This section describes the deities of The World, and Trivana specifically. It provides a complete list of all the Greater and Lesser gods, and a fairly complete list of Demi-Gods.
In addition the gods themselves, this section also provides a description of the main pantheons of gods (which compete with each other), the gods of each pantheon (who also compete within their own pantheons), and a general background on how gods function in The World.
What is NOT included is vital statistics about each god. The gods of The World are NOT available for mortal to fight. Anyone who gets that tough will be either killed (by the gods for the safety of the gods) or ascended to godhood, thereby becoming either moot or an NPC. Time to roll up new characters ...
Where the Gods Came From
Gods & Godhood
Breadth of Power
Author's Note: Nope --we're not talking metaphysical stuff here. This is where the concept that I use came from and what that concept is.
The gods of The World drew from the various pantheons listed in the Deities & Demi-Gods Cyclopedia (DDG), plus from the Suel & Greyhawk pantheons published in The Dragon Magazine in the early 1980's.
Originally my brother & I agreed that we could use any and all gods from the DDG as needed and assumed that all existed. Later this proved to be too much, especially since in later campaigns I adopted the idea of granting special abilities to clerics of specific deities. There were too many (200+) to review and write up lists, and I did things VERY inconsistently.
So I made a fresh stab at it. I listed ALL the gods in the DDG along with the Suel & Greyhawk pantheons, including information such as alignment, sphere of influence, worshippers, & symbol. From this list I chose gods whose alignments & spheres of influence matched, totaling 63 in number for the human pantheons.
Yes, pantheonS. Influenced strongly by the Thieves World books, I chose to create two competing pantheons of human-based gods, just to make things interesting. At this time I have no idea how it will work out, and while I may have wasted a fair amount of time describing twice as many gods as I really needed, but it's been fun anyway.
Once the list was complete I broke it in half, creating two pantheons. Then I went through the list and assigned which gods were Greater, which Lesser, and which Demi-gods. Their originally described status was ignored -- my goal was to put together two pantheons, each of which covered all the major bases (sphere of influence-wise) and had other niche gods to fill in the cracks.
Upon reaching godhood the terrible truth is discovered -- becoming a god means gaining immortality and very great power, but at the cost of becoming beholden to worshippers. Gods of The World gain their power from their worshippers, so many worshippers means more power, few worshippers means less. Not that a god without worshippers is powerless, but in comparison to those with worshippers, he's bottom dog.
This puts each god at odds with his or her fellow gods, competing for worshippers. One god's loss is probably another god's gain. Most gods are willing to function with some other gods, usually those of similar bent (alignment) but different spheres of influence. Oddly, gods of similar sphere but with different worshipper bases may also cooperate, even between pantheons. The notable example here is all the gods of smithing and metal working, as the gods of the humans, dwarves, and gnomes all have completely different worshippers, so there is commonality without competition.
Other gods, especially those of the Anaxios pantheon, have some rather strange alliances that go back far enough that the gods themselves have no clear memories of why they chose to ally themselves with a particular god, other than the alliance continues to function usefully.
So greater gods have the most worshippers which grants them the most power. If a greater god loses too many worshippers his/her status could reduce to that of a lesser god, or even a demi-god. If too many worshippers are lost a demi-god could end up a mere servant of another god, or possibly in some kind of limbo.
At the same time, a demi-god could gain enough worshippers to become a lesser god, or even a greater god. This is the goal of most demi-gods, although some may be pleased to remain in a minor role, so to speak.
Again feeding from the idea of Thieves World, The World contains two competing pantheons of human gods, the Anaxios and the Pyung, as well as other pantheons of gods of other races.
Note on names: The gods of either human pantheons do not have names that appear to come from the same cultures. The gods were spawned by many different civilizations, and in some cases the civilizations that produced the gods no longer exist, even in anyone's memory.
The Anaxios is an ancient pantheon, some of the gods pre-dating the memories of any mortal race, and in some cases those of the gods themselves. The youngest of the Anaxios is more than 10,000 years old, pre-dating the Sack of the Northern Kingdoms, when the Lords of Rendelshod fought the Demon Lord Jxtl and lost.
Many of the Anaxios feel a sense of entitlement in their own positions; after all they've held those positions for so long. At the same time they feel scorn for the Pyung, who are upstarts after all! The descriptions of the gods contain information on alliances and hatreds, and in general there exists animosity between the two groups and their clerics, although not necessarily between their worshippers.
All members of the Pyung pantheon gained ascension since the Sack of the Northern Kingdoms. Many of the Anaxios were killed during the god battles at the end of that period, opening places for new gods.
These openings were exploited by the newly minted demi-gods, many of which quickly grew in power while the elder gods were recovering from their epic battles. This did not endear the new gods to the old, and thankfully for the Pyung the recent memories of battles fought and allies lost kept the elder gods from wiping out the upstarts. This gave the new gods the time they needed to consolidate worshippers (and thus power), and by the time the Anaxios reacted it was too late. Their greatly reduced numbers of worshippers were even reduced further by converts to the new gods.
Some gods who had been at the height of power fell to the basement, or disappeared completely into obscurity. Others at the lowest levels of power grew to eclipse their predecessors.
In eons past the various demi-human pantheons waxed strongest. The youngest of the various demi-human gods are on par with the Anaxios for age, and some of the eldest, such as Moradin, predate even the oldest human gods. Such gods don't really remember their own origins, that time so distant in the past.
Before recorded human history the dwarves, elves, gnomes, and halfling held sway over the majority of Trivana, and many other nearby continents. During this time their gods were strong, and contention existed between the demi-human pantheons, especially the dwarven and elven.
Not as prolific as the human and goblinoid races, the demi-human races declined in power and land over eons. The original upstart human and goblinoid gods waxed in power as their worshippers' numbers grew. Even as recently as the Sack of the Northern Kingdoms the demi-human's gods decline appeared obvious.
Never very numerous, the demi-human pantheons have grown even smaller and weaker as their worshippers are supplanted, forced to live in restricted areas.
This does not mean that the demi-human gods are weak; rather that they lack the power they once wielded. Collectively they have greater numbers and strength than either the Anaxios or the Pyung, but lack the ability to put aside their former differences and cooperate for their collective benefit.
Some of the demi-human gods do have alliances outside their own pantheons, but these are not strong enough to be come general in nature.
The gods of the goblinoid tribes (orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, etc) are generally considered a single pantheon, and different races may worship the same gods. Fortunately for the other races the gods of the goblinoids are as fractured as the tribes, so there is little cooperation between more than a few members of this pantheon.
Note: Calling the goblinoid gods a pantheon is a convenience for the other races. The majority of the goblinoid gods do not consider themselves connected in any way to their peers, and consider it a deadly insult to be lumped together. Suggesting such to a tribal cleric invites an attack.
The goblinoid tribes are the most prolific of the intelligent races, generally having a life cycle a just over half the length of the humans, the next most prolific race. This provides the numbers to make the tribes strong, which in turn makes their gods strong. As stated previously, only their complete inability to cooperate with each other prevents these gods from supplanting the other pantheons.
The gods of Trivana may also be gods of other continents. Greater and lesser gods have worshippers on other continents, normally those close by (although close is a relative term, given that "close" continents are 10,000 miles apart). A single continent doesn't contain sufficient numbers of worshippers to make a god a lesser god, much less a greater god.
Typically demi-gods have worshippers on a single continent and have power in areas where they have concentrations of worshippers. Stronger demi-gods will have power all across a single continent, while some weaker demi-gods have spheres of influence of only 100 miles radius or so. Clerics of these gods are unlikely to travel beyond their god's boundaries. While their spells in memory will be effective outside that boundary, they will be unable to regain spells above 2nd level and some other powers granted by their god may lose effectiveness. Special abilities with weapons will not degrade with distance -- those abilities are mostly a result of rigorous training on the part of the clerics.
Lesser gods have worshippers on at least two and possibly as many as ten nearby continents. Their power is greater and their clerics will normally have the full run of the continent where they live, and will have powers on other continents where their god has power. Other lands? Again they won't be able to regain spells above 2nd level and special powers granted by their gods may lose effectiveness.
Oddly, some weaker lesser gods may effectively be a demi-god on continents where they have few worshippers. Stronger lesser gods have sufficient power from their worshippers that their power is strong even in areas where few worshippers live.
Greater gods, as expected, have a presence in at least 10 and as many as 50 continents. While this sounds like a vast area, compared to the full extent of The World, it is still but a tiny part.
The presence of even a few worshippers grant a greater god power on that continent. Even the weakest of the greater gods is a very formidable being, enough to cow even strong demi-gods.
This section concerns itself with the gods of Trivana. Note that the greater and lesser gods do not have identical areas of power, e.g., two greater gods do not necessarily have power in the same continents. Different continents have different mixes of gods, so the politics of one may be totally different from another.
The lives of the gods are certainly complicated beyond the understanding of mortals, including DMs.
This section is TBD ...
Copyright 2008 Bryan Fazekas