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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.


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.


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
Deity type: (Head Honcho, Undertaker, etc.)
Attribute(s): (elements, childbirth, love, war, etc.)
Personality type:
Favored Race:
Preferred method of worship: (sacrifices, offerings, prayer, healing, etc.)

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

17 Mar 201445 Joyce
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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
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14 Apr 201445 Mcart
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.
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