Jergal is the fatalistic seneschal of the Lord of the Dead who keeps records on the final disposition of all the spirits of the dead. Both bland and excessively formal, he never angers and always speaks with a disembodied, chilling voice that echoes with the dry whisper of a long forsaken crypt. The Lord of the End of Everything strives only for an orderly accounting of the fate of the world as it slowly sinks into death, and he now serves Kelemvor as he previously served Cyric and Myrkul before him.
In ethos, Jergal is colder and more inhumane than his master, sanctioning the use and creation of undead by his followers, provided they serve the cause of advancing death in the world. He is not evil or malicious, but impassively records the death of all things.
Jergal has only a handful of living worshipers, but it is believed several score of his priests still survive as mummies and greater mummies in long-sealed tombs. Buried in long-forgotten crupts, they do nothing but scribe the fate of all living things on cracked parchments. Some are served by zombies and skeletons, but never by sentient undead. For eons Jergal has whispered to his mummified clergy an unending litany of names and fates that they then dutifully record on scrolls until Jergal grants them eternal rest. It is said that when the world finally grinds to a halt and passes away, the last mummified Scrivener of Doom will lay down its pen and crumble to dust. Such undead priests sometimes attack and sometimes ignore interlopers who invade their dusty tombs, depending upon whether or not such beings have reached their appointed hour of death. They always attempt to drive off and if necessary destroy any being who disturbs their sacred tasks, since order in death is as important as death itself in the teachings of the faith.
The small cult of living Scriveners of Doom spend their days maintaining and extending vast archives of scrolls listing how sentients under their purview passed away and their destination in the afterlife. Despite their near hopeless task, they toil on undaunted, knowing they have eons to complete their appointed task. They also tend to serve as scribes, funerary workers, and morticians. Many keep careful records of births, deaths, and taxes for the kings and rulers they served. Some clerics multiclass as monks or necromancers.
VestmentsJergal's clergy shave their heads smooth and garb themselves in unadorned gray robes and long, white gloves. At all times they carry a satchel of scrolls, inks, and quills. They also carry a desiccated human skull with the openings plugged that they use to contain the simple mixture of ash and powdered bones employed in Sealing rituals. This skull also serves as their holy symbol.
Jergal's priests only very rarely adventure, and then only at Jergal's bequest. Adventuring Scriveners of Doom seek out those who attempt to prolong their lives beyond their appointed time through magic and then terminate their existence. Jergal's priests may wear any armor that they wish to protect themselves—it is irrelevant to the Lord of the End of Everything since every living being will die at its appointed time, regardless of what protections it takes to the contrary. Jergal's priests are trained in bludgeoning weapons so that they can powder the bones of their opponents for use in future Sealing rituals.
HierarchyThe church of Jergal is small and secretive, a rigidly organized, almost monastic order of scribes known as the Scriveners of Doom. Within their ranks, the high priest of each temple is known as First Scrivener of Doom, but otherwise the faith eschews titles or ranks. The faith has always been evenly split between clerics, monks, and specialty priests, known as Doomscribes.
TemplesJergal's few temples are typically lifeless stone mausoleums or dry, dusty crypts. Its members spend their days maintaining and extending vast archives of scrolls listing how sentients under their purview passed away and their destination in the afterlife. Animals and plants never live long in these dreary, bleak houses of endless drudgery. Sentients who toil daily in Jergal's dusty temples quickly age and grow weak, yet never die before their appointed time, dooming them to a life of venerability. Rare visitors to such shrines find long rows of scribes dutifully recording the affairs and fates of the short-lived mortals in the surrounding lands.
RitualsClerics of Jergal pray for their spells at dusk, a time of day representative of the end of life. The only ritual Jergal's clerics are required to perform is called the Sealing. After recording each and every creature's demise, form of death, and destination in the afterlife, Scriveners of Doom are required to sprinkle a light dusting of ash and powdered bone over their inscribed words to blot the ink and mark another small step toward the world's end. Some seek church-sponsored undeath to allow them to continue their archiving careers.
On the last night of the year, Jergal's clergy cease their endless toil for a full night. On this holy night, known as the Night of Another Year, the clerics read every name whose death they have recorded from the scrolls they have carefully inscribed over the past year. With a cry of "One Year Closer!", all the scrolls are then filed, and work begins the next day.
OrdersThe Jergali church has grown exceedingly small, and it no longer sees a need for a fighting branch of the faith or other affiliated orders. All creatures shall die at their appointed time whether or not the clergy of Jergal assists in that process or not, so the Scriveners of Doom spend their days toiling at the more important task of recording the fates of the dead rather then actively delivering death themselves.
Records of the Jergali church speak of two now-extinct affiliated groups: the Companions of the Pallid Mask and the Hand of Jergal.
The Companions of the Pallid Mask were a group of Jergali priests who specialized in combating or commanding the undead. They eliminated undead creatures whose existence was not sanctioned by the church or who had proved to be troublesome. They also supervised nonsentient undead work crews that the church sometimes ran for profit long ago.
The Hand of Jergal was an elite group of fanatic priests who led others under their command to avenge slights upon the church of Jergal at the direction of a high priest. They acted against those of other faiths who raised or resurrected someone without paying due tribute to Jergal or who violated or looted a tomb under the protection of the church.
Each being has an eternal resting place that is chosen for him or her at the moment of creation. Life is a process of seeking that place and eternal rest. Existence is but a brief aberration in an eternity of death. Power, success, and joy are as transitory as weakness, failure, and misery. Only death is absolute, and then only at its appointed hour. Seek to bring order to the chaos of life, for in death there is finality and a fixed state. Be ready for death for it is at hand and uncompromising. Life should be prolonged only when it serves the greater cause of the death of the world.
Jergal can take the form of any undead creature, gaining all its innate abilities in doing so. He can also take the form of a mortal man with a great white beard, bent with extreme age yet holding intelligence and a driving energy within his sunken eyes. Jergal's preferred manifestations is the sound of a heavy tome being closed with chilling finality. This manifestation often occurs upon the death of an exceptionally long-lived mortal, particularly one who has extended his or her life with potions of longevity and like manipulations—such as the magic of an archwizard.
Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul inherited most of the portfolios of Jergal when he wearily stepped down from his position and then faded into near-obscurity. The death of those deities left Jergal in service to Cyric and then Kelemvor. Although his nature is that he must be loyal to the office of death, he can subtly undermine the holder of that office if he or she is not true to the office's responsibilities. Jergal works well with Kelemvor, but retains his scorn for Cyric and spends much of his efforts combating Velsharoon's efforts to prolong life into undeath.