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Harbingers of the Yawning Void: An Introduction

Harbingers of the Yawning Void: An Introduction

Counter to all common sense, there are living beings in the world that desire the unmaking of all things. They would see the World Tree fall and burn, all it supports crumble to dust, and that dust blown into nonexistence upon the winds of the Void. These nihilistic creatures seek to be the harbinger of that great unmaking, gnawing at the foundations of the world to bring about its collapse. They call themselves the Harbingers of the Yawning Void.

Leaders, Organization, and Goals

The Harbingers of the Yawning Void accept any and all creatures into their ranks, so long as they carry the darkness in their hearts and yearn for entropy. However, the solid rank and file of the cult are the satarre. Leading these satarre are a handful of powerful individuals, mostly potent spellcasters. These Children of Nidhogg are the driving force of the cult, recruiting void mages and priests of dark gods into their ranks, sending them out to recruit small cells of cultists eager to wreak destruction, and then pointing them at targets where they can do the most damage.

One of the satarre most adept at this sort of recruitment and placement is Unterra ai-Niresh. A powerful leader in the cult and possessor of the Void-spawned staff of the ebon expanse, she knows that the fabric of existence is interwoven with many supportive threads, metaphysical strands that help support and reinforce reality—culture, faith, family, and other beliefs that intelligent life desires to bring order and meaning to existence. Her specialty is recruiting those that can grind such supports down, so the weight of existence crashes in on itself. One might consider the destruction of a simple village infinitesimal on a world scale, but Unterra knows that if you undermine the fabric of the villagers’ lives, make them question their values, turn on one another in a bid for self-preservation, and utterly destroy themselves, that leaves a void. The tales of that destruction spread, weakening the supports, making it easier to gnaw away at the foundations elsewhere, and eventually it all falls down. Pull the right threads and the entire tapestry unravels under its own weight.

Unterra ai-Niresh

Medium humanoid (satarre), neutral evil.
Armor Class
12 (15 with mage armor)
Hit Points
152 (16d8 + 80)
30 ft.

15 (+2)14 (+2)20 (+5)16 (+3)13 (+1)15 (+2)

Saving Throws Con +9, Int +7, Wis +5
Skills Arcana +8, Insight +5, Perception +5, Religion +8
Damage Resistances necrotic
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception
Languages Abyssal, Common, Draconic, Infernal, Void Speech
Challenge 11 (7,200 XP)

Carrier of Rot. Unterra can use her action to inflict rot on a creature within 10 feet that she can see. The creature must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw. The target takes 10 (4d4) necrotic damage on a failed save and half as much on a successful one. The creature rots for 1 minute, taking 10 (4d4) necrotic damage at the beginning of each of its turns. The target or another creature within 5 feet can use an action to excise the rot with a successful DC 16 Wisdom (Medicine) check. The rot is also removed if the creature receives magical healing. Once used, Unterra cannot use this trait again until she has finished a short or long rest.

Spellcasting. Unterra is a 16th-level spellcaster. Her spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 15, +7 to hit with spell attacks). She has the following wizard spells prepared:

  • Cantrips (at will): acid splash, crushing curse,* message, poison spray, word of misfortune*
  • 1st level (4 slots): burning hands, grease, mage armor, protection from the void,* shield
  • 2nd level (3 slots): darkness, destructive resonance,* invisibility
  • 3rd level (3 slots): counterspell, fly, void strike*
  • 4th level (3 slots): black tentacles, dimension door, nether weapon*
  • 5th level (2 slots): cone of cold, living shadows*
  • 6th level (1 slot): circle of death
  • 7th level (1 slot): finger of death
  • 8th level (1 slot): power word stun

*Spell is found in Deep Magic.


Multiattack. Unterra makes two attacks with the staff of the ebon expanse.

Staff of the Ebon Expanse. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage—plus 7 (2d6) necrotic damage with the nether weapon spell.


Staff, legendary (requires attunement)

This twisted, black staff appears to be made of obsidian. You can wield the staff as a quarterstaff, gaining a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls. The staff has 10 charges and regains 2d4 + 2 charges daily at dawn. If you expend the last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the staff dissolves into a cloud of corrosive, maddening vapors, dealing 10 (3d6) necrotic and 7 (3d6) psychic damage to all creatures within 5 feet. You may expend 1 or more of these charges to use the following properties:

  • Ebon Grasp. You can expend 1 charge when attacking with the staff. On a successful hit, the staff becomes a writhing tentacle that grapples your opponent (escape DC 16). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and you cannot attack with the staff. You can use the Touch of the Void property on a grappled opponent, automatically dealing damage by expending a charge. You can end the grapple as a bonus action on your turn. If a creature dies while grappled, the staff regains 1 charge.
  • Spellcasting. You can use the staff to cast the following spells: maddening whispers* (2 charges) and conjure minor voidborn* (5 charges).
  • Touch of the Void. You can use an attack action to touch an opponent, expending 1 charge. On a successful hit, the target takes 7 (2d6) cold damage and 7 (2d6) psychic damage.
  • Void-Touched. Creatures other than satarre that attune themselves to the staff must succeed at a DC 15 Charisma saving throw or suffer void taint. (See the “Touch of the Void” section in Deep Magic.)

2 thoughts on “Harbingers of the Yawning Void: An Introduction”

  1. This group fits in so well with my current homebrew setting that I’m suddenly looking for kobold warrens under my house. This looks to be the start of a fascinating look at a cult with truly alien goals. Very much looking forward to it.

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