D&D General D&D Gods and Mage the Ascension


D&D has been a bit of a hodge podge in dealing with the actual nature of gods, whether they are transcendent beings or discrete supernatural entities, what their relationship to worshipers is, what they can do in the world, etc.

So in Mage the Ascension reality is actually shaped by people's will with mass consensus having huge power to define a lot of reality and with mages of different paradigms (wizards, religious figures, scientists) able to impose on local reality significantly to do effects within their paradigm.

For a while I have been thinking that Mage the Ascension's principles would work well as a model for D&D gods. So D&D gods could conceptually function as essentially epic MtA archmages able to do massive things within their paradigm (Thor fighting giants and storm stuff and blessing humanity things), but be subject to a lot of consensual belief that shapes their reality. So Greek Ares is more barbaric and horrors of war while Roman Mars is more imperial military might from the respective cultural beliefs and like in Rick Riordan's novel series has a bit of a split personality that can come up in different ways depending on the context of his manifestation if you meet an avatar.

It would make heresies and schisms big deals for D&D gods and tie them more directly to potentially be both powered and shaped by worshipers' faith.

Pelor of the Burning Hate as a secret back story is a possibility. In my version a demon lord of the Burning Sun was crushed by Orcus and devoted himself to revenge against Orcus, including developing a mortal cult of anti-undead sun worshippers. So devoted to revenge he was willing to sponsor a good cult. This became so popular that the collective will poured into the faith became so powerful that the Sun Cult of Pelor took on a life of its own to the point of Pelor being an iconic major god of good. The demon lord basked in this divine power to boost his own power but this opened him up to the influence of the powered belief. The false cult and its power became so pervasive that the good god false front became a dominant personality overtaking the underlying fallen demon lord. In my game there is still the underlying Burning Hate but good Pelor wants to remain good so he suppresses knowledge of his true origins. Or at least that is one theory in my game where the reality of divinity is a mystery.

This could also tie into Lathander, the Apollo-like young major NG sun/dawn god of the Forgotten Realms being connected to the LN ancient (and then later returned) FR Nethereses god of the Sun and Bureaucracy Amaunator. At times the two have been viewed as separate deities but at times one has been viewed as an aspect of the other.

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Mod Squad
Staff member
The false cult...

In the scenario you have outlined, there is no such thing as a "false cult". All cults are just as true, because they create the truth.
There may be a new cult, or a traditional cult, but the are neither false nor true - they are merely more or less consistent with the current core beliefs.

Voidrunner's Codex

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