This is part of a series examining the gods and powers that shape life on Arth. If you’re new to the series, get started with an overview.
The Hall of the Gods swarms with lesser beings. Angels and cherubs, rogue demons, lost souls, and the spirits of the Pantheon’s most fervent worshippers swarm around their titanic masters. Some of these powers rise above others, even gaining power over minor realms of influence within their master’s domains. These are the minor gods, each of them an important part of Arth’s crowded mythology.
The Nature of the Minor Gods
There are hundreds of realms of influence within the twelve greater realms, and thus the pantheon had thousands of gods before considering demi-gods and messengers. The majority of the pantheon is actually minor gods who serve the greater gods. These minor gods are much more diverse in shape and relative power; the major gods were all once titans raised up by the Creator that exist outside the Weave, but minor gods come in many more shapes and sizes.
Minor gods include:
- Powerful spirits of significant locations
- Greater angels whose service has led them to ascend
- Demigods born of the unions of mortals and avatars or other minor gods
- Mortals who have achieved such power that they have ascended to godhood
Many of the minor gods can enter and leave the Weave of reality directly. This stands in contrast to major deities, who have to go through the trouble of inhabiting an avatar or incarnating themselves if they wish to visit Arth at a particular place and time. Even though many minor gods can move into and out of the Weave without remaking themselves or cohabiting a mortal, there’s still some cost or limitations involved, and appearance by such beings are rare. It’s a given that appearances by a minor god will inevitably wind up in scriptures.
While they feature in legends and holy books often, minor gods are usually only worshipped in tandem with their masters. For example, Homonord the Crustacean Lord has few followers and no places of worship, but he is honored with small shrines in some temples of Uldine.
Some Famous Minor Gods
- Deep Thoggus: There are conflicting legends about the origin of Deep Thoggus, but all know he is a close ally of Mugluck. He is the Hunger in the Deep, the God Who Should Not Be, a perversion of a deity. Madness springs from him, his servants are terrors from the deep that drive men mad, and he seeks to subjugate and consume all life on Arth. Thoggus has been bested and sealed beneath several times by powerful mortals, but his servants are forever trying to free him. In recent history, Deep Thoggus rose up and nearly destroyed Eadelmon, the capital of Ruskan, before the heroes of that nation sealed him once again.
- Morgor the Ogre God: Morgor was one of the first Ogres that Nodros created, and he was the first to betray Mannon’s armies. Mercenary and self-serving, the great Ogre battled his way through countless legends and into the Hall of the Gods. There, he joined Az’ilgar’s court as a hired thug. Today, Ogres revere and respect Morgor as much as they revere and respect anything, which is usually not a lot. He’s also invoked by the Thugs Union in recruitment ceremonies.
- Pyreles the Great Drake: Pyreles was a dragon in the first age, when the Eldest were all that was. She had a special affection of the lesser drakes, and reared clutches of them as her own children. Her care for these beasts earned her the favor of Fengelde. She is seldom worshipped since the disappearance of the druids.
- The Formless: It is said the lord of doppelgangers snuck into the Halls of the Gods by deception. Various legends show it siding with all of the varying gods of darkness and night at some point or another, and none know its true master—if it even has one.
- Barak the Tree Father: The lord of trees and tree-men was one of the first servants Maeneth wove for herself. He is sacred to the dryads.
- The Dancer, the Singer, the Player: A troupe of roaming spirits revered by bards, actors, and mummers. Nobody knows their origins, as they wear many masks and can appear as men or women of any race. They’re said to whisper inspiration to playwrights and composers, but people are wary of actually seeing them. The Dancer, the Singer, and the Player will only perform for someone who is about to receive the favor of Wust, or someone that they are about to kill.
- The Seven Spirits of Dog: All dogs on Arth are said to harbor a piece of one or more of the same seven spirits, from Ubu the Good Dog to Narl who Bites the Hand. Gnolls will sometimes invoke the seven spirits in jest or as a swear, but most of their admirers are in the temple of Erro.
- The Tarapin: The great spirit of the river south of Andarun manifests herself as a great turtle beneath the water. She is generally viewed as benevolent by the barge pilots and fishermen, but all are careful to respect her; an old proverb says that she takes a boat when she takes offense.