The Role of the Gods
Gods play a significant role in the world. The Dungeon Master’s Guide lists “gods are distant” as one of the assumptions about the game world. I have decided to change this. Gods are not some sort of shapeless, undefined astral being. They are very defined. They have personalities and faults. They sometimes squabble amongst themselves. Each god’s powers are defined not by some astral energy, but by their possessions and their mortal followers. Some gods fight over the same domain, some share them, and some represent different parts of that domain.
The gods may not constantly interfere in the world, but they do so often. Sometimes it is indirectly, such as creating an artifact or granting a certain prayer. Some gods choose mortals to carry out their will and grant those mortals unique powers. On some occasions, gods will sent a representative down, and when times are truly dire, they visit the earth themselves. Most gods have some sort of form they prefer. While exarchs and aspects are by no means common, they are not unheard of.
Mortal followers of the gods acknowledge the whole pantheon, but almost always choose one god as their patron. Each god’s church makes up a powerful organization, though some are less interconnected than others.
- Asmodeus: Evil god of tyranny and domination. Asmodeus is a cruel and manipulative deity. He rules over Baator, the nine hells, and devils follow him. He commands his followers to take, hold, and use power. Asmodeus’s church is not tolerated in many places, but it is there nonetheless. They often pay off local lords to “overlook” their prescence, and remain in contact with one another, though attitudes between different temples are tense. Each temple remains focused on the area around them, attempting to gain power and influence. Asmodeus is a cunning deity, and remains fairly neutral with many of the gods. He has some agreements with Kelemvor, and maintains an alliance of convenience with Zehir.
- Avandra: Good goddess of freedom, travel, and wind. Avandra is the patron of travelers and merchants, and well-liked by common people. Avandra has a habit of taking mortal form much more often than other deities. She tells her followers to seize the moment, and that luck favors the bold. Avandra’s temples can be found in most civilized areas. Different temples rarely stay in contact with each other. Her temples often provide travelers with a safe place to stay, and some wealthier temples pay and feed the needy to work jobs for the community. She has cordial relations with many of the gods, especially Lathander and Sehanine.
- Bahamut: Lawful good god of honor, nobility, and good dragonkin. Bahamut commands all his followers to protect the weak, free the oppressed, and defend order. Kings are often crowned in his name and good dragonkin revere him. Bahamut’s temples are typically found in larger towns. His church is well ordered, and there is a hierarchy present that gives larger temples command over smaller ones. Many larger temples are the homes of knightly orders. In vulnerable areas or where people need protection, Bahamut’s followers are there, even if his temples are not. However, the pomp and aristocracy of his church make some disrespect it as condescending, even if they still respect the Platinum Dragon. Bahamut is the worst enemy of Tiamat, his sister. He is respected by the rest of his gods, but tends to keep his distance.
- Bane: Evil god of conquest, oppression, and war. Bane represents the darker half of civilization. He commands his followers to take what they want and punish insorbordination. However, Bane is often worshipped as a god of organization and discipline. Bane’s church is found often in civilized lands. It is very powerful, and many towns simply cannot resist and would rather have its protection than its sword at their throat. However, they tend to stick with smaller towns and villages. Bane’s temples contain soldiers and sometimes military orders. Bane is a popular deity among soldiers and generals, and many of his temples emphasize his discipline rather than his other aspects. He stays away from the other gods. He looks down upon Tempus, who he sees as disorderly and opposes him for the war domain. He loathes Bahamut, whose followers oppose him. However, he maintains grudging respect for Tyr, as together they make up the two gods of civilization.
- Corellon: Unaligned god of art, arcana, and the fey. Corellon resides in the Feywild and rules over it. He commands his worshippers to cultivate beauty in all that they do. The eladrin worship him all year round, and during the spring, he becomes their single deity and his clergy rule in the Court of Leaves. Corellon’s church is often found in the Feywild, in areas which overlap with it, or in cultural centers. It is unorganized and has little or no communication within itself. Temples of Corellon sponsor artists and musicians, and teach the bardic and arcane arts to those with talent. Priests are often trained in the arts, and they often hold festivals of music, dancing, and theater. Corellon is allied with Sehanine. He has a long standing hatred of Gruumsh and Lolth.
- Gruumsh: Chaotic evil god of destruction and savagery. Gruumsh is the lord of barbarians and god of destruction, savagery, and desolation. He is the patron of orcs. He commands his followers to do as they wish and seek the destruction of civilization. Gruumsh has no temples, but his priests are often at the head of orc tribes. Though his church is not organized, once in a lifetime to they cooperate and assemble, with sometimes disastrous results for civilization. Gruumsh thoroughly hates just about all the other gods. The exceptions are Kord and Bane, who he sees as worthy foes.
- Ioun: Unaligned god of knowledge and destiny. Ioun is the goddess of education, magic, time, knowledge, and prophecy. She is the patron of mages, scholars, and sages. She tells her followers to bring reason, perception, and emotion into balance with one another. Ioun’s church is found in urbanized areas. Temples communicate heavily with one another, sharing knowledge. Ioun’s temples often function as schools or libraries, and schools or libraries are often run by or contain a temple of Ioun. Ioun’s church teaches all who wish to learn how to read and write. Her greatest enemy is Vecna, who seeks to use knowledge for ill. She is allied to Tyr and Kelemvor.
- Kelemvor: Unaligned god of death, justice, and winter. 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. In some towns, Kelemvor’s temples serve as courthouses, and orders dedicated to Kelemvor hunt down powerful undead. The organization known as the Ebon Fist hunts down and destroys undead in his name.