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Old 10-05-2017, 12:17 PM   #1
David Johansen
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Default Create Gods

Okay, so the Banestorm 11 years later has me thinking about fantasy deities.

While I know you can hand wave them I want a mechanical solution.

Build me the relationship between the gods and their worshipers. Ideally, the god has some responsibility / dependency on their worshipers and the worshipers can access some degree of their god's power. Not quite a patron or dependant relationship. What've you got?
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Old 10-05-2017, 12:25 PM   #2
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Create Gods

I'm not sure what your question means. Do you want a 'god' metatrait that has those two properties?
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Old 10-05-2017, 12:26 PM   #3
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: Create Gods

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johansen View Post
Okay, so the Banestorm 11 years later has me thinking about fantasy deities.

While I know you can hand wave them I want a mechanical solution.

Build me the relationship between the gods and their worshipers. Ideally, the god has some responsibility / dependency on their worshipers and the worshipers can access some degree of their god's power. Not quite a patron or dependant relationship. What've you got?
Well, I wrote up a sketch of a basic "minor deity" trait—not formally either a template or a meta-trait, but more like the latter—in GURPS Fantasy. That could be a starting point. It covered much of what you're talking about.

Alternatively, you can just define a deity as a Patron and not bother with a character sheet.
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Old 10-05-2017, 01:01 PM   #4
Ulzgoroth
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Default Re: Create Gods

A while back I gave some thought to adjusting Divine Favor for smaller gods - basically lowering the underlying trait cost with the appropriate down-stream handling of that, and changing the bounds of what an 'unrestricted' intervention can do.
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Old 10-05-2017, 01:26 PM   #5
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Create Gods

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johansen View Post
Okay, so the Banestorm 11 years later has me thinking about fantasy deities.

While I know you can hand wave them I want a mechanical solution.

Build me the relationship between the gods and their worshipers. Ideally, the god has some responsibility / dependency on their worshipers and the worshipers can access some degree of their god's power. Not quite a patron or dependant relationship. What've you got?
It's quite appropriate for a god to be a patron to his favoured worshippers. Apart from that, if a god has a religion (and communicates with it), then it should have a religious Rank higher than any mortal member of it including the pseudo-pope. Like any leader of an organization, it will be bound to it by its desire to see it protected and grow in power thereby increasing its power.

If you were playing a god then I'd start from scratch using Primal Order as a base
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Old 10-05-2017, 01:32 PM   #6
Stormcrow
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ronkonkoma, NY
Default Re: Create Gods

In the old Fantasy Wargaming book, everything supernatural—magic, gods, demons, spirits, everything—was based on mana and the Ethereal Plane. The more you believe in a supernatural entity, the bigger and more powerful that entity becomes. During the height of ancient Greece, the Greek gods were worshiped, and worshipers' ceremonies transferred mana to the gods, making them powerful. As worship of the Greek gods faded, so did their power, until they became minor spirits hardly able to do anything. As people stopped believing in the elves of medieval legend, they got smaller and smaller until they were Victorian pixie-fairies. Even the Christian god demands worshipers, whose worship transfers mana to him for his existence and use. (In this model, the Christian god being a jealous god is very literal: he suppresses the belief in other gods to keep them from getting as powerful as he is.) Mana is also the medium of magic; wizards perform rituals to generate mana which they keep for themselves to use in magic.

In GURPS, you can do the same thing with character points. Belief in a supernatural entity generates and transfers character points to that entity. Come up with some kind of formula or table that shows a relationship to an Ethereal entity's current level of belief and the number of character points he has. Magic may not be powered by character points, but an entity's level of Magery certainly is. And so on.
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Old 10-05-2017, 01:38 PM   #7
Phantasm
 
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Default Re: Create Gods

There are three things I look at when creating deities for a setting:

1. What are the virtues of the society that the deities favor/came up with the deities?

2. What are the vices of the originating society? These can often be the 'evil' gods.

3. What's the general geography of the originating society? For example, a god of the sea is a major god in cultures that essentially live on the sea, but a minor one - if one even exists - in a desert society. For another example, a sun god is nearly universal, but in one desert-based society the sun god can be a cruel trickster sending down mirages rather than the benevolent life-giver of an agrarian pseudo-European setting.

Once you figure out those three questions, the only issue becomes how to name the deities.

One other question that pops up is: is the worship of the deities centralized with the whole pantheon being worshipped at temples, or is it henotheistic with temples spread out more and people choosing to worship individual gods? Historically, the ancient Greeks were henotheistic, and the practice continues in parts of India; this is the default in settings like D&D's Forgotten Realms. Henotheism can often evolve over time into monotheism (for example, the line "thou shalt have no other gods before me" in the Book of Exodus evolved into "there is only one God" in the New Testament and Quran).
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Old 10-05-2017, 01:48 PM   #8
Ulzgoroth
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Default Re: Create Gods

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Apart from that, if a god has a religion (and communicates with it), then it should have a religious Rank higher than any mortal member of it including the pseudo-pope. Like any leader of an organization, it will be bound to it by its desire to see it protected and grow in power thereby increasing its power.
Not necessarily, on lots of fronts. A god could relate to their organized religion as a US president to the armed forces (able to give orders to the hierarchy but not actually within it) or even as a celebrity to their fan club.

Some fantasy gods do directly head up their personal religions, but I'd say they're a pretty small minority.
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Old 10-05-2017, 02:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: Create Gods

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Not necessarily, on lots of fronts. A god could relate to their organized religion as a US president to the armed forces (able to give orders to the hierarchy but not actually within it) or even as a celebrity to their fan club.

Some fantasy gods do directly head up their personal religions, but I'd say they're a pretty small minority.
Agreed. It all depends on whether you want one's Religious Rank to be directly or inversely proportionate to their Divine Favor or Power Investiture levels. In my own setting, the Power Investiture is essentially inversely proportionate to a priest's Religious Rank, as the upper levels (bishops and higher, using Roman Catholic/Anglican church rankings) are political appointments made by the ruling elite and subject more to Politics than Theology rolls.
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:06 AM   #10
David Johansen
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Default Re: Create Gods

Sorry, not clear enough I guess. I'd like to see ideas on building the relationship between gods and worshipers in a more concrete way. In particular the ability of a god to bestow a power on a follower and the god's need for followers. Something similar to Rolemaster's Chanelling spells and skills. I think the key feature would be that the god has the actual power and the follower can access it, so while a specialized patron might work for the follower, the god needs something more than an ally group or dependant.
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