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I've been wanting to simplify the general pantheon of 5th Edition down to 2 major moral forces, mirroring the horizontal spectrum of the alignment system:

(Good [Neutral] Evil)

It seems simple enough, right?

The only major implications that I've come up with right off the bat are, ultimately:

All Warlocks are Evil (Satan must be their patron).

All non-Oathbreaker Paladins and non-Death Clerics are Good (God must be their God).

Is there anything else that I may have overlooked that would have a large effect on the game should these effects go in place? I enjoy the implications of this dichotomy and would love to see if there are even more curious effects on the D&D universe.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not an answer to your main question, but I want to point out that Warlocks are not at all required to be the same alignment as their patrons. \$\endgroup\$
    – zero
    Jul 24, 2018 at 17:02

3 Answers 3

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This is not homebrew.

Quite the opposite, the Dungeon Master's Guide mentions dualism as a valid religious system, see page 11, "Other Religious Systems", emphasis mine:

In your campaign, you can create pantheons of gods who are closely linked in a single religion, monotheistic religions (worship of a single deity), dualistic systems (centered on two opposing deities or forces), mystery cults (involving personal devotion to a single deity, usually as part of a pantheon system), animistic religions (revering the spirits inherent in nature), or even forces and philosophies that don't center on deities.

See DMG page 12, "Dualism" for more details. Alignment isn't tied to gods in this case, but serves as kind of a moral compass for a character. It might still be the standard nine alignments.

Also, regardless of the fact that there is one single God, Clerics still have to choose a domain:

A single god appears in different aspects as the Creator and the Destroyer, and the clerics of that god focus on one aspect or the other, determining their domain access and possibly even their alignment on that basis.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, right you are. I appreciate the sourcing since I was clearly not aware of it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nicbobo
    Jul 23, 2018 at 23:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just look at the list of saint available en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… for choices of patron/domain \$\endgroup\$
    – Nat
    Jul 24, 2018 at 2:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nat why? priests still serve God, not saints, at least in Cristianity (as well as dualistic Cristianity-based heresies, like Catharism). Neither this complies with the DMG. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Jul 24, 2018 at 9:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor to tie the domain to something \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Jul 24, 2018 at 11:14
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Firstly, I would refer you to the Dungeon Master's Guide. In one of the appendices (Appendix B, I believe), there is a section on crafting a religious system for your setting. One of the options is dualistic which seems to be what you are describing (strictly speaking it is monotheistic from the description, but generally speaking, both the positive and negative "powers that be" have roughly equal power "put into play" as it were. Compare, for example, The Lord of the Rings).

Secondly, I disagree with your associations of Warlocks (and to a lesser extent Paladins), especially in 5th Edition. Depending on how you craft your lower planes, a Fiendish Pact Warlock may necessarily have a Patron in Satan(if you decree that all such pacts go to the top of the hierarchy), but unless you exclude all other power sources from your game(which does have additional side effects that I will address later), they have other options. Are there no Great Old Ones in your campaign? Are there no Archfey?

Note that in general, there are more factions and powers at play than just the heavenly deities and infernal and abyssal fiends. These factions (even the chaotic ones) tend to be hierarchical, with localized powerful creatures belong to each (You could say that the default cosmology is inherently feudal). If you remove Fey from your mythopoeia, you as a DM are free to do so, but doing so also you behooves you remove the Fey entirely (which has ramifications for Druids, some Rangers, and the seemingly Fey-aligned Paladins of Light) or explain why they are not overwhelmed by the other factions. Likewise Great Old Ones are the heavyweights of the Aberrations. Again, you can remove them from your campaign, but doing so limits player choices and the variety of your world and the adventures that can take place in it (and presumably Celestial Warlocks are right out).

Additionally, Paladins, even in a duopolistic system, do not get their powers from a deity in 5th edition, but rather from their Oaths. So a Paladin of Devotion, may have your singular deity as their power source, but in a dualistic system, a Paladin of Vengeance might easily be empowered by Evil forces.

tl;dr: reducing the deities into a dualistic system is supported and can be fun, but I suggest not making those two sides the only two super-mortal power sources in your game, because it reduces the tools in your toolbox.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The info on deciding religions in your world is not in the appendices; it's in Chapter 1, under "Gods of Your World" on p. 10-13 of the DMG (here on DNDBeyond if you own it there). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jul 31, 2018 at 20:29
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Xanathar's Guide to Everything has Celestial Warlocks, whose patron is a good-aligned Celestial power like an Archangel or Deva or something like that.

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