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What If The DM Was One of Us…

Written by Krystal - Published on April 19, 2010

DeityOften times we find ourselves skimming over the “Deity” section or simply scrawling down a name on the character sheet and forgetting it for the rest of the game, in many different groups I’ve noticed people open to the deity section in their players handbook simply for a cloud of dust to puff out and choke everyone, the hand of fate? Or simple misuse? Ever wonder the curious things that a deity can add to a DnD game?

A Deity can be a BIG part of a game, it can be the driving force or it can be non existent in a game, it’s all up to you.  But as a DM what can you do so as to spice up having a deity? Pros? Cons? Both? Yes! Just like everything else in DnD it is not the “perfect fix” for your PC’s, there is no perfect race, no perfect deity, and no perfect class, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have preferences anyways. Players need a reason to actively seek out a deity, or perhaps you introduce your own in game, this can be interesting quests if your players decide to go along with this deity; spreading the word and fighting glorious battles in the name of [insert your creative and original Deity name here]!!!!!!

Creating a Deity can be as simple as a name, and a purpose, they could be a complete mystery, or they can be well known, you can also make them as complex as having a history, a background, a way they became a God, sons, daughters, lovers, curses they put on someone, etc. etc. It all depends on how big of a roll that you want them to play in your games, and how much you feel like doing. As it is your world you can either choose the deities that are set in the DnD World which are scattered among many different books, or you can take from older pantheons such as greek mythology or egyption gods, you can use any your hearts desire and don’t feel limited to one set of Gods; use them all! Just don’t get too over whelmed.

Okay, okay I get it, I can do what I want. But how do I integrate God’s into games?

Good question, and I suspect you are looking for an equally good answer. Let’s say your pesky players free spirited, open minded, and not burdened by the bonds of a God PC’s decide to, well, NOT choose a deity and you have it planned that you really want to run a religious, God smashing, puny human munching game! Simple, Deity’s can affect all parts of the world if your PC’s like it or not, they can directly throw the characters into dastardly situations, or bribe them with grand ideals and mounds of riches. The idea’s are endless, really.

When you are introducing a deity if you can don’t reveal the identity of a deity immediately if they are taking a direct hand in the events of an adventure, and if you do then give them a mystical feel about them — remember, they’re not just some extra PC, they are much more than that. Let the players know that this force operates in a realm that is outside of their control, imagine the PC’s meeting the DM in game, that’s exactly what you need to illustrate. They can’t slit the deity’s throat, and they are unable to take them on or even think about it especially at lower levels.

A good example of a God constantly interfering in games is I have a chaotic God whom I  named Hespherus, and all around the world he randomly has shrines, mazes, abandoned buildings that pop up to lure the adventurers into his maze of wonderment! A place with no real direction and lacking any amount of logic. I often times let the players just go at it, and if I like what they do I run with it, or I counter it. I had a follower of Hespherus randomly start drawing doors in a place where there was none, knocking on it and speaking with an old lady whom refused them entrance, of course this game continued on to a greater extent (ahh, the wonders of chalk! I could do a whole article based only upon it. Haha.) and ended up abandoning the original plan and allowed them to wonder in this new realm created by this playful, charming Lord of Chaos.

Chaos can be defined in a few ways, it can be simply the lack of order and logic or it can be the cause of mayhem and madness. Make sure when you align your gods that you do so with caution — make sure they act their alignment, do some research and put some thought behind your creations actions, otherwise people will feel confused and probably lose interest if you don’t do it “right”. This is a fickle matter, so tread on it careful — but as usual the most important thing is creativity and have fun!

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Written by Krystal

At a young age, my mother opened up her own gaming store. We had two game rooms, an office, and the front area which had a ton of miniatures and books. I helped manage that store for several years, my mother teaching me the ropes and treating me like an adult so I could learn. Even beyond that she played games at stores like Haster Hobbies and several other places. In fact, my parents met gaming! DnD kind of runs in my blood, as well as any other gaming you can think of. I’m simply a gamer at heart, an artist, and a jack of all trades. I love to write and that’s why I’m here at Dungeon Mastering! I’m going to be going to school for Video Game Design, and my bf is going to school so he can publish Core Rule Sets. In the short few years I’ve been with him I’ve learned all about how to create my own rule system and create a game from the ground up! But my expertise is not limited to DnD alone. I’ve ventured far into Call of Cthullu, and beyond to games like Shadowrun and some White Wolf games..though I’m not a big fan of dice pools. :)

Anyways! Gaming is my passion and my life. I game constantly, go to conventions, and so much more! Maybe I’ll see you there! Happy Gaming!

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8 Responses to “What If The DM Was One of Us…”
  1. Tourq says:

    I love reading about obscure parts of the game that usually don’t get much attention. Thanks.


  2. Swordgleam says:

    Gods are a huge part of the game I’m running right now. Every character in the party but one is tied to a god in some way, and they all strive to do their deity’s bidding. It’s funny, though – the better the party knows a particular god, the less they trust them. They’re rather suspicious of Torog (their paladin’s god) and Melora (the ranger and swordmage’s patron), but they’ll take anything a cleric of Ioun tells them on faith.

    By the way, small grammatical thing that you do a couple times in the article – apostrophe s shows possession, not plural. “how do I integrate God’s into games” should be “how do I integrate Gods into games,” etc.

  3. Chuck says:

    When I start to brain storm a new campaign setting, the first thing I do is work on the pantheon. I like to a little twist on each of the gods so they aren’t just stereotypical or background fluff that can be ignored. Plus it sets the tone for the whole world. It can who cultures get along or don’t. Prejudices, festivals and all sorts of cultural tid bits.

  4. kocho says:

    That’s strange.
    In most of my games deities are often major opponents (in epic level) and if not they often are major protagonists or at least unwitting pawns.

  5. Krystal says:

    Yeah, sometimes people use them in big parts. :P These are commonly my experiences,

    Thanks for the positive comments, and thanks for pointing out my grammatical error. I have issues with that one. :) I’ll watch out for it next time.

  6. Sean Holland says:

    Gods, or at least faiths and beliefs, are important to any setting. But, as you say, it depends on what players what in their game, some enjoy exploring in-game religions others shy away from such. However, I think they should exist in most campaign world, even if only as backdrop, as it ads to the depth of the setting.

  7. Bryan Smart says:

    Wonderful article. The games I’ve set up where deities play a major role end up being very memorable campaigns, especially when you get a sense of the god’s personality through holy places, followers, etc. “Those red-robed cultists! I hate those guys!”

    As a side note, there are more than a few grammatical errors/issues here. I’m surprised an editor didn’t catch them. This is still a very good article despite those issues.

  8. Alex B says:

    One of my favorite parts about d&d is using deities that are extemely involved in worldly affairs and also have human flaws. To contrast the omnipotent trascendental powers that are worshipped in real life just wouldn’t be as fun.

    Even worse than filling in a deity randomly is filling in an alignment. I always loved the concept but it’s really a broken system.

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