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Greyhawk Deity
Nerull the Reaper, as depicted in Deities and Demigods (2002).
Title(s) The Reaper, the Foe of All Good, King of All Gloom, the Hater of Life, He Who Revels in the Slaying of the Living, the Bringer of Darkness
Home Plane Tarterian Depths of Carceri
Power Level Greater
Gender Male
Class(es) Necromancer/ Cleric/ Rogue
Alignment Neutral Evil
Portfolio Death, Darkness, Murder, the Underworld
Domains Death, Evil, Pestilence, Trickery
Alias(es) Tharoth
Superior none

Nerull is the Flan god of Death, Darkness, Murder, and the Underworld, worshiped on countless worlds. He is known as the Reaper, the Foe of All Good, the Hater of Life, and the Bringer of Darkness. His symbol is a skull and scythe.


Nerull is usually seen as a black-robed skeleton with a rust-red body and green, ropy hair. He carries a staff called Lifecutter that at his command grows a scythe blade made of scarlet energy. He flies through the skies, slaying the living and undead alike, crumbling them to dust with a mere touch of his bony finger.

In the novel Artifact of Evil by Gary Gygax, Nerull rides a great winged daemon named Putriptoq.

Other aspects

Among the Bakluni, Nerull is known as Tharoth the Reaper. This is unofficial Oerth Journal material.


Nerull has tenuous alliances with Faluzure and Hextor. He respects Incabulos, who starts the work that Nerull completes, but has nothing to do with him; their priests do not cooperate unless faced with a common enemy. The Foe of All Good sponsored the ascension of his mortal follower Kyuss to godhood. Nerull seeks to destroy and reabsorb the power of Mellifleur, who stole divine energy meant for one of Nerull's own servants.

Nerull is said to slay Obad-Hai every winter.

Nerull possesses the ability to summon three demodands of greatest power, who serve him out of fear.


Nerull dwells in Carceri, either in its outermost layer or its innermost. According to On Hallowed Ground, his realm is called the Crypt and is a city inhabited by the dead and undead. There, Nerull consorts with fiends of all kinds, who wander the realm devouring the shrieking souls trapped under Nerull's power. According to the 3rd edition Manual of the Planes, his realm is Necromanteion, described as a citadel carved from black ice, where the souls of the dead are trapped within the walls, ceilings, and floors. Demonic clerics perform twisted experiments and recite ghastly litanies. Nerull's throne is within a wide hall called the Hidden Temple, and even more unspeakable horrors are said to be buried in tunnels beneath.

Unlike most inhabitants of the Red Prison, Nerull wasn't banished to Carceri; he lives there because he likes it.


Nerull's faithful believe they will be rewarded for acts of murder, for every living thing is an abomination in the eyes of the Reaper.



Nerull is the patron deity of those who seek the greatest evil for their own enjoyment or gain. Most common folk do not worship or propitiate him, although they fear him greatly. It is believed that any form of appeasement will merely draw his attention, something that is at all costs to be avoided by the sensible. Nerull seems, in fact, to draw power from the very avoidance of his name. Some of the peasants of the former Great Kingdom do propitiate Nerull with minor rites, begging safe passage for the souls of the dead. Among the Flan and in the Old Faith, Nerull is sometimes considered to be the god of winter.

The Reaper is one of the patrons of the Horned Society and the White Kingdom, and thought to be the will that animates the drowned ones. A primitive version of Nerull is worshiped by the quaggoths.


Nerull's clerics are feared throughout the lands as cold, calculating murderers. Named clerics of He Who Revels in the Slaying of the Living include Delglath, Jipzinker, Andrade Mirrius, Guiliana Mortidus, and Nezmajen. They are secretive and often solitary. When not in disguise, they dress in the same rust-red hue as the bones of their god.

Those who would become priests of Nerull must undergo an arduous initiation that climaxes in being buried alive for a time.



Nerull's temples are hidden and usually subterranean except in the most evil lands, as befits the god of darkness and the underworld. One place vile enough to openly host sizable temples of the Foe of All Good is Rel Astra. Well known cults of Nerull include the Shriven Sickle in Greyhawk, which seeks, among other things, to undermine the church of Saint Cuthbert there. The Midnight Darkness, active in the former Aerdy lands, is led by a mysterious figure known as the Hidden Sickle. Beneath Castle Greyhawk, followers of Nerull fought a subterranean war with the followers of Vaprak. In the Hold of the Sea Princes, cultists of Nerull made it their goal to frustrate and destroy Jeon II. This cult has recently been responsible for a series of extremely mysterious, grisly, and above all scary murders of various servants of good; apart from this they've kept themselves extremely secretive.


Services to Nerull are ghastly things performed in absolute blackness, featuring litanies of fear and suffering. Murder is done as a homage to the Reaper.

Holy days

Nerull has few known holy days:


Relics associated with dread Nerull include the Mace and Talisman of Krevell, named for one of his most infamous priests.

Myths and legends


When the Oerth was still young, beings from the Far Realm attempted to assert dominance over all reality. They sent minions to destroy the newly sentient, pre-human life that then lived on the surface of the world. Four gods rose to oppose this: Pelor, Obad-Hai, Nerull, and Kord. Pelor and Nerull had yet to form allegiances to Good or Evil in those days; they were most interested in maintaining the balance between Law and Chaos. Kord was just along for the sake of having something to fight. The four gods each sacrificed a part of their power to create an anchor that would sever the ties of the invaders to their unguessable masters, and so were able to defeat them.


In the lore of the 4th edition D&D game, a proud and beautiful sorcerer-queen died long ago, and her shade came before Nerull. Nerull was impressed by her power and loveliness, and gave her soul substance so that she could be his consort and queen. Her original name is no longer remembered, but Nerull called her Nera, the feminine form of his own name. In the "core" 4th edition game, Nera killed Nerull and overthrew him centuries ago, calling herself the Raven Queen and becoming the new goddess of death, but in the Greyhawk setting this doesn't seem to have happened yet, if it ever will. (Divine Power, 43)

The First Shroud

According to the 4th edition accessory Underdark, the race of incunabula came into being when the swaddling grave clothes of a child of Nerull were wrapped around the original incunabula ancestor. Who the child's mother was went unmentioned, though it may well have been Nera. (Underdark, 126)

Obad-hai and the coming of winter

In the litanies of the Old Faith, it is Nerull who ushers in the winter chill every year by slaying Obad-hai, the god of nature, and hanging the corpse from the tree that grew the fruit from which Obad-hai was born. After seven days, Pelor cuts Obad-hai from the tree and plants them in the earth. Beory's tears cause a new sapling to grow, which forms a fruit from which Obad-hai is reborn in the spring.


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External links