The Athar

The "gods" are liars, every single one of them - liars ands frauds. They aren't deities. They're mortals - extremely powerful mortals, to be sure, but nothing more. They are given to petty emotions, they require sustenance in the form of prayers and the belief of their followers, and, when denied that, they die. Think about it: If the deities really are the source of all creation, why is it that many clerics can cast divine magic without devoting themselves to any deity? There may indeed be an omnipotent entity (or collection of entities) responsible for making and tending reality, but if so, that power must be completely incomprehensible to the minds of mere mortals. Members of the organization known as the Athar refer to this theoretical true god as "the Great Unknown."

The Athar are sometimes called "defiers" or "lost" because their beliefs bring them into direct philosophical (and occasionally physical) conflict with just about every religion ever established in the multiverse. They try to convince worshipers of various deities that they are being duped by a cosmic confidence scam. The Athar rarely take their accusations to the "gods" themselves.

After all, even if they are only mortals playing at divinity, they are extraordinarily powerful mortals playing at divinity, and it is unwise to incur their wrath unnecessarily.

The Athar spend a great deal of their time on the Astral Plane. They have established a many-windowed observatory from which visitors can view the bodies of dead and dying "gods." This sight fills faction members with righteous glee, since they consider it to be absolute, irrefutable proof that their tenets are correct.

Lore Of The Athar

Crystal Cask of the Great Unknown: The Athar tell a tale among themselves concerning the Crystal Cask of the Great Unknown. According to the Athar, this potent artifact predates the deities as they are currently understood. The Cask is said to contain the essence of divinity - power that, once shattered, allowed for the sudden multiplicity of pretender deities. The reason the Cask was shattered is something all Athar (who believe in this tale) would dearly love to learn. Some among the Athar believe that if all the shards of the Crystal Cask can be gathered together, the "loose divine energy" that currently powers deities great and small will be contained anew. The pretender gods would be extinguished, and the Great Unknown would finally be revealed as the true architect of all that exists.

Seeds of Rebellion: A sect made up of once-loyal Athar has broken away from the main organization. These rebellious Athar are led by one of their number known only as the lecturer. This figure issued a proclamation prior to the breakaway, which can be summarized as: "The Enemy knows all, sees all, penetrates all minds, and skews all policies. The Great Unknown is just one more scale. let it fall away, and embrace the true knowledge of reality."

The rebellious Athar live in secret, hunted by loyal Athar, though few ever find them; the rebels are too schooled in accepted Athar lore to be tripped up by philosophical tests. These seeds of rebellion that exist within the Athar organization are the subject of cautionary tales told by Athar elites to newcomers to the fold, related to illustrate the dangers of moving too far from the central doctrine. What do the rebellious Athar truly believe? It is a question that plagues the mind of some.

Organizations of Faerûn
Lands of Faerûn