How much do people of Toril know about the ascension of gods?

More specifically, I'm interested in the Dead Three: Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul. Do historians of the world know the circumstances surrounding their ascension to godhood, or is it more along the lines of "there used to be one guy in charge of the dead, Jergal, and then he went away for no apparent reason and three new guys popped up to take his place."

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to rpg.se! Take the tour and visit the help center when you get a chance. You have 5e tagged in the question, do you want answer restricted to that edition or would lore from any edition be accepted? Thanks for participating and happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin
    May 16, 2019 at 5:36

1 Answer 1


The Forgotten Realms-licensed Baldur's Gate game series features a book called History of the Dead Three. It is worth 2 gp, so one can assume that it is not a very rare item. Hence, it should not be unreasonable to assume that at least sages and people who are experts in religious myths and stories should be familiar with the ascension of the Dead Three, at least as much as the games represent the setting. (The games were later converted to novels with some modifications, and FR novels are considered canon.)

It is worth noting that people are generally informed about religions in Faerun. For example in spite of the fact that Ao does not grant any spells nor influence the lives of people, a cult was still able to form around his "tenets" after the Time of Troubles. Another point to highlight is that Jergal's stepping down is a relatively recent event; he was still a greater deity at the time of Netheril.

Having said these, I feel it is best that I share some further data that might make the answer somewhat complicated. Jergal is an interesting entity, from his original conception at Ed Greenwood's gaming table, he was "a figure of mystery", quoting the Hooded One, Greenwood's official spokesperson on the Candlekeep forums. According to a 2015 invited blog post by George Krashos on Greenwood's now defunct Forgotten Realms Secretariat website, he was of a race of beings known as the spell weavers at the time of the sarrukh (-30000DR), and later achieved divinity somewhat accidentally. From that blog post we also learn that his relation to at least one of the Dead Three goes back further than what most experts know.

Note: The text that a player reads in the book from the computer game is identical to the text given in a sidebar on page 37 of the AD&D 2e sourcebook Faiths and Avatars. The same text is repeated on page 31 of the D&D 5e sourcebook Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I intend to extend/update this answer later using information from 2e Powers and Pantheons, 3e Faiths and Pantheons and 5e SCAG. \$\endgroup\$
    – ZwiQ
    May 23, 2019 at 19:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have difficulty integrating the following pieces of information to the answer: 2e P&P states (page 31) "Few mortals are even aware of Jergal's existence except for a few sages studying ancient history". Yet in the 3e F&P, no such sentence exists, it is simply stated (page 98) that "the church of Jergal is small and secretive". When we arrive at 5e SCAG (page 30), Jergal is "being mentioned at funerals". So over the years as players became gradually more familiar with him, so did the Faerunians. \$\endgroup\$
    – ZwiQ
    May 26, 2019 at 5:04

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