D&D General where did the gods come from?

got to ask what is your faith as I can't think of one like that easily.

look for an origin to gods you need the core eldest to be axioms the reality is based on and flow down from there.
I'm Christian (Foursquare Pentecostal, to be precise.) My God is Love, with a very specific definition thereof:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. [...] And now these three remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is Love." (1st Corinthians 13:4-8, 13, NIV)

I'm afraid I rarely manage to live up to that standard myself. But I won't stop trying.

And yes, I really do genuinely believe that that unconditional, invincible Love is the most fundamental axiom of existence. (Should you wish to discuss it further we can do so in PMs.)
 

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dave2008

Legend
I'm Christian (Foursquare Pentecostal, to be precise.) My God is Love, with a very specific definition thereof:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. [...] And now these three remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is Love." (1st Corinthians 13:4-8, 13, NIV)

I'm afraid I rarely manage to live up to that standard myself. But I won't stop trying.
Those are good words to live by regardless of religion. I know that is basically how I try to live and view the world and I'm an atheist!
 


cbwjm

Legend
DnD is weird in that the gods, at least some of them, have always existed and created their followers but then they need belief to exist so it ends up a chicken or the egg situation.

At least in Theros they have a setting where the gods exist specifically because of the belief of mortals, and in at least one of the short stories the god of mysteries admits that other gods have existed in Theros before the current set as he's seen them rise up and fade away.

I'm not sure how much 5e follows the previous set-up where gods can't exist without the faith of their followers though.

In my current setting faith doesn't matter for the gods, they exist without need of the faith of their followers instead being empowered by fundamental aspects of reality so wiping out the followers of a god won't affect their power.
 

Mad_Jack

Hero
Historically, the answer to that question has been highly variable throughout the various campaign worlds and editions, and sometimes even different from one god to the next in the same setting.

On a tangent, I once ran a cleric who was completely delusional and worshipped a god that didn't actually exist, but his personal faith, however misguided, was so strong it was actually powering his spells.
 

Hex08

Adventurer
When a mommy god and a daddy god love each other....

In my settings I generally have them having always existed, but I think being created by belief is a perfectly fine and could probably lead to some interesting stories to base a campaign around.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Always existed. The idea that gawds need worshipers to be batteries always turned me off.
I usually see it as the other way around.

Gods don't need worshippers. Worshippers just power them up and give them death saves against divine god killer BS.

Gods who have pretermined deaths or other ways to power themselves don't need worshippers. That's why Gods of Lore, Magic, Mystery, Fate, or Secrets don't stress having churches.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
if gods need us for fuel it is kind of not a god, I have heard of no real-world faith that operates of it. gods normally are, it would be like if we need to worship gravity for it to work it stops being fundamental and becomes contingent.

gods often eat in myth but normally super special stuff that grants great ability if eaten by mortals but not gods needing morals for much even the mexica gods who need human blood have it more for a boost and not a fundamental to their being.

I suppose this gets into the question of "what is a god" then.

Now, I will admit it may not have been clear that I was combining some concepts in my initial post, so let me first go ahead and make explicitly sure to decouple them. Many real-world mythologies involve the food of the Gods being special. For example, in the Norse Pantheon the Aesir and the Vanir eat the Apples of Idun, which restore their youth and vitality. Without the Apples, the gods would die of old age and sickness. In fact, when they lost access to the Apples, they quickly began to age. Similar stories revolve around Ambrosia from Ancient Greece which in the Illiad is used by Hera and allowed her to "cleansed all defilement from her lovely flesh", Peaches of Immortality from Chinese Myth cover again a similar vein. Now, not all godly power derives from these foods, but the immortality of the gods does, and that is a key point for many on "what is a god".

Now, I have read many stories that take that concept and combine it with another concept. Particularly in Japanese myth, but I believe also in Hindu belief, the food ritually offered at shrines is considered empowered by the faith of those offering it, and becomes the food of the gods. This could have also been a Sumerian belief, but I'm really out of touch with my Sumerian mythology research. And so some people in various stories have stated that it is faith that powers these foods, and therefore faith which grants immortality to the gods.

I also find your mention of gravity as... not quite accurate. You can't stab gravity, but you can stab the Gods. In fact, in the Illiad, Aphrodite is wounded by a spear thrown by Diomedes. You can also bind the Gods, as Hera was famously bound multiple times in Greek Myths (once from Golden Chains in the heavens for betraying Zeus, once in a throne forged for her by Hephaestus, and I believe a third time). The concept of Gravity might not need worship to continue, but it also cannot be "killed". Yet, the Gods can be killed, injured, bound, ect so therefore it could be that they need sustenance to continue, and that sustenance could be special because it is powered by Faith.
 

I suppose this gets into the question of "what is a god" then.

Now, I will admit it may not have been clear that I was combining some concepts in my initial post, so let me first go ahead and make explicitly sure to decouple them. Many real-world mythologies involve the food of the Gods being special. For example, in the Norse Pantheon the Aesir and the Vanir eat the Apples of Idun, which restore their youth and vitality. Without the Apples, the gods would die of old age and sickness. In fact, when they lost access to the Apples, they quickly began to age. Similar stories revolve around Ambrosia from Ancient Greece which in the Illiad is used by Hera and allowed her to "cleansed all defilement from her lovely flesh", Peaches of Immortality from Chinese Myth cover again a similar vein. Now, not all godly power derives from these foods, but the immortality of the gods does, and that is a key point for many on "what is a god".

Now, I have read many stories that take that concept and combine it with another concept. Particularly in Japanese myth, but I believe also in Hindu belief, the food ritually offered at shrines is considered empowered by the faith of those offering it, and becomes the food of the gods. This could have also been a Sumerian belief, but I'm really out of touch with my Sumerian mythology research. And so some people in various stories have stated that it is faith that powers these foods, and therefore faith which grants immortality to the gods.

I also find your mention of gravity as... not quite accurate. You can't stab gravity, but you can stab the Gods. In fact, in the Illiad, Aphrodite is wounded by a spear thrown by Diomedes. You can also bind the Gods, as Hera was famously bound multiple times in Greek Myths (once from Golden Chains in the heavens for betraying Zeus, once in a throne forged for her by Hephaestus, and I believe a third time). The concept of Gravity might not need worship to continue, but it also cannot be "killed". Yet, the Gods can be killed, injured, bound, ect so therefore it could be that they need sustenance to continue, and that sustenance could be special because it is powered by Faith.
binding hera does not seem to turn off all the things she is in charge of closer to resisting gravity than anything else.
Also, most of those are gods doing it to each other, which is a more open area than humans stop caring, so now there are no gods.

it is fair to make gods vulnerable but gods fading with out worship feels like a left over from when lots of people had the magical die-off from their setting at some point.
 


jasper

Rotten DM
What about it turns you off exactly? I'm not trying to push back on your preferences, but I wonder if it is more the phrasing than anything else.

Because, I agree that "worshippers are batteries" doesn't feel right to me. But if we accept the idea that "all things must die" is a truth, and the Gods can be killed, then it could also be true that "all things must eat". And this is something I've seen in multiple fantasy stories and even in mythology. The food of the gods is special, and in some versions it is special because it is offered as part of religious rituals or it is infused with Faith.

And so for me, it becomes less of a concept that "bee-boop, god-bot needs power" and more that the Gods need to eat to sustain themselves, and what they eat is metaphysical and related to Faith. And as a person who eats well is healthier and stronger than someone who eats poorly, such is true of the divine.
Because the easy solution to depower gawds would be to kill their worshippers. And if you are ripping off a story/myth of gawds dying, then for that lore it is okay.
A forgotten gawd who is awaken in his Kuduz cover temple because the paladin smited his altar is just as powerful as Evil Ronald McDonald gawd with 247 Billion worshippers.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
That always turned me off as well. The term "gawds" is also a turn-off.
Maybe But God or Gods are turned off too to some. So it is either G_d or gawds. And I will choose. The second when talking about the subject in Fantasy Gaming.
 

I suppose this gets into the question of "what is a god" then.
This is the question I wonder. Why is Lolth a god, but Zyggotmoy not? Realms gave a reason for Asmodious's ascension, but it doesn't seem like it would apply to all settings. Can he be a god only in the Realms, and just the Prince of Hell everywhere else?

I also find your mention of gravity as... not quite accurate. You can't stab gravity, but you can stab the Gods. In fact, in the Illiad, Aphrodite is wounded by a spear thrown by Diomedes. You can also bind the Gods, as Hera was famously bound multiple times in Greek Myths (once from Golden Chains in the heavens for betraying Zeus, once in a throne forged for her by Hephaestus, and I believe a third time). The concept of Gravity might not need worship to continue, but it also cannot be "killed". Yet, the Gods can be killed, injured, bound, ect so therefore it could be that they need sustenance to continue, and that sustenance could be special because it is powered by Faith.
Arguably, if the gods are embodiment of the various fundamental concepts, there would be a god of gravity who could be wounded or killed. The impact this would have on the universe depends on the rules, which could include reincarnation or the power being passed to another. Most mythologies are... messy.
 

Stormonu

Legend
In my homebrew, it's a mix. An original creator god (Harp) that made the original existance. He left a companion (Thunbuk) in charge while he went to investigate who/what was creating monstrosities to destroy creation. While Harp was gone, Thunbuk created servants to help him rebuild what had been destroyed and aid in protecting creation. They rebelled, overthrew Thunbuk and took over. When Harp came back, he put the rebellious "gods" to sleep, but later recognized there needed to be beings to create new things and watch over what was created. Harp created a path/test for others to ascend as overlords and protectors of creation, and the current breed of gods of Amberos have sprung from that.
 

Short answer: Ask the DM.

Lore answer:

The cosmos and all the planes in it were originally the stuff of dreams, and the first gods, the Estalar, were formed from the concepts floating in the Great Dream; some say a higher will of both coldness and warmth pulled together the wisps of possibility in the Dream to form the Estalar, and watches over the cosmos from beyond, leaving instructions to gatekeepers/gardeners known as the Overgods to preserve the Cosmic Balance.

The First Era was a time of curiosity and exploration as the Estalar swam the ocean of the Dream, but conflict arrived when the Dawn Titans, primordial beings of great power born of the Elemental Chaos, coveted the realms built by the Estalar and began their conquest. The seemingly endless Dawn War between the gods and primordials raged for eons, until a grand project to give new structure to the realms was initiated. The gods built walls between the realms and withheld the keys to the walls' doors from the primordials, preventing the grand armies of Elemental Dominion from reinforcing each other on the battlefields.

The Dawn Titans, once on the verge of overwhelming the Estalar, found themselves on the losing end with their forces separated and vulnerable to the gods' ambushes. Treaties were then negotiated, to end the war and prevent the cornered, frustrated primordials from unleashing spiteful destruction in place of their lost paths of conquest.

A new Era of the Gods' Dominion began, in the newly formed House of the Dream, known now by many names: Great Wheel, Great Tree, Great Pyramid, etc.

This was the beginning of things, and the building of the stage upon which the conflicts of the modern ages now play out.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
binding hera does not seem to turn off all the things she is in charge of closer to resisting gravity than anything else.

This is a really hard sentence to follow. But, no, binding Hera doesn't "turn off" marriage or remove all women from the world. Just like killing Poseidon doesn't remove the Oceans. Remember, The Greek Olympian Gods inherited their domains, specifically Zeus and his brothers drew lots for who would rule what.

If your vision of the gods includes "when they are dead or bound, the thing they represent is removed from existence" then you are going to have a hard time finding ANY "gods" in mythology, because that doesn't happen in myths. And many many myths involve various gods being bound or killed at some point.

Also, most of those are gods doing it to each other, which is a more open area than humans stop caring, so now there are no gods.

Not all of the examples I listed were god on god. Diomedes was just a normal man. Growing old and dying of old age has nothing to do with god on god. Also, in many myths you have to contend with other beings like Titans, Giants, monsters, ect which were threats to the gods.

And I don't think the idea of the gods needing something vital from humans is a matter of "they stop caring". It never seems to be about Apathy, to me.

it is fair to make gods vulnerable but gods fading with out worship feels like a left over from when lots of people had the magical die-off from their setting at some point.

Maybe that happened for some people, where they wanted a magical die-off, so they made this connection. But I think it persists for deeper reasons.

There is always a question about "why worship?" Take characters from comics, like Superman or Green Lantern or Flash ect ect ect, they are powerful enough to be gods and have defeated gods in the past. Yet, they never seek out worship. In fact, the very idea of worshiping Superman makes no sense. And it isn't because "well, he isn't a god" because, again, he has fought and defeated beings who ARE gods. There isn't a meaningful distinction.

So, why do Gods seek worship? Why do they encourage and reward worship? You end up with one of two avenues. 1) The gods are egotists who want people to worship them 2) They get something from the worship of mortals. Something important. And it has to be worship, not the same as just "you need to work for me" and taking the role of a king.

#1 is terrible. It paints every single divine being as horrible. So, a lot of us go to #2. There is something they get, some vital essence, that is needed for the Gods to be Gods.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Because the easy solution to depower gawds would be to kill their worshippers. And if you are ripping off a story/myth of gawds dying, then for that lore it is okay.

Easy? I guess that is as easy as stamping out Protestanism was for the Catholics. Or when the Christians tried to stamp out Islam. Or when the British tried to stamp out hindu belief. Or...

To kill enough people to make a sizable impact would be far from easy. And killing a religion is very very very difficult. And as I said in the post above, if the Gods don't need worshipers, why do they cultivate worshipers?

A forgotten gawd who is awaken in his Kuduz cover temple because the paladin smited his altar is just as powerful as Evil Ronald McDonald gawd with 247 Billion worshippers.

Sure, but the two ideas aren't completely incompatible. It just requires some extra thought on "okay, why did this forgotten god survive and retain this power" It is also possible that the human scale makes it difficult to appreciate the differences in power between the two.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Arguably, if the gods are embodiment of the various fundamental concepts, there would be a god of gravity who could be wounded or killed. The impact this would have on the universe depends on the rules, which could include reincarnation or the power being passed to another. Most mythologies are... messy.

Yeah, most mythologies are messy. Also, many of them do not seem to have the Gods actually embody fundamental concepts in the way we think when we say that. Aphrodite isn't Love, because people can fall in love without her getting involved in anyway.

This is the question I wonder. Why is Lolth a god, but Zyggotmoy not? Realms gave a reason for Asmodious's ascension, but it doesn't seem like it would apply to all settings. Can he be a god only in the Realms, and just the Prince of Hell everywhere else?

Yeah.

In my versions of things for my homebrew, I ended up making two assertions. 1) There are other beings of equal power to Gods, that are not Gods. This covers fiendish entities, archomentals, Great Old Ones, The Fey Queens, ect. Beings who are traditionally enemies or equals to the gods. 2) Gods are connected to communities.

For me, a God is deeply tied to a community, and gathers that communities "power" to refocus and reflect it back at the world. This is why, in my world, Asmodeus is specifically not a God. He doesn't want to be, because while it comes with power, it comes with restrictions as well. I'm thinking that the power of the Gods is broader in some way, there are things that only Gods can do, but that power comes with the associated risks and limitations. I've never gone too deeply into the specifics though.
 

This is a really hard sentence to follow. But, no, binding Hera doesn't "turn off" marriage or remove all women from the world. Just like killing Poseidon doesn't remove the Oceans. Remember, The Greek Olympian Gods inherited their domains, specifically Zeus and his brothers drew lots for who would rule what.

If your vision of the gods includes "when they are dead or bound, the thing they represent is removed from existence" then you are going to have a hard time finding ANY "gods" in mythology, because that doesn't happen in myths. And many many myths involve various gods being bound or killed at some point.



Not all of the examples I listed were god on god. Diomedes was just a normal man. Growing old and dying of old age has nothing to do with god on god. Also, in many myths you have to contend with other beings like Titans, Giants, monsters, ect which were threats to the gods.

And I don't think the idea of the gods needing something vital from humans is a matter of "they stop caring". It never seems to be about Apathy, to me.



Maybe that happened for some people, where they wanted a magical die-off, so they made this connection. But I think it persists for deeper reasons.

There is always a question about "why worship?" Take characters from comics, like Superman or Green Lantern or Flash ect ect ect, they are powerful enough to be gods and have defeated gods in the past. Yet, they never seek out worship. In fact, the very idea of worshiping Superman makes no sense. And it isn't because "well, he isn't a god" because, again, he has fought and defeated beings who ARE gods. There isn't a meaningful distinction.

So, why do Gods seek worship? Why do they encourage and reward worship? You end up with one of two avenues. 1) The gods are egotists who want people to worship them 2) They get something from the worship of mortals. Something important. And it has to be worship, not the same as just "you need to work for me" and taking the role of a king.

#1 is terrible. It paints every single divine being as horrible. So, a lot of us go to #2. There is something they get, some vital essence, that is needed for the Gods to be Gods.
have you considered worship is to try to get the god to do something as from what we can gather that is a popular reason to pray so it likely comes up?

look if a god stops being a god because people no longer believe in them then they are closer to nation or ideas which only works from a materialist point of view in a setting with non-objective gods, as it kind of takes the divine and mystical if we can kill them by removing all their followers.

I suspect it was partly invented to have gods depend on worship because people could not figure out why they would care about us non-maliciously.
 

Scribe

Hero
look if a god stops being a god because people no longer believe in them then they are closer to nation or ideas which only works from a materialist point of view in a setting with non-objective gods, as it kind of takes the divine and mystical if we can kill them by removing all their followers.
I dont think they stop being a God, I think the idea is they fade away, or die.

What the God control's in terms of sphere of influence, or portfolio may not die however, and instead be transferred or taken over by another.

Up to ones own setting of course.
 

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