The deities of Faerûn take an active interest in their world, channeling power through their clerics and other worshipers and sometimes intervening directly in the affairs of mortals. At the same time, they have their own plots, conflicts, intrigues and alliances with other deities, powerful mortals, and outsiders such as elemental lords and demons. In their pettiness the deities of the Realms appear almost mortal, and some were once mortals who won the divine spark through great heroism.

Many of the deities are Faerûn are specific to a certain race, such as Corellon Larethian (elves) and Moradin (dwarves) or a profession, such as Cyric (thieves) and Mystra (spellcasters). Others hold sway over aspects of nature, such as Umberlee (storms). Some deities are more central to certain locations, such as Helm's Hold, though it is fairly common to see more than one deity honored in larger towns, such as Neverwinter's devotion to Tyr and Helm, or Luskan's worship of Auril, Umberlee and Tempus.