|Divine Rank||Greater God|
|Portfolio||Humanity, Domination, Perfection|
|Domains||Destiny, Evil, Law, Strength, War|
|Worshippers||Human Supremacists, Athletes, Warlords, Blackguards|
Zarus is a god from the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 sourcebook "Races of Destiny", and the only official deity written for D&D to lay claim to being the Patron God of Humanity, similar to Moradin being the Dwarf god or Garl Glittergold being the Gnome god. Unfortunately, he's also the only such deity to be evil, being an incredibly arrogant racist prick, which has contributed to his lack of popularity on /tg/.
Zarus is a Lawful Evil "Greater" God who is basically the unholy bastard spawn of Mary Sue and Humanity Fuck Yeah. His official backstory, as told by his worshippers, is that he was the first human being ever, created by the world itself as the living embodiment of perfection, a being more graceful than the elves, sturdier than the dwarves, and capable of craftsmanship beyond the feeble talents of gnomes and halflings alike, such that all demihuman races trembled with fearful awe at his existence. Eventually, he demanded the earth give him a wife as perfect as he, and so it gave him Astra. Terrified of their union, the leaders of the other races delivered Zarus a bounty of the finest wine for his wedding; Zarus knew that they had poisoned it, but drank it down rather than dishonor himself in refusal. In sheer grief at his passing, the world granted him godhood, and caused Astra to give birth to the entire human race (hopefully not all at once), allowing Zarus to watch over his children forever more.
Zarus' creedo is a simple one, dedicated to the pursuit of perfectionism and humanity's inherent superiority to all other life; his priests call for the annihilation of independent demihuman cultures and the subjugation of all species to humanity's will, after which humanity can dedicate itself to ascending to its true potential. Recruiting only the best-looking, healthy, active and arrogant youths to join the clergy, the priests of Zarus are rabble-rousers and warleaders, striving to foster bigotry, inter-racial war and slavery wherever they go. They call for the murder of demihumans, the theft of their artifacts, and the conquest of their lands.
Also, unlike the Divinity of Mankind religion from Ravenloft, which is another canonical "Humanity Fuck Yeah" D&D religion, Zarus' faith decrees halfbreeds an abomination that must be eradicated wherever possible, punishing interspecies sex as the foulest and most heinous of crimes.
Zarus's holy symbol is a bust of a smugly satisfied "handsome" human man's face colored gold, at the center of a sixteen-pointed starburst, with the cardinal points being particularly enlarged. The strange similarity between this symbol and that of Pelor has led to the further support for the Pelor the Burning Hate meme.
Zarus and the Emperor
One may wonder: why did Zarus never catch on /tg/ in comparison to The God-Emperor of Mankind? After all, both deities have a basic portfolio of human supremacy. Well, that's a complex matter, but here's some possible reasons:
- First reason is context: the Warhammer 40.000 universe is a lot darker than the average D&D setting. In 40k, all (or at least 99 out of 100) of the established major alien races range from "complete and utter fucking pricks" to "genocidal abominations" (not that humans themselves are any better), hence a call for human supremacy actually kind of makes sense. In the vanilla D&D setting from which Zarus hails, demihumans are generally okay and only a minority of non-human races are beyond being reasoned with. There is a huge difference between calling for the extinction of sadistic soul-eating monsters or fungus-based biological killbots, and calling for the extinction of quiet shortstack pastoral halflings or grumpy but goodhearted dwarves; and /tg/ knows it.
- Another point is personality: The Emperor, for his flaws, genuinely wants to lead humanity as a whole into a golden age. Zarus wants what is best for Zarus and only those humans he considers worthy.
- For instance, The God-Emperor states that the human form is perfect in all of its variety, whereas Zarus promotes only a very specific ideal of human perfection.
- The God-Emperor is (depending on the writer) portrayed as a paragon, but given some flaws that undercut his inherent Mary Sueness. Zarus grabs the Mary Sue koolaid and chugs the whole bottle without shame even though he knows it's poisoned, because something something honor.
- Zarus's sheer smugness may play a small part in it. The God-Emperor is upheld as a legitimately worthy divinity for mankind. On the other hand you can feel the disdain dripping from the pages when you read Zarus' profile, inspiring a common aversion to wanting to be associated with the smarmy git. Or maybe that's just the way his symbol is drawn.
- Zarus opposes Monstergirls (or, at least, reproducing with them) which is a big deal in a D&D settings where humans can breed with nearly anything, and these hybrids are generally not sterile. In 40K Eldar are the only non-human that would even have matching parts for intercourse and (really old no-longer canon material aside) have no chance of crossbreeding due to massively differing reproduction cycles, while Tau, the second closest, are that only by virtue of having two legs and reproducing sexually.