Signup
Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Features
Touring the Flanaess
Adventures
in Greyhawk
Cities of
Oerth
Deadly Denizens
Greyhawk Wiki
#greytalk
JOIN THE CHAT
ON DISCORD
    Canonfire :: View topic - The Arch-Devils
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    The Arch-Devils
    Author Message
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 08, 2003
    Posts: 157
    From: Cape Town

    Send private message
    Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:05 pm  
    The Arch-Devils

    Hey Guys!

    I hope this hasn't been discussed before and I missed it but here goes anyways!

    Has anyone got a plausible idea on where the Princes, Archdukes and so on, of the 9 Hells, come from? I understand that Asmodeus is Ahriman and as such is a Greater-Power but what about the rest? Are they all actually his offspring? Other than the odd fallen archon, of course!

    Secondly, what kind of influence do the gods of Hell wield over the devils, if any? I'm not too sure of the exact cosmology of it but doesn't Hextor dwell somewhere on the 9 Hells? How "friendly" do you see his and Asmodeus' relationship?

    Other than the 2nd ed Guide to Hell, are there any good resources? I've not really investigated any of the Planescape stuff, must confess!

    Thanks in advance!

    Darrel Happy
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3152
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:31 pm  
    Re: The Arch-Devils

    warlock wrote:
    Has anyone got a plausible idea on where the Princes, Archdukes and so on, of the 9 Hells, come from?


    There are a number of theories:

    - They were created by an older race, representing pure evil encompassing Law and Chaos at once (the Planescape material called them baernaloths).

    - They are baernaloths, who have been guiding the evolution of devilkind for eons.

    - They're members of an older race that preceded the creation of devils, but still native to that plane (the Planescape material called these ancient baatorians - "elder hellions" would work as well).

    - They were personifications of Evil who became "infected" by Law, and refused to be purified with the rest of their kind.

    - They're primal beings of Law who were "infected" by Evil, and fell from "grace."

    - They're personifications of the nine layers of Hell, the intelligence of the land itself, which can appear under a number of different guises and aspects.

    - They're simply the next stage of diabolic evolution. A pit fiend is transformed into a fiendish noble, who can be transformed into an archdevil. They're more powerful than pit fiends, but not really of a different essential nature.

    - Then there's the The Book of the Righteous theory, which says they were mostly divs, members of a race that preceded the genies and once tried to overthrow the gods.

    Quote:
    I understand that Asmodeus is Ahriman and as such is a Greater-Power


    That's the Guide to Hell theory, although it doesn't get much credence outside that one book. The 3rd edition Manual of the Planes and Book of Vile Darkness mention the theory, but don't support it.

    Most sources tend to assume Asmodeus is the same sort of being as the other archdevils, although stronger and smarter than the rest.

    Quote:
    Are they all actually his offspring?


    It's a possibility.

    Quote:
    Secondly, what kind of influence do the gods of Hell wield over the devils, if any?


    In most cases they have alliances, pacts between equals. The idea is that archdevils can't grant clerical spells on their own, so they employ deities to grant spells to their cultists, and lend those deities access to their diabolic minions in exchange.

    There are a few exceptions. The Egyptian god Set is said to be at war with the Prince of Stygia, with the conflict currently at a stalemate. It's been suggested that the orcish and goblin pantheons were forcibly driven into Acheron by one or more of the archdevils, who tired of their endless war ravaging the plane.

    Quote:
    I'm not too sure of the exact cosmology of it but doesn't Hextor dwell somewhere on the 9 Hells?


    No, he lives in Acheron. He has the ability to travel to Hell whenever he wants, but it's not his home plane.

    Gygax actually took pains to make sure none of the gods he created lived in either the Hells or the Abyss, where they might muddle the political situation (since he intended those planes to be ruled solely by the devils and demons respectively).

    Quote:
    How "friendly" do you see his and Asmodeus' relationship?


    Hextor is the Herald of Hell, so I think they must be allies. I've suggested before that it was the archdevils who provided Hextor with his extra arms.

    Quote:
    Other than the 2nd ed Guide to Hell, are there any good resources?


    In a few months, the Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells will be published by WotC. That'll probably be good.

    Other sources include:

    The Book of Fiends, a d20 supplement from Green Ronin.
    Dragon Magazines #75, #76, #91, and #223.
    The 1st edition Manual of the Planes.
    Faces of Evil: The Fiends, for Planescape.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 17, 2006
    Posts: 21


    Send private message
    Tue Jun 20, 2006 6:08 pm  

    Doesn't Kurtulmak and Tiamat also inhabit Hell. Tiamat is said to guard the entrance of the first Hell, and I remember reading somewhere some mortals even considered her the ruler of the 1st Hell.
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2578
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Tue Jun 20, 2006 6:49 pm  

    Rasgon refers to none of the human subrace's deities living in Hell.

    Hextor's arms were indeed provided by the unknown Lords of Evil. Given that he is the Herald of Hell yes it is most likely these were devils, but then why not attribute this to their proper titleage which Gygax always had a knack for? But that's a whole other discussion.

    I hope the upcoming fiendish codex borrows heavily from the Dragon articles that were previously listed. IIRC there was one devil named Astaroth(sp) who may be an exiled Devil Prince or precursor of Asmodeus. I need to re-read them now.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3152
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:15 pm  

    GoldGreatWyrm wrote:
    Doesn't Kurtulmak and Tiamat also inhabit Hell. Tiamat is said to guard the entrance of the first Hell, and I remember reading somewhere some mortals even considered her the ruler of the 1st Hell.


    Tiamat, yes, but she was considered an arch-devil in 1e, beholden to Asmodeus, so she's still part of that political system.

    From 2nd edition on, Tiamat was no longer considered an arch-devil (and I prefer that interpretation), but Gygax wasn't part of that. I'm talking about what his intentions were - I'm just noting what was going on in his head when he designed the Greyhawk pantheon.

    Gygax moved Kurtulmak into Gehenna, I think, as part of his general sorting of nonhuman deities out of the Nine Hells (this was in an op-ed in Dragon Magazine, where he urged that all the gods be moved elsewhere to ease confusion). Most of those changes didn't stick, although eventually the orc and most of the goblin gods were moved out permanently.

    There are a number of infernal deities: Kurtulmak, Bagrivyek, Druaga, Inanna, Tiamat, Hecate, Set, Sekolah the sahuagin deity, No Cha (who was moved to Gehenna in 2e), and at least one of the gods in the Maztica setting keeps a ball court in Maladomini. But Gygax kept the gods that he designed (remember, Kurtulmak was Jim Ward and Rob Kuntz's creation) out of the Hells or the Abyss.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3152
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:19 pm  

    mortellan wrote:
    Hextor's arms were indeed provided by the unknown Lords of Evil. Given that he is the Herald of Hell yes it is most likely these were devils, but then why not attribute this to their proper titleage which Gygax always had a knack for?


    Very well, the Lords of Evil.

    Quote:
    IIRC there was one devil named Astaroth(sp) who may be an exiled Devil Prince or precursor of Asmodeus. I need to re-read them now.


    Yeah, Astaroth was introduced in Dragon #28 as Hell's treasurer and Ambassador to the United States of America.

    He appeared again in Dragon #91 as Gargoth, in an article by Ed Greenwood. The stats were nearly identical, and Greenwood noted that Astaroth was an alternate name. As Gargauth, he's also appeared in Powers & Pantheons (2e) and Faiths & Pantheons (3e) for the Forgotten Realms setting.

    At least one Greyhawk DM introduced him (as Astaroth) as a replacement for Iuz after the Old One was defeated in his campaign. So now Astaroth has conquered Iuz's old haunts in the north, which was interesting.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 17, 2006
    Posts: 21


    Send private message
    Tue Jun 20, 2006 8:04 pm  

    Well, in the Book of Vile Darkness there's a passage that afirms deities that reside in Baator pay respect to Asmodeus for his post as the Lord of the Nine, his personall power and his great intellect.

    Also the Abyss is home to some deities as well - Lolth (though she was a demon before her ascension), the beholder Great Mother, and a lizardfolk deity occurs to me.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Tue Jun 20, 2006 8:09 pm  

    Yeah. Its too bad that Gygax's conception wasn't held to. Thankfully, individual DMs can fix that kind of thing....
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3152
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Tue Jun 20, 2006 8:18 pm  

    GoldGreatWyrm wrote:
    Also the Abyss is home to some deities as well - Lolth (though she was a demon before her ascension), the beholder Great Mother, and a lizardfolk deity occurs to me.


    Absolutely, but except possibly for Lolth, none of them were Gygax's. And Lolth was a demon in her original conception, not related to the elven pantheon at all.

    For what it's worth, I don't see anything wrong with putting gods in the Hells or the Abyss, as long as the fiends are powerful enough to defend themselves (which they aren't, in 3e, but largely were in 1e). After all, the neutral evil fiends have to live on the same plane with Incabulos and Pyremius, and no one complains about that.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 17, 2006
    Posts: 21


    Send private message
    Tue Jun 20, 2006 8:35 pm  

    Quote:
    Absolutely, but except possibly for Lolth, none of them were Gygax's. And Lolth was a demon in her original conception, not related to the elven pantheon at all.

    Yes, her rivalry with Zuggtmoy and human worshippers in the Temple of Elemental Evil are good evidences of this. Races of the Wild however, states that Lolth was a elven goddess married to Corellon who fell from grace and became the Queen of the Demonweb Pits. I still think Zuggtmoy may command some of the drow across the planes, thanks to her fungi and evil portfolio (the 3E DMG states drow are known to cultivate fungi for illumination and defense).

    Quote:
    For what it's worth, I don't see anything wrong with putting gods in the Hells or the Abyss, as long as the fiends are powerful enough to defend themselves (which they aren't, in 3e, but largely were in 1e).

    So saddly true... the demeneashing of power of powerful fiends in 3E by WoTC is at least illogical (setting-wise).

    Quote:
    After all, the neutral evil fiends have to live on the same plane with Incabulos and Pyremius, and no one complains about that.

    Yes, though I'm not very familiar with the Yugoloth hierarchy. I know they are commanded by the Oinodaemon, and a guy known as the False General also command some of them in Gehenna.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 22, 2005
    Posts: 113
    From: Orland Hills, Illinois

    Send private message
    Wed Jun 21, 2006 6:50 am  

    Remember that Book of Vile Darkness allows for the possibility to make them Divine Rank 1 gods.
    Also, the focus of in Fiendish Codex is to make demons a tough challenge (CR +1 to +4 of character level) of 20th level characters to possibly fight. Epic level demon lords are optional as is Epic Level rules to start with. In that regard, I think that WotC succeeded. Otherwise, there is little point of giving any stats at all (if it has stats, it can be killed...).
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: May 12, 2005
    Posts: 868
    From: Woonsocket, RI, USA

    Send private message
    Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:09 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    Gygax moved Kurtulmak into Gehenna, I think, as part of his general sorting of nonhuman deities out of the Nine Hells (this was in an op-ed in Dragon Magazine, where he urged that all the gods be moved elsewhere to ease confusion). Most of those changes didn't stick, although eventually the orc and most of the goblin gods were moved out permanently.


    Actually, Gary moved Kurtulmak to Acheron; he moved the orc and goblin pantheons to Gehenna. Unfortunately, later authors (read: Jeff Grubb) did not adhere to this and moved Gruumsh and Maglubiyet to Acheron instead, leaving poor Kurtulmak in Hell.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3152
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:37 am  

    DMPrata wrote:
    Actually, Gary moved Kurtulmak to Acheron; he moved the orc and goblin pantheons to Gehenna.


    Ah, yes. So he did.

    Quote:
    Unfortunately, later authors (read: Jeff Grubb) did not adhere to this and moved Gruumsh and Maglubiyet to Acheron instead


    This actually made a lot of sense, as Acheron was presented as a battle-plane and the orc and goblin pantheons were presented as being constantly at war. Letting them war in Acheron helped reinforce this concept.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: May 12, 2005
    Posts: 868
    From: Woonsocket, RI, USA

    Send private message
    Wed Jun 21, 2006 10:32 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    This actually made a lot of sense, as Acheron was presented as a battle-plane and the orc and goblin pantheons were presented as being constantly at war. Letting them war in Acheron helped reinforce this concept.


    Well, it makes sense in an internally-consistent way. However, since Acheron was presented as a battle plane by Jeff Grubb in the same work, that's something of a logical fallacy.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 08, 2003
    Posts: 157
    From: Cape Town

    Send private message
    Wed Jun 21, 2006 10:58 am  

    Thanks guys! As usual so much useful info.

    I'm not sure that I want to assign ranks of divinity to these fiends, powerful as they may be I have just never seen them as gods or even in the same league. Make no mistake, I love these guys as major antagonists or whatever but haven't they now just become a kind of demi-god "monster" for lack of a better term, for powerful but still-mortal PCs to clobber?

    I guess their numbers could be used to prevent a full scale invasion from one of the major evil deities but surely Hextor, for example, has his own legions of screaming fanatics.

    I'm thinking to use Hell and its denizens far in my new campaign's future so I'm just trying to get a sense of everything involved, got to drop hints and all that for my unsuspecting party to pick up on.

    Again, thanks for all the help! Much appreciated!

    Darrel
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3152
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:12 pm  

    DMPrata wrote:
    However, since Acheron was presented as a battle plane by Jeff Grubb in the same work, that's something of a logical fallacy.


    Not so. Wasn't Acheron described as "the iron battle-plains of Acheron" in the DMG?

    Acheron is also, of course, the home of Hextor, god of war.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: May 12, 2005
    Posts: 868
    From: Woonsocket, RI, USA

    Send private message
    Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:20 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    Wasn't Acheron described as "the iron battle-plains of Acheron" in the DMG?


    I don't know, as I'm unable to find such a quote. Where did you see it?
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3152
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:27 pm  

    warlock wrote:
    I guess their numbers could be used to prevent a full scale invasion from one of the major evil deities but surely Hextor, for example, has his own legions of screaming fanatics.


    Armies are of little use against gods, especially in the current ruleset - gods can teleport around armies, or just annihilate them where they stand. People have run combats between Kurtulmak and Asmodeus (as presented in the Book of Vile Darkness), and the Overlord of Hell goes down in only a few rounds... against a kobold. And that's counting eight advanced pit fiends and sundry other minions on Asmo's side. It is, in my view, tragic when the god of kobolds has the power to become master of all devilkind, basically any time he wants.

    If Asmodeus is the master of an entire plane - and all his flavor text suggests he is - he needs to be at the same level the gods are, which was true in every other edition of the game and is optionally true in this one. Otherwise he's a mere pawn, a kobold's patsy.

    And there's plenty of precedent for this. Levistus has fought Set to a standstill. Graz'zt drove Raxivort out of his plane. Kostchtchie has poached worshippers from Thrym without any sort of retribution, and many other demon princes can say the same - why wouldn't a god punish an impudent demon who stole followers from him? The only possible explanation is that they can't.

    I personally dislike the idea of using the rulers of entire planes as mere swordbait for powerful mortals. If anything, they should be more powerful than the gods, not less.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3152
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:30 pm  

    DMPrata wrote:
    I don't know, as I'm unable to find such a quote. Where did you see it?


    I'm not sure; it's just something I thought I remembered. Perhaps I was wrong.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 17, 2006
    Posts: 21


    Send private message
    Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:32 pm  

    I'm willing to adopt that the 20 CR fiends found in the WoTC books are mere aspects. For the true rulers I'll be using Dicefreaks works.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 13, 2002
    Posts: 1076
    From: Orlane, Gran March

    Send private message
    Wed Jun 21, 2006 4:53 pm  

    I have long (read since 1ed) broken down the outer planes into gods and powers. The gods are powers that have worshippers, the powers are those who do not.

    In using the mechanics for 3rd, I can see Asmodeous, and maybe a few others, having a divine rank, if a low one. After all, there have to be afew cults dedicated to them.

    Fantasy Flight games came out with a system for Small Gods, in a work called path of faith. I have used this on several occasions, and found the results useful. Basically, these would be gods who are not powers. I.e. they have drawn worship for one reason or another, but really were not Powers before.

    I am actually more interested than the Oerthly churches than the organization of the Gods domains, as few or none of my characters are ever likely to go the there. They will not defeat a god, and most likely will never have the chance to defeat a Arch fiend.

    I suppose I am like Cruel Summer Lord in that regard... it is of little interst and less story value, IMO. However, defeating the cult of Grazzt in Shiboleth makes a valuable and worthy story.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 10, 2003
    Posts: 261
    From: Harker Heights, TX

    Send private message
    Wed Jun 21, 2006 5:41 pm  
    Malbolge musings

    To all,

    I did up a couple of articles on how native Greyhawkers would know of the Hells and their hierarchies. I link to the forum thread discussing them here:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=727

    I also created a new arch devil to replace the 2nd edition night hag ruler of the Sixth Hell. Though it now seems that most commerical products now place Lilith as the Sixth Hell's ruler. My take on Malbolge is definitely non official and thus free to be ignored. But I did try to put more devilish GH references out there.

    Feel free to use or disregard as you like.

    O-D
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 08, 2003
    Posts: 157
    From: Cape Town

    Send private message
    Thu Jun 22, 2006 1:05 am  

    I have to say that I don't want my PCs going up against Arch-Devils or Gods, tthere is something a bit silly about that, IMO! It just doesn't take PCs that long to become "Uber" wheras it takes the gods ages to become more or less powerful.

    I guess I'm just curious about the politics and goings on in the lower planes! Why there isn't more to the whole Blood War thing than just the demons and devils having at each other. Surely that would give other evil powers a near-perfect opportunity to fancy their chances at a hostile take-over. Afterall, we're talking evil and perhaps even greedy or power-hungry individuals here.

    Thanks for the link O-D, nice read!
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 21, 2003
    Posts: 538
    From: Germany

    Send private message
    Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:01 am  

    Since someone mentioned it and since Warlock asked for sources: Check out the Dicefreaks boards here. Lots of interesting material there about the Lower Planes, including the free pdf publication The Gates Of Hell.

    There are also several nice article here on canonfire about fiends:
    GVD'S Demonkind on Oerth, Grodog's Demonomicon series, Abysslin's article on the Fiend Sage of Rel Astra, Rasgon's article on Iuz childhood.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Thu Jun 22, 2006 5:26 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    People have run combats between Kurtulmak and Asmodeus (as presented in the Book of Vile Darkness), and the Overlord of Hell goes down in only a few rounds... against a kobold. And that's counting eight advanced pit fiends and sundry other minions on Asmo's side. It is, in my view, tragic when the god of kobolds has the power to become master of all devilkind, basically any time he wants.

    If Asmodeus is the master of an entire plane - and all his flavor text suggests he is - he needs to be at the same level the gods are, which was true in every other edition of the game and is optionally true in this one. Otherwise he's a mere pawn, a kobold's patsy.

    And there's plenty of precedent for this. Levistus has fought Set to a standstill. Graz'zt drove Raxivort out of his plane. Kostchtchie has poached worshippers from Thrym without any sort of retribution, and many other demon princes can say the same - why wouldn't a god punish an impudent demon who stole followers from him? The only possible explanation is that they can't.

    I personally dislike the idea of using the rulers of entire planes as mere swordbait for powerful mortals. If anything, they should be more powerful than the gods, not less.


    I completely agree with this. Well put with nice examples.
    _________________
    GVD
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Thu Jun 22, 2006 5:28 am  

    Anced_Math wrote:
    Fantasy Flight games came out with a system for Small Gods, in a work called path of faith. I have used this on several occasions, and found the results useful. Basically, these would be gods who are not powers. I.e. they have drawn worship for one reason or another, but really were not Powers before.


    AM has good taste. I'll second Path of Faith as an excellent resource, especially the information on small gods and cults.
    _________________
    GVD
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Thu Jun 22, 2006 6:26 am  

    warlock wrote:
    I guess I'm just curious about the politics and goings on in the lower planes!


    Hi Warlock,

    The Saga of Lucifer and Infernus

    In Dragon 28, reprinted in one of the Best of Dragon collections, is an article called Politics of Hell. In that article, the story of Asmodeus' overthrow of Lucifer is presented. This thread has scarcely been picked up on in "official" D&D products but Necromancer Games, in their Tome of Horrors monster manuals (so far Vols. I - III), has taken the ball and run with it.

    Lucifer and devils still loyal to him are described and some stated out. The new plane of Infernus, created by Lucifer and ruled by him, is described. Needless to say, Lucifer is plotting to take back the Hells.

    Having looked forward from Politics of Hell, way back in Dragon 28, forward to the d20 Tome of Horrors books, to track Lucifer, we can then look backwards again to Mayfair Games old Demons line of products. The Mayfair Demons products, under license from TSR to be for use with AD&D, postulate a demonic planed called Infernus, that is subdivided into 5 demi-planes. So, by name association, the Infernus from Tome of Horrors could well be the Infernus of Mayfair's Demons line of products.

    So we would have -

    1) Lucificer is cast out of Hell by Asmodeus (Dragon 28)
    2) Lucifer sets up Infernus (Tome of Horrors from Necromancer Games)
    3) Infernus is described (Demons line from Mayfair)

    Despite nit picks, Politics of Hell (Dragon 28) is "official," at least to the extent of influencing some later planar developments by TSR/Wotc.

    Tome of Horrors is, of course, d20 licensed and, moreover, the first volume was created under a special deal with Wotc to see old favorites updated to 3rd Edition. That doesn't make Lucifer and Infernus "canon" but it does make it more than just a knock off with no connection to the standard TSR/Wotc planar canon.

    The Demons lines, well before d20, was specifically created under an ultimately contentious license from then TSR that let Mayfair create AD&D material. At the time, only TSR and Mayfair could use the AD&D product designation legally. Again, that does not make the Demon's line "canon" but it does make it more than just a knock off.

    These connections offer something to the idea that you can trace Lucifer from Dragon 28 to Tome of Horrors to Mayfair's Demons, even if it is not purely "canon." Call it "extended canon" or "canon by inference/reference."

    Now, you've got some politics - internal to the Hells and external to the Hells.

    Politics in Hell Redux

    It is a sad fact, however, that Planescape and AD&D 2E substantially reduced the level of politics within the Hells by replacing a couple of the arch-devils.

    While Mephistophiles still plots, after a hasty retcon of the horrible "Baron Morlickroth" Planescape debacle, Greyon was replaced by Levistus, trapped in his iceberg, and Moloch was replaced as Viceroy of the the 6th by "The Hag Countess." The loss of Moloch, who technically ruled the 6th for Baalzebul, but who was of course plotting, diminished both the ruler of the 6th but especially Baalzebul, who techincally was the only devil to rule two levels and was thus an immediate source of great tensions with the other devils and especially Asmodeus. Planscape and 2e presented a "simplier" Hells with less convoluted politics. While Planescape added some neat features, the redo of the Hells was not Planescape's finest hour.

    3X perpetuates much of Planescape, with the Codex of Fiends Vol II - Tyrants of Hell an unknown coming this December. If one must go with "canon," so be it. However, if you are looking for politics within the Hells, restoring Greyon and especially Moloch as Baalzebul's viceroy is likely worth giving serious consideration.

    Other Sources

    As has been mentioned, the Guide to Hell complicates the character of Asmodeus and puts an interesting spin on Glasya, his "daughter." Both could add fodder for politicing, especially with Glasya what the Epic Level Handbook would describe as an Infernal - the offspring of a god (in this case the fallen Asmodeus ne Ahriman) and a devil. Her 2e stats don't support her designation as an Infernal but stats from edition to edition, and with the introduction of "aspects" etc., are always tricky. Technically, however, if you buy the Ahriman angle, Glaysa would be an Infernal and thus quite the potential political player.

    As has also been mentioned, Astraroth (described in Politics of Hell in Dragon 28) was transmorgrified into Gargauth by Ed Greenwood in his Nine Hells articles in the Dragon and later in Realms products. Like Lucifer as described in Tome of Horrors, Astaroth seems to have set up business elsewhere or gone into business for himself. Seems Asmodeus' takeover wasn't a clean sweep but one with loose ends. Astaroth is then another source of external politics. And perhaps an ally for Lucifer?

    Then there is Inferno a Judges Guild product, also licensed in Judges Guild fashion for use with AD&D, which is an adventure set in the first 5 layers of Hell. Not a great source for politics, it does add general descriptions to the area.

    More intersting is the TSR era A Paladin in Hell. It postulates plots that involve both the Hells and the Abyss. Now THATS a potential source of politics if ever there was one!

    Hopefully, the foregoing can spice up the political situation.
    _________________
    GVD
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3152
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:46 am  

    First of all, I'd like to direct people to my Devilkind subsite.

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Despite nit picks, Politics of Hell (Dragon 28) is "official," at least to the extent of influencing some later planar developments by TSR/Wotc.


    I wouldn't go that far. It contradicts more later developments (including the 1st edition MMII) than it inspired.

    The "revelations" in that article include:

    - Belial left the Hells when Satan did. Permanently.
    - Asmodeus has been in charge of Hell for less than a hundred years.
    - Astaroth is in charge of devils and advertising campaigns in the United States of America.
    - No single devil rules the first, third, fourth, or eighth layers of Hell.

    Certainly, it can be adapted to fit with later material (and, in fact, I worked quite extensively in doing so - perhaps I'll post my history of Hell here, which joins the Dragon #28 article with Guide to Hell and many other things), but it can't be called "official" even in quotes. It's less significant an inspiration to later writings than Dante's Inferno was, and I doubt anyone would claim Dante as official D&D canon no matter how many quotes you put around the words, nor could Milton or Virgil properly be called "canon by inference."

    Quote:
    It is a sad fact, however, that Planescape and AD&D 2E substantially reduced the level of politics within the Hells by replacing a couple of the arch-devils.


    Not so. In fact, it increased them.

    In 1e, the politics were simple and easy to sum up. There were three camps in Hell:

    - Asmodeus, Geryon, and Tiamat
    - Mephistopheles, Dispater, and Mammon
    - Baalzebul, Moloch, and Belial

    And, of course, various political hagglings and squabblings within each layer.

    After 2e, the polics are much more complex:

    - Asmodeus, the Dark Eight, and Bel constitute a chain of command.
    - The Dark Eight command nearly all least, lesser, and greater devils within their eight vast, Byzantine, Screwtape Letters-inspired ministries.
    - The Lords of the Nine and their subordinate nobles are responsible for what happens in their layers, as opposed to the race as a whole. Freed from the responsibility of administering the common devils, they spend all of their time plotting and scheming among themselves.
    - Bel is subordinate to Dagos, the Dark Eight's Marshall of the Pits, though he also rules an entire layer - this was part of the price for his ascension, and helps make the Dark Eight players.
    - Dispater and Mephistopheles are still allies.
    - Belial, Fierana, and Baalzebul are allies.
    - Bel, Levistus, Mammon, and the Hag Countess form a third group of archdevils who are mistrusted by the other alliances, making them wild cards in a sense who might form pacts of convenience with anyone, even potentially forces from outside the Hells.
    - Levistus commands the entire amnizu caste, who act to weaken the power of the pit fiends.
    - The hamatula caste is commanded by the pit fiend Gazra, who is the lover of Fierana.
    - Levistus primarily opposes both Mephistopheles and Belial, openly scheming to conquer their domains. I think he's far more interesting than Geryon, who spent no time with politics at all.
    - Geryon and Moloch, if you ignore the 3e Tome of Magic, still exist and are plotting to regain their thrones.
    - And, of course, each layer still has multiple dukes, earls, countesses, and so on scheming with and against one another and against their lords.

    The ministries of the Dark Eight are an especially welcome addition to the myriad complexities of baatezu politics, although shamefully underemphasized since Hellbound: The Blood War, despite one of the ministers, Baalzephon, having significant influence on Oerth.

    Quote:
    the horrible "Baron Morlickroth" Planescape debacle


    I know it's blasphemous to say so, but I actually prefer Molikroth to Mephistopheles proper (though I don't prefer his name). The fat dandy with a love of torture seems so much more stylish than the rather cliche horned and winged Mephisto.

    Quote:
    diminished both the ruler of the 6th but especially Baalzebul


    It's a setback for Baalzebul - perhaps temporary - but a victory for the new countess, who is interesting in her own right.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Thu Jun 22, 2006 1:30 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    ::snip::


    YMMV. Smile

    My note about more interesting politics pre-PS was, per my examples, directed at the layer rulers. With the rest of the Hells, I'm in substantial agreement with you that PS added many neat features. However, at the "macro" level of the Hells, the layer level if you will, I still find pre-PS much more interesting politically.

    Baalzebul was pre-PS much more of a force with which to reckon. Asmodeus had a single subordinate who controlled two layers to Asmodeus' one. In terms of immediate resources, Asmodeus could not simply assume it was an equal or better contest between himself and Baalzebul.

    Of course, the situation was more complicated. Asmodeus technically commanded the loyalty of the other arch-devils. Of course, that loyalty was suspect. Baalzebul faced a similar loyalty problem with Moloch. Hence, both Baalzebul and Asmodeus had to politic furiously trying to stay even or ahead of each other. The other arch-devils filled in between these two squaring off in the center ring.

    Post-PS, Asmodeus is in a much stronger position with less need to politic. There is still a need certainly but he does not have a single foe who is the equal of pre-PS Baalzebul.

    Given that we have only 9 layers to consider at the macro level, the pre-PS setup was nicely complex. Post-PS, we have 9 layers and 9 equals but with Asmodeus being quite a bit "more equal," especially when he can sack arch-devils at will while transforming others. Pre-PS, Asmodeus was in charge but we were not sure by how much. Post-PS, Asmodeus is large and in charge without much question.

    Post-PS, politics in the Hells is more a spectator sport for Asmodeus' leavings. Pre-PS, politics in the Hells was a battle for the Hells themselves. Again, this is looking at layer politics or the macro level. Post-PS, the real politics are all at a level less than the layer or macro level. To me, this is a loss.

    Note On Infered Canon -

    I am aware that majority opinion holds that "canon" is limited to only those sources published by either TSR or Wotc and bearing such logo, excluding all else, even products produced under license from TSR or Wotc. I do not accept this narrow interpretation of canon. I include in the definition of canon all works published by TSR and Wotc, as well as all works published under license from TSR and Wotc. I use terms like "inferred canon" to recognize the feelings of the majority while still maintaining my own sense of things. My definition of canon is far richer, though less easy to comprehend or pidgeon hole, which is precisely why it is richer. I don't begrudge others their definition of canon but I think officially licensed products have nearly the same "dignity" as they are specifically authorized by the IP holder.

    Politics of Hell, if I am being then fully candid, is canon as it was published by the IP holder of the time and even without the medium of a license. That it raises issues and conflicts with other canon or is inconvenient to those who want a place for everything and everything in its place is irrelevant to its canon status. Rather than dismiss it, I prefer to engage it, accepting that it makes matters entirely more interesting/complicated if it is engaged rather than dismissed. What such a course does not do is make matters simple, neat or clean. If I am being candid, and avoiding euphemisms like "infered canon" - too bad, so sad. It was published by the IP holder and all the fannish "scholars" opinions of its status vis a vis other materials does not change that fact.

    Canon is not defined by majority opinion. There is no "governing body" that decides what is or is not canon, not even TSR or Wotc as their rare proclaimation's are usually promptly or eventually violated in the interest of business and sales as convenient, which is as it should be as they are a business and canon, even consistency, is not absolutely necessary or even advisable in all cases, to their business.

    If then canon is to have any objective meaning, it cannot be declared nor can it be a matter of opinon. The only objective status is then imprimatur of the IP holder, who publishes or extends permission to publish. The difference being in such case a highly arbitrary one - publish and permission that sees publication. Again, I accept that the majority of fans accept only the former but to me the later has as good a pedigree to be accepted. It is mere simplicty that accords to the TSR or Wotc logo greater regard among fans; it is certainly not legality in terms of permission, nor is it consistency as TSR and Wotc products regularly contradict themselves, nor is it qualiity of content, heavens know. Fans are simply lawfully aligned and want to limit canon so it is easier for them to categorize, organize and then wax eloquent about. Fine. Just don't tell me it is ordained or must be so. Objectively, licensed products exist as legitimately as logo products. Or maybe fans aliign chaotic as they reject objectivity for subjectivity that better suits their needs.

    Any hoo, I accept the majority position is what it is even as I do not adhere to it. But I attempt to be polite about it rather than pointing out that the fannish emperors of canon have no objectively observable clothes.

    Of course, YMMV. Happy
    _________________
    GVD
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3152
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Thu Jun 22, 2006 3:42 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Baalzebul was pre-PS much more of a force with which to reckon. Asmodeus had a single subordinate who controlled two layers to Asmodeus' one. In terms of immediate resources, Asmodeus could not simply assume it was an equal or better contest between himself and Baalzebul.


    I think you give him too much credit. Baalzebul could count on only two allies - Moloch and Belial - which didn't make him any stronger than the other two factions. Baalzebul was technically Moloch's superior, but that didn't necessarily make him a more reliable ally than Belial was - probably Belial was more reliable, in fact, as he didn't have as much motivation to betray him. I'm sure if Moloch was offered independence from Baalzebul's thumb in exchange for an alliance with one of the rival lords, he would have taken the opportunity - if only he offered reasons for them to trust the allegiance of a proven traitor.

    There is no less reliable ally than a disgruntled servant.

    Quote:
    Given that we have only 9 layers to consider at the macro level, the pre-PS setup was nicely complex. Post-PS, we have 9 layers and 9 equals but with Asmodeus being quite a bit "more equal," especially when he can sack arch-devils at will while transforming others. Pre-PS, Asmodeus was in charge but we were not sure by how much. Post-PS, Asmodeus is large and in charge without much question.


    The bit about him being able to sack other lords at will isn't so much post-PS as it is post-A Paladin in Hell. Planescape itself never made that claim, and doesn't attribute Levistus' imprisonment to the Lord of Nessus (and Faces of Evil implied Levistus and Geryon were one and the same). Planescape, in fact, implies that Levistus' "imprisonment" may well be voluntary!

    As for the A Paladin in Hell mythos, Asmodeus himself seems to have come through the Reckoning only through wit and trickery, which casts doubt on his omnipotence unless he was only toying with his underlings. He was able to banish Moloch and Geryon only because he had them temporarily in a compromising position because he had successfully turned their armies against them. It seems unlikely he can do so at will.

    Quote:
    I am aware that majority opinion holds that "canon" is limited to only those sources published by either TSR or Wotc and bearing such logo


    That's not what I was talking about, exactly, but I think "canon" implies that you find the article authorative in some way, while I think the amount of contradictions it holds with even other 1st edition material prevents that interpretation.

    And, if I may quote from the first line of the article in question, "The following article cannot be considered the official doctrine of either Advanced Dungeons and Dragons or the Roman Catholic Church." So it's explicitly not official or canonical by its own admission.

    Quote:
    I include in the definition of canon all works published by TSR and Wotc, as well as all works published under license from TSR and Wotc.


    I don't necessarily object to that definition, but do you include the d20 and OGL licenses?

    What makes you think Mayfair's Role-Aids line was produced under license, by the way? Every single book bore the disclaimer "This use of TSR's trademark by Mayfair Games is not approved by TSR," on the front cover, which casts doubt on that idea. I think the Role-Aids books were very much unlicensed.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:54 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    I don't necessarily object to that definition, but do you include the d20 and OGL licenses?

    What makes you think Mayfair's Role-Aids line was produced under license, by the way? Every single book bore the disclaimer "This use of TSR's trademark by Mayfair Games is not approved by TSR," on the front cover, which casts doubt on that idea. I think the Role-Aids books were very much unlicensed.


    Yes. I include the d20 and OGL as I find much excellent material there.

    The Mayfair license was extremely odd and ultimately controversial, in that it landed Mayfair in court. There was a license but there were questions of use and specifically how TSR's trademarks would be properly displayed on the product. This is where the schizo cartouche comes in. AD&D is referenced but then official use is also disclaimed. This was Mayfair's lame attempt to thread the license needle between the use they wanted and thought they should get under the license and what TSR wanted and believed appropriate. So there was a license but the parties could not agree on how it should be interpreted. Remember this was in the old days when legal drafting in the game industry was more "casual." Ultimately, Mayfair settled after several inconclusive court decisions. It is from reading these court decisions that I'm basing the above. All public domain.

    Scuttlebutt at the time was that TSR wanted out of the licenses and was looking to cause Mayfair problems with the license previously granted. By the time of the Demons line in 1992-93 Lorraine Williams had replaced EGG and demons were banished by the angry mothers from heck. Yet, here comes Mayfair with official demons products under the license. TSR wanted them stopped or so went the tale. I got this from the horses mouth at Gencon back in the day.

    Putting it another way, if there was no license, there would be no cartouche at all for such only invites scrutiny and the first Demon's line product would have been the last, were Mayfair not operating under some color of right.
    _________________
    GVD
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:58 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    I don't necessarily object to that definition, but do you include the d20 and OGL licenses?


    I should clarify. These are official licenses so "yes." However, I personally want to consider this information canon besides because I like much of it a great deal. So, I'm not without my own subjectivity as well. Smile
    _________________
    GVD
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3152
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:58 pm  

    Huh, interesting. I'll bow to your greater knowledge, then.
    Display posts from previous:   
       Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion All times are GMT - 8 Hours
    Page 1 of 1

    Jump to:  

    You cannot post new topics in this forum
    You cannot reply to topics in this forum
    You cannot edit your posts in this forum
    You cannot delete your posts in this forum
    You cannot vote in polls in this forum




    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!


    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.40 Seconds