Help me name the fantasy-historical pantheons

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
The 5e PHB has some basic info on a few fantasy-historical pantheons, and previous editions of D&D have done a lot more with them. But there hasn't been a whole lot in the way of giving them names that are appropriate for usage in the D&D multiverse (whether in Planescape/Spelljammer context, or just for your own world) where we don't generally assume the pantheon was born from the the myths of earthlings and somehow expanded into D&D land*.

It makes little sense to use terms like "Greek Pantheon" or "Egyptian Pantheon" if you choose to use that pantheon for your own D&D world, or if you choose to have that pantheon hold sway on a bunch of different worlds as 2e presented.

So what we need is just a good in-character name for each of the pantheons that have been presented for people in Sigil to call them while they're having religious debates over lunch.

For a few of them, I'm aware of names that were actually given to them in D&D sources:

Chinese: Traditionally, they've gone with "the Celestial Bureaucracy", which I rather like
Egyptian: 3e Deities & Demigods calls it the "Pharaonic Pantheon" which I'm not really a big fan of
Greek: 3e Deities & Demigods calls it the "Olympian Pantheon" which works well
Norse: 3e Deities and Demigods calls it the "Asgardian Pantheon" which works well

While there are probably others, the D&D fantasy-historical pantheons that still need names from the 2e Legends and Lore and On Hallowed Ground are the following (listed by the names they gave them):

American Indian
Aztec
Babylonian
Celtic
Finnish
Indian
Japanese
Sumerian

Thoughts? Suggestions?

I've done some research on this myself and come up with a few names that are workable, but I'd rather get other ideas before I go with some choices that may not always be the best options.


* Yes, there were occasional isolated flirtations with connecting real earth to the D&D multiverse at times, but that's never really been the norm, and I doubt most people want it to be.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Ok, I'll try to find some:

Indian American: Great Plain Pantheon or Turtle-World Pantheon
Aztec: First Builder Pantheon
Babylonian/Sumerian: Age of Myth Pantheon
Celtic: Feyborn Pantheon
Finnish: The Swan and Aurora Pantheon
Indian: the Myriad Family
Japanese: Imperial Court of the Loyal Ones

EDIT: Also, give us your take, I'm sure you had some good ideas.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Egyptian: Ennead is the name used for the Egyptian Pantheon (the 9 primaary gods of Ra, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Set, Osiris, Isis, and Nepthys).

I like the names that are used for the pantheons in Marvel comics:

Babylonian/Sumerian: Annunaki
Native American: Manidoog or Anasazi
Persian: Yazatas
Japanese: Amatsu-Kami
Chinese: Xian
Aztec: Teteoh
Mayan: Ahau
Incan: Apu
Indian: Daevas
Celtic: Tuatha de Danaan
Finnish: Jumala or Kalevalans
Slavic: Dievas (Sounds a bit similar to the Indian gods so that could cause some confusion)
 

ccs

39th lv DM
Ok, I'll try to find some:

Indian American: Great Plain Pantheon
You do realize that:
A) America (and Canada) comprise of a lot more terrain types/regions than the plains.
B) Assorted tribes lived in all of them. And still do.
 

gyor

Adventurer
I'd suggest you borrow some ideas from Scion 2e and the Forgotten Realms.

In FR the Mesopotamian & Canaanite Pantheons are collectively called the Untherite Pantheon, the Hellenistic Grecoegyptian Pantheon is called the Mulhorand Pantheon, and Vedic Pantheon is Called the Lords of Creation. The Celestial Buracracy is usedKara Tur's main Pantheon, but for the Chinese Pantheon I prefer The Shen from Scion 2e.

Scion 2e calls the Greco-Roman Pantheon the Theoi.

The Aesir and Vanir, the combined Pantheons of the Norse.

The Devas of the Indian Gods (worshipped in Hinduisms and some forms Buddhaism and Jainism).

Kami Pantheon of Japan.

Netjer Pantheon of Egypt.

Orisha Pantheon of Yoruboland.

The Shen Pantheon of China

Teolt Pantheon of the Aztecs

Tuatha De Danna Pantheon of the Celts

The Manitou Pantheon of the Anishinaabek.

The Yazata Pantheon of Zorosterianism/Persia.

Not mentioned yet, the Canaanite Pantheon is usually called the Elohim.
 
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gyor

Adventurer
Of course Neoplatonic Hellenism has it's own kind of Pantheon, which is basically a mix of all the Pantheon, plus some unique stuff like The One, ect...
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
You do realize that:
A) America (and Canada) comprise of a lot more terrain types/regions than the plains.
B) Assorted tribes lived in all of them. And still do.
Yup, I know since I live in Wendake (Québec).

Its just a simple name for a fictional pantheon in a game. Having a specific name for every pantheon that could be loosely representative of a real world first nation belief would be exhaustive, to say the least.
 

gyor

Adventurer
Pathfinder uses Osirion for Egypt I use Nithian. Asgardian for Norse and Olympian for Greek works well.
Olympian is flawed for the Greeks, because only the main ruling Council are Olympians, most Greco-Roman Gods aren't Olympians. Hestia, Janus, Silvanus, Pan, Roma, Pax, Nike, Leta, Promeathus,
Hades, Persphone, the Titans, the Charities, Hourai, Muses, Hecate, Proteus, The Fates, Eros, Flora, the Primordial Gods like Chaos, Nyx, Lucifer (not to be confused with the Christian Devil), Hemera, Eberus, Tartarus, Typhon, Gaia, Uranus, Morpheaus, Thantos, ect...

This is why, Scion 2e went with Theoi instead.
 
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gyor

Adventurer
Yup, I know since I live in Wendake (Québec).

Its just a simple name for a fictional pantheon in a game. Having a specific name for every pantheon that could be loosely representative of a real world first nation belief would be exhaustive, to say the least.
A lot of First Nations are related to each other so there is a fair amount of over lap between groups of related tribes. Most of the FNs tribes of Southern Ontario are related to each other for example. They often share a lot of myths with variations within these groupings.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
Well, I'm a little reticient to give the ones I have come up with so far, because I don't want to the guy who comes up with something stupidly wrong (or worse--offensive), but here's what I've currently got:

American Indian: Wakonda Pantheon
Aztec: Tamoanchan Pantheon
Babylonian: Ilyas
Celtic: Tuatha De Dannan
Indian: Brahmanic Pantheon
Japanese: Ama-Tsu-Kami
Sumerian: Annunaki
Egyptian: Ennead

I stick with 3e's Asgardians and Olympians for the Norse and Greek (when possible, I use terms that don't require sticking "Pantheon" on the end of it).


With the Olympians, Egyptians, and Sumerians (and there might have been others) where the name technically refers to a subset of their deities, I figured that the name is associated strongly enough with their pantheons' identities, that the fact that it only refers to a sub set of big names amongst them probably shouldn't disqualify it as a general term. Adherents of a religion probably care about these subtleties. Someone rattling off a list of names of pantheons in the multiverse probably doesn't.

I also have always like the Celestial Bureaucracy, so that's an easy pick for me. It's both interesting and annoying that the Celestial Bureaucracy they made for Kara-Tur isn't the same as the one they made for Legends & Lore (which is what Planescape uses). I think I went through both versions and compared the deities and decided that most of them could be different names for the same person, and the few that didn't fit well were just gods that weren't as universally known.

Looks like I forgot to come up with anything for Finnish as of yet.

I'm happier with some than with others. In particular, I don't like "Brahmanic Pantheon" because it's not very accurate for the particular pantheon presented.

I really want the Sumerian pantheon to be the Annunaki, so I'm tentatively going with that, even though the way they did the Sumerians and Babylonians means they actually gave Anu to the Babylonians and not the Sumerians, so I really should give the name to the Babylonians. But I didn't. There's probably some way I can spin it so makes sense (at least to the Annunaki themselves).

One thing I tried when I couldn't come up with anything satisfying was to just find the equivalent of "the gods" in their language, hence the Babylonian "Ilyas".
 
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gyor

Adventurer
Wakonda Pantheon makes me think of that African nation in Marvel comics.

There is a Thelema Pantheon based on the spiritual teaching of Alestier Crowley.

A Gnostic Pantheon made up of Demiurge, Archons, Aeons.

The Lovecraftian Pantheon (it counts because its a legally reconized religion in the US believe it or not).
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
While there are probably others, the D&D fantasy-historical pantheons that still need names from the 2e Legends and Lore and On Hallowed Ground are the following (listed by the names they gave them):

American Indian
Aztec
Babylonian
Celtic
Finnish
Indian
Japanese
Sumerian

Thoughts? Suggestions?


Sumerian and Babylonian are functionally identical other than spelling for the most part so the same name can apply to both. Annunaki is the name the Babylonian/Sumerian people called their deities. The relationship between Sumer and Babylon is similar to Rome's relationship to Greece.

Indigenous people of North America aren't a single group, so that might be an issue. Most of their beliefs don't fall into the idea of deities like we see in Europe or Asia. If you wanted something that kind of encompasses the broad ideas associated with North American spiritual life Great Spirits is probably the way to go.

Teotl Pantheon is a good name of the Aztec group of deities, the word Teotl is roughly analogous with the English word deity/god in Nauhtl.

Celts are Tuatha Dé Danann, or Tuath Dé Danann. Its literally the name the Irish Celts gave to their gods as a group. I'm not sure why one has an A and the other does not. I think they're gendered but I can't confirm that. Edit: the A makes it plural. Tuath de is one deity, Tuatha de is plural.

Japanese are pretty straight forward O Kami. Literally Great Spirits. Shinto holds that all things have spirits, or kami. Some kami are so great they have power of many aspects of life, rather than being a spirit of that rock over there.

Vedic Pantheon might work for the Indian sub-continent and surrounding areas.

Finnish I'd go with the Kalevala Pantheon, or something similar. Kalevala is a work of Finnish epic poetry that serves roughly the same purpose to Finns as the Prose Edda and Poetic Edda do to Icelanders and other Nordic countries.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
I’ll just point out that some of the names suggested thus far are just a problematic as the names being avoided. Don’t like “Geek Pantheon” because Greece doesn’t exist in your game world? “Olympian” has the same issue- Olympus, the home of the Greek gods, was on Mount Olympus, a particular mountain in Greece.

My advice is to ditch the RW names as completely as you can, and substitute references to the game world. You might even use a language translator like Word Hippo or Bing Translate to make things sound a bit better. So “Olympus” might become “Theopolis”, and the the inhabitants, “Theopolitans”.

Or perhaps the gods’ city is on a mountain in your campaign world- let’s call it Mount Eskan. The deities who live there might be called “Eskanian”; their city, “Eskanopolis”.
 
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I’ll just point out that some of the names suggested thus far are just a problematic as the names being avoided. Don’t like “Geek Pantheon” because Greece doesn’t exist in your game world? “Olympian” has the same issue- Olympus, the home of the Greek gods, was on Mount Olympus, a particular mountain in Greece.
Would Garius Gygaxius be the Father God?
 

jgsugden

Explorer
I might suggest you're going at this backwards.

Star with the people that worship the pantheon. Where are they located in your game world. Name the Pantheon after that game region, not after a region on Earth.
 

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