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I think I'm going to scrap my original idea for a custom pantheon in my homebrew setting. I was going to have the humans all basically follow Thelema, but trying to do that with just the knowledge I'm able to glean from Wikipedia has proven to be difficult. Especially since I was going to try and get all the races except the Dwarves and Elves to follow a similar theology, but with different names for the gods and some minor changes to domains and such.

 

Instead, I think I'm just going to go the Greco-Roman route. I'm going to give the humans a pantheon that's largely based on the Greeks, then give the other races(except for Dwarves and Elves still) a pantheon that closely resembles them, but isn't quite the same. Basically, the world will have gone through the reverse of religious syncretism. Instead of one culture looking at the other culture and saying "hey, your Zeus is almost identical to our Jupiter, so they must be the same god under a different name" it started out as the god actually existing and being known to everyone simultaneously, then falling silent and having their worship diverge based on species. Like, maybe the Hobgoblins started mixing Athena and Ares, since they both have different aspects of war, and so now Ares isn't just the pure fury of war, but he's also the tactician in their religion. Essentially, he's co-opted part of Athena's shtick by taking away her part as the strategist in their religion.

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If I ever build a world with a custom pantheon, I will split the world in two with one half worshipping pantheon A and one worshipping pantheon B, each side hating on the other. Thing is, they are actually the same gods in both pantheons (panthei?), being worshipped under different names, egging their followers on to keep fighting.

Maybe they feel flattered people are fighting for them, maybe it's a ploy to keep the mortals in check so noone ever challenges them, idk. 

 

I think something similar was used in a book I once read.

 

1 hour ago, Unruly said:

Instead, I think I'm just going to go the Greco-Roman route.

I think it's a good idea if you have a game where gods play an important role to have some sort of anchor for your players to understand your world easier. And Greco-Roman gods are probably the best known ones and most people should understand the main deities of that pantheon almost instantly. That leaves room to wrap your head around the different interpretations because of the silence. I like that concept a lot.

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30 minutes ago, Nunae said:

I think it's a good idea if you have a game where gods play an important role to have some sort of anchor for your players to understand your world easier. And Greco-Roman gods are probably the best known ones and most people should understand the main deities of that pantheon almost instantly. That leaves room to wrap your head around the different interpretations because of the silence. I like that concept a lot.

 

What's good is that the Greeks and Romans actually did a lot of religious syncretism of their own in their own time. The biggest and most obvious example is how the Romans looked at the Greek pantheon and directly associated all the major gods with their own major gods. But the Greeks also did it with the Egyptians, especially when Ptolemy ruled Egypt after the death of Alexander. Under Alexander, the Egyptian god Amun-Ra was called Zeus Amun by the Greeks, which basically means "Zeus who is worshipped as Amun," because they equated the two as being the same god. They equated Osiris with Hades, and under Ptolemy the mixing of the two became known as Serapsis. Horus the Younger(Har-pah-khered) became Harpocrates. The list goes on.

 

It's actually really funny, I think. Ancient polytheistic religions seem so much more accepting than modern monotheistic ones. They looked at other religions and saw their own gods represented under different names rather than seeing something that was wholly antithetical to their entire belief system.

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The thing that bugs me about small pantheons is that religion is such an influence on culture that a small pantheons is too saturated.

My game uses the real-world and non-human pantheons from the PHB along with a few add-ons (did a hybrid Sumeria/Mesopotamia pantheon, trying to do one for eastern culture too) and the Dawn War stuff from the DMG as deities not really affiliated with specific pantheons.

 

Something small like the Dawn War or just going Greek kinda raises the question, why do orcs worship the same god as the human "spartans" they're currently at war with? If all the greek gods present as human or near-human, what does it mean to elves, dwarves, halflings?

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5 hours ago, BlazingTornado said:

The thing that bugs me about small pantheons is that religion is such an influence on culture that a small pantheons is too saturated.

My game uses the real-world and non-human pantheons from the PHB along with a few add-ons (did a hybrid Sumeria/Mesopotamia pantheon, trying to do one for eastern culture too) and the Dawn War stuff from the DMG as deities not really affiliated with specific pantheons.

 

Something small like the Dawn War or just going Greek kinda raises the question, why do orcs worship the same god as the human "spartans" they're currently at war with? If all the greek gods present as human or near-human, what does it mean to elves, dwarves, halflings?

 

Well, that's part of why in D&D they do the whole "gods are real, you met yours last Tuesday" thing. The gods show themselves. They interact. So people have no real reason to question their divinity, and so a solid foundation of religion is built on demonstrable proof. It's not like the real world, where the various religions don't have any demonstrable proof outside of writings from at least 1000 years ago, which have been rewritten over and over again throughout history by various people who wanted to change their meanings to support one view over another.

 

Which is why I'm going the religious syncretism route. It started with a solid pantheon, but when the gods fell silent for a thousand years, their worship became distorted. Everyone still basically worships the same gods, but they call them by different names, think they look different, and they have small differences in their particular domains. It's not enough to really go to war over religion alone, but it will cause a bit of upheaval if/when the silence of the gods is broken. Especially if I go the route of "gods are born on the backs of their believers" and have the new forms not reconcile with the old gods and then give birth to new ones...

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Sure, but just because Ares exists and shows himself doesn't mean the orcs will worship this obviously non-orcish war god.

 

I've toyed with your idea of "the gods are distant and a bit forgotten and what they are considered will change based on the local culture" but I ultimately decided against it. Instead I do have numerous pantheons and unaffiliated deities but because of this number, the way the gods can interact with the material plane is limited.

Indeed, Ares himself cannot topple Thayatis in vengeance for how its vile mage-rulers overthrew the old warrior kings who'd built the city for his worship... This is why he saved the players from their Astral predicament.

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5 hours ago, BlazingTornado said:

Sure, but just because Ares exists and shows himself doesn't mean the orcs will worship this obviously non-orcish war god.

 

I've toyed with your idea of "the gods are distant and a bit forgotten and what they are considered will change based on the local culture" but I ultimately decided against it. Instead I do have numerous pantheons and unaffiliated deities but because of this number, the way the gods can interact with the material plane is limited.

Indeed, Ares himself cannot topple Thayatis in vengeance for how its vile mage-rulers overthrew the old warrior kings who'd built the city for his worship... This is why he saved the players from their Astral predicament.

 

That presupposes the idea that a divine being is limited to a single form though. Mythology is full of divine beings taking various forms. Zeus has transformed himself into both a swan and a bull, for instance, so it's not unbelievable that he presents himself to other races in a guise more fitting for them. Ares may present himself to the orcs as a hulking behemoth of an orc, scarred with the wounds of a thousand battles, drenched in the blood of his enemies as befitting a god of the wrathful fury that is war and combat. Zeus may present himself as the wise chieftan, a venerable orc who is both strong and honorable.

 

This can also explain why some races or cultures might put different emphasis on different gods. Much like how some Greek gods were venerated differently depending on which of the city-states you were in. They still tended to worship everyone, but some would have grander temples, or there would be much more devotion to certain gods in certain areas.

 

And then of course there's just the fact that if a god isn't being worshipped, and is an actual god as they are in D&D, they can simply wreak havoc with those who don't believe unless another deity intervenes. And in some cases, even if another deity intervenes if the one who is wreaking havoc is the stronger of them.

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I've heard people calling Pathfinder 3.75, and while I understood it, I didn't really GET it until I started writing my own adventure.

 

They didn't exactly simplify the math, but they definitely streamlined it.

 

It is taking a lot less time than I expected.

 

Also, Haunts + Summon Monster = Lots of Fun for the GM.

 

Working on some ruins that just happened, the haunts are a great way to make it feel like something horrible just happened.

 

But at the same time, limit the actual threat, since the summoned creature disappears in a few rounds, leaving the damage done.

 

I think a lot of the people that call Pathfinder 3.75 are GMs, most of the people I remember using the name certainly are.

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21 hours ago, BlazingTornado said:

The thing that bugs me about small pantheons is that religion is such an influence on culture that a small pantheons is too saturated.

My game uses the real-world and non-human pantheons from the PHB along with a few add-ons (did a hybrid Sumeria/Mesopotamia pantheon, trying to do one for eastern culture too) and the Dawn War stuff from the DMG as deities not really affiliated with specific pantheons.

 

Something small like the Dawn War or just going Greek kinda raises the question, why do orcs worship the same god as the human "spartans" they're currently at war with? If all the greek gods present as human or near-human, what does it mean to elves, dwarves, halflings?

Masks.

 

Gods taking multiple names and faces.

 

Something pointed out to me is that people do not need to love or even really respect their gods.

 

The Greeks thought that the gods meddling with their lives was just about the worst thing that can happen.

 

Or assign the gods to a zodiac, thirteen signs, thirteen gods, fourteen races Each of the non human races personifying some concept. Ares, orcs, war. Sagitarious, centaurs, the hunt. Etc..

 

Humans float all over the place, and are the coins in the pot the gods are playing for.

 

Maybe fifteen gods, with death being neutral.

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4 hours ago, Dr.Bedlam said:

The idea of a beneficial god who loves you is relatively new in human history.

The God of the Old Testament was not exactly kind, even to his own believers.

 

The God of the New Testament is a whole different deity, and a much nicer person.

 

Hells bells, there was only ONE Celtic god I can think of that didn't want human sacrifices, and he was DEATH, and got Everybody, sooner or later.

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4 hours ago, Dr.Bedlam said:

The idea of a beneficial god who loves you is relatively new in human history.

There is actually a debate right now to re-translate the German Pater Noster (as far as I know some other languages like French are also being talked about). One passage was originally translated as "and don't lead us into tempation/don't tempt us" which is now argued to misrepresent a benevolent god (who would ofc never do something harmful like tempt people). According to the pope, it's supposed to be "and shield us from temptation" or something similar.

I just think it's funny that the people who first translated this stuff in the 16th century were still kinda wary about god being a not-so-nice being.

On 14.2.2018 at 12:11 PM, Unruly said:

Ancient polytheistic religions seem so much more accepting than modern monotheistic ones. They looked at other religions and saw their own gods represented under different names rather than seeing something that was wholly antithetical to their entire belief system.

It's easier to accept that there are more gods out there if you have already accepted that there are an elf ton :lol: It kinda makes more sense to me that an almighty father deity would show himself across the globe and being interpreted/seen/named slightly differently by imperfect believers though. The alternative, that a deity showed himself at one very specific place in one time period and then trusted his followers to carry his message around the world seems a bit weird to me. Like, if I was an almighty god I wouldn't trust those humans to get my message right the first time and would take a more hands-on approach.

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2 hours ago, PaganMegan said:

The God of the Old Testament was not exactly kind, even to his own believers.

 

The God of the New Testament is a whole different deity, and a much nicer person.

 

As my friends and I used to say, God had a kid and chilled out. Or it went like this...

 

 

outreach1_1.jpg

outreach2_1.jpg

8 hours ago, PaganMegan said:

I've heard people calling Pathfinder 3.75, and while I understood it, I didn't really GET it until I started writing my own adventure.

 

They didn't exactly simplify the math, but they definitely streamlined it.

 

It is taking a lot less time than I expected.

 

Also, Haunts + Summon Monster = Lots of Fun for the GM.

 

Working on some ruins that just happened, the haunts are a great way to make it feel like something horrible just happened.

 

But at the same time, limit the actual threat, since the summoned creature disappears in a few rounds, leaving the damage done.

 

I think a lot of the people that call Pathfinder 3.75 are GMs, most of the people I remember using the name certainly are.

 

We called it 3.75 as players, too. It's because everything translates over and is wholly compatible with a minimum of work, while it also brought about a lot of fixes in the same way that 3.5 did. It's not quite a new edition, but it's also not quite 3.5, so it must be 3.75!

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Figuring out deities is a pain. I figured on leaving it for last while doing world-building for Mallire. Last night, while we were discussing currency, Mr. Thorne says he figures Mallirean religion is probably centered around belief that everything that is is a little piece of deity, or at least has a soul.

This comes out of the order-vs-chaos setup, and ... we're still bashing out the details.

 

Mallire is a fun pet project of ours. One day, we might even run a game in the setting. Eventually.

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