So, last post was quite a long one. I think I’ve gotten a great start to my pantheon already. This article will flesh out the pantheon more by adding minor deities to fill some domains, add the ‘one good story’, and develop how the culture and actual religion in this world would be like.
Even More Deities
I looked at my current set of five deities and what domains they represent for clerics, and found out that we’re basically covering all of them (some even twice), besides Death, Grave, and Peace. There are also aspects of the world that I’d want represented as a deity, like the sky, water, angels, and probably more that I haven’t mentioned before. I think the best way to implement these minor deities is to have them act as underlings or servants to the five core deities. For example: I feel like a couple of smaller deities of elements like air, fire, stone, and water fit well underneath Rosaria. A deity of angels would fit under Solana. Likewise, the deity of death and the afterlife could fit neatly beneath Kairos.
Now, I want these deities to have their own little corner of the pantheon for themselves. They shouldn’t make the Pantheon seem bloated and complex. They should be extra options for clerics and paladins to choose from, while the core five are what I will primarily focus on. I might even steal some deities from my old world, since some minor used ones were quite good on paper. Because I want to make it as simple as possible, I will limit myself to only a maximum of around 3 underlings per core deity, and a minimum of 1. The minimum is in place to make sure every deity has at least one underling. It would feel weird for some to have many while others have none.
The Minor Deities
The deities Aeril, Scylla, Pyrus, and Titanos are the four minor deities of Air, Water, Fire, and Earth, respectively. They were brought to divinity by Rosaria after she became a deity herself. These four deities keep the elemental chaos in check and are often the patron deities of the elementally aligned, like the genasi.
Charos will be the minor deity of the afterlife, while Daemos will be the minor deity of death. The afterlife and death itself are usually quite the mystery, which is why they will be beneath Kairos. With Kairos also being the god of Fate, it would make sense that death and the afterlife would be under his domain.
Sinemo, the minor goddess of Music and Art, and Thena, the minor goddess of Emotion, Compassion, and Grief, will join Veles. I think art in general fits with the domain of Veles quite nicely, while the domain of emotion fits well with the theme of family and civilization.
Seranah will be the minor goddess of Angels. She would fall under Solana. Angels are most often associated with light and heaven and whatnot, so it would make sense that Solana would be the one to have her under her wing.
I think Bahamut, minor deity of dragons, would actually fit really well under Lunola. Dragons are, in my opinion, magical creatures in and of themselves. I love dragons in Dungeons and Dragons and will always use them when possible.
I’m pretty content with what I have now. I have five core deities that I want to focus most of my attention on, while also having a couple of extra deities that I don’t have to flesh out immediately that fill in some space. The total amount of deities is now at 15, which I think is a solid amount. It definitely should not become any more than that. I had the thought that some of these deities, just by their domain, should be powerful themselves. Like, why wouldn’t Daemos, the god of death, not be a core deity? But, adding the ‘minor’ to his title, makes it a non-issue, in my opinion. I’m not one to decide on ‘god power levels’, but I feel that these minor deities mostly get their power from their respective core deity. They have control over these domains, but choose to delegate it to others. Insert workplace comparison here.
The One Good Story
So, here’s my attempt at making a sort of creation myth for the world that attempts to incorporate the ‘one good story’ Dael Kingsmill talked about.
Long ago, nothing existed. Only Aleph existed. Aleph created the world of Ae’thar. A simple world. Aleph created the Wishgranter, a small building on the world which would grant anyone a wish, if they faced its challenges. The first to make a wish were two sisters. One saw the power in the physical power of mankind, while the other was fascinated by the secrets of the world. Then came a woman that accepted the wilderness for what it is and forgave it for what it could do. After her, a man made a wish. He was a father who valued family and community. The last to make a wish was a man who came alone.
Long after their deaths, Aleph granted them divinity. They became gods of their own personal convictions. This also amplified their convictions, which created conflict. Aleph also granted a few other beings divinity after their wish came true. The deities made changes to the world, influencing people and making them more aligned with their ideals. Once each deity planted their own seed of conviction, Aleph barred the deities from Ae’thar, including himself. They were no longer able to influence the world in major ways. Some were furious, some were fine with it. Aleph then went into an eternal slumber.
Now, you might say: “Flore, where’s the ‘Authority’, ‘Harbor’, ‘Purpose’, and ‘Treachery?’” and to that I would reply: “Yeah, I wasn’t really able to put that in there.” I think that if you’re working out a good simple pantheon from the ground up, this would be a great way to get some core ideas implemented. The problem is that I’ve already created my pantheon, and they already represent their own thing. Also, I’m generally bad at writing creation myths, but that’s another thing. I think this works well enough as a creation story and gives you some idea about how these deities came to be. I’m intentionally keeping things vague because this might be an aspect that I want to explore in the game.
A bit of Culture and Religion
In this section, I want to explore some religious practices for Ae’thar. I still want to keep it simple and easy to understand, not just for myself, but also for my players. I was thinking of keeping it to maybe some commandments (think of paladin tenets). Chances are I might steal most commandments from deities already existing in D&D, since ‘commandment writing’ is not my strongsuit.
Solana, the Bright Queen
She represents justice, valor, and retribution. Solana is a deity that represents law and vengeance, so I think she would encourage her followers to follow the laws set by leadership and also those set by yourself. She would also encourage fighting with the strength you have, be brave, and to defend the weak. I think a lot of her commandments mirror that of the paladin’s Oath of Vengeance.
Her commandments would be something like: - Defend the weak, persecute those that are guilty, and protect the ideals of justice and might. - Bravery above all. There is no glory in cowardice. - Be ever vigilant for evil. People are quick to forget the lessons of the past.
Lunola, the Lady of Magic
She represents discovery, magic, and knowledge. She would definitely encourage finding out the truth in everything, to leave no secrets untouched. Lunola is also the goddess of magic, so expanding your knowledge into the arcane in any way, shape, or form would be encouraged. Not only that, but she also encourages people to forge their own path.
Her commandments would be: - Seize your own destiny by pursuing your passions. - Follow the echoes of lost magics, forgotten sites, and ancient art, for within these lie the deepest of Ae’thar’s secrets. - Unmask those who would defy Lunola. Learn their secrets and unveil them to the world.
Rosaria, the Red Maiden
She represents the wilderness, love, and forgiveness, so she would encourage protecting the untamed wilderness from exploitation. Rosaria would also always prefer forgiveness to vengeance. Having mercy and patience is important to her.
Her commandments are: - Protect the untamed wilderness from exploitation and destruction. - Lead with mercy, patience, and compassion. Inspire others to unite in fellowship. - Embrace and respect the savage nature of the world. Exist in harmony with it.
Veles, the Great Creator
Veles is the god of creation, invention, family, and civilization, so upholding the values of family would be a big thing for him. He also encourages everyone to continue innovating and creating new things, not just physical, but cultural as well. He also encourages teamwork and working together with everyone, for everyone.
His commandments would be: - Uphold and revere the spirit of invention. Create new settlements, build where inspiration strikes, and expand the edicts of the Law Bearer. - Uphold and promote loyalty to your family, loyalty to your clan, and loyalty to your people. - Utilize the company and aid of others. The efforts of the individual often pale against the capabilities of the community.
Kairos, the Mysterious
Kairos is a god of secrets, shadows, and mystery. He also represents individualism as a theme, so working alone is a big part of his encouragement. He also encourages people to live free, but keep secrets. After all, secrets are what are interesting about a person.
His commandments are: - Walk unbridled and untethered, forging new memories and experiences. - Learn all you can, and keep hidden that which you know. Reveal what pieces you must, but never the whole. - Seek and exalt places where no light touches.
These three articles were a lot of fun to write. It might not be a lot of details written down for each deity, but that’s not always necessary. I can always create when needed to. Like I said in my first article about pantheons and religion: Its always best to conserve your creative energy for when you need it, instead of expending it all on things you wont use.
Besides that, did I do everything I wanted to do? No, there were things I would rather have expanded upon more, but then again, I’ll do that when inspiration strikes me, so that I don’t have to force myself to create. Overall, I think this is a great start to my worldbuilding in Ae’thar, and I will continue to expand upon the different facets of that world another time. I feel like the Magic: The Gathering system of the five conflicts really work well. It brings a lot more interest to not only the deities themselves, but what the denizens of your world believe in and uphold. As much as I like Dael Kingsmill’s system, it clashes with what I already have envisioned, but still works really well on its own.
I have no idea what my next article is going to be, but we’ll see when that comes up. Again, I appreciate every bit of feedback, and I would love to hear your thoughts about this miniseries about religion and pantheons. ‘Til the next article!