Princes of the Apocalypse
Faerûn is alive with countless gods, demigods and divine spirits of every nature. Religions in their honor have spread to every corner of the world, and in the hearts of all faithful. Below is a list of the most common gods, goddesses and their domains. For a full list of all Forgotten Realms deities, click HERE.
DEITIES BY ALIGNMENT
Standing outside the divine hierarchy, and outside the cosmos, is the mysterious Ao. Thought by some to be the creator of the cosmos, his might is unimaginable. He is the judge of the deities, and the one power whom even the greater gods fear. Ao exists beyond the concept of alignment or worship. He serves no one, and no one serves him. Instead he watches all, sees all, and judges all. No mortal worships Ao. Any sects that spring up, based on fragmented legends and unreliable lore, disappear quickly. No legitimate priests of Ao exist in Toril.
Eighteen greater gods compete for the attention of worshipers.
Amaunator is the reincarnated deity of the sun, the timekeeper of the gods. Though some say he died, he actually transformed into Lathander, and was worshiped under that name for centuries before finally reclaiming both his name and his mission. He causes the sun to burn and sets its course across the sky, giving rise to the celestial clock by which all time is measured. All who benefit from the accurate keeping of clocks and calendars—such as farmers, merchants, and nomads who follow the seasons—revere Amaunator. He is also favored by those mortals who respect the law and find comfort in predictability. Amaunatori are rigid and traditional in the worship of their deity, and little variety exists between different sects. His priests, the sunlords, offer their services as judges and administrators. Their most solemn observances are reserved for the day of the summer solstice.
An ancient deity turned archdevil, the Lord of Nessus longed for untold millennia to reclaim his godhood. The destruction of Dweomerheart sent the dying Azuth (a patron deity of mages) into Asmodeus’s fiery domain. The archdevil killed him and consumed his divine essence. He then ended the Blood War by pushing the Abyss to the bottom of the Elemental Chaos. Asmodeus is the unquestioned master of the Nine Hells, served by the eight archdevils, armies upon armies of lesser devils, and an ever-growing cadre of mortal worshipers. Priests who serve Asmodeus, known as the mordai, seek to pervert anyone who succumbs to greed and impatience. His sect observes no holy days; service is expected on a continuous basis. Asmodeus can be a charismatic and generous deity, quick to reward anyone who is willing to sign away his soul. After death, the damned are enslaved for eternity to their fiendish god’s dark designs.
Thought to have been destroyed forever during the Time of Troubles, Bane returned to life in 1372 DR and continued his mission to dominate every mortal soul on Toril. The Black Lord of Banehold is the embodiment of tyranny. Bane’s lust for power doesn’t stop at the mystical walls that separate the world from the heartless gray hellscape of Banehold. Bane also seeks lordship over other deities, and he has killed and absorbed the essence and followers of numerous divine beings. He has drawn others into his command, including the goblin deities Maglubiyet and Hruggek and his consort, the twisted goddess Loviatar. Banite priests are expected to strive constantly for dominance over those around them. No holy days are observed in Bane’s name, and the god scorns invocations that are not accompanied by proof of temporal power over others. When a mortal swears fealty to Bane, that service is absolute.
Chauntea is among the oldest of the deities, having been present at the creation of Abeir-Toril, infusing the twin worlds with the essence of life. She holds sway not so much over the natural world, but over the way in which sentient mortals interact with the world. The Great Mother is revered by any who depend on the land for their livelihood. A kindly mistress, she ensures healthy harvests to those who treat the tilled earth with the respect she demands. Chauntean priests pray to the Great Mother at sunset. For her favor, she asks that her faithful spend every effort preserving the natural cycle of growth and harvest. The devoted are divided into two sects: the pastorals, who minister to farmers and villagers, and the true shapers, solitary druids who find truth in the wild lands yet to be tamed.
Legends of the epic battles between Corellon (sometimes called Corellon Larethian) and Gruumsh are the most repeated in the history of Toril. During that great struggle, the eladrin were born of Corellon’s blood. He is the benevolent ruler of Arvandor and the leader of the Seldarine (“the fellowship of brothers and sisters of the wood”), god and exarchs who embody the eladrin’s proud and ancient traditions. Though he is a skilled warrior, it is his love of the eladrin and their great works of magic and beauty that inspires Corellon. That inspiration is returned to his people a thousandfold. Corellon’s feywardens are charged with protecting the traditions and works of their race. They turn aside political power, acting as advisors to the kings and queens of the elven realms. The holiest day for Corellites is Shieldmeet, but every month they gather under the crescent moon to observe Lateu’quor, the Forest Communion of the Crescent Moon, praising their deity with a multitude of beautiful works.
The mad god of strife and lies, Cyric is chaos incarnate. He is reviled by his fellow deities, who have time and again intervened to stop his destructive flights of fancy. When he murdered Mystra in the Year of Blue Fire (1385 DR), the entire plane of Dweomerheart exploded, and the resulting Spellplague ravaged the cosmos. Tyr, Lathander, and Sune united to imprison him in his nightmarish playhouse of a plane, the Supreme Throne, where he remains to this day, alone and increasingly insane. Cyricists, inspired by the lunatic clergy who call themselves strifeleaders, spread chaos, destruction, and insanity wherever they go. Few can understand what vile disease of the mind could bring a mortal to serve such a deity in the first place, but where his worship takes hold, only misery follows. His wild rantings are inscribed in The Cyrinishad, a tome of ever-changing text that drives any who read it hopelessly mad.
Ghaunadaur was once worshiped by drow and coexisted with Lolth when the Abyss held the Demonweb Pits. Not long after the Spider Queen transformed into a greater god, she arranged for Ghaunadaur’s drow followers to forget him. That Which Lurks, having watched the rest of the drow deities die in their struggle against Lolth, knew enough to slink away into the darkest corner of the cosmos he could find. In the Dismal Caverns, Ghaunadaur’s power grew. He has come to rule the lowest forms of sentience: the oozes, slimes, and abominations. Ghaunadaur revels in the suffering of all forms of life, and in the feel of flesh consumed by acid. He is revered by incredibly ancient creatures, including the terrifying abominations of the Abolethic Sovereignty. His priests are unbound by holy days or scripture, compelled only to destroy and consume in the name of their hateful master.
Gruumsh’s influence has flourished in recent decades with the growth of the orc population, and as other humanoids have come under his sway. His recent triumphs include putting the orc pantheon and other minor deities of the savage races under his thumb. Though Gruumans maintain that their god was born with one eye, the eladrin assert that he lost an eye in combat with Corellon. The two divine powers have fought countless times, and they remain the bitterest of enemies. Gruumsh is a god of conquest, driving his savage multitudes to expand their power by whatever brutal means they wish. His shamans advise chiefs and warmongers to raid, kill, and conquer. The last day of Marpenoth, which Gruumans call Gharfek’taaz (“Feast of the Bloodied Stones”), commemorates Gruumsh’s ascendancy as the master of Nishrek. On this day, new shamans are ordained in a bloody orgy of torture and sacrifice.
Kelemvor presides over the passage from life to death with a firm hand and a steady grace. He is deeply earnest in his role as the Judge of the Damned, having set himself above the push and pull of law and chaos, good and evil. He takes each soul as it comes, preaching only the natural inevitability of its transition from one world to the next. Because of Kelemvor’s deep respect for both life and death, the undead enrage him. His priests are tireless opponents of the necromantic arts. Families who lose a loved one are comforted by Kelemvor’s doomguides, who counsel the bereaved with a gentle understanding and a simple philosophy that with light there must be darkness, with day there must be night, with life there must be death. Shieldmeet and the Feast of the Moon are set aside as days of remembrance, when doomguides seek the counsel of the dead.
The Spider Queen sits alone in the Demonweb Pits, presiding over the drow and their manifold schemes and betrayals. She revels in blood, hungers for sacrifice, and toys with worshipers and victims alike. Hers is a cold cruelty born of the blackest pits in the endless Abyss. Lolth exists on her home plane in the form of seven monstrous spiders and one beautiful drow maiden. She took these forms when, through the force of her own horrific will, she transformed into the greater goddess she is today. Lolth appears to her worshipers from time to time, but never because she is summoned. Lolth serves no one, and she demands absolute fealty from all drow, though only females can serve her as arachne. Males are considered unclean, if occasionally necessary. Still, if one turns his back on her, she takes vengeful notice.
The All-Father forged the dwarf people from gems and precious metals in a furnace at the heart of the world, and imbued them with unflagging courage and a tireless work ethic. He is the undisputed King of Dwarfhome, where he leads the Moradinsamman, a fiercely loyal cadre of gods and exarchs. His faithful wife Berronar Truesilver is most often found at his side. Virtually incapable of compromise, stern and unforgiving, Moradin is a tireless champion of dwarven values, unafraid even in the face of other deities. More than once the Moradinsamman have marched across the cosmos at the command of their king. Priests of Moradin are drawn from the finest dwarven clans. They inspire their comrades to stand firm against insurmountable odds. Their ability to invoke a battle frenzy in their fellow dwarves is renowned. Different clans develop their own traditions and days of holy obligation. When dwarves take to their “holy water” (what a human would call a very good pint of beer), drunken arguments over who’s more in their deity’s favor invariably lead to a little goodnatured brawling.
The deity of knowledge is the judge of ideas and innovations, deciding what will be passed down and what will be forgotten. This is a responsibility that Oghma takes seriously, despite his outwardly carefree demeanor. Oghma thrives on ideas. He cannot abide the stifling of an original thought, no matter what might come of it, good or ill. It is for him to decide if a concept is carried forward from its originator, and he is protective of that power. When Oghma’s Chosen, Grand Patriarch Cullen Kordamant, disappeared more than 120 years ago, his faith was split between two major factions—Procampur’s Orthodox Church of Oghma and the Oghmanyte Church in Exile, formerly of Sembia but now Cormyrian. Orthodox priests are known as lorekeepers; the Oghmanytes call themselves namers. Both maintain expansive libraries and greedily pursue written texts and oral histories from across Toril.
Together with her sister Shar, Selûne created Abeir-Toril from the cosmic ether and assisted Chauntea as she blessed the twin worlds with life. She has infused her spirit into the moon and forever looks down on the world she helped create. Selûne’s influence on Toril is felt in the ebb and flow of the tides and in the comforting silver glow of a moonlit night. She brings light to darkness, holding back the tide of evil embodied by her shadowy sister. Mostly female, the Selûnite priests known as silverstars administer to their flocks with patience and compassion, letting all know that “anywhere the full moon shines is the place for Selûne.” Silverstars are particularly interested in combating the dark side of lycanthropy. They wander Toril in search of werecreatures, hoping to aid them in maintaining or regaining control, or destroying those who have allowed their humanity to be overwhelmed by their affliction.
As old as the cosmos, Shar is one of the twin deities who created the world, bringing order out of Ao’s primordial chaos. The balance to her sister’s loving grace, Shar resides in the deepest shadows, nurturing the secret hatreds, the unnatural desires, and the lust for revenge that reside in the black corners of the mortal heart. Her worshipers wield great power over other mortals and have worked their way into the highest governing ranks of countless realms. In the Empire of Netheril, allegiance to Shar, and Shar alone, carries the weight of law. Her nightcloaks form their own cells from what scraps of secret lore they can find. Temples of Shar practice devotion to her in wildly varying ways. Often the presence of a temple is revealed only to a small inner circle of lay initiates who are tasked with spreading Shar’s whispered dogma in their own way.
The protector of the wild places, Silvanus is often seen as the deity of angry and vengeful druids who value the life of a tree over the life of a person. In fact, Silvanus teaches his followers to value all life. Still, his influence can be properly interpreted either as a wholesome respect for the natural world, or as a threat to the livelihood of expanding civilizations. Druids of Silvanus say their prayers at sundown and set aside the days of Greengrass, Midsummer, and Highharvestide for meditation and communion with their deity and his affiliated powers. Seemingly at whim, Silvanus brings the natural world to sentient life, with streams finding their own courses and trees uprooting to walk around. This event, known as the Night the Forest Walks, can be localized or global in effect, entirely dependent on the unknowable desires of the Treefather. Silvanus teaches his druids to watch from the protection of the woods, not to judge too quickly, and to preserve the balance of life and death, growth and decay.
The deity of love takes many forms, including that of Hanali Celanil, long worshiped as a goddess by the eladrin. She is the mistress of all that is beautiful and thrives on the most tender of emotions. Many deities, from Amaunator to Torm, have become smitten with the goddess of love, but she remains aloof (though flirtatious), reserving her love for the mortals who revere her name. The worship of Sune is prevalent in cities and among the aristocracy, where people have the time to give proper attention to values such as romantic love and the preservation of beauty. Numbering eight females for every male, Sune’s heartwarders are among the most beautiful humans, eladrin, and half-elves on Toril. Their informal hierarchy is loosely controlled by the most charismatic of the local priests. Her temples are monuments to the architectural arts, and her followers are asked to demonstrate love through an unselfish act every day.
The Lord of Warrior’s Rest favors both sides in any conflict with equal measure as long as both are sworn to victory. He is the patron of warriors of all stripes—from the lowliest man-at-arms to the mightiest commander. For Tempus, war is a force of nature that must be respected for its power to remake civilizations. Hardly a soldier on the face of Toril fails to lift his or her voice in prayer to Tempus on the eve of battle. Given the war-ravaged history of the world, Tempus has gained extraordinary power from such constant and fervent prayer. His battleguards counsel generals on the rules of engagement and inspire courage in combatants by blessing their weapons in the name of Tempus. The Tempuran faith is scattered throughout the world, wherever arms are taken up, and his priests come from all walks of life, from the soldiery of the civilized nations to the savage tribes of the frozen North.
Torm became the master of Celestia after the heroic self-sacrifice of the legendary Tyr (who perished decades ago when defending the upper realms against an overwhelming demonic incursion). He now shines as the beacon of pure law in the cosmos, and stands as the most civilized and civilizing force in the pantheon. Truth, loyalty, and a steadfast devotion to a righteous cause are his gifts to his mortal followers, and he is an inspiration to many of his fellow deities as well. The Tormish church includes the greatest number of paladins of any religious organization in the world, and his priests, known as holy champions, are accomplished warriors, ready to defend the principles of law and order. His temples take the form of mighty citadels, their imposing architecture a symbol of Torm’s earnest stability in the face of chaos. From these edifices, Tormish priests and paladins are sent out into the world to root out corruption in any form, often imposing their own sets of laws and procedures on nations they feel are too open to lawlessness. The faithful celebrate two important holy days. The Divine Death (13 Marpenoth) commemorates the day when Torm and Bane destroyed each other during the Time of Troubles; the True Resurrection two days later honors Torm’s return to life, while Bane (at least temporarily) still lay dead.
Most of the greater gods are served by one or more less powerful gods that share their basic principles and inhabit their home planes. Gods have mortal worshipers of their own, often with rich and complex faiths as varied as those of the greater gods. Many lay worshipers, in fact, are unaware of the distinction.
Nineteen gods are worshiped in Faerûn, spread across all alignments and holding mastery over a wide range of spheres. Gods usually act independently of the greater god of their planes, though some deities, such as Bane, hold sway over all the divine inhabitants of their realms.
The Queen of the Deeps is a harsh mistress, largely uncaring of her mortal worshipers’ pleas for mercy when one of her storms whips the seas of Toril into a killing frenzy. Still, hardly a soul steps aboard a ship who doesn’t whisper at least a cursory appeal to her in the hope that her random mercies fall their way. Her waveservants rely on the scattered alms of terrified sailors for a minimal living, preaching the majesty of the uncaring ocean and the inherent hopelessness of anyone who dares set to sea.