Eltab appeared as a fifteen-foot-tall humanoid with the head of a canine-like creature. His head sported numerous antlers and horns and his body was covered with bony dark red plates. He had slitted yellow glowing eyes.
Eltab ruled the 248th layer of the Abyss known as the Hidden Layer. It was a vast wasteland of boulders and fissures constantly beset with intense electrical storms, making it inimical to most life except for demons and deadly plant life such as viper trees, ironmaws, and bloodthorns. In the fifteen centuries or so of Eltab's absence, the Hidden Layer was fragmented into ever-changing fiefdoms as Eltab's former lieutenants, including the balor Ndulu, fought over the vacated realm.
Thanks to the bindings cast by the Narfelli demon-binders on Eltab when they summoned him, they also somehow linked fragments of the Hidden Layer to Faerûn, as well. Pieces of the layer, known as demoncysts, could be found scattered beneath the ground all over northeast Faerûn. The largest cyst, known as the Hall of the Hidden Throne, lay in the Citadel of Conjurers. This cyst contained Eltab's palace and the calling circle that tied Eltab to the Realms. In fact, until this circle is destroyed, Eltab could not leave Faerûn or return to the Abyss.
The demon lord Eltab was a potent force in the Abyss, rivaling the powers of Graz'zt, Orcus, and even Demogorgon himself. However, during the ancient days of Faerûn, the empires of Narfell and Raumathar engaged in a bitter war (−623 DR to −150 DR), which ultimately destroyed both empires. During this war, Eltab was summoned to Faerûn by the so-called demon-binders of Narfell, so he could be used as a pawn against their hated enemy. In −148 DR, Eltab led a demonic horde on the behalf of Narfell and invaded Raumathan, a city of Rashemen, which he quickly conquered and set up himself up as its ruler.
Eltab's rule was brief, as an alliance of spellcasters (including the Witches of Rashemen) overthrew Eltab in −75 DR. Eltab was forced to flee, but the Rashemi witches caught up with him in the Sharawood, imprisoning him beneath the ground, and bound a dracolich called the Everlasting Wyrm to guard over him.
In 106 DR, followers of the dark god Myrkul, intending to plunder the hoard of the Everlasting Wyrm, discovered the imprisoned demon lord. They agreed to release Eltab under the condition that he serve Myrkul's church for ninety-nine years. With Eltab's aid, the followers of Myrkul took control of the city of Shandaular and in its place, established the theocratic city of Eltabranar.
Later, in 202 DR, Eltab prompted an ill-fated invasion of the nations of Unther and Mulhorand. Eltab was once again imprisoned, this time by the god-kings who led Mulhorand, in a demoncyst beneath Thaymount.
The infamous Red Wizards found Eltab more than seven hundred years later, in 922 DR. The wizards used an ancient Narfelli demon-binding ritual and called Eltab forth to assist them in their war with the Mulhorandi god-kings. The god-kings' armies were routed and the nation of Thay was established. When the Red Wizards found they could not dismiss Eltab, they imprisoned him near the mouth of the River Eltar, which was named after the demon lord, and built a capital city named Eltabbar over the prison.
Eventually, the Thayan lich Szass Tam realized that Eltab would soon break out of his prison. Instead, in 1367 DR, he deliberately released Eltab with the intention of using a spell to permanently enslave the demon lord. But his plan was foiled by a group of adventurers, allowing Eltab to escape into a demoncyst below Thaymount.
During a retaliatory confrontation with Szass Tam in 1373 DR, Eltab was seemingly destroyed, but thanks to the binding cast on him by the ancient Narfelli demon-binders, he was magically transported to the Citadel of Conjurers in the nation of Impiltur, where he plotted new plans for conquests and revenge.
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- The Crimson Gold
Eltab was first mentioned in Dreams of the Red Wizards, and debuted in the 2nd-edition sourcebook Spellbound. He made his third edition debut in Champions of Ruin, and is also mentioned in Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss, Lost Empires of Faerûn, and Dragon #355.
- Anthony Pryor (June 1995). “Monstrous Compendium”. In Michele Carter, Doug Stewart eds. Spellbound (TSR, Inc.), p. 5. ISBN 978-0786901395.
- Jeff Crook, Wil Upchurch, Eric L. Boyd (May 2005). Champions of Ruin. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 133–134. ISBN 0-7869-3692-4.
- Jeff Crook, Wil Upchurch, Eric L. Boyd (May 2005). Champions of Ruin. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 130–133. ISBN 0-7869-3692-4.
- Steve Perrin (1988). Dreams of the Red Wizards. (TSR, Inc), p. 3. ISBN 0-88038-615-0.
- Anthony Pryor (June 1995). Spellbound. Edited by Michele Carter, Doug Stewart. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 978-0786901395.
- Jeff Crook, Wil Upchurch, Eric L. Boyd (May 2005). Champions of Ruin. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3692-4.
- Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
- Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- Eric L. Boyd and Ed Greenwood (May 2007). “Volo's Guide: Demon Cults of the Realms”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #355 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 71.