Orcus is a very old demon. Like many of the most powerful demon lords who struggle for power in the Abyss, Orcus started his existence as a mortal on the Prime Plane. He was apparently a wicked spellcaster of some sort, most probably a priest to some dark deity. After his death, his soul, like the souls of all chaotic evil mortals, went to the Abyss and Orcus began his afterlife as a lowly larva.
Orcus proceeded to climb through the demonic ranks in the next several thousand years, going from larva to mane, from mane to dretch, from dretch to rutterkin, from rutterkin to vrock, from vrock to glabrezu, from glabrezu to nalfeshnee and eventually a balor. From there, he ascended to the rank of demon lord, becoming the Prince of the Undead and ruling the layer of Thanatos, the Belly of Death. Even though there are other demon lords aspiring to the title of Prince of the Undead, Orcus' claim to the title has gone unchallenged for the most part. Ever hungry for more power, Orcus wanted to be recognized as Prince of Demons, a title held by Demogorgon and coveted also by Graz'zt. As a result, he became the arch-enemy of both demon lords. In time, Orcus also achieved true godhood.
However, shortly after his divine ascension, Orcus was slain by the drow demi-goddess Kiaransalee, who took over rulership of Orcus' layer of the Abyss and locked his wand away in the last layer of Pandemonium. Kiaransalee decreed that Orcus's name be erased from all existence.
A peculiar combination of events thwarted Kiaransalee's plans. Acererak's tampering with the nature of the Negative Energy Plane, the last prayers of Quah-Nomag, and the unexpected awakening of some of the sleepers of the demiplane of Moil combined to cause the spirit of Orcus to be reanimated as an undead god. Renaming himself Tenebrous in order to help obscure himself from his enemies, Orcus traveled to ruins buried in the sands of Pelion. There, he discovered the Last Word, an utterance so powerful that it can destroy deities. The Last Word will also eventually kill those who know it unless the being is a true deity. Thus, to restore his lost divinity, Orcus went in search of his wand. During his search, Orcus killed several gods and other powerful entities, including Bwimb, Primus, and Maanzecorian. Orcus' efforts were stymied by a group of adventurers and Orcus was again destroyed, this time by the power of the Last Word.
Orcus was resurrected by Quah-Nomag, one of his foremost high priests and thralls, in a blasphemous ritual enacted in the Astral Plane. Orcus then reclaimed his kingdom and his original name, re-proclaiming himself Prince of the Undead. However, as a result of his second death and resurrection, Orcus has lost his divinity, the ability to use the full power of the Last Word, and is a demon lord once more.
~ From the Black Tome of Wiki.
Although Quah-Nomag's dark rite returned Orcus from the dead, the power of the Last Word shattered Orcus' wand into five separate parts. Orcus retained his grip on one, the skull, but the other four fled their master into the depths of the Abyss. Since then, they have worked their way into the possession of four of the other demon lords.
The Wand of Orcus is an incredibly powerful artifact when fully assembled, but the component parts have little power by themselves. Four of the demon lords each seek to acquire the complete Wand, which would surely cement their claim to be Prince of Demons. Not only would this turn the tide of the Blood War in their favor, but with the full power of the Abyss at their command, they would be able to strike at the Upper Planes.
The diviners of Pelor have not been idle. Having felt the restless search of the demon lords, they have also begun an attempt to recover the five parts. If the Wand could somehow be brought to the Fortress of the Sun, the power of the Sun would be able to destroy it, and the balance of power would shift to the forces of light. But doing so is fraught with deadly peril, as the risk of the Wand's destruction would bring the warring demon lords together to prevent such a loss.
- An item named the Abyssal Splinter (from Hive) is required to enter the Plane of Portals, the first layer of the Abyss. Once you enter the Plane of Portals, you will be able to return there until you lose your attunement to the Abyss. As with the Hellstone, using the Abyssal Splinter will consume it.
- Each demon lord's domain has several portals between it and the Plane of Portals. The first portal to each domain is always unlocked, but you must unlock others from within the domain before you can use the other portals from the PoP to their domain.
- Defeating a demon lord revokes your privilege to use the portals from the PoP to that lord's realm, other than the initial portal to the earliest regions of their realm.
- Destroying the Wand of Orcus revokes your attunement to the Abyss entirely, requiring another Abyssal Splinter. There is more than one 'ending scenario' which results in the destruction of the Wand.
- Players are not able to reconstruct or use the Wand themselves. The power of the Last Word has imbued the wand with energies that can only be fully controlled by a demon lord or greater god, although those beings would have the privilege of granting its use to their proxies as well.
- The entire run is a Fugue area for both Immortal & Demi-God characters.
There are 6 Planes in The Abyss:
- Pazunia, also known as the Plane of Portals (PoP). There are 4 maps in this realm, plenty of monsters and no loot, except for a random mini-boss (Pazuzu) who drops ammunition. Whenever you enter The Abyss from Zerial's Workshop, you arrive in Pazunia - Aldinach's Egg, and you return to Zerial's Workshop from the portal located in the northern peninsula.
- Five realms, each broken into 3 parts (each in turn consisting of 3 or 4 maps) containing a host of monsters, mini-bosses and a boss at the end:
Each part 1 run has a mini-boss which drops 2 random weapons, a set loot drop and random URs/BURs. Each part 2 run has a mini-boss which drops 1 random weapon, a set loot drop or 2, and random URs/BURs.
|Realm||Part 1 Mini-boss||Part 2 Mini-boss||Part 3 Mini-boss||Part 3 Boss||Random Mini-bosses in this Realm|
|Gaping Maw||Belcheresk||Oixhacual||Kargoth the Betrayer||Demogorgon||need info|
|Shedaklah||The Teratomorph||Qolsorron||Darkness Given Hunger||Juiblex||need info|
|Zionyn||Cctchk'tik'ca||Malphas the Outcast||Fo-oon-fol||Obox-Ob||need info|
Characters have the possibility to align themselves with one of the Abyssal Lords (and only one). This must be one who aspires to The Prince of Demons (not all of the 5 aspire to this title). In return, he rewards the party with relics when you hand over all of the Orcus Wand pieces, presumably the other 4 that he does not already have. This also allows the Abyssal Lord to "ascend" to the Prince of Demons and begin preparing to invade the Upper Planes.
Defeating the Prince of Demons is optional, because Pelor can also destroy the wand. But once you hand over the staff pieces, they are lost forever, regardless of who the recipient is. Egads! Consequences.
Aligning with an Abyssal Lord is optional, and Pelor also rewards the party with relics for allowing him to destroy the Orcus Wand.
Completion of the Orcus Wand quest is achieved either by defeating the Prince of Demons or taking the 5 Orcus Wand pieces to Pelor. Egads! Choices.
Recommended Character Stats
The Abyss has a steeper recommended stats when compared to Hells.
The Abyss is a level 55-60 area, although most people will wait being over level 60 and having double demihood before venture seriously there.
Some enemies have DC 65 attacks/spells.
It's recommended to have over 100 AB if using a character with 4 base attacks. Bypassing concealment isn't a big issue for tanks like it was in Hells. (needs more information for a more precise explanation)
A value above 135 is recommended. Additional forms defense, like Concealment, Epic Dodge and high immunities are recommended.
Daze, Sleep, Stun, Silence and others effects are much more common in Abyss than in Hells.
Getting HP right is not as crucial as AB or AC. However, since enemies in the Abyss can inflict vulnerability quite often, it's important to restore often, as no amount of HP can help if you immunity is too low. The amount of HP you need is dependent on class, and how you intend to play.
Bonuses are cumulative and increase on defeat of the Abyssal Princes and Saving Pelor, up to 5 wins. They are:
- First Prince win is +8 melee damage.
- Two wins gives you a +5 magic bonus (+50 cap) to Heal, Taunt, Bluff, Persuade and +10 Regeneration.
- Three wins gives you a +5 magic bonus to Hide, Concentration, Lore, Animal Empathy, Appraise.
- Four wins gives you a +5 magic bonus to Discipline, Craft Armor, Craft Trap, Craft Weapon, Listen and Parry, and the maximum summon level of your summoned creatures increases by 4 levels.
- Five wins gives you a stacking +2 to all ability checks and +2 to all saving throws.