Date Added:
Tom Rinschler
RTF Document of F.R. Orc Gods
December 31, 2001
A very elaborate and well detailed presentation of the Orc Gods in the Forgotten Realms fantasy world. The author has presented much information contained in the various sourcebooks and has further developed upon on it. Specific gaming information is provided for play with the 2nd Edition rules.




(One-Eye, The Unblinking Eye, He-Who-Never-Sleeps)

Greater Power of Acheron, LE

Portfolio: The orc race, territorial expansion, conquest, rulership, male fertility
Aliases: None
Domain Name: Avalas/Nishrek
Superior: None
Allies: Bahgtru, Ilneval, Luthic, Shagraas, Yurtrus
Foes: All non-orcish deities, but especially the Seldarine, the Morndinsamman, the goblin pantheon, the hobgoblin pantheon, the Mulhorandi pantheon, Hoar, Meriadar
Symbol: A single unwinking eye
Wor. Align.: LE, NE, CE

     Gruumsh (GRUHMSH) is the undisputed head of the orcish pantheon. He long ago defeated and destroyed any rivals to his position, and now reigns supreme over the remaining orcish gods (although Ilneval plots against his superior, none of his plans have ever came anywhere near fruition). As the supreme power in his pantheon, Gruumsh epitomizes the orcs as a race. He also is the patron of orcish territorial expansion, the taking back the lands which the human and demihuman powers so unfairly (according to his viewpoint) denied his people at the dawn of time. Because of this, Gruumsh relentlessly pushes his people, commanding them to hone their battle skills so that they may slay many human and demihuman enemies and conquer the lands that rightfully are theirs. In this endeavor his is served by his priests and the tribal chieftains, commanding them through signs and omens to unceasingly and unhesitatingly fight their enemies, and thus both making the orcish race stronger and increasing the area under their (and his) rule.

        Gruumsh is bluntly a brutal and harsh deity. He demands absolute obedience, and rules both his pantheon and his race with an iron fist. He revels in battle, and therefore it is not surprising to discover that he and his followers have been waging war against the gods of the goblin and hobgoblin pantheon on the Outer Plane of Acheron from time immemorial. But warfare also serves another purpose besides facilitating orcish expansion and the destruction of enemies; it also culls the weak from the gene pool and ensures that the race will continue to get stronger. The weak, unfit, or lazy are an anathema to He-Who-Never-Sleeps, and his followers will have nothing to do with them other than periodically attempting to weed them out through selective euthanasia. This attitude towards the weak also explains the ingrained sexism of the orcs; a common orcish saying can be roughly translated: "If Gruumsh intended women to be the equal of men, he would have given them bigger muscles." (No orc, even the females, ever seems to dare contemplate that females might have become the equals of males had Gruumsh not deliberately stopped any martial development, or that an intelligent female may be ultimately more powerful than a strong male). As a result of Gruumsh's attitude, orcish society is sharply divided by gender; males are the warriors while the main function of the female is to bear and raise the many young.

        As stated above, Gruumsh's ascendence over the other powers of the orcish pantheon is unquestioned (except by Ilneval, also as noted above). His consort is Luthic, and their son is Bahgtru. His lieutenants in battle are his son and Ilneval, and these two continually spar in never-ending games of one-upmanship, each attempting to be seen in the best possible light, to the detriment of the other. The crafty Ilneval usually emerges as the victor of these skirmishes, but since Gruumsh does not trust his Clever Arm, and also due to familial relationships (the doting Luthic is continually reminding Gruumsh that Bahgtru is after all his son, despite his faults), Bahgtru usually does not end up with any loss of status (not that he would be clever enough to realize it if did happen). His relationships with Shagraas and Yurtrus are more distant, and though they could hardly be described as cordial, there is little conflict between Gruumsh and these two members of his pantheon. On their side, they are too cowed by the power of Gruumsh and his lieutenant powers to harbor any serious thoughts of rebellion.

        Outside the orcish pantheon, Gruumsh is universally hated, and this feeling is reciprocated. The never-ending war with the powers of the goblins and hobgoblins has already been mentioned, but Gruumsh and his pantheon focus their true hatred on the powers of the humans and demihumans. Among these pantheons, the greatest hostility is reserved for that of the elves, and of those in that pantheon, the greatest spite is reserved for Corellon Larethian. For untold millennia, Gruumsh and Corellon battled, with neither gaining the upper hand. Finally, due to the machinations of Araushnee (later Lolth), Gruumsh was able to ambush the Coronal of Arvandor and came close to defeating him. Corellon was able to counter, however, and struck a mighty blow across Gruumsh's face, destroying the orcish god's left eye. Gruumsh's hatred of Corellon not unnaturally increased after this point, and since then there has been no truce between the two pantheons or their respective races. Of course, there is no love lost between Gruumsh and the other human and demihuman pantheons, most notably that of the dwarves. The gods of the duergar, Laduguer and Deep Duerra, are especially singled out for this hatred simply due to proximity; they too make their homes on Acheron, even if these are on a completely different layer than Gruumsh's. Among human deities, the members of the Mulhorandi pantheon, especially Horus-Re, hold the greatest hatred of Gruumsh (and to a much lesser extent the other members of his pantheon), never forgetting that One-Eye defeated and killed Re, the former head of the pantheon, in -1071 DR during the Orcgate Wars. Although the Mulhorandi pantheon later defeated Gruumsh and his armies, they have never forgotten this humiliation. The Untheric pantheon would have held similar views due to the massive losses among their pantheon during the same war, but those few who would care (Enlil, Ishtar, Ramman) are all deceased or have left the Realms. Tiamat is (and Gilgeam was) secretly thankful to the orc pantheon for easing the path to power; only Hoar/Assuran remains to brood over the defeat, but as he a god of poetic justice, perhaps Gruumsh and his pantheon should be a bit more worried about his desire for vengeance than they currently seem to be.

Gruumsh's Avatar (Fighter 37, Cleric 30, Bard 18)

        Gruumsh's avatar appears as a huge orc in black full plate. His skin is a sickly gray-black and covered almost completely in battle scars. He possesses only one eye, although its placement varies; either one singular, central eye (like a cyclops), or an eye on the right with an eyepatch over the left socket (in this form, a long, angry red scar can be seen on either side of the eyepatch. Note that Gruumsh NEVER appears in this form if he knows an elf or one of the Seldarine is present as it displays his humiliation at Corellon's sword). Gruumsh can use spells from all spheres and schools, but tends to use the reversed forms of spells if possible. He tends to avoid using spells of the abjuration school as they aren't worthy of a true warrior.

AC -7; MV 12; HP 239; THAC0 -10; # ATT 7/2
Dmg 2d8+18 (spear +4, +12 STR, +2 specialization) or 3d6 (torch)
MR 70%; SZ L (10 feet tall)
STR 24, DEX 22, CON 23, INT 20, WIS 19, CHA 23
Spells P: 12/11/11/10/9/9/8, W: 4/4/4/3/3/2
Saves PPDM: 2, RSW: 5, PP: 4, RW: 4, Sp: 6

        Special Att./Def.: In battle, Gruumsh wields his spear, Elfslayer, in his right hand and an ever-burning torch in his left. Elfslayer is a huge spear +4, +6 vs. elves; moreover, any successful blow paralyzes its target for 2d4 turns (save vs. paralysis at -4 to negate). His torch cannot be extinguished and he make one attack with it per round above and beyond his other attacks. If he chooses to forgo this attack, he can use the torch to produce a cloudkill or death fog (each 3 times per day). Gruumsh also possesses a horn of blasting and vial filled with 2d4 applications of dust of sneezing and choking.

        Gruumsh's avatar can not be pacified by any means (emotion, suggestion, etc.), and possesses 85% magic resistance against spells cast by elves. Meeting the baleful gaze of Gruumsh's remaining eye is a dangerous prospect; anyone making direct eye contact must save vs. paralyzation at -4 or suffer the equivalent of a fear spell, if the target is an elf, a further saving throw vs. paralyzation must be made or go insane. Gruumsh can only be hit by +3 or better weapons.

        Gruumsh very rarely sends his avatar to Toril, usually being too busy directing his war on Acheron to have the time. He more often sends omens to those who call upon him; if the situation is serious, he dispatches an avatar of Bahgtru or Ilneval (which ever one seems most appropriate; almost never both as it would merely be an invitation to a nasty brawl) to deal with the problem. If things have spiraled out of control beyond what his underlings can handle, or in the case of impending massive defeat of orcish forces (especially if by dwarves or elves), or if an avatar of one of the Seldarine manifests to aid an elvish attack, Gruumsh may decide to go himself in avatar form. (He may also manifest if one of the Morndinsamman appears, but this is less certain of arousing the Unblinking Eye's wrath than the appearance of an elvish deity).

Other Manifestations:

        As he is reluctant to dispatch an avatar of his own to Toril, Gruumsh usually manifests in various omens and signs. The appearance of a black toxic cloud (treat as a stinking cloud) means he is particularly pleased, as does the sound of a young acolyte's neck vertebra snapping. He also show his pleasure by causing the right eye of a follower to glow red and/or turning the left eye to turn black (the reverse of this is a sign of great displeasure). In rare cases, the glowing right eye functions as the eye of Gruumsh himself, causing fear in all those not making a save vs. paralyzation. Gruumsh also sometimes manifests for those who are in the midst of combat against elves by a temporary increase in levels (usually around three or so) with all the resultant THAC0, saving throw, and hit point benefits - all damage is taken from the extra hit points first.

        Gruumsh is served by baatezu, imps, maelephants, rust dragons, rust monsters, and yugoloths. He shows his pleasure by the discovery of eye-sized and shaped bloodstones, carnelians, eye agates, fire opals, garnets, lynx eyes, red tears, and rubies. Sudden blindness in both eyes or a blackened right eye (see above) are signs of his displeasure.

The Church

Clergy: Clerics, crusaders, specialty priests, shamans
Clergy's Align.: LE
Turn Undead: Cl.: No, Cru: No, SP: No, Sh.: No
Cmnd Undead: Cl.: Yes, Cru: No, Sp.: Yes, Sh.: No

        All crusaders, specialty priests, and shamans of Gruumsh receive religion (orc) as a bonus non-weapon proficiency.

        The followers of Gruumsh often hold positions of power in orcish society, and they often stand behind a chieftain as chief advisor, if, indeed, they are not the rulers themselves. From these positions, they command the vast hordelike armies of the orcs and plot the conquest and plundering of nearby lands. They work often work with (read "bully") the clergy of Bahgtru and Ilneval in such military matters. Of course, the clergy of He-Who-Never-Sleeps also make it the job to ensure the followers of both Arms of Gruumsh are continually occupied in internecine squabbles with each other so that neither group can grow as strong as Gruumsh's followers, and so that both groups don't join together to usurp their authority (although the likelihood of this is very slim indeed). The followers of Gruumsh work well with the clergy of Luthic, but maintain cool, distant, and businesslike relationships with those of Shagraas and Yurtrus.

        Temples dedicated to Gruumsh are usually ramshackle affairs when compared to the worship halls of the more civilized races, but are much better than the dank and dismal temples of the lesser orc and other humanoid deities (which are usually caves at best). Many are huts of the typical orc pattern, with the only real difference being one of scale. The altar is usually nothing more than a large flat-topped stone, with crudely carved idols depicting Gruumsh (or in some cases just his eye) on either side. Large rust-colored stains tend to cover both altar and idols.

        Although there is no standard nomenclature for the clergy, many similar titles tend to be used by local hierarchies. Many novices tend to be called the Eyeless or the Blind. Other titles include the Unblinking Eye and the Unsleeping Eye, although exactly what position in the hierarchy these are varies from location to location. The highest ranking priest in an area is more often than not called the Right Eye of Gruumsh. Calling any of his clergy the Left Eye of Gruumsh is a deadly insult and would most likely result in the speaker being hunted down and horribly killed.

        The clergy of Gruumsh is divided into shamans (50%) specialty priests (30%), clerics (10%), and crusaders (10%). Specialty priests of Gruumsh are known as lazguoi, an orcish term meaning "the all-seeing ones" Although most (80%) of the clergy are orcs, there are also half-orcs (15%), and orogs (5%) and, by orcish tradition, all are exclusively male Relations between the various groups are reasonably good, as the shamans and the specialty priests rarely encounter each other (shamans tend to live in smaller villages while the lazguoi sever larger population centers), and because Gruumsh has ingrained in his followers a respect for authority (as long as said authority remains strong enough to be worthy of respect).

        Dogma: Orcs are the superior race, and one day all other races shall know this when the orcs conquer all. Expand the lands under Gruumsh's control, as all lands are rightfully the property of the orcs, who were unfairly deprived of them by the cowardly human and demihuman gods at the dawn of time. Destroy all elves and dwarves in repayment for all they have done to Gruumsh and the orc race. The strong must survive and the weak despised if the orc race is to grow strong. Obey the teachings of Gruumsh, and the orcs shall prosper and rule all!

        Day-to-Day Activities: As stated above, the followers of Gruumsh are often deeply involved with the day-to-day running of their settlements. If a village isn't directly ruled by the clergy of the Unblinking Eye, in all likelihood one is pulling the strings of a figurehead. They often control every aspect of a village's life, determining which patrols go where, who gets what share of the acquired booty (Gruumsh and his followers always get the largest share of course), and dispensing rough justice by meting out punishment (often execution or mutilation). In times of war (in other words, most of the time), the most powerful followers of Gruumsh choose who will lead the armies (often lower-level worshipers of Gruumsh or followers of Ilneval) if they decide not to lead themselves.

        Holy Days/Important Ceremonies: Midwinter night, the longest, darkest night of the year, is the holiest time for the follower of the One Eye. The all-enveloping darkness symbolizes Gruumsh's coming triumph over the accursed light-loving races and their weakling gods. Total eclipses of Selune are also considered sacred to Gruumsh's clergy, as the blood-red color of Toril's satellite during these time resembles a huge red eye in the heavens.

        The most important ceremony for the followers of Gruumsh is the Plucking. When an acolyte is accepted into the clergy, he shows his unswerving loyalty to his faith and his god by gouging out his own left eye. If the acolyte does not faint during or after the bloody operation, he is heartily received into the faith. Those unable to stay conscious, while still accepted as a member of Gruumsh's faithful, are looked down upon for their weakness and often tend to be twice as fervent in their subsequent careers to make up for such an embarrassing beginning.

        Gruumsh is placated by frequent blood sacrifices. He pleased if the sacrifice is of a sentient being, and looks with great favor upon those who sacrifice elves to him.

        Major Centers of Worship: In the middle of Thesk, upon the highest hill for miles around (high for flat Thesk that is; elsewhere it would be hardly considered a hill at all), a group of orcs have built the House of the One Eye, a large temple dedicated to He-Who-Never-Sleeps, in the ruins of a manor house burnt by the Tuigan horde. These orcs were among those sent by Zhentil Keep during King Azoun's crusade against the Tuigan, and they have grown immensely wealthy raiding caravans traveling along the Golden Way. Right Eye of Gruumsh Dohglek leads a large community of fanatic orcs who have gained control of a rather large area of central Thesk, having become all but independent after the fall of Zhentil Keep.

        In a long-forgotten valley between Raven's Bluff and Sevenecho lay the holiest site of ancient Vastar. Here the kings of the fallen orcish realm would come to consult with the priests of the One Eye, and on rare and important occasions with the avatar of He-Who-Never-Sleeps himself. Any orc who sleeps among the ruins in this isolated valley will experience vivid dreams sent by Gruumsh himself. Those non-orcs who enter the valley will experience a vague sense of unease, and have blood-curdling nightmares if they attempt to sleep there.

        Affiliated Orders: The Tusks of the Unblinking Eye, a group of orc warriors, crusaders, and priests of Gruumsh, have recently become the terrors of the Goblin Marches. This large band has taken to heart the expansionist dogma of the followers of Gruumsh and have come to dominate a number of humanoid villages and towns. Flushed with success, they continue to raid and attack other goblinoid cities, believing that they will soon bring the entire area under their control. They either don't know or ignore the fact that many such bands have followed the same path over the years and each and every case it led to over-extension and ultimate collapse. But for now they are riding high, and wouldn't care even if they do know.

        Priestly Vestments: Priests of Gruumsh have little in the way of formal vestments. The few clergy that have contact with civilized races imitate the clothing of their rival faiths, often wearing tabard-like garments decorated with a huge eye motif. Other than these few, priests of Gruumsh wear whatever garments or armor that are at hand during important ceremonies.

        Adventuring Garb: Clergy of the One Eye tend to wear the best armor and use the best-crafted weapons they can lay their hands on. Since as they are more often than not the leaders in their settlements and are able to claim the best of any arriving booty, their equipment may of be of surprisingly quite high quality (at least at first).

Specialty Priests (Lazguoi)

Requirements: Strength 15, Wisdom 9
Prime Req.: Strength, Wisdom
Alignment: LE
Weapons: Any
Armor: Any
Major Spheres: All, combat, divination, healing, law, summoning, travellers, war
Minor Spheres: Elemental (earth, fire), guardian, necromantic, protection, wards
Magical Items: Same as clerics
Req. Profs: Spear
Bonus Profs.: Blind-fighting, Endurance
  • Lazguoi must be male orcs, half-orcs, or orogs.
  • Lazguoi may not multi-class.
  • Lazguoi have a +1 to hit and damage elves.
  • Lazguoi gain +2 Charisma bonus towards other orcs, half-orcs, and orogs. There is no bonus towards other races.
  • Once per day, lazguoi can cast protection from good.
  • At 3rd level, lazguoi can cast aid once per day (caster as target only).
  • At 5th level, lazguoi are able to heal themselves for 1d8 hit points once for each human, demihuman, or humanoid slain in the previous 24 hours.
  • At 7th level, lazguoi gain the ability to double the damage done by a successful spear attack twice a day. This ability must be declared before the attack roll is made.
  • At 7th level, lazguoi gain an extra +1 to hit and damage elves, for a total bonus of +2.
  • At 10th level, lazguoi may, once a day, inspire fear (as per the wizard spell).
  • At 13th level, lazguoi may cast eyebite, as per the wizard spell, twice per week.


Click here to return to top of the page


(The Iron Fist, The Strong Arm of Gruumsh, the Thick-Skulled God)

Intermediate Power of Acheron, LE

Portfolio: Strength, combat, orc fighters
Aliases: None
Domain Name: Avalas/Nishrek
Superior: Gruumsh
Allies: Gruumsh, Ilneval, Luthic, Shargaas, Yurtrus
Foes: All non-orcish deities, but especially the Seldarine, the Morndinsamman, the goblin pantheon, the hobgoblin pantheon, Meriadar, the Red Knight
Symbol: A broken thigh bone
Wor. Align.: LE, NE, CE

        Bahgtru (BAHG-tru) is the orcish god of strength and prowess. He is worshiped by both orc warriors and those orcs desirous of advancement (both political and military) through combat. His portfolio overlaps somewhat with those of Gruumsh and Ilneval, who both have dominion over war and combat, but while they focus on warfare as a whole, Bahgtru looks more towards the individual fighter. Those orcs who are more worried about surviving a battle or defeating the one enemy directly in front of them than winning the overall battle look towards Bahgtru than either Gruumsh of Ilneval. It is the common orc fighter, not the battle leader, who most commonly identifies with the Strong Arm of Gruumsh.

        Bahgtru's defining characteristics are his awesome strength and his prowess in battle. The Iron Fist enjoys nothing better than hand-to-hand combat, relying only on his fists and his titanic strength. His symbol commemorates such a battle; the Strong Arm singlehandedly took on some sort of gigantic multi-legged reptile (probably some sort of dinosauroid or over-sized basilisk) and defeated it by simply breaking all of its legs. However, Bahgtru's massive strength is balanced by his incredible stupidity, and as a result he often tricked into servitude by the fast talk of his fellow orcish gods, whom he otherwise could quite possibly dominate had he the slightest strategic ability.

        Bahgtru is the son of Gruumsh and Luthic. His mother dotes on him, and he returns the affection, even to the point of obeying her orders over his father's should they conflict. At all other times, though, he is Gruumsh's unfailingly loyal lieutenant, following his father's wishes to the best of his ability. He is the rival of Gruumsh's other lieutenant, Ilneval, the orcish god of warfare and strategy. Bahgtru could easily defeat Ilneval in any one-on-one contest through sheer strength, but Ilneval is far too clever to ever allow himself get into such a situation, taking advantage of Bahgtru's legendary stupidity to outwit him before such a situation even arises. However, his great strength and fighting prowess are still useful to Gruumsh as a counterweight against the ambitions of Ilneval; the Clever Arm's plots can never come to fruition as long as Gruumsh has the Strong Arm to defend him.

        As Gruumsh's lieutenant, Bahgtru has often come into conflict with his father's myriad enemies. He long ago earned the enmity of the Seldarine and the Mondinsamman, as well as the gods of the other goblinoid races. Most other good and neutral deities dislike him as well, but he is not the target of specific hatred as most powers see him as merely an unintelligent pawn of Gruumsh (which isn't very far from the truth). Only the Red Knight harbors a passionate hatred for him; she despises the Iron Fist as the epitome of the stupid, unplanning warrior.

Bahgtru's Avatar (Fighter 35)

        Bahgtru appears as a gigantic, incredibly muscular orc, clad entirely in dirty studded leather armor. He has tan skin, dull green eyes, and huge tusks worn and white from bone-gnawing. He never uses a weapon, using each studded gauntlet as a cestus backed up by his formidable strength. Bahgtru never backs down from a fight, charging forward into combat without either giving a thought to strategy or tactics or using spells. Even if he were intelligent or wise enough to cast spells, he would still probably eschew their use in favor of the hand-to-hand combat he so obviously relishes. Bahgtru's avatar is often sent to Toril by Gruumsh when he feels it is necessary, as he both trusts his son (who is too stupid to disobey) and is usually too busy fighting the endless battles on Acheron with the goblin deities to send one of his own avatars.

AC -6; MV 12; HP 231 ;THAC0 -10, #AT 7/2
Dmg 1d4+18 (cestus +2, +14 Str, +2 spec. bonus)
MR: 35%; SZ H (15 feet tall)
STR 25, DEX 14, CON 24, INT 5, WIS 5, CHA 19
Spells: None
Saves PPDM 3, RSW 5, PP 4, BW 4, SP 6

        Special Att/Def: Bahgtru uses no weapons, but attacks instead by punching with his gauntlets, each of which is the equivalent of a cestus +2. If he makes a successful attack with each fist on the same target during the same round, Bahgtru grapples his opponent, crushing the unfortunate target for an additional 1d12 + 14 points of damage on that and each succeeding round. The target is unable to attack or cast spells while being grappled, and may break free of the crush only on a successful STR check at a -5 penalty; otherwise, Bahgtru will continue to grapple unless there are other targets to attack (he REALLY like punching things, after all). If given a choice of opponents, Bahgtru will attack elves first and dwarves second over any others in a group.

        Bahgtru's legendary stupidity is both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, it protects him from feeblemind and other such intelligence- and wisdom-draining attacks (he just can't get that much stupider after all), but conversely it precludes him from making any sort of strategic decisions. Bahgtru will simply wade into any possible combat, and continue unhesitatingly fighting until he defeats all his enemies or drops dead from his wounds. The Strong Arm's inversely proportionally high strength makes him immune to any strength-draining effects (such as ray of enfeeblement) and any effect that reduces to hit or damage rolls (such as prayer). No magic can impede damage from his destructive blows (stoneskin, etc.). His avatar is immune to attacks by weapons with less than +2 enchantment.

Other Manifestations:

        Bahgtru often manifests to his worshipers in the form of a splitting headache (known as "Bahgtru's pat" by the faithful); this is considered a sign of incredible favor by his followers. He also from time to time inspires bloodlust and berserker rages in those of his followers who call upon him during battle. This may manifest as one or more of the following: (1) one extra attack per round, (2) +2 to hit and damage elves and/or dwarves, or (3) a temporary 1d6 point increase in strength Unfortunately, any benefit is offset by a bloodlust in the recipient which results in the subject being unable to do anything but fight until either all enemies or the recipient himself is slain. It has been known for Bahgtru to mistakenly bestow these effects on someone else than the orc who called upon him, since he rarely helps his worshipers except at the prompting of his mother or father and he is too stupid to either pay much attention to his followers or bestow his favors upon the correct worshiper when he does.

        Bahgtru is served by baatezu, imps, maelephants, rust dragons, rust monsters, and yugoloths, although many of these are quickly put off by the Strong Arm's lack of intellect and attempt to leave (not always succesfully) as quickly as possible. Other than the headaches mentioned above, Bahgtru rarely shows his favor or displeasure through such omens as the discovery of gems, as he lacks the foresight to plan such things.

The Church

Clergy: Specialty priests, shamans, fighters
Clergy's Align.: LE, NE
Turn Undead: SP: No, Sha: No, F: No
Comnd. Undead: SP: No, Sha: No, F: No

        All specialty priests and shamans of Bahgtru receive religion (orc) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.

        The followers of Bahgtru are those orcs who value brawn over brain and see physical power as the most useful characteristic to gain power over their fellow creatures. To them, relying on one's intellect is something to be despised, as it is the refuge of the weak and cowardly. The true warrior will rely on his strength alone, and by doing so will start up the path towards true power. The clergy of the Iron Fist do not relate fancy stories around campfires bragging of the greatness of their god as would priests and shamans of other deities; for them, the truest way of relating the power of Bahgtru is prowess in battle.

        The clergy of the Strong Arm consists of specialty priests (30%) , shamans (30%), and fighter/priests (40%). Specialty priests of Bahgtru are known as akhloi, which roughly translated means "they who delight in battle." Most (75%) of the clergy are orcs, but some are half-orcs (20%) and orogs (5%), while a tiny handful are ogrillions. Akhloi tend to exist in larger orcish settlements, while shamans usually serve smaller and more isolated communities. Relations among all members of the church are always tense, as each priest is continually challenging the next orc up in the hierarchy to prove his prowess in battle. Followers of Bahgtru usually are on reasonably good terms with the clergy of Gruumsh and Luthic, although the former tend to act condescendingly towards the followers of the Strong Arm; the rare member of Bahgtru's faith intelligent enough to realize this attitude quickly develops a hatred of Gruumsh's clergy, challenging all he meets to a duel. Most often, this ends messily for the follower of the Iron Fist. Needless to say, relations between the followers of Bahgtru and Ilneval are often strained, as the former think that the strong should rule over the intelligent, while the latter believe just the opposite.

        The clergy of Bahgtru are not intelligent enough as a group to standardize names for the various ranks in the hierarchy. The church membership is by orcish tradition exclusively male, although in extremely rare cases, Bahgtru may bestow his blessings on a particularly strong female who has proved herself in combat.

        Dogma: The only true calling for an orc is battle. Kill as many opponents as possible, for one is measured by the number and power of those one has dispatched. Make no plans before or during battle, for plans are for those too weak to succeed by mere force of arms alone. Trust in one's strength and Bahgtru will reward one with dominion over others. By weeding out the weak, the warriors of Bahgtru ensure the only the strongest survive to produce the next generation.

        Day-to-Day Activities: Followers of Bahgtru have only one mission: to find battle and kill as many enemies during it as possible. During times of peace (or as orcs call it, "temporary truce"), they spend as much time as possible honing the skills of battle, either in one-on-one combats or in mass melees. If things should get a bit out of hand, and a warrior or two (or more) is killed during practice, so much the better, as he or they were obviously weak and unfit to be true followers of Bahgtru.

        Holy Days/Important Ceremonies: The church of Bahgtru does not have any formalized holy days (this would imply an organization it entirely lacks). Local churches tend to celebrate the anniversary of particularly bloody and successful battles, especially if a follower of the Strong Arm particularly distinguished himself that day. Other than continual war practices, there is little in the way of formal daily duties for the clergy. On days of battles, however, priests and shamans go among the assembled warriors and whip them into a battle frenzy, and after the fighting has ceased celebrate those who killed many of the enemy. The fallen are not spoken of, as they were obviously unworthy of Bahgtru.

        Major Centers of Worship: In the Rauvin Mountains, between Citadel Adbar and Citadel Felbarr (formerly the Citadel of Many Arrows), not far from Dead Orc Pass, Gloshnak the Mighty, the self-titled Favored of Bahgtru, has, after clawing his way to the clan rulership, converted one of the many home caverns of his clan into a huge temple dedicated to the Strong Arm. Many of the refugees from the former Citadel of Many Arrows have gathered here, and their hunger for revenge has greatly increased the number of his followers. The gigantic orc impatiently waits for further volunteers to swell his ranks, so that he will be strong enough to swoop down and retake the lost keep in an orgy of dwarven blood. Then it would only be a matter of time until Citadel Adbar would fall, and so on, until such time as his forces sack Silverymoon and the head of Alustriel (who is surely a weakling to trust in magic instead of strength!) decorates his temple. Surely, he believes, he will be strong enough to do this, and he lacks the wit to know otherwise...

        Affiliated Orders: The church of Bahgtru has no affiliated orders, lacking the ability to organize these. In a sense, the entire church is merely one huge military order.

        Priestly Vestments: The clergy of Bahgtru wear the studded leather armor in which they fight to show their respect of the Strong Arm. The most senior of clergy often command their underlings to create or acquire the finest possible suits of such armor, and actually succeed in receiving them surprisingly often (to fail such a request would mean humiliation or death, after all). Sometimes, armor that has been slashed and bloodied in battle beyond repair is still maintained and worn by its owner as a sign of his prowess. Most higher level clergy of Bahgtru use the cestus-like studded leather gauntlets in imitation of their deity, and wear these during ceremonies (if any exist for the local church outside battle).

        Adventuring Garb: What the followers of the Strong Arm wear almost never differs from ceremony and actual battles (as they more often than not are one in the same). Even those sets of armor which are all but useless (as mentioned above) are worn into battle, as it is not the armor which allows one to survive, but one's own prowess and Bahgtru's will.

Specialty Priests (Akhloi)

Requirements: Strength 16, Wisdom 9, Intelligence no greater than 8
Prime Req.: Strength, Wisdom
Alignment: LE
Weapons: Any (but see below)
Armor: Studded leather, no shield
Major Spheres: All, combat, healing, protection, travelers, war
Minor Spheres: Necromantic (reversed only), summoning
Magical Items: Same as fighters
Req. Profs: Cestus
Bonus Profs.: Endurance, survival (choose one terrain)
  • Akhloi must be male orcs, half-orcs, or orogs
  • Akhloi may multi-class as fighter/akhloi
  • Akhloi may choose proficiencies from the warrior group without crossover penalties
  • Akhloi roll for exceptional strength and gain constitution bonuses as warriors
  • At 3rd level, akhloi may cast strength or enlarge once a day
  • At 5th level, akhloi are no longer allowed to use any weapon other than the spiked gautlet (treat as cestus), although they may devote weapon proficiency slots towards specialization
  • At 7th level, akhloi who are not multi-classed can make three melee attacks every two rounds
  • At 10th level, akhloi may raise their strength scores by one at the cost of one intelligence and one wisdom point. Akhloi who raise their strength to 18 in this way may roll for exceptional strength
  • At 13th level, those akhloi who are not multi-classed can make two melee attacks every round


Click here to return to top of the page


(The Night Lord, The Lord of Secrets)

Intermediate Power of Gehenna, NE

Portfolio: Thieves, stealth, secrets, darkness, cold, undead, assassins
Aliases: None
Domain Name: Krangath/The Night Below
Superior: Gruumsh
Allies: The orc pantheon, Bhaal (dead), Myrkul (dead), Velsharoon
Foes: Almost all non-orc deities, but especially the Seldarine, the Morndinsamman, the goblin and hobgoblin pantheons, Kelemvor, Lathander, Oghma, Selune, Nephthys, Meriadar
Symbol: A red crescent moon with a skull between the crescent's horns
Wor. Align.: LE, NE, CE

        Shargaas (SHAR-gahs) is the orc deity of stealth and darkness as well as the patron of orc theives. Moreover, he has dominion over several portfolios related to these, such as cold and assassins. Whereas it would seem logical that Yurtrus, the orc god of death and disease, should hold the portfolio of undeath, in actuality it is the Night Lord who does so. Shargaas takes his portfolio of secrets very seriously, even to the point of hiding his Outer Planar realm and spreading misinformation about its location. Planar sages knew that the Night Below (as Shargaas's realm is known) was located somewhere on the fiery plane of Gehenna, but believed (incorrectly as it has turned out) that was to be found on the second layer, incredibly volcanic Chamada. This is nothing but a lie put out by the Lord of Secrets and his followers to discourage outsiders from searching for his planar realm. In actuality, the Night Below is located on (or, more precisely, under) the Fourth Mount of Gehenna, frozen and dark Krangath (which obviously makes much more sense). Since searching the Fourfold Furnaces for a hidden realm can hardly be considered a pleasant, or for that matter survivable, task (unless one happens to be a yugoloth), this strategy has worked near to perfection, since so few planar travelers have ever discovered the Night Below, and far fewer still have survived to tell of it. The Night Lord does not give up his hoarded secrets lightly.

        The Night Lord hates all thing not orcish, and doesn't even like the (living) members of his chosen race all that much. All this stems from his deep resentment against all life, and he has sometimes been known to work himself into fearsome rages or fall into deep despair over the inescapable fact that he himself is alive. During his calm moments, however, his calculating attitude is matched in his pantheon only by Ilneval, and even the Clever Arm cannot equal the cold calmness that radiates from the Night Lord at these times.

        Shargaas is somewhat isolated from the rest of his pantheon, partly because of planar distance, but also partially due to personal choice. Because of vague portfolio boundaries, there has recently been growing friction between Shargaas on one side and Luthic (with whom he contests dominion over darkness), Ilneval (whose intrigues have drawn some thieves, Shargaas' core constituency, over to his worship), and Yurtrus (because of the Night Lord's control of undeath). While on the surface relations between Shargaas and Gruumsh (and their respective clergies) are poor, in reality the two powers have a cordial relationship, but keep this information well hidden (at Shargaas's insistence of course). The Unblinking Eye and his followers use the Night Lord's followers to secretly sniff out plots and to quietly dispose of potential problems, and Shaagras' faithful get plenty of assignments in which to hone their skills plus the protection of the most powerful god in the pantheon. The key to all this is the secrecy in which it all must be carried out, and this suits Shargaas and his faithful just fine.

        Outside the orc pantheon, the Lord of Secrets at one time possessed allies (albeit cool and distant ones) in the two human deities who had similar interests and portfolios, Bhaal and Myrkul. Their replacement, Cyric, has been too busy with other business to have much of a relationship, good or bad, with the Night Lord, although Cyric's replacement as human Lord of the Dead made it clear almost immediately that he will have nothing to do with any power, such as Shargaas, who condones the creation and control of undead. Lathander is his foe for the same reason; on the other hand, the recently ascended demipower Velsharoon has developed a fairly good working relationship with the Lord of Secrets precisely because of Shargaas' undead portfolio. Although he holds thievery among his portfolios, neither Mask nor Vhaeraun nor Abbathor are his allies, but neither are they his foes - unless one of them is intent on stealing a prize that the Night Lord has set his eyes on. Another possible ally, the night goddess Shar, also maintains a similar cool and distant relationship; unfortunately, Selune isn't as neutral, and sees Shargaas as merely an orcish equivalent of her ancient enemy Shar. Needless to say, the more benign powers of thieves and trickery (such as Brandobaris and Erevan Ilesere) look down on Shargaas and his clergy since they are simply in the game because of pure greed. It should go without saying that the Seldarine and the Morndinsamman count Shargaas, like all orc deities, among their foes; as does Oghma due to the Night Lord's hoarding of knowledge. Finally, Nephthys of the Mulhorandi pantheon dislikes the Night Lord not only because of his and his fellow orc deities' deprecations during the Orcgate War, but also as a guardian of wealth she finds thieves and anyone who condones them despicable in the extreme.

Shargaas' Avatar (Thief 30, Necromancer 20, Cleric 20, Fighter 15)

        Shargaas appears as a tall jet-black orc with black hair and eyes. He wears black leather armor and a cloak that seems to be made more of darkness then any sort of cloth. He wields an obsidian and mahogany quarterstaff. In combat, he prefers using spells from the necromantic school and spheres of healing, necromancy, and sun (reversed spells only in these schools).

AC -4; MV 12; HP 191; THAC0 1; # ATT 5/2
Dmg 1d6+14 (staff +3, +9 STR, +2 specialization)
MR Varies; SZ L (8 feet tall)
STR 21, DEX 23, CON 20, INT 22, WIS 22, CHA 15
Spells P: 12/12/12/11/9/5/2; W: 6/6/6/6/6/5/4/4/3*
Saves: PPDM: 1, RSW: 2, PP: 3, BW: 2, Sp: 3 **
        *Numbers assume one extra necromancy spell per level
        **Adjusted for his cloak of protection +2

        Special Att./Def.: Shargaas' status as a god of darkness is evident from several powers which wax and wane depending on the intensity of the light. Most noticeably, he is completely blinded by bright sunlight, but is able to see perfectly clearly in pitch darkness. His magic resistance is 80% in complete darkness, 40% in twilight, and 0% in bright light (varying proportionally in intermediate stages). He is able to cast darkness once per round at will, enervation three times per day, and energy drain once per day. His obsidian staff, Nightfall, is a +3 weapon, blinds (as per the spell) with a successful hit and failed save, and acts as a vampiric ring of regeneration.

        Shargaas can climb any surface, no matter how shear or slippery, and can hide in shadows (provided there are shadows to hide in) with no chance of being discovered barring true seeing or similar magic. His cloak functions as a cloak of protection +2 and allows him to cast a cone of cold at 10th level three times per day. Shargaas may make unlimited successive attempts to control undead, and my wrest control away from anyone else (excepting only greater powers) after a successful control roll.

        Shargaas rarely sends his avatar to Toril, and never willingly to anywhere well-lit. He sometimes appears during battle between his faithful and other underground races (most notably with dwarves). Although his presence is thought by the orcs to be a sign of his favor and wish to help his followers, in actuality he appears at these times mainly to observe and to afterwards animate those who have died to join his ever-growing army of undead in Gehenna.

Other Manifestations:

        Shaargas is a very subtle power, and his omens are similarly subdued. Most often, his favor is shown by sudden drops in temperature, cold breezes, and areas of complete darkness. Rarely, a favored follower may be blessed by a manifestation of an aura in the shape of a black cloak. Those so blessed may gain the ability to hide in shadows at 99% effectiveness, the ability to climb walls at 99%, or the ability to cast such life-draining spells such as chill touch or vampiric touch.

        The Night Lord is served by baatezu, barghests, black dragons, deep dragons, imps, maelephants, nightmares, shadow dragons, slasraths terlen, undead of all sorts, vaporighu, and yugoloths. He shows his favor by the discovery of black opals, black pearls, black sapphires, jet, horn coral, obsidian, and onyx. He shows disapproval by the sound of distant wailing and his dreaded "cold fevers", which wrack the victim in great pain and often lead to a prolonged, agonizing death.

The Church

Clergy: Clerics, shamans. specialty priests, thieves
Clergy's Align.: LE, NE
Turn Undead: Cl: No, Sha: No, SP: No, Th: No
Cmnd Undead: Cl: Yes, Sha: No, SP: Yes. Th: No

        All clerics,shamans, and specialty priests of Shargaas gain religion (orc) as a bonus non-weapon proficiency. Clerics and cleric/thieves (a multiclass option permitted for the clergy of Shargaas) of the Night Lord are not restricted to only bludgeoning (wholly type B) weapons, but are permitted to use those weapons allowed to the thief class as well.

        Publicly, the clergy of Shargaas is not large, for very few of his priests advertise their status. Many work in the shadows or at night, secretly and quietly advancing either the Night Lord's or the Unblinking Eye's agendas. Only the most powerful of the clergy freely admit that they follow the Lord of Secrets, and these only go out in public protected by large numbers of undead guards. For the most part, they are mere rumors in orc society; shadows in the night, stories told by orc mothers to frighten their children.

        Because of portfolio disputes with Luthic, Ilneval, and Yurtrus, relations between their clergy and that of the Lord of the Secrets are quite tense; but as Shargaas' clergy does not typically operate in public view, open conflict between his followers and the others is relatively rare. On the surface, the followers of Gruumsh share this dislike, but in secret often employ the nigh-well untraceable clergy of Shargaas to due to their dirty work for them. The secrecy in which this whole relationship rests suits both groups.

        The clergy of Shargaas are so secretive that titles tend differ greatly from one local cell to another. Titles such as Nightmaster and Secretkeeper are common, but their respective ranks are not consistent from one area to the next. The sole exception to this are the highest-ranking clergy; through the secret machinations and revelations of the Night Lord himself, they are almost universally known as Cold Hands of Shargaas. Specialty priests are known as shargaar, an orc term meaning "dark lords". The faithful are almost evenly divided between specialty priests (40%), shamans (30%), and clerics (30%), and relations among the three are fairly good, although no one quite trusts anyone else. By orc tradition, the clergy of Shargaas are male, although the Night Lord has since the Time of Troubles taken a page from Ilneval's book and has begun to accept females into his clergy (only around 2% at the moment). Although ocrs make up the majority of Shargaas' clergy (55%), a disproportionally high number of half-orcs (40%) are members (probably because they are such natural assassins), while orogs are less well represented (5%), probably because their large size makes them more likely to be noticed when attempting to skulk about in shadows.

        Dogma: Darkness is the great friend of the orc race, and under its all-concealing cover great things can be accomplished. Gather and hoard secrets, for knowledge that can be used against others can be more useful weapons than swords and can protect better than armor. Always act behind the scenes, as much more can be done out of the glare of publicity, and responsibility for such unseen actions can be more easily shifted to others. Never do in public or in daylight what can be accomplished in secret and in darkness.

        Day-to-Day Activities: The faithful of Shargaas work almost exclusively at night. Many are thieves and assassins, and while most are completely independent, some make a very good living being hired out by various power groups in orcish communities to spy on or to assassinate rivals. Although one would think that by doing so they would be in danger of being quietly murdered by their employers afterwards in order to ensure their silence, the Night Lord's followers have gathered so much damning information about virtually every powerful orc that the latter rarely dares to harm them lest this information be released. Finally, some of Shargaas' clergy act as scouts and spies for orc armies, although they almost always work under cover of darkness.

        Holy Days/Important Ceremonies: Like the followers of Gruumsh, the faithful of the Lord of Secrets hold Midwinter Night to be the holiest time of the year. The long dark and the extreme cold of this night symbolizes all that Shargaas stands for, and his followers save their most holy (and blood-curdling) rituals for this night. Shargaas's links to the Realms are at their strongest on this date, resulting in temporary boosts in power for his priests (for example, commanding and animating undead as if they were twice their level). Each month, the time of the new moon - when the dark of night is uninterrupted by moonlight - holds similar, though somewhat less, sacred significance. Total solar eclipses are also revered by the Night Lord's followers. Although they rarely venture out into daylight, Shargaas sends visions to his faithful that indicate when such an event is imminent, and any of his faithful who performs an act or acts favorable to the faith at such a time is looked upon with high approval by the Night Lord.

        Major Centers of Worship: In a cold, dark cavern somewhere deep beneath Calimshan, Cold Hand Brukhnush is the head of a flourishing cell of the Night Lord's worship. The Dark Secret, as the temple is known, is the hotbed of a lucrative assassin-for-hire business for the intrigue-laden country above. Its existence and function are relatively well-known, yet curiously rarely spoken of. Brukhnush and his followers often take payment for services rendered not in coin, but in secrets, which in City of Glory are often much more valuable in the long term.

        Affiliated Orders: There are literally dozens of spy and assassin rings dedicated to the Night Lord located throughout the Realms, usually centered in major population centers. Brukhnush of the Dark Secret (see above) controls a substantial portion of these in Calimshan, Tethyr, Amn, and the lands around the Lake of Steam. Under the Thuderpeaks, the Dark Claw is a highly-organized ring which is attempting to control a share of the underworld dealings of several Sembian cities, and has recently been making inroads below the Vast, the Dragon Coast, and even Cormyr.

        Priestly Vestments: During important ceremonies, the faithful of the Night Lord cover themselves completely with pitch (or other similar black materials) and dress from head to toe in black. Their ceremonial garb includes pitch-black leather armor and sable cloaks. Weapons, most notably daggers and staves, are made of black steel and/or the darkest mahogany, or are covered in weaponblack.

        Adventuring Garb: The clergy of Shargaas wear similar items to their ceremonial vestments when engaged in non-sacred acts as well. They often have a second pair of black armor for use at these times (so as not to damage the ceremonial ones), and continue to blacken their weapons so that they will remain unseen in the darkness as they go about their duties.

Specialty Priests (Shargaar)

Requirements: Dexterity 14, Wisdom 9
Prime Req.: Dexterity, Wisdom
Alignment: NE
Weapons: Same as thieves
Armor: Same as thieves
Major Spheres: All, combat, divination, healing (reversed), necromantic (reversed only), protection, sun (reversed only), thought
Minor Spheres: Creation, elemental (earth), healing (normal), travelers
Magical Items: Same as clerics and thieves
Req. Profs: Dagger
Bonus Profs.: Disguise, Local History
  • Shargaar must be orcs, half-orcs, or orogs.
  • Shargaar may not multi-class.
  • Shargaar may select nonweapon proficiencies from the rogue group without penalties.
  • Shargaar have limited thieving skills as defined in the Limited Thieving Skills section in Appendix 1 of Demihuman Deities.
  • Shargaar are able to see perfectly in complete (non-magical) darkness, but conversely are at -1 penalty to hit and to AC in bright light. This is cumulative with other orc penalties in bright light.
  • Shargaar can cast darkness once per day.
  • At 3rd level, shargaar can cast chill touch once per day.
  • At 5th level, shargaar can cast vampiric touch or continual darkness once per day.
  • At 7th level, shargaar can cast enervation or animate dead once per day.
  • At 10th level, shargaar gain the ability to see perfectly even in magical darkness. However, their penalties to hit and to AC in bright light are raised by a further -1, to a total of -2.
  • At 13th level, shargaar can attempt to command undead a second time, regardless if the first attempt succeeded or failed.


Click here to return to top of the page


(The Clever Arm of Gruumsh, The Warchief, The General of the Orogs)

Intermediate Power of Acheron, LE

Portfolio: Warfare, strategy, politics, intrigue, orogs
Aliases: None
Domain Name: Avalas/Nishrek
Superior: Gruumsh
Allies: The orc pantheon, Gargauth
Foes: All non-orc deities, but especially the Seldarine, the Mornidinsamman, the goblin and hobgoblin pantheon, Meriadar
Symbol: A blood-edged broadsword
Wor. Align.: LN, LE

        Ilneval (ILL-ne-vahl) is the orc deity of warfare and strategy. Whereas Bahgtru is the patron of the common orc warrior and straightforward combat, those orcs higher up in the chain of command and those who delight in plotting, planing, and scheming (in matters both military and political) look towards Ilneval. And whereas Gruumsh's portfolio includes the government and expansion of the orcish race as a whole, those who follow the Warchief tend not to be those who rule the orc race, but the generals and their staff in the field who implement the decrees of the followers of One-Eye.

        Ilneval's ethos encourages orcs to be clever as well as strong, in contrast to Bahgtru's belief in raw physical power alone (needless to say, there is a sometimes bloody rivalry between the members of the two's faiths). This point of view appeals very much to the upper levels of orcish society (except for the very highest, who tend to revere Gruumsh), and most especially to the orogs, who tend to be highly placed in the orcish military hierarchy. As a result, Ilneval has over the millennia become the patron of the orog race and in so doing has gained the devotion of this small but powerful segment of orcish society.

        Among the powers of the orcish pantheon, Ilneval maintains a barely-concealed hostility to his fellow lieutenant Bahgtru and a much more covert dislike of Gruumsh and Luthic. Ilneval dislikes the fact that he has to share power with the Strong Arm, and quite often calls Bahgtru's failings to the attention of Gruumsh himself in order to humble his rival. More often than not, Luthic maternally counters these moves, leaving Ilneval helpless in the face of familial unity. As a result, the Clever Arm now holds a deep hatred all three of them, but bides his time and on the surface maintains cordial relations with Gruumsh and his consort. Deep down, however, he plots and schemes to seize the supreme power in the orcish pantheon and destroy the family that currently stands in his way and has so many times humiliated him. After all, he worked his way up to this level of power by disposing of several other rival orcish powers (whose names are now long lost in the mists of time), so surely it is only a matter of waiting until the moment is ripe to seize the ultimate prize.

        Outside the orc pantheon, Ilneval is viewed in a similar manner as Bahgtru - merely a pawn on Gruumsh's chessboard - a viewpoint which irritates the Clever Arm to no end. As a result, no power singles him out for any special enmity; he is simply lumped in with the rest of the pantheon as a target of hatred. However, this still gives the Warchief no lack of godly enemies as his pantheon is of course almost universally despised, most notably of course by the elvish, dwarven, and goblin pantheons.

        The sole exception to this universal hatred is the demipower Gargauth. He and Ilneval maintain a cordial, if guarded, relationship, each admiring each other's grasp of the methods of subtle manipulation. As their agendas rarely clash, they often advise each other on the best methods in political maneuvering. One would assume, however, that this delicately balanced relationship would quickly disintegrate should their political agendas should come into conflict.

Ilneval's Avatar (Fighter 30, Bard 25, Cleric 18)

        Ilneval appears as tall gray-skinned orog, covered in scars from his many battles. He is clad in blood-red chain mail and wields a jagged-edged broadsword, both of which are often dripping copious quantities of blood. He is grim and unsmiling, but is eyes glint with intelligence, darting to and fro, constantly watching his targets for weaknesses in their defenses and observing his surroundings for features he can use to his tactical advantage. Ilneval's avatar rarely casts spells, but when he does, he uses those which increase fighting ability or alter surroundings to his tactical advantage.

AC -6; MV 12; HP 216; THAC0 -10; #ATT 5/2
Dmg 4d4+16 (broad sword +3. +2 spec. bonus, +11 STR)
MR 55%, SZ L (9 feet tall)
STR 23, DEX 20, CON 21, INT 20, WIS 22, CHR 18
Spells P: 11/11/11/11/8/4/2; W: 5/5/5/5/4/1
Saves PPDM: 3, RSW: 4, PP: 4, BW: 4, Sp.: 5

        Special Att./Def.: Ilneval wields Warfang, a huge, saw-edged broad sword +3. Any being struck by the jagged edges of this weapon will continue to suffer 1d4 hp/rd for each wound inflicted until 2 rounds are spent bandaging each wound or until a cure serious wounds or better healing spell is cast (this doesn't restore lost hit points, but only stops the blooding). Any damage caused by Warfang cannot be regenerated or healed through magical means, but must be healed naturally. Ilneval's sword and armor continually drip acidic blood (1 drop per round); anyone hit by these drops takes 1d4 points of damage and items must save vs. acid or be damaged. Armor loses 1 point of AC protection and weapons do 1 point of damage less; at the point when armor loses any AC benefit (i.e plate mail loses 7 points and its effective AC is 10) or when weapons cannot inflict any damage (a short sword loses 6 points and does 0 damage for example), the item is completely destroyed. Other items may be rendered useless or be destroyed as well. Ilneval's avatar can cast domination as per the spell three times a day.

        Ilneval is immune to all missiles below +3 enchantment and only takes half damage from magic missles. His chain mail deflects all bolt- and ray-type spells. Acid-producing spells are particularly useless against him; his armor absorbs them and heals him for the number of hit points equal to the damage the would have caused. After even casually observing an enemy fight for at least one full round, Ilneval is able to ascertain his opponent's strengths and weaknesses, and gains a +2 bonus to hit and to his AC. Ilneval can only be struck by weapons of +2 or better enchantment.

        Of all the orc deities, Ilneval's avatar is the most often seen in Faerun, either having been sent by Gruumsh or for his own plot-filled reasons. He often advises orc generals on the best strategies to defeat an enemy, noting specific weaknesses in opposing armies and possible advantages in terrain. He has also been known to give aid to those orcs and orogs who are ploting their way up the political and military hierarchies. Ilneval uses these appearances to undermine the authority of the followers of Gruumsh and Bahgtru in a long term plan to slowly erode the power base of those two gods.

Other Manifestations:

        As a more subtle and intrigue-addicted power than most in his pantheon, Ilneval quite often sends signs to his followers to indicate his favor and disfavor. His most frequent omen is the dripping of blood from weapons and armor. The brighter the color of this blood, the more pleased the deity is; black blood is a sign of great disfavor, and often black blood dripping from armor and weapons does acidic damage to those items (in the manner described above in "special attacks/defenses") and to the wearer himself (1d4 acidic damage) if coming from the armor. The brightest of red blood covering a weapon is a highly favorable omen, and will add 1d4 points of acid damage against the first target successfully struck. More rarely, Ilneval has been known to manifest as a blood-red aura around a favored worshiper. The recipient of such an omen may receive one of the following benefits: (1) a revelation of his enemies' strengths and weaknesses, allowing for a +1 to hit and/or a +1 benefit to AC (and sometimes more for either), (2) a revelation of a particular specific weakness in an enemy (such as fire or acid against the regeneration of trolls), or (3) a revelation of tactical advantages to be gained by using nearby items or surrounding terrain.

        Ilneval is served by baatezu, imps, maelephants, rust dragons, rust monsters, and yugoloths. He shows his pleasure by the discovery of bloodstones, carnelians, fire opals, garnets, red tears, and rubies, especially by particularly blood-hued gems of these types. He shows his displeasure through wounds on followers that refuse to stop bleeding or will not heal (especially if said wounds feel as if filled with acid), or by wounds that drip pitch-black blood.

The Church

Clergy: Clerics, crusaders, specialty priests, shamans,
Clergy's Align.: LE
Turn Undead: Cl: No, Cr: No, SP: No, Sha: No
Cmnd. Undead: Cl: No, Cr: No, SP: No, Sha: No

        All crusaders, specialty priests, and shamans of Ilneval receive religion (orc) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.

        The clergy of Ilneval tend to form a "middle class" in orcish society; they hold the intermediate positions, taking orders from the rulers (who tend to follow Gruumsh), and in turn giving orders to the common folk (who more often than not revere Bahgtru). They are the officers of orcish armies, taking the general directives of the ruling caste and using their knowledge of strategy and tactics to create battle plans. Of course, they are resented by the followers of Bahgtru, who are usually on the receiving end of such orders and feel that Ilneval's faithful are weaklings for not relying in their strength alone. The clergy of Ilneval are also deeply involved in the politics of orcish society, and continually attempt to maneuver themselves into positions of greater power. It certainly isn't a rare occurrence for a follower of Ilneval to succeed in seizing control of an orcish settlement, but more often than not, the new leader, suddenly seeing things from a new perspective, ends up converting to the worship of Gruumsh. Interestingly enough, a growing number of orc thieves have begun to abandon Shargaas, the traditional orc patron of thievery, in favor of Ilneval in his aspect as a god of subtlety and intrigue.

        Specialty priests of Ilneval are known as uthlaak, and orcish term meaning "front-line leaders". Since the Clever Arm's faith tends to be based in larger orc settlements, the number of shamans (10%) is relatively small (especially in comparison to other orcish faiths); most of the faithful are specialty priests (45%), clerics (30%) or crusaders (15%). Relations between the various factions are quite good for an orcish clergy, although that doesn't mean that things are anywhere near harmonious. Even though their numbers are relatively small in comparison to the overall orcish population, orogs make up a substantial proportion (35%) of the clergy; the remainder are orcs (45%) and half orcs (20%). Although orcish tradition demands that females may only be clergy of Luthic, in an attempt to undermine her (and ultimately Gruumsh's) authority, Ilneval has recently begun to secretly accept females (5%) into the ranks of the faithful. It should be noted that the number of female orog clergy greatly outnumbers those females of pure orcish or half-orc background (80%, 17%, and 3% respectively).

        Titles for the clergy of Ilneval are much more standardized than any other orcish faith, although there is still a substantial amount of variation among more isolated settlements. Newcomers to the faith are known as the Unbloodied. Titles for higher-ranking clergy include Blood Recruit, Blood Sergeant, Blood Lieutenant, and Blood General. The highest-ranking priest in a settlement is known as Bloody Sword.

        Dogma: Those of quick wit and good planning will come out on top in the end over those who trust solely in strength. In battle and in politics, plan ahead, but be adaptable, for no plan of battle survives first contact. Subtle maneuvering can sometimes reap more rewards than acting out in the open, though brute force sometimes has its place. Always work behind the scenes to erode the authority of the clergy of Gruumsh and Luthic, but pay them lip service in public. By undermining the other gods and their faithful, the church of Ilneval will grow in power and become supreme in orc society.

        Day-to-Day Activities: As stated above, the clergy of Ilneval occupy the middle ground in orc society. In times of war (which is admittedly the majority of the time for orcs), Ilvenal's followers make up the majority of the command structure of orcish armies. They also formulate the attack plans and overall strategy. Unfortunately for them, discipline in orcish armies ("hordes" would be a more appropriate term) is so hard to maintain that their sometimes well-laid and clever plans often are completely ignored, usually with disastrous results. This drives many of them to despair, but the most intelligent of them have discovered how to use the lack of discipline to the army's advantage during battle, and have scored surprising successes. In the rare periods between conflicts, Ilneval's clergy help run orc communities, often doing the less glamorous, although necessary, government (to use the word loosely) duties, such as maintaining community order, that the followers of Gruumsh feel are beneath them. They also tend during these times to get involved in deep political maneuvering and various subtle plots to undermine the authority of Gruumsh and his followers.

        Holy Days/Important Ceremonies: The church of the Clever Arm has only one widespread holy day, and even it is not uniformly celebrated throughout the Realms. On or around Greengrass, the followers of Ilneval celebrate the Opening, the formal beginning of the battle season. The clergy gather on this date to form the overall strategies for the upcoming year, assign military duties, and promote those who served well and intelligently in the previous year's campaign. Ceremonially, the date is filled with songs and chants of earlier conquests, ritual anathematizing of traditional enemies, and concludes with a ceremonial declaration of war against all the tribe's/settlement's foes (which usually includes just about everyone within a few hundred miles). After a particularly hard-fought victory, the clergy celebrate Ilneval's Will, showing their devotion to their god and his plans by sacrificing one or more enemy taken prisoner during the conflict, officers if possible. Ceremonial jagged-edged broad swords are used in this lengthy, blood-soaked, and painful (for the victim(s)) sacrifice.

        Major Centers of Worship: In the northern foothills of the Storm Horn Mountains, overlooking the Goblin Marches, a huge, but crude, stone temple dedicated to Ilneval has recently been built by the clergy of the Clever Arm using conscripted goblin and hobgoblin labor. The Home of the Warchief is presided over by Bloody Sword of Ilneval Urghlokh Skullsmasher, a particularly huge and ugly orog who has managed to carve out a relatively large realm out of the chaos of the Goblin Marches. It remains to be seen whether he and his forces will come into conflict with the Tusks of the Unblinking Eye, an order dedicated to Gruumsh (see the entry of that deity for details on this group) with a similar agenda of conquest in the area.

        Affiliated Orders: In the Spine of the World Mountains, Blood General Ghuursauk leads the Sword of the Warchief, a group of (mainly orog) crusaders, specialty priests, and fighters dedicated to Ilnevar. They are a well known scourge to the humans and dwarves in the valley of the Khedrun, and through their hard work and dedication they have all but eliminated the non-orc population in the area. The next stage in their plan is to forge a new nation of orcs and orogs in the mountains, and then, when is the time is ripe, to sweep down and take Mirabar. But unlike most orc conquests, the Sword doesn't plan to destroy or ransack the city (beyond the usual deprecations that occur in a newly-conquered city), but to use the town and its profitable mines to grow immensely rich and powerful. After that, the conquest of the rest of the North should proceed with ease. Through omens, Ilneval has indicated that he is highly pleased with the Sword's work and foresight.

        Priestly Vestments: Unlike the other orcish faiths, the followers of the Clever Arm are wear fairly standardized vestments during ceremonies and rituals, with the exception of the most isolated tribes. Priests of Ilneval wear armor, usually chain mail, forged with special ingredients so that it possesses a unique blood-red hue. Long jagged broadswords hang from their belts, when not being used in gruesome rituals and sacrifices.

        Adventuring Garb: When on campaign, Ilneval's faithful wear the best armor they possess, although in most cases this is the same as the ceremonial armor; and in almost all cases they wield in combat the same broadswords used in rituals. They also tend to wear red helmets, or blood-red feathers on normal helmets, to help distinguish them from the others during combat to ease the passage of messages in the command structure and to provide rallying points for broken formations.

Specialty Priests (Uthlaak)

Requirements: Strength 10, Intelligence 12, Wisdom 9, Charisma 12
Prime Req.: Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma
Alignment: LE
Weapons: Any, but broad sword preferred
Armor: All armor types up to and including chain
Major Spheres: All, combat, charm, divination, guardian, law, sun (reversed only), thought, war
Minor Spheres: Creation, healing, necromantic, protection, summoning, wards
Magical Items: Same as clerics
Req. Profs: Broad sword
Bonus Profs.: Etiquette (orcish), heraldry (orcish)
  • Uthlaak must be orcs, orogs, or half-orcs.
  • Orogs may multiclass as fighter/uthlaak.
  • Uthlaak may take non-weapon proficiencies from the warrior group without penalty.
  • Uthlaak receive a +1 bonus to hit and damage with their ceremonial broad swords.
  • At 3rd level, uthlaak gain the ability to brew a weak acid with which they can coat their broad swords. This does 1d4 extra points of damage on the first successful hit only. Making the acid takes 2d4 days spent in gathering the components and brewing them, producing 1d6+2 applications. Due to Ilneval's blessing, this acid does not harm the ceremonial swords, but does damage other metal objects.
  • At 5th level, uthlaak are able to cast prayer once per day.
  • At 7th level, uthlaak are able to cast Melf's acid arrow once per week.
  • At 7th level, uthlaak who are not multi-classed may attack three times every two rounds.
  • At 10th level, uthlaak gain the ability to cast domination twice per week.
  • At 13th level, uthlaak who are not multi-classed may attack twice every round.
  • At 13th level, certain uthlaak held in extremely high esteem by their deity gain the ability to create, at most once in their life, a special ceremonial broad sword. In a ceremony needing months of preparation and taking hours to complete, Ilneval bestows his blessing on the broad sword and its owner, imbuing it with the properties of a sword of wounding. It only possesses these properties when in the hands of its original owner, and upon his or her death, the sword shatters into useless shards.


Click here to return to top of the page


(White-Hands, the Silent One, the Rotting One)

Intermediate Power of Gray Waste, NE

Portfolio: Death, disease
Aliases: None
Domain Name: Oinos/Fleshslough
Superior: Gruumsh
Allies: The orc pantheon, Myrkul (dead), Talona
Foes: All non-orcish deities, but especially the Seldarine, the Morndinsamman, the goblin pantheon, the hobgoblin pantheon, Meriadar
Symbol: A white hand on a black background
Wor. Align.: LE, NE, CE

        Yurtrus (YUR-trus) is the orc deity of death and disease. As such, he is not so much worshiped by the members of the race as he is feared and propitiated. His approach is dreaded by all orcs, and they shudder at the thought of his cold touch. Orc children are frightened into obedience by their elders by threatening stories of the Silent One, who impatiently awaits (they are told) to drag them off to his cold halls. These stories do not exaggerate the truth; Yurtrus is the undisputed lord of the orcish dead, and his realm on the diseased-filled plains of Oinos is filled by the rotting, wailing spirits of those he has claimed as his own.

        Like Shargaas, the Rotting One's relationships with the rest of the orcish pantheon is rather distant due to lack of interaction and planar distance. The only member of his pantheon he feels more than a cool indifference is Shargaas, with whom he has a long-standing dispute over the portfolio of undeath. Yurtrus long ago lost this to the Night Lord, and the Silent One has never forgotten this.

        Yurtrus' relationships with the other powers are similar to those of the other deities in his pantheon. Not surprisingly, the elvish and dwarvish pantheons hold him in the same low esteem as they hold the rest of the orc pantheon, as do the goblin and hobgoblin deities. He was once close to the human god of death, Myrkul, and maintains a good working relationship with Talona, with whom he trades new ideas for making diseases and plagues even more virulent. The current human deity of death, Kelemvor, has no deep opinions of Yurtrus, mainly because the orc power does not hold the portfolio of undeath as well. Other powers of death, such as Urogalan and Dumathoin, similarly hold him in indifference. Indeed, of all the orcish powers, Yurtrus is probably has the least hate directed towards him by outsiders (although such hate is still considerable!) as he brings death to more orcs than they or their followers ever possibly could.

Yurtrus' Avatar (Priest 30, Necromancer 20, Fighter 15)

        Yurtrus appears a huge, vaguely orc-shaped creature whose utterly disgusting features inspire revulsion in all who behold him. His skin is green and rotting, slowly decaying and peeling away from the disgusting, dripping, and maggot-ridden flesh below. The sole exception to this decay are his two chalk-white hands. The Silent One does not possess a mouth, nor is he able to speak (when an orc says "when White Hands speaks", he means "never"). His avatar does not wear armor, nor does he wield a weapon. He instead depends on the devastating diseases bestowed by his disgusting touch. When he casts spells, Yurtrus prefers to use those of the necromancy school, and the reversed forms of those from the necromancy and healing spheres. Despite his inability to speak, Yurtrus can cast spells with a verbal component without hindrance.

AC -3; MV 9; HP 136; THAC0 2; # ATT 7/2
Dmg: 2d4+9 (claws + STR bonus)
MR 50%, SZ L (10 feet tall)
STR 21, DEX 18, CON 21, INT 22, WIS 23, CHA 1 (yes, 1)
Spells P: 13/12/12/12/11/10/8; W: 6/6/6/6/6/5/4/4/3*
Saves: PPDM: 2, RSW: 5, PP: 5, BW: 4, Sp: 6
*numbers assume one extra necromancy spell per level

        Special Att./Def.: In combat, Yurtrus attacks with his raking claws, each doing 2d4+9 points of damage. Each successful attack necessitates two saving throws vs. death; failure of the first drains a level in a manner similar to a wight and failure of the second causes a rotting disease fatal in 1d4 days unless a heal spell is cast. Once per day, Yurtrus can cast slay living (as per the priest spell) with a -4 penalty on the save.

        Yurtrus is immune to all energy- and level-draining attacks (such as vampiric touch or energy drain), but conversely is harmed by spells such as raise dead, resurrection, and restoration (1d4 points per level; for example raise dead, a fifth level spell, would do 5d4 points of damage. Yurtrus is continually surrounded by a miasma similar to a stinking cloud; creatures of 1 to 4 HD or levels are affected as if by dust of sneezing and choking; creatures of 5 to 8 HD or levels are affected as if by a stinking cloud; and creatures of 9 HD or levels and higher are affected as if by a stinking cloud, but a save vs. poison negates the effects.

        Yurtrus rarely sends his avatar to Toril; when he does so, it usually to stalk and kill single and/or groups of orcs who have either offended him in some way or just happen to be in the wrong place when he appeared in a bad mood (which is just about all the time). At other times, White-Hands uses his avatar to spread a newly-developed plague. Yurtrus' reasons for these seemingly meaningless rages is simple: he wishes for the number of his subjects in the realm of the dead to grow, and for those orcs still living to fear and propitiate him. Needless to say, after a visit by one of his avatars, the numbers of orcs in both categories rapidly increase.

Other Manifestations:

        Yurtrus manifests almost exclusively in the form of plagues and virulent diseases. He shows his favor on his priesthood and followers by giving them immunity to these visitations (although they still may be carriers); if he is not pleased, they will be as susceptible as the remainder of the population. Much more rarely, he shows his favor upon individuals by surrounding them with a sickly greenish-brown aura; this often gives temporary immunity to energy draining effects or grants the recipient the ability to cause a lesser version of the avatar's disease attack (treat as the fatal version of the cause disease spell).

        Yurtrus is served by baatezu, gehlereths, gulguthras (otyughs, etc.) hordelings, imps, maelephants, nightmares, rats, undead of all sorts, and yugoloths. He rarely sends omens other than in the form of diseases and plagues, though he has on occasion shown his favor by the discovery of emeralds, jade, sphene gems, and similar gems, all having a particularly sickly green hue.

The Church

Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, shamans
Clergy's Align.: NE
Turn Undead: Cl: No, SP: No, Sha: No
Cmnd. Undead: Cl: Yes, SP: Yes at -2 levels, Sha: No

        All clerics, specialty priests, and shamans of Yurtrus receive religion (orc) as a bonus non-weapon proficiency.

        The clergy of the Silent One are for the most part a fringe element in orcish society. They are both feared and secretly reviled by the orcish populace at large - for obvious reasons, given what they and their god represent. Unlike the clergies of some powers of death, the followers of Yurtrus do not focus on the positives of the end of this worldly existence, but instead revel in describing its drawbacks. They are not above speeding the process along either, especially for those orcs who disagree with or oppose them in some way; and bringing death to non-orcs, although not exactly a central tenet of the faith, is still somewhat pleasing to the Silent One as all death is good in his eyes. If they feel that their god isn't getting the worship and propitiation due him, they do not hesitate to show his and their displeasure by raising the number of deaths, either by outright (though usually secret) murders or (more usually) by encouraging the spread of disease. Usually, these actions rapidly tend to have the intended effect, quickly increasing offerings and prayers to White Hands to stay his wrath.

        The clergy of Yurtrus is fairly well organized for an orcish faith and many titles are wide-spread. Novices tend to be called the Silent; titles for higher-level clergy include Unrotted, Cold Hand, and Deathbringer. The highest ranking clergy in an area tend to be called the Rotting Hand.

        Specialty priests of the Rotting One are known as vrashoi, an orcish word meaning "death lords". Most of his small clergy are specialty priests (65%); the remainder are clerics (20%) and shamans (15%). The relations in and among the groups ranges from fairly good to outright hostile, simply depending on the situation (sometimes there are those orcs that just need to be sent to Yurtrus a little ahead of time...). Although most are orcs (70%), there are half-orcs (20%) and orogs (10%) in the clergy; by orcish tradition, all are male.

        Dogma: Death and disease are a part of orcish life, so embrace them instead of fearing them. They are signs of the Rotting One's will, and to attempt to avoid them is sacrilege. If it is his will that death and disease be spread and become more prevalent, then do not hesitate to undertake actions to send more orc souls to his dark realm. Take non-orcish life freely, as all death is pleasing to Yurtrus. Teach all to respect Yurtrus, and if any show him contempt, make an example of them to demonstrate why the Silent One should be feared.

        Day-to-Day Activities: As death, particularly of the violent type, is almost a daily fact of life in orcish society, the clergy of the Silent One tend to be very busy. Their main duty is preside over the funeral and burial rites, such as they are for orcs (these range from grand ceremonies marking a great chieftain's passing to the all-too-common rites over the mass graves of the fallen in battle). Less often, during times of plague, they are busy either spreading the disease to those who haven't shown the Rotting One proper reverence, or passing on immunity or healing those who have been respectful to Yurtrus and his clergy.

        Holy Days/Important Ceremonies: The Dying, which is not celebrated on any fixed date, but sometime in the autumn shortly after the first killing frost, is the holiest day of the year for the Rotting One's clergy. As the leaves fall and as other plants whither and die, the followers of Yurtrus celebrate the inevitable victory of death over life. Midwinter Night, which is also holy to several other orcish faiths, is also sacred to the followers of the Silent One; to them the long dark night symbolizes the final darkness that Yurtrus gives to all and is a foretaste of his realm in the Gray Waste. Outside these two dates, the most important and sacred ceremony for the clergy is when one of their own is "taken by White Hands" to become one of his favored servants in his cold halls.

        Major Centers of Worship: Beneath the Earthfast Mountains, among the never-ending battles and skirmishes between orcs and dwarves, a thriving temple of Yurtrus has rapidly grown to prominence amongst all the carnage. Rotting Hand Vornaarr is the high priest of the House of the White Hand and leads an ever-growing band of followers, who both tend to the massive numbers of orc dead and campaign fiercely to add to the number of dwarven fallen.

        Affiliated Orders: Yurtrus' church doesn't tend to sponsor military orders, although periodically unofficial groups do form to campaign in his name. For example, the Deathbringers, a group of priests and fighters (the latter members mainly for the carnage), are currently bringing as much death as possible to various groups of humans and demihumans in the Orsraun Mountains. Not even orcs in their path are safe; only those who show proper respect to the Silent One are spared, the remainder are dispatched to Yurtrus' halls. Needless to say, various human, demihuman, and even orc parties have been attempting to track down and destroy the group; their likely fatal end is typical of those bands who so openly spread death in Yurtrus' name.

        Priestly Vestments: The clergy of Yurtrus don ceremonial armor made of the tanned skins of the humans, demihumans, and goblinoids they have slain (treat as leather armor for AC purposes). The "gauntlets" of such armor are dyed white to give the appearance of white hands. They also wield ceremonial maces which have heads formed in the shape of white fists.

        Adventuring Garb: When in the field, the followers of the Silent One continue to use their ceremonial maces (see above), but switch to more conventional leather armor, though the gauntlets on this set must be dyed white as well.

Specialty Priests (Vrashoi)

Requirements: Constitution 12, Wisdom 9, Charisma no greater than 9
Prime Req.: Constitution, Wisdom
Alignment: NE
Weapons: All bludgeoning (wholly type B) weapons, but traditionally only the ceremonial maces
Armor: Leather
Major Spheres: All, astral, combat, healing (reversed), necromantic (reversed), time
Minor Spheres: Protection, summoning, sun (reversed), travelers, war
Magical Items: Same as clerics
Req. Profs: Horseman's mace
Bonus Profs.: Leatherworking
  • Vrashoi must be male orcs, half-orcs, or orogs.
  • Vrashoi may not multi-class.
  • Vrashoi gain a +2 to saves vs. poison and disease.
  • At 3rd level, vrashoi can cast stinking cloud once per day.
  • At 5th level, vrashoi can cast cause disease once per day.
  • At 7th level, vrashoi can cast contagion or poison (the reverse form of neutralize poison) once per day.
  • At 10th level, vrashoi gain a +1 to their constitution score due to their continual exposure to and survival of death and disease.
  • At 13th level, vrashoi can cast slay living once per week.


Click here to return to top of the page


(The Cave Mother, The Dark Mother, the Healing Mother)

Lesser Power of Acheron, LE

Portfolio: Fertility, female orcs, servitude, healing, the earth, caverns, dark places, vengeance
Aliases: None
Domain Name: Avalas/Nishrek
Superior: Gruumsh
Allies: The orc pantheon
Foes: Almost all non-orcish deities, but especially the Seldarine, the Morndinsamman, the goblin and hobgoblin pantheons (although most of these feel less enmity towards her than towards the rest of her pantheon).
Symbol: A cave entrance
Wor. Align.: LN, N, LE

        Luthic (LOO-thick) is the orc goddess of fertility, as well as several other portfolios which in some way relate to her fertility aspect. She is the patroness of the child-bearing females of the orcish race, and as a result, due to the orc's deeply-held sexist views, she is also the symbol of female servitude. Because of her nurturing nature as a fertility goddess, she also holds sway over healing and medicine. Moreover, like many other similar powers, she has ties to the earth as the fountainhead of fertility. She is also the patroness of caves and other dark places through her ties to the earth and her dominion over motherhood and the home (many of which for orcs are caves). Because of her grief and anger over the brutal deaths of so many orcish sons, she has also gathered vengeance and those who cry out for revenge (especially grieving mothers) into her portfolio. While she has some dominion over darkness (as mistress of caves and dark places) and disease (as a combination of her healing and vengeance aspects), these are more properly considered parts of the portfolios of Sargraas and Yurtrus.

        Luthic is the consort of Gruumsh and the mother of Bahgtru. While relations with her husband are sometimes strained, she has never ceased to dote on her son, despite his failings, and the feelings are reciprocated. In fact, should Gruumsh's and Luthic's commands conflict, the Strong Arm invariably follows the directives of his beloved mother despite the inevitable wrath of the One Eye. Relations with Gruumsh's other lieutenant, Ilneval, are no where near as cordial; Luthic knows that the Clever Arm blames her for countering his attempts to persuade Gruumsh of Bahgtru's incompetence. Needless to say, Luthic deeply dislikes her son's rival, and should she discover Ilneval's intrigues to undermine her (and Gruumsh's) authority through his followers, things would deteriorate even further (if it would be possible to do so). Due to the overlap with the portfolios of Shargraas and Yurtrus (for which see above), there is some conflict between these two powers and the Dark Mother, although it is nowhere near as antagonistic as her relationship with Ilneval. Luckily, the distance between Acheron on one side and Gehenna and the Gray Waste on the other lessens what could otherwise be a nasty situation.

        One of the most noticeable difference between Luthic and the rest of her pantheon is her relationships with non-orcish deities. While her interactions with non-orc powers can hardly be described as cordial, she is not viewed with as much disgust and hate by them as are the other orcish gods. Since alone among the orcish pantheon, she is a non-aggressive power, she is thought by learned sages to have the best chance amongst them to abandon the selfish ethos of her kind and turn towards less brutal ways (of course, these sages always add, "but don't hold your breath" onto the end of any such statement). Interestingly enough, since the Time of Troubles, certain good and neutral fertility goddesses have begun to very covertly communicate with the Dark Mother, attempting to influence her to abandon both her pantheon and her current ethos. These secret communications, believed to have begun by a chance (and amazingly non-fatal) encounter between Luthic and the Sharindlar (the dwarven power of fertility) during the Godswar. Since this time, this group of good and neutral goddesses whose portfolios deal in some way with fertility (Chauntea, Sune, Sharess, Sharindlar, Sheela Peryroyl, Shiallia, and, VERY secretly, Hanali Celanil) have continued to clandestinely communicate with their orcish counterpart, and amazingly, Luthic hasn't rejected their viewpoints outright. This certainly isn't to say that she is on the verge of wrenching herself away from her current position, but there now may be a remote possibility that in the distant future, the Healing Mother may shift towards a more benign alignment, maybe towards something like Sheela Peryroyl. For the time being, although she is listening with interest, Luthic is resisting anything resembling such movement; she fears the other members of her pantheon, suspects in a classically orcish paranoid manner that the goddesses may just be attempting to manipulate or destroy her, and too greatly enjoys being the patroness of vengeance to currently consider giving it up. Finally, this dominion over revenge has attracted the attention of Hoar, but he still remains coolly neutral towards her as has never forgotten the decimation of his pantheon by the orcish powers when he was still the Untheric power Assuran.

Luthic's Avatar (Cleric 30, Fighter 15, Mage 15)

        Luthic appears as a tall female orc with dark brown skin and dull black hair and eyes. She possesses four huge black claws on each hand, each wickedly sharp and pointed. She never uses a weapon (the claws tend to get in the way), a shield, or armor. Unlike most of the rest of her pantheon, she delights in casting spells, favoring those of the protection sphere and abjuration school.

AC -3; MV 12; HP 179; THAC0 -2; # Att 7/2
Dmg 4d4+5 (claws +2, +2 specialization, +1 Str)
MR 35%, SZ L (8 feet tall)
Spells P: 13/12/12/12/11/10/8; W: 5/5/5/5/5/2/1
Str 17, Dex 20, Con 18, Int 20, Wis 23, Chr 21
Saves PPDM: 2, RSW: 6, PP: 6, BW: 4, Sp: 7

        Special Att./Def.: In combat, Luthic attacks with her razor-sharp claws; these rake their victims for 4d4+5 points of damage and in all ways act as +2 weapons. If she wishes, she can forgo her attacks for one set of claws for a round in an attempt to trap a weapon; if she scores a successful hit against AC 0 while doing so, the target weapon is trapped and must save vs. crushing blow or be snapped in two. If the trapped weapon survives, she can disarm her opponent by winning a contested strength check. She also carries a stone of controlling earth elementals and usually activates it as soon as possible whenever conflict seems immanent. She can also cast darkness at will once per round.

        Luthic's defenses are much more formidable than her combat skills, as befits a power dedicated to defending the home; notably, most of the defenses are much more powerful underground or in darkness. While in such a state, her AC drops to -5, she gains a +2 to hit and damage, she regenerates 2 hit points per round, and cannot be held, paralyzed, petrified, blinded, or deafened. No matter where she is, Luthic is permanently protected by a protection from normal missiles, and cannot be affected by magic missiles in a manner similar to a shield spell (although she doesn't receive any of the other effects of that spell).

        Luthic only very rarely sends her avatar to Toril. On the rare occasions she does, it is usually in response to an invasion threatening a large number of orc homes, or in revenge for wholesale slaughter of females and young. She also sometimes appears after battles to heal the wounded, especially again females and young, and also during fertility rites to give her blessing and show her favor.

Other Manifestations:

        Luthic sends a wide variety of omens to show her favor and disfavor. Most often, her favor is shown by the discovery of claw marks, usually on stone, but more rarely upon other items. The Healing Mother shows her greatest pleasure towards her most faithful by leaving said claw marks upon their bodies, an painful yet rapturous experience called the Raking by the lucky recipients. She also manifests by a magical darkness in an area or as a pitch-black aura around favored followers. The latter often temporarily gain an added benefit, usually the ability to regenerate 1 hit point per round or having all healing spells having the maximum possible benefit.

        Luthic is served by baatezu, black dragons, cave fishers, deep dragons, imps, maelephants, rust dragons, rust monsters, shadows, shadow dragons, and yugoloths. She shows her favor by rumbling at cave entrances and by the discovery of black opals, black pearls, black sapphires, jet, horn coral, obsidian, and onyx. She shows displeasure by lighting ordinarily dark areas, and by rock falls at cave entrances. If she is displeased by a whole community, the birth rate may drop precipitously, even to zero.

The Church

Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, shamans
Clergy Align.: LN, LE (possibly N soon)
Turn Undead: Cl: Yes (in defense of the home or children only), SP: Yes (see cleric), Sha: No
Cmnd Undead: Cl: No, SP: No, Sha: No

        All clerics, specialty priests, and shamans of Luthic receive religion (orc) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.

        The clergy of Luthic are a highly visible proportion of orcish society, especially among the women, but even among the males, her followers' legendary healing powers are highly appreciated. Her clergy make no pretensions towards ruling orc tribes or settlements or leading their armies. They do often accompany these armies off to war, publically for their useful healing powers, but often as well for other reasons related to the Dark Mother's fertility aspect.

        Indeed, for orc males, it is the clergy's dedication to fertility that is the most noticeable function of the priesthood. Although many orcs choose mates for long periods and sometimes even for life, an orc male may take as many consorts as he can support. As a result, the most eligible females are snatched up by the most powerful males to become parts of large harems; even many typical older males have two or more "wives". The result of this is that there is a distinct disparity in single males and single females; luckily for such frustrated youngsters most temples of Luthic perform a secondary function as festhalls and brothels. (Though in the end the mortality rate for males is so high that eventually surviving orc males are able to find at least one eligible widow to settle down with).

        It is the orc females, however, who make up the core of Luthic's faith. She symbolizes everything about them, from childbirth to nurturing the young to the traditional subservience of their gender to the males. As a result, while orc males are sharply divided by deity, the females are all but united behind Luthic (although Ilneval is attempting to change this).

        Specialty priests of Luthic are known as gaathar, which can be translated as "cave mothers". By orcish tradition, all clergy of the Healing Mother are female; and while the majority of them are full-blooded orcs (55%), Luthic embraces all orcish offspring, so a rather high proportion of her clergy are half-orcs (30%) and orogs (15%). Specialty priests make up only a small proportion of the faithful (20%); more are shamans (50%) and clerics (30%). Relations between all the various branches are extremely harmonious for orcish society; most of Luthic's followers tend to work together towards common goals. Temples dedicated to the Dark Mother are invariably in caverns.

        The followers of Luthic tend not to worry overly much about grandiose titles; many proudly are called simply "Mother". Initiates are sometimes referred to as Daughter, and particularly old and revered clergy are often times known as Great Mother.

        Dogma: The females of the orc races were created for one main purpose: to bear and raise the next generation of orc warriors. Do not attempt to become the equal of the males, for females are weak and not suited for the rigors of rulership. Heal the wounded so that they may return to battle quickly. Defend the home and the children against marauders, and avenge the dead either through one's own actions or by reminding the males of their duty to do so.

        Day-to-Day Activities: The clergy of Luthic lead quite busy lives, especially in comparison to other orcish faiths. The supervise "marriages", assist at childbirths, help raise and teach the young, and run the orc equivalents of clinics and hospitals. They often go into the wilderness to gather special herbs and plants to assist in their healing and to ease birth pains. And, as the only outlet for female ambitions, they form a sort of social club where women can gather, socialize, and form bonds of friendship.

        Holy Days/Important Ceremonies: The most important date for the clergy of Luthic is the Return, a floating holiday not set by any calendar date, but by the return of the army at the end of the campaigning season. For the several days following this event, there are virtual street parties in orcish settlements, and many orcish couples use the occasion to undergo their race's equivalent of a marriage ceremony, presided over by Luthic's faithful of course. For those orcs wishing to remain unattatched, the festival is light on theology, but heavy in the pleasures of the flesh (which suits the Luthic just fine anyway). The Return is closed by a day-long ceremony at the local temple, ending in a mass fertility ritual that would make even the clergy of Sharess blush (before turning away in disgust). Needless to say, orc births rates are much higher for a short period several months following this festival.

        Major Centers of Worship: Deep in a cave in the Cloven Mountains above the eastern shore of the Deepwash, Great Mother Gorlush maintains the Grotto of the Dark Mother, a temple dedicated to Luthic built around a natural mineral spring reputed to increase fertility. Previously barren orc females for many miles around swear by its legendary properties, and as its reputation has grown, orcs from as far away as the Cloud Peaks and the Earthfast Mountains have made their way to the Grotto in order to drink and bathe in the blessed waters.

        Affiliated Orders: The church of Luthic does not sponsor any military orders, nor are their any adventuring groups dedicated to her. It is not the place of orc females to fight, so such things are for the followers of the male orc deities.

        Priestly Vestments: The clergy of Luthic on the whole eschew any special clothing for rituals, preferring to wear normal clothing.

        Adventuring Garb: Luthic's faithful almost never leave their home villages, and therefore rarely wear anything than their normal, everyday clothing. On those occasions when an enemy attacks their settlement, or when accompanying an army as a healer, they sometimes don leather armor to protect themselves. They arm themselves with small, easy-to-use weapons, often ones adapted from everyday household items.

Specialty Priests (Gaathar)

Requirements: Wisdom 12
Prime Req.: Wisdom
Alignment: LN, LE
Weapons: Size S melee weapons, darts, throwing axes, throwing daggers, throwing knives
Armor: Leather only
Major Spheres: All, creation, elemental (earth), guardian, healing, necromantic, protection, sun (reversed), wards
Minor Spheres: Animal, charm, combat, elemental (fire), plant, travelers
Magical Items: Same as clerics
Req. Profs: Healing
Bonus Profs.: Herbalism, cooking
  • Gaathar must be orcs, half-orcs, or orogs.
  • Gaathar must be female.
  • Gaathar may not multi-class.
  • Gaathar may lay on hands, similar to the paladin ability, for 1 hit point per level once a day.
  • At 3rd level, gaathar can cast protection from good, 10' radius, once per day. At 10th level, this protection becomes permanent, similar to a paladin's the protection from evil aura.
  • At 5th level, gaathar add 1 hit point to all healing spells cast.
  • At 7th level, gaathar gain a +1 bonus to their AC while defending an orc home or children (she must be within or within sight of what is being defended)
  • At 10th level, gaathar regenerate 1 hit point per round for one turn while defending an orc home or children (she again must be within or within sight of what is being defended), or while recovering from damage sustained by such a defense.
  • At 13th level, gaathar can cast one healing spell for maximum healing once per day.


Click here to return to top of the page