It took me a while to select my next monster, but after running VON 3 (The Jungle of Khyber quest), I decided on writing about the Marut
The second Surah (2:102) of the Qur’an tells of two angels, Harut and Marut. Muslim scholars say the angels were sent to test the people of Babylon. By performing magic, the angels could teach the people the difference between sorcery and miracles of God. In a sense, Harut and Marut were doing a public service by teaching the people about magic and how to avoid it. The story goes on to say how some people wanted to learn more and became sorcerers - damning their souls in the process. Heretical texts claim that both Harut and Marut were fallen angels, teaching man magic in order to defy God.
The one that fits the D&D version the most can be found In the Rigvada, an set of ancient Indian texts, and in Vedic mythology. These Maruts (or Marutgana) are described as storm gods. There are as many as sixty of these storm gods, all are violent and are depicted as armor wearing giants. Each Marut wields golden weapons representing lightning and thunder. They have teeth made of iron and roar like lions. When Maruts travel, they ride in golden chariots drawn by horses.
Maruts (Inevitables) in D&D
Maruts first appeared in the Manual of the Planes, written by Jeff Grubb in 1987, and is most associated with Planescape setting by D&D grognards. In both these versions, Maruts represent the ineluctability (that which cannot be avoided or escaped) of death. They hunt for those who either extend their lifespan repeatedly and unnaturally (such as liches) or those who commit extreme acts to keep themselves from death (such as sacrificing hundreds of others to save themselves from a plague).
Maruts resemble muscular humanoids made of polished black metal and are considered constructs. When they attack they use their fists of thunder and lighting, in addition to using an array of spell-like abilities to assult their target or anything else in their way
There are different versions of Inevitables appeared in v3.0 and v3.5 D&D supplements and include:
- Waste Crawler (Anhydrut) - Anhydruts oppose anyone who attempts to change deserts by irrigation, farming, etc.
- Zelekhut - These represent the ineluctability of justice. They are extremely skilled trackers and usually hunt those who flee to avoid punishment. They resemble mechanical centaurs with golden wings and use built-in spiked chains charged with electricity as their primary weapons.
- Varakhut - These protect the integrity of divinity by hunting down beings who are attempting to ascend to godhood. Should the attempt be successful, however, the varakhuts will defend the new god as part of the natural order, as they are also tasked with hunting down any being who attempts to kill a god. Varakhuts appear as a humanoid-shaped creature made out of metallic polygons, and fight using disintegration beams.
- Kolyarut - These represent the ineluctability of agreements. They hunt oathbreakers, often assuming humanoid form. Their natural forms resemble humanoids made of black metal and dressed in robes. They are typically armed with swords.
- Quarut - These protect the integrity of space and time, usually against wizards with the power to alter reality with wish spells or time travel. They resemble metallic humanoids made of golden clockwork with hourglasses for heads, and seal opponents in bubbles of slowed time.
Marut in Eberron
Maruts in come from Dolurrh, the Realm of the Dead, and only cross over to Eberron when seeking those who defy death in extraordinary measures.
Xen’drik is home to insect like creatures known as Formians. Formian hive queens have been known to make deals with the powers of Dolurrh. Since Maruts have a love of law equal to the Formians, they will frequent Xen’drik Formian lands in search of oathbreakers. A single Marut has been known to serve a Formian queen as her guard.
When Dolurrh is coterminous to the Material Plane slipping occurs between the planes. Ghosts are more common and spells to resurrect the dead often result in bringing back more spirits than originally intended. In the lands of Xen’drik, necromancy magics seem especially effected by this and Stormreach has seen its share of Maruts. House Jorasco once resurrected a Wayfinder (a member Wayfinder Foundation, an exclusive guild for adventurers) and a pack of Maruts appeared quickly after the ritual.