The deities of Vandakar start simple, four gods each cursing humanity. The D&D pantheon linked above is based on the old 9-point alignment system.
The Trinity: Earth, Moon and Sun
More recently it reminds me of a Burning Wheel campaign we started a few years ago. We riffed the cosmology off of the Sun, Moon and Earth. The Sun was a resplendent mother goddess. The Earth was a stern father who oversaw death and the Moon was a transgender deity, sometimes depicted the child of the Sun and Earth. The vikings to the north beyond the sea were heretics because they worshiped the Stars, Sea and Moon…heretics!
The kingdom was split into 3 parts, with each part prioritizing a different one of the trinity. For family names I grabbed words from those three concepts: Sun (Corona, Helios, Sol, Yavanna, Aule, Apollo, Laurelin, Surya), Moon (Luna, Tilion, Orome, Mani, Hecate, Crescent, Gibbous, Horned) and Earth (Gaia, Terra, Steele).
The con scenario I ran recently had a heretic holy knight of an order who worshipped the World Serpent. In a game about spending a dragon’s hoard, I only chose the World Serpent in order to keep draconic imagery all over the place but its a rich enough myth and honestly, just plain cool-sounding enough that it evokes cool fantasy stuff.
The World Serpent
In the house-game I ran with the World Serpent heretic, a failed Faith roll getting help from a dozen nuns led to the nuns’ eyes flashing open with reptilian pupils. After the word of the World Serpent came through the helpful nuns, they were all left blind and mad. In the con game, Mayuren’s incarnation of the heretic called on a Minor Miracle to strike down a greedy duke. Upon a successful roll, the dragon’s head in the cart came to life, eyes glowing and it breathed fire, burning the duke to cinders.
So, fast cosmologies:
- Based on simple concepts (Earth, Moon and Sun), Numbers (four deities cursed humanity) that can lead to further complexities and mysteries unveiled through play.
- Mine the simple concepts for cool imagery and names.
- Cosmologies should hint at something greater, different points of view and ambiguities but you don’t have to bake that in to start. Start simple and let the mysteries, heresies and complexities happen through interactions with the players and their conflicts.
Thoughts, comments and examples of such things from play are welcomed.