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MandarinB Posted - 30 Jun 2022 : 13:48:47
Hello everyone! I was doing some research into demon lords, and came across a rather in-depth video that implied that the demon lord Fraz-Urb'luu was capable of creating clerics of a few domains, and that his cultists often impersonated clerics of other gods in this way. While this was very interesting to hear about and not entirely unheard of (I mean, Lolth's a demon lord and a god. I believe Asmodeus is an Archdevil and a god as well), I can't find whatever source gave this lore nor can I find any indication that the most powerful demon lords or archdevils can have clerics without being a proper deity.

Are there examples of archfiends shown to have this power in the Forgotten Realms, and if so, is there any reason given in those sources to explain why said fiend was capable of meddling with divine magic?

I'm really fascinated with the concept, I just want to know if its actually possible in the established FR lore before I accidentally give some archfiends abilities they should not have in my world.
14   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Delnyn Posted - 09 Aug 2022 : 22:45:28
Maybe the more practical question is "What hoops do I have to jump through to cast divine spells?" The concept of "god" is very murky and muddled to mortal comprehension. Not to mention editions and sourcebooks within editions.
sleyvas Posted - 05 Jul 2022 : 16:42:52
While I very much like Eric's idea of "the servant of the fallen" feat, I also very much like the idea that he's put forth that being a "god" is just a "template"/"feat" added onto a being of power and they retain their underlying abilities as well. However, I will also add that I believe that this "template"/"feat" is still too broad a term and that there are in fact multiple types of these "templates" that gods may pick and choose from. What do I mean by that? Well, some "beings" may be able to grant divine power, but only in the form of druids. Some may only be able to make clerics. Some may only be able to make paladins. Some may only be able to make rangers. Some may be able to make some mix of these (for instance a god like Helm could make paladins and clerics, but maybe not rangers and druids). Even with a god choosing to be able to make clerics, they may be forced to only offer certain divine domains unless the "spend more points" to gain more divine domain offerings.

Then as discussed above, some may be able to make "pact makers" as well. For instance, a very powerful genie may be able to make sha'irs, a archdevil might be able to make fiendish pacts, an archfey might be able to make fey pacts, and a powerful aberration may be able to make great old one pacts. Even powerful spirits might be able to pick up this ability by gaining the "spirit of power" pact making ability. It might be much cheaper/have less "prerequisites" to gain access to becoming a pact patron versus becoming a "divine power", and thus there is a stigma between the two. It might be a much harder build to be able to supply "both" divine power and warlock pacts as well, and thus we don't see a lot of beings doing it (and it might be easier for some beings as well, such as demon lords having an easier time of becoming both fiendish pact providers and divine powers).

Essentially, if you're looking to explain how they work, its probably best to look on gods as basically really powerful NPC builds with certain options not available to players until they gain certain prerequisites. Furthermore, they don't just get a "god feat" per se, so much as get a bunch of different "god feats" that define what types of power they're able to give out. Like players with really bad builds that pay off better in the long run, there may be "low power" beings who have a LOT of these options and there may be "high power" beings who have very few options. For instance, I could see the red knight as a low power divine being with a lot of options (she can make clerics, paladins, and even rangers in my book), whereas a more powerful god like Ilmater might only have the options for clerics and paladins.
PattPlays Posted - 05 Jul 2022 : 04:17:27
Originally posted by George Krashos

Originally posted by Ayrik

Isn't this whole scroll basically describing 4E warlocks?

What's 4e?

-- George Krashos

Two plus two is five here.

Interesting to see Demogorgon Juiblex and Yeenoghu on there.
D has his cleric Ixatchitl before all else, Yeenoghu has his servant masses, but I have a thread in one of my campaigns where juiblex is after a divine avatar of a weakenned god to gain a chunk of divine power in the realms proper- after being unleashed by that duped drow Archmage along with all the others. If he has a 'god' badge, it doesn't normally work on the realms when Ghaunadaur takes all prayers that would otherwise go to him. Demogorgon and Yeenoghu would be tremendously powerful out the gate- with many followers here.
George Krashos Posted - 03 Jul 2022 : 08:05:11
Originally posted by Ayrik

Isn't this whole scroll basically describing 4E warlocks?

What's 4e?

-- George Krashos
Ayrik Posted - 03 Jul 2022 : 05:36:42
Isn't this whole scroll basically describing 4E warlocks?
George Krashos Posted - 03 Jul 2022 : 02:22:52
In 3E Eric came up with an elegant solution to this with what he called the "Potted Plant Feat" - it was the Servant of the Fallen feat which Eric devised for people to get spells from "dead gods" - but intended for it to be used for basically worshipping anything, including demons, devils, primordials ... and potted plants. If your DM let you take the feat you were able to basically get spells from whatever entity was agreed on. There is no such mechanic in later editions. For what it's worth, I've always thought that demon lords/princes and archdevils should be able to grant spells (at a small price to be negotiated with the DM - there is always a price for this kind of worship).

-- George Krashos
Eldacar Posted - 03 Jul 2022 : 01:33:23
Originally posted by MandarinB

I see, I'll have to get check what "On Hollowed Ground" has to see if I can find a list of archfiends with access to divine domains, and work to find a system by which fiend clerics are possible. If I conjure up a lore reason, that would also be very beneficial.

To my immediate recollection, some Archdevils and Demon Lords will be classified as enough of a Power to be barred from Sigil and also as being able to grant spells. Hallowed Ground limited some of this to things like “only spells up to 4th level” and calls them “near-Powers” when it says this:

“The bloods in this section aren’t gods - yet. But they’re close. The smell of divinity surrounds them like the stench of a reeking corpse. See, by climbing the heap, they made names for themselves, and are rewarded with praise and worship from those beneath them. ‘Course, they have vastly different levels of strength. The toughest animal Lord on the Beastlands is still no match for the weakest Abyssal Lord. But fame does translate into raw power. The more folks who know a blood’s name, the more likely it is that he’ll pass into the realms of mythic belief. Not all near-Powers want to become full-fledged gods; they feel they have plenty of strength as-is, and they aren’t above interacting with mortals. But all of these beings are dangerous, and the best advice for a planewalker is to steer clear.”

Most however are not, and if they grant magic they have to do it some other way - Asmodeus serves as a “guarantor” on Archdevils without the ability, for example.

They are all capable of what 5e calls a warlock pact, though.

It also lists some, though not all, of the ones who have “obtained true divinity” and includes:

- Demogorgon
- Baphomet
- Jubilex
- Yeenoghu
- Orcus (dead at the time of publishing)
- Primus
- Dispater (possibly, it describes him as one of the “ancient lords”)
- The Lad-*IS MAZED*
Ayrik Posted - 02 Jul 2022 : 02:05:23
TSR/Wizards has been putting out contradictory statements about archfiends granting spells since at least 1st ed.

This is of course their attempt to approach the topic with tact and delicacy. Then their kneejerk overreactions to appease bad press when people accused them of creating a game for devil worshippers.

Times have changed a lot in some ways - D&D and roleplaying games (and the nerds who play them) are more widely understood and accepted these days - but some things never change and some obstinate opinions can still hit hard where it hurts most (branding and revenue). So Wizbro continues to waver around a carefully inoffensive fine line. Many children like playing heroes who can kill villains and monsters and demons, many parents find certain specifics intolerable.

Those of us who played D&D in early editions are aware of this behind-the-scenes history you won't find written anywhere in the rulebooks. Those of us who were introduced D&D in later editions may simply be mystified by all the irrational, inconsistent, inexplicable wiffle-wobbling baggage inherited within the game.
bloodtide_the_red Posted - 02 Jul 2022 : 01:10:58
If your talking 3E, then you want the book Faiths and Pantheons, right on page six it explains how fiends can grant divine spells to worshipers.

Though basically it's part of the Cosmic Scheme of Things it's part of the bit that fiends tempt or steal mortals away from gods.

Demogorgon got the drained energy from vampiric ixitxachitls back in 2E.

Although demon lords are in most cases not true deities, they are close enough to divine status to serve as objects of worship for mortals. Demon lords are what are known as demigods, and are as capable of granting spells, domains, and favored weapons to clerics as are true deities—indeed, to a mortal worshiper, there is very little difference between the status of deity and demigod.
sleyvas Posted - 01 Jul 2022 : 21:36:46
One takeaway from what was being said above might also be "in which world". So, for instance, it might be that in some worlds (crystal spheres?) Baphomet is a demon lord without the ability to grant divine power... but in others he can. To note, the examples given though (giantcraft and monsters of faerun) are both realms products... so as stated "its all messed up".

One thing I personally like to think is that the idea behind tome of magic with binders/vestiges and clerics/religions not liking binders.... before many "gods" get enough power to affect things in a world, they may act as pact makers with individuals. Making pacts is probably more time consuming for them however, and eventually they "unlock" the ability to create divine spellcasters. In that instance, gods may view pact makers (many of which are demons and devils) as working towards becoming competition for worshippers. So, beings like Gargauth that have had to resort back to being a pact maker may just be working to regain the ability to "be a god" again.
TomCosta Posted - 01 Jul 2022 : 21:36:11
Agree it varies by edition and even by source within editions. For 5E, I prefer that fiends generally sponsor warlocks and not clerics, but that's a personal preference, and I'm probably not consistent either.
MandarinB Posted - 01 Jul 2022 : 13:14:21
I see, I'll have to get check what "On Hollowed Ground" has to see if I can find a list of archfiends with access to divine domains, and work to find a system by which fiend clerics are possible. If I conjure up a lore reason, that would also be very beneficial. Perhaps certain archdevils possess the ability to grant divine spells based on a history of being celestials once, or perhaps some of that divine magic is simply a tithe paid by one of the deities residing in the Nine Hells. A similar arrangement could also explain certain demon lords having access to the creation of clerics, even though they lack some divine portfolio. I'll do some thought and some research, and I'll likely post a draft of which archfiends might hypothetically make sense for this, using the resources you all have mentioned. I'd appreciate further comments and input. Thanks!
LordofBones Posted - 01 Jul 2022 : 10:45:45
Sufficiently powerful beings can grant spells in 3e and beyond. "Divine" doesn't always mean "god".

So, yes, Big A, Mephistopheles, Juiblex and Sess'innek can grant spells.
Stones Finder Posted - 01 Jul 2022 : 05:43:42
TSR/Wizards has been putting out contradictory statements about archfiends granting spells since at least 1st ed. My copy of Deities and Demigods (before the name change, after Cthulhu and Elric were edited out) explicitly states (in the nonhuman deities section) that the demon lords and archdevils in the Monster Manual are lesser gods "although they have few human worshippers." Giantcraft (2e) explicitly names Baphomet as a god - on the other hand, the web enhancement for 3e Monsters of Faerun just as explicitly says "Baphomet is not a god - yet." I believe the 2e Planescape product On Hallowed Ground gave a list of which archfiends had crossed the line into godhood, but it's been years since I read it. The 2e Guide to Hell says that Asmodeus is a god, but a kind of god who doesn't need worshippers - of course, it also says he's harvesting the souls of the Athar upon their deaths, so he clearly has a use - if not a need - for soul energy. 3e is consistent that archfiends aren't gods, and 4e says Asmodeus' ascension is a recent event.

In short, the canon is, as usual, screwed up. Do whatever works best for your campaign.

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