Last Updated on February 20, 2023
Who Is Tempus?
Tempus is an interesting god since his alignment and domain might initially seem a bit contradictory. While his domain and portfolio are extremely limited to war and little else, he is a true neutral god that seeks to neither gain power nor uphold any great values.
- Alignment: True Neutral
- Symbol: Upright flaming sword
- Domains: War
Known as the Lord of Battles or the Foehammer, Tempus is more of a force of nature than he is a character. That might be a bit confusing.
Tempus is very much a character; he’s a god with a backstory, relationships, worshippers, and the whole nine. However, while some gods are, or at least feel like, lesser beings that have risen to their god status out of a passion for whatever their domain may be, Tempus just feels like a representation of war itself.
Because of this, I find the 5e categorization of True Neutral to be a bit odd. In fact, Tempus was a Chaotic Neutral god back in 3e, so who knows, maybe it was a typo and no one cared enough about this lesser-known god to bother correcting it.
Whatever the case, Tempus is a deity who embodies the spirit of war. He is brutal but not cruel, at least not without cause. What proves his chaotic nature is the fact that he constantly switches allies. One day he may fight alongside the good gods, and the next he may strike them down.
Despite his chaos though, Tempus is a noble god. He and his worshippers believe in the concept of honorable battle. In the Forgotten Realms, it’s not uncommon for a warrior to thank Tempus when an adversary arms them before a duel.
Including Tempus in Your 5e Campaigns
War and violence are things that often find themselves at the core of many fantasy conflicts. Because of this, you might say that many DMs include Tempus in their campaigns without even knowing it. Still, explicit worshippers of Tempus do exist, and they can be an exciting addition to your 5e campaign.
The clergy of Tempus is made up of warriors, as might be expected. However, while the clergy may have an organization within its sects, it is not itself organized. To do so could cause the order to support one cause or another, and Tempus himself supports all sides of a war that fight honorably.
With this, worshippers of Tempus form smaller churches throughout the Forgotten Realms. Members of the clergy are known as Hammers, and each receives armor according to their rank within the hierarchy.
- Acolyte: The lowest in the hierarchy; they wore leather jackets and baldrics
- Stalwart: Priests who wore chainmail
- Hardhar: Warrior priests who wore breastplates and bracers
- Arahar: Battle-chaplains who wore splint mail
- Rauthat: Swordmasters who wore plate mail with shoulder spikes
- Direhar: Guardian priests who wore full plate
- Warlyon: High priests who wore gilded magic plate mail that enabled flight.
You might use this as a way to outfit a band of warriors your party might come up against, or your party might be made of warriors seeking to rise up through these ranks by proving themselves in battle. The exciting part of Tempus’s, and therefore his worshippers’, neutrality is that they can pose as adversaries, allies, or even be the player characters themselves, regardless of alignment or motives.
The teachings of Tempus are simple, so if you want to include his characteristics in any Tempus-related characters, you have an easy task ahead of you. “Be fearless. Never turn away from a fight. Obey the rules of war.” That is all you have to do to receive his favor.
Tempus isn’t an incredibly exciting god with an elaborate backstory or portfolio. However, his connection to the concept of war, a concept that fills many fantasy campaigns, makes him an excellent inclusion if you’re looking to play up the fantasy elements.
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As a kid, I was often told to get my head out of the clouds and to stop living in a fantasy world. That never really jived with me, so I decided to make a living out of games, stories, and all sorts of fantastical works. Now, as an adult, I aspire to remind people that sometimes a little bit of fantasy is all you need when life gets to be too much.