Elemental Tetratheon, The Crunchy Bits

Polyhedral Pantheons Cover
Polyhedral Pantheons Cover

The elemental tetratheon is a pantheon for a larger, older culture that has discovered more concerns than the goblins. However, it is based on a small number of major gods, each with three aspects, and a slew of lesser gods that have narrower responsibilities.

Creating the Elemental Tetratheon

The polyhedral pantheon process can be summarized quite simply.

  1. Choose a polyhedron.
  2. Assign a domain to each point and face.
  3. Group domains for each god.
  4. Determine the ‘chosen weapon’ of each god.

This provides all the information needed to use the gods in play. There is no setting-specific information here, but it is enough for a cleric to choose her god and domains.

Let’s begin.

Step 1: Choose a Polyhedron

This time, I chose my second-favorite polyhedron, the dodecahedron, the d12.

This gives me thirty-two sites (twenty points and twelve faces) to assign domains to and to represent deities.

Step 2: Assign Domains to Each Point and Face

Polyhedral Pantheon d12
Polyhedral Pantheon d12

The diagram to the right presents the points (circled letters) and faces (numbered areas) of the polyhedron I am using.

I am deliberately placing the domains, choosing which domain will be assigned to each site. I have pretty specific ideas for some of the deities and this method gives me the most control.

In this pantheon I want to have the four elements as major powers. Each elemental domain will be assigned to a point such that no two faces share an elemental domain. I will do the same with the alignment domains, assigning each to a point such that no two faces share an alignment domain and such that each alignment domain is shared by three faces with different elemental domains.

The domains assigned to each face are:

  1. Sun
  2. Knowledge
  3. Nobility
  4. Animal
  5. Trickery
  6. Protection
  7. Death
  8. Plant
  9. Liberation
  10. Destruction
  11. Darkness
  12. Madness

The domains assigned to each point are:

  1. Fire
  2. Strength
  3. Glory
  4. Air
  5. Law
  6. Weather
  7. Artifice
  8. War
  9. Chaos
  10. Community
  11. Magic
  12. Earth
  13. Healing
  14. Travel
  15. Rune
  16. Water
  17. Good
  18. Repose
  19. Luck
  20. Evil

The only core domain skipped is the Charm domain. I can live without it.

Step 3: Group Domains for Each Deity

Alignment is initially determined primarily by domain assignment. Each deity’s primary domain is in bold text, domain-based alignments are (in parentheses).

  1. (NG) Sun, Fire, Glory, Artifice, Good, Luck
  2. (LN) Knowledge, Fire, Law, Artifice, Healing, Rune
  3. (CN) Nobility, Fire, Chaos, Magic, Healing, Luck
  4. (NG) Animal, Artifice, Community, Earth, Rune, Good
  5. (CN) Trickery, Glory, Weather, Chaos, Water, Luck
  6. (NG) Protection, Glory, War, Community, Water, Good
  7. (LN) Death, Air, Law, Magic, Healing, Repose
  8. (LN) Plant, Strength, Law, Earth, Rune, Repose
  9. (CN) Liberation, Air, Weather, Chaos, Magic, Travel
  10. (NE) Destruction, Strength, War, Community, Earth, Evil
  11. (NE) Darkness, Weather, War, Travel, Water, Evil
  12. (NE) Madness, Strength, Air, Travel, Repose, Evil

And the point deities:

  1. (TN) Fire, Sun, Knowledge, Nobility
  2. (TN) Strength, Plant, Destruction, Madness
  3. (TN) Glory, Sun, Trickery, Protection
  4. (TN) Air, Death, Liberation, Madness
  5. (LN) Law, Knowledge, Death, Plant
  6. (TN) Weather, Trickery, Liberation, Darkness
  7. (TN) Artifice, Sun, Knowledge, Animal
  8. (TN) War, Protection, Destruction, Darkness
  9. (CN) Chaos, Nobility, Trickery, Liberation
  10. (TN) Community, Animal, Protection, Destruction
  11. (TN) Magic, Nobility, Death, Liberation
  12. (TN) Earth, Animal, Plant, Destruction
  13. (TN) Healing, Knowledge, Nobility, Death
  14. (TN) Travel, Liberation, Darkness, Madness
  15. (TN) Rune, Knowledge, Animal, Plant
  16. (TN) Water, Trickery, Protection, Darkness
  17. (NG) Good, Sun, Animal, Protection
  18. (TN) Repose, Death, Plant, Madness
  19. (TN) Luck, Sun, Nobility, Trickery
  20. (NE) Evil, Destruction, Darkness, Madness

This gives me four deities of each element, and four deities of each partly-neutral alignment. This leaves me with sixteen deities with no element, and sixteen deities with no alignment. All twelve face deities have both element and alignment, and each deity with an elemental domain as primary domain is True Neutral. I may want to revisit this later, using the neighboring points and faces to adjust the domains. For now I won’t, though; this pantheon has a nice primal feel to it, where things are still pretty raw and without subtle shades of meaning.

Step 4: Determine the ‘Chosen Weapon’ of Each Deity

I am moving into the world building process next and I don’t need to know chosen weapons yet. I will skip this step for now and wait until I have a better feel for the deities and weapons that will suit their personalities rather than their domains.

Closing Comments

Because I had a clear idea where I wanted to go with many of my initial domains, and was happy to accept some unexpected results (Healing and Death in the same deity? Okay, I can do that) this step again took about an hour. The Excel worksheet I created saves me a lot of time.

I really like how this is coming, even this early. I might assign alignments to more deities using neighboring faces and points (but not assigning the alignment domains), but I have not yet decided.

Or I might go an alternate route. This structure lends itself to such possibilities as “lawful fire” and “chaotic water” as a replacement alignment system, and I might want to explore that.

In fact, in my next post I do some analysis of the domain groupings and alignments to see just what that looks like.

5 Comments

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