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The demonic rune of Nurgal.

The Shining Scourge,
Lord of Senseless War
Areas of Concern
Senseless warfare
The Sun
Dragons, mercenaries, those who fear the sun, warlike desert nomads
Wage war in the desert, deny water to your foes
Heal a sunburn, change your name
Cleric Alignments (1E)
Domains (1E)
Chaos, Evil, Fire, Sun
Subdomains (1E)
Ash, Day, Demon, Smoke
Cleric Alignments (2E)
Domains (2E)
Destruction, dust, fire, sun
Favored Weapon
Lion jaws around the sun
Sacred Animal
Sacred Colors
Yellow, orange
Source: Book of the Damned, pg(s). 82–83 (1E)
Lost Omens Gods & Magic, pg(s). 77, 126–127 (2E)
This article is about the demon lord; for the infernal duke, see Nergal.

One of the gods of the Azlanti, the demon lord Nurgal was associated with warfare and the sun.1 His worship went into major decline in the Age of Darkness. Nurgal is an exception to the usual rule that the sun is associated with benevolent deities and a force for good in the world. For those that fear the sun or enjoy its capability for destruction, the worship of Nurgal beckons.23


Nurgal's faith was one of the strongest in Azlant, and archaeological studies have found evidence of Nurgal's unholy symbol and other representations of the deity. During this time, in divine hierarchy, he was a true god.4

During the Eversiege of Aucharan, Nurgal's nemesis Acavna came to the aid of an azata fortress cast adrift into the Maelstrom by Nurgal's forces. They battled atop the fortress, and Acavna emerged victorious. She clove him in two and sent both parts tumbling into the Maelstrom. The lesser half fell into Hell and became the infernal duke Nergal; the greater half plummeted into the Abyss, and became a demon lord that retained the name Nurgal. So a full god became two demigods.4


Since falling into the Abyss, Nurgal has claimed the sun-blasted Abyssal realm of Kuthan as his own.2


Nurgal's head and lower body is that of a golden lion with his midriff that of a tanned, humanoid male. He has a dragon's tail and intense light is emitted from his eyes and mouth.21

Nurgal's signature weapon is a heavy mace with a small sun acting as its head. In images of the demon lord, he is invariably wielding this weapon.21


As a god

Nurgal's nemesis was the moon goddess Acavna, patron of defensive tactics that were employed against his own brutality in warfare.4

As a demigod

Nurgal's realm of Kuthan is connected to the Abyssal realm called the Sea of Whispering Sands as that realm was once ruled by Areshkagal, Nurgal's lover. Areshkagal's sister, Aldinach, however, fought and forced Areshkagal into exile in her current realm of the Blood Clefts.2

Some rumours paint Nurgal as the half brother of Socothbenoth, the Silken Sin, which contradict his actual history; however, lineage and bloodline might have been muddled by the raw chaos of the Abyss. In any case, this relationship has meant war between the two for all their history.2

His lesser half Nergal has maintained a seething jealousy toward Nurgal.5

Cult and worshippers

Ancient cults of the god

Nurgal was one of the first deities worshipped by the Azlanti, when they were still barbarous clans vying for land. As these clans became city-states and eventually provinces, wars to decide the borders were constant, creating a ripe field for Nurgal's worship. Much of the senseless slaughter was conducted by armies and mercenaries who followed Nurgal. Some scholars speculate that worship of Nurgal spread to Azlant from Ninshabur, before either empire rose to power.6

After Azlant became an empire, Nurgal's cult held numerous positions of power, and was particularly feared in the long, dry summers of southern Azlant. Some soldiers and mercenaries continued to pray to him before battles. Open worship of Nurgal was frowned upon among rank-and-file soldiers but tolerated by the officers, and secret cabals regularly met to perform obediences and vile rites to him in exchange for success.46

Modern cults of the demon lord

In modern Golarion, Nurgal's worship is far less than at the height of his power in ancient Azlant. However, cults of his worshippers are found in the deserts of northern Garund, Qadira, and the ruins of Ninshabur.21 Surprisingly, considering their susceptibility to sunlight, Nurgal is one of the demon lords most often worshipped by orcs. Their worship tends to emphasise his role as a god of senseless warfare rather than as a sun deity and is most common amongst orcs who dwell in Garund.7


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Paizo staff. (2020). "Demigods and Other Divinities". Gods & Magic, p. 77. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-202-0
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 James Jacobs. (2010). Lords of Chaos, p. 22. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-250-0
  3. James Jacobs, Kevin Kulp, Rob McCreary, and Owen K.C. Stephens. (2010). City of Seven Spears. City of Seven Spears, p. 47. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-274-6
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 John Compton, Adam Daigle, Amanda Hamon Kunz et al. (2017). "Fiendish Divinities". Book of the Damned, p. 83. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-970-7
  5. John Compton, Adam Daigle, Amanda Hamon Kunz et al. (2017). "Fiendish Divinities". Book of the Damned, p. 118. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-970-7
  6. 6.0 6.1 Adam Daigle. (2017). Gods of Ancient Azlant. The Flooded Cathedral, p. 72. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-981-3
  7. Benjamin Bruck, et al. (2015). Inner Sea Races, p. 151. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-722-2

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