Umberlee (pronounced: /əmbɛrˈliuhm-ber-LEE[12]) was the evil sea goddess in the Faerûnian pantheon, most often worshiped by sailors or people traveling by sea, out of fear of her destructive powers. She was known as a particularly malicious, petty, greedy, and vain deity who controlled the harshness of the sea while reveling in her own power and was not hesitant to drown people if she so pleased.[19]

Coins are what matter. And to earn coins, one needs roads — or the love of Umberlee.

Personality[edit | edit source]

Umberlee was temperamental, evil, and malicious. She did not feel the moral obligation to honor any of her agreements or promises if the end result was not beneficial to her. That, and her desire for the valuables and excessive tributes, characterized her insatiable greed and cruelty. She was power-hungry and loved exercising it, toying with her worshipers. She fed her sadistic nature by destroying naval vessels and feeding shipwreck victims to her sharks while watching the others drown.[16]

She rarely favored individual mortals unless it benefited her in some way.[21] Umberlee did not tolerate any one member of her clergy becoming famous and overshadowing the church and the goddess herself.[22]

Divine Realm[edit | edit source]

After the Time of Troubles, Umberlee resided in Blood Tor, the 13th level of the Abyss, flooded characteristically to its ruler.[16]

Following the dire changes brought on by the Spellplague, Umberlee, along with Silvanus, Auril, Mielikki, and Shiallia resided in the domain of the Deep Wilds. She made home in the realm's deep dark ocean.[10]

Relationships[edit | edit source]

Umberlee rising from the sea to meet with her fellow Gods of Fury.

Umberlee was strongly opposed to Selûne, whose stars guided navigators at sea; Valkur, who guided travelers safely home; Sune, whose beauty made her green with envy; and Chauntea for her dominion over land.[13][23]

Silvanus was technically Umberlee's superior, as the ruler of the dominion the Deep Wilds within which she resides. However, Umberlee rarely, if ever, saw herself as Silvanus' servant.[24]

Umberlee openly fought with Selûne,[25] the goddess of the moon; Chauntea, the goddess of the earth and land; Sune, whose beauty spurred jealously within the Bitch Queen; and Valkur, the deity to whom sailors prayed for safe return from the sea.[26]

Deities of Fury[edit | edit source]

Main article: Deities of Fury

Umberlee was a member of the Deities of Fury, a group that included Auril and Malar, led by the Storm Lord Talos.[16] As Talos encroached upon Umberlee's portfolio since both deities ruled over storms, she attempted to distract him with a romantic relationship.[26]

Even though Talos was her superior and patron, he often attempted to usurp Umberlee's power over sea storms and hurricanes, folding them under his own portfolio. Despite that, the Queen of the Depths positioned herself as a flirt, keeping herself in Talos' good graces. Although her ambitions were limited by not being able to directly affect land, given opportunity she would have gladly destroyed her patron, taking his portfolio of destruction for herself.[16]

The closest deity Umberlee could consider an ally was Auril, the fellow member of the Deities of Fury. When Umberlee required aid, she was likely to call on the Frostmaiden.[27]

Deities of the First Circle[edit | edit source]

Main article: First Circle

In the late 15th century DR, Umberlee was a part of the loosely related group of deities known as the First Circle to their worshipers. The First Circle consisted of the gods who lorded over nature: Chauntea, Eldath, Mielikki, Silvanus, Auril, Malar, Talos, and Umberlee herself.[28]

Avatar[edit | edit source]

The symbol of Umberlee.

The Bitch Queen's seldomly seen avatar was a giant woman with the body colored like the sea, of blues and greens. Her hands had talons, her elbows had fins, and green hair of seaweed and kelp. Her white eyes were reminiscent of pearls and her voice sounded like the fiercest sea storm, booming with breaking waves.The goddess appeared in that form to scare and impress the mortals on board of dying ships.The towering avatar wore jewelry made out of sea shells, carried a trident, and was dressed in a flowing cape made out of countless pale-purple jellyfish. Umberlee's avatar laughed with malicious glee as she toyed with the doomed vessel.[16]

Umberlee's avatar had access to divine spells (except earth, fire, sun, thought, and time magic), and arcane spells (except earth and fire). All of the water magic the avatar was able to cast manifested at triple strength, making it extremely hard to avoid.[16] The trident the avatar wielded was a powerful magical item that combined the powers of a trident of submission and a trident of fish command. She had the ability to summon 6-12 sharks or 2-6 giant sharks to do her bidding every 30 minutes. Every 12 hours, the avatar of Umberlee was able to summon water elementals of various sizes and power to serve her. All the creatures summoned by Umberlee could not be controlled by any mind-affecting magic.[16]

Manifestations[edit | edit source]

The most common manifestations of the Bitch Queen were waves and winds of the seas. Sailors knew that when storms hit their ships and the winds or waves carried sinister cold laughter or hissing words, they were facing the cruel goddess herself.[16]

Following the Time of Troubles, Umberlee's powers were decreased and she could manifest gales of wind 4 times a day. Her watery manifestation in the form of waves, though, did not have many limitations in the sea. She used the wave forms that reached 160 feet (49 meters) in length of considerable power. These waves could momentarily kill an unlucky victim or grab and carry away items and treasures of value from the ships, including items such as rings and gauntlets.[16]

Another common manifestation of the Great Queen of the Sea was the shape of an aquatic monster of terrible size. She took on many shapes, including monstrous-sized sharks, krakens, and aquatic undead and undead lake-dwelling monsters.[16] Her most notable aspect was the kraken-like Dweller that grew within the Temple-Under-The-Sea, slowly increasing its strength and corruption influence.[8]

Worshipers[edit | edit source]

A waveservant, the tribute-gatherers and enforcers of Umberlee, playing the seas.[29]

Main article: Church of Umberlee

The Great Queen of the Sea was worshiped out of fear by most.[16] Umberlee acted on her turbulent whims when making deals with mortals. Temples of Umberlee were few and far between, and the church was disorganized, universally hated throughout Faerûn, and perpetuated out of fear of the goddess.[19] Umberlee's church rested on her chaotic nature where disputes were ruled in favor of the strongest individual.

Druids who worshiped the First Circle also venerated Umberlee, as she was a representation of nature in its cruel form.[28]

Non-human worshipers[edit | edit source]

Umberlee had worshipers among krakens, sahuagin, anguiliians[30], water genasi,[31] and other evil sea creatures. A number of these were actually worshipers of Panzuriel, a deity with no power on Toril; Umberlee merely granted spells on his behalf.[32]

Most weresharks, created by the Queen of the Depths herself as a way to undermine her bitter opponent Selûne[16], venerated Umberlee out of admiration rather than fear.[19]

Dogma[edit | edit source]

The Undrowned and Umberlants held no ethical standards nor persuasions; the only thing that was set in stone was their belief in the cruelty and viciousness of the sea, the most dangerous place. The folk who were brave enough to travel the savage seas should have been ready to pay the price for their challenge to the Bitch Queen's domain. The Church of Umberlee's doctrine was fear; all were to tremble before the Queen's power, as her waves and winds were all-reaching. The mercy of the Great Queen of the Sea was to be bought with generous offerings, as they brought fair winds. All who dared to travel through her domain were to know that Umberlee controlled the monsters of the deep, the drowned dead. The priests and priestesses were to spread the holy word of the Bitch Queen and spread the fear of her rage and perform no service in her name without collecting high tithe. They were to promote the fear of Umberlee's waves and winds unless the travelers were accompanied by her clergy. The final divine directive was for the followers of Umberlee's faith to slay anyone claiming the storms over the seas were Talos' doing.[16]

Places of Worship[edit | edit source]

Great Umberlee, hear me! Great Queen of the Sea, heed this fervent supplication! Too long have we forsaken your true way, in our times far from the sea! Yet we return, and can never forget you! You, who quell storms and raise them with but a thought! Yet we cry unto you in our time of need, and make what humble offerings we can! Take, now, all the gold this ship carries, every last piece of it-and all the glistering gems, too! More than the weight of a man-yours, if you but take back your faithful guardians, to rest once more upon the bottom and await other intruders! Hear me, Great Umberlee! Accept now this offering!
— Belmer Droon's plea for Umberlee's mercy[1].

There were numerous shrines dedicated to Umberlee, predominantly located in port cities of the Sea of Fallen Stars and in the Nelanther Isles. Travelers by sea were sure to pay their tribute to the Bitch Queen, as the preaching of her clerics were built upon the terrible fate that would befall any who did not bring a sacrifice to Umberlee. Clerics were available at these temples who, for a price, would travel with sailors to ensure no harm was inflicted.[26]

Apart from the region around the Sea of Fallen Stars and at Nelanther Isles, Umberlee had places of worship at many ports. Among these were a temple in Urmlaspyr, Sembia, Murann,[33] a small shrine in the city of Marsember[34] in Cormyr, an opulent shrine in Athkatla,[35] a shrine of Umberlee could be found in the palace Dangwaru on the Snout of Omgar,[36] and another small shrine in Hillsfar on the Moonsea[37]. Some of the noteworthy temples:

Rituals[edit | edit source]

A priestess of Umberlee in the Grotto of the Queen of Latharl'’s Lantern surrounded by sharks.

It was a common tribute among sailors and ship crews to toss gems, gold, and valuables overboard to appease Umberlee and calm the storming waters.[16] On cargo ships, the sailors often tossed the transported valuable trade goods overboard to gain favorable winds, while the sounds of mouthpipes played tunes dedicated to the goddess. When the danger was especially severe, the sailors made sure the goods tossed overboard contained living creatures. On some occasions, ships with Umberlant priests on board ran aground or foundered; in anger, the sailors turned against the priests who promised them safe passage. The desperate sailors made sure the treacherous priests of Umberlee were killed before the ship sank. There have been bloated corpses of the Bitch Queen's priests washed ashore with as many as 30 cutlasses stuck in them.[21]

Prior to a voyage, sailors often left small tokens on Umberlee's shrine altars in hopes for calm waters. The most common tributes were flowers, candles, coins, and candy. Such tributes were also often paid by merchants who transported their trade cargo by sea, townsfolk of costal cities and islands who did not have a powerful patron deity and were in danger of storms and hurricanes. When no other was present, the clergy of the Bitch Queen removed the offerings from the shrines, washing the altars with sea water and kelp to symbolize the goddess claiming her tithe.[16]

The pirates and sailors of Alamber Sea paid some homage to Umberlee who was not commonly worshiped in the region. They did send sacrifices into the sea's depths but usually it only consisted of unsalvageable goods and cargo.[52]

Worshipers of Umberlee in the pirate city of Tharkar often placed small sacrifices to the goddess. To protect the buildings from flooding and collapse, the folk drowned small critters like rats and squirrels in bowls of seawater decorated with seaweed. These sacrifices stood on plinths in their bowls, left alone in the buildings' basements, creating foul smells of wet decay.[53]

Umberlee's clergy performed the rite known as the Drowning. It was a ritualistic drowning of the Untaken supplicant (novice cleric of Umberlee). If they survived, they were confirmed in the service of the Queen of Depths.[21]

Holy Days[edit | edit source]

  • First Tide: This holy day was celebrated when the ice broke up in a harbor. It consisted of a flute and drums parade through town with a caged animal, which was tied to a rock and then thrown into the sea. If it survived, it was magically healed and treated as a sacred animal with the rank of an Umberlant.[19] This was an ancient custom with its roots in the days of old when Umberlee selected her clergy from among the human sacrifices drowned in the same manner as the animals of the First Tide.[21]
  • Fair Seas Festival: A Waterdevian holiday that took place at the end of Fleetswake. It was the festival to appease Umberlee during which the worshipers paid tithes by throwing the valuables and the coin made off of the temporarily raised docking fees into the deepest reaches of Waterdeep's harbor. The valuables then were swept away by the currents and taken to Umberlee's Cache, the deep chasm in the waters of Waterdeep.[54].[55]

History[edit | edit source]

In 1358 DR during the Time of Troubles, Umberlee manifested herself in the Sea of Fallen Stars, where she entertained herself by destroying pirate islands with her storms and minions[19]. Umberlee took an opportunity to visit the island of Kelthann during the Time of Troubles and exact a revenge on the denizens of the island for their belief that winters storms in the sea came from Grumbar's rivalry with the Bitch Queen. She made several attempts to wash the Kelthanni off the island with her powerful storms but failed to achieve her goal, strengthening the islanders belief in Grumbar, to Umberlee's disdain.[56]

After the end of that calamitous period of time, Kelthann remained ravaged by storms for some time, although not as powerful as when the Queen's avatar was personally stirring the sea. With the efforts of the alliance of merchants, inhabitants of the coastal cities, and the Iron Throne, of all people, Umberlee was appeased and calmed the Sea of Fallen Stars by 1360 DR1361 DR.[19] During the same period of time, the Queen of the Depths was responsible for the creation of weresharks within the Realms to spite Selûne .[19]

Circa 1372 DR, Umberlee led her local priestess Tasina Alcrest to acquire a mysterious artifact of power and deliver it to the Temple-Under-The-Sea in the Fiddler's Green underwater region of the Sea of Swords. There, a horrific sea-beast called the Dweller lived. That creature was one of the first aspects, first avatars of the goddess since the Time of Troubles. The kraken-like Dweller grew and expanded its corrupting influence, nourished by the priestesses and sahuagin worshipers alongside Umberlee's humanoid avatar manifestation.[8]

By 1479 DR, recently abandoned Port Llast was claimed by Umberlee and her sea monsters.[57]

Around the same year, a northlander who called herself the Storm Maiden led her followers on a crazed mission to take over the Sea of Swords, consumed by the power of the Bitch Queen. The Storm Maiden was defeated and disappeared along with her ship.[58][59]

In 1484 DR, Umberlee pummeled Neverwinter with a devastating storm after Dagult Neverember offended the goddess by restricting regular sacrifices to her.[60]

In 1490s DR, Umberlee contributed to the destruction unleashed upon the Sword Coast by the four elemental prophets. She empowered Gar Shatterkeel as her chosen, and Olhydra gave him powers of one of the prophets. After the prophets' defeat, Gar found a way back to Toril and was re-empowered by his otherworldly patrons.[61] Umberlee gifted him a powerful artifact trident called the Wave. With the Bitch Queen's guidance, he was able to find an elemental node off the coast of Turmish at Umberlee’s Maw, opening the rift to the Elemental Plane of Water.[62]

Umberlee's Chosen[edit | edit source]

Notable Worshipers[edit | edit source]

Rumors and Legends[edit | edit source]

  • According to one legend, Umberlee once had a relationship with Iakhovas, variously described as a megalodon, wereshark, or sharkwere. She even granted him immortality. However, their relationship fell apart and she sought revenge on him.[69]
  • There were some superstitions among the seafaring folk and pirates of the Sea of Fallen Stars. They believed that cutting hair and trimming nails while at sea angered Umberlee, who thought grooming to be an offering to her enemy Sune. It was forbidden to say the word "drown" while at sea as it was believed it attracted Umberlee's attention. They also believed that if you fell overboard, it was useless to fight Umberlee's will and learn to swim.[70]
  • Legends claimed that Umberlee was responsible for creation of cyclopskin. She placed a curse on giants, firbolgs, or some such creatures for their refusal to acknowledge the Bitch Queen's control over winter storms.[56]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The islanders from Kelthann eagerly accepted any dead body to perform a burial in their catacombs just to avoid performing burials at sea. Kelthanni believed that performing the rites of the burial at sea strengthened Umberlee. Those who performed the rites against the Kelthanni tradition were told that the earth was going to reject their own bodies, and upon death, the Bitch Queen would claim their bodies and use them as her sea zombie servants.[71]
  • In 1363 DR, during the Day of Wonders festival in Waterdeep, a wondrous mechanical dragon turtle sank after completing one lap around the harbor, becoming a part of the treasures of Umberlee's Cache.[72]
  • A caravel called Umberlee's Get was helmed by a notorious and fierce sea wolf Jezgar Skentzin of the Inner Sea circa 1359 DR.[73]
  • In the 15th century DR, a book called Shanties for the Bitch Queen was published and beloved by fishermen of the Western Heartlands.[74]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Adventures
Talon of UmberleeLocathah Rising
Novels
The Mercenaries
Video Games
Neverwinter Nights: Pirates of the Sword Coast

References[edit | edit source]

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  74. Larian Studios (October 2020). Designed by Swen Vincke, et al. Baldur's Gate III. Larian Studios.

Connections[edit | edit source]

The Faerûnian Pantheon
Major Deities
AzuthBaneBhaalChaunteaCyricGondHelmIlmaterKelemvorKossuthLathanderLoviatarMaskMielikkiMyrkulMystra (Midnight) • OghmaSelûneSharShaundakulSilvanusSuneTalosTempusTormTymoraTyrUmberleeWaukeen
Other Members
AkadiAurilBeshabaDeneirEldathFinder WyvernspurGaragosGargauthGrumbarGwaeron WindstromHoarIstishiaIyachtu XvimJergalLliiraLurueMalarMililNobanionThe Red KnightSavrasSharessShialliaSiamorpheTalonaTiamatUbtaoUlutiuValkurVelsharoon

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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