Religion in the Forgotten Realms

  • This was posted on other boards, but its the most comprehensive and intellegent post about Faerunian Religion i've seen. So thanks go to a poster named "Etrigan" who originally posted this great guide:


    It's recently come to my attention that not everyone on our server has access to all the books (imagine that) but as a result alot of people aren't aware of the differences between the Forgotten Realms, where Myth Drannor is set, and the Core D&D rules (or worse, with the Never Winter Nights engine, which is like it's own little subset of broken exploits in comparrison).

    That being said I thought I'd write a little quick piece about Religion and the significant role it plays in Faerun, the region of the Forgotten Realms that we're based in:

    One of the most significant events in Faeruns history is an event known as "The Time of Troubles", also known as "The Godswar". From an out of game perspective this event occured at the transition of AD&D from 1st edition to 2nd edition as an IN-GAME way to explain away rules changes, etc. But IN-GAME alot of things changed.

    AO, the Over-power of the Faerunian pantheon, cast the Gods out of their domains and made them take mortal form. During the Godswar several gods were killed, some were born and some became more or less powerful, but when it was over one significant aspect of the relation between gods and mortals had changed… Prior to the Godswar gods (otherwise known as Powers) could do, pretty much, whatever they wanted - like the Greek or Roman gods, they played with mortals as toys and sat back basking in divine power. This vanity and indifference was one of the main reasons AO punished the gods; following the gods war several things changed between Power and worshipper. First, powers could no longer directly interfere with followers of another power. They could manipulate situations, boost their own worshippers, provide them with gifts to aid them, but they were forbidden by AO to directly act against each others minions. This meant that Shar could no longer simply strike Selunes highpriestess dead, she had to encourage her minions to do it of their own accord.

    The second, and perhaps more significant, change was that Gods became tied directly to their worship. Each worshipper of a Power generates an amount of "Devotional energy". Clerics generate more than lay-worshippers, but Clerics also drain some of the powers power by casting spells, etc. A power without worshippers slowly looses power, looses ranking and ultimately fades into obscurity (like the Old sun god, Amaunator).

    This means that one of the principle jobs of a Cleric in Faerun is to recruit worshippers for their faith. Worshippers, not priests, are the backbone of any deities powerbase - they must have them to maintain their power.


    I've recently encounted alot of atheists on our server, ordinarily this wouldn't be much of a problem in D&D, but in Faerun Aethists are practically unheard of. A faerunian human saying they didn't believe in the gods existence or power would be something akin to an American citizen stating they didn't believe that George Bush existed. Whether you hate him or love him, whether you mistrust him or adore him, you can't refute his existence because there is overwhelming evidence to indicate that he is real. Such is the case with the Gods in Faerunian and especially Mulhorandi society (the civilization immediately to the north east of Faerun, where Thay and several other regions are basically situated.)

    A more real, game-mechanic reason for not being an aethist, simply put if you don't believe in the Gods in Faerun you basically saying you want to play on Hard-core mode. No cleric should be willing to ever cast spells on you to assist you, and if you ultimately do die, your spirit gets whisked away to the Fugue plane and then shunted off to forever wander the grey wastes or gets suck in "the wall", none of these fates are pleasant, but they're all fates that await those who don't have a God looking out for them.

    Gods are ranked in power by two methods, their type of godhood and their divine rank. Divine rank ranges from 0 to 20, with the following classifications

    Over power - 21+ - These powers do not grant spells to Mortal followers, and in Faerun it is required of the over power, AO, for a new deity to be created.

    Greater power - 16-20 - The most powerful deities that mortals interact with. It's not uncommon for a Greater power to rule over other deities the way a King might rule over nobles. These powers have millions of worshippers.

    Intermediate power - 11-15 - Next down in the chain, these powers have hundreds of thoasands of worshippers.

    Lesser power - 6-10 - Lesser deities have tens of thoasands of followers and are usually quite hands on with their faithful, they can't really afford to have their flock placed in jeopardy as much as their more powerful counterparts can.

    Demi power - 1-5 - The weakest of the genuine deities, these powers have anywhere from a few hundred to a few thoasand devoted moral worshippers.

    Quasi/Hero power - 0 - a Divine rank of 0 is different than not having a divine rank. It's still a divine rank it's just ranked at 0. Mortals do not have a divine rank of 0, they have no divine rank at all. Those with a divine rank of 0 cannot grant spells, but are immortal and are usually still far superior to mortals in every way. Those who have a mortal and a divine parent (hercules, for example) fall into this category.


    That being said I present the following chart for those of you without it. The legend for the chart is as follows:

    An underlined name signifies a god that played an important role in the Gods war and it is highly recommended that anyone playing a worshipper, or especially a cleric of that power do as much research about their god as they can.

    Name - Power level - Worshippers - Divine Rank - Who they Serve - Favoured weapon

    Chauntea - Greater NG - Human/All - 19 - No-one - Scythe
    Mystra Greater NG - Human/All - 18 - None - Shurkien
    Tyr - Greater LG - Human/All - 18 - None - Longsword
    Silvanus - Greater N - Human/All - 18 - None - Maul
    Shar - Greater NE - All - 18 - None - Chakram
    Lathander - Greater NG - Human/All - 17 - None - Light or Heavy Mace
    Bane - Greater LE - Human/All - 17 - No-one - Black Cestus & Morningstaf
    Cyric - Greater CE - Human/All - 17 - No-one - Longsword
    Tempus - Greater CN - Human/All - 17 - None - Battleaxe
    Kossuth - Greater N - Human/All - 17 - None - Spiked Chain
    Oghma - Greater N - All - 16 - None - Longsword
    Talos - Greater CE - Human/All - 16 - None - Spear
    Kelemvor - Greater LN - Human/All - 16 - Allied to Mystra - Bastard sword
    Sune - Greater CG - Human/All - 16 - None - Whip
    Selune - Intermediate CG - All - 15 - None - Moon's Hand light mace
    Lolth - Intermediate CE - Drow - 15 - None - Dagger
    Tymora - Intermediate CG - Human/All - 14 - None - Shuriken
    Mielikki - Intermediate NG - Human/Half-elves - 13 - Silvanus - Scimitar
    Illmater - Intermediate LG - Human/All - 13 - Tyr - Unarmed Strike
    Gond - Intermediate N - Human/Gnome/All - 12 - Oghma - Warhammer
    Umberlee - Intermediate CE - Human/All - 12 - Trident
    Helm - Intermediate LN - Human/All - 11 - Allied to Torm - Bastard sword
    Azuth - Lesser LN - Human/All - 10 - Mystra - Quarterstaff
    Malar - Lesser CE - Human/All - 10 - Talos - Claw Bracer
    Mask - Lesser NE - Human/All - 10 - Bane - Longsword
    Torm - Lesser LG - Human/All - 8 - Tyr - Greatsword
    Waukeen - Lesser N - Humans/All - 7 - None - Nunchaku
    Eilistraee - Lesser CG - Drow/All - 7 - Allied to Mystra - Bastard sword
    Shaundakul - Lesser CN - Human/All - 6 - None - Greatsword
    Uthgar - Lesser CN - Barbarians - 6 - None - Battleaxe


    They're listed in ranking of most powerful to least powerful. These are the most commonly worshipped deities in the region. I'll add the rest of them soon. In the case of a tie I placed those who have larger portfolios and those who have servitor deities above those who do not simply because they make them more powerful.

    Tyr, for example, has Torm and Illmater as his servitors. The Three of them are more than a match for any other deity of his ranking.


    In the next posting I'll expand on the powers of the deities and explain why people are so worried every time someone says Shar, or why breaking the Law in the presence of a priest of Tyr is such a bad idea.


    I promised earlier that I’d explain why it’s bad mojo to say “Shar” and why people freak out on you when you do…

    Any deity of Divine rank 1 or higher can perceive everything within a radius of one mile per rank around any of its worshippers, holy sites or other objects or locales sacred to the deity. This supernatural effect can also be centered on any place where someone Speaks the deity’s name or title for up to 1 hour after the name is spoken, and at any location when an event related to the deity’s portfolio occurs.

    This remote sensing can cross planes and penetrate any barrier except a divinely erected shield, or an area otherwise blocked by a deity of equal or higher rank.

    For example: Temples of Mystra were typically built on top of Dead-magic zones, thus preventing anyone but Mystrans’ (who enjoy immunity to dead and wild magic zones, simply for being Mystra’s faithful) from scrying or even casting magic on that location – including gods.

    A deity can extend its senses two or more remote locations at once depending on its divine rank:

    1-5 – 2
    6-10 – 5
    11-15 – 10
    16-20 – 20

    As a standard action a deity of rank 1 or higher can block the sensing ability of other deities of its rank or lower. This power extends for a radius of one mile per rank of the deity, or within the same distance around a temple or other locale sacred to the deity. The deity can block two remote locations at once, plus the area within one mile of itself; the blockage lasts 1 hour per divine rank.

    I also promised that I’d explain why it’s a bad idea to break the law in the presence of a Priest of Tyr…

    Deities have what is called Portfolio sense, he’s how it works:

    Every deity of rank 1 or higher has at least limited knowledge and control over some aspect of mortal existence. A deity’s connection to its portfolio gives it a number of powers depending on their strength:

    Demigods have a limited ability to sense any event that involves their portfolios. They automatically sense any event that involves one thousand people or more. This ability is limited to the present.

    Lesser gods can automatically sense any event that affects five hundred or more people and is related to their portfolio.
    Intermediate gods sense any event that involves their portfolios, regardless of the number of people involved. In addition, their senses extend one week into the past for every divine rank they possess.

    Greater powers automatically sense any event that involves their portfolio, regardless of the number of people involved. In addition their senses extend one week into the past and future for very divine rank they possess.

    …That means every time you commit an injustice, Tyr senses that act 18 weeks before you even do it…Big brother is watching.

    When a deity senses an event it merely knows that the event is going on and where it is. The deity receives no sensory information about the event unless they extend their senses to the location.

    Here are some more Deities and their statistical information:

    Corellon Larethian – Greater CG – Elves – 19 – None – Longsword
    Garl Glittergold – Greater NG – Gnomes – 18 – None – Battleaxe
    Gruumsh – Greater CE – Orcs/Half-orcs – 16 – None – Spear
    Moradin – Greater LG – Dwarves – 19 – None – Warhammer
    Yondalla – Greater LG – Halflings – 18 – None – Shortsword
    Horus-Re (Ra/Re-Horakhty) – Greater LG – Mulhorandi/Human – 19 – None – Kopesh
    Anubis – Lesser LN – Mulhorandi/Human – 6 – Osiris – Mace
    Isis – Greater NG – Mulhorandi/Human – 17 – Horus-Re – Quarterstaff
    Osiris – Greater LG – Mulhorandi/Human – 18 – None – Light or Heavy Flail
    Set – Greater CE – Mulhorandi/Human – 16 – None – Spear

    So for those of keeping score, Chauntea, Corellon Larethian, Moradin, and Horus-Re are the most powerful deities on Faerun; all divine rank 19. Corellon and Moradin, however, gain much of their strength from the fact that they are worshipped (like Lolth and Gruumsh) in other multi-verses, on other planes and in other crystal spheres. These names are spoken and prayed to on Oerth (Greyhawk), and numerous other worlds as well.

    Of note, however, is that birth rates for the dwarves and elves on Faerun have been in a terribly decline for many years… this means fewer and fewer are being born to replace those who die. It’s also worth noting that even though they are higher divine rank than, say Mystra or Shar, those particular deities control over the Weave (or shadow weave) make them far, far more potent. If Moradin wanted to attack and kill Mystra, he wouldn’t be able to use any magic, for example, because Mystra can’t be affected by any spells or magic unless she wants to be.

    Give it a look over if you would. Its a great guide to how dieites work, thier power realitive to the realms, the reason why one of the top priorities for every cleric is getting converts, and other such things.