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Hades, also known as the Gray Waste,[6] was an Outer Plane in the Great Wheel cosmology model,[7] home of the daemons. Located at the midpoint of the Lower Planes, it was a plane of evil balanced between Law and Chaos.[4]

DescriptionEdit

The three layers of Hades were called glooms for good reason; they were realms devoid of emotion, hope, and peace. Gray land and gray sky throughout, with no sun, moon or seasons to break the monotony. Any color other than shades of gray would be obvious against the background but would fade to gray in a week or two. And like bright colors, beings would begin to fade also. At first they would feel the drain of emotions leaving only sadness, ennui, and defeatism. In a tenday or two they would be trapped in Hades and their existence would begin to fade until finally they became larvae.[4]

Hades was a unique plane, as described by the Great Wheel cosmology model, because it not only joined to adjacent planes in the Great Wheel, it also held the foundation of Mount Olympus and the roots of Yggdrasil the World Ash. These two planar artifacts connected Hades to Olympus/Arvandor and Gladsheim respectively, allowing travel between Hades, the Upper planes, and Alternate Prime Material Planes[8] without going through the Astral Plane, much like the World Tree in the World Tree cosmology.[9]

Yggdrasil2Hades

The layers of Hades, Mount Olympus, and Yggdrasil

OinosEdit

The first layer of Hades was named for the lord of the daemons (the Oinodaemon), Anthraxus the Decayed. Oinos was the land of disease with stunted and withered plants amid gray rocky terrain. The river Styx flowed through this layer and there were portals to Tarterus, Gehenna, and Concordant Opposition that looked like huge spinning metal coins, visible for miles/kilometers, often guarded by iron fortresses. Anyone walking this land or floating on the river Styx had a chance of contracting a major disease. Many of the daemons and some of the other creatures from the lower middle planes who were immune to disease made their home here.[4]

NiflheimEdit

Compared to Oinos, the terrain in the second layer was rougher, like foothills, with cooler temperatures, healthier vegetation including pine trees, and no disease. Everything was cloaked in dreary fog and mist, limiting vision to about a hundred feet (thirty meters). Yggdrasil's roots reached Niflheim, connecting it to Asgard in Gladsheim.[4] The goddess Shar once maintained an abode here.[10][11]

PlutonEdit

The lowest level of Hades contained the base of Mount Olympus, a direct conduit through the Astral Plane to the plane of Olympus/Arvandor. The gray motif continued throughout this layer but most of the vegetation was black willow trees and dry, dying poplars.[4]

InhabitantsEdit

The daemons were the presumed rulers of Hades, but were actually outnumbered by the bird-like diakk[12] and the greater powers had no trouble carving out realms for themselves. Factions of demodands carried on a low-level insurgency, sniping at the daemons but generally avoiding large-scale conflict that might attract the attention of the resident deities.[2] Also known to inhabit all layers of Hades were achaierai,[13] nightmares,[2] mephits[14] and night hags.[15]

AfterlifeEdit

Souls that arrived in Hades became larvae—sickly, human-headed worm-spirits—that were harvested by the night hags as a commodity for Lower Plane commerce.[2][16]

RealmsEdit

  • Abbathor, the dwarven Great Master of Greed had a realm in Hades[17] called the Glitterhell because it was lined with gold that sparkled even in the gloom.[18]
  • Anthraxus the Decayed was the most powerful daemon in the Lower Planes,[19] occupying his mighty fortress the Khin-Oin, or Wasting Tower—a twenty mile (32 km) high citadel with dungeons that went just as deep underground.[2]
  • Cyric, the Dark Sun, after the Time of Troubles took over the portfolios of Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul and set up a realm in Hades.[20]
  • Hades of the Greek pantheon had a realm in Pluton where the gates were guarded by the three-headed dog Cerberus.[2]
  • Hel from the Norse pantheon was the ruler of Niflheim where she guarded the dead.[2][21]
  • Mask, the Lord of Shadows once lived here, dressed in colorful clothes but also a gray cloak.[22]
  • Myrkul, Lord of Bones lived with his skeletons, zombies, and minor Deaths in the Castle of Bones.[23]
  • Nergal the Untheric[24] (and Babylonian[2][25][26]) god of the dead ruled a large part of Oinos from his circular city of seven concentric domes, Nergaltos. There he kept the prisoners Marduk brought to him.[2]
  • Nidhogg, a huge, very ancient red dragon and her brood occupied (and consumed) the roots of Yggdrasil the World Ash, trying to break the conduit to Asgard.[2] Nidhogg may be another name for Dendar the Night Serpent.[27]
  • Shar, Mistress of the Night and Lady of Loss once dwelled in the gray wastes and battled with Selûne.[28]
  • Yurtrus the White Handed, orcish god of death and disease lived in Hades[29] on the layer of Oinos.[18]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), p. 73. ISBN 0880383992.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), p. 106. ISBN 0880383992.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), p. 75. ISBN 0880383992.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), p. 105. ISBN 0880383992.
  5. Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), pp. 78–82. ISBN 0880383992.
  6. David "Zeb" Cook (1994). Planescape Campaign Setting, A DM Guide to the Planes. (TSR, Inc), p. 59. ISBN 978-1560768340.
  7. Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), p. 74. ISBN 0880383992.
  8. Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), p. 72. ISBN 0880383992.
  9. Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 140. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  10. Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 138. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  11. slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (The Winds of Netheril). (TSR, Inc.), p. 55. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
  12. Gary Gygax (1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 50. ISBN 0-8803-8031-4.
  13. Don Turnbull (1981). Fiend Folio. (TSR Hobbies), p. 9. ISBN 0-9356-9621-0.
  14. Don Turnbull (1981). Fiend Folio. (TSR Hobbies), p. 64. ISBN 0-9356-9621-0.
  15. Gary Gygax (1977). Monster Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 73. ISBN 0-9356-9600-8.
  16. Gary Gygax (1977). Monster Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 59. ISBN 0-9356-9600-8.
  17. Gary Gygax (August, 1985). Unearthed Arcana (1st edition). (TSR, Inc.), p. 111. ISBN 0880380845.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), p. 107. ISBN 0880383992.
  19. Gary Gygax (1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 30. ISBN 0-8803-8031-4.
  20. Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 17. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
  21. James M. Ward, Robert J. Kuntz (1980). Deities and Demigods. (TSR, Inc), p. 119. ISBN 0-935696-22-9.
  22. Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 12. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
  23. Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 13. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
  24. Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), p. 95. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
  25. James M. Ward, Robert J. Kuntz (1980). Deities and Demigods. (TSR, Inc), p. 25. ISBN 0-935696-22-9.
  26. Colin McComb (1996). On Hallowed Ground. (TSR, Inc), p. 65. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  27. Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), p. 188. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
  28. Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 14. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
  29. Gary Gygax (August, 1985). Unearthed Arcana (1st edition). (TSR, Inc.), p. 120. ISBN 0880380845.

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