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D&D General The Role and Purpose of Evil Gods


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Faolyn

Hero
Iuz is not called out that way, though. And one instance of a demigod becoming a lesser god doesn't mean that they all did.
Except it's not just one god being called out.

In 2e and 3e, Gwaeron Windstrom, Valkur, Jergal, Hoar, Laogazed, Kiaransalee, the Red Knight, Urogalan, Haela Brightaxe, Deep Duerra, Shevarash, and Selvatarm were all demigods--and they all grant spells in 5e, which means that they are all at least lesser deities by 5e standards.

With Lurue being referenced in the DMG, and Iuz in the PH, that's fourteen examples of former demigods now being treated as full-fledged gods who are able to grant spells. The only thing unique about Iuz is that there haven't been any other Greyhawk demigods referenced--but as I said, there's over a hundred GH gods and only twenty are referenced at all. And frankly, most of the Greyhawk demigods are kinda dumb.

And all of the Lesser Idols in Exandria are given cleric domains in addition to appropriate warlock pacts.

And coupled with the DMG stating that demigod is basically a species (half-god, half-mortal), not a divine rank or level of power or what inevitably happens if a mortal undergoes apotheosis, I think that fourteen examples are enough to make it a fact: Iuz is a god in 5e, not a demigod.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
In 2e and 3e, Gwaeron Windstrom, Valkur, Jergal, Hoar, Laogazed, Kiaransalee, the Red Knight, Urogalan, Haela Brightaxe, Deep Duerra, Shevarash, and Selvatarm were all demigods--and they all grant spells in 5e, which means that they are all at least lesser deities by 5e standards.
They all are on a list of gods that might possibly grant spells, yes. Nothing says that every god on that list absolutely grants spells. We know some of them don't. They just left which ones up to the DM.
With Lurue being referenced in the DMG, and Iuz in the PH, that's fourteen examples of former demigods now being treated as full-fledged gods who are able to grant spells. The only thing unique about Iuz is that there haven't been any other Greyhawk demigods referenced--but as I said, there's over a hundred GH gods and only twenty are referenced at all. And frankly, most of the Greyhawk demigods are kinda dumb.
No. It's 14 examples of demigods who might potentially have gotten promotions. That's up to the DM, since we know that some on that list cannot cast spells, despite having domains.
 

Mirtek

Hero
5e doesn't say that I don't think, unless it's in a module.
It's right in the DMG

Requires assuming the designers are too stupid to realize they cut out all of quasi-deities.
It's pretty normal that large multi-person manuals are choke full of reference to stuff that was later cut while the reference was forgotten. Not even speaking of infamous "Add sensible text here later" or "Cut before final print" stuff appearing in shipped versions of a lot of books

since we know that some on that list cannot cast spells, despite having domains.
Do we? Which ones? The Undying Court? Who says centuries of worship has not forged it into a gestalt lesser deity?

We know Vol isn't a deity, but she's just the spokesperson of clerics worshipping a philosophy really
 
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Chaosmancer

Legend
Requires assuming the designers are too stupid to realize they cut out all of quasi-deities.

Changes in one part of the text not being fully realized in others isn't "stupidity" it is having multiple people working on different parts of a 300 page book and not having perfect communication.

Requires assuming that the designers are too stupid to realize that those Eberron options don't fit into any of the three categories of quasi-deities.

PHB came out three months before the DMG. It isn't stupidity if there was a last minute change to the DMG text. Or if the designers were worried that saying "gods and pantheons" would make people think you couldn't be an acolyte of something that wasn't a god.
Requires the designers to just be stupid in general.

No, it requires them to write "quasi-deities" to make sure that the player's are aware that demigods, titans, vestiges and other "not gods" are valid choices for an acolyte to have as their religion, without realizing that in a different section of the text that they are not personally writing, no one bothered to list those beings. Or that a design decision was made to not list them.

I prefer not to assume that the designers are stupid. The most likely option is that they just assume the DM will pick some to be quasi-deities.

For someone who doesn't want to assume the designers are stupid, you do sure seem to think that common mistakes and miscommunications that happen in any large scale project indicate full on stupidity.

Meanwhile, your position is that they wrote "quasi-deities in Appendix B" and then purposefully didn't label any Quasi-Deities, because DMs would just decide what that meant. For a player character's acolyte background. That frankly, makes no sense, because if they wanted certain Deities to be Quasi-Deities... why not label them as such, and then have the DMs decide if they DON'T want those beings to be Quasi-Deities.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
They all are on a list of gods that might possibly grant spells, yes. Nothing says that every god on that list absolutely grants spells. We know some of them don't. They just left which ones up to the DM.

No. It's 14 examples of demigods who might potentially have gotten promotions. That's up to the DM, since we know that some on that list cannot cast spells, despite having domains.

I'm sorry, which of those 14 gods that Faolyn listed do we know can't grant spells? I'm not aware of any of them being listed in 5e as not being able to grant spells.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Do we? Which ones? The Undying Court? Who says centuries of worship has not forged it into a gestalt lesser deity?

We know Vol isn't a deity, but she's just the spokesperson of clerics worshipping a philosophy really

Also, if you look in the Eberron books, the Undying Court absolutely grants spells, and is considered as powerful as the Silver Flame on their island nation. The Silver Flame also not being a god.

The Blood of Vol is a philosophy about the divinity within and self-actualization. It also leads to clerics, famously there is a mummy cleric of the faith. Actually, in Exploring Eberron (which isn't canon but is written by Baker to explore more of the setting he created) he tackles the question of how to handle an Aasimar of the Blood of Vol, since the entire point is that you, yourself, are divine. The idea ends up being that the Angelic Guide for a Blood of Vol Aasimar is thought to be the divine version of yourself reaching back through time to guide you to apotheosis.

Honestly, I think the Blood of Vol is an absolutely FASCINATING religion. Especially with how the undead are seen as martyrs to the cause.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
It's right in the DMG
You're right! It is! I didn't think he was named in the DMG, but when you said that I checked.

Page 63 of the 5e DMG.

"On Oerth (the sword-and-sorcery world of the Greyhawk setting), heroes such as Bigby and Mordenkainen are driven by greed or ambition. The hub of the region called the Flanaess is the Free City of Greyhawk, a city of scoundrels and archmagi, rife with adventure. An evil demigod, Iuz, rules a nightmarish realm in the north, threatening all civilization."

Hopefully this puts the debate to bed.
 



Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
And what is more likely: that the 5e designers intended everyone using 5e to play Greyhawk games to retcon all their games so that Iuz no longer has clerics? Or that there was an editing error?
So now we need two screw ups for you guys to be right. There needs to be an error in the PHB AND now also in the DMG.
 

Voadam

Legend
Iuz as a 5e Demigod can fit into the definitions of 5e demigods, but it is some work.

5e Demigods can ascend and become full gods. If you consider Grazz't a god in 5e then Iuz is a demigod under the Quasi-deity sidebar definition and he can ascend to full god status who grants spells to clerics. In GH lore that is my understanding of what Iuz did, coming into older edition demigod deity power with his own clerics.

In 5e this would put him as an ascended Lesser God Demigod, similar to Greek Heracles and Dionysus, while most 5e demigods are mortal bigger than life heroic people like Theseus and Perseus and are classified as quasi-deities who do not hear prayers.

Zagyg however would require additions to his story to be called a 5e demigod as there is no indication that he comes from divine parents, he just did a big magic ritual to ascend to become a god.

Grazz't brings us back to the demons and evil gods split.

5e in the DMG makes the distinction of gods who grant cleric spells and non-gods (quasi-deities) who do not.

The 5e MM is not entirely clear on the status of things like demon lords. Page 51: "The chaotic power of the Abyss rewards demons of particular ruthlessness and ingenuity with a dark blessing, transforming them into unique fiends whose power can rival the gods." The phrasing can rival the gods implies they are not gods themselves, but does not say so explicitly.

Lolth in the 5e MM is described as a goddess who became a demon lord. It does not specify whether she is no longer a goddess or whether she grants spells to clerics, but it does call her the matron of drow and refers to her priestesses, her faithful, and her followers.

The 5e DMG page 12 mentions fiends as non-deity lesser spirits who might grant spells under a certain number of "if" conditions.

"If you introduce a monotheistic religion into your campaign, you need to decide whether other gods exist. Even if they don't, other religions can exist side by side with the monotheistic religion. If these religions have clerics with spellcasting ability, their spells might be powered by the one true deity, by lesser spirits who aren't deities (possibly including powerful aberrations, celestials, fey, fiends, or elementals), or simply by their faith."

This seems like the DMG laying down options and not establishing a D&D baseline. Alternatively this could be read as consistent with a baseline that all lesser spirits can grant cleric spells in D&D or that only under these specified conditions can non-deity lesser spirits grant cleric spells and go against the baseline that such non-deities cannot grant clerics spells.

5e seems ambiguous on the status of fiend lords.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Iuz as a 5e Demigod can fit into the definitions of 5e demigods, but it is some work.

[...]

5e seems ambiguous on the status of fiend lords.

This is a good analysis, I just wanted to add that 5e is flexible by definition, and the DM is key. If you want your Demigod to be able to grant spells because he is special, then he can, and who will tell you, in your campaign, that it is wrong ? Maybe it is a special exception ? Maybe it's a twist of the plot in your campaign, and there are other status that matter about granting spells ? Maybe there is not even a rule, and what the DMG says does not apply to your campaign ?

In any case, degenerating to even the history of settings is rather pointless, as many beings have changed status over time, as pointed out. And maybe some clergies are now devoid of spellcasting through divine means, and faking it through arcane magic if it's a good plot ? Maximum Game Fun should guide us here, because the rules about divinity are not hard and fast anyway.
 

Faolyn

Hero
They all are on a list of gods that might possibly grant spells, yes. Nothing says that every god on that list absolutely grants spells. We know some of them don't. They just left which ones up to the DM.

No. It's 14 examples of demigods who might potentially have gotten promotions. That's up to the DM, since we know that some on that list cannot cast spells, despite having domains.
OK, here you're just doubling down instead of admitting you were wrong. If you're going to say "the DM can homebrew that they can't grant spells" then there's absolutely no point to this discussion.

All of those gods were demigods in previous editions. They are all now treated as full, spell-granting gods in 5e (if they grant a domain, they can grant spells). Quasi-deities can't grant spells; full gods, whether they're lesser or greater, can. Demigods are half-mortal, half-god, rather than the lowest-ranking god, and as they are a type of quasi-deity, they can't grant spells.

The end.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
OK, here you're just doubling down instead of admitting you were wrong. If you're going to say "the DM can homebrew that they can't grant spells" then there's absolutely no point to this discussion.

All of those gods were demigods in previous editions. They are all now treated as full, spell-granting gods in 5e (if they grant a domain, they can grant spells). Quasi-deities can't grant spells; full gods, whether they're lesser or greater, can. Demigods are half-mortal, half-god, rather than the lowest-ranking god, and as they are a type of quasi-deity, they can't grant spells.

The end.
No need to double down. The DMG says outright that Iuz is a demigod. Hence quasi-deity.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Iuz as a 5e Demigod can fit into the definitions of 5e demigods, but it is some work.

5e Demigods can ascend and become full gods. If you consider Grazz't a god in 5e then Iuz is a demigod under the Quasi-deity sidebar definition and he can ascend to full god status who grants spells to clerics. In GH lore that is my understanding of what Iuz did, coming into older edition demigod deity power with his own clerics.

In 5e this would put him as an ascended Lesser God Demigod, similar to Greek Heracles and Dionysus, while most 5e demigods are mortal bigger than life heroic people like Theseus and Perseus and are classified as quasi-deities who do not hear prayers.
I think this is a pretty big stretch. 5e doesn't have demigod lesser gods. They have demigods and lesser gods as separate categories. A demigod who ascends becomes a lesser god is no longer a demigod. Iuz in 5e is still a demigod and therefore a quasi-deity.

As a cambion, Iuz does fit the 5e definition of demigod if you view Grazz't as a god, which he was back in 1e.
 

Voadam

Legend
This is a good analysis, I just wanted to add that 5e is flexible by definition, and the DM is key. If you want your Demigod to be able to grant spells because he is special, then he can, and who will tell you, in your campaign, that it is wrong ? Maybe it is a special exception ? Maybe it's a twist of the plot in your campaign, and there are other status that matter about granting spells ? Maybe there is not even a rule, and what the DMG says does not apply to your campaign ?
I am a big fan of the DMG offering different incompatible cosmological options and having advice for the story uses and implications of different setups.

Gods being the exclusive source of clerical magic is a neat option that can show hard divisions of gods and other beings.

Fiend lords being a mix of gods like Lolth who can grant clerical spells, and non-god specific other demon lords is a neat setup showing the difference of the status of god and demon lord as separate things that can apply to the same being.

Having divine power be something clerics tap into and the exact worship subject be flexible/not matter (forces, philosophy, lesser spirits, dragons, ancestors, hero-worship) opens up lots of neat D&D story options like clerics powered by false gods or significant heresies.

There is a difference between presenting options and setting up baseline setups for D&D. Rule zero has always applied in every edition, the editions have varied on what they consider their baselines and official options.

The quasi-deity sidebar is a weird specificity among a bunch of options, and serves to create conflicting terminology with stuff from D&D's past. It is not phrased as an option, but as a baseline 5e definition. It creates weird situations when interacting with other options like forces and lesser spirits being an OK source of clerical power. I think it would have been better to leave unstated whether quasi-deities can grant clerical spells, or to present them not granting spells as one option instead of unequivocally stating in the DMG that they do not.
 

Voadam

Legend
A demigod who ascends becomes a lesser god is no longer a demigod.
A demigod who ascends is still the child of a god and a mortal and so fits the 5e DMG definition of a demigod. A demigod who ascends is now a full god who has domains and grants cleric spells and not a quasi-deity who does not grant cleric spells.

Two different ways to read the same text about demigods as being mixed divine mortal heritage beings who are not gods but can ascend and be gods.
 



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