Elfwood is the worlds largest SciFi & Fantasy community.
  - 152369 members, 5 online now.
  - 12514 site visitors the last 24 hours.

 

 
 
 

Fantasy Art Tutorials in the FARP Section

Creating Effective Pantheons for Fantasy Stories

By :-) Sarah N. Snyder

Welcome! If you're reading this, you're probably writing a fantasy story, and you thought, 'Let's create a pantheon of gods for my characters to follow!' Problem is, you have no idea how to do this. Well, if you don't mind me borrowing heavily from Greek, Egyptian, and Japanese mythology, then let's get started!

 

First, think of what kind of image you want your gods to project. The Greek gods, for example, were extremely childish, feuding amongst each other, having affairs with humans, wreaking vengeance for the oddest things. You could have a certain image for them to portray, or you could decide on their ethnicity (in a fantasy setting, of course) as a factor for their behavior.

If you really don't want to put a lot of effort into creating a religion for your world, you could always fall back on Christianity (or something similar to your own religion). The problem with this is that, in my opinion, mythical creatures and races don't seem to fit into a Christian setting, especially if you're using stereotypes. Elves are highly magical beings, so they would be considered witches; dwarves are kind of materialistic (why do you think they spend so much time in mines?), so they'd be sinners too; and dragons, minotaurs, and any other creatures would probably be considered demons. So, unless you want those perceptions of such creatures in your story, Christianity would probably work well only for the humans.

That's not to say that you can't get away with a monotheistic religious view. It may be harder to pull off, but it certainly isn't impossible. Say we have a god, Bob. (Pardon the lack of creative names, please.) Bob might be omnipotent, which means all-powerful, and omniscient, which means all-seeing; this is already close to the Christian/Jewish God. But Bob's not just a big eye sitting in the sky, is he? He needs a bit of a personality; he could be an angry, jealous god, or a loving god, or a neutral god; is he evil or good? Does he favor certain races over others? Where is he located? Does he have a heaven/hell system, or is reincarnation how he deals with death?

Personally, I believe a polytheistic god system is easier to pull off. Your gods will all have different personalities (or they should), different powers, different realms... and different preferences regarding race. A pantheon is actually easier to use if you want each race to have one specific god assigned to them, since that deity will have attributes that compliment the ideals of that race or culture.

But how many do you create? And what kinds of attributes do you give them? Well, that's where ancient mythology comes in. Let's look at some of the archetypes to determine what kind of deity is necessary, shall we? Please take note, you can add as many as you like (the Hindu gods number anywhere from 300 to 3,000,000).

The Earth Mother and the Sky Father

This isn't really a single deity, but they do go hand in hand. Some examples of this pair are Uranus and Gaea of Greek mythology, Nut and Geb of Egyptian mythology, or Izanagi and Izanami or Japanese mythology. They are usually what the name implies; Earth and Sky, who mate and give birth to other gods (sometimes, like in the case of Nut and Geb, the roles are reversed; Nut is the sky mother, and vice versa). They do not give birth to all of them, since many gods have a tendency to mate amongst themselves and have kids. (It does seem a bit like incest, doesn't it? But for some reason it isn't, and I have no idea how that works.)

Sometimes the mother/father pair is killed, or one of them is. Tiamut, from Babylonian mythology, was defeated after she tried to kill all her children for making too much noise, and they used her body to create the Earth. And sometimes, the father is jealous of his children; Uranus locked away their first children, the Titans, until Chronus broke free and castrated him, creating land and, inadvertently, Aphrodite; he then pulled the same stunt on his sister/mate Rhea, eating all their children until she tricked him with a rock and had Zeus depose and banish him.

The Head Honcho

Zeus. Osiris. They were in charge of everyone and everything else, and however else their personalities were directed, they did have a sense of responsibility. They generally are credited with creating the earth and such.

You have to be careful with the personality here. Is he jealous, righteous, destructive? Is he interested in the affairs of his creations? (Hint: they all should be, but he should be the most interested.) Is he monogamous, or is he like Zeus -- willing to sleep with any person in sight? Does he help people out, and how often?

The Leading Lady

Hera and Isis are prime examples. This goddess is the life mate of the Head Honcho, and she is sometimes also viewed as a goddess of fertility, or of childbirth. This isn't written in stone, since a lot of goddesses are considered fertility goddesses, but it is a possibility.

There are two main personality types for her. There's the jealous raging type, like Hera, who loves her husband but who gets pissed at him for every single affair he has (I'm not blaming her). Or, there's the loving type, like Isis, who searched for and reassembled her husband's body. In fact, the story of Isis and Osiris is considered one of the greatest love stories of all time. You don't have to try to create something quite so grand, but do try to keep their relationship believable.

The Warmonger

There's always someone in history who's ready for a good old-fashioned brawl; Caesar, Alexander the Great, Longshanks, Hitler, George W. Bush… And of course, there's always a god or two who loves to be in the middle of the melee. Ares, for instance, is the Greek god of war; his Roman counterpart is Mars, who I think was aptly named, as the planet IS a bloody red.

Your Warmonger should be a bit reckless, since he/she is in love with the clash of swords and the spilling of blood. They “live” for the battle; it's their adrenaline rush. Most of them are perceived as young, bold soldiers, and not seasoned warriors.

The Love Muffin

Ah, yes, the goddess of love. Of course, your Love Muffin could be male, and it would be a nice break in the cliché. This deity is definitely the most included entity in any pantheon. Most often, she's also interpreted as something of a whore.

Usually she shares love and fertility as her area of patronage, and is almost always in charge of sexual love. This does make sense, but it doesn't always have to be that way. Sometimes she's also the Leading Lady.

The Undertaker

Now, I'd like to dispel a tall tale that seems to travel everywhere; the Underworld is not always hell, and the Undertaker is not some sort of counterpart to the Judeo/Christian devil. In many cases, it is the only place where the soul goes after the body dies. There are designated places for souls that are deserving of eternal torture, but it's mostly just a waiting place.

That said, the Undertaker doesn't necessarily have to be scary. It all depends on the population's attitude toward death. There can also be another person involved in delivering souls to the Underworld. It's usually only a ferryman, like Anubis.

The Green Thumb

Your god/goddess of agriculture is especially important to rural communities, who depend on farming to survive. This is probably their chief deity; they see them as the main provider of conditions to support their crops.

The Green Thumb is generally a woman, and they are sometimes the god of fertility as well. To grow crops, the land needs to be fertile, doesn't it?

The Hunter

There is a noticeable difference between the Hunter and the Warmonger, though they may share some of the same values. The Hunter usually does not participate in battle, and their use of weapons is generally kept for, well, hunting.

Women can make pretty good Hunters, actually. Take Artemis. Not exactly the kindest goddess around – she once changed a man into a stag after accidentally seeing her naked, and had his own dogs attack and kill him – but she was an effective goddess.

The “Ar-teest”

This one is close the to Muses of Greek mythology. It doesn't matter if it's only one deity assigned to all forms of creativity, or if there are multiple gods focusing on certain aspects of what is considered art. They should all focus solely on that section of life; I've never come across an art-related god who was also worshipped for different reasons.

The Villain

There is usually some sort of protagonist in mythology; Osiris had Set, Amaterasu had Amatsu Mikaboshi. For whatever reason, they usually hate the Head Honcho (or Leading Lady) with a passion, and they fully enjoy throwing down obstacles in their enemies' plans and the lives of their favored mortals. They're usually worshipped by, well, evil creatures, since they themselves are evil. Usually they're associated with some kind of destructive force that exemplifies Chaos; earthquakes, storms, fire, volcanoes, even creatures like dragons, minotaurs, or draconians.

The Sun, the Moon, Weather, and the Elements

Ancient peoples used the gods to explain many natural phenomena; the rising and setting of the sun and moon, storms and natural disasters. I'm not going to expand on this much. Just remember, it doesn't matter if these attributes are coupled with others or left to just one god.

Headquarters

So, now that you have these gods, where are they going to live? You could create your own Mount Olympus, or they could all have their own domain. The Underworld is always apart from any other realm. Er, if they all have their own place, they should probably reflect their attributes and such.

Demigods, Angels, and Demons

Gods aren't the only “celestial” beings. A demigod is someone who is half god, half mortal. Demigods, angels, and demons all (usually) have superhuman powers.

There's also the matter of hierarchy, in regard to angels and demons. Personally, I really don't think it matters if you rank them or not, though it might help to have some higher-ups for them to answer to.

You don't need any of these creatures unless you really want them. Many successful sagas don't have creatures like this, and many do. It all depends on if you are willing to work with them. Don't force yourself to create these characters if you hate using them.

Mythology

Yes, you do have to come up with a back-story. All you really, really need is a creation myth, and perhaps a few tales that tell how the world's history was manipulated by the doings of your deities. It would probably be wise to add in, somehow, the relationships between the gods; who's the mother of whom, who's in love with whom, etc.

It may seem like a lot to create, but a pantheon doesn't have to be a big hassle. All you really need is a Head Honcho, a Leading Lady, a Villain, an Undertaker, a Green Thumb, a Warmonger, a Love Muffin, someplace for them to reside, and a back-story at the very least. This doesn't mean that you should just throw together a few characters, stick them on a map, and say, “So-and-so shaped the earth from a pile of mud and used his earwax to create all the people.” Hard work will benefit you in the end, even if it doesn't seem like it.

That being said, let me help you out a little more.

Your Handy-Dandy Deity Creation Form
Name:
Gender:
Race:
Deity type: (Head Honcho, Undertaker, etc.)
Attribute(s): (elements, childbirth, love, war, etc.)
Personality type:
Mother/Father:
Siblings:
Consort:
Favored Race:
Preferred method of worship: (sacrifices, offerings, prayer, healing, etc.)
Powers:
Worshippers:

I hope this tutorial has been helpful to you. If you're confused by any of this, feel free to email me. Good luck!


FARP Article Guestbook

DateNameComment 
17 Mar 201445 Joyce
Hi everyone, I do hope my post gets read and hopefully helps somebody along the line.i will never forget the help Dr Papa temple render to me in my marital life. i have been married for 4 years now and my husband and i love each other very dearly . after 3 years of our marriage my husband suddenly change he was having an affair with a lady outside,i notice it then i was praying for divine intervention the thing became more serious i told my pastor about it we prayed but nothing happen. my husband just came home one day he pick up his things and left me and the kids to his mistress outside at this time i was confuse not knowing what to do again because i have lost my husband and my marriage too. i was just checking my mails in the office when i saw someone sharing her testimony on how Dr Papa temple help her out with her marital problems so i contacted the email of Dr papa i told him my problem and i was told to be calm that i have come to the right place that i should fill some information concerning my self i did after 30 minus he called me again congratulating me that my problems will be solve within 48 hours. he told me what went wrong with my husband and how it happen.that they will restored my marriage but i will make a free donation to their Papa home anything my heart told me. to my greatest surprise my husband came to my office begging me on his knees that i should find a place in my heart to forgive him i quickly ask him up that i have forgiven him.friends your case is not too hard why don’t you give Dr papa a try they work surprises because i know they will also bring back your husband. contact him via supremetemple@hotmail.com(supremetemple@hotmail.com)
17 Mar 201445 Edwin

I have a testimony to share with you only if you are willing to listen to me, My name is Williams Edwin from London. I have been having problems in some aspect of my life which almost led me to commit suicide, several time I applied for jobs and each time I was turn down, it come to a point that my Wife left me for another Man and this made me to have high blood pressure (B.P). One day as I was looking for job online in the internet I came across a testimony of a woman how a great spell caster called VOODOO help her with his spell to solve her problems so I decided to contact the Spell caster (Voodoo) by mail. I narrated all my story to him and the only thing he told me was don’t worry because your problems are solve already. for you have made the right choice of contacting me. I filled his form and provide the item he requested from me for the preparation of the spell to get me a good job, bring my ex back and also to heal my high blood pressure (B.P) and today my brothers and sisters that are reading this I am very glad to say that Voodoo is a God on earth. I have a good Job now, My wife is back and I am healed of my High Blood Pressure (B.P). Do you have problems and you think all hope is gone, I advise you to contact VOODOO today and your problem will be solve just as he solve mine ok. Voodoo email is: voodoolovespelltemple@hotmail. com. this african temple is genuine I swear. WOW AM ON TOP YOU CAN BE TOO.INSTEAD OF FALLING FOR THOSE SCAMS THAT CALL THEIR SELF SPELL CASTERS, VOODOO YOU I WILL CONTINUE TO THANK YOUR TEMPLE.
23 Mar 201445 Pandev

I am PANDEV from canada.I never
believe in spells and magic until I
experienced one some times ago and it
really worked for me. I was in love with
this guy and he is in love with me too for
3years and we making preparations to get married but to my surprise,his
parents didn’t want his hand in the
marriage because of the religion
difference. I was about loosing my man
to another lady under the influence of his
parents until I met a spell caster on net that claimed he can help me out.
He
helped me cast a very strong spell that
helped change his parents mind and i
noticed also that my man love for me has
greatly increased. We are happily
married now with kids. People with similar problems can contact the spell
caster on drodionspelltemple@gmail.com)
He cast spells for different purposes like
(1) If you want your ex back.
(2) if you always have bad dreams.
(3) You want to be promoted in your office.
(4) You want women/men to run after
you.
(5) If you want a child.
(6) You want to be rich.
(7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever.
(9 If you need financial assistance.
(9) Herbal care
Contact him today on:
at:drodoinspelltemple@gmail.com
26 Mar 201445 Anon.
My life is back!!! After 8 years of marriage, my husband left me and left me with our three kids. I felt like my life was about to end, and was falling apart. Thanks to Dr ekpen which i met online.
On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet, I came across series of testimonies about this particular spell temple. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. There was one particular testimony I saw, it was about a woman called Jessy,she testified about how Dr ekpen brought back her Ex lover in less than 72 hours and at the end of her testimony she drop Dr ekpen e-mail address.
After reading all these,I decided to give Dr ekpen a try. I contacted him via email and explained my problem to him. In just 3 days, my husband came back to me. We solved our issues, and we are even happier than before. Dr ekpen is really a talented and gifted man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man…
If you have a problem and you are looking for a means to solve that problem think no further contact Dr ekpen today, he is the answer to your problem. Here’s his contact:drekpenspelltemple@gmail.com Thank you or call 2347065630841
1 Apr 201445 Melissa

My Name is Mrs Melissa, I was married to my husband for 8years and we were both bless with three children, living together as one love, until 2010 when things was no longer the way it was [when he lost his job]. But when he later gets a new job 6 months after, he stated sleeping outside our matrimonial home. Only for me to find out that he was having an affair with the lady that gave him the job. since that day, when i called him, he don’t longer pick up my calls and nothing since to come out good. Yet my husbands just still keep on seeing the new girl friend till Dr.Aluya cast a spell for me,now is with me and me only.And i am happy with my family if you need his help contact on via email,aluyakespelltemple@live.com.or call him on 2347059498969.
9 Apr 201445 Anon.
Ares, for instance, is the Greek god of war; his Roman counterpart is Mars, who I think was aptly named, as the planet IS a bloody red.

I’m not meaning to be rude, but the planet was named after the Roman god of war, Mars, because the planet was red, and not the other way round.
14 Apr 201445 Mcart

my name is mccart i never believe in spell casting, until when i was was tempted to try it. i and my husband have been having a lot of problem living together, he will always not make me happy because he have fallen in love with another lady outside our relationship, i tried my best to make sure that my husband leave this woman but the more i talk to him the more he makes me fell sad, so my marriage is now leading to divorce because he no longer gives me attention. so with all this pain and agony, i decided to contact this spell caster to see if things can work out between me and my husband again. this spell caster who was a woman told me that my husband is really under a great spell that he have been charm by some magic, so she told me that she was going to make all things normal back. she did the spell on my husband and after 5 days my husband changed completely he even apologize with the way he treated me that he was not him self, i really
thank this woman her name is Dr Aluta she have bring back my husband back to me i want you all to contact her who are having any problem related to marriage issue and relationship problem she will solve it for you. her
email is traditionalspellhospital@gmail.com, she is a woman and she is great. wish you good time.

14 Apr 201445 Mcart
hello
14 Apr 201445 Lorieta


i am hear to give testimony of how i got back my husband, we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted traditional spell hospital for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he traditional spell hospital casted on him that make him comeback to me today,me and my family are now happy again today. thank you traditional spell hospital for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact traditionalspellhospital@gmail.com. and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.
14 Apr 201445 Scott
Hello friends, an awesome and amazing testimony about a Great spell caster i really love to share. My name is Phil Scott from the United States. Getting my wife back is what i least expected and could never imagine. I and my wife have been married for five years and we have been living happily but all of a sudden she changed completely and turned away from me and i never knew what was going on, i tried to ask her but she refused to tell me what the problem is, and as time went on she sought for a divorce. I was so worried and confused, and i did all my possible best to get her back but it wasn’t easy, i thought all hope was lost, and during my search for a way out, a friend of mine who had similar problem told me about a great spell caster called Great Eziza who helped him get back his wife also. I never believe in spell casting in my entire life or a magic because i never thought it will work but i tried to give this man a chance and to my greatest surprise, He cast a spell on me but today we are back together into a lovely home with three beautiful kids. We are happy together again and i am using this opportunity to tell anyone passing similar situation to contact him on ezizatempleofsolution@gmail. com and you will be the next to tell a new testimony.
Page: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17


Not signed in, Add an anonymous comment to this guestbook...    

Your Name:
Your Mail:
   Private message? (Info)




Back to the FARP main page.


The collection of art and writing tutorials in the Elfwood Fantasy Art Resource (F.A.R.P.) is a part of Elfwood.
The FARP logo was created by :-) Miguel Krippahl (The muscular guy in the FARP-logo) and :-) Thomas F Abrahamsson (The text and general graphic design). Those sections written by volunteers are copyrighted to Thomas Abrahamsson and the respective writer. Elfwood is a project once founded by Thomas Abrahamsson.

All rights reserved. Unauthorized Reproduction of the graphics, writings, and materials on these pages is absolutely prohibited! You may consider all material on these pages protected and copyrighted, unless otherwise noted. You may NOT use the images found at the FARP or Elfwood pages on your home pages! All of these images are copyright protected! Everything you see here represent the collaborative effort of the Elfwood community and Thomas Abrahamsson. Please read the Legal Disclaimer for more info on warranties/etc for these pages!

 
 

Elfwood™ is a site for Fantasy and Science Fiction art and stories. The site was founded by Thomas Abrahamsson and is maintained by helpful assistants and moderators, owned by the Elfwood AB corporation.

[More...]