|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 30 Aug 2020 : 21:36:39
Randomly decided to work on the Church of Myrkul because i got a bit bored of reading the Canticle. Lots of interesting stuff on Myrkulites and their practices.
Did Ebondeath really crumble to dust because of the ToT, or was it a misplaced (or deliberately placed) "Hand of Mykul" from a Grey One, perhaps Ebondeath was a Grey One and used it on himself to try and transcend.
Here's what i have so far, is for 1356 DR
I've decided on making a single unified church for Myrkul that covers the whole of Faerun (which i dont normally do for churches), because it was so easily absorbed by Cyric's growing Church later, which means it was likely united before the subsumption and then merged wholesale.
I've got 3 or 4 cults that were originally established by Myrkul as he wandered Faerun (before becoming a true god), so one in the Murghom, one in Netheril, one in Jhaamdath. These then migrant and split and evolve over time as the civilisations are destroyed by disaster.
So we have the Cult of Skulls in the Savage North, the Cult of Bones in Calimshan/Vilhon, the Cult of Kalahb in the Shaar, and the Cult of Cyruk in the Moonsea. All of them are eventually absorbed by the Cult of Bones which morphs into the Church of the Bone Lord.
Cyruk is of course the origin on the name Cyric and explains somewhat why the Church of Myrkul embraced Cyric as its patron, because they think Cyric is just Myrkul by another name.
I wont be making the Church of the Bone Lord overtly evil. They will tend to the burial rites and deal with errant undead as though they are a respectable church. In secret they will aid people that want to become liches, they will seed undead into areas so they can be called upon to help, and they will aid budding necromancers, all this aid will be given to individuals in return for help with Myrkulite rituals and temple assistance etc, with the goal of converting them to true faithful (those that convert get even greater secrets). So overtly they are a bit creepy but not terrible, secretly people whisper that there are nasty things going on.
Below is my imagining of the hierarchy of ranks and titles, expanding upon Faiths and Avatars and including bits i found in various sources.
I'm also toying with the idea of having the name of Necromancer originating in Calimshan among Myrkulites as Nykkaromancers, meaning from Nykkar (which was the Calishite place of the dead)
The Church of the Bone Lord is more strictly organised the closer one is to the headquarters in Tulmon.
The church is led by a council known as the Conclave of Doom that convenes regularly in the Skullspires in Tulmon. Elder Dooms (the most senior priest of Myrkul today) form the membership of the Conclave of Doom and are in constant residence at Skullspires unless on some special mission elsewhere.
The edicts of the Conclave of Doom are delivered to Deathbringers in the major temples (or shrines where no temples yet exist) for the various nations or major regions of Faerun. These Deathbringers command a number of Undead Masters, each of whom runs a temple and the priests of varying ranks in attendance (listed in descending order); Ritual Consecrator, Bone Dancer, Crypt Carver, Shroud Wearer, Bone Talker, Night walker, Daring Death, and Daring One (novices).
Each rank usually has a specific role in a temple or at a shrine. Ritual Consecrators are responsible for leading the daily consecrations of the temple and items to Myrkul, including the creation of religious artefacts. Bone Dancers lead the Ritual of Bones. Crypt Carvers are responsible for the creation and maintenance of skull and other carvings in and around the temple. Shroud Wearers deal with the proper burial rites. Bone Talkers are responsible for dealing with errant undead and managing the undead guardians at temples and shrines. Night Walkers usually lead small groups of wandering priests that are more commonly found in frontier regions that have few or no dedicated temples (such as the Savage Frontier). Daring Deaths deal with most daily chores in a temple or shrine and are assisted by Daring Ones.
The Withering Lords are a special rank of priest that have been blessed with the knowledge of a spell known to the Church of the Bone Lord, Wither. This spell is used in a ceremony celebrating the appointment of a new Elder Doom. Withering Lords and the Wither spell were originally part of the Cult of Skulls, and were brought into the Church of the Bone Lord to augment the prestige of its most senior clergy and to help those cultists to adjust when they were absorbed into the new church.
There are other titles, now used as honorifics for prestigious individuals, that were once part of the hierarchy of the Cult of Skulls, such as “Deaths”, and “Most Holy Deaths”. The high priest of the Cult of Skulls were known as the "Mouth of Myrkul", a particularly powerful priest that was able to cow the leadership of several cells of the Cult of Skulls, there have only been a handful of these individuals in the history of this cult and they were all energetic and widely feared, but it is believed none of these individuals remain alive today.
|16 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 20 Sep 2020 : 22:24:39
Great Reader Dallison,
I just happened to think of you and this post as I watched a movie a couple of nights ago with my wife. The movie was called, The Devil All of the Time. Heads up: I thought it sucked in almost every way. However, that being said........the way the serial killer acts throughout the movie made me think of a damn priest of Myrkul all day! I think you should consider watching that movie only for that reason, haha.
Anyhow, I just had to put this out there.
||Posted - 17 Sep 2020 : 20:01:05
I actually tried to make the organisation itself not evil. Evil organisations do not last long and are usually secretive (unless they grow to dominate an entire city or nation.
The church of myrkul however was widespread and clearly relied upon to do funerals and other death related activities.
Plus many people have pointed out that they do not understand why anyone would worship myrkul or how it would be allowed places of worship in good places. Something I agree with.
So the church of myrkul is outwardly beneficial, but secretive and actively promotes an aura of fear.
That fear leads many people to assume that priests of myrkul are evil and leads to whispers about them raising the dead on purpose so that they get hired to destroy that infestation.
Some of this is true because there are evil people among the ranks of the church, but most of the membership are just a little bit macabre.
||Posted - 17 Sep 2020 : 19:15:56
Great Reader Dallison,
Remember as well, that there are even more Rings of Myrkul in the Mere as well that could have some amazing stuff done with it, beyond the ones known and possessed now. Good stuff there........err....evil stuff I suppose. :)
||Posted - 04 Sep 2020 : 20:58:42
All done, i've exhausted near every source of Myrkul and added in some places and people that worshipped Cyric or Kelemvor assuming they may once have been Myrkul worshippers before converting.
One thing i did find was the Mountain of Skulls, The Dark Redoubt, the Twin Towers of the Eclipse, all located within the same mountain range on the border of Amn and all dedicated to Cyric, which has some evidence of past presence of Myrkul worshippers (Lossarwyn was betrayed by a Myrkulite priest in Amn).
Now the Dark Reboubt is a converted noble estate that was a new place of worship for Bane before being converted to Cyric. The Twin Towers of the Eclipse were newly built temples to Cyric.
That leaves the Mountain of Skulls, a cave deep in the Cloud Peaks. What info i could find says that it is a new temple to Bane, but its a cave, its been around for a long time. I'm going to assume this was a former hideaway for the Dark Three or their worshippers and has been used as a shrine or temple for Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul over the years. I figure the Banites just recently took it for their own and turned it into a proper fortified temple.
So in the past the worshippers of the Dark Three have been able to hide in secret and spread out to Amn and the Western Heartlands above.
||Posted - 02 Sep 2020 : 21:30:18
Found a lot of connections between Shoon and Myrkul which probably begins with Qysar Shoon IV.
Apparently there are 3 genies imprisoned in a gigantic crystal beneath the temples of Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul in Shoonach.
I've identified about 6 temples across Faerun. Looks like there arent any known temples and few shrines in the Heartlands (Sembia, Cormyr, Dalelands).
Going to sift through the followers of Cyric to see if any of them resemble former priests of Myrkul because apparently the integration of Myrkulites into Cyricists was quite smooth and easy.
||Posted - 02 Sep 2020 : 10:53:36
So found this in the 1e Savage Frontier sourcebook
1272 DR Zhentarim wizards and priests of Bane and Myrkul raise an army of undead, orcs, and other creatures to assault the city of Silverymoon but are repelled by Alustriel's Spellguard.
I'm not sure this date works as is. The Zhentarim had only been around for about 10 years prior to this and Alustriel had only been in charge of Silverymoon for about 30 years so i'm not sure if she had enough time to create the Spellguard. Also i dont know that any of the 3 churches of Bane had a big presence in the north, and the church of Myrkul seemingly does not have a big presence in the north after 1020 DR when the harpers destroyed much of it.
Sooo what were a bunch of wizards from Zhentil Keep if they were Zhentarim or not, coupled with Banites and Myrkulites presumably from Zhentil Keep as well, doing attacking Silverymoon.
Given the timing of the attack it could be that they were trying to break into the newly moved Vault of Sages, or perhaps an attack on Alustriel herself.
If anyone has any insights on this i'd be very interested to hear them.
||Posted - 01 Sep 2020 : 21:11:06
Came across Lossarwyn the Ice Lich in my search for all things Myrkul.
It would appear that Lossarwyn's story has no dates whatsoever except that he was not happy around the time of the standing stone.
It mentions that he just about finds the perfect plague (or makes one) and is ready to unleash it on the world when he is discovered and then he is imprisoned in a glacier, and then later that glacier thaws.
Using that random set of events i think he was discovered around 632 DR and flees to the Damara/Narfell region where he is imprisond in the expanding Great Glacier ice caused by Iyraclea and her expanding powers.
That ties in nicely to the time of Soneillon's release in 612 DR, and she presumably started experimenting with diseases immediately.
Then Lossarwyn is released when the Great Glacier thaws around 1000 DR and flees to Amn before taking up with the Twisted Rune (which works because the Twisted Rune was established 886 DR) and getting involved in some kind of spat between a priest of Myrkul and the Twisted Rune (the Twisted Rune betrayed him somehow when he approached a priest of Myrkul for help with his researches, the rationale doesnt quite make sense on its own so there must be more to the story).
I'm wondering who the priest of Myrkul was primarily but Lossarwyn has an interesting and unplotted story and he might be responsible for many plagues along the Sword Coast after 1000 DR before taking up with the Twisted Rune.
||Posted - 01 Sep 2020 : 15:55:36
Some interesting things recently found.
High up in the cliffs of the Sargauth River is a sword 11 ft long buried to the hilt in the stone, still attached to the mailed fist and iron bracer (i'm picturing some kind of gauntlet and vambrace of giant proportions).
This sword bears runic symbols of Bane, Bhaal, Moander, and Myrkul on it.
I did a rough calculation and i figure that a one handed sword of that size would need a wielder in excess of 24 ft tall.
Then there is Dendybar the Mottled and the Arcane Brotherhood. Damien Morienus was the overmaster of the north tower in 1269 and a worshipper of Myrkul. He retreated to Icewind Dale to undergo lichdom but failed.
Morkai the Red i guess might have been the next Overmaster of the North Tower, and he built the conjuration room it contains.
Dendybar the Mottled is a former priest of Myrkul and arranges for Morkai to be slain in Icewind Dale. Dendybar also has a skull like head, a mark given only to the most loyal of priests but i've coopted to be given to the highest ranking of priests in the modern church, but used more commonly by the Cult of Skulls before it was destroyed in 1020 DR by the Harpers.
So what if Dendybar is more ancient than he appears (which is hinted in his writeup), what if he manipulated Morkai the Red into travelling to Icewind Dale to search for Damien's recipe for lichdom and then had Morkai killed.
Perhaps Dendybar the mottled is a more ancient and senior member of the Cult of Skulls that escaped the war with the Harpers, finally manipulating his way to the top of the Arcane Brotherhood over the centuries.
||Posted - 31 Aug 2020 : 21:46:41
It's certainly possible.
I think that since Myrkul was exiled from Murghom (I read that as would have been executed but he couldn't be found), anyone with any ties to him were similarly treated. The mulhorandi are not known for leniency but some could have escaped and for me they did.
If there were any cultists left I dont think they would be much like other worshippers of myrkul. In fact the word kalahb that I chose is derived from the Khala that were transformed into peyton like creatures (elminsters ecologies) but also is a merging of the words for jackal and lord.
I wouldn't be surprised to find out the cult was absorbed into Sets cult either when it absorbed many animal cults from migrants of the hordelands, or later when Thay rebelled and the Setites tried to take advantage of that chaos by leading Semphar into rebellion (why not Murghom as well).
But if it is still around make it animal based because of the legend of the Khala and mix in some Imaskari stuff, because I'm certain Myrkul went into Raurin and found plenty of Imaskari magic to make himself powerful.
||Posted - 31 Aug 2020 : 21:33:43
This is quite interesting stuff. I wonder if the worship of Myrkul shouldn't be more significant in Murghom, his homeland. Perhaps his cult was not entirely annihilated there but driven underground? And given the invasion that Mulhorand launched in the 2nd/3rd edition timeline, the Pharaoh might be too distracted to deal with matters in Murghom (which is already established in lore as growing increasingly autonomous). Perhaps such cultists there could have infiltrated the church of Osiris in Murghom and have slowly been corrupting it over the centuries under Myrkulite influence.
||Posted - 31 Aug 2020 : 21:12:31
As a further thing, i was wondering more about Chardansearavitriol.
First is Chardansearavitriol became a dracolich in 922 DR and was free of control in 930 DR ish when Strongor died. But he did nothing else until 1202 DR when he disintegrated into dust.
So i was thinking if Chardansearavitriol helped Strongor make the Blood Plagues but betrayed him so that the orcs would survive, then Strongor might be really mad and so imprison the dracolich beneath Uthtower.
Chardansearavitriol achieved nothing else but his disintegration because he was stuck underground in magical restraints.
Then what if Chardansearavitriol's disintegration was voluntary. If he became dust he could escape any chains placed upon him. The Hand of Myrkul turns anyone touched into dust so what if Chardansearavitriol spent 3 centuries becoming a Grey One and then used the Hand of Myrkul on himself.
Then i figured what is the next stage of the plan. He comes back during the Eye of Myrkul, but what for. So what is the next stage of lichdom - demilichdom, and part of that process involves turning to dust and creating soul gems.
So Chardansearavitriol uses the Hand of Myrkul on himself and when the Eye of Myrkul comes around again he will use the Hand of Myrkul on the two black dragons that now inhabit the Mere and place their souls in two of the Rings of Myrkul creating two soul gems and becoming a Demi Dracolich (dracoliches are horrendous because once you kill it you have to destroy its phylactery, but imagine a dracolich with multiple phylacteries that can reform every tenday without needing a new body - it just reforms out of the dust).
Hopefully Eric would approve
||Posted - 31 Aug 2020 : 20:25:07
Came across the Bone Wings in Under Illefarn Anew.
Decided to make this a heresy, since i doubt the Church of Myrkul would appreciate any deviation from the approved teachings of how to worship Myrkul (admittedly it is an unusual heresy in that it mixes worship of Myrkul with a non-religious entity - the cult of the dragon).
Then i figured that the Bone Wings originated with Strongor Bonebag and the Ebondeath cell because Strongor was a priest of Myrkul and a cult of the dragon leader.
Then noted that Strongor Bonebag was around in 922 DR which is right at the birth of the cult of the dragon. Algashon only had copies of the Tome of the Dragon made around 909 DR, and used that to establish numerous other splinter cells. So i figure Strongor Bonebag was one of those given a Tome of the Dragon and sent off to found a new cell.
Strongor is also described as charismatic priest with desires to extend his reach across the North so i decided Strongor could be one of the Mouth of Myrkul, using his pet dracolich to cow other Myrkulites into his heresy.
It says Strongor died less than a decade later (after 922 DR) which puts it nicely in 930 DR when Uruth Ukrypt started to restrict trade in the north and they also isolated Ebondeath from the rest of the north so i figure why not have the orcs of Uruth Ukrypt kill Strongor Bonebag and end his dreams of domination.
Then a further thought occurred. The Sword Mountains were decimated by the Blood Plagues in 927 DR, which are attributed to Yurtrus because they left only the orcs alive out of all humanoids. But what if Strongor Bonebag and his Ebondeath cell were the ones that unleashed the plague, and as a further intrigue what if Ebondeath the dragon helped with making the plague (i'm intending him to become Gray One specialty priest) and deliberately made it not affect orcs, knowing that they would become strong and likely do away with Strongor Bonebag so that Ebondeath would be free of his control.
My attempt at a little intrigue and tying together stray threads.
||Posted - 31 Aug 2020 : 15:00:46
That is exactly what the cults were established for. While in jhaamdath and netheril he had people worship him as though he was a god (because he was already very powerful) in preparation for him becoming a god later.
That's how I explain myrkuls worship being around before myrkul is though to have ascended, he was planning ahead..
||Posted - 31 Aug 2020 : 14:38:06
I imagine that Myrkul studied up on his fellow ascended deities across the multiverse while seeding his cults; it wouldn't surprise me if his cults were already pseudo-worshipping him before his ascension. He'd be sort of like Mannimarco in that respect.
||Posted - 31 Aug 2020 : 09:20:17
I've deliberately stayed away from myrkul himself, other than saying he established cults of personality during his extensive travels of faerun (the travels are already known).
This is about the church itself, and since i allow no direct interaction between deities and mortals it is entirely up to the cults and its membership how they evolve.
I am a big fan of the king killer star and its effect on dragons, and Sammasters later attempt at manipulating the mythal.
I am having trouble however imagining how I could get a cause and effect link between the movement of a constellation.
I could just chalk it up to belief, the priests of myrkul believe their powers will be stronger during a particular time and so it is stronger because of that belief.
This is more about the church than myrkul though.
||Posted - 30 Aug 2020 : 22:08:58
did you find the old thread we had around here about Myrkul's early life? I know you were here for it, but it went on for 7 pages and spanned 2013 to 2018 apparently.
One of the more interesting things I know about Myrkul is that "the Night of Myrkul's Eye" is when the moon passes through a constellation considered ancient to Mystra (so possibly Mystryl's), which somewhat mirrors the whole Selune hurling a bit of her essence thing.