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View Full Version : Creating a believable Patheon from Scratch for D&D



Scalenex
2008-01-02, 09:36 AM
I have tried many times to come up with a pantheon for deities made up of interesting deities that are related to each other and support the notion of the Good, Evil, and Neutrality and Chaos, Law, and Neutrality being cosmological forces. Hereís my latest attempt. Iím trying to do this one step at a time. They donít have proper names yet but they have good working names.

The current gods are the former servants of a tyrannical god that initially created the universe/multi-verse. The old primordial god was extremely evil and created the gaming world and populated it with sentient souls just so it could feed off the souls like a rancher feeds off of livestock. This godís working name is the All-Consumer (A-C). Over countless ages, the A-C grew fat, greedy, and lazy and needed more and more people to feed him. He created ten servants gods as Creation became larger and more difficult for the A-C to manage. A-C feared its servants would one day try to depose its power so A-C created beings who disagreed on every fundamental level that A-C could imagine. The ten deities names were LN, LG, LN, N, NG, NE, CN, CG, CE, and Sell-Out. For along time, A-Cís plan worked. All Ten resented the A-C. Some resented the A-Cís high level of control, some resented his horrid treatment of Creationís souls, some resented not being allowed to consume their own souls and there were many other grouses, but they all disliked or hated their siblings too much to unite against their father/mother.

N was the most insightful of all the Ten. Lesser beings would call Nís insight prophecy. In any event N realized that the A-C would eventually consume all Ten of them. Out of greed and paranoia and then create new servants to repeat the process. Fortunately N got along with the other siblings because he was the least extreme in his views. One by one he got his siblings to concede to the Rebellion. N also used his prophetic abilities to arrange meetings at times and places where and when the A-C would not notice.

Sell-Out only pretended to go along with the rebellion in order to set up his/her siblings and use that as a bargaining chip for the A-C to spare him/her. Sell-Out failed though and was destroyed by his/her vengeful siblings.

LN realized that while all Ten of the siblings didnít want to be eaten by their progenitor, they needed some sort of agreement to take on an equal amount of risk during the Rebellion and take an equal share of power after they took over management of the world. The Nine divided up the management of creation into nine equal pieces (theoretically Ten but Sell-Out was obviously knocked out). Each of the Nine would have jurisdiction over one ninth (again originally a tithe but Sell-Out died) This arrangement was called the Compact and LN was the main architect.

CG is credited with coming up with the idea of using a schedule shipment of souls as a trap against the A-C. When Sell-Out revealed his/her true colors, CG left his battle position to personally destroy Sell-Out in one-on-one combat.

NE put wings on CG Trojan horse maneuver and hatched a plan to use a tribute of souls to poison the A-C. NE took the souls of a tribute load and tortured them endlessly until they were so mutilated that the A-C became weakened when it consumed them.
LE, as the most trusted by the A-C told the lies and made the maneuvers to get the A-C to eat the poisoned souls. The A-C viewed LE as the worst of all its turncoat servants so LE took the most serious wounds in the battle of any of the victorious Nine.

LG didnít appreciate all the duplicity, leading a frontal assault on the A-C once it had become poisoned. Up until this point, all mortal souls were ignorant that they were created merely as food. LG chose the strongest and told them the truth. They became his army and followed him into battle. LG knew most would be destroyed in the charge but figured this heroic death was better then being consumed as food.

NG role in the actual battle was small, but during the preparation NG created a shelter for all the souls not used by LG and NE. NG reasoned that the Rebellion would be a hollow victory if the world was rendered unlivable and all the living souls destroyed.

CN didnít follow LNís carefully laid out battle plan and flouted many steps of the planning process, changing them as she saw fit. This helped because it made Sell-Outís information inaccurate, so the A-C didnít believe Sell-Out saying there was a rebellion until it was too late for the A-C to prevent it. CN claims that she alone knew that Sell-Out had sold out, but LN attests that she did to piss her off and that if everyone stuck to their roles, the battle would have gone smoother.

CE deliberately held back for most of the battle. Sell-Out was dead, but most of the remaining Nine were badly hurt and only CE was still standing so the weakened A-C planned to take him down before coup-de-gracing (in other words eating them) all the others. CE played possum after taking a mild blow, then sucker punched the A-C when its back was turned, striking the blow that finally destroyed the A-C.

Once A-C was destroyed, all of the Nine took one of his body parts and shaped it into one weapon and/or tool each. These divine artifacts are what the signature weapons and religious seals of clerics are based off in the gaming world.

The few souls that were part of LG and survived gained great power, these became the first dragons. The moderate amount of souls that NE mutilated that were not consumed because the progenitors of many horrible monsters, including the first undead. The souls that NG created became the main denizens of the world. The Nine created souls of their own whole cloth once they became more adjusted to their deific powers, and some races were created when two or more of the four origins of souls intermingled. People of different races and species love to argue about their origins. Most people with pride in their species/race want to have some tie to the members of LG and they want to tie their enemies in with NEís souls and their friendly (but inferior) allies into NGís souls and/or the later creations of the gods. That and some creatures are supposedly born of couplings between one or more of the Nine and mortals.

The Nine divided up the souls evenly of the dragons and NGís shelter to be their worshippers. CN once again imbalanced things, saying that souls should not be puppets or cattle and gave the first of the divine Gifts: free will. Suddenly the Nine no longer had a guaranteed share of souls. The rest of the Nine eventually followed suit and gave Gifts to mortals so they could protect or expand their share of worshippers through bribery. While the Nine gods no longer have a guaranteed stake in the hearts and minds of the mortals of the world, their hand in creation and the remnant of the compact has guaranteed that their unique view points (aka the nine alignments) have become thoroughly ingrained into the fundamental forces of the world.

I originally planned to only have Nine deities, but I needed a better role for CG, so I created Sell-Out. Also, this made CN changing the battle plan a bit more sensible. I deliberately kept the A-C and sexless though I thought of making them different sexes so Sell-Out could literally lust after his/her parent, but decided against it. The Nine I wanted to give sex/gender to. I hopped back and forth between picking genders that seemed to go with their alignment/deific roles and those that were genderbending.

I knew right off the bat that LN would have dominion over the sun. The sun reliably rises and sets and watches over creation just as LN tries to watch over the other eight siblings. LN had to make concessions in order to get the Compact and Rebellion off the ground, thus the sun sets every night. For the same reasons that Rich in his world building wanted to flout convention and make the Sun female rather than male, so did I. LN is female. LNís Gift to mortals was writing. LN didnít want the mortals to forget their traditions just because CN gave them the ability to choose to ignore them.

CN is female. Itís probably sexist, but I think women are less predictable then men and CN is the embodiment of change. Also, I figured CN and LNís rivalry should be sisterly rather than brother-sister. I decided to give CN dominion over the weather. The whole saying that ďif you donít like the weather, wait ten minutesĒ is because the one causing it gets bored and changes it a lot. I thought about giving LN dominion over the seasons so she could try to exercise some control over CN and because modern science, the sunís rays determines the seasons, but ancient or medieval people wouldnít have come up with that and I was running out of dominions for other gods.

I always thought of LE as an oily magistrate. So that kind of suggested male to me. I wanted LE to have some kind of lasting injury that the other gods donít. There are far too many cases of gods missing eyes and hands, so I decided to have his face ripped off. Thatís not something you see too often, and I thought it would be nice and lawful evil if all his clericsí uniforms involved masks. LE, unlike the other Evil gods, has a somewhat legitimate excuse for his power seeking maneuvers. He believes he should get more worshippers and a better dominion then the others because he took the most grievous injuries. I have yet to come up with a good dominion I really like but for now I gave him dominion of the earth and rocks. LEís Gift was far easier to come up with, currency and commerce. Money being seen by some as an Lawful Evil concept. This gives LE a small measure of regulatory power over the other deities Gifts. Money in this time is based off of precious metals which ties into LEís Dominion of the earth.

NEís horrifying trick to poisoning the A-C seemed arcane to me. I gave NE Dominion over the arcane forces of the world, though itís incomplete control at best. That struck me as witchlike. That and I always viewed CE male right from the start and I just made LE male as well, so I needed at least one of the evil deities to be female for balance. Once the mortals of the world got free will, most mortals became horrified at what she did to sentient souls during the Rebellion, so her disgusted and frightened followers turned to her other deities. She was also the last of the Nine to give a Gift to mortals at large. She figured if they didnít worship her in significant numbers she wouldnít give them anything. When she realized that the other deities all had more clerics and that her power on the mortal plane was weakening, she finally gave her Gift. She taught some mortals wizardry and encouraged its spread, even outside her own worshippers. Ostensibly it was so mortals could defend themselves against dragons and sorcerers, but most view it as a subtle undermining of the clerics of the other eight deities. This also flip-flopped the traditional D&D world where sorcerers are more distrusted than wizards. Now, sorcerers are viewed as wielding powers they didnít ask for and wizards are accused of trafficking with evil forces to learn their power by the superstitious.

LG is probably the least developed of my deities. LG is clearly a just warrior, but Iíve had trouble moving beyond that. As I was conceptualizing LG, LG starting looking more and more like a knock-off of Pallas Athena. I made LG male differentiate him from Athena. I gave LG the dominion of the seasons because itís similar to my original plan of giving it to LN. I doubt LG has a lot of patience for CN either. LGís Gift on the table is metal working. I had trouble coming up with a Gift too, but I eventually settled on metalworking because LG is probably the patron of dwarves so it fits. This also gives LE a grouse against him because it infringes on his domain of the earth.

NG is a very nurturing type. I never felt like gender bending here, so I made NG female, since NG concept is so motherly. I came up with contradictory Dominions and Gift though. I eventually decided thatís okay because most of the Nine are irked at the specific Gifts the others gave mortals. NG has dominion over water, the life giving element of the mortal plane. NGís gift to mortals was fire, so they could stay warm and sheltered.

CE is also a warrior god. CE boastfully took the title Last One Standing in honorific to CEís role in the Rebellion. This seems masculine to me. Both the desire to be the Last One Standing and bragging about bad-ass it makes you. So CE became male. CE takes the Last One Standing to mortals too encouraging them to fight and ďtestingĒ them with hardship. CEís Dominion is over disease and decay. While LN meant this as a force of renewal, CE is a little overenthusiastic. LN (and the others) had to leave CE this because he was the most reluctant to join the Compact and the Rebellion. CEís Gift seems innocuous enough. He taught mortals how to use as many parts of a slain animal as possible and how to raise animals domestically. This was meant to cause a link between killing and personal gain and teaching about the strong dominating and using the weak.

I was running out of steam when I got to CG. I couldnít come up with a good Dominion or Gift or what gender CG should be for a long time. CG is kind of a warrior and I kind of wanted a female warrior, but I noticed something. So far all of my deities were the same sex as their mortal enemies (on the alignment axis anyway). And they were the opposite sex of the deities one step removed. Example, LG is male as is his greatest enemy, the dishonorable warrior CE. LGís closest allies LN and NG are female. I decided to keep this pattern and make CG male. I decided to make his Gift music and art eventually. This will prop up bards theoretically and art is an important endeavor of civilization (most of the Gifts have to do with civilization on some level). I looked at my list of aspects of nature. I noticed I didnít have the moon used yet. I didnít think to use it because the moon has relatively little to do with day-to-day life, but I realized the symbolic power of lights in the night sky. LN keeps watch during the day and tries to keep the evil and chaotic gods in line, but because of his compromise, he has to give them free reign at night. CG doesnít want to give evil a free pass at night, so CG put up the moon to keep an eye on them.

N got Dominion over plants and animals and the rest of the natural world. Since the other eight deities are the least suspicious of N, only N was trusted to be apolitical enough to be trusted with the potentially most powerful Dominion. I have trouble getting beyond this as a very Gaia-like deity. But if I made N male, N would look way too much like Obad-hai. I now had four male gods and four female and I kind of wanted balance too. For a long while I was going to have N be a hermaphrodite or androgynous, but thatís hard for some people to grasp. I eventually decided to make N male to fit with my pattern (all the deities one step removed from N are female).

Okay I have a Gift and a Dominion for each god. Unfortunately, some of these are weak, so Iím open to suggestions. Once I have Dominions and Gifts pegged down real good, it will help me come up with cleric domains later. Then itís time to figure out what the Nine each forged from the Nineís corpse and what body parts they used (though I know LE made a mask from A-Cís skin and CE took the heart). Once I have that Iíll come up with favored weapons and predominant symbols. Iím probably going to come up with proper names for them last. Also on the drawing board: lesser deities. I see two obvious sources. The first is the Nine mating with their siblings. All Nine of them are the opposite sex of those deities they are most likely to get along with. LG and LN can hook up and have a child who goes on to become the patron of the Dwarves for example (which usually seem to be Lawful Good with Lawful Neutral tendencies) and later LG and NG can have a child who goes on to be the patron of Gnomes. CN and CE could have a brief liaison resulting in a deific monster that creates plague-like weather. Another option is to how powerful mortals rise to become lesser gods, but a part of me just wants to have the Nine gods and use divisions within followings of the Nineís flocks to create desired variety.

Any feedback or suggestions are welcome.

EDIT: I meant to include my thoughts on giving each of the Nine dieties a clerical domain of one of the four classic elements but this would throw off my system of the the Dominions of the Nine's influence. My biggest issue is that any and all of the four classic elements can easily have Lawful, Chaotic, Good, and Evil aspects all at once.

NG: Water, the nurturing life giving aspects.

NE: The darkness that prevents you from seeing the bottom of a body of water, the patient force that drowns.

LN: Fire, an off shoot of being the sun goddess

CN: Fire, inspiration and randomness, also thought to be a part of the human spirit and free will

LE: Earth, the steady unyielding aspect, also repository of wealth
LG: Earth, steady unyielding aspect, that and can fit with LG's style of making war.

CE: Wind, winds cause erosion, in medieval times wind was blamed for carrying diseases.

CG: Wind, since CG has some sky aspects it fits. Also with music.

N: All four, since they are basic elements of nature.

Umarth
2008-01-02, 10:16 AM
Here's the main reason I don't feel you've got a belivalbe pantheon going on.

It all makes to much sense. It doesn't have the organic feeling of gods that have been arround for a long time.

You've got gods that represent each of the nine alignments and good stories behind them but as long as they lack a history explained by the culture of thier worshipers they will seem more like story devices than "real" gods.

My recommendation is to look at the early history of your world and figure out how the gods would have been worshiped in the begining. Then figure out how the worship of those gods would have been affected by the rise and fall of various civilizations and then when you finally get to the "present" time for your campaign your gods will be nicely mixed up and feel much more authentic.

Vadin
2008-01-02, 10:52 AM
Another aspect that could be considered: instead of locking the deities into genders, some of them could be animals. Why would they all be humanoid, after all, when animals (and magical beasts) populate the world just as much as humans and elves and dwarves?

XiaoTie
2008-01-02, 01:59 PM
I really liked the idea and the pantheon itself, and I also liked the genders, but Vadin's idea would be cool too. Maybe some sort of new mix of man (elf, dwarf, halfling)/dragon (a lynx is fine too :thog:)

Hope you show us the final pantheon :smallbiggrin:

Yakk
2008-01-02, 03:13 PM
In the beginning, Nod made the universe.

Nod was hungry, and the universe existed to feed Nod.

Nod was lazy, so Nod created the Gods to bring him food.

Groat, called the Wise, decided that Nod would eat the Gods, and built a conspiracy among them.

Some ideas for Events:
1> The First Betrayal (NE diety poisons Nod)
2> The Second Betrayal (LE diety turns on the other gods)
3> The Third Betrayal (CE diety turns on Nod)
4> The Forth Betrayal (Nod turns on LN diety)
5> Battle of the Sun (Birth of the Dragons)
6> Battle of the Moon (Birth of the Elves and Orcs)
7> Battle of the Earth (Birth of the Dwarves and Goblins)
8> Battle of Hell (Trapping of LE diety)
9> The Fifth Betrayal (Dieties turn on CE diety)
10> End of Nod

This removes the 10th diety.

Of the 3 evil dieties, NE is allowed to roam free -- because his was the act that allowed the rebellion to start. NE poisons the creations of the other dieties.

CE is chained and bleeding out, his blood corrupting all that it touches, producing demons who would tear reality apart. He was betrayed by the other gods because his goal was not just the defeating of Nod, but the destruction of everything.

LE was loyal to Nod, and his loyalty was responded with by trapping him in Hell. He can only touch the world by compacts with powerful beings outside of his cell, and longs to take over reality and run it as Nod would have.

LG did, as you noted, create the dragons. LG finds most mortals not worthy.

LN keeps the clocks ticking. Nod's betrayal of LN is something LN still regrets: LN's word is eternal.

NG is the Wise One. NG was the one who convinced the other dieties to rebel.

NN wanted no part in the War. NN spent the time creating beings rather than fighting on either side -- but NN's beings where used by both sides in the War.

CG was NG first convert to the war.

CN convinced NE to turn on Nod, pissed off LE enough that LE turned on the gods, took credit for CE's betrayal (nobody believes CN), and was working on a plan to betray LG when the gods turned on CE.

This is a variant of what you did. In it, the Gods are less allies and have little reason to trust each other.

NN remains, well, neutral in the war between Nod and the Gods.

LN is steadfast, and only the betrayal of Nod lead to LN fighting on the side of the Gods.

The evil dieties are actually evil, not just different perspectives. CE wants to destroy all of reality, and LE wants to set himself up as a new Nod. Only NE is free to touch the world, and nobody trusts NE because NE is the one who, out of nowhere, nearly killed Nod in the opening days of the war.

NE continues to warp the creatures of reality into beings of evil. Probably because NE finds pain and evil amusing.

LG is a deity to worship, but you are not good enough for LG. Paladins who are perfection itself might qualify, as might some of the the Dragons.

The evil Dragons are those who where either corrupted by NE, or corrupted themselves in deals with LE or experiments with the blood of CE.

Lots more drama in my recounting. And it leaves the world "out of kilter".

Engineer
2008-01-02, 03:47 PM
Here's the main reason I don't feel you've got a belivalbe pantheon going on.

It all makes to much sense. It doesn't have the organic feeling of gods that have been arround for a long time.
That organic feeling exists only because there is no final definitive evidence of there existence. Therefore people can have different interpretations, and these gods appear to obviously exist to mortals (worshipers).


You've got gods that represent each of the nine alignments and good stories behind them but as long as they lack a history explained by the culture of thier worshipers they will seem more like story devices than "real" gods.
When I read it I got the feeling that everyone worshiped them and they are the gods for everyone, so individual cultures would have there own histories, but he was describing it in general.

I think it's believable, assuming that these gods are not just for one culture and are the real gods of this universe.

kailkay
2008-01-02, 03:54 PM
An idea, if you want a world that has a richer culture and deeper 'meaning' to it, is to have a pantheon for each of the major humanoid races (like the Faerun campaign setting for D&D has).

Based on the major races of the world and the way they fit their own particular molds (Dwarves are stoic, taciturn and like to mine rock, elves are flighty and aloof, halflings are thiefy, rogueish and generally up to no particular good, and gnomes are... gnome-like, etc) you design a pantheon around those particular values. For example, dwarves would have perhaps two major gods devoted to mining and smithing, but at the same time likely only have an offhand, minor demi-deity devoted to the arts of music, drama, painting, and all that wonderful stuff.

Thus, you can create various gods for each of the races. The trickiest might be the humans, or it might be a race that you are less familiar with, depending on the angle you try from.

For example: The human pantheon in my own campaign, which is STILL under construction, basically goes like this:

Each of the class-types has at least 2 gods for it, many have 3. This is 'average', and because of the adaptability and randomness of human profession and focus, the humans tend to only have 'average' numbers of gods.

Warrior (this includes classes whose main idea is fighting, generally worshipped by fighters, soldiers, guards, etc.)

LG - The Protector
CN - The Hunter
LE - The War-monger

Magic (wizards and sorcerers)

LN - The Studier of the Arcane
CN - The Creator of the Arcane

Nature

NG - The Harvest/Agriculture
TN - Balance, the woods, animals, etc.
NE - Destruction, Disaster

The tricky part is the rogue-gods, because in my opinion (which is far from the expert one) the rogues of the world wouldn't necessarily have their own god, or they'd only really have one, because it doesn't seem to be a favourable sort of profession, and definitely not accepted in most lawful societies.

Rogue Gods, anyways;

CG - Benevolant Bandit God, God of Goodly Outlaws (God of Robin Hoods :P)
TN - God of Gain, Trade
NE - God of Assassins, Murder

The trick with this, is that you also have to account for the other aspects of human nature/life. These include death, family, food, dance, music, and so forth. Depending on the world, you might like to have a few gods devoted to this, or only a couple. In mine:

LN - God of Death
NG - God of Family
CG - God of Art, Song
NE - God of Disease

Thus there are 15 human gods, which is a rather god-heavy world, in many respects, but there are settings with more than that.

Not here are perhaps a god of Craft, a god of Justice, and so forth, but these are both portfolios that can be incorporated into several other gods as it is anyways.

More pantheons would focus upon particular areas of racial culture: for instance, dwarven gods would probably have many more warriors, and far fewer rogues, mages, and nature, to reflect to sort of followers available. As well, lawful gods would be more common than chaotic ones.

Similarly, elven pantheons would be more numerous with chaotic gods, more magician gods, more nature gods, fewer rogue gods, fewer evil gods.

And so on and so forth. It is much easier to design gods based upon aspects of culture, than to design gods based on alignment, and it feels more organic, as well. Why, for instance, are there three gods of Nature? Well, perhaps the God of Balance had twin children, one a son, and one a daughter. The daughter was a matronly type who cared for the children of the world and their means of sustaining themselves, while the son was malevolent, throwing thunderbolts, causing great windstorms, forest fires and earthquakes, all for the purpose of being a general nuisance to those fragile beings living in the world below. Though the two gods do not line up so far as their ideas go, they also do not attack one another directly, as they understand, in some manner of speaking, that there is a balance to all things. Perhaps the god(dess) of agriculture is also the god/dess of the sun and daytime, while the god of destruction and disaster is also the god/dess of the moon and nighttime.

Eventually, the pantheon you create can vindicate itself with a little thought given. Experiment with allignment combinations within the groups of gods. A world with only lawfully-alligned warrior gods and only chaotically-alligned nature-gods creates a strange world; fewer barbarians exist who are strictly of the warrior gene, but they will tend, instead, to have some form of attunement to nature, rather than brute, raw strength. Similarly, kingdoms will tend to have a more militaristic, lawful bent to the world. Nature will be feared, and the peoples of the world will try to either subdue it or do away with it altogether.

Scalenex
2008-01-02, 10:29 PM
Here's the main reason I don't feel you've got a belivalbe pantheon going on.

It all makes to much sense. It doesn't have the organic feeling of gods that have been arround for a long time.

You've got gods that represent each of the nine alignments and good stories behind them but as long as they lack a history explained by the culture of thier worshipers they will seem more like story devices than "real" gods.

My recommendation is to look at the early history of your world and figure out how the gods would have been worshiped in the begining. Then figure out how the worship of those gods would have been affected by the rise and fall of various civilizations and then when you finally get to the "present" time for your campaign your gods will be nicely mixed up and feel much more authentic.


My plan is to come up with the gods before I come up with human history, but I do have a broad history which I left out for space reasons. Here goes.

The world of the A-C was fairly flat and featurless, but very fertile. The oceans were shallow and filled with fresh water. The Rebellion ravaged the world, creating mountains and valleys and deserts and filling the oceans with salt. The gods didn't help stabilize the terrain. Very few of them had any experience with shaping the land and seas so they made some features from mistakes. That and CN wanted to make things "more interesting" and CE wanted to make land features "that tested the mortal's strengths." In this harsh varied world the early dragons thrived. They could fly, breath underwater, burrow, crawl, and wield potent arcane magic. With these natural powers and the patronage of the Nine there was little place they couldn't go. Soon there was a thriving dragon civilization that created wonders that mortals today could scarcely comprehend (in other words, anything they made that's still around is an artifact).

This didn't last, eventually their numbers expanded until they had used all the best places to live, so the young were sent out into marginal areas. There were also numerous divisions forming. Divisions over religion, divisions over bloodline and powers, and nationality (as the dragons began forming separate kingdoms). This made fighting fierce, but it was excaberated by NE. NE was still fuming at her lack of worshippers so she unleashed several monsters upon the world. Sometimes she convinced or tricked LE, CE , and N into helping her, but mostly she acted on her own. These monsters rarely could challenge dragons without superior numbers and most were said to be wiped out, but NE was afraid of losing her children and they all managed to do some damage. As conflicts intensified, dragon elders feared for their lives (it was said in those days dragons never died of old age as opposed to aging very slowly) so they sent the younger generations into more and more dangerous situations to protect them. This caused internal rebellions on top all of all the inter-dragon group fighting and monstrous incursions. Most dragon kingdoms followed LE, LN, LG, N, or NG but the young started turning to their elders' gods' rivals. These underground cults helped open up their elders for attacks by rival dragon groups or NE's monsters. After centuries of fighting, dragon society was all but destroyed. No longer did dragons form communties and kingdoms, now they hid in isolated locales and only got together to mate.

The gods decided to work on creating a new race. First they used their powers to "smooth" out the world making it more habitable, then NG released the some/most/all of the souls she had been sheltering all this time. The gods thought that a weaker race would less apt to become corrupted by their own powers, they created elves, beings who could live for centuries but not millenia. When some remaining dragons tried to prevent the elves from establishing themselves, that's when NE finally gave her Gift and taught some elves wizardry. The elves weathered the storm and went on to create mighty empires themselves. Eventually, much like the dragons, elven kingdoms began to fight over resources. NE was preparing to unleash a wave of monsters upon them, but CE beat her to creating a horrible plague. Also, no one is sure how but the first devils and demons appeared around this time using the world as their own personal battleground and trying to use the elves as slaves, cannonfodder, and food to fuel their war with each other.

This was known as the Time of Three Terrors (NE's monsters, CE's plagues, and the mysterious blood war). Only a few groups of elves survived. The smallest elven kingdom, the one with the best natural defenses (either mountains or an island), survived more or less intact. These became known as the Grey elves of today. Some elves were fled to the woods where they allied with sylvan creatures to survive. These became the Wood Elves of today. The Grey Elves consider the Wood Elves barbarians who sold out what it is to be an elf, the Wood Elves attest the Grey Elves left them out in the woods to die and betrayed them. I have yet to decide whether or not to have Dark Elves (Drow or something similar) be the result of elves who sided with dark powers to survive.

The various Nine were getting sick of NE's monopoly on creating monsters, so they began to create their own beings. Generally N was the most sucessful at this. Most of the other PC races came about in isolated areas during the closing days of the Time of Three Terrors Eventually all but CE and NE decided it was time to create a new race to inherit the world. They created humanity. Most humans claim they came from some remaining souls that were sheltered by NG and that there particularly nations have a dash of dragon. Most elves attest that the humans were created wholecloth by the seven participating dieites and the best human nations had a dash of elf blood.

All present human nations or tribes attest to a time when all humans were functionally barbarians. Each nation has a single hero or group of heroes crediting with helping found their mighty nation (and dealing with the remnants of the Three Terrors or xenophobic elves or dragons).

That's about where I've stopped. The next step in this history is to figure out how big of a world I want and start drawing a map. I want at least one human nation for each of the Lawful dieties to have as a state religion. Naturally since the human nations are starting to war and compete there is fear that they are going to face another civilization ending cataclysm like the elves and dragons before them.

Scalenex
2008-01-02, 10:31 PM
Another aspect that could be considered: instead of locking the deities into genders, some of them could be animals. Why would they all be humanoid, after all, when animals (and magical beasts) populate the world just as much as humans and elves and dwarves?

I was thinking of giving them all multiple forms. I was thinking one animal, one humanoid, and one dragon, but that's a little contrived. They can have as many forms as they feel like, though the Chaotic ones use more than the lawful. Some dragons attest that all the gods true forms look like dragons.

Blue_C.
2008-01-02, 11:09 PM
An idea, if you want a world that has a richer culture and deeper 'meaning' to it, is to have a pantheon for each of the major humanoid races (like the Faerun campaign setting for D&D has).

Personally, I'm not fond of huge, expansive deity lists. I'm having a hard time even articulating why I don't like it, but I liken to the saying about too many cooks; I have a hard time believing any world can stand that many forces of creation.

Nine gods, one for each alignment, might be a tad restrictive, but I've seen it done with fewer. The only bad part that I see is that the TN deity almost has to be a nature god, thanks to druids. (Stupid Druids and their flip-floping idealism).


Experiment with alignment combinations within the groups of gods. A world with only lawfully-aligned warrior gods and only chaotically-aligned nature-gods creates a strange world; fewer barbarians exist who are strictly of the warrior gene, but they will tend, instead, to have some form of attunement to nature, rather than brute, raw strength. Similarly, kingdoms will tend to have a more militaristic, lawful bent to the world. Nature will be feared, and the peoples of the world will try to either subdue it or do away with it altogether.

Here though, you make a good point.

loopy
2008-01-03, 09:19 AM
I like your pantheon, well thought out and small enough that I could rattle off the entire Pantheons names and brief descriptions of each if given a minute or two (unlike the faerun pantheon).

A couple of notes though:

- As a big fan of the romanticized thievery found in this genre, I was wondering if you were planning on having a god that the roguish types of the world particularly idolize.

- A good idea with any pantheon of Gods is to have schismatic splinter sects/cults that either follow a different (or even twisted) interpretation of what the god actually stands for.

For example, a sect of the church of NG who takes the sheltering nature of the god and takes it way too far, twisting it into a kind of smothering condescending "we know what iss best for you". This could mean that the followers of this particular sect could be LN or LE, but would add to the flavor immensely.

- You have provided for various geographic anomalies with the whole "gods not being very good at world shaping/want to test the races thing", just make sure you don't do the "Lava region borders the Ice region" without a good reason. Luckily "a wizard/god/dragon did it" counts as a good reason when creating worlds.

Wow... I didn't mean to ramble on this much! Anyway, I love the pantheon.

loopy
2008-01-03, 09:42 AM
EDIT: Gah, double post! Stupid malfunctioning interwebz! DAMN YOU AL GORE!

Thoughtbot360
2008-01-06, 04:57 PM
Another aspect that could be considered: instead of locking the deities into genders, some of them could be animals. Why would they all be humanoid, after all, when animals (and magical beasts) populate the world just as much as humans and elves and dwarves?

Well, technically, animals have genders too, you know....

mabriss lethe
2008-01-07, 12:04 AM
The best way to make a beleiveable pantheon is to create the gods as characters. Give them stories, motives, rivalries and jealousies. Give them a sense of personal history. Treat them like one big dysfunctional family. Then, and only then do you designate alignments, portfolios, domains, and other deific brickabrack as befits the characters and their histories.