Monday, December 8, 2008

Creating Gods

Most Dungeons and Dragons setting are watched over by a pantheon of gods, much like those found in Greek Mythology. These gods are typically related either through direct bloodlines and/or marriage (often incestuously) and dont really give a crap about the world below. These "gods" are forever fighting amongst themselves, cheating and backstabbing one another and subsequently dragging their worshippers into their indescretions.

Such pantheons allow for alot of big events to happen in a fantasy world, as assorted gods hatch one plan or another in an effort to gain more worshippers and possibly destroy rival gods. They leak information to heroes and villains and otherwise use them as chess pieces in a vast and weird game.

In creating a world for use in an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition game, the creation of the settings gods is very important. After all, these are the beings that are keeping the setting going as well as keeping it from ever really getting past its flaws. So, in trying to think of a pantheon for a homebrew D&D game it occurred to me that a pantheon of the sort I mentioned above is not at all different from our own modern political system. Different parties come about, promise a great deal, but untimately degenerate into sub groups, political cliques, infighting and corruption.

In using this model, I have put together the pantheon below. Please note: These are supposed to be stereotypes, rather than true analygies of political philosophies and movers on the political scene. I DO NOT think any of these political philosophies in and of themselves are inherantly evil or stupid, only that when taken to their extremes get out of hand very quickly. I truly believe that people will ALWAYS screw up and fall to evil, regardless of the original intent.

Abbreviations/Priesthood: Under each god presented below is a list of powers that specialty clerics gain. These terms are abbreviated as follows:


AB = attribute scores required to become a priest of the deity’s order. “Standard” means that the standard requirements listed in the AD&D© 2nd Edition Player’s Handbook apply.
AL = acceptable alignments for priests of this deity
WP = weapons priests of this faith are allowed to use
AR = armor restrictions for priests of this faith. The following codes may appear:
a (any armor allowed)
b (May only wear nonmetal armor)
c (May only wear metal armor)
d (May not wear any magical armor)
e (May only wear magical armor)
f (May only wear armor made by priests of the same faith)
g (May not wear any armor at all)
SP = spheres of clerical spells to which the deity grants access for his or her priests. A sphere followed by a “*” indicates only minor access is allowed to that sphere.
PW = special powers commonly granted to priests by the deity. A number followed before a power indicates that the listed power is granted when the priest reaches that level. Unless otherwise indicated, these powers may be used once per day. For example, “10) raise dead” means that at tenth level, the priest is granted the ability to raise dead once per day.TU = The ability to turn or command undead.


Some of the gods of out home campaign:

Ondus (Republican)
Ondus is the god of commerce and free-trade, supporting the growth of economy and expansive practices. He appears as a wizened man with a white beard and a paunch. Ondus is a great manipulator and employer of any and every sort of being, not letting alignment or nature prevent him from pursuing his goals. Clerics of Ondus are all accomplished merchants, and are expected to work towards developing trade and communication between nations, and eliminating threats to these efforts. Many serve as advisors, cartographers and explorers for the guilds and private interests, paving the way for further trade.
Alignment: N
Priesthood: AB standard; AL any non-evil; WP any; AR a; SP all, charm, combat, guardian, healing, protection, sun, weather; PW 1) double normal starting gold; 5) know the true value of any item on sight; 10) never lose at a gambling game; TU nil.

Brenam (Democracy)
Brenam is the god of intellectuals and the judicial process. Brenam appears as a handsome elf, half-elf or human male in scholars robes. Brenam teaches that mortals and immortals require laws, administration and instruction by their fellows, and that the more intelligent have a responsibility to lead. Clerics of Brenam are expected to act as teachers and philosophers. Many act as lawyers, judges and preside over the formation of committees and charitable organizations.
Alignment: LN
Priesthood: AB standard, but Int must be 15; AL any neutral; WP dagger; AR g; SP all, animal, astral, charm, combat, creation, divination, elemental, guardian, healing, necromantic, plant, protection, summoning, sun, weather; PW 6) cast wizard spells as if they were five levels lower in experience; TU nil

Aenisi (Libertarian)
Aenisi is the goddess of personal freedom and resistance against oppressors. She often appears as a powerfully muscled woman, clothed in stylized armor and carrying a spear. She is a forceful goddess, outspoken and quick tongued when she feels the need. Clerics of Aenisi are expected to be outspoken against tyrants and be ready to protect the oppressed. Aenisi adores all those who question authority and that are unafraid of being outspoken.
Alignment: CG
Priesthood: AB standard; AL any good; WP staff, net, bow and arrow; SP all, charm, divination, healing, sun; PW 5) cure disease; 10) heal; TU turn.

Roxe (Labor)
The physically strongest of the gods, Roxe is the god of all those who make their living through physical labor or skill in craft. Roxe appears as a powerfully muscled male being of indeterminate race carrying a large tool of some kind. He is a simple and straight-forward deity, uncomfortable with politics or deceit. This leads him to seek wiser gods council, and will always defer to their judgment. Clerics of Roxe are almost always physically strong and are expected to be skilled in at least one craftsman-oriented proficiency such as Blacksmithing or Farming. Roxe prefers those who work rather than talk, and thus true preachers are virtually unknown amongst his priesthood.
Alignment: N
Priesthood: AB standard, but Str of at least 15; AL any neutral; WP any metal; AR a; SP all, astral, charm, combat, creation, elemental, guardian, healing, protection, sun, weather; PW 1) heroes’ feast once per week; 10) craft weapons, shields, or suits of armor with a +2 enchantment (requires one month each); TU nil.

Falust (Military)
Falust is a powerful deity who focuses on martial skill and the life of the professional soldier, and has little interest in individual freedoms. Falust appears as a fearsome dog-headed man carrying an axe and wearing mixed armor of differing cultures. He insists that without martial strength all other merits are pointless and flawed. Clerics of Falust are military minded, and constantly train in the use of weapons and armor. Military academies all over the world prize these clerics as drill sergeants and field priests. Despite alignment Falust teaches respect for martial and tactically skilled individuals, even enemies.
Alignment: LE
Priesthood: AB standard; AL lawful evil or lawful neutral; WP any; a; SP all, astral, combat, elemental, guardian, protect PW 1) Falust will heal 5 hit points per level over night for her priests who have killed anything the day before; TU turn.

Bontiala (Green Party)
Bontiala is the goddess of wild and living things, and desires nothing so much as the unrestrained growth of nature. She appears as an extremely attractive (all natural) woman, with long hair and bountiful figure. She is a wild and energetic being, and though powerful, is unfocussed and a bit hard to communicate with. Clerics of Bontiala are as wild and free as their goddess, acting as rural priests and midwives as well as tribal clerics and urban worshippers. Teachings mostly surround respect and awe of natural forces and the rights of animals and plants to exist unhindered by mankind.
Alignment: N
Priesthood: AB as druid; AL as druid; WP as druid AR as druid; SP as druid; PW as druid, but also 1) can accurately predict weather one full week in advance; 8) heroes’ feast once per day; TU nil.

Zerorus (Greenpeace-Ocean)
Zerorus is the god of the living sea, its animals and its plants. He appears as a handsome and tanned elf or half-elf dressed in little but a shell necklace and a loincloth. Zerorus teaches that the sea and its life are precious, and that the point of life is to live in harmony with it. The only time this deity becomes focused is when his favored sea creatures, dolphins and porpoises, are threatened, bringing his suspicion and wrath upon those who would hurt them. Clerics of Zerorus teach a doctrine of respect for the sea and its inhabitants. They travel with sailors of all sorts (except whalers), and are much beloved by them. Note: Though Zerorus is a deity of the sea, he is not the sea itself or its lord. Rather he is in awe of the greater ocean. Priests who revere the ocean itself are always Druids.
Alignment: CG
Priesthood: AB standard; AL any good; WP mace or trident; AR a; SP all, animal, astral, combat, divination, elemental, guardian, healing, plant, summoning, weather; PW 1) create salt water (as the create water spell); 5) breathe water 1 hour per level per day; TU nil.

Userol (Justice)
Userol is the often frustrated god of justice, who works tirelessly to avenge the downtrodden and oppressed. He appears as a fiery youth with sad eyes and carrying a warhammer. Though powerful in his own right, Userol is usually unwelcome by the other gods, who find him troublesome company. Clerics of Userol are monster hunters and frequent revolutionaries. They are expected to pursue evil, regardless of personal cost.
Alignment: LG
Priesthood: AB standard; AL any; WP any; AR b; SP all; PW 1) turn undead as if 2 levels higher; 10th) turn invisible; TU turn.

Aungwer (Anarchy)
Aungwer is the god of lies and selfish cruelty, who often plays the other gods off against each other in a constant game of chess. He/She appears most often as an androgynous man-scorpion of great beauty. He/She considers itself a teacher of hard lessons, though he seems more mocking than educating. Clerics of Aungwer are sewers of mischief and distrust, preaching a doctrine of completely abandoning the self to passion and personal lusts. They do not show themselves openly in most nations.
Alignment: CE
Priesthood: AB standard; AL any evil; WP any; AR SP all, astral, combat, guardian, healing, necromantic, protection, summoning; PW 1) backstab (as thief of equal level); 5) immune to all poisons; 10) attract 2d10 faithful followers of evil alignment; TU command.

Isscareu (Extremist Feminism)
This fearsome goddess is the patron of violent and angry women everywhere. She appears as a snow white harpy, and is often accompanied by regular harpies, gynosphinx and lamia. Isscareu is a violent deity who hates males of all species and calls for their debasement and destruction whenever possible. Clerics of Isscareu are almost always women, with only eunuch or homosexual men being an exception. All such clerics are forbidden sex with the opposite gender and teach that such marriages is a debasement of feminine strength and freedom. Sacrifices in honor of Isscareu are always demihuman or humanoid infants, particularly male ones.
Alignment: CE
Priesthood: AB standard; AL any c; WP any; AR b; SP all, combat, elemental, weather; PW 5) summon rain (500 yard area); TU nil.

Zerne (Media)
Zerne is the goddess of harlots, travelers and gossips, seeking always to slip herself into powerful company and intimacy. She appears as a remarkably attractive female of any species. Zerne interests herself in exposing secrets and transferring information. She herself hoards secrets, waiting for an opportunity to expose herself. Clerics of Zerne are concubines, spies and explorers, supporting all efforts to uncover hidden truths, regardless of the dangers.
Alignment: CN
Priesthood: AB standard; AL any good; WP club, bow; AR a; SP all; animal; charm; combat; creation; divination; elemental; guardian; healing; plant; protection; summoning; sun; PW 1) friends once per day; 3) charm person once per day; 8) mass charm once per day; TU nil.

Ditus (Conservatism)
Ditus is the god of the earth, science, knowledge, and medicine, and is a staunch defender of long held tradition and ritual. He appears as a dwarf or stone giant of middle years, carrying a book. Though very powerful, this god is slow to action, often being outpaced by other gods. Clerics of Ditus are supporters of strong leadership, and teach often of the value of elder wisdom and strength of character.
Alignment: LN
Priesthood: AB standard plus Int of 16; AL any; WP y; AR a; SP all, astral, charm, divination, guardian, healing, protection, sun, weather; PW 1) detect lie (always active, no saves apply); 5) Intelligence and Wisdom increased by 1 point each; 10) commune with Ditus once per week; 15) Intelligence and Wisdom increased by 1 point each; TU nil.

Ociont (IRS/Banks/Stock Market)
Ociont is the god of the great merciless depths of the sea, and the god of death. He is a merciless, pitiless being that appears as a waterlogged cadaver, encrusted with barnacles and wriggling with wriggling worms. This god teaches of the inevitable triumph of death over life. His priesthoods are not loved, but are sometimes called upon by the desperate and despairing.
Alignment: NE
Priesthood: AB standard; AL any evil; WP any; AR a; SP all, charm, creation, divination, healing, necromantic, summoning, weather; PW 3) see in darkness; 5) darkness in 10’ radius; 10) death touch (save versus death or die); 15) raise dead; 20) regenerate 5 hp per round; TU turn.


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I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
-- Henry Vaughan