I find it useful to focus on the religions rather than the deities themselves. I consider religion to be the culture that surrounds the worship of a deity or deities. Because it is a culture it is useful for defining the motivations and personalities of NPCs that the players come into contact with as their characters.
And given the various demands on our day it helps to have some worked out examples to use as a starting point.
Gods of Dakar
Daysha,Fate, Destiny, Female Hydeth,Physical and Mental Mastery, Male Sho Dae,Twilight, Shadows, and Stealth, Female Astrel,Lakes, Rivers, and Wells, Female
The Dakarian religion teaches that no man may escape his fate. Many Dakarian are fatalistic about life. Many travelers will attest that most common phrase among Dakarians is, "It is the will of Daysha". This fatalism often causes the Dakar to take more risks and to be more militant than the other cultures in the World of Eastgate.
Daysha, the spider goddess of destiny and fate, personifies fate for the Dakar. The Demon Wars left the Dakarian people struggling some of the world’s most inhospitable deserts. This struggle caused many Dakarians to embrace Daysha.
Many Dakarians do not actively pursue worship or service with Daysha. They view her as a cruel and uncaring goddess. To outsiders this makes the Dakar appear not as religious. However anyone born in Dakarian culture is always concerned with his fate and will work to ensure his fortune. To one born in Dakar, no one escapes the will of Daysha.
The scholarly arts flourish in Dakarian society due to Daysha’s influence. The scholars are in great demand by those who desire to change or evade what fate has set before them.
Daysha does have clerics and 80% of these are female. Society in Dakarian lands is traditionally male dominated. Women are regulated to a lower social class than their male counterparts and are given fewer rights legally and socially. Daysha would accept any into her service and many women joined. Service to Daysha became even more popular among women when it was discovered that Daysha treated all who served her equally. Men feared Daysha for her power over their fates and followed the dictates of her clergy even if they were women.
5th Edition Notes:
The temples of Daysha are dominated by Clerics with the Knowledge Domain.
Daysha is not the only power worshipped in Dakarian society, others arose when people seek to regain control over their fates. Hydeth is a god who teaches that if one controls his body and mind with absolute discipline, and then one will have control over their fate.
The followers of Hydeth are called the Followers of the Way. The Followers of the Way made their appearance about 200 years ago in Dakarian Society. They developed methods and techniques that lead to the development of the unarmed martial arts. The Followers of the Way have established monasteries to study the martial arts and control of the mind and body.
Along with the development of the martial arts, many of the Followers of the Way developed the mind to the point of that they are able to affect the world and others with the power of their mind alone. Many come to study the esoteric science of Psionics.
5th Edition Notes:
The shrine of Hydeth are dominated by Monk following the Way of the Open Hand, along with one or two Clerics with the Knowledge Domain.
Sho Dae revealed herself over one thousand years ago. The followers of Sho Dae believe that while all men are predestined by fate the only way to deal with the situation is to laugh and take as much of life as one can. Sho Dae is the patron of thieves throughout Dakar. Followers of Sho Dae tend to be the adventurers, and rogues of Dakarian society.
5th Edition Notes:
The shrines to Sho Dae are dominated by Clerics with the Trickery Domain, there is also usually a group of Arcane Trickster associated with the shrine.
Astrel is the most powerful of a group of demi-gods associated with places and elemental forces in Dakar. When the First City fell to the Demons, these demi-gods fled into the wilderness of Dakar and prepared safe havens for the survivors.
Astrel is the patron of Lakes, Rivers, and Wells. Her clerics protect oasis, wells, local lakes, and rivers from those who wish to despoil or pollute them. Astrel continued to be worshiped because much of southern Dakar is desert where there is very little water. Astrel’s priests have established shrines throughout the region to protect oasis and other water sources. Because of this, Dakarian caravan masters and the nomads give thanks to Astrel when they travel.
5th Edition Notes:
The camps devoted to Astrel are dominated by Clerics with the nature domain, along with Paladins who have sworn the Oath of the Ancient to protect water sources. There is a faction, who lives in the deep desert, dominated by Druids of the Circle of the Moon, and Rangers who are Beast Masters.This faction is far more fanatical about protecting water sources viewing any regular use by tribes or caravans as a source of pollution.
The Nomads of Dakar
Among nomads of Dakar, their shamans worship the old demi-gods of the elements and places and have formed pacts with them. The shaman acts as a intermediary between the tribe and the one of the local gods. The shaman will lead the tribe in the ceremonies and sacrifices that maintain the good-will of the demi-god. 5th Edition Notes:
The temples of Dannus are dominated by Warlocks with a pact similar to the Pact of the Archfey. In place of the Archfey, the warlock deals with a demi-god. The referee should modify the spell list to reflect the focus and personality of the demi-god.
Before I secured a license from Judges Guild to publish the Majestic Wilderlands I was working on a version of the setting that used a new map and all the Judges Guild specifics striped out. I took some of what I wrote for the Greyhawk Gods and adapted to this setting.
To me the Old School Renaissance is not about playing a particular set of rules in a particular way, the dungeon crawl. It is about going back to the roots of our hobby and seeing what we could do differently. What avenues were not explored because of the commercial and personal interests of the game designers of the time.
What are RPGs?
A game where the players play individual characters interacting with a setting with their actions adjudicated by a human referee.
Rules are an aide to help the referee adjudicate actions and to help the players interact with the setting.
Dice are used to inject uncertainty which make a tabletop RPG campaign more interesting than "Let's Pretend".
The only thing a player needs to do to roleplay a character is to act if he or she was really there in the setting in that situation.