Devil Cults

The planes may be many, but the plane of Lawful Evil is an everpresent spectre. Nine Hells there are, and nine Archdevils who rule over them. Although their manifestations and the cults vary from world to world, the insidious tendrils of temptation spread into every world where there are humans whose minds can be twisted by base vice.

Only Asmodeus, the Overlord of Hell, has the status of a greater deity. The other eight Archdevils are lesser deities, and they will usually vary in the ways they dispense their power. Instead of having clerics, for example, Dispater chooses only a few champions to be Ironlords - his antipaladins. The rest of his mortal followers are ambitious mages, clerics of evil gods, and run of the mill cultists.

Zariel the First

Known as the Warlord and the Angel of Death, Zariel is the ruler of Avernus: the First Layer of Hell. Said to be one of the oldest archdevils, who fell from grace with Asmodeus in the beginning, her symbol is a flaming eye. She appears as a woman, badly burned, with eyes that burn bright white. She has the power to set people aflame with her gaze. It is said that her wounds, inflicted by divine fire, cannot be healed - and are a momento of when she fought by Asmoedus' side, in the thick of the fray.

In line with her duties in keeping the First Hell in order as an eternal staging ground for the Blood War, Zariel is the lead general of the Blood War. She dwells in the Bronze Citadel: a huge fortress city, housing massive numbers of devil troops and war machines. It is constantly being added to in the form of new fortifications against attacks. She is also responisble for protecting Hell from angels seeking revenge.


Zariel is perhaps the least lawful of the archdevils; she has endured a great deal. Though she loves and is bound to Asmodeus, she also resents him for his role in her charred appearance. Formerly imprisoned by the pit fiend Bel, it is said that the meteors that constantly strike the surface of Avernus are a manifestation of her unconscious rage. Although she is a cool-headed general and a cunning strategist, her incandesent rage is feared throughout the Nine Hells.

Zariel is the matron of those scarred by the ravages of war and all those who have been cast down or trodden underfoot and now desire the strength to lash out at their betters. She embodies rebellion, resentment and the same seething anger which makes the young kill each other over the smallest of slights.


Amduscias, Duke of Hell. A skilful negotiator with the power to change his shape, he is used to ensure that the complex war machine of Avernus runs smoothly, and sometimes sent to negotiate with yugoloths. His favourite form is that of awolf with a serpent's prehensile tail, but he also appears as a hawk-headed man in robes of black or a dirty yellow unicorn with eyes of flame.

Malphas, Duke of Hell. A preeminent sorceror who appears as a man in black velvet robes inlaid with 333 precious jewels. He sometimes assumes the form of a large crow. He once served Tiamat and may have some link to her.

Baelzra, Duchess of Hell. Baelzra was banished to Avernus because she has a habit of using a yuan-ti ritual to unbind souls from archdevils so that she can use them for her own purposes.

Nergal, Duke of Hell. Appears as a lion-headed winged toad enveloped by magical darkness. He is a schemer who hoards information.

Bist, Duchess of Hell. Invisible except for a pair of fiery eyes. A selfish master of duplicity. Due to an ancient punishment, she cannot leave the Nine Hells without being summoned.

Caim, Duke of Hell. A gossip and a sneak who gets on well with Bist and Nergal. Loves to eat elves and men.

The Cult of Zariel


Dispater the Second

Known as the Iron Duke and the Father of Strife, Dispater is the ruler of the Iron City of Dis, which makes up the Second Layer of Hell. His symbol is a fortress embossed on a metal shield. Dispater takes the form of a muscular humanoid with rust-colored skin and an elaborate crown of iron horns. He often wears treasures drawn from Dis’s vast vaults, lordly regalia eclipsing the wealth of whole worlds. A master of illusions and a being of malleable form, he regularly alters his appearance to intimidate or put at ease those in his presence, depending on his current mood and plots.

Dispater has the ability to trigger memories and make people relive their lowest moment. The touch of Dispater can rust metal or turn beings of flesh into immobile iron statues.

Notable Possessions

The Rod of Dispater

A symbol of Dispater's rule, this is an adamantine rod shaped like two serpents entwined together. It grants the power to scour foes with acid, also acting as a staff of striking and a rod of rulership.

Dispater's Iron Tower

Dispater's home is itself a powerful magic item which makes Dispater almost impossible to kill as long as he remains inside it. Weapons pass through him and spells melt harmlessly upon his person. Dispater never leaves his tower unless forced, most notably for the yearly council with Asmodeus which all the Archdevils are required to attend.

The Soul of Gith

Dispater's most prized possession is the Soul of Gith, the woman who led the rebellion against the mind flayers that freed the githyanki and the githzerai from slavery.


Dispater is incredibly cautious to the point of paranoia. He always has at least nine different back up plans for any situation. He is also always polite and calm even in very troubling and stressful situations. A lover of rulership, politics and proper decorum, Dispater never travels to the Material Plane, neither in physical form nor in aspect, finding the mortal realm base and demeaning. Rather, for any business there, he sends an erinyes servant or a member of his court, depending on the importance he places on the matter.

This is not to say he has no mortal followers - quite the opposite. Dispater, with his immense wealth and power stored up in the vaults of Dis, has many servants on the Material. He appeals to their limitations and their lack: not enough strength, not enough speed, wealth, power, wisdom. Dispater himself is never satisfied with what he has - always paranoid, always worried about knives in the dark. Perhaps because of this, he effortlessly strips away the false decorum and facades of his servants to show them their heart's true desire: everything they want but are too afraid to grasp; the ability never to be surprised or outmaneuvered again.


Dispater is served by the following hosts:

The Erinyes, whom he favours because they are competent and unswervingly loyal. Their pleasant forms please him, and serve him well in tempting mortals with promises of immaculate perfection obtained in his service.

The Spinagons, who serve Dispater as scouts and messengers - as they do for most of the devils of the Nine Hells.

The Kocrachon, who study the ways of pain and torment beneath the Knoll of Blades in Dis. Many of the Erinyes were originally promoted from the ranks of the Kocrachon.

The Abishai, who make up the rank and file of the citizenry of Dis. Many of them seek promotion into Kocrachons in order to eventually attain the status of Erinyes.

The Nupperibos, whom Dispater detests and finds distasteful. They crowd the vast bleak plains outside the walls of Dis. Only in times of need will he send the Spinagons to marshal them into a fighting force.


Lilis, a Duchess of Hell, is his consort. She has orange skin and looks like a short, female of human middle-age with horns and wings. She can cause insanity by touch and she is a clever strategist.

Titilivus, a Duke of Hell. He is the messenger and scion of Dispater, and his words are said to have the power to twist and change meanings, and to infect the meaning of those who hear him.

Arioch, a Duke of Hell, is in charge of avenging slights to Dispater's honor and rooting out treachery in Dis. He has a flat, reptilian head with a lion's mane. His skin is dark red and he has great black wings.

Merodach, a Duke of Hell. A winged wolf who leads 21 companies of Hamatula.

Alocer, a Duke of Hell. He is a lion-headed humanoid who can blind with his gaze. He leads 36 companies of Erinyes.

Bitru, a Duke of Hell who commands 70 companies of Erinyes.

Furcas, a Pit Fiend and member of the Dark Eight who commands 12 companies of Barbazu.

Zaggutch, a Pit Fiend who acts as his lieutenant.

The Cult of Dispater

Dispater's mortal servants on Morus tend not to be organised, but lone aspirants to power and perfection. Demonologists seek his assistance and the immense power he can bestow upon them. When he is worshiped by organised cults, they tend to glorify him as a keeper of secrets: he is known as the Sightless Eye to them. They operate through espionage and blackmail, seeking to learn any and all secrets and offering them to Dispater in secret rituals.

Most of the time, the Cult of the Sightless Eye is ignored by Dispater. However, if a suitable secret is offered - one that reveals the hidden weaknesses of those in power - an Erinyes will appear before them. She may accept the secret with a laugh (for nothing amuses Dispater more than the folly of mortals), or she may instruct the cultists in how to leverage the secrets to bring their hapless victims firmly into Dispater's grasp.

For most of the minor cultists of Dispater, their reward is payment in kind; those who prove themselves are given secrets which they can use to improve their own stations. Those of greater power and devotion to the Father of Strife - faithful servants, demonologists and powerful cultists - receive greater rewards. Magic items from the great vaults of Dis are common, for Dispater loves to bestow items which confer temporary power but do nothing to change what is within. Those who prove themselves especially well may find their physical forms reshaped to increase their power, or even the most coveted gift of all: the Boon of Dispater, allowing them to manifest eyes anywhere on their body so that they can never be surprised.

Antipaladins of Dispater are rarest of all; although Dispater has the power to grant spells, he rarely chooses to direct his attention so closely to the Material Plane. Those who become his champions are usually those who call to him in their most desperate hour of need. Those who have faced the stark reality of their limitations and given in to despair are offered a choice: I will give you the power to pursue perfection and overcome your weaknesses, but only if you give yourself to me mind and soul forever.

Ironlords of Dispater

The Ironlord is the antipaladin of Dispater, one who has sworn his soul into the service of the Father of Strife. Although he is doomed to the Nine Hells in death, he has been granted power by his patron devil to overcome their limitations. If they perform poorly, they are doomed to the same fate as every other hapless evil soul: a tormented eternity as a lemure. If they perform well, though, and please their lord, their quest for perfection will not end in death. Having refined and cultivated their discipline and ruthlessness, they will join Dispater in Dis as mighty and flawless devils: as Erinyes.

Unlike the meagre cultists of Dispater, the Ironlords do not operate in the shadows. They are not creatures of subtlety: they are champions of the Nine Hells, seeking to please their master and refine their souls into the sublimation of cruel, passionless perfection. They are garbed in plate mail of heavy, dull iron - which is provided for them when they swear their pact. Heavy, brutal weapons such as maces and warhammers are favoured.

The Ironlord uses the same experience table as a Paladin, and receives the following benefits in addition to the standard characteristics of the warrior class:

All Ironlords must have the Ritual Magic proficiency, and they start play with memorisation of a ritual called the Canticle of Dispater. This ritual requires only chalk and the blood of a sentient creature to use, and is always successful - though whether a servant of Dispater chooses to answer is another matter. The ritual takes 10 minutes to cast.

Mammon the Third


Belial the Fourth


Geryon the Fifth


Moloch the Sixth


Baalzebul the Seventh


Mephistopheles the Eighth


Asmodeus the Ninth


The Fate of the Damned

Many of those who serve an Archdevil willingly trade their souls away to the Nine Hells. Others, even free from such oaths, are drawn inexorably to Baator by the evil nature of their souls. Their ultimate fate depends entirely on who they were and who they served in life. It is the petty evils that endure the worst fate - those with true ambition and the will to execute it find their tenure in the Nine Hells closer to the jailor than the prisoner.


The lowest and most pitiful rank of petitioner in the Nine Hells, the lemures are not devils at all. They are are grotesque, disfigured blobs of molten flesh, with a vaguely humanoid torso and head. Their faces are equally unrecognizable, with twisted, melted features molded into permanent expressions of horrid anguish. Sometimes, lemures display some slight vestige of their mortal life: a facial feature, nervous twitch, or a small shred of clothing. However, these fragments of their former lives become less and less apparent as the lemure passes its tortured, wretched existence as the weakest baatezu in Baator. Lemures have no minds and no means of communicating.

The lemures are created from the souls of the most cruel, selfish and evil souls of Lawful Evil alignment - they are the largest category of being in Baator by far, and are thought by some to be infinite. Unless they swear fealty to a specific evil god or Archdevil who can protect them from this fate, this is the doom of every Lawful Evil soul.

There are few paths of advancement for a lemure; these are entirely at the whim of the devils of Hell. When they desire a new servant, a handful of lemures will be picked at random to fight mindlessly: the survivor becomes a spinagon. They are also sometimes chosen to become wraiths or spectres and sent to the Material Plane as undead. When a Lawful Evil magic-user conjures a familiar, a lemure may be chosen at random and promoted to an imp, to serve as his guide.


The nupperibo - blind, deaf and mute creatures of bloated proportions - are more powerful than the lemures, but despite this they are lower in station. They are made from the souls of those not malign enough to become lemures - this is the fate of the petty evil, those with evil minds but without the willpower to make their desires real. Nupperibos readily obey all commands from superiors in the hope that they will be destroyed, and thus are accorded a slightly higher station than lemures.

There is only one path of advancement for a nupperibo: its own destruction. Like all petitioners, they cannot be permanently killed on their own plane. When slain, they will simply reform. This can happen again and again, their poor soul becoming more twisted and evil every time. Each time they are destroyed, however, there is a 1% chance that they will instead reform as a lemure. Although this is a demotion, it opens up the possibility of someday becoming a true devil.


Created by the promotion of lemures, the spinagon is the least form of true devil. They look like small gargoyles, and are found on every layer of the Nine Hells as scouts and servants for the devils of every rank of any importance. Spinagons, though lowly, gain status quickly by gathering armies for greater baatezu. Often less influential baatezu get their armies last, whereas the more important baatezu get theirs immediately. Because of this, spinagons are subject to abuse and threats by middle-level baatezu disappointed with their performance.

Baator is a strange place, ruled by a perverse discipline that simultaneously encourages both structured behavior and treachery. But stranger still is the advancement process of the spinagon. When a spinagon advances, those it has served decide how much advancement the spinagon receives. They could be promoted to an abishai, a barbazu, an osyluth, a hamatula or even an amnizu (though this is incredibly rare). Obviously, no devil can promote you to a rank equal to or above its own - so there is an incentive to serve the most powerful devils possible.


Medium-sized, gargoyle-like devils that superficially resemble spinagons, the abishai form three castes: black, green and red, in ascending order of status. The abishai are very common in the First and Second Hells, and are the most frequent result of spinagon promotion. They are the footsoldiers in the massive armies of Baator, fighting in the Blood War. They are commonly sent to respond to the summons of lesser spellcasters, and delight in bestowing magics beyond their master's control.

Although a significant promotion from spinagon, becoming an abishai is something of a mark of mediocrity. In order to ascend, they must climb through the ranks: black, green and red. The red are the best trusted: they have proven themselves to be ambitious, cunning and reliable. If they do well, they may be given command of an army of lemures of nupperibos. If they do well, they may be promoted into a barbazu by their master.

Some abishai, instead of climbing through the ranks, find their ambition and find their way to the Knoll of Blades, beneath the city of Dis in the Second Hell. This is a risky endeavour, for the trials they will endure there will test their resolve and competence. Failure means they are certain to become a victim of the School of Pain, rather than a student. If they succeed, however, they will be promoted to a Kocrachon - a vital step in the path of advancement to the coveted rank of Erinyes.


The barbazu, or "bearded devils", are the continuation of the "mediocre" path of advancement followed by less ambitious devils. Having been promoted through hard work and clever politics, they have escaped from the rank of abishai and become the elite shock troops of the Blood War.

Although barbazu are lesser baatezu, they never command armies. They are simply too chaotic to lead. Sometimes an exceptional barbazu is promoted to osyluth, but most never survive to see promotion.


Ambitious abishai who want a better lot in life become Kocrachons by studying in the School of Pain found beneath Dis's Knoll of Blades. Most who attempt this path do not succeed, and instead find themselves subjected to the curious vivisections - both physical and mental - of the students. Those who succeed, however, become a loathsome, beetlelike fiend, with beady eyes staring out from beneath its enameled carapace.

The kocrachon is a creature dedicated to investigating the nature of pain. Beneath the Knoll of Blades, the kocrachons study the physiology of known mortal and immortal creatures – as well as the psychology of those minds. Thus, kocrachons learn how to inflict tortures both mental and physical on those unfortunate enough to fall into their clutches. Only rarely do they actually kill their victims, prefering instead to inflict pain and still more pain. A kocrachon can freely pass from layer to layer in Baator, though it prefers to remain in one place to concentrate on a particular set of victims. Still, it goes where it’s told – and usually without question.

When it has served its time (around 223 years) faithfully and well, it can be promoted to the status of erinyes. From there, only its own imagination and ability limit it. Becoming an erinyes is a vital steppingstone for an ambitious baatezu; thus, other baatezu often seek to become kocrachon, viewing the position as a key step toward climbing the hierarchical ladder. Kocrachons themselves are eager to serve and torture, anticipating what lies ahead for them in the service of the Dark Eight.


The ultimate goal for ambitious devils, the erinyes is the sublimation of what the Nine Hells represent. Their evil and cunning have been refined into a perfect, beautiful form. They are the essence of temptation, and have the special duty among the baatezu of tempting mortals. Even though the erinyes are lesser baatezu, they report directly to a Duke of Hell or an Archdevil, for their mission is of prime importance. Only 500 erinyes exist at any one time. Lesser baatezu are promoted to fill out their numbers.

As tempters, the erinyes can do something no other baatezu can do, not even the pit fiends: enter the Prime Material Plane unsummoned. There it tries, through its charm person power and its comely form to lure mortals back to Baator. They cannot bring anyone or anything with them when they pass into the Prime Material Plane, and they can only bring one person back when they return. They cannot bring hack inorganic matter, so victims arrive in Baator without possessions. Mortals so trapped are doomed to die in the inhuman plains of Baator unless their own strength can save them. A mortal who dies this way becomes a lemure and serves forever as a soldier of Baator. Because of this power to tempt and doom mortals, most baatezu respect the erinyes.

The potential for promotion to an erinyes is vast, and it is for this reason that their position is coveted by most of the lesser devils. Depending on who and how they serve, erinyes can be promoted to any of the ranks above them: osyluths, hamatula, cornugons, amnizu, gelugons or even pit fiends. However, the erinyes often refuse promotion from their station. Many do not wish to give up the special status afforded to them and return to the routine ranks of Baator. So it is that only the most ambitious of all ascend to their higher ranks.


The osyluths, or "bone devils", are the lowest rank that an erinyes can be promoted to. The enforcers of Baator, the osyluth is horrid: bony and wretched, almost a dried husk of a human form, with a fearsome human skull covered by sickly dried skin stretched tight. The osyluth has a large scorpionlike tail and a foul odor of decay and rot.

Osyluths roam the layers and observe the actions of other baatezu, ensuring that they act properly. An osyluth can send offenders into the Pit of Flame for 101 days of torment. After the torture, the offending baatezu returns to its former position. Osyluths have this power over any other baatezu save for pit fiends, who are above their discipline. There are exactly 1,000 osyluths in the Nine Hells at any given time.

Once per century, 100 osyluths are selected to form the Ring of Cantrum. They meet with the Archdevils of Hell to decide which gelugons should be promoted to pit fiend status. When this happens, all 1,000 osyluths currently in existence are promoted to hamatula, with the most promising becoming amnizu - greater devils - instead. This possibility helps to guard against complacency in their ranks.


Created by promotion of an erinyes or osyluth, the hamatula or "barbed devil" is the solitary patroller of the Third and Fourth Hells. They are large humanoids, covered from head to toe with sharp barbs right down to their long, meaty tails. Each hamatula has unusually long, sharp claws on its hands, and keen eyes that shift and dart about, giving the creature a nervous look.

Hamatula zealously patrol the third and fourth layers of Baator for intruders, knowing that promotion and increased status hinge on success. Relatively solitary, the hamatula travel in groups only when commanded to do so by a superior. They may be deployed in a small group to investigate a report of intrusion. In the Fourth Hell, the pit fiend Gazra lives in a crystal castle. The hamatula cast captured intruders into the cells under the castle for torture. Gazra oversees the first four layers of Baator with an army of 5,000 hamatula. Twenty hamatula with maximum hit points guard him at all times. Loyal service to their lord is the fastest way to rise in status.

Along the "less ambitious" route, the hamatula is the penultimate stop. A hamatua who performs well is promoted to a cornugon, a greater devil. Usually, managing to capture intruders and bring them alive to Gazra's Palace is enough to ensure promotion.


The result of a promoted erinyes or hamatula, the cornugons or "horned devils" are one of the greater devils of the Nine Hells. They look frightening: 9 feet tall, only vaguely humanoid, and covered with grotesque scales. Their huge wings and snaking, prehensile tail add to their intimidating demeanor. In combat they favor a long barbed whip. Although powerful and cunning, the cornugons display treachery in their ranks least often of all baatezu, due to their militaristic nature. Their loyalty makes them an unusual asset.

The cornugons are greater baatezu, and as such enjoy a certain prestige. With several successful campaigns to their credit, heroic comugons receive promotions to the upper layers of Baator, where they command vast, gruesome legions of baatezu. From there, distinguished action leads to promotion to gelugons, the ruthless inhabitants of the frigid Eighth Hell.


The amnizu are created by promoting erinyes or certain hamatula who have distinguished themselves. They dwell primarily in the Fifth Hell, but often travel within the upper layers of Baator. The amnizu are gruesome and unseemly: short (4 feet tall) with elongated, bald heads, stubby legs and arms, and large, leathery wings. Amnizu have pug noses, large eyes, and snarling mouths tilled with jagged, razor-sharp teeth.

The amnizu, as greater baatezu, enjoy a nobility of sorts. They follow orders only because of their desire to advance and their fear of the pit fiends, who keep them in line. The higher a fiend advances in Baator, the more closely the Archdevils and Dukes of Hell watch it. Given the opportunity, however, amnizu order their minions to attack anything under the control of a pit fiend. Possibly an amnizu would even attack a pit fiend given sufficient reason, if it thought it could evade suspicion. The amnizu guard the river Styx, which enters Baator through the First and Fifth Hells – a weak point in Baator’s defenses. For their own perverse ends as well as the protection of Stygia, amnizu individually command an army of thousands of abishai and erinyes.

The status of amnizu, though a noble and influential one, is a dead end. There is no further promotion to be had, unless one wishes to seek the status of a Duke of Hell. They are considered to be the equals of pit fiends, although pit fiends are more physically powerful.


The gelugon, or "ice devil", occupies the highest possible rank below that of the pit fiends themselves. They can only be created by promoting an erinyes or cornugon. Inhabiting the freezing wastes of the Eighth Hell, they have 12-foot insectlike bodies, claws on hands and feet, and sharp pincers at the mouth. Their heads bulge with multifaceted eyes. The gelugon has a long, thick tail covered with razor-sharp spikes.

Gelugons are the only baatezu native to the Eight Hell. Although other varieties of baatezu occasionally come to this cold place, they dislike it and prefer the hotter layers. Gelugons are unique in baatezu society in that they both lead and serve in their layer’s armies. It is unknown how they choose their leaders.

When a gelugon has performed well, it may be promoted to pit fiend. Such promotion is difficult: First, the gelugon must serve flawlessly for 777 years. Any blemish on its record eliminates it from the promotion list. But 777 years of perfect service is the easy part. If the gelugon is selected to become a pit fiend, it enters the Pit of Flame, where it is tormented for 1,001 days. After almost three years of hideous, painful torture, the former gelugon emerges as a pit fiend.

Pit Fiends

The pinnacle of diabolical power, the pit fiends are the highest possible rank below the Dukes of Hell and the Archdevils themselves. They serve as the generals of the armies of the Nine Hells, as the personal lieutenants of Archdevils and Dukes of Hell, and as political figures almost equivalent to a Duke of Hell in their own right. They are giant winged humanoids, gargoylish in appearance, with huge bat-wings that can wrap around their body in defense, large fangs that drip with vile, green liquid, and hulking red, scaly bodies that burst into flame when they are angered or excited.

The only path of advancement for a pit fiend, of course, is to become a Duke of Hell. How this happens is unclear. A pit fiend, though the most powerful kind of devil, is still an ordinary devil. The Dukes of Hell, on the other hand, are more akin to demigods. Each one is unique, and no one knows exactly how new ones are made. It is likely that there are many different ways a pit fiend may ascend to these heights of power - by outmaneuvering and defeating a current Duke, by imbibing the essence of a god, by asserting themselves as a deity on some Material world, and so on.

The most powerful pit fiends of all are the Dark Eight, who dwell in the Ninth Hell with Asmodeus. They are Hell's generals, who plot and strategise the movements of Baator's armies. Although they are exceedingly powerful and influential, they are still merely pit fiends - lower in rank than the merest of the Dukes of Hell. The Dark Eight are as follows: