5E The Divine Ranks

Minigiant

Visitor
So for those who use them, 5th edition reduced the number of divine ranks and changed them up a bit.
The 5th DMG states 3 ranks: greater deities, lesser deities, and quasi deities.

Greater are the big ones. They rare get into mortal business and slaying their avatar usually does jack squat to them.
Lesser are weaker. They live then to live in places mortals (if strong enough) can reach.
Quasi deities are the weakest. They can't or don't grant spells. And they are split into 3 categories: Demigods (mortals with a deity parent), Titans (divine creations), and Vestiges (dead or forgotten deities). It suggests that they are stuck with creating warlocks until they ascend.

Well most noticeable, the cut of intermediate deities and renaming of demigods. The old intermediates and demigods jump a rank. And I guess the demigod rank was shifted to make pre-death Hercules and Achilles demigods again like 4th edition and the myths did.

4th edition created the concept of an Exarch. Since it had no demigods or quasideities, any divine ranked being under another deity was an exarch. With demigods back, an exarch would now only be a lesser deity in service of another diety or lower members of racial pantheon. Like Dawn-War-Maglubiyet, Xena's Strife, and all of the dwarven deities not named Moradin.

Older editions have heroic deities. With demigods defined in 5th, these leaves hero deities as "mortals with granted or stolen divinity but no enough power to grant spells". These are many of the epic destinies in 4th. Kill an epic lich and the god of death dumps boons all on your party.


  • Greater Deities
    • Overdeities
    • Greater Deities
    • intermediate Deities
  • Lesser Deities
    • Lesser Deities
    • Exarchs
  • Quasi-deities
    • Demigods
    • Titans
    • Vestiges
    • Hero Deities
    • Proxies
  • Non-Divines

So what are your thoughts? Are there any other type of deities? Where do being like Greek Titans, the 4th edition stars, or Great Old Ones fits?
 
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SkidAce

Adventurer
5th edition is almost right for me.

I have pantheons (filled with lesser powers) with a greater deity leader. These pantheons normally govern/influence cosmic geographical areas. And I can use the quasi deities for the pawns and minions, and unique mythological monsters.

So far a decent fit. And these pantheons can war with each other as their interests conflict.


However, there are about five or six deities that have influence any where you go cosmically, and had a hand in the development of the cosmos (Ptah, Istus, Thoth, Bahamut, Tiamat, etc.).

5e leaves me no category for them. Granted they are normally more like story elements, and when they do "manifest" I could use greater god as their category.

Hmmmm...
 

Minigiant

Visitor
5th edition is almost right for me.

I have pantheons (filled with lesser powers) with a greater deity leader. These pantheons normally govern/influence cosmic geographical areas. And I can use the quasi deities for the pawns and minions, and unique mythological monsters.

So far a decent fit. And these pantheons can war with each other as their interests conflict.


However, there are about five or six deities that have influence any where you go cosmically, and had a hand in the development of the cosmos (Ptah, Istus, Thoth, Bahamut, Tiamat, etc.).

5e leaves me no category for them. Granted they are normally more like story elements, and when they do "manifest" I could use greater god as their category.

Hmmmm...
Sounds like they are greater deities. They just lack their own exarch lesser deities.
 
sounds like an awesome idea, I;m going to break out my 3e Deity and Demigod out and look at DIvine Rank 0-20 and try to mesh it up a bit...

I know imagine a game where the PCs become exarchs and demi gods to fight off the old forgotten gods...
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
2e Planescape had the concept of a Proxy, an otherwise mortal creature gifted with some bit of divine essence to serve as the deity's agent in the world. In 5e, I'd say most proxies are probably quasi-deities.
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
2e Planescape had the concept of a Proxy, an otherwise mortal creature gifted with some bit of divine essence to serve as the deity's agent in the world. In 5e, I'd say most proxies are probably quasi-deities.
I'm thinking this notion may work for me.

Cosmic Powers: Greater Gods, Lesser God Avatar/Proxy
Pantheon Leaders: Greater Gods (flexible) Quasi-deity Avatar/Proxy
Pantheon Members: Lesser Gods, Quasi-deity Avatar/Proxy
Quasi-Deities, Minons, Monsters: No avatars/proxies.


Or I just might breakout my copy of "The Primal Order" from a little known company called WotC.
 

EzekielRaiden

Explorer
While I'm not as up-to-snuff on the specific details of Exarch-ness in 4e, in general I'd say that they aren't really on the same level as a "Lesser Deity." I'd probably organize things more like this:

Overdeities
(no subcategories)

Deities
Greater Deities
Primordials
Intermediate Deities

Lesser Deities
Titans
Lesser Deities
Hero Deities (or possibly in the level below)

Quasi-deities
Exarchs
Demigods
Vestiges
Proxies

Overdeity is its own thing: if there's a hierarchy, Overdeity sits at the top, a deity who can boss around everyone else. In general, I usually think most settings lack one, or if there is one it's extremely standoffish. (A character idea I've had, though, is a Paladin with the heterodox belief that his god is a becoming Overdeity--not one yet, but eventually will be one.)

Deities, unqualified, are those entities which are capable of sweeping change and which have core "portfolios" with generic application. Greater deities in particular: though they may have very close affiliation with a single race (e.g. Corellon to elves, Bahamut and Tiamat to dragonborn, Moradin to dwarves), their concepts and precepts are valued by many races. Intermediate deities are their peers who may have narrower interests, but still remain fairly big players (so, for instance, Lolth would probably be an Intermediate deity under this scheme). Primordials are, of course, the more "material stuff-of-existence" supernatural powerhouses, the Elemental Chaos equivalent to the Astral Sea's Deities: where deities might be described as "concepts given life and sentience," primordials are forces given life and sentience.

Lesser deities are still deific, but with very clearly narrow application. A god revered exclusively by a single race, or the god that watches over a single city, etc. might qualify as this. (I say "might" because my aforementioned example of Lolth probably straddles a line here.) They're still true gods, capable of directly influencing the world, but their scope is substantially smaller. If a true deity were like a nation or an empire, a lesser deity is like an individual state (in the US sense) or, possibly, on the lowest end a county--still powerful and influential, but not at all on the same scale.

Quasi-deities really aren't "deities" at all, which is why I put the "Hero deities" with the lesser ones (presuming they really do have deific, divine-spell-granting, etc. powers). Quasi-deities can run a spectrum of power and some might even be more powerful than lesser deities, but they experience severe limits or total lack of ability in areas that all "true" deities should perform just fine in. Vestiges, for example (to continue the political analogy) are like the ghosts of prior political eras or fringe political parties--they have some influence, and sometimes even rise up to touch the national level, but they're not really main players. Exarchs would be more akin to the heads of particular departments within a government--their power is an office appointed by their superiors, not (usually) a position ensconced by law. Like the various "[Issue] Czars" that have cropped up in US politics in the past decade or two.
 

Minigiant

Visitor
While I'm not as up-to-snuff on the specific details of Exarch-ness in 4e, in general I'd say that they aren't really on the same level as a "Lesser Deity." I'd probably organize things more like this:
The thing is, half the exarchs in 4e were powerful deities and the other were demigods. Bane has all the goblin panetheon as exarchs, Maglubiyet, Hruggek, and rest. Corellon has all the elven gods except Loth and the evil dow gods and Sehanine as exarchs.

With demigods defined, the remaining exarchs are all deities strong enough to create clerics. They just have leashes. Maglubiyet cannot create a thousand clerics and declare an Unholy War without Bane's permission. But create a hundred and appear to some hobgoblins with an anti-elf speech, no issue. But Bane and Maglubiyet are about equal strength.



Overdeity is its own thing: if there's a hierarchy, Overdeity sits at the top, a deity who can boss around everyone else. In general, I usually think most settings lack one, or if there is one it's extremely standoffish. (A character idea I've had, though, is a Paladin with the heterodox belief that his god is a becoming Overdeity--not one yet, but eventually will be one.)
I'd still lump overdieties with greater ones. They just run the joint and don't need worship to maintain power. Zues and Odin aren't that much a step over their siblings and children.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
Well most noticeable, the cut of intermediate deities and renaming of demigods.
Intermediate deities were a bit of a cheat anyway back in the day. Time for a history lesson:

In 1e, you only had Greater gods, Lesser gods, and Demigods. Greater gods could grant up to 7th level cleric spells (the maximum back then), Lesser gods up to 6th level, and Demigods up to 5th level. Because people didn't want to play a cleric of Apollo all the way up to 14th level and then learn that they wouldn't get to cast resurrection, the various pantheons were rather top-heavy, with plenty of Greater gods around.

In 2e, someone made the call that the term "Greater god" should primarily be used for the leaders of pantheons, like Zeus or Odin. But the issue of Lesser gods only granting lower-level spells remained, so the term "Intermediate god" was invented for gods that were still major players, but not pantheon heads. So in 2e materials, a bunch of gods that had previously been named Greater gods were "demoted" to Intermediate status. Forgotten Realms, instead kept all the Greater gods Greater, and instead bumped up all the Lesser to Intermediate and a good chunk of the Demigods to Lesser. FR also got rid of the rule about Lesser gods and Demigods being limited to granting 6th or lower-level spells. This all happened sometime between 1990 (which has Forgotten Realms Adventures still having gods like Beshaba and Helm described as Lesser powers), and 1993 (2e FRCS "promoting" them to Intermediates) - probably with the release of Legends & Lore, also in 1990.

But these days gods aren't limited in what spells they may grant anyway, so there's really little point to the classification "Intermediate". Greater, Lesser, and Demigods (or Quasi-gods, with Demigods being a subgroup there) are enough differentiation.
 

gyor

Hero
Actually I guess this effectively promotes all the demigods to Lesser Deities and all intermediate Deities to Greater Gods. So Sharess, Garagos, Jergal, Valkur and Llirra would both be Lesser Deities now instead of Demigods. That's a major power boost to these beings and explains how their powerful enough now to have their own Chosen.

Also looking at the list of Quasi deities it's obvious that Empyrean Titans are quasi deities. Also interesting that instead of granting divine magic like Paladins, Clerics, Rangers, and Druids, they can only grant power via the Warlock Class. Makes one wonder if the Warlock Class will someday gain the Quasi Deity Patron subclass.

Also I think it's clear from the description that Archfiends and Archcelestials would count as Quasi Deities (except Asmodeaus who is more powerful).
 

Twiggly the Gnome

Adventurer
Also I think it's clear from the description that Archfiends and Archcelestials would count as Quasi Deities (except Asmodeaus who is more powerful).
That would be, disappointing. I never understood the WotC folk's fiend-crush on Asmodeus. They even shoehorned Baator into the 4E Eberron cosmology, just to make him a special snowflake amongst fiends. :(
 

Minigiant

Visitor
Also I think it's clear from the description that Archfiends and Archcelestials would count as Quasi Deities (except Asmodeaus who is more powerful).
Only if they have divinity.

Asmodeus ascended and thus has divinity.
Mephistopheles absorb part of Mask in Forgotten Realms so he is a demigod or lesser deity.
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
So what are your thoughts? Are there any other type of deities? Where do being like Greek Titans, the 4th edition stars, or Great Old Ones fits?
This is...not dissimilar to how I organize deities. Frankly, it was a bit weird reading the D&D descriptions.

IMC, there are a number of deific ranks or groupings:

The Elder Host: The primal deities of creation. Clearly greater gods.
The Host of the Dalerain: The offspring of the Elder Host and mortals who have attained a deific status. There are a number of them, of varying power (by age and portfolio), so a gradation would be useful, but "lesser deity" is fine for now. The Dalerain and the Elder Host are the only ones capable of granting spells.
The Host of the Envidier: The multitude of heroes (and villains) not powerful enough to be actual gods. Includes Dalerain that have lost power, mortals that have gained power, and all other sorts. Demi-powers, Exarchs, and the like fit in here quite well. In the real world, saints, Hercules, and etc. would be Envidier. An Envidier who mingles with mortals might engender a sorcerous bloodline. They can also empower warlocks.
The Typhos: The Typhos are the result of congress between two deities. They are almost always narcissistic monstrosities. They're on par with the Envidier, but utterly lack any divine spark. An Envidier might, in time, become a Dalerain, but a Typhos never does. This...pisses them off. They have TWO divine parents, after all. Titans and the tarrasque are Typhos, as are a number of unique fiends. They can empower warlocks or cultists.

Vestiges are probably Typhos in disguise. Dalerain who lose power become Envidier, Envidier who die are dead. There are two dead Elder Host, but they don't get worshipped so much as commemorated, and both died before mortal races were created anyhow.

Edit: I don't do Great Old Ones. Beyond the World is Nothing. There is nothing in the Nothing. That's the point of it. (That, incidentally, is how/why the two Elder Host are dead; Erdis was slain by his/her/it's brethren to prevent it from destroying the World (Erdis was a bit nihilistic) and Yau took most of Erdis's remains into the Nothing to properly dispose of them. Erdis's bones were used to make giants, it's blood to make dragons, its flesh to make humans, and its inner organs to make gnomes. Evil gods stole the head and made dopplegangers, oculuth, sapints, and...something else. Formorians, maybe. A fraction of Erdis' heart was used to sharpen a particular sword, so something of that might survive, but otherwise Yau took all the leftovers and discarded bits and carried them off.)
 
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Staffan

Adventurer
Actually I guess this effectively promotes all the demigods to Lesser Deities and all intermediate Deities to Greater Gods. So Sharess, Garagos, Jergal, Valkur and Llirra would both be Lesser Deities now instead of Demigods. That's a major power boost to these beings and explains how their powerful enough now to have their own Chosen.
I certainly hope not, given that many deities already got a promotion back in 2e.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
I never liked Intermediate Deities anyway, but I'm ignoring the whole "demi-gods" can't grant spells thing (mostly because of Iuz). My setup works as follows:

Greater Gods: The most powerful of beings that have many spheres of influence and concerns over primal forces and many worlds. This includes the creator deities for most races, listed Greater Gods from Greyhawk, and the "leader" of various Outer Planes (Asmodeous, Anthraxus, Primus, ect.). They have far too much to do to focus on a single mortal world, so they are not very active.

Lesser Gods: The most common of powerful beings that usually have a small sphere of influence or limited focus on worlds. This includes most gods, and powerful unique outsiders (Demon rulers, the Dukes of Hell, etc.). They are much more likely to have an interest in the mortal world, but still seldom intervene directly.

Demi-gods: The weakest of those able to grant spells, and are usually limited both in influence and to a single world. This includes immortals who have gained sufficient divine power (Iuz) and lesser unique outsiders (such as unique devils that serve the Dukes of Hell). They can be very active in the mortal world, sometimes as agents of more powerful masters.

Immortals: These beings have surpassed mortality, but cannot grant spells, and so have Warlocks instead of true priests. This includes quasi-deities and hero-gods (Heward, Myrlund, etc.), as well as non-unique outsiders (mostly fiendish). They either live in a mortal world or have a strong tie to a single mortal world.

Please note, that I don't really acknowledge anything on this topic outside of 1E, except the 2E Monster Mythology. This means that some of my names might be different, I don't acknowledge the Blood War, Orcus never died, etc.
 

MonsterEnvy

Adventurer
On battling gods with the current setup. Greater Gods are now out of reach and can only be fought in Avatar form and their Avatars are stated to be as powerful as lesser gods. Lesser Gods dwell on the Planes and can be encountered and fought, By Tiamat's example Lesser Gods are CR 30 and Greater God Avatars are the same. Quasi Deities can very I would say but always be above 20 unless really young.
 

EzekielRaiden

Explorer
The thing is, half the exarchs in 4e were powerful deities and the other were demigods. Bane has all the goblin panetheon as exarchs, Maglubiyet, Hruggek, and rest. Corellon has all the elven gods except Loth and the evil dow gods and Sehanine as exarchs.

With demigods defined, the remaining exarchs are all deities strong enough to create clerics. They just have leashes. Maglubiyet cannot create a thousand clerics and declare an Unholy War without Bane's permission. But create a hundred and appear to some hobgoblins with an anti-elf speech, no issue. But Bane and Maglubiyet are about equal strength.
Fair enough--though it's strange to me that Maglubiyet is "about equal strength" but willing to put up with being on a leash. You'd think that power dynamic wouldn't last.

I'd still lump overdieties with greater ones. They just run the joint and don't need worship to maintain power. Zues and Odin aren't that much a step over their siblings and children.
That's because Zeus and Odin aren't overdeities. They could be slain, for instance. Most ancient mythology didn't really do "overdeity." Egypt has a few that are kinda like that, but other than maybe Ra, it's not really spelled out until Akhenaten's (debatably) monotheistic Aten. Ahura Mazda from Zoroastrianism, maybe Brahman from Hinduism, and of course YHWH from Judaism are other examples, but they're fairly starkly different from the polytheistic or henotheistic traditions of Europe and elsewhere.

An overdeity, at least as I understand it, has power over other gods equivalent to the power gods have over mortals. Ao can dictate to the other gods what they can and cannot do, can change their natures (e.g. making them dependent on worship to survive, when they were not so dependent before), and can choose not only whether or not the gods retain various powers (granting spells) but also whether or not someone can ascend to godhood. None of these powers is even remotely within the definition of being a deity in D&D, which (to me) says there's a much bigger gap than you're suggesting.
 

lvl20dm

Visitor
I suspect this will see some gods previously defined as Intermediate dropping to lesser, while other intermediates becoming greater (on a case by case basis). The sidebar specifies Lolth as a lesser god - in Forgotten Realms, at least, she has been defined as a demon lord, an intermediate god, and a greater god. Lesser fits, though, if we want her residing in the Demonweb Pits, but also granting spells.

Tiamat would also be a lesser deity, as would Bahamut. I think Asmodeus and the various archfiends are interesting. I don't know if Lesser god fits (maybe for Asmodeus), but they don't seem to fall into the quasi-deity sub-categories. The various archdevils empowering warlocks fits better than clerics, certainly.
 

Minigiant

Visitor
That's because Zeus and Odin aren't overdeities. They could be slain, for instance. Most ancient mythology didn't really do "overdeity." Egypt has a few that are kinda like that, but other than maybe Ra, it's not really spelled out until Akhenaten's (debatably) monotheistic Aten. Ahura Mazda from Zoroastrianism, maybe Brahman from Hinduism, and of course YHWH from Judaism are other examples, but they're fairly starkly different from the polytheistic or henotheistic traditions of Europe and elsewhere.

An overdeity, at least as I understand it, has power over other gods equivalent to the power gods have over mortals. Ao can dictate to the other gods what they can and cannot do, can change their natures (e.g. making them dependent on worship to survive, when they were not so dependent before), and can choose not only whether or not the gods retain various powers (granting spells) but also whether or not someone can ascend to godhood. None of these powers is even remotely within the definition of being a deity in D&D, which (to me) says there's a much bigger gap than you're suggesting.
Do overdieties run polytheistic pantheons through power or just authority. Do they have actually that much more strength or just have the highest governing power?

Ao writes the rules but is it through strength or is it a power of the office?
 

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