The Shining Scourge
CE male demon lord of the deserts, the sun, and senseless warfare
Unholy Symbol: a sun clenched in a lion’s jaws
Domains: Chaos, Evil, Sun, War
Favored Weapon: Heavy mace
Temple: Desert ruins, mountaintop monasteries, observatories
Worshipers: Dragons, mercenaries, those who fear the sun, warlike desert nomads
Minions: Desert-dwelling creatures, lions and leonine creatures (such as chimeras and manticores)
Obedience: Offer prayers to Nurgal during an hour-long ritual of self-flagellation with a salt-encrusted whip—the ritual must end at noon. If this obedience does not take place under the light of the sun, you must end the ritual by swallowing a handful of sand and salt. Gain a +4 profane bonus on all Fortitude saving throws against effects that cause fatigue or exhaustion, or that damage, drain, or penalize ability scores. You can cast sunbeam once per day—the beam of sunlight created by this ability issues from your open mouth.
Not all who worship the sun do so with joy and kindness in their hearts. Those who venerate the Shining Scourge worship out of fear or awe. Nurgal embodies the destructive aspects of the sun, and his minions walk without fear in the full light of day. His lower body is that of a golden lion with a draconic tail. His torso is deeply tanned and masculine, and he is rarely seen without a heavy mace, the head of which appears to be a miniature sun, held in one four-fingered, taloned hand. His head is that of a lion as well, and blinding light spews from his eyes and mouth.
Nurgal’s faith was quite strong in ancient Achera, before being supplanted by Mazranism, and not a few Acherani ruins bear evidence of this connection in carvings that depict a fanged mouth around a sun or the presence of lion-like monsters. Today, his worship has lessened, and is limited to the deserts of the Eastern Wastes, secluded mountain enclaves in Kuskar, and in Tarsas.
Nurgal’s Abyssal realm is known as Kuthan, an expansive region of alternating desert and dry savannas under a vast red sun that never moves from its noontime height above. Narrow gorges hundreds of miles long connect Kuthan to its neighboring realm, the Sea of Whispering Sands, where Nurgal’s lover, Areshkagal, used to rule before being banished to the Blood Clefts by her sister. Nurgal is also believed to be the half-brother of Socothbenoth, but this relationship is not friendly, and the two have been at war for as long as they both have existed.