Six Gods Setting (3.5e Campaign Setting)
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Summary: In the World of Six Gods, there are six gods, each of whom represents an attribute (such as Strength, Intelligence, or Charisma) and the virtues associated with that attribute. These gods create the world to test their competing theories about virtues and ideals.
The World of Six Gods is different from most game worlds. It is different on purpose. This world poses different choices to the players, and hopefully that results in a interesting role-play.
There are six gods for the whole world. They rule as a united pantheon. They do not war with each other, but they do conflict. In subjects philosophical, they are rarely in agreement. They delight in arguing the merits of their own philosophies while arguing against the merits of their peers. They can argue for years with no agreement. In order to settle their arguments, they created the World as a laboratory to test how their various ideas actually work in practice. They then populated the world with generic beings, who have no special nature, and with special beings called heroes, who embody the various philosophies of the gods. These heroes are then given challenges by the gods, and their results debated ad-infinitum. The result is a world dominated by conflict to satisfy the experimental curiosity of powerful beings.
Below is a list of the gods.
|Taurus||Strength||Male||Bulls (all species)||Strength, heroism, athletics|
|Bagheera||Dexterity||Male||Cats||Dexterity, thievery, artisans|
|Ursa||Constitution||Male||Bears||Constitution, alchemy, food|
|Canis||Intelligence||Female||Foxes and Dogs||Intelligence, books, studies|
|Strig||Wisdom||Female||Owls||Wisdom, history, education|
|Aquila||Charisma||Female||Eagles and Hawks||Charisma, music, storytelling|
Male Gods represent physical (masculine) attributes (Str, Dex, Con). Female goddesses represent the intellectual (feminine) attributes (Int, Wis, Cha). The group of three male gods is called the Masculine Triad. The group of female goddesses is called the Feminine Triad.
Though the gods created the world, they have chosen to limit their involvement in it. In order to test their theories, they have regulated themselves. Everything revolves around their creations, and how well those creations perform. Their creations either can or cannot do what they should do. For a god to intervene is to admit that his theory is wrong and his creation flawed. (Though, to be honest, a little meddling and rules breaking often occur.)
Death in an adventuring party is an exception to this rule. It is permissible for gods to bring adventurers back from the dead. The god believe that adventurers do exceptionally dangerous things, and that random chance can result in death. As chance demonstrates nothing about their theories, the gods make allowances for death and resurrect their more successful followers.
Aside from non-interference with challenges, the gods are constantly tinkering with the world. If they are not conducting experiments, or are setting up a new ones, they enjoy rearranging parts of the world as they see fit. Mountains can disappear overnight and stars can drop to the ground. Each god has a piece of the world in which they have total and sole control. These areas are called Kingdoms, such as the Kingdom of Taurus. Each kingdom has a ruling city. Between all these kingdoms is the Kingdom of Six Gods. It's capital is Locri. Four or more gods must agree to any changes that happen in this kingdom.
Not much is known about the gods. Scholars would love to know much more than they do. Although the gods speak to their people, they are not amenable to questions. What is known for sure is that there are six gods, and that the purpose of your life is to fulfill the duties that your god gives to you. These gods know and see much, but they are not all powerful, all seeing, or all knowing. They may beings of incomprehensible powerful but they are finite beings beings of incomprehensible power.
Taurus (Strength): Taurus manifests as a bull. He represents both strength of body and strength of heart. He believes standing in the heat of battle and bringing force to bear against force.
Bagheera (Dexterity): Bagheera manifests most often as a panther. He represents stealth, careful setup, and quick resolution.
Ursa (Constitution): Ursa manifests as a bear. He represents persistence and patience in the face of trials.
Canis (Intelligence): Canis most often manifests as a fox. She represents logical intelligence, lateral thinking, and raw cunning.
Strig (Wisdom): Strig most often manifests as an owl. She represents intuition and observation.
Aquila (Charisma):Aquila most often manifests as an eagle. She represents leadership, cooperation, and negotiation.
There are equivalences among the attributes:
These attributes can substitute for each other in certain circumstances, such as feats. Other substitutions may occur, but the benefits of these substitutions should be lesser.
The Natural Order of the World
There is no birth and death in this world. There is only creation and destruction. Each person is created in a crucible belonging to a god. This person emerges from the crucible fully formed and knowing his place in the world. He will seek to fulfill that mission, as that is the person's purpose for being. Such creations are usually farmers, craftsmen, traders, and other common folk. Some creations are heroes. A hero's job is to face off against the challenges that their gods want them to face.
Ordinary creatures (such as animals and vermin) come into existence via a process called spontaneous generation. The earth literally puts forth these creatures according to rules that the gods set out. From dirt they come, and from dirt they return when they die. All that remains of their existence is a skeleton.
There are seven holy cities. Each city is dedicated to a specific god and arrayed in a ring. Holy cities are the sites of Crucibles. A Crucible is a place where a god creates life. These are points where fully formed intelligent people spring forth. Each crucible belongs to a single god, who is the Sponsor of that city. Each god also has a crucible in Locri. Each crucible is guarded by the cult that maintains the temple of that god. They safeguard the new creations of the gods and shepherd them onto their purpose.
A crucible looks like a round pavilion or gazebo, usually placed inside the god's temple complex. Also inside each temple is the cult statue of the god. In front of the temple is a plaza or forum where people can gather. Most cities have temples to all the gods, built by the people of that city, but the temple of the Sponsor was raised by that god himself, and so these temples are far more magnificent. In Locri, the city of all gods, each temple was build by its own god, and each is arrayed in a circle about the Acropolis of Locri.
The cities which are not holy are called temporal cities. Temporal cities are often larger than the Holy cities, as they are trade or production centers. The Holy cities are known more for being centers of knowledge, education, and ceremony.
In a world actively ruled by gods, only the most flagrant being would actually defy them. Some of their own creations do. Any person or group that does this is termed Anti-Deist. The gods have decreed that any anti-deist may be killed immediately, without dishonor or provocation. Killing anti-deist make the gods happy. Killing more anti-deists is even better. The gods appreciate when their servants are patient and use their wits to arrange large slaughters of anti-deists. Their chief agents against the anti-deists are the Paladins and their Clerics.
The gods have a big problem with the anti-deists beyond their rebelliousness. The gods can neither see nor detect anti-deists. These rebels are invisible to the gods. They have forsworn all sponsorship and all divine grace. Without divine grace, the gods do not hear their prayer nor do they see their actions. Since the gods can not see them, they are invisible, and so the gods are utterly dependent upon their servants to contain this threat.
Identifying an anti-deist can be very difficult. In this respect, the gods are not all knowing. They do not see into the hearts of their own servants. The gods can only see action and hear prayers. The gods themselves have a terrible time determining whether their servants are still loyal to them, or whether their servants harbor anti-deist sympathies.
Because the gods do not see the anti-deists, they do not know when one dies. Those anti-deists who die become the undead: a mockery of living things with starving souls, who must feed on the living to satisfy their unquenchable divine hunger. The power of undead depends on the character level of the deist. In most cases, casting a bless spell on a deist corps will enable the gods to see the deceased and so prevent the rising of the dead.
Is is believed that anti-deists also created lycanthropy, a disease that passes between living beings. The lycanthropy disease slowly cuts a victim off from the gods. When they become sufficiently cut off from divine grace, their beast form asserts itself, they become beings of true free-will.
In a world of absolute causation, some philosopher wonder whether any tendency to be anti-deist exists upon creation of the being, and whether anti-deists are indeed planned by the gods.
Each being is created knowing its purpose. When they step forth from the crucible, they speak to the priests there and communicate what they need to communicate. Most who emerge are farmers. They inherently know their place, and travel to that place to farm. Some are created as craftsmen, scholars, or statesmen. Some are created as heroes. They emerge fully equipped and ready for action.
A party represents a set of heroes, created by the gods, to test their creations. How or why this is true is beyond most philosophers, let alone adventuring parties. All that is really agreed upon is that these parties are created by the gods to do great things, and by succeeding, demonstrate the wisdom and worth of the gods. By failing, they demonstrate the inherent incorrectness of the gods. Parties that fail are left destroyed. There is no reason for the gods to support failure of their own ideas.
Choose two gods: a primary and a secondary god. These two gods define your character in many aspects. Good is what your gods says is good and bad is what your gods say is bad. Imperfect is what the other gods assert. The only true morality in the world is whether you are effective at championing your god's assertions. The only evil is whether you reject the authority of the gods or rebel against your god-given nature.
At a deep level, your character believes in these ideas. Your character may not be able to apply these ideas at all time, but they do represent the touchstones of his morals.
Strength is more than muscle; more than power; more than damage. Strength is an aspect that you present that others rely on. When the officer steadies his troops, he show strength. When leaders sit down to negotiate, they show strength. When a leader surrenders because has has lost, he shows strength. When a superior trains an inferior, and sees to his best interest, he shows strength. When an inferior carries out the will of his superior, even if he does not wish to do so, the servant shows strength. When a follow trusts a superior, he shows strength. When a person realizes the limits of their own ability and seeks the abilities of others, he shows strength.
A self confident man is strong. An insecure man is not. A leader is strong. A bully is not. A person who fights for principal is strong. A person who fights for gold is not.
Strength seeks to change the world. Strength believes that it can change the world. Strength raises hamlets into cities and brings ruin to empires. Strength puts kings on thrones and overthrows them when they become tyrants. Strength makes war and strength forges peace.
If you meet your enemy at their strongest point and defeat them, you will be victorious.
The world is not static. The world is dynamic. You must approach all things as dynamic systems. Once you understand these systems and relationship, you can use this understanding to your advantage. A person who skirts an unnecessary fight is dexterous. A person who understands don't get hit is the first lesson of combat is dexterous. A person who can operate in many ways, from fighting, to talking, to problem solving, is dexterous. A person who spots opportunities and is prepared to take those opportunities is dexterous. A person who understands that a fight is the MIDDLE of a battle is dexterous.
A dexterous person sees conflict in three parts: preparation, engagement, and follow-up. The preparation is stage is knowing why you want to fight and what you hope to accomplish. The identification of your goal is the most important part of any conflict. Engaging in conflict is the middle. After the conflict is the follow-up. This is where you secure your goals. Merely to win a battle is nice. A dexterous person believes that victory provides them an opportunity, and they are prepared to take that opportunity. Any conflict is not about the conflict, but the opportunity gain from engaging in that conflict.
Patience is the hallmark of the Constitution alignment. All things become clear with patience. You do not need to rush. Too often, conflict loses sight of where you are. Of all alignment, the constitution is the most down-to-earth, the most aware of their own limitation, and the most knowledge of their own capabilities. Conflicts are not seen as a series of battles, to be won or lost, but as strategic plan to achieve a larger goal. This plan does not need to be clever or unfathomable.
The king who prepares for the next conflict, in twenty years, shows constitution. The leader who paces his men as not to exhaust them shows constitution. The warrior who refuses battle until a coherent plan is formed shows constitution.
Bad things are inevitable. Victory is not always certain. Constitution plans for both victory and defeat. Constitution understands that victory and defeat are scores. He who takes the end-game wins. Constitution keeps an eye on the end-game.
Knowledge with reason is the foundation of all action. Action is not taken without knowledge.
Trickery is part of knowledge and reason. Trickery, in essence, places false knowledge before your foes, and so this false knowledge leads to incorrect reasoning, and incorrect reasoning leads to bad action. Your opponent prepares to meet a false strength and so opens weakness
There is no single approach which covers every situation. Wisdom believes that reflecting upon past action shows the best course of future action. After all action is complete, you must reflect upon events and understand what has occurred, identify the quality of choices made, and use that observations to qualitatively improve approach in the future.
The world exists, but the world is mutable. You can change it. You can shape it. You can alter its very fabric.
With others, new options arise. The power of a mass of people can outmatch the abilities of any wizard. Nations are composed of people. Armies are composed of people. Civilizations are composed of people. The ability to inspire or lead others is the foundation of everything.
All characters bear the hero alignment. Significant NPCs may also bear this alignment. Any self-aware creatures which encounters a hero can identify a hero as a hero. Magic can disguise this alignment. No magic items, class abilities, or spells can target this alignment.
Characters usually do not have the following alignments, and they may not be taken at character creation.
Non-aligned creatures are things which are not significantly self-aware. Animals, vermin, plants, elementals, and constructs are usually non-aligned. Some lesser or common folk are non-aligned. They represent nothing in particular, other than what they are.
Creature with the challenge alignment are created by the gods to test their creation. These creatures believe in whatever their creator gods want them to believe. These beliefs exist to test the abilities of their other creations. Anything with the challenge alignment may be killed at any time for any reason. If the god makes it a challenge creature, they want you to kill it. Characters are never the challenge alignment unless the gods want you permanently dead. Any creature with the challenge alignment is instantly identifiable by any reasonably self-aware creature. Spells, character abilities, and magic items may not specifically target this alignment.
The anti-deists have forsworn the gods. They believe in free will, rational thought, the intrinsic power of self-actualization, and ridding the world of the gods. All beings are required by the gods to kill anti-deists at all costs. Anti-deists are not obvious. Most beings can not recognize this state. A paladin's detect evil ability can detect anti-deists.
Characters should not be anti-deist.
If a character repeatedly violates the motivations of his god, the god may disown him. This character is now masterless. He loses all bonuses awarded from his primary god. Any reasonably self-aware creature can tell that he is disowned. All non-aligned creatures will poorly to the disowned character's presence.
All characters and heroic NPCs are created using the Elite Array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8). All non-hero NPCs, followers, cohorts, etc. are created using the non-elite array (13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8).
Before the character determines his scores, he must choose which two gods created him. His highest score (15) must go into the attribute personified by his primary god, and his second highest score (14) must go into the attribute personified by his secondary god. His alignment is written as primary god/secondary god. For example: paladin may have an alignment of strength/wisdom.
Some classes must have specific alignment combinations. Refer to Classes to see which alignments the character must have.
There are no races. All characters are purposeful creations. You can look however you please. You will be a medium sized, humanoid creature. All looks are cosmetic. You can be a lizard-man, a moose-woman, or a creature of ropes and sticks. The gods make you into the creatures that you are, and your construction works. No matter how you describe yourself, you are a humanoid.
Your gender has nothing to do with your sponsor. You may be male, female, or neutral.
For your race, put down your Primary God/Secondary God. For example, Race: Ursa/Canis
Each character gains an additional feat at first level. This feat must have a prerequisite in your sponsor's favored stat, or enhance a skill based on that stat. Mark this feat with “(sponsored)”. Should you ever lose the favor of your sponsor, you lose this feat.
Each character gains four extra skill points at first level and an extra skill point each additional level. These points must be spent in a skill based on your sponsor's favored stat.
All skills with your primary god's attribute count as class skills.
All base classes are allowable. However, not all classes will work equally well in this setting. Please consult Alignment for more explanation. Classes from expansion books are also allowable, as well as third party classes. Some classes have problems, as they are either too strong or too weak for the setting. Work with your DM to determine if the class is appropriate to his campaign.
The gods may may alter the world to stop abusive power combinations. Any ability which is circular in nature immediately triggers a self-destruct sequence on the character and results in permanent death.
- The barbarian must always have two masculine alignments.
- The bard must always have two feminine alignments.
- Clerics must take the alignment-based domain of their sponsor.
- Clerics may only use their Turn or Rebuke Undead attempts to turn undead, or for triggering a plot-specific or encounter-specific reaction.
- Clerics turn undead. Only anti-deists clerics Rebuke or Command undead.
- The druid must have all feminine alignments.
- Druids must take care while in animal form, or their strong masculine attributes may give them negative levels.
- While wildshaped, a druid wearing a man-made object may not wildshape.
- The monk must have one masculine and one feminine alignment.
- The paladin assumes the alignments of his primary and secondary god. He fights for those causes.
- His detect evil now becomes detect alignment. The paladin must state which alignment that he is looking for when he uses this ability. The paladin automatically detects for anti-deists when he detects for alignment.
- The paladin chooses the alignment targeted by his smite evil ability when he uses it. He may not smite either of his own alignments. No matter the alignment chosen, this ability affects anti-deists.
- The paladin must always have one male alignment and one female alignment.
If you wish to take on a prestige class, you must petition your primary god and demonstrate that your prestige class exemplifies his attribute and ideals. Your petition may be denied.
The ability of your Sponsor should always be your highest ability score. This is a deep seated desire that permeates every character's soul. In addition, you Sponsor will be offended if you favor a different ability score. If your top two ability scores are disordered for more than an hour a day, your god gives you a negative level. A negative level gained in this way may only be removed with a full day of prayer. Each negative level takes a separate day. If you get enough levels, your primary god may choose to disown you.
At level-up, your primary god may tweak you. On level up, you may change a decision made at an earlier level. You may reallocate one feat, one level worth of skill points, choose a different spell, or otherwise make a different choice. You may not change what class you chose at an earlier level. For instance, a character with 4 skill points per level could redistribute 4 skill points. Note that changing choices could cause other abilities to cease working.
All feats are available unless excluded elsewhere.
[Craft Magic Arms and Armor]] may be taken by any character with a BAB of +6 or better. (In this world, martial skill represents its own kind of magic.) Substitute BAB for Caster Level.
Strength Alignment Feats
Each of these feats require that you be of the Strength alignment.
Strong Personality : You may substitute your strength bonus for you charisma bonus in all respects. Fighter bonus feat. This does not apply to spells or bonus spells.
Strong Caster : Your may substitute your strength attribute for your charisma attribute in determining sorcerer spell levels that you can cast.
Improved Strong Caster : Your strength now determines your sorcerer bonus spells.
Rule of Strength : You may substitute your Basic Attack Bonus for your skill ranks in Bluff, Diplomacy, Handle Animal, Intimidate, and Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty). Fighter bonus feat.
Hero's Voice : Once per day, you may give a cry of encouragement, with the same effect as the Bardic ability inspire courage as if your were a bard of your BAB level. Fighter bonus feat.
Warcry : This ability works similar to the bardic ability inspire courage. This ability instead provides a debuff to your opponents at your BAB equal to your bardic level. [Rewrite me]
Aura of Feat : If you have enough feats, you have an aura of fear.
Brute Force : Substitute your BAB for your skill ranks in Open Lock, Disable Device, Ride, and Use Rope. Anything nearby gets a Listen check DC 10 to hear this. The breakage is obvious. The use rope is high because your are strong and tie very strong knots. Anyone with ranks in Escape Artist may ignore your ranks from this feat.
Aura of Courage : You are now immune to fear, same as the Paladin ability.
Strength of Will : If you miss an Enchantment save, the next round, you may make another Will save, this time adding your Strength bonus.
Power Leap : You may add your BAB to your jump skill in TO BE DETERMINED MECHANIC.
Dexterity Alignment Feats
Ranged Gestalt : Substitute your intelligence bonus for your dex bonus in ranged attacks.
Ranged Precision : Substitute your intelligence bonus for your strength damage bonus with ranged attacks up to one range increment of your weapon. Your weapon need not have a strength bonus.
Constitution Alignment Feats
Intelligence Alignment Feats
Wisdom Alignment Feats
Charisma Alignment Feats
Strength of Will : If you are of the Charisma alignment, you may substitute your Charisma bonus for your strength bonus for purposes of To Hit and Damage bonuses.
Equipment from any books is open to you.
- Spiked chains do not get attacks of opportunity on ranged attacks (targets that are 10' to 15' away.)
With the change in the alignment system, many spells no longer act as written.
- Change all spells which targets/interacts with an alignment. Caster chooses alignment affected/targeted when he casts the spell. No matter what alignment is chosen, anti-deists are also targeted/affected by the spell. The challenge, hero, and non-aligned alignments may not be chosen.
- Spells should act in harmony with their original intent.
- Exclusively Law or Chaos spells are not available. All Good spells are attributed to the gods and their servants. All Evil spells are attributed to anti-deists.
- Remove the domains of Chaos, Evil, Good, and Law.
- Add domains for Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.
The following changes are made to alter the flavor of play. Hopefully, they force you to do things differently and so find new and fun ways to overcome encounters.
- All area-of-effect energy spells (Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Cone of Cold, etc) are banned.
- Levitation, all forms of flying, and teleportation (sans artifacts) are banned.
- Magic Missile is now a ranged touch attack.
- Invisibility gives a target temporary ranks in sneak equal to 1 per caster level (these do not stack with existing ranks) or a +4 enhancement bonus if the character already has more ranks in sneak than the spell provides.
- Knock provides a +1 rank bonus per level to the Open Lock skill. This bonus does not stack with existing ranks.
- Character may still attack under the influence of a stinking cloud. They gain a -4 attack penalty. They may not take a full round or full attack action.
- Removed Spells (alignment)
- New Spells (alignment)
- Rewrite rules for Alignment based Damage Reduction
- Realigning Creatures
- Ban all planar travel
- Adjust spell levels (flavor changes)
- Ban spells (flavor changes)
- Ban flying except by mounts or by riding magic devices (flavor change). Adjust costs of items accordingly. Ban dimension door/teleportation for characters.
- Active World Alteration - if you find a loophole, the gods will close it
- Explain favor changes and why certain spells/powers are banned.
- Clear up magic items with alignments.
- Create domains for each alignment
Combat should happen as per the D20 system, except for the noted changes.
- Anyone using a shield (but not a buckler or an animated shield) may use their shield to deflect arrows as per the feat Deflect Arrows, even if they do not have that feat. This ability is intrinsic to all shield. This ability works against ray attacks and other ranged touch attacks.
- Anyone using a shield (but not a buckler or an animated shield) may add his shield bonus to reflex saves vs. energy spells (such as fireballs, dragon breath, falling debris).
Death and Dying
Some characters get destroyed. If the god likes you well enough, he can recreate you. The entire party gains an XP debt of (Character Level x500). The party does not gains experience until this debt is paid off.
Recreating a character takes time. The party must wait 1 hour per character level of the dead character before the god recreates the character.
In a perfect world, I would rewrite the spell selections. I highly suggest adopting the spellcasting classes of Monte Cooke's Arcana Unearthed/Expanded.
Here are a few blatant nerfs:
- Magic Missile – Caster must make a ranged touch attach for each missile.
- Invisibility – Recipient gains a +Level to sneak.
- Knock – Caster makes an Open Lock skill check. Temporary Skill Ranks = Caster Level. These ranks to do not stack with existing skill ranks.
- Fireball – This spell inflicts 1 hp/level damage. Maximum damage stops at 20 hp. (Given that the average NPC trooper has 5-8 hp, this spell still has great power as an anti-troop spell).
- Lightning Bolt – This spell inflict 2 hp/level damage. Maximum damage is 20 hp.
- Levitate and all forms of flying are banned.
Psionics are allowed. They are a type of magic.
All magic items are allowed.
Artifacts and Relics
The gods do not leave things like artifacts and relics lying about. If they want you to have something like this, they will give it to you. If they do not have such a thing, they will ask you to capture and dispose of it.
- All magical items which enable flight are now minor or major artifacts.
Use modules. The gods want you to accomplish these seemingly random goals. If there are static dungeons available to you, they have been constructed by the gods to test their designs.