Cyric is the monomaniacal deity of strife and lies. He is closely associated with murder, conflict, lies, intrigue, and illusions. Cyric holds himself above all other deities.
Cyric enjoys tricking and misleading both well-meaning and corrupt individuals and then revealing his deceit when they have made some fatal mistake in judgement or taken a personally devastating course of action that will ruin their lives. His favorite libation is the tears of disillusioned dreamers and broken-hearted lovers, which he drinks from a silver chalice encrusted with tiny rubies in the shape of sundered hearts.
He has an immense following—the unholy radiance of the Dark Sun draws power-hungry mortals like moths to a flame and then inexorably consumes them.
The church of Cyric is widely (and justly) hated across all Faerûn, for the Dark Sun's followers are pledged to spread strife and work murder everywhere. The followers of good-aligned deities hate Cyric's church for the wicked acts of its members. The followers of neutral-aligned deities, and even the faithless, detest the intrigues, murder, and discord sown by Cyricists that disrupt the lives of all. The followers of evil-aligned deities view Cyric's church as mad with power and a threat to their own influence—the Prince of Lies has shown himself willing to do almost anything, including kill rival deities whose power he covets.
Cyric's faith attracts power, and it remains strong in any area where evil is planned and beings seek to impose their will on others. Cyric's most devoted followers are young evil men and women seeking to make their way in an uncertain world and gathering as much power as possible for themselves. He also attracts the worship of almost all who pursue assassination for a living.
Clerics of the Dark Sun pledge to spread strife and work murder everywhere in order to make people fear and believe in Cyric. They support rulers with a taste for cruelty and empire-building, but indulge in intrigue in every land. They avoid plunging realms into widespread war, which would pay honor only to Tempus, the war deity—at least, this is the ideal Cyricists pay lip service to. In truth, Cyricists spend most of their time scheming against one another, each striving to strengthen his or her personal power in an endless struggle of cabal against cabal. To make matters worse, during his madness Cyric spoke often to his faithful clergy, but not with one voice. As they all fear him, and each believes what he says is the One True Way, his words set Cyricist temples at cross purposes. His clerics are at one another's throats as often as they are promoting the defeat of other religions.
Cyric's clerics often multi-class as assassins, illusionists, or rogues.
VestmentsClerics of Cyric dress in black or dark purple robes trimmed with silver, with or without hoods. They wear silver bracers or bracelets (usually stamped with the skull-and-sunburst symbol of Cyric) to symbolize the church's enslavement to Cyric. Some clerics paint the symbol of their deity on their cheeks or foreheads on high holy days.
Priests of Cyric are fond of going about in disguise and love using illusions to alter their appearance when they can obtain them. They dress either to be inconspicuous or to impress, awe, and terrify, depending on what they are assigned to do. Whenever they are in disguise or trying to look inconspicuous, they still attempt to wear as much protective armor or magic as possible without it giving them away. When dressing to terrify, they love black armor with ornamentation that looks menacing, such as spiked shoulder and elbow pieces and helms in the shape of snarling monsters.
HierarchyCyric's clerics employ a wide variety of titles and dispute each other's rank often. Members of the clergy are always aware of the possibility that a superior may stumble, allowing them to advance. Priests are often encouraged by inner voices that may or may not be the voice of their deity. Popular priestly titles seem to include Dark Master, Hand of Cyric, Watchful Skull, and Dread Death.
TemplesCyric's temples are festering sores of evil that vary widely in appearance, reflecting the deity's chaotic nature. Many are hidden within caves or existing structures, including abandoned buildings, crumbling sewers, and forgotten dungeons, from which terrifying screams echo at irregular intervals. Many such complexes once served as temples of Bane, Bhaal, or Myrkul, and thus resemble the grim, foreboding keeps of the Black Lord, the hidden guildhalls of the Lord of Murder, or the tomb-like vaults of the Lord of Bones. All have in common a bloody sacrificial altar and a great hall where the local high cleric can rant to the assembled worshipers at irregular intervals.
RitualsCyric's clerics pray for spells at night, after moonrise, when the Dark Sun's radiance is at its height. Blood sacrifices are deemed necessary for Cyric to hear any prayers of entreaty.
Cyric's church has few holy days and does not even celebrate the date of the deity's ascension, for to do so would also honor Mystra ("the Harlot," to Cyric's worshipers) and imply that Cyric has not held the mantle of divinity for all eternity. However, whenever a temple acquires something or someone important enough to sacrifice to Cyric, its high cleric declares a Day of the Dark Sun to signify the holiness of the event. Eclipses are always considered holy, and are often celebrated by feasts, fervent prayers, and the murder of a high-ranking cleric or paladin of Lathander.
OrdersThe church of Cyric does not sponsor any knightly orders. Cyric has ordered the establishment of a fighting order, the Company of the Ebon Spur, but the order has found no leader yet. The two priests in charge of establishing admission standards into the order (two high-ranking priests in two of the emerging Amnian temples) cannot agree on what those standards should be and are engaged in intricate plots to kill each other off, since each is convinced he is right. Since Cyric appeared to each of them in a vision and gave them precise and contradictory instructions as to the establishment of the order, he is evidently pleased with their efforts. When the order finally does get off the ground, Cyricist crusaders will lead fighters against rival churches for the glory of Cyric.
Death to all who oppose Cyric. Bow down before his supreme power, and yield to him the book of those that do not believe in his supremacy. Fear and obey those in authority, but slay those that are weak, of good persuasion, or false prophets. Battle against all clergy of other faiths, for they are false prophets and forces who oppose the One True Way. Bring death to those that oppose Cyric's church or make peace, order, and laws, for only Cyric is the true authority and all other authority must be subverted. Break not into open rebellion, for marching armies move the false deities to action. Fell one foe at a time and keep all folk afraid, uneasy, and in constant strife. Any method or means is justified if it brings about the desired end.
Cyric has assumed many guises since his ascension: a bloody wraith, a cloud of poisonous smoke, or a sudden gloom containing the phantom images of whirling human skulls and the intent gaze of two black eyes. However, his true form is believed to be that of a slim man with blazing dark eyes and chalk-white skin.
Cyric hated most of the other deities of Toril, but he particularly loathed Mystra, Kelemvor, and Bane. Cyric had no divine allies, but he made himself a wide variety of enemies. These included gods such as Mystra, Kelemvor, Oghma, Azuth, Mask, Tyr, Torm, Deneir, Leira, Iyachtu Xvim (deceased 1372 DR), Bane, and many others.
HistoryCyric the Mortal
Before the Gods War, Cyric was a mortal thief hailing from the streets of Zhentil Keep. He attempted to steal the Ring of Winter from a powerful tribe of frost giants, but was unsuccessful and became trapped in their cave. The opportunity to flee only came when a band of adventurers, including the mercenary Kelemvor Lyonsbane, attacked the frost giants' lair while also trying to find the Ring of Winter. Kelemvor's entire party, save himself, was slain and only he and Cyric managed to escape. Once back in Arabel the two eventually joined Adon, a young cleric of Sune, and they took work for the local city watch to uncover a traitor.
As the Time of Troubles began in 1358 DR, they met Caitlin, who beseeched the trio to help her on a quest to free the now-mortal Lady of Mysteries, who had been imprisoned by Bane. Along the way, they met Midnight, a beautiful wizardess. Once the goddess had been freed, she attempted to ascend the Celestial Stairway to confront Helm, the God of Guardians, with the information that Bane and Myrkul had stolen the Tablets of Fate. But Helm's orders were clear, and without the two Tablets he would not let Mystra pass, and thus the Lady of Mysteries attacked the God of Guardians in a bid to pass him and re-enter the planes. Helm, having retained his divine powers for just the purpose of guarding the stairways, easily slew Mystra. On Midsummer, her divine essence was spread over the nearby lands by a powerful explosion as her avatar was destroyed. Helm's mention of the tablets, as well as witnessing the destruction of a deity, did much to kindle the power-lust in the young Cyric, and when Midnight announced that the now-dead goddess of magic had instructed her to recover the tablets, Cyric was eager to help, planning to take the tablets for himself when chance came.
Cyric the God
On Marpenoth 15, 1358 DR, Cyric ascended to godhood. At some point after this, Cyric killed Leira, making himself the God of Deception, Murder, Strife, the Dead (a title he later lost to Kelemvor), and Intrigue (when he temporarily killed Mask). Cyric also released Kezef the Chaos Hound, and created a book called the Cyrinishad, a magical tome that proclaimed him the One True Deity. This last plot ultimately failed (though not before the book was written and read by both Mask and Cyric, which cost Mask most of his power and drove Cyric insane).
In 1385 DR, in retaliation for his murder of Mystra, which sparked the Spellplague, Lathander, Tyr, and Sune trapped Cyric in the Supreme Throne for 1000 years.