Formerly: The Nine Hells
|Alignment|| Chaotic evil |
Formerly: Lawful evil
Standing nine feet tall, Graz'zt appears as a lithe, muscular humanoid. His skin shines like polished obsidian, and his eyes glitter with malevolent green light. He has yellowed fangs, pointed ears, and six slender fingers decorating each hand. He is sometimes described as having six small black horns half-hidden amid his thick black hair. These fiendish traits are apparent, regardless of whatever form Graz'zt chooses to take. He is considered the comeliest demon in the Abyss, and dresses in the most expensive and elegant finery on the entire plane.
Wielding an acid-drenched greatsword in one hand and a profane tower shield in the other, the Dark Prince is a veritable killing machine when loosed upon the hordes of the Abyss. What's more, he has a vast repertoire of spell-like abilities at his disposal, making him a deadly magical opponent as well. Graz'zt's greatest weapons, however, are his mastery of seduction and guile. He entertains the notion that he is the most cunning and intelligent creature in the Abyss; indeed, there are few who could possibly contest such a claim.
There are two competing theories as to Graz'zt's origin. The Manual of the Planes claims that he was once an archdevil who served Asmodeus, and was chosen to lead an invasion of the Abyss as part of the Blood War. Graz'zt's invasion proved to be a success initially: he conquered three layers of the Abyss. However, in time he became corrupted by the chaotic forces he had been sent to destroy, renounced his allegiance to the devils, and established a home for himself upon the three layers he claimed. Those who believe this theory debate Graz'zt's current motivations; some believe that he has severed all ties to the devils, while others believe that he retains some loyalty to Asmodeus, and secretly works to subvert the tanar'ri on his behalf.
A second theory is that Graz'zt is one of several demonic children of Pale Night, sired after the fall of the the Obyrith; this would make him the brother of several other demons, including Lupercio, Vucarik, Rhyxali and Zivorgian. It is thought that Pale Night drew some great evil entity to herself who fathered some or all of these children. There is some debate as to the exact nature of Graz'zt's father; suggestions put forward have included an evil god such as Set, a baernoloth, the patriarch of a race of immortal warriors from another reality, an Outer God of Crawling Chaos, and even a sentient portion of the Abyss itself. Some maintain that Asmodeus was drawn from the Nine Hells to mate with Pale Night, implying that there may be truth in both theories.
The Minions of Graz'ztEdit
The Material PlaneEdit
Although he has not yet achieved divine status, Graz'zt is worshiped by many monstrous races, most notably the lamias. Many of his high priests, known as the Chosen, are female, and the rituals they perform are violent and involve themes of darkness and betrayal.
The Dark Prince is a deeply sexual, erotic being. He is known on many worlds only in legend, as a dark figure who visits witches and sorcerers, granting them sexual favors as well as magical powers. As a result, his female consorts have populated the multiverse with a depraved host of half-fiend children. Some learn of their father's identity and delve into the Abyss, hoping to usurp his power. His dark elf son, Athux, leads Graz'zt's demonic army, while his daughter Thraxxia serves as a private assassin.
In -666 DR, twin half-fiendish sons of Graz'zt and Ayanna Orgolath, Ulthas and Ulthar, were born. They overthrew the lich-king of Narfell, Belevan the Unliving. Ulthas became Narfell's new ruler, reigning from -633 DR to -623 DR, when he was slain while leading an invasion of Mulhorand and Unther.
Ulthas's brother Ulthar became the next ruler of Narfell, reigning until -578 DR. He was succeeded by his tiefling son Vargaun. Vargaun ruled until -535 DR, and was succeeded by his third tiefling son, Horthaun. Horthaun ruled until -482 DR, succeeded by his own first tiefling son, Jelethar. Jelethar ruled until -475 DR, when he disappeared on an expedition to the Sunrise Mountains. Jelethar's younger brother Morthass ruled until -434 DR, when his sole heir, a tiefling named Nardrad, became king of Narfell and ruled until -399 DR. Nardrad's son, King Orlathaun, was human. He reigned for less than a year before being slain by the Ayarch Jesthren, a son of Orcus.
For a time, Graz'zt was trapped on the Material Plane world of Oerth by the witch-queen Iggwilv, who used his insight to elevate her own power. Eventually, however, she succumbed to the Dark Prince's charms. Graz'zt ultimately returned to the Abyss, but rumors abound that he did, in fact, fall in love with his captor. A son, Iuz, was born of their union.
Some sources claim that Graz'zt was the creator of the Vasharans, a breed compared to humans as the drow are compared to elves. Deemed cruel and soulless by the gods who created him, the Vasharans' ancestor was destroyed... but Graz'zt breathed new life into the corpse, long before he attained his present status. It is a terrifying legacy, for the Vasharans are obsessed with deicide, and destroying all gods has become the reason for their existence.
Graz'zt is always attended by six powerful lamias, and his marilith escorts; Unhath and Reluhantis, are never far from his side. When at his palace, the Dark Prince keeps many attractive demons at hand, to feed his ferocious sexual appetite. Bodaks and similar horrors are the only other occupants of the Argent Palace.
Technically, every demon living within Graz'zt's world-spanning empire is considered one of his loyal servants; those who prove otherwise are fed to the carnivorous plants in his perfumed hanging gardens. Noteworthy minions include a hulking goristro named Orwantz, who acts as Graz'zt's personal border control for Azzagrat, and Rule-of-Three, a cambion who meets secretly with other fiends of the Lower Planes, to strategize an attack against the celestials.
Graz'zt's most powerful servant is a mysterious, hyper-intelligent demon named Verin. Like Graz'zt, Verin appears almost human, but his skin is deathly pale, and he constantly oozes spiritual slime. Verin can change his form at will, and often elects a black-skinned mirror image of himself, known as Ztefano. He serves as the Dark Prince's majordomo and chief ambassador to the other demon lords.
The god Raxivort was once a servant of the Dark Prince. He stole powerful artifacts from Graz'zt and escaped to the howling chasms of Pandemonium, where he became the divine patron of rodents and bats. Raxivort even has his own chosen race, a goblinoid horde known as the xvarts.
Through his own schemings and mischief, Graz'zt has become the chief enemy of Waukeen, a goddess of wealth and merchantry. The deity bargained for safe passage across Zelatar with information regarding a secret horde of treasure. Graz'zt readily accepted the offer, but betrayed Waukeen as soon as she arrived in the Abyss. Imprisoned in the Argent Palace, the goddess was forced to witness profane celebrations held in her honor.
But even the wrath of a god cannot compare to the hatred and spite of the Dark Prince's chief rivals, Demogorgon and Orcus. The violence of the eternal war between these three demons rivals that of the Blood War, and costs them unthinkable resources that could be put to use in the battles against the baatezu. Graz'zt covets Demogorgon's title as the Prince of Demons above all else, and throws army after army at his most hated enemy in hopes of claiming it.
Graz'zt wars with many other lords of the Abyss as well, including Baphomet and Yeenoghu. Thanks to the efforts of his son Athux, he recently overthrew the demon prince Adimarchus, who ruled Occipitus, the 507th layer of the Abyss.
Naturally, the Dark Prince is a fundamental enemy of all that is good and holy in the multiverse, and despite whatever promises he makes, every mortal who deals with him is doomed to an afterlife of endless horror beyond the scythe-tipped gates of Zelatar.
The League of Six-Fingered GentlemenEdit
A sinister group known as the League of the Six-Fingered Gentlemen (sometimes the League of Six Rings) wormed its way into the hierarchy of the church of Waukeen during the time that Graz'zt had imprisoned the goddess in the Abyss. Once there, they have not been rooted out, and they have been busily spreading the Harlot's Coin Heresy among Waukeen's faithful. This heretical schism of Waukeen's faith teaches that Waukeen has been gradually selling off pieces of her divinity and virtue to Graz'zt in order to finance her church. It was for failing to pay her debts to Graz'zt that the demon lord imprisoned her during the Time of Troubles. These heretics teach that Waukeen became free because she finally paid her debt to the demon, resulting in Graz'zt now owning the majority of Waukeen's godhood. The heretics, thus, believe that all who worship Waukeen are really worshiping Graz'zt instead, and they're just fine with that.
- Graz'zt plays a significant role in the adventure module For Duty & Deity, about the rescue of the goddess Waukeen following the Time of Troubles.
- ↑ Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 2008). Manual of the Planes 4th edition, p. 131. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-5002-7.
- ↑ Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 2008). Manual of the Planes 4th edition, p. 130. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-5002-7.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms, p. 81. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Eric L. Boyd, Ed Greenwood (May 2007). Volo's Guide: Demon cults of the Realms, Dragon #355, p. 70-72. Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
- McComb, Colin. Faces of Evil: The Fiends (Wizards of the Coast, 1997).
- Perkins, Chris, and Chris Thomasson. The Shackled City (Paizo Publishing, 2005).
- Smith, Lester W, and Wolfgang Baur. Planes of Chaos (TSR, 1994).
Works by Gary Gygax Edit
- Gygax, Gary. Dance of Demons (New Infinities, 1988).