The Essence of Evil

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Adventure BackgroundFew names strike as much fear as the dreaded Tharizdun. The Dark God has many names, looming large in the minds of every sentient race to walk the Material Plane. He is known as the Patient One, He of Eternal Darkness, while others call him the Elder Elemental Eye, the Ebon God, or by any of countless other appelations. All of these are masks--facades to conceal utter malevolence and evil. A god so powerful and so destructive, his mere existence compeled the gods of good and evil to set aside their differences and lock him away for all time. This is Tharizdun, the lord of entropy, the force of decay and destruction in the multiverse. He is the god of madness, the father of endings, and to some, he is the sire of elder evils.

In spite of the gods' efforts to contain this malign entity, Tharizdun's touch has not been far from mortal minds. In their dreams, their fantasies, their feverish thoughts, he whispers unspeakable secrets, driving mad those who would listen, seducing them with promises of power, wealth, the fulfillment of their lust, vengeance, and anything else he can to fill their souls with an unquenchable thirst to serve his awful will. He puts before his servants one dreadful task. He demands freedom--release from the hateful bonds that contain him in the far-flung pruson deep inside the gloomiest depths of the Ethereal Plane. It is a task many have promised to fulfill, but none have achieved, for the enemies of the Dark God are many and varied, drawn to oppose the certain destruction his release threatens. So it is that history is littered with corpses of Tharizdun's failed servants, of bold cultists cast down, and of entire civilizations brought to ruin for their allegiance to this foul master. To many, it seems Tharizdun is a tired threat, an old menace easily thwarted and one not worth committing the resources and heroes to defeat, for too often his minions find defeat. While some still remain committed to being vigilant against Tharizdun's endless legions, the cancer spreads and complacency blooms in the hearts of those that matter. It is but a matter of time before the world becomes too soft--too weak--to oppose him and his children, and that time is now.

Deep beneath a forlorn volcano, long dormant but active with the servants of the Elder Elemental Eye, lays a dreadful thing--a fragment of He of Eternal Darkness brought low ages ago by powerful magic. For centuries, the abomination has waited, growing fat on the prayers of those mortal above that gave their lives and those of their sacrifices to honor their insane master. Never content with such petty supplications, the entity divided its minions into factions and turned them against one another, compelling them to fight and murder, to harvest the souls of their brethren in evil. Each new death fed the elder evil, awakening a dire intelligence and a grim awareness until it took a name and found its purpose. It became Shothragot, the Herald of Tharizdun and the key to unlock the dread prison.

As it stirred and trembled, it called upon awful servants to slaughter those remaining enemies, to winnow the ranks of those divine servants who would stand against it as it blossomed into the gullness og its horrid form. It assumed control over the scattered cultists, compelling them to seek out the keys that would unlock the dark god's prison, to find the 333 Gems of Tharizdun and return them to it so the Herald might consume them and grow powerful on their energies. For eight long years, the Herald feasted, growing fat on the burgeoning wickedness, greedily swallowing the stones as quickly as they arrived. The last gemstone devoured, Shothragot is ready to seek out its dread master. It tears free from its hidden redoubt and drifts into the heavens to make its final journey...

Impending DoomFor ages, prophets and mystics have foretold a coming calamity--warned all who would listen that the end was nigh. No one believed them until the skies ignited with flames and magic unraveled. As the sign intensified, the earth swelled and gradually there emerged a massive ball of darkness. The various churches and temples declared war on the thing, knowing the end of all things was at hand. You, along with others, have been recruited to fight this menace. Tragically, all attempts to defeat the monstrosity have failed, leaving it to one final band of heroes to set things aright.
...And in the last days, the sleep of a thousand years shall end when the herald appears, blotting out the sun in all its awesome glory. Its shuddering bulk shall sound the trumpets of destiny, those clarion calls to bring forth He Who Waits, the Dark God, the Wrongly Held. The 333 jewels that contain the dread master shall shatter, and the world shall tremble, wailing and clawing, begging their petty gods for escape from the wondrous return of the Unraveler, whose appearance shall set to right all wrongs, restore all balance, and reduce the abomination of creation to its primal, primitive state. Rejoice, for the end is at hand...

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