If you haven’t already, read the treatise on the Green God, and the first part of the Elder Evil exploration, before diving into this, a much longer read. This is longer. Why? Because Dungeons and Dragons has always been more interested in things to smite and it ever has been about the nature of Nature. That’s why.
But where to begin? At the beginning, I suppose.
The Elder Evil
The Elder Evil has had a long history in Dungeons and Dragons. It’s been called the Elder Elemental God, the Elder Elemental Evil, the Elemental Eye, and a whole host of other names over the years. Are they the same being? Or are they separate things altogether?
|Rogahn the Fearless|
Many years ago, rumor has it, two noted personages in the area, Rogahn the Fearless […] and Zelligar the Unknown […] pooled their resources and expertise to construct a home and stronghold for the two of them to use as a base of operations. The location of this hidden complex was chosen with care, since both men disliked visitors and intruders. Far from the nearest settlement, away from traveled routes, and high upon a craggy hill, the new construction took shape. Carved out of the rock protrusion which crested the heavily forested hill, this mystical hideaway was well hidden, and its rumored existence was never common knowledge. Even less well known was its name, the Caverns of Quasqueton.
|Zelligar the Unknown|
|Zelligar Defeats the Barbarians|
ADEPTS' CHAMBER: There are 4 adepts […] here, each clad in a black robe with a maroon colored cowl [….] They have plate mail beneath their garments, and each bears a mace. Their waists are circled with copper chains […] with skull-shaped clasps fashioned of bone. [B2 -22]
The Chamber of the Evil Priest is furnished lavishly, with a red carpet, furniture of black wood with velvet upholstery of scarlet, and a large bed covered with silken covers of black and red cushions and pillows. A demon idol leers from the wall to the north, directly over the bed. [B2 - 23]
No priests dedicated to the cause of good would wear such things. Indeed, none in the service of good would employ such a motley collection of beasts, either. These were evil men who worshiped a vile and sinister god.
CHAPEL OF EVIL CHAOS: This place is of red stone, the floor being a mosaic checkerboard of black and red. The south wall is covered by a huge tapestry which depicts a black landscape, barren trees, and unidentifiable but horrible black shapes in silhouette — possibly demons of some sort — holding aloft a struggling human. A gray sky is torn by wisps of purple clouds, and a bloody moon with a skull-like face on it leers down upon the scene. Four black pillars support the domed ceiling some 25' overhead. Between these columns, just in front of the tapestry, is a stone altar of red veined black rock, rough-hewn and stained brown with dried blood. Upon it are 4 ancient bronze vessels — a shallow bowl, a pair of goblets, and a ewer, a vase-shaped pitcher. They are also bloodstained but obviously worth a great deal of money. ([…] but these are relics of evil, and any character possessing them will not part with them or sell them nor allow others to handle them.) [Those who pick] up one of these objects […] will get a "feeling of great evil" about the object [, if they are very lucky], and [they] may voluntarily put it down, [but most] will rapidly fall under the influence of a demonic spell and within 6 days become a servant of chaos and evil, returning to this chapel to replace the relics, and then staying as a guard forever after. If someone attempts to destroy these relics the great bell […] will sound and the Shrine's residents will come running [….] [Should auguries be] cast upon these items, they will glow an ugly purple, and all [august persons] will feel instant loathing for them. [Should any person take them, a priest must intervene quickly to save their immortal soul, for each day thereafter, the evil that inhabits the objects will surely possess them.] Otherwise, nothing will be able to save [them!] [B2 - 22]
Several scroll tubes are concealed in this room, under a stack of logs in the alcove to the northwest. Only one tube has anything in it, this one being sealed and marked with a triangle containing a Y. Inside is a set of instructions on the next raid, written in giantish, and signed "Eclavdra." [G1 - 4]
They also find a map showing the GLACIAL RIFT OF THE FROST GIANT JARL and an obsidian box. In the latter is a chain of weird black metal and instructions written in hill giant on a sheet of human skin. The instructions show that the chain is a magical device which is to be looped into a figure 8. Thus shaped, it will transport up to 6 persons in each circle of the figure 8 to the Glacial Rift if one of their number holds the map. [G1 - 8]
But more importantly—for our purposes, anyway—they stumble upon a temple within the steading as they massacre everything that breathes in the cause of greater good:
WEIRD ABANDONED TEMPLE: This room is of faintly glowing purplish green stone, carved with disturbing shapes and signs which seem to stare out from the walls and columns, to shift position when the watcher's back is turned. Touching the walls makes one chilled, and contact with a pillar causes the one touching it to become nauseous. At the far west end of the temple is an altar of pale, yellow-gray translucent stone. It feels greasy to the touch, but it has no effects upon those who touch it. Behind this altar is a flight of low, uneven steps which lead to an alcove with a concave back wall of purplish-black, glassy appearing substance. If any creature stands before this wall and gazes upon it for one round, a writhing amorphous form of sickly mauves and violets will be seen stretching its formless members towards the viewer. This sight causes the creature seeing it to have a 50% chance of becoming insane. If the creature does not go insane, a touch upon the curving will cause a scarab of insanity to appear upon the altar for the first one so doing, and a 5,000 g.p. gem for the next. [G1 - 7]
Giants' Worship Area: Each pillar radiates a sense of unease and insecurity [….] The wall to the west is a mural showing giants bowing to a cairn of black offering sacrifices, giving gifts, etc. The floor on this side of the column in the center is of porphyry, the pillars of serpentine, and their well polished surfaces clash with each other and the strange light as well. The scenes on the west wall grow more horrific, showing human and giant sacrifice near the altar (north) end. [G3 - 9]
Servants' & Thralls' Worship Area: The polished floor of red and black hornblende seems to flow between the obsidian pillars which close off this area. Each of these pillars radiates mild fear in a 2' radius, and if one is touched, the creature contacting it [just might] run away in absolute panic. Passing between 2 pillars causes [a bust of electrical energy]. The wall to the east shows a scene of various creatures crawling, then creeping, up to huge, vaguely squid-like creatures with 10 hairy tentacles. In the forefront of this mass self-sacrifice are elves and men, but there are also dwarves, gnolls, orcs, trolls, halflings, ogres, goblins, etc. amongst the crowd. Those near the monsters are being torn apart and the bloody gobbets eaten as dainty morsels. There are 3 of these ghastly things, mottled in various shades and tints of purple and violet. [G3 - 9,10]
|A Glowing Golden Eye|
- Seize and devour 1-4 more creatures and then not grant any desires
- Strike everyone present totally blind and then not grant any desires
- Raise [up a selected creature’s being in some way] and take no sacrifice
- Ignore the whole thing
[Cells, 8 elven males and 1 elven female meant for sacrifice in the Temple.] [G3 - 6]
THE HOUSE OF EILSERVS: Device: Copper staff. Rank: 1st. The Eilservs have long seen a need for an absolute monarch to rule the Vault, and as the noble house of first precedence, they have reasoned that their mistress should be Queen of All Drow. When this was proposed, the priestesses of Lolth supported the other noble families aligned against the Eilservs, fearing that such a change would abolish their position as the final authority over all disputes and actions of the Dark Elves. Thereafter, the Eilservs and their followers turned away from the demoness and proclaimed their deity to be an Elder Elemental God [….] Although there is no open warfare, there is much hatred, and both factions seek to destroy each other. [D3 – 18]
|Into the Upper World|
[Dead Gods – 75]
|The Elemental Chaos|
To be perfectly honest, Gary Gygax muddied the waters when he said that. If the Elemental God was not Tharizdun, then who the hell was he? The two are so similar-- and dare I say it -- as to be identical in theme and application. Chronos was nothing like the Elemental God. Cthulhu is. Azathoth is. And yes, Tharizdun is.