Advisory: The following overview of the Devils and their Infernal home contains certain imagery that some may consider disturbing. I do not believe it is gratuitous, as a depiction of true manifest Evil is bound to contain some mature themes. The Hell I describe is not simply the bad neighborhood of the spiritual realms, but the ultimate expression of unfettered Vice. Likewise, the Devils are not just fascists with magic powers, but actual incarnate Evil. So, this depiction is definitely not suitable for every game or campaign. That being said, I present the emissaries of remorseless Sin, and the hopeless prison they call home.
Concerning the Devils and the Pits of Hell.
At the nadir of the Cosmos are the seven spiritual prisons of Hell, as known as the City of Dis. There suffer the Damned Souls of those who selfishly indulged their own wicked desires at the expense of others. Presiding over them as their tormentors, yet also prisoners themselves, are the Devils. Also known by such names as the Infernals, and the Diabolical Legions, the Devils are the great enemies of the Angelic Hosts of Heaven. The Devils seek to destroy Virtue and promote Vice everywhere in the mundane world. Most of all they are known for the endless and intricate schemes by which they entrap and trick mortals into becoming the willing pawns and prisoners of Hell.
The seven prisons that comprise Hell are known as Pits, because each seems to consist of a terrible landscape at the bottom of a vast rift or depression. Each Pit corresponds to a particular Vice or Sin: Envy, Greed, Lust, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth, or Pride. Each Pit also has it own associated caste of Devils, the members of which are wholly obsessed with indulging their particular Vice. To do this they require victims, forming one motivation for the Devils’ well-known zeal for obtaining mortal souls.
Devils are famous for binding mortals to contracts where a person receives worldly power or love into return for surrendering their soul. Most of the Damned Souls, however, did even require formal contracts to consign themselves to Hell. Still longing to indulge their wickedness after death, they followed visions of Vice that Hell projects as traps. Like flies to a pitcher plant, the Damned are attracted to the mouths of Hell, willingly entering for the chance to indulge themselves for all eternity. By the time they realize their mistake it is too late, and they must suffer an eternity of the same kind of misery and torment they once inflicted on others in life.
The most commonly told story regarding the origin of the Devils states they are former Angels, fallen from Heaven after they lost their Virtue and tried to usurp the Lord of Hosts. Even the powerful Luminous Devils claim this story to be basically true, although the Devils add that they did not fall of their own free will, but were unjustly exiled for simply demanding to be respected. Lending the support to that idea is the fact that the natural forms of Luminous Devils do actually resemble Angels. The other castes of Devils, however, claim to have no memory of ever having been present in Heaven, and know only their existence in Hell. The Cosmic Archons are known to claim that both Angels and Devils are rebel Archons, illegitimately occupying spiritual realms that were meant to respectively reward or punish those who either obeyed or disobeyed the Natural Law of the Demiurge. When Demons speak of Devils, they will deride them as severely deluded former Demons who try to imitate the tyranny of the Archons. The Fairy Folk regard Devils as they do all other spirits – as corrupt versions of themselves.
Devils are both very Evil and very Lawful. They will scrupulously obey the letter of any contract or agreement they enter into, while at the same time seeking ways to ultimately turn any relationship to their own benefit. All except the Luminous Devils are utterly devoid of mercy, love, or any of the finer emotions. Thus, while magicians find Devils to be far more reliable than Demons, the Infernal beings invariably harbor schemes to bring about the downfall of whoever they seem to serve.
The Devils exist in a strict hierarchy, determined by relative power and evil. Each caste possesses its own nobility, and all members of a caste are ultimately under the command of an Archdevil. The Archdevils are among the most evil beings in existence, each one wholly consumed by a particular Vice, and capable of inflaming that Vice in any being that stands in their presence. The more powerful and vice-ridden a Devil is, the more they are bound to Hell, and unable to stand the goodness and virtue that yet exists in the mundane world. The Diabolical nobility, for example, can only enter the ordinary world if summoned, or at times and in places associated with deeds of great wickedness. The Archdevils can only enter ordinary reality after the performance of disgustingly evil ceremonies, involving outrageous sacrifices and the most debased acts.
Like Demons, Devils can be summoned to teach spells and other magical lore. Unlike Demons, the terms of any such arrangement will be specific and strictly obeyed, but always crafted in such a way to ultimately benefit Hell. Typically, a formal contract signed in blood will be required. Only the most powerful magic will require the surrender of a soul; the terms for a a lesser arcanum will typically only specify some wicked service to be performed at a later date.
The gates of Hell are known as Hell-mouths, and take the form of monstrous heads with gaping maws. Notably, the heads appear to be identical with those of the Archdevils themselves. When a Hell-mouth is encountered there will often seem to be people and Devils walking in and out of it, and the sound of a particular Vice being indulged will echo from beyond the entry. The mouth will make no motion to close, and the surrounding figures will entice souls to enter. Woe unto any so foolish as to do so.
The Seven Pits of Hell and Their Inhabitants
The Pit of Envy: The Entrance to this Pit is through the head of gigantic sea-serpent. The Pit takes the form of a frozen swamp surrounded by cliffs, and is the Courthouse of Hell. Here the Envious are eternally subjected to humiliating and torturous trials for the amusement of the Accuser Devils. Such trials are presided over by the Accuser Devil nobility, who each hold the title of Marquis (ordinary Accuser Devils often adding “Esquire” to their names). Ruling the Pit is the Archdevil known as the Crooked Serpent, or Father of Lies, a howling reptilian monster whose tail is stuck in the ice that covers the vast polluted lake at the center the Pit.
The Pit of Greed: The Pit of Greed is a complex of miserable treasure vaults that form the Banks of Hell. The Mouth of Greed resembles a giant old man with avaricious eyes, whose lips surround an open set of iron doors. The Damned who enter the Pit are branded and periodically herded from vault to vault, becoming the actual currency of Hell. As they loved money in life, so they become money in death. No attempt is made to deliberately torture the Damned in the Pit of Greed; they simply suffer as a result of the indifference and neglect born of avarice. Each cold and filthy vault represents a particular Devil’s bank account, and each collection of vaults comprising an Infernal Bank is headed by a President. All the Presidents of the Pact Devils report to an Archdevil known as Devil Money, Old Scratch, or sometimes simply The Man. Old Scratch is chained to his desk at the crossroads in the center of the Pit, forever counting and gloating over the souls he owns.
The Pit of Lust: The Pit of Lust is reached through a mouth that resembles a gaping ram’s head. At the center of the Pit of Lust is a sweltering city of juxtaposed decay and barbaric splendor – not just a festering hell-hole of depravity, but THE festering hell-hole of depravity. Surrounding the city is Green Hell – a mountainous landscape of scalding geysers and dark jungles filled with monstrous carnivorous plants. In the Pit of Lust those who once made others serve as instruments of their pleasure are themselves hunted by the Seducer Devils, brutally abducted, and forcibly incorporated into diabolical harems. They are then subjected to the foul desires of the Devils, until the new bodies of the Damned succumb to agonizing deaths. Thereafter the Damned awaken back on the streets of the city, to repeat the cycle. The Dukes and Duchesses who rule the Seducer Devils will select certain of the Damned to be delivered to the Archdevil known as the Prince of Darkness, also called the Lord of Lust. This polymorphous being is chained by a lame foot to an ornate bed in his harem-zoo, where he engages in a desperate and eternal quest to obtain the ultimate sensory experience.
The Pit of Wrath: Reached through the mouth of a fearsome dragon, the Pit of Wrath is an endless shallow sea of bloody entrails and severed body parts, interrupted by volcanoes, rocky outcroppings, and torture poles. Here hateful and violent souls are flayed, tortured, hunted, and made to engage in endless gladiatorial combats for the amusement of the Wrath Devils. From their burning iron and basalt fortresses the Counts and Countesses of the Wrath Devils plot the destruction of all innocence. Imprisoned in a vast pit in the center of a titanic fortress is the Marshall of Hell known as The Destroyer. The only joys of this vast dragon-like monster are tearing and searing the bodies of the Damned souls fed to him, and dreaming of the day when he will rampage through Heaven.
The Pit of Gluttony: When first entered through the gaping mouth of humongous goat, the Pit of Gluttony appears to consist of piles of delicious food. Quickly the Damned Soul learns that all the apparent food is just disguised dung and filth, and the only thing to eat in the Pit are the Damned themselves, served up alive in banquets for the Corrupter Devils. The entire Pit is in fact made of excrement that often explodes with blue flame, and the rain is urine and bile. Presiding over the infernal feasts are the Corrupter Devil Prelates, who serve the Archdevil known as the Lord of the Flies. He sits imprisoned in a gaudy gilded pulpit atop the largest of the dung heaps, as Damned Souls fattened on the flesh of their fellows are wheeled up to him to sate his eternal hunger.
The Pit of Despair: The Pit of Despair is a series of miserable factories filled with steam, blazing forges, disused trash piles, and abandoned constructions. Reached through a rusted pipe held in the mouth of an old man with small horns and tired eyes, the Damned are here chained together and made to labor unceasingly on bizarre, pointless, and usually impossible projects. The Craft Devils at whose command the Damned work are never actually satisfied with any results. Periodically, they will destroy all the work that has already been done, and force the hapless laborers to start again from the beginning. The Masters of the Craft Devils constantly present new devices to the Archdevil known as the Grand Engineer of Hell, or the Lord of Evil Inventions. This perpetually bored being broods in eternal ennui atop a wheeled contraption of a throne. Only the throne is actually chained to the ground, and while the Engineer might get up at any time, he never does.
The Pit of Pride: The gate to the Pit of Pride is through the mouth of a titanic, youthful king. The Pit of Pride is the deepest of all the pits, and its floor is flooded by the vast Lake of Fire. In the center of the burning lake is an island that seems to be an incongruous piece of Paradise. The island is filled with palaces and gardens, each seemingly more splendid than the last. Here the Damned Souls of kings and potentates are contorted into living furniture, and become abused, menial slaves. The Luminous Devils believe that none but the rulers of the mundane world are fit to perform even the most humiliating work for them. The Luminous Devils are ruled by arrogant Kings and Queens, and their grand palaces surround a structure of astounding magnificence. In that grandest of palaces sits the Archdevil known as the Light Bearer, a breathtakingly beautiful being that dares to title himself Emperor of Hell. He is eternally chained to a throne formed from the bound souls of the world’s proudest conquerers. Ceaselessly the Light Bearer curses the Heavenly Lord of Hosts, whose station the Archdevil believes himself to rightly deserve.
The Rulership of Hell
The entire hierarchy of Devils appears to serve two nearly-omnipotent embodiments of Vice. The first is a horror usually called alternately The Adversary, or simply The Beast. As The Adversary he is said to be similar in appearance to a gigantic, crowned satyr, with a barbed tail, enormous bat-like wings, and holding a red-hot trident. As The Beast, he resembles a red-hued dragon whose seven heads are the seven Hell-mouths. His consort is the Queen of the Night, also known as the Great Scarlet Whore. She is usually seen as an incredibly beautiful, intoxicated woman with a cruel smile and flowing red hair, dressed in immodest clothing of red and purple, and covered with gold and jewels. When the are seen together, the Scarlet Whore often rides the back of The Beast. The Luminous Devils are known to claim that the Adversary is actually just a form taken by the Light Bearer, and the Queen of the Night is the first mortal woman, who exceeded all other beings in her devotion to sorcery and Vice.
All Devils share the following characteristics:
Extraplaner Type: As natives of the Outer Darkness, Devils are subject to all magic that targets Extraplaner creatures. Despite being generally unable to enter mundane reality without aid, Devils are notable in that they can often be summoned by non-magical rituals.
Whiff of Brimstone: Devils can sometimes be detected by the stink of sulfur that occurs whenever they appear. Any time a Devil is Summoned or teleported into an area , the oder of burning brimstone will be momentarily noticeable in a 30′ radius. This smell occurs even if the Devil is invisible or in another form, unless the creatures uses magical precautions to mask its oder.
Silver or Magic Weapons To Hit: All Devils, no matter how powerful, can be damaged by weapons crafted from, or coated with, silver. Devils hate silver, and will not willingly touch it. Otherwise, only enchanted weapons can harm them.
Barred From Holy Ground: All Devils, with the notable exception of Accuser Devils, are unable to enter any area consecrated to the powers of Good.
Weakness To Holy Water: Like Demons, Devils are burned by Holy Water as if it was acid. They take 1d8 damage for every full phial they are doused with.
Subject To Turning: Devils can be turned by the faith of sufficiently powerful Good Clerics. Treat Devils as Unique Undead for turning purposes. Seducer Devils are singularly immune to the power of faith.
Darkvision: Devils can see perfectly regardless of illumination.
Spell Resistance: Like most spirits, all Devils have some measure of resistance to magic.
Spell-Like Abilities: All Devils can speak and understand all languages; become Invisible; assume the form of a snake, black dog, black cat, goat, toad, raven, or owl; cause Darkness; perform feats of Prestidigitation; and instantly Know Alignment. They can also roam the Ethereal and Astral Planes. Most Devils also have additional Spell-Like Abilities, often related to their associated Vice.
Summoning: If hard pressed, every Devil can attempt to Summon Diabolical aid. Not all Devils are assured of success, however. In addition, any Devil that has been Summoned by another loses its own ability to Summon until it returns to Hell again.
Diabolical Immunities: Devils are immune to all diseases (magical or mundane), all poisons, and all magic that influences minds or perceptions.
Fire Immunity: Devils are completely immune to fire based attacks.