One of the other characters in our prospective party proposed this question.

From some research, it seems that Clerics and Paladins are likely required to have a god, but can they have more than one?

For example, if the gods selected shared alignment and domains.

Do Clerics and Paladins have to be monotheistic? or can they champion for multiple?

Perhaps this would have to be designed around having one main god where powers are inspired from, and the other for flavour. I can see a strong case for Clerics as their power is directly from a deity, but perhaps less so for Paladins, who gain power from their oaths.


3 Answers 3


Absolutely. So long as it is consistent with the DM's world.

There is precedent for this among some of the realms, like Krynn, where gods are a pantheon that are largely black and white. So a follower of Paladine also pays defference to Mishakal, Solinari, Kiri-Jolith and the others from the good side.

The evil gods tend not to get along as well, but when united against a common foe they usually band together.

Each order and race tend to follow their own god as a favoured one, much as your question postulates. They also have their own names for each of the gods, demonstrating that they are all important to them.

A particularly notable example from the Forgotten Realms, Tyr, Ilmater, and Torm were part of a divine group known as The Triad, and there was even a Prestige class in 3e for clerics/paladins that worshipped The Triad as a collective, the Triadic Knight. (information provided from user Carcer)


That depends on the Theism(s) of your world

The default assumption in D&D is of polytheism - a belief that there is more than one god. The deities of a polytheistic religion form a pantheon: not to be confused with pantheism - the belief that the universe (or multiverse) is god.

In traditional polytheism all of the deities are, if not equally regarded, at least all worthy of respect and worship. Priests of such religions may be generalists who worship all of the gods, or specialists who revere one god above all the others. This may be a matter of the size of the settlement: a village with one or two priests has a shrine to all of the gods while a large metropolis with clergy by the thousands has dedicated temples to each of the gods. Notwithstanding, a Greek paladin of Ares (god of war) would certainly offer prayers to Poseidon (god of the sea) before embarking on an ocean voyage and to Hades (god of the dead) when burying a companion.

Further, the default assumption in D&D, unlike Earth, is that the deities are objectively, provably real. As such, it is difficult for concepts like atheism to get much traction: as Terry Pratchet says, "... the gods had a habit of going round to atheists' houses and smashing their windows." It also means that you need a way of managing different pantheons because the Earthy methods of either: 1. their gods are our gods with funny hats or 2. they are just misguided: kill the unbeliever don't really work. The normal resolution is that each regional and racial pantheon consists of parochial "families" of deities who are only interested in their particular region/race but this can cause some cognitive dissonance.

However, that is not the only form of polytheism.

Polytheism is divided according to how the individual deities are regarded:

  • Henotheism: The viewpoint/belief that there may be more than one deity, but only one of them is worshiped.
  • Kathenotheism: The viewpoint/belief that there is more than one deity, but only one deity is worshiped at a time or ever, and another may be worthy of worship at another time or place. If they are worshiped one at a time, then each is supreme in turn.
  • Monolatrism: The belief that there may be more than one deity, but that only one is worthy of being worshiped. Most of the modern monotheistic religions may have begun as monolatric ones, although this is disputed.

In addition to polytheism, your would can be:

  • monotheistic, a belief in one true god, in which case the problem doesn't arise: as there is only one god you can't worship two,
  • pantheistic, a belief that the universe is god(s) and god(s) is the universe,
  • panenthistic, a belief that the universe is god(s) but that god(s) is more than the universe,
  • diestic, a belief in a creator god(s) who no longer influence the universe, in which case divine magic would not ne a thing in your world, and
  • autotheistic, a belief that divinity lies within each (sentient) creature.

Yes, although they will ~usually~ not mutually grant powers.

There are a few scenarios:

  • Character is devoted to Deity A (Let's say, Oghma, god of wisdom). Also due to similarities, he reveres Deneir as well (God os scribes). If you actually look at cleric interpretation, there are several daily duties and chants and prayers that are done daily - Only may believe and follow a second god's tenet, without drawing power from them.

  • Character is devoted to Deity A, whichever it is. Turns out character is also chosen of a different god, that may or not align with devoted deity. This often also leads to fun stories. Any power from chosen deity may or not mix itself with spell list, but will USUALLY come in the shape of abilities rather than ordinary spells.

  • Character is devoted to Deity A, but dutifully is ALSO devoted to deity B. As of 3.5e, exalted deeds somewhere stated that multiple deities were possible, but since both faiths have in essence distinct in the ways of drawing power, and rituals, both levels do NOT stack, unless explicitly stated. Evidently this is up to the DM, but it would count as a dual class in which the character has two sheets for spell circles, like if it was a completely different class.

  • Character was devoted to deity A, but due to whichever inner conflict, deity was abandoned, or the true devotion was lost at some point. Still sympathizing or not with the god, the character will lose all powers previously granted by that god. There are two ways this is recovered - A penance to deity A, or a truthful conversion to deity B, in which the deity B accepts the strength and capabilities of the character, granting him power equivalent to that he is able to bear.

The reason why deities usually "battle" for devotes is because they also draw power from them. Their power and rank as deities are drawn from mortal devotes, who chant and keep this deity stable. The deity, in return, grants powers to those in favor, be they clerics, paladins, or any other divine based class or even item.

There are some very interesting settings about deities fighting over one or another mortal, whose mortal power is precious to them. (A.k.a. epic priests and stuff) In some instances, deities even come to an alliance and "Share" mortals. Those are usually same-aligned deities. The other reply tells of the Triad, which is a HUGE thing in Forgotten Realms lore. Forgotten realms itself has a few other cases an i can think of, either of alliances (Mystra-Azuth) and fights over mortal (Lolth-Mielikki).

As always, it's all up to the DM, but given how gods work in D&D lore, these conflicts are certainly a great spice to any story.


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