Ao

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Ao
Alignment None (assumed True Neutral)
Divine Rank Overdeity
Pantheon Faerûn
Portfolio Deities, Balance
Domains Does not grant Domains to Clerics
Home Plane Unknown
Worshippers Technically none, though small cults arise from time to time.

Ao is the Overgod of the Forgotten Realms Crystal Sphere of the Dungeons & Dragons multiverse. As Overgod, he is, essentially, the God of Gods, the aloof and indifferent ruler over all deities who occasionally bestirs himself to smack them all upside the head when they do something he finds unforgiveably stupid.

Not to be confused with Io, who is the Overgod of the Dragon deities, who we will get to in a minute.

History[edit]

Ao existed before Abeir-Toril, and was the one who created the crystal sphere containing world in it. After creating the sphere he simply left it as a timeless, gray void, from which Selûne and Shar emerged.

Early in Abeir-Toril's history, the "Gods" fought the "Primordials" in a war over who gets dominion over the mortal realms, called the Days of Thunder. Ao himself apparently didn't pick a side, indicating that he is neither God nor Primordial himself. In any case, Io, (who was called Asgorath) was summoned to fight against the giant deity Annam and proceeded to throw a meteor at the planet, very nearly destroying it. Feeling that the game had finally gone too far, Ao finally interceded as referee, and decided to split the planet Abeir-Toril into two parts and spread them evenly between groups; the Primordials got Abeir, while the Gods got Toril and became the center stage for the Forgotten Realms from that point onwards.

THE most significant event of that was the Time of Troubles, when he expelled all of the gods bar Helm from the heavens over Bane and Bhaal stealing the Tablets of Fate. This was ultimately revealed to actually be an excuse and really he was just sick of how the gods were so indifferent to their followers' plights. When he did end the Time and let them back in, it was only after changing things so that their power levels now depended on the faith of mortals; if a god lost all of its followers, it would fade away into nothing, whilst the more followers that god had, the mightier it would grow. This did make the gods more attentive of their followers, but it also led to much more aggressive proselytizing, too.

Worshippers[edit]

Those few eccentric mortals who learn of Ao sometimes seek to worship him; this is a foolish decision, as Ao's Overgod status means he is exempt from the "gods need prayer badly!" trope and also has far bigger things to concern himself with than mortals. As a result, such "priests" gain no spells and will never even attract Ao's notice, for they are simply too far beneath him to care.

Then they end up getting mortared into Kelemvor's city with the Faithless. Derp.

That doesn't means he's completely above intervening in mortal affairs, though. When a bunch of followers of Cyric had the genius idea to pretend they were followers of Ao (well, okay, it's fitting behavior for the God of Lies; but Cyric banked on Ao not intervening at all), Ao set things in motions and did intervene subtly but decisively to ensure said followers got their shit totaled so hard Cyric never tried that particular scheme again.

Superior[edit]

Despite being the Overgod of Toril, Ao has a superior he answers to. A luminous being whom he refers to as the Master, who is in charge of other beings like Ao. He describes the Master's realm as a place before time, time at the edge of the universe, where millions of millions of assignments like his began and ended. A warm and cold entity, forgiving and harsh, with a gentle and admonishing voice-- a being that no one from this universe shall ever truly understand.

The deities of 5th edition Forgotten Realms
Lawful Neutral Chaotic
Good Ilmater - Nobanion
Torm - Tyr
Chauntea - Deneir - Eldath - Enlil
Gwaeron Windstrom - Lathander
Mielikki - Milil - Mystra - Shiallia
Lliira - Lurue - Selûne - Sharess
Sune - Tymora - Valkur
Neutral Azuth - Helm - Hoar
Jergal - Kelemvor
Red Knight - Savras
Siamorphe - Ulutiu
Akadi - Ao - Auppenser - Gond
Grumbar - Istishia - Karsus
Kossuth - Oghma - Silvanus
Tempus - Ubtao - Waukeen
Finder Wyvernspur - Ibrandul - Leira
Mask - Shaundakul - Uthgar
Evil Asmodeus - Bane
Gargauth - Gilgeam
Loviatar
Auril - Bhaal - Myrkul
Shar - Velsharoon
Beshaba - Cyric - Garagos
Malar - Moander - Talona
Talos - Umberlee