Content of the article: "custom MTG pantheon for DND 5e looking for feedback of any kind"
Custom MTG inspired pantheon for D&D
Before we get started this is my first post on reddit so i really don't know if I'm following proper procedure of posting this, i have posted it all over trying to get feed back, but I thought this was the best place to get as many eyes on my ideas at once. So i apologize if anything seems weirdly worded or silly in general i did my best and i hope it all makes sense
This pantheon is something of a passion project for me. im not the biggest into world building as a DM I generally just build the world around where the players are currently standing, with the exception of a few story focused locations. However the idea of a fully customized and home brewed pantheon is something that has always intrigued me. I love how fractal the process is and how symmetrical you can get the final product and this is something im incredibly proud of. This pantheon includes 7 creatures from Magic: The Gathering only one of which is even a god in that game. I decided to take inspiration from my favorite creatures that seem to align well with being a god, rather than just take the already preexisting gods from the mtg universe. Also one important thing to note here is while these gods share the name and appearance of their card game counterparts they are inspirations not copies. I went out of my way to look up minimal canonical lore and in most cases none at all when designing this pantheon so their backstories will be unique to them and not carbon copies.
One thins however i'm not incredibly happy with is I decided there will be 7 gods (3 good, 3 evil, 1 neutral) before i realized there were 7 domains. When i first realized this I was excited because its another piece of the puzzle that just fit right into place. In application however it proved a bit of a nuisance, I was put into a position of either making 2 gods share the same domain or making some make a little bit less sense narrative. i ultimately went with the latter because i figured if anything it will give me the chance to prove some story telling ability and at the very least i can just recommend a secondary subdomain that if you want to play with that as the god you follow you can choose that one instead if you so choose.
MAGICAL ITEMS INTRO
One more bit of information to put in here is each of my gods in my pantheon has a magical item that is hidden somewhere in the world. The game play reason is so that it gives something for your high level clerics to strive to find and use as they are representative of their gods, only they can use them, and they can be absolutely overpowered and only meant for late game use. the narrative reason they are on the material plane is the gods while friendly with each other and respect each other for who they are, they are miles from trusting each other and fear their item being stolen by another god and used against the rest. Each one of these items will be detailed along with the gods as we go through them i just wanted it to be explained here before we move on.
Obviously inspired by the Magic: The Gathering card mother of runes. The runic morher is my Chaotic good goddess of the life domain. Runic mother is known to heal and provide shelter to anybody in need. Famous for teaching the way of loving thy enemy her followers roam the land in search of damaged landscapes, broken communities, and injured warriors with only the intent to mend all that they can before setting off to their next journey, they seldom will harm anybody or anything choosing to instead watch and heal those whom need it as needed. Those whom believe in the word of The Runic Mother believe that a life served to her is one that will be rewarded with an afterlife filled with happiness and joy.
Her magical item is the cauldron of runes. Hidden somewhere in the world it is only recognizable by a 16th level or higher cleric that is devoted to only her. When that cleric sees the cauldron it will be covered in hundreds of swirling runes that seem to transition colors from green to blue to yellow and back to green. The runes will be recognizable to that cleric ad The Runic Mothers prayer as well as some high healing runes, as well as some very ancient runes that are believed to have been lost to time. When any other person looks at the cauldron it just looks like a typical black cauldron with absolutely nothing special about it, it even has general burn marks on the bottom from use.
When filled with water and placed over a fire the cauldron will naturally begin to boil the water. When this happens if a devoted cleric says The Runic Mothers prayer over it the water will suddenly thicken and stop boiling. The product of this ritual is the elixir of healing and the cauldron can make 10 every day. When drank the elixir of healing immediately heals the user the equivalent of a supreme healing potion, (10d4 + 20) and for the next minute every round on their turn they heal an additional greater healing potions worth of HP (4d4 + 4). Additionally when thrown at an undead enemy if the potion touches them at all the undead must make a con save of DC 18 on a fail they take 10d4 + 20 damage.
Hallar is my Good god of the light domain. It is believed that every morning Hallar notches one of his arrows and shoots it into the sky. As it shoots across the heavens it brings daylight to the world in the form of the sun. Followers of Hallar believe that goodness will come to those whom provide it. Unlike followers of The Runic Mother, followers of Hallar are not afraid to hurt, injure, wound, or kill in the name of good. Is there a group of bandits terrorizing a town? Hallars followers will follow them into their own territory to wipe them out or even stay up and keep watch so the families that live in that town can sleep easy.
Hallar's magical item is the aptly named Bow of Hallar. This bow is not the one he uses to shoot the sun into the sky every morning, instead it is the very same bow he used as a child god several thousand years ago. Recognizable by a Follower of Hallar at 16th level or higher, whether that be a cleric or paladin, by a blazing bowstring on a bright gold bow. It looks like a normal wooden unstringed bow to everybody else. When used there is no need to notch an arrow instead the bow can generate three different types of arrows when pulling back the bowstring, these arrows take the appearance of a straight arrow made of light that lets off a faint glow.
The first type of arrow is simply the light arrow, when used it generates the Daylight spell and the Sunbeam spell at the same time, When shot it creates a 5-foot-wide, 60-foot long line each creature in the line must make a constitution saving throw. on a failed save, the creature takes 8d10 radiant damage and is blinded and on a success it takes half as much damage and isn't blinded. undead and oozes have disadvantage on the saving throw. The arrow will then hit a target or a wall and generate the daylight spell from that point for an hour. It is believe that this is the arrow Hallar used as a boy to practice shooting the sun across the sky.
The second type of arrow is the explosive arrow. When used it can be shot at a target or near one for less damage. When an enemy is hit with the explosive arrow the creature takes 10d6 fire damage and 6d6 bludgeoning damage, all creatures within 10 feet of the explosion must make a dexterity saving throw of 16. On a failed save the creature takes 6d6 fire damage and 6d6 bludgeoning damage. On a successful save the creature takes half damage
The third type of arrow is the Flame wall arrow. This arrow casts the Wall Of Fire spell. When shot the attacker determines the path of the arrow, when passing through the point designated to be the wall of fire, Flames will rise from the ground 20 ft high,1 ft thick, and up to 60 ft wide. When the wall appears each creature within 5 feet of the wall must make a dexterity saving throw. On a failed save the creature takes 10d10 fire damage, and half as much damage on a successful save. Creatures on one side of the wall that the attacker determines when the arrow is shot takes an additional 10d10 damage if it ends its turn within 5 feet of the wall. Creatures also take 10d10 damage when they enter the wall for the first time on a turn or ends there. The other side of the wall deals no damage.
Arcades is my lawful good god of the Knowledge domain. Believing in the way of speak softly but carry a big stick, Arcades and his followers will very seldom strike first in any battle. Instead they will put up large defenses and strategics their way through battle with as few casualties as possible until they find either a common ground and cease the fight, or until they outwit the opponent and force them to submit. However if no resolution can be found they will have no issues eliminating the threat ahead of them. Some might say arcades being a strategist and master of battle would be the head of the War domain and now Knowledge, Arcades however disagrees. Arcades sees war as a first option for the weak minded and a last option for the intelligent, He urges his followers to spend more time studying battle theory and practice only on targets that are either willing, fake, or deserving.
Arcades hidden item is the Shield of Arcades. This shield is said to have been used to defend entire cities on its own and legend says it destroyed half the opposing army while doing so, These legends have some basis in fact as there are many cases throughout history of invading armies being pushed out of an invasion that they should have won without any casualties, instead being almost wiped out and not a single fire set within the city.
The shield is immediately recognized by a follower of Arcades at level 16 or higher,either cleric or paladin, by the shields inscription that has the symbol of arcades (Swords crossed behind a book) as well as Arcades words below ("War is for the weak of might, Victory is for those strong of mind"). th anybody else looking at the shield it appears as a normal wooden kite shield.
When equipped the shield provides the wearer with a +3 to their AC. It can also be used as a weapon however and acts as a war hammer when done so, however when swing a mysterious force seems to guide the shield so it deals 3d8 bludgeoning damage instead of the standard 1d8. It can also create an invisible wall of force. By slamming the edge of the shield into the ground a magical barrier will raise that prevents all physical or magical. It is essentially the Wall of force spell however it is 1 foot thick and can be spun into any form around the party or enemies. It requires no concentration to keep up however when the shield is reequipped to its owner it will dispel the wall. The shield can also blink to and from its owner in an instant allowing them to have 3 casts of the Shield spell per short rest, as well as having the ability to trap a group of enemies with the wall of force then summoning the shield back to their side when you have gotten far enough away from the threat.
The Neutral goddess of the Nature domain is Kaalia. (this is absolutely one that suffers a bit from the domain dilemma i mentioned earlier but i think i got it to make sense) Kaalia is known to the world as the peace keeper. With dominion over 3 separate factions to keep the others in check she is the line between the world order falling to either the 3 good gods or the 3 evil ones. When a good god is overstepping their divine territory and growing too powerful she will send a small army of demons to negotiate or force the god to relinquish some power. If an evil god is growing too powerful instead a swarm of angels will smite them back into their place. And finally always at Kaalia's side is her neutral herd of dragons to defend her place on the center throne. Followers of Kaalia believe in balance, they know there is no light without dark and they intend to always keep it that way. They are just as interested in shutting down a church that has a little too much power as they are in destroying a band of gnoll raiders. They look for the peace in nature the seemingly infinite seas that part for the equally expansive mountain ranges, the parallels of a bird hatching from its egg to a tiger stalking a baby deer, all the life and death and the ways of the world and the balance of nature is how they feel closest to their goddess of nature and neutrality.
Kaalia's magical weapon is her Spear of Dominance. It has the ability to control and tame any living creature. It is immediately recognized by a follower of Kaalia that is at 16th level or higher, either cleric or paladin, because the spear is seemingly made of solid gold with a thin magical braid of red and green weaving itself around the handle constantly dancing and moving. At the tip right below where the blade comes to a point there are 3 stones, one is red, another is green, and the last is completely clear. The spear of Kaalia appears as just a regular wooden spear with a flint tip to anybody unworthy. When a follower of Kaalia holds the spear they can use it to determine the alignment of any creature they choose. If the creature is good the green stone will glow, evil and the red stone will glow, and if they are neutral the clear one will glow.
A follower of Kaalia can use the spear to calm any hostile creature or cause a non aggressive creature to become aggressive on their behalf no matter their morals or alignment. The spear can also summon either a young dragon of any type, a horned devil, or a deva. You can summon any one or all of these but only once each per day. Casting time is one action and can only summon one at a time however you can have multiple summoned at a time. The summoned creature is obedient to the caster for one hour or until dismissed. Use the monster manual entry to determine the creatures actions and they move independently on the initiative track.
Korvold is the Chaotic Evil god of the tempest domain. Korvold and his followers believe in doing what they wish as they wish especially when it means someone else has to pay the price for their actions. incredible selfish and downright greedy Korvold and his followers would take a healing spell from an ally only to then throw them in lava just to use their screaming body as a bridge to the other side. Korvold was once a regular god in the same vein of Hallar or the Runic mother, however when he attempted to overthrow the entire pantheon for his own selfish gains Kaalia called for his death and planned to replace him with a different more worthy Chaotic god. It was the runic mother however that stepped in and convinced Kaalia to not murder him but to instead warp him and change him into the draconic form he now has. In this form Kaalia is able to control him just as she can with other dragons however him being a god himself he can fight the influence to an extent so while he may not be able to seize as much power as he wishes, he can still maintain his own domain of destruction greed and sacrifice. Korvold's followers gain the power to tame and use the chaotic powers of the storms, calling down lightning from the heavens or swirling up the sea itself to reap destruction on whoever or whatever they can for their own personal gains.
Korvold's magical item is the Dagger of Korvold it is recognizable to a follower of Korvold at 16th level or higher, either cleric or paladin, by its faint red glow and the handle having an etching of a storm cloud striking lightning down on a temple spire. The dagger also appears to always have blood dripping from it that seems to disappear before ever touching the ground as it drips off the edge of the blade. To anybody else the dagger just looks like a generic dagger made of simple steel.
When a follower of Korvold hits an enemy with the dagger the enemy must make a con save of DC18, on a failed save the creature takes 12d8 piercing damage. On a success the creature takes half that much damage. Notable when the dagger is pulled from the creature anybody watching will see the dagger come out completely clean with no blood on it however the wielder or anybody that follows Kolrvold and is worthy will see the blood flow from the handle and go inside the veins of the wielder. When an creature is killed by the Dagger of Korvold the wielder regains 2d10 hit points and has advantage on all attack rolls against enemies of the same type for the next hour.
The Evil god of the Trickery Domain is Phenax. Phenax and his followers believe in self preservation and gain through the use of deceit and the shadows. It is not uncommon for not only clerics and paladins to be followers of Phenax but also rogues hoping to gain the blessing of the god of lies. You can expect followers of Phenax to always put their interests above anybody else they have no moral obligation to anybody else and do not believe there is honor among thieves, they are not above cutting off their own mothers hand for coming too close to their coin purse. You can find his followers everywhere from the dregs of the kingdom all the way up to the king's council. They will very seldom worship openly because they do not trust anybody else's opinions on their lifestyle.
Phenax's magical item is the Mask of Phenax. It is immediately recognizable to a follower of phenax, either cleric or paladin (however if you have a rogue that has worshiped him for a long time it could be very understandable they would fit in this camp too), at 16th level or higher because it is an exquisite full face mask made of gold that seems to flow and change shape and form, the eyes shift colors from a dark red to a deep blue into a sharp green even though it seems there is nothing there at all. To anybody else the mask just looks like a leather face mask that a child might wear while playing.
While this mask has no in combat use it might be more powerful than most of the other items. When a follower of Phenax wears the mask they magically change into any sentient being they can think of the only thing they need is their name and a time of that person's life they want to look like. This includes people that the wearer has never met or seen, it can even be a long dead historical figure that hasn't walked the material plane in 1,000 years. As long as the wearer knows their name the mask will instantly transform them into that person, this includes not limit to size including height and width and also their voice will be completely identical to the person they are emulating. They can even choose the age that they wish to look like. For example, if there is an old woman whom told you her husband left for war when she was young and never returned, as long as she provides you his name you can imitate his appearance on the day he left allowing you to possibly bend her to your will and rob her blind if your'e so inclined. The only real limit to its power however, is that it does not cause you to mimic their mannerisms, if the person you are imitating had a leg twitch every time he heard his name you wont replicate that action unless you choose to do so.
The final god in my pantheon is the Lawful Evil god of the War Domain Thantis. This is honestly my favorite of the gods in my pantheon because it is the first one i made and she is what inspired the whole thing. Thantis and her followers believe a death in battle is the only death that is honorable. She doesn't care what brings you to war she only cares that your'e there. It is believed that in the skys of every great battle Thantis is in the heavens above weaving a web between the stars so catch the souls of those whom fall in the fight. The moon in the sky is said to be the egg that she hatched from and she left the shell in the sky as a reminder to all the people that she is there and she deserves respect. True followers of Thantis are a rare sight, most people whom pray to her are those whom are going to war for selfish reasons like coin, or have been sent by draft by their king and only wish to make her happy with prayer in a feeble attempt to have her grant favor upon them in the fights ahead. Thantis however is more interested in the souls that any one person can provide her with, the higher your death count, or your potential death count, the more she will like you. Followers of Thantis will be sure to dedicate every kill they have to Thantis and thank her for allowing them to get stronger. Being the god of war it hard to truly get her favor since war is everywhere at almost all times.
Thantis' magical item is The Tapestry Of Thantis. It is a tapestry that Thantis herself weaved from her own silk, it depicts every battle of every war of the past, present, and future. It is immediately recognizable to a follower of Thantis, either cleric or paladin (however just like the rogue with phenax it could be argued that a barbarian might swear allegiance to her as well), at 16th level or higher buy its faint red and gold glow that it emits. The tapestry is 3 foot tall and 5 foot wide and had shimmering gold borders. To anybody else the tapestry looks like a generic area rug with a generic coat of arms or symbol embroidered in it. When a worthy follower of thantis looks at the tapestry the can think of any battle that has or will take place and know the outcome of the battle, as well as any key survivors or casualties of the fight. When a follower sees a battle they will partake however they will not get a definitive answer. Instead they can learn all of the attributes of one type of creature that will be in the battle as well as advantage on all attacks and saving throws that will happen, anybody else that they tell will also gain these benefits. The scale of what the tapestry has documented is limitless meaning that a follower can see the outcome of a simple bar fight all the way up to the result of an attempted uprising of the throne.
While I am very proud of this pantheon as mentioned in the intro there some silly things that could be cleaner. The biggest thing I want to address is the domains, while Thantis and Phenax are obviously war and trickery, Kaalia being nature and Korvold being tempest was a bit of a stretch. So that is why I want to recommend if anybody ever uses this in their D&D game that they could use Korvold as a god of the war domain as well and perhaps Kaalia be Knowledge or something along those lines. For what i had to work with I think I tied it all in pretty well though and i am incredibly proud of what ive made here and I cant wait to use these gods in my campaign. I could have easily made all these gods their own custom person too, taking out their MTG back story in favor of my own really just means that they are shells that i have filled with my own stuff. However i love Magic The Gathering and i incorporate a lot of MTG characters in my game, like mikaeus being an evil necromantic dictator to a city of undead that he made himself, or the slivers being an ongoing pest and nuisance until the story takes the players into their nest where they are death machines. So having an MTG pantheon just made sense, I didn't want to just use their gods just because they had their own backstory already so I crafted my own around the faces that I love and that i play with sometimes around my kitchen table with my wife and friends.
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