Earlier this year, in the article discussing the origins of the dark fate of the Queen of Air and Darkness, we discussed the dark god of the underdark as being the mastermind behind it all. In fact, all evidence points to Tharizdun, the ‘Eater of Worlds’, as being this dark god.
But who is Tharizdun? What led to his abysmal fate? And what possible story element could he be in your game? Well, I’m glad you asked.
Before the creation of the Abyss, there lived the mighty Obyriths, demonic powers of unimaginable might and horrid visage. These beings had drained their original domain into a lifeless realm and they knew they had a limited time to find a solution less they die. Creating a shard of incredible evil, they planted it as a seed; knowing someone would help them cultivate their evil plan.
This entity was the god, Tharizdun.
Already a deity, he still hungered for more and more power and his discovery of the shard was just the promise of power he was looking for. His connection to the shard and, through it, to the dying Oberiths drove him to madness. No one knows what he was before besides power hungry. But under the influence of such concentrated evil, he became more dark and dangerous than any could have perceived.
Defying their command to plant the shard into the Astral Sea, he instead planted it deep in the center of the Elemental Chaos, the final resting place of the fallen Primordials. From this shard/seed grew the ABYSS. But Tharizdun wanted more than just he demonic realm, he, at first, wanted ALL of the Elemental CHaos and, then, all of existance!
The other gods knew they could not allow his power to grew unfettered. So, they put aside their differences and banned together with the sole goal of chaining the mad god so his evil could go no further.
So that’s that, you think. If there was not more, I wouldn’t have mentioned him. But there is more. From his imprisonment he slides in and out of lucidity. There are times when the ‘Ender’, ‘The Black Sun’, ‘He who waits’ gains enough consciousness to begin his scheming into the realm of mortals once more.
The Elder Elemental Eye
Princes of the Apocalypse
PORTFOLIOS: ETERNAL DARKNESS, DECAY, ENTROPY, INSANITY, COLD AND MALIGN KNOWLEDGE
DOMAINS: TRICKERY (seems odd), CHAOS, DREAM, DESTRUCTION, EVIL, FORCE, MADNESS
Of the 5E domains, only death and knowledge fit. This is mainly due to the fact that the PC would have a hard time following such a dark patron unless you’re running an evil campaign. To go further, you would have to homebrew some darker domains of your own. Those sources that say he is the ‘god of nightmares’ has my utmost attention for I believe a dream motif would be best. There are a lot of creatures connected to dreams.
GREAT OLD ONE PATRON
Much like Tharizdun sought power from the Obyriths, many still reach out to him for power. There are whole cults dedicated to him and willing to do whatever they can to release him from his bondage. This is the central goal of any promise of power or pact he makes. To a Warlock, he is a Great Old One Patron. Although he is not himself from the Far Realm, but The Dark One’s madness makes him nearly incomprehensible to mortals. And yet he accepts followers into his cult and grants what power he can.
Some sources say that ‘divine’ spellcasters cannot prepare spells unless they are in the vicinity of one of the Chained One’s artifacts or at a site that is imbued with his power or allows access. This, for the Warlock, would be your familiar through Pact of the Chain, the book through Pact of the Tome or your weapon from Pact of the Blade, obviously.
Your Warlock would be much in the same predicament as Fjord from the second season of critical role was with Uk’otoa. They will either have to work to release him or find a way out or another patron or god to protect him and power them. Could be quite the story.
This would be a better Patron for an NPC Antagonist. They would be a Warlock head of the ‘Chained Oblivions’ cult; working toward the release of their master from his prison. This would set the party against them in a mad race to stop this insane endeavor. The focus could be an artifact dear to Tharizdun with a spark of his power. Or a number of artifacts that, once connected, may release him.
THE LOST TEMPLE OF THARIZDUN
This could all culminate in finding one or more places in your world that have powerful connections to The Dark One. In the adventure module, THE LOST TEMPLE OF THARIZDUN, published early in First Edition by Gary Gygax himself, the adventurers find themselves on one such quest. Stumbling onto this lost temple, they have encounters of ceremony and worship as well as rituals that put them at risk of death and madness (not in that order).
Their ultimate discovery is the BLACK CYST; an evil entity of writhing darkness and tentacles. It is quite possible, if they get this far, they will either go mad, be killed or be trapped with the Cyst for all eternity.
THARIZDUN AS BBEG: A DREAM OR A NIGHTMARE?
Tharizdun would make a great BBEG for any campaign. A dark, chained god working through an insane cult to bring about the end of all things would be challenging to any campaign. Cult members hiding in plain site everywhere and within every shadow. Foul abominations released through sacrificial rituals ready to follow the Dark One’s edict: Destroy all Things! Possible journeys to other planes and demiplanes of existence. All of this is the stuff of adventure!
It may become a race to the place where the Chained Oblivion is…well…chained. In THE DEMIPLANE OF IMPRISONMENT, which is hidden away in the Ethereal plane, another cyst exists. This one, however, is crystalline in nature. But coming in contact with it draws unsuspecting heroes into ‘dreamscapes’ which include, not only, his worshipers, but those who have the dark fate to have their dreams invaded by the Dark One. On top of that, you may encounter the dream of Tharizdun himself! If you find yourself drawn in the narcissistic dream of ‘He Who Waits’, madness may wait with him.
Above all don’t allow any of Tharizdun’s followers close enough to communicate. For they may know the secret of it all. That being that the Chained Oblivion is actually not chained. He just thinks he is. In his madness, he has been drawn under the delusion that he is trapped there. No, the ‘binding magic’ is more about keeping those from the outside from informing him of his weak entrapment.
This makes for lots of great roleplay as they traverse the dreamscape to do battle with those who would free the End of All Things. Not only that, but they must be careful not to be trapped within the dream itself and forever be at the mercy of Tharizdun’s madness.
There you have it! So much storyline and roleplay to be had! What have YOU done with Tharizdun in YOUR campaign. What are some of your ideas? The fact is that we do not create in a vacuum. We hope to learn as much from you and your stories and adventures as you do from us. Let’s hear from you in the comments below or on Facebook (themagictavernlgs)!