Deities of the DomainsIntroduction
The following is an amended extract from the article "Defenders of the Faith" by Graeme Davis, which was published in GM3 In Search of New Gods (GameMaster Publications Copyright 1986). Additional material has been added to the original article by PelinoreRevived!
The Gods of Pelinore are numerous, some famous, some obscure. They live in their own plane and cannot leave it, but they are able to project a tangible form onto the prime material plane which might appear as a person, a creature or even an artifact. In this way the gods may interfere with day to day life. What is more, this is the only way that the gods may interact with one another. The material form can be hurt or killed, but this has no effect whatsoever on the god, who can create another at will.
In Pelinore, where the gods themselves need followers if they are to exist, the choices that player characters make when they are considering which god to follow matter a great deal. The clerics of each deity are expected to 'recruit' believers at every opportunity, and player character clerics should never miss an opportunity to show the local populace just how wonderful their deity is. The power of a particular god is dependent also, not so much on the quantity of followers they attract, but the quality of those followers and the strength of their faith.
There are three types of worship:
It is possible that characters will change preferred deities (for example, Mielsen might only be followed when a new love appears), or that they will ignore them all; but remember: the deities of Pelinore act only in their own interests: clerics will receive no spells and followers can expect no divine intercession when things go wrong unless the deity has received proper worship (and even more so, is in the mood to help!). It is no good calling on Valbure the first time your sword breaks unless you have proven yourself worthy!
- 'Believers' merely accept that a god exists and may make small donations at a shrine or a temple in recognition of some small favour that is deemed to be within the province of a particular god. Naturally, it is possible for an individual to believe in any number of deities and may even follow their own pantheon of preferred gods.
- 'Followers' are more faithful and act in dedication to one or, occasionally, a larger number of deities. Regular visits to temples or shrines, donations and favours will occupy much time and money. For example, a follower of Mielsen would give up the finest treasure to the temple, and would spend time thinking up poetry, or pursuing a quest for a coveted member of the opposite sex.
- The final type of worship is that of the 'Religious Orders', who dedicate themselves professionally to the service of a god. Members of these orders would include clerics, paladins and druids, as well as those members of the organised religions who do not have a character class as such but who have attained a rank of some sort within one of the various orders. The different types of clerical order are described in more detail below.
While it is true that different gods have different attitudes to clerics and followers (some roundly ignore both, others interfere quite often), it is also true that the power and areas of influence of a god are dependant on the demands of its worshippers. No god can control its followers: those who choose to worship cannot be stopped; but the gods can force its followers to adopt certain standards, both in the shrines and outside them, by witholding intercession on the followers' behalf or denying its clerics access to spells. However, because a god needs followers in order to exist, it is possible that the paradigms of a god's behaviour can be moulded by a god's followers. The more followers a god has, and the higher the power of influence of those followers, the greater the chance that (if those followers all work in concert) the nature of that god can be moulded to fit the needs or desires of those who give it obeisance.