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Zeus was an interloper deity of the sky who originated from another plane of existence and was the head of the Olympian pantheon.[11] There was no evidence that this deity was directly worshiped in the Realms.[12][note 1]

I don't care if you did come all the way from Toril, you still can't go talk to Zeus.
— An exhausted guard of the Halls of Olympus.[13]

Description[]

His avatar typically took the form of a robust male human[1][7] with regal bearing,[7] dressed in a white tunic. He had white hair[1] and a full, long white beard,[1][7] and stood 15 feet (4.6 meters) tall.[1] His avatar was not seen to wear armor, for he disdained it.[4]

Zeus's true form was that of a ball of fiery light, whose radiant light was so intense that no mortal could look upon him without bursting into flames[7] or dieing.[9]

Personality[]

Zeus was an efficient, yet slightly despotic leader,[7] who was fickle in his administration of justice.[1] He was more passionate than logical,[9] moved more often by anger than mercy, and at times made his decisions on the basis of politics rather than justice.[7] He also played favorites, though whom these were could change on a whim.[1] Finally, he was a notorious lecher and womanizer,[1][7][9] willing to go to any length to woo women that caught his eye.[7]

Zeus was not above toying with the lives of mortals for the purpose of entertainment,[7] but ultimately cared for mortal life, though in the way that a distant father cared for his children.[1] Following the Time of Troubles he was far less liable to meddle on the Prime Material plane, as the punishment for doing so had become more quick and severe.[9]

Abilities[]

The holy symbol of Zeus.

Whenever Zeus was wounded and spilled blood upon the earth, his blood would transform into a random monster that would fight on his behalf[4][14] for a period of 48 hours or until he was slain.[4] Due to the requirement of his blood needing to strike the ground, this effect would not occur in the sea or on planes lacking gravity.[14] He was also capable of creating magic items and weapons whose effects involved electricity, such as wands of lightning bolts.[15]

Zeus had a wide variety of spell-like abilities that his avatar form could cast. These included the following:

aid, air walk, animate objects, Bigby's clenched fist, Bigby's crushing hand, Bigby's grasping hand, blade barrier, bull's strength, call lightning, chain lightning, chaos hammer, cloak of chaos, control weather, control winds, demand, discern lies, dispel evil, dispel law, divine favor, elemental swarm (air only), endure elements, enthrall, fog cloud, gaseous form, geas/quest, greater command, holy aura, holy smite, holy word, ice storm,[14] lightning bolt,[7][4] magic circle against evil, magic vestment, obscuring mist, protection from evil, protection from law, repulsion, righteous might, shapechange, shatter, sleet storm, spell immunity, stoneskin, storm of vengeance, summon monster IX, whirlwind, wind wall, and word of chaos.[14]

Possessions[]

A close-up view of the Aegis shield.

Zeus possessed an +5 enchanted shield known as Aegis,[1][4][16] made from steel[1] and a goatskin with golden fleece,[16] which depicted the head of a beautiful medusa. It had a chance to induce a fear effect upon those who gazed upon it.[1][4][16] At his command it could transform into a cloak of displacement, but maintained the fear effect in this form. He sometimes loaned Aegis to the Olympian goddess Athena or to favored mortals.[4][16]

In terms of weaponry he possessed a large +5 shortspears with the weapon qualities shocking burst and thundering.[1] As well as several "thunderbolts",[9] really javelins of lightning,[17] which were initially forged for him by the Olympian cyclopses[9][17] and later by the combined efforts of them and the Olympian deity Hephaestus.[18]

History[]

Zeus was among the first six Olympians, born to the Greater Titan known as Cronus.[note 2] After a curse was placed upon him by his mother Gaea, swearing that one day his children would usurp him[19][20] as he had done to his father before him,[21] Cronus proceeded to swallow each of his first five children[19][20] as they were born.[20] These first five children were Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia, and Poseidon.[19] On their sixth child, Cronus's wife Rhea tricked him into instead swallowing a stone[20][22] in swaddling clothes,[22] thus allowing Gaea to smuggle away the one who would later be known as Zeus and leave him in the care of nymphs. When he reached adulthood Zeus disguised himself as a cupbearer of Cronus and gave him a potion that induced him into vomiting up his five siblings.[19] Zeus then led his siblings in a united effort to overthrow their despotic father and waging war upon the rest of the Greater Titans.[1][21] A few Greater Titans allied with them in this war, such as Prometheus, and thus were spared the fate of their fellows.[20]

After this war concluded, Zeus drew lots with his brothers Hades and Poseidon to determine which of them would govern the portfolios of sky, the sea, and death.[23] He ultimately became the lord of the upper air and general ruler of the Olympians.[4]

In the years that followed Prometheus deceived him on multiple occasions. One such incident involved him mentioning a prophecy he foresaw, one in which Zeus mated with a woman who would bear a son that surpassed him. Zeus would try pry the specifics of this prophesy from him by many means, but ultimately nothing worked.[24]

The final straw for Zeus was when Prometheus circumvented a prohibition he made of bestowing fire upon their pantheon's worshipers[24] by stealing it from the sun. For this Zeus had him chained to a mountaintop,[25] the summit of the colossal Mount Aetna in their home plane of Olympus, with magical chains that were virtually impossible to break unless Zeus willed it.[26]

History of Affairs[]

Following her divorce from his brother Poseidon, Zeus wedded his sister Demeter and bore the goddess Persephone. This child would later be abducted into the Underworld by their brother Hades,[27] after Zeus gave him permission to marry her without Demeter's knowledge. She ran off in search of Persephone after hearing her cry for help, doing so for nine days before she learned that Hades had taken her. She then went into mourning, wandering listlessly for some time,[28] until resorting to preventing the growth of the crops of Olympian worshipers until Persephone was returned.[29] However, Persephone had already sealed her fate by partaking in the food of Hades's realm.[30][31] Zeus would intervene in the matter, brokering a compromise that allowed Persephone[29] to spend part of her time in the underworld and part of her time in Olympus,[30] what mortals would consider equivalent to six months.[31]

Some time after this Demeter parted ways with Zeus and he went on to marry their mutual sister Hera, who would later bare him the deity Ares.[1][11][32] Some speculated their marriage was merely a symbolic gesture, meant to placate Hera's jealousy and affirm his standing as head of the Olympians.[9] Zeus then went on to have many affairs while married to her, with women both divine and mortal, fathering more members of their pantheon[1][11][32] and a great deal of mortals. Most of the latter when on to become adventurers.[1] Some rumors claimed that even Hera didn't know of all the children that Zeus had fathered with mortals.[9]

With the Greater Titan Leto he had the twins Apollo and Artemis.[11][32][33] Zeus then went on to make love with a minor goddess by the name of Maia, who bore him the son Hermes.[33][34][note 3] With a mortal named Semele he had the son Dionysus.[27][32]

At some point Hera found out about these and many other affairs he was having and so in retaliation created Hephaestus wholly from her body. When Zeus discovered this he was enraged at her insolence and hurled Hephaestus down on to the Prime Material plane. Some time later Zeus would reconcile with him and make Hephaestus a welcomed member of the Olympian pantheon.[18]

Some time after this he mated with a woman named Metis. After being told a prophecy that she would bear a son who'd kill him, Zeus went on to follow the example of his father and swallowed her.[35] This eventually led him to develop a horrible headache, which Hephaestus sought to relieve by splitting Zeus's head open with an axe,[36] from which the Olympian goddess Athena emerged[35][36] fully grown and armored.[33][note 4]

He was also alleged to have bore the Olympian Pan to an unnamed woman, but this was only one of three alleged origins for that deity.[18]

Realm[]

Zeus resided with his wife Hera in a great citadel atop Mount Olympus, in the divine realm of Olympus. It was made of polished marble and gold,[37][38][39] inlaid with gold and precious gemstones,[9] and only their worshipers could see its entrance.[38] The halls were lined with statues of Zeus and Hera, which were rumored to come to life to dispose of unwanted intruders or to roam the realm of Olympus on his behalf.[9]

Relationships[]

A celestial,[1] white giant eagle was always by his side.[1][4] Occasionally he would give one such bird to those he favored.[4] These giant eagles carried his "thunderbolts", could communicate with him, and could plane shift at will.[40]

His command in the Olympian pantheon was far from absolute,[4][7][9] with the other members often arguing, challenging, or contesting his decisions.[1][4][7][9] He would step in whenever they crossed him or threatened damage to one another and to a certain extent he encouraged their chaotic behavior.[9]

Out of all his children Zeus doted upon Athena and Dionysus, much to Hera's chagrin in the latter case as she viewed that deity as a reminder of Zeus's many affairs.[27] Hera was very suspicious of activities, keeping a close eye on him, yet he would still attempt to use his shapeshifting powers to sneak out of their palace and engage in affairs.[9]

Outside of the pantheon, the deity that Zeus considered his rival was Daghdha and his Celtic pantheon as a whole to be rivals of him and the Olympian pantheon.[9] They often set out agents or avatars to sabotage the other.[41] Some speculated that their simmering feud could erupt into all-out war at some day.[9]

Worshipers[]

The priests of his faith typically wielded spears as weapons.[7] They wore white tunics for priestly vestments.[1][4] These and their holy relics incorporated Zeus's favored animals or plants.[4] They had access to spells from the all, animal, combat, divination, elemental, healing, protection, and weather,[7] and wards spheres.[8] They particularly had access to the spells lightning bolt and polymorph self.[7]

His clergy taught that nothing in the world, good or ill, happened without his consent and that Zeus never sent destruction without some cause so people should simply to accept whatever life throwed their way.[1]

Among the clerics of the various Olympian deities, those of Zeus enjoyed a position of prestige that earned them some respect, despite Olympian clerics overall not caring much for the concept of church hierarchy.[1] His clergy were often arrogant because of this, expecting everyone, even the clerics of other deities, to acknowledge Zeus's ultimate supremacy. Male clerics emulated his womanizing ways, while female clerics often looked down upon men and took other clerics for lovers.[23]

Temples[]

Wherever Olympians were worshiped, a temple to Zeus could be found.[1]

In the Outlands a sprawling, a temple to Zeus stood within The Lady's Ward of the city Sigil.[42]

Notable Worshipers[]

In Greatspace he was worshiped as the crystal sphere's creator, whose inhabitants believed they were created by him to be his most highly prized worshipers after he grew tired of the petty actions of his mortal followers in some other sphere.[43]

In terms of organizations, he was worshiped by some members of the Fraternity of Order and Sign of One.[44]

Rumors & Legends[]

Legends spoke of Zeus having two jars outside the entrance to his citadel on Mount Olympus. One of them filled with the qualities of evil and the other with the qualities of good, with only deities able to tell which was which. These rumored jars were said to be used by Zeus to bless or curse mortals, but that the qualities of each jar could also be mixed to create human spirits.[9]

Appendix[]

Notes[]

  1. There were no known worshipers of Zeus in the Realms. However, Zeus is mentioned in Desert of Desolation, a 1st-edition adventure, in relation to the deity Prometheus who was worshiped in Medinat Muskawoon. For this reason, Zeus is documented in this article.
  2. Not to be confused with the dawn titans or the true giant race known simply as the titans.
  3. This is reasoned to have occurred after the birth of Apollo and Artemis because the sourcebook On Hallowed Ground states that Apollo is the "older brother" of Hermes.
  4. The 3rd edition Deities and Demigods sourcebook states on page 112 that Athena, "...sprang from Zeus’s head with no mother." As this is a Core sourcebook, the lore given in the Planescape book On Hallowed Ground regarding Athena's parentage is given precedence. Though since that book does not detail how she sprung from Zeus's head, the lore from Core sources is used for that herein.

Appearances[]

Adventures
Tales of the Outer Planes
Referenced only
Dead Gods
Card Games
Blood Wars

Gallery[]

External Links[]

References[]

  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 1.25 Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 101. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Stephen Kenson (May 2001). “Do-It-Yourself Deities”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #283 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 34.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 298. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 James Ward, Robert J. Kuntz (August 1980). Deities & Demigods. Edited by Lawrence Schick. (TSR, Inc.), p. 63. ISBN 0-935696-22-9.
  5. James A. Yates (November 1986). “Hammer of Thor, Spear of Zeus”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #115 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 38–40.
  6. Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 100. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  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 7.17 7.18 James M. Ward and Troy Denning (August 1990). Legends & Lore (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc), p. 110. ISBN 978-0880388443.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Nicky Rea (1994). Age of Heroes. (TSR, Inc.), p. 37. ISBN 1-56076-814-2.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 Colin McComb (October 1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), p. 118. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  10. James Ward, Robert J. Kuntz (August 1980). Deities & Demigods. Edited by Lawrence Schick. (TSR, Inc.), p. 138. ISBN 0-935696-22-9.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Colin McComb (October 1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), p. 119. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  12. Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman, Philip Meyers, Peter Rice, William John Wheeler (May 1987). Desert of Desolation. (TSR, Inc.), p. 95. ISBN 978-0880383974.
  13. Colin McComb (October 1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), p. 34. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 102. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  15. Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 103. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 James Ward and Robert Kuntz (November 1984). Legends & Lore. (TSR, Inc), p. 106. ISBN 978-0880380508.
  17. 17.0 17.1 James Ward, Robert J. Kuntz (August 1980). Deities & Demigods. Edited by Lawrence Schick. (TSR, Inc.), p. 67. ISBN 0-935696-22-9.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Colin McComb (October 1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), p. 125. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Colin McComb (October 1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), p. 116. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 James M. Ward and Troy Denning (August 1990). Legends & Lore (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc), p. 118. ISBN 978-0880388443.
  21. 21.0 21.1 James M. Ward and Troy Denning (August 1990). Legends & Lore (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc), p. 105. ISBN 978-0880388443.
  22. 22.0 22.1 James M. Ward and Troy Denning (August 1990). Legends & Lore (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc), p. 109. ISBN 978-0880388443.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Fraser Sherman (April 1993). “Following in their Footsteps”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #153 (TSR, Inc.), p. 28.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Template:Cite dragon/153/The Goals of the Gods
  25. James Ward, Robert J. Kuntz (August 1980). Deities & Demigods. Edited by Lawrence Schick. (TSR, Inc.), p. 74. ISBN 0-935696-22-9.
  26. Gary L. Thomas ed. (May 1988). Tales of the Outer Planes. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 61–62. ISBN 978-0880385442.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Colin McComb (October 1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), p. 122. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  28. Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 113. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Bruce Barber (September 1986). “Welcome to Hades”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #113 (TSR, Inc.), p. 26.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Colin McComb (October 1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), p. 123. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Colin McComb (December 1995). “Liber Malevolentiae”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Conflict (TSR, Inc.), p. 61. ISBN 0-7869-0309-0.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 99. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Nicky Rea (1994). Age of Heroes. (TSR, Inc.), p. 76. ISBN 1-56076-814-2.
  34. Skip Williams, Rich Redman, James Wyatt (April 2002). Deities and Demigods. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 99, 101. ISBN 0-7869-2654-6.
  35. 35.0 35.1 Colin McComb (October 1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), p. 120. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  36. 36.0 36.1 James M. Ward and Troy Denning (August 1990). Legends & Lore (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc), p. 112. ISBN 978-0880388443.
  37. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 45. ISBN 1560768746.
  38. 38.0 38.1 Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Travelogue”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 1560768746.
  39. Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), p. 93. ISBN 0880383992.
  40. James Ward, Robert J. Kuntz (August 1980). Deities & Demigods. Edited by Lawrence Schick. (TSR, Inc.), p. 64. ISBN 0-935696-22-9.
  41. Colin McComb (October 1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), p. 41. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  42. Wolfgang Baur, Rick Swan (June 1995). In the Cage: A Guide to Sigil. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 28, 30. ISBN 978-0786901111.
  43. J. Paul LaFountain (1990). Crystal Spheres. (TSR, Inc), p. 32. ISBN 0-88038-878-1.
  44. Colin McComb (October 1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 47–48. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.

Connections[]

Powers of Olympus who have influenced the Forgotten Realms
ApolloDemeterHecateHephaestusHermesPanPoseidonPriapusPrometheusTycheZeus
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