Imprisoned since the dawn of time, Rovagug (pronounced ROH-vah-gug) seeks only to destroy creation and the gods. His increasingly restless stirrings are taken by many to be the cause of volcanic activity and earthquakes.
In a time so long ago that perhaps even the aboleth do not remember it, and before the entity known as Zon-Kuthon emerged from the Outer Darkness, Rovagug sought to destroy the world. In a rare showing of solidarity, all the gods stood together to defeat him. Unable, or perhaps unwilling, to destroy him, the goddess Sarenrae sliced open a hole in the world, and the archdevil Asmodeus bound him with a key only the Prince of Darkness held. This prison is believed to be the Pit of Gormuz on the continent of Casmaron, in a region known as the Windswept Wastes and was sealed by the legendary Star Towers.
It was an imperfect captivity, and 3923 years before Aroden raised the Starstone, his prison split open, and one of the terrible Spawn of Rovagug was discharged into an unsuspecting and already miserable world. It would be the first of a dozen unleashed over the next 5,000 years.
While Rovagug hates most deities equally, he reserves especial hatred for Sarenrae, who was instrumental in combating the Rough Beast long enough that the archdevil Asmodeus could imprison him. This hatred is returned by all other deities as well, and even feuding gods joined together to seal Rovagug away from the world. Rovagug is believed to have some relationship with the mysterious Groetus because of their mutual interest in destruction but he has no overt ties with the God of the End Times.
Appearance and emissaries
The Rough Beast’s avatar appears as a monstrous, worm-like being, with innumerable limbs, eyes, claws, teeth, and other, more unmentionable parts. Although it is unknown exactly what Rovagug is or where he originated from, several theories have long been debated by scholars and theologians. One popular theory is that he is a weaker member of the dreaded Outer Gods, bent on destruction and entropy. Another hypothesis, supported by some blasphemous texts, whisper that Rovagug is instead the mightiest of the alien Qlippoth race. This latter theory holds some validity when one considers the bizarre and alien appearance of the Rough Beast.
The horrific Tarrasque is Rovagug’s current Herald, although prior to its birth, other Spawn have served in this capacity.
Rovagug’s most famous emissaries are the great beasts known as his Spawn. The Tarrasque is widely considered to be the greatest of these Spawn.
Known Spawn of Rovagug, -3923 to c. 1000 AR
- Unnamed Spawn (-3923 AR) – The first of these terrible monsters. Its status and whereabouts are unknown. The orc oracles of the Brimstone Haruspex claim that its name is Gormuz (as in Pit of Gormuz) and that it will return again when a dark comet appears in the sky. The few remaining records of the time state that it was impervious to weapons and spells, but headed west across the sea and was never seen again. Many consider it was in fact Ulunat. 9
- Ulunat (ca. -3470 AR) – A colossal beetle, around whose shed carapace the Osirian capital of Sothis has grown up.10
- Kothogaz (before -632 AR) – attacked Ezida, and in the 300s AR more famously Vudra. Its heart is in 101 pieces.
- The Tarrasque (-632 AR) – Also known as The Armageddon Engine. The most terrible of the Spawn of Rovagug. Destroyer of Ninshabur. Currently sealed away in a hidden cavern beneath Avistan.4
- Trilochan (before 300 AR) – three-eyed dragon, fought Kothogaz in Vudra.
- Xotani (??? AR) – Also referred to as The Firebleeder.11 Its grave lies in the Garundi kingdom of Katapesh.
- Chemnosit (??? AR) – Also known as The Monarch Worm. Feared throughout the Darklands; possibly still active.3
- Volnagur (909? AR) – A winged beast.3 Likely still active.
Other servantsthe Slohr? (3537 AR), known primarily for trampling the Arthfell Forest.12 Its connection to Rovagug is unconfirmed. Crawling Hunger, an intelligent, beclawed purple worm. Galulab’daa, a gibbering mouther considered to be more violent and insane than most of its kind. Yigachek, a bebilith with an unusual corpse-like coloring.
These three beings have only been sighted in The Pit of Gormuz8. Their servitude indicates that they are probably not Spawn.
Church of Rovagug
Rovagug has no large-scale, organized church. His worship is most concentrated in the savage Hold of Belkzen, the frozen Realm of the Mammoth Lords, and the harsh deserts of Osirion and Qadira. Rovagug is certainly respected for his destructive power in all nations; the bombard known as the Great Maw of Rovagug in Alkenstar is evidence of this.
Worshipers and clergy
His worshipers are savage monsters and human nihilists. He is the primary deity of the orcs,13 and ropers consider him to be their creator-deity.14 The Carrion Tribe gnolls in Katapesh have abandoned the worship of Lamashtu for the favor of Rovagug — how the Mother of Monsters feels about this is unknown.15
In the Garundi nation of Katapesh the worshipers of The Great Beast are driven in a mad quest to blot out the very sun itself – an act of revenge against the hated Sarenrae16.
The numerous boggard tribes of the Sodden Lands revere Rovagug. They view the appearance of the Eye of Abendego (an event which greatly benefited them even as it destroyed the surrounding nation of Lirgen) as a manifestation of the Rough Beast, and it sparked off a religious pogrom which led to the slaughter of their priests of Gogunta.17
Rovagug is one of the Three Feasters, the deities worshipped by the Koboto tribe of the Sodden Lands.18
Priests wear shaggy coats dyed in strange colors and hideous masks representing monstrosity and dissolution. A priest of Rovagug makes no contribution to normal society; at best, they may be (unreliable) mercenaries8. They typically spend their day hunting beings and things to kill and destroy, saving only that which can be utilized in creating greater destruction. The hierarchy is based solely on raw destructive might, and to rise in the hierarchy, another must be thrown down.
His worshipers are only slightly less dedicated, glorying in destruction for its own sake and dismissing building and creating as a pastime for those too weak to destroy. Some worshipers do so out of nihilistic misery, others out of self-loathing, and yet others through a simple, burning rage towards the universe. All are dedicated to Rovagug’s destructive mission.
Church services are brutal and primitive, featuring sapient sacrifices, stomping, shouting, and breaking valuables19.
Temples and shrines
Churches to The Beast are banned in nearly every civilized city, and his worship is suppressed in most nations.2 Secret shrines and sacrificial sites may be recognized by the presence of the famous Fanged Maw (seen on this page), or the less common symbol, a claw surrounded by a spiral.
The rare, true temples of Rovagug are built in caves and other underground locations, with a deep pit in the center (representing Rovagug’s prison) that doubles as a midden. These temples also feature a “tame” monster, barely controlled by the priests, which serves as a guardian19. The House of the Beast is a nigh legendary temple of Rovagug, said to have been built by a spirit birthed from the very heart of a volcano, and was the center of a multiracial cult that gained strange and terrible powers in return for sacrifice to The Great Beast20. Located in the Pale Mountains, this currently ruined temple is widely avoided because of its dark reputation.
Rovagug has and needs no official holy text. He makes his desires known to his faithful by pressing his primordial and awesome thoughts directly upon their minds. These thoughts primarily concern the destruction of all that exists, and freeing The Rough Beast from his ancient tomb19.
Although a codified holy text would be contrary to the destructive nature of Rovagug, some unofficial writings do exist. The lunatic Chalmus Col penned the Cycle of the Beast and The Red Mark of Xhor, a bloody spiral imprinted with curses in the name of Rovagug.21
Any holidays celebrated by Rovagug’s dedicated would be suppressed in civilized lands. There are no holidays common to all congregations.19
However, some orc shamans celebrate the Waking in early spring. Also, in circumstances of celestial conjunctions in the night sky, the celebration of Lastday may occur. This holiday is irregular, but more often than not occurs in autumn.