The Roman Pantheon and the Planes

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lookatroopa
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The Roman Pantheon and the Planes

Post by lookatroopa » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:58 pm

The Roman pantheon hasn't gotten a lot of coverage in D&D, and it could be argued that it's largely the same as the more widely described Greek powers, but an article in Dragon #133 (The Imperial Gods) got me thinking about their potential place in the Great Wheel. This article provides Legends & Lore-style writeups for a couple of powers with no Greek equivalent in L&L, assigning them to non-Olympian planes in the process:
  • Cybele - Elemental Plane of Earth
  • Eris - Ysgard
  • Janus - Mechanus
  • Mithras - Bytopia
  • Saturn - Beastlands
  • Serapis - Bytopia
  • Vesta - Mount Celestia
Silvanus of the Celtic pantheon, denizen of the Outlands, is also listed as part of the Roman powers. However, the suggestions for Roman equivalents of Greek gods don't suggest an alternative home plane, even though some (Jupiter, Juno, and Mars) are even suggested to be lawful neutral rather than their equivalents' alignments. Where would you place these powers, and what are your thoughts overall about the use of Roman gods in Planescape? I've mixed in some deities from HR5 The Glory of Rome, as well.
  • Jupiter (Zeus)
  • Aesculapius
  • Bacchus (Dionysus)
  • Bellona
  • Castor & Pollux
  • Ceres (Demeter)
  • Diana (Artemis)
  • Faunus (Pan)
  • Fortuna (Tyche)
  • Hercules (Heracles)
  • Juno (Hera)
  • Justicia
  • Mars (Ares)
  • Mercury (Hermes)
  • Minerva (Athena)
  • Neptune (Poseidon)
  • Pluto (Hades)
  • Quirinus
  • Venus (Aphrodite)
  • Victoria (Nike)
  • Vulcan (Hephaestus)

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Re: The Roman Pantheon and the Planes

Post by willpell » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:37 pm

Most of the gods are pretty much the same between the two pantheons, but Mars is extremely different to Ares. Ares was basically the closest thing to Satan in the Greek belief system; nobody "worshipped" him, they just made sacrifices to try and appease him, keep him away from them, have him go do his warring elsewhere, because war is a horrible thing that nobody wants to be anywhere near. (Even the Spartans, for all that they were very pro-war, I have never heard of them being Ares-worshippers; the impression I've gotten is that they thought of war as more of a necessary, inevitable thing, rather than the action of a particular deity.) The Romans, on the other hand, simply associated "War" with "struggle against opposition", and saw it as a noble and honorable thing, largely because the pre-Roman Etruscans viewed the protection of their crops from locusts etc. as being a "war" of sorts, and worshipped the precursor of Mars in that context. So Ares is probably a Chaotic Evil monstrosity who might well be conflated with the General of Gehenna or similar Blood War figures, whereas Mars probably chills in a nearby section of Ysgard, farming their grain and trading their delicious Italian bread for however much mead the Einherjar of Valhalla can spare.

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Re: The Roman Pantheon and the Planes

Post by Digitalelf » Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:20 am

It's a shame that this article did not come out (or was re-visited) during the 2nd edition era.
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Re: The Roman Pantheon and the Planes

Post by ripvanwormer » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:50 am

My view is that gods aren't solids, they're liquids. The gods of the Roman pantheon (Jupiter, Juno, Mars, Minerva, Quirinus, etc.) were originally unrelated to their Greek equivalents, but with time they began to flow together, their identities blurring. A god can have radically different aspects—of different alignments, even—and may inhabit different realms on different planes because a god isn't a single, stable thing. They're beliefs and archetypes, which ebb and flow like water. So yes, chaotic evil Ares is the same god as lawful neutral Mars—and also not the same.

I know at least one Planescape fan gave the Roman pantheon a realm in Arcadia, as befits the more lawful neutral attitude of the Roman gods. They could have their own Mount Olympus there, a mirror of the one in Arborea.

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Re: The Roman Pantheon and the Planes

Post by genghisdon » Wed Aug 28, 2019 7:02 pm

Digitalelf wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:20 am
It's a shame that this article did not come out (or was re-visited) during the 2nd edition era.
Why? it wouldn't matter much, 2e usually kept the same home planes...or do you mean for specialty priest stats? If the latter, then yeah, that would be nice!

On home planes for the Roman pantheon...luckily Olympus is infinitely large. Various doppelgangers (similar god, but no longer really the same as the Greek version) can populate a different, far off, section.

The Hellenic/Greek pantheon is (mostly) on Olympus/Arborea, and their alignments aren't all lined up with CG(CN tendency)...although it's a good overall alignment fit. The same can apply with a LN Jupiter, Juno & Mars...CE Ares, N Hera, etc, are fine too.

I can point out another time changed pantheon, and a good one, too, all 2e style. The Anglo Saxon deities. In them, one sees the pre Norse, Norse pantheon (before, rather than after, case here)..DRAGON 263. The author, Ian Malcolmson, placed them all on the PMP, perhaps worrying about "crowding", but really, he need not have. Still, Thunor, Tir & Woden in particular, are distinct & yet similar enough to match your Greek & Roman dilemma well.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:50 am
My view is that gods aren't solids, they're liquids. The gods of the Roman pantheon (Jupiter, Juno, Mars, Minerva, Quirinus, etc.) were originally unrelated to their Greek equivalents, but with time they began to flow together, their identities blurring. A god can have radically different aspects—of different alignments, even—and may inhabit different realms on different planes because a god isn't a single, stable thing. They're beliefs and archetypes, which ebb and flow like water. So yes, chaotic evil Ares is the same god as lawful neutral Mars—and also not the same.

.
I know at least one Planescape fan gave the Roman pantheon a realm in Arcadia, as befits the more lawful neutral attitude of the Roman gods. They could have their own Mount Olympus there, a mirror of the one in Arborea.
A nice thought, but THAT does make for major changes, with Mt Olympus being such a major planar nexus of gate ways. I'm not sure it's a bad major change, though, if it is akin to a mirror image effect. Simpler to me to simply have them using the same existing set up, but it's an interesting idea!.


Another interesting thing...the many Non-Olympians (or late Helenic) deities & the various other pantheons touched on. Mithras of Persia (& the middle east & far beyond under Rome), Serapis, a Graeco-Egyptian deity is in D133. Isis wasn't mentioned, but she was huge in the imperial days...basically all powerful Isis mode (although she appears to have that kind of power, almost, to look at her game stats & sp priests already, despite always being placed in her more traditional, earlier, placement in power rankings). It's a good thing the planes are infinite!

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Re: The Roman Pantheon and the Planes

Post by Big Mac » Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:19 pm

genghisdon wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 7:02 pm
ripvanwormer wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:50 am
My view is that gods aren't solids, they're liquids. The gods of the Roman pantheon (Jupiter, Juno, Mars, Minerva, Quirinus, etc.) were originally unrelated to their Greek equivalents, but with time they began to flow together, their identities blurring. A god can have radically different aspects—of different alignments, even—and may inhabit different realms on different planes because a god isn't a single, stable thing. They're beliefs and archetypes, which ebb and flow like water. So yes, chaotic evil Ares is the same god as lawful neutral Mars—and also not the same.

.
I know at least one Planescape fan gave the Roman pantheon a realm in Arcadia, as befits the more lawful neutral attitude of the Roman gods. They could have their own Mount Olympus there, a mirror of the one in Arborea.
A nice thought, but THAT does make for major changes, with Mt Olympus being such a major planar nexus of gate ways. I'm not sure it's a bad major change, though, if it is akin to a mirror image effect. Simpler to me to simply have them using the same existing set up, but it's an interesting idea!.
I suppose that someone could make a list of D&D deities that show up in more than one campaign setting or pantheon and that also have differences between the different settings/pantheons.

I've seen people reverse-engineer Classes and PrCs before as well as Jaid reverse-engineering Spelljammer weapons. Maybe it is possible to reverse-engineer the differences between versions of deities to see if there is some sort of pattern.
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Re: The Roman Pantheon and the Planes

Post by ripvanwormer » Sat Aug 31, 2019 12:04 am

Big Mac wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:19 pm
I suppose that someone could make a list of D&D deities that show up in more than one campaign setting or pantheon and that also have differences between the different settings/pantheons.

[...]

Maybe it is possible to reverse-engineer the differences between versions of deities to see if there is some sort of pattern.
The best example is that Tyr in the Forgotten Realms is a greater deity of the Seven Heavens, while generic Norse Tyr is an intermediate deity of Ysgard. His Torilian aspect is blind (he was blinded by Ao during the Avatar Crisis), while his Norse aspect is not. Yet he's the same god. Tir, from the Saxon pantheon in Dragon #263, is a lesser god of the Prime Material Plane, and lawful neutral instead of the more typical lawful good.

There's no pattern to be found, though; it's all about what's appropriate for the god and setting.

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Re: The Roman Pantheon and the Planes

Post by Digitalelf » Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:03 am

genghisdon wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 7:02 pm
do you mean for specialty priest stats? If the latter, then yeah, that would be nice!
yeah, pretty much this.
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