In our last part, we established the parameters of our pantheon.
They are a universal pantheon, followed by everyone, regardless of culture or species. That isn’t to say that they don’t favour some over others, but they acknowledge the existence of all.
They are on the small side for a universal pantheon, but still number eleven in total.
They are actually a family of deities, tied to the natural elements of the world.
And they are meddlesome. They like to involve themselves in the affairs of the world, and that, no doubt, makes trouble for the heroes of the world.
Normally greater and intermediate powers have 1d3 portfolios, lesser powers have 1d2 and demi-powers have 1 portfolio, but I am going to make some arbitrary decisions here. That is one thing that the book does stress – if you don’t like results from dice rolls, you can ignore or change them, or just pick ones you like.
For our pantheon, the greater power will have 3 portfolios and the intermediate ones will have 2-3. And some choices I will be selecting for, rather than rolling.
The Greater Power.
The first portfolio for our greater power I will be choosing. Given the nature of the setting, they will have Oceans as one of their portfolios. It makes sense seeing as how we are dealing with a water world here, or at least for the part where we are concentrating on.
There is no mention made of choosing gender, but I am thinking of a female, the Mother of the Oceans, progenitor of the world and the other deities, as well as those who live upon it.
I make two other rolls – 98 – prophecy and 64 – magic.
So from that, we can get an idea that magic comes from the sea, and that prophecy is closely linked to it. As the progenitor of all things, it makes sense that they would originate from the Mother of the Oceans as well.
For her alignment, she can have any. There is no actually method given to determine alignment beyond saying what ranges they can and can’t be. So I have been using an early table for social alignment of kingdoms in a previous chapter to work out the alignments of deities.
A roll of 72 gives chaotic good.
The Intermediate Powers.
Next come the four intermediate powers. They will be the first born of the Mother of the Oceans, Each will have one aspect of nature and one to two other aspects, some chosen and others rolled for.
I had already decided on two arbitrary choices for the first intermediate power – earth and fire. He is the Lord of Volcanoes, Father Earth, the one who caused the lands to rise up from out of the oceans that allow people to dwell on. He has one sacred island, the first island, where his temple is and often he can be found.
Earth can have any alignment, though fire tends to non-lawful.
Rather than rolling, I arbitrarily select neutral-good for him.
The second intermediate power rolls 2 portfolios; 93 – lightning and 43 – war. I decide to add thunder to it, as well as elements of wind and sky as well. They shall be the Storm Lord.
Alignment wise they can be anything, except for sky, which is non-lawful.
A roll of 47 gives us neutral-evil.
This gives us a wild god, motivated by self-interest, who rages at will and provokes conflict and strife. By the sounds of it, he could be in conflict with his mother, Mother Ocean, and possibly his brother, Father Earth.
The third intermediate power rolls 2 portfolios as well; 27 – seasons and 35 – sun.
As the sun waxes and wanes in strength, so do the seasons turn, so the two of them fit well together. I add a third portfolio as well – time, for the passage of the sun marks not just the seasons but the years as well. There are aspects of fate to his position also, the acceptance of what must happen.
Alignment can be anything.
A roll of 57 gives us true neutral.
Somewhat of an oddity among the rest of the pantheon, the Sun Lord cares little for the fate of mortals. While they see the sun’s light as a blessing, as it brings warmth and life, for him it is merely a marker of time and seasons.
The fourth intermediate power rolls 3 portfolios; 39 – plants, 7 – animals and 60 – love. The last one I decide to change from love to fertility.
A coin toss gives us a female goddess, the Lady of Life, who brought forth the birds and beasts and fish, the trees and seaweed and all in between. While she understands all must make a living, she prefers the wild places of the world and strives to keep them protected.
Her alignment can be anything.
A roll of 79 gives us chaotic-good.
The Lesser Powers
With our major powers established, and a nice conflict brewing already, we can move on to the lesser powers, possibly children of the other gods through mortals, depending on what their positions are in the pantheon.
Lesser power one rolls 2 portfolios; 68 – mischief and 30 – sky. A trickster deity of winds, but not storms, who delights in mischief. A child, perhaps of the Storm Lord.
They turn up to be a female, and their alignment has to be chaotic.
Rather than rolling, I decide on chaotic-neutral for her. While she delights in pranks and making fools of others, she is not malicious like her father, but that does not mean she sides with the others against him either. Blowing a ship off course and causing it to arrive late is more her style, rather than causing a storm to shipwreck them.
Lesser power two rolls 2 portfolios; 19 – oceans and 96 – messengers. The bringer of messages, a sailor upon the seas, travelling from port to port. There could very well be a source of tension between them and the trickster, especially if she keeps blowing messengers off course.
They turn out to be male and chaotic-good.
Lesser power three rolls 2 portfolios; 87 – crafts and 58 – hunting. A little bit of thought can make this work. They are the deity of sailors and fishermen, those that earn their living from the sea. They are the builder of boats and sails, of nets and harpoons. To their portfolios I add trade as well.
They turn out to be a female deity, perhaps a daughter of the messenger god, or perhaps a lesser daughter of Mother Ocean. Maybe in some myths she could be both.
The tables in the guidebook suggest she can be any non-evil alignment, and the roll for it comes up chaotic-good as well.
Lesser power four rolls 2 portfolios; 53 – fire and 45 – war. A child of the Storm Lord then, who delights in violence and the destructive nature of war, of sacrificial victims set aflame and burnt offerings.
Not a nice deity at all.
Unusually they turn out to be female. Rather than roll for their alignment, I select one – chaotic evil.
While her father can be tolerated, as storms, while wild, are not necessarily unwelcome, this goddess has no redeeming features.
For lesser power five, I decided to arbitrarily create him, rather than to roll for him. He is a god of death and the husband of the Lady of Life, for life and death are linked. he brings comfort to the suffering and solace to the bereaved.
Even though it isn’t an option to roll for, I assign him the portfolio of ancestors. His priests care for the ancestors and commune with them on behalf of the living.
On a whim, I make a roll for another portfolio for him, and come up with music. His priests not only care for the dead, but compose and perform music for them. It is possible that there is a reason for that which I must consider.
Rather than roll for alignment, I choose for him, selecting neutral-good.
And now we come to the last of our pantheon, the lone demi-power.
They only have the one portfolio, for which we roll 41 – war. Another war deity. No wonder there is so much strife going on in the world.
After a moment of thought, I give them two more portfolios to work with – guardianship and redemption. A defender of the weak and vanquisher of evil.
Her backstory is that she was a great hero who became sick of the destruction wrought by the two evil gods of war, and vowed to stand up to them and bring them down, a course of action that has sparked off a religious war.
Her alignment has to be of a good alignment, and the roll comes up as 10 – lawful-good.
The other deities, though sympathetic to her plight, are somewhat of mixed views, as the other gods are family and if they were brought down, it may mean the rest of them could be vulnerable too. But they can not just strike down one of so noble a cause and nor exactly can they aid her, least it spark a war amongst the gods as well.
So there we have a rough sketch of the pantheon, and the spark behind the troubles of the land. At some stage I will do a more detailed write up and expand upon it. There may be more deities added at some point if any particular need is found. The exact relationships amongst the deities will also need to be worked out, but it provides a good basis to work upon.
Part five of this project looks at expanding the pantheon.