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Hell, Devils, Archdevils, Whore Queens, and the Damned


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Editor-in-Chief

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I feel like I hit critical mass over on the Ask Wes thread answering questions about various aspects of Hell, devils, the damned, etc. Rather than keeping all of that squirreled away on the off-topic forum, I'm relocating it out here where it's probably more relevant and accessible.

Remember that until something sees print nothing on these boards is considered canon or inviolable, but if you wanted some more ideas about Hell and its denizens from the guy who wrote the book on them, here' you go!


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Odraude wrote:
I'd like your opinion on Devils, since you are the Devil Master Supreme! With demons and demon lords, they can take power with force and strength. Some examples include Noctula and Lamashtu. For devils and their Infernal Dukes and Archdevils, how does a devil usurp their power?

Editor-in-Chief

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Something I never liked about many RPGs' visions of Hell was that it's so frequently presented as this squabbling court, full of backbiting, one-upmanship, and endless obvious betrayals. Most tended to have this intense vibe of warring Renaissance Italian families/city-states--which makes some sense considering that most are based off the Inferno--but nearly always taken to a ridiculous degree. Hell is as much about law as it is about evil, and the law aspect always seemed to be subsumed by the evil aspect.
(I'm breaking this up, as things got... out of hand.)

Alignment in Hell
I really enjoy the D&D/Pathfinder alignment system--probably because I played a lot of Planescape back in the day. But what's always irked me is the perception many players and designers seem to have that the alignment grid is actually a spectrum, with lawful good being the "goodest-good" and chaotic evil being the "baddest-bad." It didn't help that back then the demon lords were typically so much cooler than the rulers of Hell, leading to several adventures where these evil embodiments of chaos would have these far-reaching, structured, master plots going on while the archdevils were just... I don't know, bickering in Hell? Boring.
Hell is where lawful evil characters go when they die--characters of the mastermind alignment. So why did Hell's rulers never seem like Hannibal Lecter? Saruman? Palpatine? Maybe because convincing master plots by beings with deity-level intelligence are difficult for we mere mortals to convincingly write? Or was it just that these big-bads were so good that they were quietly taking over whole Material Plane planets in the background without anyone ever noticing?

Remaking Hell and the Archdevils
So I wanted to make sure a lot of that either didn't translate over into Pathfinder's vision of Hell or was explicitly stated.
Hell needed to be ordered, which meant, to a greater or lesser degree, united. There is no doubt that Asmodeus is the boss in Hell. He's even brought a few of his favorite children and servants from Heaven with him, with Baalzebul, Belial, Dispater, Mammon, and Moloch being among some of the oldest beings in existence. Belial and Mephistopheles are both creations of Asmodeus, the former an experiment in creating the perfect being, the latter a layer of Hell itself given humanoid form. Barbatos and Geryon are the outsiders, the first being from... elsewhere (check out my article on him in Kobold Quarterly #22 if you missed it), the second being a thing born from the corpses of fallen divinities and the first lies to ever ring through the Multiverse. Among them is tension, favoritism, alliances, and suspicion, but Asmodeus brooks no dissension in his house. Baalzebul is the only one of the archdevils who has ever dared to make demands of Asmodeus, and his angelic form was shattered into a billion s+!&-fattened flies for his arrogance. But even then he was still allowed to retain his demense.

Archdevil Brushes with Death
Thus far, the only archdevil to have fallen and remain dead was Typhon, the former lord of the First, who was slain by the Empyreal Lord Ragathiel, Dispater's son. Mammon was slain by Sarenrae and her armies, but the power of the Maelstrom and Hell transformed him into a genius loci infusing the contents of Hell's vaults, in particular the Argent Prince (see Pathfinder Adventure Path #30 for more on Mammon and his cult).
Overall, these guys are phenomenally difficult to put down.

Climbing Ladders in the Pit
So, how does one get ahead in Hell? You don't necessarily. There's an entrenched hierarchy of god-like rulers and supplanting them proves next to impossible. So ultimately, you're just as likely to serve in Hell as you are in Heaven--which is how the plane and devils are organized.
In many ways, Hell is a military meritocracy. Devils have their fortunes hitched to specific lords and serve obediently or are destroyed. Those that excel are often rewarded for their service, as their victories become their lord's victories. The devils that prove most capable survive and are over immeasurable spans of time are granted increased responsibilities and dominion over others. This allows devils to not just rise through the ranks of various diabolical forms and specializations--with every type of devil being essentially a rank in a highly complex, semi-organic structure--but also to amass personal power. Those who prove most fit will eventually rise to the level of pit fiends and similar high-level devils. The infernal dukes eventually take notice of these rising devils, making them agents of their own objectives.

Malbranche
Over ages, those who prove most successful might be recognized by an infernal duke or archdevil and utilized in some grant plot--such as bringing an entire Material Plane world to heel. To assist those conquerors sent to the mortal realm, these fiends--the malbranche--are granted unique forms. The malbranche are essentially generals in a ages-long offensive, who are given total autonomy and fantastic resources to bring their worlds under Hell's control using whatever tactics they prefer. For most devils, succeeding in such a campaign and becoming the resident deity of a subjugated mortal world is the height of accomplishment. And for those wondering, yes, these beings are at work in Golarion and the nearby worlds in terrifying and subtle ways... just compare page 51 of Princes of Darkness to Distant Worlds. The Harlequin Society in Rule of Fear also is just one such group of mortals that ties into this. Ultimately, there are several worlds throughout the multiverse that probably look something like Apokolips or are ordered and controlled by more subtle methods.

Infernal Dukes
Those devils who prove their competence as malbranche--on one or multiple campaigns--might eventually be made direct agents of the archdevils, banner men of ultimate evil with domains of their own carved out of the flesh of Hell. These are the infernal dukes. Their duties do not become simpler, though. Once established, infernal dukes are made responsible for various duties, often reflecting their archdevil master's areas of concern or responsibilities. For some this might mean guarding the shores of Hell from proteans, angels, inevitables, and other would-be usurpers. For others this could be overseeing the capture of damned souls and their dispersal to the proper layers of Hell. For others this could mean participation in machinations throughout the Multiverse, serving as the emissaries of gregarious devils like Dispater and Belial, attending their courts, and extracting the secrets of their guests. This could mean setting their minds to the creation of new and even more diabolical engines of war, the corruption and reeducation of valuable souls or planar figures, plotting the overthrow of strategic domains across the planes, encouraging the rise of some new heresy, or any of countless other unspeakable plots.

The Iron Ceiling
Beyond this, though, there's little else. Those infernal lords who would claim the thrones of their masters are making plays against some of the oldest, wisest, most evil, and most paranoid masterminds reality has ever known. Most don't succeed. Just Barbatos, for example, keeps a monument upon his floating nation--the Promised Land--called the Penitent Cross, a gigantic willow tree watered by the endlessly bleeding wrecks of those who have even thought to betray him. Other archdevils have less artistic but equally creative punishments and deterrents.
Should an archdevil fall, though, a replacement is likely to be selected from among the ranks of the infernal dukes. This does not mean that the murderer of an archdevil immediately claims that archdevil's responsibilities and powers, though. The archdevils include some of Asmodeus's oldest allies and creations, and in most cases he would not take their murder well.

Hell is Hell
In this way, Hell is slavery and torment for devils as much as it is for the souls damned to its pits. The greatest of them are given fantastic powers, fuel for megalomaniacal desires, dominion over legions of their lessers, mastery of the fates of sometimes whole worlds of mortal souls, and ages upon ages to indulge their every whim, and for all of that, absolute mastery and total freedom is something none of them will ever have. There will always be someone more powerful, and in the presence of Asmodeus every devil--no matter how potent--must kowtow or be obliterated. And that obliteration has been the fate of more malbranche and infernal dukes then otherwise.

Do You Want to Know More?
You can check out all of this is a less rambly, better organized format in Book of the Damned Volume #1: Princes of Darkness and in my articles on Barbatos (Kobold Quarterly #22), Dispater (Kobold Quarterly #23), and Mammon (Pathfinder Adventure Path #30).
Thanks for asking!


doc the gray wrote:
What can you tell us about the Whore Queens, will they ever get more of a write up and time in the sun?

Editor-in-Chief

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Tons! And maybe. I'd love to write more about them and might someday, but I could say that about lots and lots and lots of things.
Something I definitely want to know is what they and their worshipers call themselves, 'cause you can bet it's not THAT. I'm thinking along the lines of "Queens of Light," "True Daughters of Heaven," "The Unsullied," "Mothers of Fire" or something like that.

Until there's an opportunity in canon to talk about them more, though, I'd refer you to their mythological and literary inspirations--aka, let me tell you what inspired all four of them (in one way or another).

The Whore Queens, as a group, find their roots with the Angels of Prostitution, angels that--depending on the mythology you read--are the angels who preside over sacred prostitution, condemned angels, the brides of Samael (Death), etc. There's definitely some drift in the myths here (evolving and purposefully recast myths fascinate me, by the by, and that you'll find a lot of in Book of the Damned: Princes of Darkness and a lot of other things I've worked on). The farther back you go, the more it seems that the Angels of Prostitution were actual angels who guard sex workers and religious prostitutes. As you get into more modern times, it seems that more sexually repressed sensibilities creep in and these characters get increasingly demonized and associated with ominous characters (like Lilith and Samael). They're awesome, though, and have a fantastic name, which is why I wanted to make them big deals in Hell.

Individually, though, I made quite a few tinkers, and our Whore Queens are not direct transplants from the mythological Angels of Prostitution.

Doloras is largely inspired by Notre-Dame des Sept Douleurs (and other characters who were born from that same source). In our world, I also suspect she has ties to the kytons, who used to live in Hell, but I'm not ready to get into all of that yet.

Eiseth is a reenvisioning of Eisheth-Zenunim. Of all the original Angels of Prostitution, I would say she's taken the relocation to Hell the worst. Gone is her concern for gentle hearts and healing, replaced with the rage of the Erinyes Queen.

Mahathallah is inspired by Agrat Bat Mahlat, whose name, in Hebrew means something to the effect of "Daughter of Illusions" or "Bringer of deception." You can see the influence of "Mahlat" in the beginning of her name. There might also be a bit of Mata Hari influencing that name--I forget where the rest came from. Aside from the name and general schtick, Mahathallah's pretty different from the other Whore Queens as she didn't fall from Heaven. Rather, she used to be a handmaiden of Pharasma. We didn't have either term when I wrote about Mahathallah originally, but now I'd call her a Psychopomp Usher. So she's pretty awesome.

Ardad Lili is Lilith. You see the name in the vardat lilitu, or "maiden spirits" associated with her, and by extension "Lili"-th. She's also mightily inspired by Lilth NSFW LINK) from Wayne Barlow's awesomely grotesque art and novel God's Demon. If there's a true queen in Hell, it's Ardad Lili. But she's not really interested in ruling there. She has other plans.


doc the gray wrote:
Why does Doloras have the Repose domain?

Editor-in-Chief

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She's a nihilist. Just look at her, she's abandoned her literally perfect angelic body for a body of metal and blades. She is emotionless and blank. Where her kyton associates endless search for perfection, she's found it in a place past passion, past emotion, past hope. Those who embrace her will find their end, and they will not return.

The Repose domain might be spun in a gentle and pleasant direction for PCs, but that's not the only way you can cast those powers.


doc the gray wrote:
Do you have any plans to write more articles on the lords of the rings of hell now that Kobold quarterly has stopped production, maybe as web enhancements or blog updates? I was blown away by the Barbatos entry as before that I really hadn't felt like he was fleshed out enough to get what his schtick was in tempting souls but with that article it put him in a whole new light. Also I'm really waiting to see what you would do with characters like Belial who my group apparently now NEEDS info on and I would desperately want to see you punch out another write up on par with the last 2.

Editor-in-Chief

Thanks again! I seriously enjoyed doing them. The fact that I JUST last week sent in my contracts for those should be evidence that I didn't write them for a paycheck, I wrote them because I seriously enjoy these characters, have a lot of ideas about them, and want to see them treated right.

Currently, though, I don't know where--outside of Paizo's operation-- I'd be willing to see similar articles published. We've got a great relationship with Wolfgang, and I knew he'd not only let me write the articles I wanted, but would get awesome art, have great layout, and present the whole thing in a snazzy package. And for those two issues, KQ totally delivered and I was beyond impressed!

But without that, I don't know of another publication that would not only let me do what I want but would put it together in as impressive a package. Not to mention that I'd be willing to do an official Pathfinder RPG article for.

So for now, no plans... but you never know.


doc the gray wrote:
As a duke of what is basically nature used to cause fear and madness why is it that Barbatos doesn't have the Animal domain as part of his repertoire? From his write up in Kobold he really feels like it was a domain he was meant to have.

Editor-in-Chief

Why, because he's so nice to them, treats them so respectfully, and wants to see them flourish? No way! Meat is meat to a creature like Barbatos, and all the better if that meat has claws or can be made to do something it shouldn't as a result of his power.

He might delight in acting through the base and primal, but he is certainly not their advocate.


doc the gray wrote:
Why does Geryon have the strength domain and not something more related to knowledge, secrets, or Heresy?

Editor-in-Chief

Choosing domains for a pantheon of associated deities is always a puzzle.

I think the Trickery domain argument could be made for nearly every devil, so after Dispater--who made the most sense--got it, that one was off the list. Then, as aligned demigods, archdevils have two of their domains already decided for them (Evil and Law). I also wanted to get each of the four elements into the options for the entire group, so Water made sense for Geryon.

So we're down to one domain left.

As maybe the largest of the archdevils (if you can apply terms of size to such beings) Geryon is the most like a kaiju of the group. He's even described as a being of "terrifying contradictions," his form being like a force of nature and his secrets and lies casting and recasting reality in countless point of views. Geryon is a creature that will get what he wants, whether he has to destroy a whole nation with his body or seed the multiverse with so many lies and false memories that truth reshapes into what he desires. He is the brute force in words and blasphemy behind even the palest lie. So Strength seemed like a good fit. For those who worship him, I would definitely suggest checking out the Ferocity and Resolve subdomains, as both highlight aspects of his relentlessness.


doc the gray wrote:
Will we ever get more on the Infernal Duke Lorcan (aka the 3rd vampire and duke of undeath)?

Editor-in-Chief

Only time will tell. ;)


doc the gray wrote:
Wow! So much stuff to take in, I kind of figured the whole Doloras being this feminine nihilism incarnate character but the repose thing still eludes me in its association. That being said from your write up here she sounds more like an ally of the daemons then kytons (nothing really matters, ascension to nothingness, total obliteration of the soul in order to never be hurt again. Sounds right up the alley of the horsemen. Especially sounds like an interesting ally of Suzeriel) which honestly just makes her more impressive. Okay wait I can kind of see the soul connection but it's more about the destruction of soul and self rather then it's preservation. Dammit now I need to build something around this.

Editor-in-Chief

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I could see her having allies among the daemons, but I doubt see's too friendly. And yeah, some of her philosophies totally do overlap with concepts the Horsemen encourage. I really like it when different types of characters and different alignments of creatures go about trying to fulfill similar goals. Sure, the neutral evil daemons might pursue oblivion through tricks and lies, wanton destruction and undermining souls, but how would a lawful good character go about it? She wouldn't lie or cheat or make promises she couldn't fulfill, she'd offer it, she'd make you want it, she'd trade you shiny things that you think you want for intangible or fundamental things you never realized were precious, she'd cultivate your romance with oblivion. And in the end, she wouldn't laugh, she wouldn't exalt, she'd just turn away, because you're nothing and she's past caring.


doc the gray wrote:
Now more questions. What can you tell us about belial? I have a player who's decided blind calling another powerful demigod because it shares some of it's portfolio with a demon lord and it's cult who he just managed to not get killed by is a good idea and I kind of want more about him so I can better portray what he is all about.

Editor-in-Chief

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I could--and probably someday will--write a whole article about Belial. If you're not already familiar with his write up in Book of the Damned, that's a great place to start. But beyond that, there's not much more in canon that exists. So, in other words, you've got free reign here and nothing in print is going to contradict whatever you decide to run with (and even if there was something in print, you could still just flat out ignore it).

So don't feel like you have to wait on some shlub on the interwebs to tell you how to run your game.

That said, if you want to expand your idea of what Belial does, I would suggest taking a look at what he surrounds himself with.

The Idolisque: Belial's fortress is a vast harem and beautiful torture theater. Elegant and decadent, damned souls deemed worthy are given the choice to leave behind their labors and join the chosen in this unbelivable palace--where they are ultimately violated, remade, and tormented at the whims of its fiendish inhabitants and other damned souls. But at least they don't have to mine metal with their hands and the place is much prettier.

This is where Belial lives, and it operates in a way that pleases him most. The choice of the Idolisque is the torment you know verses the torment that you don't. Its giving up one burden for another, worse burden disguised as a boon. It's temptation, and regret, and despair. And as bad as the torment of bleeding, brutal labor is, it's not worse than physical torture combined with the knowledge that you brought this on yourself.

Sexy Souls: This says that Belial has more than a wandering eye. He is attracted to pretty things and looks for more to entertain himself with. He knows no gender or sexuality being of infinitely malleable form. He knows no taboo, being beyond morality. He's also ageless, and that means bored, so he's already tried everything once and is always looking for something new. So when you're wondering what might serve him, what might catch his attention, and what he might covet and savor, keep all of that in mind.

Surgeries and Forges: These prove Belial isn't passive. He's not a doped sultan lounging eternally in his seraglio, he's a sculptor, an inventor, a doer. He's a creature of creation and imagination, born from Asmodeus's own craft and give variable forms. He can be whatever is pleasing, and he pursues what is pleasing to him. Material doesn't mater to him, whether it be flesh or steel, he's interested in creation, in art, in the avant garde, the outrageous, the audacious. If the multiverse won't furnish him with beauty and distraction, then he'll make it himself... and all the better if he has rare and wondrous material to work with.

These are just a few ideas taken largely from the text.


doc the gray wrote:
What kinds of characters end up consigned to the 8th ring of hell?

Editor-in-Chief

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Cania is solitary confinement for some of the worst of the damned. Not tyrants and evil leaders, many of them are consigned to Nessus, but the unique and the inventive. Each spire is the prison for a single soul, who for a time was the maestro of some atrocity or nightmare to the masses. If Hannibal Lecter, Darth Vader, Ozymandias, John Doe (from Seven) were consigned to Hell--evil masterminds who weren't also rulers or masterful servants of Asmodeus--this is (arguably) where they might go.


doc the gray wrote:
Is their any chance we might see a mythic variant of the contract devil in mythic adventures/bestiary 4, something to really play up that iconic "great tempter" of devilkind?

Editor-in-Chief

Mythic Adventures will give you tons of tools to make any monster you want mythic. Bestiary 4 is not going to provide any mythic reskins of existing creatures.


doc the gray wrote:
Also what does Dispater think of his son Ragathiel, does he despise him and seek his destruction, or something closer to actually loving him but finding his choices horribly "misguided"?

Editor-in-Chief

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Dispater does not actively seek his son's destruction. In fact, I'm sure he loves his son after a fashion. He knows Ragathiel is young and needs to make his own mistakes. Heck, even Dispater served Heaven for a time in his misguided youth. Dispater probably thinks his son will go be wild and naive for a few eons, but he'll eventually grow out of it and come around, and when he does, he'll have a place in his father's kingdom.


AlgaeNymph wrote:
1. Given Hell's misogyny, why did the Whore Queens willingly serve Hell? Were angels prudes or something?

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So here's an interesting distinction: Asmodeus has misogynistic tendencies (largely when it comes to rulers in his realm). That doesn't necessarily mean all of Hell is misogynistic. It's kind of like how a company is more than just the will of a single director. Sure that one figure influences the organization and things under his/her immediate control, but it doesn't necessarily make one's politics are the entire body's politics.

Asmodeus has eight lieutenants who serve him with varying degrees of--mostly--loyalty. Within their own domains, those archedevils are free to do what they will, to rule as they see fit. That's part of why the layers of Hell are so distinctive. While Asmodeus might not have welcomed any creatures that exclusively identify as women into his inner circle, that doesn't mean that his minions have the same damage.

Lets just look at the run down of Hell's major players:

Barbartos: Has no gender or concern for what form his minions take.

Dispater: Has been married three times, has good relations with his last wife, and has a statue in his hall of a lost beloved. Eiseth's fortress, Widow's Cry, is even situated at the heart of his city. Of all the archdevils, he is easily the one most interested in romantic relationships. (You can read more about Dispater, including details on his past wives, in Kobold Quartery #23.)

Mammon: Is a genderless genus loci. His gender is the same as that of a nickel.

Belial: Is also genderless, and eagerly embraces lovers of various genders (ages, races, species, mortalities, etc).

Geryon: Is male in the same way that King Kong is male. His interests are in secrets and knowledge and ruin, not the shape of the mouths his lies spill from.

Moloch: Cares for prowess. If you can fight for him and win, you're in.

Baalzebul: A genderless mass of flies, spawned from a genderless angel. He doesn't care about gender, largely because it's a concept he believes himself greater than.

Mephistopheles: A being sculpted from the body of Hell. Form is still something of a novelty to him, and the distinctions between genders are petty in the face of one who's known what it is to be a facet of the vast force and potential of a living plane of pure thought.

So that leaves...

Asmodeus: Who like Baalzebul, Dispater, and others, arose from the ranks of beings who know nothing of gender. So why would he have a grudge against women? Well against mortals, he doesn't, because he doesn't care--servants are servants, dirt is dirt, the temporary shape of collections of atoms destined to disperse is meaningless. But against immortal beings that choose to identify as women, that he would hold some sort of grudge... interesting, interesting...

Bear in mind, that despite his personal baggage, Asmodeus is still a genius beyond reckoning. Many of the gods, including Iomedae, have sought out his advice and he's granted it willingly and courts alliances with all of his peers. It doesn't serve him to rebuke any sort of potential ally from outside his realm. That's just short-sighted strategy. But within his own realm, in the hierarchy he dominates, even his tastes might be worn a bit too clearly on his sleeve. Is this an obvious tell by the archfiend, a ploy, or something else, few can say.

So why to Ardad Lili, Doloras, Eiseth, and Mahathallah serve Hell? In part because it's not all bad (for them).

First, they are still leaders among devilkind, and those evil souls who might not be inclined to worship Asmodeus or his archdevils are attracted to them.

Second, not being granted positions as archdevils does not mean that they're prejudiced against by the vast majority of Hell's inhabitants. In fact, it means that they're left without many of the responsibilities incumbent upon archdevils, granting them a freedom many of Hell's rulers don't enjoy.

Some like Eiseth and Doloras have sweet domains within Hell's lairs, the environment of which suits them like no place else in the planes. Mahathallah is a bit more of a wanderer, and comes and goes as she pleases--she's probably in Hell the least. As for Ardad Lili, she's the one probably the most likely to be offended, as she was actually there when the original archdevils were named (unlike the others who came later). For her, she has personal reasons.

As for the questions of were angels prudes? Oh, most assuredly many were. Asmodeus had more reasons to rebel then just mustache twirling after all.


AlgaeNymph wrote:
2. Come to think of it, why would any woman willingly and knowingly serve hell?

Editor-in-Chief

Wooof. That's a question with a lot of answers, many tied into the darker sides of human nature. Lets start with the basics, some of which I've touched on above.

Asmodeus doesn't like powerful female servants among his commanders... for some reason. He doesn't care about mortal gender, though. This is seen in part by the support he's given female dominated devil worshiping factions, like House Thrune in Cheliax. Do right (or wrong in his case), further his goals, praise his name, etc, and you're in--how your tepid mortal organs arrange themselves not withstanding. After all, he's a genius, he's not so foolish as to simply alienate a significant population of potential worshipers just over some personal matter.

But even that is just worship of Asmodeus, a rather distinctive and separate thing from allegiance to Hell. The philosophy of Diabolism, reverence for and emulation of the hierarchies of Hell, is distinct from worship of Asmodeus. As noted above, Asmodeus's tastes are not the only law of Hell. No form of sexism is ingrained in the hierarchies of Hell. With the variations and varieties between devilkind--and to a wider extent, all outsiders--and with the changeability of such beings, matters of gender often fall away as meaningless, quaint, or into the realm of useful tools. Because, do you really care about the gender of the being next to you when, on the other side there's a creature with no gender, a creature that's a thousand nameless genders, a creature that's a giant bug with genius-level intellect, and a being that's a sentient mass of spell-spewing worms.

Our mortal human concerns lose much of their scale in the face of infinity and potential beyond even a single universe's capacity to contain.

But even beyond all of that, why might a member of a group choose to turn against what they are to serve another group that hates them? History answers this for us a million terrible times. Evil, and what might drive one to evil, exists to depths of depravity even without the help of monsters and immortal corruptors. Pity those who face the machinations of more fit beings who actively seek to aid them in undoing themselves.


AlgaeNymph wrote:
3. What reason does Asmodeus give for his misogyny?

Editor-in-Chief

He doesn't. And if he did, would it be wise to believe him? But he is, and few seem to know the reason.

If anyone does know, I would bet on Dispater, Baalzebul, Ardad Lili... maybe Shelyn... and maybe Urgathoa.


AlgaeNymph wrote:
4. How does Belial's misogyny manifest? I ask because I'm guessing he torments male sex slaves as well.

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Belial's!? Belial's got nothing but love for women... and men... and the dead... and the undead... and salmon... and vultures... and owlbears... and ant swarms... and flesh golems... and iron golems... and gibbering mouthers... and sycamore trees... and your grandmother's church... and your childhood stuffed animals... and...


AlgaeNymph wrote:
5. For damned souls, is it worse for women than it is for men or are they tortured equally? Also, how does Hell's much-vaunted meritocracy work for damned women?

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There's no difference. The damned are the damned, mortal gender has no relevance. In fact, a big portion of being damned (or a petitioner in general) is about losing your mortal identity and being reshaped as Hell (or your resident plane) wants and needs you. A few posts down I talk a bit about the refinement process Hell puts mortal souls through. Losing your sense of self and everything that comprises it is fundamental to this.


AlgaeNymph wrote:
6. Given the certainty of damnation, why would anyone sell his soul to a devil?

Editor-in-Chief

Christopher Marlowe certainly answers that more eloquently than I ever could. Beyond that, hubris and desperation play into it a lot.

And if you can't imagine reasons why you might sell your soul, I think that speaks very well of you. ;)


AlgaeNymph wrote:
7. Hell's supposed to be about psychological torture but the torments written about seem physical. What am I missing?

Editor-in-Chief

There are a wide variety of torments detailed throughout Book of the Damned Volume 1: Princes of Darkness--many drawn directly from or inspired by the Inferno. Some involve torture or physical labor, some involve conscription or being hunted, some involve isolation or being used as building materials, some involve being lost in the dark or in a wilderness, some involve the unthinkable, some involve worse.

All the while, insidious forces have the potential to make the damned their play thing. Each of these torments has a physical expression, but also a psychological expression. Some provoke helplessness, some desperation, some the hope of freedom and resulting disappointment, some simply being alone with nothing but one's self. And all promise fear--fear of pain, fear of betrayal, fear of the unknown, fear of becoming something else, fear of losing one's self, fear of never escaping, fear of losing control, fear of being revealed, fear of being judged, fear of being misjudged, fear of that, this, or the other thing. Some are blunt, some will be more subtle. Some might require only a taskmaster with a pointy rock, some might call for a cast of hundreds.

Hell's torments take a spectrum of forms impossible for sane mortal minds to full imagine (or even have the time in a single life to do so). Those listed are among the most common and those imposed upon the largest groups of the damned. Individual souls worthy of individual treatment by experienced tormentors are determined on a much more specialized and intimate basis.

Additionally, if there is a particular torment that you were hoping for that you didn't feel was represented, I assure you Hell has room for it.


AlgaeNymph wrote:
8. Why does Pharasma let children sacrificed to Moloch linger in Hell? Or allow souls who don't belong there to be made into chortovs and zebubs?

Editor-in-Chief

Because the act of sacrifice circumvents Pharasma's influence. Statistically, this is the effect of the spell malediction (presented in Book of the Damned Volume 1: Princes of Darkness).


AlgaeNymph wrote:

9. Would you explain more about the transformation part of Zepar's portfolio?

Editor-in-Chief

I think Thomas Harris probably did better in Silence of the Lambs, if you want to use that as a departure point. Though I suspect Zepar has a broader imagination and encourages a far more diverse array of abductions and transformations. For a more classical array of suggestions, Occultopedia (Zepar) makes a fine starting point.


Zhangar wrote:
Would a servant of Hell be able to negotiate being transformed into a specific type of devil upon death? Would such a clause reasonably require achieving certain goals while still mortal?

Editor-in-Chief

If he's cagey enough, sure. Mortals can out bargain devils, but they've got to be really clever and careful. Most won't be able to, but some might be able to leverage certain assets for a better position among the damned.

I'd also say that a devil probably can't grant a position greater than its own, and even then, only exceptional devils relying on special forces from Hell (or the patronage of higher infernal powers) can make such promises.

But say you're a mortal and you do all that, then die, then come back as, say... an erinyes. And then you're thrown in with all the other erinyes, who have suffered and struggled and raged over eons to attain their position. Do you think they're going to accept the mortal who cheated his way up the chain? Or do you think that they're going to make his Hell a literal Hell? And even if they didn't, that soul is arriving in Hell fresh and ignorant of Hell's ways, hierarchies, laws, and politics. He might have an easier time then if he started fresh, but for mortals, Hell will always be Hell, at least until it unmakes them in its image, but even then, whatever they were is long destroyed.


Zhangar wrote:
Is there an estimate for how long, on average, it takes a soul to make the transition to lemure? I'd assume some realms grind souls down faster than others, but is it normally a very long process? I'm currently under the impression that it normally takes centuries, if not longer.

Editor-in-Chief

It takes exactly as long as it takes a soul's personality to be consumed by endless pain and fear, reducing its psyche to a broken thing of desperate terror, viciousness, and violent ambition. Once this has occurred, gradually these emotions and drives will begin to manifest physically, atom by atom, as expressions of pure law and evil. Eventually, this new hellish form will beceome the wretched mass that is a lemure. And maybe from there, over ages of service and torment, such a being might be worthy of true service among the ranks of devilkind.

In other words, a long, long time, even by the considerations of beings that have no need for age or the measurement of time.


Zhangar wrote:
Am I correct in thinking that Hell has a number of "dead end" situations where a damned soul never even makes it to lemure status? Getting used as building materials in Dis, joining Belial's harem, getting used as parchment by Geryon's scribes, etc.?

Editor-in-Chief

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Absolutely. Some souls become servants of a plane--outsider exemplar races--but some essentially become soul compost for the plane itself, new material of fundamental compatibility with a near infinite realm constantly being gnawed upon by the Maelstrom. In this way, souls--and probably the majority of souls--become the resources that allow planes to maintain their equilibrium even though its energies are constantly being lost to forces beyond its borders.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.

This whole thread.

(I've got a lot of questions I had yet to ask that just got answered here. :D)

"F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Wayne Barlowe and God's Demon

YES

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