The Ebon Triad is a cult in the fictional world of Oerth in the Greyhawk campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. First introduced in the Shackled City Adventure Path, the cult became the central focus of the following Age of Worms Adventure Path, both published in Dungeon magazine.
The Ebon Triad is an evil cult of heretics from the churches of three evil Greyhawk deities - Erythnul, Hextor, and Vecna. They believe that their deities represent a fragmented divinity, and that through their actions they can merge the power of their three deities into one overdeity of extreme and unimaginable power. The Ebon Triad has cells throughout Oerth, each working to raise funds to finance their ambitious project.
The official churches of Erythnul, Hextor, and Vecna are displeased with the foundation of the Ebon Triad. Tradition and belief have always kept these three churches at odds with each other, and the majority of these faithful have no wish to see the glory and power of their patron deity "diluted" through mixing with "lesser" religions. The fact that their deities continue to grant spells to the cultists of the Ebon Triad is vexing and disturbing to the traditionalists, especially to the church of Hextor, whose rigid faith cannot square the contradiction. Word of the heresy has not spread far from the three churches, who keep accounts brutally suppressed before the radical ideas of the Ebon Triad gain more converts.
To most people, however, the idea that a mortal cult could bind gods as powerful as Erythnul, Hextor, and Vecna is extremely doubtful, even preposterous.
The symbol of the Ebon Triad is a black triangle with the unholy symbols of Erythnul, Hextor, and Vecna each carved into one of the triangle's three points.
From the fanatical peripheries of the three evil churches comes a blasphemous doctrine known as the Way of the Ebon Triad, an anonymously penned collection of essays and scrolls soaked in phantasmagoric allegory and apocalyptic ecstasy. The Way outlines in vague terms a series of rituals and portentous events that culminate in the spiritual and physical adhesion of Erythnul, Hextor, and Vecna into a single supremely powerful overdeity. Outlaws even within their own blasphemous religions, adherents to the Way of the Ebon Triad travel the world in search of fellow wanderers, often banding together to influence important events and edge the world of Oerth closer to catastrophe.
In the year 594 CY, agents of the Ebon Triad conspired with another dangerous cult, the Cagewrights, to trigger a volcanic eruption that nearly consumed the city of Cauldron, in the distant southern jungles. To the Ebon Triad, this event was merely one of a handful of prophesized events presaging the advent of the Age of Worms, an era of darkness and writhing death that would provide the required backdrop for the ascension of their tripartite deity.
What the Ebon Triad cultists throughout Oerth do not understand is that the entire religious movement is a fraud launched at the direction of Kyuss, an ancient being who has plotted to bring about the Age of Worms for millennia.
The Ebon Triad was founded by Lashonna, a vampiric silver dragon, and Mahuudril, an avolakia envoy from the Wormcrawl Fissure, in the Well of Triptych Knowledge, a dungeon complex under a sickhouse known as Sinner's Sanctum in the city of Alhaster. At the core of their machinations is a unique fiend (see the section The Ebon Aspect below) bred and shaped by Lashonna and Mahuudril to serve as a focus for the misguided faith and devotional energy of the heretics they recruited from the churches of Erythnul, Hextor, and Vecna to populate the cult.
Within the Well of Triptych Knowledge, the architects of the Ebon Triad spoke to those they had chosen to be the leaders and priests of the cult. These heretics were taught the beliefs of the Ebon Triad, and were given copies of the Way of the Ebon Triad that would serve as their guide once they were in the world, leading their own cults. Once the cult was established, its agents spread throughout the world, working unknowingly to advance Lashonna's plans and make way for the Age of Worms.
Lashonna and Mahuudril succeeded beyond their expectations with the cult, and today, the Ebon Triad is a self-sustaining organization that truly believes in its goal to unite Erythnul, Hextor, and Vecna into a supreme overdeity. So powerful is their belief now that their clerics receive spells from prayer not from Kyuss, but from the power of their own devotion. As the Ebon Triad grew, Lashonna withdrew from the project, leaving the day-to-day organization of the cult's actions and goals to Mahuudril, whom the heretics knew only as a mysterious cloaked figure called Mother Maggot.
The Ebon Aspect
The Ebon Aspect is a bizarre amalgamation of the three deities it represents. It is a 10-foot-tall (3.0 m), powerfully built humanoid monster with six arms. It has smooth, dull gray skin and bulging muscles that pulse with arcane power. Three of its arms, two on its left and one on its right, are missing their hands. Its gaunt, skeletal face has massive fangs and is missing its left eye. It growls like a beast in battle, and fights like a savage animal. Aspects of Erythnul (the bestial shape and face), Hextor (the six arms), and Vecna (the missing eye and hands) are recognizable to those familiar with the three deities.
A physical manifestation of the teachings of the Ebon Triad, an Ebon Aspect is an abomination to not only all that is true and just in Oerth, but also to the traditional faith of the worshippers of Erythnul, Hextor, and Vecna. The Ebon Aspect described above is the first of its kind, but in time, more may appear in lands haunted by the Ebon Triad. As an example, the Ebon Aspect in the Well of Triptych Knowledge is a 30-foot-tall (9.1 m) monstrosity. It is a primal manifestation of the faith and devotion of the entire Ebon Triad, thus making it far more potent and dangerous than usual.
- Jacobs, James. "Flood Season." Dungeon #98 (Paizo Publishing, 2003).
- Mearls, Mike. "The Three Faces of Evil." Dungeon #125 (Paizo Publishing, 2005).
- Pett, Richard. "The Prince of Redhand." Dungeon #131 (Paizo Publishing, 2006).