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I am playing a level 7 Tempest Cleric that just got access to the Divination spell. From the Material requirements for the Divination spell:

Incense and a sacrificial offering appropriate to your religion, together worth at least 25 gp

Our DM set up a variant world with custom gods/history etc. The god in question here is the Elder God of Storms and Wrath, and oceans/nature to a lesser degree. However, for my purposes this god could easily be Zeus or Talos. He tasked me with coming up with what an appropriate offering would be, but I'm at a loss for where to come up with this.

What D&D 5e lore (or even Dungeons and Dragons material/lore from other editions) would point to what Zeus or Talos accept as a sacrifice?

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1. Treasure

What to do with all the riches PCs gather? Sacrifice it. Offerings of gold, gems, and other forms of wealth are traditional in many religions (these still exist today, albeit with a different veneer like tithing in various churches). A gold statue of the god, a gem that reflects their nature (such as a pearl for an ocean god), etc might be an acceptable sacrifice.

Please note that 25gp is the minimum the spell accepts. The DM might be amenable to a suggestion that more valuable offerings lead to better results. I would envisage a bolt of lightning descending from the sky to immolate the offering bowl on a success.

2. Blood

No, this is not necessarily an evil practice. Many ancient religions sacrificed one's own blood as an offering to the gods (good/lawful). The blood of a valued beast was also well regarded (neutral). Of course, sacrificing enemies or unwilling sapient beings is the realm of the vile (evil).

Historically, this can be seen in the religion of the Aztecs, with blood sacrifice of enemies being common. In ancient times, druids in Britain were known to burn victims in giant wicker birds, as well as ritually sacrificing beasts on altars and creating curse tablets to sentence people to death. Romans and Greeks often divined the future via the entrails of a sacrificed beast (with a diviner known as a haruspex).

3. Spoils

This is distinct from treasure as it covers materials that should be wrested from enemies. Swords, armour, shields, etc taken in battle could be appropriate offerings to gods of wrath and war. On the evil end, the body of an enemy hero personally slain might do for Talos.

4. Food and Wine

Usually more appropriate for less bloodthirsty gods, food and wine are still common offerings in many religions today. Food would include seafood for an ocean god, rare spices, cooked meats, and so on. Anything uncommon and expensive is key, but also anything sacred to the religion (for example, wheat for an earth god). Wine would include other alcoholic beverages, or milk for teetotaller gods. Most gods in many religions tend to be heavy drinkers, though (I do wonder about this).

Jupiter/Zeus accepts cinnamon, wine, cakes/pastries (made with wheat and salt), cassia, meat, beans and greens, onions, leeks, scaled fish.

5. Cherished Personal Items/Loved Ones

This might include locks of hair, family heirlooms (not necessarily valuable), fingernail clippings (usually in religions such as voodoo), flowers/trees raised personally, a childhood treasure, etc. For a god of storms, it might be wood from a lightning-struck tree kept by the character in a locket since youth. The key is the emotional connection with object or person.

Historically, at the extreme end of the spectrum, this would include the wives, daughters, and sisters of kings. Many Greek myths describe such occurrences (naturally, I do not support or condone any of these ancient practices or beliefs), such as the legend of Andromeda being offered to Poseidon.

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Zeus in D&D is explicitly based on the historical Olympian god, as this Roll20 excerpt of the 5e SRD outlines. The traditional offerings to Greek gods were burnt animal offal, as well as wine, incense, and crops (a summary here). In 5th ed Zeus is interpreted as True Neutral, but other sources interpret him as Lawful Neutral, Chaotic Good, or Lawful Good depending on which mythical descriptors of him are prioritized.

Talos, Chaotic Evil god of storms and natural disasters in Faerun, is most noted for the ritual sacrifice of a living sentient, an act called "Calling Down the Thunder". However, smaller acts of destruction may be appropriate for basic spells. One source mentions: "As examples to all, the fatalistic clerics of Talos tend to indulge in acts of random or spiteful destruction as they travel and to make examples of all folk who stand up to them from entering a community or passing along a road." In that light, pretty much any destruction of other peoples' property might be appropriate; perhaps the cleric loots and retains items from towns or castles previously visited, symbolically destroying gatestones, household goods, or sentimental items.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Cool--thanks. I only mentioned it because I clicked on the link, found myself at the "Greek Pantheon" and thought "hmm... this is all flavorful Aegean imagery-stuff, doesn't really support the sentence it's linked from." I agree, though, the SRD pfd is annoying to link to. Would it have killed them to include a ToC? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 16 '18 at 1:36

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