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    Gods of the Flanaess: Erythnul
    Posted on Mon, October 10, 2011 by LordCeb
    CruelSummerLord writes "How do I define ‘living life to the fullest?’ I define it as doing what I want, to who I want, when I want to, because it brings me pleasure."
    -Khuludden the Bloodstained, priest of Erythnul.

    "If I wish to murder a defenseless innocent, I have every right to do so. Should I wish to violate a helpless prisoner, once again it is my right. The fear and misery I spread in both my own name and those of the Red Hands confirms my power and stature, and what I have accomplished in my life. I live my life unencumbered by the petty laws of others, weaklings too cowardly to act on their dark impulses. I am bound by no such fetters. Through the Red Hands, I know what it truly means to live.”

    -Khuludden the Bloodstained, priest of Erythnul, explaining the basic tenets of the faith at the Temple of Erythnul in Kelten, 577 CY.


    Domains: Hate, Envy, Malice, Panic, Ugliness, Slaughter

    Home Plane: The Abyss

    Alignment: Chaotically evil, with tendencies towards chaotically neutral

    Alignment of Clergy: Chaotically neutral, chaotically evil, neutrally evil

    Alignment of Worshippers: Any evil, or chaotically neutral. While Erythnul is primarily worshipped by humans, he also has a substantial following among many humanoids and giants.

    History and Relationships: Born of the second generation of gods after the Age of Night and the imprisoning of the Dark Lord, Erythnul was a disgusting and sadistic creature so hideous that no deity would admit to siring him. Known for his hatred of most of the other gods and his jealousy of their physical beauty, Erythnul continually bullied and harassed his fellow deities, murdering their servants and followers to the point where he inspired fear and terror in all who crossed his path, save the evil gods of the humanoids and the giants, who shared his appetite for destruction and his enjoyment of inflicting pain upon others.

    When the gods began creating the mortal races that dwelt upon the Oerth, Erythnul relished the opportunity to spread his ethics of destruction and panic among them. Rather than create his own race, Erythnul began to cultivate his own following among humans, orcs, goblins, hill giants and other races with a strong capacity for evil. Joining their racial pantheons, Erythnul took a sadistic joy in the horror and misery he saw spreading across the Oerth, much of which he himself had helped spread. The blood that was shed was frequently attributed to his hands, and Erythnul responded by giving himself the nickname of the “Red Hands”, taking a perverse pride in his wicked accomplishments.

    No satisfactory reason has ever been given for Erythnul’s tendency towards hate and destruction. His malice, it appeared, was motiveless, as he simply felt an urge for and pleasure in murder and carnage. To this very day, Erythnul remains as brutally simple and straightforward as he has ever been, an engine of death and terror that knows what it is, and is proud of it.

    Erythnul’s allies tend to be those gods who either benefit in some manner from Erythnul’s rampages or who share his love of causing death and destruction. Such allies include Gruumsh, Baghtru, Maglubiyet, Hruggek, Nerull, Surtur, Hextor, Thrym, Grolantor, Orcus, Demogorgon, Vaprak and Yeenoghu. Almost every other deity or divine being, ranging from Rao to Incabulos to Corellon Larethian to the Queen of Air and Darkness hates and despises Erythnul, either because they abhor his destructive view of the world, or simply because the mayhem he causes has frequently been directed at them and their peoples, whether they be good or evil.

    Teachings: Erythnul’s church teaches that life is ultimately a never-ending torrent of misery and horror, and that mortal beings are fundamentally debased and immoral. As such, life belongs to those who indulge their darkest natures to the fullest, inflicting as much chaos and mayhem as they can before their own lives are eventually snuffed out. Laws and morals are the creation of weaklings too cowardly to act on their basest desires, and are meant to hold back and tie down those who dare to live life the way it is meant to be lived. Such weaklings are only fit to suffer and be destroyed, both for attempting to pervert the natural order of things and for the simple, pure pleasure of those who truly live.

    Murder, torture, and sadism are thus highly desirable both for their own sake, and for the fear they create in the weak. Just as important is the ugliness that the destruction leaves in its wake, whether in the harm inflicted on victims or the destruction left upon the land. To the church of Erythnul, the scars and trauma inflicted on a victim, and the gashes and burns of a burned field or a scorched forest, are among the most beautiful things in the world.

    The church further teaches that the ideal society is one based on obedience through fear, where the strongest of those who live life as it truly is rule over those who are weaker but still embrace the proper ideals, and who in their turn rule over the cowards and weaklings. Those who are strong must take care to maintain their power, lest they become complacent and slain by those who they deemed weak. Power would constantly fluctuate-the weakest would either prove themselves strong and rise to power, and the strongest showing that they deserve to remain in power and command the fear of those below them, or perish and suffer in their turn.

    The virtues of the Erythnian faith include the massacre of the weak and innocent, the inspiring of fear or terror in others, destroying things of beauty and leaving ugliness and destruction on one’s wake, feeling hatred and envy against those more prosperous and beautiful than oneself, breaking civilized laws, and destroying the institutions of society that hold back the deserving.

    The sins of the Erythnian faith include showing kindness and compassion to the undeserving, cowardice and weakness in the face of adversity, not acting on feelings of hatred or envy, obeying civilized laws, and making meaningful contributions to societies that otherwise hold back the most destructive and deserving.
    Interaction with Outsiders: The church of Erythnul is barred in most areas of the Flanaess, save vile realms such as Northern Aerdy, the Bandit Kingdoms, Rel Astra, and Stonehold. Even in Rel Astra and Northern Aerdy, the faith is barely tolerated and wields little influence or political power, instead generally confining its activities to violence against the lower classes, foreigners, and isolated areas.

    Elsewhere, Erythnul’s faithful are widely known for ministering to various bandit groups, humanoid bands, assassins’ guilds, and other groups of murderers, killers and psychopaths. Such individuals find a ready home in Stonehold, where the church of Erythnul is heavily favored by what passes for a government in that land, and many of the Bandit Kingdoms. More than any other land, tribe or group, the Bandits and the Stoneholders act on Erythnul’s perverted teachings, and their unlucky neighbors are frequently the ones against whom they practice it.

    As a result, while other evil faiths may be propitiated to avoid their attentions, and tolerated even in goodly-aligned lands, the faith of Erythnul is almost universally despised outside of the areas where it is supported, and mortals do not call on the Red Hands except to curse him.
    Erythnul’s largest temples are in Vlekstaad, Bastro, Kelten, Purmill, Rel Astra, Rookroost, Stoink, Kinemeet, Eastfair, Edgefield, Winetha and Atirr.

    Variant Sects: The clergy of the Red Hands do not typically disagree on matters of doctrine through church writings or theses, preferring to settle disputes with the sword rather than the pen. There is, however, disagreement on the faith about the treatment of friends and family, namely whether they can be shown at least some support and love. Some clergy claim that violence should only be directed at the weak and the frail, claiming that there must be at least some form of family ties and connections for society to function. There is no reason why slaughter and destruction cannot be a shared or even a family activity, with all the members sharing the pleasure of cruelty and murder. Many followers of Erythnul do in fact join various social groups such as bandit gangs and humanoid tribes, and perform the usual priestly duties of healings, marriages, blessings and exorcisms,

    Other followers of Erythnul do not necessarily disagree with this belief, but warn very strictly against taking it too far. Mercy and compassion can themselves be bred in an Erythnian who develops too much attachment to friends or family, while a true Erythnian would not hesitate to kill any of his own kin who displayed weakness. For all that cooperation and shared joy in destruction can be desirable traits, in the end all that truly matters is slaughter in the name of the Red Hands.

    Adventuring Clergy: Erythnul’s clergy are actively encouraged to adventure, and to cultivate reputations that inspire fear in the hearts of those who hear their names. They are also encouraged to invoke their deity’s name when committing murder, so that fear of the Red Hands itself continues to spread. While adventuring clerics may wield any weapon they choose, the heavy mace is particularly favored and seen as a sign of prestige in the faith, since the mace is Erythnul’s weapon of choice. Clerics may also wear any type of armor they choose, although associating with weakling races like elves or halflings is seen as a minor sin. Travel to strongly good-aligned lands like Furyondy or Keoland is also a minor sin, unless the cleric intends to cause mayhem and destruction while in those lands.

    Erythnul is said to favor those who commit murder in his name, who spread his name as they cause death and destruction, who deface or destroy things of beauty, terrify the weak and defenseless, and act to break and spite laws that hold back those who dare to live their lives to the fullest.


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    Re: Gods of the Flanaess: Erythnul (Score: 1)
    by SirXaris on Wed, October 12, 2011
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    That's a very nice article on Erythnul, CruelSummerLord! :)  I appreciate the depth you have gone to to give purpose to an otherwise inscrutable evil.

    I see that Sir Xaris is going to have to add another to his list of irredeemables...

    Volkag, Summoner of Death
    Scarlet Brotherhoood
    Gorrg, Elfslayer
    Khuludden the Bloodstained...



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