A major altraloth[1] is Charon (pronounced: /ˈkærʌnKÆR-un[2] or: /ˈkrʌnKAY-run[2]), also known as Cerlic[1], the boatman of the River of Blood, who ferries souls down the River for a steep price. The River of Blood links the topmost layers of the Fiendish Planes, and it branches can be found anywhere from the Nine Hells to the Abyss. When encountered, the River is a deep, swift, and unfordable torrent. Those who touch or drink from the River will forget their past lives completely. Charon may be summoned only on the banks of the River.[3]


Charon's appearance is that of a skeletal man with a haggard face and glowing eyes. He's typically dressed in fine robes or ermine and silk.[4] Charon is about 6 feet tall,[5] and weighs almost 240 pounds. His hands are bony claws and his feet are webbed. No-one alive or dead has ever seen Charon without his hood up.[6] He will appear with a large black skiff that holds 10, and if requested will ferry his charges to the topmost layer of any Lower Plane.


His price is a magical item, a silk bag of 100 pp, or two gems of 500+ gp value. Charon never carries this treasure but distributes it among his servants, the marraenoloths. Charon will not transport any beings that do not pay his price, and he has several abilites to enforce this.[7]


Charon is the lord of the River of Blood, from its beginning to its end. He hates and pursues anyone who interferes with his river, and demands payment from all who use its plane jumping properties. He is cunning, self-serving, and deceptive, rarely working toward anyone's goals, but his own[6]

As defender of all marraenoloths, Charon will come to the aid of any of the fiends who call for his help. However, he charges a stiff price, usually in the order of hundreds of thousands of platinum pieces. As a result, some marraenoloths would rather die than call for the Stygian Ferryman to save them.[1]


All of the River of Blood is considered Charon's realm, but he is rumored to have a secret fortress in which he hoards the fees he collects for his services. A planewalker recently came to Sigil claiming to have found a stronghold built entirely of black ice, staffed with "raft-riding skeletons." It's believed that this may be Charon's rumored fortress.[1]


All marraenoloths are considered followers of Charon, but they are independent agents who act on their own. They serve Charon of their own free will, not because they are bound to do so.[1]


Many ages past, the marraenoloths were besieged by repeated attacks by the demodands under orders from their master, Apomps. Though the skeletal fiends sought aid from the greater yugoloths, their entreaties were rebuffed, for they couldn't afford the exorbitant prices asked by the ultroloth masters of their race. In desperation, the marraenoloths turned to the night hags. The night hags agreed to use their magic to make create a champion, an altraloth, from their number in exchange for free and unrestricted ferry service across the River of Blood, for all time. With no other alternative, the marraenoloths agreed, and so one of them was transformed into Cerlic, the altraloth champion more commonly known as Charon. With his greater, hag-enhanced powers, Charon was able to stop the demodand attacks so thoroughly that the demodands never bothered the marraenoloths again, though exactly how he did this has been kept secret from other races.[1]


Charon is connected to the River of Blood and all life, therefore he cannot be destroyed. If he is defeated in combat his essence returns to the River's source. 24 hours later Charon relentlessly pursues those who defeated him. As long as there is there is at least one living creature in the Multiverse the River will continue to flow and Charon cannot be destroyed.[8] Charon's form may be destroyed, but he is never truly slain, as he is native to all 5 of the Lower Planes. His form will cease to exist on that plane for a single day before returning.[9]


  • Bonny, Edward. "Pox of the Planes." Dragon Annual #2. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1997.
  • Grubb, Jeff. Manual of the Planes. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1987.
  • Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual II. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1983.
  • McComb, Colin. Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1997.
  • McComb, Colin, Dale Donovan, and Monte Cook. Planes of Conflict. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Ed Bonny (1997). “Pox of the Planes”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon Annual #2 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 107–108.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 26.
  3. Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 28. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
  4. Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 28. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
  5. Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 28. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Wolfgang Baur “Savage Tide:Enemies of My Enemy”. Dungeon #149 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 84.
  7. Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 28. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
  8. Wolfgang Baur “Savage Tide.Enemies of My Enemy”. Dungeon #149 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 84.
  9. Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 28. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.