NationStates Jolt Archive

The Nine Hells of Baator, overview.

Baatorian Hell
19-06-2004, 21:07
It is Hell, where sympathy withers and malice blooms.
It is home to devils.
It is the realm where the rule of law reveals evil's heart.

The Nine Hells of Baator, also called simply Baator or Hell, best satisfy the imagination of travelers, the greed of treasure-seekers, and the battle-fury of paladins.It is the ultimate realm of law and evil, the epitome of predetermined, crafted cruelty. The devils of the Nine Hells all obey a higher law than themselves, but all that really means is that they chafe and rebel in their caste. Most undertake any plot or action, no matter how foul, to advance themselves. At the very top of the hierarchy is Asmodeus, who has yet to be bested.
The Nine Hells compete with any other blackened realm for their diversity of vileness. The devils are more cunning, more subtle, and more dangerous than other fiends, or so say the devils. A devil always has an agenda, a plan of attack, and a carefully conceived plot for retribution if necessary.
Baator consist of nine layers, each lower than the next, like ledges stepping into an ever-deeper pit. Each layer descended gives the traveler a better view of the Nine Hells as a whole; the layers fit together like puzzle pieces, and each new descent allows a traveler greater understanding of how the puzzle comes together. It is an evil enticement.

Features of the Nine Hells of Baator:

The layers of Baator are nine, and each layer has it's own ruler. All other rulers answer to the lowest, Asmodeus, in the Pit. Each of the nine layers has it's own unique environment, but they are all inhospitable and possibly outright deadly.
The policies of Hell have rocked back and forth over the millennia, often accomplished by outright conflict involving armies of devils warring against each other. The city of Dis, on the second layer, has withstood siege more than once at the hands of aggressive devils.
However, in all the time that Asmodeus has ruled from below, no revolt has ever succeeded in replacing the lord of the ninth layer with a different devil, despite the plot designed by Asmodeus himself, that once allowed his rivals to think he had been dethroned.
Though Hell is governed by devils, some sages believe that the devils commandeered the Nine Hells from a far older, stranger race known simply as the Ancient Baatorians. It is possible that remnants of this mysterious race still inhabit isolated portions of the Nine Hells.

The Nine Layers of Hell (


The first layer of Baator is a wasteland of charred, rubble strewn plains, with mountains and talus-sided foothills breaking up the monotony. The legions of mail-clad devils are on a perpetual watch here, as for Avernus is the entrance to Hell, and the most likely point to be attacked at any time. Blood-red light suffuses the air, and fiery balls flit randomly across the sky, sometimes detonating to terrible effects.
Runnels of blood flow in streams across Avernus, finally joining the river Styx. The origin of the blood is unknown, though the devils say it is likely the blood of all Avernus' past victims.

The Bronze Citadel: What may have once been a citadel constructed of bronze is now a brutish, unimaginative city covering dozens of square miles and featuring twelve concentric ring walls, each bristling with war machines.
Because Avernus is the likeliest beachhead for any massed attack, fortifications are always being added to the Bronze Citadel. Work gangs of souls, lemures, and imps constantly expand the city. The construction is so pervasive that bone scaffolding is as likely to be supporting a given wall as not.

Pillar of Skulls: This massive landmark of actual skulls represents devilish trophies taken during eons of wars. Most of the trophies are twisted, demonic skulls, varying in size from minuscule to the size of a house. The pillar rises to a height of more than a mile.
The Pillar stands near the part of the ledge where access to the next layer is an easy walk down a particularly tall metal spire of the city of Dis, known as the Iron Tower, reaching up through the haze between the layers. This spire sees quite a bit of devil traffic on it's spiral stairwell, and quite a few accidental and not-so accidental falls as well.
The tower meets with a massive cave that sits at the base of the Pillar, where a particularly terrible sentinel, Tiamat, awaits.


The second layer of the Nine Hells is a burning city of iron. The red glow of infernal heat burns within the scorched iron walls, and a pall of smoke rises up to form a general dark haze over the entire layer. For the city is the layer ad for the layer is the city, Dis. Some claim that a traveler who walks far enough can leave the city behind, concealed within a great ring of contains.
Ranks of red, glowing buildings extend to every horizon, rising and falling according to the hidden terrain. Palatial mansions of particularly important devils and officers of the hellish hierarchy break the cityscape here and there. Every iron wall glows with heat, and casual contact with them will sear unprotected flesh away quickly.
Even the iron cobblestone glow with heat. Without protection, , visitors soon writhe and burn in the streets. Screaming damned ones and those captured during the wars fill the subterranean prisons beneath the streets. The sound of their agonized lament is usually audible from small vents in the city walls.
Some sections of the city host markets and bazaars, where creatures from a variety of places meet. Most they seek to buy or sell questionable wares, or hire a bloodthirsty band of mercenaries for work only a devil would love.
Crows fill the streets. Parades of devilish nobility attended by lemures and horribly sculpted soul shells vie with countless work gangs who constantly sally forth to repair, extend, or remodel the city at the behest of Dispater, Lord of the Second.

Iron Tower: The Iron Tower is visible from every part of Dis, for it reaches high above the city, piercing the haze that covers the layer. The tower's form seems to constantly shimmer and change textures and architectural styles.
The tower is Dispater's personal redoubt. He is almost invulnerable when inside of it, so he rarely ventures forth, preferring to lead through devilish messengers.


The third layer of the Nine Hells is a fetid swamp of mire and pollution. Acidic rain, bitter winds, and flesh-slicing hail rule the bog. The waters of the marsh are so cold in some places that they have iced over. In others, the dank water boils and steams with infernal heat.
Terrible creatures with no names swim the murky waters, and even devils fear to stray too far away from their cities. Where the layer is lowest, dribble of slimy water sluiced into a long fall down to the fourth layer. Many unlucky creatures and lost travelers have been accidentally caught up in that long, lethal fall to Phlegethos.

The City of Minauros: This metropolis of devils gives it's name to the layer. Minauros is also called The Sinking, because the stony weight of the city is forever slipping beneath the cesspool waters. Only the eternal effort of a stream of condemned and slaves keeps it from finally succumbing to the swamp, but still, the city sinks a little farther into the mud every year.

The City of Jangling Hiter: The City of Chains hangs suspended above the bog of Minauros from thick metal links. The lowest portions of the city just gaze the rolling swamp, but the strength of the chains keeps the mire from drawing Jangling Hiter down where so many other cities have drowned. No one knows to what structure the suspended chains are finally connected, although a good bet is that they somehow pierce the layer boundary and connect to the underside of Dis above.. The hail-laden clouds hide the truth of the matter.


The fourth layer of the Nine Hells is a burning realms of flames. Rivers of liquid fire rule the land, and the air is consumed with dancing flames. Unprepared visitors fall immolated soon on Phlegethos.

Abriymoch: This city of hardened magma, obsidian, and crystal squats in the caldera of an almost extint volcano. Abriymoch's foundation is said to be the grave of a deity slain by Asmodeus himself. The city offers some protection from the fiery environment predominant in the layer, but even so, certain quarters are open to the raging flames.
Grand legions of devils reside here, a force kept in reserve should any attack to the Nine Hells pierce this far. The pit lord Gazra dominates this vast force, but he directly answers to the Lords of the Fourth, Fierna and Belial, They also reside in Abriymoch, in a palace of jagged obsidian built on one lip of the caldera.


The fifth layer of the Nine Hells is a realm of cold and ice. Most of the layer is drowned in a sea of crushing ice floes and icebergs. The only open water is the rushing river Styx, though icebergs and fiendish sharks make navigating it quite perilous. Lightning constantly rips through the sky, so flying creatures are particularly rare as well. Ice foes serve as the foundation for many devilish cities and castles.

Tantlin: Called the City of Ice, Tantlin is the largest city in the layer. Like the smaller cities, it is built on an ice floe, but it has a "harbor" bordering on one side of the nearby river Styx. The city is ruled by a pit fiend, though she rarely stirs from her citadel. This "" approach leaves the streets to various groups interested in dispensing their own law at the expense of each other.
The residents of Tantlin can't long forget the ruler of the layer, Levistus, because he is frozen deep within the heart of an iceberg, that floats in the middle of the city's harbor. Despite his immobility, Levistus is fully aware of the events occurring on his layer, and he is able to telepathically communicate with the other devils of Phlegethos.

Sheyruushk: This underwater realm is accessible from a crack between two icebergs not too far from Tantlin. The sea devils cavort in the court of the rules of Sheyruushk, Sekolah. Awful rites pay homage to the brutal ruler. Sharks of every type and every size constantly roam the waters of Sheyruushk.


The sixth layer of the Nine Hells is an endless rocky slope. Cascades of boulders are frequent, pulping anything in their path. Above, the sky boils with leprous colors. The devils on this layer take shelter in copper-clad fortresses, designed to channel and deflect the frequent rock flows.However, nothing can withstand the worst of the avalanches.

Maggoth Thyg: Rumors describe ancient places built underneath the slopes of Malbolge. Below the hellish rock and stone, creatures older than the devils themselves might still roam.
A certain hard-to-find defile leads to a cavern whose walls glow with a brain-numbing, grayish light. Boulder falls often clog the defile, but somehow the cave is reopened time and again. Devils sent by the Lord of the Sixth to investigate have never returned.
Terrible cries sometimes issue forth from the caverns, echoing across Malbolge's slopes. Strangely, condemned ones on this layer can not hear the cries. But devils can, and the sound is innately terrifying to them.


The seventh layer of the Nine Hells is dotted with ruined, abandoned cities. Under the blood-black sky, the damned quarry, carve, and build new cities for the Lord of the Seventh. Mine pits, slag heaps, and brackish canals cover the older ruins. Newer cities are built upon the backs of ancient ruins. As each city is finished, the Lord's dissatisfaction forces his subject to begin anew. The fallen cities are not empty. They serve as home to damned ones who have fled their devilish tormentors, beasts from other realms that have become specially lost, and travelers who do not want to be found.

Malagard: The current city under construction is called Malagard, and it serves as home for the Lord of the Seventh, Baalzebul. It is a beautiful city of perfectly straight boulevards, fountains of delicate yet terrible visage, and towers that reach straight as an arrow into the blood-black sky. It is the greatest city yet seen in Maladomini, but no one doubts that it, too, will soon be abandoned, as Baalzebul strives for unattainable hellish perfection in all things.

Grenpoli: Grenpoli, the City of Diplomacy, is domed, and access is granted only through one of four gates on the city's exterior. Entrance to the city comes after a thorough search during which all weapons are taken for the duration of the visitor's stay. Strife and open displays of magical aggression are against the laws as well, and those who break the law are slain immediately.
The Political School of the Nine Hells, in Grenpoli, is where enterprising devilish nobility come to learn about treachery and deception. The fiendish lady Mysdemn Wordtwister rules Grenpoli.


The eight layer of the Nine Hells is another realm of cold, but Cania's cold is so bitterly penetrating that it is like a living thing. Glaciers moving as fast as a running man grind and crash against each other, sending avalanches of snow down upon anyone unfortunate enough to be caught between the battling ice titans.
The frigid cold penetrates even the warmest of protections. Moving glaciers often reveal thousand-years.old corpses, past victims of the merciless chill.

Mephistar: A blue-white jewel fashioned of ice, this mighty citadel perches upon an equally impressive glacier named Nargus. Clouds of vapor constantly roll off the sides of the icy spike. The glacier's movement is controlled by the Lord of the Eight, Mephistopheles, and Nargus has flowed over and obliterated many lesser glaciers, as well as it's share of rival fiendish armies caught unaware in Cania.
The interior of Mephistar is heated. In fact, lavish heated baths, scented fires, and hell-bright tapestries are everywhere. Devil nobles abide in the warm sanctuary of Mephistar, waiting on the whims of their lord Mephistopheles.

Shapes in the Ice: Some glaciers in Cania entomb alien shapes frozen in the heart of the ice. The frosted glaciers distort vision, so it is difficult to make out exactly what is buried in such an icy prison. From time to time, enterprising creatures melt exploratory shafts toward nameless creatures that should better remain unknown, or cities of of prosaic or alien design.

The Pit: Mighty glaciers form a ledge surrounding a dark pit several miles wide in diameter. The utterly dark Pit is the primary access down to the lowest layer of the Nine Hell, Nessus. One devil-guarded stairway cuts back and forth down one glacier's face, and on each landing sits a guard tower bristling with dauntingly powerful fiends.
Of course, one could forgo the stairs and plunge directly into the pit. However, a supernaturally strong draft makers any type of flying a chancy proposition.


The ninth layer is the deepest realm of the Nine Hells, a plain shattered by rifts deeper than the deepest ocean trench. Many of the ravines and canyons here reach thousands of miles into undifferentiated, dead stone. Most of the trenches seem natural, but some appear as if they were cut or blasted into the land. Rumor has it that an offshoot of the Styx flows here and there, dropping into dismal trenches and trickling it's way across the layer. Few know how to reach this tributary, if it exists at all.

Malsheem: A rift of incredible depth and width lies immediately below the layer boundary between Cania and Nessus -the Pit up in Cania leads directly to Malsheem in Nessus. Malsheem, the Citadel of Hell, rises in it's dark, elegant, fiendish and daunting beauty from the trench. The stronghold is monstrously large, rising miles above the plain. But like an iceberg above water, it's visible spire and fortifications are small compared to the vast halls contained within the trench.
Malsheem is the largest known citadel of the Nine Hells. It is big enough to house millions upon millions of devils and other fiendish creatures. Asmodeus, Master of Malsheem, Lord of the Ninth, and undisputed King of the Nine Hells, resides here, guarded by a legion of mighty proportions. The citadel is so vast it is nigh unmappable; Malsheem's secrets are known to Asmodeus and Asmodeus alone.

Serpent's Coil: Brutally repressed rumors suggest that there is more to Asmodeus than he admits. The story story goes that the true form of Asmodeus actually resides in the deepest rift of Nessus, called the Serpent's Coil. The shape seen by all other devils of the Nine Hells in the fortress of Malsheem is actually a highly sophisticated illusion, or an avatar of some sort.
The secret rift, formed by Asmodeus' plummeting body when he first arrived to the Nine Hells, spirals inward over the course of hundreds of miles. His titanic, miles-long form still rests here, and his wounds have yet to heal. His acid, black blood pools n the hollows of the rift, a substance fouler than foul.
From where does he really come, is a mystery to all, if the rumors are true at all.

The Lords of the Nine Hells:

Bel, Lord of the First ( The center of the Bronze Citadel holds the personal fortress of Bel, a pit fiend of great power who controls Avernus; in addition to being Lord of the First, Bel is also one of the Great Generals of Hell, yet no part of the Dark Eight. Bel betrayed the former Lord of the First, Zariel, for his current position. It is whispered by his subordinates that Bel still keeps Zariel prisoner somewhere deep in the Bronze Citadel, so that he can siphon her hellish power into himself, increasing his own abilities while slowly reducing her to just another soul shell.
While Bel has succeeded where many failed before him, his climb to power seems to be stalled now, since he does not enjoy the support of the other Lords of the Nine, except for possibly Asmodeus.

Dispater the Archduke, Lord of the Second (
: Unlike Bel, it is difficult to class Dispater as a specific"type" of devil or recall his origin, other than to say that he is an archdevil. Like the other Lords of the Nine, he is an elite devil whose powers are waxing, and even a pit fiend falls before his onslaught. He usually appears as a humanoid of supernatural height, dark hair, tiny horns, and resplendent garb. He always hold his badge of office, a rod of singular power.
Dispater never takes risks and rarely leaves his Iron Tower. Only Asmodeus' call brings him forth. In the politics on the Nine Hells, Dispater and Mephistopheles are allies, usually scheming against Baalzebul.

Mammon the Viscount, Lord of the Third ( Mammon is an archdevil and so possesses incredible power. In form, he reassembles a 30-foot long serpent with a human torso, head, and arms. He wields a harpoon-like spear, though it's magic is the least of Mammon's impressive abilities. He rules from the center of the city of Minauros, inhabiting a mausoleum-like structure of similarly massive proportions.
Mammon is a turncoat's turncoat. Though he once allied with Dispater and Mephistopheles against Asmodeus, he was the first to abase himself before the Lord of the Ninth when Asmodeus finally proved victorious at the close of a failed rebellion called the Reckoning. Few other Lords would ever trust mammon again, making him least likely to be involved in the next infernal revolt.

Lady Fierna and Archduke Belial, Lords of the Fourth ( Belial And Fierna are both powerful archdevils who take the form of slightly devilish-looking humanoids. Fierna is Belial's daughter; he lets her wear the mantle of leadership in public, but in truth the two of them rule the layer of Phlegethos together.

Prince Levistus, Lord of the Fifth ( Asmodeus originally imprisoned Levistus in ice for a past betrayal. Though he allows the prince to control over Stygia via mental contact with other devils, Asmodeus will not set Levistus free. Despite his imprisonment, the plots of Levistus run deep. Should Levistus break free, his vengeance on the other Lords of the Nine, especially Asmodeus, would undoubtedly follow.

The Hag Countess, Lady of the Sixth ( The Hag Countess is not an archdevil but a supremely powerful hag from a far blackened realm. Moloch once ruled this layer, but he was cast down when he defied Asmodeus during the general rebellion that ripped through the Nine Hells some time past. Most authorities acknowledge that the Hag, one of Moloch's most trusted advisers, counseled Moloch to rebel. Of course, the rebellion failed, and during the Reckoning the Hag was set in Moloch's place Moloch fled, and wherever he is hiding, it is certain that this archdevil bears a terrible grudge.
The Hag Countess's stronghold is the core of a mountain-sized boulder that perpetually rolls down Malbolge's slopes, although none of her nobles know exactly where it is or on what path it rolls. Instead, they host her when she occasionally visits them in their copper fortresses, assuming they can pierce her expert disguise.

Baalzebul the Archduke, Lord of the Seventh ( Once, Baalzebul was an angelic archon called Triel, but he was cast down into the Nine Hells. Asmodeus quickly promoted Triel to devilhood in a dreadful ritual. Baalzebul's relentless drive for perfection served him well has he climbed the ranks of devilry, culminating in Baalzebul's ascension to lordship of Maladomini. And Baalzebul did not just attain his title, but deposed the earlier Lord and expunged all mention of that entity. Leaving behind his former name and his former allegiance, Baalzebul is also called the Lord of Flies, an not even them can escape his net of intrigues.
Like virtually every other Lord, Baalzebul plotted against Asmodeus during the rebellion and purge of the Reckoning. To punish Baalzebul, Asmoodeus transformed his formerly angelic body into a melted, sluglike form, with tiny, malformed arms, flies buzzing and crawling around him continuously. The stench around Baalzebul is infamous; the curse causes stinking piles of rotting garbage and feces to accumulate wherever he spends time

Mephistopheles, Lord of the Eight ( Mephistopheles once engineered his own coup, when he was replaced by Baron Molikroth. However, Molikroth was secretly Mephistopheles, and that duplicity has now ended -as have the life of Molikroth's co-conspirators. The Lord of the Eight appears as a 9-foot tall humanoid with hell-red skin, horns and wings. He grips a magic ranseur that burns eternally. He prefers to drape himself in dramatic capes as black as the deepest of voids.
Like the other archdukes of the Nine Hells, Mephistopheles failed to unseat Asmodeus' rulership over the realms. And like many other archdukes, he retained position when the Reckoning was over. His biggest rival is Baalzebul, and his court is thick with plots against the Lord of Flies.

Asmodeus the King of the Nine Hells, Lord of the Ninth ( Asmodeus, wielder of power than not even archdevils may delve upon, resides on the moon-sized fortress of Malsheem, but he is rarely seen. Only when the elite of the Nine Hells gather in any one of a hundred audience chambers does Asmodeus make his presence known, usually in the form of an unprepossessing humanoid with black hair, a black goatee, and eyes of flame. Asmodeus has been challenged many times, most recently during the Hells-wide rebellion of the Reckoning, but he has yet to meet defeat.