Our last two Divinations from the Collective have had the same subject: the Mulhorandi pantheon. This group of Forgotten Realms’ gods are taken whole cloth from Ancient Egyptian mythology, though they take on a new, unique life within Faerun. It’s no surprise that it’s taken so many articles for us to discuss them all, either – there are a fair number, each with their own relationships, place in society, and importance to the history of the Realms.
Osiris, The White Crown
A surprisingly rarely worshiped god for one of his importance, Osiris is the Mulhorandi god of the death and afterlife, as well as of the harvest. It’s a fitting portfolio, given that he spent some time among the dead – murdered by Set. His wife Isis eventually resurrected him with the aid of Nephthys, and he has retained his domain easily since. When he appears, it may be in the form of a king or royal mummy. And if he does not appear in a body, he may make himself known through plants or a fierce wind, which is known to lead men to the location of their burial.
While Osiris’ clergy might technically rank as highly as Horus-Re in terms of social standing, they usually leave the running of Mulhorand to the sun god’s officials. Instead, they spend much of their time traveling the land as mediators and presiding over burials. They dress similarly to most priests of Mulhorandi gods, in white skirts and sandals, with shaven heads.
Re, (Original) Pharoah of the Gods
While Osiris may have died temporarily, Re, the original god of sun and rulership, spent much more time in whichever afterlife the gods might have. His powers are much the same as Horus-Re (who is detailed here: The Mulhorandi Pantheon pt. 1) since his son Horus took over his domain after his death in the Orcgate Wars. In the Second Sundering (the events which restore Faerun’s ‘status quo’ after 4th edition) he returned, taking back his portfolio and position in Mulhorandi society.
Very little is written about Re and his followers. No official supplements are set in a time during which he is alive – the Orcgate Wars being a part of the founding history for Thay and other nearby nations, rather than a “current” location, and 5e not having released much official information on Mulhorand. Most information can be extracted from what is known about Horus-Re, who began to adopt his father’s personality after his death.
Sebek, The Smiling Death
There are few creatures more firmly associated with Ancient Egypt than the crocodile – a dangerous reptile of the Nile River. Sebek, who takes the form of either a giant crocodile or a man with the head of one, is a similarly dangerous god with domain over water hazards and other scaled creatures (with the notable exception of dragons). He is a relatively lowly god, who only commands a fraction of the danger that his father Set holds.
The entirely of Sebek’s clergy are werecrocodiles, who spread the unusual lycanthropy as part of their religious duties. Otherwise, they are a rare number, having been mostly expelled from Mulhorand into the swamps of Chessentia. Wherever they go, they are almost always unwelcome.
Thoth, Knower of All Secrets
A favored god of scribes, wizards, and inventors of all kinds, Thoth has domain over knowledge, secrets, and spells. He is an immensely powerful mage-god, capable of both divine and arcane magic, with surprisingly few enemies throughout all the pantheons of Faerun. His manifestation comes as a Mulan man with the head of an ibis, and his will is made known through golems, birds, or simply the appearance of writing before his chosen.
His followers are fairly widespread, encompassing scribes, historians, and spellcasters. Most of his official clergy are descended from his original avatar in the Realms, and serve as official record-keepers for their nations. They also sometimes act against the Red Wizards, despite Thay’s great affection for arcane power above divine.
Those Who Stayed Behind
Not all the Egyptian gods made their way into the Mulhorandi pantheon. But that doesn’t mean that they have no place in Dungeons and Dragons, or in the Forgotten Realms. Tefnut (goddess of rain), Nut (goddess of sky), Shu (god of wind), and Seker (god of light) all gained some amount of worship among the Zakhara and other people groups in Faerun. So did Ptah and Anubis.
Ptah, Opener of the Ways
In Egyptian mythology, Ptah is the creator-god. In the Forgotten Realms, Ptah was the force which Overgod Ao called upon to allow the Mulhorandi pantheon to manifest in Faerun, opening a pathway between the worlds. He does have a temple, but not on the Material Plane. Instead, his worship is found almost exclusively in the city of Sigil, a demiplane city that acts as a central hub for interplanar travel.
Anubis, Guardian of Dead Gods
While Anubis himself never came to the aid of the Mulan, he lent Nephthys a number of hounds for her aid and protection. Additionally, he is uniquely accessible to many planar travelers since he lives in the Astral Plane. He is the only god in the multiverse to actually live there, and it is theorized that he does so in capacity as a guardian of the dead gods who have been laid to rest there.
Have you ever played a character that worshiped any of these gods? Did you enjoy it? How did you incorporate their characteristics into your character, or into the story? Let us know in the comments below!