The final major orcish god, Yurtrus is the dreadful god of death and disease. He never speaks, and is avoided by the other gods of the pantheon, who fear and loathe him. His priests are masters of orcish burials and death ceremonies, and intercede with their mute god to head off or cure diseases, as well as using their divinely granted powers to afflict such upon their enemies.
Yurtrus (PDF Version)
(The White Handed, White-Hands, the Rotting Lord, the Lord of Maggots, the Rotting One)
Intermediate Power of the Gray Waste, NE (LE)
Portfolio: Death, disease, burial lands, plagues, the dead, rot
Domain Name: Oinos/Fleshslough
Allies: Baghtru, Ilneval, Luthic, Shargaas, Anthraxus
Foes: Virtually all other powers
Symbol: White hand on a dark background
Wor. Align.: LE, NE, CE
As the god of death and disease, Yurtrus (YER-truss) White-Hands is an enigmatic and terrifying presence in the lives of orcs. He embodies the end result of every orc: death, decay, and burial, be it from battle or disease. All seek to propitiate the Lord of Maggots out of fear his debilitating touch will come down upon them; when it does, great sacrifices and entreaties are made to appease him and turn his wrath elsewhere. The Rotting Lord is a wholly mute god, and never communicates directly with any being.
While Yurtrus is a fully acknowledged member of the pantheon, and obeys requests from Gruumsh with no obvious reservations, he is also separate from it. Few of the gods other than One-Eye himself ever have anything to do with White-Hands, being both terrified of his power and disgusted by his appearance and aura. For his part, the Lord of Maggots pays little attention to his fellow gods, ignoring them almost entirely except in times of great danger. He has no rivalry with the gods of war, although they hate his plagues for robbing orcish hordes of otherwise strong warriors. Yurtrus also pays no attention to Shargaas’ claim over the portfolio of undead, believing simply that the undead are simply a tool for spreading more death and disease. The Rotting lord rarely involves himself in the endless orc-goblin war taking place on Acheron, and as such, is paid little attention by the goblin powers involved in the battle. To a great degree, he has antipathy towards virtually every other god in existence; however, lack of contact with most of them keeps confrontations virtually non-existent. He occasionally takes discouraging actions against interloping gods of death who seek worshippers amongst the orcish hordes throughout the spheres, and maintains a strong mutual hatred of all non-orcish deities of life, dawn, and healing; in particular, he is known to have had a confrontation with Eostre of the Celtic pantheon. Beyond these, his hatred of the traditional racial enemies of the orcs is most pronounced simply because they have more contact. His only known ally outside of the orcish pantheon is the former oinoloth of the yugoloths, Anthraxus, although what exactly this relationship entails for either power is unknown.
Yurtrus rarely sends his avatar to the Prime Material Plane to aid followers, preferring to use them to capriciously spread plagues and disease. On those occasions he does aid orcs, it is almost always at the behest of Gruumsh; such requests are rare, however.
Yurtrus’ Avatar (Cleric 32)
Yurtrus appears as a giant orcish being, covered in green rotting and peeling flesh. He has no mouth and never speaks or makes any sort of vocalization, and wears tattered, rotting, and soiled white robes. Only his hands are chalk-white, and otherwise appear normal and healthy. He favors reversed spells from the necromantic and healing spheres, although he can cast spells from any sphere. He can also cast wizard spells from the school of necromancy as priest spells of an equivalent level, treating 8th-level wizard spells as 6th-level priest spells and 9th-level wizard spells as 7th-level priest spells.
AC −1; MV 6; HP 163; THAC0 0; #AT 1
Dmg 3d4+3 (touch, +3 Str)
MR 30%; SZ L (12 feet tall)
Str 18/40, Dex 16, Con 20, Int 19, Wis 20, Cha 1 (all races)
Spells P: 13/13/12/11/9/9/8
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 6; PP 5; BW 8; Sp 7
Special Att/Def: Yurtrus attacks with his rotting touch. Upon a successful hit, victims must roll a success saving throw vs. death or the hit points are lost permanently; only a wish or a restoration can allow such wounds to be healed. In addition, victims contract a rotting disease (no save allowed) that is fatal in 1d4 days; nothing weaker than a heal spell can cure this affliction.
Surrounding the Rotting Lord at all times is a cloud of stinking, putrid gas, out to a radius of 20 feet. Any creatures of four hit dice or less who enter the cloud are affected as if by dust of sneezing and choking; those of five to eight hit dice as if by a stinking cloud; and finally, those of nine or more hit dice as by a stinking cloud with a saving throw vs. poison to negate the effects. He may cast any disease-causing priest or wizard spell once per day, and may also cast stinking cloud and cloudkill twice per day. Yurtrus is immune to all diseases and poisons, and may only be hit by weapons of +1 or better enchantment.
Omens from White-Hands are fairly rare, and he never communicates directly to his worshippers through any sort of speech, thought, or dream (“when White-Hands speaks” is an orcish idiom that means “never”). When omens do happen, they are usually in the form of sickness and disease outbreaks. Not all such outbreaks are omens, however; priests are expected to look closely for patterns that indicate the will of the god. His omens may also appear in the entrails of slaughtered animals or humanoids, with priests expected to use extispicy to determine the messages sent.
Occasionally, he may manifest to followers who are hard-pressed while defending orcish tombs and burial lands from outside threats. Such manifestations usually take the form of a stinking cloud, cloudkill, or cloud of pestilence that surrounds one of his priests. The priest is entirely immune to the effects of the spell, as are all devoted followers of the Rotting One; other orcs are not, however. The effects of the manifestation cannot be dispelled or blown away by normal wind or any spells of less than third level, for a duration of one turn. After that, normal rules and durations apply to the effect.
Yurtrus is served primarily by baatezu (kocrachon, and more rarely any least or lesser type), baku dark ones, crawling claws (the flesh and bones are always bleached white), ghasts, ghouls, gulguthras (otyughs, neo-otyughs, and gulguthydras), hordlings, imps, marrash, rats (packs of normal and giant-sized), skeletons (normal, giant, and animal types), stirges, vargouilles, and zombies (normal, monster, and ju-ju types). He shows his favor through the discovery of bleached bones of all kinds, corpses bloated and misshapen from rot and disease, chalk, marble, milky quartz, moonstone, and other white stones and gems. He shows his disfavor by afflicting horrible diseases upon those who have displeased him; such illnesses are almost always fatal within 1–6 hours.
Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, mystics, shamans, witch doctors
Clergy’s Align.: LE, NE, CE
Turn Undead: C: No, SP: No, Mys: No, Sha: No, WD: No
Cmnd. Undead: C: Yes, SP: Yes, at priest level −2, Mys: No, Sha: No, WD: No
All clerics, specialty priests, shamans, and witch doctors of Yurtrus receive religion (orcish) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency. All members of the clergy are required (and allowed to if not normally able to) to take proficiency in footman’s mace.
The priesthood of White-Hands exists in every orcish tribe, but dominates none. They are both shunned and feared; disliked and avoided for what their deity represents, but too dangerous to banish. Their primary duty is to intercede with the Rotting One to ward off disease and untimely death, and also to request his help in sending such plagues against their enemies. In addition to these primary duties, they are solely responsible for the disposition of the dead, and oversee funeral rites for all members of the tribe. They also oversee burial lands and other sacred death sites such as barrows, tombs, and dedicated pyre locations. Because of their control over these aspects of orcish life, interference with another tribe’s funerary procedures is a strong taboo observed by most orcs out of fear of retaliation from members of Yurtrus’ clergy regardless of their tribal affiliation.
As with the clergy themselves, shrines consecrated to White-Hands are found in virtually every orcish tribe. They are typically the location where death rites are held and the bodies disposed of (funeral pyres, interment, etc.). The priesthood rarely builds temples, but they frequently take over crypts and tombs and reconsecrate them to the Lord of Maggots. In addition, in communities that build tombs, barrows, or similar chambered burial sites for honored dead, the upkeep, protection, and maintenance is the purview of the clergy of Yurtrus. Temples and shrines are always built in close proximity to the tombs, either connected or unconnected, whichever is most appropriate. Undead guardians are frequently found in all such tombs and temples, created and controlled by the clergy of the Rotting Lord. Members of the priesthood are also dedicated defenders of tribal land, as they consider it part of their duties to the tribes’ dead, and make effective use of their maces and spells in battle.
Novices in the service of the Lord of Magots are called the Muted and full priests are known as Plaguehands, while specialty priests are called as malablights. The hierarchy of Yurtrus’ church varies from tribe to tribe, but is usually based on pure seniority. However, in many tribes, the highest positions are open only to priests who have been “touched by White-Hands,” a term the priesthood uses to describe those afflicted at some point in their life by a disease with lasting physical effects (scarring, discoloration, rotting, etc.). Yurtrus’ clergy is comprised primarily of orcs (77%), followed by half-orcs (13%), orogs (9%), scro and ogrillons (1%). The Yurtran clergy is the most open to females (11%) after that of Luthic, but generally only those who survived a debilitating disease or plague choose to join the priesthood. Specialty priests (48%) and clerics (40%) make up the majority of White-Hands’ clergy, with the remainder mystics (12%). Shamans and witch doctors are not part of the clerical hierarchy, although they are considered brothers of the faith. Shamans are found in about three times as many Yurtrus-dominated tribes as witch doctors.
Dogma: Death is inevitable, be it from battle or plague. Sickness and disease slays the inwardly weak, just as battle slays the outwardly weak; between the two, only those who have both internal and external strength will survive to make the orcish races even stronger. Show inner strength by bowing in humility before the terrible power of White-Hands; only this will avert his touch. Those who have been touched by the Rotting Lord but still live are his chosen children, and exhibit the greatest of inner strength. Guard the sacred death lands, and keep all others from intruding or defiling them.
Day-to-Day Activities: Followers of the Lord of Maggots spend much of their time guarding and tending to the sacred burial lands of their tribe. They also act to intervene with their god and prevent the spread of plague and disease within the tribe, or to end it early if such affliction affect the tribe. They maintain the funeral rites of the tribe, leading the services and ensuring that they are carried out properly. The priests also function as diviners, using extispicy as their preferred method of determining omens surrounding specific events.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Once a month, on the night of the full moon, the Yurtran clergy gathers in a sanctified crypt to perform a ceremony called the Propitiation. This ceremony is intended to re-affirm their faith and humility before White-Hands, and ward off the diseases and plagues he inflicts. Typically, sacrifices will consist of two herd animals, such as cows, goats, or sheep, or a single humanoid captive. The blood is drained from the sacrifices and the bodies burned on a ritual pyre. While the bodies are burning, the priests gather around and sprinkle the blood into the fire, all the while reciting pleading chants asking Yurtrus to spare the tribe his touch. Crypts used for these ceremonies are usually the burial places of great orcish chiefs, although captured dwarven, human, or elven crypts may be used once they have been consecrated to Yurtrus.
When plague or disease afflicts the tribe in significant numbers, the priests will perform an emergency ceremony called the Appeasing. The details of the ceremony are very similar to the Propitiation, but there is an added layer of extispicy divination before the sacrifices are burned. If ill omens are seen in the entrails, a new sacrifice of a herd animal or a captive is made and extispicy is performed again. This cycle continues until good omens indicating the sacrifice is accepted are found.
Major Centers of Worship: Holy sites for the priesthood of White-Hands abound on many worlds, as all orcish burial sites are sacred to them. However, as each site is specific to a single tribe or nation, they are all regional, and the clergy have no tradition of pilgrimage to specific sites. As such, all temples, shrines, and holy sites are regional at best.
Affiliated Orders: The priesthood of the Rotting One has no martial or monastic orders.
Priestly Vestments: At all times, priests of Yurtrus wear soft leather gloves made from the skin of non-orcish humanoids, humans, and demihumans. These gloves are bleached white to mimic their god’s hands. In addition, they wear leather clothing made of the same material, which gives an AC of 9. They carry special maces with heads carved in the shape of a clenched fist. The heads of the maces are always made of a hard white substance, such as marble or bone. These maces are used in battle, as well as functioning as the priesthood’s holy symbol.
Adventuring Garb: Followers of White-Hands wear their ceremonial garb at all times, even in battle or when travelling. They may use other weapons or armor if necessary, but it is considered a breach of protocol, and they only do so if absolutely necessary.
Specialty Priests (Malablights)
Requirements: Constitution 13, Wisdom 9, Charisma 6 or less
Prime Req.: Constitution, Wisdom
Alignment: LE, NE
Weapons: Any bludgeoning (wholly type B) weapons, knife, dagger, poison
Armor: Thin “leather” armor made of the skin of human, demihuman, or goblinoid creatures they’ve killed
Major Spheres: All, divination, healing (reversed forms only), guardian, necromantic (reversed forms only), protection, wards
Minor Spheres: Combat, plant, summoning, sun (reversed forms only)
Magical Items: Same as clerics
Req. Profs: Endurance, Footman’s mace
Bonus Profs: Healing or herbalism
- Malablights must have orcish blood. Most malablights are orcs or half-orcs, but orogs and scro may also become malablights.
- Malablights are not allowed to multiclass.
- Malablights can cure disease (as the 3rd-level priest spell) once per week. They can cast this one more time per week at every third level they attain (twice at 3rd, three times at 6th, etc.).
- At 2nd level, malablights can cast stinking cloud (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) once per day.
- At 3rd level, malablights can cast cause disease (as the reverse of the 3rd-level priest spell cure disease) once per week. They can cast this one more time per week at every third level they attain (twice at 6th, three times at 9th, etc.).
- At 4th level, malablights receive a +2 bonus to their saves versus poison and disease.
- At 6th level, malablights can cast contagion (as the 4th-level wizard spell) or corrupt (as the 4th-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 8th level, malablights receive a +1 bonus to their constitution score.
- At 10th level, malablights can cast death fog (as the 6th-level wizard spell) or cloud of pestilence once per day.
- At 14th level, malablights can turn any one human, demihuman, or humanoid of size M or less that they slay with their sacred maces into a ju-ju zombie (as described in the Monster Manual). They must declare the use of this power before inflicting the blow; as such, it is typically used on restrained creatures rather than in combat. They can use this ability twice per year, and a failure to inflict a killing blow counts as one use. These zombies are under the complete control of the malablight, and control can never be wrested from them (although the zombies may be turned). If a zombie has not been assigned to guard a specific crypt within one week of its creation, it is destroyed.
In addition to the spells listed below, priests of the White-Hands can cast the 4th-level priest spells cloud of pestilence, detailed in Faiths and Avatars in the entry for Talona, and corrupt, detailed in Faiths and Avatars in the entry for Myrkul.
Scabrous Skin (Pr 1; Alteration, Necromancy)
Sphere: Necromantic, Protection
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 4 rds. + 1 rd./level
Casting Time: 4
Area of Effect: Creature touched
Saving Throw: Special
When a priest casts the scabrous skin spell upon a creature, its skin becomes stiff and scabby, increasing its base Armor Class to AC 7. This spell does not function in combination with any normal armor that provides an AC of 8 or better, nor does it function with any magical armor. In addition, this spell grants a +1 bonus to saving throw rolls vs. all attack forms except magic. Lastly, this spell causes the recipient to appear covered in scabs and fresh-healed scars, which most intelligent creatures find disgusting and sickening. While affected by the spell, the recipient of this spell suffers a −1 penalty to their Charisma score, plus an additional −1 for each three points of Charisma above 6 (i.e., −2 penalty at a score of 9, −3 at a score of 12, etc.) with a maximum penalty of −4. The first time a foe attempts to strike at a creature protected by this spell, they must make a saving throw vs. spell or become nauseous and unable to do anything other than defend themselves for one round. Priests attempting to use this spell offensively are required to make an attack roll upon a target. If the attack roll succeeds, the victim is allowed a saving throw vs. spell to avoid the effects.
At the expiration of the spell, the scabs flake off over a number of rounds equal to the original duration; the recipient’s Charisma does not recover until the end of this process. No other benefits or effects persist during this time.
The material component for this spell is the priest’s holy symbol and three fingernail-sized scabs pulled from wounds that have not quite fully healed.
Pestilent Shield (Pr 3; Alteration, Evocation)
Sphere: Necromantic, Protection
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 rd./level
Casting Time: 6
Area of Effect: The caster
Saving Throw: Neg.
With this spell, the priest surrounds himself with a hazy, vaporous cloud filled with noxious gases and small biting insects, out to a radius of one foot. The caster is entirely unaffected by this cloud, and while protected, gains a +2 to his saving throws versus poison, disease, and gas attacks, such as green dragon breath and stinking cloud. In addition, any creature that strikes the priest must make a saving throw vs. poison or become debilitatingly ill for 1d4 rounds, plus one round per level of the caster. While ill, the creature suffers a −4 penalty to their Strength (treating each step of exceptional Strength as one point), Dexterity, and Constitution, with all attendant penalties to attack, damage, Armor Class, and hit points. For creatures with no ability scores, apply a −1 penalty each to attack, damage, and Armor Class, as well as suffering −1 hit point for each hit die. In addition, there is a flat 10% chance per strike that the attacker will contract a disease, as per the cause disease spell (or the DM’s choice). When the debilitation ends, all stats return to normal, and all penalties end. Hit points lost due to low Constitution are also regained and do not need to be healed, although any other damage taken does.
The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and flesh from a dead rat or a handful of dead biting insects.
Protection from Disease, 10′ Radius (Pr 5; Abjuration)
Sphere: Necromantic, Protection
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 2 rds./level
Casting Time: 5
Area of Effect: 10-ft. radius around creature touched
Saving Throw: None
This spell creates a circle of protection that is centered on and mobile with the creature touched. All creatures within the circle are absolutely immune to any attack forms or spells that cause plagues or disease. Protection from disease has no effect on creatures that have already contracted a disease. This spell offers no protection against curses, such as lycanthropy, but does offer protection against magical diseases such as mummy rot.
The material component is the priest’s holy symbol.