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|Title(s)||The Decayed, Harbinger of Disease and Decay, Lord of Despair, Lord of Misery
Former titles: Daemonking, Lord of Glooms, Oinoloth, Oinodaemon
|Home plane||Gray Waste|
In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, Anthraxus // an-THRAK-səs the Decayed is a powerful altraloth, a unique magically augmented yugoloth. Anthraxus was once the Oinoloth, the lord of the Wasting Tower of Khin-Oin, a position and title held by one of the most powerful of the yugoloth race.
The Oinodaemon (Anthraxus) first appeared in the daemon entry in the original Monster Manual II (1983). Anthraxus played an important part in one of the adventures found in Swords of the Iron Legion (1988).
Anthraxus seeks alliances among the evil gods of the Lower Planes to help him take back his throne, so far without success, though in Artifact of Evil he acts as a messenger for Nerull. Unusual for a yugoloth of his rank, he is said to truly experience the emotion of hatred in his rage at Mydianchlarus for ousting him from his throne.
Anthraxus appears as a tall man with a ram's head, badly ravaged by disease. In Artifact of Evil by Gary Gygax, he speaks in a coughing, choking voice.
Anthraxus's mortal cultists are marked with deforming diseases as a sign of their faith. On ritual occasions, they wear white robes and capes, with red sashes about their chests and waists.
Anthraxus' priests, called degogs, dress in bright red robes with black hoods and sashes. Higher ranking priests wear black robes and hoods with red and gold sashes. The chief of the high priests is called the archdegog. Particularly favored archdegogs are transformed by Anthraxus to become an aspect or puppet of their god.
Shrines to Anthraxus, called conventicles, are found in hidden, subterranean areas, and involve flaming pentacles and blood-red swords thrust into the altars. They're often built around volcanic vents. Statues of deformed cultists and yugoloths of various castes are common, as well as statues of Anthraxus himself.
Cultists of Anthraxus sacrifice young humans with all the qualities they dislike: youth, beauty, health, innocence, and so on. Cult ceremonies involve candles and long, droning chants with low, ominous tones of despair. Burning censers release thick yellow vapors into the air.
Anthraxus formerly wielded a powerful artifact called the Staff of the Lower Planes. Among other uses, it was capable of polymorphing fiends into larvae of the Gray Waste. Since his loss of status however, he appears to have lost the artifact, and a number of unique yugoloths are currently searching the lower planes for its location.
Anthraxus was originally an ultroloth transformed by night hags to eliminate a swarm of meddlesome paladins from the Knights of the Planes-Militant, an ancient order based in the Seven Heavens. When Anthraxus had fulfilled his contract, he immediately wrested control of Khin-Oin from its previous owner (who some believe to be currently imprisoned in a mysterious abandoned city of dark stone and lead in the caverns near the Vault of the Drow) to become the ruling Oinoloth. He ruled for nearly 3,000 years, but he was either violently ousted by Mydianchlarus or convinced to leave of his own accord by a seductive lie or secret that only Mydianchlarus knew. He now roams the Lower Planes, searching for work among the gods of evil. He is still practically a god himself.
In 4th edition
According to 4th edition's Demonomicon, Anthraxus (called Phraxas in that book) marches on the Wasting Tower in approximately 599 CY and challenges Mydianchlarus for control of the Siege Malicious. Though Mydianchlarus is slain in these events, Anthraxus is thwarted in his attempt to wholly destroy his hated foe. The Sepulcher of Mydianchlarus now lingers as a burning reminder of Anthraxus's broken reign.
Anthraxus is the ruler of Khin-Oin in the Forgotten Realms module Swords of the Iron Legion, which takes place in approximately 1357 DR (the equivalent of 577 CY in the World of Greyhawk Timeline). Anthraxus is still known as the Oinodaemon in the novel Artifact of Evil (1986) by Gary Gygax, in which he appears before the Hierarchs of the Horned Society just before their massacre by the forces of Iuz in 583 CY. In Planes of Conflict, whose in-game date corresponds to 587 CY, Anthraxus is said to have been recently deposed. In The Scarlet Brotherhood, which is set in 591 CY, Mydianchlarus is said to be the current Oinoloth, and to be an ally of the deity Pyremius. The 3rd edition Manual of the Planes (also corresponding with 591 CY due to its publication date) also describes Mydianchlarus as the current Oinoloth.
In Demonomicon, Anthraxus (called Phraxas in that book) is said to have taken his throne back from Mydianchlarus "only a century ago," which means that book must be set at least a hundred years after The Scarlet Brotherhood. Assuming the "present day" in Demonomicon is equivalent to the present day in the 4th edition Forgotten Realms setting (1479 DR, "The Year of the Ageless One"), then a century before that was 1379 DR, or 599 CY. This is still in the "future" relative to the last published Greyhawk products.
Anthraxus was one of the patrons of the Horned Society when it was founded almost a century ago. In Gary Gygax's novel Artifact of Evil, he brings a message to the Horned Society that Nerull has sent him to aid the society.
- Mentzer, Frank. "Ay pronunseeAY shun gyd" Dragon #93 (TSR, 1985)
- Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual II (TSR, 1983)
- Williams, Skip. Swords of the Iron Legion (TSR, 1988)
- Bonny, Ed. "Pox of the Planes" in Dragon Magazine Annual #2. 1997
- Brunner, Frank. "Strike on the Rabid Dawn." Dungeon #111. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2004
- Green, Scott; Peterson, Clark (2002). Tome of Horrors. Necromancer Games. pp. 57–58. ISBN 1-58846-112-2.
- Brown, Russell. "Mellorn Hospitality." Dungeon #107, (Paizo Publishing, 2004).
- Emerich, Richard W. "The Dark Conventicle." Dungeon #11 (TSR, 1988).
- Grubb, Jeff. Manual of the Planes (TSR, 1987).
- Gygax, Gary. Artifact of Evil. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1986. Pages 233-234.
- McComb, Colin. Faces of Evil: The Fiends (TSR, 1997).
- McComb, Colin, Dale Donovan, and Monte Cook. Planes of Conflict (TSR, 1995).
- Mearls, Mike, Brian R. James, and Steve Townshend. Demonomicon. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2010.
- Wissel, Christopher. "Diplomacy." Dungeon #144, (Paizo Publishing, 2007).