The 5E Forgotten Realms Pantheon
I was asked to start a separate thread on this, so ok. From what we’ve heard all of the gods will be coming back in 5E. If that happens then that’s going to create a bit of a mess as some of those dead gods have portfolios which are now owned by other gods. Will they be assumed to share that portfolio, or will the old rules still be in force and will gods only be able to share portfolios so long as at least one of them is a Demigod/Exarch? So because I just like making lists (What? I find typing to be a relaxing exercise), I thought I’d comb through the Forgotten Realms deity list as best as I could and make adjustments here and there to some gods in order to make the whole pantheon fit together.
Note: This is done with the assumption that the previous godly rank system (Greater God, God, Exarch), will still be in place as well as the godly dominions (I personally prefer Exarch over Demigod as I wouldn’t mind seeing the occasional classical mythological style Demigod appear).
Amaunator (Greater God)
Portfolios: Bureaucracy, Civilization, Contracts, Law, the Midday Sun, Order, Rulership
Lathander (Greater God)
Portfolios: Athletics, Birth, Creativity, Dawn, Renewal, Self-Perfection, Spring, Vitality, Youth
Myrkul (Greater God)
Portfolios: Autumn, Corruption, Decay, Dusk, Exhaustion, Old Age, Parasites, Undeath, Wasting
Amaunator shifts to Lawful Neutral, gains the Civilization portfolio, and his Sun Portfolio shifts to the Midday Sun. Lathander returns exactly as he was. Myrkul regains Autumn from Mielikki, all of his old unused portfolios, as well as Undeath.
All three are sun gods, but they represent different facets of the sun given their respective portfolios (Dawn, Midday, Dusk), not to mention the rest of their portfolios. Lathander is the god of birth, of new beginnings, of constant change. His role is to encourage creation, but will eventually abandon one of his creations in favor of something new. He’s the rising sun and so must always rise. Amaunator is the god of order, constancy, and the status quo. He’ll take that which Lathander creates and preserve it, keeping it forever the same, never changing. He’s the sun fixed at its highest point in the sky, unmoving, unchanging. Myrkul, however, is the god of decay and corruption. What Amaunator preserves he’ll want to tear down. He’s the setting sun, and as such Myrkul wants to see that things always come to an end, preferably a destructive one. All three feed off each other. Lathander creates, Amaunator protects, and Myrkul destroys, as Lathander looks to the ruins of what Myrkul’s destroyed and from there begins anew. That, I think, would be a new and interesting take on the concept of the Sun God.
Potential Servants of Myrkul
I imagine Myrkul building himself a new Bone Castle out in the Astral Sea. He may no longer be the God of Death but he would still be a terrifying figure. He could share that domain with several other gods.
Portfolios: Intrigue, Shadows, Thievery, Thieves
Portfolios: Assassination, Assassins, Blood, Poison, Violence
Portfolios: Corruption, Decay, Rot, Rotting Death
Mask, upon his return to life, should regain the portfolio of Intrigue from Cyric. Assuming Gods still have to shelter in the domains of Greater Gods, staying with Myrkul is as good a place as any. One could see Myrkul allowing Mask free reign and not really being a threat to him (At least not how Cyric or Shar would be a threat to him), as Myrkul would probably find Mask’s activities amusing.
Bhaal can lay claim to the portfolio of Poison from Sseth, Zehir, Talona, or whomever else has it. Add in Assassination, Blood, and Violence, and he could come back as the god of assassins. Murder and Death would be nice for him, but they’re better off in the hands of Cyric and Kelemvor, so Bhaal can make do with the lesser portfolio of Assassination, which has a narrower focus than the more encompassing portfolio of Murder. Of course he could have both if he was an Exarch, but I personally believe that a more powerful Bhaal, one who’s closer to being on an even keel with both Bane and Myrkul without quite being there, is a better idea. In any case, I sincerely hope that the rumors are true and that all of the gods come back, because I’m eager to see the Dead Three together again. There’s so much regarding their mortal history which has yet to be explored, and I hope that the return of both Myrkul and Bhaal will serve as an impetus to the Realms development team to expand on that history some more (And yep, I read that recent Dragon, or was it Dungeon, article which shed some more light on their mortal lives).
As for Moander, as an Exarch he can share the portfolios of Corruption and Decay with Myrkul, while still maintaining his separate portfolios of Rot and Rotting Death. There’s no great need for him to be anything more than an Exarch, though. Though if he were to be a God than the portfolio of Rot alone would more than suffice for him.
Mystra (Greater God)
Portfolios: Magic, the Weave
Portfolios: Mages, Spellcasters, Wizards
Portfolios: Divination, Fate, Truth
No surprises here save for Mystra’s alignment change, although my hope is that it’s the Midnight personality which is resurrected, if for no other reason than my distaste for the way she was killed. I strongly dislike the idea of Midnight being murdered by essentially what was her stalker. It’s way too much like a Lifetime movie, and a disgraceful end for her, so I’d like to see Midnight come back from that. She could change alignment to Lawful Neutral afterwards, but I’d prefer it if it were Midnight.
Portfolios: Deception, Illusion, Mist
She gets Deception and Illusion back from Cyric, and regains the unused portfolio of Mist. The only question is where does she go? One potential home for her is in a rebuilt Dweomerheart with the above three. Illusion is one of the schools of magic, after all, so she’d be right at home alongside gods like Savras and Velsharoon. Alternatively, she could make her home in Myrkul’s domain along with Mask. Or maybe nobody really knows where she is? Maybe some believe she keeps a domain in Dweomerheart, and others believe that a portion of Myrkul’s domain (a remade Bone Castle or whatever you want to call it) is reserved for Leira’s use? Or maybe she’s hiding in Cyric’s domain of the Supreme Throne, invisible even to his eyes?
Portfolios: Necromancy, the Undead, Undeath
Like Leira, he could stay either in Dweomerheart or make a home with Myrkul.
THE SUPREME THRONE
Cyric (Greater God)
Portfolios: Lies, Murder, Strife
He’s lost quite a few portfolios since the heady days of the 2nd edition Forgotten Realms immediately after the Time of Troubles, but I think Cyric could stand to lose more. He’ll be just fine without the portfolios of Deception, Illusion, and Intrigue. All that matters is that he keeps the portfolios which most define the sort of god which he is, and Lies, Murder, and Strife more than adequately serve to define him, as well as grant him more than enough power to still be a powerful god. He draws power every time someone on Faerun lies, commits murder, or whenever there’s any strife. He’ll be more than alright with just those three portfolios.
Torm (Greater God)
Portfolios: Duty, Honor, Justice
Portfolios: Endurance, Martyrdom, Perseverance, Suffering
Portfolios: Courage, Trust, Wind, Wisdom
This is The Triad. Torm maintains Duty, one of his original portfolios, as well as Justice, the portfolio which he inherited from Tyr and which makes him a Greater God. I added Honor because it just makes sense, nevermind that reciting the words “Duty, Honor, and Justice” is completely fitting to the character of Torm.
Ilmater stays the same, whereas Bahamut has some differences. God of Good Dragons is pretty boring. Wisdom is great but it was the only good portfolio which he had so I thought it’d be nice if he also picked up Courage and Trust. That, in my view, makes up a very interesting Triad, the chivalrous knight leading the way, with the blessed martyr at one side and the ancient wise man at the other.
As for Bahamut, a strong following amongst Dragonborn would be nice. Gods can appear however they like, so why not have Bahamut take on different appearances to different worshippers? He could be a human in platinum armor to his human worshippers, a Dragonborn to his Dragonborn worshippers, a dragon to his dragon worshippers, and an Air Genasi (Given his association with wind) to his Genasi worshippers.
Portfolios: Loyalty, Obedience, Protection
I think it’d be a good idea for Helm to pick up Torm’s old portfolios of Loyalty and Obedience. Helm’s always been the most faithful of servants, anyway, so why not? And they make for more interesting Portfolios than simply Guardians and Protectors, which seem redundant.
Portfolios: Judgment, Law, Truth
I’ve argued this before and I’ll argue it again: Tyr’s always seemed like a god who should be in semiretirement and has always preferred to fulfill a much narrower role than that which is demanded of a Greater God. He’s more the god of the courts of law and criminal justice than he is the god of adventuring heroes. He could work as a rank higher, but the portfolio of Law is taken by Amaunator. His role should be in promoting a system of laws and fair and just systems of criminal justice, so given a role like that, he doesn’t really need to be more than an Exarch, which will allow him access to portfolios which other gods possess. That and as a god in semiretirement he could play a role to Torm similar to the role which Jergal serves with Kelemvor, that of the aged advisor.
Portfolios: Nobility, Nobles, Rightful Rule of Nobility
Portfolios: Good Beasts, Lions and Feline Beasts, Royalty
I think it’d be a good idea to put Siamorphe back in with the Triad. Simply put? Celestia’s a sausage fest. :P Seriously, though, the issues that drove Siamorphe to leave could be smoothed over and she could come back. If Amaunator needs a roommate then he could always bunk with Lathander. As for Nobanion, while he’s a god of intelligent beasts, he’s also a god of royalty. I think he’d fit in Celestia.
That raises a possibility, though. It was mentioned elsewhere that a female Paladin god would be a good idea, so maybe introducing one would be a good idea, even if she’s only an Exarch? There are two possibilities. 1) She’s a mortal who discovered the location of Chalsembyr. As a result she was elevated to godhood by Torm. 2) She’s the daughter of Torm and the Red Knight.
Bane and all the rest could stay the same save for the following differences.
She loses the portfolio of poison to Bhaal, but really, she has no need for it. The portfolio of Disease, alone, is more than enough to sustain her power as a God.
Fzoul Chembryl (---)
No longer a god of any sort and returns to being a mortal, although he could still be a Chosen of Bane.
Iyachtu Xvim (Demigod)
If all the gods are returning then ostensibly Iyachtu Xvim is returning as well. If that’s the case then I can’t really see a place for him amongst the pantheon. However, as I mentioned before I’d like to see a classical mythological version of a Demigod appear in the Realms, and that’s exactly what Xvim was early in his existence, so why not make him that again? In addition, why not let him make peace with his father, and have him perform an evil equivalent of the Twelve Labors of Hercules, which could be the restoration of Zhentil Keep? I don’t know about anyone else, but Zhentil Keep was one of my favorite things about the Forgotten Realms. In my mind, it was a defining characteristic of the setting. Without Zhentil Keep as an active participant in Realms events it simply does not feel like the Forgotten Realms, so in my view Zhentil Keep has to come back. However, they’re presented with the problem of how it can come back without Netheril coming back and squashing them twice as flat. So why not give Zhentil Keep its own epic hero to help them refound the city? Give them their own Perseus, their own Aeneas, their own Romulus. Give Zhentil Keep a demigod to lead them and help them rise from the ashes.
Now here’re a few stragglers to round out the list of gods which would need to be changed.
Portfolios: Intelligent Snakes, Yuan-Ti, Ophidians, Renegade Spirit Nagas, Somnolence
Bhaal or no Bhaal, Sseth would still have to lose the portfolio of Poison as Talona and Zehir also have it. Aside from that, though, he’s alright.
Portfolios: Dryads, Forest Creatures, Forests, Rangers
As mentioned earlier, Myrkul could reclaim his old portfolio of Autumn from her. Mielikki would be fine since, in addition to the very specific portfolios of Dryas, Forest Creatures, and Rangers, she’s still god of the Forests, which is in itself a pretty big deal.
I believe I’ve caught most if not all the contradictions with the exception of one big one.
Portfolios: Assassins, Darkness, Poison
I have no idea how this guy could work. Darkness belongs to Lolth, and there’s no way she should give it up to make room for him. Poison belongs to Talona and Sseth already, so he couldn’t keep that anyway. As for Assassins, is there any question that Bhaal would be the better god of Assassins? He’s the one with the history in the Realms, whereas Zehir was a core god who was included in the Realms after countless Realms gods were killed off only because someone at Bioware screwed up and made a Forgotten Realms computer RPG which used a core setting god. Hopefully the idea is to bring back all the gods, but must every god remain? Would it really be a bad idea to eject Zehir from the setting altogether? Is there a single Forgotten Realms fan anywhere who would lament his absence?
My personal preference would be to do something interesting with him. I imagine that a good number of Realms fans would like to see Bhaal come back, so why not have him come back in a big way? Zehir seems like the perfect sacrificial lamb, so why not have Bhaal return and assassinate Zehir, thus claiming the portfolios of Assassins and Poison from him in addition to any other portfolios which he may have already possessed? I know I’d appreciate one last bit of godslaying before Lord Ao puts the lid on that. And who better to be the last slain god than Zehir, who should’ve never been in the Forgotten Realms to begin with? And who better to do it than Bhaal, who hasn’t killed anyone in a long time and, with the return of the Tablets of Fate, won’t have another chance to kill anyone else again?
As I said, I seriously doubt anyone anywhere cares about Zehir. At the same time, there’re a great deal of fans who love Bhaal from both the old grey boxed set and the Baldur’s Gate games. So why not kill two birds with one stone and have Bhaal come back in a big way by killing off the one god who just can’t fit into the current Faerunian Pantheon?
Anyway, those’re my thoughts on how many of the gods in the Faerunian Pantheon could be adjusted in 5E to make room for all the returning gods should the rumors be true about all of them coming back. So thoughts? Opinions?