This month, we asked the Forgotten Realms design team what we are going to be seeing about the gods in the new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. Their answer: "We're covering the basics, but that's more than you'd think."
Rich Baker: First, there's the basics -- what domains each deity permits, the deity's alignment, the deity's favored weapon, and so on.
Sean Reynolds: The goal was to get you what you needed to run an adventuring cleric of that deity right "out of the box" -- holy symbol, alignment, portfolio, domains, description of the deity, role of the church and clerics, dogma, relationships with other deities.
We didn't fuss much with ceremonial garb, traditional forms of greeting, ranks within the church, fancy titles, and stuff like that. Instead, we focused on what an adventuring cleric of that faith does, what sort of support they might get from their church, and the public perception of that deity.
Rich Baker: Each deity's outlook, motivations, worshipers, and ethos are defined in the deity's entry in the Deities chapter. We couldn't do full write-ups on each of Faerûn's hundreds of gods, but about 30 of the most distinctive and prominent are described at this level.
Jim Butler: The gods presented in the new campaign setting hardcover are the most powerful and widely followed (at least by PCs). Our goal was to provide as complete a listing as possible without taking 600 pages to do it. So while the information you need to run a follower of the god is present, it's not done to the level that the Faiths & Avatars series was scribed.
Rich Baker: The new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting describes more than a dozen new domains unique to Faerûn, such as Cavern, Darkness, Hatred, and Tyranny. Your cleric character will have many more choices available for his domains.
Are there any significant/interesting changes to any of the gods (new gods, different spheres, shifting portfolios, etc.)?
Jim Butler: There aren't any new gods to report; limiting the rise of new gods has been a mission of ours for some time now. The biggest changes you'll see as far as rules revolve around converting all of the 2nd Edition materials over to the new edition of D&D.
Sean Reynolds: Shaundakul, who used to be a fairly important deity of caravans and trading, has gotten a boost by pulling portals into his portfolio -- the many magical teleporters that connect different parts of Faerûn and other planes.
Rob Heinsoo: Well, Realms fans who know that the goddess Waukeen was rescued in the adventure For Duty & Deity will be glad to know that she has taken back her rightful place in the Faerûnian pantheon.
Sean Reynolds: We've brought Elistraee to the forefront as the goddess of good drow to reflect the greater numbers of dark elves walking on Faerûn's surface. Malar is also in the spotlight because the D&D game now allows for evil druids and rangers.
Rob Heinsoo: I'd also say that Malar is in the spotlight because a god of bestial hunters and evil lycanthropes is just what we wanted to throw at goody-goody paladins and wizards.
Rich Baker: Cyric isn't nuts anymore. He's still not a nice guy, but the insanity engendered by his reading of TheCyrinishad and his efforts to absorb too many powerful portfolios has passed. Watch out for a ruthless, calculating, and more subtle Cyric as the campaign setting moves forward.