White Hands, The Lord of Maggots, The Rotting One
Lesser Power of the Gray Waste of Hades
Symbol: White hands on a dark background
Home Plane: Gray Waste/Oinos/Fleshslough
Alignment: Neutral evil
Portfolio: Death, Disease
Core Worshipers: Orcs
Worshipers: Assassins, monks, half-orcs
Cleric Alignments: NE, LE, CE, CN, LN
Domains: Death, Destruction, Evil, Madness* (CD), Pestilence* (CD).
Favored Weapon: (+1 improved unarmed strike, ghost touch)
Yurtrus (yer-truss) is the embodiment of life-destructive principles, an ever-present terror to be feared and propitiated and dread by most orcs. Whereas Shargaas embodies the fear of what lurks below in the darkness, Yurtrus represents the ever present thread of death and disease that orcs must live with on an ongoing basis. The Lord of Maggots does not speak or communicate in any fashion, although he sometimes seems receptive to properly respectful entreaties and sacrifices to spare an particular individual or tribe from the ravages of disease. He is depicted as an orc with rotting sore-covered flesh everywhere except his pale clawed hands.
Aside from the certain orders of monks, the church of Yurtrus is loosely organized, its clergy scattered across countless clans and tribes. Clerics of the Rotting One are rarely tribal leaders, but the terror in which their deity is held allows them a great deal of independence. Members of the clergy act as intermediaries between their tribes and Yurtrus, interceding with him whenever the tribe is ravaged by disease or plague. In addition, clerics of Yurtrus dispose of the bodies of the dead, whether they died of disease, in battle, or of old age (a rare event indeed). The church of Yurtrus is also conceded authority over tribal foodstores, determining whether meat is too rotted to eat or water too tainted to drink. In this respect, some tribes have begun to venerate the Lord of Maggots as a deity of sustenance and health or rather the reverse of such and thus to be propitiated.
Clerics and adepts of Yurtrus pray for their spells at dusk in the dying of the day. The church of Yurtrus recognizes two major holy days. The firs,t known as the Ceremony of Contagion, is celebrated on Midsummer Night. On this day the deity’s contagion is said to take root, sapping the world of life in a relentless spiral that leads inexorably to the winter and the death of the year. After a bloody ritual of sacrifice to spare the orcs from the ravages of plague, the clerics of Yurtrus venture forth, spreading disease and death across the world, particularly among other races. The second holy day, known as the Putrescent Death, is celebrated on Midwinter Eve. On this night, the clergy of Yurtrus recognize the death of the world, symbolized through the sacrifice of sentient beings of other races. Sacrifices are typically made to the Rotting Lord through the deliberate infection of a victim with a particularly horrible disease. Many clerics multiclass as assassins, divine disciples, or monks.
History/Relationships: By his very nature, Yurtrus is not prone to forming relationships. He gives his silent backing to Shargaas in the latter’s efforts to subtly counterbalance the influence of the three orc war gods. The Rotting One is also thought to maintain some sort of relationship with other gods of death and disease, such as Talona, although it may be more of a rivalry than an alliance. Like the rest of the orc pantheon, Yurtrus loathes the gods of the dwarves, elves, and goblins, and opposes them at every opportunity.
Dogma: Death is inexorable and eventually claims all life. The ravages of plague are simply death claiming victims who have yet to fall in battle, leaving all creatures to simply choose the manner in which death will most likely strike. The touch of White Hands can be forestalled only by bowing down to the Rotting Lord and begging his mercy, but, in time, plague strikes all living things. Fear him, for death lurks in the shadowed corners of Luthic’s cavern and it will inexorably come again.