Author Topic: Cult of Nerull (Erlin) - Roleplay Resources  (Read 186 times)

MAB77

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Cult of Nerull (Erlin) - Roleplay Resources
« on: September 23, 2021, 09:35:29 PM »
Cult of Nerull (Erlin)

Note: Nerull is refered to as Erlin in 3rd edition Ravenloft due to licensing concerns from the authors. On this server however he is still being referred to as Nerull, though both names are accepted.

Nerull is an ancient deity of the Flanaess (Oerth, Greyhawk setting), a greater deity of death, darkness, murder and the Underworld who finds all living things an affront to his being. He is known as the Reaper, the Foe of All Good, Hater of Life, Bringer of Darkness, King of All Gloom, and Reaper of Flesh. Nerull is the patron of those who seek the greatest evil for their own enjoyment or gain. It was for a time the state religion of Gundarak. Like most imported faiths, worship of this deity has somehow changed in the Lands of the Mists, though it remains the cult of a murderous death god.

Overview

Quote from: Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume I, p.26
Symbol: A sickle crossed with a hog-slaughtering knife, both stained with blood and overlaying an orb of night sky, glittering with stars. Alternatively, a skull and scythe.
Alignment: CE
Domains: Chaos, Death, Evil, Trickery
Favored Weapon: Battleaxe

What most people know or believe.

Quote from: Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume I, p.26
Erlin is a puzzling Gundarakite death deity whose worship was sanctioned and encouraged by Duke Gundar during his rule. He is an ancient god and likely a corruption of an even older demonic entity, Irlek-Khan. Most Gundarakites refuse to speak of him, but I convinced several youths to expound on his attributes at length. He displays neither the cold detachment nor the absolute evil associated with death deities in most cultures. His demeanor could be described as that of a trickster, yet thoroughly malicious and scatterbrained. He supposedly created death as a gleeful deception, convincing the first man that his demise was unavoidable; the mortal, of course, promptly died. Erlin has thousands of demonic minions (all of them named and organized into a vast and mutable hierarchy) that assist the god in his duties. His supervision of the departed is cast in the metaphor of herding cattle or sheep, though Erlin often neglects his obligations and allows the dead to roam free; hence, the existence of the undead. Though his priests have never included clerics capable of divine magic, the clergy are no less fervent in their devotion. Just as he has threatened to fade from memory entirely, Erlin has experienced a revival of sorts in recent years. Many young Gundarakites now associate him with Gundarakite ethnic pride, using the faith as a banner around which to rally.

The Resurrection of Erlin

Quote from: Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume I, p.26
Erlin is not truly the bastardization of an ancient tribal god. In reality, the god is a perverted version of the death god worshipped on the world where [Duke] Nharov Gundar once dwelled.  [...] Gundar demanded that his subject pay tribute to the god, that they might remain properly fearful of death and the Duke's power to beget it. When Gundarak fell into the hands of Strahd von Zarovich, Erlin's worship quickly fell out of favor among all but the eldest Gundarakites.

With mounting Gundarakite resistance to Barovian occupation, Erlin was recast as another element of Gundarakite culture being stamped out by Barovian oppression. The wicked deity might have only served as a political symbol, were it not for one startling development. In 754 BC, a Gundarakite rebel named Emanuel Maryszkas called upon Erlin to save him from pursuing Barovian militiamen and was answered with waves of unholy fear directed at his enemies. Emanuel has since become the high priest in an emergent underground cult of Erlin clerics who for the first time find themselves blessed with the power of true divine magic.

Oerthian beliefs and facts that may still apply to Ravenloft native faithfuls of Nerull

Quote from: Living Greyhawk - Official Listing of Deities and Greyhawk Adventures
All are equal in Nerull's cold realm. Every living thing is an affront to the Reaper, and every death brings a dark spark of joy to his long-dead heart. Those who pray to Nerull to appease him only attract his attention and their own doom. Those who kill in his name shall be rewarded.

Nerull's clerics commit murder as offerings to their god.

Among followers of the Old Faith, Nerull is also seen as a god of winter.

Some are obsessed with death, even as children, and those are potential recruits to the clergy of Nerull.

All must survive the final initiation rite: being buried alive.

Nerull's followers desecrate ancient tombs looking for lost lore, establish cults to provide willing food for vampires, and raise undead armies to terrify the world of the living.

Much of Nerull's liturgy is spoken in the past tense, even if it hasn't happened yet. For example, a cleric of Nerull might pray, "You granted me ultimate dominion over the dead..."

Nerull's temples are generally secret places hidden underground and crawling with undead. For unscrupulous adventurers who can stomach Nerull's hatred of the living, they're good places for "no questions asked" raise dead spells.

Nerull finds little worth celebrating, other than death. The number of different funeral rites Nerull has, depending on who died and how, is staggering.

Nerull's clerics wear rust-red garb when not in disguise.

Services to Nerull are conducted in darkness, with a litany glorifying death and suffering. Blood sacrifices are common. Altars are made of rust-colored stone; service pieces are copper and malachite.

Nerullís clerics never share secrets or confide in anyone.

Sources: Ravenloft Gazetteer I, D&D 3.5 Player's Handbook, Living Greyhawk - Official Listing of Deities, Greyhawk Adventures.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2021, 07:29:52 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

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