“Does this hurt? Of course it does, that’s why I’m going to keep doing it.”
– Izzik, a vennen inquisitor
Vennen are a hybrid of orcs and spiders that were created by Xentoth, who is known as the Spider Mother, the Queen of Eyes, and the Primal of Blood Magic. The vennen are utterly evil, cruel fiends that are infused with all-consuming sadism.
Xentoth is not only the mother of all vennen, she also serves as the object of their fanatical religious worship. The vennen seek to persecute anyone they consider a heretic (essentially, anything not a vennen typically falls under the classification of “heretic”).
The vennen are masters of Blood Magic, which they use to inflict as much pain on the world and the blasphemers that populate it. Though all living creatures are potential targets for their cruelty, they reserve an exceptional hatred for the orcs. If the vennen can be said to have any single goal other than persecuting heretics, it would be the eradication of the orcs from existence.
About two hundred thousand years ago, an orc raiding party exploring the caverns of the world below the surface discovered an enormous lake of blood. Outraged at the presence of surface-world intruders in this sanctified location, Xentoth captured and consumed the entire orc contingent. Soon after, she began to lay hundreds of eggs, and from these sacs emerged the first vennen.
The most important organization in vennen society is the Grand Inquisition, a tribunal of vennen Inquisitors who conduct trials against blasphemers accused of heresy against the Spider Mother (a group that includes just about every living creature in the world, including other vennen that the Inquisitors judge to be insufficiently zealous in their devotion to Xentoth).
The vennen Council of the Silken Thread is a sect of mages who are trained in diplomacy. The Council’s task is primarily to interact with the vennen’s Underworld allies to ensure that their mutual goals are being accomplished.
Three hundred years ago, the necrotic approached the Council of the Silken Thread with their idea to invade the surface world. The potential opportunity to exterminate the orcs was too tantalizing to resist. The necrotic convinced the vennen to join the Underworld alliance, and the Underworld Incursion was launched.