The Top 5 Ways Orcus Will Destroy You

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“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!

39 thoughts on “The Top 5 Ways Orcus Will Destroy You”

  1. Original author here. Thanks for the great comments through the years! I’m running a game right now where I’m using Orcus as a plot twist leading up to an even bigger baddie — but don’t tell my players. ;) Mwahahaha….

  2. Meh, I agree with the guy who point out the mounted archery thing. Mongols can kill Orcus with relatively ease, even if they aren’t that much of a level.

  3. My DM is throwing us a “broke as fuck” campaign wherein we’re all Lvl 30 and we take on Orcus. Will update after we all die.

  4. Halfway game update:- Having raised orcus purposefully in order to destroy the gods who it turns out were using all living creatures as playthings and denying us our basic free will, we now have to go to battle to clean up the mess we left. The mess we left was orcus. There is two of us (plus my bear) We are epic teir. We are likely to die in about 20 minutes. We have packed many pairs of underpants in our adventure kits.
    Wish us well humans FOR IT IS FOR YOU WE FIGHT!!!!! TO BATTLE!!!!!!!!

    Love Flynn and Alec (and Pikaro)

  5. That’s it, I’m ripping tomorrow those pages from DM book.
    Thank You for noticing, I will do that for the greater good…or at least greater SURVIVAL o_o

  6. My lone character, a level 20 Slaughter Paladin of 3.5 rules, beat Orcus all by himself while the party and an an army stood and watched. Orcus is nothing, if you are undead with a high will save and decent damage reduction + fast healing he cant even hurt you. Point is, he was built to be a terror against living creatures but against undead with good will save most of his abilities are a moot point.

  7. Guys, guys! Whoa there! The 4th ed is entirely designed for parties of five characters (striker, striker, defender, leader, controller) therefore Orcus can be beaten by that same typical party. Plus his stats aren’t that high, I mean at level 15 you can already hit his defenses. Yes he’s tough, but not unbeatable! Far from it.

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