I would like to develop cults of fiendish nature for my campaign. My intention is that the cults that get properly detailed will enable worshippers to receive clerical spells. I'm looking at beings such as Asmodeus, Demogorgon, Mammon, etc.
I'm looking for some help in establishing the nature of the cults so that they differ quite a bit from one another. I would like some to be well known enough that they are publicly accepted while others are very underground. I would like cults to compete with one another in order to make them more lively in the campaign.
I have consulted Tyrants of the Nine Hells and Hordes of the Abyss from 3.5 edition.
Here is the list of demons and devils I'm considering working with. I'm open to others based on your suggestions. I'm open to what sort of focus the religion centers around, such as Tyranny, Blood, Lies, etc. I would like to make them versatile as possible. I would like to make some of them attractive to naïve people of good and neutral alignments who have no idea what they are getting themselves into by accepting the cults in their life.
Here's what I have so far....
Asmodeus: God of Tyranny, Knowledge and Evil (LE), Worshippers: Neutral and Evil Humans, Humanoids.
Bahamut: God of Dragons, Good, Justice and Nobility (LG), Worshippers: Good and neutral Dragons and Dragonborn, humans, demi-humans.
Glaysa: Goddess of Beauty, (LE), Worshippers: Humans, Domains: Trickery
Mephistopheles: God of Fire and Magic, (LE), Worshippers: Neutral and Evil Humans, Humanoids.
Orcus: God of the Undead, Blood (CE), Worshippers: Neutral and Evil Humans, Giants.
Baphomet: God of Savagery, Destruction (CE), Worshippers: Humanoids, Monsters of the Underdark.
Belial/Fierna: God & Goddess of Secrets, Domination, Seduction (LE), Worshippers: Neutral and Evil Humans, Humanoids.
Demogorgon: God of Fear, Hate, (CE), Worshippers: Evil Humans, Lizardfolk, Troglodytes, Yuan-Ti.
Dispater: God of War,(LE), Worshippers: Neutral and Evil Humans.
Lolth: Goddess of the Drow, Spiders, (CE), Worshippers: Drow Elves.
Malcanthet: Goddess of Lust and Seduction, (CE), Worshippers: Neutral and Evil Humans.
Mammon: God of Greed and Lust (LE), Worshippers: Neutral and Evil Humans, Humanoids. _________________ Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
i dont have any of those resources so anything you send will be greatly appreciated. Ill even throw in a years free pass to the bath house in Greyhawk City. _________________ Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
Both are worth having; especially if you play 2E. Though the latter has the Forgotten Realms logo on it, much of the drow material therein was ripped straight from GDQ.
For what you are doing, the Book of Vile Darkness would also be a good source, as it details prestige classes (i.e. favored cultists) for five of the arch-devils and four of the demon lords, plus numerous generic cult type classes.
Armies of the Abyss by Erik Mona, reprinted as part of The Book of Fiends from Green Ronin Publishing. Armies of the Abyss was meant to be compatible with Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss by Erik Mona, James Jacobs, and Ed Stark, and the appendix of Fiendish Codex I references some demon lords detailed more thoroughly here.
Legions of Hell by Chris Pramas, reprinted as part of The Book of Fiends from Green Ronin Publishing. This one is a little divergent from D&D canon, but meant to be close. Some entities had their names changed: Bel became Baal, Levistus became Leviathan, Baalzebul became Beelzebub, and the Hag Countess was replaced with Lilith (which makes a lot of sense, since Lilith was consort to Moloch, the Hag Countess's predecessor; however, Fiendish Codex II killed off the Hag Countess and promoted Glasya in her place).
The Book of Fiends was a compilation of the previous two books, plus a third book, Hordes of Gehenna, detailing a race of neutral evil fiends and their rulers (called daemons here, but distinct from the daemons/yugoloths of D&D lore), all updated to D&D 3.5.
Lords of Chaos by James Jacobs. Although for the Pathfinder RPG, James Jacobs meant this to be basically compatible with Fiendish Codex I and his series of Demonomicon articles for Dragon Magazine, as well as with Erik Mona's Armies of the Abyss. There are some name changes and redundancies, however, mainly for copyright reasons. The demon queen Nocticula from Armies of the Abyss was turned into an entity much more like Malcanthet, who was unavailable for him to use. Lolth was replaced with a much more alien spider demoness called Mazmezz (though Mazmezz resembles Lolth when she chooses to appear in drow or drider guise). While Lamashtu is a prisoner of Pazuzu in D&D canon, in Pathfinder she is free, and the mightiest of demonkind (though her antagonism with Pazuzu was retained).
Princes of Darkness by F. Wesley Schneider. Also for the Pathfinder RPG, this one diverges more sharply from other interpretations of the Nine Hells, but it's still well done and might be worth it for you to read. Here, the archdevils are Barbatos (lord of animals, corruption, and gateways, ruler of the first hell), Dispater, Belial, Mammon, Geryon, Moloch, Baalzebul, Mephistopheles, and Asmodeus. This is mostly the classic 1st edition AD&D set of archdevils, with Barbatos as a new character. He's very interesting, I think, and usable as a lesser diabolic noble even if you choose not to elevate him to the status of one of the Nine.
Requirements: Wis 13 (specialty priestess); only female clerics
Spheres: All, Animal* (arachnids implied), Chaos*, Charm, Combat, Creation, Divination, Elemental (Earth, Water only), Guardian, Healing, Necromantic (reversed for spells above 4th), Protection, Summoning, Sun (rev)
Specialty Powers: 1) spider venom immunity, 5) Dispel Magic 3/day, 9) True Seeing 2 rds/lvl, 12) Domination (males save at -4, no standard elven resistance allowed)
Turn: Command at -2 lvls
Level Limit: 16; d6 hp per level
This is slightly different than the write-up for the clergy of Lolth in Drow of the Underdark, and there is a Dragon Magazine (I've got it somewhere) that outlines the elven pantheon. In it, Lolth and her clergy are also mentioned, I believe. The drow feature prominently in some old modules such as Against the Giants (fire giant lair), Descent into the Depths of the Earth, and especially Vault of the Drow. Iuz the Old mentions Lolth a bit, yet mainly in context with her dealings with the Old One.
If you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask.
Last edited by Lanthorn on Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:30 pm; edited 2 times in total
Requirements: Wis 13 (typically only ixixachitl)
Spheres: All, Animal*, Chaos*, Combat, Divination, Guardian*, Healing (rev), Necromantic (rev), Protection*, Summoning*, Sun (rev)
Specialty Powers: half damage from cold attacks, 5) half damage from fire attacks, 10) if priest Energy drains a victim, regains 2d4 spell lvls of cast spells
Turn: Command at -4 lvls
Level limit: 8 (12 if vampiric ixixitchitl)
The only other source guide in my collection that mentions Demogorgon at all is my original (yes, still have it!!!) Monster Manual but it says nothing about his clergy. The other references mentioned above may be of more use, but I will give DMPrata credit for his rather extensive list of a Demonic and Diabolical pantheon.
I really liked the version of Dispater found on Green Ronin's website, where he's portrayed as patron of "forbidden knowledge, elitism, and scorn." When it mentions Tinel and Aymara, Tinel is a god of magic similar to Boccob and Aymara is a goddess of love and song similar to Lydia, Myhriss, or Lirr.
That same page has their article on Baal, their version of the pit fiend turned Lord of the Nine called Bel in 2nd and later editions of D&D. While Bel isn't given a cult in D&D, here he's the patron of virility, strength, hunting, and war.
While that page states that they intended to write about the other archdevils, they never got around to it.
You guys have quickly sent much information and resources to visit. Thank you, I greatly appreciate the quick and helpful responsis. Ill be writing up the first of my own cults this weekend. _________________ Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
The 1st edition Monster Manual II introduced the fiendish race of daemons, including two unique beings: Anthraxus the Diseased and Charon the boatman.
Anthraxus made an appearance in Gary Gygax's novel Artifact of Evil, manifesting before the Hierarchs of the Horned Society.
The adventure "The Dark Conventicle" in Dungeon #11 involved the cult of Anthraxus, naming its priests degogs and its high priests archdegogs.
Ed Bonny's article "Pox of the Planes" in the Dragon Magazine Annual #2 detailed a number of unique daemons (renamed yugoloths): Anthraxus, Charon (renamed Cerlic), Bubonix, Xengahra, Typhus, and Taba.
Green Ronin's The Book of Fiends detailed a race they called daemons based on the seven deadly sins, with seven rulers (called exarchs) each personifying a sin.
Paizo's Book of the Damned, Volume 3: Horsemen of the Apocalypse, by Todd Stewart, focused on Pathfinder's version of daemons. Here, each daemon personifies some aspect of the concept of death. Their rulers are the Four Horsemen: Apollyon, the Horseman of Pestilence, is based loosely on Anthraxus, with a similar appearance; Charon, the Horseman of Death, is similar to the Charon/Cerlic of previous editions; Szuriel, the Horseman of War, seems to be based loosely on Xengahra, at least in her appearance as a bleeding angel; Trelmarixian, the Horseman of Famine, is based on a character from Todd Stewart's own campaign and resembles a humanoid with three jackal heads. There are also many lesser unique daemons called harbingers with names like Llamolaek the Ascended, Pavnuri the Lord of Nothing, Vorasha the Ophidian, and Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame. Many of them have their own cults among mortals.
I also recommend you take a look at the 2nd edition adventure, A Paladin in Hell. Tons of adventure ideas, hooks, and info on Devils and Demons, but more specific to your question it contains a priestess of Asmodeus (actually a wizard/priest) and an "Anti-Paladin" of Asmodeus as important villains. Both are interesting, especially the priestess of Asmodeus. The adventure also delves into some of the plans and thoughts of Asmodeus, which you could use.
Thorn, Alexander von. "The Politics of Hell." Dragon #28 (TSR, 1979).
Greenwood, Ed. "The Nine Hells Part I." Dragon #75 (TSR, 1983).
Greenwood, Ed. "The Nine Hells Part II." Dragon #76 (TSR, 1983).
Greenwood, Ed. "The Nine Hells Revisited." Dragon #91 (TSR, 1984).
McComb, Colin. "The Lords of the Nine." Dragon #223 (TSR, 1995).
"The Politics of Hell" was a take on the history of the Nine Hells that featured a civil war dethroning Satan and putting first Baalzebul then Asmodeus in charge. It didn't become part of D&D canon, but a variation of this story was used in Necromancer Games' Tome of Horrors and City of Brass boxed set. The story of the devil Astaroth from "The Politics of Hell" also became the basis for Gargauth, an exiled archdevil first appearing in "The Nine Hells Revisted" in Dragon #91 and subsequently used in a number of Forgotten Realms sources, including Powers & Pantheons for 2e and Faiths & Pantheons for 3e. Astaroth/Gargauth doesn't have a canonical history with Greyhawk, but I think he fits well with the story of Keraptis, whose allied devils and cursed gold reeks of Gargauth's secret hand.
Ed Greenwood's Nine Hells articles remain probably the most influential take on the 1st edition Hells detailed in the Monster Manual and Monster Manual II. He gave short descriptions for scores of different archdevils and their consorts, and while the descriptions get a bit samey after a while, nobody's managed to be as comprehensive as this.
Colin McComb's "The Lords of the Nine" was the first real attempt during the 2nd edition era to return the archdevils back to the AD&D game after management had forced their removal back in 1991. The nine diabolic rulers depicted in this article were for the most part very different from their 1st edition counterparts; apparently names like "Mephistopheles" and "Baalzebul" were still not allowed, so they were replaced by figures like Molikroth and Triel the Fallen. Later, in Monte Cook's A Paladin in Hell and Chris Pramas's subsequent Guide to Hell, McComb's Lords of the Nine were reconciled with their 1st edition versions. The conceit of "the Reckoning" was introduced, a civil war that resulted in some archdevils being exiled and some changing their names and appearances.
Also check out Even More Archfiends, the web enhancement for The Book of Vile Darkness detailing Geryon, Pazuzu, and Rhyxali.
There were a number of detailed articles on archdevils and demon lords in the 4th edition era.
Codex of Betrayal: Alloces, the Butcher of Nessus (Dragon #373)
Codex of Betrayal: Beleth, the Witch's Viscount (Dragon #365)
Codex of Betrayal: Geryon (Dungeon #176)
Codex of Betrayal: Glasya (Dungeon #197)
Codex of Betrayal: Levistus (Dragon #427)
Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Yeenoghu (the complete article is hosted on WotC's website, apparently free for public viewing).
Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Belaphoss, Devourer of Hope (this is a 5th edition article for Dragon+)
Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Codricuhn, the Blood Storm (Dungeon #172)
Okay, major canonical fiendish cults in the Flanaess:
Orcus: There's a shrine to him in the sewers beneath the City of Greyhawk venerated by wererats, Saint Bane once fought him and his servant, Khuul the Witch-Ghoul. The demilich Acererak built his fortress using servants dredged from the City That Waits, a demiplane cursed by Orcus, and Acererak played an inadvertent role in Orcus's resurrection. Depending on your interpretation of the Planescape supermodule Dead Gods, Orcus may have been dead for centuries before his return to demonic life between 585 CY and 591 CY (it actually doesn't matter much how long he was dead; the supermodule says centuries, but it may have been much less if you've established the Bloodstone modules happened recently in your game).
Pazuzu: A major rival of Graz'zt, Pazuzu (also known as Pazrael) was a major supplier of the demonic armies of Iuz. Pazuzu has ambitions of one day supplanting Iuz as ruler of the cambion's empire on Oerth, and Iuz uses his knowledge of this as a lever against Graz'zt, manipulating both into aiding him with the fear that their rival may gain too much power on Oerth without their interference. I'd thought it was canon that Pazuzu created the fortress of Bloodcrystal in Almor, but I can't find a reference to Pazrael in Bloodcrystal's description in The Marklands, nor a reference to Bloodcrystal in Pazrael's description in Iuz the Evil, so maybe that was just an assumption on my part.
Graz'zt: Lover, erstwhile captor, and sometime prisoner of Iggwilv, father of Iuz. Graz'zt was also responsible for dragging the wizard Tuerny into the Abyss centuries ago after a summoning went awry. After the events of the GDQ series, the drow priestess Eclavdra served as Graz'zt's ambassador to Iuz until she betrayed him to win herself back into the good graces of Lolth. Graz'zt has ambitions of dragging all of Oerth into the Abyss, but for now he has an alliance with his son Iuz in order to counteract the influence of his rival Pazuzu.
Malcanthet: Queen of succubi, Malcanthet is one of the patrons of House Maure in the Duchy of Urnst.
Demogorgon: Demogorgon was worshiped by the ancient troglodytes of the Amedio Jungle and what is now the Kingdom of Ahlissa. After the troglodyte kingdom was destroyed by Queen Ehlissa's Flan soldiers, Demogorgon's cult became widespread among the Flan of the Flanmi River. The fallen paladin known as Saint Kargoth would later seal a pact with Demogorgon to transform Kargoth and his companions into accursed death knights. Demogorgon also schemed to create the apocalyptic Savage Tide in the Isle of Dread. As the self-proclaimed Prince of Demons, Demogorgon's greatest rivals are Orcus and Graz'zt, although his own two heads have different personalities and goals.
Baalzebul: After the adventurer known only as Erac's Cousin was captured by the demon prince Fraz'Urb-luu, Erac's Cousin signed a pact with Baalzebul, promising the archdevil the souls of his victims in exchange for rebirth as a greater devil after his mortal death.
Asmodeus: Asmodeus is revered by Markosian, an agent of the Horned Society detailed in Dungeon #111.
Baalphegor: Baalphegor, the consort to Mephistopheles, appeared in the adventure "Caermor" in Dungeon #2 (reprinted in Dungeons of Despair). An artifact called Baalphegor's Grace (detailed in Dungeon #135), created by Mephistopheles using Baalphegor's own blood and tears, has fallen into the possession of the undead dragon Lashonna in the city of Alhaster in the Bandit Kingdoms. Dungeon #135 suggests Baalphegor has mysteriously disappeared, but this might just be a reference to her activities in Dungeon #2, when she temporarily abandoned the politics of the Hells to play complex games of her own on the mortal plane.
Glasya: According to Dungeon #25, Glasya is the patron of Talakara, the queen of the isolated kingdom of Pandar. This isn't an official part of Oerth, but given that it's a narrow valley surrounded by lava flows I think it would work really well in the Hellfurnaces.
Zuggtmoy: The founder of the Cult of Elemental Evil, ally and consort to Iuz the Old, ancient rival of Lolth.
Lolth: Lolth is the primary patron of the drow of Erelhei-Cinlu, although she was challenged in this first by the cult of the Elder Elemental God and then by the cult of Kiaransalee. Lolth is also one of three demons who have become a patron to the cultists of Elemental Evil, the others being Iuz and Zuggtmoy, with four other cults serving the principles of earth, air, water, and fire (they actually probably serve the princes of elemental evil Ogremoch, Yan-C-Bin, Olhydra, and Imix, though T1-4 doesn't specify.) T1-4 makes much of how routed and crippled Lolth was in the wake of the events of Q1, so desperate for power that she accepted the human Lareth the Beautiful as a servant.
"Baalzy": This one's tricky. Baalzy was introduced in Fate of Istus as the "god of prosperity," a front for the worship of an archfiend called Baael. In Ivid the Undying, Baael was changed to Baalzephon, a pit fiend who serves (according to the Hellbound: The Blood War boxed set) as Minister of Supply in the Blood War, in charge of ensuring Baator has the resources it needs to fight its battles.
The problem: would Asmodeus allow a mere pit fiend, however exalted her position, to be the focus of a major kingdom's state-mandated religion? When Ivid the Undying was written, the presiding canon regarding the lower planes was the Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix, which claimed the Dark Eight (including Baalzephon) were the greatest leaders of the baatezu race. The archdevils wouldn't return to AD&D canon until Colin McComb's article in Dragon a few years later.
Nowadays, though, it's perfectly acceptable for D&D to use the archdevils as the focus of cults, and it might make more sense to use one or more of them instead of Baalzephon (or Baael). Wouldn't Asmodeus, as ruler of Hell, insist that any devil-worshiping faith acknowledge him as preeminent? The Aerdi might give Baalzephon a place in their faith, but it seems to me that worship of Asmodeus would come as part of the package.
One thing I liked about Fiendish Codex II was its idea that Baalzebul is venerated as patron of devil-worshiping rebels, while Asmodeus is patron of the devil-worshiping status quo. Baalzebul, lord of the flies, is lord of rot: he teaches that the hypocritical strictures of good must crumble, be undermined by his agents so that the true path of lawful evil can be constructed in the ruins. Once the forces of Hell have won and can openly proclaim itself as supreme, the church of Asmodeus takes over and the cult of Baalzebul is sent away to undermine some other region.
Now, the cult of Baalzy isn't quite an open triumph of the forces of Hell. It's a false faith, a pseudonym meant to mask its true infernal nature. So perhaps the Great Kingdom isn't quite ready to construct blatant temples of Asmodeus yet. But at the same time, Baalzephon is busy supplying the Blood War and Mammon might make a better false "God of Prosperity."
The other question: what of Hextor? Hextor is the Herald of Hell, so the Lords of Hell must be, at the very least, allies of his and Hextor is openly worshiped throughout the Great Kingdom. So why wouldn't people, those who venerate Hextor at least, accept temples of Mammon and Asmodeus under their true names? It seems like it might be simpler and more satisfying to just dump the whole "Baalzy" ruse and say that Ivid V has commanded his people to give reverence to the Lords of the Nine.
Another thing: "Baalzy" isn't very subtle, as pseudonyms go. It seems pretty obvious that with a name like that, you're dealing with some sort of devil, be it Baalzephon, Baalzebul, Baalphegor, or Bael. If the faith of Baalzy must begin with a ruse, why not have them pose initially as the Church of Zilchus, with the true clerics of Zilchus slowly killed or otherwise done away with while cultists of Mammon and Asmodeus take their places? That sort of ruse might make more sense, since it'd be a way to draw worshipers of Zilchus and others who don't currently identify as sympathetic to the Nine Hells into their grip without being too obvious about it. Or if infiltrating the Church of Zilchus is too difficult, call the god Abadar or something else that doesn't sound like an affectionate nickname you've given Baalzephon. Just personal preference, I guess. It does make sense that not everyone would submit to venerating the archdevils, even in the Great Kingdom under the reign of Ivid V, and for those, a false faith and assumed name might be exactly what they need to fall into corruption.
In other news:
For good-aligned cults of planar beings, I recommend Book of Exalted Deeds, which has the most detail on the rulers of the archons, guardinals, and eladrins. At least one of them, the eladrin princess Gwynharyf, the Whirling Fury, is the focus of a church in the city of Sasserine in the Savage Tide adventure path.
The Hebdomad, the council of seven tome archons who rule the layers of the Seven Heavens, were supposed to originally be seven holy martyrs who had sacrificed themselves for the cause of law and good early in the history of the multiverse. Book of Exalted Deeds doesn't tell us much more than that, but I thought it might make sense to connect these seven martyrs with the seven Wandering Dukes who created the Rod of Seven Parts. This doesn't quite work with the background in the Rod of Seven Parts boxed set, in which one of those Dukes is still alive, but the seventh martyr might have been Zosiel, whose tomb was featured in "The Whispering Cairn" in Dungeon #124.
Pathfinder released a sourcebook on celestial rulers called Chronicle of the Righteous. Some of them are pretty interesting; I'm especially fond of Ragathiel, a son of Dispater and an elemental princess of flame who rose to become an archangel.
For dragon gods, the major 2nd edition sources were Monster Mythology and Draconomicon. The major 3rd edition sources were Draconomicon and Races of the Dragon.
Chatdemon wrote a Greyhawk adaptation of some of the fiendish cults from Green Ronin's Legions of Hell and posted it here on Canonfire. He connected them to the Suloise pantheon, particularly Wee Jas.
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