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Ilneval (pronounced: /ˈɪlnɛvɑːlILL-nev-all[1]) was the orc god of strategic warfare and patron of orc captains,[1][8] symbolizing the race's combative nature.[11] He was the archetypal leader in front who unflinchingly lead the charge,[7][3] embodying the orcish tactic of overwhelming numbers,[11] and the Horde Leader was revered by those that saw the wisdom in that strategy.[2] With bloodied blade in hand, he called those that understood the flow of battle to sit around his council fire and learn the ways of the War Maker.[12]


Ilneval appeared as a confident and seemingly war-wise, yet perpetually unsmiling, 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall orc. His face and arms were marred heavily by battle scars that only increased his appeal to his orcish followers.[7][8]


Bold and direct,[3][13] Ilneval was a daring leader that charged headfirst into battle with only the destruction of his opposition and triumph over his adversaries on his mind.[1][7] He was a take-charge figure[3] of inspiring bravery that loathed cowardice and underhandedness, but was not, as one might assume, an unthinking brute.[1]

Indeed, Ilneval was actually a devious strategist,[13] but his careful plans were made before the battle to maximize his odds of success and ensure he inflicted as much damage on the enemy as possible. He was both self-serving and ambitious, preferring to plan the conquest to come rather than reminisce on victories past.[1]


Ilneval was nearly as strong as the incredibly powerful Bahgtru,[1] and his avatar was immune to non-magical weaponry.[8] It could also use clerical magic and cast domination three times per day.[7]


Ilneval's dreadful broadsword was enchanted, and caused profuse bleeding in those it struck unless magic on or above the level of cure serious wounds was applied.[7] There was a chance that any non-orc it hit would be instantly slain.[8]

The War Maker also wore an enchanted suit of red, iron chainmail that deflected all missile weapons (such as arrows), including bolts and rays form spells or spell-like abilities, though it was possible that enchanted missile weapons could harm him.[7][8]


The orc pantheon was known to move between the planes in their war against the goblinoid pantheon. At one point they went from the Nine Hells to Acheron, with Ilneval inhabiting a smaller block orbiting the cube of Nishrek.[9] Eventually he ruled the warriors with a fortress town on one of Nishrek's faces, the Blood Armor clan. His forces were often content to battle against the goblinoid legions of Clangor.[14][15]

In the World Tree cosmology, where Nishrek was its own realm (a twisted natural landscape marred by carnage and warped to fit orc ideals), Ilneval dwelt within Gruumsh's Iron Fortress.[16]


Ilneval's role in the orc pantheon was that of the captain, the master commander (next to Gruumsh) who devised the tactics and stratagems that allowed orcs to dominate the battlefield and fill their war wagons with gore and treasure.[8][12] Ilneval was called upon to lead Gruumsh's forces when the One-Eyed God lacked the time, or otherwise did not wish to do so himself, and the Crafty Warrior only sent an avatar at his superior's command, and only when the battle was important.[7][8]


Ilneval was Gruumsh's first lieutenant and right hand,[12][9] and allowed no challenges to his position, systematically stopping any potential rival.[1] He had deposed or destroyed one or two orc gods in the past, crushing demigods and relegating more powerful deities to lesser status in his climb to power. This was because he secretly coveted the position of Gruumsh,[7][1][8] and had been waiting for ages to seize the throne of He-who-never-sleeps. However, many obstacles stood in the path of the Crafty Warrior's objective, and for a god of bold warfare, he was ironically restricted by several forces beyond his influence.[3]

Gruumsh was aware of Ilneval's desire and so rightly did not trust him, but with his son Bahgtru on his side, some of the One-Eyed God's concerns were relieved.[1][8] Ilneval was absolutely terrified of Bahgtru's brutality,[3] and so long as the Leg-Breaker remained loyal to Gruumsh, Ilneval would stay loyal enough to him as well,[1] so Gruumsh chose not to take action.[7] Ilneval secretly resented Bahgtru for this on top of being frightened by the stronger but stupid deity, and so avoided him as much as possible (never battling with him) while covertly working to undermine him.[1][3][7] Ilneval was also believed to lust after Gruumsh's mate, Luthic, but was afraid to act on this desire as well.[3]

The more sinister members of the pantheon, Shargaas and Yurtrus (the orc god of darkness and stealth and the orc god of death and disease respectively), had a cold, quiet alliance to counterbalance the influence of the orcish gods of war, including Ilneval as well as Bahgtru and Gruumsh. Shargaas in particular, who was even more cunning than Ilneval, secretly revealed his treacheries to Gruumsh to simultaneously undermine the War Maker and cement himself in the pantheon. Ilneval intensely disliked the two of them for their craven, dishonorable methods but was smart enough to make use of their talents effectively when fighting other pantheons.[1][17]


Though he had his differences with his fellows in the orc pantheon, Ilneval hated the goblinoid gods, Morndinsamman, Seldarine, and all their other traditional enemies, and would never betray his race as a whole.[1] He once found himself in battle with Bahgtru against the forces of Khurgorbaeyag, the goblin god, and Hruggek, the bugbear deity.[18]

Ilneval's proxy was the half-orc warrior known as General Guldrin Blut.[3]


Ilneval was considered the god of orcish leaders, and his clerics were expected to be physically strong themselves, charismatic enough to lead, and able to command a military force effectively.[7][8] Most of his clerics were also fighters, less often becoming rangers, while only the adepts of the most primitive orc tribes trained as barbarians.[1][6] More powerful priests had access to the prayer spell and could cast domination once per week.[7]

Ilneval's clergy was second only to that of Gruumsh, and the two worked together to oppress other faiths to ensure their own prominent status,[1] although priests of the War Maker sought to make Ilneval's cult dominant over all others in the clan.[7] Many members were officers in the tribe's armies and answered only to the chieftain, and though only Gruumsh's followers could call forth the orcs into a single force, it was Ilneval's who marshalled the fractious tribes into a united horde.[1]

When young orcs showed an aptitude for the nuances of enacting war, they were considered the chosen of Ilneval and groomed to become his blades, battle captains that lead a portion of the chief's warriors into the thick of the fight while giving an element of strategy to the forces. Blades of Ilneval were fearsome foes that emulated the god they venerated, able to smite their opposition, command their kin in unpredictable but beneficial ways, and utilize an uncanny intuition for when to move and when to attack, exploiting the enemy's weaknesses as a group like a feral pack of wolves.[13][12]

Ilneval was also seen as the patron of orc crossbreeds, particularly the powerful ones, with ogrillons and tanarukks (orc-ogre and orc-tanar'ri hybrids respectively) being prime examples.[2][1] Half-orcs were also under Ilneval's purview, with those that worshiped the orc gods following him in particular,[2] and orogs often revered him due to frequently being in leadership roles.[7] Tanarukks believed him to be their special patron, worshiping him almost as much as Gruumsh, and if the race were to expand, he'd likely supplant the One-eyed god in their eyes, with wiser tanarukks already favoring him.[6]


The symbol of Ilneval, a bloodied blade.

Ilneval taught his followers that strength was a function of the mind and as much as the body, and one had to train hard and think smart to prepare for the endless battle that was life. It was their duty to unite the tribe into a raging storm that could attack as one, using the strength found in numbers to triumph. Nonetheless, when combat began, they were to charge into the fray and let the blood fall as it would. Ilneval's own courage inspired great loyalty, and only through personal courage would one prove themselves worthy of leadership.[1]


Clerics and adepts of Ilneval prayed for their spells at dusk to prepare for the battle of the upcoming night.[1] Their holy days were before and after battle,[8] but they had only a few besides token rituals of obeisance to honor Gruumsh, a calculated show of fealty by the Crafty Warrior. The clergy's most sacred celebration was an annual raid on Greengrass, when the clerics of the War Maker gathered hordes of orcs to descend upon the civilized world and destroy all in their path.[1] Sacrifices to Ilneval could be performed anywhere and consisted of blood and weapons.[8]


Worshipers of Ilneval dwelt in the main area of the tribal lair near the war hearth, with Ilneval's shrine along the perimeter, its focal point a blood-covered sword mounted on the wall.[19]


Priests of Ilneval, whether orc or half-orc, wore red, metallic armor normally chainmail.[7][8]


Near the end of the Orcgate Wars, Ilneval fought against the leader of the Untheric pantheon, Gilgeam, before Tiamat used the situation to launch an ambush against the God-king. The Untheric aspect of Bahamut known as Marduk managed to defeat Tiamat before she could land a killing blow, though at the cost of his own life.[20]



  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. Edited by Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 149–150. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Steve Kenson, et al. (November 2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 24, 118. ISBN 978-0-7869-6580-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Colin McComb (October 1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 133–134, 177. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  4. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 63. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  5. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 240. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 125. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 Carl Sargent (May 1992). Monster Mythology. (TSR, Inc), p. 46. ISBN 1-5607-6362-0.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 Roger E. Moore (June 1982). “The Gods of the Orcs”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #62 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 31–32.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), p. 114. ISBN 0880383992.
  10. Sean K. Reynolds (2002-05-04). Deity Do's and Don'ts (Zipped PDF). Web Enhancement for Faiths and Pantheons. Wizards of the Coast. p. 12. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-08.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), Running the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 63. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Mike Mearls, et al. (November 2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. Edited by Jeremy Crawford, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 83. ISBN 978-0786966011.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Mike Mearls, et al. (November 2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. Edited by Jeremy Crawford, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 183. ISBN 978-0786966011.
  14. Jeff Grubb, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan (September 2001). Manual of the Planes 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 124–125. ISBN 0-7869-1850-8.
  15. Wolfgang Baur (February 1995). “Acheron”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Law (TSR, Inc), p. 16. ISBN 0786900938.
  16. Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 161–162. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  17. Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. Edited by Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 150–151. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  18. Carl Sargent (May 1992). Monster Mythology. (TSR, Inc), p. 50. ISBN 1-5607-6362-0.
  19. Mike Mearls, et al. (November 2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. Edited by Jeremy Crawford, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 90. ISBN 978-0786966011.
  20. Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 39. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.


The Tribe of He Who Watches
Lesser Deities

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