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the GODS

Deities
Deities are the most powerful immortal creatures, residents of the countless dominions that swirl through the Astral Sea. They appear in dreams and visions to their followers and wear countless different faces, and artwork depicting them shows them in a variety of forms. Their true nature is beyond any physical form. Corellon is often depicted as an eladrin, but he is no more an eladrin than he is a fey panther—he is a god, and he transcends the physical laws that bind even angels to their concrete forms. Some deities are good or lawful good, some are evil or chaotic evil, and some are unaligned. Each deity has a vision of how the world should be, and the agents of the deities seek to bring that vision to life in the world. Except for the chaotic evil gods (Gruumsh and Lolth), all deities are enemies of the demons, which would rather destroy the world than govern it. Most people revere more than one deity, praying to different gods at different times. Commoners in a small town might visit a temple that has three altars, where they pray to Bahamut for protection, Pelor for fertile crops, and Moradin to aid their skill at crafting. Clerics and paladins more often serve a single deity, championing that god’s particular cause in the world. Other adventurers range across the spectrum, from paying lip service to the whole pantheon, to fervently serving a single god, to ignoring the gods entirely as they pursue their own divine ascension. Many deities have contradictory versions of how the world should work. Even the agents and worshipers of deities who share an alignment can come into conflict.

The deities of the D&D world are powerful but not omnipotent, knowledgeable but not omniscient, widely traveled but not omnipresent. They alone of all creatures in the universe consist only of astral essence. The gods are creatures of thought and ideal, not bound by the same limitations as beings of flesh.
Because of their astral nature, the gods can perform deeds that physical creatures can’t. They can appear in the minds of other creatures, speaking to them in dreams or visions, without being present in physical form. They can appear in multiple places at once. They can listen to the prayers of their followers (but they don’t always). But they can also make physical forms for themselves with a moment’s effort, and they do when the need arises—when presumptuous epic-level mortal adventurers dare to challenge them in their own dominions, for example. In these forms, they can fight and be fought, and they can suffer terrible consequences as a result. However, to destroy a god requires more than merely striking its physical form down with spell or sword. Gods have killed other gods (Asmodeus being the first to do so), and the primordials killed many gods during their great war. For a mortal to accomplish this deed would require rituals of awesome power to bind a god to its physical form—and then a truly epic battle to defeat that form.

Good/Unaligned deities
  • Avandra - Good Goddess of Change, Luck and Travel, Patron of Halflings
  • Bahamut - Lawful Good God of Justice Protection and Nobility. Patron of Dragonborn
  • Corellon - Unaligned God of Beauty, Art, Magic and the Fey. Seasonal God of the Spring and Patron of Eladrin
  • Erathis - Unaligned Goddess of Civilization, Inventions and Law
  • Ioun - Unaligned Goddess of Knowledge, Skill and Prophecy
  • Kord - Unaligned God of Storms, Battle and Strength
  • Melora - Unaligned Goddess of Wilderness, Nature and the Sea
  • Moradin - Lawful Good God of Family, Community and Creation (As in smithing). Patron of Dwarves
  • Pelor - Good God of Sun, Agriculture and Time. Seasonal God of Summer
  • Raven Queen - Unaligned Goddess of Death, Fate and Doom. Seasonal Goddess of Winter.
  • Sehanine - Unaligned Goddess of Illusion, Love and the Moon. Seasonal God of Autumn and Patron of Elves
  • St. Cuthbert - Lawful Good God of Wisdom, Dedication, and Zeal.
Evil deities
  • Asmodeus - Evil God of Tyranny and Domination. Lord of Devils
  • Bane - Evil God of War and Conquest. Revered by Goblins
  • Gruumsh - Chaotic Evil God of Slaughter and Destruction. Patron of Orcs
  • Lolth - Chaotic Evil Goddess of Shadow and Lies. Patron of Drow and their inseparable companions, the spiders
    • Kiaransalee (lesser Drow deity of slavery, undead, and vengeance)
  • Tenebrous - Chaotic Evil Elder God, consumed with death.
  • Tharizdun - The Elder Elemental Eye, creator of the Abyss
  • Tiamat - Evil Goddess of Greed and Envy. Patron of the Chromatic Dragons
  • Torog - Evil God of the Underdark. Patron of Jailors and Torturers
  • Vecna - Evil God of the Undead and Necromancy. Lord of Secrets
  • Zehir - Evil God of Darkness and Poison. Favoured Deity of the Yuan-Ti and Patron of Assassins
Deceased/Former deities
    • Amoth - God of Justice and Mercy. Killed by the demon princes Orcus, Demogorgon and Rimmon.
    • Maglubiyet - God of Goblinoids. Defeated by Bane.
    • Nerull - God of Death and the Dead. Killed by The Raven Queen.
  • Tuern - God of War. Killed by Bane.
  • Orcus - Demon Prince.  Killed by Kiaransalee (lesser Drow deity of slavery, undead, and vengeance)

The most powerful servants of the gods are their exarchs. Some exarchs are angels whose faithful service has earned them this exalted status. Others were once mortal servants who won the station through their mighty deeds. Asmodeus has devils as exarchs, and both Bahamut and Tiamat have granted that status to powerful dragons. Every exarch is a unique example of its kind, empowered with capabilities far beyond those of other angels, mortals, or monsters.

Evil and Chaotic Evil Deities
A person can worship an evil or a chaotic evil deity without being of the same alignment, but that’s walking a fine line. The commandments of these deities exhort their followers to pursue evil ends or commit destructive deeds.

Malign Gods
The good, lawful good, and unaligned gods are described in the Player’s Handbook. The evil and chaotic evil gods aren’t detailed there, because the game assumes that player characters view these gods and their servants as enemies. The villains in your campaign, though, can be servants of these malign gods.

Divine Evil
Evil and chaotic evil deities have clerics and paladins just as other gods do. However, the powers of those classes, as presented in the Player’s Handbook, are strongly slanted toward good and lawful good characters. Players might find it jarring to fight a paladin of Zehir whose weapon erupts with radiant light. You can alter the nature of powers without changing their basic effects, making them feel more appropriate for the servants of evil gods: changing the damage type of a prayer, for instance, so that evil clerics and paladins deal necrotic damage instead of radiant damage. When a prayer would blind its target with holy light, it might instead shroud a character’s eyes with clinging darkness. Holy fire consuming a foe with ongoing fire damage might become a coating of acidic slime that eats away at the flesh, or a purple hellfire with identical effects.


Avandra
Good
The god of change, Avandra delights in freedom, trade, travel, adventure, and the frontier. Her temples are few in civilized lands, but her wayside shrines appear throughout the world. Halflings, merchants, and all types of adventurers are drawn to her worship, and many people raise a glass in her honor, viewing her as the god of luck. Her commandments are few:
  • Luck favors the bold. Take your fate into your own hands, and Avandra smiles upon you.
  • Strike back against those who would rob you of your freedom and urge others to fight for their own liberty.
  • Change is inevitable, but it takes the work of the faithful to ensure that change is for the better.
Bahamut
Lawful Good
Called the Platinum Dragon, Bahamut is the god of justice, protection, nobility, and honor. Lawful good paladins often revere him, and metallic dragons worship him as the first of their kind. Monarchs are crowned in his name. He commands his followers thus:
  • Uphold the highest ideals of honor and justice.
  • Be constantly vigilant against evil and oppose it on all fronts.
  • Protect the weak, liberate the oppressed, and defend just order.
Corellon
Unaligned
The god of spring, beauty, and the arts, Corellon is the patron of arcane magic and the fey. He seeded the world with arcane magic and planted the most ancient forests. Artists and musicians worship him, as do those who view their spellcasting as an art, and his shrines can be found throughout the Feywild. He despises Lolth and her priestesses for leading the drow astray. He urges his followers thus:
  • Cultivate beauty in all that you do, whether you’re casting a spell, composing a saga, strumming a lute, or practicing the arts of war.
  • Seek out lost magic items, forgotten rituals, and ancient works of art. Corellon might have inspired them in the world’s first days.
  • Thwart the followers of Lolth at every opportunity.
Erathis
Unaligned
Erathis is the god of civilization. She is the muse of great invention, founder of cities, and author of laws. Rulers, judges, pioneers, and devoted citizens revere her, and her temples hold prominent places in most of the world’s major cities. Her laws are many, but their purpose is straightforward:
  • Work with others to achieve your goals. Community and order are always stronger than the disjointed efforts of lone individuals.
  • Tame the wilderness to make it fit for habitation, and defend the light of civilization against the encroaching darkness.
  • Seek out new ideas, new inventions, new lands to inhabit, new wilderness to conquer. Build machines, build cities, build empires.
Ioun
Unaligned
Ioun is the god of knowledge, skill, and prophecy. Sages, seers, and tacticians revere her, as do all who live by their knowledge and mental power. Corellon is the patron of arcane magic, but Ioun is the patron of its study. Libraries and wizard academies are built in her name. Her commands are also teachings:
  • Seek the perfection of your mind by bringing reason, perception, and emotion into balance with one another.
  • Accumulate, preserve, and distribute knowledge in all forms. Pursue education, build libraries, and seek out lost and ancient lore.
  • Be watchful at all times for the followers of Vecna, who seek to control knowledge and keep secrets. Oppose their schemes, unmask their secrets, and blind them with the light of truth and reason.
Kord
Unaligned
Kord is the storm god and the lord of battle. He revels in strength, battlefield prowess, and thunder. Fighters and athletes revere him. He is a mercurial god, unbridled and wild, who summons storms over land and sea; those who hope for better weather appease him with prayers and spirited toasts. He gives few commands:
  • Be strong, but do not use your strength for wanton destruction.
  • Be brave and scorn cowardice in any form.
  • Prove your might in battle to win glory and renown.
Melora
Unaligned
Melora is the god of the wilderness and the sea. She is both the wild beast and the peaceful forest, the raging whirlpool and the quiet desert. Rangers, hunters, and elves revere her, and sailors make offerings to her before beginning their voyages. Her strictures are these:
  • Protect the wild places of the world from destruction and overuse. Oppose the rampant spread of cities and empires.
  • Hunt aberrant monsters and other abominations of nature.
  • Do not fear or condemn the savagery of nature. Live in harmony with the wild.
Moradin
Lawful Good
Moradin is the god of creation and patron of artisans, especially miners and smiths. He carved the mountains from primordial earth and is the guardian and protector of the hearth and the family. Dwarves from all walks of life follow him. He demands these behaviors of his followers:
  • Meet adversity with stoicism and tenacity.
  • Demonstrate loyalty to your family, your clan, your leaders, and your people.
  • Strive to make a mark on the world, a lasting legacy. To make something that lasts is the highest good, whether you are a smith working at a forge or a ruler building a dynasty.
Pelor
Good
God of the sun and summer, Pelor is the keeper of time. He supports those in need and opposes all that is evil. As the lord of agriculture and the bountiful harvest, he is the deity most commonly worshiped by ordinary humans, and his priests are well received wherever they go. Paladins and rangers are found among his worshipers. He directs his followers thus:
  • Alleviate suffering wherever you find it.
  • Bring Pelor’s light into places of darkness, showing kindness, mercy, and compassion.
  • Be watchful against evil.
The Raven Queen
Unaligned
The name of the god of death is long forgotten, but she is called the Raven Queen. She is the spinner of fate and the patron of winter. She marks the end of each mortal life, and mourners call upon her during funeral rites, in the hope that she will guard the departed from the curse of undeath. She expects her followers to abide by these commandments:
  • Hold no pity for those who suffer and die, for death is the natural end of life.
  • Bring down the proud who try to cast off the chains of fate. As the instrument of the Raven Queen, you must punish hubris where you find it.
  • Watch for the cults of Orcus and stamp them out whenever they arise. The Demon Prince of the Undead seeks to claim the Raven Queen’s throne.
Sehanine
Unaligned
God of the moon and autumn, Sehanine is the patron of trickery and illusions. She has close ties to Corellon and Melora and is a favorite deity among elves and halflings. She is also the god of love, who sends shadows to cloak lovers’ trysts. Scouts and thieves ask for her blessing on their work. Her teachings are simple:
  • Follow your goals and seek your own destiny.
  • Keep to the shadows, avoiding the blazing light of zealous good and the utter darkness of evil.
  • Seek new horizons and new experiences, and let nothing tie you down.

St. Cuthbert
Lawful Good

Rumored to have once been a mortal man, Saint Cuthbert is the combative deity of Wisdom, Dedication, Zeal, and Retribution. He is known as St. Cuthbert of the Cudgel. St. Cuthbert exacts revenge and just punishment on those who transgress the law. He is allied with Pelor and is the favored god among those who appreciate the god's uncompromising nature. Saint Cuthbert's churches can be large cathedrals, but most commonly are wayside shrines and small, rude chapels. The domains associated with St. Cuthbert are Destruction, Justice, Protection and Strength.

Saint Cuthbert's priesthood is divided into three major orders.

  • The Chapeaux, whose symbol is a crumpled hat, seek to convert people into their faith. They are equally divided between lawful good and unaligned characters. Paladins of Saint Cuthbert, known as Votaries or Communicants, have an honorary position in the Order of the Chapeaux. Their role is not just to convert others, but to actually fight enemies of the faith.
  • The Stars, whose symbol is a starburst, seek to enforce doctrinal purity among those already dedicated to the saint. Most are unaligned, and they do not shy from using mind-reading magic in order to ensure that even the private thoughts of their flock are pure.
  • The Billets are the most numerous of Saint Cuthbert's clergy. Most are lawful good, and they seek to minister to and protect the faithful. These are well-beloved by the common folk. Their symbol is a wooden club. The Chapeaux often come into conflict with the Billets, because the former order wants to seek new converts while the latter wants to care for the worshipers they already have.

There are a few lesser-known orders of St. Cuthbert.

  • L'Ordre de la Croix-Rose Veritas, or the Order of the Rosy Cross of Truth, was founded  by Ormus, a former priest of Pelor only just converted to Saint Cuthbert's faith himself. When Ormus discovered an evil warlord had been corrupted by a yoma in disguise, he founded the new order in order to track down other devils living among mortals in disguise. The order has three branches: La Croix-Vert, La Croix-Blanc, and La Croix-Bleu.
  • The Society of the Sanctified Mind focuses on ridding the world of evil psionicists. It was founded by a cleric of Saint Cuthbert named Sir Jeremy Costineux, after his home village was enslaved by illithids. This society is a knightly order rather than a strictly religious one, and people of a wide variety of classes belong to it.

Asmodeus
Asmodeus is the evil god of tyranny and domination. He rules the Nine Hells with an iron fist and a silver tongue. Aside from devils, evil creatures such as rakshasas pay him homage, and evil tieflings and warlocks are drawn to his dark cults. His rules are strict and his punishments harsh:
  • Seek power over others, that you might rule with strength as the Lord of Hell does.
  • Repay evil with evil. If others are kind to you, exploit their weakness for your own gain.
  • Show neither pity nor mercy to those who are caught underfoot as you climb your way to power. The weak do not deserve compassion.
Bane
Bane is the evil god of war and conquest. Militaristic nations of humans and goblins serve him and conquer in his name. Evil fighters and paladins serve him. He commands his worshipers to:
  • Never allow your fear to gain mastery over you, but drive it into the hearts of your foes.
  • Punish insubordination and disorder.
  • Hone your combat skills to perfection, whether you are a mighty general or a lone mercenary.
Gruumsh
Gruumsh is the chaotic evil god of destruction, lord of marauding barbarian hordes. Where Bane commands conquest, Gruumsh exhorts his followers to slaughter and pillage. Orcs are his fervent followers, and they bear a particular hatred for elves and eladrin because Corellon put out one of Gruumsh’s eyes. The One-Eyed God gives simple orders to his followers:
  • Conquer and destroy.
  • Let your strength crush the weak.
  • Do as you will, and let no one stop you.
Lolth
Lolth is the chaotic evil god of shadow, lies, and spiders. Scheming and treachery are her commands, and her priests are a constant force of disruption in the otherwise stable society of the evil drow. Though she is properly a god and not a demon, she is called Demon Queen of Spiders. She demands that her followers:
  • Do whatever it takes to gain and hold power.
  • Rely on stealth and slander in preference to outright confrontation.
  • Seek the death of elves and eladrin at every opportunity.
Tenebrous
The Shadow That Was. The cults of Tenebrous are mainly composed of twisted creatures with a morbid fascination with the undead, such as necromancers, as well as creatures deliberately seeking the path to undeath, such as would-be liches and vampires. They often wear macabre costumes decorated with bones and skulls. Promise your soul to Tenebrous, eat of his flesh and drink of his blood, and through him you will gain life everlasting. Mercy is a luxury that none are worthy of; suffering and torment are the fuel that will empower Tenebrous' ascent. The worshippers of Tenebrous will overwhelm the world in a tide of undeath, and even the gods will perish. His followers relish in:.

  • Promote necromancy, pain, torture, undeath and the destruction of all that is good.
  • Don the red, black and bone vestiments to pray at midnight for your spells
  • Revel in the vile rituals of the Unhallowing where you will sacrifice a paladin to Tenebrous, creating a self-loathing undead creature from the remains.
Tharizdun
Tharizdun is the chaotic evil god who created the Abyss. He is not mentioned in the Player’s Handbook or named in the Monster Manual, because the fact of his existence is not widely known. A few scattered cults of demented followers revere him, calling him the Chained God or the Elder Elemental Eye. Tharizdun doesn’t speak to his followers, so his commands are unknown, but his cults teach their members to:
  • Channel power to the Chained God, so he can break his chains.
  • Retrieve lost relics and shrines to the Chained God.
  • Pursue the obliteration of the world, in anticipation of the Chained God’s liberation.
Tiamat
Tiamat is the evil god of wealth, greed, and envy. She is the patron of chromatic dragons and those whose lust for wealth overrides any other goal or concern. She commands her followers to:
  • Hoard wealth, acquiring much and spending little. Wealth is its own reward.
  • Forgive no slight and leave no wrong unpunished.
  • Take what you desire from others. Those who lack the strength to defend their possessions are not worthy to own them.
Torog
Torog is the evil god of the Underdark, patron of jailers and torturers. Common superstition holds that if his name is spoken, the King that Crawls burrows up from below and drags the hapless speaker underground to an eternity of imprisonment and torture. Jailers and torturers pray to him in deep caves and cellars, and creatures of the Underdark revere him as well. He teaches his worshipers to:
  • Seek out and revere the deep places beneath the earth.
  • Delight in the giving of pain, and consider pain you receive as homage to Torog.
  • Bind tightly what is in your charge, and restrain those who wander free.
Vecna
Vecna is the evil god of undead, necromancy, and secrets. He rules that which is not meant to be known and that which people wish to keep secret. Evil spellcasters and conspirators pay him homage. He commands them to:
  • Never reveal all you know.
  • Find the seed of darkness in your heart and nourish it; find it in others and exploit it to your advantage.
  • Oppose the followers of all other deities so that Vecna alone can rule the world.
Zehir
Zehir is the evil god of darkness, poison, and assassins. Snakes are his favored creation, and the yuan-ti revere him above all other gods, offering sacrifice to him in pits full of writhing serpents. He urges his followers to:
  • Hide under the cloak of night, that your deeds might be kept in secret.
  • Kill in Zehir’s name and offer each murder as a sacrifice.
  • Delight in poison, and surround yourself with snakes.



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