Anthraxus

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Greyhawk Deity
Anthraxus
Anthraxus.jpg
Anthraxus the Decayed, as depicted in the Dragon Magazine Annual 1998. Art by Bob Klasnich.
Title(s) The Decayed, Harbinger of Disease and Decay, Lord of Despair, Lord of Misery
Former titles: Daemonking, Lord of Glooms, Oinoloth, Oinodaemon
Home Plane Gray Waste
Power Level Altraloth
Gender male
Class(es)
Alignment Neutral evil
Portfolio Disease
Domains
Alias(es) Phraxas
Superior None

Anthraxus the Decayed is a powerful altraloth, a unique magically augmented yugoloth. Anthraxus was once the Oinoloth, the lord of the Wasting Tower of Khin-Oin, a position and title held by one of the most powerful of the yugoloth race.

Description

Anthraxus appears as a tall man with a ram's head, badly ravaged by disease. In Artifact of Evil by Gary Gygax, he speaks in a coughing, choking voice.

Relationships

Anthraxus seeks alliances among the evil gods of the Lower Planes to help him take back his throne, so far without success, though in Artifact of Evil he acts as a messenger for Nerull. Unusual for a yugoloth of his rank, he is said to truly experience the emotion of hatred in his rage at Mydianchlarus for ousting him from his throne.

Worshipers

Anthraxus's mortal cultists are marked with deforming diseases as a sign of their faith. On ritual occasions, they wear white robes and capes, with red sashes about their chests and waists.

Anthraxus was one of the patrons of the Horned Society when it was founded almost a century ago.

Clergy

Anthraxus' priests, called degogs, dress in bright red robes with black hoods and sashes. Higher ranking priests wear black robes and hoods with red and gold sashes. The chief of the high priests is called the archdegog. Particularly favored archdegogs are transformed by Anthraxus to become an aspect or puppet of their god.

Temples

Shrines to Anthraxus, called conventicles, are found in hidden, subterranean areas, and involve flaming pentacles and blood-red swords thrust into the altars. They're often built around volcanic vents. Statues of deformed cultists and yugoloths of various castes are common, as well as statues of Anthraxus himself.

Rituals

Cultists of Anthraxus sacrifice young humans with all the qualities they dislike: youth, beauty, health, innocence, and so on. Cult ceremonies involve candles and long, droning chants with low, ominous tones of despair. Burning censers release thick yellow vapors into the air.

Artifacts

Anthraxus formerly wielded a powerful artifact called the Staff of the Lower Planes. Among other uses, it was capable of polymorphing fiends into larvae of the Gray Waste. Since his loss of status however, he appears to have lost the artifact, and a number of unique yugoloths are currently searching the lower planes for its location.

History

Anthraxus was originally an ultroloth transformed by night hags to eliminate a swarm of meddlesome paladins from the Knights of the Planes-Militant, an ancient order based in the Seven Heavens. When Anthraxus had fulfilled his contract, he immediately wrested control of Khin-Oin from its previous owner (who some believe to be currently imprisoned in a mysterious abandoned city of dark stone and lead in the caverns near the Vault of the Drow) to become the ruling Oinoloth. He ruled for nearly 3,000 years, but he was either violently ousted by Mydianchlarus or convinced to leave of his own accord by a seductive lie or secret that only Mydianchlarus knew. He now roams the Lower Planes, searching for work among the gods of evil. He is still practically a god himself.

In 4th edition

According to 4th edition's Demonomicon, Anthraxus (called Phraxas in that book) marches on the Wasting Tower in approximately 599 CY and challenges Mydianchlarus for control of the Siege Malicious. Though Mydianchlarus is slain in these events, Anthraxus is thwarted in his attempt to wholly destroy his hated foe. The Sepulcher of Mydianchlarus now lingers as a burning reminder of Anthraxus's broken reign.

Publication history

Anthraxus is the ruler of Khin-Oin in the Forgotten Realms module Swords of the Iron Legion, which takes place in approximately 1357 DR (the equivalent of 577 CY in the World of Greyhawk Timeline). Anthraxus is still known as the Oinodaemon in the novel Artifact of Evil by Gary Gygax, in which he appears before the Hierarchs of the Horned Society just before their massacre by the forces of Iuz in 583 CY. In Planes of Conflict, whose in-game date corresponds to 587 CY, Anthraxus is said to have been recently deposed. In The Scarlet Brotherhood, which is set in 591 CY, Mydianchlarus is said to be the current Oinoloth, and to be an ally of the deity Pyremius. The 3rd edition Manual of the Planes (also corresponding with 591 CY due to its publication date) also describes Mydianchlarus as the current Oinoloth.

In Demonomicon, Anthraxus (called Phraxas in that book) is said to have taken his throne back from Mydianchlarus "only a century ago," which means that book must be set at least a hundred years after The Scarlet Brotherhood. Assuming the "present day" in Demonomicon is equivalent to the present day in the 4th edition Forgotten Realms setting (1479 DR, "The Year of the Ageless One"), then a century before that was 1379 DR, or 599 CY. This is still in the "future" relative to the last published Greyhawk products.

Bibliography

  • Bonny, Edward. "Pox of the Planes." Dragon Annual #2. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1997.
  • Brown, Russell. "Mellorn Hospitality." Dungeon #107. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2004.
  • Brunner, Frank. "Strike on the Rabid Dawn." Dungeon #111. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2004.
  • Emerich, Richard W. "The Dark Conventicle." Dungeon #11. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1988.
  • Grubb, Jeff. Manual of the Planes. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1987.
  • McComb, Colin. Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1997.
  • McComb, Colin, Dale Donovan, and Monte Cook. Planes of Conflict. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995.
  • Mearls, Mike, Brian R. James, and Steve Townshend. Demonomicon. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2010.
  • Williams, Skip. Swords of the Iron Legion. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1988.
  • Wissel, Christopher. "Diplomacy." Dungeon #144. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2007.