Gazetteer – 04a020907 – Orcus
The Cult of Chaos led by the Laughing Man in the city of God’s Law in the Grable Province of Darkdoven generated a lot of divine power. Though technically generated in Dugrane’s name, the God of Law could not collect this power because it was warped by the chaos rune and unfit for him. This power pooled on a layer of the Abyss where a garden variety sloth demon discovered it and soaked it in. This demon was Orcus.
For the years that the cult betrayed Dugrane, this power streamed like black light through the altar of Dugrane to a chair that Orcus built beneath the stream like a throne. Ever lazy, Orcus sat there on his throne and absorbed enough power to challenge the gods. Other demons flocked to this new powerful player in the Abyss. Orcus ordered these demons to build a fortress around his throne. The fortress was named Castle Vile.
Demogorgon learned of Castle Vile and the demons that were flocking to a new master. He demanded an audience with Orcus to make sure the upstart paid fitting tribute to the prince of demons. Orcus refused. Enraged, Demogorgon gathered an army and marched on Castle Vile. But before Demogorgon could lay siege to the castle, Dugrane confronted the Laughing Man turning Chaos into a divine being. The Laughing Man’s first act as a god was to summon all the demon princes of the Abyss to his side. Orcus ignored the summons for he technically wasn’t a demon prince; a fact that angered Demogorgon even further.
The Laughing Man’s godhood shut off the altar of Dugrane’s stream of divine power flooding into Castle Vile. Orcus could no longer grant boons of power to reward the demons that did his bidding. He needed new ways to reward his flock. So, he decided to wage war on the other layers of the Abyss.
The demon princes were in Oklos fighting alongside the Laughing Man which left left their strongholds vulnerable. The armies of Orcus raided the strongholds of Baphomet, Abadon, Beelzebub, and Belphegor. Belphegor was the only demon lord still in his stronghold; he was too slothful to answer the summons of the Laughing Man. General Sonechard decapitated the Lord of Laziness in his bed and transported his head (and power) back to Orcus as a great prize. Orcus attempted to raid Demogorgon’s stronghold, but the armies of the prince of demons were still too strong to conquer even when their lord was away.
When the Laughing Man was defeated by Calgillien, the demon princes returned to their strongholds. Those whose strongholds were raided by Orcus retreated to rebuild. Demogorgon, however, vowed to put Orcus’s head on a spit. He marshaled his forces and demanded conscription from the other ailing princes so he could march on Castle Vile.
Without the power stream, Orcus feared he would lose the war to Demogorgon so he ventured to Oklos to seek worshipers. He found willing members among the vampires to join his cult. Through human sacrifices and prayer, the stream of divine power returned to Castle Vile and Orcus returned to his throne to soak in the power. There he waited on the armies of Demogorgon with hope that he could withstand the horde of the prince of demons.
Demogorgon besieged the fortress for nearly 50 years, but the constant influx of divine power from Oklos proved too nourishing to starve Orcus’s defenders out of their highly defensible position. Demogorgon sought to kill those devoted vampires but the prince of demons was weakened on Oklos because of the defeat in the war. His repeated attempts at extermination failed. The vampires now hate Demogorgon and this hatred has continued in the race of dhampir. Not a single dhampir pays homage to the prince of demons. Some heroes of the race seek to ally with mankind to banish Demogorgon from Oklos forever. The stalemate Orcus engineered only increased his reputation within the Abyss and reinforcements rallied to his banner.
When Chaos returned to Oklos as the Beast, Demogorgon once again joined his master’s side and once again Orcus ignored the summons. The call of the Beast, however, saw those vampires that worshiped Orcus abandon him for the Beast.
Orcus stewed in his castle fearing the return of Demogorgon without the power to resist him. He plotted the demise of the prince of demons, but that is easier said than done, because any such plot feeds the murder lord’s power more than it threatens his life. Orcus was trapped between a rock and a hard place.
When Jukal felled the Beast, the vampires who worshiped Orcus before were hesitant to worship him again. They had been disappointed with Orcus for not joining them in the battle and leading the vampire host against the Grables. Orcus gated into a council of the vampire commanders and killed them all with a cudgel of life he was gifted by Attilien the Dark. Attilien was the one vampire commander who remained loyal to Orcus and secretly alerted Orcus to where the council was being held. When Orcus was done with the slaughter, he fit the head of one of the vampire lords onto the end of the cudgel. So steeped in undead blood was the cudgel that it warped from a cudgel of life to a cudgel of death with a life ward applied to wounds inflicted from it. Orcus painted the cudgel black and named it the Wand of Orcus.
He returned to Castle Vile with his stream of divine power fully functional again. He sat on his throne awaiting the return of Demogorgon with little worry, but then the Great Flood came to Oklos and drowned all his worshipers. Attilien fled Oklos to the Abyss for safety. He joined Orcus’s court. The divine power only trickled in — so few of his worshipers were left.
Soon, an army appeared on the horizon. Orcus feared it was Demogorgon, but then felt relief when he saw that this army was filled with creatures he had not witnessed before, dark angels with red eyes and sour dispositions. Their leader was a charismatic man wielding a spear. In horror, Orcus recognized Dugrane from the statues of the former god of law in the city of God’s Law. Orcus gave his armies over to Attilien to lead out into the field and crush this invader of the Abyss. Attilien obeyed.
The armies of Dugrane were not as large as the horde from the Abyss. Attilien sought to overwhelm Dugrane with the sheer weight of numbers under his command, but Dugrane’s troops were much more disciplined and repelled onslaught after onslaught of the demonic horde as they advanced toward the citadel. Attilien, an exceptional commander formerly of the Grable Legions, took a defensive position that exposed the law host’s flank, but the lawgivers were not interested in his forces, instead they continued straight for the citadel. Attilien realized this was a mistake. Orcus had only to rally the troops still within the castle and hold for just a few hours and Attilien would be able to break the back of Dugrane’s armies. Attilien charged the flank as Dugrane reached the walls of Castle Vile. The demons on the walls fought for a bit, but Orcus never appeared to lead them.
Attilien collapsed the flank of Dugrane, but the Law Lord’s front stormed the gate allowing the majority of his forces to reach the inner compound of Castle Vile and secure the gate behind them. Attilien tried to scale the walls with his forces, but the invaders manned the defenses now and Attilien was repulsed. Desperately, he continued to attack hoping that Orcus had a plan to join the battle and turn the tide in the demons’ favor. He never showed. Who did show again though was Dugrane, but he had changed. No longer a man, but a god again. In his hand was a wand with a ruby set on top; the remnant of the throne he had just destroyed; the divine power gathered in his name stored within the gem.
His troops chanted Asmodeus as he saluted them from the balcony. He shot bolts of law out into the demon host. These red bolts disintegrated all that they touched. The host of Asmodeus flung open the gates and charged out to meet the demons on the battlefield. The lines of the demons shattered and Attilien was forced to flee along with his troops.
Orcus had fled the moment he saw Dugrane. Even though a mortal, Orcus feared him. He fled to Oklos and landed on a ship housing eight vampire lords. There he took the name Baron Memory and hoped to be forgotten. This continued for nearly the entire Age of Chaos until Duke Tarvan adventured to his hidden stronghold in the Ransgal Mountains and forced Orcus to flee again.
His whereabouts are unknown but he is not dead. The few cults around the world that pray to Orcus receive divine power in return. He is out there regrouping, scheming, sleeping or all three at the same time.