Religion in the Realms

Everything under this heading is taken from the FR sourcebook, “Faith and Pantheons”;
we highly recommend it as your source for information that is more detailed than what is presented here.

The deities of Faerun are deeply enmeshed in the functioning of the world’s magical ecology and the lives of mortals. Faerunian characters nearly always have a patron deity. Everyone in Faerun knows that those who die without having a patron deity to escort them to their proper judgment in the land of the dead spend eternity writhing in the Wall of the Faithless, or disappear into the hells of the devils or the infernos of the demons.
The selection of a patron deity does not mean that your character only worships or makes prayers and offerings to one deity. Faerun is a Polytheistic world, not a monotheistic world. At appropriate moments, characters might worship or pay homage to nearly all the deities, even some they could not choose as patron deities. For example, lawful good sailors would never think of choosing Umberlee, the evil goddess of the ocean, as their patron, but it would be hard to find a sailor who had not sacrificed to Umberlee before at least one journey, or made promises to her during a storm. Likewise, an evil follower of Mask, the god of thieves, might make a donation to the temple of Tymora, goddess of luck, before a big heist, even though Tymora is a good goddess.

Why Choose a Patron Deity?
Choosing a patron deity provide you with contacts in the world, particularly if you are known to serve your deity’s causes. A character with Helm as her patron is more likely to get assistance– timely healing, a place of refuge, access to divinations and other spells– from the church of Helm in times of need. A bard whose patron is Tymora might have a better chance of convincing a group of Tymora-worshiping bandits to talk peacefully instead of fighting.

Of more concern to most adventurers, a character who dies without a patron deity cannot be raised from the dead by any mortal means short of a miracle or wish. When such a character dies, he is considered on of the Faithless, and his soul is used to form part of the wall around the realm of Kelemvor, god of the dead. Mortal action cannot reverse this fate, and so unless the character’s friends can arrange direct intervention by another deity (or expend a miracle or wish, spells symbolizing intervention by another deity), that character is unlikely to return to life.

Choosing a Patron
Having a patron deity implies some true personal attachment to that deity. Given this relationship, it is practically unheard of for a character to have a patron with a radically different alignment than her own. For example, it is essentially impossible for a chaotic good rogue to feel a close personal connection with Bane, the lawful evil god of tyranny and fear.

When choosing a patron, if you are a divine spellcaster, you follow the “one-step” rule (Your alignment may be up to one “step” away from your patron’s. For example, a chaotic neutral ranger can choose Malar (Chaotic Evil ) as his patron, but could not choose Mielikki (Neutral Good).

You can only have one patron deity at a time. It is possible to change your patron, but doing so is not a decision made lightly or quickly. If you are a cleric, druid, paladin, or spellcasting ranger (or any other divine spellcaster), this process will be described below (changing deities). If you are any other character class, changing a patron is a simple matter of deciding to do so that does not require intervention by the church of your new patron (although obtaining its blessing is customary, to show allegiance to the new deity). A character who frequently changes patron deities is likely to gain a reputation of being weak in her faith, and risks being branded as one of the False in the afterlife.

Humans choose a patron deity from the Faerunian or Mulhorandi pantheons based on the region in which they live or that they grew up in. Non-humans usually choose a patron from their own pantheon (dwarves from the drwarven pantheon, elves from the elven pantheon, and so on). Non-humans can also select a patron from the human pantheon of the region they live in or grew up in. The most common examples of this are northern halflings, who often choose Tymora, and gnomes, who often choose Gond. Half-Orcs choose a patron from the orc pantheon or from the human pantheon of the region they live in or grew up in. Half-elves choose a patron from the elven pantheon (as appropriate to their nonhuman parent) or from the human pantheon of the region they live in or grew up in. For the most part, creatures choose a patron from their own pantheon, but those that stray from this trend are common enough to be viewed merely as a curiosity rather than an aberration.

In this campaign, we prefer that race and pantheon selection be adhered to with few exceptions, some of which are noted above (halflings and Tymora, and gnomes and Gond are prime examples of commonly accepted variances).

Note: All divine spell casters in Faerun serve a patron deity. (In fact, almost all people in Faerun choose a deity as their patron.) It is simply impossible for a person to gain divine powers (such as divine spells) without one. You may not have more than one patron deity at a time, although it is possible to change your patron deity if you have a change of heart. (You cannot multiclass into another class that requires a patron deity unless your previous patron deity is an acceptable choice for the new class. For example: You cannot multiclass as a druid unless your patron deity is a nature deity (since all druids have nature deities as patron deities).

Clerical Domains
Each cleric must choose domains from those offered by his deity. NWN does not offer all of the PnP domains, therefore, we have listed our DM-approved domains for each deity’s entry within this section of the site. Please reference the links near the top of this page for basic information regarding individual deities, and available domains. Your cleric’s alignment must also be appropriate to that of his patron deity. If your cleric has mismatched domains, you will be required to rebuild the character.

Sins and Pennance
Some members of the clergy believe their deities watch over every act, thought, and consequence of the deeds of every mortal worshiper. Most priests, however, see their deities as judging mortals only on deeds or on acts plus obvious intent rather than ultimate consequences.

A cleric or druid who commits a minor offense against her deity or ignores portions of the deity’s dogma is guilty of a sin. He has to do some penance appropriate to the seriousness of the sin in order to remain in good standing with the church, other clerics or druids, and the deity. Paladins, rangers and other divine spellcasters are held to this standard (to a less exacting degree) also.

Typical penance for lesser infractions includes spending an hour in prayer, making a small monetary donation to the temple, performing minor duties in the temple and so on.

Penance for moderate infractions include spending anywhere from a day to a tenday in prayer, making a moderate monetary donation to the temple, or going on a small quest for the church.

Penance for major infractions includes a month or more of prayer, a large donation, a quest, and possibly an atonement spell (which might require its own quest).

Continued abuses of the church’s dogma may result in a divine spellcaster losing his class features (but not any class related weapon and armor proficiencies) until he atones for his sins.

Changing Deities
It is possible for a cleric, druid, paladin, or spellcasting ranger (or any other divine spellcaster) to abandon his chosen deity and take up the faith of another deity. In doing so, the divine spellcaster loses all class features of the abandoned deity. To progress as a divine spellcaster of another faith, the character must go on a quest for his new church (often the recovery of a lost item of some importance to the deity), then receive an atonement spell from a representative of his new faith. Once these two conditions are met, the character becomes a divine spellcaster of the new deity, and if a cleric, he chooses two domains from the new deity’s repertoire. The character then resumes the class features lost from leaving the old faith (So long as they are still applicable– turning or rebuking undead ability might change for instance).

Note: In The Vast, established divine spellcasters may not change deities without DM intervention. This is a very serious matter, and must not be taken lightly.