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This article is about the character/enemy Tchernobog. For Blood Wiki moderator, see User: Tchernobog
"What is known of Him has been distilled from the rantings and whispers of madmen and sorcerers. All that is certain is that His dominion will soon encompass the dimensions of earth. He is the Dark God, the Devourer of Souls, the One That Binds, and should He manifest His dread presence among us, every creature living or dead shall learn the meaning of eternal servitude. Not pleasant." — Blood Beastiary
Tchernobog is the primary antagonist in Blood and a motivating factor in Blood II: The Chosen. He is a god of overwhelming power and controls the cult known as the Cabal. He is known by a multitude of names including "The Dreaming God", "The Sleeping God" (in reference to when He has no body), "The Devourer of Souls", and "The One that Binds" (in reference to His binding of the dimensions).
Since He is a god, He does not die naturally, and He must be killed in order to bring about the next incarnation of Tchernobog. The 16th incarnation is the being that is the final boss in Blood. A possible 17th and current incarnation of Tchernobog is Caleb, who assumed the mantle after defeating the 16th incarnation. Either because he does not know or refuses to accept it, Caleb does not use His power, and the boundaries between the worlds begin to break down, allowing for other beings to penetrate them.
The name Tchernobog is given to the one who has the power to bind and separate all of the dimensions from each other, and is not necessarily an evil being, but a necessary element of nature and reality. He serves as the force which separates dimensions and realities from co-mingling, and to do this, He needs a physical body, thus the need for the Cabal and its institutions.
Note: All personal pronouns used in reference to the god shall refer to the subject through the use of words starting with a capitalized letter such as He or Him, in reference to a similar practice used in the Bible that is also evident in some of the official Blood documentation.
"This need for physical creatures was one of the sources for the creation of the Cabal. The force that is Tchernobog is not an evil one, and actually is morally ambiguous. Usually its will supersedes that of the physical creature it inhabits, but there have been exceptions. The 5th incarnation was a Buddhist high priest that altered Tchernobog’s personality to include his religious regimen. The 16th incarnation was a bitter and evil man whose hatred colored Tchernobog as well. Currently, the Tchernobog force has no physical incarnation, and so cannot perform its duties. In Blood 2 this fact has devastating effects on this reality. The One That Binds refers to the Bindings Tchernobog creates to separate various dimensions. The Sleeping God refers to Tchernobog when he has no physical incarnation, and is nothing more than a roaming power source." — Blood II: The Chosen website
Many Millennia Ago
Tchernobog's true age and origin are unknown, but the Blood II documentation states that He is "as old as time". At some point long ago Tchernobog's original body became destroyed through unknown means, something which forced Him to take over another body in order to complete His duties. In order to facilitate this He formed the Cabal, whose purpose was to furnish him with an incarnate body should His current form ever be destroyed again.
The Cabal always had a firmly established leader whose role would often change with each passing incarnation; the leader would become the conduit through which Tchernobog spoke, something which would often result in the leader dominating those around him. Some of these leaders would also eventually be called upon to become the next incarnation of Tchernobog, and when Tchernobog has no body it was always the job of the present Cabal leader to prepare him or herself for this sacred duty.
The 5th Incarnation
The fifth time around Tchernobog took on the body of a Buddhist high priest who bent the Cabal into a religious regiment where only the pure were allowed to remain as members. They holed up in temples and practised docile rituals of penance and self control.
Descent into Evil: The 16th Incarnation
Main Article: Blood
The 16th and most recent incarnation of Tchernobog took on the form of a bitter and hate-filled man. This resulted in the Cabal's transformation into a dark cult, with the Cabal now acting as Tchernobog's personal army on Earth. During this time Tchernobog also became a more active force in the world, discarding the position of Cabal leader in favour of wielding direct influence over the cult Himself, giving orders from His throne in the Hall of the Epiphany. He did however select four of his ranks to become the Chosen, his most elite servants as well as the highest generals in his army; Caleb, as the leader of the Chosen, is assumed to have been the most powerful non-god in the cult and would have likely been selected as the next incarnation had the cult ever had the need or opportunity to do so.
The 16th incarnation imbued the Cabal with an enormous lust for power, something which would later prove to be both His and the cult's undoing. Tchernobog eventually decided to cast the Chosen down, claiming that they had committed failures in His name, knowing full well that their leader would at some point return in order to seek his vengeance on Him. Caleb rose from his grave in the year 1928 and proceeded to go on a bloody rampage that killed countless numbers of Cabal followers, including some of Tchernobog's highest adjutants in the form of the creatures Cheogh, Shial, and Cerberus. Caleb then arrives at the steps of Tchernobog's temple, and demands an explanation for how he and his comrades had been treated. It is revealed that Caleb can absorb power from his fallen enemies, and when he returned to Tchernobog he will be tortured to give up this power.
"Can you not see? Every life you have taken has made you stronger, and you have returned to me with a greater sacrifice than I ever could have wished. With the power you bring, I shall throw open the door between the worlds and inherit the earth." — Tchernobog, E4M8: The Hall of the Epiphany
Having been made aware that Tchernobog had intended for him to sacrifice himself in order to pass on the power he had gained onto Him, the leader of the Chosen bucks his former master and defeats the god through sheer force of arms, ending the life of the 16th incarnation and almost taking the Cabal down with Him.
Caleb: The 17th Incarnation?
Main Article: Blood II: The Chosen
After Caleb defeated the 16th incarnation of Tchernobog His body disappeared into a haze of searing blue light. Although it is not made readily apparent at the time, Caleb at that moment inherited the power of The One That Binds, but then neglects its use either because he was not aware of it or simply because he had conciously chosen not to apply it. Whether or not he is truly the 17th incarnation is a matter of debate as he was never selected by the Cabal for the role, but he certainly has Tchernobog's binding powers. For a hundred years after Caleb wanders the Earth, all the while letting the realities break and tear apart around him.
Under the control of their new leader Gideon the Cabal manages to rebuild itself by becoming a corporate empire, and by the year 2028 once again feels able to pursue its ultimate objective of killing Caleb and reacquiring the mantle of Tchernobog for themselves.
"I dragged the Cabal into the 21st century. We've become a multi-billion dollar corporate empire with our claws in everything from adult entertainment products to daytime television. Yet all of this is nothing compared to the power I will wield when I suck the marrow from Caleb's diseased bones and absorb the essence of Tchernobog." — Gideon from cut dialogue in the Blood II opening
Gideon, the man likely chosen to become the next official incarnation of the dreaming god, attacks Caleb triggering a desperate cat and mouse chase ultimately culminating in a one on one shootout on the rooftops of CabalCo headquarters. Meanwhile, creatures from another reality start to break their way through the tears forming between the worlds, and the rest of the Chosen become resurrected through unknown but still likely related means. One of their number, Ishmael, warns Caleb about the dangers of not applying his powers to good effect.
"Tchernobog's destruction opened many doors between the worlds. They can only be sealed by The One That Binds. That power lies within you. This reality will perish unless you restore it. " — Ishmael, C2L9: The Underground
Caleb initially casts off Ishmael and the other Chosen's concerns, being more interested in his pursuit of the Cabal's new leader, something which in the end takes him right into the heart of the invading reality. There, Caleb finally dispatches Gideon, and then goes on to slay The Ancient One, the ruler of the place and the being responsible for the intrusion of otherworldly creatures into our dimension. Ishmael and the other Chosen also catch up with him there, and deliver one last final warning.
"It's not over, Caleb. You must seal the rifts. You must rebind the fabric of this reality before it tears itself apart, yes." — Ishmael, C4L3: The Ancient One
After hearing this Caleb finally heads their demands, and he waves his arms as white sparkles of focus energy fly out. It remains somewhat ambiguous as to whether or not he succeeds in this effort, but later events do seem to indicate that he was successful in his attempt, and it is likely that under the guidance of the other Chosen he does go on to carry on with his proper role as the maintainer of the realities.
"His name is spoken only in whispers, for it is said that his interest is easily roused. Those who peer fully into His smouldering gaze are condemned to madness and death. You must find Him before his powers become complete if you are to stand a chance. Even then, defeating Him will require all your strength and ingenuity." — Blood Manual
The 16th incarnation of Tchernobog is the final boss of Blood. He appears in E4M8: The Hall of the Epiphany, the final level of the game. His attacks are all fire/explosive based, and he can set the player on fire. He can also shoot blue flames with trailing fire that act like Napalm blasts but stronger. Touching Tchernobog also results in instant disintegration. When He dies, His body collapses. Blue tendrils of electricity flash over Him and He evaporates.
Despite the developers once commenting that "compared to Tchernobog, Shub-Niggurath is a lazy slug", the actual Tchernobog was considered by many to be a little lacklustre in terms of difficulty, especially for a final boss. (On the other hand, Shub-Niggurath in the original Quake could not attack at all, so this is a rather low bar.) This led to the following comment in the 1.11 release notes: "Tchernobog is not so weak anymore." The encounter with Tchernobog in the fan add-on Rage Against the Machine was designed to make the opponent more challenging by forcing more close-quarters fighting, in order to take advantage of Tchernboog's stomp attack.
Inside C1L3: Lafayette Museum of Antiquities, the third level of the first chapter of Blood II: The Chosen, there is an animatronic exhibit of the 16th Tchernobog in the new "Dark God Exhibit". If you activate it, it makes a few feeble movements and then explodes, revealing the way out. Tchernobog also appears in some paintings in the CabalCo buildings, sometimes alongside Beasts. In addition, he also makes one final appearance in C5L3: JoJo's Big Adventure as part of a flashback during one of the Chosen's tales in The Nightmare Levels, bidding Ishmael to kill the circus staff keeping him imprisoned and come to his side, stating that for him there is "much work to do". Represented visually as a painting on the wall, for this appearance he was once again voiced by Jason Hall.
"Tchernobog, who is not an adversary in Blood 2, is no longer an amorphous and faceless god, but a creature with history and purpose. We called him 'The One That Binds' and 'The Sleeping God' because we thought they were cool titles, but in Blood 2 I have very specific reasons for these names that link tightly into the story. I have to admit even I am surprised by how well the threads of Blood came together in Blood 2, making an extremely solid story overall. " — James Wilson III
"The syncopated plot involves the archaic fight for freedom from an evil God named Tchernobog and his ancient society of Cabal. How much do you want to bet we won’t be seeing many Tchernobog boxer shorts in the near future? Usually, it’s a key factor of merchandising that you can at least pronounce the darn character’s name." — GameSlice preview
The Blood II back-story makes several references to Tchernobog requiring a human body to incarnate in, describing the 16th as a "cruel and evil man", and as such the god's rather demonic appearance can be seen as a potential discrepancy. This has lead to speculation that the entity encountered in the Hall of the Epiphany was not the 16th's original form, but a more intimidating one being produced as part of his overall ambition to rule the dimensions. Some have gone further to conjecture that his skeletal form is a sign that this body was still incomplete, being built of flesh and bone as another form of undead, which has also been used as a justification for his perceived weakness as a final boss.
This also leaves the possibility open that the 16th was only partially destroyed, and that his original form might live on elsewhere. This is further compounded by the suggestion that his new form itself was inter-dimensional and part of his principal objective, which is evoked by the blue energy shown radiating outward upon the death of this body (while Caleb, after imbibing the essence of Tchernobog, still manifests no such response upon death in Blood II - coming closest when rebinding the realities in the final cutscene). The fan add-on Death Wish (2011, 2017-2020) by Dustin "Bloatoid" Twilley, as well as its progenitor Inherit the Earth (1999), builds itself on this larger premise, saying that Caleb only sent his "divine" form to "the Void", with the other resting in wait under a Stygian tower. The fan add-on Trauma Therapy (2020) flips this, with Caleb seeking to resurrect the god himself to finish him off for good, as the god's spirit was tormenting his dreams. The fan comic Tales of Blood: Everyday Life (1999) also has this situation played for comedy, with Tchernobog reborn as the Pillsbury Doughboy.
It should be noted that this possible outcome is rather similar to what happens to Gideon, the primary antagonist of Blood II: The Chosen, as revealed in The Nightmare Levels. He reappears in order to function as the narrator for the expansion, stating that after his defeat his soul did not in fact perish. Instead it was trapped inside his skull, forced to spend all eternity imprisoned in the reality of The Ancient One, pondering life and death while also observing the actions of those around him. Because of this, a possible back-door exists to bring back both characters if a new game in the series was ever to be created, although the death of Ted D'Arms would presumably complicate this (the voice of Tchernobog, former Monolith CEO Jason Hall, is still alive and would presumably be able to lend his voice to such an endeavour if such a game were ever to be completed).
The idea of cloning the dark god is also a recurrent theme in fan work, featuring as the backstory for Bloatoid's other modification Hostile Takeover (2001) and with efforts suggestive of it appearing in TEDE1M4: People Juice Factory from French Meat (2012). Decoy clones of the devourer of souls also appear in the Doom engine fan games Blood TC (2006) and its successor ZBlood (2008), and the Cabal team up with the demons of another dimension from Doom 64 to clone Tchernobog in Blood: Dead on Arrival (2018). Similar theorizing accounts for how Cheogh, Shial and Cerberus seem to reappear before Caleb's final battle with Tchernobog in the Hall of the Epiphany; if one does not just assume they are seconds in command to the trio.
- Information about Tchernobog - Blood II: The Chosen Official Website
- Can we make Tchernobog a more threatening end boss? - The Postmortem