[RPG] find the symbol of Orcus


I was reading Volo's Guide to Monsters and came across the Bodak. The book says:

A worshipper of Orcus can take ritual vows while carving the demon lord's symbol on its chest over the heart…

I've found Orcus' stat block in (potential spoilers?)

Out of the Abyss

but no symbol related to him. I'd like to do some story stuff with the symbol. Where can I find official material on Orcus' symbol? Past editions are welcome if consistent, but a 5e-specific answer is preferred since I only have 5e material. In the absence of 5e material, I will take what I can get.

Best Answer

These symbols and the information on each demon lord can be found pretty much everywhere, monster manuals from previous editions, adventures, site articles, etc. There are people who have tried to compile this information, like the Forgotten Realms Wiki, but it is all over the place.

I will try to put a list with all demon lords and their title and description of their symbol. Note that some of those may exist or not depending the edition and setting you are playing.

  • Baphomet (Prince of Beasts): His symbol is that of a twisted circular maze awash in blood.

  • Dagon (Prince of the Depths): His symbol is a set of six spiraling tentacles arrayed around a fanged mouth.

  • Demogorgon (The Prince of Demons, The Sibilant Beast): His symbol is a forked tail, often wrapped around a skull or sword.

  • Fraz-Urb’luu (Prince of Deception): His symbol is a jeweled scepter of adamantine cast at the end to resemble five bestial arms that splay outward to grip a horned and fanged humanoid skull.

  • Graz’zt (The Dark Prince): His symbol is a black, six-fingered hand.

  • Juiblex (The Faceless Lord): His symbol is that of a pseudopod dripping slime.

  • Kostchtchie (Prince of Wrath): His symbol is a hammer rimed in bloody ice.

  • Lolth (Demon Queen of Spiders): Her symbol is a black spider with the head of a female drow.

  • Malcanthet (Queen of the Succubi): Her symbol is an iron thorn drawing a drop of blood from the lower edge of a pair of feminine lips.

  • Obox-ob (Prince of Vermin): His symbol is a scorpion dangling by its tail from a jawless human skull covered with twisted runes (the scorpion’s tail is threaded through the skull’s eye sockets).

  • Orcus (Prince of the Undead): His symbol is a mace with a human skull as the head.

  • Pale Night (The Mother of Demons): Her symbol is a billowing sheet draped over a starry field.

  • Pazuzu (Prince of the Lower Aerial Kingdoms): His symbol is a twisted bird talon.

  • Rhyxali (Queen of the Shadow Demons): Her symbol is a jet black dagger.

  • Sess’Innek (The Emperor Lizard): His symbol is a green, clawed, reptilian hand.

  • Yeenoghu (Prince of Gnolls): His symbol is a three-headed flail.

  • Zuggtmoy (Demoness Lady of Fungi): Her symbol is a skull without a jaw and a mushroom on top or blooming from within.

Those not mentioned above are those that either have no symbol, or their symbol simply was never mentioned anywhere. Some of them have no more than a single phrase or two of information, so asking for a symbol is a little too much.

As for the symbol of Orcus, that is related to his artifact, the Wand of Orcus. It's creation is detailed on the book Dead Gods, by Monte Cook. From the Wikipedia article on the Wand:

The adventure Dead Gods reveals how Orcus created the wand. Long ago, he trapped the spirit of a mighty hero named Anarchocles within a circlet of control for a skeleton warrior, and safeguarded the item to keep it from being used against him. When Anarchocles died, Orcus removed the skull from his destroyed corpse, and placed it on the end of a long iron scepter, infusing it with some of Orcus's own essence, thus creating the Wand of Orcus. [...]

The 4th edition's Monster Manual simplifies this story, though, and refer to the skull as belonging to a god of virtue and chilvalry who was defeated by Orcus:

According to the fourth edition Monster Manual, some legends say that the skull atop the wand "once belonged to a god of virtue and chivalry who dared challenge Orcus in battle" while other legends identify it as the skull of a human hero, implying that it was magically enlarged to its current size; regardless, the goodness that once resided in this skull has been warped and perverted to monstrous evil.

As for concept arts for the Wand of Orcus, there are many, a quick search on google will give us several results, such as:

Regarding the latest book Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, his symbol has not only not appeared but also got no mention in the book. The book does describe how cultists of Orcus behave and should worship him, but nothing about symbols, other than a new image and statblock of Orcus himself, with his iconic wand.