The Gur-Tannan

the Gur-Tannan



The Gur-Tannan are a major threat to any campaign and any world, for they are nothing less than the army of an ancient god determined to see all worlds clutched in his fists, and all other deities crushed beneath his heel.


Size: Colossal (1,000+ members); the Gur- Tannan normally have only a few hundred members on any given world during the early stages of their operations, but by the time the cult is ready for military action against local governments, they have thousands or even tens of thousands of soldiers at their command.

Alignment and Purpose: CE; Spreading the worship of Gur-Tanna, destroying all other priesthoods and the deities they serve.

Approximate Class Breakdown: Fighter 20%, Cleric 20%, Barbarian 15%, Rogue 15%, Sorcerer 15%, Blackguard 10%, Other 5%

Resources: Having conquered both their own world and several others, the Gur-Tannan have the resources of entire planets at their disposal. For all practical purposes, whatever it is

they need — and assuming they have sufficient time — they can almost assuredly get their hands on it.

Central Headquarters: Although they now operate on dozens of worlds and rule several others, the central locus of Gur-Tannan power is their home world. Here the foul and depraved deity Gur-Tanna now makes his abode.

Known Enemies: Practically every culture or organization that has heard of the Gur-Tannan is violently opposed to their goals. Priesthoods and divine orders find the Gur-Tannan repulsive, as the cult of Gur-Tanna is devoted specifically to destroying their patrons and everything they stand for. The Midnight Dawn is a particularly tenacious enemy of the Gur- Tannan, and in fact a few tiny factions of the Midnight Dawn operate in secret on at least one world the Gur-Tannan believe they have completely pacified.


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It would be difficult to imagine a more depraved, violent, and outright evil organization than the cult devoted heart and soul — assuming its members have either — to the god Gur-Tanna. One of the primary beliefs of the Gur-Tannan is that all other deities but their own foul lord are abominations, pretenders and usurpers who must be destroyed. Those fools who refuse to abandon them for Gur-Tanna must perish along with their gods. Entire worlds and entire pantheons of gods have fallen to these murderous fanatics, and the Gur-Tannan claim the unenviable distinction of being the single greatest cause of god- death in the known multiverse. In fact, the Gur-Tannan have at times committed the ultimate blasphemy of using the might released by the destruction of a god to further their own ends and feed their own deity’s insatiable hunger for power.


The worship of Gur-Tanna first arose on a small world in a distant corner of the multi- verse. What that world might have been called, none alive can say, for the Gur-Tannan have destroyed all records of the time before Gur-Tanna’s supremacy — an epoch they call the Pale Times. In the early years of this nameless world, civilization thrived much as it does elsewhere. Humans, elves, dwarves, and other races dwelt in various cultures and nations, and a substantial pantheon of gods watched over their creations. One of those deities was Gur-Tanna, lord of war, strife, and slaughter. Like so many of his contemporaries on other worlds, he and his worshippers constantly plotted and maneuvered against the other deities, seeking a means of increasing his own power at their expense.

Unlike similar gods on other worlds, Gur- Tanna succeeded.

The Gur-Tannan themselves do not know precisely when they developed the belief that no other god but their own had any right to exist at all; to hear them tell it, that doctrine was always their most holy precept. Once the Gur- Tannan began to move with nothing less than the obliteration of all their patron’s fellow deities as their objective, they seemed suddenly unstoppable. They launched lighting-swift assaults against communities devoted to other deities, desecrated the shrines and churches of others, spent entire generations hunting down and exterminating rival priesthoods. Their soldiers and infiltrators fanned the flames of war between nations in the early stages of their efforts, ensuring that no military power was strong enough to oppose them later on. Heroes arose to oppose the machinations of the Gur- Tannan, and were slain just as swiftly.

And in the end, the Gur-Tannan won. They converted entire populations to the worship of Gur-Tanna at the point of a sword, slaughtered whole cities when the people would not turn, and slowly the other deities of the pantheon began to fade. For a god without worshippers is no god at all, and while the sudden loss of much of their power was not enough to destroy them completely, it weakened them sufficiently that Gur-Tanna was able to invade their planar sanctums and finish the job personally. Although it took centuries, ultimately no deity but Gur-Tanna reigned over this poor forsaken realm.

Gur-Tanna, pleased with his new domain, abandoned his own home in the outer planes and took this world as his abode. As the only surviving deity of the pantheon, he absorbed much of the other gods’ strengths, becoming nearly as powerful as the entire pantheon had once been. He shaped and twisted the world around him to his whim. Soon every last man,


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woman, and child of all the races of that world worshipped him with all their hearts, for he stripped from their very minds and souls the ability to do otherwise.

It was not Gur-Tanna’s idea to spread his cult to other worlds. Rather, it was the brainchild of one Sammar Feine, one of Gur-Tanna’s greatest clerics who, according to rumor, still serves as one of the Gur-Tannan’s leaders today as a lich or some other form of hideous undead. If all gods but Gur-Tanna were pretenders, abominations, unholy blights upon the multiverse and insults to the glory of the One True God, surely it was insufficient to stop with the cleansing of a single world. All worlds must be purged of divine corruption, must be made to pay homage to the mighty Gur-Tanna alone.

That was a thousand years ago. Across dozens if not hundreds of worlds, through victory and defeat — and, alas, far more of the former than the latter — the Gur-Tannan have waged their endless war, and it looks as though no force known to god or man may ever be able to stop them.


The Gur-Tannan are as much a military organization as they are a religious cult. Every member, regardless of the precise nature of his abilities, is something of a warrior for his god, expected to fight, kill, and even die in GurTanna’s service. The organization can be patient, but it is not subtle, preferring the use of overt force to other methods. They work with the sword and the spell, complex tactics and pure bloody-minded strength of numbers; but whatever the technique, the result is always carnage.

Welcome to the New World

The magical resources of the Gur-Tannan, both arcane and divine, are nearly limitless, and a substantial portion of their spells and mystic items are devoted to planar travel. The cult of Gur-Tanna constantly discovers and travels to new worlds. Despite the generally chaotic nature of the organization, the Gur-Tannan have a specific set of procedures for establishing themselves on a new world, and rarely deviate from it. Even the most chaotic and independent members know that failure to properly establish themselves would no doubt anger Gur-Tanna himself, and that’s never a wise idea.

The first priority of the Gur-Tannan when investigating a newly discovered world is to learn everything they can about that world’s religions and deities. Specifically, they look for information on the priesthoods and worshippers of the gods. Do the priests hold substantial power in the local cultures, or is religion relegated largely to private life? Are most people actively involved in worship, or does the majority of the population have little use for religion? How powerful do the priesthoods seem to be in terms of resources, military might, and magic? How powerful do the gods themselves appear to be?

Once the Gur-Tannan have a fairly solid picture of the gods and worshippers of this new world, they act. They prefer to start small, choosing isolated communities or small nations for their first strikes. If circumstances suggest that the people of this region might be amenable to the idea of adopting a new deity — perhaps they have recently suffered some calamity and have turned away from their gods — the Gur-Tannan might actually make an attempt to convert the locals to the worship of Gur-Tanna through proselytizing and the working of miracles. Similarly, they might offer military aid to a nation beset by enemies, if the government officially declares worship of Gur-Tanna the state religion.


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For the most part, however, the Gur-Tannan simply invade in force and convert the locals, slaughtering any who resist or refuse. This is why they normally begin with a small community: While the Gur-Tannan have many warriors, they cannot, at least when first acquiring a foothold on a new world, take on a powerful standing army.

Once a small region has been converted to the worship of Gur-Tanna, the god himself may influence the world to at least a small extent, as he is now a member of the pantheon. Because he can now grant spells to natives, and as he is eager for new servants and thus quite generous with his new clerics, his worship sometimes spreads independently of the actions of existing Gur-Tannan. This does not mean that the cult remains idle. If it appears that other communities may be as susceptible to conversion or invasion as the first, the Gur- Tannan repeat the process, using some of their new brethren as troops. If the surrounding areas appear too strong for them to attack, the Gur-Tannan are capable of nearly inhuman patience. They are willing to wait decades and allow the children of the conquered region to be raised under the new faith. After a generation or two, the entire community is utterly loyal to Gur-Tanna, and has been trained to fight in his service. Now they are certainly strong enough to conquer other regions and other nations, converting yet more people and beginning the process anew.

It is during this stage, when their presence is both relatively weak and tied to a single location (or at most a small number of locations) that the Gur-Tannan are most vulnerable to counterattack. They walk a fine line; they must spread the worship of Gur-Tanna if they are to gain strength, yet they cannot allow the other priesthoods or kingdoms to recognize the severity of the threat they will eventually pose. Thus, while the Gur-Tannan are not shy about their devotion to their deity, they spare

no effort to keep their ultimate purpose secret, at least for the time being.

Spreading Outward

Once the Gur-Tannan are ready to move beyond the smaller communities and wage their religious war against larger nations, their tactics grow even more devious. The cult members are big believers in the idea of letting others do their work for them when possible. They rarely have the manpower, at this stage, to take on an entire kingdom, so it’s vital that they weaken their foes before engaging them directly.

The Gur-Tannan prefer to begin with nations that are already at war with one another. This ensures that they cannot bring their full military might to bear against the cult. If no such war is raging already, or if the Gur-Tannan feel the war is not large enough to suit their purposes, their first efforts are devoted to igniting or expanding such a conflict. Their tactics for doing so include spreading false rumors, staging massacres and leaving evidence to blame the other side, and infiltrating governments through mystical charms and disguises.

Nor is open warfare the only manner of catastrophe the Gur-Tannan inflict on their victims as a distraction. The cultists attack farmland and burn crops to ensure shortages and famine. They plant diseased bodies in crowded areas or frequently used wells to spread plagues that can decimate entire populations. They have even been known to summon or capture various fell beasts and set them loose in the cities of their target nation. Any or all of these techniques, when combined with the instigation of war, can render a kingdom incapable of withstanding the Gur-Tannan’s true attack when it eventually comes.

When the Gur-Tannan do finally invade a nation, they usually come in three separate groups. The first attacks from without. Their


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objectives are to grab as much territory as possible before the kingdom has a chance to react, force hundreds or thousands of conversions, and slaughter all who do not convert. The second and third columns enter the kingdom in secret, posing as travelers or refugees. When their brethren attack from without, these two groups strike from within. One targets military leaders and governmental institutions, the other assaults the nation’s temples and priesthoods. By this time, the Gur-Tannan have a sizable force available to them and, when combined with the other drains on their opponent’s resources, have a good chance of emerging victorious in such a conflict.


Once the Gur-Tannan have successfully conquered a nation, they again begin the process of converting the entirety of the population to the worship of Gur-Tanna and the obliteration of all other priesthoods. Since the most powerful temples were likely destroyed during the conquest, this is less difficult than it might appear, though underground resistance is not uncommon during this early stage. Again, the Gur- Tannan are willing to wait an entire generation, to raise the newly born as devout followers of Gur-Tanna, violently oppressing even the slightest hint of any other faith. If no rebellion is able to free the nation within a few decades, the cult eventually has the younger generations of an entire nation for use as fanatic soldiers in their war of conquest.

And so the pattern continues, with the Gur- Tannan acquiring more and more converts, then moving against additional kingdoms using the same tactics and techniques. As priesthoods fall across the world and worshippers of specific gods grow scarce, Gur-Tanna himself watches the pantheon and waits for his opportunity to assault any of the local deities who appear sufficiently weakened.

The death of the first local god is a turning point for the Gur-Tannan. Techniques exist for creating magic items and even artifacts from the blood and flesh of dead gods, and Gur-Tanna’s followers have learned many of these procedures on various worlds. Elixirs that grant their imbibers inhuman abilities, portals that allow transport across continents and even planar boundaries, and devices that grant the wielder control over other people’s magic are possible with the stolen power of a dead god. Gur-Tanna is not shy about providing the corpses of his fallen foes to his worshippers.

The instant Gur-Tanna slays one of the local gods, he sends visions to all the suddenly powerless clerics and other holy servants of that deity. Gur-Tanna offers to return their spells and powers to them, if they will not merely convert to worshipping him, but make every effort to convince their own followers to do the same. Many refuse, remaining loyal to their deceased patron, but a great many others accept, for fear of losing all the power they have gained.

Once Gur-Tanna has slain his first local deity, the other gods and priesthoods cannot help but recognize that their obliteration is his ultimate objective. Surviving priesthoods, even those of opposing portfolios and alignments, often band together to stand against this threat. If the Gur- Tannan have been thorough in their attacks against the priesthoods, even a combined force of this nature cannot stop them. If too many clerics and temples have survived, however, the Gur-Tannan risk being defeated and driven from the world, and it is in this time that the greatest magical battles often rage.

Ultimately, the conflict can end in only two ways. If the Gur-Tannan prove victorious, they eventually add yet another world to their growing empire. Every community and every nation is converted to the worship of Gur-Tanna, every weakened deity hunted down and slain by the mad god.


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Sometimes, however, the Gur-Tannan are defeated. Despite their tactics, planning, and great magics, those who oppose them may put up more of a fight than anticipated, driving the cult back from conquered lands. The Gur- Tannan are not quick to acknowledge defeat, and often wage war when all hope of victory has long since passed. Still, there comes a point where even the most fanatic of warriors must acknowledge that they have lost.

Alas, such a defeat does not spell the end of the Gur-Tannan’s efforts, but leads to an even worse eventuality. For the Gur-Tannan, in their belief that all other deities are abominations, would rather destroy an entire world than allow it to continue in its worship of pretenders.

Any time Gur-Tanna succeeds in slaying a god, a portion of its blood, flesh, and stolen power is kept aside. The Gur-Tannan know how to build an artifact capable of channeling that divine power into a destructive force that, if placed at a proper nexus point of magical energies, can tear apart the natural and mystical forces that hold the very world together. This doomsday artifact must be imbued with the power of a god worshipped on the world to be destroyed, so the Gur-Tannan cannot build them in advance and bring them along on their conquests. Once they acknowledge that they cannot conquer a given realm, their greatest clerics and arcane casters set about constructing one of these monstrous devices. It takes time to prepare the blood and flesh of the fallen god and to gather the other mystical components. During this time, the opposition forces might yet learn what the Gur-Tannan plan and take steps to stop them. Only a very few worlds have produced the sorts of heroes capable of stopping the Gur-Tannan, of preventing the construction of the doomsday device and destroying enough of the cult that they lack the power to continue. In most instances, once the Gur-Tannan have set about

to build this most horrible of artifacts, the world is doomed.

For his own part, while Gur-Tanna would prefer a world of new worshippers to a world of corpses, he’s more than happy to settle. With the death of all their worshippers, the local gods are drastically weakened if not slain outright, leaving them vulnerable to his own attacks.

Customs and Practices

The Gur-Tannan practice an enormous number of religious rites and ceremonies in honor of their god, and most of the rituals are nearly as depraved as Gur-Tanna himself.

Upon awakening in the morning, each follower of Gur-Tanna recites a simple prayer, that her lord grant her the opportunity to shed blood in his name. Should one of the Gur- Tannan go through an entire day without causing injury to another sentient being, he offers a prayer of repentance in the evening and slices himself twice with a sharp blade. These wounds are primarily cosmetic and light enough to heal overnight, but they are intended to show the worshipper’s devotion by proving that he will spill his own blood to honor his god if he cannot spill someone else’s. Most of the Gur-Tannan have a network of tiny scars over their arms, legs, and other parts of their bodies thanks to this practice.

Upon winning a great military victory, the high priests of Gur-Tanna lead all the cultists of the region, and all prisoners and residents of a conquered area, in a gruesome ceremony called the Feast of Famine. The Gur-Tannan, and any prisoners willing to convert and swear allegiance to Gur-Tanna, participate in a rich feast of the finest foods available in the area. The other prisoners are forced to consume the bodies of all the Gur-Tannan’s enemies who fell on the field of battle. Failure to cooperate results in all manner of hideous tortures, and


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responsibility for inflicting those tortures falls to the new converts, as a test of their faith.

Every month, when the moon on their home world is new, Gur-Tannan everywhere gather around their nearest headquarters or temple for the Rite of Supplication. This is a series of prayers and trials by combat, which are offered up as sacrifices to honor Gur-Tanna. Members of the cult face off against captured enemies, or against one another in the resolution of personal grievances or challenges for power. In all cases, the loser is declared a sacrifice. If the fight was a contest for power, the winner takes on (or keeps) the position in question. If the winner was a prisoner, he is offered the opportunity to join the cult as a follower of Gur-Tanna; if he refuses, he remains a prisoner and is likely subject to another such combat the next month.

While the Gur-Tannan have no objection to slaughtering helpless civilians during a battle, and often torture prisoners to death in the course of other ceremonies, they never offer a helpless prisoner as sacrifice to Gur-Tanna. Their lord is a god of war, and all his official sacrifices must be conducted through combat. Many of Gur-Tanna’s temples contain gladiatorial arenas of particularly fine quality and fiendish design, including death traps, precarious ledges, and the like. The Gur-Tannan often engage one another in combat outside religious rituals, purely to keep their skills sharp or because they enjoy it.

The third of the Gur-Tannan’s important rituals is the Oathtaking, a ceremony in which one or a number of new converts swear allegiance to Gur-Tanna. Some of these conversions are voluntary, while others are made under duress, but the Gur-Tannan make no distinction; anyone who participates in the Oathtaking, for whatever reason, is bound to their word. Prisoners who refused to convert participate in the ceremony as well, for the final test of the

new converts requires that they torture these prisoners to death. The priests conducting the ritual make liberal use of discern lies, zone of truth, and similar spells. Anyone who does not intend to honor his commitments is added to the collection of prisoners who await a painful demise.

Strictures and Requirements

Despite the complex strategies they employ and the many religious strictures they follow, it’s important to remember that the Gur- Tannan are very much a chaotic organization. Advancement through the ranks is often accomplished through trial by combat or assassination. The priests maintain order only through brute force and the threat of GurTanna’s wrath, and personal conflicts between members almost invariably result in bloodshed. Gur-Tanna permits and even encourages this sort of competition, so that only the strongest of his followers rise to positions of power. Particularly clever PCs might be able to take advantage of the various factions and personal rivalries within the organization, turning their enemies upon one another just as the Gur-Tannan do to their own foes.

Chaotic as they may be, the Gur-Tannan do have a few strictures that even they do not lightly violate. These are informal laws, accepted by the cult despite their unwritten status.

• All members of the Gur-Tannan are expected to devote their every effort to spreading the worship of their deity, and destroying all others. This is the one central facet to the GurTannan’s life, and a duty that none, however ambitious or untrustworthy, would ever consider betraying. • It is understood that personal ambition is to be encouraged and pursued, but not at the expense of the cult’s ultimate objectives. Challenges for leadership, personal duels, 19

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internecine scheming, and assassination are not tolerated when they would damage the ability of the Gur-Tannan to achieve their goals. These sorts of activities are banned during the early stages of Gur-Tannan activity on a new world, when they are making every effort to establish themselves. All such challenges and “self-granted promotions” are expected to wait until the cult is in a more stable position.

• For the most part, advancement through the ranks by slaying one’s superiors is acceptable, regardless of whether such victories are attained through brute force, skill, magic, or treachery. If, however, a member of the Gur- Tannan involves outsiders in his attempt to gain a new position, he is considered to have proven himself unworthy, and is punished, possibly even executed, should the truth be ever discovered. Influence and Outside Connections

The Gur-Tannan have no true allies. At times, the cult may appear to join forces with this faction or that in a long-running war, but this is a subterfuge intended to ensure that the conflict continues or escalates. The cult rules several entire worlds, and many nations on worlds they are in the process of conquering. In these areas they control all local resources and organizations.

The Gur-Tannan also have many enemies, ranging from nearly any priesthood on any world that has learned the true nature of the organization, to the Midnight Dawn, which stands against them at every possible opportunity. Some rumors, in fact, place the origin of the Midnight Dawn on a world that has now been conquered by the Gur-Tannan.


Greater God (Chaotic Evil)

Gur-Tanna was originally a god of war and strength, although his domains have since grown to encompass nearly every imaginable portfolio. He is also called the Warlord, the Sword-bearer, the Breaker of Worlds, and Kin Slayer. He is normally portrayed as an enormous, heavily muscled man with dark brown hair and beard, iron teeth, and empty bleeding sockets where his eyes should be. He wears primitive but well-constructed bronze armor in the form of a breastplate, bracers, leg greaves, and an open-faced helm. His boots are of dragon hide, his cloak woven from the hair of many thousands of fallen soldiers. He leaves bloody footprints wherever he walks, and is never without Sky-splitter, his great bronze spear, and Soul-cleaver, his jagged axe. Oddly enough, the bracer on his left arm is covered in mystical runes and writings, signifying that the Kin Slayer is as much about magic as he is more physical forms of combat.

Symbol: A slightly down-turned horizontal line, with several fingers rising up from behind it, representing the horizon and the hand of Gur-Tanna which grips entire worlds.

Favored Weapons: Spear (long or short), greataxe. Clerics of Gur-Tanna who choose the War Domain may choose any one of these as their favored weapon, though they may not later change their minds.

Domains: Chaos, Destruction, Malediction (see below), Strength, War

(Note: On worlds the Gur-Tannan have fully conquered, and in which Gur-Tanna is now the only god, he may provide his clerics with access to all clerical Domains except Good and Law. The above represent the powers available to his clerics on worlds whose pantheons have not yet been destroyed.)


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Divine Rank: Due to the power he’s gained by slaughtering all other gods of his original pantheon, and the fact that he is worshipped on multiple worlds, Gur-Tanna himself has a divine rank of 18 in his home universe, but ranges from a 10 to 15 in others, depending on how much of the pantheon survives.




Level: Malediction 9

Component: V, S, DF

Casting Time: 1 round

Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)

Target: One divine spellcaster

Duration: Permanent, but see below

Saving Throw: Will negates

Spell Resistance: Yes

This spell severs the connection between a divine spellcaster and his deity, stripping from him the ability to cast divine spells or use other divine supernatural or spell-like abilities.

The effects of interdiction can be reversed by a miracle or wish spell. Furthermore, a small chance exists that the deity itself senses the sudden loss of its worshipper’s connection. When the spell is first cast — and assuming the victim fails his save and the spell takes effect — the DM should roll percentile dice. Add up the class levels of all divine spellcasting classes the victim possesses (cleric, druid, paladin, ranger, and any alternate or prestige classes that grant divine spells). If the percentile roll is equal to or less than this number, the deity notices the disruption of its contact with the worshipper and reverses the effect within 2d20 days, thus restoring the victim’s casting abilities.



The Malediction domain provides a weapon for use against the worshippers of other deities, and is designed entirely to weaken enemy divine casters.

Deity: Gur-Tanna

Granted Power: Grant yourself spell resistance equal to 10 plus your caster level for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma bonus (minimum 1). This can be used only once per day, and applies only to divine spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities; arcane spells and abilities are unaffected. Activation of this power is a free action, and may be invoked as a reflexive action as well (that is, in response to a spell cast on you, rather than waiting for your turn in the initiative).

Malediction Domain Spells

1 Curse Water

2 Dispel Magic (divine spells and effects only)

3 Spell Immunity (must choose divine spells only)

4 Break Enchantment (divine spells and effects only)

5 Greater Dispelling (divine spells and effects only)

6 Spell Turning (divine spells only)

7 Unholy Aura (SR applies only against divine spells; does not stack with the domain ability)

8 Disjunction (divine spells and effects only)

9 Interdiction


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Axe of Gur-Tanna/Spear of Gur- Tanna

This weapon comes in two varieties — as either a spear or a battleaxe. Both forms share the same abilities.

This is a +3 weapon that functions as a bane weapon against anyone with levels in a class capable of casting divine spells, unless that individual is a worshipper of Gur-Tanna. Once per day, as a move action, the wielder may activate the weapon’s magic-suppressing abilities. This grants the wielder, and any of his allies within 5 feet, spell resistance of 5 + the wielder’s total levels in any divine spellcasting class. The effect lasts for 5 rounds. Should anyone other than a devout worshipper of Gur- Tanna attempt to wield, or even pick up, the weapon, she immediately gains 2 negative levels. These negative levels disappear as soon as she drops the weapon, and they never become permanent, but they cannot be dispelled by any means so long as she remains in contact wit the weapon.

Moderate abjuration, strong evocation; CL 15th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, unholy aura, creator must be chaotic evil and a worshipper of Gur-Tanna; Price 60,310 gp (axe) or 60,302 gp (spear); Cost 30,310 gp (axe) or 30,302 gp (spear) + 2,400 xp.

Note: If you wish to make use of this item in a campaign that does not involve the Gur- Tannan, simply remove all references to Gur- Tanna. The item is created by any chaotic evil cleric of a chaotic evil deity, and functions against any divine spellcaster who does not worship that specific deity.