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Use of Deities

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:13 pm
by Troll Root
Curious to know how other CK's/GM's etc. use deities in their games. Do you mix and match from several pantheons? Are you only true to a certain pantheon? Is it game specific? How do you do deity interaction within the game itself, as in with the PC's.

I myself allow most deities when I am running a game. How large a part they play depends on the game itself, where it's taking place, the make up of the PC's and whatever else comes to mind. I like interaction between the deities and the PC's as well. I like to use avatars, disguises and indirect methods as well.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:31 pm
by Arduin
I use racial ones, Greek & Norse. Interaction? Other than via divine casters or, EXTREMELY subtle stuff, nothing really. Gods and ants don't mix well unless something REALLY world shattering is happening. ;)

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:14 pm
by tylermo
I'm looking into it. A couple of my players want to use some from OG&M. Bonuses are typically granted. I just don't want some players over-dominating others with said bonuses.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:15 pm
by Lord Dynel
In the revamp of my campaign setting (which is upcoming), I'm doing away with my pantheon (which is one god of each alignment) and going with a "dualism" that is based, partly, on the 3rd edition D&D Deities & Demigods. There will be one "good" god and one "evil" god. I thought this might be an interesting take, and I'd like to see how it goes. I figured I would have different sects (and cults) devoted to each god that would focus on different aspects of their respective beings. Worship won't be on through these specific branches alone, though, as they will exist as fringe factions (in most cases)

Nature will exist as a "force" that will grant druids their power (they'll be able to pull their magic from nature, literally). Nature is a semi-sentient and while not a god, per se, if will be capable of being manipulated by those who know how (druids) and nature's will will be carried out by those folk.

Some things I'm considering:
Dwarves would have practice ancestor worship - the governing deity would be the one the ancestor worshipped. So if you worshipped your great-grandfather, who followed "Good God," then you, by default would also. I don't know it this would be individual ancestors or clan ancestors as a whole. Elves will recognize the "Good God" as the creator of the world, but revere nature and life above all else.

I'm also considering (I'm pretty sure) on having demon and devil worship. Meaning, a cleric of Orcus (for example) would get spells from "Evil God" since Orcus would be under that gods power.

I've been thinking about saints, too. So, the followers of the Church of St. Invictus would preach judging evil and it's eradication (since Invictus was LG in life and was judge, jury, and execution of evil-doers) and receive clerical power from "Good God" through St. Invictus.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:18 pm
by TheMetal1
Yeah, I'm run something similiar to Lord D's, but go with monotheism, creator instead of dualism - i.e. the Good God. Evil and other pantheons are are there, but majority of demi-humans, and humans recognize the creator, are atheists, or believe something else (i.e. agnostic). Arcane Magic is a 'force', druid magic is another type of force, Divine magic is granted by the creator. There is a dualism spin - a usuper that is operating, along side demons & devils and the like. Other pantheons, are just demons devils and the usurper maskerading.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:53 am
by Omote
I tend to use a tight-knit polytheism. Sure, there may be many gods to worship, but only a select few are truely powerful beings who bless followers with 9 levels of magic, "domains," bonuses, etc. Much like Lord Dynel, I have demons and devils who can grant spells (of limited level), and saints which could be lower-gods or "hero-gods." I also have frequent use of heretic and false gods. Sure, they are not false to everybody, and some "false" gods have magnificently large followings, but they are just that, not real within my campaign and provide nothing mechanics related to characters.

~O

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:43 am
by serleran
I make my own inspired from a variety of sources, but not ripped directly from any. For example, I might have a deity that is somewhat like Odin and Mithras, with a dash of Raven. I like to keep the numbers small... the various races just have their own name for them but its the same deities for all.

I have many demons and some of them are gods. But, for the most part, they're just faceless evils that make the adventurers angry.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:15 pm
by TheMetal1
I'm actually digging the Avatar thing from OG&M. Pretty cool, trying to sort the stats out. I'm going to try out the boons for worshipers/followers, etc. as well. I've had an idea for it, but seeing how its done in OM&G, I think it will work pretty well.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:55 pm
by Julian Grimm
My take is similar to Lord Dynel's and TheMetal1's. I have a singular creator deity but many evil usurpers and supposed gods. Deus, is acknowledged by all of the main races but is worshiped in differing aspects. To the dwarves He is a craftsman, to the elves He is more natural, Halflings see Him as a Father and Farmer. Humans tend to mix all of these aspects together. The church itself is divided into Orthodox and Reformed with the Reformed Church having a greater following.

As for magic, arcane magic is altering the power that was used for creation and divine comes from Deus himself. Druids are of an order of the Church that see themselves as stewards of creation so their power comes from Deus as well. As for infernal magic, evil priests draw power from certain entities but it is not granted in the same way Deus grants spells to his clerics as there is a price for using dark magic.

There are also a series of stewards that oversee creation itself but they are never worshiped or venerated. The are acknowledged as servants of Deus and nothing more. There are those that seek to be worshiped but they have turned from Deus and are no longer of Him having begun serving the darker powers of the world.


Deus usually never acts directly in the world preferring to appoint worshipers to certain tasks. In extreme cases He will send a steward to do something that the mortals cannot do themselves. Any time a steward is appointed to a task radical changes will come in the wake of the action as was the case when the Orthodox and Reformed Churches split from one another.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:03 am
by AGNKim
In the last C&C campaign I ran, I used the Greyhawk deities (which made sense since it was set in Greyhawk). I have the old Folio from the early 80s for seed and the interwebs has a plethora of information. Plus, I've been using Greyhawk since the mid 80s so I'm pretty well versed in the pantheon(s). As far as interaction, worshipers rarely interact with their god, especially at low-levels. I make it clear, however, that atheism is non-existent since it is a well-known fact that the gods do indeed exist.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:30 am
by Arduin
AGNKim wrote:I make it clear, however, that atheism is non-existent since it is a well-known fact that the gods do indeed exist.
Yeah, in a typical "D&D" type world, atheism = low to no I.Q. Kinda like people today who believe that the Earth is flat.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:54 am
by Lord Dynel
AGNKim wrote:I make it clear, however, that atheism is non-existent since it is a well-known fact that the gods do indeed exist.
Indeed. I've had a couple of players, over the years, go the opposite route. They wouln't, or couldn't, pick one deity so they took a more polytheist approach - they would say a small prayer to the appropriate god depending on the situation it was in. Pretty neat approach, I thought, and very "down to earth" if that makes sense.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:59 am
by Go0gleplex
The campaign I'm slowly building uses only three deities whom have little direct contact with the mortal plane, instead working through angels, aspects, and devils (demons) respectively.

I find that I start feeling pigeon holed when using established pantheons.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:54 am
by Lord Dynel
Go0gleplex wrote:I find that I start feeling pigeon holed when using established pantheons.
Me too! My biggest issue, though, is finding that the players often get apathetic (for lack of a better word) about a large pantheon of gods. They don't seem to care that much about a large suite of gods. I don't know if it's the sheer number or maybe I haven't put them into play properly but they don't seem to that interested in the affairs of the gods. I thought that, with a reboot of my setting, having a cozy little pantheon with which the affairs of the gods (all two of them) will be much more "in their face" they'll take notice more.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:18 pm
by mgtremaine
Lord Dynel wrote:
Go0gleplex wrote:I find that I start feeling pigeon holed when using established pantheons.
Me too! My biggest issue, though, is finding that the players often get apathetic (for lack of a better word) about a large pantheon of gods. They don't seem to care that much about a large suite of gods. I don't know if it's the sheer number or maybe I haven't put them into play properly but they don't seem to that interested in the affairs of the gods. I thought that, with a reboot of my setting, having a cozy little pantheon with which the affairs of the gods (all two of them) will be much more "in their face" they'll take notice more.

I think with most aspects of world building this is true. Players often don't really care for all the details so if you can keep it simple is someway but leave the door open for creativity then you are set.

I've been resisting commenting on this question because it's one of those, "lemme esplain, no that will take too long, lemme sum up." I've been thinking about the question for well on 20 years. When I first wiped out my GM folder and started over with a clean slate I took most of the greyhawk gods and a few home grown and off we went. But the metaphysical questions of why and how persisted. Soon I had categories of Demi, Lesser, Greater and finally Elder. Then the concept that Elder gods directly shaped the universe with their attributes. It was a complex series of thoughts best left for explaining under the stars at night to 1 player who actually cared. :)

Eventually I purged all the greyhawk gods and anyone else's IP and I ended up with a system I could live with. First there is a Creator, I use the name AZ, the beginning and end. AZ created the Inner plans and the forces that under pin the universe. These forces are defined as the 10 True Gods, each a diametrically opposed force. (Life, Death, Order, Chaos, Harmony, Conflict, Evil, Good, Action, Thought) The True Gods spent the early eons of creations in the inner planes shaping creation, bringing forth new wonders and all the things you'd expect from an Age of the Gods. Eventually they were able to create their own realms in the Astral Plane fueled by the energies of AZ's original creation. So from this system I get a brand new take on the outer planes each one under the dominion of a True God. (I also get a cool Star Map based on 3 axes and 10 planes, with other strangeness in the astral plane)

Now here is where the players come in. Only the most learned of Sages and Savants really understand all this. the actually system of worship is highly personal and small scale, focused instead on the vassals and beings of the outer planes which actually interact with the mundane world. We are talking house gods, cults, regional deities, and religion on the small scale more Sword and Sorcery if you will. These "gods" have aspects of the True Gods, but most importantly they are stated, in good old fashioned old-school ways. These qusi-gods are killable with much effort, the True Gods are not, and AZ something else, the beginning and the end. Nothing else needs to be said.

As I said it's way more information then most players will want but it gave me a structure where I can make up any kind of god I want, or they want, with out much effort. Demons, Devils, Angels, whatever, all fit nicely into my cosmology. I never have to worry about the were do "spells come from" because the True Gods take care of that, and more of the nature of the universe gets revealed as the players get higher and higher level.

Sorry for the long post, I'm sure I lost most of you :)

-Mike

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:57 am
by Rigon
I've been kicking around a world where there is a dualistic pantheon for the humans, the elves worship nature (a family of 5 gods), the dwarves are all about the elements, and gnomes and halflings worship the seasons. So about 15 gods. Half-elves and half-ors tend to pick and choice which ones they want. It's very roughed out in my head, so to speak.

R-

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:56 pm
by gideon_thorne
Troll Root wrote:Curious to know how other CK's/GM's etc. use deities in their games.
Simple. I don't. There's a distinct lack of clergy or divine intervention of any sort in my campaign. Outsiders might come in with some of their more outlandish notions, but ya know how foreign folks are with their strange ideas and customs. :)

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:45 pm
by ArgoForg
In WoP (my homemade world), I have a polytheistic pantheon of 17 gods, each devoted to a particular sphere of influence (priests of each god or goddess get at least one granted power based on the deity's domain, and much like specialist wizards, may have spells that they cannot use as effectively because it falls outside their deity's sphere of power). The 'civilized'/PC races generally worship these by one name or another... even though it's a polytheistic pantheon, and people acknowledge-- and may show proper reverence to-- all of the gods, they seldom devote themselves to more than a couple.

The priests and shamans of not-so-civilized races (oroc, ogrec, goblynkin, scrag, sauhagin, etc.) are granted powers by gods that are more in line with their own beliefs-- some are facets of the same pantheons as the humans and elves, some are minor deities in their own right.

There is also a monotheistic belief in a single deity named Phelar that started as a cult a little more than a thousand years ago and quickly expanded into a major movement, especially in the country that now bears his name. Phelar's priests are zealous missionaries, and often preach that all the other gods are simply singular facets of the one true god. And since they are granted similar powers without the apparent 'specialization', it lends credence to their belief.

My plan is to detail it all out someday, in a supplement. As it stands, I just have a crapload of notes and no time to categorize them. :mrgreen:

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:57 pm
by bulletmeat
For AD&D2e I was using no Gods at all (ancient cataclysm forced them to sleep) & had no clerics. With C&C I made Cyrstal Mages (using crystal pieces of the third moon that broke up and fell onto the world) which had cleric spells, bth, but bard abilities .

Recently I found an old OD&D folder I had with a three god only world that I was thinking of porting over. Avothar (lawful), Delenna (neutral), and Suthule (chaotic) are worshiped with clerics, druids, and priests. I am keeping the alignments as is since, for example, one kingdom is over zealous (inquisition) in their worship of order through Avothar. Infact during the creation of the world (as told by the book of Tellos), Avothar tried to 'quell' his sister's (Delenna) wild side, but that begat Suthule (though Suthule's priests say otherwise). This allows a grey area into good & evil for the 'chosen' races.

The gods only interact w/mortal through their servents (devas, great spirits, dragon lords). The dragon lords usually have monsterous races worship them even though they were created by Suthule.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 1:29 am
by Sir Osis of Liver
Very interesting thread. I haven't stuck to one single pantheon, but I've instead adopted OG&M, giving my players a wide berth as it were. I try keeping specific pantheons for specific regions on my map, but beyond that, all bets are off. For me, it's all the more fodder for RP. If a player throws out a character with a specific set of rituals/practices that the character must fulfill (as well as specific taboos to avoid), it makes for some fun times in town, especially. The more stuff to give me ideas for ways to get them into a game, the better. :twisted:

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:55 pm
by slimykuotoan
I had a one time game 15 or so years ago where I CKed Gilgamesh from the AD&D Deities & Demigods. The party found him in a village and beat the nine hells out of him. It was a one time deal, etc. and was a complete blast which my players still talk about today.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:10 pm
by Dead Horse
Jim ward mentioned letting his group play any god they wanted and then pitting them against 2 death machines from Gamma World.

I tried this a few years back. Was pretty cool. I used only one death machine as Jim said he killed all the gods. One death machine killed 2 of 6 gods and seriously hurt the rest before exploding.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:25 pm
by Arduin
Dead Horse wrote:Jim ward mentioned letting his group play any god they wanted and then pitting them against 2 death machines from Gamma World.

I tried this a few years back. Was pretty cool. I used only one death machine as Jim said he killed all the gods. One death machine killed 2 of 6 gods and seriously hurt the rest before exploding.
Why didn't the "God" just open a rift to the Neg material plane and have it suck in the machine?

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:38 pm
by serleran
Perhaps technology is not affected by magic? A rift does not imply a vacuum, either, although, I'd have summoned a sphere of annihilation since it destroys everything it comes into contact with, force field or not.

Seems to be a lot of logical ways even a minor deity could wipe the floor with a death machine, but there also are several ways to counter each of those as well... so, I guess it comes down to 'how do the two games interact?' and for that everyone should have their own answer.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:24 pm
by Arduin
serleran wrote:Perhaps technology is not affected by magic? A rift does not imply a vacuum, either, although, I'd have summoned a sphere of annihilation since it destroys everything it comes into contact with, force field or not.

Seems to be a lot of logical ways even a minor deity could wipe the floor with a death machine, but there also are several ways to counter each of those as well... so, I guess it comes down to 'how do the two games interact?' and for that everyone should have their own answer.
Yes, I was just talking about an industrial sized sphere of annihilation. An actual deity should take care of something like that as an afterthought. Otherwise, they wouldn't be Gods...

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:38 pm
by Dead Horse
AD&D has very specific set powers each dieity can use based on its ranking...
Demigod, lesser,intermediate,greater.
Then each dieity has powers and abilities laid out in the DDG book and finaly they also have class levels.
Those gods versus a death machine is generaly dieity destruction derby.
I didnt mention it but part of the senario is the death machine's attacks are targeted randomly.

This is stats for a Death Machine from 2nd ed Gamma World. The AD&D 1e DMG says a Gamma World ac of 1 = neg 6 ac in AD&D.
The random HD are to represent a random machine. New/maintained machines have max hp (1200) Compare that to dieities whith a max of 400 hp. Its incredibly fun to play but the gods are seriously out classed.

TYPE: Death Machine
NUMBER: 1d4-2
HIT DICE: 150d8
SENSORS: A/B/C
STATUS:2 RANKS
ARMOR: 1
CONTROL: G
POWER: B
MS:1d4+8 IN:1d8+l0 DX:1d10+11 PS:5d20+100
SPEED: PODS = 240/10200/180

DESCRIPTION: This 15-meter long, 9-meter wide, 3-meter high killing
machine is covered with knobby projections housing sensors and
weapons.
Its main weapons are 2 Blaster Cannons that do 25d6 damage
at a 1500-meter range. For close defense it has 6 Black Ray Guns
with a 300-meter range. 4 Trek Guns that do the same damage as Trek
Bombs and have a range of 18O meters (disintegration attack), and 16 Mark VII Blaster Batteries of 4 guns each 32d6 damage.
Other weapons include 8 Laser Batteries [5 guns each) that do 20d6 damage per Battery at a 1 500-meter range and can fire simultaneously, 6 Mini-missile Launchers with 5d20 missiles fired individually and a Fusion Bomb Launcher with 5d10 Fusion Bombs. Both the missiles and the Fusion Bombs have a 3000-meter range. These weapons can all fire at the same time.
An Energy Damping Field fuses the circuits of Robots coming within 80 meters of the Death Machine and does 200 points of damage to all Energy Screens except its own within that range. The Death Machine's own Energy Screen can
take 400 points of damage. Death Machines are very rare and will only
be found near CI's that they are assigned to defend and from which they
take orders. They almost always attack those who can't show Stage V
I.D.

Re: Use of Deities

Posted: Tue May 01, 2012 5:16 am
by Andred of Albans
I run a homebrew that began life as the Arden kingdom module for Chivalry & Sorcery (FGU) back in the early 1980's. I have been working on and running this game world on and off for over 30 years so I have a large amount of time invested in it. It covers several binders, each dealing with a different Kingdom. Most play centers in Arden and it's immediate neighbors.

I assume a monotheist religious reality (there is, in fact, only ONE god) but other spiritual beings exist.

Like in our real world, multiple religions exist. The Northmen worship (oddly enough) the Norse pantheon - these spirit beings are "lesser" gods at best and can only grant spells up to level 7.

The Druids still exist on the fringes of the realm and as an underground group oppressed by the various monotheist religions. The powers of the Old Faith are battered and weak, counting as demigods at best with the power to grant spells up to level 6.

There are scattered covens of diabolists who worship the powers of Hell - but they are no more powerful than the greatest of angels and can only grant spells up to level 5.

There are several religions that worship the True G-d and their clerics can routinely cast up to 8th level spells with 9th level being reserved only to the most saintly of clerics.