The second volume of the series detailing the gods and their avatars of the Realms continues where Faiths & Avatars left off.
It contains information on gods, their followers' religious orders, temple floor plans, and much more. This is essential gaming material for the campaign setting.
Powers & Pantheons (1997), by Eric L. Boyd, is the second deity book for the Forgotten Realms. It was published in August 1997.
Origins (I): After the Fall. TSR is dead. D&D's top world, the Forgotten Realms, hasn't seen any publications for half-a-year. How do you get things going again?
If Wizards had stuck to TSR's schedule, they would have started with a minor adventure called Four from Cormyr (1997). Instead they jumped right in with what was originally intended as a March publication: Powers & Perils (1997). It suggested both the strength and the excitement for the deities series, which had begun a year and a half earlier with Faiths & Avatars (1996).
Origins (II): More Realms Deities. Faiths & Avatars did a pretty good job of covering the Faerûn deities. So, what do you fill a second book with? About half of Powers & Pantheons sticks with the Faerûnian Patheon, but details "demipowers" — which seems to mainly mean gods not popular enough for the main book. (Technically, it includes new gods and recently returned ones.)
However, Powers & Pantheons also goes further afield, detailing the gods of other peoples who don't accept the Faerûnian orthodoxy. The Chultan pantheons reveals the gods of FRM1: "The Jungles of Chult" (1993) while the Mulhorandi and Untheric Pantheons go even further back, to the gods of the FR10: "Old Empires" (1990).
Exploring the Realms. Though most of Powers & Pantheons focuses on deities, it also details five temples in the Realms: the Cathedral of Emerald Scales in Hlondeth on the Vilhon Reach; the Cloister of St. Ramedar on Mount Adiir of the Starspire range, west of Tethyr; the Flaming Brazier in Bezantur of Thay; the House of the Moon in Waterdeep; and the Citadel of Black Ash in the Smoking Mountains, near Firetrees of Unther.
Monsters of Note. Powers & Pantheons includes a bit of everything, and that includes some divine monsters. That includes the three elder eternal evils: Dendar the Night Serpent, Kezef the Chaos Hound, and Ityak-Ortheel the Elf Eater. Both Dendar and Kezef originated in James Lowder's Prince of Lies (1993), while Ityak-Ortheel can be found in Douglas Niles' The Coral Kingdom (1992) — showing the continued influence of the Realms novels on the roleplaying line.
NPCs of Note. Most of the Faerûnian deities in Powers & Pantheons originated in either the original Forgotten Realms campaign box (1987) or as a part of a list of "quasi-deities" in the revised set (1993). However a number have more exotic origin stories:
- Finder Wyvernspur also has origins in the novels. He first showed up as the Nameless Bard in Azure Bonds (1987), then recurred throughout the Finder's Stone Trilogy (1988-1991) before returning for Finder's Bane (1997) and Tymora's Luck (1997).
- Gargauth debuted as the arch-devil Gargoth in Ed Greenwood's "Nine Hells Revisited" in Dragon #91 (November 1984); he's also attributed the name Astaroth, which links him to some of the earliest myths of the Nine Hells, found in Alexander von Thorn's "The Politics of Hell" in The Dragon #29 (August 1979).
- Karsus, Shiallia, and Uthgar all originated with Jennell Jaquays in FR5: "The Savage Frontier" (1988).
- Lurue and Nobanion are the lion and the unicorn of nursery rhyme fame ("The lion and the unicorn / Were fighting for the crown / The lion beat the unicorn / All around the town"). Lurue is also Silverymoon, and her inspiration can be found in Elizabeth Goudge’s The Little White Horse (1946). Nobanion is also Lord Firemane and (more notably) Aslan, which means that his inspiration can be found in the Narnia chronicles (1950-1956). They both debuted in Dragon #54 (October 1981) in "Down-to-Earth Divinity", a massive first look by Ed Greenwood at the deities of the Realms — six years before the publication of the first campaign set.
- Savras is one of the quasi-deities from the revised Forgotten Realms set, but is most notable for his connection to the Scepter of Savras, which was described in Volo's Guide to All Things Magical (1996) and for its relation to Syluné, which was first explained in FOR6: The Seven Sisters (1995).
- Ulutiu originated with Rick Swan in FR14: "The Great Glacier" (1992). He's popular enough that he'd later become a generic Frostfell deity in Frostburn (2004).
- Velsharoon was first mentioned by Ed Greenwood in FA1: "Halls of the High King" (1990).
About the Creators. Every major roleplaying book by software engineer Eric L. Boyd has been for the Forgotten Realms. He got his start a year earlier with Faith & Avatars (1996) and Volo's Guide to All Things Magical (1996) and would finish out the deity trilogy with Demihuman Deities (1998).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to the Acaeum for careful research on Monster Manual printings.