Egyptian Deities

DeityAlignmentSuggested DomainsSymbol 
Osiris, Egyptian god of nature and the deadLG Life, NatureWhite crown 
Isis, Egyptian god of fertility and magicNG Knowledge, Life Ankh and star 
Horus, Egyptian god of vengeanceLN War Hawk 
Bes, Egyptian god of luck NTrickery Dwarf wearing a panther's skin and tail 

Osiris is the central figure in a mythological drama which has been retold in the land of Egypt for millennia. This tale centers on the murder of Osiris by his brother Set, his subsequent resurrection by his wife Isis, and the vengeance of his son Horus. While the myth varies in detail from century to century and place to place, that basic outline remains the same. The Greeks of Ægyptus worship Osiris by the name of Serapis (or Sarapis), and in the Greek cities there is actually a separate priesthood of Serapis (the characteristics of the cult are the same as the Osiris cult, however).

Isis, the sister and wife of Osiris, plays an important role in the mythological drama of Osiris' death and rebirth: she is responsible for his resurrection, and thus represents the magic which brings life and conquers evil. In Ægyptus, she is worshipped alongside Osiris and her son Horus, but she also has an immensely popular cult in the rest of the Roman Empire, independent of the other gods. (Outside of Ægyptus, Isis is worshipped as the supreme deity who incorporates all other gods; clerics of the goddess in this aspect can choose any domain.)

Horus is the third player in the drama of Osiris' death and resurrection. The son of Osiris, he is the one who avenged the murder of his father by punishing Set. With this as his primary background, he is worshipped as a god of justice and vengeance, and has been known to give his special patronage to humans seeking to avenge a wrong. He is worshipped in Ægyptus by Greeks and Egyptians alike, although the Greeks know him as Harpocrates.

Because of the close association of Osiris, Isis, and Horus in this myth, the three of them are worshipped in one temple in most parts of Ægyptus. Although the three deities have separate priestly orders, the orders work in cooperation to maintain a single temple (albeit a temple with three inner sanctuaries).

Bes, in contrast with the great Osirian triad, is a much more "popular" deity (in the sense of being a favorite of the uneducated, a god the people feel they can talk to rather than simply worship). He is a god of luck, but in contrast to the pervasive concept of a dispassionate Fortune who dispenses good and evil to everyone with no regard of person, Bes is thought to bestow only good fortune, and he definitely plays favorites. This, at least, is the hope of those who daily throng his temple with offerings of flowers and incense, hoping for luck in affairs ranging from business and romance to major military campaigns.


DeityAlignmentSuggested DomainsSymbol 
Platonism,Greco-Roman philosophyNG Life, Light
Neopythagoreanism,Greco-Roman philosophyNG Knowledge — 

Platonism in Egypt during the period of the Ægyptus campaign (known as Middle Platonism) represents the heritage of the great Greek philosopher Plato, as his teaching was interpreted in this age hungry for religious experience and liberation. In this period, Platonism is less of an academic philosophy, and more like a mystery religion. In this sense it anticipates the developments of the Alexandrian Plotinus, who founded the Neoplatonic school in the early third century.

The tenets of Platonism represent, to some extent, the least common denominator of Greco-Roman religious thought. Platonic philosophers worked within as well as without many religious traditions, with Plutarch's treatise On Isis and Osiris and Philo's speculation upon the Jewish tradition being two examples of Middle Platonic interpretation of other distinct religious traditions. Still, the Platonic Academy in Athens continued functioning well past this period, and Alexandria in Egypt was a rival to the grandeur of Athens' philosophical heights. Under the aegis of these schools, Platonic teachers taught much as Plato himself had, and Socrates before him—holding discussions in public squares and initiating disciples into higher mysteries.

The goal of the philosophical life, as it was expressed in Platonism, is "to become like God, as far as this is possible" (Plato, Theaet. 176B). In Middle Platonism, as in much of the rest of the contemporary religious world, this goal was expressed, not as an ethicized, de-spiritualized ideal but rather as a belief in the ultimate mystical experience of union with the Divine, achieved through knowledge (gnosis).

Neopythagoreanism is the other major stream of philosophical thought, not as important or widespread as Platonism probably because of its extreme esoteric and mystical tendencies. Claiming to represent the ancient teachings of Pythagoras, the philosophers of Neopythagoreanism rely on revelation, gnosis as a gift from the Divine, for salvation. This gnosis is described as a "mystery", just as in the mystery religions, and it possesses the same secret quality. Only those who have been properly initiated into a Neopythagorean school may know of its secrets. There are countless very diverse schools of this philosophy, but these characteristics are common to most or all of them.

The entrance of the soul into the body was described by the Neopythagorean Numenius of Apamea as a calamitous "fall"; the ultimate goal of this faith, then, is the remedy of this situation. By mystical and esoteric means, the priests hope to bring themselves and others into a state of union with the Deity through revelatory gnosis.

Persian Gods

DeityAlignmentSuggested DomainsSymbol 
Mithra, Persian god of redemptionLG Light, WarZodiac, sun, chariot, sacrificed bull, cave, etc.
Ahura Mazda, Persian god of goodLG Life, Light  

Mithra is to become one of the most popular mystery-gods of the Roman world, but the cult did not begin to spread widely in the Roman world until later in the first century. It was introduced, however, early in the first century BCE by Cilician pirates captured during Pompey's campaigns in Asia (c. 67 BCE). As such, it is a possibility for characters who are from the Eastern regions of Asia or who have had some contact with the farther Eastern reaches of Parthia.

Mithra is a sun-god, often identified but at other times carefully distinguished from Sol. He is a mediator between humanity and the supreme good god, Ahura-Mazda, and the staunch enemy of the evil god Ahriman, the ruler of this world. Mithra is a clear case of the mediator supplanting the message, however—Ahura-Mazda remains in the background in the Mysteries. Mithra was born from a rock; his great act in life was the slaughter of a wild bull, Ahura-Mazda's first creation, from whose blood sprang corn and other life in the world. In the hunt of the bull, Mithra was led by a raven sent from the sun, and brought a hound with him.

The mystery-cult of Mithra is open only to men. Children of age seven or older can be initiated into the lower ranks of the hierarchy, the attendants or servitors. These three grades are corax (raven), nymphus (bridegroom), and miles (soldier). The four upper ranks of "participants" make up the priesthood: leo (lion), perses (Persian), heliodromus (courier of the sun), and pater (father). In game terms, priests may be initiated into the rank of perses at third level, heliodromus at sixth level, and pater at ninth level. The patres are the true priests, who preside over initiations and ritual meals; priests of lower levels are quite free from ritual duties since the "hierarchy" of the mysteries is actually quite loose.

Members of the mysteries gather periodically to share a ritual meal commemorating Mithra's slaughter of a primordial bull and the subsequent banquet he shared with the sun-god Sol. Small groups of no more than 100 meet in spelaea ("grottoes"), sharing a meal very much like a secular private organization in the Roman world. There is no supra-local authority beyond these small groups—certainly not at this early date.

Ahura Mazda is the creator god of Zoroastrianism.

Other Gods

DeityAlignmentSuggested DomainsSymbol 
Dennari, Dwarven goddess of the earthNatureWarhammer with leaves sprouting from handle
Hermes Trismegistos, Greco-Egyptian god of knowledge and magicKnowledge, Light Caduceus or ibis 
Éleanna, elvish god of the night, mischief, and danceCG TrickeryCrescent moon 
The Emperor Cult, Roman state religionLE War Eagle, wreath 
Cybele, Phrygian mother-goddess  Lion-drawn chariot, sacred stone, pine tree, bull's head 
YHWH, the God of the JewsLG Knowledge, Life, Light, Nature None 

Dennari is an earth-mother goddess of dwarven origin, yet (despite her race) she has found a surprising popularity among the native people of Ægyptus, as well as other peoples subjugated by the Romans across the Mediterranean area. Like other earth goddesses (Cybele, Astarte, Demeter), Dennari represents agriculture and fertility, but these aspects are not as important as her association with the ground and rock, the earth proper as well as its fruits. For this reason, her faith is not connected with the agricultural cycle, but rather has become a symbol for the strength of oppressed peoples. Dennari's cult myths represent her as an eternally suffering and giving mother, tortured at the hands of her many children, but also all-powerful and ultimately a victor over their torments. She is thus seen both as a support for people in need and as a potent force for liberation.

The faith of Dennari is concerned greatly with the sufferings of oppressed people—which in Ægyptus includes the native Egyptians as well as dwarves, gnomes, and Arabians. Priests believe that their faith can give meaning to the trials of these peoples (and all who groan under heavy burdens), and also act to try to ease their burdens.

Hermes Trismegistos (a Greek representation of the Egyptian god Thoth) is the central figure in a broadly diverse group of religious traditions collected in the second Christian century into the Corpus Hermeticum. Hermetic traditions were present long before their codification in writing, however, and Hermetic groups do exist and prosper in the period of the Ægyptus campaign.

Hermeticism is probably the most magically-oriented of the basically gnostic faiths of the Roman period. As such, in the Ægyptus campaign, it is closely connected with Wizard magic. Some specialist mages are affiliated with the Hermetic mysteries, in particular Transmuters and Invokers.

As in so much of Greco-Roman religion, the goal of the Hermetic teachings is liberation from Fate, achieved through gnosis. This gnostic unity with the Divine includes redemption from material existence. Hermes is thought to be the bestower of this gnosis, but magical as well as meditative practices are used to win it from the god.

The Emperor cult, created as a political necessity by the first Roman emperors, is an important part of what makes the Empire Roman. The cult is particularly important in the provinces (notably Germania and Brittania), since it is there that efforts at Romanization are most intense and most needed.

Only deceased emperors are divine. (The emperor Vespasian, who died in 79CE, said as he felt death's approach, "Oh dear, I think I'm becoming a god.") Insane emperors claimed divinity during their lifetime (Caligula, Nero, Domitian, Commodus), but that is part of what made them insane. In the East, where divine kings were the order of the day, Roman emperors were often offered divine honors, but they sometimes refused them. (Claudius did so in Alexandria, but when the governor published his refusal he referred to the emperor as "Caesar our god.") Because of the long tradition of god-kings there, the imperial cult was quite vigorous in Asia.

At this early date, there is only one emperor who has received full divine honors: Augustus. Claudius has his cultic centers in the East, but the cult really revolves around the founder of the Empire.

YHWH is the God of the Jews. Members of the D&D priest class need not be actual priests of YHWH, that is, the men who offer the sacrifices in the Temple. They may be sages, scribes, or prophets. Women could be prophets, but not other kinds of "priests."

Hattí Deities

DeityAlignmentSuggested DomainsSymbol 
Miti'i, hattí goddess of ancestorsNG Life
Khemek, hattí god of timeKnowledge 
K'ta'a, hattí god of trade and prosperityNG Trickery
Ostikkir, hattí god of wisdomCG Knowledge
Tette'ekha, hattí goddess of weather and the skyTempest 
Sseke'i, hattí goddess of the sun and prophecyNG Knowledge, Light 
Sha'okko, hattí god of the moon and rulershipLG War 
Prena'ali, hattí goddess of peaceLGLife, Nature