Thrice The Brinded Cat
Hextor is the Oeridian god of war, discord, massacres, conflict, fitness, and tyranny.
The symbol worn and used by the followers of Hextor is a black, spiked gauntlet holding spiked arrows. Hextor is often depicted as a hideous, gray skinned, six-armed humanoid bearing two large tusks jutting from its lower jaw wearing armor clad with skulls. He wields a weapon in each hand: a spiked flail, a battle axe, a battle pick, a longsword, a mace, and a falchion. His other form is that of an athletic young male, with dark hair and light skin.
Hextor is the half-brother and sworn enemy of Heironeous, and the son of Stern Alia. Another brother, Stratis, has been mentioned in unholy literature. Hextor has a long-standing rivalry with Erythnul, from whom he took the portfolio of War. He also has longstanding enmities with Al’Akbar, Allitur, Delleb, Ehlonna, Fharlanghn, Incabulos, Johydee, Kord, Kurell, Llerg, Mayaheine, Obad-Hai, Pelor, Pholtus, Rao, Rudd, Saint Cuthbert, the dragon goddess Tamara, Trithereon, Vatun, Zagyg, and Zodal. Hextor reserves particular animosity for his mother Alia, who failed to anoint him with the meersalm that provided Heironeous with his invulnerability. He has recently helped largely exterminate his mother’s church in Medegia. Hextor sometimes finds Olidammara annoying, but tolerates him because of the Laughing Rogue’s sense of humor.
Hextor is a strong, if sometimes uneasy, ally of Beltar, Bralm, Kyuss, Nerull, Wastri, and Wee Jas. He has come to an understanding of sorts with the Lords of the Nine and the orc and goblin pantheons. His priests often work alongside shamans of Bahgtru, Gruumsh, Khurgorbaeyag, Ilneval, Maglubiyet, and Nomog-Geaya. Hextor is believed to have formed bargains with Tiamat.
Hextor gained his extra arms from a group mysteriously known as the “Lords of Evil,” and in return he works their will.
Hextor’s realm is the citadel of Scourgehold on the plane of Acheron. There, Hextor presides over his legions as they train in the Great Coliseum.
The church of Hextor teaches that the world is a harsh, unforgiving place. The strong rule the weak, and power is the only reward worth having. Cruelty and mercilessness are necessary tools. Order must be forged from Chaos and law from anarchy, but order is meaningless without the will to enforce it. Tyrants are to be obeyed, and dissenters are to be oppressed or killed. Slaves must obey their masters.
- The Book of Hextor: This is the primary book of Hextor’s church, telling of Hextor’s youth and his decision to go to the Lords of Evil for boons that would help him against his unworthy brother Heironeous. The book is very old, most copies scribed in Old Oeridian.
- The Celestial Grindwheel: This is a very heretical set of scrolls written by a Hextorian monk a century ago, hinting that Heironeous and Hextor are actually two halves of the same being. The scrolls suggest that the battle between the two sides helps balance out the good and evil in the multiverse, thereby preventing the destruction of everything.
Congregations of Hextorians can be found in Alhaster and especially throughout the North Kingdom, where Hextor’s church is the official state religion.
Non-evil worshipers of Hextor embrace the security and order that the Scourge of Battle brings. They believe that only the harshness of Hextor’s order can create perfect justice for all, and that these ends justify the means they use to attain them. However, they prefer educating nonbelievers first, and using force only when other means fail. They believe slavery is a necessary evil, the rock upon which civilization is built. They believe in properly caring for their slaves, but insist that slaves obey the will of their master without hesitating or questioning.
The traditional dress of the clergy of Hextor are blood-red robes. Clerics of Hextor often work in cooperation with devils, sometimes under the patronage of Dukes of Hell. One example is Zbavra, a cleric of Hextor who is now part of Mammon’s court. The titular head of the Church of Hextor is Grenell I, Overking of North Kingdom.
The fallen paladin, the blackguard Lindroos, is a servant of the infernal god.
As with Heironeous, the priesthood has a strict hierarchy. Titles used by Hextorian priests (which reflect those of Heironeous) are Scourge of the Third Rank, Scourge of the Second Rank, Scourge of the First Rank, Champion of Tyranny, Knight Terrible, Knight Horrible, Knight Malevolent, and Knight Tyrant. Senior priests are called Patriarchs or Matriarchs, while those who command armies are known as Patriarch-Generals.
The church of Hextor is supported by numerous religious-military orders, tracing their origins back to the church armies of the Great Kingdom. Some of the better-known orders are the Company of the Twin Shields, the Order of the Six Severed Hands, and the Gray Knights of the Great Skull.
There are also Hextorian fighting-monks, the most famous of which is the Brotherhood of the Gray Hand, which dedicated to the preservation of Oeridian culture and the destruction of an order of Heironean monks called the Order of the Glory Everlasting.
The faith of Hextor has historically been most concentrated in the Great Kingdom. The See of Medegia was ruled by a Hextorian cleric for a time, and according to legend an early Aerdi kingdom known as the Medegian Bladelands was dominated by Hextor’s faithful.
Places dedicated to the worship of Hextor tend to be dark, bloody, and grim. The Cathedral of Hextor lies at the heart of Grenell’s palace, the Cyst, in Eastfair. The imposing cathedral features statues of Aerdy warriors and superb stained-glass windows, friezes, and murals featuring scenes of historic battles of Oeridians against orcs, goblins, the Flan, and just about everyone else. Undead guardians have been placed throughout the building. The leaders of Grenell’s orcish allies are admitted only rarely.
Other prominent cathedrals in North Kingdom include the Malachite Spires in Delaric, led by Patriarch Krennden, and the Basilica of the Scourge in Bellport, led by Patriarch Halldrem. Temples of Hextor tend to operate openly, working hand in fist with the laws of the land.
Hextorian services feature chanting, wind instruments sounding discordant notes, shouts and screams, and iron weapons striking against solid objects.
Hextorians swear mighty oaths in battle, such as “Strength in victory!” “Mercy is for the weak!” or “Death to the unworthy!” a not-so-veiled reference to Heironeous and his worshippers.
Before a Hextorian priest can advance in rank, they must demonstrate their martial prowess and fitness to rule. The nature of these feats varies, but they are all revealed through prayer and divine revelation. They can vary from tests of endurance that can be performed within the temple walls to unholy crusades against the forces of Good.
- Blooding. During the week of Growfest, Hextorians exhibit their strength, fitness, and martial prowess, sacrificing the lives of war prisoners to feed their god. Others cut themselves, offering their own blood to Hextor.
- Discordsmight, celebrated on the 25th of Ready’reat, commemorates the struggle between the Medegian Bladelands and the followers of Heironeous. The church of Hextor teaches that this was a glorious victory in which the faithful pushed their boundaries all the way to the Flanmi River. Worshipers of Heironeous, however, celebrate a parallel holiday of Valormight on the same day, where they celebrate the fact that the Hextorians were unable to push past that river as a great victory for the forces of Good.
- The Fist of Eternal Malachite. Celebrated on Midwinter’s Day, this holiday commemorates the battles that helped Hextorians gain ascendancy during the Turmoil Between Crowns. In lands other than the former Great Kingdom, this day is a remembrance of battles fought in the name of the local ruler.
The Lords of Evil Even within the church, little is known about the beings who granted Hexor his power. They are mainly used as an example of the importance of hierarchy, as even the Lord of Tyranny obeys (but is not subservient to) those more powerful than him.
The Battling Brothers This is the Hextorian version of the Heironean myth “Sibling Rivalry”. While the Heironean version teaches that Hextor fell in with evil out of weakness, Hextorian myth teaches that he chose evil from a position of strength, choosing to forge his own destiny rather than remain in the shadow of his brother.
- Tyro Amberhelm made a passing reference to Hextor, stating that he could detect worship to Hextor in the Cauldron area, but not more than any other town or city he had visited.