Sunday, April 22, 2012

Creation of a Custom Pantheon

Okay, so, to the task of consolidating deities! The first thing I have done has been to preliminarily sort the existing deities of my pantheon into categories of related deities (deities marked with a ? are ones I'm not sure where I want to put):
  • antitheism: Ben
  • dragons: Ancestor Spirits, Bahamut, Tiamat, Kurtulmak?
  • evil ocean: Quasxthe, Blibdoolpoolp?, Yeathan, Procan, Sekolah?
  • good ocean: Valkur, Eadro, Ishtishia, the Leviathan God, Fharlanghn?
  • Elves/nature: Corellon Larethian, Deep Sashelas, Ehlonna, Obad-Hai
  • Engineers/machines: MAGG
  • harvest/fertility/tricksiness: Dalya, Olidammara, Fharlanghn?
  • knowledge/secrets/magic/death: Boccob, Wee Jas, Vecna, Nerull, Ilsensine?
  • monsters/senseless violence: Al-Ishtus, Erythnul, Gruumsh, Lolth, Maglubiyet, the Great Mother?, Kurtulmak?, Blibdoolpoolp?, Sekolah?
  • Lovecraftian horrors from beyond time and space: Inglip, Ilsensine?, Elder Evils, the Great Mother?, An Exciting Mystery God?
  • heroism/do-goodery: Heironeous, Kord, Pelor, St. Cuthbert
  • tyranny: Hextor, the Burning Hate
  • the whole pantheon at once
Lesser demons, devils, angels, and other Outsiders will still exist. I don't think I'll use any of the established ones. Not even Pazuzu, though I may coƶpt Pazuzu's methodology for somebody. Mr. Happypants showed up in one game, but he won't be promoted to devil lord; he's only middle management, and also half a joke, and also not my intellectual property.

On the one hand, I want a deity for every major nation. Easy enough, it seems at first: MAGG for the Engineers, whoever the nature god winds up being for the Elves, whoever the heroism god winds up being for Romus and Shell, the Ancestor Spirits for the Omorashi Empire, and Quasxthe for Gus. But! There are major nations under the sea, too.

The Tritons, Merfolk, and Locathah can all worship whoever the good ocean deity winds up being, they're pretty much all Eadro already. The Subsidence was already established to have trashed the mainstream Sekolah-worshipping cities and left the Quasxthe-worshipping cult largely intact, so we can just say Quasxthe's cult won. And the Kuo-Toa are established as mostly already working for the Aboleths, so they can just worship whomever the Aboleths wind up worshipping. Probably Inglip.

Which leaves the Mind Flayers. Spoilers (so if any of my players read this, try to keep it firmly under your hats): as it stands now, they're split up into three camps. Most of them worship Ilsensine, which it's probably okay to merge into the knowledge gods. A majority of the remainder follow Quasxthe. (In my first campaign, Vecna was the arch-enemy of Quasxthe. I had some astoundingly great reasoning for this, which I have since forgotten. But "they're competing over followers" is probably just as good a reason.) And then there's a tiny cult of Mind Flayers that worship a new and even more bizarre entity.

So I don't actually want to merge Inglip with said new and even more bizarre entity (which we shall call  An Exciting Mystery God ), as it would make it probably the second-most-popular deity in the world, worshipped by Aboleths, Kuo-Toa, a minority of Mind Flayers, some Grell... which goes against the "who the gzortaplex is An Exciting Mystery God?" Plus, Inglip is kind of jokey, I want An Exciting Mystery God to be srs bsns. So Inglip and An Exciting Mystery God will not be the same individual, and that leaves me still lacking a thing to actually call An Exciting Mystery God (I'm thinking it'll wind up being something with no vowels).

Hmm. There's a bestial, senseless violence category, and there's a death and knowledge category. Does there need to be a tyranny category? Violence with purpose behind it can go under death and knowledge, violence with no purpose behind it can go in the senseless violence category.

And it occurs to me that I'm not entirely sure if I want knowledge to be confined to an evil deity. That's exactly the kind of anti-knowledge prejudice I don't want to be encouraging. So let's spread that love out a little bit. We can make Dalya a bit more of an Athena ripoff, give her the wisdom portfolio. MAGG is a natural fit for progress and scientific knowledge. The evil god can retain secrets and the kind of fusty hidebound rote book knowledge I'm okay with discriminating against.

Kurtulmak is kind of dragony, but he's also kind of not-dragony. He's the god of kobolds, which are themselves kind of dragony but also kind of not-dragony. I guess I can just ignore him, it doesn't really matter what category he goes into. I do want there to still be a good dragon and an evil dragon; Sir Randolph the White of the Kingsguard is unsubtly doing Tiamat's work, and he's unsubtly working against Bahamut. But it also doesn't really make sense for him to be worshipping or working against part of the Omorashi pantheon. (As it stands now, the Omorashi people worship their ancestors and also sometimes Bahamut and Tiamat, you see.) Let's split them up after all, and make one of the evil gods and one of the good gods explicitly draconic.

Fharlanghn's thing is wandering, and the good ocean deity's thing will wind up being, in part, sailors. That's more wandering-y than the harvest goddess, so let's add him and the commerce portfolio to the good ocean god.

So that gives us:
  • antitheism: Ben
  • Omorashi Empire: Ancestor Spirits
  • evil ocean: Quasxthe, Blibdoolpoolp, Yeathan, Procan, Sekolah
  • good ocean/commerce: Valkur, Eadro, Ishtishia, the Leviathan God, Fharlanghn
  • Elves/nature: Corellon Larethian, Deep Sashelas, Ehlonna, Obad-Hai
  • Engineers/machines/science/progress: MAGG
  • harvest/fertility/tricksiness/wisdom: Dalya, Olidammara
  • secrets/magic/death/fustiness: Boccob, Wee Jas, Vecna, Nerull, Ilsensine, Hextor
  • monsters/senseless violence/evil dragons: Al-Ishtus, Erythnul, Gruumsh, Lolth, Maglubiyet, the Great Mother, Kurtulmak, Tiamat, the Burning Hate
  • Lovecraftian horrors from beyond time and space: Inglip, Elder Evils
  • heroism/do-goodery/good dragons: Heironeous, Kord, Pelor, St. Cuthbert, Bahamut
  • the whole pantheon at once
  • An Exciting Mystery God
So that's 13. Of which two (antitheism and polytheism) are eminently straightforward, and one (An Exciting Mystery God) will remain as mysterious as possible until information about it is dug up by characters in-game. I'm satisfied with that. Ten is as close to nine as we're gonna get.

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