World-building for a fantasy novel – Pantheons and Deities


Hello everyone…

I’m trying to save it as a slight surprise in No Redemption for the Wicked as far as exactly how, but the deities that I’m creating for the fantasy world of Chalandris will play a prominent role in the storyline. Because of that, before I go much farther I need to establish very clearly who the deities are and the belief system (or belief systems) that have grown up around them on Chalandris.

Let’s get some definitions established, to start. A deity, for my purposes, is a being of immense power, a spiritual force that is self-aware and able to exert influence in the world. A spiritual belief system is a faith or religion derived from one or more deities and their influence in the world. A pantheon is a group of deities that are associated together as part of the same belief system.

I am going to be establishing something somewhat complex here. I had previously established nine deities for the world of Chalandris and a creation myth that described how they each came into existence and became part of the history of the universe in which the fantasy world of Chalandris exists. I hadn’t yet decided if that ‘myth’ was going to be true and accurate or whether that was going to be simply what some people on Chalandris believed to be true. I have now decided that this creation myth that I established will be a roughly-accurate accounting of the creation of the universe, including the nine deities I had established.

But this ‘truth’ will not exist in a literal sense among the people of Chalandris. The people of Chalandris will be divided into two competing (and occasionally conflicting) faiths, both of which will be simultaneously ‘true’ and also incomplete with each faith completing the other faith’s ‘doctrine’. But their differences in perspective will give people devoted to each faith the illusion that the other faith is entirely wrong; and while the reader will easily see this, the characters who have been indoctrinated from birth to believe that their faith is true and the other faith is false will be unable to even consider a concept so alien to everything they believe as the idea that the faiths they know could possibly both be true.

In specifics, one faith will give credence to five of the nine deities and the other faith will look to a different set of five (with one deity being common to both faiths, a particularly querulous bone of contention to be sure). The deity common to both will be a deity literally called Chalandris by name and will be perceived very similarly by both faiths as a mostly-genderless personification of the world. But the similarities will end there. Each faith will recognize a different set of four deities as Chalandris’ peers and will establish a different set of relationships among the resulting five. This will give rise to two different faiths which will be brought together by their recognition of a common deity and brought into conflict by just about everything else they believe.

My work now will be to take the nine deities I previously established and assign them to the two respective faiths and figure out how they came to be associated together as well as some general principles of each faith based upon the deities chosen and the kinds of relationships they have with the Chalandris deity. This is fun work, folks. It’s a pain in the kiester, but it’s fun. I can’t wait to show you how it all shakes out!

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