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D&D 3E
A godly twist. 
22nd-Oct-2004 09:21 am
Disney-Mermaid MythandMagic
Hey guys! Sorry I've been so scarce lately. Life is hectic.

I'm working on a world concept that I thought you guys might be willing to help me with. It's for a story right now, but I'd like to make it a campaign sometime in the future. The idea is that this world is lead by 6 or 8 deities who, according to mortal beliefs, are very fickle. Every couple of generations, a god will undergo a change, swinging from good to evil or back again. For the most part, they are all lawful or chaotic or neutral, but their good-evil alignment changes.

One example of this is the Shadowlord. The Shadowlord is, obviously, the god of shadows. When he's evil, he stands for thieves, murderers and the shadowy side of the law. When he is good, he is the protector of orphans, outcasts and misfits, the underprivaledged. Both ways he is chaotic and he's always the Shadowlord, but his portfolio shifts with his alignment. The other deity I have is the Dreamlord. One one side he oversease goals, hopes and day dreams. On the other, he is the god of nightmares and our deepest fears. The third one is the Sunlord, who is the lawful god of the royalty and nobility. He swings between honor and court intrigue.

The world is made up of humans and 6 or 8 other races - one child race for each deity. For the shadowlord, it is the werewolves, for the dreamlord, unicorns. And for the sunlord, avians. With the exception of humans, every race can shapeshift at will. The races life to persue their lord's goals and most have two sides of their society that flip when their deity changes alignments every few generations.

The secret that mortals don't know is that the lords aren't deities at all. They are very VERY powerful dragon races that are each lead by a single lord. The shadowdragons are led by the Shadowlord, etc. And when the Shadowlord dies, his successor takes over and, according to tradition, will have a political agenda far different from his predesessor. Down on the mortal plane, the only dragons are small green wild dragonet creatures, so the idea of these giant powerful dragon cultures is something no mortal, human or otherwise, has ever dreamed of.

What do you guys think? Right now, my stumbling block is that I can't think of any more good deities. I have the Shadowlord, the Dreamlord and the Sunlord. Any advice would be awesome!!

(X-posted to dnd_women)
22nd-Oct-2004 07:51 am (UTC)
Earthlord; Harvests etc/natural disasters: Gnomes.
22nd-Oct-2004 08:55 am (UTC)
Awesome! *writes it down* Thanks! I'm also thinking a Wildelord would work for nature, good and bad, with wild elves and drow being the child race.
22nd-Oct-2004 07:55 am (UTC)
I think it's a compelling and creative concept for a world. My main question is how do religions in a world of schizophrenic deities differ from worlds where the deities are constant?

Partly, we can look to ancient mythology for answers. The Greek mythology, for example, has capricious gods and goddesses. But it wasn't quite like you've described for your own setting. There you have long periods of stability before the shift to another alignment. Are the shifts predictable? Do worshippers' attitudes shift with their deity or do they abandon the deity and start worshipping a new god that meets the needs of their morals and ethics better?

I think in answering these questions, you can really make your world come alive and be a dynamic and fascinating place to role-play.
22nd-Oct-2004 08:51 am (UTC)
Hmm... good questions.

As far as how often they switch, that depends on the deity. The chaotic lords are quicker to undergo a change- like every 500 years or so. The lawful ones are a little more stable, changing every 800 years or so. This is technically because the chaotic dragons are shorter lived than the lawful ones.

As far as worshiping, let me see if I can explain my thinking. The 'children' of the deities (werewolves for the shadowlord, etc) are not the deity's protected/chosen people as much as his "tools". They help him accomplish his goals. His 'charges', those he guards and guides, are usually a type of person in the human society. For the Sunlord, nobility and royalty, etc. That doesn't change with the alignment of the sunlord, but the behavior of the nobility can change. He molds the neutral human nobility to his whim. If that is for good, then he encourages the nobles to be honorable and protect the innocent. If it is for evil, he encourages them to be conniving and he supports those who can claim power. The humans don't typically change, but whether a person is good or bad at heart will affect whether they are in favor or not.

I guess one way to think of it is as if these lords were powerful kings. One king might enforce good actions from his subjects and his successor might be a powermonger. It doesn't change the character of their people, it just changes who among their people will be honored during that reign.

... Does that make sense?
22nd-Oct-2004 07:59 am (UTC)
If this is a system like D+D where some worshipers(clerics) get powers direct from a god, how does that work?
22nd-Oct-2004 08:27 am (UTC)
"Crap, there go seven levels of nothing. Who else has good domains this year?"
22nd-Oct-2004 08:54 am (UTC)
*rofl* Good point.

One way to do it would be to give each deity domains that will not change. I'd have to think about that some more.

Another possibility is that the domains are 'honored' by the deity even after he has changed, but the cleric just might not be entirely in favor with the deity. Also, these 'changes' don't happen over night, they can take as long as 30 year.
22nd-Oct-2004 11:21 am (UTC)
Feylord. When the Feylord is good, the good fey are predominantly powerful, but when the Feylord is evil, then the imps and other dark fey rule over the forests...

Warlord. When he is evil, races are more inclined to fight over the land and wage war on each other, but during his times of good alignment, the world is more likely to be at peace.
22nd-Oct-2004 10:23 pm (UTC)
The Lord of Cities - the god of humans. When he is good, he stands for civilizaion, culture, and education. When he is evil, he stands for the plagues and poverty found in such locales, as well as the greed for land and food without returning anything to the earth that sustains them.

Hey, I dig fantasy cities... ;-)
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