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For a complete list of deities, see Portal:Deities
See also: Primordial

A deity is a being of great power that controls some aspect of mortal affairs, referred to as the god's portfolio. True gods are called Estelar and differ from the Dawn Titans (primordials).[1]

All deities were either elevated to their positions by Ao (the overseer) or were approved by Ao to be worshiped in the Realms, in the case of interloper deities. No divine power may found a permanent faith and power base without his approval, though there are cases of short-term semi-divine beings who gather faith from worshipers without being deities. The most noted example of this is the various fiendish cults that have arisen. In at least two cases, the worship of these cults have provided enough power or filled a niche that was not otherwise filled, and the fiends in question have become deities in their own right. Both Gargauth and the minotaur deity Baphomet became deities building on the power foundation of a fiendish cult.[2]

Worshipers are necessary for the continued existence and powers of a deity. The numbers and fervor of a god's worshipers determine in large part the power of the deity. Deities without worshipers or who are fading in popularity fade in power, and in extreme cases can even die from neglect.[3]

Types of deityEdit

Deities could be divided into categories, either by rank, origin or by life and death.

Types by statusEdit

Deities were ranked in increasing divine power from the so-called quasi deity, to demigod, to lesser deity, to intermediate deity, to greater deity up to overdeity.[4] The two factors to determine the strength of a deity were numbers and the devotion of its followers. So it was possible for deities with a small follower base to have a higher standing, when the said followers consisted of fanatics.[5]

Quasi-deityEdit

A quasi-deity, or hero deity, was a creature with divine characteristics, such as immortality. Children of real deities were generally quasi-deities.[4] It was possible for mortal true dragons to become quasi-deities by becoming and fully developing their capabilities as a Dragon Ascendant.[6] Unlike normal quasi-deities, who couldn’t grant spells to their worshippers,[7] these dragons could do so after the worshipper in question formally swore loyalty to the dragon.[8]

DemigodEdit

A demigod was, contrary to its name, not a half-god but a full deity, though the weakest of these and only capable of the most basic abilities of a god, which were still of superhuman nature. They generally represented one aspect of mortal life and had hundreds, or even thousands, of followers and were capable of granting spells.[7]

Lesser deityEdit

A lesser deity was more powerful than demigods and had more abilities. They generally had thousands, if not tens of thousands, of followers.[7]

Intermediate deityEdit

An intermediate deity was more powerful than lesser ones and had more abilities. They generally had over 100,000 followers.[7]

Greater deityEdit

A greater deity was more powerful than intermediate ones and had more abilities. They generally had millions of followers.[7]

OverdeityEdit

An overdeity was, as the name suggested, over everything including mortal abilities to understand them and concern about mortals on their side. They didn’t react in any way to anything a mortal could do and did and they didn’t grant spells. They generally have no followers, if mortals knew of their existence at all.[7]

Types by originEdit

Native deitiesEdit

The native deities of Faerûn are those whose worship arose during the creation of Abeir-Toril, or shortly after, and who are only worshiped there. In general, the native deities are worshiped by the native races of Abeir-Toril, those that arose from the primordial chaos at Ao's creation of realmspace. Humans, dragons, lizardfolk, nagas, yuan-ti, locathah, doppelgangers, and the fey races are the most common worshipers of native deities.[2]

Interloper deitiesEdit

Humans, elves, and other creatures have made their way onto the face of Abeir-Toril over the millennia. Many of them have brought their own divine patrons with them. Those gods who serve portfolios where no native Faerûnian power exists seem to almost automatically achieve divine status. Those whose portfolios conflict with an existing deity are either absorbed into the existing deity or may contest for the power of their worshipers. In the last case, it may be a "winner take all" type of event, or the loser may accept a smaller portfolio and a subservient position within the pantheon.[3]

The gods of the dwarves, elves, illithids, halflings, and gnomes followed their respective peoples into Abeir-Toril. Later, the gods of the orcs and other goblinoid races did the same, following and supporting their worshipers.[9]

Types by Life and DeathEdit

Deities could be categorised by the being or not being alive. This category held because a dead deity wasn’t necessarily unable to influence the world.

Dead deitiesEdit

Deities, while immortal, were capable of dying.[10] Conflict with other deities, conflict with great mortal heroes, and neglect are the most common causes of a divine demise, though it is also possible for a god to lapse into apathy, drift into sleep on the astral plane, and eventually perish. Ulutiu is a prime example of this last possibility.[11]

Though a deity may die, at least a part of them will always remain. There have been instances of worshipers of these deities tapping into these remnants to wield divine magic.[12] Dead deities also have the potential to be resurrected if they can maintain some kind of physical or metaphysical presence and a significant base of worshipers. For example, Garagos was thought to have revived himself in this way.[13]

AbilitiesEdit

Deities had a number of inborn and learned skills just like any other sentient creature, these abilities grew in potency as a deity grew in divine power, yet they were in no way omnipotent, though superhumanly powerful and skilled in a chosen area and those related to it.[4] For example, it wasn’t the case, that just because Mystra was a greater deity,[14] that she was also a master huntress like Malar, the lesser deity of hunting,[15] or a genius merchant like Waukeen, the demigoddess of trade,[16] Mystra’s abilities started and ended with magical abilities and those related to magic.[14]

A prime example of how divine status wasn’t always the determining factor between deities was the fight between Vhaeraun and Selvetarm during the Silence of Lolth. Vhaeraun, the lesser drow deity of thievery, tried to kill the comatose Lolth which Selvetarm, the drow demigod of battle prowess,[17] tried to hinder, leading to an open frontal battle between these two. This competition of battle prowess ended with Vhaeraun, the god with the second largest following among the drow faiths,[18] being driven off, effectively with Selvetarm’s, whose church was so small to the point of practical nonexistence,[17] victory.[19]

Special AbilitiesEdit

Deities gained with increasing rank a increasing magical powers, both in terms of strength and potency.

Basic AbilitiesEdit

A deity grew in its mastery of its skills with increased diviner rank[20] and from demigod status upwards learned to rapidly conduct actions that had something to do with its portfolio. The number and complexity of these actions increased with its rank.[21] Once a lesser deity, a deities skills stopped fluctuating and once intermediate were always conducted at its maximum capabilities, not only their skills but at everything they did.[20]

Physical Attacks and DefencesEdit

With increasing rank, it became more and more difficult to hit a deity with a physical attack,[20] and even when hit, deities were resistant to attacks made by weapons that weren’t enchanted with, from mortal perspective, exceedingly strong magic,[22] this all while their own attacks increased in accuracy[20] and ignored the resistance against creatures, whose resistances were keyed to a creatures’ philosophical orientation against the deity.[22]

Defences against MagicEdit

With increasing rank, spells had a decreasing likelihood to work against them[23] and even if they did, they were less and less likely to work because a deity’s physical resilience, reflexes and strength of will increased with its rank.[20] They also gained an increasing resistance against fire[22] and gained outright immunities against some effects, though these immunities were generally ineffective against higher standing gods.[20]

A quasi-deity was immune to effects that forced alteration of its physical form, tried to sap vitality, temporarily or permanently decrease its physical and mental capabilities, addled their minds.[22] From demigod and onwards, deities gained additional immunities against harm from acid, cold and electricity, these immunities were effective against no matter what enemy, as well as against various physical disabling effects and sources such as poison, diseases, sleep, stunning and paralysis, disintegration and magical effects that could kill them if not for the immunity. A lesser deity was also immune to any magic that was directed at binding or imprisoning it.[20]

MovementEdit

A deity generally moved fast. They could move through the earth, could swim and also climb but not necessarily fly.[20] Once at demigod status, they could use greater teleport as often as they wanted and once at lesser status they added free plane shift to their abilities.[24]

Magical AbilitiesEdit

A deity was capable of granting divine spells and special abilities called domain abilities, once they were at demigod status.[25] When they could grant spells, they could cast domain spells as often as they wanted at increased strength, use the abilities associated with these domains with increased frequency and strength[23] and, given they had sufficient training as a cleric themselves, they could cast clerical spells with great flexibility.[25] Demigods and stronger ones could turn one of their favoured animals into their familiars.[24] Greater deities could cast all their spells at maximum strength at no cost and without fluctuation in its effectiveness.[20] All deities could create magic items, that were associated with their portfolio, just by being able to cast the magic associated with the item in question. This process was more efficient when they also had the theoretic knowledge to create the item in question.[21] Truly unique to deities were their auras[21] and a set of abilities called salient divine abilities.[23] Their auras could be used to cause fear among and awe mortals, bolster the resolve of its mortal allies and crush the one of its enemies.[26]

Senses and CommunicationEdit

A deity’s ability to sense things extended to a length counted in miles from demigod status and upwards.[27] But probably their most dangerous ability was the one to sense things without being in a place. This ability to sense remote things functioned by centring their sense around something dedicated to them, a shrine or other sites or a follower of the spying deity. This ability could be used only a limited number of time parallel and deities could use this ability also to block the senses of lower ranking deities[21] or to send omens and telepathic messages to their followers.[25] Creating an avatar was, as useful as it was, risky because it stunted the deity’s ability to sense remotely as long as the avatar existed with heavier limitations as more avatars were made.[28] Their portfolio gave true deities, demigods and upwards, the ability to sense whatever happened on Toril concerning their portfolio, though with some limitations. A demigod was only able to sense it when thousand or more were somehow associated with the event, a lesser deity when five hundred or more, intermediate and greater deities sensed every event regardless of scale. A lesser and intermediate deity was able to continuously sense an event a number of weeks in the past, greater deities could actually sense future happenings.[21]

Divine RealmEdit

A deity had some kind of place it called its own and where it was at its strongest and had some control over it. They could fill the place with sensory environmental impressions, sound, smells and so on, a lesser deity even with sounds that held a meaning. Intermediate deities and upwards were capable of creating buildings and alterations to the landscape by will alone. Even more profound ability to change started with lesser deity status. a lesser deity could manipulate its realm’s ties to the Astral Plane and could bar and limit magical travel inside it. From intermediate status onwards, a deity could strengthen weaken certain magic of its choosing while greater deities could even change gravity and time.[29]

PantheonsEdit

A pantheon is a grouping of deities, often with overlapping worshipers. All of them are based on races or cultures, usually with strong geographic ties[10]. Ao ensures that no two deities in the same pantheon can claim the same portfolio.[10]

FaerûnianEdit

The Faerûnian pantheon is the primary human pantheon that is venerated across Faerûn. It is composed primarily of native deities, and is the result of millennia of cultural blending of various other pantheons to bring out a moderately unified whole. There are remnants of other human pantheons that have been combined into a single pantheon as their source cultures have blended, merged, and conquered one another.

The Talfiric pantheon was worshiped in contemporary of Netheril, and is the source of at least Garagos, who lost in the clash with Tempus and was reduced to demigod status.[9] The Netherese pantheon itself claimed the worship of the lower and middle classes of Netheril, and the survivors of the Netherese pantheon are perhaps the most numerous of the survivors of the gods of history, boasting Jannath (now known as Chauntea), Targus (now known as Garagos), Mystryl (whose power lived on in Mystra), Selûne, Shar, Kozah (who became known as Talos), and Tyche (who split during the Dawn Cataclysm and became Tymora and Beshaba).[9][30]

The Jhaamdathan pantheon was worshiped in what is now the Vilhon Reach and the Dragon Coast. The Coramshite pantheon was based in what is now Calimshan. The Untheric pantheon once maintained a separate status similar to the Mulhorandi pantheon (covering Unther, Chessenta, and the Raurin desert), but collapsed during the Time of Troubles, and the survivors became a part of the main Faerûnian pantheon. Only two of the old Untheric deities have survived, Assuran (now called Hoar), and Tiamat; the others died during or before the Time of Troubles.[2]

MulhorandiEdit

The Mulhorandi pantheon were a group of interloper deities that followed their people when the wizards of the ancient Imaskari Empire brought legions of slaves through gates from another world. At first, the gods could not reach their worshipers directly, and were compelled to create manifestations to contain a portion of their divine power.

Those manifestations walked among their mortal followers, guiding, protecting, or dominating according to their natures until the Time of Troubles. After that perilous time, the ancient barriers that had separated them from their true divine essences were dissolved, and the Mulhorandi pantheon left their manifestations behind as powerful mortal servants and took up their natural divine positions.

The worship of the Mulhorandi pantheon at one time covered Mulhorand, Thay, Semphar, and what is now the Raurin desert. During the Age of Upheaval they began struggling to hold onto Mulhorand itself, with their worship waning in Thay and Semphar. They tried striving to convert the followers of the collapsed Untheric pantheon[31] but couldn't survive the Spellplague, disappearing without a trace when the divine realms were forced to rearrange themselves.

ChultanEdit

The people of the Chultan peninsula tended to worship Ubtao, a primordial, though an aspect of Shar also held sway in the region and Cyric ruled over the nation of Samarach in the guise of their national god Leira who was killed during the Time of Troubles. Dwarves in the region almost universally worshipped Thard Harr.

DrowEdit

The Drow worship the Dark Seldarine, deities that were cast out of the Seldarine after the failed invasion of Arvandor by the Anti-Seldarine. This original trio of gods was joined by four more as time passed. With the events of the Time of Troubles and the War of the Spider Queen, Lolth subsumed the worship of the entire drow pantheon save for Ghaunadaur, who left the pantheon voluntarily. However, after the event known as the Second Sundering, the situation changed again, since Eilistraee and Vhaeraun (her two children) -alive once more- personally appeared to their followers through avatars and manifestations and their cults began to practice once again.[32]

DwarvenEdit

The dwarves worship the Morndinsamman, which translates to shield brothers on high or high dwarves.

ElvenEdit

The elves tend to worship the Seldarine. Gods that they brought with them when they originally came to Faerûn.

GnomishEdit

Gnomes worship the 'Lords of the Golden Hills', named after the divine realm that they inhabited until the Spellplague.

HalflingEdit

The halfling pantheon is known as 'Yondalla's Children'.

OrcishEdit

The Orcish tribes tend to worship Gruumsh, though they do have an entire pantheon of other gods such as Obould, all pale in comparison to the species' creator.

GiantsEdit

The Giant pantheon is named Ordning, and is lead by Annam All-Father

DragonEdit

The Draconic pantheon is one of the oldest pantheons, dating back to -30000 DR. Its home was the plane called Dragon Eyrie

Undersea RacesEdit

The good-aligned races of Serôs have a loose pantheon called the Asathalfinare, headed by the elven god Deep Sashelas.

Other Monstrous FaithsEdit

Monsters don't tend to want to worship the deities of the more civilized races. A lot of monsters have their own gods whose portfolios consist of dominion over the creatures that worship them such as the kobold god, Kurtulmak. Some species however, have a whole pantheon of gods such as the Yuan-Ti pantheon (that has actually been secretly subsumed by Set).

Fiend WorshipEdit

Some fiends have gained enough mortal followers on Faerûn to achieve a divine portfolio. Most of these are demons from the abyss such as Yeenoghu and Baphomet, while devils such as Gargauth have also managed to do so. Asmodeus even ascended to join the Faerûnian pantheon when he stole the divinity of Azuth.

NotesEdit

  1. Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 200. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 4–6. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), pp. 2–16. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 5–6. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  5. Troy Denning (July 2003). Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3111-6.
  6. Andy Collins, James Wyatt, and Skip Williams (November 2003). Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 91. ISBN 0-7869-2884-0.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 6. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  8. Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 92. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), pp. 2–3. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 4. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  11. Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 109. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  12. Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  13. Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), p. 95. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), pp. 50–52. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
  15. Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), pp. 43–45. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
  16. Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), pp. 43–45. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 113. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  18. Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 37. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
  19. Richard Baker (May 2003). Condemnation. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0786932023.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 20.7 20.8 Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 26. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 28. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Andy Collins, David Noonan, James Wyatt (2002-01-01). D&D v.3.5 Accessory Update Booklet. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 1–40. Retrieved on 2016-12-16.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 27. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 30. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 29. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  26. Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 28–29. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  27. Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 27–28. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  28. Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 36. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  29. Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 29–30. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  30. Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), pp. 42–44. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  31. Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 94–96. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  32. The Hooded One (2015-04-17). Questions for Ed Greenwood (2015). Candlekeep Forum.


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