Ready Made Religeons
In previous articles we've covered why you might want religion and gods in your game, and some different models you can have for them in your setting, now let's get down to some examples. In this article I'll present a selection of premade religious ideologies and pantheons that you could use for your own games. Each of these also serves as a framework for a campaign on it's own.
Lords of the earth:
The world has been carved up by the gods, powerful spiritual beings that rule over their domains by granting powers to their followers. A god of the sands and scorching heat sends their missionaries into the mountains to spread their faith and influence. Soon the solid stone of the mountains begins eroding, dissolving, breaking down into sand. And without those mountains the desert winds will blow even farther. Elsewhere a sea god sends great crashing waves upon the beach day and night. But each wave scoops away a little more of the soil, a little more of the land bound world. Faithful forest followers plant trees and saplings and till the earth, growing the reach of their own god as far and wide as they can. These gods may have names and histories, or they may be something far more ancient and primal, but their influence is real and palpable as they struggle to tear another few yards of dominion from each other.
The last lonely god:
There was a time when divine beings were many, their power and knowledge was wide spread and they influenced many aspects of reality, some working together, others playfully rivaling and countermanding each other. And then a terrible fate befell them. Something came for them, hunting them down and destroying them. Was it a god of murder? Of hunger? Of death? War? Or perhaps it was something altogether worse than a god, something more wicked still. But one survived, a single tiny frightened little god. A god of whispers, or gentle wind, or illusion. It's too late for the other gods, but the mortal world can still be saved, can still be warned, but what is a silent little god to do? Only the most subtle manipulations will allow them to remain undetected. A shift, a face, a detail hidden in an illusion. A tiny weak voice when everything else is quiet, a gentle breeze where none should be. Is this enough to warn the mortal world? And even if it is, what can they possibly do against such a foe?
The sun kindler:
There is a god who keeps the sun burning. A terrible and powerful god that holds all of life in its hands. The god has named itself ruler of all the world for all eternity. But the kindle for the sun, the wood that keeps the blaze alight is the power of mortals. The greater the power of the mortal the longer they burn, and the weaker a mortal offered, the more that must die. But isn't it convenient that for the world to live requires the death of the only ones powerful enough to threaten this one god? Isn't it strange that all history of the time before the sun kindler was lost, and in a great fire no less? The other beings known as gods have long ago fled, been imprisoned, or silenced in other ways. Of course there are those who preach a secret "truth" that this god lies, that the sun will always be the sun. There are those who would stand against this god. But why does it seem that these creatures are all blood drinkers and dark elves who fear and hate the sun.
As below, so above:
The gods grant their abilities only who possess qualities for which they are known. The gods of duality and symmetry bestow their blessings only onto those born as twins. The God of Malice and hatred bestows power only to those mad with deepest hatred. The gods see only their own traits in humanity, and believe, or require, that only those like unto them should obtain their own power. This creates a world where priests are like unto their very gods becoming more and more like deific avatars than their own selves.
When gods sin:
Perhaps the gods are not perfect by virtue of being gods. Perhaps they are gods by virtue of being perfect. The gods up above gain power through the bestowal of their weakness and frailty onto others. A god of healing bestows their fear and disgust onto their followers to make themselves brave and dauntless. An ocean god gains great speed beneath the water, while one of their followers instead sinks even in the saltiest brine no matter how they struggle. The gods in their great realm are peaceful and wise because their greed and envy and wrath and pettiness are shunted onto the very people whom pray to them. But to ease this burden the gods grant a mote of their own power to their followers. Of course power as great as the gods comes with vices and sins just as great, and the world is made more sullied and dangerous even as the godly realm becomes more perfect and peaceful.