While reading about some of the gods and they all have their own mythology as to how they came to be. For example, I understand that Corellon created the elves and how the Drow got started and so forth. What created him though, or got the planes started whichever was earlier.

Is there a common theory behind it like the Big Bang Theory we share? Or does every race have a different story and believe there is the correct one?

Is there a supplement that explains anything on this or am I just thinking to complex behind the pantheon?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I would like to point out that taking the mystery out of gods makes them less godlike. \$\endgroup\$ – Ansis Māliņš Dec 3 '13 at 8:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you concerned only with the D&D-original deities (Corellon, etc.) or should the answer handle D&D's sometime inclusion of Norse / Greek etc. pantheons as well? (@AnsisMalins: If your campaign involves plane travelling or divine intrigue, taking the mystery out of gods is a functional necessity.) \$\endgroup\$ – Tynam Dec 3 '13 at 9:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ It does involve a lot of planar travel, and there is a new god we incorporated set on decide. I know it makes them less god like but they need to be less god like in this campaign. And to answer the first part Tynam yes it is just the basic D&D originals besides the one god we created. \$\endgroup\$ – kleinschmidt Dec 3 '13 at 14:09

There is not a canonical "D&D" answer. The answer differs per campaign world.

I know it's a little weird - the D&D 3 core books don't present themselves as a generic system per se; they hint at a shared cosmology with the gods, certain roles for the races, etc. that makes it seem like there's a larger world there. But it's just a hollow shell, to be filled in either by yourself or by the specific campaign worlds (Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Golarion, etc.).

Now, in 3e/3.5e Greyhawk is the default setting (they didn't follow through on that real well but it was stated) so you could look to the Greyhawk answers as the canonical defaults. I don't know that they ever answered the "but where did they all come from" questions, and I was a Greyhawk aficionado for decades. Canonfire! would be the place to research that. If you're looking for Corellon specifically, try this wiki article. Most campaign worlds are deliberately cagy about how exactly the beginning of all things transpired, however, and Greyhawk is especially so.


No, there's no overarching "truth" about where the gods come from in the implied setting of D&D 3.5. It's left up to the DM to detail this (if ever), like usual with blanks in published settings.

However, if you dig into more specific D&D settings, you'll find creation myths that are more or less "the truth".

Pretty much every setting has its own unique creation myth/truth. That's part of why D&D 3.5 core books and non-setting supplements don't say anything about this – it would be invalid for, or invalidate, every setting and lots of DMs' home-made settings.


This is a complex question, for reasons I'll get into further down, but here's the Truth, as best as I've been able to determine based on pre-fourth edition sources:

Nobody knows. The D&D Multiverse is so ancient, so full of history, that its origins are lost even to myth. Here's my evidence:

As has been established over the years, even the gods of most D&D settings are not immortal, as you can see their corpses floating in the Astral Plane, and there's at least one account of a new god undergoing apotheosis. And particular prime worlds can be older or younger than others: The Prime World of Arthas, for instance, is supposedly so ancient that all its original gods have died, and other worlds have histories with wildly varying lengths; While the tendency for timelines to get fuzzy at the mythological end makes comparison less than exact, it seems reasonable to conclude they weren't all created at the same time. Even the Planes themselves aren't eternal and unchanging: Some rare adventures have contained descriptions of entire planes drifting away from the great wheel, or running aground, merging, splitting, and being created and destroyed - and on a more immediate level, there was at least one adventure where adventurers could play a key role in causing a plane to gain or lose land from its infinite expanse. I think it's reasonable, therefore, to conclude that the multiverse of D&D is not static, but gradually changing; That its gods, races and even planes die and are replaced by newcomers just as mortal NPCs are, albeit on a much grander scale. What this means is that it's rather hard to 'carbon date' the multiverse, as there's no part of it we can guarantee was around when it started.

Moreover, there is substantial evidence that the multiverse is very, very old: For example, there are situations that would have been huge when first introduced whose origins have been forgotten entirely: The Blood War has been waged for so long that there's no record of its origin even in myth and there are agreements that bind all the deities, even ones who refuse to get along with each other in any other respect, that have stood unopposed for so long that there is no mortal record of their ever being broken. If even the origins of such ancient and hard-to-forget things is lost, what hope has original creation? (Admittedly, there are a few obscure creatures and that could, potentially, have been created before or at the same time as the known multiverse: The Lady of Blades, the Serpent, perhaps the Dark Powers of Ravenloft and a few obscure monsters; However, if they do know, they aren't telling.)

To sum up, while we might not know the origin of the multiverse as a whole, there's evidence that it's been around practically forever. (It's even possible that it's literally existed forever, in a "turtles all the way down" sense) Ultimately, the origin of the multiverse is less likely to matter than the origins of specific parts of it, which GMs are free to make up as they please.

Disclaimer: I've based this answer primarily on information from the Planescape campaign setting, since it is sort of 'outside' all the others - and given that that setting was designed with the intent of having players debate and question the nature of the world, providing a canonical explanation of how and why everything was created would be working against designer intent. I strongly suspect we'll never get a batter answer, however, as it is in the interests of every designer yet to come to keep the origin vague so as to allow GMs and players to create their own origin stories as appropriate to their campaigns. Very Planescape-appropriate, that: There need not be only one truth.

  • \$\begingroup\$ FYIW, Athas is supposed to be Greyhawk in the far distant future. That's why it can't be travelled to from other Prime worlds, and why it's so much older. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 3 '13 at 4:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Do you have a reference for that? I could've sworn that one of the Planescape supplements explained Arthas' isolation with the Grey, rather than a time difference. I'll see if I can find it when I have my library available. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Dec 3 '13 at 5:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't–I should have said "supposed by some to be" rather than implying "meant to be". It's one of the competing theories about its origin. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 3 '13 at 5:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie OK. In the absence of a reference - and assuming that my memory that it exists contemporaneously with Oerth in the Planescape setting is correct - then my answer will remain unaltered. If I later find out that I'm wrong, then I'll edit the reference out. Whether Arthas was once Oerth doesn't really affect the bulk my answer either way, but I do like to be pedantically correct on the details, so thanks for pointing this possibly questionable point out. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Dec 3 '13 at 6:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ A minor bit of closure for those following these comments: As shown in this question (rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/30997/…), Athas is not Greyhawk in the future. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Jan 17 '14 at 7:05

This may reinforce what others have said about the multi-verse being Ancient or eternal from another source.There are hints within the Forgotten Realms setting of "layers of gods". In the second edition The Time of Troubles occurred and in the connected novels that relate some of the events about the Time of troubles there are passages relating to AO an over god "managing" the forgotten realms gods and of a greater power "managing" AO. There is also a hint that other worlds and gods are also managed. So from this you may say that either there are constant layers of gods and therefore creation is an eternal thing that has "always been" Or that there are layers of gods leading back to one god and therefore one starting point for creation....


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