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5E Clerics building temples to more than one god

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
In your campaigns, would a cleric building temples to more than one god be acceptable, or would they be expected to be wholly devoted to a single god?

Do you have any mechanics in your games that would let you benefit from spreading your devotion around?

In the new Theros source book, there is a new piety mechanic, but that seems to reward clerics being devoted to a single god, even though most non-cleric would pray to multiple gods.

I'm thinking reputation would work with each god and its body of worshipers being a faction.

I'm thinking faction points can lead to certain perks like piety does in Theros. But different gods would offer different perks. So if you know you were going to have to go into battle, you may pray, make generous offering, and go on quests for a the god of war. You may pray to other gods for perks to help you in other situations. I believe that Warhammer used a mechanic like this. Praying at different temples or two different gods could give you different buffs and other perks.

My current campaign is set in the Lost Lands. A cleric in the party is devoted to the god Telophus, Lesser, LN, Title: Lord of Crops and the Seasons. Spheres of Influence: Crops, the Harvest, Fields, the Seasons . Typically worshiped by farmers and halflings, some druids revering his natural cycle aspect

He has already built a temple to Telophus and has been increasing it grandeur over the campaign (using Colville's Strongholds & Followers rules). Now he wants to build a temple for Hecate:

Hecate, Greater, LE, Goddess of Evil Magic, The Arcane Mother; Evil, Knowledge, Law, Magic; Arcane spellcasters, women, hags, witches, crones, remnants of lost Arcady

There are in-story reasons for this that I won't get into here, but I'm wondering about your thoughts on this.

I use Renown and Infamy in my game using a modified system published in EN5ider that earns you larger "organization" dice the more renown you have. You can roll on a table for all your faction whenever you level up to earn boons or banes. You can also spend reputation/renown points for favors.

How would you handle donations and building of temples to multiple gods?
 

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dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
In my games, Clerics build temples dedicated to a primary deity, but with places of honor/worship for all the gods within the temple as well (even rival gods). Temples for my homebew panteon are considered neutral ground and violence of any sort is forbidden. Clerics (and others) who disobey the gods' wishes can face drastic consequences.

Donations go to the temple as a whole.
 

In War of the Burning Sky's third adventure, there's a subplot about this. A city is receiving a lot of refugees, and to try to tamp down on the intercultural bickering, a paladin asks the PCs to help her win over representatives of eight prominent gods in order to create a syncretic temple that anyone can worship at.
 

I actually went on to implement that in my home campaign, where the 8 prime gods of the pantheon eventually got linked to 8 different rooms that each temple needed, and so you could tell which god the builder favored by how much care they lavished on that room. A dining hall respected Brasseth, a library respected Churdoh, the guest quarters respected Kelida Taryaver, the infirmary respected Meliska, etc etc.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Only certain situations would allow a cleric to build a temple to multiple gods in my campaign. Clerics are devoted to a single god, while they might pray to other gods when entering the god's sphere of influence (for instance send a prayer to the sea god when boarding a ship). This is all good and well and they would be expected to make some sort of offering to the other gods in these instance, but they are still devoted to a single god and would only build temples to honour their god.

Those certain situations in my campaign would be the following, the dragonborn have 5 primary gods out of the 15 gods of my setting who have individual temples. The 10 low gods tend to be grouped into a single temple or have small individual shrines near locations of their spheres of influence (a farming village might have a shrine to the earthmother, for instance). In this case, a cleric of one of the low gods who wanted to build a temple would be expected to build a temple of the low gods, he might fund it himself or he might have funding from other temples and priests.
 

In our world it is not uncommon for areas with a shared religious tradition to have a temple complex that has shrines for different divine personalities.
For example:
Hinduism
Catholicism/Saints.
 

Seramus

Adventurer
Shared religious shrines are a good way to keep jealousy down. Certainly not fullproof, but even some destructive gods are willing to not destroy things if offerings are made and some respect is paid.
 

Eltab

Hero
FR has the Triad, three gods who work together. There are temples to each of them individually and to the group.
You could create historical flavor in your campaign if all really old temples in a certain era are individual, then a period of joint use, then new construction is split different ways. Or the primary god in a joint temple changes after an invasion / conquest / 'time of troubles' period.
"This temple was built to Zeus alone during the Olde Dynasty. The monastery across the way was built to Apollo originally but converted to Athena during the Rebellion. After the Zeal of Hercules rose to power, the temple was extensively remodeled so that all the gods had a chapel dedicated to them. Today the original Zeus sanctuary has been restored and the chapels that had been in that space were added to the new wing."

A cleric serving multiple gods depends on those gods. Some pantheons work together, some pantheons are composed of bitter rivals.
 

In your campaigns, would a cleric building temples to more than one god be acceptable, or would they be expected to be wholly devoted to a single god?
Pantheons. Perfectly acceptable in most RL polytheistic religions, so should be quite common in a typical D&D setup. Most folk will sacrifice to whatever god seems relevant to the boon they are seeking - the god of harvest at harvest time, the god of war in a time of war etc.
 

MarkB

Legend
Pantheons. Perfectly acceptable in most RL polytheistic religions, so should be quite common in a typical D&D setup. Most folk will sacrifice to whatever god seems relevant to the boon they are seeking - the god of harvest at harvest time, the god of war in a time of war etc.
Exactly. In Eberron, there are probably more temples to the Sovereign Host than there are to its deities individually. For another example, the Elder Scrolls setting typically features temples and shrines devoted to individual deities, but major cities will have temples devoted to The Nine as a whole, containing individual shrines to each of them.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
In your campaigns, would a cleric building temples to more than one god be acceptable, or would they be expected to be wholly devoted to a single god?

Do you have any mechanics in your games that would let you benefit from spreading your devotion around?

...

How would you handle donations and building of temples to multiple gods?
I kind of always assume that folks in the fantasy world worship a little bit of everything, like in pagan times. A typical peasant working in a farm might pray daily to the deity of agriculture, and on specially occasions might participate in a festival to the sun goddess, or make an offer to other specific gods before going hunting, and so on. Evil deities being much less popular, but there might still be a festival to either please or bane the gods of death to ensure they stay away from the village, or a peasant might secretly make a donation to a deity of diseases if someone in the family gets ill.

OTOH about Clerics I always default to single deities. It's a bit like different professions: there are bakers, blacksmiths and tailors, and while folks need to buy services from all of them, each person works in a single profession.

I wouldn't mind having some Clerics devoted to a whole pantheon however. Maybe a small community can only afford a single Cleric who has to cover a bit of everything, or maybe there are some priests who oversee common temples or keep multiple religions tied together.

I don't use any specific rules for getting benefits from worshipping or donating.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
In my campaign temples are generally dedicated to the entire pantheon not just a single deity. You may have a small alcove dedicated to a specific god.

Only in large cities or in cities with ties to a specific deity are you going to have dedicated temples.

There may also be small shrines dedicated to specific gods, but they may only be used for special occasions.

Most clerics are generalists.
 


One factor to consider is also the practicality of each individual place. A small town is unlikely to have either the manpower, real estate or money to afford making a different temple to each god of a pantheon. It would also not make sense to worship some dieties based on geographic location too. I.e. a god/goddess strictly related to the sea (but not storms) would not likely have temples in landlocked areas and would have at best a small shrine if every god is present in a temple. This is also likely why most gods in mang settings have a diverse portfolio (storms are common for sea gods).

Typically I like the setup of each god getting a temple in a "temple district" for larger cities, and for smaller towns I tend to have either on temple reflecting the major diety of the area with smaller shrines in or around it out of respect for other Faith's, barring it being a god whose goal is to quash said other faiths.

Red Larsh from Princes of the Apocalypse / Fae'Run has an interesting setup in where they have a single neutral temple where every deity has a shrine, but the clergy are two random clerics of two deities sent out from Waterdeep that run the temple together and each month they switch out with two random clerics sent, so it can be any sort of combination.
 

Legatus_Legionis

< BLAH HA Ha ha >
My highest level acheived cleric is a cleric of thoth.

He created the Grand Library (temple) of knowledge in my world.
All known knowledge is collected there. Good, evil, neutral. Lawful, chaotic. Magical or divine. Scientific or super-natural. Political or theatrical. etc.

Certain sections are by design "restricted". There are strict anti-"theft" (magical and non-magical) all whom visit must adhere to.

There is a fee or donation (one day only, monthly pass, etc.) everyone must pay if they want to use the services offered.


Think of the structure as a cross between the Library of Alaxandria of the ancient world and Google/wikipedia is of today. Or the Galactic Library of Star Wars in Episode II.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Thanks everyone. Personally I think it is interesting to have both happening. Some clerics would feel that while they may be a devotee of one god, they must give all (or all in their religion/pantheon) due respect. But other sects may demand devotion to one and only one god even while not denying the existence of other gods.

It is interesting to see debate among Hindus over ISKON. E.g., Why does ISKCON Say That Only Krishna Should Be Worshiped and worship of other gods is Condemned? - Quora

The problem with being a DM, however, is that you are running the world and the gods and this influences the mechanics of the game.

Generally I deal with it in a number of ways.

1. If the setting has specific rules and canon about this, like Theros, I'll generally play it as written, making sure everyone is on board with that.

2. In my homebrew setting, there is room for debate over the nature or even the existence of gods. Perhaps, devotion and ritual is just another way to get the mind to tap into magic. It isn't the gods giving clerics their power any more than it is with arcanists or psionics. That allows for a diverse range of belief systems and the players bascially decide on the nature of their character's belief system.

3. Currently I'm running a campaign in the Lost Lands setting by Frog God Games. I keep to RAW mostly, but FGG hasn't published their book on gods and religions yet. The Lost Lands setting guide only covers this at a very high level. In how I run my campaign in this setting, the gods are real but mostly distant. They depend upon the devotion of sentient being to survive and to grow or maintain their power, which makes them jealous, but also practical in that their are benefits to focus on certain domains and letting followers worship other deities in non-competing domains.
 

Voadam

Hero
I do not have mechanics to encourage or discourage it.

I have mono/henotheistic religious traditions, polytheistic ones, and atheistic clerical traditions in my game and cosmology. Tapping divine power is what clerics do and it is not dependent on gods cosmologically even if most traditions say it is.

Socially I have a main mono/henotheistic tradition of the Holy Lothian Church (from Ptolus) but I also have the Old Gods and other pantheons and even some gods of other pantheons who are venerated as incorporated saints and Angels in Lothianism plus clerical spellcasting traditions not directly associated with gods.

An Athenaeum hall for the occult Athenaeum order in my game might be a secular library or a temple shrine to all the knowledge gods that are known in the area across pantheons at a cosmopolitan trade port.
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
In my campaign, a temple is dedicated to a pantheon of gods, not to a single deity. It's usually a large building with several alcoves around a single auditorium, like petals on a flower. Each alcove has a shrine to a different god in the pantheon. Some small-town temples only have 2 or 3 shrines in them, but in large cities they may have 10 or more.

Druid enclaves are similar, with a grassy clearing surrounded by cairns or standing stones--each one is a shrine devoted to different nature-spirits.

Worshipers come in, leave offerings at the shrine (or shrines) of their choice, maybe sit in the auditorium for a bit to listen to the day's teachings or to participate in whatever ceremony, festival, or ritual is going on, then go about their daily business. Few people are expected to visit every shrine, usually they just leave offerings at one or two depending on the circumstances. Someone about to go on a journey might leave an offering to the God of Travel, or the parents of a sick child might leave an offering to the Shrine of Life, that sort of thing.
 

Coroc

Hero
In your campaigns, would a cleric building temples to more than one god be acceptable, or would they be expected to be wholly devoted to a single god?

Do you have any mechanics in your games that would let you benefit from spreading your devotion around?

In the new Theros source book, there is a new piety mechanic, but that seems to reward clerics being devoted to a single god, even though most non-cleric would pray to multiple gods.

I'm thinking reputation would work with each god and its body of worshipers being a faction.

I'm thinking faction points can lead to certain perks like piety does in Theros. But different gods would offer different perks. So if you know you were going to have to go into battle, you may pray, make generous offering, and go on quests for a the god of war. You may pray to other gods for perks to help you in other situations. I believe that Warhammer used a mechanic like this. Praying at different temples or two different gods could give you different buffs and other perks.

My current campaign is set in the Lost Lands. A cleric in the party is devoted to the god Telophus, Lesser, LN, Title: Lord of Crops and the Seasons. Spheres of Influence: Crops, the Harvest, Fields, the Seasons . Typically worshiped by farmers and halflings, some druids revering his natural cycle aspect

He has already built a temple to Telophus and has been increasing it grandeur over the campaign (using Colville's Strongholds & Followers rules). Now he wants to build a temple for Hecate:

Hecate, Greater, LE, Goddess of Evil Magic, The Arcane Mother; Evil, Knowledge, Law, Magic; Arcane spellcasters, women, hags, witches, crones, remnants of lost Arcady

There are in-story reasons for this that I won't get into here, but I'm wondering about your thoughts on this.

I use Renown and Infamy in my game using a modified system published in EN5ider that earns you larger "organization" dice the more renown you have. You can roll on a table for all your faction whenever you level up to earn boons or banes. You can also spend reputation/renown points for favors.

How would you handle donations and building of temples to multiple gods?
That totally depends on what the pantheon / clerics are defined like, no?

It would be acceptable if a cleric aids some other cleric in building the temple, if each god is of a similar alignment or maybe only differs by one step. Or maybe if clerics are just good / neutral/evil with no focus on one of the pantheons deities.

Most often in my campaigns, clerics have only little time to build a temple, so they spend that on building a temple for their own faith, if they get a chance.

The latest occurence was a Beory nature cleric, taking over the Beory temple in Greyhawk, so he did not build it, but with Beory 's temples it is that they resemble a public park more, and they usually have no residing cleric, whatever cleric of Beory feels the calling to do so, stays there for a time to care for the believers. So he went there having some special new plants and included them into the garden.
 

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