Hello and welcome! Today I’m going to talk about the Gods of my homebrew world, Akaar!
The creation of this pantheon turned out to be very important, as I used the names of the gods as the roots to my conlang, Ancient. The names of the gods would provide the basis for the fictional word for something related to their domain, and it would then spiral out from there.
For example, Borohn is the god of storms, so bori is the word for storm or rain.
I wanted to keep their names simple, because it sounded more “powerful” to me if they were just two-syllable names with heavy sounds. There are two exceptions – Tosh, the god of stone and order, and Tiamat, the goddess of dragons and fire. There’s no real reason for why Tosh is only one syllable, it just worked out that way. And Tiamat is an exception because she ascended to godhood, and so her name doesn’t follow the rules.
The descriptions for each god are derived from a very helpful list that I found online – I unfortunately cannot remember where, though I believe it was a Reddit forum. I modified these definitions to better fit my ideas, where necessary.
At the dawn of civilization, the gods squabbled and disagreed on how to oversee their new world and the burgeoning peoples upon it. Each god – with their own domain to watch over – believed that life upon Akaar should be lived a certain way, and that their commandments were the ones that should be followed above all others.
This led to a conflict between the gods, a celestial war that shook the earth. History called it the “Many Gods War,” and it was a majority of the Akaaran denizens’ introduction to the pantheon that existed around them.
During the Many Gods War, several of the beings were killed. The essence of these dead gods were spread throughout the planes, their final resting places a mystery. Their domains were absorbed into the rest of the pantheon that remained.
These are the living gods:
Goddess of Ill Fortune
“Luckbane,” “The Swindler God,” “The Fickle Lady”
A trickster god, a mischievous prankster who favors swindlers and con-artists, and who shines upon those who prey upon the naive and vulnerable. Those who follow Bebaxt tend to do so privately, as to openly voice one’s support is to basically announce one’s intent to skirt the law. They construct small shrines within their abodes rather than construct large temples in her name.
Her holy symbol is that of a pair of dice, typically depicted with a poor roll.
God of Storms
“The Stormfather,” “The Tempest Lord,” “The Lightning King”
Those that do not understand Borohn typically assume he creates storms out of spite or to destroy what others have worked so hard to build. His followers try to teach that a storm exists to wash away the old and unstable in order to make way for the new and improved. Followers of Borohn are known as travelers who wash over the lands to exorcise what they view as harmful to the world – and these interpretations can vary. Temples and shrines in his name also vary greatly depending on these personal interpretations.
His holy symbol is usually a medallion upon which are crashing waves.
Borohn is brother to Daro.
God of Lakes, Rivers
“The River Guide,” “The Boatsman,” “The Still-Minded Master”
Worship for Daro usually increases during periods of drought. Beyond that, he possesses a noticeably diminished following. Though smaller, rural communities that rely on more scarce water sources worship him more commonly. For example, new wells are blessed in his name so as not to run dry. Followers are expected to model purity and stillness, and a detachment from feelings of fear and strife. Some monk orders are pledged to the teachings of Daro. Temples are rare, more often found near pure mountain lakes and natural springs.
His holy symbol is of a still pool surrounded by mountains.
His brother is Borohn.
God of Animals
“The Beastmaster,” “Father of Beasts,” “The Wild Guardian”
Followers of Hayvon hold one thing true above all others: all life is sacred. Hayvon himself is extremely peaceful, and the demands of his worship are extreme. Thus followers are rare. They are strictly vegetarian, strongly oppose taming or herding of animals, and live lives of near asceticism and extreme poverty far from civilization. Temples do not exist, for fear that such a structure could impede upon the lives and behavior of the surrounding wildlife. Small shrines made from plants can sometimes be found on or around an animal that has died.
His holy symbol is the front half of a leaping stag.
Hayvon is the brother of Mahluq and Kasal.
God of Craftsmanship
“The Craftsman,” “The Father of Invention,” “The Eversmith”
Architecture, woodworking, blacksmithing, haberdashery, silversmithing, millinery, etc. all fall under his domain. He loves and supports all things created by sentient creatures. Typically this is thought to be focused upon creations that have physical purpose. The creation of pieces of work that function merely as something to be looked at, scrutinized, studied, or enjoyed as entertainment more falls under the domain of Sanat, goddess of art. Hunar’s followers are expected to devote themselves to mastering at least some manner of craftsmanship, and to spread their skill and knowledge to others freely. To hoard these skills from others is blasphemous, for a high tide raises all ships. His temples are typically academies and teaching grounds where all manner of crafts are taught and made.
His holy symbol is that of a hammer striking an anvil.
Hunar’s two sisters are Sanat and Sevgi.
God of Agriculture, Alcohol
“The Allfarmer,” “The Harvester,” “The Master Vintner”
Ichish oversees the harvest, and especially those of wineries and breweries. His followers preach a “word hard, play hard” philosophy, must be able-bodied and dedicated to the growing and cultivating of their crops. Clerics or leaders of the order of Ichish are often called upon to oversee harvest feasts and festivals and to bless the opening of new farms and wineries.
His holy symbols include plows, grapes on the vine, and a full chalice slightly tipped over.
God of the Sun, Courage, Protection
“The Bright Star,” “Flamestar,” “Starshield”
A lawful, guardian deity whose followers are often famous paladins who have made a name for themselves smiting the dark forces that seek to bring harm to the innocent. Jasor stands as a staunch symbol against evil, and he protects the weak with righteous strength. His followers must be vocal and active against all evil. They believe that they are constantly at war with those forces, and that the world will never be at peace until the light of the sun obliterates all shadows. His temples are usually solitary fortresses and training grounds.
His holy symbol includes a hawk, and a walled city beneath the sun.
Jasor’s brother is Osti.
Goddess of Disease, Undeath
“The Poisoner,” “The Black Hand,” “Plaguebringer”
Kasal is a being of decay and the creator of sickness. She uses disease and necromancy as tools of terror and control, and delights in watching her dark influence alter the world. Her followers use that as an example, and use her tenets to gain power over their enemies, especially after they have been defeated. Temples to her don’t usually exist, as such beacons of evil are quickly targeted by paladins of Jasor, but shrines to her are typically gruesome to behold.
Her holy symbol is a hand of rotting flesh.
Kasal is sister to Mahluq and Hayvon.
Goddess of Monsters
“Mother of Monsters,” “The Writhing One,” “The Unhinged Maw”
The Mother of Monsters may be the most feared of the gods, for she created all manner of monstrosities that terrorize creation. Those insane or desperate enough to pledge themselves buck all concepts of humanity and order to become forces of chaos and ravenous desire. More recently, Mahluq has flirted with powerful beings within the Abyss since its discovery. With its demonic influence, Mahluq has begun to create terrifying aberrations to release upon the world. Temples are rare, and very difficult to hold. Shrines are bloody masses of pieces of animals made into monstrous forms.
Her holy symbols include chimeras, scaled claws, and tentacles rising from a pit.
Mahluq is sister to Kasal and Havyon.
God of Fortune
“The Light of Luck,” “The Hopelight,” “Bestower of Chance”
Sometimes mistaken as the female visage upon the coin in his symbol (it is Bebaxt depicted on his coin, actually), Omad is a favorite of gamblers, farmers, merchants, travelers, or anyone searching for good fortune. His followers acknowledge risk and chance, and often take riskier options in hopes for greater reward. Temples and shrines do exist, but his followers tend to worship in more subtle and active ways such as using his blessing to aid themselves and others in daily endeavors.
His holy symbol is a face-up coin with Bebaxt’s profiled image upon it.
Goddess of Caves, Underground
“The Unflinching Stillness,” “The Deepdweller,” “The Queen of Darkness”
Generally acknowledged and followed by subterranean denizens, she is closely associated with darkness. Depictions of Osti vary, and can range from a dreadful, giant spider with a woman’s head, to a great body made of earthen stone and molten rock. Her followers typically do not venture above ground (for some, to do so is actually harmful), and are expected to respect not only law and order – a caste system set in place by her – but also all underground-dwelling things. Temples are typically vast caverns, and are seldom modified from their natural state. It is believed that to do so is an affront to Osti’s creations.
Her holy symbols include bats, spiders, and water dripping into a black pool.
Osti’s brother is Jasor.
Goddess of Hunting
“The Dawnhunter,” “Queen of the Wild,” “Preystalker”
Common in more rural areas, Ovchi is associated with hunting, survival, and solitude. Her worship requires no temples or priests, but is ritualistic. Offerings from a kill – such as bones or inedible organs – are often burned as thanks to her. Any seeking a good hunt construct tiny huts of pine branches over holy symbols in hope of her blessing. Her followers prove their worth by hunting the most dangerous beasts they can find, and those that do become her champions, and can bestow blessings onto the weapons of another hunter. Her champions often find a good hunt to consist of delving deep into the earth and seeking out the underground creatures protected by the followers of Osti. Her followers also often seek out the horrible creations of Mahluq.
Her holy symbols include a drawn bow, and animal tracks.
God of Despair, Vengeance
“The Devil,” “The Horned Serpent,” “The Dark Dealer”
A spiteful god that seeks to bring pain to others. Qasos is often thought of and is referred to as “the devil,” and his motives are always unclear. Those that actively seek his aid are more beneath his notice than those in pain that he chooses to approach. He enjoys picking at their pain to make it worse, until his subject is ready to strike a deal with him for power. His followers do not seek consolation or freedom from their pain, but strongly desire to inflict their pain onto those that have wronged them. After enough time under Qasos’s influence, his followers begin to inflict that pain onto those undeserving of it, as the line between good and evil begins to blur. Temples to him do not exist for he forbids them.
His holy symbol is that of a round medallion on which is a woman weeping into an ocean.
THE RAVEN QUEEN
Goddess of Death
“Matron of Death,” “Mother of Ravens,” “The Fateblade”
The Matron of Death is now known to the world by another name – the Raven Queen. Her true name was lost to the annals of history and war. She was the only mortal to ascend to godhood, after she fought alongside the warriors and heroes of Akaar during the War of Day and Night. She openly opposed the then-current God of Death, Droka, and his malevolent rule of the domain. After taking power, and displacing Droka from the pantheon, she sought to bring an end to the fear of death. She teaches that death is natural and cannot be avoided, and to undo death is a great crime of nature and order. She barely communicates with the denizens of the world, but rewards those who fight in her name to correct undeath by making them her champions. Graveyards typically serve as her “temples,” and her followers sometimes watch over them or even live in them.
Her holy symbols are many, and they include a skull, a raven, a scythe whose blade is shaped like a raven’s head, and a skeletal bird with a human skull.
Goddess of the Sea, Travelers, Freedom
“The Wavemother,” “The Evertide,” “The Unchainable”
The goddess of the oceans encourages all toward lives of freedom from restrictions. She is not always kind, but her followers gain the power to resist those that would wrongfully hold them or others down. Those that call the road their home often say prayers to Safar, hoping to find luck and safe passage on their journey. She often receives praise when a wanderer finds a detour in their path and takes it as a sign to take a road less-traveled, and they are usually up to the challenge set before them. Temples to her are usually glorified shrines that require little upkeep, and most are made upon landmarks out at sea.
Her holy symbols consist of dolphins, and of a ship sailing away from land.
Goddess of Literature, Art
“The Mother of Bards,” “The Voice of Inspiration,” “The Divine Artist”
Sanat watches over and encourages creative endeavors that followers of Hunar might consider “frivolous.” Her followers seek to fill the world with great works of art, music, or literature, and are expected to do so. Bards are very common worshippers of Sanat. Often, the first challenge set to a bard studying at college is to create something that depicts their love of the deity. They are encouraged to create anything that expresses this feeling, and are told to not worry about what their piece says. Creation is freedom. Temples to Sanat also function as museums, music halls, or academies for the arts. Creators that output large amounts of work are revered among her followers as high priests of her order, and are often sought after for lessons and teaching.
Her holy symbol is of a quill dripping a single drop of polychrome ink.
Hunar is Sanat’s brother, Sevgi is her sister.
God of Merchants
“The King of Commerce,” “The Merchant King,” “The Master of Trade”
One of the most well-known deities, he oversees markets, businesses, and transactions. The proper exchange of money brings him great joy, for such an exchange signals growth, and – more often than not – the growing happiness of all parties involved. Merchants often find his smaller temples and shrines among busy marketplaces to make small offerings of coin or handmade baubles before their daily activities. It is not always uncommon for those leaving a small amount of coin to take one of the baubles in exchange, or vice-versa. His larger temples and his most dedicated servants that oversee them are fabulously wealthy. This wealth is moved and shared among his temples, as some of his followers are also money lenders – fair, but tough negotiators and salesmen.
His holy symbols include stacks of coins, and an open piece of parchment with a quill.
Goddess of Birth, Fertility, Life
“The Lifegiver,” “The Mother of Akaar,” “The Allmother”
Serhos is praised as the Lifegiver, and the Mother of Akaar (even though all of the pantheon had a hand in the world’s creation). She is most commonly approached by expectant mothers and couples hoping for a healthy child, born or not. Her followers are include midwives and healers within their communities. It is also not uncommon to find followers among clerics of life, and hardy adventurers seeking to smite the undead and followers of Kasal. Her temples usually double as orphanages, hospitals, and schools for young children, particularly those whose mothers pass away under the care of her worshippers.
Her holy symbols include cats, and Dogwood trees.
Goddess of Love
“The Joyheart,” “The Loveweaver,” “The Flame of Passion”
Sevgi can be a bit capricious at times, but is more often praised than cursed. She delights in watching the webs of love form and twist throughout the denizens of the land. Her followers are few, but they are passionate, and often are sought to officiate weddings and consult on relationships. She encourages the passion within people, and her followers teach that love of another is not the only form of love, but to also love yourself and that which makes you happiest, and to pursue that and to give your passion to others. The rose bush is seen as a sign of good luck for budding romances, and roses are often exchanged as tokens of admiration. Wedding ceremonies typically take place near roses or rose bushes.
Her holy symbols include doves and roses.
Sevgi is sister to Hunar and Sanat.
Goddess of the Wind, Forgiveness, Redemption, Rebrith
“The Faithful Watcher,” “The Blessed Redeemer,” “The Merciful Mistress”
A goddess of peace and forgiveness, her followers are renowned healers and helpers of all. Shamol will take and accept any, no matter their past deeds, and urge them to lives of peace and happiness. She believes that none are beyond redemption, and all should be given that chance. Some who do not understand her teachings believe Shamol and her followers to be naive fools who are doomed to be betrayed and disappointed. But Shamol’s actual teachings of peace are tempered with wisdom, and the ability to recognize when a cause is lost. Her healers possess great empathy, and will continue to care for and help those cases, but do understand when a creature is truly beyond redemption. Shamol opposes violence under any but the most extreme of circumstances. Her temples are many, but her followers also build and run hospitals along with those that worship Serhos.
Her holy symbols include horses, pegasi, and blue and white banners flying on the wind.
Goddess of Nature
“Mother Nature,” “The Wild Mistress,” “The Unrivaled Beauty”
Often inscrutable, Tabat fiercely loves and watches over all natural life. But she particularly loves plants and things that grow. Flowers and blooming trees are usually seen by her followers as signs of her beauty in the world. Her followers keep extravagant gardens as a sign of loyalty. Her followers are rarely found in cities, as those stand as affronts to nature, and often make their homes far from the trappings of civilization. They work within and around the natural world, and are taught by great matrons of her order to use the earth and Tabat’s domain to their advantage without harming it or altering it too much. Her temples are not things built, but places of hallowed ground, or natural sanctuaries made in places where nature has developed uniquely. Tabat is typically upheld as the most beautiful being in all of creation.
Her holy symbol is a waterfall pouring into a basin made from a tree.
Queen of Dragons, Goddess of Fire
“The Queen of Dragons,” “The Mother of Evil,” “The Godslayer”
A powerful, ancient red dragon that ascended to godhood after receiving the blessing of naive gods overseeing the continent of Muluth, Tiamat instantly slew the previous god of dragons, of justice and order, Baham (also known as Bahamut on Muluth), and seized his followers for herself. She is absolutely evil and endlessly malicious, and knows no mercy or forgiveness. She delights in the suffering of others, even her own followers. Her endless pride causes her to believe she is above all others, and she tolerates no dishonor or disloyalty. She grants absolutely no favor, but promises endless power to the heads of her order, merely to watch them all fight over what she will never give. Her temples are scarce, except for on Muluth, where her followers are plenty. She holds no love for any others, nor calls any ally. She is the great enemy to all.
God of Stone, Justice, Order
“The Immovable Law,” “The Mountain King,” “The Father of Doctrine”
The god of stone and earth is fierce and unyielding, strong as the mountains, and the patron of law. His resolve strengthened even further after Tiamat killed Baham, and he thus absorbed the remainder of the dead god’s domains. He swore revenge on Tiamat for her heinous actions, and the warriors and heroes that fly his banner are sworn enemies of those that worship her. Tosh’s followers place law above all other considerations, and hold others to the same standard. He places favor with his followers who become lawyers and judges, and any paladins who seek to root out injustice and chaos. His temples are typically also courthouses. His symbol is also seen above oubliettes and prisons.
Tosh’s holy symbols are of twin mountain peaks, and eight stone orbs arranged in a square pattern.
God of War
“The Bloody Barbarian,” “The Savage King,” “The Great General”
Urush is a violent god who encourages combat and violence of all sorts. All kinds of conflict fall under his domain. His followers believe that conflict equals progress and improvement for the world, and range from athletes to warlords. Self-improvement through conflict is a firmly held commandment, and thus many fighters who follow his tenets spar without holding back and without armor. This behavior encourages perfection, and a desire to learn and to do better than before. Injuries help to define one’s path through life, and are often worn with pride. Urush’s followers despise weakness and seek to better themselves and others. Instead of temples, his followers usually build arenas and coliseums in which to host violent games and fights.
His holy symbol is of a downward pointing sword dripping a single drop of blood.
God of Lies, Betrayal
“The Great Deceiver,” “The Lord of Lies,” “The Tides of Chaos”
Among the most hated of deities, he seeks to tear down the worship and love for the others – especially Yulduz and Jasor – in favor of chaos and distrust. He offers great power to his followers, which he keeps in check by sowing seeds of paranoia among them, much like Tiamat, though Yolgon does grant power when it’s deserved. It’s often considered that followers of Yolgon are more dangerous to each other than anyone else. However, those that follow the Tides of Chaos are numerous, and include powerful thieves’ guilds and assassin’s guilds, as well as a major cult that seeks to see Yolgon supplant Yulduz as the God of Knowledge so that it can be disseminated to only the worthy. He tends to not have temples, as his followers usually worship in secret.
His holy symbols include scorpions, a dagger, and shackles.
Goddess of the Moon, Stars, Seasons, Knowledge
“The Librarian,” “The Allscholar,” “The Eversage”
She is the matron of scholars. Her followers consider all knowledge sacred, and it is their duty to search it out and share it. Ignorance is the true enemy, even when it comes to hidden, lost, or forbidden knowledge. It is no surprise then that her followers strongly oppose those that follow the Tides of Chaos, Yolgon. When Bilim, the previous god of knowledge, died in the Many Gods War, Yolgon attempted to seize the domain for himself, but Yulduz was stronger following the war, and kept the greedy god from it. The addition of a fourth domain taxed the god, and her followers fear that the more knowledge that is lost or remains undiscovered, the weaker she will become, and Yolgon may see an opportunity to strike. Her clerics and wizards see the bright stars and the bright moon of the night sky as a symbol of Yulduz bringing light to the hidden and the unknown. She also oversees the seasons as, with new knowledge, the world must change. Her followers typically build and keep up libraries in her name.
Her holy symbols include stars arranged in the shape of a crescent, and an open tome on an altar under the moon.
And that’s it! Those are the gods within the pantheon of Akaar! It was a lot of work figuring everything out, and figuring out how the gods interacted with each other, and how their personalities entwined and how their stories were interwoven. Some of them are in love, some of them hate each other. Some are merely rivals.
It’s very interesting to see a moving, fluid pantheon like this – I definitely like it. There’s a lot of potential here for how they’ll affect the story of Akaar, and the eventual campaigns that take place upon it.
What do you look for in a pantheon? How do you arrange yours? What kind of domains do you include? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time – Well Met!