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The archdevils were the rulers of the Nine Hells. They were also called the Lords of the Nine, the Archdukes of Hell, and the Lords of Hell. They each controlled one of the plane's nine layers and were the most powerful and highest-ranking devils. Unlike the chaotic evil demon lords of the Abyss, the Lords of the Nine (and all the baatezu of the Hells for that matter) were arranged in a strict hierarchy. The lord of the first layer had the lowest rank of the nine archdevils, while the lord of the ninth layer had the highest rank. While the demons of the Abyss answered only to their own basic instincts, every single devil, at least in theory, answered to the Lord of the Ninth, Asmodeus.
Each archduke was a unique devil of immense power and influence, with his own resources: military, magical, and political, to rely on in the endless scheming that characterizes devilish politics.
The Lords of the NineEdit
Lord of the First: Bel the WarlordEdit
Lord of the First: Zariel, Archduchess of AvernusEdit
Zariel appeared as a hellish angel, with fiery wings, horns atop her head, goat-like legs, and skin that resembled cooling lava. She returned as the ruler of Avernus after the pit fiend, and previous ruler, Bel fell out of favor with Asmodeus. Zariel was known to actively command the forces of Avernus in the Blood War.
Lord of the Second: Dispater, The Iron DukeEdit
The Lord of the Second, Dispater, appeared as a tall humanoid with dark hair, tiny horns, and a single cloven foot (the other foot was normal). He always dressed well and carried the badge of his office, a rod of great power. He was also paranoid and rarely left his Iron Tower in his layer of Dis.
Lord of the Third: Mammon the ViscountEdit
Mammon ruled the layer of Minauros. He resembled a thirty-foot-long serpent with a humanoid upper body. He was duplicitous and considered untrustworthy by the archdukes. Mammon reprsented greed and lust for treasure.
Lords of the Fourth: Lady Fierna and Archduke BelialEdit
Fierna and Belial ruled Phlegethos, the fiery fourth layer of Baator, jointedly- in a way. Fierna was the official ruler, while her father, Belial, made the decisions. Both father and daughter resembled sensual humans with small horns and glowing red eyes.
Lord of the Fifth: Prince LevistusEdit
Levistus appeared as humanoid male with pale skin, black hair and entirely black eyes, and pointed teeth. However, he was imprisoned in iceberg by Asmodeus for past treachery. After Geryon, the former ruler of Stygia, was deposed (also by Asmodeus), the Lord of the Ninth appointed Levistus as the new Lord of the Fifth, but did not release him. Thus, Levistus was forced to transmit all instructions telepathically to his minions.
Lord of the Sixth: The Archduchess GlasyaEdit
The Archduchess Glasya was the daughter of Asmodeus and ruled the layer Malbolge. She appeared as a supremely beautiful humanoid with copper skin, wings, a forked tail, and small horns.
Lord of the Seventh: Baalzebul the Slug ArchdukeEdit
Also called the Lord of Lies, the Fallen One, and the Lord of the Flies, Baalzebul ruled the seventh layer of Baator, Maladomini. He once had an angelic body but was changed into a slug-like form. He was a perfectionist but after his change lapsed into depression.
Lord of the Eighth: Mephistopheles, Archduke of CaniaEdit
Mephistopheles, the ruler of Cania, was a tall humanoid with red skin, wings, and horns. He was often confused with Asmodeus by mortals, a fact that frustrated him to no end and amused Asmodeus. Despite having rebelled and failed against Asmodeus, he was not demoted, likely thanks to his canny consort Baalphegor.
Lord of the Ninth: Asmodeus, King of the Nine HellsEdit
Asmodeus, the King of the Nine Hells and the Lord of the Ninth, was the most powerful archdevil. He was also the god of sin and evil. Asmodeus ruled the layer of Nessus. He appeared as a handsome, thirteen-foot-tall human with black hair, crimson eyes, and small horns. Underneath his finery, though, constantly bleeding wounds covered his skin.
"The Tenth Lord of the Nine": GargauthEdit
Gargauth, a powerful archdevil, once dwelled in the Hells, but left for reasons known only to himself. Some say he challenged Asmodeus and was exiled, some say he was cast from the Hells for his foul nature, while others say he left because Asmodeus destroyed his closest friend, the archdevil Beherit. One, none, or all of these reasons may be true.
Lords of the Nine in the First Edition of Dungeons & DragonsEdit
The original Lords of the Nine in the Dungeons & Dragons games, harking back to the first edition of the game, are as follows:
- Tiamat, lord of Avernus
- Dispater, lord of Dis
- Mammon, lord of Minauros
- Belial, lord of Phlegethos
- Geryon, lord of Stygia
- Baalzebul, lord of Malbolge, through Grand Viceroy Moloch. It was revealed Beherit was the original ruler.
- Baalzebul, lord of Maladomini
- Mephistopheles, lord of Caina (a typo in later editions officially changed the spelling of the layer to Cania)
- Asmodeus, lord of Nessus.
In the second edition of the game, the Lords of the Nine were initially erased from the game. Later on, they were re-instated, but several of the members deliberately resemble little from the original nine. After the initial period of the second edition, an effort was made to bridge the changes; thus Baron Molikroth was revealed to actually be Mephistopheles in another guise, and Triel was revealed to be Baalzebul's name before he fell from grace. Late into the second edition and continuing into the third and current edition of the game, Fierana (later Fierna) became Belial's daughter.
Geryon and Moloch remain exiled and bereft of their former positions, and Tiamat's position has been clarified to explain that she was never a member of the Lords of the Nine, despite the very early inclusion of her as Lord of Avernus in the first edition.
Some archdevils, former archdukes, were exiled or imprisoned, but survived. These included:
- Jaqon became an archdevil while battling against Asmodeus. He also behaved in a goodly manner in order to disrespect Asmodeus. After he was defeated, though, he was banished and Asmodeus forcibly changed his name to Dagon to prevent anyone from summoning him.
- Also called The Branded King, Malkizid was a fallen solar who became an archdevil. He appeared similar to a solar, but with white skin, gray feathered wings, and bird-like talons on his hands and feet. He was exiled after earning Asmodeus' disfavor, and went to reside in the Blood Rift.
- Former Lord of the Sixth, Moloch was exiled for rebellion by Asmodeus.
- The former Lord of the First, she was overthrown by Bel.
- A former Lord of the Eighth layer.
- An archdevil exiled by Asmodeus
- The Lord of the Fifth before Levistus, he was deposed by Asmodeus.
- The original Lord of Sixth.
- After her Untheric aspect was slain by Bahamut, Tiamat was reduced to an archfiend. However, she eventually regained her lost divinity, becoming once more the dragon god of chromatic dragons and evil.
- Cordell, Bruce R, Jeff Grubb, and David Noonan. Manual of the Planes (Wizards of the Coast, 2001).
- Greenwood, Ed. "The Nine Hells Part I." Dragon #75 (TSR, 1983).
- Greenwood, Ed. "The Nine Hells Part II." Dragon #76 (TSR, 1983).
- Greenwood, Ed. "The Nine Hells Revisited." Dragon #91 (TSR, 1984).
- Gygax, Gary. "From the Sorcerer's Scroll: New Denizens of Devildom." Dragon #75 (TSR, 1983).
- Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977).
- Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual II (TSR, 1983).
- Laws, Robin D., and Robert J. Schwalb. Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (Wizards of the Coast, 2006).
- McComb, Colin. "The Lords of the Nine." Dragon #223 (TSR, 1995).
- Pramas, Chris. Guide to Hell (TSR, 1999). ISBN 0-7869-1431-9
- Thorn, Alexander von. "The Politics of Hell." Dragon #28 (TSR, 1979).
Least: Advespa • Lemure • Nupperibo
Lesser: Abishai • Barbazu • Hamatula • Spinagon
Greater: Amnizu • Cornugon • Erinyes • Gelugon • Osyluth • Pit fiend • War devil
Alu-fiend • Archdevil • Cambion • Duergar • Fimbrul devil • Hellcat • Imp • Kyton • Seared devil • Succubus • Tar devil