Created By: Dracosolon on May 22, 2012 Last Edited By: Malzen on June 5, 2013


The recurring type of gods showing up in fiction.

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The gods of this particular work may be greater, but who does what among them?

When inventing a Fantasy Pantheon, there is a number of god archetypes that seem unavoidable. Maybe because their role is convenient for the story, easily understandable due to familiarity with Real Life mythologies, or simply that there are so much domains a god can have and still be taken seriously.

Note that when a work directly adapts a mythology, there is a high risk of Flanderisation. Not only Sadly Mythtaken is at work, but non-fictional gods tend to have multiple domains whose relations may be hard to grasp, though there is generally a good amount of Fridge Brilliance behind it.

The more common ones are:

Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • May 22, 2012
    You can probably link nature god to Nature Spirit and Mother Nature, the two tend to overlap.
  • May 22, 2012
    Parodied in Discworld with Blind Io, who uses multiple guises to be the stock god of thunder in every pantheon on the planet.
  • May 22, 2012
    You want to list the Classical Mythology inspirations? Perhaps list them under the categories? Like: Top God, classical examples include: Zeus, Odin, Ra...

    • The Elder Scrolls:
      • Top God: Akatosh
      • God of Evil: Closest thing seems to be Mehrunes Dagon or Molag Bal
      • Nature God: Hircine, though really more prince of the hunt.
      • Love Goddess: Mara
      • God of Knowledge: Julianos for the Aedra, Hermaeus Mora of the Daedra
      • God of Death: Arkay, who is also god of life
      • Great Gazoo/Trickster: Sheogorath

    Might want to include Solar and Lunar deities as well.
  • May 22, 2012
    I'd like to see an example list with some of the major pantheons: Egyptian, Greek/Roman, Norse, maybe Hindu, etc.
  • May 22, 2012
    Let's see, Greek:
    • Top God: Zeus
    • God Of Evil: None necessarily, although the Titans sometimes function this way
    • God of Balance: Demeter (because of the seasons thing)
    • God of Good: Hestia
    • Nature Gods: Where to begin- there are multiple gods for like every aspect of weather and geography
    • War God- Ares (bad); Athena (good)
    • Love goddess- Aphrodite
    • Cool God- Apollo and Hermes most fit in terms of personality, but for "general friendliness to mortals" hard to say as pretty much all of the gods have at least one story of Disproportionate Retribution on mortals. Maybe Athena given The Odyssey?
    • God of Knowledge- Athena (Apollo and the Muses are "Gods of the Arts" though)
    • God of Death- Hades
    • Great Gazoo: Pan, Dionysus (when less sane)
    • Trickster Archetype God- Hermes

  • May 22, 2012
    And for the Norse:
    • Top God: Odin
    • God Of Evil: The Jotun or Loki in a way
    • God of Balance: Hemidal? (given his role as a guard)
    • God of Good: Idun
    • Nature Gods- not sure
    • War God: Tyr, Odin, or Thor, take your pick
    • Love goddess: Freya:
    • Cool God: Thor
    • God of Knowledge: Odin or that guy whose head was preserved/was the source of mead (were they the same guy?)
    • Goddess of Death: Hel
    • Trickster Archetype God: Loki
  • May 22, 2012
    ^ The severed head was Mimir, the wisest of the Aesir who was sent to the Vanir, who decapitated him and sent his head back to Odin. Odin then preserved the head and used a charm to ask it advice.
  • May 22, 2012
    ^^ You'll want Heimdal.

    How about these?
    • God of craft or skilled labour (Hephaistos)
    • God of fate or luck
    • God of home (Hera)
  • May 23, 2012
    Is it worth mentioning gods that crop up a lot in actual mythology but not so much on TV? Like fertility, childbirth, agriculture, "craft or skilled labour" as peccantis pointed out. Mostly goddesses like Artemis, Diana, Isis, Hera, etc because I guess feminine stuff like motherhood, is boring? The likes of Artemis, Bastet, Hecate etc tend to get Re Tooled into Action Girl goddesses and the Aphrodite/Freyja types become goddesses of Sexy Love and the rest just kind of get ditched.

    Although maybe you could add a Mother Goddess category for Hera/Gaia/Isis etc? They exist to reign in the power of the Top God and get worshipped by Granola Girl Wiccan types. Unless that's covered by Nature God which, maybe it is.

    Jordan: Maybe Dionysus for "Cool God". I mean, he's half human, he's like the only male god who doesn't rape anyone, he, er, loves parties?

    I don't know enough about Egyptian mythology to do a whole, er, thing, but

  • May 23, 2012
    I'm thinking for The Silmarillion:
    • Top God: Eru Ilúvatar (Type II) and Manwë (Type I)
    • God Of Evil: Melkor/Morgoth
    • Nature Gods: Ulmo, Yavanna, Nessa, Vána
    • War God: Oromë, Tulkas
    • Love Goddess: Varda (emphasis on beauty)
    • God of Knowledge: Lórien and Estë?
    • God of Death: Mandos, Vairë and Nienna? (maybe a separate god as the incarnation of destiny?)
    • Blacksmith God: Aulë

    And for Warhammer40000:
  • May 23, 2012
    • Dungeons And Dragons:
      • Greyhawk (default 3rd edition campaign setting):
        • God of Balance: Boccob, Obad-Hai
        • God of Nature: Ehlonna, Obad-Hai
        • God of War: The brothers Heironeous (good) and Hextor (evil), as well as the god of slaughter Erythnul.
        • God of Knowledge: Boccob, Vecna
        • God of Death: Nerull, Wee Jas
        • Trickster: Garl Glittergold (also patron of the gnomes), Olidammara.
        • Many races have their own complete pantheons of gods as well.
      • Eberron:
        • God of good: Most of the Sovereign Host.
        • God of Evil: The Dark Six
        • God of Balance: Aureon
        • God of Nature: Balinor, The Devourer
        • War God: Dol Arrah (lawful good), Dol Dorn (chaotic good), The Mockery (neutral evil).
        • God of Knowledge: Aureon, The Shadow.
        • God of Death: The Keeper.
        • Trickster: The Traveler.
  • May 23, 2012
    The Legend Of Zelda to an extent
    • Top Goddess: Hylia
    • God Of Evil: Demise
    • Nature Goddess: Farore
    • War Goddess: Din
    • Love Goddess / Goddess of Knowledge: Nayru
    • Cool God- The Space Whales (Levias, Jabu-Jabu, Windfish etc.) or the Great Fairies
    • Trickster Archetype: Majora
  • May 23, 2012
    Also very common in Real Life but rare in fiction (as far as I know) is a god specifically of storms. Sometimes this is the same as the god of weather in general, sometimes it isn't. Quite often he or she gets to be either the Top God or the War God. (Thunderstorms were a huge deal for people living in Mesopotamia in the Bronze Age, and the meme had legs.)
  • June 6, 2012
    On the Egyptian Pantheon:
    • Top God: Ra
    • God of Evil: Set
    • God of Death: Osiris is ruler of the afterlife, Anubis is judge of the dead.
    • Love Goddess: Hathor
    • War Goddess: Sekhmet
    • God of Knowledge: Thoth
  • June 6, 2012
    The theories of Georges Dumezil might be interesting here. He identified a "core" of five Gods in many Indo-European religions:

    The Magician-King: the keeper of secrets and knowledge, and often of death The Warrior-King: god of justice and war The Protector: god of strength and protection against chaos The Fertility Pair: two gods for harvests and fertility

    In most documented mythologies, these gods have evolved, and often the protector-god has expanded quite a bit in status and responsibility (Thor took over many of Tyr's functions, and also became the god of harvests; Zeus became the clear top god, likely relegating Hades to a minor role, et c).

    See Fantasy Pantheon.

    Perhaps the title should be Standard Fantasy Pantheon or Stock Fantasy Pantheon.
  • June 6, 2012
    As for Norse mythology, Hel was only the ruler of those who hadn't died in battle or by drowning. There was no definite ruler to Valhalla AFAIK but the valkyries might count for something (seeing how they were the ones who picked whose death was honourable enough to get into Valhalla).

    Then, how about gods of creation and destruction? Fertility?
  • June 7, 2012
    I'm also unsure about the set of gods and their titles. Most fantasy pantheons are patterned on the Greek or Norse mythologies (since they're the two most well-known pantheons by far in the west), and neither of them maps all that well to the types listed in the trope.

    There is also the trouble (which is common in many "band" tropes) that roles frequently overlap and are malleable.

    If we start with the Greek pantheon and mythology as a base, we get the following (using the twelve olympians and some more:

    • Zeus: top god, and originally a protector. Father of most of the gods.
    • Poseidon: god of the sea (and earthquakes).
    • Hades: god of death and the underground.
    • Hermes: god of travelers and boundaries.
    • Ares: god of the violent war.
    • Hephaistos: god of crafting and fire.
    • Apollo: god of the sun, prophecy, and healing.
    • Hera: goddess of women and marriage
    • Athena: goddess of wisdom and the just war
    • Hestia: goddess of the home
    • Demeter: goddess of the harvest
    • Aphrodite: goddess of love
    • Artemis: goddess of animals and child-birth
    • Pan: god of nature
    • Prometheus: god of culture

    I think the following roles in the trope description are unclear and vague, and should be dropped or re-worked: God of Balance, God of Good (the Balder equivalent, but needs a better name), Cool God.
  • January 18, 2013
    Bump; seems basically done, someone should probably do an editing pass. Probably should be a no-examples trope.
  • May 27, 2013
    A more accurate version of the The Elder Scrolls pantheon above:

    • Top God: Akatosh (to most races), Shor (to Nords)
    • God of Evil: Most gods follow Blue And Orange Morality, but Sithis, Molag Bal, Mehrunes Dagon, and Vaermina all specialize in various forms of destruction and torment.
    • Nature God: Hircine, though really more prince of the hunt. Kyne is a Friend To All Living Things.
    • Love Goddess: Mara is a goddess of commitment and matrimony. Dibella is the goddess of carnal desire and lust.
    • God of Knowledge: Julianos for the Aedra, Hermaeus Mora of the Daedra
    • God of Death: Arkay, who is also god of life.
    • Great Gazoo/Trickster: Sheogorath and Boethiah are particularly known for this. Sanguine to a degree, also.
  • May 27, 2013
    • The Forgotten Realms setting has over a hundred deities (at least until 4E retconned over half, mostly nonhuman deities, into being aspects of others) that may fill multiple archetypes, and individual sub-pantheons often have their own exemplars, but generally the most widely known are:
      • Top God: Ao the Overgod, and his mysterious boss who's only ever been seen once. Ao's role is manager to the other gods, ensuring that they uphold their portfolios and approving any new ascensions. Unlike them he does not require worship to exist, and in fact actively discourages it.
      • God of Evil: Multiple, with Bane the Black Lord, god of tyranny, being the most powerful. Other major ones include Lolth the Spider-Queen, supreme goddess of the drow, and Shar the Mistress of the Night, goddess of darkness and nihilism.
      • God of Good: The three gods of the Triad: Tyr the Maimed God, god of justice, Ilmater the Crying God, god of endurance and martyrs, and Torm the Loyal Fury, god of loyalty and duty. Lathander/Amaunator, god of the sun, also falls here.
      • Nature God: Silvanus the Oak Father, god of wild nature. Other major ones include Chauntea the Earth-Mother, goddess of agriculture, and Malar the Beastlord, god of savagery and their Token Evil Teammate.
      • War God: Tempus the Lord of Battles, god of warfare in all its forms. As practically every soldier or warrior in the Realms offers a prayer to him or one of his aliases before battle, he is one of the most powerful gods in the whole pantheon.
      • Love Goddess: Sune the Firehair, goddess of beauty and romantic love. Her subordinates include Sharess the Dancing Lady, goddess of hedonism and sexuality.
      • God of Knowledge: Oghma the Lord of Knowledge, god of knowledge, Gond the Wonderbringer, god of craftsmen, and Mystra, goddess of magic.
      • God of Death: Currently Kelemvor the Lord of the Dead, an ascended mortal. Also a poster boy for Dont Fear The Reaper, as he hates necromancy with a passion and works to comfort the living and ensure that the dead rest in peace. The two preceding gods of death, Myrkul and Cyric, were not nearly so well-intentioned.
      • Great Gazoo: Cyric the Prince of Lies, a thoroughly insane god of murder and deception hated by literally everyone else in the pantheon. He, with a little help from Shar, murdered Mystra in 1385, causing the Spellplague and allowing for the massive changes to the rules of magic in 4E. Currently imprisoned in his home plane.
      • Trickster: Cyric to some extent. Also Tymora and Beshaba, the goddesses of good and bad luck respectively.
  • May 27, 2013
    To add on the 40K example:

  • May 27, 2013
    Fixed a Red Link.
  • May 27, 2013
    The fanon has it that the Alicorn princesses or My Little Pony Friendship Is M Agic are Physical Gods if this the case then we have four examples.

    • Top Goddess: Celestia's the closest.
    • Cool Gods: Luna and Twilight Sparkle.
    • Love Goddess: Cadence (Didn't see that coming did you).
    • God of Evil: despite not being an alicorn, Discord fir the bill Until his Heel Face Turn. Nightmare Moon aka Luna might be a subversion depending on if you view her as a separate entity from Luna or not.
    • God of Knowledge: Twilight again.
    • Great Gazoo: Discord again.
    • Trickster Archetype: Discord yet again.
    • Nature gods: Subverted since all the ponies seem to take care of nature. Celestia and Luna are the closest since they control the sun and moon respectively.

    On a side note there are no war gods.