I’ve created my fair share of vanilla pantheons of divinities in my earlier homebrew RPG settings (goddess of fertility, god of travel, goddess of war and so on). The default pantheons in D&D are more of the same.
I changed that in my last (gothic-themed) setting, I had a monotheistic religion (I’m really not the first, I know). I am recycling some of it now, for my Legacy setting.
First, one thing that came up immediately upon choosing a monotheistic religion is this: the world is fucked-up, and we’re talking full-of-demons-plagues-fell-magic fucked-up, and there’s really nobody else to blame than the One-God who created the world and let that mess going on…
The One-God is innefable…and also an underachiever
Edit: I’ve erased some 300 words of philosophical ramblings about Theodicy. A bit tedious. Here’s the short answer:
- Is God omnibenevolent (all-good)? Maybe He’s cruel and fickle like in the old testament? Or just uncaring?
- Is God omniscient? He doesn’t really know what He’s doing. His Creation is sub-optimal (or downright shitty), hopefully the next will be better?
- Is God omnipotent? Maybe He must follow cosmic rules, or He have to keep the balance? Even He cannot do all He wants?
My own take: The Blind God
The God-Creator lost both omnipotence and omniscience because of the act itself of Creation.
In the beginning there was only God. Nothing but Him, Everything was Him. And then, lo and behold! He created the world, by taking it out of Himself. What was part of Him before, was made apart. Between Creator and Creation stands the Gate of Pure Ineluctability, until the end of time, when all will be one again.
Some Vague Theology (to be expanded)
The Creator is cut off from the World. He can’t be reached.
All things have/are “sparks” of the divine. Some have, shall we say, a higher concentration and thus there is a hierarchy of powers unto the World. Highest are the “lesser divinities”, then there is the daevas, ahuras, mythic monsters, then come the other sentient beings (yet unequally, heroes would have more than “normal”people).
There’s the One-God and most believe in Him, but people (understandably) worship other, more accessible beings, that may or may not, help them.
Also, Ideologies can be so powerful, the product of a collective will, as to act as a catalyst for “miraculous” feats, potentially replacing divine faith altogether.