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Yen-Wang-Yeh, The Chief Judge of the Dead
Intermediate Deity Lawful Neutral
God Of: Death
Worshippers: Any Lawful
Symbol: A red helm wrapped with orange ribbons on a yellow background

Yen-Wang-Yeh is the judge of the dead in the Celestial Bureaucracy. He is known as the chief judge of the Ten Law Courts of the Afterworld, and as the King of the Eighteen Hells. Efficient and humorless, he decides what should happen to each dead soul, and sends them on to their proper punishment. In his true form, is a towering man of ebony skin dressed in flowing yellow robes.

He personally approves the casting of any raise dead, resurrection, or reincarnation (and potentially other life-restoring magic) by any devotee of the Celestial Bureaucracy, and there is a 25% chance of him simply cancelling the magic.

The god is dedicated and humorless, motivated by his primary concern of the quick and efficient processing of dead souls into their proper afterlives. He is not known to send omens or portents.


The priests of Yen-Wang-Yeh preside over death rites, prepare bodies for cremation, and are tasked with tracking down rogue undead spirits.

Specialty Clerics (2e)[]

Yen-Wang-Yeh's clerics can use any weapon or armor they desire. They turn undead. Their spheres are All, Necromantic and Protection with minor access to Divination and Summoning. They have the following special powers:

  • At level 3, they can speak with dead
  • At level 5, they can speak with ancestral spirits. At someone's request, and with their permission, they can ask up to 5 questions of the spirit of one of that person's ancestors.
  • At level 10, they can raise dead - Yen-Weng-Yeh never cancels raise requests from his own clerics.


Yen-Wang-Yeh's avatar is a black-robed man with ebony skin.


He shape-changes into an oriental dragon. His eyes can blast one death ray each every melee round and he has a +3 broadsword that deals 2d10 points of damage. Anyone touching his body becomes paralyzed.


He fights as a 17th level ranger, using spells from the plant an animal spheres of the appropriate levels.

His special abilities include:

  • He can move silently with a 100% chance of success
  • He can turn invisible at will
  • He can track any quarry without error for up to 7 days after the quarry has passed
  • Anyone touching the avatar's body must save vs. paralyzation or remain motionless for 1d4 rounds.

Divine Realm[]

Yen-Wang-Yeh's abode is the Palace of Judgement, on the Outlands. Dead souls filter into the palace as they materialize on the planes. They are processed quickly and efficiently from here...most of the time. For one week a year, the god must report his progress to his superiors, and while he is away, various stewards and chosen ones are in charge of processing souls, and are more likely to get things wrong. At these times, many spirits become misplaced and wander the planes.

The Palace itself is something like a small, fortified city, with courtyards, libraries, kitchens, storehouses, workshops, and other elements of a bustling town made of red brick, carved stone, and wood, with half-moon roof tiles. Creatures such as foo dogs, foo lions, spirit centipedes, pan lung, shen lung, t'ien lung, and stone spirits inhabit the Palace as guardians and functionaries. Fiends, celestials, and modrons also dwell here to shepherd souls onto their planes, and they get along very well while they're here, given peace by Yen-Wang-Yeh's fierce law.

New arrivals get herded through the Iron Gate and sent off to one of the Thousand Greeting Halls, where a servant of the god passes judgement, and the judgement is logged by a clerk in scrolls. A placard gets put around the spirit's neck listing their virtues, vices, and their destination, and then they are herded into a waiting hall to travel to their final destination.

Just outside the realm is a small settlement called the Place of Waiting, where a handful of inns and restaurants and markets cater to those mortals who have cause to visit. Visitors are appointed a guide to ensure they find their proper location - and that they keep out of forbidden areas. The typical guide is a go-zu oni, though more important visitors get men-shen guides.

Associated NPCs[]

General Pien[]

General Pien is a loyal, recalcitrant men-shen who serves as the Chamberlin of the Interior Palace, the highest rank in the Palace.


Pao is a loyal secretary of the third rank who works hard and hopes to climb the ranks through dedicated service. He's a member of the Believers of the Source who dreams of one day being a higher-ranking functionary than he currently is. He's a proxy of Yen-Wang-Yeh, and a cleric as well.

Golden Morning Radiance[]

Golden Morning Radience is the spirit of a former wizard who went missing during Yen-Wang-Yeh's most recent visit. The hunt for her continues - both by those from the Palace of Judgement, and from various factions in Sigil who are interested in speaking with her.

Faithful Servant Li[]

Li is the bard charged with bringing back Golden Morning Radience. He has tracked her to Sigil, the City of Doors, but cannot find her there.


Deities & Demigods (1e): Here his alignment is neutral, and he is said to have no power over those that have risen to a higher plane due to their good deeds.

On Hallowed Ground (2e)

Legends & Lore (2e)

Planescape Campaign Setting (2e)

In Our World...[]

Yen-Wang-Yeh is likely derived from one of the many representations of the god Yama in Chinese Buddhist folk religion.