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Greyhawk creature
The animus Prince Kobasten of House Naelax, as depicted in Dragon #339 (2006). Art by Steve Ellis.
Alignment Any evil
Type Undead
First appearance From the Ashes

An animus is an undead monster created through the use of both arcane and divine magic. They are unique to the Great Kingdom and its successor states.


Animuses retain all skills and powers that they possessed in life (unless a deity forbids it) and also gain other powers from their transformation. All animuses possess immense strength, and can spread fear by their touch. They also gain the power to command undead, and can paralyze by gazing into a target's eyes. An animus can also mentally dominate living creatures and implant suggestions into their minds.

Among the most important powers of an animus is its regeneration powers. An animus can only be destroyed totally by being cremated or dissolved in acid.

Unique among undead, animuses are affected by disease. However, as the animus is already dead, no disease can be fatal or terminal to an animus.


Typical physical characteristics




According to some whispered sources, animuses are a legacy of the alliance between the House of Naelax and the devil Baalzephon. In the 440s CY, Ivenzen, an ancestor to the Naelax line of Overkings, made contact with Baalzephon to further his own powerbase. Baalzephon promised to aid House Naelax in gaining the Malachite Throne in exchange for the souls of the Naelax line. Part of this aid rendered would be the secrets to making animuses.

Around 583 CY, during the Greyhawk Wars, the first animuses were created. Overking Ivid V, paranoid about disloyal advisers and nobles, had numerous key generals, nobles and lords assassinated, particularly after the defeat of Aerdy forces at the Battle of Innspa. Their bodies were handed over to priests of Hextor and pit fiends supplied by Baalzephon. Each body was imbued with an admixture of divine and fiendish arcane spells while the body resided in an artifact on loan from Baalzephon, the Casket of Abyssal Bone.

Amongst those transformed into animuses was, eventually, Ivid himself, transformed on the orders of Baalzephon, who hoped to stave off the wasting disease that had afflicted Ivid and threatened to kill him. The aim was to keep Ivid as a stable puppet on the Malachite Throne. The plan failed, however, as the disease progressed unchecked.

Since the loss of Rauxes (and with it, Ivid), there have been no means to create new animuses, as Baalzephon's devils and the Casket have vanished along with the capital of the Great Kingdom. The exact spells used to create animuses have also been lost as well. However, numerous animuses still walk the lands of the Aerdi. Since Ivid's disappearance, the magical effects that bound them to loyalty to him were diminished, and many of the animuses pursue their own plans.

Another source gives Lady Lorana Kath, one of the original fourteen death knights created by Demogorgon, a hand in the creation of the animuses. According to this tale, Kath created the first animuses from peasantry from her fiefdom near Stringen, either as a means of finding a lover who could tolerate being near a death knight, or in the hopes of finding a way of undoing the transformation imposed upon her by Demogorgon. She later revealed the secret of animus creation to Ivid V and the priesthood of Hextor as a means of currying favor. Under this theory, Kath is thought to be still capable of creating new animuses, an ability that she uses as a means of retaining power within the priesthood of Hextor (Holian, Dragon #291, p. 95).

Known animuses

An unidentified animus, as depicted in From the Ashes (1992).

Publishing history

The animus first appeared in From the Ashes, which linked the first appearance of the monster to the Greyhawk Wars storyline. The idea was fleshed out in the never-released (but available online) supplement Ivid the Undying. The monster was later updated in 2001 for third edition in the Living Greyhawk Journal, and for 3.5 in Dragon's "Creature Catalogue" feature.

There have been no official game stats allowing players to replicate the process of creating animuses, and it is explicitly said that the process would be impossible to replicate in game statistics (Sargent, Ivid p. 32).


External link