(side-note: this theological system is vaguely inspired by Hinduism. If you know anything about the way Hindu gods work, you may have a head start in getting what I'm on about)
Far above the ordinary planes of existence are the Primordial Divinities
. These transcendent beings are equal parts the creators of, created by, and a part of the universe itself. They are immortal, omnipotent and utterly incomprehensible. Few, if any, know they exist, and even fewer would pray to them - it is highly unlikely that they would answer anyway. Instead, they create lesser versions of themselves in the form of gods - in a similar manner to that in which the gods in turn manifest avatars or spawn mortals.
There are nine of these Primordial Divinities
, each one attached to/a part of an aligned plane (it should be noted, however, that they are far beyond the concepts of Good, Evil, Law and Chaos):
- Father (LG): creation, protection, strength, masculinity, solar
- Mother (NG): creation, protection, birth, fertility, femininity, lunar
- Time (LN): death, endings, beginnings, renewal, the afterlife, cycles
- Trickster (CN): anarchy, change, underhandedness, deception
- Nature (TN): earth, fecundity, animals, plants, health, agriculture
- Knowledge (LE): information, intellect, magic, secrets, science
- Love (CE): romance, sex, friendship, jealousy, obsession, beauty
- Creativity (CG): technology, art, music, literature, invention, progress
- Violence (NE): war, murder, destruction, bloodlust, insanity
The gods themselves might be worshipped by whole nations, encompassing dozens of grand concepts and wielding massive power over a multitude of peoples... or they might be specific to one place, one time, one tribe and a few specific things. Or anything in-between. One Primordial Divinity might manifest itself in hundreds of gods, each representing a different aspect of itself, sometimes even in direct opposition to one another. In turn, a single god might be shared by more than one Divinity, representing some aspect or combination of aspects of each of them.
So, for example, the gods Loki and Kokopelli are both manifestations of the Trickster Divinity. Conversely, Garl Glittergold is an aspect of both Trickster and Father - perhaps a little more on the Trickster side.
Although they are "merely" aspects of a greater consciousness, the gods are all individuals with their own personalities, goals and sense of self. Whether they themselves are aware of the existence of the Primordial Divinities, whether they know themselves to be aspects of them or revere them as mortals do gods, is debatable
Partial History of the Gods
Eons ago, in the times after the multiverse first came into being, the oldest gods roamed freely in their true forms across all the planes. They inevitably came into contact with one another and, as they are wont to, quickly came into conflict as well. Arguments came to blows, blows became battles and battles escalated into war. Whole continents crumbled beneath their violence, and they were at risk of tearing the Material Plane apart.
It is not known who first noticed the danger, who pointed it out to the others, initiated the peace talks and actually got the agreements to stick. What is known is the results: no god walks the planes in their true form. Battles, if they must be fought, are to be fought elsewhere, on some other reality that can handle the violence, or else indirectly through influence and other methods. They may visit the Material Plane, but only for peaceful purposes and in severely reduced (if still powerful) form - usually an avatar.
When a god decides to visit the Material Plane, it is a time of both great trepidation and great celebration on the part of their worshippers: on the one hand, they may have an opportunity to meet and talk with their god personally. On the other, a trip to the Plane generally means a lack of metaphysical contact between deity and worshippers - in other words, divine spellcasters tend to lose the use of their spells for the duration of the visit, unless the god makes some arrangement beforehand.
Most of these gods have some personal item - usually a weapon or a piece of armour - that is left on the Material Plane. Between visits, it is often kept as a sacred relic by the god's worshippers, revered and treasured. One of the first things a god usually does in their trip to the Material Plane is to seek out and reclaim their item, and carry it for their journey. Often they return it to whence they took it before leaving, but just as often they don't.
The Gods of Cakeworld
Pretty much any god in any source book is likely to be worshipped somewhere on or around Cakeworld. There may be tweaks (no way was Hades Evil...), but chances are, if a player wants to worship a god, they can.
I have also, however, statted up a few gods specifically for this world. They are as follows:
Inti (based on the Incan God of the Sun)
Kokopelli (based on a native American God
Giver of Life, The Smiling Sun
A benign sun face surrounded by long rays.
Sun, light, strength, healing, life, protection, rulership.
Bards, rangers, druids, healers, rulers, nobles, guards, Good warriors.
LG, NG, LN.
Good, Healing, Life, Nobility, Protection, Strength, Sun
Inti is the Handia (South American - Inca) equivalent/counterpart to Pelor, with more emphasis on protection and authority. He is a strong, noble warrior in shining gold armour and his great shield. He is the defender of the weak and a bastion of justice. He is commonly worshipped by farmers who rely on the sun for their livelihoods, and by just kings and the defenders of good.
Inti is a stoic but kind god. He teaches that it is the duty of the strong to protect the weak. Just as the burning sun nurtures the delicate seedling until it grows into a strong and sturdy tree, so too should his mighty followers bolster the weak to make them strong enough to stand on their own.
Clergy and Temples
Gold is the colour and material most favoured by the clerics of Inti. Their temples are often heavily decorated with the metal, and are usually wide open to the sunshine. The clerics are usually patient and protective, but have backbones of steel and hearts of diamond. They believe in strength and toughness, and in sharing those with the people without until they have enough of their own. They will defend those in need, but consider just as important teaching them to defend themselves.
Cleric/Fighter(or Warblade)/Paladin(or Crusader)
Wields the Vanguard of Inti.
Golden Vanguard of Inti
Golden Vanguard of Inti is a heavy shield made of polished ebony with a shining, benignly smiling sun – the symbol of the god Inti – made of gold on the front, with sharp spikes pointing out from the rays.
Nonlegacy Game Statistics:
+1 Spiked heavy wooden shield; Cost 1,025gp; Weight 12lb.
Golden Vanguard of Inti always feels very warm to the touch, as though left in the sun. It is a tower shield, but can be wielded as though it is a heavy shield.
When the god Inti visits the material plane, he seeks out the Vanguard as his own personal shield.
Two rituals are required to unlock all the abilities of Golden Vanguard of Inti.
Organise a festival in Inti’s honour. For three days you must fast, refrain from sexual intercourse, and have no fire lit in your presence. Then you must arrange feasting for the next nine days, all animals slaughtered for meat first consecrated to Inti and sacrificed in his honour. Cost: 1,500gp. Feat Granted: Least Legacy (Golden Vanguard of Inti).
Light a Dark Place:
You must assist an oppressed or endangered community by both freeing it from its threat and teach the people or establish something that will assist them in protecting themselves in the future. Cost: 11,500gp. Feat Granted: Lesser Legacy (Golden Vanguard of Inti).
The wielder must spend at least one hour in direct natural sunlight every day. Once a week, he must meditate in direct natural sunlight for one hour plus one for every 5 levels. These hours do not have to be consecutive (e.g. you do not have to start over if it gets cloudy half-way through).
Golden Vanguard of Inti can be wielded by clerics, paladins, druids, favoured souls and other devout military classes.
Golden Vanguard of Inti Wielder Requirements
Ability to cast 1st-level divine spells
Any nonevil, nonchaotic alignment
Base attack bonus +2
5th|+1 bashing spiked heavy wooden shield (1d8 damage and as +1 weapon when bashing)
6th|Shining Might +2
7th|+2 bashing +1 spiked heavy wooden shield
9th|Shining Might +4
10th|+2 bashing spiked heavy wooden shield
13th|+2 bashing brutal surge spiked heavy wooden shield
14th|Shining Might +6
16th|+3 bashing brutal surge spiked heavy wooden shield[/table]
Legacy Item Abilities
All the following are legacy item abilities of Golden Vanguard of Inti.
Shining Might (Su):
At 6th level, you are infused with some of Inti’s power, gaining a +2 enhancement bonus to Strength. This enhancement increases to +4 at level 9 and to +6 at level 14.
Luminous Brawn (Su):
At 8th level and higher, you gain a +4 bonus on the opposed Strength check made during a bull rush attempt, and you push your opponent back an additional 5 feet if the attempt is successful.
Golden Grandeur (Sp):
From 11th level, you are under the effect of enlarge person. This is constant, and can be suppressed.
Inti’s Brilliance (Sp):
Starting at 13th level, the golden sun can emit a beam of light equivalent to a daylight spell at will. Caster level 10th.
Asteleben, God of the Darker Side of Evolution
The Trickster, Coyote, Huehuecoyotl, The Joker
A humpbacked flute-player, a face of many expressions, a smiling coyote head. Symbols vary greatly among different worshippers, depending on the aspects upon which they focus.
Various, especially Chaotically-aligned ones. Unusually active on the Material Plane.
Trickery; Entertainment, music, art, jokes, humour, comedy, performance in general - both good and bad: Only mediocrity is boring; Fertility - especially when undesired: Special protector of its unwanted products, and of orphans, is often involved in designing special fates for them; Luck - good and bad, double-edged, and disguised; Theft and mischief; Thinking around corners, problem-solving, creativity - convoluted and complicated solutions are far more interesting than straight-line logic; Intelligence, wit, cleverness; Coincidence, irony; Justice - preferably fitting, personal and twisted; Ambiguity and confusion - half-breeds, hermaphrodites, individuals of confused or atypical gender, the insane, shape-shifters, polymorphed creatures, and the lost (literally and metaphorically), among others, are under his personal protection... and are his personal playthings; Opposition to mediocrity - if there's anything he can't stand, it's the ordinary; Drugs - especially hallucinagens, often an important part of his worship; Phobias, fetishes and irrationality; Time - especially "early" and "late", and the tricks time can play; Contradiction; Extreme emotions; Tears - of laughter and sadness; Inconvenience; Weather (local only, preferably dramatic, inconvenient and/or inappropriate); Noise, and the absence of it; Crowded, anarchic groups of people - battles, riots, cities; The Butterfly Effect, obscure causality; Double-edged swords; Deception - through both lies and misdirection, and creative application of the truth.
Worshippers: Anyone, midwives, rogues, bards.
CE, CN, CG, N
Chaos, Liberation, Luck, Madness, Transformation, Trickery
Wit. Failing that, improvised weapons.
Kokopelli is possibly closer to his Primordial Divinity than any other god. Worship, description and general nature of the trickster god varies between groups of worshippers.
Kokopelli is a mercurial and complex deity, and the beliefs and practices associated with him vary dramatically from place to place, or even between people of the same tribe. Generally, he teaches – sometimes cruelly – that life is unpredictable and capricious, and that it is better to be flexible and take things as they come than to try to plan for everything. He is of the opinion that it is far better to fail spectacularly than to be merely adequate, and encourages his worshippers to be exceptional in everything they do.
Clergy and Temples
The worship of Kokopelli is surprisingly well-regarded in many communities. His festivals are huge events, and many tribes consider him their personal patron or even an ancestor.
Few of Kokopelli’s clergy have that as their primary occupation – many double as midwives or entertainers, and a large number of his Clerics are also Rogues or Bards. He also has few fixed temples – most of his worship is temporally focussed, rather than geographically, especially at celebrations or important events such as a birth. Sometimes a small temporary shrine will pop up, usually nearby some peculiar feature or event, where people will leave small offerings. There are also a few travelling temples, caravans devoted to Kokopelli, that tend to follow local festivals – whether Kokopelli’s or to crash some other god’s. More often individuals will perform their own small rituals when, where and how it seems right to them.
Usually has a musical instrument at hand.
Thresher, Scourge of Infants, The Ordeal, The Improver of Lines, The Perfector of Species.
Nature, Death, Violence (in that order)
Two sickles attached end-to end.
Laboratory-Reserve in The Grey Waste
Evolution, natural selection, eugenics, social Darwinism, bigotry, racial anthropology, nature, ecology, predator-prey relationships, life, death, reproduction, survival of the fittest.
Rangers, druids, barbarians, eugenicists, believers in a “master race”, biological scientists and experimenters.
NE, LE, CE, TN.
Animal, Competition, Death, Destruction, Endurance, Life, Plant, Strength, War
Asteleben embodies the darker side of nature. He resembles an aging gardener or farmer wearing practical, well-worn clothes, the sort of man who would pluck weeds and throw them on the compost without a second thought, or who could pick out weak lambs from the flock to be slaughtered. He looks like an ordinary man who is both willing and capable of performing the grittier duties of keeping a healthy flock, except that his “flock” includes all living things.
Asteleben teaches that through the death (or failure to reproduce) of individuals the species as a whole is improved. The removal of the weak and undesirable elements strengthens the whole. It is both inevitable and necessary that the fit survive, and the unfit perish. It is the way nature works, and the way it constantly improves itself. As nature does in her forests, so Asteleben’s worshippers must do in their communities.
Clergy and Temples
The few temples of Asteleben that exist have a hierarchy based on merit, determined by, more or less, the ability to take and hold authority. The temples themselves often feature altars for the sacrifice of any imperfect animals or people, and sometimes facilities for experiments in breeding.
Most organised worship is incorporated into a whole society, the religious leaders often literally having the power of life and death over individuals. Such communities usually practice some sort of child testing and condoned infanticide, and imperfect individuals are rarely tolerated – if they are allowed to live or to enter the community, they are never allowed to breed.
Rulers desiring to rule a pure, superior people, more ruthless breeders of animals and plants, and druids with an interest in the evolutionary forces of nature are among Asteleben’s more prominent worshippers. His clergy tend to prefer dark earthy colours, such as dark green, brown or red.
Wields two sickles.