Last week, our Divination from the Collective covered some of the major gods of the Mulhorandi pantheon – a pantheon in the Forgotten Realms that uses the Ancient Egyptian gods. There are some changes, of course: missing gods, differing domains, and additional mythologies. But these only serve to make the Mulhorandi pantheon interesting and unique, flouting many of our expectations from what we know of our own version of these gods.
Last week’s Divination briefly explained the domains, appearances, and worship of Anhur, Bast, Horus-Re, and Sobek. The following is a brief explanation of 5 more members of the pantheon.
Bes, the Short Father
Originally from an unknown pantheon (who are assumed to have died or disappeared), Bes, the god of luck and childbirth, married into the pharaonic pantheon upon his wedding to Hathor, and subsequently came to Faerun with the rest of the Mulhorandi pantheon. He is a free-willed god, like Bast, who cares little for ethics, and delights in the twists and turns of fate. His appearance is notably ugly; a small, misshapen creature with some little resemblance to a dwarf. He is so ugly, in fact, that statues of his appearance are used to ward off evil spirits. But it is also charming enough, in a way, to be attributed as the cause of a baby’s unexplained laughter.
Bes’ worshipers are not considered proper religious figures. Instead, they are made up of rogues and gamblers. Often, they are halflings and gnomes, despite his dwarven appearance. Once his worship waned amongst the Mulhorandi, his aspect was overtaken by Vergadain (a dwarven luck deity).
Geb, King of the Riches Under the Earth
The god of the earth and mining, Geb is also known as Gebthant in Thay and Gebakotep in Unther. He has grown mellow and mild-mannered over the course of his divinity, despite his origin as a curious and hotheaded god. When he appears, it is as a regal Mulani man in a brown robe with glowing red eyes. He also communicates his will through creatures associated with the earth, such as bears, stone golems, and rust monsters.
Those who worship Geb are usually miners or other earth-workers. Most are human, though gnomes and dwarves might also find themselves drawn to him. His official clerics, like most of the Mulhorandi pantheon, are chosen hereditarily. But all of his worshipers are expected to maintain a practical mind, and approach each situation as it dictates.
Hathor, The Nurturing Mother
Perhaps the least respected of her pantheon, at least by its members, is Hathor, goddess of fertility, motherhood, and all those who find themselves in need. It is her great kindness and pacifism that makes her unpopular amongst her own pantheon, who usually favor the already powerful for their followers. Her appearance is that of a Mulan woman with the head of a cow, with a moon disk caught between her horns. When she does not wish to appear, she communicates through the crying of infants, beams of moonlight, flows of milk, and the increased sightings of hippopotamus.
As suits her dominion, the followers of Hathor do not need to be nobility, or have any appropriate lineage. Most of them are common women who travel Mulhorand to aid the needy, creating small shrines as they go. They are typically peaceful, with no organized fighting force, but have been known to take up arms when necessary.
Isis, Lady of All Love
Another kind goddess, Isis (also known as Isharia or Ishtar) has domain over good magic and agriculture, but was known to particularly favor lovers. A great power of hers is that anyone who had ever known love from another person cannot harm her. She appears as a beautiful Mulani woman in ornate jewels, as well as through the appearance of unicorns, rabbits, and hawks, or by the growth of a new tree in a single day.
Worship of Isis has crept slightly out of Mulhorand, to various nearby peoples who also rely on agriculture for their national survival. These worshippers are often commoners with some magical ability. In fact, one of her orders, the Shield of the Lady, acted as spellcasting adventurers throughout Mulhorand and beyond.
Nephthys, the Devoted Lady
Nephthys, goddess protector of the dead, and guardian of commerce and wealth, has a somewhat confusing pantheon within the usual apparatus of the Forgotten Realms. But when you remember that Mulhorandi belief held that the dead took their belongings with them, it makes sense that gathering wealth is a form of preparation for the afterlife. She is vain, but kind, and a staunch opposer of the Red Wizards of Thay, who disturb her realm. When she appears, it is as a royal Mulani woman, or by golden mist and coin.
Nephthys is primarily worshipped by noble housewives. Her clergy, in fact, only accepted married or widowed women. This church acts as the treasury of Mulhorand, and the priestesses the treasurers. They often took arms to defend the wealth of their people, or acted as warriors-for-hire (a holy rite in itself for the group).
And these still aren’t all the gods to be found in the Mulhorandi pantheon! The culture is so steeped in religion (the nation being a pseudo-theocracy, with how intertwined the church, kingdom, and its pharaoh are), that each god takes on a unique and vital role to the people. And not only to the people of Mulhorand, but plenty of people beyond their borders are well.
Have you ever played a character that worshiped any of these gods? What were they like? Did you enjoy playing them? Let us know in the comments below!