D&D General Build the "Definitive Pantheon"

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
Instead of Big Evil, many (though not all) religious/spiritual traditions tend to have Big Scary.

Hades and Persephone weren't evil. Indeed, by the standards of both their day and ours, they were quite affable. Hades welcomes heroes into his home, negotiates fairly, and even his kidnap of Persephone is a fairly normal thing to his culture—and, more importantly, he has very few myths (none, in some traditions) where he's a philanderer, while Persephone genuinely co-rules the Underworld with him. She's not the goddess of spring, she's the goddess of the underworld. But invoking her name or Hades' was a dangerous, risky thing. You didn't do so lightly. They were scary as hell, pun absolutely intended.

Ironically, despite the Eastern mythological association with greater moral greyness, Vedic and Shinto deities do include many outright "demons" or otherwise explicitly malign, evil supernatural powers, some of them at the level of "gods" as the West would understand the term. Of course, there are also scary "good" gods like Shiva and Kali (and especially Kali's "war" aspect, Durga.) But the "daevas" are evil in Zoroastrianism, while the "devas" are good in Hinduism and the asuras are evil. Etc.

Evil as a supernatural force is complicated!
Yet Mitra and Varuna are constantly called Asuras in Hinduism – and are considered Good Gods. Asura and Daeva are different families of Gods in the Rig-Veda. Most Asuras became demonized in Hinduism, but Asuras as a whole did not. Most Daevas became demonized in Zorastrianism, but some deities that were demonized like Indar (Persian Indra) retained their noble characteristics in another variation (Indra Verethragna -> Verethragna/Vaghan, a heroic Yazata who helps the people overcome obstacles much like Indra Verethragna does in the RigVeda).

Note that Ahura is used only for Mithra and Ahura Mazda (aka Varuna) in Zorastrianism and sometimes a third member (either Apam Napat or Aredvi Sura Anahita); the other "good" Powers in Zorastrianism were relegated from deity level to Angelic Yazata, but have rough analogs amongst the Hindu deities and misc. Powers.

So it's not as simple as an early Indo-Iranina split on the morality of their pantheons; it's more akin to religious reforms that caught on later.

Also, notably, the Aesir are etymologically linked to the Asuras, which just generically means "Lords", while Divine and Diva and Deus and Dione and Diana and Day and Dagda and Zeus and Jupiter and Tyr etc are all linked to Daeva originating in Dyaus – Daytime, but eventually generalized to "God" or "Divine Being."
 

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pemerton

Legend
Then who is the god of honorable, fair, challenge and fights?
In 4e D&D, Bahamut. From PHB p 21:

Called the Platinum Dragon, Bahamut is the god of justice, protection, nobility, and honor. Lawful good paladins often revere him, and metallic dragons worship him as the first of their kind. Monarchs are crowned in his name. He commands his followers thus:

✦ Uphold the highest ideals of honor and justice.

✦ Be constantly vigilant against evil and oppose it on all fronts.

✦ Protect the weak, liberate the oppressed, and defend just order​
 

pemerton

Legend
Catering to you (or me) is likely to offend someone else.
I dunno, this reminds me of when people complained that Qantas was going to stop serving pork as part of a deal to fly through Saudi airspace.

There's no religion I'm aware of, and certainly there's no prominent Australian religion, that obligates adherents to eat pork. So the non-serving of pork is not symmetrical as between different traditions.

By trying to approach religion in a subtle or muted way, D&D might open the door to players from a range of traditions while not offending anyone - no one (that I'm aware of) has a traditional obligation to pretend to be a worshipper of pretend deities.

This post doesn't mean that I agree with @Yaarel on every point of detail about what an inclusive or subtle approach might look like. For instance, I think it can be possible for a RPG to present a possible approach to worship, or even a default approach to worship, without that coercing people into it. But - and just as one example - presenting an approach as possible but not "coercively" might mean being rather careful about the art that is used, given that purchasers of the books can't "opt out" of the art.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
I dunno, this reminds me of when people complained that Qantas was going to stop serving pork as part of a deal to fly through Saudi airspace.

There's no religion I'm aware of, and certainly there's no prominent Australian religion, that obligates adherents to eat pork. So the non-serving of pork is not symmetrical as between different traditions.

By trying to approach religion in a subtle or muted way, D&D might open the door to players from a range of traditions while not offending anyone - no one (that I'm aware of) has a traditional obligation to pretend to be a worshipper of pretend deities.

This post doesn't mean that I agree with @Yaarel on every point of detail about what an inclusive or subtle approach might look like. For instance, I think it can be possible for a RPG to present a possible approach to worship, or even a default approach to worship, without that coercing people into it. But - and just as one example - presenting an approach as possible but not "coercively" might mean being rather careful about the art that is used, given that purchasers of the books can't "opt out" of the art.

Not sure on the details but looks like Qantas wanted access to someone else's airspace.

I file that under when in Rome.
 

pemerton

Legend
I agree that most D&D gods are pretty one-dimensional. For example, we had talked about warrior storm gods earlier in this thread. Very often many of these warrior storm gods are also gods of agriculture and (male) fertility. Fertility deities are very common in real life, but in D&D style pantheons, they are pretty absent, usually in favor of a more generic deity of love.
I've always assumed that this is about present-day cultural taboos around how sex and sexuality are presented in fiction, especially popular fiction aimed at a wide audience that includes children.
 

Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
I'm Swedish, and while I don't know about Sami or Finnish religious traditions, Norse religious traditions are basically considered a fertile cultural well but not anything particularly sacred.
Yes, this is what I mean by "culturally sacred", as opposed to religiously sacred. Even when Nordic lands are increasingly secular, the sacred traditions continue to resonate and inform cultural identity.

It is more about a deep sense that nature is holy.


I've never heard anyone have any problem with Marvel's Thor, for example, except that he's blond instead of a redhead.
I never had a problem with Marvels Thor either. Indeed, the fact that he isnt portrayed as an object of worship, rings true. The Norse texts portray Thor in ways that come across more like a superhero, sotospeak, than a "religious" figure.
 

pemerton

Legend
I think the DMG's basic outline for a basic pantheon was okay. Just add the Arcane god, and a Law/Chaos pair and missing opposite.

Arcana
City
Darkness
Death
Knowledge
Life
Light
Nature
Peace
Secrets
Strength
Tempest
Trickery
War

And fill
*Arcana: Corellon, Ioun, Vecna
City: Erathis
Darkness: Zehir
Death: Raven Queen
Knowledge: Ioun
Life: Pelor
Light: Pelor
Nature: Melora
Peace: Pelor, Avandra
Secrets: Vecna
Strength, Tempest: Kord
Trickery: Avandra, Sehanine
War: Bane

We're missing crafting, home and hearth (Moradin), duty, truth and honour (Bahamut), harsh government (Asmodeus), and greed (Tiamat).

The Dawn War pantheon also adds some D&D-isms: the underdark (Torog), lies (but really Drow) (Lolth), destruction (but really Orcs) (Gruumsh), and void/chaos (Tharizdun).
 


pemerton

Legend
D&D decided to bootstrap every single deity it could find into a single setting back in Deities and Demigods, let's not pretend that didn't happen. You can even go and visit them in Planescape
I don't think it is DDG that did this: it's pretty clear (from the intro material) that the idea of DDG is that the GM/group will choose a pantheon or pantheons to use in their campaign.

It is Manual of the Planes that presents all the DDG gods as all simultaneously existing in the Outer Planes. And then Planescape doubles down and builds on that.
 

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