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    Canonfire :: View topic - This Tharizdun thing has gotten out of hand.
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    This Tharizdun thing has gotten out of hand.
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    CF Admin

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    From: Rel Astra

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    Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:42 pm  
    This Tharizdun thing has gotten out of hand.

    I'm reading through some OJ stuff and come across the following quote.

    Quote:
    Vecna, inspired by the glories of elven splendors, began to study magic. He discovered in the libraries a book from the Suel entitled "The Fate of Tilorop." He secretly begins to worship Tharizdun.


    That is absolutely sickening. Why must every evil being on Oerth be in some way connected to Tharizdun.

    I swear Tharizdun is the single most over-used, blown out of proportion, ridiculously and countlessly referred to, subject in Greyhawk. I nearly wish he had never been created, but that leaves me to believe this disgusting honor would fall to the next most evil and insane being of Greyhawk.

    I implore future writers and submiters, detour from this path and come up with something original, please.

    My apologies to the author for choosing this 1 reference of the near infinite amount available.
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    Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:09 pm  

    I quite agree.
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    Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:47 pm  

    looking through greyhawk related stuff it would often seem that Nerull, Incabulos, the Elder Elemental God et al. are lazy asses who simply sit around on thier thumbs all the time and let Tharzidun perpetrate all the ills of the world.
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    Tue Feb 10, 2004 4:12 pm  

    To forment some discussion, is it possible that the reason that Tharizdun is so involved with all the really powerful evils in the world because he used to be The Evil? I mean, he was so powerful that ALL the other gods combined couldn't kill him - instead resorting to locking him away.

    If this is the case in some ways it makes sense for him to be at the root of so many evil plots - because the other evil dieties are just lesser reflections of his once great evil and the truly evil beings of the world (such as Vecna) realise this and therefore worship him over the other evil dieties.

    Having said all that, I do agree that considering his imprisoned status he does seem to have a rather unrealistic influence considering that the other evil dieties are active in the world.
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    Tue Feb 10, 2004 7:35 pm  

    Yes it's true Tharizdun is use way too often. Instead he should be used by the Scarlet Brotherhood to further their gains. So seeing plenty of propaganda with Tharizdun being responsible for many things will allow them to further their cause.
    As far as Vecna worshiping Tharizdun i don't like it. Vecna could of worship Boccob or one of the gods from the old faith. i could see him worshipping the Shalm and using human sacrifices to appease the gods. Or as it has been suggested Vecna could of belonged to a coven of sorts in which his powers were originally gained through his dealing with outer beings (or hags).
    In either case I also remember hearing that the Elder Elemental was another form of Tharizdun. Just in case you did'nt have enough connections to Tharizdun.
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    Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:17 pm  

    I simply do not buy the Elder Elemental God being another form of Tharzidun... there is much more to indicate that they are different beings.
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    Tue Feb 10, 2004 9:05 pm  

    Argon, Yah.. I beleieve I recall reading some notes from Gygax about the EGG being a channel to Tharizdun or some such. That's an IIRC though. I'm aligned with Wes on the thoughts that this is a horrid idea as well.

    Vecna practicing worship of Boccob makes much much more sense to me as well. The only problem with this is that then we are one siding Boccob over Tharizdun. 2 mortals ascending to godhood, both worshippers of Boccob? lol, anything is better than another Tharizdun conspiracy so I'm gonna go with Vecna and Boccob. Wink
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    Tue Feb 10, 2004 10:53 pm  
    Ah, Good Ol' Tharizdun

    Hey, all.

    Well, don't hate me, but I am comfortable with and like the idea of Tharizdun. Overuse? Maybe, I guess it depends on opinion. It is the mystery of Big T, his current state of being and the circumstances that led to his imprisonment, that appeals to me. I also like the uncertainty that surrounds Tharizdun. The Dark One looms out of reach, but close enough to see - and thus close present enough to create fear. There is a tangible aura of dread associated with Tharizdun and the fell, maddening notions that he engenders. I like the ambivalence associated with the belief that he is shackled, but he is still so feared that records of him are totally expunged from history. How horrible is the secret about a sleeping god that all of the other deities want to keep from mortals?

    Vecna worship of Tharizdun? It seems a little flimsy to me, too. I posit that Vecna regarded Tharizdun with a degree of obeisance in an effort to fuel the Whispered One's selfish rise to power. But not really worship. More like a gleaning of useful knowledge and power.

    Paul Stromberg submits comment about Tharizdun and the Elder Elemental God in an interview with E. Gary Gygax. The article is called "Thus Spake Gary Gygax: Ye Secrets of Oerth Revealed" in Oerth Journal 12. I am fine too, with the connection between Tharizdun and the Elder Elemental God. But, I subscribe to the issue as detailed by Monte Cook in Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. It makes sense to me, and I like it.

    I understand the Tharizdun weariness, though. I feel the same way about St. Cuthbert and Pholtus. Shocked Nerull, Incabulos and Erythnul promoters, unite!
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    Wed Feb 11, 2004 10:11 pm  

    In my world Big T is just an old Baernoloth in a slumber. Even if he is awakened, he won't be all-powerful, just a good test for my PCs. Real players are Iuz (natch), Brotherhood, and Orcus (who has been set free, holds dominion over Ivid V, and is the real force behind the animus creations - yeah, I'm squarely in 582 CY). Hextor is lesser power in Great Kingdom, and Erythnul is the soon-to-deposed power behind The Horned Society. The orcs in the Pomarj aren't following marching orders from Turrosh Mak, they're under the sway of Vecna. Hmmm, I hope none of my players see this post!
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    Sun Feb 15, 2004 6:26 pm  

    In the past and overall I agree with many critiques of Steve Wilson's original timeline. However, connecting Vecna to Tharizdun makes sense to me in the following ways:

    After apotheosis, Vecna is the patron of dark secrets. In order to transmogrify, it is likely that Vecna pierced many old veils. While doing such, he may have learned of the Elder Elemental God, the binding of Tharizdun, the Wind Dukes of Aaqa and the great battle of Pesh, and the Isles of Woe and Codex of Infinite Planes.

    While the Whispered One need not have been a prophet of Tharizdun, upon finding such a great source of power, the Ur-Flan who ruled from the Spidered Throne may well have tapped into the dreams of the mad god and attempted to use the secret of Istus's spindle to trace the web-works of Fate's tapestry amongst the stars.

    One more crow dies on a field in distant Nyrond,
    And the Oerth turns.
    His crown falls from a king's withered fingers;
    A traitorous son gingerly lifts it ...
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    Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:45 am  

    MTG makes a good point with regard to Vecna and Tharizdun. If Tharizdun's power could be made to work in Vecna's self-interest, I would not be surprised to see Vecna revere that dark power. "Worship" may have been too strong a term to use. Then again, perhaps all worship of evil gods is merely a means to a selfish end.

    There do seem to be ALOT of references to Tharizdun in published materials (the inevitable result, IMO, of Gygax's use of Tharizdun in the Gord books). At the same time, Tharizdun is said to be THE God of Evil, and his release from bondage is the evil plot to end all evil plots. It seems only appropriate that this plot - wittingly or no - span the length and breadth of Oerth. All of the references to Tharizdun allow for this grand campaign theme.

    I would think that it should be impossible for PCs to discover the truth of all, or even most, of these references. As long as Tharizdun remains a mystery to PCs, I see no reason to avoid references to him in materials for DMs. Moreover, while Tharizdun might be a bit overdone, better that than encouraging the published materials to provide for more than one Armageddon scenario.
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    Mon Feb 16, 2004 5:12 pm  

    One thing I enjoyed in the early Dragonlance novels was a sense of balance. There was an evil god, a good god, and a neutral god to keep the other two in check. Of course, this setup is kind of stagnant, which is why I prefer Greyhawk.
    But with all the references to Tharizdun as THE evil god, why does he have to be the ultimate "end of the world" mechanism? Why can't the big T have a good counterpart that wants a happy ending (if there has to be an ending at all)? The Appocalypse doesn't have to utterly destroy everthing. Instead, it can be the culmination of the good vs. evil struggle that ends evil forever.
    Even if making an ultimate god of nicey-niceness is too cliched, then there ought at least to be some way of forever removing the threat of Tharizdun that the PCs can use to their advantage.

    I like DnD because you can be a hero and destroy evil. I like the Greyhawk setting because sometimes evil wins and the hero gets crunched. The feeling of danger is exciting, but there ought always to be an "out" for the heroes. If I ever run an "end of the world" campaign, I'll probably use Tharizdun, but I'll also design a way to defeat him.
    I hate sad endings. Wink
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    Wed Feb 18, 2004 9:06 pm  

    Well if you think about it Tharizdun could cause some interesting combinations. Think about priest's of Iuz and St. Cuthbert fighting side by side to twart the ultimate evil.

    A friend of mine actually had an adventure planned for Forgotten Realms which hung on a similar premise. Instead the first member of the Cult of The Dragon was gathering the bastard children of the gods from the time of troubles.
    It was thought that he found a way to bound the small amounts of divine energy from these bastard children into himself so he could ascend to godhood.
    So priests of Malar and Mielikki amongst other kinds of clergy members were forced to unite against this threat. It actually worked out pretty well. It was a very workable story line.
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    Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:19 pm  

    Just to bug Abysslin and for the amusment of all, I've written a quick little "alternate" Tharizdun scenario...please don't hate me. Wink

    While Oerth recovers from the horrors of the Greyhawk wars, Iuz laughs quietly to himself on the return trip to his stronghold in the north. Though it seems to the forces of good that he has been defeated, Iuz knows that he has wrought a great victory. For he has learned that his demi-godhood comes from none other than....Tharizdun the Mad God! It was really an avatar of Tharizdun who fathered Iuz on that foul night long ago, and now the wicked son has finished the first stage in a plan to release his father, for he has recovered the despicable artifact known as the Nunchuckas of Dtissucs. Crafted by an evil lich in a long ago age, this foul weapon is one of the three keys needed to unlock the Mad God from his prison. The Greyhawk Wars were just a feign.
    The second artifact Iuz needs is the little known Third Nipple of Vecna. Long has this powerful relic been hidden, and very few indeed even knew of its existence. The agents of Iuz have discovered its location, and now the dark demi-god understands how Turosh Mak manages to keep his orcish rabble together. Deep in the heart of the southern jungles the Third Nipple of Vecna lay dormant until it's discovery by Turosh Mak. Now the orc warlord uses the power of this relic to wage war on his enemies, but little does he know that he is now on the top of the Scarlet Brotherhood's list to be assassinated. Painting themselves green and adopting the crude customs of the orcs, agents of the Brotherhood have infiltrated deep into the ranks of Turosh Mak's chain of command. They are but one poisoned dagger away from gaining the foul relic their master needs.
    The final key, and perhaps the most little known artifact of all resides in the Former Great Kingdom. Cunningly hidden beneath the Malachite Throne of the Overking is the mighty Foghorn of Doom. There, so Xaene hoped, it would lay forever unused and unknown. Through dark consultations with the denizens of the lower planes, Iuz has discovered the location of this last key, and has sent his agents into the heart of the Aerdi lands to find a way to pierce the strange veil that separates Rauxes from the Prime Material Plane. But that will be the easy part....
    Iuz is closer to reaching his true ambitions than any suspect. Any, but the Circle of Eight that is, for Mordenkianen has had strange, disturbing visions of late. Who is this chained figure, so dark and powerful, yet trapped? Why does he seek the destruction of all that is? How can he be stopped? And most important of all, why oh why, does he wear that sickeningly cheerful yellow bonnet.....
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    Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:38 pm  

    If it weren't for the protective magics of the 3rd nipple upon you, I'd have you slain.
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    Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:52 pm  

    Just to confuse the issue further, because that's what I love to do, I thought I'd post a little something on this topic, one of those little pet subjects that I just love to get heretical about.

    You can find it in the He Who Shall Not Be Named thread.

    But to summarize, it has always been my contention that Tharzidun is not a single entity. Instead, Tharzidun is an ancient term which refers to a whole class of entities that are...a tad worse than the other evil gods, such as Nerull. I've creatively borrowed a few bits and pieces for my heresy over the years from Samwise, such as Incabulous being more of an Outsider God, which fits in perfectly with my views on the Tharzidun.

    Taras "Montand" Cranden-Guarhoth
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    Sat Feb 21, 2004 6:03 am  

    Shocked
    Worse even than the return of Tharizdun himself, these musings have awakened the sleeping evil behind Canonfire! that is Taras!
    Shocked
    Be afraid!
    Laughing
    (And welcome back Taras, we missed ya!)
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    Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:14 am  

    IMC....

    Tharzidun is relativly well known to sages and clergy across the Flaness. And he is easily dismissed.

    Everyone has heard "Tharzidun is waking up", "Tharzidun is locked beneath Castle Whatchamaggig", "Tharzidun fathered my second cousin's baby."

    Researchers believe that most references to Tharzidun actually doing something were actually the actions of another entity, be it EEG, Vecna, Nerull, etc. Either the misunderstanding served the entity's purpose, or they just didn't care if anyone knew the truth. If Tharzidun exists at all, he has not been heard from in millenia.
    Various gods and demon lords have granted spells in his name over the years, so cults do spring up from time to time. His longest standing following being the leadership of the Scarlet Brotherhood. But who believes they are sane anyway.

    The truth of the matter is that "tharzidun" is an Ur-Flan reference to certain entitys that exist in a realm known as the FarRealm. Insane, powerful, and unspeakable in appearance, these creatures motives are beyond mortal understanding. For whatever reason, the one known as Tharzidun has become trapped on our plane, and had to be imprisoned by the gods. His freedom could very well mean the end of the world, but the likelyhood of his stirring is remote in the extreme.

    Lovecraft rules!
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    Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:05 am  

    Dreyrugr wrote:
    Researchers believe that most references to Tharzidun actually doing something were actually the actions of another entity, be it EEG, Vecna, Nerull, etc. Either the misunderstanding served the entity's purpose, or they just didn't care if anyone knew the truth. If Tharzidun exists at all, he has not been heard from in millenia.


    Ah, the Kyser Soze approach to Tharizdun: "This is not the uber evil entity you're looking for, move along, move along...." ;)
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    Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:22 pm  

    Dreyrugr wrote:
    IMC....

    Tharzidun is relativly well known to sages and clergy across the Flaness. And he is easily dismissed.

    Everyone has heard "Tharzidun is waking up", "Tharzidun is locked beneath Castle Whatchamaggig", "Tharzidun fathered my second cousin's baby."

    Researchers believe that most references to Tharzidun actually doing something were actually the actions of another entity, be it EEG, Vecna, Nerull, etc. Either the misunderstanding served the entity's purpose, or they just didn't care if anyone knew the truth. If Tharzidun exists at all, he has not been heard from in millenia.
    Various gods and demon lords have granted spells in his name over the years, so cults do spring up from time to time. His longest standing following being the leadership of the Scarlet Brotherhood. But who believes they are sane anyway.

    The truth of the matter is that "tharzidun" is an Ur-Flan reference to certain entitys that exist in a realm known as the FarRealm. Insane, powerful, and unspeakable in appearance, these creatures motives are beyond mortal understanding. For whatever reason, the one known as Tharzidun has become trapped on our plane, and had to be imprisoned by the gods. His freedom could very well mean the end of the world, but the likelyhood of his stirring is remote in the extreme.

    Lovecraft rules!


    Interestingly enough this is similar to the take that I've taken on Tharizdun as well - except with a slight twist. In Pagan Publishing's Delta Green: Countdown there is a chapter devoted to the "Hastur Mythos" rather than the "Cthulhu Mythos".

    This idea in DG: CD is basically that Hastur is the personfication of the force of Entropy - and that all the references to beings and places such as the King in Yellow, the City of Carcosa, the Phantoms of Truth etc. are just manifestations of Entropy. Entropy itself just Is. It is mindless, without morals or ethics etc as it is a Force rather than a diety.

    Running on this theory could explain why the combined might of the Greyhawk gods couldn't destroy Tharizdun (even though he is apparently only an Intermediate diety) - they could only imprison him. Tharizdun is a personifcation of the primal force of Entropy whose duty it is to bring about the End of Reality in the Greyhawk multiverse. The gods, not really wanting their reality to End have managed to imprison the Architect of that End hence delaying the final dissolution of reality.

    Of course, the insane cultists of Tharizdun are quite happy to free their "Master" so as to bring about his divine rule - and the subsequent End of all things...
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    Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:44 am  
    Tharizdun & Elder Elemental Eye

    I agree. In the old days, Tharizdun was less of a hot topic. With the new 3rd edition (and 3.5 update) Tharizdun has become quite popular. This is in no small part due to Monte Cook's adventure, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, placing Tharizdun as the power behind the temple. I have ran this campaign...and I must say that I did make a few adjustments to explain the previous lack of connection between the church of elemental evil and the worship of Tharizdun.
    It's probably pointless to even suggest at this point, but here's how I present the relationship between Tharizdun and the Elder Elemental God:
    Originally, Tharizdun was the only god. He was alone, and out of his desire for another, Pelor was born. Tharizdun's mind fractured (a problem that has only gotten worse) and two gods stood where there had only been one. In this way, the two are actually one and the same. Pelor started fighting with Tharizdun, and where their spilt blood mingled, other gods sprang up. Pelor finally chained Tharizdun up and began to create the world. Tharizdun escaped and visited the Oerth to infect it with his madness and evil. The Underdark races (like Aboleths and Illitids) were born from this. All the gods joined forces and destroyed Tharizdun's avatar, then imprisoned his spirit in the Dark Cyst. The Underdark races worshipped this spirit, calling it "The Elder Elemental God". The gods couldn't kill Tharizdun, or it would kill Pelor, too.
    Anyway...the Suel worshipped Tharizdun...and at the peak of the war between Suel and Bakluni, a Suel priest sacrificed his son to give Tharizdun a new avatar. Tharizdun escaped and attacked Bakluni. This caused the Invoked Devestation. The Bakluni fought back, calling forth the Rain of Colorless Fire. This didn't completely destroy Tharizdun's avatar, however. It simply divided it into four parts, composed of the four elements. The Bakluni mages banished the Elder Elemental God back to its prison and sent the four parts of the avatar to their respective elemental planes. The priest that summoned Tharizdun got away...becoming the "First" of the Triad of Doomdreamers (Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil). He, then, founded a church based on the worship of the evil aspects of the elements. This worship granted each of the four parts of the avatar godhood. That is where the four elemental princes from Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil come it.
    Something like that....
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    Tue Apr 20, 2004 3:02 pm  
    I found this a couple of years ago...

    Removed
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    Last edited by avfanatic on Tue May 04, 2004 10:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Mon May 03, 2004 7:54 pm  
    Vashnaar's Take

    We briefly discussed Tharizdun at Greytalk last Thursday, and Vashnaar's name came up.

    HERE is a link to Vashnaar's five part history on the Sleeping God at RPG Oracle.
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    Fri May 07, 2004 2:43 am  

    If you subscribe to the theory above that Tharizdun = Entropy, then how about this for a follow up?

    How do you imprison Entropy?
    Answer: Through order (even if by expending the energy to create the order, according to the laws of thermodynamics, you increase the amount of entropy in the universe - which means that big T will probably win in the end anyhow - in the eventual victory of T in the Heat Death of the Multiverse).

    What's ordered?
    Well, the multiverse and structure of the planes is pretty ordered.

    So - might not the prison of Tharizdun be the whole structure of the ordered multiverse?

    Therefore the imprisonment of Tharizdun is the same as the creation of the multiverse (or perhaps the Oerth at least - see below). Which is why him breaking out of his prison is such a bad thing and results in one big unhappy Escheton for everyone - since destroying the prison, destroys everything and returns it to the primordial enthropy.

    So why is the Oerth so important?
    Well - if the multiverse is a prison, then perhaps Oerth is the lock/seal/keystone of the whole thing. Who controls the Oerth, controls the fate of the Multiverse. Hence the interest of various extraplanar types. If you're a demigod/demon/devil lord with control of the big red self destruct button of the multiverse - then you've got a lot of persuasion power. Hence also the determination of certain individuals (naming no even numbered covens of archmages) to maintain a balance on Oerth. And even of non-native gods not to interfere on Oerth - lest their struggles lead to the destuction of the one thing holding Tharizdun.


    Just thinking out loud....

    As a final note - T is overused. Now Incabulos on the other hand...


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    Thu May 20, 2004 10:51 am  

    Folks, this is a quite interesting discussion topic. I promise I will return with a solid comment.
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    Thu Aug 05, 2004 5:50 pm  
    A song for the Big T

    I applaud you all on the great comentary. Tharizdun and his place in Greyhawk has always been a favorite a favorite topic of mine.
    Special thanks to Woesinger, i've been waiting to hear those words.
    I leave you with lyrics to a song I once wrote, musing on his majesty the lord of primordial entropy. Its not much, and has yet to be recorded the way i'd like it, but I doubt the Big T minds.

    Doomdreamer

    Master of masters, in the dealings of disaster.
    He strikes the hearts of common man.
    Gods, religions, are his firends.

    Here they come wildly dancing, twirling, diving, prancing.
    Razored teeth with blade in hand, to eat the marrow of a man.

    You live a little life, love a little living.
    Thats where they begin.
    They live to take the life, love to take the living
    That is where we'll find our end.

    Doomdreamer, doomdreamer, i'm looking for the new doomdreamer.
    Doomdreamer, doomdreamer, i'm searching for the true doomdreamer.

    ALV, 2003
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    Fri Aug 06, 2004 8:41 am  
    Tharzidun Overused

    I have to agree with the statment of Tharzidun's overuse. I was quite pleased, long ago, with the introduction of the Lost Temple Module, and with some of his development over time. I always used Tharzidun as the Incarnation of Entropy, and that was the reason behind the gods inability to kill him. Not that he was superpowerful, just eternal (trully eternal, in a world where "Old Gods" are 3000 years old or so).

    I would say that the other deities mentioned in this thread are no longer providing sufficient challenge to players. This seems to be due to the influence of the Realms. Many people I have talked with seem to believe that Epic Play is the natural end point of every campaign, and every character is destined for at least Demi-God status. To be honest, I only have a couple of players/charaters where the introduction of World Bending power would be slightly interesting, at least for me as a DM. And I like my player's characters.

    Maybe I am wrong, but I think that the lost artifact, DM pencil of Character Slaying should be used more often, and Diamonds should be almost impossible to find in a wartorn world such as Greyhawk has been for the last 20 years. Happily, I recently got to hear the following refrain from a player in my Gran March campaign "Sure we want to Raise you, but I think we are going to take the money and raise an army instead."

    In a world like this, you don't need the Ultimate Evil, a fire giant will do. Tharzidun would remain that shadow under the bed, rather than the roach in every cabitnet, module and storyline.
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