Deities: Spiriual beings embodying the loftiest and basest principles of morality, ethics, and every aspect of mortal existence... or just some really powerful monsters?
The answer to that basic question, like so many others asked here on Comic Vine RPG forum, is up to you, and the answer you decide on will have a lot to do with how you use this information. There is no right answer beyond what's right for our campaign, our characters, and our story.
This information is to help us in creating a vibrant, realistic pantheon for a campaign, a set of deities that helps shape the course of events in adventures of epic scope, deities who inspire the characters in our stories to the greatest heights of heroism or the lowest depths of villainy.
Lets Make A Pantheon.
A tight pantheon is the focus of a single religion. Practitoners of that religion may revere all the deities, a select number of them, or even just one, but whichever deity or deities they worship, they share certain body of myths, rituals, and ethics.
The Olypain, Pharaonic, and Asgardian pantheons are all examples of tight pantheons. The gods of the Olympain pantheon are united under the rulership and in many cases, the paternity of Zues, as the Asgardian gods are united under Odin.
Like the gods of a loose pantheon, the deities of a tight pantheon each have their own areas of control (Portfolio). Within their own pantheons, Ares and Odin are both war gods, and they have similar agendas. Aphrodite and Freya are responsible for all affairs of the heart, while Athena and Thoth oversee matters of learning and knowledge.
Many people, are devoted to the entire pantheon. As with a loose pantheon, a follower of the Olympian gods makes offerings to Demeter to ensure a good harvest, to Poseidon before traveling by boat, to Aphrodite when seeking assistance in romance, and Apollo for healing. The sacrifices each god expects are part of the the shared doctrine of the pantheon, and sometimes the gods even share temples.
Most tight pantheons have one or more abberrant gods, deities whose worship is not santioned by the people of the faith as a whole. These are usually evil deities and enemies of the pantheon such as the Titans, Set, and Loki.
These deities certainly have cults of their worship. These cults resemble a thing called a mystery cult. Their members strictly devoted to lip service in the temples of the pantheon.
Every deity has certain aspects of existence over which it has dominion, power, and control. Collectively, these aspects represent the deity's portfolio. Deities are intimately concerned about and involved in their portfolios, and they are often strongest in power when acting within the bounds of their portolios.
One or more deities may share certain portfolio elements, but not all elements can or would be the same. For example Pan and Dionysus may both be gods of wanton revelry, however Pan mostly exects Fauns and the beasts of nature, where as Dionysus effects mankind, mostly women.
Character Sheet Example. ( This is my character, the one and only Rank 20.)
Titles: The Creator, The Destroyer, The High Queen, The High King, The Sun, The Moon.
Symbol: Half Sun, Half Moon.
Home Plane: Yifgaurd.
Portfolio: Life, Death, Love, Hate, Light, Darkness.
Worshipers: Served by all the followers of The Broken Ones.
Domains: Creation, Destruction.
Favored Weapon: The Mace of Azorah.
Azorah is the Mother/Father of all the gods and goddessess of The Broken Ones. No one know how she came to be, except maybe she. She is a loving Mother to all her creations, however her wrath is something of utter dread.
Azorah is where all life as we know it came from, and where all life as we know it will return, after Azorah's followers meet their often untimely ends, their very essence is then returned to its place of orgin... Queen Azorah's heart.
Clergy and Temples:
Azorah has a shrine in every Temple of The Broken Ones faith, seeing as all her children revere her as their queen, and hold love for their Mother/Father in their hearts. Her Monks are among the most loyal, however they are a bit dry, and come off a little rude and smug to any of the lesser Monks. As far as what Azorah expects from her followers... Their love is all she craves, love for her, and respect for her children.
Each deity has a divine rank.
A deity’s divine rank determines how much power the entity has.
Rank 0: Creatures of this rank are sometimes called
quasi-deities or hero deities. Creatures that have a mortal and a deity as
parents also fall into this category. These entities cannot grant spells, but
are immortal and usually have one or more ability
scores that are far above the
norm for their species. They may have some worshipers. Ordinary mortals do not
have a divine rank of 0. They lack a divine rank altogether.
Rank 1–5: These entities, called demigods, are the weakest of
the deities. A demigod can grant spells and perform a few deeds that are beyond
mortal limits. A demigod has anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand
devoted mortal worshipers and may receive veneration or respect from many more.
A demigod controls a small godly realm (usually on an Outer Plane) and has
minor control over a portfolio that includes one or more aspects of mortal
existence. A demigod might be very accomplished in a single skill or a group of
related skills, gain combat advantages in special circumstances, or be able to
bring about minor changes in reality itself related to the portfolio.
Rank 6–10: Called lesser deities, these entities grant spells
and can perform more powerful deeds than demigods can. Lesser deities have
anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of worshipers and control
larger godly realms than demigods. They also have keener senses where their
portfolios are concerned.
Rank 11–15: These entities are called intermediate deities. They
have hundreds of thousands of mortal worshipers and control larger godly realms
than demigods or lesser deities.
Rank 16–20: Called greater deities, these entities may have
millions of mortal worshipers, and they command respect even among other
deities. The most powerful of greater deities rule over other deities just as
mortal sovereigns rule over commoners.
(None of us will be of this Rank... But they are out there.)
Rank 21+: These entities are beyond the ken of mortals and care
nothing for worshipers. They do not grant spells, do not answer prayers, and do
not respond to queries. If they are known at all, it is to a handful of
scholars on the Material Plane. They are called overdeities. In some
pantheistic systems, the consent of an overdeity is required to become a god.
(Post your thoughts here, and send me a PM if you are interested.)