|Title(s)||Supreme Master of the Nine Hells, Lord of Nessus|
|Power level|| Greater deity |
|Subservient deities||The Archdevils|
|Dominion||The Nine Hells|
|Sphere(s) of influence||Sin|
|Domains||Knowledge, Torment, Tyranny|
Asmodeus, an archdevil before the Spellplague, Supreme of the Nine Hells (or Baator), is the god of sin. An ever ambitious and careful creature, Asmodeus has retained his position all through the Reckoning of Hell, unlike many of the other archdevils. Asmodeus is lord of Nessus, the Ninth Layer of Hell, though he is generally recognized as lord of all of his divine dominion of Baator, which lies within the Astral Sea.
Asmodeus is the undisputed master of the Nine Hells, commanding fear and respect from all those who occupy his realm. Even the gods who dwell in the Nine Hells give Asmodeus his proper due. Though the archdevils might work to usurp him, few have the courage to act in the open. Asmodeus’s machinations are long in the making, and they might take centuries, if not millennia, to see resolution. He works on a grand scale, carefully constructing insidious and inexplicable intrigues, maneuvering the forces of wickedness like chess pieces on a board that encompasses all the planes. His core concerns are simple. First, he wants the power structure currently in place to remain exactly as it stands now, with him in charge. He has spies on every layer, plants in every court. No fiend knows for sure which of its minions actually serve Asmodeus, so the climate is one of justified paranoia. Asmodeus also expands evil. He directly opposes celestials and good-aligned deities. His minions combat the agents of the Celestial Planes, murdering them whenever and wherever they can. Finally, Asmodeus waged war against the demons throughout the period of the Blood War. He saw the untold legions as a direct threat to his supremacy. Asmodeus is aware of every plot hatched against him. Older than the oldest archdevil, he has watched the rise and fall of other archdevils far craftier than any of Asmodeus’s contemporaries. He keeps to himself, letting his minions stew in fear of what he will do next. Of course, few have forgotten that Asmodeus emerged unscathed in the Reckoning, proving to all that he is their better. On the Prime Material Plane, Asmodeus has more cultists than all the other archdevils combined. Mortals who worship devils actually draw power from Asmodeus. He influences all levels of society and has followers of nearly every race, even within the strongest bastions for good. His path is the way to great and unattainable power, so his clerics are mighty men and women with influence and personal magnetism that makes them natural leaders among their kind.
Asmodeus is depicted as the strongest, most cunning, and most beautiful of all devils. He is typically described as appearing as a human, 13 feet tall, he has lustrous dark skin and black hair, handsome and dangerous, his crimson eyes shine with infernal power, a pair of small sharp horns crowns his forehead. He dresses in regal finery of red and black robes studded with black diamonds and fiery rubies, which are of unimaginable expense. Beneath his clothing, Asmodeus's body is covered in bloody wounds which he sustained when he fell from heaven. His wounds ooze blood daily, and the drops of his blood which touch the ground grow into powerful devils and demons.
Asmodeus is never seen without his Ruby Rod of Asmodeus, seemingly made of a single carved ruby that shines with the power of Hell, that serves as a badge of office as well as having several powerful offensive and defensive powers. The Rod allows Asmodeus to attack with elemental forces, force his enemies to cower in fear, or cover himself with a field which heals and protects him.
Like the other archdevils of Baator, Asmodeus has the ability to cast many spells at will, and is nearly impossible to hurt without the use of very powerful holy magic weapons. Asmodeus's Ruby Rod allows him to use several powerful offensive and defensive spells at will. In addition, Asmodeus has the power to alter the form of lesser devils, including the other lords of Baator. He transformed Mammon into a humanoid/serpent hybrid, and cursed Baalzebul with the form of a gigantic slug with tiny, useless arms.
In Dragon #28, the article "The Politics of Hell" by Alexander von Thorn details the history and politics of Hell. This gives a different history to that detailed below. Satan is more powerful than any other Devil, but lacks support, having been exiled from hell by Beelzebub following a revolution. Beelzebub (meaning Lord of the Arch Devils) was later himself overthrown by Asmodeus and is forever after known as Baalzebul (Lord of the Flies).
In the Book of Vile Darkness, it is stated that while Asmodeus is the oldest devil in the Nine Hells, he may not be the original ruler. However, the origin myth which appears in Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells contradicts this. According to the Codex, Asmodeus began as a servant of the lawful gods. Asmodeus is described in some versions of the myth as an "angel" (though this is self-contradictory given the time period during which this would have occurred). He was "the bravest, toughest, fiercest and most beautiful of angels." He and the other angels were created to fight the demons of the Abyss, so that the gods could concern themselves with creating worlds and sentient beings.
After eons of fighting the creatures from the abyss, Asmodeus and some of his fellows began to change. They grew similar in appearance and methods to the demons which they fought. Afraid of his power and of the changes he had undergone, the gods put Asmodeus on trial and demanded that he be cast out of the Upper Planes. However, he argued effectively (and correctly) that he and his fellows had not violated the law. Asmodeus and his followers successfully sued for access to the Upper Planes and the honors to which they were entitled.
Once the gods created worlds and sentient beings, the demons attacked these, too. The gods created mountains, oceans, and wastelands to seal up the gates to the Abyss, but their creations defied their orders and explored their worlds, accidentally unsealing the gates. The gods could not understand why their creations did not follow their instructions, until Asmodeus explained to them that their system did not work because it relied solely upon voluntary compliance. Asmodeus explained that the only way to ensure obedience was to threaten mortals with a disincentive; hence, Asmodeus invented the concept of punishment.
Asmodeus convinced the gods to sign a contract called the Pact Primeval. This contract allowed Asmodeus and his fellow devils to take up residence in the abandoned realm of Baator, to punish the souls of wicked mortals, and to extract magical energy from the souls under their care in order to fuel their powers. Otherwise, Asmodeus reasoned, they would have to be granted the powers of godhood in order to do their job, which the current gods would surely find unacceptable.
At first, the gods found the arrangement agreeable. However, they eventually realized that fewer and fewer mortal souls were ascending to the Upper Planes, and Asmodeus was deliberately tempting mortals to damnation. When they arrived in Baator, the gods found that Asmodeus had turned it into a nightmarish world of endless suffering, filled with countless new devils. When called to account for his actions, Asmodeus uttered the famous words, "Read the fine print."
This story is presented as mythology, and the Codex itself admits that it does not tell the whole truth. For example, it is known that Asmodeus did not depart from the Upper Planes under amicable circumstances: He was cast out, and literally fell into the Lower Planes, sustaining serious wounds which have never healed. Part of Asmodeus' long-term plans includes using the magical energy harvested from souls in order to heal his wounds, and ultimately, the complete destruction of the Upper Planes.
The names of the "gods" involved seem to change depending on what world and source the myth is told on, and some aspects and versions of the origin myth contradict others. For example, the version told in the Fiendish Codex II states that St. Cuthbert became a distinct deity when he agreed with Asmodeus that "Retribution is the basis of all law," while the Deities & Demigods sourcebook states that he is a mortal who ascended to godhood.
The Manual of the Planes suggests a similar but different story. According to the section about the Nine Hells, Asmodeus' true form is that of a giant serpent, hundreds of miles long. He was cast out of the Upper Planes before the creation of the current gods, and his fall created the 8th and 9th planes of Hell. He is currently still recovering from his wounds in the pits of the 9th level, and his devil form is just an avatar of the real Asmodeus. No one who tells the story of the true form of Asmodeus survives more than 24 hours after the telling.
In the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, Asmodeus is established as an ancient deity who was relegated to the position of archdevil and toiled for untold millenia to regain his divinity.
When Dweomerheart collapsed in the wake of Mystra's death, her servant Azuth fell into the Hells where Asmodeus, sensing his opportunity, devoured the lesser deity and became a god himself. He then ended the Blood War by forcing the Abyss underneath the Elemental Chaos.
The following beings are among the most notable subjects of Asmodeus on Nessus. The forces at their disposal are listed, where appropriate:
- Adramalech — Chancellor of Hell, Keeper of Records
- Alastor the Grim, pit fiend — Executioner
- Baalberith, pit fiend — Major domo
- Bensozia — Consort of Asmodeus, Queen of Hell (Deceased)
- Buer — 15 companies of pit fiends
- Bune — 30 companies of cornugons
- Glasya - Daughter of Asmodeus and Bensozia, former Mistress of the Erinyes, now Lady of the Sixth
- Martinet, pit fiend — Constable
- Morax — 9 companies of pit fiends
- Phongor — Inquisitor of Hell
- Rimmon— 5 companies of gelugons
- The Spark Hunters - Lord Asmodeus's personal guard of 13 hamatula rangers/mortal hunters who capture and/or slay mortals who draw their master's ire
- Zagum — 30 companies of hamatula
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, p. 81. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ Logan Bonner. Domains in Eberron and the Forgotten Realms (PDF). Dragon magazine 378 p. 8.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, p. 73. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ Monte Cook (Oct 2002). Book of Vile Darkness, p. 165. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-0672-3.
- ↑ Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells, p. 73. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3940-0.
- ↑ Monte Cook (Oct 2002). Book of Vile Darkness, p. 121. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-0672-3.
- ↑ Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells, p. 155. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3940-0.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 Ed Greenwood. The Nine Hells Part II, Dragon #76. TSR, Inc..
- ↑ DeVarque, Aardy. Literary Sources of D&D. Retrieved on 2007-07-30.
- Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3940-0.
4th Edition D&D
- Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, p. 73. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
|Deities of the Era of Upheaval|
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|Deities of the Age of Humanity|
|Ao the Overgod|
|Major Deities of Faerûn|
|Angharradh | Bane | Bhaal | Chauntea | Corellon Larethian | Garl Glittergold | Gruumsh | Horus-Re | Lathander | Moradin | Myrkul | Mystra | Oghma | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talos | Tempus | Tyr | Yondalla|
|Other Deities of Faerûn|
|Abbathor | Arvoreen | Auril | Baervan Wildwanderer | Berronar Truesilver | Beshaba | Callarduran Smoothhands | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Cyrrollalee | Deep Duerra | Deep Sashelas | Dumathoin | Erevan Ilesere | Flandal Steelskin | Gond | Hanali Celanil | Helm | Ilmater | Isis | Labelas Enoreth | Laduguer | Lolth | Mask | Mielikki | Nephthys | Osiris | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Segojan Earthcaller | Selûne | Set | Sharindlar | Sheela Peryroyl | Solonor Thelandira | Thoth | Tymora | Umberlee | Urdlen | Vergadain|