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On page 11 of the Dungeon Master's Guide we can read:

Quasi-deities have a divine origin, but they don't hear or answer prayers, grant spells to clerics, or control aspects of mortal life

This could answer my question, but in my life as a DM, I noticed several inconsistencies in the adventures:

In Divine Contention, we are told that Myrkul performed a miracle for his priest by creating an army of the undead, but this is more clearly seen on page 25. Here we are clearly shown that Myrkul has some kind of connection with his priest or is not far from him to perform this miracle, which is impossible in the course of the adventure.

The fact that Myrkul is a quasi-god, namely demigods, can be deduced in the book Baldur's Gate Descent into Avernus. After reading the book, you can find out that Myrkul and Bane have their followers and can even give them strength, although the opposite is written in the Dungeon Master's Guide.

I'm wondering if I misunderstood something, or if I missed something and everyone started ignoring the rule of divinity from the Dungeon Master's Guide and using the rules from 3.5e. Or, is it just two obvious mistakes in these adventure books that everyone ignored for some reason?

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Whether Myrkul is a full deity is ambiguous

On page 21 of the Swords Coast Adventurer's Guide, you can see Myrkul (and the other members of the Dead Three) alongside the rest of the Faerûnian pantheon. Based on this, you could infer that he is a full deity with all of the powers that come with such a designation.

With this in mind, when the Dead Three are referred to as "quasi-divine beings" in Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus, this can't be referring to their divine rank. Instead, I suspect this is referencing the fact that they have mortal forms on the Prime Material Plane unlike other deities.


Alternatively, one could interpret this language as placing the Dead Three in the category of Vestiges:

Vestiges are deities who have lost nearly all their worshipers and are considered dead, from a mortal perspective. Esoteric rituals can sometimes contact these beings and draw on their latent power.

This is also sensible considering the events in 3rd edition that caused their portfolios to be usurped. In Myrkul's case this included Cyric and Kelemvor.

With this interpretation, the endowment of powers to the followers is contingent on their "latent power", and is therefore not a contradiction. While Myrkul does not have enough followers to maintain a divine portfolio, there is remnant divine power that can be tapped into by certain rituals.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ They are definitely not Vestiges, since the opposite is stated on page 171 Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. But I agree that it sounds very logical. I just want to say that I am also confused by the information on the wiki, which also claims that the dead three are quasi-deities I like the theory that they belong to quasi-deities because they stayed on the material plane instead of leaving, thank you! \$\endgroup\$
    – Kasoda
    Feb 10, 2023 at 23:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe Myrkul was asked to create the army of the dead in person, rather than through the usual prayer-based communication channel? Do we know? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Feb 11, 2023 at 3:14

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