For a complete list of deities, see Portal:Deities

A deity was a divine being of great power.[1]

Description[edit | edit source]

Kyriani Agrivar (upper left) is told about the overdeity Ao (middle) and the Tablets of Fate (lower) by the Blackstaff (upper right).

Most deities, particularly those that were of intermediate ranks, controlled some aspect of mortal affairs, referred to as the god's portfolio. True gods were called Estelar and differed from the Dawn Titans (primordials).[2]

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 found a permanent faith and power base without his approval, though there were cases of short-term quasi-divine beings who gathered faith from worshipers without being deities. The most noted example of this was the various fiendish cults that had arisen. In at least two cases, the worship from these cults had provided enough power or filled a niche that was not otherwise filled, and the fiends in question had become deities in their own right. Both Gargauth and the minotaur deity Baphomet became deities by building on the power foundation of a fiendish cult.[3]

Worshipers were necessary for the continued existence and powers of most deities. The numbers and fervor of a god's worshipers determined in large part the power of the deity. Deities without worshipers or who were fading in popularity, faded in power, and in extreme cases could even die from neglect.[4]

Types of Deity[edit | edit source]

Deities could be divided into categories, either by rank, origin, or by living and dead.

Types by Rank[edit | edit source]

14th century DR[edit | edit source]

Deities were ranked in increasing divine power from the so-called quasi deity up to overdeity.[5] 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.[6]

A quasi-deity, or hero deity, was a creature with divine characteristics, such as immortality. Children of real deities were generally quasi-deities.[5] It was possible for mortal true dragons to become quasi-deities by becoming and fully developing their capabilities as a Dragon Ascendant.[7] Unlike normal quasi-deities, who couldn't grant spells to their worshipers,[8] these dragons could do so after the worshiper in question formally swore loyalty to the dragon.[9]
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.[8]
Lesser deity
A lesser deity was more powerful than demigods and had more abilities. They generally had thousands, if not tens of thousands, of followers.[8]
Intermediate deity
An intermediate deity was more powerful than lesser ones and had more abilities. They generally had over 100,000 followers.[8]
Greater deity
A greater deity was more powerful than intermediate ones and had more abilities. They generally had millions of followers.[8]
An overdeity was, as the name suggests, over everything, including mortals' abilities to understand them. They didn't react in any way to anything a mortal could do, and they didn't grant spells. They generally had no followers, if mortals knew of their existence at all.[8]

15th century DR[edit | edit source]

Following the Second Sundering, the deities of the Realms withdrew most of their direct influence, the divine ranks were redefined,[10] and the number of divine ranks decreased.[1]

A powerful being of divine origin that had potential to acquire true godhood. Types of quasi-deities were demigods, titans, and vestiges.[1] Examples of quasi-deities as of the 15th century DR were Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul.[11]
Lesser deity
A deity that was embodied in the planes, from the Material Plane to the Abyss, etc. Examples of lesser deities as of the 15th century DR were Lurue,[1] Sekolah,[1] Lolth,[1] and Auril.[10]
Greater deity
A deity that was beyond the understanding of mortals, almost always did not directly interfere in mortal affairs, and could not be summoned.[1] Ao fit such a description.

Types by Origin[edit | edit source]

Native deities[edit | edit source]

The native deities of Faerûn were those whose worship arose during the creation of Abeir-Toril, or shortly after, and who were only worshiped there. In general, the native deities were 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 were the most common worshipers of native deities.[3]

Interloper deities[edit | edit source]

Humans, elves, and other creatures had made their way onto the face of Abeir-Toril over the millennia. Many of them brought their own divine patrons with them. Those gods who served portfolios where no native Faerûnian power exists seemed to almost automatically achieve divine status. Those whose portfolios conflicted with an existing deity were either absorbed into the existing deity, or may have contested for the power of their worshipers. In the last case, it would be a "winner take all" type of event, or the loser would have to accept a smaller portfolio and a subservient position within the pantheon.[4]

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.[12]

Types by Living Status[edit | edit source]

Deities could be categorized by their living status: alive or dead. This category held because a dead deity wasn't necessarily unable to influence the world.

Dead Deities[edit | edit source]

Deities, while immortal, were capable of dying.[13] Conflict with other deities, conflict with great mortal heroes, and neglect were the most common causes of a divine demise, though it was also possible for a god to lapse into apathy, drift into sleep on the astral plane, and eventually perish. Ulutiu was a prime example of this last possibility.[14]

Though a deity could die, at least a part of them would always remain. There were instances of worshipers of these deities tapping into these remnants to wield divine magic.[15] Dead deities also had the potential to be resurrected if they maintained 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.[16]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

Selvetarm duels with Vhaeraun.

Deities had a number of native and learned skills just like any other sentient creature. Such 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.[5] For example, it wasn't the case that just because Mystra was a greater deity,[17] that she was also a master huntress like Malar, the lesser deity of hunting,[18] or a genius merchant like Waukeen, the demigoddess of trade.[18] Mystra's abilities started and ended with magical abilities and those related to magic.[17]

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,[19] tried to hinder, leading to an open frontal battle between the two. This competition of battle prowess ended with Vhaeraun, the god with the second largest following among the drow faiths,[20] being driven off, effectively with Selvetarm's, whose church was so small to the point of practical nonexistence,[19] victory.[21]

Special Abilities[edit | edit source]

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

Basic Abilities[edit | edit source]

A deity grew in its mastery of its skills with increased divine rank,[22] 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.[23] In the 14th century DR, once they were a lesser deity, a deity's skills stopped fluctuating and once intermediate were always conducted at its maximum capabilities, not only their skills but at everything they did.[22]

Physical Attacks and Defences[edit | edit source]

With increasing rank, it became more and more difficult to hit a deity with a physical attack,[22] and even when hit, deities were resistant to attacks made by weapons that weren't enchanted with, from mortal perspective, exceedingly strong magic.[24] Their own attacks increased in accuracy[22] and ignored the resistance against creatures, whose resistances were keyed to a creature's philosophical orientation against the deity.[24]

Defenses Against Magic[edit | edit source]

With increasing rank, spells had a decreasing likelihood to work against them,[25] 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.[22] They also gained an increasing resistance against fire[24] and gained outright immunities against some effects, though these immunities were generally ineffective against higher standing gods.[22]

In the 14th century DR, deities of specific ranks had specific immunities. 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, or addled their minds.[26] From demigod and onwards, deities gained additional immunities against harm from acid, cold and electricity. These immunities were effective (no matter what the enemy) 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.[22]

Movement[edit | edit source]

A deity generally moved fast. They could move through the earth, could swim and also climb but not necessarily fly.[22] Once at demigod status, they could use greater teleport as often as they wanted and once at lesser status they added plane shift to their abilities.[27]

Magical Abilities[edit | edit source]

A deity was capable of granting divine spells and special abilities called domain abilities, once they were at demigod status.[28] 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[25] and, given they had sufficient training as a cleric themselves, they could cast clerical spells with great flexibility.[28] Demigods, and those who were stronger, could turn one of their favoured animals into their familiars.[27] Greater deities could cast all their spells at maximum strength at no cost and without fluctuation in their effectiveness.[22] 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.[23] Truly unique to deities were their auras[23] and a set of abilities called salient divine abilities.[25] Their auras could be used to cause fear and awe among mortals, bolster the resolve of their mortal allies and crush the resolve of their enemies.[29]

Senses and Communication[edit | edit source]

A deity's ability to sense things extended to a length counted in miles from demigod status and upwards.[30] 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, and deities could use this ability to block the senses of lower ranking deities[23] or to send omens and telepathic messages to their followers.[28] 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.[31] 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 a 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.[23]

Divine Realm[edit | edit source]

A deity had some kind of place it called its own, 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 or limit magical travel inside it. From intermediate status onwards, a deity could strengthen or weaken certain magic of its choosing while greater deities could even change gravity and time.[32]

Pantheons[edit | edit source]

Main article: Pantheon

A pantheon was a grouping of deities, often with overlapping worshipers. All of them were based on races or cultures, usually with strong geographic ties.[13] Ao ensured that no two deities in the same pantheon could claim the same portfolio.[13]

Human Pantheons[edit | edit source]

Of all the races, humans had the most pantheons, although many of those vanished or were combined with the larger Faerûnian pantheon. Some, however, remained distinct, such as the Mulhorandi pantheon[33] and the Chultan pantheon.[34] Additionally, the Maztican pantheon,[35] the Zakharan pantheon,[36] and the Celestial Empire of Kara-Tur,[37][38][39] all remained distinct by virtue of geographic separation. Vanished human pantheons included the Talfiric pantheon, the Netherese pantheon,[40] which was worshiped by the middle and lower classes of Netheril; the Jhaamdathan pantheon, from what would later be called the Vilhon Reach and the Dragon Coast; the Coramshite pantheon, based in ancient Coramsham (which became Calimshan); and the Untheric pantheon, which was of similar source as the Mulhorandi pantheon, but lost all but two of its members during the Time of Troubles.[41][42][43]

Faerûnian[edit | edit source]

The Faerûnian pantheon was the primary human pantheon that was venerated across Faerûn. It was composed primarily of native deities, and was the result of millennia of cultural blending of various other pantheons to bring out a moderately unified whole. There were remnants of other human pantheons that had been combined into a single pantheon as their source cultures blended, merged, and conquered one another. Only two of the old Untheric deities survived, Assuran (as Hoar), and Tiamat; the others died during or before the Time of Troubles.[3]

The Talfiric pantheon was worshiped in contemporary of Netheril, and was the source of at least Garagos, who lost in the clash with Tempus and was reduced to demigod status.[12] The Netherese pantheon itself claimed the worship of the lower and middle classes of Netheril, and the survivors of the Netherese pantheon were perhaps the most numerous of the survivors of the gods of old, boasting Jannath (later 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).[12][44]

Mulhorandi[edit | edit source]

Mulhorandi pantheon I.jpg

Members of the Mulhorandi pantheon.

The Mulhorandi pantheon was 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.[33]

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.[33]

The worship of the Mulhorandi pantheon at one time covered Mulhorand, Thay, Semphar, and what is now the Raurin desert. During the Era 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[45] but couldn't survive the Spellplague, disappearing without a trace when the divine realms were forced to rearrange themselves. However, they returned to Toril during the Second Sundering.[46]

Chultan[edit | edit source]

The people of the Chultan peninsula tended to worship Ubtao, a primordial, and other |Chultan pantheon 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 worshiped Thard Harr. In addition, there were the Nine Trickster Gods of Chult.[47][34]

Demihuman and Monstrous Pantheons[edit | edit source]

Asmodeous, a fiend who achieved godhood.

Beyond the many human pantheons, various other races had their own pantheons of gods and goddesses. These included the Seldarine, pantheon of the elves,[48] and the drows' Dark Seldarine.[49][50] The dwarves worshiped the Morndinsamman,[51] the gnomes favored the Lords of the Golden Hills,[52] and the halflings named their pantheon of deities Yondalla's Children.[53] The orcs had their own unnamed pantheon,[54] while the giants had the Ordning.[55] The pantheon of the dragons was among the most ancient pantheons.[56] And finally, the good-aligned races of Serôs worshiped a loose pantheon called the Asathalfinare, which was led by the elven god Deep Sashelas.[57][58]

Other Monstrous Faiths[edit | edit source]

Monsters tended not to want to worship the deities of the more civilized races. Many monsters had their own gods, whose portfolios consisted of dominion over the creatures that worship them, such as the kobold god, Kurtulmak.[59][60] Some species however, had a whole pantheon of gods, such as the yuan-ti pantheon (that had actually been secretly subsumed by Set).[61]

Fiend Worship[edit | edit source]

Some fiends had gained enough mortal followers on Faerûn to achieve a divine portfolio. Most of these fiends were demons from the abyss, such as Yeenoghu (a demon prince) and Baphomet (one of the demon lords), while devils, such as Gargauth, had also managed to ascend. Asmodeus even ascended to join the Faerûnian pantheon when he stole the divinity of Azuth.[62][63]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 4–6. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), pp. 2–16. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 5–6. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
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  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 6. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  9. Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 92. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
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  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 28. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Andy Collins, David Noonan, James Wyatt (2002-01-01). D&D v.3.5 Accessory Update Booklet. Wizards of the Coast. p. 9. Archived from the original on 2018-07-14. Retrieved on 2020-06-02.
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Connections[edit | edit source]


Deities of the Post–Second Sundering Era
Ao the Overgod
Faerûnian Pantheon
Akadi | Amaunator | Asmodeus | Auril | Azuth | Bane | Beshaba | Bhaal | Chauntea | Cyric | Deneir | Eldath | Gond | Grumbar | Gwaeron | Helm | Hoar | Ilmater | Istishia | Jergal | Kelemvor | Kossuth | Lathander | Leira | Lliira | Loviatar | Malar | Mask | Mielikki | Milil | Myrkul | Mystra | Oghma | Red Knight | Savras | Selûne | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talona | Talos | Tempus | Torm | Tymora | Tyr | Umberlee | Valkur | Waukeen
The Morndinsamman
Abbathor | Berronar Truesilver | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Deep Duerra | Dugmaren Brightmantle | Dumathoin | Gorm Gulthyn | Haela Brightaxe | Laduguer | Marthammor Duin | Moradin | Sharindlar | Vergadain
The Seldarine
Aerdrie Faenya | Angharradh | Corellon | Deep Sashelas | Erevan | Fenmarel Mestarine | Hanali Celanil | Labelas Enoreth | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Shevarash | Solonor Thelandira
The Dark Seldarine
Eilistraee | Kiaransalee | Lolth | Selvetarm | Vhaeraun
Yondalla's Children
Arvoreen | Brandobaris | Cyrrollalee | Sheela Peryroyl | Urogalan | Yondalla
Lords of the Golden Hills
Baervan Wildwanderer | Baravar Cloakshadow | Callarduran Smoothhands | Flandal Steelskin | Gaerdal Ironhand | Garl Glittergold | Nebelun | Segojan Earthcaller | Urdlen
Orc Pantheon
Bahgtru | Gruumsh | Ilneval | Luthic | Shargaas | Yurtrus
Mulhorandi pantheon
Anhur | Bast | Geb | Hathor | Horus | Isis | Nephthys | Osiris | Re | Sebek | Set | Thoth
Other gods of Faerûn
Bahamut | Enlil | Finder Wyvernspur | Ghaunadaur | Gilgeam | Lurue | Moander | Nobanion | Raven Queen | Tiamat

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