Thursday, August 21, 2014

Petty Gods

Petty Gods is the lesser-remembered victim of Grognardia’s closure, a really cool idea for a book that remains unfinished, 4 years after its inception. Inspired by the old Judges Guild product The Unknown Gods, the book was meant to be a collection of fan-created deities for use with the Labyrinth Lord D&D clone. Unlike books such as Deities and Demigods, Petty Gods would detail gods who each controlled a very small and often eccentric sphere of influence. Since they were so limited in power, most of these gods could be defeated by a party of swords-and-sorcery heroes, meaning that Petty Gods could double as a monster manual of sorts.

What’s particularly frustrating about this book is that, for all intents and purposes, it’s done. Hundreds of gods were submitted and approved. Volunteers stepped forward and provided art for each submission and a nice piece for the cover. One of the authors of Unknown Gods even wrote an intro for the book. According to one of the final posts on the subject, Petty Gods needed nothing more than some layout work. Whatever kept it from completion, it seemed dead when Grognardia closed its virtual doors.

Petty Gods was ideal for someone to just step up, tie a bow on this thing, and put it out there for the world, which is (kind of) what the guy behind the Gorgonmilk blog did in 2013 (three years after the original project began). Alas, the Gorgonmilk version of the project is vaporware at this point. Greg Gorgonmilk had big goals for Petty Gods, adding sections on knights and foods and other things, and attracting submissions from the likes of Michael Moorcock and James Ward. My best guess is that the project just got too unwieldy for one person’s volunteer efforts.

Greg did put out a mostly-finished version called Original Petty Gods, which is supposedly the original Grognardia version, but I know that it doesn’t contain one of my two deity submissions. It seems unlikely that I’m the only one to have a god vanish from this version of the book, leading me to believe that it’s not a truly finished product.

However, I still have the stats for both of my “petty gods,” as well as the art for one of them. I’m not artistic at all, so I really treasure this piece, drawn by a stranger who took my brief words and drew a very nice illustration. Seriously, I’ve written a lot of homebrew RPG junk over the years, and only VERY rarely has any of it gotten illustrated, so a special thanks to Mark Allen (whoever you are).

Since Petty Gods and everything associated with it was meant to be open content and since at least one of my gods somehow vanished from the one version of the game that is available, I’m going to repost them both here on my blog. The gods in question are stated out for Labyrinth Lord, but I plan to convert their stats to Pathfinder and eventually post both versions. I might even do a version that’s compatible with 5E, but we’ll have to see.


  1. Ever thought of trying to make a call for other writers of petty gods in forums, blogs & stuff and organizing a "checklist of the gods"?
    Such a thing would certainly help to get a clearer idea to many people of what might be lacking in the "Original Petty Gods" in relation to the Grognardia version, not to mention maybe, just maybe, get Greg Gorgonmilk's feet back on earth.

    1. In case you didn't know, Petty Gods is now (finally) available as a free PDF and (soon) as an at-cost Print-on-Demand version.