Divine Trappings: Fitted Sheets (Layout Mockup)

Picked the title when I thought each domain would be a page or two, turns out I got two domains on a single page. Ah well, keeping the title as it is.

Over the last couple of days I’ve posted a deity template and a domain template. Before I go any further, I figured I’d see what they might look like and how they might actually work in practice.

TL;DR: not too bad, but as I tried using the domain template, I found that it wasn’t quite right for me yet.


It captures a lot of what I want to apply. Even after applying it twice, I think it won’t take long for me to get into a rhythm that will make them easy to apply.

Of course, having only about three dozen to write, I expect the flow will really come together about the time I finish. Ah well, that’s how it goes sometimes. It’s not all bad, I imagine that about the time I finish, I’ll want to double back and touch up the early ones now that I know better how to do them.

It surprised me a little that each domain I wrote up fit entirely in a single column. Where I originally expected to take two pages per domain, or hoped to get it down to a single page per domain, it looks like I can probably get two domains per page. Part of me thinks this is great, it’ll keep my page count down (not so important with PDFs, of course, unless someone wishes to print them). While I do like the practice of ‘one page, one thing’, I’m not so attached to the practice that I’ll fight what seems a natural layout.

In drafting these two domains, though, I noticed a few things and found myself changing things a bit. Several of the elements of the deity template make sense with the context of multiple domains and the deity’s personality shaping things, but with a single domain there isn’t enough context to give them shape. For instance, ‘dogma’ and ‘tenets’ (what worshippers are told and what worshippers often believe/think) can be hard to differentiate with only one domain because there is really no reason for them to differ.

  • I struggle a bit with these because I find myself writing as if I’m describing something that exists, rather than offering suggestions for what could be. Compare Special Locations for Artifice and Plant domains: Artifice says “altars are work surfaces, shrines are near workplaces and guildhalls, temples are factories or have many workshops”, while Plant says “altars may be made of wood or stone, shrines typically near groves or large plants of fields or farm buildings, temples are often ‘outdoors’ (open-air in the forest)”. I wrote Plant first, and it has a bunch of unneeded words; that I mention a special location implies ‘often’ or ‘typically’… and because these are suggestions they can be ignored anyway. I need to add a preface saying as much, and write accordingly.
  • Some elements can be simplified or merged… or even removed.
    • Servitors is no longer broken out into heralds, the various allies, and summons. Instead, the element simply describes the types of creatures likely to be chosen for these roles. It wouldn’t be difficult to identify examples of these things, but because that’s so simple and at the same time probably meaningless because actual choices will depend on other domains and the deity’s personality, it doesn’t seem to be worth the trouble.
    • Creatures is dropped. I found they overlapped Servitors at this stage. They might still be separate in a deity writeup, though.
    • Priests identify some types of characters that would be priests, and a few possibly signature elements of their appearance (such as how they’re dressed or characteristic features. I imagine the garb might be stylized or fancy versions of actual working garb. I notice I didn’t include possible personality elements… I should do something about that.
    • Followers lists some of the types of people who might be followers, doesn’t really describe their characteristics. Another thing to change.
    • Artifacts… I think I’d redo this element. Here I tried to just make up some items that would resonate. Instead, I think I’ll break out one (or more) of my imagination tools and generate a bunch of artifact names, then pick some that seem to resonate with me. I imagine this field really would be more significant in the deity template than it is here.
    • Special Items I left blank altogether. Like Servitors and Creatures, I feel like I could identify some obvious decent fits but the deity’s context would be much more telling.
    • Obedience just describes activities that might be done while praying rather than how and when the prayers happen. With these two domains there is really no obvious ‘best time’ for prayer. I should reread obediences in other sources to look for more precedent. Maybe I’m just not good at these yet.
    • Dogma and Tenets are merged; at this point there’s nothing to cause them to differ.
    • Duties I’m quite happy with. I cribbed from Hungers of a Patron (which are things the deity might work toward that might not be ‘achievable’ in a ‘this is finished‘ kind of way) and they came together quickly. “Promote… what?” actually can be pretty easy to answer. I’ll want to be sure to pull the relevant table and explanation into the book.
    • Quests also I’m quite happy with. Again I went back to a Patrons of Low Fantasy post, this time Gaining Favor of Patrons. Once I’ve got something of the shape of a mission (quest) it’s not hard to fill in the particulars. I’ll want to be sure to pull this table as well, and the explanation. I’ll probably augment with more expansion or explanation of the terms.

Okay, let’s have a look at draft domain aspects for Artifice and Plant domains.

Closing Comments

My background is in software development. We have an expression, ‘eating dogfood’: when you reach a point that your product is at least nominally usable for its intended purpose, you start using it ‘for real’ to see how it actually works in practice. No matter how much you think about what the product is supposed to do and how it will work, you learn so much by actually using it: what is good, and even more, what needs to be better.

This exercise was me eating dogfood. I thought I had a pretty good template, and I was almost right. Once I actually tried it, I found some pain points. Nothing I can’t make better… since this is the point of eating dogfood, I’m going to say it was totally successful.

Not the answer I hoped to get, but the answer I needed, and that’s totally okay.


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