I was reading the Basic Rules (V2) and Appendix B has a table with the Forgotten Realms' deities. In this table, Myrkul is listed as the "god of death", while Kelemvor is "god of the dead".

Since I completely skipped 4th edition (except for a few novels), I was wondering if I missed the moment when Myrkul returned to the Realms and got the "death" domain.

Is there a novel/sourcebook/campaign book detailing this?

Edited to add a few background tidbits:

The Forgotten Realms Wikia says that before the Time of Troubles (2nd edition), Myrkul was the "god of the dead" and Bhaal was the "god of death". By the end of the Times of Trouble, Kelemvor took Myrkul's portfolio after he was slain.

In the 3rd Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, Kelemvor has 2 portfolios: Death and the dead (p.234). While Myrkul is not even listed.

In the 4th edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, Myrkul is missing too (thanks to Bradd Szonye for pointing that out).

Could it be that the 5th edition basic rules are still considered draft or pending a revision?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Anything WotC publishes about the Forgotten Realms is canon, by definition. There's no need to chew that point in the comments, or even really in the question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 3:16

3 Answers 3


No, but the Dead Three are still around

Several gods died during the Time of Troubles, notably including the Dead Three: Bane, god of tyranny, Bhaal, god of murder, and Myrkul, god of death. However, gods are difficult to destroy in the Forgotten Realms, and all three of the dead gods have devised schemes to return to power. Bane’s plot was successful, and he has supplanted the Godson who inherited his portfolio. Bhaal’s scheme was the main plot of the Baldur’s Gate video games. Myrkul appeared in the Neverwinter Nights video games, but so far he still appears to be a dead god, rather than a god of death.

Therefore, the entries for Bhaal and Myrkul currently appear to be there primarily for historical interest, for DMs who want to use them in the past of the Realms, or who want to feature their schemes to return to power. They do not indicate that Kelemvor has lost or changed his portfolio – yet.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There may be something to this theory. When trying to track down the "start date" of 5e Realms, I've run across a bunch of mentions that they're avoiding stating one for 5e, since they want to support all the popular "timelines" of the Realms. There are certainly enough holdouts who never accepted the 2e Time of Troubles changes, let alone the 4e changes, that they have a messy situation on their hands... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 21:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Thanks. The big clue for me was that Bhaal is also on the list, even though he’s still canonically dead after the PC foils his schemes in the video games. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 21:34

According to the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, Myrkul has returned as the god of death (Bhaal has now murder), decay, and all his former portfolios. Kelemvor still is the god of the DEAD, tho, and acts as their judge.

As for how Myrkul came back, just like most other gods that came back with the Sundering (Leira, the drow pantheon, the dwarven and duergar pantheon, etc...) the answer is "mortals don't know, or mortals thought that they had died, when in truth they survived and hid until they recovered, or Ao did it".


From the novels it is clear that Kelemvor succeeded Myrkul and appropriated and maybe perhaps even expanded upon his portfolio(s). However, since any DM can place their campaigns anywhere along the world's timeline one chooses, it is important to archive the proper information in order to use the god who was extant at your particular timeline.

A god gains additional power when acting within his portfolio, and "Death" seems to be the time of transition, or the method where one dies (to me), and the "god of the dead" seems to be governing more specifically those who have crossed over into death and the time of their afterlife (at least until claimed by the pantheon or servants of the deity from the neutral Fugue Plane, which each soul hopes to be claimed by and moved under their specific deity's authority (even if the deity happens to be the "god of death" for a different racial pantheon i.e. for elves, dwarves, orcs et al (if any); the souls all come here to be hopefully "claimed") the alternative, being abandoned by their deity thus becoming, by default, the property of the god of the dead).

Following The Time of Troubles (DR1358-Year of Shadows; (when the gods were cast down and walked the Realms). - The "Avatar Trilogy" novels ("Shadowdale", "Tantras" and "Waterdeep"), there is some great information on how the pantheon of gods perceive their realities from within the scopes of their portfolios (wonderfully seen in the novels Prince of Lies, James Lowder (August 1993), and Crucible: The Trial of Cyric the Mad, by Troy Denning (February 1998)); along with what the "god of the dead" is to do with the souls that come his way (Kelemvor and Myrkul both had different responses to what to do with these souls; until Cyric "schooles" Kelemvor during Cyric's trial; demonstrating how Kelemvors failure to punish the damned was upsetting the balance of (specifically) Realmspace).

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    \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't appear to answer the question, which is whether, why, and how Myrkul came back from being a dead god and reclaimed the Death portfolio from Kelemvor. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 16:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Boramere Wrath. Welcome to RPG.SE! New users are often confused on the nature of this site (mostly the strong focus on Q&A, and the difference with forums). I'd recommend that you read the Tour page to get you started. \$\endgroup\$
    – Roflo
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 1:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I actually like the first paragraph. It could make a good answer if you clarified and expanded it a little (eg., there's no canon evidence for a change yet but the historical info is helpful). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 4:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BraddSzonye Yes, this answer is well-written. The problem is that it doesn't answer the original question. The question is not how Kelemvor succeded Myrkul, but how Myrkul came back after that and got the "death" domain back. \$\endgroup\$
    – Roflo
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 14:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Bradd If it does so implicitly, it does not do so clearly. (e.g. the statement "that cup definitely fell over" doesn't imply everyone left it that way, unless you also say so.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 22:10

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