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God-Write up: Alzrius, The Lord of Brands

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Charles Phipps's picture
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God-Write up: Alzrius, The Lord of Brands

Alzrius
The Firebringer, The Lord of Brands
Demigod

Symbol: A burning hot brand that ends with a six fingered hand.
Home Plane: The Abyss
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Portfolio: Arson, Cruelty, Destructive Magic, Fire, Wealth
Worshipers: Demon worshipers, Greedy Merchants, Lunatics, Pyromaniacs, Wizards
Cleric Alignments: CN, CE, NE
Domains: Chaos, Destruction, Fire, Evil
Favored Weapon: Demonfire (Flametongue Bastard Sword)

Alzrius the Fire Bringer is a figure that everyone on Harmonium knows from the official histories and is held up as the symbol of ultimate evil on the land. There are countless books and retellings of the Harmonium's victory over the figure as he's often used in morality plays before always being defeated by the virtue of the heroes.

Occasionally, despite the Harmonium's best efforts, there are some signs that his religion continues. Usually, these pyromaniacs and serial killers are put down swiftly. Rarely, some Harmonium trooper who won't leave it alone is able to unearth a whole cult of these individuals. Often, these demon worshipers are members of the wealthy or even powerful members of society. Quite a lot of these cases are dismissed with the accusers hung. Mostly, the Harmonium is sure that every last worshiper they try and execute is the last living member of Alzrius' faith.

They couldn't be more wrong.

Alzrius' avatar, when it appears, takes the form of an awesome flaming inferno that rages out of control while speaking with a booming and crackling voice. The figure reeks of brimstone and sulfur with a tremendous aura of power. Oddly, the Harmonium usually depicts him as a mindless monster in their stories with more than a few troopers short of a platoon. Summoners are often surprised that he appears perfectly sane, though expects vast amounts of tribute or a human sacrifice to meet him when he arrives. Those whose offerings meet his approval are allowed to light a torch or fire-pit from his body that provides their temple with many blessings (DM's choice).

Alzrius' faith is built upon two distinct groups. The first faith is a bunch of non-conformists and psychopaths that believe it would be great to gain the power of The Firebringer. They mostly young, isolated, and very often stupid. These cults are easily found by the Harmonium or end up destroying themselves in some elaborate attempt to curry the Lord of Brand's favor. Quite often, paranoia about these sort of cultists leads to innocents being persecuted. The second faith is Alzrius' actual religion and its composed of a completely different type of worshiper than the first.

Alzrius prefers to draw his worshipers from ambitious, capable, and intelligent members of society. He has a preference for members of the Middle Class since they tend to already be educated but are hungry for the kind of wealth and power that Alzrius can give them.

Cultists are usually put through elaborate initiation ceremonies that masquerade as gentleman's clubs, Thieves' Guilds, and magical training before they've sufficiently proved their willingness to do whatever it takes for power. The irony is that the biggest hurdle that most cult recruiters must overcome is that so many have been taught that Alzrius is just a gigantic joke taught by the Harmonium rather than the secretive mystical being he is. The demonstrations of power that they wield is often enough to convince them otherwise.

In addition to the ruthless and ambitious, Alzrius has a particular fondness for individuals that want to overthrow the Harmonium and are willing to go to any lengths to do so. These individuals often feel stifled by the Harmonium's society and may often have reforms in mind. Alzrius has left instructions to many of his priests to portray him as a maligned and misrepresented god to these poor souls. Thus there are cells of Chaotic Good Alzrius worshipers that work towards a revolution for a better tomorrow. These do not receive his blessings but please the Firebringer anyway since he may claim their souls at death.

The faith is also passed down along family lines with entire Merchant Cartel Families and Aristocratic lineages corrupted with the power of the Lord of Brands. These cells don't proselytize en-masse and the religion is not as wide-spread as it could be but that suits Alzrius fine. Alzrius knows that the masses will convert once their leaders have been rotted from the inside. They didn't believe in the Harmonium but still went along, they won't believe in him until they do.

Most priests of Alzrius are presented ruby encrusted Rings of False Alignment that portray them as Lawful Good or Neutral. Most possess Flame Tongue Daggers in addition to these rings but these are kept carefully hidden since they are damning evidence of membership. The highest ranking members of the Faith are often presented Flame and Charm related magical items like Rods of Rulership, Rods of Splendor, or Wands of Fireballs.

Ceremonies to honor The Firebringer are conducted at midnight on the sixth day of every week. The Lord of Brands excepts tithes of wealth that are used to improve his church or human sacrifices. The later are usually procured from the poor, travelers, outcasts, or Harmonium prisons (with the aid of corrupt guards). The life of a Harmonium soldier is said to be an especially blessed sacrifice. Sacrifices are often tortured and immolated as part of the proceedings. Drugs and sex are often incorporated into the rituals to honor him with many young Harmonium beauties lured down with magic to please the cultists before having their mind's clouded.

Alzrius' Temples are well hidden locations in the heart of cities with most decorations being able to be properly hidden or disposed of whenever necessary. The most powerful temples actually create portals to the Abyss where they celebrate in Alzrius' realm in vast palaces. Fire-Walkers are often employed as guards in these locations. The colors of the faith are, unsurprisingly, red and gold.

To preserve secrecy and spread the faith, even the largest temples tend to only have a few hundred members at most. When a congregation grows too large then they are encouraged to divide and go to new locations to spread the faith. This is how Alzrius' religion has managed to spread to many corners of Ortho.

History and Relationships: Before the Harmonium banned all books related to Alzrius but for those directly related to their defeat of him, there was a large amount of speculation as to the nature of this Abyssal Prince. Quite a few sages speculate that he's not originally a Tanar'ri at all but an Efreeti Prince or Greater Fire Elemental that was exiled from his own kind. Nevertheless, at some point, he gained ruler ship of the 601st layer of the Abyss and set out to conquering.

Alzrius found himself a welcome home on Ortho with the conflict between The Lords of Order and Chaos being a place that created ample disillusionment amongst the populous. Setting neighbor against neighbor, playing both sides of deals, and rewarding lavishly was enough to carve his own Great Empire from the ashes of Ortho's greatest civilization. He placated both Namaneil and Ghanalim by allowing their religions to go unfettered in his territories. He even attempted to forge an alliance with Chal before that deity rebuffed him. Alzrius became so powerful that he even managed to steal away some of the divine essence of Kabajij to raise himself to true deity status.

Ultimately, Alzrius' overreached himself by attempting to pull all of Ortho into the Abyss. Too many of his follows proclaimed this foul plan to the entire world and much of Ortho united against him. Alzrius' followers were hunted down, his temples burned in a fire he didn't care for, and all tales of his presence were eliminated but for the ones that depicted him as an utter lunatic.

Alzrius has adapted remarkably well to this climate and instead encouraged his followers to practice their faith in secret. While the Harmonium's vigilance makes it difficult for The Lord of Brands to operate, it also creates a large disfranchised underclass that is eager to turn against gods that have seemingly abandoned them. Alzrius has worshipers of all alignments, even if he only empowers those of similar minds to himself. He finds the souls of the good that believed he was libeled by the Harmonium to be particularly delicious.

Alzrius is still allied with Namaneil and Ghanalim and has told his faith to start spreading their worship material on Harmonium colonies. Ironically, the Ortho Empire has spread Alzrius' worship wherever it goes and the demon is on the verge of becoming a Lesser Deity or even Intermediate Deity. In addition to the two Lords of Chaos, Alzrius is also allied with Gra'azt as the two fiends share a love of culture. Corrupted Efreeti or not, The Demon Prince has friendly ties with the Court of the Elemental Plane of Fire as well. Alzrius has, so far, dismissed the possibilities of an alliance with the Great Mother.

Alzrius is an enemy of The Lords of Order whom find his faith to be incredibly disgusting. The Lord of Hierarchy especially loathes how the Demon Prince has managed to corrupt so many members of the upper crust on Ortho. Saeduenical is especially paranoid about his presence and often starts elaborate witch hunts to destroy Alzrius' faith members. Alzrius' minions often run rings around her forces and have been known to start 'cult' scares just to see innocent members of society burned at the stake. Some members of the Lords of Chaos loathed Alzrius just as much as The Lords of Order but only The Lord of Dance truly still cares enough to desire him opposed.

The Harmonium's Take: Alzrius is a cackling, insane, and monstrous demon that seeks to destroy all creation in his incredible lust for destruction. He routinely destroys his own followers in fits of pique and his servants can only look forward to being discarded when they've outlived their immediate usefulness. You can easily spot his followers because they are all drooling madman whom enjoy setting whole Provinces alight for their foul delights. Thankfully, his servants are almost totally extinct and only a few of the lunatics remain.

The Dark: The Harmonium has been so eager to play up Alzrius' Chaos ties that they've completely misread the Demon Lord. The fact of the matter is that Alzrius is actually one of the more erudite and brilliant of the Abyss' masters. Certainly, the tortures and torments that Alzrius indulges in are disgusting beyond imagination but he's a brilliant planner. He's also flexible enough to seize opportunities whenever they present themselves and his gut is usually right.

Alzrius is more likely to cut deals with foes than throw wave after wave of horrors against the world. Course, the insane nature of his more public followers helps cover up this little fact. Fact is, The Lord of Brand's religion is alive and well on Ortho. Many members join for the fringe benefits and indulge their depraved appetites in secret. Alzrius is unusually patient for a fiend and knows that revenge is the only thing that he likes cold.

Dogma: Everything is permitted, nothing is true, and everyone is for himself. Alzrius is a permissive god that encourages his followers to embrace their naked appetites and secret desires. The vast majority of people in the universe are cattle and deserving of nothing but contempt for their blind devotion to meaningless concepts man-made concepts of Law. Law is nothing but the product of a social contract meant to keep the descendants of the weak in power while inhibiting the strong and intelligent. The other religions of the universe offer empty promises of salvation with no tangible benefit.

Serve Alzrius and he will reward you with tangible and physical wealth in exchange for devoted service. Offer unto him the lives of his enemies, a portion of what you use his power to claim, convert others to his faith, and give him slaves to slake his lusts. In exchange for these services he will grant you power and riches. The most devoted servants will receive immortality not only in the next life but this one. Remember that fire is pleasing to Alzrius and that it is representative of the transitive nature of mankind. The flames of Alzrius shall consume all of our enemies and burn away our weaker natures.

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God-Write up: Alzrius, The Lord of Brands

The 601st Layer of the Abyss
"Conflagratum"

Visitors to the 601st layer of the Abyss might, initially, mistake themselves for being on the Elemental Plane or Fire or Phlegethos in Baator. It is a realm without sunlight due to the vast amounts of ash that are poured into the sky by thousands of active volcanoes. Rivers of lava and glowing cracks riddle the barren wastelands of the ground. Only worshipers of Alzrius are protected from the tremendous heat that pours forth.

Inferno is populated by a mixture of Alzrius worshiping Chaotic Evil Efreeti, Corrupted Fire Elementals, Fire Gensai, Salamanders, Tieflings, and Tanar'ri. The majority of petitioners in the land are those Good and Neutral worshipers of Alzrius whom have become the tormented slaves of the Firebringer. They help construct the vast cities that dot the landscape of this land.

The realm is a decadent and wealthy one with the faithful priests of Alzrius being treated to lives of unimaginable luxury so long as they continue their service into the next world. The most capable, cunning, cruel, debased, and evil are transformed into Tanar'ri themselves. Most constantly scheme against outsiders, each other, and the Lord Of Brands himself in order to forward their position. Describing the insane and malevolent politics of Alzrius' twisted court is an exercise in frustration for even the best minds.

One of the most disturbing aspects of Alzrius' realm is there's remnants of cities, countries, and even continents that have had their whole populations drawn into The Firebringer's realm. Alzirus longs for the possibility of adding another layer of the Abyss to his holdings and only believes that will be possible if he draws an entire world into Inferno. Alzrius would prefer if that world were Ortho but he's open to the possibility of other inhabited worlds. As if to punctuate the class differences, all of these are flaming or shattered ruins but for Alzrius' palace where his favored live in vast wealth.

If one can move past the tremendous heat, Inferno is actually one of the more hospitable realms of the Abyss. The Firebringer is always willing to add new servants to his court and finds naked appeals to pleasure and greed work even better than fear in most cases. A few virtuous souls have been treated to the hospitality of Alzrius and slowly ended up becoming transformed into the worst sort of murderous villains. Wizards with a specialization in fire magic are a particularly sought after prize.

Alzrius is a major player in the Blood War but strictly as a war-profiteer. He is eager to bribe and intimidate fellow Demons into his service in order to take over vast swaths of territory for his own amusement. He is frequently known to betray the legions of other Demon Lords to the Lords of the Nine in exchange for vast bribes of slaves and treasure. Ultimately, Alzrius despises Law but is pragmatic enough to employ Lawful servants as often as Chaotic ones.

Those who come to the realm should beware that they never can escape Alzrius' presence. The constant flaming heat and fires around them aren't just fires but fragments of Alzrius' body. The Demon Lord is aware of everything that goes on in his realm and can manifest at any point that he desires so long as his fire burns nearby.

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God-Write up: Alzrius, The Lord of Brands

OOC:

I hope you enjoyed this. I wanted to go someplace different than a stereotypical "Bwahahahahaha" demon prince. While he's still an awful, awful, monster....I like that he's subtle about it and that the Harmonium has only driven him underground rather than away.

I'd love to hear any thoughts about him and whether this works for your depiction.

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God-Write up: Alzrius, The Lord of Brands

Previously I'd just seen Alzrius as just a howling mad arson-obsessed Balrog, so I definitely appreciate what you've done here. The fallen efreet background is a nice idea too. It seems hard to justify his 'middle class cultist' angle (which I approve of) however, based on the dogma you've written. A little more on how he appeals to those people who aren't sociopathic arsonists is probably in order - especially since he's well known as a pyromaniac demon who wants to turn the world into one giant funeral pyre in his honour.

Since he'd like to be worshipped as a god, you should probably writeup up his cult as a religion, something suitably sadistic and horrific - although remember we use the Grandmother Rule here.

Other than these two minor comments, very well done.

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God-Write up: Alzrius, The Lord of Brands

I've fixed Alzrius' dogma and must confess that the concept was evolving in my head when I wrote it. I've also explained that Alzrius' worship is cell based and pretty much splits up whenever it grows too large to conceal within a given area. I made a comment that Alzrius' biggest problem is his image being tainted by the Harmonium's treatment of him as a buffoon more than a mysterious and terrifying power as he likes. By the time he reveals himself to initiates, most are already demonstratedly Chaotic Evil anyway.

But yes, I don't quite know what else to add religion wise. I think that the imagination can fill in most of what we know from the God write-ups in the books that we've already got. Alzrius seems to be a pretty complete entry here unless there's something that I've missed. So, I tend to think he's resolved unless I'm missing something.

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God-Write up: Alzrius, The Lord of Brands

The problem is that Alzrius isn't a completely blank slate, so some of this rubs up against existing canon. Alzrius's realm is the 601st layer of the Abyss, called Conflagratum, according to Hellbound and Fiendish Codex I.

In Hellbound: The Blood War, Alzrius is notable in being completely non-humanoid in appearance, described as "a dancing tongue of flame." It isn't a scary red-skinned guy, and I think that's something unique and worth preserving (besides being integral to the original conception, since Alzrius's main schtick is having its legions carry bits of its body around on torches). It's more likely a corrupted fire elemental than a corrupted efreeti.

Note that Alzrius is an it, not a he.

Actually, here's the whole entry from Hellbound:

Quote:
ALZRIUS, LORD OF INFERNAL LIGHT.

On the 601st layer (Conflagratum), a blinding flame, burning with a white radiance, emanates from the fluted architecture of a city long since fallen to the ravages of war. The twisted bridges and strange geometries of the city lie scattered on the ground; only the palace of Alzrius stands whole.

Alzrius has chosen the infernal flame as its signature, adopting the form of a dancing tongue of fire. Its army of armanites and babaus, under the command of Cleftskull the Blameless (Planar/male/babau tanar'ri/chaotic evil) makes lightning-quick strikes into the Gray Waste and beyond, leaving a trail of flame and destruction in its wake. It's said that the fiends carry a torch from the body of Alzrius with them to spread its "word" wherever they go.

From time to time, Alzrius seeks outo mortals, hoping to entice them to carry its flame to other lands and other planes. Once in a while the flame incinerates its bearer, but Alzrius is usually magnanimous enough to let its servants live - if only so they can serve it again.

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God-Write up: Alzrius, The Lord of Brands

I could certainly add another form for Alzrius' avatar. Though, personally, I think he'd lose a lot just as a Fire Elemental. I think, nevertheless, that just changing the number of his Abyssal layer won't do much to trouble the character write-up.

Giving it a gender also isn't that much of a problem.

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God-Write up: Alzrius, The Lord of Brands

[double post]

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God-Write up: Alzrius, The Lord of Brands

Note also that Alzrius is involved in the Blood War. If it's taking bribes to stay out of it, this is a very recent development.

I think my problem is that the "red-skinned humanoid demon" look makes it essentially a balor, which doesn't do much to satisfy your stated goal of making it nonstereotypical. A nonhumanoid, even faceless "dancing tongue of fire" is a much more original look for an Abyssal lord. If it has a secondary, more humanoid form I'd rather it looked more innocuous and nondemonic (like a child, or something most people would write off like a mephit), perhaps looking like it is burning.

Alzrius's schtick, as detailed in Hellbound, is its ubiquity, the fact that it can spread his "body" to many different places at once. Among other things, that makes it an excellent model for a possessor demon. That is to say, its "primary" body could be a stolen one - it could even be the body of an efreeti, but the intelligence animating it, manifesting itself as flame within its victim's eyes, is tanar'ric in nature. It wouldn't be a corrupted elemental being, then, but a possessed elemental being, which is more interesting to me.

Somewhere in its palace there's doubtless an altar or ziggurat in which its flaming "true self" burns, where torches are lit by its minions before battle.

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God-Write up: Alzrius, The Lord of Brands

My point is that the entirety of the Write-Up of Alzrius is that he's a fundamentally Pleasure and Wealth based Lord rather than one based on destruction. There's a mythological disconnect between the burning Efreeti style figure whom is nevertheless surrounded by harems and other signs of the enjoyment of wealth with a being that is primarily defined by his destructive potential.

I'll be happy to change it for canon, though I like the idea he's staying out of the Blood War in recent years to focus on Ortho since I doubt anyone would have complaints for a new change in canon for our games on such an issue.

Frankly, I think this works much better. You raise a good point but I'll wait until the others chime in with their thoughts before I make any changes.

Really, him as a gigantic burning Fire Elemental won't change the way his cult works even if he is visually just a big blob of flame. Still, I like the idea he's recently removed from the Blood War so he can once more focus on Ortho.

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God-Write up: Alzrius, The Lord of Brands

I would like to stick with the 'flaming figure of fire' visual - as it *is* really nifty and fits well (like REALLY well) with the fire based thrall class that he has. Plus it would allow us to tap into potential connections and/or simulatiries with other 'formless' Abyssal Lords like Pale Night.

I'm gonna read up a little more on him in canon before I make a call on the other aspects.

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God-Write up: Alzrius, The Lord of Brands

'Clueless' wrote:
I would like to stick with the 'flaming figure of fire' visual - as it *is* really nifty and fits well (like REALLY well) with the fire based thrall class that he has. Plus it would allow us to tap into potential connections and/or simulatiries with other 'formless' Abyssal Lords like Pale Night.

I'm gonna read up a little more on him in canon before I make a call on the other aspects.

I fixed the entry to a manner that I hope everyone finds satisfactory.

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Re: God-Write up: Alzrius, The Lord of Brands

/forum/alzrius-lord-infernal-light

Hey, I only just noticed this thread, but if you are interested, I took Alzrius in a bit of a different direction at the link above.

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