Hail to Ale
I love creative writing exercises with bizarre premises. Something like, oh, “Compose a dialogue between a person and their tax accountant, but they’re in the stomach of a giant squid.” In constraining you with a premise, it frees you from the tyranny of a blank page. In laying out an unusual, wild, or absurd premise, it requires you to come up with something creative and interesting just to get a basic idea across. Maybe most important, it lets you know from the start that you don’t have to take the whole thing so seriously.
I’m in a roleplaying game with some friends that follows the most classic of patterns: There’s a deep maze of catacombs full of thieves, monsters, and treasure. Delve, kill, loot, come back to town to regroup, delve again. The last time we regrouped in the town, my character went carousing. The GM rolled some dice and consulted the charts and informed me that she had joined a cult. Details of which were up to me. My character was a foul-mouthed, hard-drinking, merry-making thief, so I thought about it for a bit, and gave myself a writing exercise. What if there were a religion that worshiped the Gods of Beer? What would a pantheon of beer gods be like? Behold my results:
The Conclave of the Sacred Tankard
The Conclave worship the gods of beer, sometimes collectively referred to as The Case. The Conclave don’t particularly care who or how many actually worship The Case, but focus on spreading the joy of partaking in beer itself, which they consider effectively the same thing anyway.
There are many, many gods in the beer pantheon, big and small, but a handful of the most important ones take up most of the attention, altar space, and toasting:
The Malt - Often called The Source. A tetrapartite deity whose four aspects are most often represented as four faces on one body. The Malt functions as the sacred origin point of all beer and the good things associated with beer, similar to the function Ptah serves in the Egyptian pantheon or Brahma in the Hindu pantheon. The Malt is the infinite font from which all beer possibilities spring, as the hallowed amber brook flowing from a keg. The Malt’s Four Aspects: Hoppia, The Bitter Bite. Sharp, focused, attentive. W’iit, The Golden Ray. Warm, loving, easy. Barlion, The Steady Hand. Strong, balanced, level. Rrai, The Playful Song. Joyous, loose, brash.
Roil - Goddess of fermentation. A fertility deity as well as patron of the arts and creative inspiration. Roil, sometimes called The Cauldron, is looked to for aid in all matters of poetry and song, childbearing, and plan-making. Generous but sometimes fickle, sweet and loving but with a wrathful temper. Aspect: A tall woman whose figure is shrouded by Her extremely long, wild-flowing hair.
Tapp - God of the Pour. A boisterous god of plenty revered as the master of generosity, camaraderie, and friendship. Tapp is regarded as the bringer of all things warm and welcoming - particularly beverages - to humankind. A sort of Promethean figure but with beer instead of fire (and without the whole bird-torture business). Aspect: A jolly, big-bellied man holding a tankard, always tipped slightly as if pouring some into others’ vessels.
Staut - The Protector. The ethereal, infinite archetype of the overprotective intoxicated friend. Staut is called upon for aid when The Case’s followers are under threat, and She staggers into the fight with Her massive battle-steins in hand. Laughs at danger, smiles at death, and drinks at everything. Constantly telling the other gods about that one time She kicked some demon or other’s ass, although the details of the story constantly shift. Aspect: A short, muscular woman with a heavy, sharp-cornered stein in each hand.
Bruuski - God of drunken revelry, altered states of mind, and partying. Giver of the ecstatic shift in human consciousness, Bruuski is sometimes regarded as the catalyst of sentience. Often venerated by artists alongside Roil, as the primordial frenzy of creativity. Often forms the centerpiece of Conclave rituals, seen as a pathway to be nearer the other gods. Conclave members often shout His name prior to or during celebrations of all kinds.
Hope you found my weird little exercise interesting! And feel free to venerate these deities if you’d like. It’s not like I need to tell you how.