The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed - Coming in December and available for pre-order now
Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Trask's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    United States

    Default How do you name the Gods?

    Simple question, whats your method?

    I was thinking about changing to names that are actual functional descriptions of the God's role/association, like Thor being the actual Old Norse word for Thunder or Zeus being a derivation of Sky Father as an actual name, but I feel like it might come across as generic or uninspired, anyone have experience with that?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    the Netherlands
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    You can use a name generator, or you could use a deity/pantheon generator if you're really lazy.
    You can search through names and their meanings and then alter whatever you find.
    You can have your players name the (good) deities. Or create them. Why do you have to do all the work?
    Bob. They are all named Bob.
    Do what Jack Kirby did in Eternals. Take the names of Greek or Norse deities and change them slightly.

    Or you could just skip the whole pantheon making thing. There's plenty of reasons not to start with it in the first place.
    - It's a lot of work, and you don't have time for that.
    - The players aren't interested in going through 100 deities with a 1 page description anyway.
    - The players think your spreadsheet pantheon is made up out of 2 dimensional characters.
    - You have no knowledge of theology or philosophy and your creation myth is riddled with plot holes.
    - There's a couple of good pantheons in the PHB to choose from.

    I'm not trying to be negative here, I'm just trying to point out that it's hard to make an interesting pantheon that works for your setting.
    Last edited by the_david; 2019-11-01 at 06:24 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Trask's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    United States

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post

    I'm not trying to be negative here, I'm just trying to point out that it's hard to make an interesting pantheon that works for your setting.
    Well aware its something I've personally agonized over for a long time, but nonetheless I find it a compelling aspect of fantasy world building, oft ignored, to have a coherent mythology with a feeling of presence and imminence, not background dressing or something only clerics have to worry about, but something that really informs the world. And I do a lot of reading on indo-european or otherwise pre-christian faiths of Eurasia for pleasure outside of fantasy gaming so I find it an entertaining task. I just struggle with naming fairly constantly.

    The quick and easier solution is to use a world world mythology and tap into its richness without doing work, but they can also feel a little ill fitting for fantasy gaming tropes and so I prefer to do mine from the ground up, while borrowing and tweaking ideas from other sources, I think thats what most people do.
    Last edited by Trask; 2019-10-27 at 06:13 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    Planned to post my world-wiki in it's own topic today but maybe this would interest you :

    https://amothinthebutterflycourt.obs...com/wikis/gods

    I went a bit nuts creating a World in wiki format for Exalted so I chose my naming convention based on the sort of Journey to the West conventions for some with a sprinkle of Shinto-esque deities. In a monotheistic religion usually you have one deity whose name basically just means God because there's no others really who sit on the same spectrum but in pantheistic religions it can be anything goes. Their names could be anything and the connotation with their responsibilities or source might have spawned the later words. Aphrodite possibly means "Foam" because of her origins of being born from the sea but her name becomes the source of "aphrodisiac" as an example.

    I don't think it matters particularly what you name a deity because the society eventually equates the name with the idea over time anyway.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Tawmis's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    As I prefer homebrew DMing... it allows me to do whatever I want with the world and expand on my own creativity.
    As such the gods I first created (it's pretty much been the same world since like the 6th grade - which - let me tell you was a VERY long time ago) - and it's been constantly evolving.
    As such, because in my youth, being heavily influenced by Thor comics, many of my Gods had Norse-like names (where I looked up various North mythology and just changed things here and there), then they were later influenced by the gods from the Realms of Arkania game, and simply continued to evolve. When I look, I can still see some of those old influences - but the gods and their names have changed over the years. I've introduced new gods to fit someone's character whose come up with a good/fun/interesting concept and injected them as if they've always been a part of the mythos.
    Need a character background written up? I do it for free but I am now taking financial donations through paypal if you're so inclined! <3 Now with over 150 character backgrounds written!

    Check out my 5e Module The Secret of Havenfall Manor over at DMsGuild.com! (If you check it out - please rate, comment, and tell others!)

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Zombie

    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    If you give gods unique names, they seem more real and authentic, but the names are just meaningless sounds for the players until they really learn who everybody is (which might never happen).

    If you give them easy descriptive names, players can easily use them and remember them, but they can seem kind of bland and generic.

    But if you combine them, you can avoid the drawbacks. "The Red God, Chuchilbara the Lord of Flames, and the Yellow God, Lopcilthoth the Lady of Earth and Grains" will be called "Red God" and "Yellow God" in play, but everybody knows that they have full names and aren't just generic.

    More important than names are actual personalities that make them seem less one-dimensional. Just look at Thor in the Marvel movies. In D&D terms, he's little more than "clerics get the lightning domain and favored weapon: warhammer", but how many of his most memorable moments and quotable lines are related to zapping and smashing?

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    For my "Greco-Sumerian" setting, anything from previous "ages" gets names derived from finding a word or words in Sumerian or Akkadian that are relevant to the thing, and that I like the sound of.

    Sadly, I lost my notes on how I got from A to Z on that mental process with most of these: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/shows...3&postcount=73

    http://psd.museum.upenn.edu/nepsd-frame.html
    http://s155239215.onlinehome.us/turk...ctionaryEn.htm

    And as Xuc Xac notes, giving each deity an "epithet" both lends them an air of authenticity, and will help the players remember them.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2019-10-28 at 12:15 AM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    The Worldbuilding Forum -- where realities are born.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2019

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    Pick a one word conception of the god: "blood", "wealth", "Law" et cetra.

    Method one: Straight anthropomorphize a concept. This can be used to force a worldview onto the players. NPC: "Truth is merciless." PC:"Do you mean the deity or the concept?" NPC:"There is no difference".

    Method two Look at the etymology; for example wealth comes from "weal", apply the Celtic suffix for godd-ess (on-a) and we get Wealona. Pronounceable, and it associated to the concept. If you don't like the etymological word, look up a synonym. If you use Celtic names, consider "fixing" the typography so things are spelt in a manner that isn't confusing.

    Try to stick within European languages, and if you go outside consider Ellis-island-ing them. One or two names characters don't know how to pronounce is exotic, several run together.

    More important than the question of "what are the gods like?" is "What is the process of the players learning what the gods are like?".

    This is fiction, so limited attention spans should be assumed and learning about the gods should (as much as possible) be it's own reward. If it's not entertaining by itself, it's work and should be as simple as possible to setup plot that depends on it. I'd recommend reading about the Chaos gods and paying careful attention to the order information is presented.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Bohandas's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    I've got two methods:

    1.) Take a word associated with something in the deity's portfolio and scramble the letters. If pressed for time or inspiration you could also just use the name of a random nearby object as your starting point, The Usual Suspects style)

    2.) Compile a list of existing deity names* and feed it into a markov chain program like DFLang or Sean's Exellent Travestificator.


    *I have a couple of lists already compiled but unfortunately I'm not allowed to post them here because they contain names from mythology. If you have a similar thread on this topic going on any other forum please point me to it and I'll be glad to post it there.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Devil

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Over there!
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    It varies by setting, but if your gods matter then they should be all over the place and so their names are a really useful world-building tool.

    Identify any groups, such as "Elven" or "Recently ascended mortals" or "Imported from another continent" and keep them separate. The party should know that Gorglish is related to the other Numrian deities and isn't an Orcish ancestor chief by the sound of the name, most of the time anyway. Give each group its own rules. Maybe the gods of The Orcish Hordes are known only by their titles and only their priest have their actual names, maybe the old established pantheon all follow a familial naming structure such as Teb-ne-hor, Teb-sahn, Teb-geilg, Teb-voin etc. In that particular case, do people drop the Teb? Then with the actual name, it should sound right for the portfolio, even if we don't get into names that mean their job territory. Lawful gods should have simple, clear, names. Chaotic deities should be strange sounding, wholesome deities should have clean, familiar sounding names, deities of secrets should sound strange (although exceptions are a good world-building tool. Generally new, recent deities should have easy to understand etymologies as they may be real, n use, names or simple descriptors.

    A good way to do this quickly is to translate some descriptive text or details about the deity into a foreign language, grab a few syllables that sound right and anglicise them.

    Names tend to be the last part of a deity and their faith I do. If part of the way through I decide a religion uses the god's name as a meditative chant I can call them Ahm. I might not get that idea if I named them Shiborain.

    Also try to stick to 3 or 4 syllables for actual names, more than that and players just wont remember them. Also, provide cheat sheets, it helps the players keep track and they might even invoke them themselves.
    GNU Terry Pratchett

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    The material plane (duh?)
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    I created a pantheon once. It included
    Abadeur : God of Evil
    Dolphinion : God of the Sea
    Aeo : God of the Air
    Current characters:
    Drakirr (Blue Dragonborn Warlock)
    Alyfyldyr Hyalythki (Rock Gnome Wizard)
    Harilidir (Half-elf Bard)
    Kazaharad Akaztkl (Goliath Barbarian)
    Luft (air-genasi druid)
    And of course Lizard Wizard (Lizardfolk Sorcerer)

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    I run Mystara so I don't really need to name gods, but looking at how it works there can be helpful.

    First of all, the Immortals (gods) are not actual embodiments of aspects of reality. Some may be associated with some aspect or another, but they are more like politicians, hobbyists or activists working for something than intrinsically tied to it.
    So Thanatos is not the death god, he's just a god that wants to kill everything. Ixion is often associated with the sun, but is not the god of the sun. What mortal worshippers know/believe is another matter.

    Secondly, the Immortals are a varied bunch, with most of them being ascended mortals less than 5000 years old. They may go by their mortal names, and many will have other aliases, especially if they are worshipped in cultures outside their original. Lokena mostly goes by Athena after her ascendence.

    Some Immortals are so old that their original names are forgotten, in a format that is incompatible with humanoid perception and production, or simlpy not something they had to begin with.
    The Immortal known as Protius, for instance, was a sort of proto-dolphin and whatever moniker he may have had would be hard/impossible for mdoern humanoids to hear or produce. Ka the Preserver was a dinosaur millions of years ago and didn't have anyone to talk to so he didn't need a name. Ixion is so old he can't remember his origin, and the name 'Ixion' is probably just one of the names that has stuck around the longest. He is also known as Tubak or Solarios (among other names).


    So when naming gods I think it is important that you know the What (how they work in the setting) Who (the personality of the gods) and the Why (why do gods exist and do what they do?) and the mortal cultures - how are the gods worshipped? Why are they worshipped? How much variation in doctrine will a god allow? How different are cultures from each other, and would this matter to the gods?

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Bamako

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    I had a large pantheon wherein the gods basically had titles rather than names.

    Some referred their domain like "The Master of Knowledge", "The Lady of Mercy" or "The Lady of Pain and Madness"; others referred an animal or creature they were associated with like "The Bear God", "The Dragon Lady" or "The Lion God", while others had ever more generic names like "The Fair Goddess", "The Blood God" or "The Red God". And the elemental gods were named "Raging Storm", "Flickering Flame", "Churning Waters" & "Trembling Earth".

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Habana, Cuba
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    I devised an algorithm for naming. Pick a close similar of your idea, next for every letter substitute for the next letter on the abc (conceived as a ring) that has a similar function. If the result sounds weird change to a better sounding variant.

    For example: Jupiter----> Karovas (changing every consonant for the next, and every vowel for the next)

    Its just a lazy method for avoiding thinking to much for inspiration. Otherwise I would name almost every character starting with an A (I donīt know why).

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Tawmis's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    Quote Originally Posted by Relonious View Post
    I devised an algorithm for naming. Pick a close similar of your idea, next for every letter substitute for the next letter on the abc (conceived as a ring) that has a similar function. If the result sounds weird change to a better sounding variant.

    For example: Jupiter----> Karovas (changing every consonant for the next, and every vowel for the next)

    Its just a lazy method for avoiding thinking to much for inspiration. Otherwise I would name almost every character starting with an A (I donīt know why).
    I... love... this idea...
    Need a character background written up? I do it for free but I am now taking financial donations through paypal if you're so inclined! <3 Now with over 150 character backgrounds written!

    Check out my 5e Module The Secret of Havenfall Manor over at DMsGuild.com! (If you check it out - please rate, comment, and tell others!)

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Bohandas's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    - You have no knowledge of theology or philosophy and your creation myth is riddled with plot holes.
    Actually I think familiarity with these things would be more likely to CREATE plot holes. That's how you get settings where the same sun shines down on everyone yet somehow every culture has a completely different sun god.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Actually I think familiarity with these things would be more likely to CREATE plot holes. That's how you get settings where the same sun shines down on everyone yet somehow every culture has a completely different sun god.
    Or even within a culture, over time. Perhaps they are all the right sun god *gets flashback to Pratchett's "Pyramids"*

    This is why something like Mystara's take works. There is no real god of the sun, just gods associated with it.

    Or one could just do what the Dragonstar setting did. They introduced the idea of the Unification Pantheon. The setting is D&D in space, with tons of worlds and individual cultures. What some philosopher priests did ages ago was realize that across cultures, across worlds, you have a ton of different gods, yet they are all basically flavors of a dozen or so archetypes. You have the crafter god, the leader god, the war god, the mother goddess, etc. They introduced the idea of the unified pantheon and started worshipping these greater, more general gods under titles like the Father, the Mother, the Smith, etc., and lo and behold, they received spells. These arcehtype gods were distant, big and vague enough to encompass quite a bit of regional variation, (and when forcibly inducting a new world into the Dragon Empire, it's a lot easier to convince people that you worship the same god under a different name and with some ritual differences instead of having entirely different gods.)

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: How do you name the Gods?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Actually I think familiarity with these things would be more likely to CREATE plot holes. That's how you get settings where the same sun shines down on everyone yet somehow every culture has a completely different sun god.
    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    Or even within a culture, over time. Perhaps they are all the right sun god *gets flashback to Pratchett's "Pyramids"*

    This is why something like Mystara's take works. There is no real god of the sun, just gods associated with it.

    Or one could just do what the Dragonstar setting did. They introduced the idea of the Unification Pantheon. The setting is D&D in space, with tons of worlds and individual cultures. What some philosopher priests did ages ago was realize that across cultures, across worlds, you have a ton of different gods, yet they are all basically flavors of a dozen or so archetypes. You have the crafter god, the leader god, the war god, the mother goddess, etc. They introduced the idea of the unified pantheon and started worshipping these greater, more general gods under titles like the Father, the Mother, the Smith, etc., and lo and behold, they received spells. These arcehtype gods were distant, big and vague enough to encompass quite a bit of regional variation, (and when forcibly inducting a new world into the Dragon Empire, it's a lot easier to convince people that you worship the same god under a different name and with some ritual differences instead of having entirely different gods.)
    Yeah, a lot of this just depends on the nature of the "divine" and cosmology in the setting.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    The Worldbuilding Forum -- where realities are born.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •