Pantheon Of Small Gods
Every world has its lesser magical beings; creatures of ephemeral nature who are absolute masters of about a square foot of ground surrounding them. They exist by virtue of the belief that is given to them, it gives them power and form, enabling them to rise above their nature for brief moments and command more substantial cosmic powers than they would normally be capable of. These beings are collectively referred to in the lore of the hedge wizard and the village witch as the small gods.
A pantheon of small gods is a carving depicting all of the gods represented in a temple. The form of the carving differs from pantheon to pantheon, some are mere wood carvings, while others are dioramas made from gold and set with jewels. The material from which the carving is made does not determine the power of the gods associated with it. A common misconception is that the small gods have somehow become trapped in the carving, but this is not the case, the carving is just a conduit through which the small god can express its power and through which veneration can return. Like most gods, small gods do not exist in the prime material plane, but will dwell on one of the outer planes.
There will typically be 1d6+2 small gods on a pantheon, though some have been found with two dozen, but never less than three. Each small god, if prayed to for one hour will be able to cast a specific spell on behalf of the supplicant. The spell need not be cast immediately, but is stored in the pantheon until it is cast. The pantheon can only hold one spell from each of its gods at any one time. Each spell is cast at 12th level for the purposes of effect, duration and dispels.
The gods will usually be of comprehensive alignment, with one god being lawful good, one being true neutral and one being chaotic evil. Every god above the first three will be of a different alignment until all nine alignments have a god representing them and subsequent gods may be of any alignment. Gods will have the following powers according to their alignment, none of which are reversible:
Lawful Good: Cure Light Wounds
Lawful Neutral: Detect Lie
Lawful Evil: Command
Neutral Good: Create Water
True Neutral: Know Alignment
Neutral Evil: Protection From Good
Chaotic Good: Entangle
Chaotic Neutral: Faerie Fire
Chaotic Evil: Cause Light Wounds
Each small god will have a name and that name must be spoken for the power to be invoked, thus all of these spells cast through the pantheon require a verbal component (the specific name) and a material component (the pantheon itself). The names of the small gods are not secret and will be revealed to the owner during prayers. The supplicant will not be aware of the alignment of each small god until he has completed his prayer and been granted the spell.
1 in 20 (5%) of these pantheons are very old and the small gods have become a bit more powerful, the spells granted remain the same, but each of the gods on the pantheon can now speak and will answer questions (if they feel like it, there is no special compulsion) providing each god has been prayed to and none of the granted spells have been cast. The veracity of their answers is dubious however, since none of these gods are omniscient, and the best answer a questioner will receive is likely to be vague or, more often, detailed but irrelevant to the current situation. These old pantheons can be used to turn undead at the level of the owner like a priest’s holy symbol. After a year of owning this old pantheon the small gods will demand that the owner worship them alone and forgo any other god they may have, and if the owner declines the pantheon will vanish.
Note: priests may incur severe displeasure from their deity if they use this item, since it represents a lapse in faith. Typically a priest praying to or using the powers of a pantheon of small gods will lose all spell casting ability for one week, while repeated use might result in a complete loss of power until the priest redeems themselves via some great task – which will almost certainly involve the destruction of the pantheon. Small gods of lesser pantheons do not mind if the supplicant prays to other gods, they’re just glad of the attention.