Making Gods & Religion > Part 2

Welcome back. Last time we set up our pantheons and gods. This time we’ll look at turning those gods into functional religion for your world.

Here’s the Gods & Religion Outline

  • How many major religions? (Earth has 5)
  • How many gods? (Philosophy, Monotheism, Dualism, Small Pantheon, Large Pantheon, Ancestor Worship/Animism)
  • God Aspects
  • God Spheres
  • Melding Spheres
  • God Adds: Commandment, Prayer/Sacrifice, Holiday/Rite/Ritual, Symbolism/Iconography
  • Religious Influence (World, Continent, Nation, Region)
  • Universal Myths
  • Organization (Hierarchy, Organization, Political Role)
  • Worship (Who leads it, how-to, where, how-often)
  • Major Holidays
  • Rites/Rituals
  • Sacrifices
  • Centers of Worship (Temples & Churches)
  • Priests (Dress, Lifestyle, Deference, Community Role)
In this post we’ll move through the next for points:
  • Melding the Spheres
  • God Adds
  • Religious Influence
  • Universal Myths

Melding Spheres

You have facets for each god, but what is the god really in charge of? What’s his/her thing? How do the god’s disparate facets line up? I like to meld the facets together to make a more interesting list. From there I can derive some key elements and a name/title.

Here’s an example using God #1 from Pantheon #1.

1. She Beast of…
  • Decay/Entropy (Death)
  • Harvest (Life)
  • Moon/Night (Sky)
  • Earth (Wilds)
How do Decay/Entropy and Harvest work together? This is a simple one. It’s a god focused on the life and death cycle. Not picking fruit causes it to rot on the vine. So this goddess is in charge of harvest and not spurning the bounty of the harvest. Harvest and Moon/Night. Easy, harvest moon. This goddess definitely has a harvest moon ritual/celebration. Moon/Night and Earth. Earth can be soil. So I decided to go with night soil. Night soil is human excrement used as fertilizer. This also works with the cyclical life/death theme as well as decay. There’s not much to add for Earth and Decay/Entropy. Fertilizer fills that role quite nicely and I’ve already used it. Let’s add some extra flavor, mold and fungi. This goddess is also a she beast. I decided on a swan. Swans in western tradition are often depicted as being female. So I’ll call her, The Night Swan.
 
I avoid giving my gods specific names. That makes them easy to reuse. Also, players are bad at remembering made-up names. Abbralin, difficult to remember. Night Swan? Easy to remember.

God Adds

Now you’ve fleshed out the deities a little more it’s time to expand on their influence in people’s lives. For each god add at least one of the following:
⦁ Commandment: Something people must/must not do.
⦁ Prayer/Sacrifice: How to worship the god.
⦁ Holiday/Rite/Ritual: Some important day or event tied to the god
⦁ Symbolism: What symbols and icons represent the deity.

Religious Influence

A major step to turning a pantheon into a religion is determining the influence of the religion. How widespread is the religion. If you need, roll 1d10 for each major religion.
 
1. Region
2-4. Nation
5-8. Continent
9-10. World

Universal Myths

After the people you will need to create a few basic myths that are common across religions. Most major religions share four common myths. If you want to learn more about mythology check out Crash Course World Mythology
  • Creation
    • Creation from Chaos
    • Earth Diver
    • Emergence
    • Ex Nihilo (From Nothing)
    • World Parent
    • World Corpse
  • Restart “Cataclysm” (This is usually a flood)
    • Drought
    • Famine
    • Fire
    • Flood
    • Blizzard
    • Tornado
    • Meteor
    • Plague
    • Earthquake
    • Rift Opening
    • Sinkhole
    • Volcanic Eruption
  • End of the World
    • Apocalypse
    • Final Judgment
    • Ragnarok
    • Reset
  • What Happens After Death
    • Reincarnation/Freedom from Reincarnation
    • Reward/Punishment Planes

Here are My Results

Pantheon #1

The Night Swan
  • Appreciation nature’s bounty
  • Harvest moon ritual/festival
  • Night Soil, compost
  • Fungi & Mold
Commandment: The last bite of food must be added to compost
Prayer/Sacrifice: Gather mushrooms, chop, and add to compost, prayer happens in moonlight
Holiday/Rite/Ritual: Harvest moon bonfire and all night harvest
Symbolism: Moon, white swan, surrounded by fungi. Swan ornamentation common on outhouses and chamber pots
The Naiad
  • Love
  • Aphrodisiac Seafood (Oysters)
  • Fish/Sea Life (Sea)
  • Naval Warfare (Seashells/Conchs)
  • Defense/Protection (War)
  • Protection of loved ones, protection from heartbreak
Commandment: Must eat seafood to both celebrate new love and as the cure for heartbreak.
Prayer/Sacrifice: prayer made with bare feet in water. Wear/sacrifice bits of jewelry and makeup made from seashells & more
Holidays/Rites/Rituals: Spring equinox festival where single men and women share aphrodisiac seafood
Symbolism: Pearls, sea shells, sheer fabric
The Cat
  • Ignorance/Stupidity (Darkness)
  • Monster Myths, Untamed lands
  • Monsters (Wilds)
Commandment: Never stray from sight of the settlement/road
Prayer/Sacrifice: Leave an offering of milk or flesh at the edge of the wilds (woods, marsh, etc.). Make a prayer before traveling overland.
Holiday/Rite/Ritual: Those looking to test their bravery paint their bodies in loud designs and stay a firelight vigil alone at the edge of the wilds.
Symbolism: Watching cat, Watching eye(s) on a dark background.
The Hierophant (Lich/Mummy)
  • Undeath (Death)
  • Secrets of the Afterlife
  • Arcana (Knowledge)
  • Strategy, Trivia, Combat Magic
  • Competition/Duels (War)
  • Eternal struggle of life
Commandment: Must not attempt to cheat death
Prayer/Sacrifice: Burning of incense and dried flowers
Holiday/Rite/Ritual: Magic chants and talismans to guide the dead on their journey to the afterlife.
Symbolism: Skulls, arcane sigils, magic seals, rings
Cirrus (Female winged sandals and weather controlling whistle, Cloud)
  • Grave (Life)
  • Deaths at Sea
  • Seafaring/Voyages (Sea)
  • Favorable wind, weather, currents
  • Weather
  • Deaths from storms & natural disasters
Commandment: Ship work must be accompanied by song
Prayer/Sacrifice: Prayer at dawn. Spill blood into the sea for good sailing weather
Holiday/Rite/Ritual: Special sacrifices and rituals after storms and natural disasters
Symbolism: Winged sandal, whistle, ship and cloud
Female Void Kraken/Cthulhu Aberration
  • Absence of Light (Darkness)
  • Eternal Void
  • Annihiliation/Exctinction (Death)
  • Tidal Waves
  • Tides (Sea)
  • Sea navigation & timing
  • Navigation/Stars (Sky)
  • Dark sky (cloud cover, too much ground light)
Commandment: Always keep a light burning on a cloudy night
Prayer/Sacrifice: Cast a coin into the deep ocean for guidance
Holiday/Rite/Ritual: Winter celebration and ritual to ward off blight and famine
Symbolism: Black disc, female figure with arms spread and black interior
The Maker (M/F Duality)
  • Making things
  • Courage and willingness to do something
Commandment: Hands should never lay idle
Prayer/Sacrifice: Burning of daisy chains, woven bowls, other simple crafts
Holiday/Rite/Ritual: Beginning of winter celebrates the beginning of craft season
Symbolism: Tools, loom, pottery
Religious Influence
Continental
Universal Myths
Creation: Ex Nihilo (From Nothing)
Restart Cataclysm: Ice Age (Blizzard)
End of the World: Reset
What Happens After Death: Reward/Punishment Planes

Pantheon #2

Wasted One (Thin, sallow)
  • Absence of Light (Darkness)
  • Mold/Rot/Scavengers
  • Decay/Entropy (Death)
  • Attrition, Fatigue, Breakdown
  • Competition/Duels (War)
  • Struggle against Weather
  • Precipitation (Weather)
Commandment: Stay in shelter against rain and snow
Prayer/Sacrifice: Leave something out to rot to appease the Wasted One
Holiday/Rite/Ritual: Gather and burn any rotted stores before the new harvest
Symbolism: Sickly body, vermin, rain
The Bridge (stands between life/death, land/sea, raw/worked)
  • Mortality/Murder (Death)
  • People & Instruments of killing
  • Forge/Craft
  • Shipwright
  • Tides (Sea)
  • Fleeting ebb and flow of life
  • Moon/Night
Commandment: Stay inside at night
Prayer/Sacrifice: Prayer when the tide changes after sunset
Holiday/Rite/Ritual: Burn irreparable items
Symbolism: Knife, rope around a stirrup, moon and cloud
Mother Hind (Hind & Suckling Young)
  • Growth
  • Medicine
Commandment: Aid the afflicted and injured
Prayer/Sacrifice: Bless your home’s threshold with dried herbs and flowers
Holiday/Rite/Ritual: Passing of healing arts knowledge from one generation to the next
Symbolism: Dried herbs, mortar and pestle, antelope head/horn
The Shrewd (Blindfolded, open 3rd eye, holding sword & laden sack)
  • Mysteries/Secrets/Trickster (Knowledge)
  • Mystery of what’s below the waves
  • Art of the Deal
  • Trade (Sea)
  • Law, Word Bond
  • Chivalry (War)
Commandment: Your word is your bond. Don’t give/take it lightly
Prayer/Sacrifice: Take inventory of your debts and promises.
Holiday/Ritual/Rite: A successful deal, contract, or treaty should be celebrated with oil, vinegar, salt, wine, and blood.
Symbolism: Sword, open tome, coin scale, shield
Shrouded Figure (Toga with cloth pulled over head)
  • Gloom/Obscurement (Darkness)
  • Kindness without acknowledgement
  • Charity (Love for all)
  • Respect and understanding for the dangers of the wilds
  • Monsters (Wilds)
  • The danger beyond civilization
Commandment: Give shelter and succor to those in need without acknowledgement
Prayer/Sacrifice: Gifts of service, money, and goods to the less fortunate
Holiday/Ritual/Rite: Those who receive good fortune should pay dividends to those in their lives. Leave a sacrifice to appease the monsters in the wild.
Symbolism: Shrouded figure, hand with a coin-sized hole in the palm, featureless smile
The Phoenix
  • Undeath
  • Undying love
  • Romance
  • Fickle nature of lust (rise and fall of sun)
  • Sun/Light (Sky)
  • Calendar, passage of equinox, and solstice
  • Seasons
  • Cycle of nature (birth, growth, seeding, death, rebirth)
Commandment: Fulfill your daily and seasonal chores
Prayer/Sacrifice: Burn note/property of person you want to be a lover. Bury the rotted with the seed, weed the crop, save the best fruit for planting, care the soil.
Holiday/Ritual/Rite: Release the burden of unfruitful love/lust
Symbolism: phoenix, fire feather, fiery sun, season wheel
Verdant Lady
  • Mountain & Valley, Hill & Dale
Commandment: Take from the verdant lady in moderation only
Prayer/Sacrifice: Place stands of woven sapling bough rods at the edge of settlement. Decorate with fronds, ribbons, ornamentation to please the Verdant Lady
Holiday/Ritual/Rite: Build a grand, decorated woven rod structure at the highest point visible from the settlement.
Symbolism: mountain next to valley (-^v-) or hill to dale, tree, bough, leaf
The Sea Nymph
  • Harvest
  • Fishing
  • Fish/Sea Life
  • Squalls/Hurricanes
  • Storms
Commandment: Do not eat bottom feeders (shellfish, catfish)
Prayer/Sacrifice: Cast wine and grain into the sea. Good fishing, protection from sea storms
Holiday/Ritual/Rite: Coming/going of sea ice, tropical storm seasons, monsoons
Symbolism: fish, waves, lightning clouds
Religious Influence
Continental
Universal Myths
Creation: Earth Diver
Restart Cataclysm: Plague
End of the World: Final Judgment
What Happens After Death: Reward/Punishment Planes

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