D&D General Deities in D&D: Gods as Tulpas versus Gods as Progenitors

The Cthulhu Mythos has all three. The least powerful gods, the Great Ones, are implied to be tulpas, as they seem to exist only in dreamland. The next rank up, the Elder Gods/Great Old Ones, are ascended space aliens. And the most powerful group, the Outer Gods, are primordial forces of nature

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Dragon Lover
I have though long and hard about what kind of gods my world have, but whenever I try to describe them to others all I can come up with is “My gods are what you get when you put pop culture versions of various pantheons (Greek, Norse, Egyptian), Kaijuu, and Legendary Pokémon into a blender and mix to see what it becomes!”

Gamer A

My usual approach is that the gods are Progenitors... who, after having burned up a lot of their energy in the process of Creating, require belief to sustain themselves - and thus become subject to being influenced by that belief.

And if their latest world is successful, they're probably going to go use some spare energy to make another one. Perhaps one or two might even try going off on their own to Create one as a personal project and cut the rest of the pantheon out of the loop.
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I generally believe in the American Experience (or stereotype if you will) where one can go from the lowliest to the highest of everything.

Which is why none of the Immortal rulers of the Heavens and Earth need any mortal worship to exist, but can be slain. If they are slain, who ever slays them can take up their mantle. If no one takes the mantle up, it goes to the one who is most worthy.

But there can only be one.

Each domain has only one ruler, and it may get bloody to be that ruler if everyone wants the crown.


Our campaign world is kind of a Planescape-ish Multiverse. With a lot of influence from some of the lore of the old Planescape, a pinch of every other edition of D&D (even 4e), and a huge dose of Pratchett, most of the gods in our setting can be considered Tulpas, but the narrative we created goes something like this:

In the beginning the 3 Progenitors (Ancient Brethren, Elder Titans, their names are lost to time) found a way to create a new universe beyond their own "Far Realm" universe. Their new young physical universe was simple at first: They had created the Elemental Planes. By experimenting with these Elements, they managed to then give birth to the Prime Material Plane. As life evolved (largely on its own) on these Prime worlds, they began to dream and imagine and create. Belief was formed. Belief gave rise to the concepts of gods, afterlives, and ultimately the Outer Planes.

The Progenitors had mixed feelings about it. One ultimately decided the experiment had gone too far, and sought to unmake all that had been made (which gives rise to "Tharizdun / Khyber" type end-of-the-universe type destroyer legends). Long story short, we get our early gods against the Destroyer's Primordial minions, with 1 Progenitor choosing to remain neutral and side with the Primes (giving rise to the dragons as his guardians) and the other retreating into the Outer Planes and into obscurity. Our Destroyer gets banished, our Neutral Protector "dies"(?) and the third Progenitor is lost. So all 3 of the original beings are out of play now.

The winning gods get to define the rules of the universe and inspire various legends and stories in their mortal followers that suggest it was they who created everything. Ideas of any Progenitors before the gods are heretical.

The currency of the gods is Belief. With enough of it they can create miracles, without it they can shrink, wither, and ultimately die.

The gods are also beings who take on many faces and aspects, so a single god might go by a dozen different names and appearances across many worlds, though these will all line up with a certain theme (Death, healing, sun, et al).

Powerful mortals who can accumulate enough Belief can achieve demigod-hood and then ultimately true godhood if they persist and know enough about how it all works. Gods can also invest in mortal to create 'proxies' and 'exarchs' who can act like demigods on their behalf. Some powerful beings have also shied from becoming true gods, understanding that once their existence is tied to Belief they become forever dominated by it.


  • 3 Progenitors (who are no longer players)
  • Mostly Tulpas
  • A dash of Apotheosis

I have though long and hard about what kind of gods my world have, but whenever I try to describe them to others all I can come up with is “My gods are what you get when you put pop culture versions of various pantheons (Greek, Norse, Egyptian), Kaijuu, and Legendary Pokémon into a blender and mix to see what it becomes!”
I mean, I'm sold.

I'm wondering how the Kaiju and Pokemon inspired by beings in the Greek/Norse/Egyptian mythology interact. Like is Xerneas actually the Eikþyrnir or are they separate creatures?

Or am I just thinking too much about it and your thought process was just "It would be cool if I mashed these things up." and you didn't think that far into it? I'm still on board either way.

More on topic post.

I guess I kinda have all of them in my world.

The basic history of the mythology was that all the gods of my settings were basically various good and neutral aligned outsiders that looked at the other various material planes, like Toril, Exandria, and the like and decided that they would try to do something like that. They ended up gathering mortal souls who wanted to go with them, and set off to an unclaimed part of the multiverse and started working on the world. The gods ended up expending a lot of power actually making the world and populating it with people, so they had to go back deep into their various planes, accidentally leaving the newborn world unguarded from various planar ne'er-do-wells, In particular the Aboleths, who ended up blocking the world from contact between the beings there and the gods who would more than likely save them.

However, the gods weren't going to let the suffering of the world they created and the people they invited continue, so they ended up devising plans to break through the barrier, defeat the Aboleths, and free the people. Soon after doing so, though, they ended up facing something that could possibly be worse. You see, mortals, as a collective, have a lot more power than even they realize. During the occupation by the Aboleths, a small mote of pure negative energy (Not the undead type, mind) was created, and every bit of suffering, despair, and evil thoughts by the mortals was funneled into it, and after the gods broke though the barrier and defeated the Aboleths, the sheer amount extra divine energy that was blocked by the barriers that the Aboleth's set up ended up causing that mote of energy to coalesce into a monster that was called The White.

The White ended up rampaging across the world, creating various monsters and infecting a large amount of the people of the world with a deep, nihilistic madness. The gods, hoping to defeat The White, ended up sending various divine servants and demigods at the beast, but all of them ended up falling in battle against it, or worse, ended up infected by it's madness, becoming the various evil gods, often the anethema of the god that spawned them (For example, the servant of the god of medicine ended up becoming the god of disease, the servant of the god of law ended up becoming the god of tyranny, etc) It took the gods creating multiple beings (The Tarrasque being one of them) to essentially drive The White out of reality. After doing so, the gods decided to reuse the Aboleth's planar barriers to lock The White, the evil gods, and themselves away from the world, so they could either come up with a plan to restrict The White and the evil god's influence on the world, or failing that, just prevent the people of the world from accessing any form of divine power for their own safety.

This ended up not lasting. After a while, the barrier that was created started leaking (creating Tieflings and Aasimar in the process) and like a whole in cloth being repeatedly mess with, ended up tearing open completely with the ascension of two mortals to full godhood, the first, a vengeful paranoid murderer, and the second, a being of devotion and mercy. Other people have ascended since then each a paragon of the things that they were in life.

Sorry for the word vomit, It's just been something I've been holding in for a while


In my world, gods have nothing to do with "belief". Belief, or "faith" is used as a tool by organised region to control their adherents.

Clerics get their power from the gods just... nobody really knows why.


What, event, being, or group created reality is the biggest unknown. There’s signs of entities living in the layers of the Divine Realm that are too deep for mortals to comprehend, but their identities are subject to theory more than known facts. Nearer entities like celestial paragons and fiendish princes can be contacted and dealt with, but if someone works with them often it becomes clear that they are the managers of reality, not the progenitors. Mortals can as send to this station but there’s no evidence they can go beyond.

Tulpas are a common occurrence but the vast majority are clearly subdivine. A tulpa is not an altogether separate being from their originator, so one drawing on multiple people is a rarity. It can happen, though, and the most prominent examples are more or less this settings counterparts to the Dark Powers.

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