The concept of holiness is something used to describe the divine in both mythology and fantasy descriptions of divinity as well as within my seminary training to be a Christian minister. When something is described as being holy, it is often associated with purity or even a radiant cleansing light. There are not shortage of divine prayers or spells in fantasy that involve casting a holy light about to heal the injured, wound the undead, or to sanctify a location to a particular god. The Christian and theological definition, holiness means something entirely else: to be set aside or “other.” The Bible describes God as holy in the sense that He is entirely set apart from everything else. He is completely unique and completely different from anything else we understand or know. The word is then used to describe those things that God would set aside for his own purposes, but specifically something that is given significance or purpose in relation to its connection to the God who is other. He Who Is Because He Is. Sounds like fiction, but it is straight from the Hebrew Bible. There is something inherently different about facing a god of your campaign setting as opposed to an Ancient Dragon or even a Demon Lord. The gods have a special place and having to go toe-to-toe with one of them communicates something really major. Either something is terribly wrong within your campaign setting or with your party and either way there is something sacred about the task of taking down a deity.
If you peruse the DDI compendium of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition epic tier threats, there are quite a few deities on the list. Unfortunately there are a larger number of the various pantheons that have not been statted out. At this point Bahamut, Tiamat, Lolth, Torog, Bane, Vecna, and Maglubiyet are all statted out with full combat abilities. Tiamat is the final villain of the Scales of War Adventure Path (which I’m intimately familiar with) and reformatting and statting out a god is no simple feat. Just look at most the options, they’ve had to be changed or fiddled with and most are almost unusable as is. Since I’ve already reworked the logistics of a combat against a god, it’s something that intrigues me as there are so many other venues of interesting encounters embodying the major deities of D&D. Each of the gods in 4th Edition have a set of domains and intentions for the world so it could be very interesting to see just how an adventuring party would approach and challenge the gods themselves. I am going to try and tackle that challenge and it may not be as combat centric as you think. Some of the gods have other goals and facing them on a level that is not combat based may be more suiting.
I wanted to let you know that I’m going to take a stab at trying to peg down these “other” movers and shakers of the D&D pantheon. Some of them could make for interesting antagonists/encounters for an Epic Tier that really needs help and some of these deities and demigods really have a butt kicking coming. So whether you want to find a challenging side story towards the end of a long campaign or just want to go hardcore God of War style and purge your pantheon, this might be a help. I mean, who doesn’t want to kick in Moradin’s door and show him who’s boss?