In the World of Greyhawk campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, as well as in the game's default pantheon of deities, Nerull is the Flan god of death, darkness, murder, and the underworld. He is known as the Reaper, the Foe of All Good, the Hater of Life, and the Bringer of Darkness. His symbol is a skull and sickle.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)
Nerull was first detailed for the Dungeons & Dragons game in "The Deities and Demigods of the World of Greyhawk" by Gary Gygax
#71 (1983). Nerull was subsequently detailed in the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting
(1983), and in Greyhawk Adventures
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)
Nerull was one of the deities described in the From the Ashes
set (1992), for the Greyhawk campaign, and appeared again in Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins
His role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).
Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)
Nerull appears as one of the deities described in the Players Handbook for this edition (2000). Nerull's role in the 3rd edition Greyhawk setting was defined in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer
Nerull is also detailed in the Manual of the Planes (2001), and Deities and Demigods (2002).
Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)
Nerull appears in the revised Players Handbook for this edition (2003). His priesthood is detailed for this edition in Complete Divine
Nerull was one of the deities featured in Libris Mortis (2004).
Nerull is usually seen as a black-robed skeleton, with a rust-red body and green, ropy hair. He carries a staff called "Lifecutter" that at his command grows a scythe
blade made of scarlet energy. His alignment
is Neutral Evil
. Nerull is the patron deity of those who seek the greatest evil for their own enjoyment or gain.
Among the Bakluni
, Nerull is known as Tharoth
the Reaper (This is unofficial Oerth Journal
material). He is viewed in this context as a servant of Istus
, in charge of ending mortal lives upon her command.
Nerull has tenuous alliances with Faluzure
. He respects Incabulos
, who starts the work that Nerull completes, but has nothing to do with him; their priests do not cooperate unless faced with a common enemy. The Foe of All Good sponsored the ascension of his mortal follower Kyuss
to godhood. He seeks to destroy and reabsorb the power of Mellifleur
, who stole divine energy meant for one of Nerull's own servants.
Nerull is said to slay Obad-Hai every winter.
Nerull dwells in Carceri
, either in its outermost layer or its innermost. According to On Hallowed Ground
, his realm is called the Crypt
and is a city inhabited by the dead and undead. There, Nerull consorts with fiends of all kinds, who wander the realm devouring the shrieking souls trapped under Nerull's power. According to the 3rd edition Manual of the Planes
, his realm is Necromanteion
, described as a citadel carved from black ice, where the souls of the dead are trapped within the walls, ceilings, and floors. Demonic clerics perform twisted experiments and recite ghastly litanies. Nerull's throne is within a wide hall called the Hidden Temple, and even more unspeakable horrors are said to be buried in tunnels beneath.
Unlike most inhabitants of the Red Prison, Nerull wasn't banished to Carceri; he lives there because he likes it.
Nerull's faithful believe they will be rewarded for acts of murder, for every living thing is an abomination in the eyes of the Reaper.
Nerull is the patron deity of those who seek the greatest evil for their own enjoyment or gain. Most common folk do not worship or propitiate him, although they fear him greatly. It is believed that any form of appeasement will merely draw his attention, something that is at all costs to be avoided by the sensible. Nerull seems, in fact, to draw power from the very avoidance of his name. Some of the peasants of the former Great Kingdom
do propitiate Nerull with minor rites, begging safe passage for the souls of the dead. Among the Flan and in the Old Faith
, Nerull is sometimes considered to be the god of winter.
The Reaper is one of the patrons of the Horned Society and the White Kingdom, and thought to be the will that animates the drowned ones.
Nerull's clerics are feared throughout the lands as cold, calculating murderers. Named clerics of He Who Revels in the Slaying of the Living include Delglath
, Andrade Mirrius
, Guiliana Mortidus
, and Nezmajen
. They are secretive and often solitary. When not in disguise, they dress in the same rust-red hue as the bones of their god.
Those who would become priests of Nerull must undergo an arduous initiation that climaxes in being buried alive for a time.
Nerull's temples are hidden and usually subterranean except in the most evil lands, as befits the god of darkness and the underworld. One place vile enough to openly host sizable temples of the Foe of All Good is Rel Astra
. Well known cults of Nerull include the Shriven Sickle
in Greyhawk, which seeks, among other things, to undermine the church of Saint Cuthbert
there. The Midnight Darkness
, active in the former Aerdy
lands, is led by a mysterious figure known as the Hidden Sickle
. In the Hold of the Sea Princes
, cultists of Nerull made it their goal to frustrate and destroy Jeon II
. This cult has recently been responsible for a series of extremely mysterious, grisly, and above all scary murders of various servants of good; apart from this they've kept themselves extremely secretive.
Services to Nerull are ghastly things performed in absolute blackness, featuring litanies of fear and suffering. Murder is done as an homage to the Reaper.
Nerull has few known holy days:
Relics associated with dread Nerull include the Mace and Talisman of Krevell
, named for one of his most infamous priests.
Myths and legends
When the Oerth
was still young, beings from the Far Realm
attempted to assert dominance over all reality. They sent minions to destroy the newly sentient, pre-human life that then lived on the surface of the world. Four gods rose to oppose this: Pelor
, and Kord
. Pelor and Nerull had yet to form allegiances to Good or Evil in those days; they were most interested in maintaining the balance between Law and Chaos. Kord was just along for the sake of having something to fight. The four gods each sacrificed a part of their power to create an anchor that would sever the ties of the invaders to their unguessable masters, and so were able to defeat them.
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