How many gods is too many gods? - Page 6
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  1. #51
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    I think a lot of people have given the same answer I'd give (as many as you want, but don't force them upon the players), so I thought I'd talk a slightly different tact.

    The one aspect that drove home to me that I needed to write my own pantheons was the existence of the racial gods for all races except human. That felt wrong to me, until I realized that my solution was to take the deities who were unlisted racially (Torm, Sune, Bane, Pelor, ect ect ect) and make them the human gods while building out pantheons for each of the different races.

    That worked for me and I've been slowly trying to figure out what religion, the gods, and worship look like for each of these races. It feels like a naturally extension of the world to me.


    The other solution is to make a single pantheon worshipped by all races. So, Moradin would simply be the god of the forge instead of the god of dwarves. If you wanted to include racial deities as well, I'd make sure to include an equivalent number of human deities to keep the balance sheet.

  2. #52
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    "How many gods is too many gods?"

    Even one god is too many.

    Oh, you mean in the context of fiction or fantasy . . . How many fictional gods has humanity dreamed up in the real world? Hundreds. For every possibility that can't currently be understood by scientific method you can expect ignorant people to attribute it to a god of some kind.

    Therefore, multiply the number of scientifically ignorant societies in your setting by the number of significant misunderstood factors that are important to each society = number of gods in a setting.
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  3. #53
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    Wow....


    "My favorite part of DMing is making whatever interests the characters important. Or at least seem important." - James Wyatt

    Unconquered Kingdoms, Obsidian Portal July 2016 Campaign of the Month

  4. #54
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    Yep, militant atheist guy definitely seems like someone worth ignoring.
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  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wulffolk View Post
    "How many gods is too many gods?"

    Even one god is too many.

    Oh, you mean in the context of fiction or fantasy . . . How many fictional gods has humanity dreamed up in the real world? Hundreds. For every possibility that can't currently be understood by scientific method you can expect ignorant people to attribute it to a god of some kind.

    Therefore, multiply the number of scientifically ignorant societies in your setting by the number of significant misunderstood factors that are important to each society = number of gods in a setting.
    Of course, in a magic-based fantasy setting real-world science sometimes takes a walk off the dock in any case; and when it's a setting where the deities sometimes show up in person they're suddenly not so fictional at all from your character's point of view.

    Lanefan
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  6. #56
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    @Lanefan That may be true. That is why I do not run settings in which the gods physically manifest. In a world in which the gods participate directly it diminishes player agency and character accountability. Gods that physically participate in a setting are not really gods. They are just very powerful creatures with extremely powerful supernatural abilities. There can be no "faith" in such a world, only service to the over-lord of your choice. Faith is the belief in something without evidence. When a god is directly intervening in the world then belief is no longer faith, but scientific observation.

    When D&D started assigning Hit Points, Armor Class, Class Levels and other stats to the gods in Deities & Demigods they made the mistake of creating just another Monster Manual for over the top Monty Haul campaigns. The gods were no longer concepts that shaped societies, but became targets for epic level character's to hunt, or who's ranks any mortal could join after gaining enough levels.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wulffolk View Post
    @Lanefan That may be true. That is why I do not run settings in which the gods physically manifest. In a world in which the gods participate directly it diminishes player agency and character accountability. Gods that physically participate in a setting are not really gods. They are just very powerful creatures with extremely powerful supernatural abilities. There can be no "faith" in such a world, only service to the over-lord of your choice. Faith is the belief in something without evidence. When a god is directly intervening in the world then belief is no longer faith, but scientific observation.

    When D&D started assigning Hit Points, Armor Class, Class Levels and other stats to the gods in Deities & Demigods they made the mistake of creating just another Monster Manual for over the top Monty Haul campaigns. The gods were no longer concepts that shaped societies, but became targets for epic level character's to hunt, or who's ranks any mortal could join after gaining enough levels.
    I probably shouldn't, but there is an aspect of your argument that frankly I've never understood.

    Why does faith require a lack of evidence?

    People can have faith in the their government, and the government is objectively real.
    We can have faith in our fellow man, who is also objectively real.
    A soldier may have faith in their brothers and sisters in arms, who are objectively real.
    Faith in firefighters, police officers, the rule of law, family, the endurance of life on this planet, ect ect ect

    There are so many potential examples of faith being put into objects, people, and organizations who are definitely real that I've never understood this idea that knowing the gods are real means that faith is dead.


    The only way I can figure it, and I may be completely wrong on this count, is that our cultural baggage of the word god means we imagine the dieties of these fantasy settings to be far more powerful and benevolent than they actually are. And that this mismatch of expectations is what causes this sort of response.

  8. #58
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    @Chaosmancer
    Government is real, of course. Faith in your government to do the right thing is a choice that is rarely based on actual evidence.

    You can have faith in your fellow man to be good, but evidence does not necessarily support that.

    A soldier may trust the other men in his platoon on faith, but he has no evidence that they would endanger themself for his benefit until the situation actually happens.

    Faith in various forms of public servants is better defined as hope for their ability to render timely aid, without knowing for certain.

    In each of those examples the faith is placed in something that you can't know for certain already. Once you know something for certain then believing it is no longer an act of faith, but rather a result of observation.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plutancatty View Post
    Sooo, I've been working on my world, and I've been stuck on the gods for a looong while now.

    What can I do about this?
    Maybe your players can help. Talk to them individually; start with any Clerics or Paladins. Explain that you are looking for ideas, not sitting in judgement over them.

    - What gods do you find interesting in a campaign? Why?
    - What portfolios (areas of concern) make a god interesting in a campaign? Why?
    - What gods (or what portfolios) do you think would oppose your character's efforts and your god's goals?
    - What portfolios would you have covered by an active god? What portfolios would you place in the hands of a 'background' god?
    - Do you prefer a few gods who each handle many portfolios (and probably also have many aspects), or many gods with a narrow area of concern / action?
    - What do you know about IRL pantheons, that would make "room" for fun interactions in a D&D campaign?
    - If the gods are going to be important in the campaign, do you prefer completely homebrewed gods, gods borrowed from other campaigns / sourcebooks, or knock-offs of IRL deities?

    They might come up with something you haven't thought of, or put ideas together from several sources to get something that is more than the sum of its parts.

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wulffolk View Post
    @Chaosmancer
    Government is real, of course. Faith in your government to do the right thing is a choice that is rarely based on actual evidence.

    You can have faith in your fellow man to be good, but evidence does not necessarily support that.

    A soldier may trust the other men in his platoon on faith, but he has no evidence that they would endanger themself for his benefit until the situation actually happens.

    Faith in various forms of public servants is better defined as hope for their ability to render timely aid, without knowing for certain.

    In each of those examples the faith is placed in something that you can't know for certain already. Once you know something for certain then believing it is no longer an act of faith, but rather a result of observation.

    Okay, so how is faith based in your god being willing or capable of helping you in your time of need certain? Do you know for certain that Waukeen is watching over your deal and will give you a beneficial transaction instead of the man you are dealing with? Do you know for certain that Kord will fight your strength sufficient to give you victory instead of the monsters you fight? Do you know for certain that Pelor's light that you have summoned will be strong enough to combat the evil flames the Archduke of Hell gave to his follower?

    These things are just as uncertain as they would always be, because despite the fact that you know the deities exist, they are not all powerful, they are not all knowing, and they may not be listening in your time of crisis.

    The idea that the gods are Omnipotent and Omniscient doesn't fit into a polytheistic world, you can't have thirteen all powerful and all knowing beings working at cross-purposes, it doesn't make sense.

    So, as far as I can see, the uncertainty exists to allow for this faith, even though you know for certain and may have even spoken directly to your god. In fact, there are people in the real world with massive amounts of faith who will say with certainty that their God exists and that they have spoken with them. This doesn't destroy their faith though, merely reaffirms it.

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