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.
|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.