D&D General What spells should a god have?

Celebrim

Legend
I think 3e defining the spells of deities in terms of the domain spells of their cleric was spot on. They then just defined the different tiers of deities in large part by how many domains that they had.
 

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dave2008

Legend
I think 3e defining the spells of deities in terms of the domain spells of their cleric was spot on. They then just defined the different tiers of deities in large part by how many domains that they had.
As I am quasi converting the Immortal Rules, that is not what I am doing. I am using the Spheres (Matter, Energy, Thought, Time, & Entropy), which I call Authority as the prime definer of a gods power. A deities 'portfolio" is their Areas of Influence (domains) within their Authority.

Also, most of their power and ability is beyond mortal spell casting.
 

Celebrim

Legend
As I am quasi converting the Immortal Rules, that is not what I am doing. I am using the Spheres (Matter, Energy, Thought, Time, & Entropy), which I call Authority as the prime definer of a gods power. A deities 'portfolio" is their Areas of Influence (domains) within their Authority.

Also, most of their power and ability is beyond mortal spell casting.

I would have to do some research to see why that world salad didn't correspond pretty closely to what I just said, but to make it clear, I'm suggesting a VERY limited set of universal divine abilities, possibly approaching zero.

I'm suggesting that if you are the god of Matter, then that's pretty much all you do and what you do.

The real issue here you are asking involves the definition of 'god', a term with no real fixed meaning and even less in a fantasy context.

The real confusion in a modern context comes from people generally having a somewhat Judeo-Christian inspired understanding of the word, where the word god tends to mean something like 'The Highest'. Not just god but God. Yet this distinctly modern understanding of the word is totally at odds with the polytheistic mythologies that inform the tropes of a typical fantasy game, where the gods are simply big but very far from all powerful.

For example, there is a scene in the Iliad where the gods have joined in battle with the Greeks and the Trojans and are fighting along side them, and Aphrodite decides to get in on the action so she arrays herself for battle and gets a war chariot and goes racing out on to the battlefield. And she promptly gets a spear through her thigh and goes wimpering home to daddy to complain about how the mortals mistreated her, and Zeus is just shaking his head like, "What did you think was going to happen?"

The closest modern culture gets to the viewpoint of the Iliad is comic books. Thor, the Thor of the Marvel Universe is a god. What can Thor do? Can he even Planeshift? No, he needs the god with the Byfrost bridge for that.

You are converting the Immortal rules over, so the implication to me is that you want gods as PCs. And I'm telling you, if you want gods as PCs, make them a lot more like Marvel's Thor than where you seem to be wanting to go. Focus on the word 'Immortal' and less on the word 'god'.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Any cleric spell related to healing - resurrection - restoration.
Scrying
Teleportation
Disintigrate
Meteor Swarm
Summoning spells (probably some not accessible to players)
Druid spells pertaining to nature
The strongest illusion spells
Spells that magically influence others
Counterspell
Dispel Magic
Levitate
Invisibility
Fly
Dimension Door
etc.


I don't really see gods having the minor defensive spells. I don't really see minor offensive spells being a thing either.

You and I seem to be representing the exact opposite approaches in this thread. With the possible exception of Scrying, I don't agree with any of that. As far as illusions go, probably only something like Disguise Self is indicative of typical divine ability. They seem to universally have a reasonable ability to disguise themselves as mortals, albeit not so perfectly that wise mortals can't see through it. The vast majority of deities of myth and legend can't do any of that, or if they can, it's because it pertains to their portfolio.

Teleportation I might give but even then, it's mostly just an abstraction for 'really fast'. Only a god of speed and messengers though really ought to be so fast that Teleportation or Diminsion Door approximates it.

As for Invisibility and Fly, mostly I think that they ought to become Ethereal at will, so that they cannot be seen present without those that have 'the sight'. But that's not quite the same as being able to fly or be invisible, which again is things that they should only do if its appropriate to their portofolio. Remember for example Hades has a cap of invisibility that makes him cool. Why would he need this sort of thing if everyone could just do it? Or why would he need to loan it out to other gods if they could just do it?
 
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dave2008

Legend
I would have to do some research to see why that world salad didn't correspond pretty closely to what I just said, but to make it clear, I'm suggesting a VERY limited set of universal divine abilities, possibly approaching zero.
I understand that viewpoint, but it is not what I am going for. I think your viewpoint, while completely reasonable and justified, is not what I am going for in my project.

I'm suggesting that if you are the god of Matter, then that's pretty much all you do and what you do.
There is no god of Matter. In fact, things being a god of something is a mortal conception. The gods themselves don't think of themselves this way. They have Authority over a certain aspect of reality, but that is not the sum-total of what they are.

The real issue here you are asking involves the definition of 'god', a term with no real fixed meaning and even less in a fantasy context.
Not really, but I get your point. The response to my question is heavily dependent on a person's definition of what a 'god' is. That was on purpose so I can get the most diverse feedback. I didn't want to constrain responses with my definition of deities in the OP.



For example, there is a scene in the Iliad where the gods have joined in battle with the Greeks and the Trojans and are fighting along side them, and Aphrodite decides to get in on the action so she arrays herself for battle and gets a war chariot and goes racing out on to the battlefield. And she promptly gets a spear through her thigh and goes wimpering home to daddy to complain about how the mortals mistreated her, and Zeus is just shaking his head like, "What did you think was going to happen?"

The closest modern culture gets to the viewpoint of the Iliad is comic books. Thor, the Thor of the Marvel Universe is a god. What can Thor do? Can he even Planeshift? No, he needs the god with the Byfrost bridge for that.
No argument from me. However, my approach is the myths about gods - are indeed myths. Mortals surround themselves with myths and rumors about deities and most of these are false. It is helpful to also remember that RL myths change over time and location. Heck, RA was the one and only deity in Egypt for a brief time. A similar thing happened with Zeus overtime as well.

However, to go back to your Iliad example, when Aphrodite and Ares were on the battlefield that would have only been an aspect of the deity. In fact, i am developing a mode of playing gods where you can intervene in the lives of mortals through your aspect.

You are converting the Immortal rules over, so the implication to me is that you want gods as PCs. And I'm telling you, if you want gods as PCs, make them a lot more like Marvel's Thor than where you seem to be wanting to go. Focus on the word 'Immortal' and less on the word 'god'.
Actually, the way I am handling it is deities (demigods, lesser, intermediate, & greater gods) are a type of Immortal (not immortal). Eventually I hope to have guidelines for other Immortals too, but I wanted to start with gods. I think that is a reasonable thought and I do worry I am giving them to much (and it is feeling to complex for 5e as well). However, this questions about the spells is really just flavor text for how a deity interacts with mortals. These spells are irrelevant for anything above a demigod. Mortals are not a challenge for gods (just like mortals are not threat to marvels Thor) the adventures will need to be more "epic."

I
 

dave2008

Legend
You and I seem to be representing the exact opposite approaches in this thread. With the possible exception of Scrying, I don't agree with any of that. As far as illusions go, probably only something like Disguise Self is indicative of typical divine ability. They seem to universally have a reasonable ability to disguise themselves as mortals, albeit not so perfectly that wise mortals can't see through it. The vast majority of deities of myth and legend can't do any of that, or if they can, it's because it pertains to their portfolio.

Teleportation I might give but even then, it's mostly just an abstraction for 'really fast'. Only a god of speed and messengers though really ought to be so fast that Teleportation or Diminsion Door approximates it.

As for Invisibility and Fly, mostly I think that they ought to become Ethereal at will, so that they cannot be seen present without those that have 'the sight'. But that's not quite the same as being able to fly or be invisible, which again is things that they should only do if its appropriate to their portofolio. Remember for example Hades has a cap of invisibility that makes him cool. Why would he need this sort of thing if everyone could just do it? Or why would he need to loan it out to other gods if they could just do it?
I like your ideas a lot, and would use them for a different type of game. That is just not what I am going for with this conversion. I really appreciate your insight, thank you!
 

shadowoflameth

Adventurer
I would do it as: Deity can perform divine intervention at-will. Effects consistant with any cleric spell as a 20th level caster in a 9th level slot. Any other spell up to 8th level also in a 9th level slot. Any cantrip at will. This is in line with what divine intervention can do in my game.
 

dave2008

Legend
I would do it as: Deity can perform divine intervention at-will. Effects consistant with any cleric spell as a 20th level caster in a 9th level slot. Any other spell up to 8th level also in a 9th level slot. Any cantrip at will. This is in line with what divine intervention can do in my game.
I get you, but that is not the question I am asking. I am not asking what gods can do, but what spells make you think: "yep, a god should be able to do that" I am looking for what what you think are iconic divine abilities as manifested in the 5e spell list.
 

shadowoflameth

Adventurer
I see, then I think it's more an RP question in that case. Tharizdun or Vecna could almost certainly cast Remove Curse, but why would They? Tharizdun might enjoy a curse.. IF you want to keep it simple, then say any spells associated with his race or domain at-will. Divine intervention would then be a way of the god occasionally pushing the 'I win' button.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I think my list for 5e would probably just be:

Scrying is free if it pertains to something you have Authority over. So Thor could scry for free anywhere there was a Thunderstorm, or he could scry for free in one of his temples, or he could scry for free in a location if a mortal calls out to him there.

Sending is free under the same circumstances as Scrying.

Bestow Curse is free under the same circumstances as Scrying.

Disguise Self is free.

Etherealness is free.

Everything else costs or requires specific authority or isn't a spell.
 

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