Amaunator

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Amaunator
Game background
Title(s) The Yellow God, The Keeper of the Eternal Sun, Keeper of Law
Home plane Keep of the Eternal Sun (Mechanus)
Power level Greater deity
Alignment Lawful Neutral
Portfolio Bureaucracy, contracts, law, order, the sun, rulership
Domains Law, Nobility, Planning, Sun, Time
Superior None
Design details

Amaunator /əˈmɔːnətɔər/ is a fictional solar deity of the Forgotten Realms Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting devised by Ed Greenwood. He was long considered to be a dead deity, but was revealed to be Lathander in the 4th edition Forgotten Realms campaign setting.

Publication history[edit]

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

At'ar the Merciless, the "Yellow Goddess," is introduced in the Anauroch supplement. She is described as chief among the Bedine gods, and to them she is the sun, and seen as a spiteful, faithless woman who tends to ignore the Bedine completely. The book reveals that in the days ancient Netheril, "At'ar" was called "Amaunator", and was the male sun deity.[1]

Amaunator was later described fully in Faiths & Avatars (1996),[2] and his role in the ancient history of the Realms was detailed in Netheril: Empire of Magic (1996).[3]

His role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).[4]

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition (2000-2007)[edit]

Amaunator and his continued worship was discussed in Lost Empires of Faerûn (2005).[5]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)[edit]

In the 4th edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, Amaunator returns. In the chaos following Mystra's murder by Cyric, Shar restored Netheril, which prompted the revelation that Amaunator did not die, but rather, became Lathander. Amaunator has reclaimed his full suite of powers and his original mission, effectively ending Lathander's stint as a deity. He fondly remembers his time as Lathander, however, and encourages some of his clergy, the Morninglords, to keep Lathander's message of hope and optimism alive. Although he was originally a Netherese deity, Amaunator has inherited Lathander's church and is worshipped all over Faerun - ironically, he, like Selune, is now despised in Netheril itself, as that nation worships Shar exclusively.[6]

Amaunator took Mystra's place as the timekeeper of the gods. As a Greater God, Amaunator rules the astral dominion, Eternal Sun, from the Palace of the Four Suns. He is assisted by his exarch Siamorphe and his associate Waukeen. Although originally Lawful Neutral, Amaunator's time as Lathander has changed his worldview to the extent he is now Lawful Good.[7]

Overview[edit]

An ancient Netherese deity of order and the sun, Amaunator was also revered as the patron of law and time. The justice he dealt was always harsh but eminently fair. He was revered by many rulers, soldiers, and powerful wizards.

His symbol is a sun with a face on the solar disk. According the Third Edition rules for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, the official cleric domains of Amaunator are Law, Nobility, Planning, Sun, and Time. His favored weapon is the Scepter of the Eternal Sun and his clergy typically use maces as representations of their deity's weapon.

Appearance[edit]

Amaunator appeared as a lanky man with silver-white hair, a short, week-long growth of white beard, and skin that glowed with a quiet golden radiance. He carried the Scepter of the Eternal Sun in one hand and a large legal tome in the other, and wore the clothes of a magistrate: a long, black or purple gown trimmed with silver or gold. To be in his presence was to feel the awesome power of true law.

Personality[edit]

Amaunator was a careful and meticulous deity who made certain that every agreement was written down, contracted, signed, sealed, and witnessed. An extremely lawful deity, he followed the letter of the law, not necessarily the spirit of it–unless the spirit was a great deal more to his liking. He expected the same of his followers.

Amaunator was also occasionally revered as the keeper of time. This artificial “addition” to his portfolio was due to a mispunctuation in a contract between himself and another deity which stated: “…Amaunator shall be responsible for all time. Any misrepresentations of his or his followers, If so deemed the fault of Amaunator….” This unnoticed punctuational snarl of commas and periods led to Amaunator considering himself to be in charge of “all time”. Fortunately, he never officially acted to take over the portfolio, since he was not willing to step on the toes of Mystryl (the Netherese deity of magic now known as Mystra), who was the unofficial keeper of the timestream in Faerûn. He became the official timekeeper of the gods sometime after Mystra's murder in 1385 DR.

History[edit]

When Netheril fell, the common people who were not killed by the fall of the enclaves (the only living worshippers of the deity) largely abandoned Amaunator, believing that he had done nothing to prevent the disaster. His followers were right, but contractually, his hands were tied. Magic in all its forms was under the exclusive control of Mystryl, and Amaunator had no lawful right to interfere in any way, even when a magical catastrophe, such as Netheril’s fall, was in the process of occurring.

Over the centuries, many theories have been put forward by later religious scholars as to what ultimate fate Amaunator met. Some insist that he died, but others (notably the sunmasters of the Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun) argue that he was reborn as Lathander (a claim that was ultimately proven correct). Still others believe he survives as the vengeful Bedine deity known as At’ar the Merciless and yet others assert that he turned his back on Faerûn and entered the pantheon of the lands of Kara-Tur or simply moved on to other planets (such as Oerth). The truth is that with the loss of nearly all his followers in Netheril after its fall, Amaunator began the long, arduous, and painful process of dying of neglect. After about a millennium, he did not have enough power left to maintain his power base in the outer planes and was ruthlessly exiled to the Astral Plane. His corpse now drifts with the endless astral tides, awaiting a day when some ambitious spirit may help him regain his once-proud heritage.

Church[edit]

Members of the church of Amaunator were powerful political figures at the height of Netheril’s rule. Amaunator’s clergy were extremely hierarchical and rulebound. Each Righteous Potentate (high priest of a temple, called a "Court") oversaw all aspects of church functions. No one could perform or be relieved of their duties without the consent of the Righteous Potentate or one of his seven Monastic Abbots. Under each of the seven Monastic Abbots, there were an additional seven High Jurists (priests) who served relentlessly, performing whatever duties were assigned to them.

Lower ranks of clergy members served beneath the High Jurists, and were known as (in descending order): Jurists, High Magistrates, Magistrates, Defenders of the Law, Lions of Order, Radiant Servants, and Clerks. Within Amaunator's church, there was an elite sect of clerics and holy warriors called sunmasters, who now represent a branch of the church of Lathander known as the Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun.

Dogma[edit]

Amaunatori were taught that the law is the law. The law kept order in society, and without it civilization would unravel and chaos would reign. Amaunator represented the sure function of the law, for just as certainly as the sun would rise in the morning, the law could deal fairly with any dispute and any crime.

Novice Amaunatori were charged as follows: "Learn the law and live it; obey its every letter and clause, for in knowledge of the intracacies of law lies freedom to act with righteous impunity. Keep track of the decisions of your superiors so that the body of precedent continues to grow and the unity of purpose of the rulings of Amaunator is made manifest to all. Serve your superiors faithfully, and they will reward you faithfully; shirk your duty and find the harsh hand of reproof."

Day-to-Day Activities[edit]

All clergy members had to learn, understand, and know how to reap the benefits from (exploit) the laws of the land, the city, and the province they lived in. In order to completely understand the nuances of law and legislature, the clergy constantly drilled each other, practiced law in court whenever possible, and rehearsed law in practice courtrooms. They could not resist investigating the scene of a crime or taking part in the construction of new laws in their locale, and did so with great intensity and fervor.

Amaunatori served often in court as judges, to present cases, and to hear legal arguments and disputes. They were paid well to settle merchant disputes over contracts, agreements, and trade practices and made a comfortable living for themselves and their church as arbitrators of all sorts of commercial and personal claims not worthy of the attention of figures of power in ultimate authority.

Affiliated Orders[edit]

The monks of Amaunator belonged to the Brotherhood of the Sun, an association of itinerant monks who served the faithful in the field, bringing the comforting words of Amaunator to the peasants and common folk and preserving order throughout the land. Although the Brotherhood survived the fall of Netheril and the death of Amaunator, it never coalesced around a proper successor. Instead, each monastery chose its own deity to serve, with most eventually gravitating to Lathander or Selûne, but a few choosing Sune Firehair. Today, the Brotherhood of the Sun is known as the Order of the Sun Soul, and the group's original association with the church of Amaunator has been largely forgotten. The order now admits both men and women, but retains its itinerant nature and ancestral focus on serving the common folk of the Realms.

Heresies[edit]

The church of Lathander is not without its notable heresies, including the Risen Sun heresy and the Three-Faced Sun heresy, both of which are detailed below and are prominently focused on the return of Amaunator.

Risen Sun Heresy[edit]

The Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun has long existed within the church of Lathander, tolerated by other followers of the Morninglord and preaching that Lathander is the reincarnated form of Amaunator. Heretics of the Risen Sun take the Brotherhood's beliefs one step further into heresy, by preaching that the time of Lathander's transformation is nigh and Amaunator is about to return.

The leader of the Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun, Sunlord Daelegoth Orndeir, has embraced the Risen Sun heresy and now seeks to make it the orthodox sect of the church of Lathander. By the Year of Lightning Storms (1374 DR), Daelegoth has already begun a drive to recruit converts to the faith of Amaunator through preaching and performing miracles.

According the Third Edition rules for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, Risen Sun heretics have access to the Fire, Law, Nobility, Renewal, Sun, and Time cleric domains. In the Fourth Edition, the Risen Sun heretics are proven to have been correct about Lathander's true nature.

Three-Faced Sun Heresy[edit]

Heretics of the Three-Faced Sun believe that the sun is a tripartite overdeity, with aspects of dawn, highsun (solar noon), and dusk. Like a spinning prism viewed from the side, believers in this heresy teach that only two of the three aspects can be "seen" at any time. (There are said to be brief instants in deific time when only one aspect is manifest.)

According to this heresy, during the Age of Netheril, Amaunator ruled as the aspect of highsun, while Jergal (then the Netherese deity of death) held the portfolio of dusk. After Amaunator faded away, Lathander appeared as the aspect of dawn, and Myrkul inherited the aspect of dusk. The Time of Troubles marked the fall of Myrkul and Lathander's brief moment of unchallenged dominance. Now, believers in the Three-Faced Sun are heralding the rise of Amaunator. Some believers in this heresy suggest that Lathander will become the new aspect of highsun and another will take his place as the aspect of dawn, while others herald the rise of a new deity who is the aspect of highsun. Although the Three-Faced Sun was wrong in their interpretation of Netherese theology, they were correct in believing that Lathander would rise to be Amaunator.

According the Third Edition rules for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, believers in the Three-Faced Sun have access to the Death, Law, Renewal, Sun, and Time cleric domains.

Reference in Baldur's Gate II[edit]

In the computer game Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, a group of Amaunator's followers are found in the catacombs beneath the city of Athkatla. This group of followers has been bound by divine contract to forever guard half of the Planar Rift Device, an artifact so powerful the gods cursed it and split it in two. Millennia of guarding took its toll, and gradually the people grew weary of spending their entire lives in this catacomb, dying, and having their souls recycled to the next generation. Amaunator had not spoken to them in many years, and the people lost faith. Their bodies became sick and diseased as a symbol of their despair, and the hatred they focused towards the temple resulted in the formation of a Hate Incarnation, which repeatedly destroyed Amaunator's avatar.

When the player enters the catacombs to retrieve the guarded piece of the Planar Rift Device, Amaunator offers no resistance but also no help. Entering the temple, they find that the Hate Incarnation cannot be killed in combat (a wound in faith cannot be healed by fighting) but could be dispelled via healing magics. Amaunator's avatar then appears and gives the party the device, telling them to reconstruct it and deplete its power so it may be destroyed. After the party returns the depleted rod, Amaunator and his followers, renewed in their faith, depart.

A deserted temple of Amaunator is also featured with the quest that reveals a Shade Lord seeking to grow his army, inhabiting the body of the resident ranger, forcing the player character to kill the ranger to destroy the Shade Lord. The ranger expresses relief at this, and if the player character is a ranger they are later offered the choice to become resident ranger of the land. Later, the temple holds the key to curing the player's romantic interest of vampirism.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Greenwood, Ed. Anauroch (TSR, 1991)
  2. ^ Martin, Julia, and Eric L Boyd. Faiths & Avatars (TSR, 1996)
  3. ^ Slade and Jim Butler. Netheril: Empire of Magic (TSR, 1996)
  4. ^ McComb, Colin. On Hallowed Ground (TSR, 1996)
  5. ^ Baker, Richard, Ed Bonny, and Travis Stout. Lost Empires of Faerûn (Wizards of the Coast, 2005)
  6. ^ Heinsoo, Rob, Logan Bonner, and Robert J. Schwalb. Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
  7. ^ Cordell, Bruce R., Ed Greenwood and Chris Sims. Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)

Additional reading[edit]