THE WAND OF ORCUS

Orcus_TH

Long ago, he trapped the spirit of a mighty hero named Anarchocles within a Circlet of Control, and safeguarded the item to keep it from being used against him. When Anarchocles died, Orcus removed the skull from his destroyed corpse, and placed it on the end of a long iron scepter, infusing it with some of Orcus’s own essence, thus creating the Wand of Orcus.

The Wand  is a ghastly weapon also known as “The Wand of Death.”  It’s appearance often changes seemingly upon the whim of the owner. Usually the Wand is described as as “a 3-foot long iron scepter with a human skull set into one end.”  However, those of have read from the Book of Vile Darkness claim that the Wand is “black obsidian and iron topped with the skull of a recently slain human hero.” It has also been used by mortal clerics chosen by Orcus as “a large, wicked mace with an enormous skull.” In any case, all descriptions agree that it is black and bears a human skull. While being wielded, the Wand communicates silently with its wielder, in Abyssal, using brutal and gory imagery to highlight its blood-soaked ends and drive the possessor to insane levels of grim bloodthirsty rage.

 

The_Wand_of_OrcusThe Wand is known to cause death or annihilation to any mortal being by touching it to their flesh. A mortal who picked up the Wand will be disintegrated  unless it is the will of Orcus himself that the mortal wield the Wand. Sages who have read the ancient text known as “Eldritch Wizardry” claim that any mortal being other than Orcus himself who wields the Wand is cursed and inevitably becomes corrupted by the artifact. Some followers of Evil have chosen to use the Wand with the idea that it would transform them into a powerful demon, however the outcome is usually that they are slowly morphed into a lowly Dretch demon, becoming one of the foot soldiers of the Blood War.

The Book of Vile Darkness also notes that Orcus himself is “best known in some circles for his Wand, an artifact of malefic might”, and notes that the Wand is more accurately described as a rod, and it also serves as his symbol. Orcus relies heavily on his wand in combat, and prefers to kill foes in mêlée with it.

The rare arcane text called The Encyclopedia Magica  reports that an attempt by a being other than Orcus to use the Wand to annihilate another creature only has a 50% chance of being successful, and the user will be subjected to a curse each time this is tried. This is a curious effect, and it is unknown why the Wand acts in such a way. However, theories show that since it is an artifact of the Abyss perhaps the Chaotic powers that spawned it simply act in a haphazard and unsuspecting way outside of the grip if its true master.

In addition to the damage it dispenses, the Encyclopedia Magica states that the Wand also bestowed the magical abilities to move at double speed, cure wounds, speak with animals, or cause a serious wound.

The necromancer named “Nicodemos the Wise” spent most of this life studying the Wand. His manuscripts state that the Wand “transforms those it slays into undead horrors” It is not known if this means zombies or some other creature of the Undead.However, it is assumed that victims of the Wand transform into some sort of undead being that will serve Orcus within the Abyss. The souls of the victims of the Wand do not go to the Fugue Plane for judgment. They are simply added to the masses of the damned within the Abyss.

relicskullAt times it is said that Orcus will allow his Wand to pass into the Prime Material Plane in order to wreak evil upon all living things there. The Book of Vile Darkness similarly notes that Orcus sometimes lets the wand fall into the hands of mortals in order to allow them to wreak chaos, but adds that he grows bored after only a year or so and reclaims his wand and usually the soul of the mortal who wielded it.

The Circlet of Control is a little known artifact that still exists and it rumored to be hidden deep within the Underdark. Now called “The Headband of Anarchocles” the circlet allows the wearer to see though the eyes of the Wand’s skull. Sages claim that the soul of the hero remains within the circlet. Anarchocles is aware of what happens outside the circlet, and if he senses that the Wand is near, he will force the wearer to touch the circlet to the skull, thus destroying both items and granting Anarchocles eternal rest. If this happens, the theory is that the Wand and Circlet will be cast into the Plane of Pandemonium.

It is also known that there is another way to destroy the Wand but it requires the death of a deity. If the Wand is soaked in the blood of a recently slain god it will banish it, but only for a time. Tales are told of the trcikery of the Dragon God named Bahamut who tricked a band of heroes into trying to slay his sister Tiamat, claiming that the Wand could only be eradicated if it was “steeped in the black and foul blood from the heart of Tiamat, the Queen of Darkness”, although Bahamut did not reveal that the blood of any god would suffice. If banished in this fashion, the Wand will be removed from the current plane of existence for centuries and be banished into the Astral Plane, but will eventually return to existence within the Abyss.

 

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