If you’re like me, you like starting your home-brew world building for your RPG with the big things. The formation of the continents, the origin or flavour of magic, and the gods. It is fun to extrapolate a world from a creation story involving the clash of supernatural beings who turn the chaos into order.
Regular readers will know that I’ve found Dungeons and Dragons to be a fantastic creative outlet. Not only can you – as a DM – put your in-the-moment ingenuity to the test, you learn how to create content that engages and entertains others.
In creating my custom campaign setting, Chardovia, I’ve found that the Faerûnian Pantheon (the default D&D 5th edition setting) didn’t entirely fit my world. Some of the gods were easily tweaked, but some areas needed a specialized deity.
Here are some of the gods and goddesses that I’ve made. Some are entirely original, others are ‘remixes’ of characters from fiction or mythology (just as Mr Gygax did). Maybe these can fit into your campaign.
Let me know in the comments.
God of the Lost – The Stranger
There’s nothing like a super mysterious god to spice up a pantheon. The Stranger is said to appear to those without hope in their greatest hour of need. Those that have been helped by him are convinced of his divinity and other-worldliness. It is possible that the Stranger is several beings or mere mortals, for each witness describes him differently. He never seems to be the same race or build. The only common traits are that it is usually a hooded male figure, and that he comes to someone’s aid in their hour of need.
The Stranger is a great ‘wild-card’ god. You can make him (or her) someone of importance to your campaign. You can also make him/her appear during an encounter if it seems as if your party are charging head-long into a TPK.
Be sure to check out the Stranger‘s page on WorldAnvil for more information. Also, if you want to know who he/she really is in my setting, consider becoming a Patron – this will automatically reveal many of the secrets of Chardovia.
Goddess of Nightmares – Phobetora
A good villain can make or break your campaign. Sure, you have your typical supreme evils that are the bread and butter any campaigns (Orcus, Vecna, and Lolth, I’m looking at you). But what if you can entice your party with their deepest, darkest desires – things only a character and their subconscious knows about? What if you could exploit their deepest fears?
This is where Phobetora, the Lady of Nightmares comes in. She often comes in the guise of her brother, Morpheus (yes, I have Sandman in my campaign and it’s awesome) to trick unsuspecting characters into trusting her. She feeds on the fear of mortals and hopes to trap their terrified souls in her palace in the Shadowfell – a place that mocks the Raven Queen’s palace.
Phobetora makes for a distinct and versatile villain – especially if you’re trying to influence the party’s motivations or corrupt a paladin (as you do). Be sure to read her full info page.
God of Everlasting Hatred – Odium
Another ‘evil’ god, Odium sprung out of a punchline more than he did out of a niche in the campaign setting. Navigating airships in this world is a tricky business – magical storms and unexpected dragon strikes are a constant danger. As such, captains not only need capable engineers and crew, they also need someone with a channel to the divine that would not only give them the favour of the gods, but also make entities think twice before angering the people upstairs.
Enter Odium, the God of Everlasting Hatred. You don’t have to do anything special to worship him, for he will punish you no matter how pious you are. This takes a lot of stress out of the whole deal.
The airship my players hired had a cleric of Odium aboard as a ‘good luck charm’. The captain merely did the opposite of what the masochistic holy man suggested and the crew kept mostly out of harms way. This nugget of humour has evolved into something more complicated since then.
Be sure to check out Odium’s full details page. I can see someone using him as a punishing and mysterious warlock patron, or a juicy big-bad. My patrons have access to his true nature.
Goddess of Inspiration – Calliope
How could I resist? Calliope the Muse of Epic Poetry from classical tradition is fundamental to this blog, so why not add a version of her into my role-playing game?
In Chardovia, Calliope is the patron of bards and creatives. She is the lover of Morpheus and she is the source of all inspiration for mortals.
In this version of her, Calliope was once a mortal bard who traveled the world. She made it her mission to collect the stories of each culture she encountered. Each time she offered one of her collected stories in exchange. Some scholars suggest that this act may be responsible for the peculiar overlap in some mythologies.
Somewhere in her travels – the story goes – Calliope discovered a fable that contained the secret of godhood.
Be sure to check out her details page for more information.
This is only a small slice of the deities I’ve created for my custom setting. For others and to see how I’ve adapted the gods from other D&D settings and sources, pop over to my WorldAnvil page. It is still (mostly) a work in progress, but be sure to subscribe.
It is enormous fun writing these kinds of things, so please let me know if you’re interested in more. I’d love to share my home-brew magic items.
If you’re looking for a great source of information on the gods of the Forgotten Realms (the default setting of D&D), I suggest picking up the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. Or if you are looking for setting-specific details on gods, I heartily recommend Rising from the Last War (for Eberron) or the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount (for Critical Role). There are many other great sources out there – either on the Dungeon Master’s Guild or from the amazing creators and community on WorldAnvil.