Silvanus (Forgotten Realms)

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Silvanus
Game background
Title(s) Oak Father, Forest Father, Treefather
Home plane 2E: Summeroak in Tir na Og (Outlands)
3E: House of Nature
Power level Greater
Alignment True Neutral
Portfolio Wild, nature, druids
Domains Animal, Plant, Protection, Renewal, and Water
Superior None
Design details

Silvanus (/sɨlˈvænəs/ sil-VAN-əs)[1] the Forest Father is a fictional deity of the Forgotten Realms Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting devised by Ed Greenwood. Silvanus is considered the god of wild nature and druids, one of the most prominent and eldest deities in Faerûn, and the wilder counterpart to Chauntea the Earth-Mother. His worshipers protect places of nature from the encroachment of civilization with vigor and are implacable foes of industrious peoples.

Like Oghma, Loviatar, Tyr, Mielikki, and others, Silvanus is among the deities described in the 1st edition AD&D book Deities & Demigods. Like Oghma, Silvanus is taken from the Celtic pantheon described in that book, supposedly having been active in more than one plane of existence. See also Silvanus (mythology), though he is more primarily based on the Celtic Sucellos, who was assimilated into Silvanus in Roman times.

Publication history[edit]

Ed Greenwood created Silvanus for his home Dungeons & Dragons game, taken straight from the Deities & Demigods version of the god Silvanus.[2]

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

Silvanus 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). Silvanus is introduced as Oak-Father, god of nature, patron of druids, a neutral greater god from the plane of Concordant Opposition. His role within the cosmology is also defined: "Mielikki and Eldath serve Silvanus, and their priests (if such individuals value their deity’s favor above mortal feelings and conflicts) work together to further common goals," and "Chauntea and Lathander work together, and often do so in alliance with Silvanus and his gods ... against The Gods of Fury." Silvanus is most commonly worshipped by druids.[2]

Silvanus 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).[1]

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

Silvanus was described in the hardback Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990),[3] the revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993) in the "Running the Realms" booklet,[4] and Faiths & Avatars (1996).[5] His clergy was further detailed in Warriors and Priests of the Realms (1996),[6] and Prayers from the Faithful (1997).[7]

His role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).[8]

His relationships with the nonhuman deities in the Forgotten Realms was covered in Demihuman Deities (1998).[9]

Silvanus is described as one of the good deities that celestials can serve in the supplement Warriors of Heaven (1999).[10]

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

Silvanus appears as one of the major deities of the Forgotten Realms setting again, in Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (2001),[11] and is further detailed in Faiths and Pantheons (2002).[12]

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

Silvanus, largely unchanged from earlier editions, appears as one of the Greater Gods in the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide and the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide for this edition.

Overview[edit]

Silvanus is a True Neutral Greater Deity. His symbol is a green living oak tree leaf, his divine realm is the Deep Forest in the House of Nature, and his Third Edition D&D domains are Animal, Plant, Protection, Renewal, and Water.

Silvanus appears to mortals most commonly as a withered, timeworn, bearded man, usually levitating amongst scenes of nature, like trees, possibly springing from an old, large oak tree. As the Young Strider, however, he appears as a long-limbed young man covered in an armor made of oak leaves. He carries an enchanted maul hammer, "The Great Mallet of Silvanus", and mauls are his clergy's favored weapon.

Worshippers[edit]

The Church of Silvanus is a pervasive influence, especially across the continent of Faerûn. Non-worshippers often do not view the Church favorably due to its tendency to disrupt expansion into woodland, sometimes with violence. Examples of rituals for worship are entreaties for spells at sundown or in moonlight. The 'Dryad Dance', is a replenishing ritual of wild, wayward dance that calls out dryads to join the ritualists for mating. Most Silvanite clerics (sometimes referred to as Forest Masters) also function as druids or rangers.

History & Relationships[edit]

Silvanus has no superiors. Silvanus is a long-time ally of Chauntea, despite their clergies' differences. He is also allied with Lathander. He is served directly by Eldath and Mielikki, whom some call his daughters, and indirectly by Gwaeron Windstrom, Lurue and Shiallia. Silvanus resents the destructive nature of the storm lord, Talos, and the Lady of Poison Talona, who encourages disease beyond what is natural. Silvanus reserves his greatest hatred for the Beastlord Malar and its followers, and works against his insatiable bloodlust at every opportunity. Silvanus despises life-threatening impulses in anything.

Among the Celtic pantheon from which he emerged, Silvanus has no allies or enemies. He dwells in Tir na Og, the Celtic realm, alone in a place full of dense vegetation.

Beliefs[edit]

Silvanus believes in the preservation and balance of nature. He is one of the most observational and detached gods, yet quite philosophical, believing that one should examine the whole situation of things, rather than resorting to the most efficient or popular solution. He is an environmentalist, believing that all forms of nature should be preserved and any attempts to destroy nature must be vigorously opposed. Most of his followers work to preserve Balance between all opposing forces outside of nature too, leading to most being True Neutral in alignment like Jaheira from the computer game Baldur's Gate II.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-88038-472-7. 
  2. ^ a b Ed Greenwood, Dragon magazine #54 - "Down-to-earth divinity" (October 1981)
  3. ^ Grubb, Jeff and Ed Greenwood. Forgotten Realms Adventures (TSR, 1990)
  4. ^ Ed Greenwood (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. ASIN B000K06S2E. 
  5. ^ Martin, Julia, and Eric L Boyd. Faiths & Avatars (TSR, 1996)
  6. ^ Terra, John. Warriors and Priests of the Realms (TSR, 1996)
  7. ^ Greenwood, Ed and Stewart, Doug. Prayers from the Faithful (TSR, 1997)
  8. ^ McComb, Colin. On Hallowed Ground (TSR, 1996)
  9. ^ Boyd, Eric L. Demihuman Deities (TSR, 1998)
  10. ^ Perkins, Christopher. Warriors of Heaven (TSR, 1999)
  11. ^ Ed Greenwood et al. (2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5. 
  12. ^ Boyd, Eric L, and Erik Mona. Faiths and Pantheons (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)