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An avatar was a physical manifestation of a deity on Toril.[1]

Powers[]

An avatar was significantly less powerful than the deity it represented,[1] but on par or beyond the most powerful of mortals.[2][3] The loss of an avatar usually[4] did no permanent damage to a deity,[5] as could be recorded for Mystra[6] and Tiamat. It could, however, mean a set-back for divine plans and was always seen as an affront.[7][1][2]

Depending on a deity's rank, it could possibly have a number of avatars at once. Divine power also determined how long it would take a god to reform an avatar destroyed on the Prime.[5]

Incarnation[]

An incarnation was a mortal, lesser form of avatar derived from a manifestation.[8] Their general temperament was the same, though they were not under their deity's direct control and could be affected by mortal weaknesses.[9] They were also less powerful than a normal avatar, possessing only minor divine powers.[9]

Blood relatives sired by an incarnation would possess exceptional abilities, but lack any divine power.[10] If an incarnation was ever slain, the divine spirit of a manifestation would always reform or "reincarnate" it within the physical body of one of these descendants.[11]

On Toril, it was primarily the Mulhorandi and Untheric pantheons that had incarnations,[8][9] with those in Mulhorand acting as provincial governors and the heads of each deity's priesthood.[12] Their incarnations all had innate abilities that replicated the spells command, comprehend languages, detect evil, detect good, detect lie, dispel magic, know alignment, polymorph self, summon minion, teleport without error, tongues, and true seeing.[13]

Relationships[]

Many avatars employed in the Realms were mightier than those found in other crystal spheres,[14] as befitted a world with many powerful mortal individuals.[2][15][16][17]

History[]

The Time of Troubles in 1358 DR marked an exception to many rules concerning avatars: Ao forced the full persons of all deities to walk Toril in the form of their avatars, which lead to many extraordinary events and the demise of several gods.[18] One such event was the various incarnations of the Mulhorandi and Untheric deities falling into comas, as the god-kings attempted to regain some of their lost power by absorbing the divine fragments held by those bodies.[19]

In the years following this Avatar Crisis, many deities invested their manifestations with increased power.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][note 1] No such development has been reported for most monster deities.[note 1] As for the Mulhorandi deities, following the Avatar Crisis their manifestations on the Prime reunited with their divine essence in the Outer Planes, for Ao had dispersed the Imaskari planar barrier that had long separated them.[19][27] As a result of this reunion, Pharaoh Horustep III and all other incarnations lost the fragments of divinity that were within them, reducing them to mere mortals with divine lineage.[19]

Appendix[]

Behind the Scenes[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 In 2nd edition, the Faiths & Avatars accessory from 1996 introduced rules for avatars up to 40th level. These were also used by its companion volumes Powers & Pantheons and Demihuman Deities. Both Forgotten Realms and Core books published earlier restricted avatars to 20th or (rarely) 25th level. This lead to discrepancies for avatars appearing both before and since Faiths & Avatars, and to comparatively low power for avatars appearing only before that accessory.

See also[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc.), p. 17. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Colin McComb (October 1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 40–41. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  3. Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc.), p. 18. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  4. Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. Edited by Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 119. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  6. Ed Greenwood (December 1995). Elminster: The Making of a Mage/MMP. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7869-0203-5.
  7. Eric L. Boyd (September 1997). Powers & Pantheons. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 133–134. ISBN 978-0786906574.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Eric L. Boyd (September 1997). Powers & Pantheons. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 94, 96. ISBN 978-0786906574.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Scott Bennie (February 1990). Old Empires. Edited by Mike Breault. (TSR, Inc.), p. 23. ISBN 978-0880388214.
  10. Scott Bennie (February 1990). Old Empires. Edited by Mike Breault. (TSR, Inc.), p. 26. ISBN 978-0880388214.
  11. Eric L. Boyd (September 1997). Powers & Pantheons. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 95. ISBN 978-0786906574.
  12. Scott Bennie (February 1990). Old Empires. Edited by Mike Breault. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 12, 20. ISBN 978-0880388214.
  13. Scott Bennie (February 1990). Old Empires. Edited by Mike Breault. (TSR, Inc.), p. 27. ISBN 978-0880388214.
  14. Carl Sargent (May 1992). Monster Mythology. (TSR, Inc), p. 128. ISBN 1-5607-6362-0.
  15. Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 7. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
  16. Ed Greenwood, et al (1989). Hall of Heroes. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-88038-711-4.
  17. Dale Donovan (July 1998). Villains' Lorebook. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7869-1236-7.
  18. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 264. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Eric L. Boyd (September 1997). Powers & Pantheons. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 96. ISBN 978-0786906574.
  20. Ed Greenwood (July 1991). The Drow of the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), pp. 21–42. ISBN 1-56076-132-6.
  21. Ed Greenwood (October 1990). Dwarves Deep. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 16–26. ISBN 0-88038-880-3.
  22. Eric L. Boyd (November 1998). Demihuman Deities. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 11–41, 49–107. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  23. Scott Ciencin (May 2003). Shadowdale. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 41–42. ISBN 0-7869-3105-1.
  24. Ed Greenwood (1989). Tantras (adventure). (TSR, Inc), pp. 42–44. ISBN 0-88038-739-4.
  25. Ed Greenwood (1989). Waterdeep (adventure). (TSR, Inc), pp. 44–45. ISBN 0-88038-757-2.
  26. Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 34, 37, 45, 124, 128, 163. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  27. Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. Edited by Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 63. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
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