StockGods YKTTW Discussion
The recurring type of gods showing up in fiction.
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:
- A Top God, that allows the combination of a Fantasy Pantheon with the presence of a monotheistic god Expy. Chances are, he (and it's almost always "he") will come in two flavors:
- A Grandpa God, that generally serve as the Reasonable Authority Figure (though subversion, generally inspired by Classical Mythology, is to present him as a jerkass or even outright evil). Expect Crystal Dragon Jesus in full force.
- Simply put, He Who Must Not Be Seen, either because he left or he's hiding (at least from the mortals, though sometimes the other gods don't even have the privilege to see him), or because You Cannot Grasp the True Form. This is more in accord with a deism stance.
- A God of Evil, typically the Bigger Bad of a setting. May be an Omnicidal Maniac, eager to Take Over the World, in it For the Evulz, or a combination of those elements. Almost always a stand in for Satan. Similarly to the above, he is either physical or abstract as:
- A God of Balance Between Good and Evil, generally a mediator of some sort.
- A God of Good, that is, more human than the other gods. May be The Messiah (Perhaps literally), or simply the Token Good Teammate among Jerkass Gods.
- Nature Gods, often associated with Elemental Powers. Sometimes, they're not true deities, but simply "rulers" of this particular aspect of nature, or of Elemental Embodiments. A personification of Earth (the world, not the element), or of nature in general, is popular. In this case, beware her (And it's almost always "her") Vengeance.
- A War God. May be good, evil or neutral, but almost always highly chaotic and naturally, violent. Authority Equals Asskicking is probably at full effect here, making him (or her, which in this case is a literal Lady of War) one of the most Badass characters in the setting. If there is a Proud Warrior Race somewhere, they generally have this god as their patron, or at least pay him due respect.
- A Love Goddess (or Love God, but the former is more common, when it isn't a Gender Bender or of Ambiguous Gender). If portrayed positively, may be The Chick among the gods and the embodiment of The Power of Love. If portrayed negatively, may represent Lust and be the Dark Chick and The Corrupter.
- A Cool God, that is, cool to hang up with Generally has less flashy powers than the other divinities, or at least a more down to earth attitude. May be the only one of them treating mortals seriously. Likely to be a Cool Old Guy or The Stoner if male, a Cool Old Lady or Apron Matron if female.
- A God of Knowledge. Basically The Smart Guy with divine powers, and as such, can express a wide variety of flavors : Can be a god of magic in general (and in this case, likely The Archmage), of science, of cunning, or some combination of the three. If there are two versions of this god in the same setting, one of them tied to magic and the other to science, expect them to be rivals. Probably thanks to divinities such as Athena or Isis, the roe is largely gender equal, in spite of Mother Nature, Father Science.
- A God of Death. Can have the function to go to search for the deads (as The Grim Reaper), leading them to the afterlife (as a Psychopomp, judging them, or ruling the setting version of the afterlife if it is distinct from Heaven and Hell. If it's only the latter, expect this god to have underlings to do the former. Death being such a fearsome thing, and the popular imagery of this ''other'' ruler of the underwold, it is no wonder than this god may likely be portrayed as evil (see Everybody Hates Hades), or at least not a very fun guy. But subversions exist, portraying the personification of death as a good or at least neutral figure (see Don't Fear the Reaper), or giving it some Perky Goth tendencies.
- A Great Gazoo, a being of immense power that is either a Mad God, childish, or simply highly eccentric. If this god is the Top God, he's King of All Cosmos. May be harmless, benevolent in his special way, or a Psychopathic Manchild.
- A Trickster Archetype God, that may overlap with Great Gazoo or God of Knowledge. An almost universal figure, this guy is very much the god of Magnificent Bastard. Probably too much of a Wild Card to be entirely trusted, he's still often indispensable to other gods or mortal heroes.