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Slave Gods & Pantheons (3E & 4E)| blessings

Throne of Orcus (pt.1)

Known Old Ones


New Special Materials


Various Monsters

Clay Colossus

Revising Epic Feats

Weapons (Final Fantasy)

New Feats (and Spell System)

Crown Naga

Revising Salient Divine Abilities


Epic Tarrasque

King Ghidorah


Conversion Table 2: Divine Rank by HD/Levels

Conversion Table 1: Divine Rank by Comparisons

UPDATED 18th August: Elements under a red heading added/updated.

Conflicts between the gods can cause whole worlds to crumble and planes to crack and buckle under the strain of such titanic energies unleashed. But when the dust settles and the smoke clears...what then? Are these always contests to the death?

Q: Why do Gods fight one another?

A: Gods have the same passions and interests as mortals, only that these self-same interests are exemplified to their natural limits. So clearly gods of war will be driven to make war, gods of rulership will seek to rule over others, gods of destruction will be at their happiest engaged in some form of destruction and so on. However, these answers only apply to individuals and do not drive a Pantheon to war. For where there is a god of war there will likely be a god (or goddess) of love to quell them, or a god of freedom or travel who bows to none except maybe in friendship, or a deity given to creation rather than destruction.

For a Pantheon (or Council, Dynasty or Hegemony) to go to war, then either it has to be facing a significant external threat or internal upheaval (Civil War). Or alternately, the Pantheon itself must be dominated by like minded beings who see war as an inevitable course of action. The exact inspiration behind going to war can be anything you choose but the most obvious are:

  • Real Estate: The gods wish to expand their territory. The classic example of this is between Demon Princes and other demonic nobility battling over planar layers.
  • Revenge: Member of Pantheon 'A' did something to Pantheon 'B'. Often 'fair fights' between gods of equal stature won't spiral into full blown Pantheon wars. Neither would a weaker god getting themselves killed invading a more powerful gods realm cause his allies to got to war on their behalf.
  • Wealth: Or more specifically artifacts where gods are concerned.
  • Worshippers: The gods want more worshippers to become more powerful. Alternately, you can metaphysically force Pantheons to go to war when their 'Earthly' worshippers do likewise.

This last idea has been used twice before. Firstly on RIFTS Earth, where its noted when Pantheons came into contact with one another and how they were able to relate (or not). For instance, in one example Hercules (and the Greek Gods) battled Thor (and the Norse Gods) when Rome invaded the rest of Europe. Hercules winning their initial battle (we know because of the inroads the Roman Empire made in the north) while centuries later (when the barbarians invaded Rome and the Empire lay in ruins) Thor won the rematch. I always thought this was a fantastic idea. Anyone wanting to read more on this should buy the fantastic (and thats no understatement) Pantheons of the Megaverse book by Palladium Books.

Pantheons of the Megaverse at Palladium Books website here. I have been meaning to do a review of this one for ages. Probably my second favourite book of all time after Deities & Demigods (1st Edition). Can't recommend it highly enough.

The second instance of this idea I have came across was a few years ago in the Marvel (then ongoing) Incredible Hercules comic in a story arc known as the God Squad. I won't retell the whole story, but basically the alien race of shapeshifters known as the Skrulls invaded Earth. Thus on a metaphysical level, the gods of Earth had to battle their Skrull counterparts. The Earthly pantheons chose five gods (one from each cardinal direction plus Atum; Elder Sun God) to represent them, led by Hercules.

For those wanting more details [including story spoilers] the wikipedia entry on the God Squad here.

Q: Whats the difference between a Pantheon, Council, Dynasty and Hegemony?

  • Council: Immortals who share the same politics - often Portfolio or alignment based. (e.g. The Aetnean Council of Fire Gods)
  • Dynasty: Immortals bound by racial ties (e.g. The Orc Dynasty)
  • Hegemony: Immortal Beings with specific Planar ties (e.g. The Slaad, or the Demons)
  • Pantheon: Immortal beings with regional links (e.g. The Norse Pantheon, the Persian Pantheon)

Q: Why wouldn't victorious Gods slay the losers in any such war?

Establishing a religion can take generations. What history has shown us, is that a much easier method is to slowly supplant and subvert a religion from within. Greek Dionysus becomes Catholic Saint Dennis, for example.

Similarly with Deities, an easier way to steal a larger amount of an immortals quintessence is to keep them alive but force them into servitude. Then over the decades and centuries supplant the religion entirely.

Remember when one immortal slays another it gains 10% of the slain god's quintessence. If the immortal binds the other to slavery, it gains 90% of the slave god's quintessence (spread throughout the conquering pantheon), with the other 10% remaining with the slave god themselves - who drop in power. One other element to note is that in becoming a slave god/getting defeated, the deities worship points will take a bit of a drop; as per a Negative Event (see the Event rules in Ascension). So that 90% gained will be based upon

General Rules for Slave Gods

  • A defeated god suffers a major negative event to all religious centres (as determined by the Event System in Ascension).
  • A defeated god can choose slavery over oblivion (if the victor gives them the choice; option probably more likely from Lawful Gods than Chaotic ones. If you want to roll randomly:
  • Victor Modifiers: Lawful victor +75%, Neutral victor +50%, Chaotic victor +25% chance.
  • Loser Modifiers: Lawful loser +20%, Neutral loser +/-0%, Chaotic loser -20% chance.

3rd Edition Rules for Slave Gods

  • The defeated god drops to 20% quintessence.
  • The victorious gods divide this 20% quintessence between them (not necessarily evenly between them). However, this quintessence is lost if the Slave God(s) are destroyed.
  • Between multiple victors, quintessence is divided as follows: 90% divided between highest status gods, 9% between next highest status, 0.9% for next, 0.09% for the next, and so on.

4th Edition Rules for Slave Gods

  • The defeated god drops 5 levels.
  • The victorious gods gain twice the EXP for subduing their enemies. However, this EXP is lost if the Slave God is destroyed.
  • Between multiple victors, EXP is divided as follows: 50% divided between highest status gods, 25% between next highest status, 12.5% for next, 6.25% for the next, and so on.

Example: Hindu Gods takeover of the Vedic Pantheon.

With the subdual of the Vedic Gods (Indra, Agni, Varuna etc.) Indra would have went from a Greater God down to an Intermediate God (3E) or Lesser God (4E). While Intermediate Gods would drop to Lesser Gods (3E) or Demigods (4E).

The Hindu Gods (Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu; the latter of which may have been a Vedic god who aided the victors, Hanuman, Ganesha) would gain all of the entire Vedic Pantheon's remaining quintessence (although that figure would have been reduced to 20%).

Distribution of Quintessence: Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu (30% each, one third each of 90%), each intermediate god (such as Hanuman) an equal share of 9%, each lesser god (such as Ganesha) an equal share of 0.9% and so on.

So if the Vedic Gods started with 5 billion QP, that would drop to 1 billion QP (20%) after their defeat. The three Greater Gods of the Trimurti would gain 300 million each, intermediate gods would divide 90 million between them, lesser gods would divide 9 million between them, demigods would divide 900,000 between them and so on.

Q: What are the benefits of Slave Gods?

A: Besides the obvious quintessence benefits, having a slave Pantheon at your beck and call means you have a ready made army of immortals to do your dirty work, or act as a buffer against would-be invaders.

Next Up...Part Two: Super Pantheons! Just how powerful can pantheons be? How many Slave Pantheons can one group of gods possess?

Unless stated otherwise, all content © 2001-2010 Craig Cochrane. All rights reserved.