Divine Worldbuilding: Bandisal Deities

The PCs in the AGE of Rediscovery campaign are, at this point, all from Bandisal. Considering that they will likely be discovering lost temples to strange gods, I should probably have some idea of what ‘normal gods’ look like to them.

Seekers of Lore

The Bandisal culture came out of the Age of Upheaval, where things were in turmoil. They have a strong and vested interest in stability and civilization… there’s probably a focus on Law and Community domains. I’m going to build on the culture calcifying, though: they are so focused on keeping things under control and resisting change that they are not advancing as they should. Their practice of exiling those who don’t fit in robs them of the societal leavening that would let them grow. With their focus on Law and Chaos, I’m going to say they don’t have much attention left for Good and Evil.

Okay, I’ve got enough to start a polyhedral pantheon. I’m going to map out 20 deities, or at least, 20 sets of domains. However, because the culture so actively rejects so much, I’m only going to keep the eight that have at least one of the Community and Law domains.

Initial Polyhedron

I put together a polyhedron — d20 version — with twelve domains I thought relevant.

Deity #Domain Domain Domain
1LawCommunityProtection
2GloryKnowledgeChaos
3LawReposeAnimal
4RuneMagicChaos
5CommunityRuneGlory
6ReposeMagicTravel
7LawCommunityPlant
8AnimalKnowledgeTravel
9ProtectionReposeMagic
10PlantAnimalKnowledge
11ProtectionRuneMagic
12PlantGloryKnowledge
13CommunityProtectionRune
14MagicTravelChaos
15CommunityPlantGlory
16ReposeAnimalTravel
17LawPlantAnimal
18RuneGloryChaos
19LawProtectionRepose
20KnowledgeTravelChaos

Looking specifically at the eight that have one or both of the Law and Community domains, I see the set below.

Deity #Domain Domain Domain
1LawCommunityProtection
3LawReposeAnimal
5CommunityRuneGlory
7LawCommunityPlant
13CommunityProtectionRune
15CommunityPlantGlory
17LawPlantAnimal
19LawProtectionRepose

This is a very imbalanced pantheon. Of course, that’s rather the point — by rejecting so much and focusing on homogeneity, they are going to miss out on many things.

Now, let’s flip this over and see what they rejected.

Deity #Domain Domain Domain
2GloryKnowledgeChaos
4RuneMagicChaos
6ReposeMagicTravel
8AnimalKnowledgeTravel
9ProtectionReposeMagic
10PlantAnimalKnowledge
11ProtectionRuneMagic
12PlantGloryKnowledge
14MagicTravelChaos
16ReposeAnimalTravel
18RuneGloryChaos
20KnowledgeTravelChaos

This is still a pretty constrained list, but it does show more room for growth. Knowledge is strongly associated with Glory, which actually fits the setting well. I think this section of the pantheon is much more suited to supporting adventurers than the former.

Closing Comments

I will want to flesh out the deities somewhat more, assigning names and more specific portfolios and the like, but I have enough to start. I suspect that in Bandisal the temples are about as homogeneous as the deities represented here. There likely a small temple, at least, in each town, and probably shrines or the like in the villages.

In the borderlands, though, things are probably a bit more diverse. The individual deities differ more and likely have separate temples. They also have all the deities with the Travel domain, so I imagine there are a fair number of itinerant priests.

The borderlands almost certainly have temples to found deities, both the formerly-lost temples and newer shrines and temples in the towns and villages. Probably more certain, such temples and shrines will not be found in Bandisal proper.

The expectations placed on Bandisal, and on the Borderlands where adventures happen, entirely drove the design of this pantheon.

2 Comments

  1. Chakat Firepaw

    Hmmm, one of the obvious outcomes of that restricted pantheon is in the rejection of Magic and Knowledge. Since it still has Rune, there probably isn’t a total rejection of the arcane but I could easily see the magical traditions being rather restricted and hidebound.

    Perhaps the kind seen as safe and acceptable would be the more ritual casting, say focused around carefully inscribed and well ‘understood’ circle and glyph structures. Ad-hoc casting¹, outside of those channeling divine power, being seen as risky at best and sometimes even criminally reckless.

    1: i.e. Anything fast enough to actually be useful in battle.

    • I believe that would be so. I picture the culture as being pretty stagnant anyway, if not moribund.

      Magic certainly would be restricted and hidebound. If it’s present at all, I suspect you’re right that it would be ritualistic (if not performed ritually) and involving runes and glyphs that can be done slowly and carefully. As you say, likely not useful in combat, but perhaps useful defensively.

      Either way, I imagine they’d prefer to stick to smaller effects, and probably subtle at that.

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