Cold as the Depths
The Great Plague was a vile creation of a god who had only one small tribe of worshipers, and in the Realms the power of a deity is tied to the number and fervor of its worshipers. But as the plague swept through the Realms, many gods lost so many of their followers that the gods became weak. Between acts of betrayal, violence, and lost of power base, most of the gods who once watched over the realms would die before the plague was contained.
Of those gods who remain, most were those who had followers away from major cities. And in the time since, strange cults have risen up from their worshipers. The inability of the Old Gods to stop the plague, combined with these rising cults and the chaos that resulted when so many of the divine fell has lead to mistrust among the people. An almost palpable cloud of disdain and disenchantment now follows those who still worship the Old Gods.
Of the gods who remain, only a select few are still worshiped openly. While many of these gods are greatly diminished from what they once were, they still play a role in the world of the humanoids.
The Old Gods (Humans)
|Auril||NE||No||Cold and Winter|
|Beshaba||CN||No||Random mischief, misfortune, guardians, and protectors|
|Gond||N||Yes||Artifacts, crafts, technology|
|Lurue||CG||Yes||Talking beasts, intelligent non-humanoid creatures|
|Malar||CE||No||Hunters, stalking, and bloodlust|
|Shar||NE||No||Darkness, night, loss, secrets, Underdark and caves|
|Umberlee||CE||No||Oceans, currents, waves, and sea winds|
|Valkur||CG||Yes||Sailors, ships, favorable winds and naval combat|
Auril: The Goddess of winter and cold survived the great Plague because she slept in her frozen keep as it ravished the world. The plague, unable to penetrate the cold of Auril’s domain never touched her, or most of those who worshiped her. When she woke up, the world had changed and she discovered that some of those who once feared her now praised her. Seeking to invoke her essence to stop the plague. With so many gods dieing in this new world, Auril actually found her power increasing.
Beshaba: Captured by the god Helm, Beshaba was in the depths of his hold in the Higher Planes when the plague came. She had been imprisoned for some minor annoyance to the Lord of Guardians and Protectors. It was from her place deep in the bowels of Tyr’s prison she was able to listen and sense the death that was sliding through the gods as one by one they fell. When Helm died he was trying to reach Beshaba, to release her so that she might have a chance to survive. It was inf act her isolation in his prison that allowed Beshaba to survive. But she was also the closest god when he passed, and a great deal of his power seeped into her. Now she must struggle to return balance to herself, to her new and greatly conflicted natures.
Gond: Gond holds a special standing among the Old Gods. He is the only one among them who died to the Plague, but was saved by the power of his worshipers. He caught the Plague while attempted to assist the now dead god Illmater. Gond fought the disease longer then any other god who caught it, but even he would perish to it. But while he suffered a singular event saved him. Mystra, the goddess of magic died. With her passing, as has happened every time before with her death, before her mantel could be passed to another the magic of the world was thrown into chaos. While fear and death scoured the land, the one thing most people thought would be a cure for the Plague failed them. Clerics of Gond had machines, solid techniques for providing healing, for getting things done while magic failed. So, when Gond died his clerics were still able to help the people. And seeing this many who once followed Mystra turned to the god who even in death could aid his people. So great was the number of converts that even as he died, Gond was reborn. Shaped by his worshippers he came back not with his old body, but returned with a form mostly human.. but with machanical parts. He was half organic and half mechanical.
Lurue: Of the many things the Plague slaughtered, it would seem many breeds of animals did not suffer from its deathly touch. When first it appeared the plague killed so many animals, but as it changed and become more easily passed among the humanoid races it became unable to effect the non-humanoid. Leaving many of Lurue’s worshipers healthy, and her power untouched. The plague even, for a short time, changed some animals. Making some larger, some stronger, and others; others it made smarter. And one day Lurue began to hear new voices, new thoughts. She realized that there were more intelligent species out there, and soon took them under her wing.
Malar: If ever there was a god that the people would have liked to have seen die under the Plague, it would have been the Beastlord, Malar. As feared a god as one might ever find, he was worshiped by some of the most savage humanoids and intelligent beasts to ever exist. He, like Lurue, found new worshipers when the Plague shifted and changed some of the natural animals of the world. When they were given sentence he gained followers. And with most of those who looked to him spared by the Plague he was able to survive the Plague by simply remaining in the wilderness and away from those who were spreading it.
Shar Shar played a special role with the Plague, and her survival is a source of great hatred.
Umberlee: As extreme cold could block the passage of the Plague, neither could it penetrate the ocean’s depths. And it was in the dark of the sea, so deep beneath the water’s surface that even the concept of light was forgotten, Umberlee lived. From those dark depths she was able to send up reliable but expendable spies and servants to monitor the passing of an age. She grew ever more distant from the realms of humanoids, she grew fatter in her power and pride. Even as other gods died, she remained strong. When the time came, the took lakes and rivers as her domain, and now where open bodies of water tread, Umberlee follows.
Valkur: For ever the sailor, Valkur was far from land when the plague swept over the world. His rival, Umberlee, would survive the plague by hiding int he depths of the water. But Valkur would have helped, and probably would have died had he been near shore. He returned a the plague was savaging coastal cities, and he rescued many a soul by taking them out to sea and leaving them on isles where food and drink was plentiful or could be easily obtained. Valkur considers his survival an act of luck, and that he was unworthy of Survival. He is now obsessed with finding what happened to his lover, Red Knight, and finding some way of earning his life. Hopefully before the hubris can fulled settle in and drive him mad.