I have a Cleric that I'd like to play, with a specific domain and playstyle, but funnily enough, I don't have a deity! I am using the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide for my decision. My cleric will be of the Knowledge domain.

I plan on educating the masses on the gods themselves, while making sure that shrines, temples, and crimes of their servants are catalogued. He'd serve a single god, but still deeply respect all of the others.

  • I've thought of Savras, god of truth and divinity, but there are very few shrines in his name, and the idea of someone checking on someone else's shrines while theirs are in shambles seems a bit odd.

  • I've thought of Kelemvor, god of death and atheists. He is responsible for dead souls who have no faith, and would probably have his followers convince others to worship gods so that he doesn't have to deal with anybody and focus on other stuff. But knowledge isn't one of his domains, which is a hard-stop problem.

  • I've thought of Oghma, god of knowledge, but his influence doesn't seem to be based on divine powers or their influence all too much.

  • I've thought of Torm, god of goodly duties, but he would probably try to influence the groups of darker deities by subduing them. I don't plan on taking down entire churches of Bhaal, but a disciple of Torm would. Torm is also not of the Knowledge domain.

What god would have their followers educate others on, and support, the entire pantheon?

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The question has a dnd-5e tag, but in the interest of providing an avenue for the rather interesting concept, here is a lore answer from earlier editions. Most of what I write in the next three paragraphs come from an article named "The Cult of Ao: Who Watches Those who Watch over You?" by Steven E. Schend, published in Polyhedron magazine issue 94.

After the Time of Troubles (ToT), a cult was formed around the worship of the overdeity Ao. While the cult lost most of its followers once they realized that Ao did not grant any spells, some stayed. Those who stayed formulated tenets that reflect what Ao had declared during the ToT. In summary, as far as I understand, these tenets roughly state that Ao wants a balance, all the deities need to tend to their portfolios and to the needs of the worshippers in order to maintain that balance, the duties of each deity and his/her followers are equally important.

Thus the cult approaches all deities from the same perspective. If the worship of one deity is too strong in a given region, they support the opposing deities. They watch churches to see if the priests are really doing what they should be doing to further the portfolio of their deities or simply trying to amass only personal gains. For example they sink a ship full of opulent cargo meant to be used to furnish Sune's temple in Waterdeep, and that cargo ends up in the shrines of mermen deities.

Members of the cult were not faithless, they had their patron deities. For example, the leader of the cult at that time (circa late 1360s) was a wizard and a worshipper of Oghma. Some were even priests. They were usually very devout and embraced a conservative interpretation of their gods' teachings, as keeping the balance meant the clergy of each deity had the duty to act precisely in the way that advances the portfolio carried by that deity.

A lot has passed since the publication of the above 2e material, but remember that the people of Faerun have encountered Ao again very recently, as he announced the end of the Era of Upheaval, concluding the Second Sundering. Given that the 5e FR has the deities not interfering directly, the fate of the world is left to the hands of the mortals, and the cult might have rekindled. The divine order of FR needs better informed mortals now more than ever. Your character could be a devout cleric of Oghma or Savras, as you mentioned in your question. Other worthy candidates, who support the Knowledge domain and could support cleric members of the cult of Ao, are Deneir, and Jergal:

  • Deneir: a power who is working with Metatext, a work that records the whole of reality. He is also closely allied with Oghma. Your character might be one who understands the order dictated by Ao needs to be searched in every corner of the world, collected in writing and brought to the masses, who need to understand that the deities play important roles in that order and need to be worshipped.

  • Jergal: a power that used to hold Kelemvor's portfolio in the ancient times. He would be very familiar with the faithless as he is the scribe that keeps the records of the dead. Warning: His uncaring ethos seeing life as a temporary step in the eternity of death requires careful consideration.

  • 1
    An interesting idea you've brought to me is to participate as part of the cult of Ao, but not as a Cleric, but perhaps as an Inquisitive or Assassin Rogue, a Druid, or a Wizard. Great insight, this information was invaluable. – Daniel Zastoupil Aug 10 at 14:58

None of them.

That's probably not what you wanted to hear, but it's the way things are in the Realms.

Each deity has its own church and they somewhat jealously guard their flock. The Time of Troubles, a landmark event in which the gods were forced from the heavens, happened because the deities were not properly tending those flocks - the overgod Ao1 kicked them all out as punishment until they mended their ways. The deities' powers, in some ways their very existence, is dependent on active, involved worship.

There are certainly deities whose goals align and whose churches work together, and citizens of the Realms frequently make small offerings to the deity who governs a particular domain - a prayer to Sune for good luck on a date, a prayer to Waukeen or Tymora before negotiating a trade deal, etc. However, individuals and especially clerics, have a single patron deity - nobody wants to be deemed Faithless or False when they reach the afterlife. No single deity is going to advocate worship of another deity.

1Ao himself does not have petitioners or followers and does not empower clerics.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – mxyzplk Aug 8 at 23:44

Lore-wise, I completely agree with T.J.L.'s answer. The Forgotten Realms are unique in how active and meddling the deities are, and also in how they are so often at each other's throats.

That being said, as always the rules (and lore) are a starting point and a guideline. D&D is foremost about fun and creativity, so if your DM and fellow players are cool with it then it's all good.

I think your take on Kelemvor is an interesting one. Trying to guide people away from being Faithless seems like it could be an appropriate goal for one of his clerics. Oghma (or Deneir) also seems like a good choice. Theology is knowledge like any other after all, and acquiring and sharing knowledge is their focus. Just keep in mind that all of these deities have their rivals and enemies, so having a truly equal level of respect for all the gods doesn't seem likely.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – mxyzplk Aug 8 at 23:44

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