Pluto (mythology)
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Basic Information

Pluto was the Greco-Roman deity who was considered to rule over the realm of the dead. He was also known as Hades (a name which eventually came to be associated more with his domain than his person) and (to the Romans) as Dis Pater. He is also associated with the Roman deity Orcus as a god of death and ruler of the dead. In some treatments the names Pluto and Hades are used for different aspects of his character - Pluto for the just and sober judge and ruler of the dead and Hades for the darker, more frightening aspect as the god of death. In any case, this was a chtonic deity, dwelling beneath the earth, venerated in sunken or subterranean places and ruling the more instinctive and brutal aspects of life and behaviour. Like other cthonic gods he traditionally received sacrifices by burial rather than burning. This still did not make him a "deity of evil" as he is sometimes portrayed in modern media.

As the husband of Persephone he also had some role in fertility rites, partly tied to his supposed role in sending his wife to her mother to bring the spring and partly to the underground germination of grains.

Partly due to Greek wordplay1, and partly due to the subterranean sources of most mineral wealth he was also seen (sometimes in a seperate divine aspect as Plutus) as a god of wealth and those seeking it, especially by mining. This conflation could probably also be applied to his role in "releasing the wealth" derived from a good harvest.

See Also



Game and Story Use

  • A good example of a multifaceted deity for your congruent fantasy religion as opposed to the tedious cliche of "teh evull deth godz" so common in pre-pack settings.
  • The multiple aspects (and consequent cults) are also good flavour - after all, a miner wouldn't want to attract the attention of the god of death by offering his sacrifice for a prosperous mine to the wrong aspect, would he?
  • Most sacrifices offered to Greco-Roman deities would be an animal sacrifice, but not all; the receipt of sacrifices by burial can be a useful source of buried treasure for your campaign.
    • For fantasy religions that include the very non-greco-roman practice of human sacrifice it can also be a good source of undead.
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