For the 12th Day of Christmas: Class Affinities of the 12 Olympians

Hriston

Explorer
Happy Twelfth Night everyone!

[disclaimer]As the thread title reads, the idea here is to draw associations between the twelve Olympian gods and the twelve D&D classes, not any sort of attempt to present them as actual members of those classes as you would find in a publication like Deities and Demigods.[/disclaimer]


1. Barbarian, Path of the Berserker: Dionysus, god of wine and ritual madness. This one's a bit of a stretch, but the emphasis here is on the frenzy he induces.

2. Bard, College of Lore: Apollo, god of poetry, music, and knowledge, 'nuff said.

3. Cleric, War Domain: Athena, goddess of Wisdom (and War).

4. Druid, Circle of the Land: Demeter, because nature.

5. Fighter, Battle Master: Ares, god of war.

6. Monk, Way of the Open Hand: Hephaestus, another stretch. I'd take proficiency with smith's tools and could see him using a forging hammer as his monk weapon.

7. Paladin, Oath of Vengeance: Hera, because of her association with the marriage oath and the revenge she visits on the offspring her husband produces out of wedlock.

8. Ranger, Hunter: Artemis, goddess of the hunt.

9. Rogue, Thief: Hermes, god of thieves.

10. Sorcerer, Wild Magic: Poseidon, because of his association with the sudden impulsiveness of things like earthquakes and tidal waves.

11. Warlock, The Great Old One: Aphrodite, her patron is primordial Eros.

12. Wizard, School of Evocation: Zeus, for powerful lightning bolts!


Just something I've had rolling around in my mind for awhile and wanted to share. Any comments are welcome!
 

Turgenev

Explorer
I can see Barbarian, Path of Berserker, being connected to Dionysus via his aspect of causing drunken violence. Dionysus has been described as being like a "bull to panther, because they who have indulged too freely are prone to violence... There are some drinkers who become full of rage like a bull ... Some, also, become like wild beasts in their desire to fight, whence the likeness to a panther." Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 2. 38e (trans. Gullick) (Greek rhetorician Circa 2nd to 3rd A.D.).

Followers of Dionysus were supposedly reported for such wild drinking that they fly into a berserker rage with hallucinations and dismember those they encounter and then devour them (cannibalism). I'm going from memory here from Euripides' The Bacchae tradegy play (it has been some time since I did the Classics in uni).

The Berserker path could also work for Ares since he was also a god of not just war, but also courage and bloodlust. Ares presided the emotions that lead to violence: hatred and rage. Ares would also have been invoked in an attempt to calm those emotions. In past D&D games, I've re-skinned the Horn of Valhalla as the Horn of Ares.

Surprisingly, I think Dionysus could also be connected to the Bard, College of Lore, since he was also celebrated as the god of plays and choral song.

I could see Fighter (Battle Master) connected to Nike, goddess of victory (no, not the running shoe :p).

Paladin (Oath of Devotion) could also be connected to Athena.

I would probably have Warlock (The Great Old One or perhaps even The Fiend) to be connected with Hecate. Sure she isn't an Olympian goddess per se, but she was a titaness goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night, moon, ghosts and necromancy.

Another thing to remember about the Greek gods is they often had a wide range of aspectsthat were sometimes based on regional variances. As was the worship of the gods. One area might worship Zeus Arbius (which was based in Crete) while another area would worship Zeus Amboulios in Sparta. The Ancient Greeks were fractured into multiple city states/factions due to the geography of the terrain and their gods were no different. That's probably a detail one doesn't need for a D&D game but my inner Classicist can't help but mention it. ;)

A great source for Ancient Greek mythology can be found here: https://www.theoi.com/

Cheers,
Tim
 

Hriston

Explorer
Thanks for the thoughtful reply! Great stuff about Dionysus here. Euripides' Bacchae was the main reason I settled on Barbarian for him.

I just wanted to pull a few things out of your post to respond to.

The Berserker path could also work for Ares since he was also a god of not just war, but also courage and bloodlust. Ares presided the emotions that lead to violence: hatred and rage. Ares would also have been invoked in an attempt to calm those emotions. In past D&D games, I've re-skinned the Horn of Valhalla as the Horn of Ares.
Agreed, Ares would work well as the rage guy.

Surprisingly, I think Dionysus could also be connected to the Bard, College of Lore, since he was also celebrated as the god of plays and choral song.
I think that's where I'd put him too, if displaced by Ares, moving Apollo to Light Domain Cleric and Athena to Battle Master? I like how cleric references Athena's connection to wisdom, which is why I settled on my current formulation.

I could see Fighter (Battle Master) connected to Nike, goddess of victory (no, not the running shoe :p).

<snip>

I would probably have Warlock (The Great Old One or perhaps even The Fiend) to be connected with Hecate. Sure she isn't an Olympian goddess per se, but she was a titaness goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night, moon, ghosts and necromancy.
These are both good. I stuck to the canonical twelve Olympians because there are twelve classes, but I think considering alternatives is worthwhile.

Another thing to remember about the Greek gods is they often had a wide range of aspectsthat were sometimes based on regional variances. As was the worship of the gods. One area might worship Zeus Arbius (which was based in Crete) while another area would worship Zeus Amboulios in Sparta. The Ancient Greeks were fractured into multiple city states/factions due to the geography of the terrain and their gods were no different. That's probably a detail one doesn't need for a D&D game but my inner Classicist can't help but mention it. ;)
Agreed. Each locale had its own versions of the gods, frequently worshiped in groups of twelve! The version of the dodekatheon I used for my post is the one that I believe Hesiod made canonical in a panhellenic context.
 

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