Orcus Demon Prince of the Undead is one of the most powerful demons in the Abyss - powerful enough to threaten gods. He commands legions of followers, living and dead, and cults dedicated to him are terrifyingly widespread in the natural world.
Dead creatures respond to the presence of Orcus, even without his command. Skeletal arms claw up from the ground where he walks and grab at the feet of his foes. Spirits fill the air with a ghostly chorus of piteus moans.
Orcus is a foul and corpulent humanoid creature who has powerful goat legs and a desiccated head similar to that of a ram. His great black wings stir up a reeking cloud of diseased air. HIs thick spiny tail is in constant motion. He seems somewhere between life and undeath - his sore-ridden body suggests diseased life, but his head and glowing blood colored eyes suggest undeath.
Orcus carries a heavy war-pick tipped with an enormous emerald skull. Known as the Wand of Orcus, this weapon transforms those it slays into undead nightmares. Its haft is smooth obsidian studded with blood rubies.
Origins and ExploitsEdit
Orcus was one of many ancient primordials to be changed and shaped by the Chained God's crusade against existence. Though Orcus was killed by a forgotten entity long ago, not even the cold embrace of death could keep Orcus from ascending into his seat of power; his anger alone created a new soul to sustain him. Orcus was thus crowned the first undead and The Demon Lord of Undeath.
Orcus desires destruction like all demons, but he has his sights set higher, aiming at the gods themselves. In particular, Orcus hungers for the death of the Raven Queen and to usurp her control over death and the souls of the dead.
The Blood Lord finds amusement in the sufffering and anguish of the living and satisfaction only when he drinks their blood. Most living things enrage him by their mere presence, and Orcus permits only undead to be near him; even his demon servitors are undead. He has destroyed hundreds of mighty heroes and laid waste to countless kingdoms.
Orcus rules one of the many layers of the Abyss. Nothing lives for long in his kingdom of Thanatos.
- To raise undead and spread undeath is to do the holy work of the Blood Lord.
- Contaminate and putrify; disease is a subtle yet powerful weapon.
- Hinder and destroy the works of the Raven Queen and her followers.
Exarchs Allies and FollowersEdit
The mightiest of Orcus's servants are his exarchs. Undead demons imbued with shards of his semidivine power.
Dorsain, King of GhoulsEditDorsain appears as a ghoul, though he stands upright rather than adopting the hunched posture of his subjects. His eyes blaze with a sickly green light. He wears an elegant coat of supple human flesh and a suit of pale leather armor studded with skulls. A crown of bones rests on his bald head, and he weilds a staff called Toothlust, formed of the rigid spinal column of some past victim. The staff is topped by a skull, in homage to his lord, Orcus.
The Ghoul King serves Orcus from his seat of power in the White Kingdom as an exarch of cannibalism and murder. Dorsain's strength flows from his insatiable hunger. He is never seen without his bone staff and his undead cloak made of stitched flesh and biting mouths.
Orcus' exarch of plague and contamination. 1
Arantham, the self proclaimed Exarch of Orcus and leader of the Ashen covenent movement, is absolutely ruthless when attempting to achieve his goals. He lacks anything remotely approaching a sense of empathy; the suffering of others is meaningless to him—it is neither good nor bad, but necessary. There is no act he will not undertake, no evil he will not commit, if doing so brings him one step nearer to his goals, or advances the cause of Orcus and the Ashen Covenant. 1
Holchwier (Deceased)EditA former exarch of Orcus. An undead glabrezu who was killed by Elder Arantham. 1
Orcus is worshiped by undead and those living creatures who do not fear undeath. Cults dedicated to The Blood Lord operate in secret except amongt undead legions and the most corrupt of barbarian hordes. Orcus's cults gather in hidden spots associated with death: graveyards. mausoleums, tombs. and ancient necropoli.
The cults of Orcus have no symbol in common; each cult invents its own iconography to remind them of Orcus's awful power. These symbols often incorperate skulls and bones, ram's horns, or blasphemous runes. Black and blood red are favored colors among his devotees.
Orcus enjoys the suffering of the living, and disease is an excellent way to spread suffering. His followers foul wells with corpses, block sewers and commit all manner of criminal acts to ensure that disease is an ever-present threat.
Orcus's followers do not see undead as holy, but rather as a peons to accomplish Orcus's ambition to extinguish life. They therefore create as many terrible undead as they can. Powerful cultists might treat a vampire or mummy as an equal and a participant in the cult, whereas a zombie or a skeleton is nothing more than an expendable servant. Ultimately every worshiper hopes to throw the shakles of mortality and become a powerful, intelligent undead creature such as a lich, a death knight, a mummy, or a vampire, and thereby gain control over lesser undead. In practice, very few accomplish this goal, but Orcus's worshipers consider undeath a great service to Orcus and a means to escaping punishment in the afterlife, so they welcome even transformation into a zombie or a skeleton.
Though most cults flying the red and black banners of Orcus are barbaric and simple at their best, this is not true of all the Blood Lord's cults. There are a small handful of these cults with goals far more nefarious than simply raising the dead; the most notorious of these factions is the movement started by Elder Arantham called The Ashen Covenant. 1
Rivals and EnemiesEdit
- Dragon 364 (Wizards of The Coast - 2008) - The Ashen Covenant By Ari Marmell