Lord of Disease, Culler of the Herd, He Who Elevates The Deserving

Nyros represents an interesting case study in the evolution of the portfolio of a deity. In the early years of the Atalan Empire, the cult of Nyros was mostly focused on plagues and the undead, and its members were busy spreading disease and unliving monstrosities to all lands they could reach.

But over time, the priests of Nyros became more discriminating in whom they infected - many priests made it known that they were willing to see important civic figures to come to a very gruesome end as long as the right price was paid. While this practice didn't make them any more popular with the population at large, it did win them converts with the rich, powerful, and depraved, which was an apt description of much of the Atalan nobility in the Empire's final days - in fact, more than one Emperor died from an "incurable disease", and the cult might be at least partially responsible for the final disintegration of the Empire.

As the centuries went by, the cult became firmly established among those who saw themselves as being denied "their rightful place in society" - at the top, naturally - or those who were already at the top, and saw their place threatened by outsiders. Racists, supremacists, or just people who will use any method, no matter how foul, have come to worship Nyros. Many pogroms throughout the ages have, if not been started, then at least been egged on by his priests. That the various cultists often would see each other as "inferior" once they became aware of each other doesn't seem to stop the cult - there is no central church hierarchy, and each cell operates on its own, with its own ideas on whom they consider superior and inferior. The cult is illegal in many places, but its priests are notorious for their luck in evading detection. They are also known as expert poisoners, for when precision is needed to cull particular undeserving as opposed to the larger-scale devastation plagues cause.

Nyros is also worshiped among many goblins as a fertility deity of sorts - as goblins are subject to forced sterilizations in many human cities, they pray to Nyros to restore their virility so that they can become like a plague upon humans. His priests are indeed hard at work to undo the sterilizations, but they never do so for free, and rarely ask for mere money.

Cultists of Nyros generally believe the following:

  • The world is full of beings who do not deserve to live and thus need to be culled.
  • Disease and poison are sacred tools to wipe away those undeserving of life.
  • Prove your own superiority by outliving your enemies.

The symbol of Nyros is a towering golden man standing on top of a heap of small, dark humanoids lying on top of each other.

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

Why would anyone worship a god of disease, other than to appease it? In order to direct disease against other people, of course. Just as racism and intolerance are plagues on civilization, so are the followers of Nyros. They tend to be selfish and evil to their rotten cores.


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