Month: May 2015

Expanded Cultural Options for 5th Edition Pendragon (Modifiers to Statistics, Traits, and Passions)


I’ll be using the following modified statistic modifiers for the various cultures in my game because I think that they’re ample without being too drastic.  I don’t want all Saxons being hulking, clumsy, brutes and all Picts to be tiny and unattractive gymnasts.  These new modifiers all for meaningful statistic differences between cultures without making them into caricatures.

Cultural Modifiers to Statistics:

Cymric or Irish:  +2 CON

Frankish or Frisian:  +1 STR, +1 CON

Aquitanian:  +1 DEX, +1 CON

Pictish:  +2 DEX, +1 CON, -1 SIZ, -1 APP

Roman:  +1 DEX, +1 APP

Saxon:  +2 SIZ, +1 STR, -1 DEX


Roll 3d6 for each trait in the left-hand column, also called virtues.  The right-hand column traits, also called vices, are determined by subtracting the corresponding virtue from 20.  Add any cultural, religious or familial modifiers to the relevant traits, to a maximum of 19 and minimum of 1.

Add “3” to any religious trait.  No starting trait may exceed 18, even after religious modifiers.  If no virtues are notable (16 or higher), you may raise one virtue of your choice to 16.

Virtues Vices
Chaste Lustful
Energetic* Lazy
Forgiving Vengeful
Generous* Selfish
Honest Deceitful
Just* Arbitrary
Merciful* Cruel
Modest* Proud
Prudent Reckless
Temperate Indulgent
Trusting Suspicious
Valorous* Cowardly


Cultural Trait & Passion Modifiers:

Frankish Aquitanian
Traits: Proud +2, Reckless +2, Valorous +2 Traits: Vengeful +2, Indulgent +2, Proud +2, Worldly +2
Directed Trait: Indulgent (wine) Directed Trait: Suspicious (religious fanatics)
Passions: Loyalty (lord) +1d6, Honor +1 Passions: Loyalty (lord) -2, Honor +1
Irish           Roman
Traits: Vengeful +2, Indulgent +2, Reckless +1   Traits: Deceitful +2, Worldly +2, Proud +2
Directed Trait: None   Directed Trait: Suspicious (non-Romans)
Passions: Loyalty (lord) -1d6, Love (family) +1d6, Honor -1   Passions: Loyalty (City) or (Emperor) 3d6
Pict Saxon
Traits: Pious +2, Suspicious +2, Cruel +1 Traits: Arbitrary +2, Cruel +1, Honest +2, Energetic +1, Valorous +1
Directed Trait: None Directed Trait: None
Passions: Love (family) +2, Hospitality +1, Honor -2 Passions: Loyalty (Lord) +1d6, Honor -1


Regional Trait & Passion Modifiers:

Britanny Ireland
Traits: Energetic +1, Modest +2, Prudent +2, Valorous +1 Traits: Lustful +1, Energetic +1, Honest +2, Indulgent +2
Cambria   Logres
Traits: Arbitrary +2, Suspicious +2, Prudent +1, Temperate +1   Traits: Energetic +1, Forgiving +1, Honest +1, Just +1, Trusting +1, Valorous +1
Cumbria The North
Traits: Pious +2, Honest +1 Traits: Prudent +2, Selfish +2, Pious +1, Temperate +1
Directed Trait: Loyalty (Cumbrian lord): +1d6, Loyalty (non-Cumbrian lord): -1d6 Passions: Love (family) +1d3
Traits: Arbitrary +2, Suspicious +2, Prudent +2  

Regional Directed Traits:  +1d6 to the listed trait

Bedegraine (Logres): Suspicious of Lindsey (all time periods)

Benoic (The North): Suspicious Cymri (Uther & Anarchy), Suspicious of pagans (all time periods)

Benoit (Aquitaine): Suspicious Franks (Uther & Anarchy)

Brun (Logres): Suspicious of Hertford (Uther & Anarchy), Suspicious of faeries (Boy King & later)

Cambenet (Cumbria): Trusting of Logres knights (Romance & later)

Caercolun (Logres): Vengeful of Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Carhaix (Brittany): Suspicious of all Bretons (all time periods)

Colchester (Logres): Vengeful of Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Dal Riada (Ireland): Proud of Dal Riada (all time periods)

Dorset (Logres):  Suspicious of non-Romans (Uther, Anarchy & Boy King)

Dumnonie (Brittany): Suspicious of Vannetais (Boy King & later)

Escavalon Cambria): Suspicious of Estregales (Uther & Anarchy), Proud of Escavalon (all time periods)

Essex (Logres): Indulgent of alcohol (all time periods)

Estregales (Cambria): Suspicious of Gomeret (Boy King & later)

Ganis (Aquitaine): Suspicious of Franks (all time periods)

Gomeret (Cambria): Suspicious of Pendragon (Boy King & later)

Gorre (North): Trusting of pagans (all time periods), Trusting of witches (Romance & later)

Hampshire (Logres): Merciful of Saxons (Romance & later)

Hertford (Logres):  Selfish with food (all time periods)

Huntington (Logres): Suspicious Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Isle of Wight: Prudent at sea (all time periods), Valorous at sea (all time periods)

Jagent (Logres): Suspicious of Cornwall (Boy King & later)

Lambor (Logres):  Suspicious of Lindsey (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Leicester (Logres): Suspicious of of Cymri (all time periods)

Leon (Brittany): Trusting of paying customers (all time periods)

Lindsey (Logres): Suspicious of Pendragon (all time periods)

Lonazep (Logres): Cowardly with marsh monsters (all time periods)

London (Logres): Suspicious of Saxons (Boy King, Conquest & Romance)

Long Isles (North): Suspicious of Cymri (all time periods)

Lothian (North): Suspicious of Pendragon (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Malahaut (Cumbria): Suspicious of Pendragon (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Munster (Ireland): Trusting of Estregales (all time periods)

Nohaut (Cumbria): Suspicious of Malahaut (all time periods)

Oriel (Ireland): Suspicious of Pendragon (Romance & later)

Pomitain (Ireland): Valorous at sea (all time periods)

Rydychan (Logres): Suspicious of Cambrians (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Salisbury (Logres): Suspicious of Silchester (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Somerset (Logres):  Cowardly of faeries (all time periods)

Sugales (Cambria): Trusting of druids (all time periods)

Surluse (North): Proud of Irish ways (all time periods)

Sussex (Logres): Indulgent of alcohol (all time periods)

Thamesmouth: Suspicious of Saxons (Boy King, Conquest & Romance)

Tintagel (Cornwall): Trusting of Morgan le Fay (Boy King & later)

Tribuit (Logres): Cowardly of Faeries (Boy King & later), Indulgent of fine clothes (Conquest & later)

Winchester (Logres): Proud of Belgae (Uther & Anarchy)

Wuerensis (Logres): Suspicious of religious fanatics (all time periods)


Starred (*) virtues must equal or exceed 80.  Bonus is +3 to natural armor.


Differs by religion.  All religious traits must exceed 15.  See below for the benefits of each faith’s religious bonus.

Christian, British

Traits: Chaste, Energetic, Generous, Modest, Temperate

Religious Bonus: +3 Hit Points, +1d3 to Damage

Christian, Roman

Traits: Chaste, Forgiving, Merciful, Modest, Temperate

Religious Bonus: +6 Hit Points


Traits: Vengeful, Honest, Proud, Arbitrary, Worldly

Religious Bonus: +2 Movement, +1 Healing


Traits: Chaste, Energetic, Just, Prudent, Temperate

Religious Bonus: +3 Hit Points, +1 Healing

Pagan, British

Traits: Lustful, Energetic, Generous, Honest, Proud

Religious Bonus: +1 Movement, +2 Healing

Pagan, Germanic

Traits: Generous, Proud, Worldly, Reckless, Indulgent

Religious Bonus: +1d6 Damage


Fear:                               replaced w/ directed trait (cowardly)

Hate:                              3d6

Honor:                            3d6

Hospitality:                     3d6

Love:                              3d6*

Loyalty (any):                3d6

*When generating Love (family), the eldest son and all daughters roll 3d6 and use the result.  Each subsequent son subtracts one from the 3d6 roll (i.e. the third born son subtracts 2 from his roll while the 6th born subtracts 5 from his roll).

In families that provide equally for all male heirs (gavelkind inheritance), the roll is not modified for later-born sons.  Saxon, Irish, and Cambrian lords often practice gavelkind inheritance, known among the Cymri as cyfran.

Regional Passions:  Roll 3d6 to determine the regional Passion score:

Ailech (Ireland): Hate Orielmen (all time periods)

Bedegraine (Logres): Hate Norgales knights (Romance & later)

Caercolun (Logres): Hate Angles (Uther, Anarchy & Boy King)

Cambenet (Cumbria): Hate Irish (Uther & Anarchy)

Cameliard (Cambria): Hate Norgales knights (Uther & Anarchy), Amor (Guenever) (Romance & later)

Clarence (Logres):  Hate Gloucestermen (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Connacht (Ireland): Love Hunting

Cornouailles (Brittany): Loyalty to the King of Cornwall (all time periods)

Devon (Cornwall):  Hate Irish (all time periods)

Dumnonie (Brittany): Hate Vannetais (Uther & Anarchy)

Escoce (North): Hate Irish (all time periods)

Garloth (North): Hate Danes (Uther & Anarchy), Hate Saracens (Romance & later)

Gorre (North): Hate Irish (Uther & Anarchy)

Gloucester (Cambria): Hate Clarence (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Hampshire (Logres): Hate Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Hertford (Logres): Hate Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Huntington (Logres): Hate Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Jagent (Logres): Hate Cornishmen (Uther & Anarchy)

Kent (Logres): Hate Danes (all time periods)

Leinster (Ireland): Hate Irish Pagans (Boy King & later)

London: Hate Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Lothian (North): Hate Pendragon (Tournament & later)

Lyonesse (Cornwall): Hate Irish (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Malahaut (Cumbria): Hate Angles (Uther & Anarchy)

Maris (Logres): Hate Angles (Uther & Anarchy), Hate trolls (all time periods)

Meath (Ireland): Hate Pagans (all time periods)

Nohaut (North): Hate Malahaut (Uther, Anarchy, Boy King & Conquest)

Salisbury (Logres): Hate Saxons (Uther, Anarchy & Boy King)

Silchester (Logres): Hate Saxons (Anarchy & later)

Somerset (Logres): Hate Irish (Uther & Anarchy)

Strangorre (North):  Hate Irish (all time periods)

Surrey (Logres): Hate (Other) Saxons (Uther, Anarchy & Boy King)

Thamesmouth: Hate Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Tintagel (Cornwall): Hate Irish (Uther & Anarchy)

Totnes (Cornwall): Hate Giants (all time periods), Hate Irish (Uther & Anarchy)

Vannetais (Brittany): Hate Franks (all time periods), Hate Brittany (Tournament & Twilight)

Wuerensis (Logres): Hate Cambrians (Uther & Anarchy)

Expanded Cultural Options for 5th Edition Pendragon (Random Generation)


Default Option:  Using the default option, starting characters are assumed to be Cymri from Logres who practice British Christianity.

Advanced Option:  Gamemasters may wish to allow for more diversity in starting regions, cultures, and religions in their games.  If this is the case in your campaign, use the following steps:

1] Determine Region:  Consult the TIME PERIOD TABLE below and roll a d20 to determine the character’s starting region.

2] Determine Homeland:  Roll percentile dice and consult the HOMELAND TABLE indicated on the TIME PERIOD TABLE to determine the character’s homeland.  Once the player’s homeland is determined, roll a d6 and consult the appropriate regional subtable to determine the exact city, town, or county that the character is from.  British Saxons have no subtable that need be rolled upon.

3] Determine Culture & Religion:  Consult the CULTURE & RELIGION BY HOMELAND table and roll a d6 to determine the character’s culture and religion.  Apply all applicable modifiers to the player’s statistics, traits, and passions.









Generating Pendragon Character Statistics (Revised)

Before getting into the modifiers to statistics associated with each culture, I wanted to (briefly) show how character’s statistics are generated in my game.


Size: 2d6+6 (2d6+3 for female characters)

Strength: 3d6 (2d6+3 for female characters)

Dexterity: 3d6

Constitution:  3d6

In place of rolling these statistics, the character can assign 48 points to them and then apply cultural modifiers.

Appearance:   3d6 (4d6 for female characters)

Appearance is rolled separately for all characters.

Minimum and Maximum Starting Scores:  The maximum starting statistic score is 18, plus or minus cultural modifiers.  The minimum starting statistic score is 5.  Scores below 5 are raised to 5.

Distinctive Features: Distinctive features are based upon the Appearance statistic (see above). Characters with an average appearance (10-12) have 1 distinctive feature.  Those that are particularly handsome or unattractive have more than 1 distinctive feature, as detailed below.

Value Distinctive Features
Up to 6 3
7-9 2
10-12 1
13-16 2
17+ 3

Expanded Cultural Options for 5th Edition Pendragon (Background Information)

Background Information

5th edition Pendragon starts all player character knights as Cymric Christians from Logres for a simple, and sensible, reason:  Britain, in 485, is being assaulted by raiders from the north (Picts), west (Irish), and east (Saxons).  Meanwhile Britain’s indigenous people, the Cymri, struggle to hold their lands following Rome’s conquest and recent desertion of the island.  As such, it makes perfect sense that starting characters be Britons from Britain’s heartland striving to keep their lands from falling into barbarism and out from under the yoke of foreign occupation.

That said, I don’t see why Cymric pagans and Roman characters aren’t available as player knights.  At this point in history the Franks are still pagans and it is easy to imagine that paganism is still practiced among the Cymri… particularly those belonging to the hill tribes of Cambria and in the northern reaches of Cumbria.  Even in places where Christianity holds sway, I’d imagine that a good deal of the locals still hold to their pagan beliefs and practices, incorporating their ancestral folk lore into their Christian faith.

While the Roman legions and governors were withdrawn from Britannia in 410 AD, there’d certainly have been Roman and Romano-Cymric families that chose to remain behind.

Adding Cymric Bretons, Frankish, Aquitanian, and Romano-Celtic Gallic knights is also feasible as warfare on the continent, particularly between the Franks and Roman Gaul, could easily account for exiled and displaced nobles journeying north the Britain.  In fact, by 486, Gaul ceased to be a Roman province after the Frankish victory at the Battle of Soissons (Novidunum) in what is now northeastern France.  Also both Uther and Aurelius Ambrosius spent their years in exile in Brittany in the court of their cousin, Budic I of Britanny. There is little doubt that nobles and knights from the region, particularly Gauls and Aquitanians (Romano-Goths) displaced by the conquering Franks, would have joined the cause of the exiled princes and sailed with them to retake beleaguered Britain.

In an early campaign, justifying Saxon, Pictish, and Irish characters is a tough feat.  At this point, these people are the enemies of the Cymri in Cornwall, Logres, Cambria, and Cumbria.

Angus McBride: Saxon Warriors

Saxons, along with Angles, Frisians and Jutes, invaded and migrated to the island around the time of the collapse of Roman authority in the west. Saxon raiders had been harassing the eastern and southern shores of Britannia for centuries before, prompting the construction of a string of coastal forts called the Saxon Shore. Before the end of Roman rule in Britain, many Saxons and other folk had been permitted to settle in these areas as farmers.

Under the rule of Vortigern, Saxon mercenaries were employed to defend Britain against the Picts and Irish, and to aid him in uniting Britain under his banner.  Over time these Saxons were granted lands, particularly in Kent.  The Saxon warlords Hengist and Horsa manipulated Vortigern into granting more land and allowing for more settlers to come in, paving the way for the Saxon settlement of Britain and Vortigern’s downfall.

One way to incorporate Saxon characters would be to have them be British-born Saxons whose forebears served as mercenaries for the Romans, or Vortigern, and settled lands under Cymric rule.  Coming from established families, British-born Saxons would still face prejudice but, as sworn servants of Cymric lords, fall under the protection of those lords.  Their position, in the face of relentless Saxon invasions, would be tenuous and roleplaying such a character could be challenging… to say the least!  Based on the location of Saxon settlements in relation to Cymric lands,  some likely locales for such characters would be:

  • Eboracum and it outlying lands
  • Essex, particularly Ipswitch and Colchester (before they fall to the Angles)
  • London and its outlying lands,
  • The Southports region

Irish knights, in an early campaign, could be from Estregales and, until 495, Escavalon.  These lands have been held by Irish tribesmen for generations and are currently held by King Canan I.  While Estregales wars with its Cambrian neighbors in Gomeret, it has diplomatic relations with other British lords.  As such fosterage, a practice common to Wales and Ireland, could allow the sons of Irish lords to serve in Cymric courts as honored guests and wards.  Cultural tensions, diplomatic concerns, and opportunities for espionage could all make for great roleplaying sessions.

Angus McBride

Integrating Pictish characters, particularly knights, is a challenge in light of their insular nature and hostility towards their southern neighbors.   It is possible that some lowland clans could have tribesmen serving Cymric lords as mercenaries, such as scouts or as infantry, while Christian Picts (St. Ninnius converted the Picts of Benoic in 390 AD) might serve either the church or a Christian lord in the name of their faith.

Coming soon… Expanded Cultural Options, Pt.2

Pendragon: Where to Begin?

When running a Pendragon game, I prefer to start the action as early as possible.  While 4th edition Pendragon assumes that campaigns will begin well into the reign of Arthur (531 AD), 5th edition starts things up during the reign of Uther (485 AD)… which I much prefer.  The Wiki excerpt below clearly illustrates some of the reasons for this preference:

Uther Pendragon (from Wikipedia):

Uther is best known from Geoffrey’s Historia Regum Britanniae (1136) where he is the youngest son of King of Britannia Constantine II. His eldest brother Constans succeeds to the throne on their father’s death, but is murdered at the instigation of his adviser Vortigern, who seizes the throne. Uther and his other brother Aurelius Ambrosius, still children, flee to Brittany. After Vortigern’s alliance with the Saxons under Hengist goes disastrously wrong, Aurelius and Uther, now adults, return. Aurelius burns Vortigern in his castle and becomes king.

With Aurelius on the throne, Uther leads his brother in arms to Ireland to help Merlin bring the stones of Stonehenge from there to Britain. Later, while Aurelius is ill, Uther leads his army against Vortigern’s son Paschent and his Saxon allies. On the way to the battle, he sees a comet in the shape of a dragon, which Merlin interprets as presaging Aurelius’s death and Uther’s glorious future. Uther wins the battle and takes the epithet “Pendragon”, and returns to find that Aurelius has been poisoned by an assassin. He becomes king and orders the construction of two gold dragons, one of which he uses as his standard. He secures Britain’s frontiers and quells Saxon uprisings with the aids of his retainers, one of whom is Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall. At a banquet celebrating their victories Uther becomes obsessively enamoured of Gorlois’ wife, Igerna (Igraine), and a war ensues between Uther and his vassal. Gorlois sends Igerna to the impregnable castle of Tintagel for protection while he himself is besieged by Uther in another town. Uther consults with Merlin who uses his magic to transform the king into the likeness of Gorlois and thus gain access to Igerna at Tintagel. He spends the night with her and they conceive a son, Arthur, but the next morning it is discovered that Gorlois had been killed. Uther marries Igerna and they have another child, a daughter called Anna (in later romances she is called Morgause and is usually Igerna’s daughter by her previous marriage). Morgause later marries King Lot and becomes the mother of Gawain and Mordred.

Uther later falls ill, but when the wars against the Saxons go badly he insists on leading his army himself, propped up on his horse. He defeats Hengist’s son Octa at Verulamium (St Albans), despite the Saxons calling him the “Half-Dead King.” However, the Saxons soon contrive his death by poisoning a spring he drinks from near Verulamium.[8]

Uther’s family is based on some historical figures; Constantine on the historical usurper Constantine III, a claimant to the Roman throne from 407–411, and Constans on his son. Aurelius Ambrosius is Ambrosius Aurelianus, mentioned by Gildas, though his connection to Constantine and Constans is unrecorded.

There is just so much going during this period of time.  During Uther’s reign Britain is fractured, its rulers fighting among themselves while Irish, Pictish, and Saxon raiders threaten the very survival of the Romano-Cymric people.  Chivalry, courtly romance, and tournaments with knights in shining plate armor are cast aside; replaced with xenophobia, desperate battles, internal strife, and a tone that more closely resembles the Dark Ages than the Late Middle Ages.

Whenever I’ve played or ran Pendragon, it was this time period and its trappings that most appealed to me and my players.  As such, I’ll keep 485 as the starting period when adding new cultures and religions.


Coming soon… Starting Player Cultures for Pendragon

Pendragon… updating a classic game

I’m in the process of overhauling the Pendragon RPG in the hope that I’ll, one day, run it again.

Angus McBride’s Romano-British cavalry with scouts.

As much as think 5th edition is tighter, much better organized, game than 4th edition I do miss some of the options that 4th edition Pendragon made available.  While I never used 4th edition’s magic system, as magic is something best left as a plot device, I do miss the rules that allowed characters other than vassal knights (i.e. squires, warriors, footsoldiers, sergeants, mercenary knights, knights errant, and bachelor knights) at the start of play.  4th edition also included rules for characters from multiple cultures (i.e. Cymric, Roman, Saxon, Occitanian, French, Irish, and Pict) and faiths (i.e. pagan, heathen, Christian, Jewish, and Wotanic).  In order to achieve this in 5th edition, you’d need to purchase the Book of Knights and Ladies.

The first part of overhauling the most current incarnation of the rules (Pendragon 5.1) will be porting those cultures back into the game.  I’ll leave that for another post…

Please feel free to comment on what your experiences with the game and on any ideas you have to improve upon it (even if you love it as is and think I shouldn’t muck about with it).  😉

Coming soon… Pendragon:  Where to Begin?

Demihuman Pantheons for 5th Edition D&D

Since I recently listed the 5th edition domains for the gods of Greyhawk, I figured that I should do the same for the extended demihuman pantheons.  These pantheons grew out of Roger Moore’s excellent Dragon magazine articles that fleshed out the demihuman races.

halfling priest


Dwarven Gods  Spheres  Alignment  Gender  Symbol
Moradin, father of dwarves Knowledge LG M Hammer and Anvil
Abbathor, god of greed Trickery NE M Jeweled dagger
Berronar Truesilver, goddess of shelter Life LG F Two silver rings
Clangeddin Silverbeard, father of battle  War LG M Crossed battle axes
Dugmaren Brightmaren, god of learning Knowledge CG M Open book
Dumathoin, god of mountains and mines Knowledge N M Faceted gem inside a mountain
Muamman Duathal, god of wanderers Knowledge NG M Mace over a leather boot
Vergadain, god of wealth and luck  Trickery N M Gold coin
Elven Gods Spheres                   Alignment Gender Symbol
Corellon Larethian, god of magic and war Knowledge, War CG M or F Quarter Moon
Aerdrie Faenya, goddess of air Nature, Tempest CG F Eagle
Deep Sashelas, god of the sea Nature, Tempest CG M Dolphin
Erevan Ilesere, god of mischief Trickery CN M Nova star with asymmetrical rays
Fenmarel Mestarine, god of outcasts Nature, Trickery CN M Pair of elven eyes in the dark
Hanali Celanil, goddess of love Trickery CG F Golden heart
Labelas Enoreth, god of longevity Knowledge CG M Setting sun
Rillifane Rallathil, god of forests Nature CG M Oak
Sehanine Moonbow, moon goddess Knowledge CG F Full moon topped with a crescent moon
Solonor Thelandira, god of hunting Nature, war CG M Silver arrow
Lolth, Demon Queen of Spiders Trickery CE F Spider
Gnomish Gods Domains Alignment Gender Symbol
Garl Glittergod, god of the gnomes Trickery LG M Gold nugget
Baervan Wildwander, god of forests Nature NG M Raccoon
Baravar Cloakshadow, god of illusions Trickery NG M Cloak and dagger
Flandal Steelskin, god of mining Knowledge NG M Flaming hammer
Gaerdal Ironhand, god of vigilance War LG M Iron bracer
Segojan Earthcaller, god of earth Nature NG M Glowing gemstone
Urdlen, the Crawler Below Evil, fear, madness CE Mole
Halfing Gods Domains  Alignment  Gender  Symbol 
Yondalla, mother goddess Life LG F Shield with a cornucopia
Arvoreen the Defender War LG M Crossed short swords
Brandobaris, god of stealth and thieves Trickery N M Footprint
Cyrroalaellee, goddess of home and friends Knowledge LG F Open door
Sheela Peryroyl Nature N F Daisy
Urogalan, god of earth and death Death N M Silhouette of a dog’s head
Orcish Gods Domains Alignment Gender Symbol
Gruumsh, god of survival and strength Tempest, War CE M Unblinking eye
Bahgtru, god of strength and combat Strength, War CE M Broken femur
Ilneval, god of war and leadership War LE M Bloodied longsword
Luthic, goddess of fertility and healing Life NE F Orcish rune meaning “home”
Shargaas, god of undeath and thieves Death, Trickery NE M Red crescent moon
Yurtrus, god of disease and death Death NE M Rotting white hand

Demihumans also worship Greyhawk’s gods:

  • Bleredd, Fortubo, Jascar, and Ulaa are commonly worshipped by dwarves.
  • Ehlonna and Obad-Hai are commonly worshipped by elves.
  • Ehlonna, Fortubo, Jascar, Obad-Hai, and Ulaa are commonly worshipped by gnomes.
  • Ehlonna, Obad-Hai, and Ulaa are commonly worshipped by halflings.
  • Erythnul and Hextor are commonly worshipped by orcs.

Tinkering with RPG Systems

I’ve been playing RPGs for the past 34 years or so and, in that time have played a ton of different games.  At the same time, I’ve only really ever played games that have lasted for more than 6 months at a stretch, in a handful of systems: D&D (every edition that’s been out since 1981, except for 4th edition), Deadlands, DC Heroes, Star Wars (the d6 version), and Pendragon… which is pitiful considering how long I’ve been playing!

Of those games, I’ve only run D&D (in all of its incarnations) and Pendragon with any regularity.  As an inveterate rules tinkerer I couldn’t resist messing with those systems, in an attempt to mold them to my needs and preferences, with mixed results:

  1. AD&D 2nd edition, for example, saw me adding both Perception and Endurance as derived statistics, as well as my adding Wound States and a few character classes:  The Scout, The Hedge Wizard, and The Adept (something of a cross between a monk and a psionicist).  The Skills and Powers book helped me develop needed classes and, overall, I felt that my additions improved the game without making it needlessly complicated.  Then again, the plethora of subsystems for skills, ability checks, listening checks, and class abilities meant that any new rules were being tacked onto an already complex game.  With the release of 3rd edition and its unified resolution system I ditch the cobbled together mess that was AD&D in a heartbeat.
  2. D&D 3.X saw me adding campaign specific prestige classes but leaving the solid core of the game alone.  Once 3.5 hit was released, I ignored its terrible weapon-size rules and continued to use 3.0’s cover and concealment rules.  Nothing too drastic.  In fact, my alterations of 3.X were pretty tame.  Eventually 3.X became a chore to play and prohibitively complex to DM, especially once player characters advanced beyond 7th level.
  3. Castles & Crusades, a retroclone that stripped down 3.X, added some new elements, and borrowed its some flavor from AD&D, allowed for a faster-paced and more flexible D&D-variant.  As soon as I tried the system I realized that I vastly preferred it to the ponderous rules of 3.X.  At the same time, the tinkerer in me felt that the game lacked many options (spells, class abilities, and a simple skill resolution system) that would allow it to easily be used with classic TSR adventures and campaign settings.  So began a 6 year overhaul project that resulted in my creation of AD&D3 Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide.  By the time I was started working on a Monstrous Manual, D&D Next playtests had begun and I realized that WotC was working on a game that would meet my gaming needs.  As such, I shelved the project (UPDATE:  I’ve since updated and completed the AD&D3 rules, including the Monstrous Manual).
  4. D&D 5th edition, so far, has inspired me to work on Greyhawk and update my homebrew campaign world to 5th edition.  Eventually I’d love to work on adding backgrounds, class archetypes, and clerical domains to the game.  For now, I’ve been content to add some houserules, like a spell-less ranger and the half-ogre as an added player race.  I’ll soon be adding more houserules to this blog, including slightly tweaked rules for lighting conditions, an alternate system for tracking wound levels, and new feats.
  5. Finally there’s Pendragon.  Of all of the RPGs that I messed with, I think I’ve had the least luck with Pendragon.  For those who haven’t played it, Pendragon is the RPG of Arthurian Britain.  In it you play British knights fighting against the tide of Saxon, Pictish, and Irish invaders that threaten to wash over the island as its various petty kings fight for supremacy.  Because all players are playing knights, the focus of the game becomes “what kind of knight are you.”  To drive that point home, Pendragon has an inspired system for personality traits and passions that allows them to guide or, sometimes, dictate player’s actions.  Another strength of the game is its focus on legacy-building.  Pendragon is lethal and it is inevitable that player knights will die in combat or due to the ravages of old age (yes, there is a system for dealing with yearly stat loss after you reach age 35).  As such, it is imperative that your character works towards the goal of marrying and begetting an heir (and a male heir at that).  My issues with the game have, largely, arisen out of players learning how to “game the system” and exploit it at the expense of telling a great story.  Certain skills, for example, clearly trump other skills (even though I tried to incorporate all skills into the game), as did certain cultural groups (you don’t EVER want to be a Pict because you are severely gimped at during character creation).  Also, the system’s use of reflexive modifiers (a mounted knight gains a +5 bonus vs a footsoldier who, in turn, would receive a-5 penalty) makes for easily unbalanced combats.  Admittedly, this has a lot to do with my GMing BUT I honestly think that the game needs to be dragged out of the 1980s.  As such, I’ll be posting some ideas on this blog over the coming months.   I hope to get some feedback on these ideas… even if it’s fans crying “heresy!”.

Greyhawk God Clerical Domains for 5th Edition

One of my pet peeves with the otherwise excellent 5th Edition of D&D is the dearth of clerical domains to choose from.  At this point I’m going to work within the constraints of the rules and assign the current domains to the gods of Greyhawk.


The People of Oerth worship many gods.  Only deities of the Flanaess are listed here.  In general, the greater gods are too far removed from the world to have much to do with humanity, and while they are worshiped, few people hold them as patrons.

These deities have been known to intercede directly in the affairs of men, but only if these affairs have a direct and crucial bearing upon the concerns of the deity. Even so, the annals of the historians list only a few such instances in the history of the Flanaess. Deities have weighty affairs to attend to, and in general they cannot be bothered with the trivial needs of a party of lowly mortals. However, under certain circumstances, a demi-god and a godling might well become embroiled in human affairs – as your further reading will discover. Because of the plots of Iuz and various demons and evil elementals, St. Cuthbert has become actively aware of events (and has indirect assistance from Beory, who resists elemental destruction). The enmity between Iuz and St. Cuthbert may yet result in direct confrontation.

A list of the greater, intermediate, lesser, and active demigod deities of the Flanaess is given hereafter. Following the name of each deity is the culture or cultures associated with that god:  Baklunish (B), Common (C), Flan (F), Oeridian (O), Olman (L), and Suloise (S).

The careful reader will note that certain deities are both of a certain racial origin and common, at the same time.  Next, the major attributes of the deity are listed and, finally, the deity’s alignment is shown. With respect to alignment, the following abbreviations are used:  L = Lawful, G = Good, N =  Neutral, C = Chaotic, E = Evil. The deity’s sex is indicated last.


Greater Gods  Cultures  Spheres  Alignment  Gender  Symbol
Beory, goddess of nature FC Nature N F Green Disk
Boccob, god of magic C Knowledge N M Eye with pentagram
Incabulos, god of plague and famine C Death NE M Reptilian eye with a horizontal diamond
Istus, goddess of fate and destiny Bc Knowledge N F Weaver’s spindle with three strands
Nerull, the reaper FC Death NE M Skull with a scythe or sickle
Pelor, god of the sun and healing FC Life, Light NG M Sun
Rao, god of peace and reason FC Knowledge LG M White heart
Intermediate Gods Cultures    Spheres                                Alignment Gender Symbol
Celestian, god of stars and wanderers OC Knowledge N M Arc of seven stars inside a circle
Cyndor, god of time and infinity C Knowledge LN M Infinity symbol
Ehlonna, goddess of woodlands C Life, Nature NG F Unicorn horn
Erythnul, god of envy and slaughter OC War CE M Blood drop
Fharlanghn, god of horizons and travel OC Knowledge, Trickery NG M Circle crossed by horizon line
Heironeous, god of chivalry and valor OC War LG M Lightning bolt
Hextor, god of war and discord OC War LE M Six arrows fanned out downward
Kord, god of strength and athletics S Tempest, War CG M Four spears and maces forming a star
Lendor, god of time and tedium S Knowledge LN M Crescent moon over a full moon with stars
Obad-Hai, god of nature FC Nature N M Oak leaf and acorn
Olidammara, god of revelry C Trickery CN M Laughing mask
Pholtus, god of light and law OC Light LG M Sun or moon partially eclipsed by a moon
Procan, god of oceans and sailing OC Knowledge, Tempest CN M Trident above a creating wave
Ralishaz, god of ill luck C Trickery CN M Three bone fate-casting sticks
Saint Cuthbert, god of common sense C Knowledge LN M Circle at the center of a starburst of lines
Tharizdun, god of eternal darkness C Trickery CE M Dark spiral or inverted ziggurat
Trithereon, god of liberty and retribution C War CG M Triskelion
Ulaa, goddess of hills and mountains C Life, War LG F Mountain with a circle at its heart
Wee Jas, goddess of death and magic S Death, Magic LN F Red skull in front of a fireball
Zilchus, god of money and influence OC Knowledge, Trickery LN M Hand clutching a bag of gold
Lesser Gods Cultures  Domains  Alignment  Gender  Symbol 
Allitur, god of ethics Fc Knowledge LG M Pair of clasped hands
Altroa, goddess of spring and renewal Oc Life, Nature NG F Kara tree full of ripe fruit
Beltar, goddess of malice and caves S Trickery CE F Set of fangs set to bite
Berei, goddess of farmers and home Fc Life, Nature NG F Sheaf of wheat stalks
Bleredd, god of mines and smiths C Knowledge N M Hammer and anvil or iron mule
Bralm, goddess of insects and industry Sc Knowledge N F Wasp
Dalt, god of portals and enclosures c Trickery CG M Locked door with a skeleton key beneath
Delleb, god of reason and intellect O Knowledge LG M Open book
Fortubo, god of mountains and mines S Knowledge LG M Warhammer
Geshtai, goddess of fresh water Bc Nature N F Waterspout
Jascar, god of hills and mountains S Nature LG M Snow-capped mountain peak
Joramy, goddess or wrath and volcanoes C War N F Volcano
Kurell, god of thievery and jealousy O Trickery CN M Hand holding a broken coin
Lirr, goddess of the arts C Knowledge CG F Illustrated book
Llerg, god of beasts and strength S Nature, War CN M Bear, snake, or alligator
Lydia, goddess of music and daylight Sc Knowledge, Light NG F Open hand radiating colors
Myhriss, goddess of love and beauty C Trickery NG F Lovebird
Mouqol, god of trade and ventures B Knowledge N M Set of scale and weights
Norebo, god of luck and risks S Trickery CN M Pair of eight-sided dice
Osprem, goddess of water voyages S Knowledge, Tempest LN F Whale
Phaulkon, god of wind and clouds S Tempest, War CG M Winged human silhouette
Phyton, god of beauty and nature S Nature CG M Scimitar and oak tree
Pyremius, god of fire and poison S Death, Trickery NE M Demon head with bat wings
Raxivort, god of rats, bats, and xvarts O Trickery CE M Fiery blue hand
Sotillon, goddess of summer and ease Oc Life CG F Orange tiger
Syrul, goddess of lies S Trickery NE F Forked tongue
Telchur, god of winter and cold Oc Tempest CN M Field of snow
Velnius, god of sky and weather O Tempest N (NG) M Bird perching upon a cloud
Wenta, goddess of the autumn harvest Oc Knowledge CG F Mug of beer
Xan Yae, goddess of shadows BC Trickery N F Black lotus blossom
Xerbo, god of the sea and business S Knowledge N M Dragon turtle
Zodal, god of mercy and hope FC Life NG M Hand partially wrapped in cloth
Demigods and Quasi-Deities Cultures Domains  Alignment  Gender  Symbol 
Al’Akbar, demigod of duty and dignity B Knowledge LG M Chalice and 8-pointed star
Chitza-Atlan, demigod of death L Death NE M Mummified centaur
Daern, hero-deity of fortifications C War N F Shield
Daoud, hero-deity of humility and clarity B Knowledge N M Patch of multi-color yarn
Heward, hero-god of bards and music C Knowledge, Trickery NG M Any musical instrument
Iuz, god of pain and oppression FC Death CE M Grinning human skull
Johydee, hero-goddess of espionage O Trickery NG F Stylized onyx mask
Kelanen, hero-deity of swordplay C War N M Nine swords forming a star
Keoghtom, hero-god of exploration OC Knowledge NG M Round disk bisected with arrows
Kyuss, demigod of undeath and corruption FC Death NE M Skull erupting with green worms
Merikka, demigoddess of farming OF Knowledge, Nature CG F Basket of grain and long scroll
Myrlund, hero-god of magical technology O Knowledge LG M Six-pointed star with rounded points
Rudd, goddess of luck and competition OC Trickery CN F Bulls-eye target
Tlazoteotl, Oerth Mother L Life, Nature N F Ear of corn
Vecna, god of evil secrets FC Knowledge NE M Hand with an eye in the palm
Vinar “The Green Man”, god of growth and abundance OF Nature CN M Green-leaf mask
Wastri, god of bigotry, amphibians, and self-deception C War LN M Gray toad
Zagyg, god of eccentricity and magic C Knowledge CN M Two, parallel ziggurat shapes
Zuoken, god of mental and physical mastery Bc Knowledge N M Striking fist

Demihuman worshipers of Greyhawk’s gods:

  • Bleredd, Fortubo, Jascar, and Ulaa are commonly worshipped by dwarves.
  • Ehlonna and Obad-Hai are commonly worshipped by elves.
  • Ehlonna, Fortubo, Jascar, Obad-Hai, and Ulaa are commonly worshipped by gnomes.
  • Ehlonna, Obad-Hai, and Ulaa are commonly worshipped by halflings.

Coming soon, demihuman deities!