|Kyuss, Herald of the Age of Worms, as depicted on the cover of Dungeon #135 (2006). Art by Wayne Reynolds.|
|Title(s)||The Wormgod, the Bonemaster, the Herald of the Age of Worms|
|Home Plane||Prime Material Plane|
|Class(es)||Cleric 8/sorcerer 8/true necromancer 14|
|Portfolio||Creation and Mastery of the Undead|
|Domains||Death, Destruction, Evil, Corruption|
Kyuss (pronounced kai-OOSS) is a demigod concerned with the Creation and Mastery of the Undead. Known as the Bonemaster, the Wormgod, and the Herald of the Age of Worms, his symbol is a skull erupting with writhing green worms.
In his divine form, Kyuss appears as a towering humanoid shaped entirely of green Kyuss worms, with two blazing eyes peering from beneath the hood of his ragged cloak.
Though Kyuss revered Nerull as a mortal, his current relationship with the Reaper is unknown.
Kyuss's faithful believe that life is an obscenity, albeit a temporary one, and that Death offers only nothingness. Undeath, then, is the only worthwhile goal, and followers of Kyuss are encouraged to spread this gift as far as they can. They are permitted to control them if necessary, but encouraged to set them free to do as they will when their creators have no further use. Undead are sacred to Kyuss, and his followers are not permitted to destroy them except in self-defense.
Kyuss is worshiped by humans, undead, avolakia, and ulgurstasta. The Ebon Triad is a false cult created by worshippers of Kyuss. Edwin Tolstoff and his grandchildren, Edgar Tolstoff and Katarin Tolstoff, are servants of Kyuss.
Clerics of Kyuss raid graveyards to create undead, selling their creations or letting them run wild. The more powerful ones seek to create new kinds of undead, and seek lichdom or some other form of undeath for themselves. They seek to free their master, and travel to various places holy to their faith such as the Wormcrawl Fissure, the Necropolis of Unaagh, or the ruins of Kuluth-Mar.
Once a human priest of Nerull in the Flan kingdom of Sulm, Kyuss was exiled from that realm over 2,000 years ago, fleeing to the Amedio Jungle with his followers. After founding the city of Kuluth-Mar and encountering the spell weaver lich Mak'ar, Kyuss constructed the Spire of Long Shadows, where he sacrificed all of his followers to achieve hero-deityhood. Prior to this, he had sacrificed artifacts of great power, as well as living souls to Nerull in order to gain his favor. When he finally did ascend, there was a small problem with his transformation: he became trapped in the same obelisk with which he channeled his power. Somehow Kyuss was not able to properly channel the power he gained from the sacrificed lives and faith of his followers, and the altar of Nerull was consumed in a burst of necrotic energy. Perhaps Nerull (not wanting to be challenged even slightly) intentionally flawed the ritual, or perhaps the unintentional interference of Mellifleur was to blame.
Even during his imprisonment, he gained following from some very powerful followers. Dragotha, a wyrm red dragon, was allowed by Kyuss to attain the form of a dracolich. Following this, Dragotha was bound to serve Kyuss, and in the process became his herald. Another draconic follower of Kyuss is Lashonna, a vampiric silver dragon.
Kyuss is responsible for the creation of the spawn of Kyuss, also known as sons of Kyuss, though these are said to be the least powerful of his creations. He is also believed to be responsible for the creation of the avolakia, eviscerator beetle, ulgurstasta, Kyuss knight, overworm, earthcancer centipede, hound of Kyuss, sword of Kyuss, wormcaller, worm naga, wormswarm, and the worm that walks. Collectively, his creations are known as wormspawn.
Kyuss is the force behind the establishment of the Ebon Triad, as revealed in the Age of Worms adventure path.
The sons of Kyuss, now referred to as spawn of Kyuss, were an iconic monster in the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game before the story of Kyuss was fleshed out. Kyuss was described as "an evil high priest who created the first of these creatures, via a special curse, under instruction from an evil deity" within their creature description in the first edition Fiend Folio (1981).
Hints at Kyuss's origins were soon added in Rary the Traitor, when sons of Kyuss were said to be contained in the Necropolis of Unaagh, a cursed city of Sulm inhabited by undead. This was made more conspicuous since any of the contained undead that "move or are carried even a few yards from its buildings collapse into inanimate heaps of bone." This is suggested in the work to be the possible consequence of an ancient curse. That makes the creator of the undead ancient as well, painting Kyuss as once having been a high priest in Sulm.
In the From the Ashes boxed set (Atlas of the Flanaess, page 69), the entry for the Storm Lake of the Amedio mentioned that sons of Kyuss manifest in the vicinity after a phenomenon called the Storm of Unknowing.
Still later, in The Scarlet Brotherhood by Sean K. Reynolds, the entry for Matreyus Lake said, "undead such as sons of Kyuss walk the nearby jungle - the evil demigod is said to have spent time here."
Kyuss in popular culture
Rock band Kyuss, originally Sons of Kyuss, took their name from the character.
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- "Kyuss's Ascension to Divinity" at Canonfire!.
- "Mellifleur and Kyuss" at Canonfire!.
- "The Origins of Kyuss" at Canonfire!.