Demon Prince Orcus

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Demon Prince OrcusOrcus was a god of the underworld, punisher of broken oaths in Italic and Roman mythology. He was more equivalent to the Roman Pluto than to the Greek Hades, and later identified with Dis Pater. He was portrayed in paintings in Etruscan tombs as a hairy, bearded giant. A temple to Orcus may have existed on the Palatine Hill in Rome. It is likely that he was transliterated from the Greek daemon Horcus, the personification of Oaths and a son of Eris.

Horrors Chapter #1 By By Eli Atkinson, Jonathan Bloxsom, Will Church, David de Saeger, Serge W. Desir Jr., Marley Sage Gable, John Harris, Sam Peer, Adam Silva-Miramon, Sean Surface

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A History of Orcus

Orcus. His very name invokes dread. Terror shadows his every deed. Few are the hearts which do not shrink in fear and disgust at his very existence. All Creation is stained by the tales of his unspeakable spite, his unlimited rage, and his undying hate. His loathing knows no bound; his fury knows no end. While each horror-wrought story laments the loss of another life shattered and another love lost to hatred, the legend of The Goat is eternally bound and sustained by one evil above all: Undeath. As its creator and his crowning achievement, Undeath is Orcus’ domain. While many unworthy heirs pretend to share his throne, the Prince of the undead stands supreme in his command over the restless dead and their undying hatred of Life and the living.

Scattered throughout long-lost libraries and whispered by age-worn sages, some tales claim what seems absurd, if not impossible: Orcus was once mortal. The truth of the matter perhaps lost to the mists of time, these legends whisper that long ago, before even the fall of the Voyeurs, the being known now as Orcus once lived a mortal life. Though the details of his mortal-born name, race, and place of birth seem to change with each retelling, a number of common threads exists between the otherwise disparate tales. When woven together, these threads reveal much of the dread mystery that is The Goat.

According to the legends, the mortal-born Orcus was a wielder of magic whose skill in necromancy surpassed every practitioner that ever lived, lives, or will live till the end of Time. Though such grandiose claims are all-too common amongst honeyed-tongued minstrels, few scholars debate this claim; if ever there existed an ‘arch-necromancer’, surely Orcus would merit its title. This power, however, did not come without a price. Whether drawn to the dark arts by his own innate evil or corrupted by its sinful influence, the arch-necromancer developed a most peculiar and vile obsession: Hatred. Hatred dominated the mortal’s every thought: hatred of himself, hatred of others, hatred of his world, and even hatred for Life itself. In time, this hatred became the very font of his power as well as the foundation for all his dark works and research.

Drawing upon this unfathomable power, the necromancer commenced a ritual which was to stand as an eternal testament to his existence and propel his hatred across the ages. His own ever-growing spite likewise fueling his depraved quest, Orcus wrapped his mortal-born world in an inferno of vile, necromantic energies. In the arcane-wrought apocalypse, entire civilizations perished. Vortices from the Reality of Oblivion flooded the world, sweeping away whole societies and species. Yet, even as he butchered his world with enraged abandon, Orcus restored them to life–though only as shadows of their former strength. Dragging them unwillingly through death’s threshold into life again, Orcus’ ritual then slaughtered them again, only to pull the shards of their screaming souls back to life once more. Again and again, this vile process repeated. In time, even the gods succumbed to Orcus’ dreadful curse. One by one, the deities died, impotent against the arch-necromancer’s power and unable to turn away as they watched their world transform into a rotten corpse. From the gods to the lowly beasts of the wild, no creature was spared Orcus’ spite: all suffered–even the arch-necromancer. Ensnared by the divine maelstrom of energies created by the pantheon’s continual massacre and partial rebirth, Orcus himself fell prey to his own hate. On and on, the cycle of death to half-life to death continued.

When the necromantic storm finally reached its awful terminus, no life remained–not even Orcus'. Neither living nor dead, the necromancer’s soul had long been stripped of its mortal shell and consumed by constant suffering. Yet, from this never-ending grave, new life–or unlife-was born. In the shadows of The Abyss, something stirred. Spawned by the inexplicable hatred of the mortal-born Orcus and awakened by the cataclysmic power of an entire world’s cyclic slaughter, rebirth, and suffering, a tenebrae of singular power came into existence whose personality and might could scarcely be distinguished from the once-living necromancer’s. Siphoning off the still-rampant energies that bathed the arch-necromancer’s home-world, the tenebrae, who in time would become known as Orcus, quickly gained power in The Abyss. However, this power expanded exponentially upon the demon’s discovery of the pained husk and soul-shard of his creator. Sensing the common bond that existed –as well as the mutual loathing for one another- the demon’s foul mind brooded upon the eternal suffering of his mortal reflection. In that nonliving consciousness of pain and hate, Orcus the demon saw the perfect curse. Calling this curse Undeath, he sought to replicate and gain supreme control over this undying state of suffering.

However, even for a demon of such vast power as Orcus, attaining control over this new state of existence was not easy. Certainly, the demon's power over undeath grew, but not steadily. Instead, Orcus’ mastery of undeath came sporadically and often only as the result of morbid serendipity and unforeseen events. Initially seeking to gain dominion over those undead already existent–especially those created by his mortal reflection–The Goat’s first experiments involved such primitive undead as skeletons, zombies, and other mindless husks of life. In time, the demon’s burning thirst for power led him to the Darklands where he studied the unique convergence of Shadow and Oblivion, gaining great lore and influence over the shadows and nightshades which haunted that region. While his travels would eventually lead him back to The Abyss and his experiments would yield unrivaled understanding and insight into undeath, Orcus remained restless and discontent. Not satisfied with the strains of undeath already infecting Creation, Orcus’ malevolent heart dreamed of creating ever more virulent and deadly forms of restless dead. In time, these dark desires would bear wicked fruit as Orcus’ experiments gave unlife to the first of his most infamous creations.

As befitting a creature of inimical chaos, it was not age-long plotting that sparked his first morbid novelty. It was instead the chance observation of a soul much like the one that created him, a mortal wizard-queen whose original name has now long been forgotten. Her once flawless beauty fading under the inexorable onslaught of time, the queen became increasingly bitter and jealous as others enjoyed the beauty and vitality of youth while her own charms and physical puissance withered. Sensing the seeds of spite ready to ripen within her mind, Orcus filled the queen’s thoughts with forbidden lore and vile rituals. So incited by Orcus’ spiteful temptations, the wizard-queen succumbed to her darkest desires. Drawing upon her arcane might and the foul tutelage of The Goat, the hate-filled mortal completed a debased ritual, unleashing a hideous curse upon her entire world that struck every single woman utterly barren. In one terrible act of despicable jealousy, the queen ripped away the very future of her world and in her desire for eternal life, she sealed her race’s extinction with hate-poisoned lips. When her treachery and its awful effects were eventually discovered, riots ensued, and within her own realm, her citizens and advisers became an enraged mob intent on slaying their mad monarch. Under such a wave of relentless rage, the queen was slain; exactly as Orcus had intended. As planned, the queen arose, hauled from the grave by her own efforts, yet forever tarnished by its touch. As promised by the fiend, the queen awoke from death, finding her mind quickened and her magic empowered beyond her imagination. However, her delight soon turned to terror as she watched her very skin and flesh rot away in sheets of necrotic corruption. Her mortal beauty and youth forever stolen, the queen could do nothing but vomit up her own viscera as she was reduced to a repulsive skeleton bound together by spite and sin. She had become the first lich.

Much to the queen’s horror and to Orcus’ delight, the abyssal lord had succeeded in creating a form of undeath so utterly tempting, that despite its undeniable evil and terrible price, mortals would willingly–even eagerly–seek to embrace it. Though the undead queen–who assumed the name Malifleur after her despicable transformation-would turn away from her creator and destroyer in name, she, and all that came after her, would ultimately serve The Goat as undying testaments and instruments of his hatred and spite.

Yet, despite their inherent malice, liches are not The Goat’s most infamous creation. Other forms of undead, equally terrible, if not more, have been since spawned by the Lord of Spite. The origins of one of these foul progenies instigated a blood feud with the Prince of Shadows that continues to this day.

In ages past, the Master of Six Pleasures believed he had given life to what would be one of his greatest offspring. Having impregnated a goddess of beauty, Graz’zt eagerly awaited the birth of his dark spawn. However, Graz’zt’s anticipation would turn to horror and then unspeakable rage when his child was delivered. Instead of progeny that would yield him power and pleasure, an unliving, stillborn abomination was delivered. The first atropal was born and the Demon Prince of Undeath had robbed him of his prize. The Dark Prince would never forgive nor forget The Goat’s treachery, and while the reasons for his rage would increase and multiply over the millennia of conflict between each other, Graz’zt still remembers his lost offspring with a vitriolic loathing and thirst for revenge. Wallowing in his enemy’s hatred, Orcus returns it ten-fold, his reasons for battling the Prince of Shadows a near reflex instead of based on any rationale.

While Orcus’ rivalry with Graz’zt is immense, The Goat’s pitiless heart holds equal, if not even more, animosity for another abyssal ruler: Demogorgon. For an eternity The Goat, the Master of Six Pleasures, and the Demiurge have been locked in a vicious, often pyrrhic, three-way war. Although the exact origins of Orcus’ hatred for Demogorgon are unknown, most scholars agree that the latter’s creation of death knights was an incontrovertible taunt and challenge to Orcus’ mastery of undeath–an affront that inspired a boiling rage inside The Goat’s bitter soul that continues to burn today.

His supremacy over undeath irrefutably challenged, the Lord of Spite attempted to create a new form of undeath whose corruption was so undeniably evil that his dominion over the restless dead would transcend doubt. Much to the cosmos’ shame and regret, The Goat succeeded beyond even his most depraved imagination. Orcus succeeded in twisting true love into a terror–an undying thirst that neither satisfied nor sustained life, but stole it. The curse of vampirism was created. In time, this new doom would ravage entire worlds until its stain spread across all of Creation. In many ways, vampirism is the perfect manifestation of Orcus’ ideation of undeath: a state of eternal lust for life that can never be satisfied, a hunger that only produces hate, and an affliction whose necrotic taint is all-consuming. Each new victim of vampirism is another testament to Orcus’ title as the one and only Prince of Undeath.

Yet, even as Orcus’ undead creations proliferated in both number and variety, the demon prince continued to manifest his hatred in other horrific ways. Like a malevolent shadow, Orcus’ malice was great enough not only to swallow individuals, but entire communities in darkness and death. Among the most infamous of such communal victims is the dreaded city of Moil. Once dedicated to The Goat’s worship, the citizens of Moil turned away from their dark patron to embrace a faith of light and righteousness. Enraged by the betrayal, Orcus cursed the entire city, tearing its foundations from the Mortal Coil to hurtle it and its citizens into the enveloping mists of the Land of Dreams. So accursed, the inhabitants of Moil fell into an eternal slumber. Entrapped in an undying prison of nightmares, their bodies rose as restless corpses of necrotic cold while their haunted dreams spawned a hideous undead monstrosity whose lesser brethren, the dream vestiges, stalk Creation to this day.

As a consequence of such depraved achievements, Orcus’ prestige and influence within The Abyss grew. Attracted to his evil like vultures to carrion, swarms of demons flocked to Thanatos’ banner. However, as their numbers increased Orcus’ control over them proved increasingly tenuous. Though they nominally pledged allegiance to the Lord of Spite, several of the more ambitious and powerful demons began to pursue their own agendas. Although the majority of such treacherous fiends were either destroyed or fled the Belly of Death in fear of Orcus’ wrath, others achieved a measure of lasting independence and cosmic influence, with the likes of Mormo and Yeenoghu allegedly being among the better known. In addition to such infamous traitors, others, both demonic and undead, also took advantage of Orcus’ inattentiveness during this period; consequently, Thanatos’–and thus Orcus’–reputation soon became tainted with the likes of Ter-Soth’s commitment to Blood War battles at The Goat's expense, Eldanoth’s rise to the cusp of demon lord status, and Glyphimhor's contemplated betrayal. Thus, even as Thanatos became bloated with various demons and undead pledging their service to The Goat, Orcus’ realm became a cesspool of betrayal, decadence, and conspiracy.

Unsurprisingly, in the millennia following his development of vampirism, Orcus not only failed to increase his cosmic power, but actually began losing it, albeit in small, almost imperceptible degrees–at least at first. Mired in his own vitriolic thoughts he grew complacent and negligent. Rather than actively venting his wrath on others, the demon prince began to wallow in his own hatred and loathing. His influence and infamy in the cosmos waning, The Goat largely ignored events outside his realm. During this period of brooding idleness, only his struggles with Graz’zt and Demogorgon consistently kept his attention, and even then, Orcus began to increasingly delegate control and authority to his servants–servants who all too often were loyal only to themselves. Seeing Orcus’ attention and activity slacken, many of these fiends became ever more confident in their self-serving conspiracies and more brazen in their not-so discreet betrayals. Similarly, Orcus’ decadence and laziness allowed his supremacy over undeath to wither. Sensing the opportunity, a plethora of godlings and would-be-archfiends soon arose with each one siphoning away Orcus’ mastery over necromancy and the undead. Slowly but surely Orcus’ power began to slip away.

Further representing Orcus' fall from power was the debacle that took place upon the world of Abeir-Toril. Although precise details of the events there continue to elude scholars, what is generally agreed upon is that Orcus granted one of his worshipers–a powerful lich-king–the extremely rare and dubious honor of using the Wand of Death. Intending to use the dreaded artifact in his efforts to build an empire of undeath, the lich-king failed disastrously. Furthermore, the mortals that helped to defeat this lich would later go on, with the aid of the Realms Above, to successfully steal the Wand of Death from Thanatos, temporarily removing it from Orcus' grasp.

Ultimately, these failures, in conjunction with the demon prince's general complacency, led to Orcus’ downfall. While many events, large and small, would herald and prepare The Goat’s demise, Orcus’ executor came in the form of a drow goddess of vengeance and undeath named Kiaransalee. While The Goat was particularly pressed by the Dark Prince, she breached Thanatos and slaughtered the degraded, pitiful husk of what was once a powerful demon prince. Following their master in death, Orcus’ minions within the Belly of Death were also slain en masse. The rest of The Goat’s servants, both living and undead, either went into hiding or found other beings with which to affiliate themselves.

Believing the demon prince to have perished forever once she heard news of Orcus' corpse appearing in the Astral Plane, Kiaransalee attempted to destroy the Wand of Death – which, oddly enough, failed entirely. Enraged by her inability to either command or destroy the Wand and its power, Kiaransalee never discovered the reason for her failure. In hindsight, the cause is clear: the Wand was the necromantic remnant of the Orcus' world, and within the Wand, Orcus' mortal incarnation lived on, bound to the world he had ravaged. Though shattered and caught in the throes of undying suffering, this soul shard was enough to tether Orcus and his Wand, however feebly, to Creation. If Kiaransalee had known this, she might have successfully destroyed the Wand of Death by giving it to Apollyon and annihilating it in Abaddon, The Bottomless Pit, a layer that destroys worlds as easily as it destroys life. However, without this knowledge, the drow goddess had to relinquish her desire to destroy the seemingly indestructible rod. Nevertheless, still fearful of its power and the possibility of it empowering an enemy, the goddess resolved to hide the artifact from her rivals, both living and dead. Entrusting the Wand of Death into the hands of one of her most trusted servants, Kiaransalee ordered her minion on a circuitous route and imprisoned the artifact in one of the most inaccessible caverns of Agathion in Pandemonium. There, she presumed that no creature would ever be able to find it again. Although she did not know the origins of the plane, she assumed that its overwhelmingly hostile nature would be sufficient to deter those few surviving servitors and worshipers of Orcus that would think to look for it.

Much to Kiaransalee’s ultimate dismay, the Wand was not the only remnant of Orcus' foul existence to survive her attack. Mysteriously foreshadowing the transience of his demise, The Goat had not simply disappeared upon being killed, as is the norm for a demon prince slain in The Abyss. Instead, Orcus’ corpse inexplicably appeared in the silver void of the Astral, a husk of his former self, persisting beyond Oblivion. In a similarly bizarre fashion, remnants of Orcus’ slain demonic servitors began to arise, somehow cheating death itself. Like lingering shadows, these ghostly monstrosities soon became known as visages. They were a new form of ephemeral undead whose deceptive powers would herald Orcus’ forthcoming deceit.

The most important remnant of Orcus’ existence was neither his corpse nor the restless shadows of his servants; it was his soul –or at least, the dim reflection of his spirit. Though the demon prince was indeed slain by Kiaransalee, the fragment of his mortal incarnation persisted. Reduced to only the throbbing suffering of an undying soul-shard, this twisted glimmer of Orcus’ mortal existence was all that anchored The Goat to Creation. Nevertheless, it sufficed. Arising from this shadow-self, Orcus’ tenacious hate once more forced itself upon the cosmos. More mortal than demon, the mystery-shrouded entity known as Tenebrous was spawned. Thirsting for vengeance at his defeat, the nigh mortal creature scoured the planes for power with which to smite his enemies and foes. Towards this end he even slaughtered Primus, hierarch of the modrons with the power of Orcusword and a specialized ritual taking advantage of his own, semi-mortal state. Once Primus was dead, Tenebrous impersonated the former hierarch and commanded the entire race to begin the Great Modron March early. Through their travels of the Realms Beyond, Tenebrous deciphered enough clues to uncover the location of the artifact named The Last Word, a remnant of the Time Before Time which possessed the power to irrevocably end the existence of any being that heard it save for its speaker. So ancient was The Last Word that although its power was vast and it had been assigned guardians, the ravages of time ensured that even those that once prevented its discovery had forgotten its location. Upon claiming it for himself, Tenebrous annihilated the wall upon which it was written and unleashed his unfathomable rage upon the cosmos with a massacre across the Realms Beyond.

Yet, even as Tenebrous gained and used the power to utterly slay mortal and immortal alike, he was dying. Under the crushing weight of The Last Word’s power, Tenebrous’ body began to wither. While some scholars contend that the cause of this wasting away was his lack of true godhood, others claim that no being born after The Last Word's creation could safely wield the artifact. Regardless of the truth, the might of The Last Word was slowly consuming Tenebrous’ pseudo-mortal form. Thus, even as his soul grew in evil and power, his body began to crumble and fade, threatening his very existence. Addicted to the transcendent, though lethal, power, Tenebrous was unwilling to forsake the artifact before he savored every last possible moment of its might. Yet, with each additional use, the artifact ravaged his body ever more, until at last, his physical shell was beyond recovery or repair–death was inevitable.

Faced with his own mortality but unwilling to embrace Oblivion, the Shadow-that-Was attempted a scheme that he would otherwise have never considered: resurrecting Orcus. Calling upon the might of The Last Word as well as the visages that served him, Tenebrous began searching for the one artifact capable of restoring himself as the Demon Prince of the undead: the Wand of Death. With every murdered god or cosmic power, Tenebrous gleaned another secret piece of lore that brought him ever-closer to his prize, even as his visages likewise scoured the Mortal Coil and Realms Beyond in search of the desired artifact. In the end, their killing spree earned them the location of the infamous rod, and it was only a matter of time before the Wand of Death was released from its prison in Agathion and once more in the hands of a worshipper of The Goat.

Upon Tenebrous’ recovery of the Wand of Death, most planar sages claim that the Shadow-that-Was sought out one of his devout followers, Quah-Nomag the Skull King, a necromancer of mythical power, unto whom he revealed many a secret. These historians allege that, in a thirteen-day ritual, the Skull King wielded his newly learned magicks to infuse the dying Tenebrous with cosmic energies, causing oceans of power to flow into Tenebrous' gaunt, dying body, even as the power of The Last Word left him. This gross, but understandable, misinterpretation of the facts focuses solely on a single individual as though Quah-Nomag might have succeeded in his efforts alone. While many scholars may still believe this account to be the one and only truth, it is clear that the Skull King, regardless of his–quite exaggerated–power, was incapable of this act independently, even with the awesome power of the Wand of Orcus in his hands. Substantially better informed sources speak of hundreds of highly ranked worshipers, both Tenebrous' and Orcus', working together in a vast ritual of cataclysmic depths of depravity. Out of destiny, they forged reality; in unison, they combined both mortal and immortal, both Orcus and the creature that spawned him. They merged the two not merely in personality–in which they had been joined for eternity—but in soul.

At the conclusion of this ritual Tenebrous ceased to exist. In his place, Orcus arose anew, invigorated in mind and form by the force of will that stemmed both from a soul imprisoned for ages along with the agony and humiliation that came from Kiaransalee's victory. When the enraged demon-reborn returned to Thanatos, the drow goddess could do naught but flee, her control over the layer vanishing the instant Orcus’ cloven hooves returned to the Belly of Death. Some sages even claim that the layer itself immediately assaulted her when the Lord of Spite returned. Even now, Kiaransalee lives out her days in fear, awaiting the inevitable doom that will befall her when The Goat dignifies her with his vengeance. Like a wildfire burning all in its path, Orcus purged his realm, destroying or twisting all traces of the Revenancer’s rule as well as slaughtering the demon atrocities who had established realms within Thanatos during Orcus’ absence. His dominion over his realm once more absolute, Orcus’ fury turned outward, and it was not long before his abyssal rivals learned the same terrible truth: Orcus had returned angrier and more powerful than ever.

In the years since his ignominious return, The Goat has demonstrated a significant shift in attitude, both from his outlook as Tenebrous as well as from his former, decadent ways. Specifically, Orcus no longer seeks singular control over undeath –its eternal propagation suffices, regardless of whether it comes directly by his cruel hand or not. Though no less hateful, the Demon Prince of Undeath is not only confident in his supremacy over undeath, but also has concluded that undeath is inimically evil. Consequently, Orcus is convinced that no matter what deluded god or creature attempts to influence them otherwise, undead are beings indelibly filled with hatred and suffering and eternally incapable of joy or peace. Likewise, the Lord of Spite resolutely believes that despite whatever notions mortals may hold to the contrary, that the unliving will remain inexplicable foes of the living for as long as either exists, as each are sustained by antithetical forces. Thus, while many undead still directly serve the Demon Prince of the undead, the contemporary Orcus cares far less about whether a certain unliving creature explicitly pays him homage, save that their personal evils may bring him greater power in fairly specific ways. In the end, all undead serve him, even the unwilling and ignorant.

While Orcus’ recent attitude towards other gods and patrons of undeath may be construed as a form of tolerance, only the insane would interpret this attitude as one of appreciation. To the contrary, The Goat loathes these gods and cosmic entities for their foolishness. Even those whose motivations resemble his own are reviled for the pitifulness of their power and hatred when juxtaposed against Orcus'. Nor is this hatred passive: those who specifically arouse The Goat’s wrath find the demon prince an implacable hunter who will stop at nothing less then their utter annihilation. Included in this accursed category are the two exemplars of undeath, Kiaransalee and Lixer. Each of the entities has a long and violent history with the Eternal Hate, and both inspire a degree of rage and fury in Orcus that is only matched by his animosity with Demogorgon and Graz’zt.

Although it is doubtful that The Goat will be able to personally deal with Lixer, given his status as an Heir of Hell, a large amount of Orcus’ resources are devoted to dealing with the Prince of Hell’s followers on numerous worlds within the Mortal Coil. Additionally, Orcus has assigned a number of spies to watch the Prince’s movements, and on those occasions where Asmodeus’ son has traveled beyond Perdition’s boundary, the Demon Prince of the undead has not hesitated to send his servitors to slay the hated archfiend. While such attacks have ultimately failed, some surmise that Orcus is merely testing Lixer’s defenses and Hell’s willingness to protect him, biding his time till the opportunity presents itself for The Goat himself to personally–and permanently—deal with his diabolic rival.

Orcus’ war with the Revenancer is more complicated. Though she is the Prince's inferior by far, Kiaransalee has succeeded in eluding his grasp since she fled Thanatos. This situation hints towards a simple explanation–it is quite likely that Kiaransalee receives support from the Queen of the Demonweb Pits herself. If it is true that the goddess hides somewhere on that layer, or possibly in the Mortal Coil, somewhere under Arachnadia's protection–and every passing day Orcus' doubts diminish–there is no guessing as to how exactly Orcus will act, but it is clear that it will neither please the Lady of Spiders nor the Revenancer.

Otherwise, it is no understatement to claim that Orcus is the dedicated foe of practically everything and everyone else in Creation. Even beings that typically have little to do with demon princes or The Abyss in general despise Orcus and do their utmost–however unsuccessfully–to frustrate his plans. Recent enemies along these lines include Ilsensine, the patron of illithids, who now opposes Orcus for slaughtering its servant, Maanzecorian, with The Last Word, and the modrons, who are concerned that Orcus’ murder and imposture of Primus has left them with lingering taints of both chaos and evil that could result in their ultimate downfall as exemplars of pure law. Even most of The Nether consider the Demon Prince of Undeath to possess such an extremely dangerous combination of unpredictability and unbridled wrath that they make extremely complex and indirect machinations to avoid his interference. Out of The Four Horsemen, Death in particular has a longstanding rivalry with Orcus over his desire to annihilate the undead, to the point where the two's respective cults have secretly battled on many worlds. Allegedly, Orcus even distributes forbidden magic to counter the Horsemen–not because The Goat places any value on life (as he sees none)—but to ensure the living survive just long enough for Orcus himself to crush them under the weight of undeath.

Not surprisingly, The Lord of Spite's actions have also earned him revulsion and opposition from both the deities and cosmic entities of the Realms Above. Beholding Orcus’ wicked depredations, both past and present, upon the Mortal Coil, more than one angel has willingly broken the Celestial Compact and personally intervened in mortal affairs in an attempt to counter the vile threat of Orcus and his undead creations. All too often, such renegade angels eventually succumb to the corrupting hate which The Goat inspires. Weeping over these misguided, former servants of good, the Bastions of Righteousness await the time when Orcus will pay for his countless sins in full –others, especially among the pantheons of good and their mortal followers, are not so patient. Particularly active against The Goat are those good-aligned beings dedicated to life or nature, as Orcus' activities are entirely antithetical to all of life's possible blessings or any concept of natural order. In such circumstances, there have been cases in which beings have cooperated across otherwise firm lines of opposition in order to thwart the demon prince or one of his necrotic progeny from completely ruining a world with the vile curse of undeath.

However, despite the Goat’s many adversaries, none arouse Orcus’ ire and bloodlust as much as the Devourer of Souls and the Prince of Shadows. While Orcus’ conflict with the two rival abyssal lords has changed over the many millennia, one aspect has never changed: destruction. From the war-torn layers annihilated by incessant battles between the demons to the races and realms that have been completely eradicated as each demon prince sought to gain dominance, Orcus’ rivalry with Demogorgon and Graz’zt has been violent, bloody, and merciless. While their struggles usually leave nothing but death in their wake, others have actually twisted the demonic conflict to their own benefit, ascending from the ashes of such devastating strife with greater personal power and puissance. However, such individuals are rare indeed; usually, only the dead–or undead-are left to mourn their own.

Nevertheless, Orcus’ struggles with the Master of Six Pleasures have become increasingly subtle since The Goat’s return to power. No longer willing to be so easily goaded as he was during his period of decadence, the Lord of Spite has been far more calculating in his war with Graz’zt. Consequently, unlike the battles between the Eternal Hate and the Devourer of Souls, Orcus’ and Graz’zt’s current conflicts have been focused on specific individuals–particularly the more intelligent undead which the Dark Prince prefers to subvert- or the fate of particular demonic cults within the Mortal Coil. In such contests, Graz’zt often has the advantage as Orcus’ undead progeny generally feel nothing but overwhelming loathing for their vile creator. The Prince of Shadows is especially keen on manipulating such emotions when the contested undead is related to his own portfolio, with two noteworthy examples being his waxing influence over vampires and shadows.

Yet, despite the relatively subtle nature of the demonic conflict, such contested souls are anything but safe, as both Orcus and Graz’zt frequently use assassination, murder, and fates far more horrible than death in order to bend mortals and immortals alike into doing their will at the expense of the other. Generally, these conflicts have ebbed and grown with the respective statures of both demon princes, with Orcus taking advantage of Graz'zt's recent problems with Iggwilv upon Oerth to expand his own power. Before Orcus' death at the hands of Kiaransalee, Orcus was considered to have had a slight advantage in these struggles through the use and stature of his assassin, Eldanoth, who reveled in leaving a massive trail of bodies across Creation in accordance with The Goat's wishes. However, Orcus' death freed Eldanoth from any obligations towards the Eternal Hate. As a consequence, Graz'zt currently enjoys a slight position of superiority in such competitions–an advantage which neither Graz'zt nor Orcus think will last for any extended period. In the meantime, the war of spite and shadows continues unabated. Despite the subtle nature of their conflict, Graz'zt's and Orcus' armies still openly clash and fight tremendous battles in The Abyss.

In contrast, Orcus' wars against Demogorgon are far more dramatic and devastating. While Orcus’ thralls vehemently oppose Demogorgon’s attempts to devour their mortal worlds and native gods in his insatiable hunger for power, the Demiurge’s cultists are no less violent in their opposition to Orcus’ necromantic theft of their depraved master’s sustenance. It is never in the interests of Orcus' cultists for the Devourer of Souls to arrive upon a world and either drag it into those portions of The Abyss that it controls, or consume its divinity to augment Demogorgon's power. Neither are those depraved enough to worship Demogorgon satisfied to see dead worlds that will fail to offer the Devourer of Souls sustenance. Consequently, when either group encounters substantial resistance from the other, wars of horrific destruction are typically the result. In The Abyss itself, these conflicts are far more pronounced and severe. At any given time, there are at least six abyssal layers that are currently being fought over by Orcus' and Demogorgon's servants, both demonic and far more bizarre.

Beyond the exceedingly rare, and all-too temporary, alliances against Demogorgon and Graz'zt, Orcus has neither sympathy nor support among his abyssal peers. Despite Graz'zt's preference for 'alliances' of a sort (which invariably always benefit him more than the other beings, even when he deigns to live up to such agreements), the Dark Prince needs to say little to encourage others to join him if the threat of The Goat looms large. Even those demon princes who share common interests with The Goat are hesitant to diplomatically engage the Eternal Hate on account of his violent and insufferable loathing and derision. Moreover, even those greater fiends who rose to power under Orcus’ tutelage are slow to deal with The Goat. Afraid of becoming targets of Orcus’ jealous wrath, most of these abyssal powers avoid the Demon Prince of Undeath whenever possible. Further alienating him from any potential allies, Orcus summarily slaughters any demon within his realm on the cusp of supernal power to preemptively eliminate any possible threat to his reign. The most fortunate demons which serve Orcus are those he regards as too useful, those he has simply forgotten about, or those which require effort to abuse that would otherwise be spent against more pressing foes such as the Devourer of Souls.

Orcus spends much of his time, effort, and considerable intellect inventing new ways of despoiling The Mortal Coil. Between devising new forms of necromantic magic to kill his enemies and transform his countless victims into vile undead, Orcus’ depredations have been all-too successful, much to the sorrow and lament of the Mortal Coil's denizens. Beyond his dark deeds on that plane, Orcus prosecutes The Blood War, though he largely leaves that matter in the hands of minions such as the Sleepless, his personal molydei, and an ephemeral array of demons and undead. Simultaneously, the Blood War increasingly occupies less of Orcus' time and resources as his priorities emphasize regaining influence in The Abyss, persecuting Kiaransalee for assassinating him, and other, newer goals.

Orcus’ physical form is virtually synonymous with the demonic throughout Creation. Those rare souls unfortunate enough to have beheld The Goat claim that no description can truly encapsulate the horror and repulsiveness that is Orcus. Towering nearly fifteen feet tall, the Lord of Spite is obese to the point of parody as his odious girth almost matches his height. Corpse-white skin and mottled, cyanotic flesh barely contain the revolting rolls of fat, rippling cellulite, and maggot-infested flab that compose his arms and torso. Yet, despite his disgusting bulk Orcus possesses titanic strength, and his physical might is all but unmatched within The Abyss. Equally mind-shattering is the unnatural speed with which the demon prince can heft his hulking frame and the precision with which he deals death. Erupting from the rotting recesses of his back, a pair of wings as thin and black as funeral shrouds end in wickedly barbed claws that twitch with brooding violence. Below, a serpentine tail with scales ravaged by some terrible, wasting disease lashes incessantly, its skeletal stinger leaking a foul ichor that reeks of grave-stench. Waist down, Orcus possess the legs and cloven hooves of a goat, with hair permanently matted from blood, sweat, and refuse. Instead of a humanoid face, Orcus’ head resembles the skull of a tormented goat crowned with a pair of wicked ram-like horns. Leaking from their ebon spirals, the razor-sharp horns weep tar-like blood and bile. Orcus glares upon a Creation he loathes with distant pinpricks of sickly, pallid yellow light that emanate from eye sockets that appear as dark and deep as The Abyss itself. When enraged, blood-red smoke issues from his fleshless nostrils, while nauseating fumes the color of putrid pus escape from his gnashing jaws. His spiteful invectives bleat from a maw filled with fangs and choked by a blackened, tumourous tongue. The Demon Prince of Undeath speaks–then only to announce the atrocities he plans on inflicting to the body, mind, and soul–with a voice that seems to issue from the deepest crypt. Empty of love, decency, honor, or conscience, Orcus’ voice perfectly mirrors the emptiness of his soul.

ORCUS

Demon Prince of the undead
Symbol
The Wand of Orcus (a skull-tipped Obsidian rod, usually with glowing red eyes or eyesockets inlaid with rubies)
Home Plane Thanatos (Layer 113 of the 666 Torments of The Abyss)
Alignment Chaotic Evil
Aliases The Eternal Hate, The Goat, the Lord of Spite, The Shadow-That-Was,Tenebrous
Foes Anthraxus, Apollyon, Death, Demogorgon, Eldanoth, Fraz 'Urb Luu, Graz'zt, Hacamuli, Ilsensine, Kiaransalee, Arachnadia, the Sarim, Turaglas
Servants Adoran S'Tith, Glyphimhor, Harthoon, Illuyanka, Kanchelsis, the Sleepless, Quah-Nomag, The Skeletal Mountain, Ualac
Servitor Creatures abat-dolor, armanites, atropals, atropal scions, babau, balors, bane wraithsHoH, blackwingsMMV, bleakbornLM, bloodrotsHoH, Bodaks, bone creatures, boneyards, corpse creatures, crimson death mists, crypt things, deathbringers, death knights, deathlocksLM, dream vestigesLM, drownedMMIII, Ghasts, Ghouls, glabrezu, hullathoinFF, kelvezu, liches, mariliths, maurezhi, mohrgs, molydei, nabassu, nalfeshnee, necronauts, nightcrawlers, nightwalkers, nightwings, plague blightsLM, risen, shadow dragons, shadows, skeletons, slaughter wightsLM, spectral lyrists, tenebrae, vampires, vasuthants, vilewights, visages, vrocks, wheeps, wights, winterspawn, Zombies, zovvut (although these creatures are most prominent, it is likely that other types of undead serve Orcus as well).
Manifestations walls bleeding blood, blood seeping out of the ground, undead spontaneously arising, eclipses in which the moon turns blood red or displays a goat skull symbol, episodes of mass murder or riots, gravestones shattering in half, mausoleums or tombs crumbling and exposing their inner chambers to the sky
Signs of Favour pupils and irises of the eyes turning solid blood-red, eyeballs replaced with pinpricks of distant light ('lich eyes'), limbs having all of their flesh slough off to the point of being skeletal yet still functional, persistent wounds which do not harm the recipient but leak blood which harms living creatures or heals undead
Worshippers demons, necromancers, undead creatures
Cleric Alignments Chaotic Evil, Neutral Evil
Speciality Priests Talons of Spite
Holy Days full moon nights with lunar eclipses, days when good-aligned mortals died (often 'celebrated' by animating dead, preferably the corpse of the original mortal), the feast of spite (an entire family or group of mortals hated by an Orcus-cult is kidnapped, and the children or weaker among them are killed and re-animated as undead while the survivors watch only to be eaten by their former friends and kin).
Portfolio loathing, undead creatures, undeath, wrath, spite
Domains Chaos, Evil, Hatred, Undeath
Favored Weapon unholy heavy mace

ORCUS, Demon Prince of The undead (CR 59)

XP 214,958,080,000
frenzied berserker 14
CE Huge outsider (chaotic, evil, extraplanar, mazza'im, undead)
Init +13; Senses Darkvision 120 ft., corpselight, Deathwatch, supernal senses, lifesense 120 ft., true seeing; Perception +97
Auras abyssal vehemence/wake of destruction (600 ft., DC 77) demon prince of the undead (1,400 ft.), supernal realm (240 miles); Languages All (14 mile radius), speak with dead (CL 72nd), telepathy 500 ft.

Defense

AC 80, touch 43, flat-footed 75
(-2 size, +5 Dexterity, +37 natural, +14 profane, +16 deflection),
hp 2044 (58d10 + 14d12 + 1296), fast heal 30, regeneration 203
DR 40/greater epic, cold iron, lawful and good
Immune cold, electricity, fire, form-altering effects, and undead immunities
Resist acid 50, sonic 50; SR 84
Weakness demonic impasse
Fort +74, Ref +51, Will +60

Offense

Speed 160 ft. (32 squares), Fly 360 ft. (72 squares) (perfect), Fly +91
Melee * Wand of Orcus +106/+101/+96/+91 (2d6 + 38 +18d6 negative energy +3d6 unholy power and 1 negative level (DC 23 Fort save to remove) 1, 2 and DC 77 Fort save or die**/19-20/x2 +36d6 negative energy +6d6 unholy power and 2 negative levels (DC 23 Fort save to remove)) and2 wings +92 (2d6 + 102) and sting +92 (2d6 + 102 and Fort save DC 79 or 3d4 Constitution damage/6d4 Constitution damage 1 minute later) or; Melee * ** 2 claws +97 (3d6 + 201, 2) and bite +92 (2d6 + 102) and 2 wings +92 (2d6 + 102) and head butt +92 (2d6 + 102) and sting +92 (2d6 + 102 and Fort save DC 79 or 3d4 Constitution damage/6d4 Constitution damage 1 minute later)
Melee +97 touch
Ranged +83 touch
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft. (25 ft. with tail)
Base Atk +65; CMB +101; CMD 116
Atk Options channel negative energy 23/day (DC 68, 36d6), domain powers, Intimidating Rage, Negative Energy Burst, Supernal Rage 14/day (1 hour), supreme Cleave, supreme Power Attack, tireless frenzy 7/day (25 rounds), Turn outsider (evil)
Special Actions induce ravages, incite rage, inspire frenzy 5/day (25 rounds), remote communication, Zone Of Animation
Combat Gear Wand of Orcus

1 Orcus deals an additional 3 negative levels with this attack (Fort save DC 82 to remove). Orcus deals an additional 16 points of damage and heals an equivalent amount each time he successfully inflicts a negative level with a natural attack.
2 All vile damage
3 Orcus' regeneration is penetrable by attacks using positive energy.
* Orcus has a 75% chance to ignore any immunity to critical hits his target may possess.
** Each time Orcus strikes a being with the Wand of Orcus, the victim is targeted with a unique form of greater dispel magic (CL 72nd) that exclusively affects spells and spell-like effects that provide protection against ability damage, ability drain, death effects, energy drain, or negative energy.

Spells Prepared

Epic (7/day)—arise the restless dead, geysers of blood (DC 56), greater epic mage armor, icy hands of death (DC 56), lichbane, momento mori (DC 56), Orcus' oblivion extraction (DC 50), severed lifeline (DC 50). Spellcraft DC up to 140, 176 for necromantic spells.
Spell-like Abilities (CL 58th, 64th level for necromantic spells denoted with a *)

Always active—Deathwatch.

At will—avascular massLM (DC 54) *, blackfireSC (DC 54) *, blasphemy (DC 47), bodak's glareSC (DC 54) *, chain lightning (DC 46), charm monster (DC 44), deeper darkness, destruction (DC 47), greater consumptive fieldSC (DC 53) *, greater dispel magic (+72 bonus on caster level check), greater harmHoH (DC 53), horrid wilting (DC 54) *, magic circle against good and law, symbol of death (DC 54) *, telekinesis (DC 45), unholy aura, WrackSC (DC 51)

6/day—Bestow Greater CurseSC (DC 54), ghostformSC, Greater Scrying, Implosion (DC 49), polymorph any object (DC 48), summon undead IX

4/day—burst of destruction (DC 50), epic dispel magic, mark of The Abyss (DC 50), Orcus' oblivion extraction (DC 50)

4/week—dead rain (DC 56) *, evil weather BoVD, icy hands of death (DC 56) *, pulse of disaster (DC 50)

Divine Mockery Rank 14

At will—animate dead, animate objects, antipathy (DC 49), bestow curse (DC 44), blasphemy (DC 47), chaos hammer (DC 44), circle of death, cloak of chaos, control undead (DC 47), create greater undead, create undead, desecrate, death ward, Detect Undead, Dispel Good, Dispel Law, doom (DC 41), energy drain (DC 49), Forbiddance, protection from good, protection from law, rage, Righteous Might, scare (DC 42), shatter (DC 42), unholy blight (DC 44), wail of the banshee (DC 49), word of chaos

STATISTICS

Strength 50, Dexterity 20, Constitution 54, Intelligence 44, Wisdom 27, Charisma 43
SQ abyssal dominion, abyssal sovereign, deathless frenzy, death throes, demonic ideal, divine mockery, inimical
Feats Blood of Thanatos (arch necromancer Common), Chain SpellCA, CorpsecrafterLM (arch necromancer Common), Corrupt Spell, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Wondrous Item, Deadly PoisonSS, Destructive Rage CW, destruction RetributionLM (arch necromancer Common), Divine MightCD, Empower Spell, Enervate SpellLM, Extra Turning, Feral Wrath, Fell AnimateLM, Fell DrainLM, Improved Critical (heavy mace), Improved Initiative, Intimidating RageCW, Life DrainLM, Nimble BonesLM (arch necromancer Common), Power Attack, Quicken Turning , Selective Channeling, Stunning Critical (heavy mace), Swift Undeath , Transdimensional SpellCA, Turn outsider (evil), Violate SpellBoVD, Virulent PoisonSS, Weapon Focus (heavy mace)
Epic Feats Craft Epic Magic Arms And Armor, Craft Epic Wondrous Item, Epic Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Epic Spellcasting, Incite Rage (ravage bonus), Mighty Rage, Overwhelming Critical (heavy mace), Planar Turning, Superior Initiative, Wounding Critical (heavy mace), Undead Mastery Ravages Ability Damage (Cosmic), Additional Natural Attack (Common), Bonus Feat (Common)(x8), Bonus Epic Feat (Abhorrent), Channel Energy (Abhorrent), Class Feature (Abhorrent), Class Feature (Common), Energy Drain (Vile), Extended Reach (Vile), Ignore Immunity to Critical Hits (Cosmic), Mimic Type (Abhorrent)
Salient Abilities Alter Form, Avatar, Call Demons (52 HD maximum, 14 demons at once), Call Undead (52 HD maximum, 28 undead at once)(x2), Curdle the Blood (Unique Salient Ability), Demonic Chasm, Demon Prince, Demon Prince of the Undead (Unique Salient Ability), Supernal Rage, Supernal Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Dread Curse (Unique Salient Ability), Energy Storm (negative energy, 14 points of damage/round), Hand of Death, Hoarding The Spirit (Unique Salient Ability), Know Death, Life and Death (DC 77 Fort save or die, else 14d8 points of damage), Necromantic Mastery (Unique Salient Ability), Possess Mortal, Taint of Undeath (Unique Salient Ability)
Skills Acrobatics +51, Appraise +86, Bluff +95, Craft (alchemy) +102, Craft (carving) +106, Craft (weaponsmithing) +104, Diplomacy +85, Disguise +94, Escape Artist +54, Fly +91, Heal +54, Intimidate +102, Knowledge (Arcana) +106, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +77, Knowledge (engineering) +82, Knowledge (Geography) +84, Knowledge (history) +106, Knowledge (nature) +83, Knowledge (nobility) +65, Knowledge (religion) +106, Knowledge (the planes) +106, Linguistics +86, Perception +97, Sense Motive +84, Spellcraft +140 (+156 when casting necromantic epic spells), Stealth +56, Survival +68, Use Magic Device +100

Possessions
Wand of Orcus
Epic Spells Known
arise the restless dead, geysers of blood, greater epic mage armor, icy hands of death, lichbane, momento mori, Orcus' oblivion extraction, severed lifeline; Orcus can be expected to know the entire repertoire of epic spells relating to undeath as well as a number of other spells.

Abyssal Aura As one of the most powerful beings within The Abyss, Orcus' aura possesses the following components which destroy the minds, bodies, and environs of all things which fall within his influence:

Abyssal Vehemence (Su) The physical presence of Orcus is so disgusting that it causes lesser creatures to succumb to his mania and will to destroy. All creatures within 600 feet of Orcus must succeed on a DC 77 Will save. In Thanatos, Orcus adds his supernal rank to the DC, increasing it to 91. Those that succumb to Orcus’s baleful presence randomly suffer one of the following effects. Orcus may change the effect (a different effect is randomly selected) as a swift action. As a free action, Orcus can discontinue the use of his Abyssal Vehemence, but creatures already afflicted remain under its effects unless Orcus elects to remove them.

Victims of Abyssal Vehemence remain under the conditions for as long as they are within 600 feet of Orcus, after which the conditions begin to fade. Each condition has its own rate of fading, as specified in its description. Those who make their saves against Abyssal Vehemence do not have to save against it again for 6 hours unless the effect is changed by Orcus.

Removing the effects of Abyssal Vehemence through spells (for instance remove fear) is possible, but it requires a DC 41 spellcaster check. A caster who possesses rank 0 or greater may attempt a rank check in addition to the caster level check in order to remove the effects, with success on either resulting in a successful casting.

Despair: An affected being feels intense sadness and takes a -6 morale penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, ability checks, skill checks, and weapon damage rolls. Each round, there is a 40% chance that she will be overwhelmed by grief and unable to act. This effect lasts for six hours after leaving the radius of effect.

Euphoria: An affected being experiences a false sense of joy. A victim of Euphoria stands in place or stops moving (if she is flying, she will descend to the nearest safe location within the area of effect) and becomes otherwise oblivious to her surroundings. She is considered flat-footed. Incapable of doing anything but pay attention to the source of her perverse affection, the victim suffers a –6 penalty to her further Will saving throws or Sense Motive checks against Orcus. Euphoria persists for as long as the victim can see Orcus or can hear his voice. Euphoria scars the mind of its victim so badly that there is a 40% chance that any previously affected being may experience spontaneous remission into it if she sees or hears Orcus again at some future date. Euphoria is permanent.

Fear: An affected being becomes shaken. In addition to the normal effects of the condition, the victim screams uncontrollably, suffering a -6 penalty to any Wisdom-based checks; the victim cannot make Stealth checks. Furthermore, attempts to cast spells with no verbal components require a Spellcraft check (DC 30 + attempted spell level). Casting spells with verbal components is impossible. When Abyssal Vehemence causes fear, initial victims must attempt a save every round. A shaken creature that fails a second Will save against Abyssal Vehemence becomes frightened, and a frightened creature who fails a third save becomes panicked. Panicked creatures that fail a fourth save become frozen in fear (save for the screaming) and are effectively helpless. A creature who fails six saves in a row dies from fright. Creatures who make their secondary and further saves do not improve their condition, but they no longer need to make successive saves. This effect lasts for six hours after leaving the area of effect.

Insanity: An affected being is driven mad as per the insanity spell. Insanity is permanent. Those attempting to cure the insanity who fail their caster level check (and their rank check in the case of divine rank 0 or greater casters) are affected by the insanity as well, although their condition lasts only six days.

Loathing: The presence of Orcus inspires intense hatred in his foes. Such creatures will take the most direct path towards Orcus and attack him to the exclusion of all other threats. They will attack Orcus in melee combat if at all possible, resorting to ranged attacks or spells only if they cannot physically reach the demon prince. In this enraged state, spellcasting or making use of spell-like abilities is impossible unless the creature succeeds on a Spellcraft check (DC 25 + attempted spell level). The creature is considered helpless for the purposes of all attacks except those that originate from Orcus. When confronted by a potentially fatal obstacle (a natural hazard in their path or the attacks of another creature), victims receive another Will save to break free of this effect. This effect lasts until the victim successfully makes a secondary Will save, Orcus is slain, or until the victim can no longer sense the presence of Orcus. A creature under the influence of loathing who can no longer sense the presence of Orcus takes out her frustration on the nearest living object in the most destructive manner possible for the 6 minutes following the disappointment.

Nausea: An affected being becomes violently ill from Orcus’ presence, becoming nauseated. In addition to the normal effects of this condition, there is a 36% chance that the creature will be unable to do anything save retch and heave, dealing themselves 1 point of Constitution damage in the process. This effect lasts for six minutes after leaving the radius.

Wake of Corruption (Su) Orcus’ presence destroys everything in its wake, causing the immediate area to deteriorate and fall apart. If Orcus remains in a particular location for an extended period of time, he causes severe degeneration that over time can expand to an even larger area. If Orcus remains within a 600 foot area for 3d6 rounds, the location falls under an effect identical to the spell desecrate cast at 40th level. For every additional round that Orcus remains within that initial 600 foot area, the desecrate effect expands another 60 feet.

If Orcus remains in the initial 600 foot area for 6d6 rounds, a region equivalent to 2,760 ft. becomes unhallowed as the spell cast at 56th level; he may attach two spell effects to the area of his choosing. These spells may or may not be from among those listed as choices in the unhallow spell description. Orcus typically attaches death knell and deeper darkness in order to kill every being that is already near death within the region.

Channel Energy (Su) Orcus channels energy 23/day as a 72nd level Cleric as a swift action, dealing 36d6 points of negative energy damage. Orcus can control 720 HD of undead simultaneously. He may additionally use a channel energy attempt to accomplish any of the following:

• Orcus may spend one channel energy attempt to gain a +16 bonus to damage inflicted with the Wand of Orcus for one round.
• Orcus may spend one channel energy attempt to grant all undead within 60 feet of him a 30 foot bonus to their dominant mode of movement for the next 16 rounds.

Curdle the Blood (Unique Salient Ability) The presence of Orcus is anathema to mortal beings and lesser (non-divine) good outsiders. Three times per day, Orcus can Curdle the Blood, filling the souls of lesser creatures with abject, irrational terror while harming them as part of his Abyssal Vehemence (Orcus must initiate this with Abyssal Vehemence at the beginning of his action). Those that succumb to Curdle the Blood face triple the penalties of the Fright effect, taking a -18 penalty to all Wisdom-based checks. Furthermore, each round victims must make a Fortitude save DC 77. Those that fail suffer 3d8 points of Constitution drain for the next three rounds as their blood literally thickens and oozes like slime from every orifice on their body. If this occurs in the presence of beings that feed on blood or corpses (like Ghouls, Ghasts, and vampires), such creatures are drawn to the victims immediately to feast, only pausing to defend themselves. Those that manage to survive this aspect of Curdle the Blood regain one point of Constitution each day unless they are cured by a miracle or wish spell cast by a 41st level caster. Regardless, there is a 50% chance that those who were harmed by Curdle the Blood have permanently lost 3d8 points of Constitution as well as 2d8 points of Charisma (due to the horrible pallor that lingers from the attack) that not even wish or miracle cast by mortal spellcasters can overcome, although the damage done to living creatures along these lines may be healed through Alter Reality or analogous divine or cosmic power and a successful rank check against Orcus.

Death Throes (Su) Orcus explodes instantaneously upon his death, unleashing the unstable Abyssal powers barely contained within his demonic form. Orcus' Death Throes look like a wave of foul, rotten blood that washes over and splatters everything within range. They affect everything within 3,500 feet of him and every living creature within the area must make a DC 77 Fort save or die instantly as the hatred and Oblivion released from Orcus overwhelms them. Those that die as a consequence of Orcus' death throes in turn arise from the dead the next night as a random type of undead. outsiders that die along these lines are considered to be permanently dead regardless of their permanent location unless they succeed upon a rank check against Orcus.

Furthermore, Orcus' death throes permanently afflict any region in which he has died. Life itself takes flight from a place infected by The Goat's death. Healing spells and forms of natural healing only restore half the normal amount of hit points or ability damage/drain within the region affected, and those who attempt to give birth or are resurrected by mortal magic within the region must make a DC 77 Fort save. Otherwise, their young are first stillborn and reanimated as a zombie two size categories smaller than the parent, or the resurrection effect fails automatically respectively. Zombies created in this manner are significantly more powerful than the norm, and possess +6 turn resistance and maximum hp. These effects can be removed by any effort sufficient to eliminate the spiritual wound produced by Orcus.

Demonic Chasm (Salient Ability) As a move-equivalent action, Orcus can call upon the foul powers of The Abyss to surround himself in a yawning gorge of demonic energy. This demonic chasm extends from (and moves along with) Orcus in a radius of 160 feet and offers both defense and offense for him. It possesses 320 hp and can absorb up to that amount in damage until it falls; simultaneously, it deals 16d6 points of unholy damage to all that enter the radius against Orcus' will. 18 times per day, Orcus may use a move equivalent action to replenish the chasm to its maximum capacity or create a new one. The Goat's demonic chasms last 18 rounds, and appear as foul and vast mires of crimson blood in which sharpened fragments of bone and skull float. In situations in which demonic chasms from Orcus and another demon prince interact, a successful rank check will determine which one remains viable and which one is negated.

Demon Prince (Salient Ability) Over the course of his existence, The Goat has wrested sufficient power from The Abyss in order to be considered a demon prince, allowing him to be empowered by it in the following ways:

Abyssal Sovereign (Ex): Orcus has acquired sufficient power to exert his will upon the Abyssal layer or layers that he has come to control, transforming them to reflect his particular brand of Chaos and Evil. Furthermore, he may attempt to manipulate layers that have no established prince. The power to manipulate The Abyss is limited to territories and layers that have no “legitimate” ruler of similar status; thus, Orcus could not affect the realm of a god, nor could he affect the triple layers of Graz’zt. However, Orcus' presence in the Mortal Coil or in the Land of Dreams can wreak untold havoc. When The Goat appears in such areas, he has the ability to temporarily manipulate a 14 mile area as if he was a god in his divine realm. Only areas sacred to a god are impervious to his decadent presence on the material or ethereal planes. Once he is driven from the area, the effects subside within 14 minutes. Additional implications and mechanics of this are further described in the section on Abyssal Layer Control.

Demonic Impasse (Ex): The forces of righteousness disgust Orcus, who finds goodness repellent enough to give him pause. As a result, Orcus avoids hallowed ground. When Orcus attempts to enter a hallowed site he must make a successful rank check against the represented god; if Orcus succeeds in entering the hallowed area, the area immediately becomes unhallowed. Once Orcus breaches holy ground, the god in question is immediately alerted to the fiend’s presence and will often arrive in person to deal with the offense.

Divine Mockery (Ex): Orcus offers spells from the domains of Chaos, Evil, Hatred and Undeath along with a full array of divine spell-casting ability to his best servants. Once per round as a standard action, Orcus may cast any of the domain spells which he is capable of granting. These spells have been included in the lists above.

He can also make use of his domain-granted powers 14/day, allowing him to designate as a free action a single opponent against which he gains a +2 profane bonus on attack rolls, saving throws, and Armor Class for 1 minute and gains Extra Turning as a free feat.

Induce Ravages (Ex): Orcus has the ability to induce ravages in lesser creatures. In addition to being able to induce warps and common ravages in demons within line of sight, Orcus may also induce abhorrent ravages as well. When Orcus attempts to induce ravages he loses access to his spell-like, supernatural, and cosmic abilities for a period of time. However, he only loses access to his powers for 10 minutes in the case of warps and common ravages, and 1 hour in the case of abhorrent ravages. All ravages induced by Orcus are presumed to be normal. The saving throw for an unwilling demon is DC 90.

Demon Prince of the undead (Unique Salient) As the Demon Prince of the undead, Orcus possesses truly unparalleled powers over the undead, gaining not only their obedience, but bolstering them as well. All creatures that are both undead and evil within 1,400 feet of Orcus must make a Will save DC 77. If they fail, they are instantly forced to serve him. Additionally, they immediately become immune to anyone else's attempts to turn, rebuke or otherwise control them. (Even if Orcus is subsequently driven away or vanquished, former masters must attempt to rebuke/command their previous servants in order to regain control). Non-evil undead receive a +6 bonus on their saving throw. undead with divine or cosmic rank may make a rank check against Orcus in order to resist his control over them (but not over their minions). The Goat may also destroy any of the undead under his control at his whims; he can destroy up to 14 undead as a standard action. If any of these undead happen to possess divine or cosmic rank, they may ignore the effect by successfully beating Orcus on a rank check, freeing them from his control and further attempts for him to control them in this method for a day.

Orcus may apply any of the feats that he possesses which empower or modify undead to any or all of the undead within his radius of control as a standard action. Furthermore, Orcus may inspire frenzy and rage in undead creatures although this would normally be impossible, infusing them with his own hatred and wrath against the living. When Orcus does so, they gain all of the benefits that would accrue to the living with the exception of the deathless frenzy ability.

The Goat always hears the voices of the dead, more often than not pleading in utter futility for an end to the horrific goals to which he twists their corpses and souls. Orcus may speak with dead and use corpselight as always active spell-like abilities cast at his total character level (72nd).

Lastly, due to his creation of the restless dead, Orcus receives a +6 bonus on all rank checks relating to undeath or the undead, and all his opponents take a -6 penalty to such rank checks. If the rank check is made in Thanatos both bonus and penalty increase to 12.

Dread Curse (Unique Salient Ability) Once a day, Orcus can craft a Dread Curse; a fate so horrific that it brings great suffering to the living beings upon which it befalls and sometimes powerful enough to deleteriously affect the history of an entire world. The Dread Curse of Orcus can take three forms:

Curse of Spite: Orcus may vent his own anger and rage by crafting a single curse that affects up to 14 victims at once forever. Those beings affected must be within 1,400 feet of Orcus, and must make a Will save DC 77. When Orcus unleashes the Curse of Spite, he may force a being to be permanently confined to whatever plane or layer they are currently located upon, or he may force a being to function as if they actually had an ability score of 1 in three different abilities at once save when they are performing a tasking chosen by Orcus when the curse is inflicted. Orcus may not craft a Curse of Spite that can kill a being directly. However, Orcus has been known to use it to force beings into otherwise impossible situations that result in their death through indirect means, or confine them to Thanatos permanently.

The Curse of Spite unless removed follows its victims past death, and even resurrection or Salient Divine Abilities intended to otherwise bring the dead back to life are incapable of removing it. Instead, a wish or miracle cast by a 41st level good-aligned caster or higher, or alternately, Alter Reality used by a deity or cosmic entity of Healing or Love must be used to spare a being from its torments. In the first case, the caster must succeed on a caster level check; in the second the deity must succeed on a rank check.

Curse of Undeath: Orcus may craft the Curse of Undeath. When this occurs, Orcus may designate up to 14 individuals at once that must share and upon some level accept the curse that Orcus has created. Upon a failed Will save (DC 77), their death has been stained by Orcus’ influence, and they arise from the dead as a undead creature of a type that Orcus designates at any time from the next night to the next month. Orcus may additionally designate a specific series of circumstances necessary in order for the undead that he has cursed in this manner to seek relief. It is virtually impossible for beings so cursed to be released from their fate. No Forbidden or mortal magic can reverse the Curse which Orcus has inflicted upon them. Even greater deities of life have tried and often failed against The Goat accordingly. Orcus is always alerted whenever such attempts to salvage a being take place.

If a being willingly requests from Orcus the Curse of Undeath, at any time within the next month, Orcus may choose to enter its world and pronounce upon it a Curse of Wrath, even if he would otherwise be disallowed from using an additional Curse along these lines. This side effect (which Orcus never tells his potential 'beneficiaries') may only be prevented if the mortal that entreated with Orcus renounces undeath by having a miracle cast upon it to restore it to its former lifespan, and then having Atonement cast upon it to quest against the undead and evil necromancy in general, both at a minimum of 41st level. Such a renunciation, however, is phenomenally rare, and most mortals that have had their lives extended through magic along these lines typically die after the miracle is cast, and must make a Fort save DC 77 to avoid this fate. In the case of such a death, the mortal's soul still arrives in Thanatos.

Curse of Wrath: Worst of all, Orcus may pronounce a curse so horrific that it affects an entire region. The size of the region affected determines how long Orcus must wait before unleashing his wrath again, and the region must have had some significant connection to Orcus in order for him to affect it. Orcus additionally must be physically present within the world to be affected in order to pronounce the Curse, and all beings within the area must make a Will or Fortitude save DC 77 in order to avoid being affected. Orcus’ curses along these lines have been incredibly creative, much to the sorrow of their victims, and have ranged from slaughtering all of the youth within a region, to spasms of mass murder, to actually transplanting an entire city into the ethereal and rendering it undead for eternity. Reversing the Curse of Wrath is as difficult as reversing the Curse of Undeath, and Orcus is capable of using the former Curse in conjunction with the Curse of Wrath for the purposes of creating new undead. Orcus has never been known to reverse a curse himself. In fact, each time a Dread Curse has been reversed (an act which has been speculated to have only occured once within his entire history of malevolence), Orcus himself is greatly weakened, taking a -11 penalty to his attack rolls, saving throws, caster levels, and saving throw DC's of all of his special abilities that cannot be compensated for by any effort which he initiates. These penalties last for the next 6 days.

Strength of Connection Size of Region Time Between Curses
Minor cult of Orcus 180 ft. radius 6 days
Major cult of Orcus 1,800 ft. radius 6 weeks
Major worship of Orcus 18,000 ft. radius 60 days
Worship of Orcus dominant 18 mile radius 6 months

For the purposes of determining an area affected by the Curse of Wrath, the following criteria apply:

Minor cult of Orcus: At least one being with the Demoniac feat associated with Orcus exists within the region, and are followed by at least 8 other worshippers of The Goat.

Major cult of Orcus: At least one spellcaster with the Demoniac feat associated with Orcus exists within the region. They must be 12th level or higher and control at least 40 or more worshippers of Orcus of lesser stature than themselves.

Major worship of Orcus: At least one spellcaster with the Demoniac feat associated with Orcus exists within the region. They must be 18th level or higher, possess significant control over the city or region where they exist, and control at least 80 or more worshippers of Orcus of lesser stature than themselves.

Worship of Orcus dominant: At least one spellcaster with the Demoniac feat associated with Orcus exists within the region. They must be 24th level or higher, rule a city or region outright, and control at least 160 or more worshippers of Orcus of lesser stature than themselves.

Extended Reach Orcus' serpentine tail is elongated, increasing his effective reach by 10 feet.

Fury (Ex) Orcus may frenzy 7 times a day, and each of these frenzies lasts 21 rounds. Orcus may also enter a Supernal Rage 14 times a day, during which he gains a +8 bonus on any Strength checks he makes to break inanimate, immobile objects. Orcus can demoralize a single foe within 30 feet of him as a free action (Intimidate +102), causing them to remain shaken for as long as he rages during a particular encounter. Such rages last for an hour.

The following changes are in effect as long as Orcus is frenzied: AC 76; Atk 2 claws +102/+102 (4d6 + 25 all vile and 3 negative levels (Fort save DC 76 to remove)) and bite +97(3d6 + 15 all vile) and 2 wings +97 (3d6 + 10 all vile) and head butt +97 (3d6 + 15 all vile) and sting +97 (3d6 + 15 (all vile) and Fort save DC 76 or 3d4 Constitution damage) or Wand of Orcus +110/+110/+105/+100/+95 (2d6 + 18d6 (negative energy) +3d6 (unholy power) and 1 negative level (Fort save DC 23 to remove) and 3 negative levels (Fort save DC 76 to remove) and Fort save DC 76 or die +31/19-20/x2 +36d6 (negative energy) +6d6 (unholy power)) and 2 wings +84 (3d6 + 15 all vile) and sting +84 (3d6 + 15 (all vile) and Fort save DC 76 or 3d4 Constitution damage); CMB +117; Strength 60.

During a rage, his stats change accordingly: HP 2692; AC 75; 2 claws +102/+102 (4d6 + 25 all vile and 3 negative levels (Fort save DC 76 to remove)) and bite +97 (3d6 + 12 all vile) and 2 wings +97 (3d6 + 12 all vile) and head butt +97 (3d6 + 12 all vile) and sting +97 (3d6 + 12 (all vile) and Fort save DC 76 or 3d4 Constitution damage) or Wand of Orcus +114/+114/+109/+104/+99 (2d6 + 18d6 (negative energy) +3d6 (unholy power) and 1 negative level (Fort save DC 23 to remove) and 3 negative levels (Fort save DC 76 to remove) and Fort save DC 76 or die +30/19-20/x2 +36d6 (negative energy) +6d6 (unholy power) and 2 negative levels (Fort save DC 23 to remove)) and 2 wings +97 (3d6 + 12 all vile) and sting +97 (3d6 + 12 (all vile) and Fort save DC 76 or 3d4 Constitution damage); CMB +117; SV Fort +79, Will +65; SR 94, resist 60 (acid, fire); Strength 60, Constitution 64.

If Orcus is both raging and frenzying, the following changes apply: HP 2692; AC 71; Atk 2 claws +107/+107 (4d6 + 30 all vile and 3 negative levels (Fort save DC 76 to remove)) and bite +106 (3d6 + 15 all vile) and 2 wings +106 (3d6 + 15 all vile) and head butt +106 (3d6 + 15 all vile) and sting +106 (3d6 + 15 (all vile) and Fort save DC 76 or 3d4 Constitution damage) or Wand of Orcus +115/+115/+110/+105/+100 (2d6 + 18d6 (negative energy) +3d6 (unholy power) and 1 negative level (Fort save DC 23 to remove) and 3 negative levels (Fort save DC 76 to remove) and Fort save DC 76 or die +38/19-20/x2 +36d6 (negative energy) +6d6 (unholy power) and 2 negative levels (Fort save DC 23 to remove)) and 2 wings +96 (3d6 + 15 all vile) and sting +96 (3d6 + 15 (all vile) and Fort save DC 76 or 3d4 Constitution damage); CMB +126; SV Fort +79, Will +65; SR 94, resist 60 (acid, fire); Strength 70, Constitution 64.

Hoarding the Spirit (Unique Salient Ability) Like the undead that revere him, Orcus consumes life force and can completely obliterate not just the body, but the soul as well. 3/day, Orcus can Hoard the Spirit. This malevolent power forces all within 1,100 feet of Orcus to succeed in a Fortitude save DC 76. Those that fail suffer a fate far worse than death as their physical bodies die instantly and are dragged into Orcus’ bloated form. From this point on, the victim is under the effects of a Trap the soul spell with the following adjustments. Each and every day, the victim loses a point in every ability and gains a negative level (these penalties stack). Once they reach 0 in any three abilities or 0 class levels/HD, the victim is instantly consumed by Orcus, their soul utterly obliterated. Likewise is the victim permanently destroyed if he exists within Orcus for more than 11 days. Orcus can only trap up to 11 souls at any one time and typically has 2d4+1 trapped souls. If he exceeds his limit, a random soul is freed with its penalties and soon finds itself either turned into a Bodak if released in The Abyss (within 1d4 rounds), or in the Realm Beyond most appropriate to its alignment as a weakened petitioner. Releasing souls so trapped requires either the salient divine ability Mass Life and Death or the destruction of Orcus' physical body beyond The Abyss, and a successful rank check against Orcus.

Inimical (Ex) Orcus' attacks are inimical to all living creatures. Accordingly, all of Orcus' natural attack damage is considered to be vile, and any being killed by Orcus may not be resurrected except upon holy or consecrated ground. Far worse, however, is the fact that such is the power of Orcus' attacks that there is a 50% chance that any living being that has been turned into an undead creature by him has their soul utterly destroyed in the process, and may not be resurrected by any mortal means, even when he is not using the Wand of Orcus.

Necromantic Mastery (Unique Salient Ability) Orcus possesses unparalleled mastery over Oblivion itself, allowing him to manipulate it directly as well as those creatures that are powered by it in the following ways:

First, Orcus may create any non-unique undead creature or combination of undead creatures (either requiring the power of a Dread Curse, or has been created through the actions of another being with rank 1 or higher in order to bring into existence), and not more powerful than an atropal in terms of its challenge rating (CR 30). Orcus must have access to the appropriate corpse or corpses in order to create undead directly in this manner. When he elects to create undead creatures of lower power, he can double the number of creatures by reducing the effective power (CR) of a creature by 1. Orcus may raise the corpses of any creatures within a 1400 foot radius of himself in this manner.

Second, Orcus may manipulate negative energy directly in order to harm his foes. Against a single target as a melee touch attack, The Goat can generate up to 500 points of negative energy or 16 negative levels (Ref save DC 77 for half, or for removal of negative levels a day later). Alternately, he can manipulate the energy to cover an area or attack his foes with it as a ranged touch attack with a 30 ft. radius or range. For each reduction in damage by 50 points or two negative levels subtracted, Orcus can expand the area, in the following descending manner:

• 30 ft radius/60 ft line
• 60 ft radius/120 ft line
• 90 ft radius/240 ft line
• 180 ft radius/480 ft line

These areas are considered fully shapeable, in 5 ft increments, by Orcus, and can also be shaped into other usual spell effect shapes (eg cone, cylinder), at the DM's discretion. Orcus may apply any metamagic feat which he knows to negative energy blasts which he creates.

Finally, Orcus may duplicate the power of any non-epic spell from the [Necromancy] school so long as the nature of the spell is not incompatible with his alignment, or alternately, deny others protection from spells with the [Necromancy] school as a standard action. Orcus may again apply any metamagic feat which he knows to such spells, and all spells generated in this manner are treated as having a save DC of 77 against their fell effects.

Semi-undead Traits Orcus possesses all of the properties of the undead save the loss of a Constitution score. While Orcus cannot be healed by any spell utilizing positive energy and is in fact harmed by it, he can be healed with those that wield negative energy instead. Unlike true undead, Orcus may not be turned or rebuked.

Taint of Undeath (Unique Salient Ability) Should Orcus successfully manage to desecrate a region as described in the Wake of Corruption, 6/day as a standard action, Orcus can further pollute a region of up to 3600 adjacent square feet in size, infusing it with the Taint of Undeath. When this occurs, the ground as well as any structures begin to seep black blood, quickly turning the region into a hideous mire even as the blood sucks the life out of any living creatures in the area. In addition to living creatures in contact with the ground being slowed for the first 18 rounds after the taint is created, unless they escape, they must additionally make a Fort save DC 77 or else take points of 16d12 points of negative energy damage, half of which is vile.

After the initial effects of the taint, such regions are permanently scarred to such an extent that any living creature that enters such a region must make a Fort save DC 77 or else receive 6 negative levels per minute they remain within the area. No spell or effect save an Alter Reality towards the end of healing Orcus' living victims accompanied by a successful rank check against Orcus is sufficient to remove these negative levels within this region.

Worst of all, in addition to Orcus becoming capable of sensing whenever any living creature dies in a region cursed by the Taint of Undeath across planar boundaries, any living creature whether outsider or mortal that dies in a cursed region has their corpse seep into the ground itself, a visual representation of the fact that their soul has become trapped in the location. Living creatures killed in such a manner become undead of Orcus' choosing, but no undead that requires a unique method of origin can be created this way, while non-mortal creatures are incapable of returning to their Realm Beyond of origin.

The Taint of Undeath inflicted upon a region is powerful enough that even killing the undead that arise from the taint is insufficient to release them from their suffering. Instead, the region itself in its entirety must be cleansed from Orcus' presence. Such a cleansing requires the use of Alter Reality by a greater good-aligned deity or cosmic entity of Life or Healing and a successful rank check against Orcus, but failing the rank check causes the deity or cosmic entity themselves to become ensnared in the region as well. Alternately, the cleansing can be made through a successful casting of hallow by a 31st level good-aligned caster or above, initiated at the focal point where Orcus unleashed the taint. However, after the first six hours of casting, all of the undead creatures that have been created by the Taint of Undeath in the region will immediately either attack the caster, or travel at best possible speed to the area where they were created in order to attack them, and after the first 12 hours of casting, Orcus himself becomes aware that someone is attempting to remove a taint, although he does not become aware of the specific details of who is attempting to remove it. Failing upon the casting also ensnares the caster that made the attempt as well.

Other Powers:
- Senses: Orcus can see (using normal vision or Darkvision), hear, touch, and smell at a distance of 14 miles. Orcus takes a -1 penalty to his sight, smell, and hearing for every ten miles he is distant from a source of sensory information. As a standard action, Orcus can block the sensing ability of another power (for up to 14 hours) by making a successful rank check. This power extends for a 14-mile radius, and can be centered on Orcus himself, on a sacred site, or on the location of something related to his portfolio. In addition to the above uses, Orcus can use this ability on any part of Thanatos. Orcus can simultaneously block 3 locations, in addition to the area around himself.
- Remote Communication: Orcus can communicate with his worshipers at any distance, and to anyone within 14 miles of a statue, likeness, or site dedicated to him. Orcus may either send a telepathic message that only certain creatures can hear, or have its voice issue from the air, ground, or an object (provided it is not dedicated to another power). Orcus can also send manifestations or omens instead of messages. Remote communication can cross planes and penetrate barriers. Orcus must use a standard action to begin a remote communication, but it can be continued as long as he wishes, and Orcus can carry on up to 14 remote communications simultaneously.
- Portfolio Sense: Orcus is aware of any event which can be twisted into a Dread Curse, any creature which takes up undeath, or any act of loathing and spite up to 14 weeks in the past.
- Create Magic Items: Orcus may create any magical item that enables him to act upon his loathing for the living, or helps to create or spread undeath without the requisite item creation feats provided that he possesses the other prerequisites involved. Orcus' creation times for either magic arms or armor, or wondrous items are halved.
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Orcus' Avatar (CR 33)
XP 26,240,000
Frenzied Berserker 10
CE Huge outsider (Chaotic, Evil, Extraplanar, Mazza'im)
Init +11; Senses corpselight, Darkvision 120 ft., lifesense 120 ft., Perception +45
Aura abyssal vehemence (180 feet, DC 42); Languages speak with dead (CL 36th), telepathy 100 ft.
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AC 51, touch 25, flat-footed 48
(-2 size, +3 Dexterity, +26 natural, +14 deflection)
hp 1064 (26d10 +10d12 +684); DR 20/epic and good
Immune ability damage, ability drain, cold, critical hits, death effects, electricity, energy drain, exhaustion, fatigue, mind-affecting effects, form-altering effects, necromantic effects, nonlethal damage, Paralysis
Resist acid 20, fire 20; SR 48
Fort +38, Ref +23, Will +26
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Speed 160 ft. (32 squares), Fly 360 ft. (perfect), Fly +47
Melee 2 claws +46 (4d6 + 171, 2 ) and
bite +41 (3d6 + 8 all vile) and
2 wings +41 (3d6 + 82) and
head butt +41 (3d6 + 82) and
sting +41 (3d6 + 82 and Fort save DC 42 or 3d4 Constitution damage) or;
Melee +51/+47/+42/+37 +6 necrotic focus silver mace (2d6 +23 and 3 negative levels (Fort save DC 49 to remove)) and
2 wings +41(3d6 + 8 all vile) and
sting +41 (3d6 + 8 (all vile) and Fort save DC 45 or 3d4 Constitution damage)
Melee +46 touch
Ranged +32 touch
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft. (25 ft. with tail)
Base Atk +33; CMB +56
Atk Options channel energy, Cleave, domain powers, frenzy, Negative Energy Burst, Power Attack, rage
Special Actions Incite Rage, inspire frenzy 3/day, Zone Of Animation

1 Orcus' Avatar deals an additional 3 negative levels with this attack (Fort save DC 42 to remove). Orcus deals an additional 14 points of damage and heals an equivalent amount each time he successfully inflicts a negative level with a natural attack.
2 All vile damage
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Spell-like Abilities (CL 26th)
Always active—Deathwatch.
8/day—avascular mass (DC 32), blackfire (DC 32), blasphemy (DC 31), bodak's glare (DC 32), chain lightning (DC 30), charm monster (DC 28), deeper darkness, destruction (DC 31), greater consumptive field (DC 32), greater dispel magic, greater harm (DC 31), horrid wilting (DC 32), magic circle against good and law, symbol of death (DC 32), telekinesis, unholy aura, Wrack (DC 25)
3/day—Bestow Greater Curse (DC 32), ghostform, Greater Scrying, Implosion (DC 33), polymorph any object, summon undead IX
2/week—evil weather
Divine Mockery
3/day—animate dead, animate objects, antipathy (DC 33), bestow curse (DC 24), blasphemy (DC 31), chaos hammer (DC 28), circle of death, cloak of chaos, control undead (DC 29), create greater undead, create undead, desecrate, death ward, Detect Undead, Dispel Good, Dispel Law, doom (DC 25), energy drain (DC 33), Forbiddance, protection from good, protection from law, rage, Righteous Might, scare (DC 26), shatter (DC 26), unholy blight (DC 28), wail of the banshee (DC 33), word of chaos (DC 31)
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Rank 0
Abilities Strength 45, Dexterity 16, Constitution 49, Intelligence 39, Wisdom 22, Charisma 38
SQ deathless frenzy, death throes, greater rage, improved Power Attack, inimical, supernal realm (240 mile radius), supreme Power Attack, tireless frenzy
Feats Blood of Thanatos, CorpsecrafterLM, Deadly Poison, Destructive RageCW , Divine MightCD, Extra Turning (domain feat), Improved Critical (heavy mace), Improved Initiative, Intimidating Rage CW, Life Drain LM, Power Attack, Quicken TurningCD, Swift Undeath, Virulent PoisonSS, Weapon Focus (heavy mace)
Epic Feats Incite Rage, Mighty Rage, Superior Initiative, Undead Mastery
Ravages Ability Damage (Cosmic), Additional Natural Attack (Common), Class Feature (Abhorrent), Class Feature (Common), Energy Drain (Vile), Extended Reach (Vile), Extra Feat (Abhorrent) (x2), Mimic Type (Abhorrent), Rebuke undead (Extended) (Abhorrent), Size Increase (Vile)
Salient Abilities Call Demons (28 HD, 7 demons at once), Demon Prince, Demon Prince of the undead (140 ft. radius, Will save DC 42), Hand of Death (Fort save DC 42 or die)
Skills Acrobatics +27, Bluff +47, Craft (alchemy) +42, Diplomacy +44, Disguise +47, Escape Artist +23, Fly +47, Heal +29, Intimidate +50, Knowledge (Arcana) +53, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +43, Knowledge (engineering) +38, Knowledge (Geography) +39, Knowledge (history) +40, Knowledge (nature) +45, Knowledge (nobility) +38, Knowledge (religion) +53, Knowledge (the planes) +53, Linguistics +40, Perception +45, Sense Motive +37, Spellcraft +53, Stealth +26, Survival +35, Use Magic Device +49
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Organization Solitary (Unique)
Environment The Mortal Coil/The Abyss
Advancement None
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Channel Energy (Su) Orcus' Avatar rebukes undead 23/day as an 36th level Cleric as a free action, dealing 18d6 points of negative energy damage. Orcus' Avatar can control 360 HD of undead simultaneously. Orcus' Avatar may additionally use a rebuking attempt to gain a +14 bonus to damage inflicted with his weapon for one round.

Extended Reach Orcus' Avatar's serpentine tail is elongated, increasing his effective reach by 10 feet.

Fury (Ex) Orcus' Avatar may frenzy 5 times a day, and each of these frenzies lasts 22 rounds. Orcus' Avatar may also enter a Supernal Rage 14 times a day, during which he gains a +8 bonus on any Strength checks he makes to break inanimate, immobile objects. Orcus can demoralize a single foe within 30 feet of him as a free action, causing them to remain shaken for as long as he rages during a particular encounter. Such rages last for an hour.

The following changes are in effect as long as Orcus' Avatar is frenzied: AC 47; Atk 2 claws +51/+51 (4d6 + 22 all vile and 3 negative levels (Fort save DC 42 to remove)) and bite +46 (3d6 + 11 all vile) and 2 wings +46 (3d6 + 11 all vile) and head butt +46 (3d6 + 11 all vile) and sting +46 (3d6 + 11 (all vile) and Fort save DC 46 or 3d4 Constitution damage) or +57/+57/+52/+47/+44 +6 necrotic focus silver mace (2d6 + 25 and 3 negative levels (Fort save DC 49 to remove)) and 2 wings +46 (3d6 + 11 all vile) and sting +46 (3d6 + 11 (all vile) and Fort save DC 45 or 3d4 Constitution damage); CMB +61; Strength 55.

During a rage, his stats change accordingly: HP 1156; AC 47; 2 claws +50 (4d6 + 21 all vile and 3 negative levels (Fort save DC 42 to remove)) and bite +45 (3d6 + 10 all vile) and 2 wings +45 (3d6 + 10 all vile) and head butt +45 (3d6 + 10 all vile) and sting +45 (3d6 + 10 (all vile) and Fort save DC 46 or 3d4 Constitution damage) or +56/+51/+47/+41 +6 necrotic focus silver mace (2d6 and 3 negative levels (Fort save DC 42 to remove) + 24/19-20/x2) and 2 wings +45 (3d6 + 10 all vile) and sting +45 (3d6 + 10 (all vile) and Fort save DC 76 or 3d4 Constitution damage); CMB +60; SV Fort +43, Will +30; Strength 53, Constitution 57.

If Orcus' Avatar is both raging and frenzying, the following changes apply: HP 1156; AC 47; Atk 2 claws +55/+55 (4d6 + 26 all vile and 3 negative levels (Fort save DC 42 to remove)) and bite +50 (3d6 + 13 all vile) and 2 wings +50 (3d6 +13 all vile) and head butt +50 (3d6 + 13 all vile) and sting +50 (3d6 + 13 (all vile) and Fort save DC 46 or 3d4 Constitution damage) or +6 necrotic focus silver mace +61/+61/+56/+51/+46 (2d6 and 3 negative levels (Fort save DC 42 to remove) + 29/19-20/x2) and 2 wings +50 (3d6 + 15 all vile) and sting +50 (3d6 + 15 (all vile) and Fort save DC 46 or 3d4 Constitution damage); CMB +65; SV Fort +42, Will +30; Strength 63, Constitution 57.

Inimical (Ex) Orcus' Avatar's attacks are inimical to all living creatures. Accordingly, all of Orcus' natural attack damage is considered to be vile, and any being killed by Orcus may not be resurrected except upon holy or consecrated ground. Far worse, however, is the fact that such is the power of Orcus' attacks that there is a 50% chance that any living being that has been turned into an undead creature by him has their soul utterly destroyed in the process, and may not be resurrected by any mortal means.
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The Wand of Death:

Like Orcus himself, the Wand of Death is infamous throughout Creation. Otherwise appropriately known as the Wand of Orcus, the +8 necrotic focus, unholy power heavy mace takes the form of an Obsidian shaft randomly streaked with what appears to be blood. Crowning the rod is a single, deceptively fragile-looking skull whose eyesockets glow red whenever any of the Wand's dreadful powers are invoked or active. While the origin of the skull is a secret supposedly known only to The Goat, a persistent rumor claims it once belonged to Ra-Than, the paladin who slew Cantrum, the Dark Minister of Command. Others, however, whisper that the Wand’s skull came from none other than Orcus’ mortal form. Yet, whatever its origins, the terrible power of the rod is indisputable.

Unique among the greatest demon princes of The Abyss and one who possesses a number of powerful artifacts, Orcus occasionally lends his definitive and most powerful artifact to favored thralls in the Mortal Coil. While such events are rare, enormous evils have been wrought by those souls so cursed to wield the Wand of Death. In such a way, the infamy of the dread artifact has spread across nearly all of Creation. While many rumors fearfully describe the nightmarish capabilities of the Wand of Death, the artifact’s true powers are far worse. Such powers include:

Font of Oblivion: The power of Oblivion flows from the Wand of Death and so empowered, the Wand of Death grants its wielder the following abilities:

First, any being struck by the Wand of Death takes an additional 18d6 points of negative energy damage. A successful critical hit doubles this amount. The wielder of the weapon decides at the beginning of each attack whether to apply the additional negative energy damage the Wand would otherwise inflict.

Second, all of the spells and spell-like abilities used by the bearer of the Wand that deal negative energy damage are maximized.

Finally, the Wand of Death not only smites its victims with Oblivion’s taint, but it also strips away magical effects that ward against undeath’s foul touch. Each time a being is struck with the Wand of Death, the victim is targeted with a unique version of greater dispel magic (+72 CL) that exclusively affects spells and spell-like effects that provide protection against ability damage, ability drain, death effects, energy drain, and negative energy. This dispel effect is resolved at the beginning of each successful attack, before damage or the results of any other special attacks are determined.

Grasp of Death: To wield the Wand of Death is to wield the power to kill practically anything that the Wand touches. Accordingly, it grants any being that wields it the ability to add a death effect to each successful strike (DC 10 + 1/2 total character level + Charisma modifier (in Orcus' case, DC 77)), either as a touch attack or on top of a normal attack. No mortal magic is sufficient to reverse a death inflicted by the Wand of Death. Rather, reversing its power at a minimum requires Forbidden Magic based upon the Life seed and a successful caster level check (CL 62nd in Orcus' case) against the wielder. If the wielder of the Wand of Death possesses cosmic or divine rank instead, then they may channel their cosmic or divine rank through the rod itself, forcing any being that attempts to resurrect a victim to succeed upon a rank check against them. When Orcus in particular uses the Wand of Death to kill a being, he is always considered as residing within Thanatos for the purpose of succeeding upon rank checks against him regardless of his location otherwise. If outsiders are struck with the Wand of Death and are not instantly killed by its unspeakably foul touch, they must make a Fort save DC 76 or else acquire the undead traits Ravage which is always considered unsafe as far as they are concerned.

Life Hating: Any creature that would otherwise be healed by negative energy who holds the Wand of Death can be considered to possess regeneration 20 penetrable by spells utilizing positive energy due to the power of Orcus' hatred coursing through them constantly. Living creatures take an equivalent amount of damage each round that they hold the rod, in addition to taking the standard amount of negative levels affiliated with posseessing the signature possession of The Goat, unless the Wand was willingly given to them by Orcus.

Necromantic Arcana: As long as any creature, including Orcus, holds the Wand of Death they receive an additional +6 bonus to the saving throws and caster level of their spells and spell-like abilities from the [Necromancy] school, and a +36 bonus to their Spellcraft when casting epic spells from the same school. For any other creature except for Orcus to wield the Wand of Death, it carries a horrific curse along these lines, and they are forever prevented from accessing the power of Life until they are cured of its power. After touching or using the wand for any reason, they can no longer cast spells that heal or restore living creatures. Spells such as heal are instead reversed to the point where they must cast harm; cure wounds are transformed into inflict wounds of equivalent level. Spell slots are used up accordingly. If such a spell does not have an analogue which injures a living creature, then the spell is converted to an inflict wounds series spell of the same level.

The Wand of Death also massively augments the power of its wielder in creating undead. Any undead personally created by them possesses maximum hit points when they arise from the dead. Only undead which are created by him directly and not through a Dread Curse benefit from this aspect of the Wand of Death's power. Along similar lines, the Wand of Death also grants any being that uses it the ability to cast the spells summon undead IX, create foul undead, plague of undead, and necropolis 1/day, and can be considered to provide both the XP and material components required. Should Orcus wield the Wand instead, these spells can instead be used 6/day and in the case of spells that summon multiple undead whether Orcus or another being uses the Wand, three times as many undead arrive as normal.

Spell Reaper: If the wielder of the Wand of Death strikes a being with it that casts spells and successfully induces level loss with it, then they lose an equivalent number of spells to the number of levels lost at the time they are struck. These spells are taken from the highest level of spells that they can cast or have prepared for that day, and work their way downwards. These spells are castable by the wielder of the Wand of Death and remain known to them for up to an hour afterwards before being lost.

Far worse than this bizarre power believed to derive from Orcus' power to interweave magic with oblivion is that Orcus can actually extend it into his environs. Once a day, Orcus can choose a area up to 3600 square feet in size where he is physically present that has already stained with the Taint of Undeath and extend his own power over it as well, causing any levels lost by the properties of such a region to empower Orcus by granting him spells lost at the same time. Orcus need not drain these levels himself, and any undead creature subservient to Orcus that deals energy drain augments Orcus' own horrific arcana.

Suggested Means of Destruction: The Wand of Death must be destroyed by Apollyon within Abaddon, The Bottomless Pit.

The Wand of Death must be used to slay eight primal undead created by Orcus' Dread Curse.

Orcus must be tricked into performing an act of love or forgiveness by using the Wand of Death's power.

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COMBAT

In general, Orcus enjoys combat and those days in which the Lord of Spite will forego killing someone are exceptionally rare. Orcus loathes the living and preferentially attacks them first whenever he can sense them for the purposes of forcing them to join him in the suffering of undeath. This is sometimes done through using his epic spells such as the icy hands of death, or geysers of blood.

If Orcus desires to bring reinforcements, generally his first response will be to call the ram-headed armanites, of which he can call 6 at once each with 25 hit dice apiece. Otherwise, Orcus will call instead 2 40 HD balors and make up the rest in the bloated zovvut. Often, The Goat tends to call a significant number of undead almost immediately afterwards that will be bolstered and empowered both by him and the zovvut as well.

When dealing with his most difficult foes, Orcus activates his Demonic Chasm and tends to cast severed lifeline upon them to deprive them of any possibility of healing or regeneration against the onslaught he will unleash. In such circumstances when The Goat calls undead, he will call two lich lords and an atropal, again following this up by calling demons as described earlier. In situations where opponents may leave no corpses behind for him to desecrate through reanimation, Orcus will start casting bursts of destruction once they are below several hundred hit points.

Because Orcus acquires increasing power through the number of beings slaughtered, he typically teleports within range of foes upon the edge of death and lets his greater consumptive field kill them if that the onslaught of a full attack is insufficient, and then uses any corpses to augment any undead troops that he already possesses. If Orcus is fighting masses of living creatures (a situation which he prefers), he will use the Taint of Undeath or cast the icy hands of death at the earliest possible opportunity upon the entire region, ensuring that his own armies will grow more powerful proportionately at the expense of his enemies. Once the Taint of Undeath has taken effect, The Goat typically calls wraiths or other forms of level-draining undead and sets them against spellcasters in order to boost his own spellcasting prowess accordingly, or calls Bodaks to proliferate through their death-inducing gaze.

Another of Orcus' favorite tactics is to call a moderately significant number of otherwise weak undead, such as Zombies or skeletons, augment 14 of them simultaneously with Destruction Retribution, and then unleash a chain lightning on the weakest among them. This causes the rest of them as well as the original victim to die instantly and completely immolate a given target in a massive wave of negative energy.

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SUMMONING ORCUS

Though there is no single, systematic procedure for summoning Orcus, the essence of any ritual to accomplish such can be summarized easily: massive bloodshed. Acquiring the requisite blood to summon The Goat requires one to commit so many murders that several attempts by incautious summoners have been given away by the spree of deaths.

Otherwise, Orcus summoning rituals generally require a certain, fluid atmosphere that can be achieved in any measure of ways. Most summoners make their attempt in places of death, such as graveyards, mass graves, or even battlefields full of fresh corpses. No successful ritual has been attested in any other type of location, although when dealing with the forces of The Abyss, one can never be certain. Typically, the cultists ritually slaughter some of their brethren, victims specifically selected for their association with death, hatred, or both. Almost universally, blood and bones take a large part in calling The Goat. Whether they are used to paint or carve the summoning circle or to bathe the area in an environment similar to Thanatos' varies strongly. Stranger uses of the two have been noticed, such as beginning the ritual around a vast pool of blood, summoning Orcus inside it while incapacitating and drowning the sacrificial victims, or casting the evil weather spell, specifying the rain of blood variant, and performing the entire summons while the participants and victims are drenched with fresh blood. Still a third procedure for summoning Orcus involves imprisoning the victims in a tomb and then encircling it within the summoning circles. As the summons continues, the beings within are killed through varying means, with necromancy naturally preferred. Should the summons prove successful, the entire tomb will turn from stone or rock into bones which then crumble into dust, revealing Orcus within.

Cataclysms affiliated with failed Orcus-summons would be more notorious for their severity if more beings actually lived through them. Although a variety are recorded, one of the better known is the sanguine subduction: the stone and ground underneath the summoners turns into semi-sentient blood upon the ritual's failure, swallows everyone and everything erected upon the surface of the earth within a 14 mile radius of the summoning circles, and simply kills them through drowning. Beings are allowed a Ref save DC 68 to avoid tentacles and maws forming in the blood to grab them. However, most beings typically meet a grisly fate if they lack teleportation, flight, or magic sufficient to prevent grappling. Lakes of blood produced in this manner can easily cause massive physical and spiritual disruptions further downstream as well.

Another, more subtle cataclysm, and the only variant which for the most part has allowed summoners to survive long enough to record what they did, is known as wrath of the vengeful dead. All individuals involved in the summons force all undead creatures that come within a 1400 foot radius of them to make a Will save DC 68. If the undead fail the save, they will do their utmost to kill the attempted summoners for as long as they can sense them. In such circumstances, summoners quickly become pariahs due to the danger that they bring to everyone around them, further ensuring that Orcus' wrath causes their deaths.

If the summons is successful, the moon turns crimson red and stands still in the sky, a phenomenon which is generally known as a Blood Moon. Afterwards, most summons that take place in an outdoors area result in a mire of blood, muck, and bone coagulating and rising out of the ground, forming itself into a dais of bone upon which Orcus typically sits. If a summons take place indoors, then the walls and floor of the structure are transformed into rotting flesh and bones, which then proceeds to start leaking blood and bile that flows freely towards the center of the summoning circles. The Goat then emerges with blood dripping off of him, glaring at his summoners and bleating his own rage at them. The arrival of The Goat is always accompanied by the screams of the undead, functioning as a wail of the banshee (DC 33).

Orcus hates everyone and everything. His summoners are no exception. It takes virtually no effort to annoy Orcus to the point where he will break through the summoning circles and kill them, or, if undead, command them and then rampage across that particular Mortal Coil in order to work greater horrors. He also usually leaves behind a Dread Curse upon such a world whether his summoners have acquired undeath for themselves or not through the Master of Spite's power.

When dealing with The Goat, his resentments are well known to much of Creation. There have also been situations where Orcus has not immediately attacked summoners if they have provided information on his enemies, particularly Graz'zt, Demogorgon, or Kiaransalee. However, there is a delicate balance to such offerings. If Orcus should find the information to be too valuable, he will become suspicious that they are holding back on further information he can use. Afterwards, he will try and break through the summoning circles, capture his own summoners, and drag them back into Thanatos, or turn them into undead and command them into giving Orcus what he wants. If Orcus gets the impression that his summoners are lying to him (although he freely and often lies when summoned himself), he will also attempt to break through the summoning circles and slaughter them before destroying whatever he can find that reminded him of the now-deceased summoners.

The ravages done to a world in which Orcus has been succesfully summoned, as well as to the summoners themselves, are vast. Assuming that Orcus’ summoners were not undead in advance, regardless of whether or not they have reached an accord with Orcus, there is a 50% chance that upon their death they will arise from the dead as a Elder vampire, and a 50% chance that they will arise from the dead as a Shade ghost. In either case they will be condemned to be Chaotic Evil in their undeath unless they seek Atonement before dying. This involves a rank check against The Goat after successfully casting the spell. An Atonement such as this is so rare that there are no records of any mortal successfully attempting it.

Orcus always leaves a spiritual wound, knowing full well the devastating harm it will do to those who survive his summoning. In The Goat’s case, one of the more common spiritual wounds renders the Blood Moon overhead permanent. This functions as the spell eclipse, resulting in permanent darkness with the following additional effects:

First, not only are undead that are sensitive to daylight free to move about, but they are empowered by the baleful red light overhead from the moon that never sets. undead created within the spiritual wound always possess maximum hit points, and undead that reside within it longer than a day gain fast healing 20, which they keep unless they leave the wounded area for at least a day. Living creatures are subjected to the chill of the grave, taking 2d8 points of cold damage per round, half of which is due to negative energy and hence ignores normal energy resistance or immunity.

Finally, any living creature that dies within the area corrupted by Orcus rises from the dead in accordance with the following table:

Hit Dice undead created
1-9 HD skeleton
10-18 HD Bodak
19-27 HD Bone Creature
28-36 HD Corpse Creature
36+ HD Young vampire

A second spiritual wound left behind Orcus consists of a skull rain, which has a 50% chance of striking the entire area of the spiritual wound upon any given day (this probability is noncumulative). When a skull rain takes place, the sky over the area tainted by Orcus' spiritual wound becomes obscured with roiling, blood red clouds. Shortly afterwards, goat-skulls wreathed in black flame fall from the sky, dealing 4d6 points of bludgeoning damage and 4d6 points of negative energy damage per round to any object or living creature caught within the storm (Fort save DC 68 for half), with the bludgeoning damage ignoring 10 points of damage reduction/hardness upon each successful strike. Living creatures killed arise as Zombies within 1d6 hours of death unless the bodies are destroyed, and cannot be brought back to life until the spiritual wound itself has been cleansed. Skull rains last for 4d8 minutes before the unnatural clouds dissipate, but without very specific efforts to eliminate the spiritual wound, regions afflicted by them quickly turn into vast wastelands filled with ruins and buried under feet of shattered bones.

Finally, one of the most unusual spiritual wounds left behind by Orcus is known as The Silent Land. In the entire area affected by Orcus' foul presence, sound is unnaturally muted, granting all beings a +6 bonus on Stealth checks. Spells using sonic or verbal effects have 50% range or area. No life aside from plants appears to be present at all, and more often than not, even what plant life may exist is dying from the unnatural weather. However, it is at night when the effects of Orcus' baleful presence truly show themselves, as from the ground and walls, the dead corpses of all beings within the entire region emerge and attack the living as the undead. Even worse, any creatures that enter the region must make a Will save DC 68 or else become completely unable to leave it or communicate with the rest of the world by any means until the entire spiritual wound is dispelled. Although the rarest of Orcus' spiritual wounds, The Silent Land is easily among the deadliest because of the fact that without any form of departure or external communication, little can be done to warn others of its dangers.

Orcus Cults

Orcus' Cults and Cultists

The Scapegoat by William Holman Hunt (1854).

The Scapegoat by William Holman Hunt (1854).

Orcus has more worshippers than any other demon prince save for Arachnadia. Simultaneously, Orcus cults are well known for their constant bloodshed both aimed internally and externally. They tend to either succeed spectacularly from their own perspective (and tragically for the worlds and lands that they are located within), or fall upon each other-even aside from the constant risk of external attack. Furthermore, with extremely rare exceptions such as the resurrection of Orcus from Tenebrous, Orcus-cults almost never collaborate with each other to any great or significant degree. This has led to instances where multiple cults seeking the same end have conflicted with each other to the point where none of the cults involved were successful. Despite these significant failings Orcus' portfolio is sufficiently strong and well known to support a constant stream of fools willing to give away both their lives and their souls in the pursuit of hatred and undeath. If anything, this is a stream that continues to grow stronger.

A number of scholars from Oerth recently presented their findings, after studying one of The Goat's local cults, and asserted that cultists' advancement from Skull to Skull Lord, and eventually to Skull King is universal to all of Orcus' devotees. This is, of course, utter nonsense. Like most other demon princes cults, the Lord of Spite's worship is widespread and strongly diversified.

Instead, Orcus cults fall into three or four major and very blurry categories. The first two focus either on the hatred or necromantic aspects of Orcus-worship. These are the two best known divisions because they lend themselves most readily to mortal examination, and are the most likely to have any kind of structure or doctrine likely to be recorded when or if they are destroyed by their numerous enemies. Hatred cults tend to arise in situations of social or spiritual upheaval. They take advantage of the anger that such conflicts can generate and twist it towards the end of serving Orcus or deliberately worsen such conflicts. Necromantic cults in comparison are oriented typically around a single being or small group of beings' quest for personal power at the expense of everyone and everything around them, aspiring towards or seeking to emulate undeath, and loathing all things living accordingly. Both types of cults may end up falling in upon themselves without a purpose to aim towards, but an additional difference is that necromantic cultists may arise as undead afterwards. It is rumored that occasionally, Orcus cults take advantage of otherwise legitimate grievances and twist them in ways that strengthen Orcus' own hold upon a world, such as forcing those who wish to win a battle to rely upon the raising of undead, or using foul necromancy as a tactic in warfare.

Rituals among hatred and necromantic cults range from the grisly to the nigh-indescribable in their viciousness, although necromantic cults at least have a minimal obligation to keep larger portions of corpses intact for undead creation. Without such an obligation, hatred cults typically defile and torment despised mortals for hours if not days on end. They also typically abuse the corpses of victims long after death in addition to scavenging them for spell components or trophies from whatever scraps may be somewhat salvageable. Often, victims finally die through exsanguination with the blood kept for magical purposes, or the near-lifeless body is fed to undead kept by the cult specifically for sacrificial purposes. Similarly, initiation into both types of cults is always accompanied by bloodshed.

The third large grouping of Orcus cultists is composed of those worshippers of The Goat that are undead themselves. Initiation into the most basic of these cults is quite simple: potential members are ritually butchered and then arise as the type of undead predominant within the cult or honored by its leaders. There are innumerable variants upon this as a theme, and it often interrelates to the hatred aspect of Orcus worship. Some of the better known atrocities are Orcus-cultists turning entire families into undead, or causing one member of a family to turn into an undead creature and then feeding their remaining family members to them, letting the hunger for life itself shatter any bounds of morality or filial ties. Cannibalism and necrophagy are not unknown in these cults, although they are not representations of a feral nature as with Yeenoghu-worship as much as they are disruptions of the natural order through which the dead using the living to sustain themselves as a revolt against the principles of life in the former case. The most successful outcome of a cult of this nature is the complete overwhelming of a city or town. The living are crushed by a tide of blood and undeath.

Some of the most dangerous undead Orcus-cults are those either established or ruled by long-lived sentient undead such as death knights, liches, and vampires. One advantage that these cults have had, particularly when ruled by undead capable of creating more of their own kind without the use of spell or ritual, is that the process of spawning potentially ensures a small number of relatively powerful and comparatively trustworthy servitors. This often eliminates some of the probability of internecine conflict that often causes Orcus-cults to collapse into internal warfare although this is never guaranteed. A second advantage possessed by these cults is that given massively prolonged unlives, those in charge of them often accumulate both the resources and cunning necessary to significantly damage the worlds that they infest. In such cases, disasters such as the awakening of other powerful undead such as risen or ghosts, the creation of a necropolis or land of the restless dead through successful conquest, or worst of all, the arrival of Orcus himself upon a world, are not entirely unknown to occur.

undead cults proliferate in areas where the disappearances of large numbers of mortals or corpses will not be rapidly noticed. They tend to avoid smaller towns and hamlets unless they think (either correctly or incorrectly) that they can eventually either Intimidate or kill enough of the populace to entirely control them. It is in the wilds, particularly in places of long-lost tombs or catacombs, or cities where though the law and goodness may be present, their reach may not be sufficient to prevent servants of the Master of Spite from acting, that they find their best chances of success. Well established undeath cults may also pride themselves on doing their best to replicate environs that are extremely hostile to the living. Depending on the type of undead involved, they will often attempt to deliberately create spiritual wounds through demon summoning, or undertake large-scale environmental changes through magic in order to despoil Creation for the living, and encourage blessed undeath to take them.

Despite their long history of association with Orcus, undeath cults are also among the least trusted by The Goat personally. Though The Goat is the ultimate incarnation of undeath in Creation, he cares for the undead instead of loathing them to the same extent as he cares for anything else-which is to say not at all. Even before Orcus' degradation, most liches that served Orcus and were even remotely successful upon The Mortal Coil were 'invited' to the lich-necropolis Golmin Thur in Thanatos. While this provided them with a dwelling largely safe from the assaults of those they wronged upon their home worlds, it also ensured that Orcus could keep them somewhat under his control. Although Orcus, notably, does not try and control all of undeath since his return to Thanatos, his dominance over Golmin Thur has not diminished appreciably. Furthermore, although Orcus occasionally offered the Wand of Death to sufficiently powerful undead cultists such as Zhengyi and Harthoon long before him, this is a practice that Orcus stopped as soon as Orcus got the Wand back in his possession. This may be an expression of Orcus' changing attitudes towards undead cultists.

The final, and most dangerous division of Orcus-cultists consists of those suicidal beings that, unfortunately, also have long term goals. Hating not only the living but their entire worlds, these deranged mortals often desire to cause their world or significant portions of it to become completely overwhelmed by Oblivion, or fall into The Abyss and Thanatos in particular. Lacking even a concern for self-preservation, these groups are often the most unpredictable and dangerous out of all those who pay heed to The Goat's words of hatred, and the most willing to use whatever bizarre or unpredictable means may be at their disposal. If discovered, most other Orcus-cultists, particularly those inclined towards necromancy, tend to despise these individuals since they care nothing about personal power-save to the extent to which such can be used to kill everything and everyone around them. As a result, cultists among this group often lurk within either hatred or necromantic cults, convincing other members into thinking that they have some other goal than an undead world. This tactic proves particularly successful with hatred-cultists, as they are often so blinded by their emotions (as well as desperate) that they are willing to overlook any hints as to what others within the cult are really attempting. Paradoxically, this is currently the single grouping most likely to receive any actual support from Thanatos or Orcus himself beyond granting spells, answering divinations, or sending demons to induce new cultists.

Although most Orcus-cultists are as despised by other demon worshippers as they are by those who serve any notion of goodness or law, suicidal cultists are the single grouping most likely to run afoul of worshippers or servants of other archfiends. Notable are the Entropists of Apollyon for whom even undeath is still too much of a shred of actual existence, or those mortals who actually desire the Horsemen to reach their world and also destroy everything.

Among the specific demands The Goat makes of his worshippers is a constant torrent of blood from living creatures slaughtered in his unholy name. Preferably, such victims will also die in ways that they are more likely to be raised or inadvertently arise as evil undead creatures, who in turn will further undeath over life, or are slain in locales stained so heavily with undeath's presence that victims arise without special effort. In comparison, Orcus' clerics are expected to be far more active. Each month a cleric of Orcus intends to remain in good standing with him (or rather, intends that their existence continues to be tolerated), they must butcher and re-animate as undead a number of living creatures equal to their own total character level at a bare minimum. clerics typically use magic to determine the victims necessary to avoid arousing Orcus' wrath. Given their hateful natures, they usually sacrifice far more than the minimum when the opportunities for slaughter exist. Depending on whether a cleric is more oriented around either the undeath or hatred aspects of The Goat's portfolio, victims are selected randomly, come from a pool of beings that the worshipper hates and kills as an expression of their personal spite, or they are selected deliberately in order to create specific forms of undead that they consider to be particularly valued to themselves and/or The Goat. Various sects of Orcus-worshippers often conflict with each other over which methods of killing mortals and creating undead he prefers. In the end, Orcus typically remains fairly silent over such trivial issues and is only mildly amused by the worst that the mortal imagination can devise, his own mindset being far more vicious.

Those mortal Orcus cultists that are among his most potent qualify for the Demoniac feat and the Talon of Spite prestige class through a ritual that combines both elements of Orcus' undeath and necromantic cults. After slaying mortals and draining their blood, the preserved vital fluids are then mixed with ground onyx and silver to create magic circles. One of the corpses is then animated as an undead creature contained, but not restrained within the circles. A demon is then called from Thanatos to possess the corpse. Only at this point is the cultist instructed (often only after sufficient abuse of the demon) as to how to sink even deeper in the depths of Orcus' unholy religion.

Interestingly, the type of demon that typically responds has not been constant throughout Orcus' history. During the period of Orcus' greatest rise to power he preferred zovvut although they were never used exclusively. Tenebrous instead used visages. This was nearly unique within the history of The Abyss for a demon prince to be able to channel their own cosmic energies through a creature not strictly of belief. Strangest of all, upon Orcus' return, ekimmu have become increasingly common conduits for acquiring the Demoniac feat, although zovvut are still used by him. What this means in terms of Orcus' own faith and future remains unknown.

The Goat is notorious even among demon princes for the poor treatment meted out to his cultists when they die. Generally, they can be expected to end up as manes and forced into Orcus' demonic hordes in order to fight against Graz'zt and Demogorgon. The most successful among the wretches that manage to survive the endless battles generally transform into glabrezu with sufficient time and luck. The glabrezu in particular are then used by Orcus to tempt mortals into using necromancy in order to inflict their hatreds upon those around them. In comparison, Orcus-cultists that transform themselves into undead of their own volition, although they still find themselves fighting against rivals of their own as much as The Goat's rivals, seem to possess slightly better odds of long-term Survival within Thanatos, although this is in no way guaranteed.

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