Ilmater (pronounced: /ɪlˈmeɪtɛr/ ihl-MAY-ter listen) was an intermediate deity of the Faerûnian pantheon whose portfolio included endurance, martyrdom, perseverance, and suffering. He was the god of those who suffered, the oppressed, and the persecuted, who offered them relief and support, encouraged them to endure, and who encouraged others to help them, to take their burdens or take their places. He was called the Crying God, the Broken God, the Lord on the Rack, and the One Who Endures. To the Iulutiun people of the Great Glacier, he was known as Ayuruk, and to the Angulutiun people he was Itishikopak.
In avatar form, Ilmater appeared as a short man with a burly build and wearing only a breechcloth, with a plain but kind and comforting face, balding head, and a hairy body. But this body bore the marks of mutilation and torture on the rack, covered with open cuts, closed scars, burns, and a range of other wounds. Ilmater's joints were broken, his limbs were ravaged, and his hands were smashed yet still functional. Moving caused him a great deal of pain as he dragged himself around. No matter how much his avatar healed, it still showed these terrible wounds.
Ilmater was the incarnation of compassion, and the eternal foe of suffering. He sought to offer aid and relief and words of comfort to those in pain, who were oppressed, or otherwise in great need. He encouraged them to endure their pain, suffering, and abuse, for good things came to those who waited. He encouraged his faithful to halt and relieve the suffering of others, and to take it on themselves if they must. Ilmater was himself a willing sufferer, taking one's place to bear their burden, seeking to endure any pain if it would lessen the pain of another.
He was quiet, generous, good-spirited, and even-tempered, with a kind and gentle nature. Ilmater did not anger quickly, but when he did, he was fearsome in his wrath. He was greatly angered by extreme cruelty and atrocities, and at those who inflicted such suffering. He was particularly enraged by those who harmed or abused children and other young creatures. At such times, he set aside his doctrine of endurance and non-violence, and unleashed his full force to put an end to cruelty. Although his ravaged appearance or his righteous rage could scare children, Ilmater took great cares to reassure them and protect them. He treasured all children and young creatures in general.
Ilmater was the most forgiving of beings; it was thought he could even forgive Loviatar, Maiden of Pain, if she repented of her cruel deeds. Though he knew full well the atrocious and horrific acts that wicked creatures could do, he remained forever hopeful that evil beings could one day be turned to good, or destroyed, and so he stayed firm in his goals.
When manifested as an avatar, Ilmater could cast a wide variety of magic spells, and was strongest with healing magic and beneficial necromancy. Only rarely did he cast a spell that injured another, unless he did so in anger and retribution for a cruel or sadistic deed performed by the target, or to protect another from harm.
He fought unarmed, open-handed or with his fists, and was a supreme martial artist. However, he usually chose not to defend himself, instead simply taking and absorbing the damage, and his avatar was extremely hard to destroy. As with his spells, Ilmater only attacked in retribution or protection, or to deflect missiles or destroy items. He also used nonlethal methods to disable his powerful foes. His unarmed strike counted as a +5 keen lawful vorpal weapon.
Alternatively, he could possess any good and innocent creature that was being tortured, provided that the torture contravened local laws. This creature glowed white, all pain was relieved, and any wounds were regenerated immediately. Torture or restraining devices were immediately destroyed, releasing the sufferer, alert and healthy. In the case of extreme torture or associated murder, Ilmater granted the possessed being the ability to cast destructive spells, such as flame strike, lightning bolt or chain lightning, meteor swarm, sink, or imprisonment for a short time in retribution.
When not appearing via his avatar or through possession, Ilmater manifested as an unseen presence that made a howling or whimpering sound yet felt watchful. In this form, he could speak, move objects around by telekinesis, or cast spells.
To act in his place, Ilmater could send devas, einheriar spirits of slain martyrs, hollyphants, incarnates of courage, planetars, solars, and some beings that remained unidentified. To indicate or suggest his presence or awareness, to show his favor, and to give his faithful encouragement, Ilmater could create daisies and white roses, or send white donkeys, white doves, field mice, or sparrows. A minor manifestation to show favor was in the colors gray and red.
Finally, Ilmater could sense any kind of suffering the moment it took place, anywhere in the world. He also knew whenever a person sacrificed themselves for another being. He could also instantly create any magical item that could heal or reduce suffering, or was good or lawful in nature.
Ilmater was an older god and an obscure deity in the 3rd century before Dalereckoning, but he came to prominence during Tyr's Procession of Justice in the Vilhon Reach. In −247 DR, Tyr had led a force of archons out of a gate to pacify the remnants of the fallen empire of Jhaamdath, which had fallen into anarchy, lawlessness, and banditry. Tyr's deeds and sacrifices caught the attention of Ilmater, who allied himself with the Just God in the Year of the Rack, –243 DR. The Procession came to an end in −238 DR but Tyr remained on Abeir-Toril and the two deities continued to work together.
An ancient and unsupported legend told that the human Khala of Imaskar had devoted themselves to the god Bane the Black Lord and perpetrated numerous atrocities. For their deeds, the gods of law inflicted curses upon them. Among them, Ilmater accused the Khala of tormenting their victims and tearing heart and soul from them. Thus he cursed them with an unnatural hunger, to devour the hearts of their prey so they might live. Out of all the gods' curses was born the peryton, a vicious, stag-headed, eagle-bodied beast. The female peryton needed to devour the heart of a humanoid to become fertile—some considered it ironic that Ilmater's curse drove the peryton to further murder and savagery.
According to legend, an avatar of Ilmater once died somewhere south of the Inner Sea some time before the 4th century DR. The only remnant of this avatar was the Iron Helm of Heroes, which became a minor relic of Ilmatari faith.[note 1]
The Triad was broken in the Year of Three Streams Blooded, 1384 DR, when Tyr was manipulated into slaying Helm, god of guardians. Ilmater chose to leave the House of the Triad and, at the invitation of Sune, goddess of beauty, he relocated his divine realm to the plane of Brightwater. By 1479 DR, however, Ilmater had returned to Torm's side and reestablished his realm in Celestia.
During the Second Sundering of the late 15th century DR, a Chosen of Ilmater began a passive slave revolt in Calimshan against their genie masters. During this time, he disappeared mysteriously. Though the overlords were cast down, it was only by bloody means. Many humans still longed for the return of Ilmater's Chosen so he could complete the country's transition to a better non-violent society.
The ranks of Ilmater's closest allies included Tyr the Maimed God, god of justice, (who was his superior prior to the Spellplague) and Torm the True, god of loyalty and duty. Collectively, these deities formed the Triad, an alliance of lawful good deities that were stronger as a united force than individually. In fact, Ilmater could often be found traveling with Tyr, assisting him and teaching him to live without his sight and to rely upon his feelings instead. Ilmater showed Tyr that true justice required a judge to know how much punishment was sufficient, whether it was too harsh or whether mercy was better. Ilmater also had an excellent relationship with Torm.
Another of Ilmater's allies was Lathander the Morninglord, god of renewal and vitality. He was also allied with Ibrandul, the Lord of the Dry Depths, the freedom-loving god of caves and darkness.
Ilmater stood against those gods and goddesses who enjoyed causing destruction and spreading pain and suffering for others. In particular, considering their contrasting portfolios, the Crying God and his followers were a bane to Loviatar, the Maiden of Pain, and her worshipers. Loviatar in turn hated Ilmater with a passion, as he protected her victims from her torments. Ilmater also opposed Talona, Mistress of Disease. Among his other foes were Bane, Bhaal, Garagos, Malar, Myrkul, Shar, and Talos.
Ilmater made his home in the divine realm of Martyrdom, a mountain of reward and peace for suffering in life, where none could feel pain or weariness. Under the Great Wheel cosmology, this was located on the layer of Shurrock in the Twin Paradises of Bytopia. Under the World Tree cosmology, however, Martyrdom was found in the House of the Triad, on a lesser mountain of Celestia, alongside the mountain realms of Ilmater's fellow gods of the Triad, Tyr and Torm.
However, following the breaking of the Triad in 1384 DR, Ilmater moved his domain out of the House of the Triad. At Sune's invitation, he relocated it to Brightwater on the World Tree. By 1479 DR, Ilmater had reestablished Martyrdom in Celestia, now under the World Axis cosmology.
Ilmater's holy symbol was originally a blood-stained rack, such as used to torture a victim by stretching. This remained in use until the mid–14th century DR. However, by 1356 DR, a new symbol entered common usage: a pair of white hands crossed and bound at the wrist with a blood-red cord. After the Godswar of 1358 DR, this was used nearly exclusively. This newer and less gruesome symbol increased his popularity across Faerûn.
Those who were oppressed, sick, lame, or poor were likely to be worshipers of Ilmater, and people who had been injured or were otherwise suffering would often call upon him for aid. His faith was popular among the poor in big cities, and with serfs and slaves, as well as merchants, thieves, and a few guards. Although people of any alignment could worship Ilmater, he was largely followed by folk of a lawful and good bent, especially among his own clergy.
Across Faerûn, the hardy people of the harsh and war-torn land of Damara particularly venerated Ilmater, as well as his champion, St. Sollars. In Calimshan, Ilmater was one of the most frequently worshiped gods, especially among the lower classes and slaves.
Attending clerics during a battle were recognized by the coarse furred shirts they wore. It was considered a great wrong to harm these priests as they helped ease suffering. Even orcs and goblins held them in esteem for ministering to their fallen people and not just humans.
- Specifically, this is "over a millennia" before the present time of around 1369 DR.
Although they share a similar name, and his followers are known as "Ilmatari", Ilmater bears no apparent resemblance to Ilmatar, a female air spirit of Finnish mythology. There is also no resemblance or known connection to Ilmatar, the lawful good mother goddess of D&D's Finnish mythology presented in Deities & Demigods (1st edition), Legends & Lore, and On Hallowed Ground. This is despite other goddesses of D&D's Finnish mythology—Kiputytto, Mielikki, and Loviatar—making actual transitions into the Forgotten Realms setting.
Ilmater is much closer in nature to Issek of the Jug, a god created by Fritz Leiber for his Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series and similarly presented in the early D&D sources Deities & Demigods and Legends & Lore. Issek is also a god of peace and perseverance worshiped by the poor and disfigured, whose symbol is a man on a broken rack. Ed Greenwood originally created Ilmater for his own D&D game and described him as similar to Issek of the Jug in his "Down-to-earth divinity" article in Dragon magazine #54.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 21, 30. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 75–76. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 30–32. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
- Rick Swan (1992). The Great Glacier. (TSR, Inc), pp. 39, 48. ISBN 1-56076-324-8.
- Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), pp. 11, 18. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
- Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), Running the Realms. (TSR, Inc), pp. 51, card. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 234, 235, 242–243. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. Edited by Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 62, 80. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 60, 294. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
- Jeremy Crawford (November 17, 2020). Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 34–35. ISBN 978-0786967025.
- Logan Bonner (August, 2009). “Domains in Eberron and the Forgotten Realms”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #378 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 32.
- Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 134. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- Matt Sernett, Erik Scott de Bie, Ari Marmell (August 2011). Neverwinter Campaign Setting. Edited by Tanis O'Connor. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 53. ISBN 0-7869-5814-6.
- Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 159. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
- Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 159. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 189. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
- Hal Maclean (May 2007). “Seven Saintly Domains”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #355 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 26.
- Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
- Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 154. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- Thomas M. Reid, Sean K. Reynolds (Nov. 2005). Champions of Valor. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 11. ISBN 0-7869-3697-5.
- Thomas M. Reid, Sean K. Reynolds (Nov. 2005). Champions of Valor. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 14. ISBN 0-7869-3697-5.
- Sean K. Reynolds (2002-05-04). Deity Do's and Don'ts (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-08.
- Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 80. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
- Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 94. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “The Great Gray Land of Thar”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 27–28. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
- Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (1996). Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. (TSR, Inc), p. 109–110. ISBN 0-7869-0446-1.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 9. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 100. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
- Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 37. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
- Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 117. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
- Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 55. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 30. ISBN 978-0786965809.
Azuth • Bane • Bhaal • Chauntea • Cyric • Gond • Helm • Ilmater • Kelemvor • Kossuth • Lathander • Loviatar • Mask • Mielikki • Myrkul • Mystra (Midnight) • Oghma • Selûne • Shar • Shaundakul • Silvanus • Sune • Talos • Tempus • Torm • Tymora • Tyr • Umberlee • Waukeen
Akadi • Auril • Beshaba • Deneir • Eldath • Finder Wyvernspur • Garagos • Gargauth • Grumbar • Gwaeron Windstrom • Hoar • Istishia • Iyachtu Xvim • Jergal • Lliira • Lurue • Malar • Milil • Nobanion • The Red Knight • Savras • Sharess • Shiallia • Siamorphe • Talona • Tiamat • Ubtao • Ulutiu • Valkur • Velsharoon
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
Abbathor | Berronar Truesilver | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Deep Duerra | Dugmaren Brightmantle | Dumathoin | Gorm Gulthyn | Haela Brightaxe | Laduguer | Marthammor Duin | Moradin | Sharindlar | Vergadain
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
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
Bahgtru | Gruumsh | Ilneval | Luthic | Shargaas | Yurtrus
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
Greater Gods of Faerûn
Amaunator | Asmodeus | Bane | Chauntea | Corellon | Cyric | Ghaunadaur | Gruumsh | Kelemvor | Lolth | Moradin | Oghma | Selûne | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Tempus | Torm
Gods of Faerûn
Angharradh | Auril | Bahamut | Berronar Truesilver | Beshaba | Garl Glittergold | Gond | Ilmater | Loviatar | Luthic | Malar | Mielikki | Sheela Peryroyl | Sseth | Talona | Tiamat | Tymora | Umberlee | Waukeen | Zehir
Exarchs of Faerûn
Abbathor | Arvoreen | Baervan Wildwanderer | Bahgtru | Baravar Cloakshadow | Brandobaris | Callarduran Smoothhands | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Cyrrollalee | Deep Sashelas | Dugmaren Brightmantle | Erevan Ilesere | Fenmarel Mestarine | Fzoul Chembryl | Garagos | Hoar | Hruggek | Jergal | Labelas Enoreth | Lliira | Maglubiyet | Malar | Marthammor Duin | Milil | Obould | Red Knight | Sharess | Shargaas | Shevarash | Shiallia | Siamorphe | Solonor Thelandira | Thard Harr | Uthgar | Valkur | Vaprak | Vergadain
Greater Deities of Faerûn
Angharradh | Bane | Chauntea | Corellon Larethian | Cyric | Garl Glittergold | Gruumsh | Horus-Re | Kelemvor | Lathander | Moradin | Mystra | Oghma | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talos | Tempus | Tyr | Yondalla
Intermediate Deities of Faerûn
Abbathor | Arvoreen | Baervan Wildwanderer | Berronar Truesilver | Beshaba | Callarduran Smoothhands | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Cyrrollalee | Deep Duerra | Deep Sashelas | Dumathoin | Erevan Ilesere | Flandal Steelskin | Gond | Hanali Celanil | Helm | Ilmater | Isis | Labelas Enoreth | Laduguer | Lolth | Mask | Mielikki | Nephthys | Osiris | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Segojan Earthcaller | Selûne | Set | Sharindlar | Sheela Peryroyl | Solonor Thelandira | Thoth | Tymora | Umberlee | Urdlen | Vergadain
Major Deities of Faerûn
Angharradh | Bane | Bhaal | Chauntea | Corellon Larethian | Garl Glittergold | Gruumsh | Horus-Re | Lathander | Moradin | Myrkul | Mystra | Oghma | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talos | Tempus | Tyr | Yondalla
Other Deities of Faerûn
Auppenser | Abbathor | Arvoreen | Auril | Baervan Wildwanderer | Berronar Truesilver | Beshaba | Callarduran Smoothhands | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Cyrrollalee | Deep Duerra | Deep Sashelas | Dumathoin | Erevan Ilesere | Flandal Steelskin | Gond | Hanali Celanil | Helm | Ilmater | Isis | Labelas Enoreth | Laduguer | Lolth | Mask | Mielikki | Nephthys | Osiris | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Segojan Earthcaller | Selûne | Set | Sharindlar | Sheela Peryroyl | Solonor Thelandira | Thoth | Tymora | Umberlee | Urdlen | Vergadain