So many fantasy worlds have gods. Most of these are blandly interchangeable, as a god of the underworld looks the same anywhere, more or less (depending on your underworld, I guess), as do most gods of war, death, life and all the normal things. Talking of Gods of Death, most examples are either really really evil, or the same as, or polar opposites to the Discworld version. And the most important things in most versions of D&D is what they dress like, and what weapons they can use. These things are probably important, but don't really cover the complex realities of religion, even made up ones.
I've taken a different approach in the gods of my main campaign world. Based a little on Discworld ideas, and strangely stealing a lot of concepts from the Way of the Tiger gamebooks I loved when I was much much younger, as the worldbuilding there was very good. I've taken the idea that big cultural forces provide the ... energy... for deities to do whatever they do. Not every cultural idea, but the ones people spend a lot of time thinking about - sex, death, war, darkness; and a few more specialised ones that involve a bit more thought.
Gods don't come into the world from outside. The Ancients probably had theirs, but when they all vanished during the night that was their fall, they left us no ideas of what they might be, and in the devastation of that night, nothing recognisable as a temple have ever been found.
The gods we have have all once been human, or at least, we think they once were. Some have changed as a result, and others must have become gods long before anyone thought of writing things down for history. Others have, well, complicated stories, with many holes, pieced together from all manner of sources, that give a reasonably coherent story. Which invariably isn't true, but is closer than most other guesses. They have moved into wider circles, and play games that we couldn't even imagine, with powers that we couldn't guess at, but they also need to ensure that their 'power base' of mortal worshippers is secure.
|From an Ann Stokes card...|
|Yes, the Discworld Death...|
Next was probably Gord. God of humanity's careful custodianship of nature - crops, domesticated beasts, brewing, village life, village militia. Every village or hamlet will have a Priest of Gord before all others, unless there's something rather special there, and they advise and organise all the things needed to sustain, grow and defend a rural community. Gord was probably a farmer that a lot of other farmers looked up to, and it grew from there. Strangely, or perhaps not so much, he and the All-Mother are seen as closer than most other gods.
There is no apparent god of war. In fact, none have been visible since the last incumbent, Moraine, left it to become the god of Empire. It is one of the greatest secrets of the world that the god of war is a mad, broken man who sits in an isolated tower, reliving his greatest failures with each new day.
Moraine was a mighty warrior, never king, but the advisor and maker of rulers, and fair in thought and judgement. He won his first godship as god of war, as all soldiers, on all sides, believed in his power. He remained immersed with mortal concerns, though, and eventually raised a young warrior to fill his place, as he became god of Empire, whom kings and emperors looked to for guidance and support. His temples exist where any major power with a martial bent thinks is appropriate, and his clergy are warriors and advisers to normal armies. The sight of two armies meeting with Moraine's priests advising both sides is not unheard of, and allows for the refinement of martial science... His underlying aim is to support empires becoming larger and more powerful by conquering others, but the impreciseness of life and the attentions of other gods usually stop this at an early stage.
There is the Mistress of Elements, an upstart goddess that has only been apparent for the last millennia or so. Worshipped by those that use elemental magic, she is capricious, but steadfast in defending, and lending power to, her own. Frequently tasks minor mages to accomplish certain actions, undoubtedly playing a very long game. Interestingly, the texts of elemental magic remaining from the First Empire do not mention her, and speak of the Elemental Princes being the source of this magic. It seems she may have been a mage once herself who subjugated or overthrew these mighty rulers of magic.
|The best I could find...|
And The Lady, goddess of night, lovers, thieves and marriage. I'm still trying to work out the associations myself, but I;m sure I'll get there. She takes an active role in ensuring the stability of her worship base, and in undermining that of the other gods.
There are others, but the concepts are less well refined.
Apologies as I've gone on a bit here, which tends to happen when I'm basically thinking out loud. Thanks for all the comments so far, and I can't wait to see what I come up with for 'H', as I'm clueless at the moment...