|Aliases||Bringer of Darkness, the Foe of All Good, Hater of Life, King of All Gloom, the Reaper, the Reaper of Flesh|
|Divine Rank||Greater God|
|Pantheon||Dawn War, Oerth (Flan)|
|Portfolio||Death, Darkness, Murder, The Underworld|
|Domains||3E: Death, Evil, Trickery
|Home Plane||Necromanteion (Carceri)|
|Favoured Weapon||Lifecutter (Scythe)|
Nerull is a greater god of Death. He shares a lot of similarities with the Grim Reaper (death motif, know as "the reaper", scythe, ect...). He hates life.
In Greyhawk he hangs out on Agathys, the icy sixth layer of Carceri. Here he maintains a citadel where his priests perform necromantic experiments and rituals. They are always looking for new subjects to test on, so it is advised to stay clear of the Necromanteion without good reason. Or even with good reason. Or getting anywhere near Agathys. In fact, it's best not to go to Carceri ever.
In 4th edition's shakeup of the cosmology to create the World Axis and Points of Light, Nerull is the former God of Death, having been murdered and usurped by The Raven Queen. This initially amounted to all of the lore, with various details on Nerull's former dominion in the Astral Sea and his lingering cultists appearing in 4e's Manual of the Planes, Astral Sea and Shadowfell splatbooks. However, Dragon Magazine fleshed out the 4e version in two major ways.
Firstly, issue #390 reveals that Nerull was not always the God of Death. Rather, that position was originally one of several portfolios held by an elder deity named Aurom; Nerull secured his position amongst the gods by murdering Aurom and allowing most of its portfolios to be divided amongst the other gods, keeping only the Portfolio of Death for himself.
Secondly, in issue #427, there was a Channel Divinity: Nerull article, which revealed all the secrets of the Dead God of Death. Most startlingly, in contrast to the Greyhawk version, who was pretty much evil just to be evil, the World Axis version of Nerull actually wasn't always a bad guy!
See, Nerull began his life as a human during the Dawn War, and was one of the very first non-elves to be tutored in the arts of wizardry by Corellon. He actively fought with the divine armies against the Primordials, and in the wake of one particularly gruesome battle, he looked at the bodies of the fallen and cursed them for having, as he saw it, "deserted" the fight against annihilation. Determined that there had to be a better way, he began to study the ways that magic could interact with the dead, and became the first ever necromancer.
To Nerull, this was a triumph; with this new form of magic, the dead could be marshaled to defend the living. Stronger and hardier than before, this ability to nullify casualties would surely turn the tide against the elemental hordes. Certain that he had found the key to victory, he proudly presented his creations to the gods. Instead, Aurom spoke against it, declaring Nerull's efforts a heresy for breaching the boundaries in death. Flabbergasted and appalled, Nerull looked to the other gods, hopeful that they would be wiser, but all chose to defer to the God/dess of the Cycle of Life.
This drove Nerull over the edge. Incensed and outraged that his great work would be dismissed because of the small-mindedness of one deity, one whom he felt was surely jealous of Nerull for coming up with such a stratagem before it, he decided to force his point. Marshalling a great army of the undead, Nerull waited for Aurom to engage the Primordials in battle, and then attacked him/her after the field was cleared. Surprised and overwhelmed, Aurom perished at Nerull's hands. The other gods were stunned; never before had a mere mortal lain one of their own low. It's possible that they might have attacked the would-be usurper for his outrage. But Nerull was cunning; feigning humility, he humbly invited the other gods to divide Aurom's vast array of portfolios amongst themselves, for he only wanted powers over Death and the Dead. Having secretly been jealous over Aurom's vast influence in the world, the deities agreed, greedily divvying up such portfolios as Life, Birth, Growth, Fertility, Plants, Animals and Nature.
Secretly, Nerull sneered at their perceived hypocrisy, remembering how quick they had been to turn on him in Aurom's favor before. Now a divinity himself, he turned his armies of the undead against the Primordials, and sure enough, proved that their strength, endurance and limitless vitality made them a great asset. But Nerull became greedy and obsessed with power; he wanted more than what he had, he wanted to become the undisputed king of all gods. To this end, feeling his powers stemmed from his unliving hordes, he began scouring the mortal world with blights and plagues, earning his titles of "Reaper" and "Hater of Life". Whilst most of the other deities were ambivalent to this growing fondness for murder, seeing only the usefulness of Nerull's undead legions in the battle, some gods began to hate Nerull personally. Moradin and Pelor grew to despise him as pure evil, whilst Corellon became aghast at how Nerull had "perverted" the magical arts he had created.
This, then, led to Nerull's downfall. When another of Corellon's students, a human witch-queen of great power and beauty, perished in the Dawn War, Corellon and his wife Sehanine, in league with Moradin and Pelor, secretly fortified the queen’s soul with even more of the qualities she had possessed in life: magical might, intellectual brilliance, shrewd discernment, unshakable courage, cold allure, and colder pride. She shone like a diamond amongst the grey legions of Pluton, and Nerull couldn't help but be captivated. Naming her Nera, he took her as his consort, showering her with gifts and power to prove his love - which ultimately allowed her to usurp control of Pluton from him, murder him, and be reborn as The Raven Queen.
|The deities of 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons|
Haramathur - Moradin
|Amoth - Lakal
Nusemnee - Pelor
|Avandra - Corellon |
|Neutral||Erathis - Raven Queen
|Aurom - Io - Ioun
Kord - Laeris
Bane - Tiamat
|Nerull - Torog - Vecna||Gruumsh - Khala - Lolth |
Tharizdun - Zehir