So I'm going to start a new campaign this summer, probably, with a special set of gods. The idea is that 5 dragons killed or drove off or claimed to drive off the gods of the world and now live on mount olympus (or whatever).
Clerics get their powers in a ritual when the dragon touches them and plants a magical seed in their chest which grants more and more clerical power as it grows. Unlike normal clerics, clerics of the dragon gods don't have to worry about a code of conduct to keep their powers. As long as they use their powers meaningfully (get experience) they will grow in power.
The trade off is that you have to do what the dragon wants because you basically become his familiar. He can see through your eyes and if you piss him off he might have you killed (at least until you get strong and smart enough to defy the order).
Mortals believe the dragons are gods. Really they are just mortal dragons. The dragons have commandments that people believe came from the gods but really just have to do with the likes and dislikes of the dragons.
I could really use 10 good commandments that sound religious but feed into the idea that the gods aren't real.
1 - The only true way to worship the gods is through the sacrifice of jewels to the pit of olympus. For the gods gave you the sun, so to you must give the gods all that shines in return.
Got anything else for me?
I had a home brew setting where I did something kinda like this once heh.
You could tailor dogma and commandments to be unique to each of the dragons. Given Dragon greed they would likely require tithes in coins, magic, food anything valuable really.
If they are just using the clerics they would want to have allot of fake dogma and false trappings to make mortals think the they need the dragon gods.
The commandments don't even have to make sense or benefit the dragons so long as they keep the lie alive. Perhaps the clergy could be demanded to destroy and report all forms of heresy aggressively, maybe the dragon overlords would weave huge plots of manipulation using devoted clergy to destroy and hide the truths that threaten to end their reign. A good dose of "punk" can make things take on a whole darker side. Especially if a good aligned person finds out his entire faith was nothing but an elaborate lie.
That's good stuff for sure. So here is a question: is the dark dragon god, the cast out, really a cast out or is he in on the take?
Six dragons arrive. Imagine that they decide that mortals can't be controlled if they are free, so one of them agrees to be the adversary give the mortals an enemy. The five send forces to fight the one, but never do they actually send armies to each other's dwellings.
Or maybe there really is a conflict?
This reminds me of a sci-fi book called Hyperion, where the Church people all had this parasite in their chests called the cruciform that basically made them immortal by regenerating their bodies after death. Which made space travel easy because the ships didnt have to be safe at all.
It also reminds me of Dark Sun, so good job there.
Are you sure you want ten? Seven is also a good number.
So besides the jewel dumping, maybe we could have
2-Everything the dragon-gods see belongs to them. As the gods fly over and survey the lands at all times, everything in this world belongs to them. To covet the property of the dragon gods is heinous blasphemy.
thats really wordy.....
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-Be fruitful in thy craft and take pride in industrious efforts. Create things of beauty and worth.
-Be not destructive to the things you covet and cannot yet have as thine own possession. Instead, strive to take and claim them.
-Care for thy slaves as ye would care for thy precious stones. Shape them to suit thine own needs. Keep them clean and polished. But if they prove false, dispose of them.
-Do not mate outside of thine own race, unless a Dragon God wishes to bless thy bloodline. All must be ever ready and willing to receive this sacred and holy gift. Non-Draconic half-breeds are to be shunned as filth.
-Support what thou doth love. Kill what thou doth hate. To disobey this is sloth. Every breath thy enemy draws is a shame to thee.