Deities and their various pantheons are a vast topic with a wealth of lore to draw upon, in this article we’ll cover some of the basics of the gods of DnD that should get you inspired to roll up your next devout adventurer… or at the very least, give you a better understanding on the many almighty things in DnD.
The 107 DnD deities usually function in a very clear way: they are real, inhabitants of the world know that they are real, and they interact with the world using their power. Either directly: The creation of races, divine punishments, etc. Or indirectly: providing power to Clerics and Paladins, or influencing inhabitants of the world to carry out their desires.
They are beings of vast power, knowledge, and influence; this usually leads to a player somewhere asking, where do they live, and can I kill them for a cool new sword? In 5th edition, the gods are not provided statblocks like other creatures, and killing them is usually a matter for other gods or campaign-defining artifacts. There is one exception to this rule, however, the evil dragon goddess, Tiamat–the overarching antagonist of the Tyranny of Dragons storyline which plays out across Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat. Within the latter adventure is a full statblock for the goddess, so if you want to oil your blade and have at it, well, uh, good luck with that!
Each campaign setting has its own rules for gods as well as their own pantheons, though some gods appear in multiple campaign settings, they can be a little different, primarily in the role they’ve played in that world. To clarify, Tyr can be found in both Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk, and he is similar in both, but this is not the same Tyr.
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Forgotten Realms Deities
The default setting for 5E, the Forgotten Realms pantheon is richly fleshed out in the Player’s Handbook, Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, and a variety of novels and previous edition supplements. Something worth keeping in mind: the rules of the world change every edition and you’ll want to confirm these older sources are valid with your DM.
In the Forgotten Realms, each god has their own portfolio they preside over, such as death, war, and so on. No two gods can have the same portfolio; if a conflict happens, then either one god must change their portfolio, be destroyed, or the two gods must merge into a singular deity. The portfolio of each god is determined and enforced by the overgod, Ao, a being of limitless power over everything within the crystal sphere the Forgotten Realms resides in (don’t worry, we’ll explain what a crystal sphere is in another article!).
The gods of the Forgotten Realms are:
Auril – Neutral Evil goddess of winter (antagonist of the Rime of the Frost Maiden adventure)
Talona – Chaotic Evil goddess of disease and poison
Talos – Chaotic Evil god of storms
Tempus – Neutral god of war
Torm – Lawful Good god of courage and self-sacrifice
Tymora – Chaotic Good goddess of luck
Tyr – Lawful Good god of justice
Umberlee – Chaotic Evil goddess of the sea
Waukeen – Neutral goddess of trade
The original setting for DnD, created by one of its founding members, Gary Gygax for his home game. The setting is not widely used in official materials, however, the compilation adventures Tales from the Yawning Portal and Ghosts of Saltmarsh take place there. Over the years, the pantheon for Greyhawk expanded greatly from its origins, with some of its deities being portrayed in other settings (as found in the non-human deities list below).
The listed Greyhawk deities in 5E are:
Beory – Neutral goddess of nature
Boccob – Neutral god of magic
Celestian – Neutral god of stars and wanderers
Ehlonna – Neutral Good goddess of woodlands
Erythnul – Chaotic Evil god of envy and slaughter
Fharlanghn – Neutral Good god horizons and travel
Heironeous – Lawful Good god of chivalry and valor
Hextor – Lawful Evil god of war and discord
Kord – Chaotic Good god of athletics and sport
Incabulos – Neutral Evil god of plague and famine
Istus – Neutral goddess of fate and destiny
Iuz – Chaotic Evil god of pain and oppression
Nerull – Neutral Evil god of death
Obad-Hai – Neutral god of nature
Olidammara – Chaotic Neutral god of revelry
Pelor – Neutral Good god of the sun and healing
Pholtus – Lawful Good god of light and law
Ralishaz – Chaotic Neutral god of ill luck and insanity
Rao – Lawful Good god of peace and reason
St. Cuthbert – Lawful Neutral god of common sense and zeal
Tharizdun – Chaotic Evil god of eternal darkness
Trithereon – Chaotic Good god of liberty and retribution
Ulaa – Lawful Good goddess of hills and mountains
Vecna – Neutral Evil god of evil secrets
Wee Jas – Lawful Neutral goddess of magic and death
The world of Eberron has a different take on gods: you don’t know if they exist for sure or if the effects created by the likes of Clerics are some other form of magic. In Eberron, there is the creation story, where three dragons–Siberys, Eberron, and Khyber–created the planes before Khyber turned on the others. Siberys was killed and their body became the ring of ‘dragonshards’ around the planet. Eberron fought Khyber but was unable to defeat her. Instead, he became a living prison to contain her, forming the planet around the betraying dragon, in the process giving us the planet and its name.
This creation story doesn’t really leave the inhabitants of Eberron with deities to worship, so who do they worship? It varies, but the nature of the world means some people can follow gods who don’t manifest in the world. Others follow philosophies or may be atheists who don’t believe in any gods because there’s no concrete proof they actually exist beyond manifestations of the faithful’s willpower.
Some examples of what you may believe in and follow in the world of Eberron:
The Sovereign Host Deities
Arawai – Neutral Good goddess of fertility
Aureon – Lawful Neutral god of law and knowledge
Balinor – Neutral god of beasts and the hunt
Boldrei – Lawful Good goddess of community and home
Dol Arrah – Lawful Good goddess of sunlight and honor
Dol Dorn – Chaotic Good god of strength at arms
Kol Korran – Neutral god of trade and wealth
Ollandra – Neutral Good goddess of good fortune
Onatar – Neutral Good god of craft
The Dark Six Deities
The Devourer – Neutral Evil god of nature’s wrath
The Fury – Neutral Evil goddess of wrath and madness
The Keeper – Neutral Evil god of greed and death
The Mockery – Neutral Evil god of violence and treachery
The Shadow – Chaotic Evil god of dark magic
The Traveler – Chaotic Neutral deity of chaos and change
Other Faith Deities
The Silver Flame – Lawful Good deity of protection and good
The Blood of Vol – Lawful Neutral philosophy of immortality and undeath
Cults of the Dragon Below – Neutral Evil deities of madness
The Path of Light – Lawful Neutral philosophy of light and self-improvement
The Undying Court – Neutral Good elven ancestors
The Spirits of the Past – Chaotic Good elven ancestors
The following deities are traditionally worshiped by nonhuman races, a mixture of monstrous races (like Kuo-toa), and player races like elves and halflings. These deities are found in multiple campaign settings and are rich in lore, some of which can be found in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes.
Bahamut – Lawful Good dragon god of good
Blibdoolpoolp – Neutral Evil kuo-toa goddess
Corellon Larethian – Chaotic Good elf deity of art and magic
Deep Sashelas – Chaotic Good elf god of the sea
Eadro – Neutral merfolk deity of the sea
Garl Glittergold – Lawful Good gnome god of trickery and wiles
Thrym – Chaotic Evil god of frost giants and strength
Tiamat – Lawful Evil goddess of evil
Yondalla – Lawful Good halfling goddess of fertility and protection
Whatever your chosen faith, or lack thereof, is outside of Dungeons & Dragons 5E, it’s undeniable the sheer lore given in this edition, through deities alone, provides more richness most DMs and players will know what to do with. The best part? Any of these gods can be useful for any class. Your rogue PC could have a nightly ritual dedicated to Mask; your bard gives a quick prayer to Milil; even a wizard might seek a temple of Oghma to hasten their research.
So what are you waiting for? Get your sacrifice ready or prepare a prayer for good fortune to find you with any of these deities.