Friday, September 6, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 6

Today's question: What's my favorite deity?
[A plea for the DIY attitude and a Rules Cyclopedia Oddity...]

I looked for a comprehensive list of D&D gods and was appalled ("sad" a few sentences ahead links to a wiki-list...). So: None. Seriously. They're all crap not that good. It's not their fault. Those poor guys couldn't help it. So many companies invented, reinvented, censored, added, subtracted and changed them, they never were consistent enough to be anything more than an unstable accessory. Not one as iconic as, say, Cthulhu or as mainstream-compatible as Crom or... Ah, it's just sad. Add a Satanic Panic or two and some copyright infringements and you're left with a incoherent clusterfuck of boring ideas, spreading and meandering through the game like cancer.

Or should I just write Lolth...

No. There are better ways to handle this. And I'm not just thinking it would be a very good idea to let Orcus finally ascend to godhood and be done with it. Well, I it is a good idea, but not what I'm aiming for.

Another Rules Cyclopedia Oddity

There are no specific Gods here*, only some general words about what they call the Immortals. Just using the Rules Cyclopedia will force a DM to build his own pantheon. It's a boring and/or difficult task, but a huge step in the right direction. Plus: the problems with this tell us something worth realizing about this iteration of the game.

An Immortal must have walked the earth before he could become one of the mighty few. He had to manage to get to level 36 before he even could start to become a immortal being. We're talking at least ( for the cleric) 2.900.000 xp here! He had to leave a huge footprint in a setting. Even if half of that was gold pieces, he moved in his time 1.450.000 of those. What did he do with all that money? What did he build, etc.? And this is about one who at that point only tries to become a god. What if he failed. How many shaped the world and did fail in the end. And those that made it, are they all still well known? For what?

I could go on, but I won't. I believe the main point is already made: the game has a very huge (if not intimidating) scope. To do this the way it's intended to be done is difficult. It needs plausibility and consistency. The Immortals are the roots of a setting, the power-structure and a DM needs to stay on top of that to make it work. In my opinion, it's worth trying. Or...

About my favorite list of Deities:

If a player wants to play a cleric, he might choose a deity from the Petty Gods supplements or make his own Petty God in the same fashion**. If I need a god or two for a region, I'll just randomly choose 1d4 of them, maybe play a bit with the names. If I have another idea or two for the collection or see something I like, I'll write a short description and add them to the roster. All are Immortals as per the RC.

It makes for a very colorful pantheon where a cleric's profession is more an individual expression of what the player had in mind than some pseudo-spiritual ideas forced upon him. It also fits the idea of a world where civilization struggles after some big apocalyptic event, where small fractions of communities are isolated enough from each other to have a different belief system.

*May be true for all the older editions. I am not that familiar with those. But the D&D Rules Cyclopedia was supposed to be the final Edition of "old" D&D and they didn't even call them "gods" in the end.
** For those not familiar with the Petty Gods Project (are there still people out there in the OSR who aren't?) or those new to my blog (more likely...) are two examples of some Petty Gods here and here.

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