An illustration of a naga, a snake with a human face. Next to it are the words "Monstrous Deities (part 2)"

The Forgotten Realms have a lot of gods. Not only do each of the major races/species have their own pantheons, but even the monster species often have their own gods. This makes sense since many of them have some level of sapience.

Last week we discussed a few of the monstrous deities of the Forgotten Realms: Yeeonghu, Semuanya, Vaprak, and Blibdoolploop. But those are far, far from the only gods belonging to the ‘enemy’ species that you find in FR.

Here are 4 more monstrous gods:


Ilsensine, the God Brain

The creator of one of the Forgotten Realms’ greatest threats, Ilsensine is the patron and parent of illithids – more commonly known as mind flayers. Its most common understanding among its own people as an endless flow of thought, all cool and calculating, and yet endlessly arrogant and cruel as. Its greatest goal is the complete domination of all realities by mind flayers, which share in a small portion of its great psionic prowess. All other species it considers nearly worthless, only good as livestock, food, and slaves for its perfect creation.

Notably, despite its status as a god, Ilsensine is not actually worshiped by illithids, per se. Clerics are exceedingly rare among their number, not only because they disdain magic, but because they have an extraordinarily strong resistance to it. Others instead view the god as an aspirational figure, whose power might be achieved with enough growth and knowledge. Each mind flayer channels its mental power, worshiper or not, so there isn’t really much reason for them to form a proper ‘church.’

An illustration of several mind flayers communing with Ilsensine, a floating brain with two tentaces.

Ilsensine primarily takes no form at all, manifesting as a kind of thought occurring in the mind of those that it appears to. That thought is, however, described as having a particular shape – an eldritch mass of brain matter writhing with endless tentacles and an eerie green glow. This lack of proper corporeal (or divine) body is part of what gives it such great power, as it exists throughout every time and every reality simultaneously, gathering knowledge and power beyond mortal comprehension. If it ever requires an avatar, however, it takes the form of a giant brain with a mere 2 tentacles. It is lawful evil.


Panzuriel, the Writhing One

An illustration of Panzuriel's holy sumbol, a circle with several curling lines coming off of it, with a smile inside the circle

Banished thousands of years ago from the Material Plane, Panzuriel is an old god of the sea. His cruelty and inclination toward violence and confusion led him into battles against other sea gods, who eventually forced him into the Abyss when Deep Sashelas cut off his foot. Without much standing or presence in the Realms, most of his worship has been subsumed by Umberlee, although he is still remembered and revered by krakens, sahuagin, and other evil sea creatures. He spends his time plotting revenge against the gods who banished him, and sending his followers to attack sea elves.

Panzuriel appears and an old, withered man with scaly, fishlike skin, gills, and long talons. He walks slowly, leaning on a staff and dragging one leg behind him, which ends in a crystal foot – the one that was once cut off by Deep Sashelas. Notably, this crystal foot can never leave the sea floor, forcing him to remain in deep waters and vulnerable to opponents who can harm him by bodily forcing him from the ground. He is neutral evil.


Shekinester, the Five-Faced Queen

An illustration of Shekinester a snake like creature witha womans face, curling around a plinth

While many gods have more than one aspect, most are limited to 2 or 3. Shekinester, the goddess of nagas, has a whopping 5 aspects, each representing a different stage of life and wisdom-gathering. These are the Seeker, Empowerer, Preserver, Acquirer, and the Weaver.

  • The Seeker is a child, embodying curiosity. She seeks wisdom, learns, and explores the world around her. She looks like an incredibly young naga.
  • The Empowerer is a guardian and a teacher. She protects those who seek knowledge, and shares what wisdom she herself has. She often accidentally causes conflicts when she grants wisdom before someone realizes that they need it. She looks like either a beautiful water naga or an ugly, greasy naga, depending upon her role.
  • The Preserver is a mother. She protects knowledge, guards the dead, and grants protection and sustenance to those who need it. She is middle-aged, but still beautiful.
  • The Acquirer is a collector. She covets and gathers knowledge that is harmful or in danger of being lost, but is also possessive and controlling of that wisdom rather than sharing it freely. She is strict looking, as though she was once beautiful, and is trying but partly failing to maintain that previous beauty.
  • The Weaver is elderly. She represents intentional destruction, carefully removing the old to make way for the new, and requiring that those who sought old knowledge and power must prove themselves first, often by creativity or self-sufficiency. She both destroys old knowledge and creates new knowledge, rather than simply finding those things that already exist, like the Seeker or the Acquirer. She is a spirit naga with a crystal heart.

She also has a 6th aspect: Ssharstrune. Ssharstrune was originally another deity altogether, who embodied greed and power-lust rather than benevolent knowledge and insight. He once courted Shekinester, but attacked her when she rebuffed him. She swallowed him whole to protect herself, be unintentionally took on his personality as another aspect of herself.

Each aspect of Shekinester has her own alignment and holy symbol, as well as their own domain. However, each of them embodies the pursuit of knowledge, which Shekinester extols and encourages among her people.





Did we leave anything out about these gods that you think is important? Have you ever used one in a campaign, or played a character that worshiped one? Let us know in the comments below!

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