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2009-09-08 Ye Gods

About two months ago I wrote about good and evil gods, followed by a discussion on moral relativism. Recently I looked at the Alder King campaign wiki and decided that I needed to create a page for the players listing the various gods that have made an appearance – and the gods that I plan to use.

I’ve been inspired by Necromancer Games products – their write-up of gods and demons, Ancient Kingdoms: Mesopotamia by Morten Braten aka. Thulsa, the author of XP1: The Spider-God's Bride and Other Tales of Sword and Sorcery, mesopotamian deities on Wikipedia, Wilderlands of High Fantasy, and some brainstorming.

I felt it was important to say why people would pray to all the gods, including the “evil” ones. I think in the case of evil gods it simply a question of placate vs. supplicate. And sometimes even the evil gods have something that you might need one day.

Gods Benefits Drawbacks
Orcus, demon lord of the undead, patron of all short lived intelligent species such as goblins, vanquishes death Priests may raise the dead Demands cruel sacrifice
Tsathoggua, frog lord, lord of swamps, ponds, rain, and slime; lord of slaadi, protector of stirges, the god of sloth and of gluttony Secures plant fertility, fends of winter Fear of pestilence brought by morbid swamps and blood-sucking insects
Hecate, goddess of witches, queen of the night, forbidden lore, mollified by pig slaughter on nights of the full moon Her charms will fend of curses and secure fertility and child health Jealous and choleric, vengeful, brings strife
Thanatos, god of death ??
Set, god of snakes, reptiles, treasure, hypnotism, enchantment, and poisoning His charms will defend against enchantment, prospectors and grave robbers pray for his blessings Poison and slavery
Hanuman the Accursed, the mad ape god, lord of the jungle, of action, of rescue Grants might, breaks chains, frees prisoners Madness and rage
Arden, the god of the sun, got destroyed none He’s gone. Finito. Done.
Nhakhramat, goddess of the emerald flame, of pacts, of contracts and lies, of wishes and miracles, of loyalty, and bondage, of service Her priests can seal pacts with servants of Nhakhramat, offering divine services Sometimes the priests try to cheat and twist your words
Nergal, plague lord His charms will protect from sickness Sometimes they don’t
Marduk, the general of the gods, the warrior, the warlord, the protector of man, the traveller, the newcomer Victory, command, control War and defeat
Ishtar, the goddess of love and sex, of longing, of prostitution Provides amour fou, a fevered sex life Veneral diseases, vengeance, poverty
Ganesh, the elephant god, the god of patience and wisdom, of knowledge, of animals and harmony Prayer will help you carry your burdens His followers are easily abused
Shul, the god of the moons, fickle and mysterious, of law He protects against dragons, his seals uphold the law and oaths, his mercy breaks a geas Sometimes he’s there, and sometimes he’s not

The last entry, Shul, was recently added because my players went through DCC #23: The Sunken Ziggurat. I liked his opposition to dragons. I guess there’s no real-world inspiration for this god?

Discovering what Thanatos is all about is turning into a player quest, which is why I won’t say more about him except this: Caverns of Thracia.

It was cool showing this list to my wife since she’s playing a shadow elf sorceress in that campaign and see her unable to decide between Set and Hecate. :)

Update: 2009-12-08 The Gods Are Watching is a follow-up.

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