Авернус — первый уровень Баатора

Layer 1: Avernus

The entryway to Baator seethes with danger. Devil armies muster on Avernus’s stony wasteland, and its primary waterway, the River Styx, robs intelligent creatures of their identities within moments of exposure. Other pools and rivers run thick with the blood shed in a million battles, ready to claim the lives of any who slip from their rocky, gore-slicked banks. Fireballs careen through the atmosphere, randomly incinerating those who are not immune to their effects. Toothy mountains loom on every side, offering fatal obstacles to those unwise enough to scale them, and sharp edges of crystalline rock tear at flesh and clothing.

Blood and viscera coat the entire surface ofAvernus. That lump underfoot might be a rock, or it could be a stray bit of bone or horn ripped from the body of a devil or a demon. Although Bel, archduke and chief general of the Nine Hells, does his best to fight his battles against demonkind in enemy territory, his layer is invaded by tanar’ri on a regular basis. He has pushed them back after every incursion, but only after his territory has been spattered afresh with gore.

FORGED PAPERS

Astute hellwalkers can acquire good-quality letters of transit drafted by specialists, but forgers who are intimately familiar with the paperwork of the Nine Hells are difficult to find. Usually former cultists or fiendish exiles from Baator, they’re always marked individuals who are avidly hunted by squadrons of bone devils.
Their justifiable paranoia prompts them to deal through trusted go-betweens. Making contact with a qualified forger requires at least a DC 25 Gather Information check, though the DC increases in isolated or devil-haunted locations. A forged document that allows short-term travel between two points in Baator, with legal paths laid out in an attached map, sells for 2,000 gp per person named within it. For unlimited access within an entire layer or divine realm, adventurers can expect to pay 8,000 gp each. A letter granting access to all of Baator (except Nessus) begins at 16,000 gp per person. Adventurers traveling to the Nine Hells on quests for powerful patrons might have papers supplied to them as part of the mission.

The unseen forger who supplies the necessary papers has a total Forgery modifier of 1d12+6. In all cases, you as DM secretly determine the quality of the forgery. Assume that the forger takes 10 on his check to draft the documents.

Diabolical secret policemen always have skill ranks in Forgery so that they can detect false papers. If this skill does not appear in a given creature’s standard skill list, swap out other skills to give the devil at least 5 ranks, and treat Forgery as a class skill for that devil.

THE DARK EIGHT

Legend holds that the Dark Eight have been leading troops against the demons in the Blood War for eons, but any character who makes a successful DC 25 Knowledge (the planes) check recognizes this claim as just another diabolical deception. Members of the Dark Eight die quite regularly—either on the battlefield or as the result of internecine struggle. The other members of the Dark Eight conceal this fact by quickly finding replacements for deceased generals. Each new pit fiend takes on the name of the old and reshapes its appearance as needed to pass for its predecessor. This bit ofdeception helps maintain the fiction ofa cadre ofimmortal commanders who are unques¬tionably united in the struggle against demonkind.

In truth, the deceptively calm Baalzephon is the only founding member of the Dark Eight who survives today. The latest addition to the crew is a restless pit fiend who has taken on the mantle of Furcas. Other generals include the thundering Zimimar, the cold-hearted Zaebos, and the haughty and contemptuous Dagos. Zapan is reviled by all for his fawning demeanor when dealing with archdukes and dei¬ties, and Corin paces endlessly in his chambers, fretting over reams ofintelligence reports and always predicting the worst. Though he commands the armies of Archduchess Fierna, the magic-obsessed Pearza has recently been cozying up to Mephistopheles because he is intrigued by the possibilities of his ongoing research into a new kind of fire magic.

UNIQUE DEVILS

The only unique devils in the hierarchy ofthe Nine Hells who make their home in Avernus are Amduscias and Malphas, both of whom are servitors of Tiamat.

OUTCAST DEVILS

Avernus is home to the outcasts of Baator, also known as “the rabble of devilkin.” Few lesser devils survive more than a few moments as outcasts, so this group is composed almost exclusively of unique devils who are the equals of any duke. Outcasts of note residing in Avernus include Amon, Armaros, Azazel, Bist, Cahor, Caim, Dagon, Duskur, Herodias, Koch¬biel, Malarea, Moloch, Nergal, Nisroch, and Rumjal. Some outcast devils, such as Azazel and Dagon, have been stripped of their original names to reduce the chances that they will be summoned to the Material Plane. If this punishment does not suffice, as was the case with Azazel, any Lord of the Nine can forcibly assign the planar commitment trait (see sidebar, page 37) to an outcast devil.
Treacherous and scheming, the outcast dukes constantly seek ways to either reclaim their former positions in the ranks of the Nine Hells or to destroy and displace the current order. To further their plans, these outcasts often try to manipulate both mortals and other devils. Because their powers remain intact, the outcasts can be ferocious enemies or useful allies. Either way, they serve as important pawns between feuding archdukes and dukes.

Sometimes outcast dukes lure mortals to Baator in hopes of using them as weapons against their foes. For example, a heroic paladin might find a map of a certain section of Baator that was placed on the Material Plane by an outcast duke. The map conveniently allows the paladin and his friends to sneak into a duke’s fortress and slay him—or at least disrupt his efforts. A mortal unwittingly caught between two devils in this way might discover that his actions lead to a far greater evil than the one he sought to destroy.

RESIDENT DEVILS

Because it serves as the staging area for the Blood War, Avernus bristles with warrior devils of all description, from expendable lemure foot soldiers to the mightiest pit fiends. Since Tiamat’s realm is also located on this layer, legions of abishai, which maintain an ancient affiliation with the dragon queen, reside here as well.
Furthermore, in its capacity as the entry point to Baator for damned souls, Avernus is inhabited by devils serving not only Bel but all the other archdukes as well. These functionaries range from barbazu soul handlers to imp and spinagon messengers.

OTHER DENIZENS

In the core D&D campaign setting, the realms of the patron deities of kobolds and evil dragons all lie within the bounds of Avernus. Fiendish versions oftheir various mortal worshipers might be found outside the boundaries of those realms.

Tiamat’s Lair
Minaurcs
In truth, any mortal who proves sufficiently useful can find a place in Baator, since devils—though irrevocably evil—tend to refrain from mindless destruction. Furthermore, the plane is perhaps the best place to find safety from good-aligned enemies. Thus, for example, a cabal of evil wizards being hunted on the Material Plane might provide the devils with useful spells and magic items in return for safe harbor within the bounds of Baator.

THE LORD OF AVERNUS

Bel rose through the ranks from a quivering, mindless lemure to full pit fiend status. He led the diabolical armies against the demons and, through a combination of guile and power, smeared himself over and over in bloody glory. At long last, he was elevated by Asmodeus to Lord of the First, displacing an archduke called Zariel.

Bel is an inspiration to all devilkind. Every devil in Baator wants to do as he did, then kill him and take his place.

The archduke does not concern himselfmuch with diaboli¬cal politics, since his duties as commander of the diabolical armies fighting the Blood War keep him well occupied. An arrangement dictated by Asmodeus decrees that the other archdukes must pay Bel in soldiers, equipment, and souls for his martial efforts on behalf of all Baator. As long as Bel keeps his flaring red nose out of their affairs and his attention fixed on victories against the tanar’ri, his peers are almost happy to fulfill the terms of this bargain. Though they look down on Bel as a pretender, they appreciate his successes and are glad that they don’t have to lead their own troops into battle, as they did eons ago.
In a way, Bel’s position is more secure than those of his colleagues. The Dark Eight—the pit fiend generals that com-mand the diabolical armies—hold Bel in high esteem and thus are unlikely to try to unseat him. As long as he keeps winning engagements, they continue to support him loyally and enthusiastically. Bel’s goal, then, is to manage the devils’ participation in the Blood War successfully.

ROLEPLAYING BEL
Bel is a cool, calculating military genius, as well as a careful plot¬ter ofrisks and rewards. Despite his calm demeanor, however, he can display flashes of volcanic rage when he’s thwarted.

A realist at heart, Bel knows that demonkind is infinite and at best he can hope to do no more than contain the tanar’ri. Every day they’re held at bay is a victory for him, so Bel is will¬ing to take any useful help he can get—even from mortals. If adventurers approach him with a credible offer to fight the demon horde, he gives them an honest hearing and might agree to provide aid and protection in return for services rendered. Allies who continue to deliver for him might be rewarded with letters of safe passage, treasure, or information.
Bel is difficult to fool, but he can prove a reliable ally if treated with respect. Though he’s as enthusiastic about corruption and torture as any other devil, he doesn’t try to corrupt the souls of demonstrably useful adventurers. How-ever, simply spending time with him and doing his bidding can lead all but the most stalwart of souls astray without any conscious effort on Bel’s part.

DUKES OF AVERNUS

Avernus has no actual dukes. The cruelly magnificent pit fiends known as the Dark Eight play much the same role, though they eschew the title of duke, preferring the rank of general.

IMPORTANT LOCATIONS

The famous sites within Avernus mark its function as Baator’s entry point.

THE BRONZE CITADEL

Bel’s ever-expanding fortress, known as the Bronze Citadel, serves as Baator’s principal bulwark against demonic inva-sion. Work crews of least devils continually slave over the structure, building new walls and war machines in circles around the original citadel.

The fortress is surrounded by fourteen concentric rings, each with its own gate guarded by fearsome devils. A formidable array of ballistae, catapults, and magical relics juts from each ofthese walls. The complex sprawls across 600 square miles of territory, and its rearward structures stretch across the steeply rising foothills of the adjoining Stigmaris Mountains.

In the citadel’s inner court, Bel confers with the Dark Eight about strategy for upcoming battles. Each of these unique pit fiends also maintains a household within Bel’s fortress.

GREAT BALLS OF FIRE

Legend has it that the fireballs that detonate across Avernus in a seemingly random pattern are generated by Zariel, a trapped former archduke from whom Bel parasitically draws his power. This tale might be true, since the fireballs aren’t really random. Close examination of the phenomenon reveals that they spite-fully seek out victims, apparently drawn by motion.

During any combat, a fireball might (5% chance per round) home in on the melee, centered on a random combatant. Roll 1d8+8 to determine the fireball’s effective caster level.

During battles between devils and demons, the fireballs exact a heavy toll on the demons, which are only resistant to fire. The devils, which are immune to fire, are not inconvenienced at all.

DARKSPINE

Despite the manifold dangers of Baator, a few stalwart adven¬turers and travelers always find reasons to visit. Such intrepid explorers used to j ourney through this gate-town when it was located in the Outlands—the intermediate zone connecting the Outer Planes to the various worlds of the Material Plane. Always anxious to capture more souls, the devils coveted Darkspine for both its proximity and its traffic. After years of planning, they managed to pull it suddenly into their realm by means of mighty magic. Most of its inhabitants were then imprisoned, slain, or tempted into surrendering their souls. Now the ruins of Darkspine stand on the plains of Avernus as a terrible reminder of diabolical power.
Darkspine boasts one extant tavern, known as the Pig and Poke. Though the place seems deserted, its barkeep, a harvester devil named Jebelam, can appear at a moment’s notice to serve unwary customers. If she can’t tempt her patrons into signing a Faustian pact, Jebelam at least files a report on their apparent capabilities with one of the Dark Eight.

PLANAR COMMITMENT

Some outcast devils, as well as all souls brought to the plane, cannot leave the Nine Hells of Baator. An outcast devil with this trait is teleported 100 miles in a random direction if an at¬tempt is made to force it to leave Avernus. Planar commitment is an extraordinary ability.

THE MAGGOT PIT

Because this 1,000-foot-diameter pit lies closer to the other planes than most other features of Avernus, it is the most famous of Baator’s many facilities for converting the souls of the damned into wretched lemures. Filled with ooze and writhing white worms, this mammoth crater radiates an almost palpable sense of evil and corruption.
A legion of pain devils hauls the trembling, insensate soul shells from carts and wagons, then pushes and prods them up the crater’s steep side and over the lip. The mindlessly protesting souls land in the pit with a hideous splosh, quickly drown, and are devoured by the maggots. The creatures’ rancid excretions then coalesce into gelatinous lemure forms, which the pain devils fish out of the pit with nets.
Because the Maggot Pit blocks entrance to the realm ofTiamat, a red abishai named Arraka is on hand to guard the Dragon Queen’s realm from intruders (see Citadel Entrance, below). The abishai’s loyalty is to Tiamat, not to the pain devils working the
pit, but Arraka might come to their aid if they are molested by intruders—especially if the abishai is bored. If it needs assistance, Arraka can summon an essentially unlimited supply of abishai to prevent interlopers from entering Tiamat’s fortress.
Now and then, Tiamat finds it useful to let certain enemies believe that they have sneaked into her headquarters unde¬tected. When so instructed, Arraka accepts the biggest bribe she can browbeat out of the intruders and sends them on their way in supposed safety. Then, through a telepathic maggot implanted in her brain, she alerts the fortress security forces to their presence.

Refer to the accompanying map for points of interest at the Maggot Pit.

  1. Dragon Cliff: A sheer cliff face rises to a series of crownlike spires 1,000 feet above the Maggot Pit’s surface. Above these craggy peaks loom the dragon-shaped spires of Tiamat’s mountain citadel.
  2. Citadel Entrance: Though dragons can reach Tiamat’s Citadel by air, landbound creatures must enter through a cave mouth protected by the Maggot Pit. The red abishai guard Arraka perches here to ensure that no one enters uninvited.
  3. Soul Pens: Dispirited, listless soul shells mill about in stony, garrison-style structures, awaiting their eventual transformation into lemures. Bands of cranky pain devils ensure that none escape their lawful punishment.
  4. Access Roads: Wide lanes, cut into the soft earth by thousands of prison carts, lead to the soul pens.
  5. Maggot Pit: This stinking pit is 1,000 feet in diameter and quite deep. Mortals who fall into the pit are not transformed

THE LEGIONS OF HELL

Each layer of the Nine Hells (with the exception of Nessus, the domain of Asmodeus) musters an army to fight in the Blood War. Each army has its own name and is commanded by a spe-cific member of the Dark Eight.

Although these armies garrison on their native layers, the bulk of their forces can usually be found in Avernus. If a given legion isn’t here, it’s taking the battle to the filthy demons in their own realm.

The legions of Hell are as follows.

The Few: The smallest of the legions hails from Avernus and is commanded by Dagos. The members of this legion are mighty diabolical warriors known for teleporting into battle to attack enemy ranks from the rear—or even from within.

The Iron Defenders: The legion of Dis specializes in engineer¬ing, defensive maneuvers, and breaking sieges. Its members are experts at digging in and holding their ground. General Zapan commands Dispater’s legion in the Blood War.

The Gleaming Guard: Named for the shining armor its members wear into battle, Mammon’s Gleaming Guard is com-manded by General Zaebos. Much of this unit’s namesake armor has been stolen from angelic forces and corrupted for diabolical purposes. The Gleaming Guard is by far the best equipped of all the legions, so whenever a strategy depends on a particular magic item, the legion of the third layer gets the call.

The Walkers in Fire: The legion of Phlegethos, commanded by General Pearza, screams onto the battlefield haloed in billowing orange and red flame. Squadrons of fireball-wielding erinyes and pleasure devil wizards soar above the fray, raining fire on
friend and foe alike. The devils shrug off the fireballs while their enemies burn.
The Stygian Champions: When the impossible weight of de-monic numbers weighs heavy on the forces of law, Bel calls on the legion of Levistus, under the command of Baalzephon. The heedless, swashbuckling commanders of this legion specialize in turning their enemies’ numbers against them. Mobility and maneuverability are the hallmarks of this force.

The Creeping Cadre: The fledgling but growing legions of Malbolge specialize in weapons and magic that leave lingering marks on their foes. Disease and poison fester in the wake of this legion. Especially fearsome are the enervate wands and energy drain scrolls wielded by its wizardly support squadrons, which unnerve even their field commander, General Furcas.

The Maladominaar: The ferocious frontal assaults of Mala- domini’s elite shock troopers can easily break through demonic formations, scattering and dividing them on the battlefield. Zimimar commands the Maladominaar in the field.

The Serpentine Order: Cania’s fanatical spy network reports grudgingly to General Corin, but only after first reporting all the choice intelligence to Mephistopheles. Devils of the Serpentine Order perform reconnaissance, interrogate prisoners, and engage in missions of infiltration and assassination. Its opera-tives specialize in disguising themselves as demons.

The Nessian Guard: Each member of this elite force was born directly from the weeping wounds of Asmodeus himself. This legion is not involved in the Blood War; Asmodeus keeps it in reserve for the even more apocalyptic battle to come. 
into lemures, though they do face the usual risk of drown¬ing. In addition, the goo within the pit acts like a poison that affects the awareness and confidence of a living creature.

RIVER STYX

The polluted, oil-slicked River Styx (known as the River of Blood in the FORGOTTEN REALMS setting) gives off a nausea- inducing stench of death and decay. This horrid waterway runs like a disease through the Nine Hells, entering in Avernus, reappearing in the frozen sea of Stygia, and then cascading down from Cania into Nessus. Jutting from the water along a half-mile path of the River Styx are the Shelves of Despond, the clammy rocks where the souls of the damned first appear in Baator.

Extraplanar creatures are immune to the effects of the River Styx, but mortals and disembodied souls fear its memory-stealing powers. To fall under its spell, a mortal need only place a hand or foot in its greasy waters. The more extensive the immersion, the more likely it is that permanent eradication of the self will occur.

Any living mortal who comes into contact with the Styx must make a successful DC 25 Fortitude saving throw or be afflicted with temporary amnesia. The DC increases to 30 if more than half the character’s body is immersed, and to 35 for full immersion. The amnesia lasts for 3d6 days.

A soul shell sprayed with or immersed in the waters of the Styx is afflicted with permanent amnesia (no saving throw).

DIVINE REALMS

In a core D&D campaign setting, Avernus is home to Kurtulmak, the patron deity of the kobold race. This deity refrains from engaging in diabolical politics, focusing instead on providing his dead worshipers with the afterlives they were promised. Though the rewards these creatures garner for lifetimes of service might appear distinctly unappeal¬ing to outside observers, the kobolds seem to find them eminently satisfying.

The accompanying map of the Nine Hells (page 34) shows the main entrance point to Baator’s various divine realms. Each is a gateway into a separate and nearly infinite extra¬planar domain that is not part of Baator proper.

DRAUKARI

Draukari, the realm of the kobold deity Kurtulmak, is a snak-ing network of tunnels and catacombs filled to bursting with fiendish kobolds. Blood seeps from the surface above and drops down onto the inhabitants, covering their skins completely. This ghastly lubricant helps them writhe and wriggle through the mass of fellow fiends more effectively.

Because they are free from hunger here, kobolds consider Draukari an absolute paradise. Periodically, however, the over-crowding becomes intolerable even for them, and a fiendish civil war ensues. Such a conflict culls out the weakest of the fiends and gives the strongest some momentary breathing room. However, given the vast population of kobolds in the multiple worlds of the Material Plane, it is never long before Draukari fills up once again.

Draukari’s hideous reptilian stench can overwhelm non-kobolds as soon as they enter its claustrophobic passageways. Any character who fails a DC 25 Fortitude save upon initial exposure is sickened for ld4 minutes.

TIAMAT’S FORTRESS

The realm of the Dragon Queen appears as a jagged, crown-shaped mountain redoubt. Five watchtowers, each carved to resemble the head and neck of a watchful dragon, curve up and out from the main structure. Because the fortress’s primary entrance is through its roof, it is accessible only to flying creatures, such as the abishai and the fiendish dragons that populate Tiamat’s realm. The secondary entrance is a cave in the sheer rock wall abutting the Maggot Pit

Like Baator’s other divine realms, the fortress appears finite from the outside but nearly infinite from within. Its upper floors resemble a sumptuously appointed royal castle, scaled to accomodate a dragon of Colossal size. Beneath it are trackless miles of winding corridors and treasure cav¬erns, and every coin in the fortress is guarded by a jealous fiendish dragon.

Nondragon worshipers of Tiamat incarnate in her realm as wriggling soul forms upon death. Those she deems espe¬cially worthy become white abishai after a token interval of unspeakable torment. The rest she sells to eager devilish buyers in exchange for gold and gems. Even so, Tiamat has far more abishai than she needs, so she permanently indentures platoons of them to various archdevils in return for cash pay-ments. She has also sold the archdevils the secrets of abishai physiology so that they can promote those who work for them according to their merit. Tiamat’s avaricious disinterest in her devilish spawn reinforces both their servile need to please her and the arrogant bluster they display toward the rest of Hell’s minions as a compensation mechanism for their lowly status.

Tiamat incarnate in her realm as wriggling soul forms upon death. Those she deems espe¬cially worthy become white abishai after a token interval of unspeakable torment. The rest she sells to eager devilish buyers in exchange for gold and gems. Even so, Tiamat has far more abishai than she needs, so she permanently indentures platoons of them to various archdevils in return for cash pay-ments. She has also sold the archdevils the secrets of abishai physiology so that they can promote those who work for them according to their merit. Tiamat’s avaricious disinterest in her devilish spawn reinforces both their servile need to please her and the arrogant bluster they display toward the rest of Hell’s minions as a compensation mechanism for their lowly status.

AMNESIA

Characters afflicted with amnesia forget their names and histo-ries, including all information about their friends, enemies, and other relationships. However, they keep all benefits gained from class levels—even learned ones such as spells known, feats, and skills. In essence, their personalities are wiped away while their skills and abilities remain.

An amnesiac usually adopts the alignment and attitudes of any new friends he meets after losing his memory. For example, a paladin might become lawful evil if he fell into the River Styx and was then fished out and recruited by a band of devils seek-ing to hunt and slay demons.

A character in this situation takes all the normal penalties for changing alignment. Thus, the paladin in the above example would lose his relevant class abilities for changing alignment and would not automatically recover them even after regaining his memory.

In most cases, a creature reverts to its normal alignment when its memories return, but in some cases the new person¬ality that emerges overwhelms the old one. Such a change can become permanent at the DM’s discretion. 

AVERNUS ENCOUNTERS

The following encounters reflect the dual roles of Avernus as a transit point for bartered souls and a staging area for Baator’s armies.

SOUL RETRIEVER

A green-skinned devil, its ropy beard writhing with tiny white maggots, rests against a bent and naked tree in a blood-soaked vale. Propped up beside the creature is its fearsome glaive, which serves as a makeshift stake to hold a shackle in place. The other end of the chain encircles the neck of a misshapen, lamenting soul. The bearded devil blithely ignores the pitiable pleadings of its captive.

Zemloth the bearded devil is taking a break before heading back to the barges on the Styx, where it works as a soul wrangler. Its captive is a soul that squirmed out of a tumbrel bound for a torture chamber in Minauros. The soul still recalls its living identity as Yemtaros, a cruel interrogator in the employ ofa wicked despot. Iffreed by the characters, Yemtaros prom¬ises them any reward they ask in exchange for safe passage out of Baator. But the treacherous Yemtaros is more trouble than he’s worth. He can’t make good on his promises, and his soul qualifies to reside on no other plane. Furthermore, his raw soul-form is as useless as a newborn baby in combat.

RANSOM GANG

A quartet of robed kobolds, only lightly armed, scrabbles forward, reptilian nostrils quivering. Fiendish fire and avarice gleam in their eyes, as though they have seen a treasure of some kind.

FIENDISH KOBOLDS (4)

Male fiendish kobold monk 4
LE M Small humanoid (reptilian, extraplanar)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., Listen +8, Spot +6 Languages Draconic, Infernal
AC 19, touch 16, flat-footed 16; Dodge
(+1 size, +3 Dex, +2 class, +2 armor, +1 natural) hp 25, 15, 26, 18 (4 HD); DR 5/magic Resist cold 5, fire 5, evasion; SR 9 Fort +3, Ref+7, Will +6 (+8 against enchantments) Weakness light sensitivity
Speed 40 ft. (8 squares)
Melee unarmed strike +3 (1 d6) or
Melee unarmed strike +1/+1 (1 d6) with flurry of blows or Melee nunchaku +3 (1d4)
Ranged sling +6 (1d3)
Base Atk +3; Grp -1
Atk Options ki strike (magic), smite good 1 /day (+4 damage), Combat Reflexes, Stunning Fist
Abilities Str 10, Dex 16, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 8 SQ slow fall 20 ft.
Feats Alertness, Combat Reflexes8, Dodge, Improved Unarmed Strike8, Stunning Fist8 Skills Balance +5, Climb +2, Craft (trapmaking) +2,
Diplomacy +3, Escape Artist +5, Hide +8, Jump +6, Knowledge (religion) +2, Listen +8, Move Silently +4, Profession (miner) +4, Sense Motive +8, Spot +6 Possessions bracers of armor +2, nunchuku, sling with 20 bullets
Groar, Gnaster, Roder, and Snarn are all brothers who frequently roam beyond the boundaries of Draukari. A fifth brother, Sliss, has been taken prisoner by Bel’s bone devil police for moving about the layer without a permit. At present, the remaining quartet is searching for stray mor¬tals to capture and exchange for him. They deal nonlethal damage, at least at first, in hopes of concluding a fight with living prisoners

INFERNAL-DIVINE RELATIONS

Both devils and lawful evil deities call Baator home, but the two types of evil outsiders coexist there uneasily. Though the deities have absolute power within their own realms, it’s patently obvi-ous who’s really in charge here—and it isn’t them.

Lawful evil deities do not necessarily condemn their dead wor-shipers to the Maggot Pit. Many, like Kurtulmak, instead allow favored followers to serve eternally at their feet in fiendish form. Each such soul retains full memories ofits mortal life, along with an idealized, if horrific, version of its old appearance.

These fiends can travel freely within their native layers, but they do so warily. If they break any of Baator’s copious rules and regulations, they can be waylaid by devils and sentenced to a torture chamber, where they are disassembled like any other

THE FURIOUS GENERAL

A towering red figure stomps across the rocks of Avernus. Soot covers its enormous wings, and freshly healed scars crisscross its lashing tail. It spots a scampering spinagon and kicks it, yelping, into the middle distance. When a lemure fails to clear its path, the red behemoth bends down and twists its head off, then continues onward, barely breaking its stride.

Urgutz the pit fiend (MM 57) has just returned from the Blood War after a humiliating defeat. The limitlessly superior numbers of the disorderly demon horde fought stupidly and still managed to overwhelm its forces. Its calculated battle plan meant nothing, and its most valuable officers were slaughtered. Urgutz itself was little harmed by the rout, but it now seeks an outlet for its boundless rage—namely, any creature it can attack and slay with impunity. A group of wandering adventurers in Baator fits this need perfectly.

Before launching this encounter, be sure to review the pit fiend’s typical combat sequence, as laid out on page 58 of the Monster Manual.

lawful evil soul into divine energy and a mindless lemure form. Though their divine overlords can intercede on their behalf, the deities are constrained by their lawful nature. Baator’s ordi-nances might be patently unfair, but rules are rules. Thus, before departing from the safe boundaries of its realm, every fiend is warned to obey the laws and to ignore all devils that tempt them to do otherwise.

Occasionally, rumors blaze across the Nine Hells that the various deities are about to band together to oust Asmodeus, enslave the devils, and make it safe for their fiendish followers to travel freely. But such possibilities never pan out. Lawful dei¬ties are, by nature, incapable of upsetting the established order. Besides, they would never be able to agree on which of them would take over as Overlord of Hell.

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