I posted this on the BG3 subreddit if you prefer to read it there. Reddit post
So, I haven't seen anything or anyone talking about this (perhaps I am just THAT out of the loop), but after playing through some of Patch 4, a thought struck me:
"What if we meet a god in the flesh?"
The reason I bring this up is because I was thinking about the storyline going forward and trying to work it out in my brain how the Dead Three work into it all. As I was running through the ruined temple, I began to piece together another thought:
"What if we meet a god in Act 1?"
As I began to think about it, especially in the temple, I came upon this radical epiphany. We do meet a god. In fact, this god is one of the most important and ancient in Forgotten Realms history! We actually meet and interact with Jergal himself!
Now, I can guess what you are thinking: "Really? A god this early on? That sounds way too over-the-top to happen so early in the story. More to the point, how can you even prove that and why should I care?" Ah, indeed it does, my internet acquaintance. But I think I can prove it and give you a reason to care! (I will be referencing the Forgotten Realms wiki a fair bit, so here is a link to the page I use as reference)
WARNING! Wall of text incoming!
So, let us start with the temple our friendly corpse is found in. In the temple where we find that living corpse, it is littered with ruined books and languages long lost. Jergal is essentially the record keeper of all souls that pass on from the material plane. He is, in a manner of speaking, a glorified scribe. His church was a secretive one, made of scribes that based themselves in dank tombs and crypts, recording the various facets of a person's death and move to the afterlife. You can find a book that records the names of the deceased and their associations early on after clearing out the looters. To further this, consider the inner sanctum. Once you enter, to your right is a tomb with a prominent sarcophagus in the center and more along the sides of the room. This seems to line up with where the followers/clergy members of Jergal practice. To your left is a large sanctum where you can find the skeletonized corpses of scribes, as your party members point out. Upon entering this area, there is a room to your immediate left that contains a magical tome called the "Book of Dead Gods". When you manage to open it and pass the relevant checks, you learn that it has been recording the deaths (and births) of gods throughout the ages. This too falls in line with what we know so far about Jergal.
Next, let's talk about this area with the dead scribes. There are three clues worth noting, one of them being the "Book of Dead Gods". Another clue is the statue that dominates the center of the sanctum. Upon a successful Religion check, your party discerns that it is a statue of and dedicated to Jergal. Again, it is something that confirms this is, or was, a place for Jergal worshippers. But, I will assume that much is known about in the wider player base, so nothing new there. But what about the dead scribes and the hidden tomb? The scribes come back to life and attack when you open the hidden tombs and are armed with weapons at that! As your companions (or your character) questions, why would scribes be armed? Given they came back to life and attack, they likely were those who were the most devoted of Jergal's followers and are protecting a place (in this case, resting place) of great importance, religious or otherwise, even in death. The importance of this hidden tomb is rather self-evident because the dead don't just come back to life. There is usually something that will cause them to return, whether a spell, curse, or fanatic devotion.
Okay, so the hidden tomb is important. Isn't that just because of the loot inside?
That amulet is pretty powerful. Well, not quite. The amulet's presence is certainly important, but not for the reason you think. It aligns with what Jergal did as a scribe of the dead. He spoke to the dead and recorded their transition to the afterlife. But that isn't all of it in here. When you enter, there is a plaque in front of the sarcophagus that says (and I may be flubbing this a little), "Here lies the Guardian of Tombs". The name, or title, in this case, is one that belonged to Jergal when he had far more power. But why would this be here of all places? Isn't he a god? Jergal is, though a minor one in the setting of BG3. Eons ago, Jergal was bored of his position and power, willingly giving most of it away to Bane, Myrkul, and Bhaal (the story of this event can be found in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, called "The Legend of Knucklebones, Skull Bowling, and the Empty Throne). It stands to reason that he became a minor god after doing this and simply faded into the background, doing what he normally did. It wouldn't be too hard to reason that this place was meant for him to do his job quietly, or even rest should he ever become bored again. The sarcophagus likely is the resting place for Jergal.
Interesting evidence, chief, but that doesn't prove that the boney undead that crawls out is Jergal.
Fair enough, but there is more to this skeleton than meets the eye. Now, referring to the wiki (and some of SCAG) let's look a bit deeper. The wiki points out some interesting things about Jergal, mainly his personality and his voice. His personality is described as "unfeeling and [is] excessively formal, he never angers and always speaks in a disembodied, chilling voice. He cares little for anything besides an orderly accounting of the fate of the world as it slowly sinks into death, and he now serves Kelemvor as he previously served Cyric and Myrkul before him." It also states "[h]e is not evil or malicious, but impassively records the death of all things." Now think about our undead friend and the way he spoke. His tone was neutral and one might go so far as to say bored. His voice fits this description of disembodied as it echoed, almost seeming to resonate in your mind. He is a bit of a boring philosopher when you speak to him and his speech is quite formal/proper, which is amplified by the use of words associated with Old English (thou, dost, etc.). He doesn't even show the slightest hint of anger, irritation, or any emotion outside of his stated "curiosity". He hardly cares about what we think we meet him again in camp. This all falls in line with how Jergal is described.
"But couldn't he be just some lich or necromancer?"
I would argue that our new friend is neither since the former implies the latter and he has no motivation whatsoever. A Lich is generally a malevolent entity and generally has some goal they wish to achieve. They usually have the goal of becoming a god or attaining some goal that alluded them in life (Acererak is an example of this). Our friend, however, doesn't seem to have much drive at all. He is kind of a blank. On top of that, a Lich generally would protect their lair far more than what the party experiences. There are the fire trap and about four undead, but that is it. He doesn't even wish to fight us and doesn't even show the slightest hint of being upset that we disturbed his resting place. Now, could he be just a necromancer? Maybe, but given the prior evidence, that wouldn't make much sense. Why would a necromancer just be biding their time in an ancient temple? I find it more compelling that this place is an ancient temple from the age of the Netherese since that was around the time that Jergal was a greater deity and there is a Netherese Sigil just outside the temple where you meet Shadowheart. Additionally, our undead friend can resurrect party members in your camp. Since we can almost safely believe that this character is not a lich or random necromancer, how can he bring back the living? Usually, one needs to be highly adept in the arcane arts or have a strong connection to some divine power in order to do these things. Given the circumstances of how we meet him, he likely fits into the latter. Even minor gods can bring back the dead, so it stands to reason that this character could be Jergal since he will bring back an ally for gold (but for what reason he needs gold is beyond me).
Alright, you make some good points and this sounds like a huge development, but why should I care?
Again, fair point. As I said earlier, Jergal handed down much of his power to the Dead Three (Bane, Myrkul, and Bhaal) when he became bored of his position as a greater deity during the age of the Netheril. If what I theorize is true, then we have a direct link to the Dead Three hanging out at our camp! He is a literal deity and could be a major plot device going forward. He could tell us more about the Dead Three and even give us insight into their plans, given that we do know that they are going to have their hands digging around somewhere in the BG3 storyline; he might even be able to tell us what is going on with our tadpoles (though I am just spitballing with that one)! With all the references to the Netherese magic, Jergal's history, and the circumstances under which the party meets this figure is far too much to be a coincidence. I believe that we meet/interact with one of the most important and ancient deities in all of Forgotten Realms history at the very beginning of the game!
I gotta say, this was very sneaky of Larian to do. Hiding such an important character in plain sight. Hats off to them for this!
What do you all think? I want to hear what you think about my theory and what ideas you have!