USR Wednesdays: American Pantheon Part V

Teen Hero
God of optimism, enthusiasm, youth
Suggested Divine Domains: Good, Freedom, Movement
Favored Weapon: Switchblade
Colors: white, blue, yellow
Symbol: sunburst
He is the son of Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty, the one they count on to bring new worshipers to the pantheon. But most of the time Teen Hero is imagining himself champion of the world, the one who defeats all the villains and remains beloved by everyone while doing it. He wants to be a moody rebel like Lone Wolf or Independent Woman (though he’s a little frightened of her), but he’s too pure of heart and cute to make it happen. Some of his followers burn brightly, and flare out before their time. Teen Hero is what everyone wishes they could be, in a perfect world.

The green man is ironically not green.
Wildman is an ancient deity who has taken many forms. (image: marbleinspiration.co.uk)

Wildman
God of nature
Suggested Divine Domains: Air, Animal, Earth, Fire, Plant, Water
Favored Weapon: Staff
Colors: green, blue, brown
Symbol: Tree
Wildman doesn’t represent people, unlike most of the rest of the pantheon. He represents the earth itself, and often takes the female form of Mother Nature. But sometimes he needs to be more aggressive in defense of the earth, or more primitive for followers that want to test themselves against everything Wildman can throw at them. Wildman rarely speaks or acts unless he has to; he prefers to keep to himself and only reveals his true power to those who are quiet and peaceful in his presence.

USR Wednesdays: American Pantheon Part IV

Playboy
God of sex, money, and fame
Suggested Divine Domains: Luck, Wealth, Deceit
Favored Weapon: Dagger
Colors: gold, white, green
Symbol: diamond
Blonde Bombshell’s son is infatuated with himself, and how he looks and acts at all times. He manipulates his followers, and the other deities, to get what he wants, all the while insisting that any bargain he makes helps not just himself but the other person too. In his more positive aspect, Playboy encourages men to find their playful side, and loves interacting with mortals, the better to spread his message and gain more followers. Playboy’s priests are mostly male, with good grooming, the best clothes, and a lot of confidence.

Santa Claus
Father of imagination, god of children and gift-giving
Suggested Divine Domains: Good, Creation, Light
Favored Weapon: Quarterstaff
Colors: red, white, green
Symbol: Christmas tree
Santa represents not only commercialized Christmas but all holidays and special creatures, from the Easter Bunny to the Tooth Fairy. He represents the importance of children to families, and encourages good feelings in everyone. The dark gods of the pantheon dislike Santa’s joyful light, but mostly ignore him, since he’s rarely actively working to diminish them.

She blinded him with science.
A cleric of Science deep in religious ritual. (image: Universal Pictures)

Science
God of research
Suggested Divine Domains: Creation, Community, Healing, Knowledge
Favored Weapon: Needle
Colors: black, white
Symbol: computer
The Great God Science has introduced many amazing and helpful things to the world, but he’s also been responsible for some of its evils. He’s very independent, sometimes even insisting that none of the other deities deserve any attention. He’s been rising to a more prominent position in the pantheon over the last several decades, and his holy texts (science fiction) point to an even more lofty role in years to come.

USR Wednesdays: American Pantheon Part III

Lone Wolf
God of independence and travel
Suggested Divine Domains: Travel, Freedom, Strength, War
Favored Weapon: Sword
Colors: black, white, grey
Symbol: wolf’s head
Lone Wolf is the protector of a world that never was, a place where an individual has to live or die all on his own, and always makes the right choice when both options have value. He claims to be alone all the time but that’s not true; his priests are there to counsel people who feel like they’re ready to follow the wolf, so no one is really ever by themselves. His followers are young men, who usually mature into followers of other deities. More serious adherents of the Lone Wolf are hunters, ranchers and creative people like actors and writers.

The adventure is about to begin.
The Lone Wolf taking action on the Earth. (image: providr.com)

Man In Black
God of vengeance, the night, anger
Suggested Divine Domains: War, Chaos, Darkness
Favored Weapon: Assault Rifle
Colors: black, red, dark blue
Symbol: full moon dripping blood
The Man In Black is not evil, not in all his forms. Most often he represents the dark side that all people have. He stands for the anger of a young man whose friend is gunned down in a city street, the impotent road rage that leads to accidents, even the guilt of a parent spending too much time at work and not enough at home with the kids. He has few priests, because The Man In Black prefers to work through individuals, twisting them from the inside. He does encourage worshipers under the names of “psychologist” and “self-help guru” because each person who considers him important enough to worship is a person who gives him power.

Monster
God of bloodshed and horror
Suggested Divine Domains: Death, Evil, Insanity
Favored Weapon: Claws
Colors: black, red, yellow, sickly green
Symbol: crossed knives
Monster was once The Man In Black’s sidekick, a story told to make children behave, and a safe way to enjoy frightening things. He’s every vampire and every zombie ever seen on screen or on the page. But in recent years Monster has left The Man In Black behind and threatens to overthrow even Uncle Sam himself — he’s the patron of serial killers and mass murderers, powerful establishments and anyone who uses fear to control others.

USR Wednesdays: American Pantheon Part II

Foreigner
God of the unknown
Suggested Divine Domains: Secrets, Knowledge, War
Favored Weapon: Bomb
Colors: orange, black, green
Symbol: face with mustache
Foreigner changes from time to time, from “Savage Redskin” to “Yellow Peril” to “Desert-Dwelling Terrorist.” Though most legends put Foreigner in league with the other villainous members of the pantheon, like Monster, he’s not evil, and doesn’t encourage evil in his followers. He just has a different way of looking at the world and how his priests should behave.

Independent Woman
Goddess of femininity and justice
Suggested Divine Domains: Good, Freedom, Protection
Favored Weapon: Dagger
Colors: pink, white, purple
Symbol: full moon
She is the twin sister of Teen Hero, more serious and stronger, because her priestesses (and priests, there are some of both that follow her) are often the target of insult and injury. She appreciates the beautiful — like Blonde Bombshell — and the regal — like Lady Liberty, and gives the gifts of both to her followers as she can.

Statue of Liberty
The home of Lady Liberty’s power. Her priests must travel there at least once in their lives. (image: nps.gov)

Lady Liberty
Goddess of women and cultural expansion
Suggested Divine Domains: Friendship, Knowledge, Protection
Favored Weapon: Spear
Colors: white, yellow, green
Symbol: scales
Lady Liberty is the mother who births both America’s bounty and her peoples, and welcomes those who wish to join the great masses of the country. Lady Liberty first appeared as a native maiden, then gradually became Uncle Sam’s partner in many ways, great and small. She represents not only motherhood but the things that make a family strong: love and concern for all people, to one degree or another.

USR Wednesdays: American Pantheon

One of the reasons I introduced Divine Domains to Domino Writing-style USR is to feature these, the “American Pantheon” of god-like entities that represent aspects of modern American culture. They’re meant to be tongue-in-cheek, obvious stereotypes, but still representative of the U.S. today. And in a modern urban fantasy game, they’re probably more useful for heroes than gods are.

Here’s the first few:

Uncle Sam (G.I. Joe, Great White Father, The Man)
God of patriotism
Suggested Divine Domains: Law, Protection, War
Favored Weapon: Assault Rifle
Colors: red, white, blue
Symbol: bald eagle
Uncle Sam, often seen as a tall, thin white man dressed a ragged suit and top hat, is often criticized for his militant behavior, but is usually appreciated when he lends a helping hand (though sometimes his help isn’t wanted). He can be strict, telling the more fun-loving deities of the pantheon how they should live their lives, and sometimes interferes with divine powers of other pantheons. He is served by a donkey named Democrat and an elephant named Republican. His priests are politicians and soldiers, leaders of men and great warriors — and con artists who make others think they’re leaders and warriors.

Uncle Sam
He wants you… so he can give you divine magic. (image: public domain)

Blonde Bombshell
Goddess of desire and tragedy
Suggested Divine Domains: Love, Deceit, Luck
Favored Weapon: Whip
Colors: yellow, red, black
Symbol: red light
Blonde Bombshell often appears to mortals as a beautiful young woman, but she changes her hair color like she changes her mood (suddenly and often). She appears to have a perfect life on the surface, but the struggle to be what everyone wants her to be puts a strain on her and her priests. She likes looking good and doesn’t like thinking about anything serious. Her followers use their blessings to get their way, and they see nothing wrong with that; they feel good making themselves happy.

Comic Relief
God of jokes and pranks
Suggested Divine Domains: Deceit, Chaos, Good, Evil
Favored Weapon: Club
Colors: yellow, green, gray, red
Symbol: smiley face
The great comedian exists to make people forget their troubles. Usually he makes them laugh, but in recent years, he’s become darker and more cruel, making offensive jokes that hurt mortals. But to Comic Relief, any joke that someone laughs at is a good joke. His priests are comedians themselves, artists, musicians and writers.

Who else should be in the American Pantheon?