Long ago, the gods were far more present in the world.
This lead to a number of problems, and a whole lot of holy wars. It all came to blows when the god of dining, (Fuudi) threw down with the god of expediency, (Max) whose followers had just invented fast food. The Sandwich Jihad lasted for twenty-six years, wiped out two nations, rearranged the borders, and ended with both gods dead, and their allied deities so upset about it that the resulting God Wars went through the pantheon of Generica like a wildfire.
Two centuries later, twelve gods remain, patching up the holes, still absorbing the dead gods' pantheons, and trying to run around making it work. They now have a strict rule about interference, with no divine materializations or avatars allowed, and an "Everyone-gets-equal-influence" rule. Basically, every time a god does something that isn't within the carefully written divine code of conduct, their rival gets allowed an equal act, or amount of influence.
Since most gods get along like the high school students of your choice, this usually serves to keep things in check. Although some of the rivalries are more serious than others, most of the time it works.
Most of the time.
Then, forty years ago, just as they were getting things sorted out the world changed. Words appeared to mortals, empowering them with things the gods never intended. Some took it in stride. Others... not so much.
The most common theory among the gods is that one of their dead brethren was holding something in check. And with his death, a forbidden seal broke, or something escaped, and now the world is chaos because of it.
None of them want to admit the second-most-common theory, even though it preys on their minds. The notion that whatever happened has nothing to do with them, and there is a greater power in control of the world than even the gods...
Of the twelve gods, thirteen are worshipped and provide powers to their clerics and oracles.
Yes, I know. One of them's technically dead. See the descriptions below, that should clear it up a bit.
Gods are touchable in two ways by clerics. Well more, since technically they're the source of clerics' powers. Yes, clerics get all the healie and helpy stuff regardless of their god, but there's two level one spells which have significant impact depending on which god they're from.
Oracles are different. Oracles happen when a mortal accomplishes something of great significance to a particular god. They get the chance to be an oracle, and those who follow the call have the double-edged joy of a more personal relationship with their patron.
The "Pray to..." spell lets a cleric contact their patron god. The mortal can speak directly with the god, and usually use the spell to ask for advice. Though the gods aren't allowed to give TOO much away in a pray spell, they can and do subtly nudge things toward a suitable conclusion for that god. In the end, though, it's up to the cleric to decipher the advice and follow and implement it. And some gods get pissy if you use it too much. They've got shit to do, making the world do world stuff, go figure it out yourself!
Then there's Godspell. Godspell lets the cleric have one spell that clerics of other deities don't get. That godspell is different for each deity. It's usually helpful, and fairly minor in the grand scheme of things.
THE TWELVE(THIRTEEN) GODS
Aeterna, Lady of Time is not the oldest god, but she's a close second after Konol. It usually comes down to her and Nebs arguing over it, while the rest of the gods roll their eyes and find excuses to be elsewhere. But when she's not trying to put Nebs in his place, she's busy making sure time runs as it's meant to. A more difficult job than you'd expect, these days. That said, she's tolerant, a bit of a workaholic, and tends to be as curt and to the point as possible. Which is probably why dwarves make up her largest following.
Aeterna asks that her followers be punctual, thorough, and resist the incursion of cosmic entities that would destroy time. All things in all, it's not much to ask, really. Prayers to Aeterna are answered relatively quickly, simply, and efficiently, though she's not without a sense of compassion and will provide a shoulder to cry upon for someone in need.
Aeterna's Godspell is called Extend Life, and by casting it, you ensure that the target will not die of old age-related issues for the next year. However... it doesn't prevent aging, or any of the aches and pains that come with it. As such, most use it to ensure they get a few more years to wrap up their business, and do that thing they always meant to do, before they go to the great beyond.
Aeterna has quite a few oracles, she chooses philosophical sorts who are very orderly. Part of this is because she's come to regard the changeover as a necessary evil, and is experimenting with it. Though no job her oracles have unlocked has been able to do time travel (yet), the concept intrigues her, and she was the reason Time Mages were an early Tier 2 class to surface. (Also Time lords, though that was more of an accident and she's seriously annoyed about the whole incident.) In essence, Aeterna is experimenting with her own concept's power. This could be a good or bad thing, but fortunately for everyone she's going about it in a smart way.
Aeterna has a rivalry with Yorgum, and he is so very, very frustrated that she's winning. She doesn't hate the guy, but her tagline is that time wears down all things built, and, well, she IS time.
Agnes is the goddess everyone loves to hate.
You've known a follower of Agnes, we all have. Agnes is the goddess of cruelty and the abuse of authority. She's the patron of tyrants, bad teachers, and folks who long to be hurt. She's a busy goddess, but fortunately she loves her job. And she's surprisingly merciful, when approached properly. If you know you're in for a bad time, make an offering and take your punishment like a good boy, and she'll make it quick. Or ask her to toughen you up for an ordeal, and she'll take to the job with gusto.
Prayers to Agnes are usually answered with mockery and verbal abuse, and sometimes form a regular part of the praying cleric's love life, much to her amusement. But if you can take the abuse, then she'll grudgingly provide an answer that's often more helpful than that of many of her peers.
Agnes' godspell, to no one's surprise, is "Enhance Pain." The fact that it's a common cultist spell raises some eyebrows, but she insists that she came up with it first and brandishes her riding crop at anyone who insists otherwise while glaring at them over her spectacles. Agnes has very few oracles, though she does have a soft spot for those who have suffered more than they ought to, and sometimes "blesses" them with fun powers.
She regards the changeover as an opportunity for more chaos and suffering, and is validated by the fact that to gain levels, adventurers must cause and suffer pain. Although on the whole, the changeover is rather disorderly, which irks her. Clearly, the answer is more punishment until it gets sorted out.
Agnes has a rivalry with Hoon the Wanderer, who doesn't sweat the small stuff and benefits when the rules aren't too tight and people are enjoying life. Oddly enough, to their peers (Though they'd never comment on it) Hoon and Agnes seem like an old married couple when they fight. And their shameful hookups are studiously ignored by the other gods.
Gank. Oh, Gank. Gank is the god of murder and overkill.
Gank is the reason we can't have nice things.
He is the god of solving your problems with violence, permanently, regardless of the problems it causes. There's not much else to him, he's simple and brutal and most polite socities pretend that they never worship him or curry his favor. But he know. He knows you'll be back, when it's time to spray that blood or go in for awesome vengeance.
Prayers to Gank usually aren't very helpful, unless you want him to cheer you on. His suggestions always involve killing your problem, or killing people until your problem's gone. Still, he occasionally lets things slip he shouldn't, if you approach him the right way.
His godspell is Dolorous Strike, which kills things HARDER.
Oracles of Gank rarely come to it as a first class. Usually somebody who slaughters enough people or leads a marauding horde attracts his attention, and gets his blessing. Style counts too, not just numbers.
Gank is fine with the switchover. Business as usual for him either way, and he doesn't do philosophy so he doesn't think much on the deeper ramifications. Thinking cuts into murderin' time!
Gank is Nurph's chief rival, and the two have epic screaming matches that usually end up with a lot of the scenery being broken and the other gods holding them back. Nurph tries to reign in Gank's fun, and fuck that noise! Fucking wimp!
And then there's Hoon the wanderer, the original party boy. He's been through a few names, mainly because his followers are big on exploring new places and meeting new people. Hoon is the one that's stuck, and he's the patron of trade and travel.
Hoon is jolly, clever, and really bad at following rules, especially with regards to staying out of other people's territory, or if there's coin to be made. But he's so charismatic that most forgive him. Eventually. He DOES miss the days when he could divinely manifest, as he left a string of semi-divine bastards from one end of the continent to the other, but eh. He just has to live vicariously through his clerics now. They unsurprisingly view indulgence and partying as a sacred work.
Oracles of Hoon usually wake up to their new state after a seriously wicked bender, though a few come at it by doing unexpectedly good business.
His godspell is Winning Smile, which lets priests and priestesses make good first impressions and hopefully avoid being Ganked off hand for being foreigners.
Hoon doesn't know what to make of the switchover. Overall he doesn't like it, because now there's all these RULES and STUFF and man it's a drag. On the other hand, it means that a lot more adventurers have to move around if they want to keep leveling, and he's FINALLY getting a handle on how the economy should work now that loot-replicating dungeons and gold-dropping wild animals are a thing. It's still a mess, but it looks like there might be a way to make it a PROFITABLE mess, so that's all well and good.
Hoon is Agnes' rival, and he sends her into frenzies by refusing to take her seriously. But she gets her own back, with this little invention she called taxes, and boy does it hurt him to see his followers pay those...
Konol the First is not actually one of the dozen remaining gods because, well, they're dead.
But they died before this god war nonsense. In a way, they're the first thing that ever truly died. Konol is also genderless, because they were around before all that nonsense started.
You see, Konol is widely credited with pulling the world from the black sea that was all creation was until they came along. But the act was so mighty that they fell down dead after doing it. Konol asks for nothing save that their work not be in vain... at least that's what his clerics assume. Their prayers to this genderless deity are reportedly like touching the slumbering, dreaming mind of something vast and benevolent in an unfocused way.
Konol doesn't exactly advise, as show images related to the topic the cleric raises. It's nowhere as good as Oracle's visions though, but a wise cleric can use it to sort his thoughts out, and Konol doesn't mind. It's good to have company, when you're dead.
Konol's Godspell is a weird one, though. The name of it is an odd mix of letters and numbers arranged in groups of six, and to date, no one's found a use for it. Konol has a lot of oracles, more in recent years. They seem to be concerned about creation being at risk, ever since the incursion of the words forty years ago. The change has worried Konol, and the tiny part of him that's not completely dead is very concerned about it.
Konol has no rivals. All the other twelve gods respect him and want him alive again. With one exception...
All the gods want Konol alive again except Nebs. That's because Nebs is the goddess of death and theft, and she earned her title by stealing Konol's life and passing him beyond.
Nebs allows no exceptions. She's impartial, can't be reasoned with, and really, theft is only in there because a few gods died horribly back in the god wars. But since assassins and other roguely types who kill often need a patron too, she's set aside her druthers to be their goddess.
Prayers to Nebs are surprisingly informal, and she's happy to talk about anything, really. Smart clerics of hers know this, and offer her prayers to tell them about their lives, or things that don't involve work. She actually appreciates the chance to catch up on things outside her purview, and usually repays personal consideration with good advice, or comfort.
Nebs' Godspell is Fast as Death, which lets its user either escape trouble or kill faster, so either way it's good for her people to have.
Nebs has Oracles, but weirdly, she's not in charge of handing that job out. It usually happens when someone has a brush with death, or steals something with major, major consequences. She's as surprised as anyone else when her oracles turn up, and those that survive, she tries to ease into their power.
Nebs is fine with the changeover. Makes her job easier in some ways... it used to be that people wailed and cursed death. Now everyone accepts that if your hit points hit zero, that's it. It's lesssened the number of angry souls, when she finally meets them.
Nebs has a rivalry with Rando/RNG, whose people routinely try to cheat death. She has to remind them that the house always wins in the end. Recently she's also joined forces with Aeterna a time or two against Yorgum, telling him to reign in some of his more ambitious plans, and warning him off exploiting loopholes around death. He's backed down recently, but she doesn't like the weird smug smile that burnbeardy gets whenever she and Aeterna are in the same room with him...
Nurph. Nurph the buzzkill. Nurph the honest. Nurph, the god whose tagline is "Well, actually..."
Nurph's domain is truth and honor. Which is annoying, because he's an enormous workaholic, always trying to quantify things, and figure out what is "right" and "good". And it doesn't help that he's always convinced of his righteousness.
Nurph doesn't make things of his own, he critiques others, and tries to optimize them, and offers helpful suggestions, and the other gods just put him in charge of balancing out everything because he was doing it anyway and this kept him off their specific asses for more than a few days at a time, usually. Nurph's rallying cry, echoed by his clerics, is "That's not fair!"
But... for all that...
Sometimes it ISN'T fair. And when that's the case, Nurph's clerics are the ones down there in the trenches, fighting and dying to MAKE it fair. Which is why for all the other gods roll their eyes, they're quietly glad he's there. Nurph is the reason that "Right makes might" exists as a notion, and enough people follow it that civilization and all its comforts are possible.
Prayers to Nurph get exactly the response and answer that he's allowed to give you, no matter the temptation to reveal more. And he's always happy to weigh in on a dispute or disagreement. Sometimes he'll even pray you back after the fact, with new notions and ideas. Sometimes in the middle of the night, because you can always sleep later, right?
Nurph's Godspell is Assess Challenge, which tells you the odds of completing a difficult task or fighting a particular enemy. Nurph's clerics like to use this one all the time and cheerfully tell their companions the results. How helpful!
Nurph has oracles, mainly people who have major OCD issues, and folks in authority positions who manage to do them pretty well AND follow the rules.
Nurph is... okay with the changeover. At least everyone has no excuse for not knowing the rules, anymore. But sweet HIM, there's so much work to do. It looks like whatever force was in charge of the changeover left loopholes and expoits EVERYWHERE! He's gonna be fixing those for the next millenia or two, at LEAST.
Nurph's rival is Gank. The thing's he's had to talk that guy down from... and by talk he means fight, because it's literally come to blows sometimes. Nurph doesn't hate, it's not in his nature, but boy howdy does Gank make it hard.
Old Koss is the god of farming and harvests and food overall, and of course he's fat you young whippersnapper! Get off his lawn! Don't steal his apples of immortality! Naw, just kidding, those were regular apples, but it was fun watchin' ya dodge the guardians. Haw haw haw! Now pull his finger!
Yeah, that's Old Koss. Surly old god who's been around forever, who has an inordinate love of Dad jokes and was born with a beard. Surprsingly not worshipped by most dwarves, who view cultivating as a necessary evil. He treats everyone younger than him as an idiot, and hates to be proven right. He makes sure the rest of you have enough food to eat and beer to drink. You're welcome. Ingrates. His clerics ensure that famers don't get dumb, and their community has enough to eat. Most of them are fat and happy, though it's against doctrine to ever admit happiness when you can grumble and blame young folks instead.
Prayers to Koss actually work in reverse. You have to listen to HIM gripe, and if you manage to endure it, then eventually you can get a word or two in. As long as it's simple stuff, he'll offer good advice. Complicated city-folk stuff gets his scorn.
Old Koss' Godspell is Survey Land, which tells clerics how good soil is, when to plant crops, and how best to farm them. It's both amazingly good for farming and completely useless for most adventurers, which is the way Old Koss likes it.
In fact, he's really angry about the whole switchover thing. Now containers come with arbitrary item storage limits, and there's weirdness to food, not to mention the way it instantly and visible recharges quantifiable stats. The whole thing has stolen all the mystery from his domain! To this day he wanders the halls of heaven, griping to all the other gods and to random long-suffering heavenly guardians about how it ain't right. Just ain't right. He has very few oracles, mainly because he don't hold truck with that newfangled nonsense and clerics are just fine! Hell, back in his day, there were only FOUR jobs...
He has an entirely understandable rivalry with Pau, the shifting-gendered god/goddess of oceans and storms mainly because he's never forgiven him/her for taking fishing to be part of her/his portfolio, and because no matter how good the farmers are, they still need the weather to cooperate, in order to make it all work.
Pau has both genders, and shifts between them as he/she pleases. Pau is the deity of storms and oceans and smart sailors, and Pau goes from placid and gentle to chaotic and overwhelming in the blink of an eye.
Pau's clerics strive to keep him/her placated, and ensure that fishing and water travel are not harmed. Sometimes they succeed. It's hard to keep up with Pau.
Prayers to Pau are either super relaxed and easy to understand, or highly dramatic, with special effects and random rainstorms, and high-stakes answers. There's no in between.
Pau's Godspell is Call Water, good on sea voyages and for dousing hotheads.
Pau has been long involved with oracles, even before the changeover, and sees no reason to change that. His/her feelings swing back and forth on the changeover. He/she hates having something influence her portfolio without her control, but on the other hand, it's made things more exciting. So... the ocean rolls on, and the rain comes down, and things continue.
Pau has an entirely understandable rivalry with Old Koss, and he/she loves seeing the old guy grump at her/him, taking it with fondness for the old codger. Except when he/she hates it, and lashes out in fury.
Rando and RNG, have the dubious honor of being the part-time gods of luck. Male and Female respectively, they split when the changeover happened. No one's quite sure where RNG came from, it could honestly just be Rando in drag playing a joke on everyone, so the gods haven't asked any questions about it just in case it IS a trick and Rando's trying to make them the butt of it.
Rando used to ensure that luck evened out, and everyone got their fair share. But then the changeover happened and he went from awesome cosmic power to being a spectator, as his hands were forced back from so, so many everyday events. It broke him, and he stepped down for a long time, going to nobody knew where. RNG appeared to fill the gap, and ensure that clerics prayers got answered and oracles got empowered, and offenders against fortune and fate were properly punished. She's been doing a pretty good job... when she's there. Every so often Rando shows back up, drunk and depressed, and delights in handing out bad luck whenever and wherever he can.
Clerics of Rando regard gambling as sacred, monitor local games for fairness, and never cheat. That's one of the few things that unites Rando and RNG against them.
Prayers to Rando either go well, if you catch RNG, or poorly, if Rando's on the other end of the line.
His/her godspell is Double or Nothing. The cleric flips a coin and calls it. If he calls it, his luck doubles for a short time. If he fails, his luck drops to 1 for a short time. Most smart clerics of Rando/RNG only use this when they're seriously up against the wall with no way out.
Rando doesn't appoint oracles, but RNG does. Oddly enough, she usually notifies them through the mail or equivalent, sending them notices to let them know they've just won something. Many such notices get thrown away, but the ones that get opened that ARE from RNG, bestow oracular powers and more complicated lives.
As stated above, the changeover broke Rando, but RNG's dealing with it well. So she doesn't control everything like Rando used to, but whatever. Prayers are still coming in, luck's still running hot and cold, and life goes on.
Rando and RNG have a long-running rivalry with Nebs, trying to keep heroes and other lucky sorts alive even when they should be rightfully dead many times over.
Ritaxis, goddess of war, loves her job. It strengthens her, strengthens her people, it's good for the economy, and ensures plenty of future business down the road.
Hm? The dead? Eh, that's just how it goes. Not her problem. Talk to Nebs.
Ritaxis is all about killing, but unlike Gank, she's about killing for a purpose, and doing it to accomplish a wider-scale goal. Whether this means following Nurph's rules or letting Gank out to play depends on what accomplishes the job faster and more efficiently. Her clerics are always in demand, and often form military orders, which coincidentally sometimes unlock second tier options like Knight Templar and Warmaster, so that's all well and good anyway. It does mean that her priests are often more disciplined than other clerics, and far better at fighting. A fact she loves to brag about and see justified, mind you.
Prayers to Ritaxis are best kept short. She's busy, private. On the upside, her replies are fast and straightforward.
Ritaxis' Godspell is Weapon Specialization, which technically is a godskill and not normally allowed, but she pulled rank on Nurph and argued her case with admirable strategy, tactics, and even alliances until he caved. But it does advance a little more slowly than the duellist's version of it, so her clerics have to do more fighting to get as good at it as duellists do. Which is fine with her.
She's neutral with the switchover. Not a thing she can do about it, so she doesn't care. Besides, it was good for business when it first hit.
Her oracles are always born on the battlefield, to no one's surprise.
Ritaxis has a rivalry with Weeky, who despite her nerdiness, has proven that even the best fighters can be outsmarted time and again. It is so, so very aggravating. After all, Weeky doesn't even lift!
Weeky lifts plenty! Weeky lifts books! And scrolls, and anything else with words that she can get in front of her glasses.
Weeky is a nerd's nerd, complete with snorting laugh, messy hygiene, and a love of anything she hasn't read yet. Her clerics follow her lead, founding libraries and schools and universities, and sharing knowledge freely. Many of them dabble in harder careers that require study and experimentation, such as alchemist and enchanter and wizard.
Prayers to Weeky are really fruitful, but the trick is keeping her on topic. You learn a lot, but sometimes it's not really anything useful right now. You can make Weeky really happy by telling her something she didn't know, and she might use her massive smarts to slip you a more specific answer than she's normally allowed to give, by means of a coded answer or a riddle that makes the whole thing clear if you're smart enough to decipher it.
Weeky's Godspell is Knack for Languages, so you can learn new things regardless of what language they come in. Of course to honor her properly you really should learn the language on your own, but in case you don't have the time, it's a good shortcut. And this can help you learn it, so yay!
Weeky's Oracles come from scientists, conspiracy theorists, and occultists alike. Anyone who explores odd knowledge and shares it enough is eligible for her favor.
Weeky initially loved the switchover. So much new stuff to read! Although the more she reads, and the more she thinks of the bigger implications, the more worried she is. The more she learns the more her fear grows, and unless things stabilize soon, she may turn her people and her massive mind to finding a way to undo it, even if it means breaking some big rules. She estimates there's currently a 16% chance that won't go horribly wrong, so she's holding off. For now.
Weeky has a rivalry with Ritaxis, who both hates her and needs her. Ritaxis thinks she's weak as hell, but she has all the good military strategy books. Weeky, for her part, is frightened of Ritaxis, because so much knowledge and experience gets wiped out in the fires of war. My goodness! Sometimes armies even burn LIBRARIES!
Yorgum the Builder is never satisfied.
He crafts, and he crafts, and he crafts, but nothing's ever quite good enough for him. There's always a way to improve it. And so his clerics go spread the faith, and learn to craft, and find ways to constantly improve on their work and others. And for a time, that's good enough. Occasionally it all becomes too much for him, and old Burntbeard retires to his heavenly forge, and disappears for a few years, returning with a new artifact or schematic that makes the other gods blanch. That's the point they shove Nurph forward to get him to tell Yorgum why it wouldn't work for the balance, or mollify him by letting Yorgum put it into the world, just in a really deep dungeon guarded by dragons and titans and other horrific threats.
Prayers to Yorgum are answered directly, Yorgum doesn't hold with that prophecy and riddles shit. It does mean he usually can't guide his clerics as much as other gods could, but most mortals appreciate the lack of pussyfooting around. And the ones who don't don't worship him or do good crafting anyway, so fuck'em.
Yorgum's Godspell is Mend. Good for fixing broken things so you can get back to improving them, instead of wasting time on repairs.
Yorgum has a few Oracles, usually folks who make an amazing crafting breakthrough. His standards are really high though, so it's both a blessing and a curse.
The burned beard god loves the changeover. Now that crafting is much easier, it's let him guide mortals to push the boundaries of crafting farther and faster than he'd ever hoped. The other gods have been trying to reign him in, but whatever. Why just two decades ago, Aeterna and Nebs teamed up to deny him a solid and reliable means of giving mortals immortality through body-hopping! He was so angry about that! But little do they know he already laid the seeds for its revelation. Just a matter of a few nudges here or there, and sitting back, waiting for the right circumstances to come along. Boy, will they be surprised when they see it! Heh, heh...
Yorgum has a rivalry with Aeterna, who is entirely unreasonable and refuses to let him make something that will truly last forever. After all, Konol did it! Why can't he?