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

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.
I always presumed that to be them focusing on pantheons that players would actually regularly use in games.

Egyptian, Norse and Greco-Roman gods have more of a place in our culture, and are myths most players would be more familiar with and likely to want to use in a game.

I've seen people play clerics of Apollo or Thor or Thoth. . .I've never seen anyone play a cleric of Sumerian or Babylonian gods, and the only time I've seen a cleric of any Finnish deity come up in a game was in the context of Mielekki and Loviatar in Forgotten Realms. . . and it's been over 20 years since I've seen someone play a cleric of a Chinese or Japanese deity.
 

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Voadam

Legend
I always presumed that to be them focusing on pantheons that players would actually regularly use in games.

Egyptian, Norse and Greco-Roman gods have more of a place in our culture, and are myths most players would be more familiar with and likely to want to use in a game.

I've seen people play clerics of Apollo or Thor or Thoth. . .I've never seen anyone play a cleric of Sumerian or Babylonian gods, and the only time I've seen a cleric of any Finnish deity come up in a game was in the context of Mielekki and Loviatar in Forgotten Realms. . . and it's been over 20 years since I've seen someone play a cleric of a Chinese or Japanese deity.
I blame the 3e god stat blocks and god system. 3e Deities & Demigods (224 pages) had 32 pages more than 2e Legends & Lore (192 pages).

2e was probably the height of official D&D deity descriptions.

3e had the OGL though so I've got a number of great 3e god books.
 


cbwjm

Hero
I wouldn't be surprised if they keep the Egyptian, Norse, and Greek pantheons pretty much like they are in the books currently, that is primarily an example of real world deities and how the domains might be assigned. I'm not expecting there to be much in the way of development of real world pantheons in future products because that's not how this edition seems to be run, as in I don't see there being a big book of gods released at some point. Instead, pretty much any book that deals with the gods will be specific to a campaign setting book.

I'm not sure if they will include references to the MtG deities, I'm not sure how many people would actually know who they are whereas references to earlier campaign setting deities are at least referenced in the PHB.
 

Faolyn

Hero
A friend of mine and I brainstormed a pantheon that was supposed to be a world-wide one--a handful of gods that everyone worshiped as they desired. However, the gods were unnamed and didn't have official single interpretation or even a single accepted appearance or gender. They had names for the list we came up with, but the names were all along the lines of The Ember or The Balancer; they didn't have "people names." The Ember was fire, but it could be worshiped it as a god of the sun, a god of the hearth, as a god of fiery destruction, or as a god of passion, or something else flame-related entirely. The Balancer was a god of life and death, but some saw it as a kindly psychopomp, others saw it as a dispassionate controller of the wheel of reincarnation, and others saw it as a monster with an unending hunger for death. Individuals might name their interpretation of the god, but it wasn't their true name.

So I'd kind of like to see something like that, with a heavier "Masks of God" approach.
 

cbwjm

Hero
A friend of mine and I brainstormed a pantheon that was supposed to be a world-wide one--a handful of gods that everyone worshiped as they desired. However, the gods were unnamed and didn't have official single interpretation or even a single accepted appearance or gender. They had names for the list we came up with, but the names were all along the lines of The Ember or The Balancer; they didn't have "people names." The Ember was fire, but it could be worshiped it as a god of the sun, a god of the hearth, as a god of fiery destruction, or as a god of passion, or something else flame-related entirely. The Balancer was a god of life and death, but some saw it as a kindly psychopomp, others saw it as a dispassionate controller of the wheel of reincarnation, and others saw it as a monster with an unending hunger for death. Individuals might name their interpretation of the god, but it wasn't their true name.

So I'd kind of like to see something like that, with a heavier "Masks of God" approach.
I do something similar in my current homebrew setting. I have a single set of gods with titles like the Stag King, the Thunderer, the Tyrant, the Ocean Queen, etc. I've recently built up a few faiths so that those who follow the Wyld will place greater importance on the Stag King and the other gods of the natural world while those who follow the faith of the Learned place greater emphasis on the Archmage, the Sage, and the Lady of Poisons (a dual aspect god. one side dealing in medicine, the other in pestilence and poison). The other gods are still worshipped but are of lesser importance. Different faiths can have some crossover with the gods that they primarily worship, but they might place importance on different aspects of their portfolio.
 

Voadam

Legend
Really, what ones?! I really don't care to much for the 3e Deities and Demigods or Epic Handbook. What 3PP books on gods would be good to look at?
I am a fan of Lore of the Gods by Dragonwing Games in particular as a 3.5 successor to Legends & Lore. The hero stats are crap as a 20th level nonmagical hero with no real equipment is not anywhere near CR 20, but the culture and god narrative descriptions are pretty fun.

They have an updated Pathfinder 1e version as well.

A bunch of early 3.0 ones I have for small pantheon books (Norse Gods, Egyptian Gods, etc.) are no longer available.

There were also a bunch of books that included old pantheons as a part of them though not the focus. Necromancer Games had Ancient Kingdoms Mesopotamia for example and there were a bunch of Egyptian ones.
 

Voadam

Legend
A friend of mine and I brainstormed a pantheon that was supposed to be a world-wide one--a handful of gods that everyone worshiped as they desired. However, the gods were unnamed and didn't have official single interpretation or even a single accepted appearance or gender. They had names for the list we came up with, but the names were all along the lines of The Ember or The Balancer; they didn't have "people names." The Ember was fire, but it could be worshiped it as a god of the sun, a god of the hearth, as a god of fiery destruction, or as a god of passion, or something else flame-related entirely. The Balancer was a god of life and death, but some saw it as a kindly psychopomp, others saw it as a dispassionate controller of the wheel of reincarnation, and others saw it as a monster with an unending hunger for death. Individuals might name their interpretation of the god, but it wasn't their true name.

So I'd kind of like to see something like that, with a heavier "Masks of God" approach.
Check out Midgard Worldbook for a published setting with a similar Masks set up. There are multiple pantheons but it is not known if the gods are just masks of similar ones from other pantheons or not.
 

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:
View attachment 132566

EDIT 2: Evidently it goes back to 1e. pg 111 of the Manual of the Planes:
View attachment 132567

EDIT 3: So here is some more 5e area confirmation from WotC: Monster Mythology web article.
View attachment 132569
You won't find Dragonlance sources claiming anything like that, and for good reason. They have different agendas, homes, followers, alignments and methods. About the only thing they have in common is a five-headed dragon avatar and a rivalry with a platinum dragon.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
In my Yoon Suin campaign, there were hundreds of gods, the majority of them undetailed, and with a fair amount of overlap.

This turned out to be a remarkably easy way of doing it, because I didn't have to worry about "consistency" anymore. Some of the gods were very strange... but they granted powers to those who worshiped them so, they all had their followers.
 

Never been accurate historically,
On the other hand, history has never been accurate historically. :)

There wasn't any such thing as the "Greek pantheon." Every city-state and region had its own take on the gods. That's where we get Athena Alea, Athena Polias, Athena Nike, Aphaea and so on. In Athens she was the patron of heroes; in Sparta the patron of metalworkers.

Additionally, much of history was written by other cultures. For example, much of what we know (or think we know) about Celtic religion was written by the Romans, and thus tainted by their propaganda.
 

cbwjm

Hero
You won't find Dragonlance sources claiming anything like that, and for good reason. They have different agendas, homes, followers, alignments and methods. About the only thing they have in common is a five-headed dragon avatar and a rivalry with a platinum dragon.
I think it was the same platinum dragon she had a rivalry with. One of Paladine's names was listed as Bah'mut in the 2e book (I'm now wondering if this is why I though Bah'Mut was from the Babylonian mythos, too many gods and dragons fighting each other). Pretty sure I read some old document from Weis and Hickman that detailed their gods and they clearly borrowed them when making the Krynnish pantheon.

As is, I think the connection was never mentioned in the various novels and the connection with Tiamat and Bahamut is fairly downplayed in the game materials.
 

dave2008

Legend
I am a fan of Lore of the Gods by Dragonwing Games in particular as a 3.5 successor to Legends & Lore. The hero stats are crap as a 20th level nonmagical hero with no real equipment is not anywhere near CR 20, but the culture and god narrative descriptions are pretty fun.
Thanks I will pick that up.
A bunch of early 3.0 ones I have for small pantheon books (Norse Gods, Egyptian Gods, etc.) are no longer available.
If you know the titles, I would love to hear them. Our local Half-price books has a lot of 3e era D&D stuff, I just never know what is worth picking up.
There were also a bunch of books that included old pantheons as a part of them though not the focus. Necromancer Games had Ancient Kingdoms Mesopotamia for example and there were a bunch of Egyptian ones.
I might check that one out too!
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
You won't find Dragonlance sources claiming anything like that, and for good reason. They have different agendas, homes, followers, alignments and methods. About the only thing they have in common is a five-headed dragon avatar and a rivalry with a platinum dragon.
I'm with you, but the "only thing" part is pretty specific and made me chuckle.
 

Voadam

Legend
If you know the titles, I would love to hear them. Our local Half-price books has a lot of 3e era D&D stuff, I just never know what is worth picking up.
Avalanche Press had super cheesecake covers but I remember Ragnarok! had an interesting god premise where they were basically 15th-20th level characters who fought frost giants and it had a low powered rune magic d20 system add on. The descriptions of the gods are only like a paragraph each but I remember enjoying the book. The Doom of Odin module has their worst cover with the squatting archer woman, but a lot of great mythic viking adventure ideas including my favorite trap set up ever (multiple ways to get through it: thinking through the rune puzzle, toughing it out and sucking up damage if you are tough enough, magically attacking runes, other bypass methods). I vaguely remember their Egypt one, Nile Empire, having issues with the mechanics of how they did god stats with them getting all the domain spells they can grant, but I think the flavor stuff was fine and it stood out as having a mass battle basic system with a cool chart of 'here's something that happens to your PCs in this battle and you can play that part out.' AP had others like Aztecs and their Little People fairy book.

Green Ronin had Hamunaptra and Necromancer Games had Gary Gygax's Necropolis for Egyptian stuff similar to Ancient Kingdoms for Babylon. Hamunaptra was neat on the god front for identifying each of the standard races with a patron deity (Isis and Elves, Ptah and Dwarves, etc.), and also basically saying all the hundreds of gods were essentially masks of a core dozen or so pantheon.
 

On the other hand, history has never been accurate historically. :)

There wasn't any such thing as the "Greek pantheon." Every city-state and region had its own take on the gods. That's where we get Athena Alea, Athena Polias, Athena Nike, Aphaea and so on. In Athens she was the patron of heroes; in Sparta the patron of metalworkers.

Additionally, much of history was written by other cultures. For example, much of what we know (or think we know) about Celtic religion was written by the Romans, and thus tainted by their propaganda.
The Spartan Aphrodite Areia was the best - yep, Aphrodite as a warrior goddess!

(Which was basically what she was in her earlier forms of Astarte and Ishtar - the Spartans apparently picked her up first from the Phoenicians and kept her closest to her earlier forms, while the rest of the Greeks abandoned the more warlike facets of her personality and focused on her purely as a love goddess).
 

After a quick google search, maybe not. There is a giant fish in Arabian mythology named bahamut taken from behemoth, but I can't find anything about Babylonian mythology.
Bahamut is a complicated one because somehow in Islamic writing Behemoth/Leviathan got their names switched, so the giant sea-one became Bahamut and the big land one becames Kuyutha

I think a lot of Dragonlance fans will argue against the point of Takhisis being Tiamat.
Personally I go down this path as Babylonian Tiamat, mother of monsters and chaotic mother of the ocean just seems more interesting to me over D&D's Tiamat. Sorry folks, but thems the breaks. I like my Tiatmats large, primal, oceanic, and oddly similar to myths of Echidna on the Greek side.

(also in sometimes being a large snake lady who tries to steal the secret of creating life from her creator and so powerful she warps reality to create a dimension for her and her children to live in, alongside an infinite labyrinth of puzzles to hide her away, but I do love my La Mulana)
 

Zardnaar

Legend
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.

This. Egyptian pantheon floated over time. Isis was one of the most powerful Deities and one if the last worshiped into the 6th century and a statue of her iirc in preislamic Mecca in the 7th iirc.

WotC used them because they're popular. Assassin's Creed sells tens of millions of copies and the last three were Vikings, Ancient Greece and Ptolemaic Egypt.

Ever wanted to climb Zeus's testicle?

IMG_20210127_215305.jpg

And dive off?

How about Artemis?

IMG_20210127_220350.jpg


ENworlds a but if a bubble. Simple answer people like them.
 

I think it was the same platinum dragon she had a rivalry with. One of Paladine's names was listed as Bah'mut in the 2e book (I'm now wondering if this is why I though Bah'Mut was from the Babylonian mythos, too many gods and dragons fighting each other). Pretty sure I read some old document from Weis and Hickman that detailed their gods and they clearly borrowed them when making the Krynnish pantheon.

As is, I think the connection was never mentioned in the various novels and the connection with Tiamat and Bahamut is fairly downplayed in the game materials.
Well, it's complicated. Pre AD&D Bahamut and Tiamat weren't named, they were in OD&D as the "Platinum Dragon" and the "Chromatic Dragon".

Before he started with TSR, Jeff Grubb had a homebrew world named Toril, two of the gods in that world were based on the OD&D Dragons, he named them Paladine and Takhisis. Years later, AD&D came out and the official dragon gods were named Bahamut and Tiamat. After this Hickman came up with Dragonlance and Jeff Grubb's gods were ported across wholesale to save time. (His world's name went to the Forgotten Realms).

From Day 1 the Dragonlance campaign was pretty consistent that Takhisis was a goddess of Krynn who lived in the Abyss and a had a antagonistic relationship with her former consort Paladine, a god who lived in the Dome of Creation. Tiamat was always a resident of the Nine Hells. Tales of the Lance had Takhisis' Ergothian (or Istarian, I can't remember) name be "Ti'mut", as an easter egg reference to this, but it never appeared outside this source, even in fiction where it might be appropriate (ie set in Ergoth).

Takhisis and Tiamat both derive from the original "Chromatic Dragon" concept, but they are two fully realised independent deities.
 

This. Egyptian pantheon floated over time. Isis was one of the most powerful Deities and one if the last worshiped into the 6th century and a statue of her iirc in preislamic Mecca in the 7th iirc.

WotC used them because they're popular. Assassin's Creed sells tens of millions of copies and the last three were Vikings, Ancient Greece and Ptolemaic Egypt.

Ever wanted to climb Zeus's testicle?

View attachment 132591

And dive off?

ENworlds a but if a bubble. Simple answer people like them.

That wasn't "Isis". That was most likely "Ishtar/Astarte", the Canaanite fertility goddess Isis was later conflated with. (Even YHWH had a consort named "Asherah" at one stage)
 

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