D&D 5E Could Theros and Tasha's Cauldron the way they're going to handle real-world pantheons?

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
It isn't about them not using the D&D pantheons, it's about them not wanting to use the Greek Pantheon anymore. At least it seems like it's going that way.

I think this is the basic bit. The real-world mythologies and traditions don't actually map to the game very well anyway. There's a lot to be said for taking inspiration, and trying to generate a similar look-and-feel, without the problematic issues that arise when real-world traditions need to be deformed to match gameplay needs.
 

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One thing I would say about "dubious interpretations"... is that a lot of these old pantheons were very... fluid.

I ran a game where I needed an Egyptian pantheon, and I wanted it to be accurate... only to find out that there are several versions and permutation. I ended up settling on one that worked for the game... and honestly, that's more important than an exact "historical" one that only represent a moment in time.
I specifically mention Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic poet who made up a lot of things about the Norse Gods in the Prose Edda during the 13th century. And the Prose Edda is basically where D&D has mostly based it's interpretation of the Norse Gods on.
 

I haven't been paying attention to how for example Khaldeim the new MtG setting is going. But much like the case of Theros being their own reinterpretation of Greek Mythology. We'll probably see something similar happen with Norse mythology in D&D eventually getting a replaced by its MtG reinterpretation.
 

ccs

41st lv DM
Can I finally be a Cleric of the Giant Flying Spaghetti Monster?
Sure, come join my game. We've already got 3 Warlocks & 1 Cleric (across 3 campaigns) who's patron is an enigmatic being known only as "The Salmon God".
What's one more worshiper of a Great Old One?
 

Real-world pantheons in D&D have generally been a mess and usually something regulated to an appendix if at all. Never been accurate historically, and often based on certain dubious interpretations, like the D&D Norse pantheon being strongly based on Snorri Sturluson's interpretation of Norse mythology.
Well of course they are. What else are you going to use?

The Norse gods from the Edda are obviously what you'd want in D&D. (What should we base fantasy games on - an actually written myth cycle with clear characterisations, or an incomplete attempt to reconstruct from what little sources available the actual religious practices of viking age people which were probably already different when you travelled to the next valley?)

The problem is not the source but trying to shoehorn them into the alignment system and give them portfolios and such.
 


Tiamat's rivalry with Bahamut completely overshadows her rivalry with Marduk. I don't think they've even acknowledged Marduk as existing since 2e.

Also on a related note, why are the Babylonian and Sumerian pantheons 2 different pantheons in D&D, but not the Roman and Greek?

It's especially weird considering that with Roman syncretism, they didn't just equate their deities with the Greek equivalents, but also the Celtic, Egyptian, and the Germanic gods.

So, yeah, maybe Jupiter is Zeus. But in that case, you can also say Hercules is Thor and Mercury is Odin. (Both are how the Romans saw it!)

I've entirely dumped any earthly pantheons from my homebrew (in fact, I've almost completely dumped D&D style mock-polytheism, but that's another matter).
 


dave2008

Legend
Because American public education teaches that the Greek and Roman pantheons are the same gods with different names. Meanwhile it barely touches on the Babylonian and Sumerian pantheons at all. Yes maybe kids get the later in one section of one chapter of their 7th grade Social Studies textbook, but Greek and Roman gods not only get more time in the Social Studies class but then come up repeatedly in literature classes, and it is invariably taught that they are the same gods.
IDK. When I grew up ( a long time ago) mythology wasn't even part of the general education in HS (you got a little if you took brit lit - but that was elective). I did take an intro mythology course my freshman year at university and we definitely touched on not only differences between the Greek and Roman version, but also the regional and chronological differences in the Greek versions over time.
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
Paul Farquhar said:
I see no reason why WotC needs to "handle real world pantheons" at all.

That. Especially when many game campaign will roleplay them as concurrent monotheisms or militant henotheisms instead of real life polytheism.
 

Gods from mythology are public domain domains. This means everybody can publish their own rip-off of possible new franchises, even altering the stories totally, for example Atenea rebels against Zeus and become the supreme ruler of the Olympus, but a new Titanomachy starts. Or Atenea starts a "too good relation" with Guan Yu, a former Chinese mortal and later god war.

* The knights of the Arthurian round table would be nice as "patrons", and I miss the preislamic pantheons.

* We have to remember today officially Hindu pantheon is a religion not mythology. Don't you remember the past contriversies of Xena with the Hindu gods?

* Today when we are talking about mythologic pantheons we can't avoid to imagine it according to the look of old movies...or modern videogames.

 

It's especially weird considering that with Roman syncretism, they didn't just equate their deities with the Greek equivalents, but also the Celtic, Egyptian, and the Germanic gods.

So, yeah, maybe Jupiter is Zeus. But in that case, you can also say Hercules is Thor and Mercury is Odin. (Both are how the Romans saw it!)
Odin and Mercury is an odd equivalent, but then I remember that Wednesday is for Odin/Woden/Wotan (rough equivalents), and Mecredi in French is for Mercury.
 

The official take in the Forgotten Realms (as of 2006's Dragons of Faerun) is that "Tiamat battled an Untheric alias of Bahamut, known as Marduk the Justice Bringer, time and again, but neither wyrm could prevail", that eventually Bahamut-Marduk "killed" Tiamat "at the cost of his own life" in an event that didn't actually kill either but did demote them both from godhood, and then they both became gods again something like 2,400 years later.

Yeah, it's my understanding that the official D&D canon is that Bahamut IS Marduk, it's just an alias of his.

The same way that Tiamat is also known as Takhisis, or Tchazzar depending on where you go, Marduk is known as Bahamut (or Bahamut is known as Marduk) depending on what world you're on.

Bahamut in real world folklore/mythology isn't a deity, it's a giant sea monster in medieval Islamic cosmology, roughly equivalent to the "World Turtle" in traditional Hindu and Chinese cosmology. Since D&D cosmology is built on planes of existence and the material plane is built on crystal spheres and phlogiston, it doesn't fit, so the name for a gigantic spacefaring sea monster had to go somewhere, and I guess a giant platinum dragon is as good an answer as any.
 

Yeah, it's my understanding that the official D&D canon is that Bahamut IS Marduk, it's just an alias of his.

The same way that Tiamat is also known as Takhisis, or Tchazzar depending on where you go, Marduk is known as Bahamut (or Bahamut is known as Marduk) depending on what world you're on.
I think a lot of Dragonlance fans will argue against the point of Takhisis being Tiamat.
 

dave2008

Legend
I think a lot of Dragonlance fans will argue against the point of Takhisis being Tiamat.
They can of course argue, but I am pretty sure that is currently the official stance. And frankly it would be odd, IMO, if they were not aspects / avatars of the same entity.

This Takhisis wiki claims they were officially determined to be the same entity in both 4th and 5th edition, but with a quick look I couldn't find the references in the books they listed.

EDIT: Found it in the 5e DMG, it was under the dragon orbs:
1613069075793.png


EDIT 2: Evidently it goes back to 1e. pg 111 of the Manual of the Planes:
1613069302038.png


EDIT 3: So here is some more 5e area confirmation from WotC: Monster Mythology web article.
1613069865880.png
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Odin and Mercury is an odd equivalent, but then I remember that Wednesday is for Odin/Woden/Wotan (rough equivalents), and Mecredi in French is for Mercury.

Real world patheons were not static. We think of "Odin Allfather" as king of the gods. That's one image of the pantheon taken at a particular time. Go futher back, and the pantheon is less war-oriented - Tyr/Tyw is king of the gods, and Odin is more of a wanderer/messenger.
 



:unsure:

Real world pantheons in D&D have generally been a big sourcebook of their own.

0e Gods, Demigods, & Heroes

1e Deities & Demigods

2e Legends & Lore

3e Deities & Demigods

4e skipped out on it in general but 5e put them in the PH similar to various D&D pantheons.
They've been regulated more and more to the margins as the editions have moved on.

And On Hallowed Ground, is a big collection of real-world deities with campaign specific deities. It's a Planescape setting book, but it lists almost everything they could from Legend & Lore, Monster Mythology and the various 2e campaign settings that had pantheons (Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Greyhawk and Birthright).

Using real-world pantheons seems to be a trend they're moving away from. From 2e to 3e they've dropped things like the Babylonian, Sumerian, Finnish, Celtic, Indian, Chinese and Japanese pantheons, to just focus on Norse, Greek and Egyptian. 5e starts with the Norse, Greek and Egyptian mentioned occasionally, but Tasha's Cauldron contains no references to any of them.
 

:unsure:

Real world pantheons in D&D have generally been a big sourcebook of their own.

0e Gods, Demigods, & Heroes

1e Deities & Demigods

2e Legends & Lore

3e Deities & Demigods

4e skipped out on it in general but 5e put them in the PH similar to various D&D pantheons.

Also in 2e: On Hallowed Ground, Planescape's entry into the subject, which addressed a huge number of real-world pantheons and discussed how they interact on the Outer Planes and how they interact with D&D-specific pantheons and how they all fit together in the D&D multiverse.
 

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