Gods of Chaldea
Author’s Note: The gods of the Chaldean Universe are primarily inspired from Earth’s mythologies, with some D&D-like stuff thrown in for good measure. If you ever used the AD&D Deities & Demigods from the 1980’s as your sourcebook for the gods you’ll feel right at home in Chaldea. The game mechanics used to define deities and answer questions like “What is a god?” or, better yet, “How does my character become one!” are as described in The Primal Order, the first product ever produced by Wizards of the Coast, authored by yours truly.
In Chaldea, the most prominent pantheons of deities are the following: Babylonian, Celtic, Egyptian, Greek, Norse, and Sumerian. Occasionally players might encounter something from the other pantheons, but rarely. Technically, they all exist, and then some.
A classic question in fantasy roleplaying is one of how to mix together these disparate pantheons, each with their own myths and legends. The idea that these all could stem from the same world seems crowded. Chaldea addresses this by using the notion that there are many different worlds (or planes) in the universe and that each pantheon stems back to a world, or collection of worlds, where that particular pantheon gained early dominance in the evolution of the cosmos. For instance, there’s a world out there somewhere called Babylon, and that’s where the Babylonian deities are originally from and most of the myths of Babylonian history were played out there. Or in the case of the Norse mythology, which already accounts for the notion of various planes (“the Nine Worlds”) these are simply worlds that exist somewhere in the cosmos: Asgard, Midgard, Niflheim. The Egyptian gods are from—-where else—-a world called Egypt.
The various all-encompassing claims of one pantheon or another are simply relative to that particular pantheon’s proclamations. When you’re on Olympus, sure enough, Zeus is the “Father of Gods and men,” but that’s definitely not true on Sumer, where Enlil holds sway.
On the planet of Chaldea, the default setting for our stories, the Egyptian deity Set is currently dominant. But this is a recent rising tide that is directly connected to the ascension of Kordaava as Emperor of the Known World. Kordaava has outlawed the worship of all deities other than Set throughout the empire so religious activities related to any other deity, Egyptian or otherwise, are marginalized. Exception: The Free City of Esh.
The notion of worshipping some entity as “God” and exhibiting Faith in that deity to the point where one can cast miracles or divine magic because of that faith is primarily a human perspective. It is not typically in the temperament of orcs, elves, dwarves, dragons, and so on to worship a deity with the same sort of fanatical love and devotion that humans are capable of.
Non-humans have analogies to the notions of “gods” and “worship”, however, the terminology and often the game mechanics will vary somewhat. Demons and devils feed off souls and there is a hierarchy of soul claims that leads up to demon lords and arch devils who live in places like the Abyss or Hell. Elementals and various related creatures gain their power from the elemental planes and the elemental lords of these planes wield vast power even beyond their own realms. If dragons get more powerful with age and if a 100-year old dragon is ancient, what’s a 1000-year old dragon elder like? Entities toward the top of these various pyramids of power might not call themselves gods but are likely of comparable power.