The Wormgod, the Worm that Walks, the Parasite Divine.

(Great Old One of decay, undeath and apocalypse [He/Him] / NE)

Pantheon: Elder Mythos

Realm: Abyss/Wormblood/The Pit of Rot

Proxy (?): Verolax the Decayed

Kyuss (kee-OOS) the Wormgod, now there’s name that sends shivers down the spines of those who’ve heard of him before. Once a mere mortal who clawed his way to power, he became a high priest and then a priest-king in a cruel theocracy. Obsessed with immortality and disgusted by the fragility of the flesh, Kyuss delved into forbidden magic, weaving spells and experimenting with the insidious green worms that would one day bear his name. He stands as the architect of apocalypse and the mastermind behind a multitude of undead horrors. His ultimate ambition is to bring forth the Age of Worms, a nightmarish era where every mortal is transformed into an undead abomination, and the world becomes a writhing nightmare. While he once came perilously close to realising this catastrophic vision, he was thwarted by courageous heroes and sealed once more into his prison. However, the threat of Kyuss’s return looms, and the Age of Worms could yet dawn.

What sets Kyuss apart among the Great Old Ones is his origin as a mortal. He began as an executioner in a jungle city ruled by a cruel theocracy. Through sheer determination, he clawed his way up to the position of high priest and eventually ascended to the role of priest-king. His obsession with immortality and disdain for the frailties of the flesh led him down a dark path. He delved into forbidden magic, growing in power until in a mythic ritual, he drained the life force of an entire empire and channelled it into his own body in a desperate bid for godhood. Although he achieved eternal life, the result was far from ascendance. Kyuss became a writhing, grotesque giant composed of worms and maggots, but more importantly, trapped within an indestructible black stone shard. This shard serves as both his sanctuary and his prison, from which he schemes, seeking to find a way to emerges to unleash devastation upon the world. The chant goes that this shard was created on the Prime, in a place called Wormcrawl Island. The grasping tendrils of the Abyss soon found it though, and formed a connection to it. Over time as the shard exuded its aura of corruption, it started to corroded through the very fabric of the Prime and wear thin the boundary between Wormcrawl Island and the Abyss, in a festering sore on the layer of Wormblood that is called the Pit of Rot.

In his millennia of study and plotting, the Parasite Divine has devised a cunning method to amass power. Rather than seeking direct worship, he thrives on fear and deception. Numerous cults, established by his monstrous minions or a select few humanoid devotees, cloak Kyuss’s true nature in layers of lies. This allows him to siphon power from the belief provided by the unsuspecting. Even awareness of Kyuss’s true identity and his nefarious plans is insufficient protection, as he draws energy from beings who fear him just as effectively as those who worship him. If Kyuss were to achieve his goals and attain true divinity, he would be an immensely powerful and perilous deity.

One of his current plots to escape revolves around the cult of Plaguebearers in the Iron Fortress of Mhallon. Whether Kyuss reached out from his prison and drew them to Wormblood or whether the cultists discovered his shard and formulated their twisted philosophy around it, probably doesn’t matter. Some of the Plaguebearers seek to free their dark master, while others focus on preparing the planes for his arrival by unleashing pandemics and letting rumours spread about their source to increase the fear of the Parasite Divine. Verolax the Decayed is the blood who leads these sinister cultists.

Legends tell that in battle, Kyuss was a harbinger of destruction. He wields an arsenal of necromantic spells with deadly precision and wields an immense black mace to deliver bone-shattering blows. Even when disarmed, his physical attacks are nightmarish. He can engulf a foe, stripping their flesh in mere seconds, transforming them into a grotesque mockery of life as one of his accursed scions. Kyuss rarely faces adversaries alone, summoning a legion of broodfiends, wormdrakes, and powerful undead to serve as distractions and expendable forces.

Canonical Sources:

  • Dungeon Magazine #130 [3e] p59-89 (Age of Worms adventure path)
  • Elder Evils [3e] p128-143 (lore and mini adventure set on the Prime)
  • Volo’s Guide to Monsters [5e] (stats for Spawn of Kyuss)

Other Sources:

  • Creature Codex (Pathfinder 1e stats for Kyuss and his and minions)
  • Forgotten Realms wiki (D&D background for Kyuss)
  • Jon Winter-Holt, – Liberties taken: relocation of Kyuss’ shard to Wormblood, invention of the Plaguebearer sect.

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