Grasp of Orcus
The Demon Prince of Undeath
ORCUS, DEMON PRINCE OF THE UNDEAD, is one of the most powerful demons in the Abyss—powerful enough to threaten gods.
Orcus commands legions of followers, living and dead, and cults dedicated to him are terrifyingly widespread in the natural world.
Orcus finds amusement in the suffering and anguish of the living and satisfaction only when he drinks their blood. Most living things enrage him by their mere presence, and Orcus permits only undead to be near him; even his demon servitors are undead. He has destroyed hundreds of mighty heroes and laid waste to countless kingdoms.
Orcus is a foul and corpulent humanoid creature who has powerful goat legs and a desiccated head similar to that of a ram. His great black wings stir up a reeking cloud of diseased air. He seems somewhere between life and undeath—his soreridden body suggests diseased life, but his head and glowing red eyes suggest undeath. His thick, spiny tail is in constant motion.
Orcus carries a heavy mace tipped with an enormous skull. Known as the Wand of Orcus, this weapon transforms those it slays into undead horrors. Its haft is smooth obsidian studded with blood rubies.
Dead creatures respond to the presence of Orcus, even without his command. Skeletal arms claw up from the ground where he walks and grab at the feet of his foes. Spirits fill the air with a ghostly chorus of piteous moans, tugging at his foes and hindering their movement.
Involvement with the Party
The last time Orcus set foot in the Prime Material Plane was 2,000 years ago, at the height of the Nerath Empire. At that time, he and his undead army were defeated by a force of heroes including Sir Allius and Ramassule. It was Allius who struck the final blow, slaying Orcus in the mortal realm.
As a demon prince, Orcus is immortal. “Slaying” him on the Prime Material Plane simply banishes him back to the Abyss, where he belongs. However, the ancient laws of the multiverse state that once slain, a demon cannot return to the mortal world for 10,000 years unless his killer, or a direct descendant thereof summons him.
When the party of heroes came into conflict with Orcus’ priest, Kalarel, Orcus saw a confluence of circumstances that presented him with an opportunity to return 8,000 years early. This would require the assistance of Berensir who, unbeknownst even to himself, was a direct descendant of Sir Allius (Allius having married an elf 2,000 years ago). After a prolonged and complicated deception, Berensir allowed Orcus to take control of his body in order to perform a summoning ritual. The summoning was completed, but before Orcus could finish materializing, the heroes defeated him in combat, killing his still-forming physical body and banishing him to the Abyss once more. Unfortunately for Orcus, the killing blow was struck by Tracker, who died childless shortly thereafter, meaning no being in existence now has the power to bring Orcus back before another 10,000 years have passed.
Orcus now sits in the Abyss, one more group of names added to his personal revenge list.
UPDATE: Orcus has found a way to escape the Abyss, an ancient prophecy that he plans to use to his advantage. All he needs are some foolhardy heroes to manipulate and a stone wheel to bind them to their fates.