Tempus (Forgotten Realms)

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Game background
Title(s) Lord of Battles,
Home plane 2E: Knight's Rest (Limbo)
3E: Warrior's Rest
Power level Greater
Alignment Chaotic Neutral
Portfolio War, battle, warriors[1]
Domains Chaos, Protection, Strength, War[2]
Superior None
Design details

Tempus (/ˈtɛmpəs/ TEM-pəs)[3] is the Faerûnian deity of war in Ed Greenwood's Forgotten Realms campaign setting of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, specifically the fictional world of Abeir-Toril. His dogma is primarily concerned with honorable battle, forbidding cowardice and encouraging the use of force of arms to settle disputes.

Publication history[edit]

Ed Greenwood created Tempus for his home Dungeons & Dragons game, set in Greenwood's Forgotten Realms world. Greenwood stated that he deliberately made Tempus mysterious, as he felt that most wargods are too powerful, carrying "a small arsenal of never-missing, heavy-damage weapons".[4]

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

Tempus 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). Tempus is introduced as the Lord of Battles, Foehammer, god of war, a chaotic neutral greater god from the plane of Limbo. Tempus receives a lengthy description in this article. Tempus is described as a god "worshipped by warriors of all alignments and causes. He sometimes appears at great battles and important combats ... he appears as a 12-foot-tall man in battered armor, face always hidden by his war helm. He is always bleeding from open wounds, and bears a great battleaxe or black sword notched and stained from battle use. He rides while standing astride his two horses, Veiros (Victory), a white mare bloodied from many wounds, and Deiros (Defeat), a black stallion similarly wounded." Tempus' blood burns any mortal it touches, but a character who ingests the blood of his mounts will gain temporarily increased strength. Worshipers of Tempus are also described, "Those who worship Tempus usually do so by praying over the weapon they most often fight with. If a new weapon comes into their possession before a battle — particularly in the form of hard-won booty — it is taken as a sign of good favor, and this weapon is the one used in worship ... Clerics of Tempus wear battered armor which they smear and sprinkle with fresh blood before each ceremony ... When not in armor, priests of Tempus wear helms (or at the least, metal skullcaps), though they are careful never to cover their faces, and robes. The coloration of these robes differs from place to place and rank to rank, but the color of fresh blood is always a part of any such robe." Tempus is commonly worshipped by fighters of any alignment, as well as chaotic neutral thieves and clerics.[4]

Tempus 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).[3]

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

Tempus was described in the hardback Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990),[5] the revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993) in the "Running the Realms" booklet,[6] and Faiths & Avatars (1996).[7] His clergy was further detailed in Warriors and Priests of the Realms (1996).[8]

His role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).[9]

Tempus is introduced as once having been known as Targus 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).[10]

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

Tempus 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).[1]


Tempus' teachings forbid cowardice (an offense punishable by eternal death if displayed in Warrior's Rest), require that his followers arm all who have need of arms (even their enemies), and teaches that war should not be feared, for it is fair in that all participants have the chance to rise to prominence or to die in the attempt. In this aspect, Tempus' mindset is somewhat Darwinian. Though Tempus thrives on war, he does not revel in dragged-out slaughter, and teaches that it is best to win a battle decisively rather than engage in a war of attrition. His ways allow for retreats from hopeless battles, but with the admonition that battle must be joined first to determine if it really is hopeless. Tempus and his followers respect valor, and honor their opponents even as they strive to defeat them. Tempus favors honorable tactics, showing favor to those who defeat their opponent on the field of battle without resorting to destruction of the enemy's homes, family, or to attacks from the rear (unless the enemy force is vastly superior). While Tempus encourages battle, he commands that the warriors first consider the consequences and not be reckless or indiscriminate in waging war. He also teaches that cowards and diplomats who are not willing to brandish or consider conflict wreak more damage than even the most violent tyrant, for those who will not fight to defend what they value are bound to lose it.

Famous Worshippers[edit]

Wulfgar, Son of Beornegar, of The Tribe of the Elk (originally referred to him as Tempos, the Barbarian's name for him)[citation needed]


  • Order of the Steel Fang

The Order of the Steel Fang is an elite fighting order within the church of Tempus, whose members are often assigned to the most hazardous duties. Steel Fang units are led by battle-hardened members of the clergy. Many mercenary companies and knightly fighting orders of crusaders also avail themselves of a connection to the Church. One badge of the god seen among his affiliated mercenaries is a rusty brown dagger, shown diagonally with its point to the upper right, dripping four drops of blood.[1]

  • Order of the Broken Blade

The Order of the Broken Blade honors those warriors and clergy who are injured in Tempus's service and can no longer fight in the front lines.[1] A temple of the order was featured in the village of Easthaven in the Icewind Dale computer game.


Tempus is served by the Red Knight, deity of strategy and war planning. He opposes and is opposed by Garagos, who encroaches upon his portfolio and uses a divine symbol that was formerly Tempus' own when he was worshipped in the now-fallen empire of Netheril. Tempus slew many other deities aspiring to be the god of war in the past, and it is not certain why he tolerates Garagos' continued existence, having already defeated him once. It is speculated that Tempus' dislike of mindless slaughter and bloodlust prompted him to spare Garagos so that he could take on such aspects of Tempus' portfolio.[1]

Sune sees Tempus as her enemy because of the destruction that wars wreak upon beautiful things and people, but Tempus does not consider her worth the conflict, finding her to be irrelevant.[1]

Despite the fact that Tempus' dogma is diametrically opposed to that of Eldath and that he considers her naive for her pacifist outlook, he has commanded his followers to not harm those of the goddess of peace, seeing that war has no meaning if peace does not exist to define it.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Boyd, Eric L, and Erik Mona. Faiths and Pantheons (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
  2. ^ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, and Rob Heinsoo. Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (Wizards of the Coast, 2001).
  3. ^ a b Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-88038-472-7. 
  4. ^ a b Ed Greenwood, Dragon magazine #54 - "Down-to-earth divinity" (October 1981)
  5. ^ Grubb, Jeff and Ed Greenwood. Forgotten Realms Adventures (TSR, 1990)
  6. ^ Ed Greenwood (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. ASIN B000K06S2E. 
  7. ^ Martin, Julia, and Eric L Boyd. Faiths & Avatars (TSR, 1996)
  8. ^ Terra, John. Warriors and Priests of the Realms (TSR, 1996)
  9. ^ McComb, Colin. On Hallowed Ground (TSR, 1996)
  10. ^ Boyd, Eric L. Demihuman Deities (TSR, 1998)
  11. ^ Ed Greenwood; et al. (2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.