As a world filled with divine magic, it isn’t a surprise that Dungeons and Dragons has gods for every occasion – especially for one of its nominative creatures. Thus, it also isn’t a surprise that the dragons of the Forgotten Realms have a powerful pantheon of their own, worshipped by Dragonborn, Kobolds, and True Dragons, as well as any number of spellcasters and humanoids who simply value their power, influence, and domain.
Draconic Spirituality in the Forgotten Realms
The draconic pantheon is one of the oldest and most powerful in all of Faerun, with the gods that make it up shaping and defining not only the planet of Toril, but the Outer Planes as well. In fact, up until the Spellplague (which saw the total upheaval of divine magic in Dungeons and Dragons), the draconic pantheon has its very own plane of existence, called the Draconic Eyrie, something no other pantheon could truly boast.
It’s almost surprising, then, to learn that dragons are not particularly religious. They used to be, but a very long cycle of wars and conflict pulled most of them away from divine devotion. Those dragons that remain religious are almost all aligned with either Bahamut or Tiamat, the patron gods of metallic and chromatic dragons respectively, but the rest of the gods are mostly supported by worship from dragonborn and other humanoids, rather than true dragons.
Asgorath, The World Shaper
While not a terribly active god in the Forgotten Realms, Asgorath, sometimes known as Io, is probably the most important god to dragons – their creator god. He is simultaneously every alignment, every color dragon, and yet none of those things at all. Some say that he has truly manifested himself only once, when he created the world, breathing good and bleeding evil dragons into existence, when he was a dragon so huge, he is almost beyond comprehension.
He is concerned only with the continuation of the draconic species – encouraging his followers to act in their best interest (although, notably, the best interest of those species as a whole, rather than on an individual level). His personality varies so much as to be wholly unknowable.
Asgorath’s symbol is either an unadorned or a multicolored circle.
Bahamut, King of the Good Dragons
Probably the single most recognizable draconic god, Bahamut (also known as Fizban, Xymor, and Marduk) is a god of law and justice, as well as the patron deity of good dragons. He is not only a dragon god, but also a standard god in the Faerunian pantheon, and temporarily the Untheric pantheon as well, which is when he used the name Marduk. As such, he has multiple forms: that of a giant platinum dragon, sometimes with a glowing aura, and that of a human wizard followed by seven birds. He also sometimes takes other disguises, but always with seven companions, be they animals or other humans, which represent the seven golden dragons which act as his servants and friends.
Accounts of Bahamut’s true nature, and even his divinity, are many and often conflicting. Some consider him to be the son, and by extension brother, of other draconic gods like Asgorath and Tiamat. Others believe that he was born of primordial chaos. Whichever is correct, he has since locked himself in diametrical opposition to Tiamat, spending many years reduced to a not-quite-god, wandering the Upper and Material Planes. This seems to have turned into a habit, as even once he regained the followers necessary to be considered a proper god, he is known to travel about Faerun.
Despite being a god of justice, Bahamut’s personality and dogma are nearly pacifistic. He abhors combat nearly as much as he abhors evil, and though he is strict with evildoers he is also compassionate and fair. He asks that his cleric defend the downtrodden, remain vigilant against evil (especially the evil of his sister Tiamat), and generally ensure that the virtues of honor, justice, and nobility are upheld wherever possible, and even where not.
Bahamut’s symbol is a profile silhouette of a dragon’s head, although it used to be a sparkling stone and star.
Tiamat, Queen of Evil Dragonkind
As Bahamut’s equal and opposite, the Many-Mawed Nemesis of the Gods is the goddess of greed and vengeance, and patroness of evil dragons. Her main appearance, that of a massive five-headed dragon, with each head being a different color, is infamous throughout the Forgotten Realms. However, she also has several avatars: The Dark Lady, a human woman with black eyes and dark robes, The Chromatic Dragon, a stubby-legged version of her draconic self, and The Undying Queen, a dracolich.
Much like her brother, Bahamut, Tiamat’s origins have many explanations. But whatever the truth, she spent some time as a goddess of Unther, before being trapped in the 9 Hells as a devil. When she finally gained enough followers to break free, she immediately set upon her goal of world domination. Her cult in Unther, who viewed her mainly as an opponent to the increasingly tyrannic god Gilgleam, worked to allow her back to her full power, and she has spread in influence across Faerun ever since.
Tiamat is a vain, spiteful, and cruel goddess. She encourages evil acts among her followers, and demands that they bring her riches for her hoard, as well as work toward the subjugation of Faerun. After being briefly subservient to Bane as Asmodeus, she now disdains the aid or friendship of other gods, and is too paranoid to have any real allies.
Her symbols have varied over the years, usually depicting her draconic form in some way. It can be a red dragon in front of a mountain, a five-headed dragon, a five-pointed star, or a draconic head with five claw marks behind it.
Have you ever played a cleric of a draconic god? Have they featured heavily in a campaign that you ran? How did things go? Let us know in the comments below!