Talos (Forgotten Realms)

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Talos
Talos symbol.jpg
Alignment Chaotic Evil
Divine Rank Greater God
Pantheon Faerûn
Portfolio Storms, Natural Disasters, Destruction, Rebellion
Domains 3E: Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Fire, Storms
5E: Tempest
Home Plane Great Wheel: Towers of Ruin (Pandemonium)
World Tree: Towers of Ruin (Fury's Heart)
Worshippers Druids, Barbarians, Raiders, Looters, Brigands, Fighters, Half-Orcs, Those Who Fear Nature's Fury
Favoured Weapon A Lightning Bolt (Spear)

Talos, aka The Storm Lord, is the God of Storms and Destruction in the Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons & Dragons. As you might expect, Talos is not a very nice guy. He kind of looks like Odin, taking the form of a broad-shouldered, wild-bearded human man with one good eye, and one empty eye-socket filled with whirling stars, which he covers with a dark eyepatch. He wears half-plate armor over black leather armor, and black leather gloves... in case you needed more proof that he's a Bad Guy.

Talos' dogma is self-serving, demanding utter obedience from his priests and instructing them to spread destruction where they may. He is known as Bhaelros to the Calishites and Kozah to the Bedine - in the desert areas, he takes on the avatar of a dusky-skinned, turbaned djinni rising from amidst a sandstorm. Followers of Talos are known as Talassans.

Cult[edit]

The church of Talos is small by the standards of a greater deity, and almost universally despised, due to the asshole nature of gods and followers both - still, the fanatical fervor of his worshippers helps make up for their limited numbers. The cult's major sources of income are raiding or extorting sailors and farmers, using threats of destructive storms and other natural disasters such as wildfires, earthquakes and whirlpools to force them to pay tribute in order to buy off Talos' wrath. This "worship of fear" also gives Talos some of his power, as it makes up for the relative scarcity of people who actually want to worship him. Still, despite this, Talos ever wishes to expand his influence, and his clerics are charged with spreading his worship, which they commit to with the same fanatical fervor they do everything else, seeking to convert through fear or the enticement of raw power.

Talos inspires worship in those who fear the destructive power of nature. His followers are aligned chaotic evil, chaotic neutral, or neutral evil. Worshippers include barbarians, fighters, druids, and half-orcs. They believe in grabbing what they can when they can, for Talos may take their lives at any time. They believe in fearlessly embracing natural disaster; in doing so they demonstrate the power of Talos, who protects them from harm. They preach that only worship of Talos can protect against natural disasters, and at Talos' whim they hurl such disasters at foes.

Talassan clerics are wont to pursue wealth, luxury and wantonness. Many indulge in acts of random or spiteful violence, pillage and banditry. Talassan clerics attack in groups to raze settlements that attempt to resist them.

Worship of Talos is outlawed in many countries. Most Talassan holy sites are secret because of the church's reputation. Public churches often take the form of castles or fortified strongholds that lie on earthquake fault lines or in the path of storms or lava; Talos ensures they remain unscathed. The clergy has no formal hierarchy; obedience is enforced through might.

Clerics of Talos celebrate Talassan festivals with ceremonies that summon lightning and storms. Their most sacred ritual, Calling Down the Thunder, involves the sacrifice of an intelligent being by lightning. The most frequent cleric ritual is the Fury, in which the cleric prays, makes berserk attacks to wreak as much destruction as possible in a small amount of time, then prays again. Clerics of Talos are nicknamed "doom crows" because of their formal dress: they wear black robes and cloaks shot through with teardrops and jagged lines of gold and silver. High clergy wear blue-white ceremonial robes streaked with crimson. All clerics wear an eyepatch. Talassan clerics generally multiclass to barbarian, sorcerer, the stormlord Prestige Class, and wizard.

Formal orders of Talos are, understandably, rare, and shrouded in secrecy. The only two known orders are the Lords of the Tempest (wizards specializing in exotic combinations of elemental magic) and the Circle of Rust and the Worm (a cabal of crazed sages and mystics of assorted disciplines, both religious and secular, intent on bringing about the end of the world).

Talos is reputed to have served as a patron to more than one lich.

In the Pantheon[edit]

Formed from the first battle between Selûne and Shar, Talos is the leader of the Deities of Fury - those Forgotten Realms deities associated with the savage, destructive side of nature. He has a close relationship with Auril, a relationship with Umberlee characterized by both flirtation and rivalry, and a grudging alliance with Malar, who would kill him if he could. Talos elevates mortals to divinity and forces them to deplete themselves in his service. In AD&D lore, he once assumed the alias Malyk and attempted to gain dominion over Wild Magic, but was foiled by Mystra - in 5th edition, this was retconned and Malyk became a Drow god exclusively, with no ties to Talos.

As you can probably expect, Talos hates deities that promote building, learning, nature, and the altering of weather. Chief among his enemies are Chauntea, Eldath, Lathander, Mystra, Sune, Deneir, Gond, Helm, Ilmater, Mielikki, Oghma, Shiallia, Silvanus, and Tyr.

According to Oghma, Talos has often suggested the destruction of the moon as a solution to problems presented to the Pantheon in Cynosure.

There is a certain resemblance between Talos and Gruumsh, and in 4th edition, it was suggested that the two were actually the same deity using different guises to appeal to difference races. This idea was dropped in 5th edition.

Publication History[edit]

Ed Greenwood created Talos for his home Dungeons & Dragons game, set in Greenwood's Forgotten Realms world. Greenwood states that all of the weather gods from the original Deities & Demigods book seemed too powerful, so he combined from them the features he desired, into Talos.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977–1988)[edit]

Talos first appeared within Dungeons & Dragons as one of the deities featured in Ed Greenwood's article "Down-to-earth Divinity" in Dragon #54 (October 1981). Talos is introduced as The Destroyer, the Raging One, god of storms and destruction, a chaotic evil greater god from the plane of Pandemonium. The article described Talos as "A storm god commanding powers of rain, gale, lightning, and earthquake." Talos is described as one of "The Gods of Fury", which is what these four gods are known as collectively: "Talos is served by Auril, Umberlee, and Malar." Talos is commonly worshipped by chaotic evil fighters, magic-users, assassins, thieves, and clerics, and is placated by farmers and sailors.

Talos later officially appeared as one of the major deities for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set's "Cyclopedia of the Realms" booklet (1987).

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989–1999)[edit]

Talos was described in the hardback Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990), the revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993) in the "Running the Realms" booklet, and Faiths & Avatars (1996). His clergy was further detailed in Warriors and Priests of the Realms (1996), and Prayers from the Faithful (1997).

The Anauroch supplement notes that Talos is known to the Bedine as Kozah, their god of tempests. The Bedine say he vents his wrath by causing sandstorms, which show his fury at the faithlessness of his wife At'ar, as she enters N'asr's tent night after night (a metaphor for sunset).

His role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).

Talos is introduced as once having been known as Kozah in the ancient history of the Realms, in Netheril: Empire of Magic (1996).

His relationships with the nonhuman deities in the Forgotten Realms was covered in Demihuman Deities (1998).

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000–2002)[edit]

Talos appears as one of the major deities of the Forgotten Realms setting again, in Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (2001), and is further detailed in Faiths and Pantheons (2002).

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