beginning there was nothing, and from nothing everything came. One could call this nothingness, chaos, void, or whatever one wishes, and each term would be as meaningless as any other. One would have an easier time describing an octopus to a mountaintop shepherd: we lack the capacity to understand what existed before. Call it possibility, in that all things could have come of it, but the act of creation excluded an infinity of possible outcomes and every subsequent act similarly excludes an unknown and uknowable infinity of possibilities.

    The event which marks the beginning of what is knowable is the coming into being of Time. Time created limits that did not exist before. Some say that Time is the Father of Creation, but it must be recalled that Time is also the destroyer of all things.

    It is not known if the other Primordial Beings came into existence with Time, as a consequence of Time, or were created by Time. Many of these are destroyed now, or were gone for unknown reasons when the beings we know as Gods began to come into existence. Among the ones we know are the titans of the elements and of the energies. These beings have little or nothing to do with humans, and though we may be aware of them, the most powerful mortal is less than a flea to the might of these beings.

    A titan held the power of life, and so began to create the living world. But life was a trap, and the creator discovered too late that to be alive was to court death. Now Autu rules the Plains of Itilia and the Dungeons of the Judged: the only member of the elder beings to regularly have any intercourse at all with mortals.

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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    I second Eberron. The setting, at least in third edition, allows you to make a cleric of an entire pantheon.4

    That said, I can't really think of examples of generalist priests. ANy priest I can think of is usually specialized on serving one good, even if they might also pray to others.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2021-04-01 at 02:41 PM.
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    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I second Eberron. The setting, at least in third edition, allows you to make a cleric of an entire pantheon.4

    That said, I can't really think of examples of generalist priests. ANy priest I can think of is usually specialized on serving one good, even if they might also pray to others.
    It can actually work pretty well, though. In that case, a priest is more or less "The Person who knows the Rites" and sometimes "The Person Officially Empowered to Perform the Rites", rather than having a special relationship with any given deity. The two styles can work well in tandem, even, with generalist priests serving all the gods (and perhaps providing "coverage" for lesser gods that don't have a dedicated priest around), and specific deity priests, with their special relationship, advancing their deity's interests.

    In 5e, I've written up some generalist clerics, under the "Pantheist Domain" (under the second definition, "worship that admits or tolerates all gods").
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    It can actually work pretty well, though. In that case, a priest is more or less "The Person who knows the Rites" and sometimes "The Person Officially Empowered to Perform the Rites", rather than having a special relationship with any given deity. The two styles can work well in tandem, even, with generalist priests serving all the gods (and perhaps providing "coverage" for lesser gods that don't have a dedicated priest around), and specific deity priests, with their special relationship, advancing their deity's interests.

    In 5e, I've written up some generalist clerics, under the "Pantheist Domain" (under the second definition, "worship that admits or tolerates all gods").
    On that note, one thing I didn't mention (or said wrongly) is that I have a bunch of non-god-specific priests. Not clerics, but priests. In fact, the number of clerics is way smaller than the number of priests who have some kind of divine-ish power. Most priests out in the world are actually (closer to) celestial warlocks. They're taught and empowered by organizations, being inducted into pacts with patrons representing a group of gods or ascended beings (the second are godlike, but can't grant cleric casting). For instance, most of the priests of the Four Seasons (a polytheistic religion focusing on 4 of the gods but also serving the rest + a bunch of demigods and ascended beings) serve the whole pantheon and are taught secrets via that route.

    Unlike a cleric, they don't have any native access. They only know what they're taught and empowered to use, and the religions are quite chary about what they grant based on your role and your rank. So a village priest isn't going to know/be able to cast those big offensive spells ever. And you have some people who can cast "higher level" spells without any lower level ones at all. But they don't lose their spells if they choose to abandon their devotion--they just can't get any more. And some of them only believe transactionally, rather than devoutly.

    These are all NPCs (the PC equivalent is a full up celestial warlock), which lets me avoid the "well, there's a priest who can cast the full range of level 1-X cleric spells, so things like disease, etc are not an issue" worldbuilding problems attendant in making every priest a full PC-classed cleric.
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    That said, I can't really think of examples of generalist priests. ANy priest I can think of is usually specialized on serving one good, even if they might also pray to others.
    In 3.P D&D the Adept class is supposed to cover the role of generalist ritualist responsible for civic religious observances and everyday ceremonial activities not connected to any particular deity. Adepts are supposed to be more common than Clerics, especially in small settlements, though the demographic tables don't quite bear that out. The Adept makes a lot of sense in a polytheistic context, but the idea was never well developed.
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    I don't own the book (but maybe will pick it up), but IIRC the deities of Mythic Odysseys of Theros don't have alignments given, and most are constructed so as to be somewhat ambiguous in that regard. If that helps when designing a pantheon.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    From a pantheistic PoV, exclusion of worshippers makes little sense. A pantheistic worshipper might pray to a dawn deity upon waking, a hearth deity at breakfast, an agriculture deity while taking in a harvest, a trade deity while selling the crop, a travel deity to get home safely with the money, a marriage deity while arguing how to spend the money, and a dream deity when going to sleep. This person would be poorly served by a cleric of Thor.
    I think this is the wrong framing to look at it through. An average no-favorites worshipper is going to get a lot out of a cleric of Thor if, for example, he lives in a fishing village - a temper tantrum from Thor could threaten to starve them or even destroy their village. A farming village, meanwhile, is going to get comparatively more out of Frey - they need good weather and bountiful harvests - but they'll still worship Thor to keep the storms away, just as the fishing village will worship Frey because he's a god of peace.

    I'm not too bothered by clerics needing to be devoted to specific deities - I figure the average priest (having a pretty cushy position in their community) isn't going to be too motivated to get adventuring unless they devote special, semi-exclusive attention to a god who wants them to get adventuring. But that's just, like, my opinion, man; I think I'd prefer to have the generalist cleric option and not use it instead of just not having the option.

    Personally, for my setting, I'm going with the "gods need to be worshipped regardless of their alignments" angle. If the Neutral Good god of rain gets worship, he sends gentle showers to your crops; if he doesn't, you get droughts. If the Neutral Evil god of disease gets worship, you get healthy communities; if he doesn't, you get plagues. Most shrines and temples are pantheon-wide, but their priests don't get as powerful because they're learning a whole lot of different gods' simple rites rather than any one god's more advanced rites. The temples devoted to specific gods are there because the surrounding region needs those gods' blessings most, but they'll get pilgrims and petitioners from afar who need a lot of attention from a specific god, e.g., a seaside city's temple to the god of storms may get petitioners from the plains asking for protection from tornadoes.
    Last edited by jinjitsu; 2021-04-01 at 08:41 PM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    While I am pleased with the response from the forum, I didn't anticipate it. I will construct my pantheon and their interactions with mortals on another topic while this one continues the discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    In 5e, I've written up some generalist clerics, under the "Pantheist Domain" (under the second definition, "worship that admits or tolerates all gods").
    You have anticipated my evil plan.

    I had several ideas for Generalist Domains, though I planned to give them cooler names. The Pantheistic Cleric would be able to choose two just as a normal cleric chooses two domains sponsored by a chosen deity.

    1. Cleric of All Faiths
    The cleric may be of True Neutral alignment. +4 Knowledge (Religion)
    The cleric may spontaneously cast one spell slot for each spell level allowed, provided that that spell is on a domain spell list for a deity in that pantheon. This consumes the known spell which is converted into the domain spell.

    2. Holy Day Domain
    The cleric is granted the use of the abilities conferred by choosing a domain from the domain list of the deity whose holy day comes next on the calander. If two or more deities share the next holy day, the cleric may choose any of the available domains.

    3. Seer
    The Seer gains a +1 luck bonus which can be used on any one die roll per round, turn, or day, (depending on the time scale being used at the time.) The bonus must be declared prior to making the roll.

    A domain spell list of divinition, scrying, and communion spells suits this domain.

    4.

    Continued tomorrow

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Sorry, but I fell asleep trying to write the last post and have not had time to post since. The first three ideas were rough draft ideas intended for peach and disscussion. I had some more ideas that I hoped to present for discussion:

    4. Village Minister
    5. Traveling Healer
    6. Inquisitor
    7. Exorcist
    8. Adventuring Priest

    The idea is to have four to six domains from which the PC can choose which are exclusive to the Cleric of the Pantheon, and then to allow the PC to choose from any domain in the pantheon's list as well.

    With a broader selection of domains the pantheon option may be too popular, so some compromise may be necessary.

    I am thinking of a callback to AD&D when 1st and 2nd level spells were granted for devotion, 3rd and 4th level spells granted by servants of the deities or demigods, 5th and 6th level spells granted by lesser gods, and 7th level spells were granted by greater gods.

    The panthiest cleric might be required to pray for more powerful spells by directly petitioning the deity in charge of that spell's domain, resulting in longer recovery times.

    It may also be a requirement to devote to a single deity to use spells above a certain level. I'm open to ideas on the subject.

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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Alignment is unrealistic. Most realistic characters are far more complicated than what alignment implies. Bad guys often loving relationships with their families and pets. Good guys are often ruthless in war. You push the wrong too far, and he will move heaven and earth to get brutal revenge. There are drug lords that build community hospitals and give money to local charities. People are complicated. If you look at mythology, some myths have humanistic gods - in other words, gods that act like complicated, messy, normal people. The Greek gods are like this. And that's what I find compelling about them. Hera does a lot of good stuff for people, society, and so forth. But she does a lot of horrible things to Zeus's lovers and the bastard children he produces. That's complicated, but interesting.

    When I make my own settings, I tend to prefer to make humanistic gods, and throw alignment away entirely. I also like making clerics able to serve a pantheon rather than just a single god within it. That's easy enough to do if you throw away the base assumption in DnD that Gods are energy vampires that require worship in order to exist.

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    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Stattick View Post
    Alignment is unrealistic. Most realistic characters are far more complicated than what alignment implies.
    Alignment is only unrealistic if you regard it as a straightjacket that dictates what a character can or will do. When viewed as an aggregate of their actions, it works fine as an indication of their general attitudes, as was intended.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Agreed. Guideline, not straightjacket.

    If I create a character I describe as 'generous,' am I obligated to have him give away his lunch money because he meets a wretched beggar? I am allowed a nuanced approach in characterization.

    My point here is not to do away with alignments and their mechanical game effects, but to present a truly polytheistic society rather than a society of monotheists who accept the divinity of, but do not worship deities other than their own.

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    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Agreed. Guideline, not straightjacket.

    If I create a character I describe as 'generous,' am I obligated to have him give away his lunch money because he meets a wretched beggar? I am allowed a nuanced approach in characterization.

    My point here is not to do away with alignments and their mechanical game effects, but to present a truly polytheistic society rather than a society of monotheists who accept the divinity of, but do not worship deities other than their own.
    I really think having "generic clerics" helps in this regard... people who have divine power, and a place in a religious hierarchy, but are not specifically devoted to a single deity. They can intercede with gods who don't have priests (or open worship), or whose priests you don't want to deal with, or don't want to deal with you. You can then have parallel hierarchies devoted to individual deities.

    So, let's go with Waterdeep. Big city, lots of gods, lots of priests. I am a modest importer of grain from the Dessarin River Valley. Obviously, I'm going to give generously to Chauntea and Waukeen, but also to Tyr, especially whenever I have a case before the court, and probably to Helm for protection, Lathander for health and a good harvest. But. I'm also going to want to make offerings to Mask to keep the thieves away, and Talona to keep disease at bay. I don't do a lot of shipping over seas (I get things TO Waterdeep and sell them to people going elsewhere), but Umberlee and Valkur are part of my business, so I offer to them, too... especially if I have to go to Neverwinter or Baldur's Gate for business.

    Now, I probably have a good, personal, relationship with the priests of Chauntea and Waukeen. I'm on a nodding basis with the priests of Tyr, Lathander, and Helm. But I'm not going to go anywhere NEAR a priest of Mask or Talona, and they're not going to operate in the open, anyway. So, if I need to make a sacrifice to them, I go talk to Bob down at All-Faiths. I say "Bob, I need some help to convince Mask to get his thieves to look elsewhere" or "Bob, can we make an offering to Talos and Auril so the crops don't get hit with a late freeze?" Bob knows the rites, and so we make a sincere plea, backed by more sambars than I want to think about, to help protect my livelihood from the domains of gods who like to take my money.
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    D&D has alignment baked in, and every deity is coded into exclusive camps which make specializing easy, but it is harder to be a 'generalist cleric.'

    <SNIP!>

    This creates the opportunity for a cleric to be a Generalist Cleric who worships a pantheon rather than the standard cleric of a pantheon. A PC could choose to worship and deity above others and follow the PHB rules, but most NPC clerics would serve the pantheon.
    AD&D often provided the option to divorce alignment from religion. The original cleric didn't necessarily serve a specific deity.

    The Complete Priest's Handbook discusses Forces or Philosophies as sources of divine power, rather than deit

    For example, Al-Qadim's Land of Fate boxed set:
    "The Great Gods are neither good nor evil, lawful nor chaotic. They are beyond such matters. Bravery can be found in the most noble faris and the most black-hearted assassin, and who is Hajama to turn his ear from either of them? Individual followers or churches may be good or evil, but the Great gods are above these quibbles."

    And from Dragon #269, we have Priests of the Anglo-Saxon Pantheon, a specialty priest that caters to the whole pantheon, rather than one specific deity.

    It may not be a base assumption, but it *is* an assumption that plenty of designers assumed otherwise.
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    I really think having "generic clerics" helps in this regard... people who have divine power, and a place in a religious hierarchy, but are not specifically devoted to a single deity. They can intercede with gods who don't have priests (or open worship), or whose priests you don't want to deal with, or don't want to deal with you. You can then have parallel hierarchies devoted to individual deities.

    So, let's go with Waterdeep. Big city, lots of gods, lots of priests. I am a modest importer of grain from the Dessarin River Valley. Obviously, I'm going to give generously to Chauntea and Waukeen, but also to Tyr, especially whenever I have a case before the court, and probably to Helm for protection, Lathander for health and a good harvest. But. I'm also going to want to make offerings to Mask to keep the thieves away, and Talona to keep disease at bay. I don't do a lot of shipping over seas (I get things TO Waterdeep and sell them to people going elsewhere), but Umberlee and Valkur are part of my business, so I offer to them, too... especially if I have to go to Neverwinter or Baldur's Gate for business.

    Now, I probably have a good, personal, relationship with the priests of Chauntea and Waukeen. I'm on a nodding basis with the priests of Tyr, Lathander, and Helm. But I'm not going to go anywhere NEAR a priest of Mask or Talona, and they're not going to operate in the open, anyway. So, if I need to make a sacrifice to them, I go talk to Bob down at All-Faiths. I say "Bob, I need some help to convince Mask to get his thieves to look elsewhere" or "Bob, can we make an offering to Talos and Auril so the crops don't get hit with a late freeze?" Bob knows the rites, and so we make a sincere plea, backed by more sambars than I want to think about, to help protect my livelihood from the domains of gods who like to take my money.
    Exactly.

    And if Bob is Good and can't sacrifice an infant to Umberlee, he at least knows the lesser rites and rituals.

    My example pantheon is portfolio-centric with alignment as a roleplaying aid rather than a limit on who can worship whom.

    As an example, neither birth or death are inherently Good or Evil, but the deities with those portfolios have been characterized and have an alignment, and anyone of any alignment preparing for a birth or a death can pray to them for guidance and comfort.

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    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    As an example, neither birth or death are inherently Good or Evil, but the deities with those portfolios have been characterized and have an alignment, and anyone of any alignment preparing for a birth or a death can pray to them for guidance and comfort.
    I was so glad when FR moved Death into the realm of a LN deity.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    I was so glad when FR moved Death into the realm of a LN deity.
    Yeah, I've never liked the "death is evil" motif. I've got two gods who are death aspected. One covers unnatural/violent death, revenge, and assassins, while the other covers natural endings, winter, and mercy/healing.

    But neither of them is in charge of the afterlife/dead spirits. Really no one is, but the closest analogue is the Watcher at the Gate of Infinity, an ancient primordial dragon who acts as the traffic cop via his agents, who with their cats try to make sure everyone gets to the right place and no one evades death beyond their time. With only partial success, since they're rather diminished these days.
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    I use alignments as descriptors of a deities action, not straight jacket. I have nine deities, one per alignment.

    Most of my people are polytheist. They worship the good deities to ask for nice things and worship the evil deities to placate their wrath. They want to do both with the neutral deities.

    The core worshipers who focus on one god above the others are usually of similar alignment to their patron god or goddess, but not always. There are exceptions in every religious order in my world. Sometimes the exceptions form sub-orders.

    My Neutral Evil magic goddess terrifies mortals so fewer mortals worship her than the others. This makes her mad, so she creates undead and monsters to punish mortal kind, which then causes people to worship her less. Rinse and repeat.

    Most of her followers are malcontents and sociopaths or monsters themselves, but there is a radical group that uses magic to do nice things for people in order to win their goddess more worshipers.


    My Neutral Good goddess is mostly a hippy peacenik who cares about everyone and likes children and puppies. Most of her followers are peaceful and accepting people but a few of them are willing to do very harsh things for the "greater good." Some are ruthless in hunting and destroying what they perceive as evil. Others create stultifying police states in the name of "protection."

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    A pantheistic worshipper might pray to a dawn deity upon waking, a hearth deity at breakfast, an agriculture deity while taking in a harvest, a trade deity while selling the crop, a travel deity to get home safely with the money, a marriage deity while arguing how to spend the money, and a dream deity when going to sleep. This person would be poorly served by a cleric of Thor.
    How so? The crops need rain, don't they?

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Likewise, alignment restrictions would make it difficult to pray to most of these deities, no matter what the character's alignment might be.
    Would they? Have there ever been alignment restrictions on who can pray to a deity, rather than on who can be a cleric or devoted follower?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    In that case, a priest is more or less "The Person who knows the Rites" and sometimes "The Person Officially Empowered to Perform the Rites", rather than having a special relationship with any given deity. The two styles can work well in tandem, even, with generalist priests serving all the gods (and perhaps providing "coverage" for lesser gods that don't have a dedicated priest around), and specific deity priests, with their special relationship, advancing their deity's interests.
    I'd like to note that there's no contradiction between a priesthood both performing all of the gods' rites and being devoted to a particular deity. Like, you can have a goddess of religious rituals whose clerics take care of all of the routine ceremonies in most places. If a pantheon is worshiped as a group, it makes total sense that a member of that pantheon might be in charge of worship, while the other gods tend to other things, or run off on wild adventures, or whatever. Someone whose role is to mediate between the mortal and the divine, like a priestess, only handling the other end of the transaction. My inspiration for this idea comes from real-world religion, by the way.

    This is potentially someone extremely important and influential in a "boss's secretary" sort of way, like, well, clerics. Think vizier or chancellor who actually makes most of the executive decisions involved in governing a country while the monarch diplomatically engages other royalty or manages nobles or just parties hard or whatever. Who, if smart, does not use this position to attempt usurpation, because the guy on the throne's the fall guy, whereas whoever takes over next likely will be happy to have an experienced advisor and assistant to help keep things running smoothly. (Hmm, maybe the secretary goddess is a holdover from the previous regime?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    But I'm not going to go anywhere NEAR a priest of Mask or Talona, and they're not going to operate in the open, anyway.
    I remember reading somewhere in some sourcebook that one placates Mask by wearing an obvious, readily accessible coin purse containing a relatively small amount so that any competent thief can just steal from it without hassle (and then tithe to the Master of All Thieves if he knows what's good for him). Followed by a note that anyone targeted by two thieves before discovering that this offering needs to be replaced has probably earned Mask's ire regardless.

    Deities can offer lots of ways to curry their favor without needing to directly interact with a priest at all.
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    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    I remember reading somewhere in some sourcebook that one placates Mask by wearing an obvious, readily accessible coin purse containing a relatively small amount so that any competent thief can just steal from it without hassle (and then tithe to the Master of All Thieves if he knows what's good for him). Followed by a note that anyone targeted by two thieves before discovering that this offering needs to be replaced has probably earned Mask's ire regardless.

    Deities can offer lots of ways to curry their favor without needing to directly interact with a priest at all.
    That's a fun idea. I could also see a wise priesthood of Mask getting a little creative.

    "So, we sell these purses... black with gold thread... through certain vendors. To make an offering to Mask, wear one on your belt, and it will be collected by our... almoners."
    The Cranky Gamer
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude; the appearance of truth within the framework of the game.
    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
    *Two Tales of Tellene, available from DriveThruFiction
    *The One Deck Engine: Gaming on a budget
    Avatar is from local user Mehangel
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    The purses began as a test: steal the token in master thief's purse without getting caught and get a promotion. Thinking it was a fashion, it was copied, but laymen soon realized that the pickpockets would take what was in the purse rather than their real stash. After a time it became a protection racket: have a purse with a few coins or we'll rob you blind. Now, not having such a purse is an invitation to thieves who know you are a fair target to rob your home as well as your person.

    A purse wearer who detects a thief in thd act may cry, "Stop! Thief!" and local guards will pursue the criminal, but a purse-wearer cannot. If a purse-wearer has an item stolen that is not in the purse he goes to the purse vendor who will (usually) find and return the item for a fee.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    "Death waits for us all, but wears no crown."

    No deity is as patient as death, who simply waits for the formerly living to seek it. Even the greatest gods fear it, but it issues no edicts, answers no prayers. Wizards seek its powers, but it grants no spells or secret knowledge. The wealthy and mighty kings seek to stay its hand, but it accepts no bribes. What little is known or believed about Death is taught by the clerics of other gods.

    Among these are the Forgotten Gods whose worship is no longer taught, though some scraps of knowledge of them may be preserved in the teachings of modern deities. These deities were gods of sky and nature, rivers and mountains, and they are said to exist now, lost in the times and places where they were powerful and revered.

    The Barbarian Gods are among the eldest and youngest gods. Ancient lineages trace their families back to them and new barbarian clans raise up new deities to guard and guide the new generations of nomadic rovers or frontier settles.

    Between the extremes are the Gods of Civilization. Some were once barbarian gods whose followers became too successful while others appeared after the establishment of cosmopolitan culture. It is upon the Gods of Civilization that we will focus, and at that only the gods of a particular culture.(There are far too many deities to list them all, but each culture has its own deities.)

    The land of Culadania was once a culture centered on seven city-states. In their day they fought off the Nine Kings, barbarian hordes which attacked again and again over a three hundred years and stalemated the Occidental Empire until it collapsed under the burden of debts the Culadanian War generated. In the following century the civilization grew decadent and ripe for the Tenth Horde under Queen Terinith to finally succeed and conquer Culadania.

    The result is a mix of once great gods ruled by powerful new gods and attended by a host of minor deities and demigods.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    HalflingWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Composer99 View Post
    I don't own the book (but maybe will pick it up), but IIRC the deities of Mythic Odysseys of Theros don't have alignments given, and most are constructed so as to be somewhat ambiguous in that regard. If that helps when designing a pantheon.
    As someone who has the book, you recall incorrectly. Though the gods of Theros were designed from Magic: The Gasthering’s five-color wheel, in their D&D book they are given alignments from the standard nine. This leads to some… interesting choices, to say the least. Though I’m not familiar with MtG lore, I raised an eyebrow at a few of the choices WotC made.
    Last edited by P. G. Macer; 2021-04-21 at 07:47 PM. Reason: Grammar

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Deities Divorced From Alignment

    In the central highlands of Caladan where once, we are told, the centaurs and fauns ruled, the oldest city of Culadan was raised. Baran, the goat-horned goddess of fertility and song, was paramount, though lesser deities filled out the roster.

    In the modern city of Elos, goat and sheep farmers, cheese makers, and dairy farmers revere her as the goddess of prosperity

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