|Aliases||The Great Guide, Lord of the Dead, Judge of the Damned, Master of the Crystal Spire|
|Divine Rank||Greater God|
|Portfolio||3E: Death, the dead
5E: The dead
|Domains||3E: Fate, Law, Protection, Repose, Travel (but not Death, cus its evil).
4E: DEATH, Fate, Justice
5E: Frickin' DEATH, Grave
|Home Plane||Great Wheel: The Crystal Spire (Hades)
World Tree/World Axis: The Crystal Spire (Fugue Plane)
|Worshippers||Morticians, Mourners, Emos, Undead-Slayers|
Kelemvor, who was once the mortal Kelemvor Lyonsbane, is the current god of the Dead in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. He attained the position through a long convoluted series of events, none of which included him actually seeking the job.
Despite having his powers and duties literally transferred to him from Myrkul (via Mask and Cyric) since the 5e reset, and subsequent resurrection of the former god of the Dead (and his brother Bhaal - god of making people dead), it is not quite known how they fit in with Kelemvor's portfolio.
As mentioned, he was born a mortal: Kelemvor of the Lyonsbane family, a minor noble and a bloodline of little note, except to one slighted sorceress who was left for dead in the distant past by her Murderhobo companion, Kyle Lyonsbane, so he could go rob as much loot as possible.
So she put a curse on the family, where his descendants would turn into uber-sexy werepanthers if they ever did anything purely for profit. Unfortunately the stupid cow couldn't get the magic to stick right, and so the descendants of Kyle would turn into panthers if they ever did anything that didn't give them any profit. So the family became miserly assholes who had absolutely strict terms of payment before they'd get off their arses to do anything, not matter what.
By Kelemvor's time, he had to insist on payment even in situations where his friends were in trouble, being unable to help them for free without turning into a giant cat and tearing their faces off.
So Kelemvor entered into the lifestyle of a mercenary, which worked for him. It was as a mercenary that he came into the service of the mortal Midnight and a companion of Cyric. Their little adventuring party was rounded out by a Cleric of Sune called Adon (who never became a god so we can forget him).
During the Time of Troubles, Cyric got his hands on the sword Godsbane which had been used to kill the deities Bhaal and Leira. He then did what any god-killing weapon wielder would do: proceed to be a team-killing dick and waste Kelemvor with it, taking on the mantles of Death, Betrayal and Lies. In the aftermath, Kelemvor's other companion Midnight got promoted to the goddess Mystra.
However, Cyric sucked as a god of the Dead, and ignored his duties in favour of trying to usurp more divine portfolios so he could make himself the one true God, all the while hunting for the soul of Kelemvor so he could use it to blackmail Mystra, who had been his lover. Unfortunately, Cyric couldn't actually find the soul anywhere in his domain, and being god of the Dead, this made him immensely paranoid that Kelemvor somehow wasn't dead. Furthermore, within his own realm, his subjects were revolting against him and he was losing control. Cyric discovered that the reason for all the mayhem was that his sword Godsbane was actually the god Mask in disguise, and had been working against him for years. When Cyric smashed the sword, it released the soul of Kelemvor, which had been stolen the moment he killed him.
Then the soul of Kelemvor fought the god Cyric, and WON. Though there is more to it than that, considering that:
- Kelemvor had been readied for his moment of vengeance in his years spent with Mask,
- Cyric was already weakened because his realm was beyond his control, and
- The overgod Ao had had enough of Cyric's shit, and was prepared to hand over the duties of managing the dead to Kelemvor, who would undoubtedly be more competent than Cyric.
So Kelemvor eventually became the God of the Dead.
His first action was to tear down the shitty macabre decorations the previous gods used to decorate the realm and build a crystal city as a shining beacon of hope.
He stopped torturing the Faithless and False - those souls who either didn't believe in the gods, or who believed in them but didn't actually merit any divine patronage - who ended up in his realm because they had nowhere else to go. He also rewarded those who had been virtuous and punished those who were wicked, worse, and started sending souls to wherever he thought they should go.
This got Kelemvor into deep shit, though, when mortals started considering Kelemvor as their primary cause for concern in the afterlife instead of worrying about what their own god had prepared for them. Not only that, but after sending a dutiful, but False soul to the realm of Torm, objections were raised over whether it was in Kelemvor's remit to do so. Particularly when Mask declared that the soul should have instead been his, after he had been masquerading as the soul's patron deity all his life even though the individual hadn't really believed, so if anyone was getting a free soul it should be Mask. Kelemvor just went "fuck it"' and decided to name the soul as his first Herald instead.
It all came to a head when Cyric raised his ugly head again with another extremely convoluted plan to become Overgod that failed just as spectacularly as the first one. Cyric was eventually put on trial by the other Gods who were really, really, really tired of his bullshit. But Cyric turned the case completely around, successfully arguing that as a God of chaos and lies he'd actually been doing what was expected of him by being a total dickhead to absolutely everyone. The other Gods grudgingly had to give that to him and Cyric went even further, accusing Kelemvor and Mystra (who had been denying magic to evildoers) of being "incompetent by reason of humanity". It wasn't actually Kelemvor's role to judge souls nor Mystra's role to allow or deny magic to mortals going by their set of human morals. They were now Gods and they were supposed to act like it, not like humans with no idea of what they were doing.
This threw the Pantheon in a bit of a pickle, but luckily Mystra and Kelemvor realized their arch-enemy had a valid point for once so they agreed to mend their divine ways and leave their human morals out of it. So Kelemvor shook it up, turning the lights down a shade, making his realm more grey. He stopped rewarding or punishing those who entered his realm, either sending them to the one(s) they venerated in life or leaving them to an eternity of indifference and "you really should have picked a better God".
The elite Clerics dedicated to the service of Kelemvor are his Doomguides.
It is their job to help mortals deal with the issues of death and undeath. While many of the regular clergymen of Kelemvor choose to focus on one aspect over another: Doomguides strike the balance between easing people off of the mortal coil by administering last rites and preparing funerals... and between bashing undead skulls in.
Doomguides continue Turning Undead as a class feature and are also resistant to death effects (go figure) They gain the ability to prevent corpses from being raised as undead are also particularly adept at using the Speak with Dead and can ask double the number of questions.
All Doomguides are trained to use a bastard sword, and are able to imbue it with properties similar to Kelemvor's Fatal Touch, temporarily granting it the abilities of Ghost Touch and Undead Bane.
A later ability grants them the power to force ethereal creatures onto the material plane where they can be affected just like any other creature of matter, as well as inhibiting their return to the ethereal for a short while.
Knights of the Eternal Order
A really small order of Paladins dedicated to Kelemvor. There are only 34 of them in the entire order!
Their duties are to seek and destroy undead abominations, but otherwise they behave like other Paladins, upholding the virtues of law and goodness while promoting the good side of Kelemvor's creed.
Ruleswise they are a 3-level substitution class for Paladins, swapping levels 1, 3 and 6.
They lose the ability to smite evil, divine health and remove disease. But in return they can imbue their weapons with the power to ignore any damage reduction value held by undead, increased skill on Knowledge (Religion) checks, complete immunity to negative levels and the ability to perform a greater turning attempt once per day.
If your campaign incorporates a lot of undead, then the Eternal Order makes a particularly good replacement for a normal Paladin in the party.
Kelemvor's realm is the Fugue Plane which is unique to the Forgotten Realms.
It is a flat, featureless grey infinite space of practically nothing.
In the Forgotten Realms, recently departed souls do not immediately go to a plane matching their alignment; they are instead assigned based on which god will take them in. So when they die they have to linger for a while until they get collected by the agent of their deity.
That also gives them time to consider their eventual fate, which might be a bad thing if they angered their god in some way, or if their chosen deity is actually a bit of a crazy shit... Baatezu patrol here on the sufferance of Kelemvor, where they can barter with the souls for service in the Blood War and the chance to become a Devil themselves.
There are only three categories of permanent resident in the Fugue Plane: the False are those who gave lip service to the gods, but fell short of the required devotion to actually get in to their afterlife, so they don't get collected by a divine agent. They make up the majority of the population and take up residence in Kelemvor's crystalline City of Judgement where they spend eternity being rather bored, but otherwise unmolested.
The other category are the Faithless who utterly disbelieved in the gods entirely. There is no reprieve for them, they get gathered up and cemented into the city fortifications. With no faith to sustain them they slowly fade away into nothingness as they get absorbed into the bricks and mortar of Kelemvor's city, forming its outer wall. Kelemvor made it clear that he didn't like the arrangement, along with the after-effects of his predecessor Myrkul's past edicts (such as the spirit eater curse) but couldn't readily revoke a previous god's divine edict without getting into trouble. He was, however, prepared to ignore any loopholes.
The third, and smallest category are the petitioners who worshipped Kelemvor directly, though in a practical sense they are no different from the False; gaining no special powers or immunities, but at least they belong to Kelemvor and he can empower or reward them however he feels necessary.
There is a fourth type, after a fashion: those who worshipped Ao. The Overgod distains such attempts to garner his favor, however,, and has such supplicants mortared directly into bricks.
|The Deities of Forgotten Realms|
|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
Iyachtu Xvim - Loviatar
|Auril - Bhaal - Myrkul
Shar - Velsharoon
|Beshaba - Cyric - Garagos |
Malar - Moander - Talona
Talos - Umberlee