“Those unfortunate enough to meet Orcus rarely survive the experience.” – 4e Monster Manual
“Tell me about it. He’s one sick mofo!” – The Tarrasque
You’ve probably heard of Orcus and his jaw-dropping brutality. He’s the Demon Prince of the Undead, and his stats can be found in the D&D 4th Edition Monster Manual. If you’re a DM, you can totally freak out your players by mentioning his name. If you’re a player, surreptitiously remove pages 206-210 from your DM’s Monster Manual. (You’ll thank me later.)
What makes Orcus so terrible? All the ways he can utterly destroy you. In the hands of a smart DM, this bad boy is an extinction level event unto himself. Let’s take a look at some of the ways Orcus can make your life a living hell:
Means of Destruction #1: His Auras
Orcus don’t play. If you come within 20 squares of him, you’ll begin to rot as his death energy seizes your living flesh. If Orcus becomes bloodied, he’ll get really angry and you’ll take twice as much necrotic damage from his aura.
Within 6 squares of Orcus, movement is difficult. You’ll spend an additional movement point trying to navigate in this vicinity, even if you’re flying. Worse, anyone who dies within this aura is raised as an abyssal ghoul myrmidon – unless they were killed by the Wand of Orcus. We’ll get to that special fate in a little bit.
Means of Destruction #2: His Minions
Masters of the undead have an unfair advantage. They recycle their enemies and use them for their own nefarious purposes. Orcus is no different; he raises his slain foes and puts them to work for Team Evil. Plus, his death powers heal his minions while dealing damage to the living (also known as future minions). Wherever Orcus passes, skeletal arms rise from the ground to creep out his enemies and hinder their movement, and ghosts moan their lamentations. Avoid his evil entourage at all costs.
Means of Destruction #3: His Tail
As if the aura and the minions weren’t bad enough, Orcus will tail-whip anyone who moves or shifts into a square adjacent to him. The unfortunate victims will find themselves in a world of pain, stunned, and knocked prone by his massive, spiked tail.
Means of Destruction #4: His Touch
Believe me, this is one guy you don’t want to get touchy-feely with. He will reach across four squares to reduce a target to 0 hit points, ignoring their immunities or resistances to necrotic damage. Enemies who dodge the backhand still take necrotic damage equal to their bloodied value. Ouch!
Means of Destruction #5: His Wand
The Wand of Orcus is an artifact with a gigantic human skull on top of it. If Orcus whaps you with his wand, you’ll take a lot of damage and find yourself in a weakened state. If you get killed by the wand, don’t worry; you’ll soon come back as a dread wraith under his command. (Actually, that’s not very comforting.)
Orcus laughs at your suffering. Orcus is deeply offended that you still draw breath. Orcus will destroy you and everything you love, including your dog – and he won’t feel bad about it. If ever you find yourself wandering through the Abyss, steer clear of the layer called Thanatos and the obsidian palace known as Everlost. You don’t want to knock on Orcus’s door.
Have you had a close encounter with Orcus? Do you think he’s overrated? Do you agree that he could be Diablo’s evil twin? I look forward to your comments!