Demigods & Godhood
Below the rank of true deities are demigods. There are many important differences to delineate the two, the most important of which is that demigods can be slain. Unlike a deity, who can only be permanently be destroyed on their own home plane, demigods can be defeated and destroyed. Nonetheless, there is massive variance between demigods. Some, the half-children of the gods, are scarcely more than human. Others are a hair's breadth away from true gods.
Whether they were born with their power, stole it from another, or obtained it through a powerful artifact, all demigods function in basically the same way. They are ordinary creatures - humans, elves, ogres or anything else - that have been empowered beyond their usual limits through their divine spark. A lesser demigod may have only a single such power, such as a single stat raised above to a score above that which is normally possible. More powerful ones may have a whole range of abilities.
The nature of a demigod's divine powers can be literally anything. A dragon who became a demigod might find that, in addition to his other abilities, his breath weapon becomes akin to a Sphere of Annihilation. A human might become stronger, smarter, endowed with unusual abilities. The power to teleport at will, to paralyze by touch, to channel spell-like abilities with a mere thought - all are within the purview of a demigod.
Clearly, the line between a demigod and a powerful mortal is a blurry one. What is the difference between a demigod with a Strength of 21 and a human who used magic to attain the same ends? Only the divine spark - but mortals who reach such heights of power sometimes find that accruing followers amongst those who are drawn to their power overcomes even that difference, given time.
There are a number of abilities that are universal and are possessed equally by all deities and demigods, simply by virtue of possessing the divine spark. All of these may be activated spontaneously and at-will, but not continuously. They are as follows:
- High Ability Scores: Although supernaturally high ability scores are a power in their own right, demigods rarely have ability scores below 12 and usually have at least 2 abilities with a score of 16 or higher.
- Command: As the spell. Lasts 1 round for demigods, 2 rounds for lesser gods, and 3 rounds for intermediate or greater gods.
- Comprehend Languages: As the spell, except the deity or demigod can also speak or write the language in question.
- Detect Alignment: As the spell. For lesser deities and above, this performs without error unless blocked by divine power.
- Gate: As the spell. Only beings from the deity or demigod's own pantheon can be brought forth. Demigods without a pantheon can only bring forth their own servitors or creations. A demigod can always create a Gate to their personal realm.
- Quest: As the spell, but with a range of 10 feet. Does not work on the priests of other gods; however, followers of your own pantheon (whether active worshipers or not) receive no saving throw.
- True Seeing: As the spell.
There are also various properties of a demigod which are almost universal, though there are some exceptions. They do not need to eat, drink or sleep, though they can do so. They do not become tired through lack of sleep or simple exertion, though a great battle or the working of a miracle may require some rest. They can usually be harmed, the other biological imperatives of their previous form apply - if they were air-breathing, they can drown, for example.
A demigod is not merely a larger-than-life mortal. They have access to a divine spark within them: something that makes them an immortal spiritual being. Depending on the nature of your divine spark, you may have what is called a portfolio. Not every demigod has a portfolio: it requires attunement to certain themes and concepts. The child of Ravi, for example, will have a portfolio related to sunlight and destruction of the undead. A demigod made by the destruction of a powerful artifact, however, may find that they have no portfolio at all.
There are some advantages to not having one. A demigod without one is not burdened with any attachments; your portfolio is part of your very nature, and cannot be easily discarded. A demigod of the domain of undeath may find that natural death or the restoration of life is anathema to his very nature. They will find it dififcult to progress towards godhood without embracing their nature, and changing your portfolio is almost as difficult as becoming a demigod in the first place. If they strain against their true nature for too long, they may even find their demigod powers diminishing entirely.
However, a portfolio comes with benefits. Demigods with a portfolio have a limited power of divination related to it that extends to within 5 miles. A demigod of magic would be able to sense any time a powerful spell was activated in that radius, for example. They would know what had happened and where it had happened. This divinatory power can extend further than 5 miles for events of great magnitude, and it also grants a degree of innate intuition related to your portfolio. The demigod of magic, for example, would likely be able to sense the general effects of any magic item or effect they come into contact with.
The portfolio also grants a path to godhood. Without one, it is as difficult for a demigod to ascend to full godhood as it would be for any mortal. It is not until a demigod aquires a portfolio that their divine spark takes on the qualities that will allow them to attain true godhood through the worship of mortals.
Even though a demigod is not a true deity, their divine spark gives them the power to manifest miraculous events. This effectively allows any demigod to cast a Wish spell whenever they please. However, there is an important caveat: it drains their divine spark. Even true gods are sparing with powerful miracles, and demigods do not have the endless font of their mortal servants' belief to sustain them.
Each time a miracle is performed by a demigod, they lose one of the divine powers that make them what they are. These are lost in order of power: the abilities with the greatest magnitude are lost first. These are lost permanently, and are very difficult to restore. A demigod with a portfolio can only cast miracles that are somehow related to that portfolio; a demigod of fire cannot create a wall of water to drown his enemies.
A demigod can use a miracle to alter one of their innate powers to a more fitting ability, if they so desire. Powers can only be changed in this way, not added, and it is for the DM to decide the scope and breadth of the new ability. As such, it should be considered carefully and discussed with the DM. This is generally only done by demigods with enough followers to cast "free" mriacles periodically, as otherwise it results in the loss of a power.
Although the belief of their worshipers can bolster their divine spark and allow them to work mighty miracles, a demigod cannot use this energy to directly increase their own personal power. They are partly mortal, after all, and limited by their mortal form. If they could use the power of their belief to directly grow their own personal might, they would not be demigods but gods. In order to gain in personal power, a demigod must seek to understand and commune with the power of their portfolio in some way.
Examples of this kind of sacred quest abound in literature. Odin hanged himself from a tree for nine days, sacrificing himself to himself for knowledge of the runes. He also cast his eye into Mimir's Spring in order to gain the wisdom of the ages. Achilles became invulnerable when he was dipped into the River Styx, and Thor gained greatly in power when Mjolnir was forged for him.
Any demigod with a portfolio who wishes to engage on such a sacred errand will have a great task before them, but they will have little trouble finding the beginning of their path. They need only desire it, and their portfolio will draw them into a sacred quest by one means of another. Perhaps their patron deity will set them upon a task. Perhaps they will receive a vision or intuition, or a being with a similar nature will seek them out to guide them. Perhaps they will happen across it by dumb luck. Either way, they will find their sacred quest. Whether they succeed is another matter entirely.
If you do not have a portfolio, you cannot pursure such an errand and are limited to your form as it is. A demigod of this kind must use more mundane and traditional methods, such as magic items, to improve themselves.
Whether they have lost their strength through the performing of miracles or whether they simply wish to come closer to godhood, most demigods will eventually wish to increase the power of their divine spark. There are a number of ways to do this:
- If they have a portfolio, through the worship of mortals.
- Through any means which could make a mortal into a demigod.
- By defeating and absorbing another divine being.
As noted above, a demigod with mortal worshipers can increase their own power and come closer to true godhood. However, you must have a portfolio to do so. To tap into the power of belief, it must be chanelled through some aspect of the collective unconsciousness. You cannot simply be worshiped as Maui; you must be Maui, protector of mankind or Maui, patron of the line of kings.
In order to receive any benefits, you must have at least 50 worshipers. If you are on the Outer Planes, these worshipers can be anywhere. However, if you are in the Inner Planes, only worshipers in the world you currently inhabit count. This is the bare minimum required for the power of their belief to sustain you. It is only a trickle of faith, but it is enough to get by. Bear in mind that the numbers given below are relative when it comes to the Inner Planes. A god may have millions of followers in total, making them a Greater Deity on the Outer Planes. On the world of Morus, however, they may be a minor god only worshiped in small cults - with barely the rank of a Lesser Deity.
|0||Less than 50||Demigod|
One of the immediate benefits granted to any demigod who accrues followers is the ability to bestow miracles without using up their own reserves of divine power. The more followers they have, the more frequently they will be able to perform miraculous deeds without risking themselves. For demigods of Rank 1, this manifests as a 1 in 20 chance each month of having a lost power restored to them. This roll is cumulative, so they will always have a power restored by the time 20 months have elapsed.
Demigods above Rank 1 gain the ability to work miracles without endangering their own reserves of power at all. This ability is limited, but can be used more as they grow in prominence. Refer to the table below to see how long a demigod must wait after working a miracle to be able to do so again without risking their own power.
Note that a demigod can also choose to use their "free miracle" to restore one of their lost powers.
As a demigod grows in power and his number of believers climbs, he can confer some of that power onto his followers. There is no limit to the number of priests who may draw from the demigod, but the spell levels he can grant is limited by his rank. A Rank 1 demigod can only grant Level 1 spells to his priests, for example. Followers must be true believers with levels in the priest class, and their connection to the demigod is limited by their piety score, just as it would be with any other god. One of the advantages of serving a demigod, however, is that a demigod may consent to grant you powers even if you have displeased him - making the piety rules somewhat more fluid.
In addition to being able to grant powers directly as priest spells, a demigod of Rank 1 or above also has power over his or her followers. Any follower who is a true, pious believer (piety score of at least 15) can be directly affected by the gods will. This allows the god to do things like cure wounds, remove memories, or place curses on their flock - in all cases, this power can be worked only through physical touch. Note that this power cannot elevate the power of a follower permanently - this is the domain of a Miracle. As a general rule, a demigod is allowed to produce effects commensurate with the spells they bestow - so a Rank 3 demigod can bestow effects at about the power level of a Level 3 priest spell, though they may do so at will.
The Personal Realm
Demigods of Rank 3 or above may claim a small realm (up to one mile radius) in the Outer Plane that most closely matches their ethos. If they are in service to a patron deity, they receive this realm automatically. Otherwise, they must personally travel to the Outer Planes and find a place to call their own. The size of this realm increases as they gain in power.
The benefits of claiming a divine realm are many. For one thing, it grants a measure of permanent immortality; if slain outside of their own realm, they will slowly regenerate within it - though if they lose enough followers while they are dead to fall below Rank 3, they may find their realm has crumbled when they awaken. Furthermore, any petitioners who die in their service will go to their divine realm - though many demigods prefer to consign the souls of their followers to their patron deity.
While regenerating, a demigod is vulnerable to attack - just as gods can be slain in their own realm.
|Rank||Realm Radius||Regeneration Time||Realm Control|
|3||1 mile||50 years||theme, temperature/climate|
|4||5 miles||10 years||theme, temperature/climate, environment|
|5||15 miles||1 year||theme, temperature/climate, environment, constructions|
|6||50 miles||6 months||theme, temperature/climate, environment, constructions, natural laws|
Theme: The demigod can apply various general effects to their realm, related to their portfolio. The power of these effects depend on their divine rank. Examples include an aura that heals wounds or takes memories away. Each effect applied to a demigod's realm requires the use of a Miracle, and the DM will decide what is acceptable.
Temperature/Climate: The demigod has complete control over the temperature, weather and general climate. They can decide whether it is a scorched desert too hot for humans to survive in, a frigid tundra that turns water in ice in moments, or a temperate vale filled with swirling mists. They cannot directly affect the environment, but they could for example make it so hot that the very ground becomes seething magma.
Environment: The demigod has complete control over the geography of their realm. They may raise vast mountains or conjure seas from nothing. They cannot create worked constructions or life, however, though they can build constructions the old-fashioned way and introduce life into their realm from other places. This also gives them the power to control the conditions surrounding their realm - is it connected to their patron's, or is it a floating sphere in an endless expanse of infinite space with three suns? They can change the connections between their realm and the Outer Plane in which it resides at any time - for example, to open a portal from their realm back into Arborea.
Constructions: The demigod is able to produce constructions of any type and size with a thought. They can erect marvellous palaces, tall towers and deep dungeons simply by willing it to be so. All worksmanship is of the highest quality, though the assistance of an architect or mason to help design constructions may improve things. This power extends to the contents of constructions - furniture, beds, fountains, and so on.
Natural Laws: The demigod has complete control over the natural laws of their personal realm. They may tamper with the laws of physics to make improbable constructions stand, for example, or with the laws of probability to make every dice roll a perfect score. They may even exert control over fundamental forces - such as dictating that no magic will function or that no fire will burn. These laws cannot be applied selectively; you can't change the laws of physics for one particular person, although the laws can be fairly specific and don't need to necessarily make sense. They also take time to change; a demigod cannot suddenly blanket their realm in antimagic to repel an attack, for example.
Finally, a demigod with a divine realm always has a place of sanctuary to return to. At will, a demigod may open a Gate to their personal realm (as per the 9th-level spell), though they must return by their own means. This is a divine power, and cannot be blocked by faerzress or common sorcery - only magic of great might or the will of a stronger god may hold it at bay. Demigods can also see into their realm at all times simply by willing it to be so; this effect is akin to Clairaudience and Clairvoyance.
Note that if a demigod teleports to their realm without a way to return, they may be stranded. Depending on the circumstances, however, they should be able to either walk or open a portal back into the Outer Plane in which their realm is located. From there, it's a matter of taking the long way home. The only way a demigod can truly be stranded is if they have chosen to separate their realm into a demiplane of its own, then dropped below Rank 4 - meaning they no longer have the power to change the shape of their realm and connect it to its Outer Plane. In this case, without some alternate means of escape - such as a Teleport without Error spell - they will be truly stranded.
Once a demigod reaches Rank 7, they become a deity proper, albeit a lesser one. They ascend beyond their mortal form and merge with their personal realm on the Outer Planes - if they have not established one, it is created anew. From this point forward, they will never truly leave their realm again. In ascending to godhood, the impurities of their former existence are burned away and they become an entity of pure belief, a living archetype, which can exist only in the Outer Planes.
The essence of a deity resides always in their personal realm; it is their true self, and it can never leave. In a very real sense, the deity is the realm; they are a part of the Outer Planes. Within this realm, they are nearly all-powerful - and since it is the only place they can be permanently slain, killing a god through sheer force of arms is difficult indeed. Most gods who "die" do so through the loss of followers, by capturing a powerful avatar to deprive them of their power, or some similar scheme. Just how omnipotent a god is within their own realm depends on their divine rank.
Of course, the near-omnipotent power of a god does not extend outside of their own realm, even to other parts of the same Outer Plane. To spread their influence in the multiverse and gain followers, they must be willing to use their power instead of hoarding it. Upon ascending to godhood, a deity becomes both substantially more powerful and substantially less free to use that power. Instead of moving directly through the planes, they must rely for the most part on their servants to work their will.
There are a variety of ways in which deities expend the power they have accrued in order to advance their cause. Each of them bears some risk, however - for just as deities gain power through the belief of their petitioners and living followers, they must use it up to work their will. Common paths taken include:
- By investing a portion of their power into a divine avatar - as meagre as a mouse or as powerful as a greater demigod - which can walk the planes as a living manifestation of the deity.
- Through divine servitors - such as aasimon, eladrin or yugoloths - which are either created or recruited.
- Through petitioners who have chosen to live a second life after their death instead of enjoying their afterlife - known as einherjar. If slain outside their home plane, however, they are permanently destroyed.
- Through faithful clerics and worshipers throughout the planes (whether planars or primes) who can channel the power of the deity, be affected directly by divine intervention at the deity's whim, or simply champion the deity's cause.
- Through artifacts, enchantments, curses and places of divine power to which the deity has established a connection to. For example, some gods may create artifacts of power and allow them to make their way into mortal hands. Others grant powerful items to their clerics, or channel power through their mortal servants to create holy sites.