DESIGNER’S DIARY 14: DEITIES OF CONFLICT- GENERAL DESIGN
In general, we invested a great deal of effort and placed significant importance on deity design. From certain perspectives, deities might not be very significant within the realm of D&D. Some Dungeon Masters create deities on the go, while others incorporate Earth’s mythologies with minor adaptations into their games.
However, if you look at the nature of settings designed for D&D, deities are incredibly important. In many settings, deities are very real! They exist within the world, bestowing magic upon their believers, sending emissaries to the material plane, actively participating in interdimensional wars, and so on. Moreover, they play a pivotal role in shaping the cultures and beliefs of races. To varying degrees, deities influence the cultures, and depending on your perspective, cultures also influence the deities. In practice, these two are often intertwined. A race’s or culture’s deities should reflect different aspects of them.
This is why we paid attention to these aspects when designing the deities and cosmologies. We took the general themes of each race and added different dimensions to them with a more modern understanding. Essentially, you won’t find good-aligned or even neutral gods among the deities of Brutal Races. However, we did provide these alternatives. But even while doing so, we strived to stay true to the overall theme.
Could there be a more pacifistic deity for orcs? Of course, we created one. However, this deity emerged within a culture that excludes the weak, small, sick, or disabled among orcs. It didn’t become a deity of spreading happiness with butterflies or a love goddess.
Could there be a craftsman god for hobgoblins, who are more inclined toward building structures and equipment than other Brutal Races? Absolutely. But this god’s creations should all be geared towards war. They shouldn’t prioritize building temples; they should love fortresses. They should bless blacksmiths who produce weapons instead of sculptors. And that’s how it turned out.
Apart from all this, except for the orc pantheon, the deity figures for Brutal Races in popular settings are quite passive. Their names rarely come up, they have little impact on stories, and even those who play clerics from these races seldom devote themselves to them, preferring more generic gods. That’s why we needed to provide detailed pantheons for all Brutal Races.
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