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A quasi-deity, also called a quasi-power, is a term to describe the lowest rank of the deities.[1][2]

Originally, the term was synonymous with hero deity, a personage of legendary stature who possesses immortality but does not grant spells to clerics as a full deity. More recently, usage of the term "quasi-deity" has been expanded to encompass other lesser beings of divine origin.

Definition[]

A quasi-deity is defined as a being with divine origin or nature, but who lacks the power of true deities. However, they possess the divine spark, meaning that they may rise to the rank of a full deity if they gain enough worshipers.[2]

The term "quasi-deity" encompasses three categories of beings:[2]

Demigods[]

Demigods are beings with mixed divine and mortal parentage. Due to their mortal ancestry, they are the weakest category of quasi-deities.[2] Historically, the term "demigod" was sometimes used to refer to a category of low-ranking full deities, regardless of parentage.[3]

Titans[]

Titans are beings created by or from a deity. These include such beings as the offspring of two deities (such as empyreans), creatures built or willed into existence by a deity, or creatures arising from blood spilled by a deity.[2] Generally speaking, they are extremely powerful, and are commonly understood to be immortal unless slain, or at least incredibly long lived. Examples include the kraken and tarrasque.[4]

Abominations, horrible abandoned creations of the gods, may also be included in this category.[5] Abominations include anaxims (crafted by the gods), atropals (undead stillborn godlings), the chichimec (a mass of wings spawned by a sky god), the dream larva (born of god's nightmares), the ancient hundred-armed hecatoncheires, the infernal (offspring of a deity and a fiend), the fiery phaethon, the shadowy fate-linked phane, and the ice titan xixecal. [6]

Historically, the term "titan" was used to refer to the titan specifically known as the empyrean.

Vestiges[]

A vestige is a dead god. These are former deities who lost most or all of their followers, with the result that they are effectively dead. However, obscure magics allow mortals to contact such beings and draw on their power.[2]

Other[]

Although omitted from the current threefold definition, quasi-divine status is traditionally also ascribed to other beings, most commonly mortal beings who have ascended to divinity by some means. Possible methods of divine ascension include earning by impressing an existing deity, stealing power from another god, slaying a god to acquire their power, having a god impart some of their power to rise a hero to quasi-deity status, or finding the original source of the gods' divine spark.[7]

The term "hero deity" is used to describe a legendary, once-mortal personage who has become a quasi-deity, perhaps due to their status as a folk hero.

A dragon ascendant is a powerful true dragon who has transcended the traditional limits to become a quasi-deity. Such a dragon emits an aura of awe and epitomizes the virtues of its alignment.[8]

A mortal may become a quasi-deity by being sponsored to divinity by another deity as a chosen servant. Examples of this include the einherjar, chosen warriors of Odin; the Valkyries; and Frey's shield-man Skirnir.[9] In that regard, the status is similar to that of a proxy.[10]

The deity Kyuss ascended to quasi-deity status by means of an arcane ritual.

Powerful species on certain worlds may simply possess quasi-deity status innately. These include the frost giants of Jotunheim and the fire giants of Muspelheim.[11]

A full deity can also be reduced in rank to a quasi-deity, either due to lack of belief or after having their powers stripped from them.[12][13] Deities may even willingly surrender their divine power temporarily, such as to take part in a contest.[14]

Abilities and traits[]

A quasi-deity is immortal. They can be killed in battle, but do not die from old age or natural causes. They do not need to eat, sleep or breathe.[15]

Quasi-deities are capable of walking or running at exceptional speed. They are immune to numerous effects, such as polymorphing or other unwanted shapechanging effects, petrification, and mind-affecting magic. They are resistant to fire and spells, and are difficult to wound with weapons of mortal construction, even magic ones.[3][16]

These particular traits for quasi-deities are defined in Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), and do not necessarily apply to the current edition of the rules. However, creatures possessing quasi-deity status in D&D 5th edition often have some of these traits.

Notable quasi-deities[]

Publication history[]

AD&D 1st edition[]

The term "quasi-deity" was first defined in Greyhawk's World, Dragon #71 (Mar 1983), p.19-23, where it referred to legendary "personages" who were above the level of normal heroes, but not quite deities. Statistics were provided for Heward, Keoghtom, Murlynd, and Kelanen. These subsequently appeared in the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting, Glossography (1983), p.33, where they are described as possessing the comeliness ability score.

Setting saintly standards, Dragon #79 (Nov 1983), p.28, defined "saints" as beings on par with quasi-deities.

Polyhedron #24 (1985) references John Grond, a half-ogre fighter player character of Roger Moore, headed for quasi-deity status.

AD&D 2nd edition[]

See the Pomarj—and Die!, Dragon #167 (Mar 1991), p.13, defines the sleeping Flan quasi-deity Krovis.

The "quasideity" Arvanon is mentioned in The Legend of Spelljammer, Legends and More (1991), p.30.

The term was later used in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (2e) (1993), which also used the term "quasi-powers". In late-2e Greyhawk books, the term quasi-deity is used in Return of the Eight (1998), p.58 and Slavers (2000), p.127-128, referring to Murlynd, Keoghtom and Heward.

D&D 3rd edition[]

Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.25, defined a numbered divine rank system with rank 0 deities referred to as "quasi-deities" or "hero deities". They are defined as immortal beings who do not grant spells to clerics, and which may include beings with one mortal and one deity parent. The web enhancement for that book includes statistics for the deity Erbin as a quasi-deity. Manual of the Planes (3e) (2001), p.88 shares the same definition.

Epic Level Handbook (2002) defines abominations as rank 0 deities equivalent to quasi-deity, and includes quasi-deities in the list of epic adventure ideas.

Kyuss is mentioned as a quasi-deity in Monster Manual II (3e) (2002), p.29. He subsequently appeared in the Age of Worms Adventure Path series, with his exact deific level defined in Dawn of a New Age, Dungeon #135 (Jun 2006).

Draconomicon (3e) (2003), p.90-92 featured the dragon ascendant prestige class, which becomes a quasi-deity at level 12. In Dragons of Faerûn (2006), p.39, the CR 40 fiendish great red wyrm dragon ascendant Tchazzar is detailed.

Treasures of Greyhawk, Dragon #359 (Sep 2007), p.71, establishes that the term "quasi-deity" was defined by the Seekers from the World of Greyhawk.

D&D 4th edition[]

To Rule Two Worlds, Dragon #427 (Sep 2013), references Velvroame, "The Everchanging Queen", and a self-proclaimed quasi-deity.

D&D 5th edition[]

The term "quasi-deity" is defined in D&D 5th edition in the Dungeon Master's Guide (5e) (2014), p.11, where it is similar to the definition in D&D 3rd edition as a being of divine origin who does not grant spells to clerics and may ascend to a higher divine rank. The term in 5e is divided into three subcategories: demigods (offspring of a mortal and a deity), titans (creatures created by deities), and vestiges (dead gods). This differs from the 3e previous definition where demigod was a higher rating, although it is more consistent with the traditional definition of demigod in mythology.

See also[]

  • Lesser deity
  • Intermediate deity
  • Greater deity

References[]

  1. Faiths and Pantheons (2002), p.5-6.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Dungeon Master's Guide (5e) (2014), p.11.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.26.
  4. Monster Manual (5e) (2014), p.130,197.
  5. Tomb of Annihilation (2017), p.214.
  6. Epic Level Handbook (2002), p.157-168.
  7. Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.218-222.
  8. Draconomicon (3e) (2003), p.90-92.
  9. Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.176,199-200.
  10. On Hallowed Ground (1996), p.20-23.
  11. Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.200.
  12. Dawn of a New Age, Dungeon #135 (Jun 2006), p.80.
  13. Bastion of Broken Souls (2002), p.18.
  14. Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.11.
  15. Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.27.
  16. D&D v.3.5 Accessory Update Booklet. January 1, 2002.
  17. Dragons of Faerûn (2006), p.39,92.
  18. Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus (2019), p.231.
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