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Errtu (pronounced: /ˈrtAYR-too[2]) was a powerful balor. He commanded his own layer of the Abyss and the tanar'ri inhabitants that resided there.[3]


Errtu was a balor, the second most powerful class of the true tanar'ri demons, after the demon lords. He was twelve feet tall, covered in red scales, had a large pair of batlike wings and a tail, and had a horned, ape-like head with a dog-like muzzle. When he was in the throes of lust for power, he drooled an acidic saliva. His voice was gravelly, guttural, and harsh.[citation needed]


Errtu reveled in evil and chaos. Nothing pleased him more than to torment others. When needed, however, he could be a polite and patient negotiator and was known to reward his minions.[citation needed] He had a particular interest in gaining power on and from the Prime Material Plane, in particular Toril.[1]

Errtu's motivations were primarily that of the average demon's—his own power, his own survival, and the chance to cause havoc in the Prime Material Plane. He was concerned entirely with himself and his own quest for power and control, and his selfishness led him nearly to paranoia—in his view, anything that went wrong was a conspiracy directed at him.[citation needed]

Despite that, Errtu was very intelligent and was a capable tactician. The simple fact that unless something greater destroyed him in the Abyss (which was unlikely), he would exist for almost eternity allowed him to have considerable patience if he might be rewarded with a considerable increase in power. He was also able to think laterally and work around his problem. In 1364 DR, he released himself from a wizard's circle by using an anti-magic stone he kept in a bag, a leftover from the Time of Troubles. This dispelled the summoner's protective magic circle against evil, which was otherwise flawless, and likewise disabled Errtu's magical abilities. However, Errtu, being very strong physically, did not need them to kill the summoner.[4]


Errtu was the ruler of a layer of the Abyss characterized by the growth of giant mushrooms, and even had a throne carved into the stalk of one.[citation needed]


Errtu was immune to flames and his affinity to them allowed him to conjure a flaming whip and ring of fire when needed. Like all balors, Errtu emitted an aura of fear and was a capable strategist.[citation needed] He carried a vorpal sword that appeared as a bolt of lightning and was resistant to magic.[1]


Crenshinibon and Drizzt Do'Urden[]

Errtu once worked for the group of liches that created the artifact named Crenshinibon. When it was brought to "life," Errtu was cast back to the Abyss. He originally thought Crenshinibon was destroyed in the same blast.[3]

After he learned that Crenshinibon had not actually been destroyed, Errtu devoted his existence to finding Crenshinibon again. His search for Crenshinibon led him into several altercations with the drow ranger Drizzt Do'Urden, who sought to keep the artifact out of Errtu's hands. The first time, when Errtu was serving as Akar Kessel's general in 1351 DR, Drizzt summoned Errtu, meaning to pose as a drow scout and inquire about Crenshinibon. When Errtu discovered Drizzt's ivory unicorn pendant, he attacked the drow, surrounding himself with flames and using his whip to catch Drizzt and pull him into the flames. Upon contact with Drizzt, the flames were extinguished due to the magic of the as-yet unnamed scimitar Icingdeath. In a confused moment for both of them, Drizzt slashed Errtu with Icingdeath—causing the balor real pain and the blade's magic even froze the tissues at the edge of the wound. Errtu and Drizzt were both shocked, having never even heard of a weapon with that effect, but Drizzt recovered first and stabbed the balor in the stomach. The scimitar's magic won out, destroying Errtu's material body and banishing him for a hundred years. As his body dissolved, Errtu reminded Drizzt of their long lifespans and promised revenge.[5]

In 1358 DR, after Drizzt's companion Wulfgar was "killed" by a yochlol summoned by Vierna Do'Urden, the evil goddess Lolth gifted the barbarian to Errtu as a bargaining chip in exchange for his guardianship of Menzoberranzan during the Time of Troubles.[6] Errtu tortured Wulfgar for six years.[7]

Wulfgar was freed in 1364 DR during Errtu's second altercation with Drizzt. The balor had gained the artifact Crenshinibon and used it to build a stronghold in the Sea of Moving Ice, a body of water west of Icewind Dale and dotted with icebergs. Despite his dislike of cold, Errtu chose the place because of its natural barriers. He opened a gate to the Abyss and let innumerable lesser fiends through, as well as more powerful demons. Drizzt and his friends managed to fight their way through, and confronted Errtu in an ice cave. This time, Errtu had space to fly, and repeatedly teleported around the room, using his flames to melt nearby ice and fill the floor with water—in which he would periodically thrust his lightning-bladed sword to shock the companions. Drizzt and his friends would have died, if Wulfgar had not been inadvertently freed by a younger barbarian via the hammer Aegis-fang and joined the fight. Together, the companions managed to bring Errtu out of the air, where Drizzt struck with Icingdeath and banished him for the second time.[4]

Return to Icewind Dale[]

In 1466 DR,[8] Errtu appeared outside the walls of Bryn Shander, seeking a drow (Drizzt Do'Urden). The drow warrior Tiago Baenre confronted him and banished him, making himself a hero to the inhabitants of the city.[9] The spot where Errtu was slain was permanently blackened. On that spot, the citizens erected a statue of Tiago with the inscription, "On this spot did Master Tiago slay the demon. And the snows will cover it nevermore."[10]

Rage of Demons[]

Errtu's alliance with Lolth began when she approached him to guard Menzoberranzan during the Time of Troubles (1358 DR).[6] That same year, after the fall of House Oblodra in, the house's matron mother, K'yorl Odran, was given to Errtu as a prisoner.[11] Although he tortured her and considered her his toy, she willingly schemed with him a century later when Lolth plotted to use her as a way to weaken the barriers between the Abyss and the Prime Material Plane. In 1485 DR, Lolth incapacitated Errtu's rival, Balor, as a favor to him. In exchange, Errtu allowed K'yorl to speak with Kimmuriel Oblodra. She provided him with an incantation to subliminally convey to Gromph Baenre. When Gromph cast the incantation, believing it to be the product of his genius, it weakened the walls of Faerzress, allowing demons such as Demogorgon to freely pass into Toril.[12]


Errtu was known to cooperate with other evil beings. In 1356 DR, he chose to ally himself with the wizard Akar Kessel, on the promise that when Kessel died (which wouldn't be long in Errtu's view, even if Kessel died of old age), he would gain Crenshinibon.[5] In 1358 DR, he became a reluctant ally of the drow goddess Lolth—at first because she could obliterate him if he didn't cooperate, and later because she offered him a chance to gain total, personal revenge on Drizzt.[6] A few times he offered subordinate posts to lesser demons to ensure their aid.[citation needed]

Errtu was the greatest rival of Balor, the great demon for which the balor race was named.[13]



Errtu was one of the original six named "Type VI" demons in Gary Gygax's Advanced Dungeons and Dragons books. The other five were Ndulu, Ter-Soth, Alzoll, Wendonai, and Balor, the greatest of them all. The Type VI demons later took the name of balor to refer to their breed of demon as a whole.[citation needed]


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