Gods have specific properties, characteristics and rules in this setting. You can find them here.
The concept of a god is difficult to comprehend for a mortal; gods aren't living organisms. They're better imagined as a representation of their followers' thoughts, even though they have a will of their own, and that they're able to influence the planes directly.
Gods do not have a gender or sex, and names are only given to them by mortals who wish to refer to them. This is why most gods know multiple names - one thing that remains unique through all cultures, however, is a symbol representing the god. The gods on their turn represent several aspects in a culture's life, through which they influence their might.
A god is dependent on their followers - literally. The more followers a god has, the stronger the god is. This also means the god depends on their followers' belief: if no-one knows the god, the god ceases to exist. The death of a god is one of silence.
Conquering the planes is a great game of power that the Twelve Gods are playing. There used to be countless gods in this world trying to gain followers, but most of the old gods have disappeared. Only a few dying gods are still around, having but a handful of followers in a lost cave, hiding somewhere on the Outer Planes.
A long time, there was a giant war among gods when all the gods tried to defeat each other in eternal combat. Among the chaos, twelve gods made a pact together: they would guarantee not to kill each other. To remain balance, the pact was made with 12 gods, each of a different alignment. They made an eternal pact, ensuring that the other gods would not be forgotten.
The pact lasted, and other gods were defeated by the Twelve Gods or were agreed to merge with one of the Twelve, becoming a single god. The pact lasted long enough to make the Twelve Gods the only gods with followers on the Material Plane.
Now that nearly all the old gods have died, the alliance is starting to break, and the unison among the Twelve Gods is being contested thoroughly.
Image of the Twelve Gods that made an eternal pact together. The gods are here sorted by their alignment: up is good, down is evil, left is lawful and right is chaotic. Their names, influences and characters can be different among cultures, but these symbols are the only representation that are unique and the same among all cultures. The writings next to the symbols are the names of the gods as they are spoken by most creatures on the Material Plane that speak Common.
The following table shows the Twelve Gods of the universe.
The Twelve Gods of the Universe