Lord Ao (/'eɪ.oʊ/ or ay-oh) is the Overgod of the fictitious, magical world of Abeir-Toril in the Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons & Dragons. As Overgod, all deities of Toril are subject to him. If it were not for Ao's involvement in the Time of Troubles, he would most likely be forgotten by the mortals of Faerûn. It seems that Ao does not want to be known, for cults once dedicated to him only a decade ago have begun to die out, and Ao's name is mysteriously disappearing from written records. What goes on in Toril and what the other deities do are of no concern to Ao, as long the deities uphold their individual portfolios and do not completely ignore their worshipers.

In addition, unlike the other gods under him, Lord Ao has no need for worshippers whatsoever, whereas those "normal" gods who do not receive the worship of mortals can "die" from lack of worship. Ao initiated this after the Time of Troubles in order to enforce his will that the gods act like guardians of the Balance rather than kings of mortals.

The cult of Ao is led by "ministers" instead of clerics, since these cultists never receive any spells from the overgod. (On the other hand, they have never been slain, as opposed to those who attempt to worship another potential over-goddess, Sigil's Lady of Pain.) The ultimate fate of Ao's followers has yet to be known. His followers are likely considered "faithless" and therefore sent to Kelemvor's wall when they die.

Ao defined some rules concerning the management of the divine [1]. For instance:

  • No two gods in the same pantheon could have identical portfolios.
  • When two gods clash, one of three results occurs:
    • One god fades from the Realms.
    • Both gods merge.
    • One (or both) god(s) alters its (or their) portfolio(s) sufficiently that both could remain in or join the Faerûnian mega-pantheon.

According to the Faiths and Pantheons (AD&D), Ao answers to a superior entity, known only as a being of light. It is insinuated that this superior is the "Dungeon Master". Ao's master also appears in The Avatar Series, where it is insinuated that he is God.

Finally, Ao initiated the entrance of Mesopotamian and Egyptian pantheons into Realmspace (mainly Toril), after the Imaskari captured people from "another world" (Earth). This is detailed in the's page about the priests of Ptah. Although is the official Spelljammer 3E site and the fact that the Mulhorandi pantheon comes from another world is ascertained (see Lost Empires of Faerûn), this particular treatment (influence of Ao and Ptah) may not be canon.

Creation of the world[]

Lord Ao created the universe that holds the world of Abeir-Toril. After he created the universe, it was just an empty, gray, and misty void, a timeless place of nothingness that existed before light and darkness became two separate things. Out of this shadowy realm came the two beautiful twin goddesses Selûne and Shar, goddess of light and goddess of darkness.


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