Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Gods: From Calidar to Mystara

After the two recent blog articles focused on epic heroes and demigods, I now have to give the “apex spirits” a new look. I’ll endeavor to provide straightforward D&D BECMI stats and guidance on correlating Calidar’s gods with Mystara’s immortals. The original material on cults and patron deities came from CAL1 “In Stranger Skies.” It was hugely expanded in CC1 “Beyond the Skies,” which offers tons of background info, not only on the deities themselves but on the structure of pantheons, who/what dwells in them (beside the obvious), and how this all actually works.

Brimaz, King of Oreskos ©2014-2020 PeteMohrbacher, Deviantart

As regards Calidar, the original concept about gods is that they just don’t interact physically with mortals, therefore actual game stats weren’t provided. CC1’s primary objective was to outline benefits and liabilities to worshipers and clerics especially. This present article addresses instead the game mechanics behind Calidar gods and therefore how they relate to demigods and epic heroes. So, before proceeding further, here is the hard data on game stats.

Gods of Calidar (CC1 p. 211)
Minor God
Greater God
Pantheon Ruler
Hit Dice
Base 60 + Adj.* (+50 hp)
Base 70+ Adj.* (+60 hp)
Base 80 + Adj.* (+70 hp)
Size (feet)
Movement:        walking
240’ (80’)
300’ (100’)
330’ (110’)
270’ (90’)
330’ (110’)
360’ (120’)
300’ (100’)
360’ (120’)
390’ (130’)
Teleport (times/day)
Teleport, teleport other, and planar travel at will
Armor Class (AC)
# of Physical Attacks
Fists x3 or 3 weapon
Physical Damage
Fists: 2d20+12 each,
or by weapon +12
Fists: 4d12+14 each,
or by weapon +16
Fists: 3d20+16 each,
or by weapon +20
Special Abilities
Spells and all special abilities available to clerics Level 36, plus all Divine Favors from the deity’s sphere (see CC1, Table 10). They can shapechange at will, can possess mortals in the same manner demons do, and enjoy doppelganger abilities. They are never surprised by lesser beings than ascended deities, possess telepathic abilities, and can commune with any being except Ghülean gods. They strike first at the beginning of a battle vs. non-divine foes. Gods require neither air, nor food, nor water, nor sleep to live.
Exorcise/Turn Undead
As clerics Level 36
Call Other
Can summon/dismiss at will any being(s) of their faith, such as pious followers, zealots, clerics, epic heroes/villains, divine servants, demigods, demons, or other monstrous beings up to half the gods’ HD.
Regeneration (per hour
Non Divine Dmg.
Divine Damage



Saving Throws
As clerics Level 36
Basic Immunities
Non-magical attacks and any others involving non-divine magic, and all netherworld effects. See Godly Impunity in CC1.
Magic Resistance
Non-Divine Magic
Divine Magic



Min. Int. & Wis.
Prevailing worshipers’ Alignment/Cha 18+
Morale (ML)
(*) See Hit Dice later in this article.

Generalities on Calidar Gods

Beside what transpires from just scanning through the stats, Calidar deities have built-in abilities and limitation. First off, they’re not omnipotent. They must focus on something to become aware of it, just like normal people. It’s the reason they use a vast hierarchy of spirit servants to watch, listen, keep records, dispatch cleric spells, and bring up areas of concern with the gods. Here’s a summary of their “executive” abilities:
  • Insight: Gods can detect lies from mortals, and their alignments.
  • Communion: They understand any mortal language and can use telepathy.
  • Divine Might: Common mortals (as opposed to epic heroes), if they ever met an ascended god, would be stricken with awe and be unable to refuse any given order.
  • Travel: They can teleport self and/or others through the planes.
  • Summon: As above—gods can freely summon mortal beings, epic heroes, and demigods of their faith.
  • Godly Impunity: They are essentially immune to all forms of attack from mortals.
  • Veil: They can conceal any non-divine being, object, place, or past event from the consciousness and memories of mortals. Gods acting together can hide entire races and their histories over thousands of years from other gods and even deliberately from themselves (yes, this actually happened).
  • Divine Domains: “Elder” deities are the ones who initially built their pantheons’ hidden pocket planes as their peers’ permanent dwellings. Outsiders only enter if invited in. Ambrosia is the dimension on which all the pantheons’ domains are located; creatures dwelling in its wilds are more than capable of devouring gods.
  • Create Avatars: Gods rarely intervene personally in the affairs of mortals, other than through clerics and epic heroes. An agreement among Calidar’s pantheons called the Ambrosian Covenant strictly limits divine meddling. Nonetheless, should gods personally intervene in the Prime Plane, it is through avatars. Demigods have no such ability, and thus are personally at risk if involved on that plane. The Ambrosian Covenant does not apply to demigods because epic heroes can confront and defeat them. Ghülean gods and living deities of Draconia do not respect the covenant; neither possess the ability to create avatars.
  • Create Extensions: Gods can create alternate identities that are worshiped as separate entities. They involve separate physical forms with their own divine dwellings. In most cases, mortals and deities are unaware of someone else's divine aliases, although conjecture may lead to obvious conclusions (such as Ellyrion's Teos, Narwan's Soltan, and Meryath's Fireking, but not Caldwen's Urthaala or others). 

Ascended gods possess an extravagant number of Hit Dice, compounded by the general size of their mortal flocks in the Prime Plane. Deities possess a base HD (see game stats earlier), which represent magical power they draw from Calidar’s world soul. An adjustment follows, representing the size or fervor of supporting cults among mortals. Demigods do not receive HD adjustments for the number of their mortal followers. For simplicity, the scopes of these cults are ranked A-G, from smallest to largest, as shown in the following list:

Deities’ HD Adjustment
Cult Size
a. Tiny
b. Very Small
c. Small
d. Sizeable
e. Large
f. Very Large
g. Huge

For Example: A minor god with a tiny flock has a base 60 HD +0 HD for size = 60 HD (+50 hp) while a greater god with a sizeable flock racks up a base 70 HD +70 HD for size = 140 HD (+60 hp).

Pantheon Rulers: They most likely qualify a greater gods but they also receive additional HD equal to 10% of all deities and demigods in the pantheon (round down).

Estimating the Size of Cults: CC1 provides data on how extensive cults are relative to one another, but unless the exact population figures are known for each region, this info is of limited use from one pantheon to the next. It is a clue nonetheless. Seat-of-pants assessments are needed here, based on CC1’s data and what referees feel works best in their campaigns. Some of the faiths described in CC1 extend beyond the Great Caldera itself, such as those also concerning Calidar's three moons: the elves (Alorea), the dwarves (Kragdûr), and the cults of Teos or Soltan (Munaan). Referees should also feel free to tinker with adjustments from “homebrew” cults, especially if they are unusually lax or fanatical—i.e. a small but fanatical cult might be considered “sizeable” because of the strength of its worshipers' fervor.

Pantheon Examples

Huge: Teos/Soltan—430 HD + 70 hp, or approx. 2,000 hp total.
            Though the above numbers are technically correct according to the suggested method, an exception may be in order for Teos/Soltan, since this cult theoretically outnumbers most of the others, based on descriptions in CAL1 and CC1. I’d shamelessly double the total, at least. I also treated Teos as a pantheon ruler even though it counts no other god, suggesting that the grand old deity is the ruler of just his own august self and his many other identities.
Very Large: Delathien—220 HD + pantheon 130 HD = 350 HD, or approx. 1,285 hp.
Large: Ellorien (170), Faëriad (170)
Sizeable: Adamar (90), Durandil (90), Sphiel (90)
Small: Arëatha (80), Ashebai (80), Maëlrond, Melrenwë (80)
Demigods: Bëlianda (52), Eilonna (52), Mythriel (52)
            The bottom three figures are demigods (paragons—see related article). The total for the pantheon (including Delathien) amounts to: 1,306 HD, therefore Delathien’s pantheon ruler bonus should be 130. In practical terms, the number of hit points or HD is irrelevant aside from giving a good feel for the relative strengths of deities within a pantheon. This makes it possible to compare separate pantheons, enabling a referee to “adjust” the size of cults to balance everything as needed. If you actually decide to run battles between gods, then you’re nuts and you deserve to live in interesting times.

Alliances: There’s an ulterior motive for quantifying divine HD. CC1 describes in a lot of detail internal politics and rivalries among gods of a pantheon. Measuring their relative strengths offers further insight on the stability of a ruler and how willing related gods are to work together. In turn, this directly affects how clerics of a faith behave when confronting another cult. PCs and epic heroes openly backing a deity for all to see could foster interesting plot developments during their adventures.
            Case in point: There are three circles in the elves’ divine pantheon—1. Delathien’s allies, 2. His Rivals, and 3. Nonaligned deities. Delathien’s group racks up a whopping 494 HD. The rivals come next with 392. The neutrals stand last with “only” 250 HD. If the latter all sided with the rivals, Delathien would have a big problem and a conflict might occur… and a possible change in management. Thus do the dynamics of divine politics begin to take shape. Add to this other possible factors (alignments, parental links, individual rivalries, friendships, secret romance, courtships, blackmail, and so on), demonstrating without the shadow of a doubt that the world of gods is no better than that of mortals who created them.
The Mystaran Connection: You might have noticed that the total hit points initially attributed to Teos/Soltan earlier in this article corresponds to the maximum hit points for Hierarchs in “Wrath of the Immortals.” It wasn’t a coincidence. The simple way to “convert” Calidar gods to Mystaran immortals is as follows, ignoring HD altogether:

Gods to Immortals Conversion
Initiate (demigod)
Temporal (demigod)
Paragon (demigod)
Minor God
Greater God
Pantheon Ruler

The more detailed conversion method is otherwise to go by their hit points (see “Wrath of the Immortals” p. 55). Thus, with his 1,285 hp Delathien qualifies as a Hierarch; Ellorien and Faëriad are Eternals; Adamar, Durandil, and Sphiel are mid-level Empyreals; Arëatha, Ashebai, Maëlrond, and Melrenwë are low-level Empyreals; and the three demigods are mid-level Celestials. Close enough. As to Teos/Soltan, just rate him a Major Pain. He actually is one, so there

Other Pantheon Examples
Small: Istra—120 HD + pantheon 65 HD = 185 HD, or approx. 720 hp.
Very Small: Fireking/Teos (100)
Tiny: Akuamakue, Alana, Hakulu, Kaimana, Kanemanu, Koanui, Ululani—60 each.
Demigods: Kahula (40), Makapono (40), Nuaka (52)
            Here, Istra doesn’t even qualify as a Mystaran Hierarch, just an upper-level Eternal using the hit point conversion method. The Fireking is an extension of Teos, an upper-level Empyreal. The other gods and Nuaka are all Celestials. Kahula and Makapono are top-level Temporals. Istra’s alliance amounts to 445 HD. Her rivals tally 280 HD. The nonaligned faction can muster 112 HD on a good day. Istra’s alliance is solid.
Sizeable: Naghilas—150 HD + pantheon 86 HD = 236 HD, or approx. 900 hp.
Small: Ashgaddon (110); Samaz and Barthazu 80 each
Very Small: Astafeth, Avraoth, Nekathal, and Zarghadin 70 each
Tiny: Dagleeth and Urthaala (extension of Teos) 60 each.
Demigods: Shai-Mamnon (40)
            By the hit point conversion method, Naghilas indeed rates as a Mystaran Hierarch. Ashgaddon is a top-level Empyreal. Everyone else save for the one demigod are Celestials. Shai-Mamnon is a Temporal. Naghilas’s alliance counts 456 HD. His rivals line up 250 HD. The nonaligned faction numbers 260 HD, easily overtaking Naghilas’s alliance if they all take the party of his rivals. This is unlikely, given the non-aligned faction’s prevailing alignment in stark opposition to the rivals. A change in management is not on the menu.

Coming Next: Click here for a secret way to return fallen heroes to life, kind of.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.