I just realized I have been posting and talking very specifically about the gods and unique worship in my work-in-progress homebrew setting for Dungeon Crawl Classics lately. I usually write all this stuff down in Norwegian first, and translate to English when I feel like it. So this text has been live on my Obsidian Portal-wiki for the campaign a while. It is pretty general stuff, but it feels important and right to have the basics in place before expanding the pantheon.
The gods are real (except when they are not). There are many types of gods and different ways of distinguishing them. The most important categories are the true gods, the elder gods, the new gods, the dead and the fallen gods. At the bottom of this hierarchy we find the godlings (mostly demi-gods and patrons).
The true gods are considered metaphors for the eternal constants: law, chaos, balance, time and the stuff between. The really have no physical manifestations and only take exceptional action when their domains are threatened in a reality-shattering way.
The elder gods are unknown manifestations from a time and a reality that no longer exist. In every way they are alien and unfathomable for most living creatures on Qis. Most of them were defeated by the true gods long ago and therefore they are believed no longer present in this time or dimension. If they returned they would change everything.
The new gods are manifestations of day to day activities, but also exceptional domains, tangible experiences, and also more ephemeral aspects of life on Qis. Examples include music, poetry, magic, war, protection, voyeurism, murder, death, bats, reptiles, undead, pleasure and love.
Several gods have died during the ages (by their own hand, the hands of other gods and pantheon-shattering events). In addition there is quite a few banished and fallen gods whose whereabouts are unknown. There is said that some of these roam Qis almost without devoted followers, nearly powerless, confused or quite mad.
The lesser of all the gods are the godlings – which in turn is divided between the half-gods, or demi-gods, and patrons. Demi-gods have newly ascended and until recently they where exceptional mortals that through some sort of tremendous act or sacrifice achieved godhood. A demi-god can be a patron, but a patron is not always a demi-god. Such patrons sometimes have limited powers in comparison and may not be immortal like other godlings. However, they may in return experience more freedom and will often not be bound by domains and the command of more powerful deities. Patrons may more readily and easily interfere with individuals and mere mortals in Qis.
Commoners usually worship many gods, all according to needs and situations. This may be why their prayers are rarely heard. Clerics, however, or others that give their lives to worthy causes, may be given benefits and divine favors. They may also discover the displeasure of their deity when not acting in accordance with the deity’s domain, plan or will. This usually means loss of power, and/or some sort of penance.