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Asmodeus, the Lord of the Nine Hells, is the devil god of the Nine Hells and represents mastery of tyranny and domination. He relishes corrupting mortal souls with his honeyed words. He rules his domain with an iron fist and the punishments he inflicts for crossing him are legendary. Devils and other evil entities pay him tribute, while warlocks are drawn to his power.

Appearance[]

Once a celestial, Asmodeus is depicted in many tomes and murals as a handsome humanoid of deep red skin and long black hair with two curling horns rising from his brow.[8] He has stated that originally, as a celestial, he was objectively considered the most beautiful, but since his fall his appearance changes to match the most beautiful face the viewer has seen.[11]

Relationships[]

Shortly after the Betrayer Gods were released from their prison planes, Asmodeus referred to the other gods as his siblings, and addressed Gruumsh warmly upon arriving in Ghor Dranas. He has expressed his hatred for mortals for being the cause of the schism, even claiming mortals "did something" to the Prime Deities.[12]

Several centuries after the Calamity, Asmodeus has many enemies even among the Betrayer Gods, many of whom only follow him out of fear. His archenemy, however, is Avandra, the Changebringer, who has exasperated him throughout the ages and defeated him during the Calamity.[2]

Vespin Chloras[]

At the eve of the Calamity, the archmage Vespin Chloras performed a ritual, the exact nature of which is unclear but that possibly would have allowed him to ascend and replace Asmodeus. Instead, he accidentally made it possible for the Betrayer Gods to re-enter the Material Plane.[13] Asmodeus immediately enslaved him, turning him into a decrepit fiend and his own left hand.[14]

Desirat[]

Desirat was the companion and mount of Asmodeus during the wars of the Calamity. She was captured and imprisoned beneath Mount Mentiri by the original pre-Divergence Cerberus Assembly and remains there, giving birth to the geo-thermal activity in the area.[15]

Zerxus Ilerez[]

Asmodeus and Zerxus by KattFish

Fan art of Zerxus speaking with Asmodeus, by KattFish.[art 3]

Asmodeus saw Zerxus as the perfect pawn necessary to free him and the other Betrayer Gods completely from their prison. He constructed exactly the narrative and persona that would elicit sympathy, knowing that Zerxus believed so strongly in the power and possibility of redemption that he would be unable to resist aiding him.

In "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04), when the Tree of Names was destroyed, Zerxus saw Asmodeus within it, apparently some part of him tortured, terrified, and shrieking in pain. Zerxus fought through to reach and touch him, holding his hand to pull him through into Exandria. Once freed, Asmodeus showed his true colors. When Zerxus used Cleansing Touch on him, it failed to have any effect. Angered at the assumption he had done something wrong that needed to be atoned for, Asmodeus stabbed Zerxus through the heart, then healed him. Zerxus argued with him that mortals were on Exandria long before the gods came, but Asmodeus scornfully called mortals "a bad first draft", and ripped the skin off Zerxus's skull, smashed him into the floor, and broke his spine, then healed him again. He told him that mortals were the ones who were his enemies, not the Prime Deities who were his siblings. It was mortals who came to matter so much to the Prime Deities that they were willing to throw the Betrayer Gods away. Asmodeus's quarrel was with mortals, and his goal was to collect all their souls in his pit and punish them for eternity. There was infinite hatred in his eyes. Zerxus looked at him with pity, telling him to look at how much he hated himself along with everything else.

Asmodeus told him his pride would make him a great Champion. He killed Zerxus a third time, then offered him the Mace of the Black Crown, at the price of becoming his Champion and surrendering his soul. Zerxus eventually accepted the mace in his effort to reunite Evandrin with their son Elias before the cataclysm that destroyed Avalir and marked the beginning of the Calamity.

Commandments of the Lord of the Nine Hells[]

Commandments of the Lord of the Nine Hells


  • Assert dominance and power over others. Show your strength of will in the image of your Lord.

  • Repay cruelty done unto you with further evil. If others show you kindness, exploit it.

  • As you ascend to power, do not pity or show mercy to those you climb over to get there. The weak do not warrant your compassion—compassion itself is a weakness.

Known worshipers[]

History[]

During the Founding, when demons of the Abyss spilled forth to feast on the mortal victims of the Primordials, many celestials who had battled the demons turned to tyranny and forged new hells under the leadership of Asmodeus, himself a fallen angel; he corrupted these celestials into the first devils.[16][3]

Asmodeus is shown kindness by Aquarisma Arts

Fan art of Asmodeus being shown kindness, by Aquarisma Arts.[art 4]

In the story Asmodeus told Zerxus Ilerez (most likely intertwined with lies), he arrived in Exandria as a celestial of light[17] along with other deities and began to shape the world and their creations with them. Many others had created many virtuous things before Asmodeus could contribute. He thought he would make virtues matter by creating their opposites. Mortals misunderstood his "gifts" and he was hated, with the encouragement of the Prime Deities. He said the gods had made promises to the Primordials, and somehow those who stayed true to them were called "Betrayers".[18]

The Betrayers were trapped in what Asmodeus described as "not a kind place [...] a place made to teach us a lesson."[19] By another account, the Betrayer Gods had themselves warped their planes into reflections of their evil.[14]

In texts about this Schism, Asmodeus is usually reputed to have been the Betrayer God who made a threat as he was being banished: "Put me where you will. In darkness, I will gather my shadows to me." The dragons who protected the mortal races took this threat seriously and recorded it in Draconic as "ghor dranas", or "gathering of shadows".[20]

Sometime between his becoming Lord of the Nine Hells and the Age of Arcanum, Asmodeus entered an ancient pact with the fey that required him to send warning to them if a plan of his could affect them.[21]

Gods battle at Vasselheim - Exandria Intimate History

Official art of Erathis and Bahamut battling Asmodeus and Gruumsh at Vasselheim, by Kent Davis from "Exandria: An Intimate History" (Sx61) at 3:53.[art 5]

During the Age of Arcanum, on the eve of the Calamity, Zerxus Ilerez had a vision of Pelor battering Asmodeus. On this occasion Pelor seemed devoid of pity and warmth, prepared to crush his enemy further, and warned Zerxus that Asmodeus was beyond redemption.[22]

Very soon thereafter, Archmage Vespin Chloras released the Betrayer Gods from their prisons. From their new capital of Ghor Dranas in Wildemount, the Betrayer Gods spread their influence and eventually made an assault on the bastion of Vasselheim. The battle lasted twenty days and nights but, with the divine aid of the Prime Deities, Vasselheim and its inhabitants stood triumphant, if battered, at the end.[23] Ghor Dranas was built the very night the Betrayer Gods were released, and upon Asmodeus's arrival there, he proposed to Gruumsh that they assault Vasselheim together that night, while his minions tried to use Avalir to release the Primordials.[24]

The gods prepared for war.[25] The Betrayer Gods each forged a sentient weapon with the life force of a greater fiend: the Arms of the Betrayers.[26] On the night he was released, Asmodeus, for his part, instantly forged the Mace of the Black Crown from the life force of an erinyes named Xartaza, and offered it to Zerxus Ilerez should he accept being Asmodeus's champion.[27] Zerxus took the weapon, accepting the pact, and was physically transformed to a more devilish form.[28]

During a brief period of unified interests, Asmodeus and Lolth created through their union[29] and/or exalted an immortal assassin, Jourrael, the Inevitable End, who could not be completely destroyed as long as their contract remained intact; several centuries later, Jourrael remained immortal.[30]

One theory on the origin of tieflings is that they were created in Ghor Dranas as a result of some of the city's inhabitants tying their bloodlines to Asmodeus in exchange for magical knowledge.[31] While it is false that the first tieflings were born there (since they already existed during the Age of Arcanum),[32][33] nowadays tieflings from Rosohna do tend to share the Father of Lies' red skin.[34]

Erathis vs Asmodeus by Kent Davis

Official art of Erathis again battling Asmodeus during the Calamity, by Kent Davis.[art 6]

During the first century of the Calamity, Asmodeus deceived and betrayed Sarenrae, and killed most[35] or all[2] of her worshipers, in one stroke.[36]

The original Cerberus Assembly tore Desirat, phoenix mount of Asmodeus, from her master and bound her beneath Mount Mentiri for study.[37]

Avandra defeated Asmodeus during the Calamity by tricking his armies into attacking one another.[2]

The Sunrise Sanctuary in Hearthdell depicts Pelor in battle, subduing Asmodeus,[38] in one of their many combats with each other.[39]

Through the Mace of the Black Crown, Xartaza continues to attempt to recruit more souls for Asmodeus by manipulating the wielder.[10]

During the apogee solstice of 843 PD, when he sensed that Predathos might be freed soon, Asmodeus was concerned and sent one of his champions, Teven Klask, to help his patron's cause, even allowing him to form alliances with followers of the Prime Deities.[40] Teven obeyed his lord's orders, and after fighting demons with the help of Bells Hells, forged a pact with Fearne Calloway when she showed interest in following the Lord of the Nine Hells.[41]

When Fearne showed Teven's mark to Morrigan, the hag told her that it was indeed a promise, and that it granted an audience with Asmodeus himself in return for a favor from Fearne, and advised her to be careful in any deal made with the Lord of the Hells as it was unlikely to end in her favor.[42] Days later, when the druid summoned Teven to ask him for help in the ruins of Aeor, he declared that their pact had begun and that he would stay with them for a while to assist them on their mission; however, he explained he couldn't bring more allies because the Lord of the Hells was organizing most of the hellish forces to attack Ruidus.[43] Not long afterwards, they found Braius Doomseed, a minotaur paladin that was also a follower of the King of Lies and claimed to be his "herald champion", in Aeor trying to kill Ludinus Da'leth.[44] Although Teven was initially dismissive of him, stating that he was clearly not a champion like himself, when they both helped Bells Hells fight and kill the demon Dominox, Teven agreed to put in a good word for Braius to their master.[45]

Tiefling bloodline[]

The power of Asmodeus and his layer in the Nine Hells, Nessus, is, either through deals or consort-like unions with him or his devils,[46][47] the origin of many of the tiefling bloodlines of Exandria (being, in fact, the most common). The tieflings of Asmodeus are usually very intelligent. Their infernal legacy grants them a small number of magical abilities, including amplifying their voice, changing their eye color, and minor manipulation of fire (the Thaumaturgy cantrip). More powerful tieflings can wreath their enemies in fire if they are attacked (the Hellish Rebuke spell) and can create pockets of magical darkness (the Darkness spell).

Abilities[]

In the presence of Asmodeus, magic items that fail their saving throw (DC 23 Wisdom)[48] shatter[49] or suffer corrosion.[50]

Spells[]

1st-level[]

  • Protection from Evil and Good[51]

3rd-level[]

9th-level[]

Appearances and mentions[]

Asmodeus - Clara

Fan art of Asmodeus, by Clara.[art 7]

Quotations[]

  • "You are not our children. You are... a bad first draft. [...] Who is the most proud man here? These ones who thought they would fly a city, or the man who thought he would teach me a lesson? The only difference between you and the Dawnfather is that the Dawnfather is a little more humble. Now, I'll tell you why I spit on your forgiveness. I'll tell you why I loathe your redemption. To reach a hand down to somebody, they need to be beneath you! And I am beneath nobody."
  • Morrigan: (to Fearne, about Asmodeus and his mark on the faun's finger) "What that mark is, is a promise. An audience, and a chance to gain and give a trade. [...] But be warned, rarely do such trades end in your favor. For you are a smart girl, but he's had eons to perfect the art of deals and carefully-threaded untruths."[57]

Trivia[]

  • The adventure hook Twilight Phoenix in the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount involves archmages who worship Asmodeus attempting to free his mount Desirat from her prison.[58]
  • Issylran history points that a cabal of power-hungry warlocks contacting devils were responsible for the creation of the first tieflings.[32][59] While devils and most archdevils were able to access the Material Plane through powerful conjuration magic,[60] Asmodeus was kept outside Exandria due to the magic of the Tree of Names, so if he was part of the Issylran ritual, he wouldn't have been able to physically participate in it, instead interacting with the mortals through magic or using his devils as intermediaries.
  • The deal involving Elmenore and Asmodeus is somewhat reminiscent of the pact between the Queen of Faeries and Hell in the story of Tam Lin. However, while in Exandria the Father of Lies must warn the fey to keep them safe, in the Scottish ballad Hell only leaves the faeries alone if they give one of their people as a tithe every seven years.
  • One of the oldest objects in Grog Strongjaw's Bag of Holding was a signet ring with the symbol of Asmodeus, recovered from a "big demon" who had body-slammed him onto a spike.[61] It was used to indicate membership in the cult of Asmodeus.[62] Given that Grog brought up the ring when discussing their encounter with demons in Sir Gregory Fince's basement, he may have been talking about a hezrou they fought there, or he may have forgotten the context and instead been talking about Juurezel, a glabrezu demon who posed as a "devil prince" at the culmination of the same plot.
  • Asmodeus enjoys having Zerxus "shackled to his side" because he knows the paladin has goodness inside of him still, and is suffering under the service of the Devil Lord.[63]

References[]

  1. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 12.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 20.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 34.
  4. See "The Nox Engine" (3x98) at 3:14:27.
  5. See "Ancient Sins" (3x97) at 3:10:14.
  6. See "Downfall: Part One" (3x99) at 0:18:38.
  7. 7.0 7.1 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 27.
  8. 8.0 8.1 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 26.
  9. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 26. Mispelled as "Nalsheem".
  10. 10.0 10.1 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 276.
  11. See "Bitterness and Dread" (E3x02) at 4:07:12.  See also 4:13:45.
  12. See "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04) at 1:22:48.
  13. See "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04) at 2:10:34.
  14. 14.0 14.1 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 15.
  15. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 31.
  16. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, pp. 11–12.
  17. See "Bitterness and Dread" (E3x02) at 4:13:44.
  18. See "Bitterness and Dread" (E3x02) from 4:11:30 through 4:17:35.
  19. See "Bitterness and Dread" (E3x02) at 4:10:55.
  20. See "Excelsior" (E3x01) from 3:03:49 through 3:07:04.
  21. See "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04) at 3:31:46.
  22. See "Excelsior" (E3x01) at 22:57.
  23. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 6.
  24. See "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04) at 1:22:30.
  25. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 7.
  26. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 30.
  27. See "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04) at 1:10:47.
  28. See "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04) at 1:56:12.
  29. See "Punishment and Politics" (2x87) at 40:33.
  30. See "Between the Lines" (2x78) from 3:01:47 through 3:02:38.
  31. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 180.
  32. 32.0 32.1 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 179.
  33. See "Excelsior" (E3x01) at 0:36:24.
  34. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 2:42:00.
  35. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 15.
  36. This must have happened after Sarenrae defeated Torog.
  37. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 31. This presumably happened before Avandra defeated Asmodeus.
  38. See "Faith or Famine" (3x60) at 3:45:53.
  39. See "Crisis of Faith" (3x61) at 0:33:07.
  40. See "Bloody Flowers" (3x67) at 4:26:11.
  41. See "Bloody Flowers" (3x67) at 4:30:16.
  42. See "Fractures" (3x78) at 3:51:27.
  43. See "Ancient Sins" (3x97) at 3:07:34.  See also at 3:10:06 .
  44. See "The Nox Engine" (3x98) at 1:16:31.
  45. See "The Nox Engine" (3x98) at 3:14:24.
  46. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 28.
  47. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 163.
  48. See "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04) at 14:16.
  49. See "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04) at 16:16.
  50. See "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04) at 26:160.
  51. See "Bitterness and Dread" (E3x02) at 4:26:48.
  52. See "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04) at 1:02:52.
  53. See "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04) at 0:35:40.
  54. See "Vox Machina Go to Hell" (1x91) at 0:25:50.  Asmodeus was mentioned.
  55. See "Deals in the Dark" (1x92) at 0:27:42.
  56. See "Excelsior" (E3x01) at 19:10.
  57. See "Fractures" (3x78) at 3:52:25.
  58. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 90.
  59. See "Excelsior" (E3x01) at 0:36:24.
  60. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 27.
  61. See "Deals in the Dark" (1x92) at 26:45.
  62. See "Deals in the Dark" (1x92) at 1:34:49.
  63. See "4-Sided Dive: Kiss and Tell" (4SDx16) at 0:37:20.

Art:

  1. Symbol of Asmodeus from Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting.
  2. Symbol of Asmodeus from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount by Claudio Pozas. (source)
  3. Fan art of Zerxus speaking with Asmodeus, by KattFish (source). Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of Asmodeus being shown kindness, by Aquarisma Arts (source). Used with permission.
  5. Official art of Erathis and Bahamut battling Asmodeus and Gruumsh at Vasselheim, by Kent Davis from "Exandria: An Intimate History" (Sx61) at 3:53. Used with permission.
  6. Official art of Erathis again battling Asmodeus during the Calamity, by Kent Davis (source). Used with permission.
  7. Fan art of Asmodeus, by Clara (source). Used with permission.
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