Yurtrus (pronounced: /ˈjɛrtrʌs/ YER-truss) was an orc god of death and disease. Where Shargaas symbolized the fear of what lurked in the bowels of the earth, Yurtrus embodied the constant threat of death and plagues with which the orcs lived every day.
The Lord of Maggots did not speak or communicate, but sometimes was receptive to prayers and sacrifices to save an individual or a tribe from the ravages of disease. He was depicted as an orc whose body was covered in sores, excepting his hands, which were white and unblemished.
History and RelationshipsEdit
By his very nature, Yurtrus had little relationship with anyone. He offered silent support to Shargaas when he tried to counteract the influence of the three orcish gods of war. Yurtrus certainly maintained links with other gods of death and disease, such as Talona, but perhaps it was more a rivalry than a real alliance. Like the rest of the orc pantheon, Yurtrus hated dwarves, elves, and goblins, and he opposed them when the opportunity arose.
Apart from some monastic orders, Yurtrus's church was not organized and its clergy was dispersed among numerous tribes and clans. The priests were rarely tribal leaders, but the terror inspired by their god gave them greater independence. Clergy were intermediaries between the tribe and Yurtrus when the community was the victim of a disease or an epidemic.
In addition, priests of Yurtrus handled the bodies of those who had succumbed to disease, died in battle, or passed away with old age (which was very rare for orcs). The priests of Yurtrus were also responsible for overseeing the food stocks of the tribe, determining when meat was rotten or water too polluted to drink. Thus, some tribes began to worship Yurtrus as a god of food and health to be appeased.
The priests and followers of Yurtrus prayed at dusk for their spells.
Many clerics are also assassins, divine disciples or monks. An entire monk order called the Brotherhood of the Scarlet Scourge was dedicated to him. Unlike other monks, these monks could learn clerical abilities without destroying their potential as monks. They bleached their hands and infected their own long-grown nails with red ache through a special powder made from blood to spread the disease among their enemies.
Sacrifices were generally offered to the Rotting Lord by inoculating a particularly horrible disease in victims. 
The Church recognized two major holy days. The first was the Ceremony of Contagion, which was celebrated on Midsummer's Eve. It was said on that day the god spread a contagion that sapped the world of life and drew it inevitably toward winter and the end of the year. After a series of bloody sacrifices to protect the orcs from the ravages of disease, the priests of Yurtrus went forth to spread disease and death worldwide, especially among other races.
The second holy day, known as Putrescent Death, was celebrated on the eve of Midwinter. During that night, the clergy of Yurtrus celebrated the death of the world, symbolized by the sacrifice of intelligent creatures from other races.
Followers of Yurtrus believed death was inevitable for all living beings. The ravages of an epidemic were simply death taking victims who had not fallen in battle, so orcs should choose their end where it was most likely. However, disease would ultimately attack all living creatures. Orcs could only avoid the touch of White Hands by begging for mercy, and they should fear him, for death was always lurking in the shadows of Luthic's cave, and it will certainly strike again.
- Roger E. Moore (June 1982). “The Gods of the Orcs”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #62 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 28–32.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 24,118. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 240. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 151. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
- ↑ Sean K. Reynolds (2002). Deity Do's and Don'ts. A Faiths and Pantheons Web Enhancement. Wizards of the Coast. p. 7. Retrieved on 2014-09-22.
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