Monday, November 30, 2009


Time was I would try to insert some big-ass pantheon into my game worlds, only to discover that I could not reconcile them logically with the way my game worlds worked.
Screw that.
To preserve my sanity (not to mention my interest ion the whole endeavor), I have decided to go with a mere three deities and one legendary figure.
To further simplify matters, these three deities have no spheres of influence -- they simply represent different ways in which the people of my setting view and understand the universe. In a way, they are the embodiment of alignments.
The three deities worshiped in my world are:
  • Atarath, a Lawful-Neutral god who demands obedience and service;
  • Marnir The Ready, a Neutral-Good figurehead who embodies goodwill; and
  • Suggol, a Chaotic-Evil icon of the world's ultimate lack of compassion and of its doom.
The legendary figure is Lurick, The God Of Righteous Battle. He doesn't count as a god at the moment, though, because he's lost at the moment.


Atarath, called The Law-Giver, is believed the creator of the world and of man. He is also the ultimate judge. He is considered all-powerful. Legend has it that he gave life unto man in exchange for obedience and service, saying that man may prosper and multiply so long as he does so in the name of The Law-Giver. To best accomplish this, he gave unto man certain Laws to follow. Failure to follow these Laws constitutes sin, and sinners are judged harshly by Atarath...and by his priests.
Luckily for the sinners, Atarath is a rather absent god, and only rarely does he come to mete out justice -- and his appearances are capriciously timed, at that.
The biggest thing to fear from Atarath is actually his priests, who have taken it upon themselves to be his personal representatives on earth. It is up to them to interpret and enforce his laws. The priesthood is authorized to dispense most punishments, but corporal punishments are the sole province of clerics and paladins.
Atarath's symbol is a thundercloud with a lightning bolt.

Worship of Atarath

As one might expect, worshiping this deity involves strict adherence to laws, proscriptions, customs and bans. The devotion shown by his worshipers is directly proportional to the proximity of someone who will call them out on slacking off.
Atarath's is the most widely-practiced religion in the land. This is for a simple reason: it's the one that demands the least effort. Most people find it easier to follow rules than to take their own initiative (as Marnir's followers do), so they strive to avoid punishments both corporeal and spiritual by shrugging and going along with Atarath's rules.
Many of the Laws are simple ones, and for the most part are simply common sense: Don't steal, don't kill, don't commit adultery, etcetera. Other laws, however, are more esoteric, and some fringe on the bizarre -- devout worshipers of Atarath may not wear red and black together, for instance, nor can they eat meat of beef when it's raining, and must cast their old boots over a cliff before they wear a new pair. Not all laws are so whimsical, however; people have been slain or worse for giving aid to faeries.
Given that Atarath himself is never around, it's unclear which laws are set by him and which are merely creations of the priesthood. The Scrolls of Law set forth all of the rules, but if Atarath himself is the author, he's not talking.
The Church of Atarath is powerful both politically and with the populace, and its temples are widespread.


Atarath rarely, if ever, makes an appearance on the material plane. When he does, it's as a raging thunderhead that drags much sturm und drang in its wake. The thunderhead glows brightly from within, as lightning constantly twists and lashes inside it. Wrathful destruction usually follows (he usually only shows up when he's mad), but on occasion good things come from his visits, like bountiful crops, the banishment of diseases, the blessing of roads so that bandits cannot tread them, and so on.

Priests, Clerics and Paladins

Priests or Atarath are commonly found tending to a community, serving at a temple. They can cast no spells and receive no martial training. They function mainly as moral compasses for the communities they serve. Thankfully, many who are called to the priesthood are of a benevolent nature and as such really do have peoples' best interests at heart; these folk hew to the laws out of a desire to do good. Some few are bad apples, and are drawn to the priesthood for the power it affords them, but these are rare cases.
Clerics of Atarath work as missionaries, traveling abroad and spreading The Law to the Lawless. They function as normal clerics do, but can cast an extra Detect Evil and a Detect Chaos 1/day. In addition, they can turn undead as though they were 1 level higher.
Atarath's paladins are a fearsome foe. They embody his ideals in the staunchest, most devout of ways, and are authorized as judge, jury and executioner. They are as pious as they are relentless. Paladins of Atarath must be Lawful Good, and they must act that way lest they lose all their powers. Once per day, a paladin of Atarath may pray before a battle, effectively granting himself the effects of a Bless spell for three rounds.

Marnir The Ready

Marnir The Ready, The Friend-To-All, He Who Calls To Serenity, is a thoroughly benevolent power dedicated to harmony and sharing. Marnir has no real church or doctrine -- just followers and a general ideology. He is called "The Ready" for his and his followers' eagerness to assist those in need.
What Marnir espouses is not so much a doctrine as it is simply a way of life, guided by a few precepts which are regarded as universally true: That freedom and personal rights are sacred, that every living being has the right to be alive and to seek happiness, and that the only way to do wrong is to actively deny these rights to others. They are not judgmental people but they are easily stirred to action.
Marnir's symbol is of two hands clasping.

Worship of Marnir

As can be imagined, Marnir doesn't really expect anyone to worship him; he just wants people to find the goodness in themselves and to lead by example. The practice of the tenets is called Marnir's Way.
Those who follow this ideology tend to be altruistic and generous people. Some are more active in their generosity than others; most people are content simply to stay out of each others' way, but many look for ways to help others. Displays of this altruism can vary from simply sharing food when one has enough to share, to outright self-sacrifice. Marnir doesn't expect any of the latter, of course, but he has a way of smiling upon it and rewarding it in one way or another.
Human nature being what it is, it's not surprising that Marnir's Way is not very popular -- at least not as much so as the fear of Atarath. Proselytizing is not Marnir's Way, and many who try to lead by example notice that there are few who actually follow. Add to this the fact that Marnir threatens no damnation from which one needs saving, and the result is that people mostly decide that Marnir's Way is all wasted effort.
What these people fail to notice, however, is that Marnir's Way is its own reward -- simply put, benevolent people are usually well favored by their peers. In addition, those who prove exemplary altruists are often blessed by Marnir himself with a variety of boons, ranging from perfect health and uncanny knowledge to, in some cases, extravagant wealth and even powers beyond those of mortal men.


Marnir makes more appearances on the material plane than Atarath has -- or ever will. No one will ever know how often he appears, though, because he manifests as a normal human being with an average appearance. The only evidence that proves it is Marnir is that he disappears very suddenly, and leaves a ring of emerald-green light where he stood. (Incidentally, any illusionist spell designed to replicate this effect fails outright.)

Priests, Clerics and Paladins

There are no priests of Marnir The Ready. Since Marnir's Way is one of personal initiative, priests are antithesis -- there's no dogma to learn or teach. Likewise, there are no paladins, because gearing up for war and going around smiting people isn't really a Marnirite's style. And anyway, if someone really wants to dress up in shiny armor and ride around on a charger with coloful pennons aflutter, then why shouldn't they? Just so long as no one gets hurt.

Clerics of Marnir, however, are plenty. Like knights errant, they adventure to seek wrongs to right and rights to defend. Adventuring clerics of Marnir will always share of the riches they gain, keeping for themselves only one-tenth of the value of their loot. The rest is spent freely and readily in securing food, shelter and other necessities for those who need them. It is not at all uncommon for a Marnirite cleric to emerge from a dungeon with a sack full of treasure, go back to town, and arrange a big-ass feast for all and sundry. What the hell else is he gonna do with it?
Clerics of Marnir are as normal clerics, except that they can Heal Light Wounds and Create Food for free 1/day per level.


The Lurker In The Dark, The Hunger Unstoppable, The Bringer of Nothing -- these are names for Suggol, a loathsome beast who exemplifies an indifferent, uncaring world. Legend says that Suggol will one day chew his way through the Seven Pits, and emerge into the world of men and light -- whereupon he will literally consume it all, in an orgiastic feast of chaos and destruction. With such a doom inherent in the world, does anything at all really matter?

Worship of Suggol

It can be argued that declaring oneself a Cultist of Suggol has little, if nothing, to do with espousing a philosophy of life, and everything to do with having an excuse to exercise one's animal nature. To the Cultist, it's every man for himself; selfishness and self-gain are the only reasons to do anything, and consequences be damned. In the end, nothing matters; until then, do as thou wilt and screw everyone else.
Suggol itself (it has no sex, being simply a gibbering engine of destruction) does indeed lie captive in an extraplanar prison, and it is trying to eat its way out. That much the cultists have got right. However, whether or not Suggol is having any success in this endeavor is unknown. The Bringer Of Nothing may be striving in vain, or it might be moments away from bursting through and eating the sun. Who knows? That's what makes it scary, and what gives its cultists their drive.
Cultists of Suggol meet in Covens, and hold their services (such as they are) in places of desecration and ruin. They observe no rituals but instead engage in activities of a dubious and often horrendous nature. They eschew order and see it as their duty to sow chaos, chiefly aiming to engender fear and destruction. They pray to Suggol only to ask him to delight upon their enormities. Human sacrifices are common.
Thankfully, the actual outward worship of Suggol is not so common. The Church of Atarath is active in the persecution and destruction of what covens they can find. As a result, Suggoltic worship is most common in the wilderness, away from retribution but within the reach of victims. Even Marnirites, whose tolerance is legendary, will hunt them down.
Many followers do so in secret, and limit themselves to less outward expressions of their beliefs. Thieves, assassins and other such unsavories will pay homage to The Lurker, while common folk who just don't give a damn about anyone but themselves will use The Hunger Unstoppable as justification for their pettiness.
Suggol's symbol is an open, many-toothed maw, from which a baleful two-lobed eye stares.


You don't want to know.

Priests, Clerics and Paladins

Suggolites can't stay organized long enough to form orders, but that doesn't stop them from trying.
Every Suggolite considers himself a priest of his or her own personal depravity, but there are no ranks or any such order to follow. Individuals may become well known for their accomplishments, and thus stand out as objects of admiration to the others; this earns them favors, and in some cases even respect. Still, there's always someone with a dagger at the ready, lusting for the blood of the mighty.
Surprisingly, there are clerics, even though the deity itself is too far removed in the cosmos to provide any direct powers and benefits. Unknown to its clerics, Suggol is not the source of their spells and powers. Instead, these powers come from a place on earth -- a cavern far away in Maknar, where Suggol's last bodily incarnation lies in state. Strange energies emanate from this place, and certain evil folk are attuned to them. These are the clerics of Suggol, and they see it as their duty to wreak even more havoc than they could before.
Paladins of Suggol, perhaps best termed anti-paladins, also exist and are likewise powered by the same giant carcass. Anti-paladins become such at the end of an unspeakable ritual (the only one the Suggolites observe, and adapted quite by accident from an ancient spellbook), gaining nasty horrible versions of a paladin's abilities. The paladin him- or herself becomes physically changed by this process, and is therafter posessed of a rather unpleasant physical trait of some sort: A hideous odor, glowing red eyes, a twisted face, or somesuch. Then it's off into the world to mess things up and generallybe a bastard, for fun.

Lurick, The God Of Righteous Battle

So! Why is Suggol currently locked away in the transdimensional pokey? You can thank Lurick for that.
Long ago, there were many gods, and Lurick was one of them. Lurick, being The God Of Righteous Battle, stood for every good reason for picking up a weapon and using it. Much of his lore is forgotten, but this much is known: Suggol was once disturbingly close to eating everything, and it was Lurick who stopped him. With the help of another lost deity, Aiara the Enchantress, Suggol was banished into the void.
After this, the histories get sketchy. At some point in the chronologies of old, Lurick vanishes without explanation. To be fair, little is known of this distant past, and none of it is likely to be important to he campaign.
Of course, I might change my mind and decide that some of it is, which I'm entitled to do because I'm the GM.

Yeah, I Know.