Gods on mis-aligned planes

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Vaevictis Asmadi
Vaevictis Asmadi's picture
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Gods on mis-aligned planes

So in my reading over the years, I've noticed that some deities are assigned realms on Outer Planes that don't match their alignments. Some of them are in big communal realms with their pantheon (like CE Ares on Arborea) and a few are imprisoned in Carceri, but some are just... in weird places. Alone, and apparently of their own volition. Chaotic powers on lawaful planes, lawful powers on chaotic planes, neutral gods on good or evil planes, good or evil gods on neutral planes...

Was this something that happened in Planescape books, or mostly other books? What is the explanation? Is this just something that some deities decide to do, or should it be regarded as a mistake? How plausible is such a mismatch?

Quickleaf's picture
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2012-02-03 14:47
No right answer

On Hallowed Ground is my go-to book for questions like this, and there's no good answer I can see. Kind of a hand-waived "because pantheons" answer.

For some gods it makes sense, like Shekinester has three aspects: LG,CE, and N, so it makes sense she be in the Outlands. Or Vergadain who was depicted alternately as N and CN(G) depending on edition, so putting him in the Outlands is justified.

The thing to remember about placement of realms in the Great Wheel is that it's an approximation. In other words, the map is not the terrain. For example, "Mount Olympus" may span several planes including Arborea, the Abyss (where Ares engages in constant warfare), and Hades down below. Ares may visit the halls in Arborea but he is out of his element and watched very closely by his good-aligned kin.

Another thought is that a lot of real-world pantheon gods, such as Ares or Kali, defy evil/good definition. Perhaps Ares has different realms to suit his mood? Arborea when seeking the counsel or aid of siblings (or being scolded by dad), Ysgard when training the troops, Abyss when he's feeling bloodthirsty?

Jem's picture
Last seen: 1 week 6 days ago
Joined: 2006-05-10 19:50
Seems pretty plausible to me.

Seems pretty plausible to me. I'd almost feel stranger if every god had the correct match.

In many ways a god's domain is almost separate from the plane it's part of. The difference in rules can be pretty stark. Thus gods might choose where to place their domain,or there might be an unconscious match -- and if I recall correctly, no god's domain moved with Nemausus when it slipped from Arcadia to Mechanus, so I'm pretty sure conscious control is the rule -- with, perhaps, some element of coercion for gods whose domains must be found on the Lower Planes. For another instance, there is the city of Heliopolis in Arcadia, home to Ra, Isis, Osiris, and Horus. The building of such cities strongly suggests that gods and pantheons have some, possibly constrained, choice in the matter.

If you can choose where to live you're going to consider a lot of things. Alignment is a big one, sure -- a good god is unlikely to relocate his domain to a Lower Plane. But maybe some other aspect of a plane suits your needs; for instance, nature is broadly neutral, so a good god of nature has some reason to be on the Outlands. This might even be considered a conceptually aggressive move: a good god who situates their realm on the Outlands might be seeking to claim some of the idea of nature for goodness.

For an even more aggressive approach, consider the dwarven einjeriar of Mount Clangeddin, petitioners who go into battle in Acheron! Moradin's secret is that the petitioners who fall there don't dissipate -- they're reborn into new lives. Maybe they're carrying a little of his domain with them. Perhaps the titan Themis, who can be found on Carceri, is keeping the idea of just sentencing alive in that wretched hole.