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Demihuman Deities (2e)

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This essential supplement is a companion to Faiths & Avatars and Powers & Pantheons, which detailed the rules by which deities function in the Realms.

Demihuman Deities describes the demihuman relgions and powers of the Realms: those of the elves (including the drow), the dwarves, the gnomes and the halflings. Each entry includes information about a deity's appearance, personality, worshipers, portfolio, aliases, domain name, superior, allies, foes, symbol, worshipers' alignments, avatar, manifestations, church, and specialty priests.

The information on these faiths includes their core dogma, day-to-day activities of priests, holy days and important ceremonies, major centers of worship, affiliated orders, and the priestly vestaments and adventuring garb of members of the clergy.

Finally, each entry contains spells specific to each of the faiths.

Demihuman Deities includes:

  • The powers of the drow and elven pantheons, including Lolth, Ghaunadur, Vhaeraun, Eilistraee, Corellon Larethian, Hanali Celanil, Rillifane Tallathil, Labelas Enoreth, and others.
  • The mysterious Triune Goddess, Angharradh, who is a combined form of Sehanine Moonbow, Hanali Celanil, and Aerdrie Faenya.
  • The powers of the dwarf, gnome, and halfling pantheons, including Moradin, Clangeddin Silverbeard, Haela Brightaxe, Garl Glittergold, Baervan Wildwanderer, Flandal Steelskin, Yondalla, Arvoreen, Cyrrollalee, and others.
  • Expanded and clarified specialty priest classes for all relgions and priesthoods.
  • Religion-specific spells for all faiths with priesthoods.
  • Color illustrations of priests from nearly every faith in ceremonial dress.


Suitable for all levels of play.

To use this product, ownership of Faiths & Avatars is recommended but not required.

Product History

Demihuman Deities (1998), by Eric L. Boyd, is the third deity book for the Forgotten Realms. It was published in November 1998.

Origins (I): Yet More Realms Deities. Faiths & Avatars (1996) detailed the majority of the major deities from the Realms, then Powers & Pantheons (1997) delved into demipowers and more far-flung faiths. So what do you do as an encore? The series returned with Demihuman Deities (1998), which reveals the pantheons for the drow, dwarves, elves, gnomes, and halflings.

Like the previous volume, this one is thanks to Eric L. Boyd; unlike the previous volume, it's largely unpadded, full of gods and not much else.

Origins (II): A History of Demihuman Deities. Demihuman deities didn't get any love in Supplement IV: Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976). That changed with D&D's first adventures: the Elder Elemental God of the drow was first mentioned in the "G" adventures (1978), then Lolth was similarly referenced in the "D" adventures (1978), before actually appearing in Q1: "Queen of the Demonweb Pits" (1980).

The deific floodgates broke in AD&D's Deities & Demigods (1980), which revealed numerous nonhuman deities for the first time ever. This included many evil humanoid's gods and revisited the drow's Lolth. Lawrence Schick also introduced several gods for the more socially acceptable demihuman races, including: the dwarves' Moradin; the elves' Correlon Larethian, Deep Sashelas, and Rillifane Rallathil; the gnomes' Garl Glittergold; and the halflings' Yondalla. Roger E. Moore then followed up with a pivotal series of articles running from Dragon #58 (February 1982) to Dragon #63 (July 1982), each of which investigated the "point of view" of a demihuman or humanoid race, then examined their gods as well. Moore's deity lists were much expansive than the Schick originals, usually adding four to six deities for each race.

In the AD&D 2e era (1989-2000), Legends & Lore (1990) omitted all the nonhuman deities, but supplements quickly made up for that lack. FR11: "Dwarves Deep" (1990) revealed the dwarf deities for the Realms, many of whom derived directly from Schick and Moore's work, though Greenwood supplied some of his own as well. Greenwood similarly created a few new drow deities for FOR2: The Drow of the Underdark (1991). However, the avatar rules were changing rapidly in those early days of AD&D 2e, so these supplements' crunch would soon be outdated by the upcoming biggest-ever look at nonhuman deities.

That was Carl Sargent's DMGR4: Monster Mythology (1992), which featured about 25 pages of demihuman deities (and many more monstrous nonhumans). Once again, Schick and Moore were the major sources, but Sargent also offered several demihuman newcomers. There was one more Realms racial splatbook of note, FOR5: Elves of Evermeet (1994). However, it largely revisited known deities from Monster Mythology, and its new deities were considered problematic enough that most were retconned in this volume.

Monster Mythology's 25 pages remained the main reference for demihuman deities for the four years, until Demihuman Deities saw another vast expansion …

NPCs of Note. Though this is a Realms deities manual, many of the featured characters have a longer history.

The major gods of the demihuman races, Correlon Larethian (elves), Deep Sashelas (sea elves), Garl Glittergold (gnomes), Moradin (dwarves), Rillifane Rallathil (wood elves), and Yondalla (halflings) came from Deities & Demigods (1980).

Two years later, four issues of Dragon magazine vastly increased these deity rolls. Abbathor, Berronar Truesilver, Clanggedin Silverbeard, Dumathoin, and Vergadain debuted in Roger E. Moore's "The Gods of the Dwarves" in Dragon #58 (February 1982); Arvoreen, Brandobaris, Cyrrollalee, and Sheela Peryroyl are from "The Gods of the Halflings" in Dragon #59 (March 1982); Aerdrie Faenya, Erevan Ilesere, Hanali Celanil, Labelas Enoreth, and Solonor Thelandira sprang forth from "The Gods of the Elves" in Dragon #60 (April 1982); and Baervan Wildwanderer, Flandal Steelskin, Segojan Earthcaller, and Urdlen were discovered in Dragon #61 (May 1982).

In other words, about half of the Realms demihuman deities were created by Lawrence Schick and Roger E. Moore five to seven years before the Forgotten Realms became an official AD&D setting! In fact, these two sources provided the exact lists of demihuman gods found in the original Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (1987).

However, new Realms-specific deities soon began to appear, especially in the two aformentioned sources for drow and dwarves. The dwarf gods Gorm Gulthyn, Haela Bright Axe, Marthammor Dain, Sharindlar, and Thard Harr all turned up in FR11: "Dwarves Deep" (1990) Then, Ed Greenwood invented three new drow deities for FOR2: The Drow of the Underdark (1991): Eilistraee, Ghaunadaur (a version of Gary Gygax's Elder Elemental God), and Vhaeraun.

The final clump of new, generic demihuman gods appeared in Carl Sargent's DMGR4: Monster Mythology: Baravar Cloakshadow (gnomes); Callarduran Smoothhands (Svirfnebli); Dugmaren Brightmantle (dwarves); Fenmarel Mestarine (elves); Gaerdal Ironhand (gnomes); Kiaransalee (drow); Muamman Duathal (dwarves), who is said here to be the same as Marthammor Dain; Laduguer (duergar); Nebelun (gnomes); Sehanine Moonbow (elf); and Urogalan (halflings).

Some of these deities had interesting antecedents: Sehanine Moonbow had been off-handedly mentioned in PHBR8: The Complete Book of Elves (1992) and Urogalan had been alluded to in both "The Gods of the Halflings" from Dragon #59 March 1982) and Unearthed Arcana (1985); obviously, Sargent had been working hard to be inclusive! Meanwhile, Kiaransalee would go on to fame as the killer of Orcus in Planes of Chaos (1994)

The remaining deities have more varied origins:

  • Angharradh (elves) is a deity who debuts here and is made up of three typical elf deities: Aerdrie Faenya, Hanali Celanil, and Sehanine Moonbow.
  • Avachel (elves) was a rare original in FOR5: Elves of Evermeet (1994) who is now said to be the same as the draconic Aasterinian from DMGR4: Monster Mythology(1992) and Hlal from FOR1: Draconomicon (1990).
  • Deep Duerra (duergar) was briefly mentioned in FR11: "Dwarves Deep" (1990), but makes his first appearance here.
  • Felarathael and Lashrael (elves) were described as demipowers in FOR5: Elves of Evermeet (1994), but here they're explicitly demoted to being mere servitors.
  • Khalreshaar (elves) is another retcon from FOR5: Elves of Evermeet (1994), as she's now said to be an alias for Mielikki from Faiths & Avatars (1996).
  • Lolth (drow) was first mentioned in D1: "Descent into the Depths of the Earth" (1978), then made an actual appearance in Q1: "Queen of the Demonweb Pits" (1980) as the first ever god to be murdered by PCs!
  • Selvetarm (drow) appears through his followers in The Ruins of Undermountain (1991), but is detailed for the first time here. Clearly, Boyd was working hard to be inclusive too!
  • Shevaresh (elves) reappears from FOR5: Elves of Evermeet (1994), after the name was incorrectly used as an alias for Shaundakul in Faiths & Avatars (1996).
  • Tymora (halflings) is popular among the halflings, but is a standard Realms deity dating back to the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (1987).
  • Zandilar (elves) is a Yuir-ish addition from Spellbound (1995).

About the Creators. Every major roleplaying book by software engineer Eric L. Boyd has been for the Forgotten Realms. He got his start two years earlier with Faith & Avatars (1996) and Volo's Guide to All Things Magical (1996) and was now finishing out his deity trilogy

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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GeoCentric D August 15, 2017 2:11 pm UTC
In my opinion, this is the best supplement TSR ever released for 2nd edition - along with the wizard/priest spell & magic item encyclopedias.
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This title was added to our catalog on August 15, 2017.