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Description[edit | edit source]
Standing nine feet tall, Graz'zt appeared as a lithe, muscular humanoid. His skin shone like polished obsidian, and his eyes glittered with malevolent green light. He had yellowed fangs, pointed ears, and six slender fingers decorating each hand. He was sometimes described as having six small black horns half-hidden amid his thick black hair. These fiendish traits were apparent, regardless of whatever form Graz'zt chooses to take. He was considered the comeliest demon in the Abyss, and dressed in the most expensive and elegant finery on the entire plane.
Wielding an acid-drenched greatsword in one hand and a profane tower shield in the other, the Dark Prince was a veritable killing machine when loosed upon the hordes of the Abyss. What's more, he had a vast repertoire of spell-like abilities at his disposal, making him a deadly magical opponent. Graz'zt's greatest weapons, however, were his mastery of seduction and guile. He entertained the notion that he was the most cunning and intelligent creature in the Abyss; indeed, there were few who could possibly contest such a claim.
History[edit | edit source]
There were several competing, often contradictory theories as to Graz'zt's origin, some of which claimed that he was not a native to the Abyss, but was once an archdevil who served Asmodeus. In one of these theories, Graz'zt was chosen to lead an invasion of the Abyss as part of the Blood War—and conquered three layers of the Abyss—but became corrupted by the chaotic forces he had been sent to destroy and renounced his allegiance to the devils. Another theory claimed that Graz'zt became disillusioned with his place in Baator when he realised that the hierarchy of Hell ultimately benefited only one creature - Asmodeus - and felt that pledging his allegiance to the Abyss was the only way to place himself beyond Asmodeus' clutches.
Yet another theory suggested that Graz'zt is one of several demonic children of Pale Night, sired after the fall of the Obyrith; this would make him the brother of several other demons, including Lupercio, Vucarik, Rhyxali and Zivorgian. Those who subscribed to this theory believed that Pale Night must have drawn some great evil entity to herself to father her children; suggestions for what this entity could have been included an evil god such as Set, a baernoloth, the patriarch of a race of immortal warriors from another reality, an Outer God of Crawling Chaos, and even a sentient portion of the Abyss itself. Some maintain that Asmodeus was drawn from the Nine Hells to mate with Pale Night, implying that there may be truth in both theories.
The Minions of Graz'zt[edit | edit source]
The Material Plane[edit | edit source]
Although he has not yet achieved divine status, Graz'zt is worshiped by many monstrous races, most notably the lamias. Many of his high priests, known as the Chosen, are female, and the rituals they perform are violent and involve themes of darkness and betrayal.
The Dark Prince is a deeply sexual, erotic being. He is known on many worlds only in legend, as a dark figure who visits witches and sorcerers, granting them sexual favors as well as magical powers. As a result, his female consorts have populated the multiverse with a depraved host of half-fiend children. Some learn of their father's identity and delve into the Abyss, hoping to usurp his power. His dark elf son, Athux, leads Graz'zt's demonic army, while his daughter Thraxxia serves as a private assassin.
In −666 DR, twin half-fiendish sons of Graz'zt and Ayanna Orgolath, Ulthas and Ulthar, were born. They overthrew the lich-king of Narfell, Belevan the Unliving. Ulthas became Narfell's new ruler, reigning from −633 DR to −623 DR, when he was slain while leading an invasion of Mulhorand and Unther.
Ulthas's brother Ulthar became the next ruler of Narfell, reigning until −578 DR. He was succeeded by his tiefling son Vargaun. Vargaun ruled until −535 DR, and was succeeded by his third tiefling son, Horthaun. Horthaun ruled until −482 DR, succeeded by his own first tiefling son, Jelethar. Jelethar ruled until −475 DR, when he disappeared on an expedition to the Sunrise Mountains. Jelethar's younger brother Morthass ruled until −434 DR, when his sole heir, a tiefling named Nardrad, became king of Narfell and ruled until −399 DR. Nardrad's son, King Orlathaun, was human. He reigned for less than a year before being slain by the Ayarch Jesthren, a son of Orcus.
For a time, Graz'zt was trapped on the Material Plane world of Oerth by the witch-queen Iggwilv, who used his insight to elevate her own power. Eventually, however, she succumbed to the Dark Prince's charms. Graz'zt ultimately returned to the Abyss, but rumors abound that he did, in fact, fall in love with his captor. A son, Iuz, was born of their union.
Some sources claim that Graz'zt was the creator of the Vasharans, a breed compared to humans as the drow are compared to elves. Deemed cruel and soulless by the gods who created him, the Vasharans' ancestor was destroyed... but Graz'zt breathed new life into the corpse, long before he attained his present status. It is a terrifying legacy, for the Vasharans are obsessed with deicide, and destroying all gods has become the reason for their existence.
The Abyss[edit | edit source]
Graz'zt is always attended by six powerful lamias, and his marilith escorts, Unhath and Reluhantis, are never far from his side. When at his palace, the Dark Prince keeps many attractive demons at hand to feed his ferocious sexual appetite. Bodaks and similar horrors are the only other occupants of the Argent Palace.
Technically, every demon living within Graz'zt's world-spanning empire is considered one of his loyal servants; those who prove otherwise are fed to the carnivorous plants in his perfumed hanging gardens. Noteworthy minions include a hulking goristro named Orwantz, who acts as Graz'zt's personal border control for Azzagrat, and Rule-of-Three, a cambion who meets secretly with other fiends of the Lower Planes, to strategize an attack against the celestials.
Graz'zt's most powerful servant is a mysterious, hyper-intelligent demon named Verin. Like Graz'zt, Verin appears almost human, but his skin is deathly pale, and he constantly oozes spiritual slime. Verin can change his form at will, and often elects a black-skinned mirror image of himself, known as Ztefano. He serves as the Dark Prince's majordomo and chief ambassador to the other demon lords.
The god Raxivort was once a servant of the Dark Prince. He stole powerful artifacts from Graz'zt and escaped to the howling chasms of Pandemonium, where he became the divine patron of rodents and bats. Raxivort even has his own chosen race, a goblinoid horde known as the xvarts.
Enemies[edit | edit source]
Through his own schemings and mischief, Graz'zt has become the chief enemy of Waukeen, a goddess of wealth and merchantry. The deity bargained for safe passage across Zelatar with information regarding a secret horde of treasure. Graz'zt readily accepted the offer, but betrayed Waukeen as soon as she arrived in the Abyss. Imprisoned in the Argent Palace, the goddess was forced to witness profane celebrations held in her honor.
But even the wrath of a god cannot compare to the hatred and spite of the Dark Prince's chief rivals, Demogorgon and Orcus. The violence of the eternal war between these three demons rivals that of the Blood War, and costs them unthinkable resources that could be put to use in the battles against the baatezu. Graz'zt covets Demogorgon's title as the Prince of Demons above all else, and throws army after army at his most hated enemy in hopes of claiming it.
Graz'zt wars with many other lords of the Abyss as well, including Baphomet and Yeenoghu. Thanks to the efforts of his son Athux, he recently overthrew the demon prince Adimarchus, who ruled Occipitus, the 507th layer of the Abyss.
Naturally, the Dark Prince is a fundamental enemy of all that is good and holy in the multiverse, and despite whatever promises he makes, every mortal who deals with him is doomed to an afterlife of endless horror beyond the scythe-tipped gates of Zelatar.
Two of Graz'zt's other greatest enemies were Malcanthet, Queen of the Succubi, and Gwynharwyf, Champion of the eladrin. His conflict with the former ended up involving Kostchtchie, the Prince of Wrath, who swore revenge against Graz'zt for humiliating him, although Graz'zt himself did not consider the upstart demon lord as much of a threat.
The League of Six-Fingered Gentlemen[edit | edit source]
A sinister group known as the League of the Six-Fingered Gentlemen (sometimes the League of Six Rings) wormed its way into the hierarchy of the church of Waukeen during the time that Graz'zt had imprisoned the goddess in the Abyss. Once there, they have not been rooted out, and they have been busily spreading the Harlot's Coin Heresy among Waukeen's faithful. This heretical schism of Waukeen's faith teaches that Waukeen has been gradually selling off pieces of her divinity and virtue to Graz'zt in order to finance her church. It was for failing to pay her debts to Graz'zt that the demon lord imprisoned her during the Time of Troubles. These heretics teach that Waukeen became free because she finally paid her debt to the demon, resulting in Graz'zt now owning the majority of Waukeen's godhood. The heretics, thus, believe that all who worship Waukeen are really worshiping Graz'zt instead, and they're just fine with that.
Appendix[edit | edit source]
See Also[edit | edit source]
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- Graz'zt plays a significant role in the adventure module For Duty & Deity, about the rescue of the goddess Waukeen following the Time of Troubles.
- Ashes of the Tyrant (2015)
- Hero (2016)
Further reading[edit | edit source]
- Stephen S. Greer (2005). “Fiend's Embrace”. Dungeon #121 (Paizo Publishing, LLC).
- Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
- Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). Planes of Chaos. Edited by Michele Carter. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1560768746.
- Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
- Gygax, Gary. Dance of Demons (New Infinities, 1988).
- Gygax, Gary. The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (TSR, 1976).
- Gygax, Gary. Sea of Death (New Infinities, 1987).
References[edit | edit source]
- Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 65–66. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
- Monte Cook (Oct 2002). Book of Vile Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 68. ISBN 0-7869-0672-3.
- Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 2008). Manual of the Planes 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 130–131. ISBN 978-0-7869-5002-7.
- Christopher Perkins, Adam Lee, Richard Whitters (September 1, 2015). Out of the Abyss. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 240–241. ISBN 978-0-7869-6581-6.
- Monte Cook (Oct 2002). Book of Vile Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 130–132. ISBN 0-7869-0672-3.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 148–149. ISBN 978-0786966240.
- Robert J. Schwalb (December 2011). “Dungeon Master's Book”. In Tanis O'Connor, et al. eds. The Book of Vile Darkness (Wizards of the Coast), p. 44. ISBN 978-0-7869-5868-9.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 28. ISBN 978-0786966240.
- Erin M. Evans (December 2015). Ashes of the Tyrant. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0786965731.
- Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 118–121. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
- Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 81. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- Monte Cook (Oct 2002). Book of Vile Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 12. ISBN 0-7869-0672-3.
- James Jacobs (October 2007). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Graz'zt, the Dark Prince”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #360 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 12–13. Archived from the original on 2009-06-03. Retrieved on 2019-08-27.
- Mike Mearls, et al. (November 2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. Edited by Jeremy Crawford, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 199. ISBN 978-0786966011.
- Dale Donovan (May 1998). For Duty & Deity. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 4. ISBN 0-7869-1234-0.
- Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 65. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
- Mike Mearls, Brian R. James, Steve Townshend (July 2010). Demonomicon. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 58. ISBN 978-0786954926.
- Christopher Perkins (November 2004). “Asylum”. In Erik Mona ed. Dungeon #116 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), pp. 61–62.
- John Rossomango (August 2012). “History Check: The Iggwilv‒Graz'zt Affair”. In Ray Vallese ed. Dragon #414 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 20–24.
- Wolfgang Baur (August 2007). “Enemies of My Enemy”. In James Jacobs ed. Dungeon #149 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 42.
- James Jacobs (July 2006). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Kostchtchie: Prince of Wrath”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #345 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 25.
- 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.
Connections[edit | edit source]