The Deathly One, Donn. NE intermediate power of life, death (He/Him)

Pantheon: Celtic (Welsh)

Symbol: Warrior’s skull, black star on a gray background

Realm: Gray Waste / Niflheim / Annwn

Known Proxies: Pryderi (proxy human fighter [he/him] / N) (Annwn, Gray Waste)

Pwyll (proxy human fighter [he/him] NG) (Prime and Annwn, Gray Waste)

Qaida (proxy aasimar cleric [she/her] / Dustmen / NE) (Lower Ward, Sigil)

Arawn, also known as The Deathly One, is the Celtic power of life and death. Despite his alignment being on the darker side, Arawn sees his role as vital for maintaining the balance between good and evil, believing that evil is necessary for good to truly flourish. Sounds like someone is trying a bit too hard to justify their life choices to you cutter? I thought so.

While Arawn is closest in outlook to the Celtic powers of the Welsh contingent of the pantheon, his realm receives all of the souls who are sent to the Lower Planes. The Tuatha de Danann call him Donn.

In his role as a god of death, Arawn is not malevolent for its own sake. He is pragmatic, doing his job with a sense of duty and fairness. He values loyalty and integrity of course, and is known to be just, albeit with a stern hand. His approach to justice is unforgiving but fair, rewarding the steadfast and punishing deceit and foolishness.

Arawn’s realm, Annwn, also referred to as the Ten Isles of the Cursed, is a rocky, desolate place situated in a vast ocean within the Niflheim, the second Gloom of the Gray Waste. This somber realm is the final destination for those souls who didn’t make it to the Isles of the Blessed or Tir na Og. While some choose Annwn to be with their loved ones, most of the petitioners here are those who led less than honourable lives.

Among Arawn’s proxies, Pwyll, a mortal king from the Prime, stands out. Every tenth year, Pwyll swaps places with Arawn to rule Annwn. During Pwyll’s reign, he addresses issues that Arawn cannot, including dealing with Hafgan, Arawn’s arch-enemy. Pwyll’s rule brings a temporary respite to the petitioners of Annwn, thanks to his more amiable nature.

Another key proxy of Arawn is Pryderi, Pwyll’s son. Pryderi is learning the art of rulership under Arawn’s guidance and is tasked with dispensing justice throughout the realm. His unique ability to summon darkness and cloak himself in it renders him invisible and untouchable, a talent that befits his role as an enforcer of Arawn’s will.

Arawn’s third proxy is an aasimar named Qaida, who is currently away on some kind of hush-hush mission in Sigil. Strictly need to know basis there, berk, but the chant goes its something to do with closer ties between the Heralds of Dust and Arawn.

Canonical Sources:

  • The Great Modron March [2e] p28 (character claims to have slept in Arawn’s cauldron)
  • Hellbound: Dark of the War [2e] p73 (brief mention of Blood War occasionally spilling into Arawn’s realm)
  • On Hallowed Ground [2e] p20,42,47,66,69-70,75,172 (deity description)
  • Planes of Conflict: Liber Malevolentiaie [2e] p48,50,53-56 (main description of Annwn)
  • Uncaged: Faces of Sigil [2e] p80 (the dark on Qaida)

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