Tharizdun is depicted, if at all, as "a creature of rolling, hungry ink and darkness", a spreading cloud of lightless destruction. It is endless, black, inky, filled with teeth and malice, laughter and hatred. While the other entities in the Pantheon have different interpretations of how they are depicted in artwork, tapestries, and tomes, every record of Tharizdun is amorphous and without physical manifestation.
Tharizdun is an ancient entity, possibly older than even the other gods. It was sealed once long ago in the Founding, back when the deities first began to give form to the world after the defeating and scattering of the prime elementals that previously walked across Exandria in its early days. The gods had thought to have banished Tharizdun but it was released once more onto the Material Plane during the Calamity, causing untold destruction and chaos. It was responsible for dealing a great wound to Ioun, from which she is still recovering.
The Rites of Prime Banishment were used for the first time to re-banish Tharizdun and end the war of the Calamity. During these rites, it took Pelor's full might to beat down Tharizdun, attach four Prime Trammels, and finally complete the ritual. Tharizdun was, however, successfully banished. It is said that six sets of divine shackles hold the Chained Oblivion at the bottom of Abyss, their power anchored somewhere in Exandria. The locations of each shackle fane are closely guarded secrets within the highest clergy of the Dawnfather and the Knowing Mistress, although one is located in the crypt deep beneath the Chantry of the Dawn in Rexxentrum. It is feared that the nature of Tharizdun, being unlike the other divinities, could shatter the Divine Gate itself if unleashed. No one knows how few shackles must remain to keep it at bay.
Kingsley Tealeaf's dreams of his confinement and escape from Lucien included memories of strange black chains that invisibly wove through Cognouza, now broken, the sound of them shattering between worlds, and the angry, unknowable, primal, ancient cry that he could never forget, possibly suggesting a now-broken shackle.
Those who are foolhardy enough to follow such twisting destruction as the Chained Oblivion are often spurned, hateful, and chaotic souls who fall through the cracks of society. A bit of inherent madness left unchecked opens the door to the creeping Void that draws those who worship this entity. The characteristics of the Chained Oblivion’s influence are bouts of uncontrollable hunger, uncharacteristic aggression, and eventually violent mania. The higher acolytes of Tharizdun, as part of their ritual of ascension and to show their true faith, often remove their eyes so they can peer through shadow and light with its boon.
The Chained Oblivion and its followers often deceive other sects into aiding their efforts by creating a false idol entirely. Its intent, as best can be ascertained, is to consume and destroy.
Commandments of the Chained Oblivion
- Acek Orattim – Priest of Tharizdun during the Age of Arcanum and the Calamity.
- Jayne Merriweather
- Angel of Irons cult
- Obann – Obann was not aware of the true identity of the Angel of Irons until he failed to break the Fane, after which he was destroyed and what remained of him twisted into Obann the Punished.
- Vence Nuthaleus – It is unknown how much Vence knows about the true nature of the cult of the Angel of Irons. He collaborated with fellow cultists Respa and Adeen in an attempt to break one of the fanes holding Tharizdun in the bottom of the Abyss.
- Cardinal Respa - Cardinal in the Chantry of the Dawn. Cardinal Respa led several cultists in a prayer of worship for the Angel of Irons and hoping for its release.
- Adeen Tasithar (presumably via domination) - he confessed to aiding the cult, but seems to be unaware of why and how he did it and genuinely horrified by his actions, even when talking to who he thought was Vence. The Mighty Nein therefore suspect that he might have been under the control of Obann.
- Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 27.
- Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 281.
- Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 19.
- See "Dark Bargains" (2x83) at 4:07:51.
- See "Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) at 2:50:27.
- See "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) at 1:09:35.
- See "Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) at 2:52:50.
- See "Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) at 3:26:02.
- Although Rexxentrum itself was founded post-Calamity, it was built on the site of an ancient temple to Pelor. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 107.
- See "Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) at 2:53:22.
- See "Fond Farewells" (2x141) at 6:55:22.
- See "Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) at 0:22:06.
- See "Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) at 0:22:27.
- Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, pp. 63–64.
- Symbol of Tharizdun from Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting.
- Symbol of Tharizdun from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount by Claudio Pozas. (source)
- Official art of Pelor battling Tharizdun, by Svetoslav Petrov from Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 4. This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.