Asmodeus is the leader of the devil race. He is the most powerful of the nine archdevils that inhabit Hell, and the only one of Hell's rulers to claim full divinity.
Asmodeus is lord of Nessus, the Ninth Layer of Hell, though he is generally recognized as lord of all Baator. As the master of Hell, he has complete power over lesser devils, including other lords of Baator. Several times he has permanently changed their physical forms at a whim, he transformed Mammon into a humanoid/serpent hybrid, and cursed Baalzebul with the form of a gigantic slug with tiny, useless arms.
Asmodeus is an ancient schemer and deadly manipulator, orchestrator of the most Machiavellian of schemes, he lays plans millennia in advance, patiently biding his time until his machinations come to fruition. Asmodeus's favored animals include snakes, lions, goats, and roosters.
Though Asmodeus' faith is by far the largest of the diabolic cults. Most of Asmodeus's worshipers are based in the towns and cities of humans and demihumans, though Asmodeus has some monstrous followers as well. His cultists use his faith as a stepping stone to wealth and power, and include power-hungry priests, diabolists, greedy slavers, ruthless lawyers, wicked enchanters, or decadent nobles in search of secret pleasures. Some call themselves paladins to give their behavior a gloss of righteousness. They form secret alliances, using their wealth and connections to bring status and power to other members of the society.
In evil lands, where Asmodeus is worshiped in the open, his followers are much like people in other lands, except they believe in harsh punishments for lawbreakers, are accustomed to the appearance of imps in the company of spellcasters, and are openly tolerant of slavery, considering these things a mild price for keeping order.
True followers of Asmodeus believe in law, order, and knowing their place in the grand scheme; in many cases, they aspire to a higher position and work to prove they are worthy of it. They study their betters to learn necessary skills, watch their equals and jockey for position, and keep an eye on their inferiors for signs of exploitable talent or dangerous ambition. They keep their friends close and enemies crushingly closer, usually acting through the proper channels rather than resorting to base tactics like assassination. Most Asmodeans find it far more effective to eliminate a rival by unearthing evidence (showing your skill in the process) than by a wasteful murder.
Priests of Asmodeus are careful in their exercise and pursuit of power, understanding that a foolish over-extension might leave them vulnerable to those watching for any weakness. Within evil cities, priests of Asmodeus are a force of order, keeping mortals and weak-minded devils in line or torturing prisoners to extract information. In good aligned cities and nations, priests work with slavers, bureaucratic governments, despots, and nobles in positions of power (or those hoping to be in power). They whisper dark promises in the ears of the desperate, arrange meetings between people of influence, and act as judges in lawless lands. Many travel to bind or destroy rogue fiends (especially demons), seeking to convince folk that their faith supports order and opposes wanton destruction.
Priests honor devils as envoys of their lord, greater or lesser players in the immense infernal bureaucracy that all right-minded individuals should join. Of course, they see lemures and other minor devils as expendable, and non-lawful fiends as even more so. Unlike typical conjurers who control devils with magical force, many Asmodean magic-users parley carefully with devils, rewarding those in the Prince's favor and abusing those out of it.
VestmentsAsmodeus' priests usually dress in clean and orderly red-accented black robes, and often wear horned masks or helmets for ceremonies. Clothing worn is usually expensive, and clearly so, as the faith preaches that wealth attracts wealth.
Knights of Asmodeus wear the typical black and red associated with the Dark Prince, often wielding a spiked mace.
HierarchyThe church of Asmodeus follows a strict hierarchy, which is strongly enforced. Demotion is rather infrequent, as most who displease the Dark Lord are either tortured or killed. The devils of Baator have their own hierarchy which is different from Asmodeus' prime worshipers. Initiate's are called Worms. In ascending order, hierarchy titles include: Lemure, Imp, Dark Servant, Dark Priest, High Priest and Arch Priest. The highest ranking officials belong to the Council of the Nine, representing the nine pits of Baator. Each member of the council is brilliant and devious in their own way, working with each other to grow and expand the faith, while undermining each other's ambitious purposes. The head of the church is called the Voice of the Pit and rumored to talk to Asmodeus himself (which is heavily disputed, as Asmodeus cares little for his faithful and considers them pawns in his plans).
TemplesIn most lands, temples to Asmodeus are hidden subterranean complexes, though in places dominated by lawful evil, they may dominate the landscape. If a cult of Baalzebul overthrows the local government, cultists of Asmodeus typically assume control of their headquarters to bring the local diabolism into its "establishment phase." Temples dedicated to Asmodeus contain many diabolical motifs, with Asmodeus dominating the scene.
Many of Asmodeus' temples were originally dedicated to other gods, and later acquired by his faithful to serve their profane purposes. While in the churches of other deities Asmodeus is most often depicted as an adversary or foil, the Church of Asmodeus always shows him in a position of dominance, with other gods bowing down before him.
RitualsIt is common for individual priests to offer the sacrifice of a small animal before preparing spells.
ScriptureThe Asmodean Disciplines
Asmodeus' doctrines and the practices of his faithful can be found within this document. It is accompanied by various additions and supplemental documents.
The Asmodean Monograph
This text records a simplified version of the doctrine of the Prince of Darkness, although it relies on many supplemental volumes and appendices.
VassalsThe following beings are among the most notable subjects of Asmodeus on Nessus. The forces at their disposal are listed, where appropriate:
Adramalech — Chancellor of Hell, Keeper of Records.
Alastor the Grim, pit fiend — Executioner.
Baalberith, pit fiend — Major domo.
Bensozia — Consort of Asmodeus, Queen of Hell (Deceased).
Buer — 15 companies of pit fiends.
Bune — 30 companies of cornugons.
Glasya — Daughter of Asmodeus and Bensozia, former Mistress of the Erinyes, now Lord of the Sixth.
Martinet, pit fiend — Constable.
Morax — 9 companies of pit fiends.
Phongor — Inquisitor of Hell.
Rimmon — 5 companies of gelugons.
The Spark Hunters - Lord Asmodeus's personal guard of 13 hamatula rangers/mortal hunters who capture and/or slay mortals who draw their master's ire.
Zagum — 30 companies of hamatula.
The strong should rightfully govern the weak, who in turn owe their masters unwavering obedience. Negotiations and contracts, especially those that give one of the parties a distinct, hidden advantage over the other. Asmodeus expects and appreciates flattery, but is never fooled by it, seeing it as a negotiation tactic, as well as a duty those in inferior positions owe their betters.
Asmodeus' true form was that of a hundreds of miles long wingless snake with scales. His form's sheer size made it impossible to meet and enter conversations with others. Therefore, he created humanoid looking avatars. The location of his body was kept secret from everyone including other devils and everyone who learnt of the truth about his body was killed within a day.
While he can take any form he wishes—an ability he frequently uses to his advantage—Asmodeus' avatars is a 13 foot, slim, charismatic flame-enshrouded man with red skin. He has horns on his head and glowing red eyes. Overall, he is extremely charismatic, beautiful and captivating. He has a perfectly trimmed beard and wears very expensive red and black clothing, each apparel piece is valuable enough to cover the annual national spending of any nation. Underneath these expensive garments, Asmodeus' body is covered in bloody wounds which he sustained when he fell from the Upper Planes. His wounds ooze blood daily, and any drop of blood which touches the ground grows into a powerful devil. While he is in pain, he manages to give off the appearance of someone unconcerned with the pain of his injuries. He wields the Ruby Rod of Asmodeus (it is rumored that the Ruby Rod is a fragment of the shard of pure evil that created the Abyss). A powerful aura of submission surrounds Asmodeus, making most who approach him slaves to his will.
Other gods find the Prince of Darkness the easiest of the evil deities to deal with, though they realize his aid is not to be sought, or accepted, lightly. For his part, Asmodeus regards other faiths with mild amusement, seeing them as weak, temporary distractions to mortal worshipers. Unsurprisingly, he gives more respect to other deities who stress the rule of law, but has an ongoing feud with Irori, who dislikes the Prince of Hell for tearing down and undermining the hard work of others.
Asmodeus' chief consort, before her death, was a devil named Bensozia. Together they had a daughter named Glasya, who now rules over the sixth layer of Baator.
First of the Archdevils
Asmodeus is the lord of the Archdevils, the rulers of the nine layers of Hell, and the only one of his kind to claim the status of true deity. The other archdevils constantly vie for his power, but none have managed to ever outwit or overpower the Prince of Hell.
The Pact PrimevalAsmodeus began life as a servant of the lawful gods. Asmodeus is described in some versions of the myth as an "angel." He was "the bravest, toughest, fiercest and most beautiful of angels." He and the other angels were created to fight the demons of the Abyss, so that the gods could concern themselves with creating worlds and sentient beings.
After eons of fighting the creatures from the Abyss, Asmodeus and some of his fellows began to change. They grew similar in appearance and methods to the demons which they fought. Afraid of his power and of the changes he had undergone, the gods put Asmodeus on trial and demanded that he be cast out of the Upper Planes. However, he argued effectively (and correctly) that he and his fellows had not violated the Law. Asmodeus and his followers successfully sued for access to the Upper Planes and the honors to which they were entitled.
Once the gods created worlds and sentient beings, the demons attacked these, too. The gods created mountains, oceans, and wastelands to seal up the gates to the Abyss, but their creations defied their orders and explored their worlds, accidentally unsealing the gates. The gods could not understand why their creations did not follow their instructions, until Asmodeus explained to them that their system did not work because it relied solely upon voluntary compliance. Asmodeus explained that the only way to ensure obedience was to threaten mortals with a disincentive; hence, Asmodeus invented the concept of punishment.
Asmodeus convinced the gods to sign a contract called the Pact Primeval. This contract allowed Asmodeus and his fellow devils to take up residence in the abandoned realm of Baator, to punish the souls of wicked mortals, and to extract magical energy from the souls under their care in order to fuel their powers. Otherwise, Asmodeus reasoned, they would have to be granted the powers of godhood in order to do their job, which the current gods would surely find unacceptable.
At first, the gods found the arrangement agreeable. However, they eventually realized that fewer and fewer mortal souls were ascending to the Upper Planes, and Asmodeus was deliberately tempting mortals to damnation. When they arrived in Baator, the gods found that Asmodeus had turned it into a nightmarish world of endless suffering, filled with countless new devils. When called to account for his actions, Asmodeus uttered the famous words, "read the fine print."
This story is presented as mythology, but t is known that Asmodeus did not depart from the Upper Planes under amicable circumstances: He was cast out, and literally fell into the Lower Planes, sustaining serious wounds which have never healed. Part of Asmodeus' long-term plans includes using the magical energy harvested from souls in order to heal his wounds, and ultimately, the complete destruction of the Upper Planes, as well as to one day achieve godhood.
The Blood WarThe Blood War was often described as some kind of philosophical war to determine whether law or chaos should have the say over evil. Asmodeus knew the truth for he was present at the time of its beginning. The war was simply the result of a violent first contact between devils and demons that over various acts of retribution grew into a wasteful war. However, what made demons react in such hostile ways towards devils were Asmodeus' actions. During the Dawn War (a war between the primordials and the gods), he stole a shard of evil from the Abyss to craft the Ruby Rod of Asmodeus from it. The Abyss wanted the shard back.
Asmodeus understood how senseless the Blood War in itself was. However, because other people popularly ascribed deeper meaning to it, he exploited it as a cloak to shroud his intentions. The Lord of Lies annually summoned the Dark Eight to Nessus in order to issue orders of how to go on with the Blood War in the coming year, the pit fiends honestly believed that their lord saw any value in the Blood War, this kept Asmodeus' armies motivated and sharp, his enemies looking for meaning in a war without one, and guaranteed that his underlings were kept busy.
All that said, for Asmodeus, the Blood War was not a trivial matter. To be more precise, he was well aware of the danger the demons represented for the continued existence of the multiverse. If they were not kept busy with the Blood War, they would eventually take over the multiverse, kill everybody living on it, and finally kill each other into extinction. One of Asmodeus' goals regarding the demons was to get them under his control. He already stole one shard of evil, his goal was to steal the entire thing from the bottom of the Abyss. Such an act would give him control over the entire demonic race. Asmodeus hated the gods of the Upper planes for essentially leaving the devils alone to do the dirty work of keeping them and the multiverse safe from the demons. He intended to take them down after taking down the demons and conquering the planes of law. However, Asmodeus exempted himself from the duty of providing soldiers and other aid to fight the Blood War.
One way he intended to deal with the Blood War was to change its supposed objective from a law-chaos struggle to a good-evil struggle. Towards that goal, Asmodeus intended to strike a bargain, more precisely a temporary cease-fire, with the demons. This cease-fire had to endure only a timeframe that was long enough for him to organize matters that would eventually turn the Blood War into a good-evil struggle that would serve his ends in causing destruction on the Upper planes. His devils continually damned souls to Baator in order to turn them into new devils and with it expand the infernal army.
Infernal PoliticsAsmodeus had a lot of underlings starting with the archdevils. These creatures politicized against each other in a lawful evil manner and this spilled over one time to affect Asmodeus, reinforcing his act of not being a god. It was all a charade concocted by the Lord of Lies. By acting to further acting in a lawful evil manner on a lawful evil plane, the devils under Asmodeus followed the rules under which denizens of every other Outer Plane acted. As mentioned above, Asmodeus did not intend to further belief but the lack thereof. His underlings actions served as a kind of smokescreen to hide his true intentions from others.
That said, to Asmodeus, infernal politics were important. One of his main efforts were directed at keeping the status quo, meaning keeping himself at the top of Hell's pecking order. Towards that end, he honeycombed the courts of every archdevil to levels that made them paranoid for no devil could be sure whether an associate was a spy working for Asmodeus or not.
As a general rule, Asmodeus was not talkative about his plans. However, he was by far the most accomplished devil when it came to intrigue and devils pointed to the result of the Reckoning when they wanted proof of their overlord's superiority. As a general rule, he outsourced his work to devils below him in the full knowledge that they desire his position.
Spreading DisbeliefAs mentioned above, Asmodeus could not grant spells to his followers and he wanted to turn people to a lack of belief. He maintained working relationships with evil deities, the bargain being infernal aid in return of supplying his followers with spells in his stead, so said followers could increase their numbers through the display of magical aid. These cults were either dedicated to infernal entities or to completely made-up ones to gain following in a specific group or people. When Asmodeus wanted souls to heal his wounds, he directed his allies to stop granting magic to his followers when the cult's numbers were at its peak. This was done to intentionally cause the decline of said cult. When this happened, the majority turned to other religions, but some extremists lost faith in religion altogether, becoming disbelievers and therefore the necessary food for Asmodeus to heal his wounds. Asmodeus particularly considered it a success when such despairing cults turned into suicide cults.
A second tactic to increase the number of disbelievers in the multiverse, which Asmodeus pursued was to supply the Athar with aid. This was a thought school that came into being without Asmodeus doing that posited that gods were not gods but just another form of powerful creatures. Asmodeus' aid to this faction was done in a covert manner and the aided had no clue that the Lord of Lies was on their side.
A third tactic to spread disbelief was to make mortals disillusioned with the gods. Contrary to common belief, gods were not omnipotent, they were as capable of pettiness as mortals were and Asmodeus fanned such feelings through his manipulations among the gods. Such manipulations was very subtle and took literal centuries to bear fruits. The Lord of Lies's goal was not to make the gods kill each other in direct fashion, but to make the god pit each others' followers against each other. Thus giving the Cloven the necessary opportunity to showcase mortals how petty their objects of worship actually were to drive them away from worship altogether.
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