|“||The count of my coins is more reliable than any roster of mortal hearts or immortal souls.||”|
Mammon's original form was traditionally infernal, a 12 ft (3.7 m) tall creature that resembled a flabby pit fiend with scaly, red-gold skin and wings that were as lustrous as rubies. Although still able to assume his old form, Mammon's natural appearance was eventually changed into one resembling certain yuan-ti halfbloods, albeit 30 ft (9.1 m) long. His lower half was that of an enormous, spotted serpent with yellow-brown skin comparable to swirled vomit, while his upper half sported a muscular humanoid torso with bony spines protruding across his shoulders and along his large arms.
His horned, hairless head was similarly humanoid but seemed oversized. Some said his eyes were yellow and slitted like a snake while others reported that his eyes were pale and pupilless, although his vision seemed nonetheless sharp. Below his white eyes were hideous black lips, behind which laid his pointed teeth, two serpentine fangs and a forked tongue that gave him his hissing, whispering voice.
Mammon was an utterly selfish entity that practically personified greed with his insatiable desire. He was a ruthless hunter who would unrelentingly pursue his prey, whether it be an actual quarry or future possessions, but was ambivalent towards his prize once it was actually obtained and would swiftly move on to new targets. While his cupidity wasn't limited to currency, Mammon was wholly materialistic and measured worth in regards to monetary value. He made deals solely for the purpose of making profit and was otherwise indifferent to the results of the exchange. Alongside being avaricious, Mammon was also megalomaniacal, lusting after power and always scheming to acquire more of it.
The methods required to achieve his goals were irrelevant to Mammon and he would perform whatever act he believed necessary to accomplish them. The duplicitous Viscount would seduce his victims with silver-tongued promises before wantonly and gleefully watching their expressions when he betrayed them. The Serpent's speech, like his convoluted schemes, was riddled with winding messages and unclear requests, meandering even when supposed to be delivering orders. Mammon was not only sinister, but shameless, keeping his position primarily by acts of bootlicking sycophantism most charitably described as embarrassing. His pathetic groveling before his master was as renown as his arrogant condescension towards his own inferiors.
Mammon's host of other flaws included his overactive paranoia that drove him in his craven, and often foolish pursuit of loyal servants. This was combined with his petty, oversensitive demeanor and overindulgent hedonism to make a being that was practically impossible to work with. Mammon's typical response to frustration, such as if he felt his time was wasted, was to alleviate the feeling by destroying the offender or otherwise tormenting unrelated parties. No matter how competent the tyrant, it was impossible to stay on Mammon's good side for he had no such thing.
Both before and after his transformation, Mammon had various spell-like abilities such as fool's gold or teleport, and other powers that allowed him to bewitch and confound. He was a cautious fighter, yet enjoyed toying with his prey by magically deceiving them into considering him an ally before suddenly killing them. If he desired, the touch of Mammon's hands could sever bonds between people, whether formal, friendly or familial, driving them to randomly attack and steal from their allies in an outburst of greed, possibly including Mammon himself.
He could produce a symbol of hopelessness and utter an unholy word once per day, surround himself with an aura of fear and inspire terror in others with his gaze. Alongside more powerful baatezu like pit fiends, gelugons and cornugons, he was also known to summon barbazus, hamatulas, osyluths and green abishai.
Mammon could easily and indefinitely adopt his previous pit fiend form, allowing him to strike down his foes with greater speed at the cost of the abilities exclusive to his serpentine form. Despite his wily behavior he could also be somewhat brutish, crushing and constricting his enemies through sheer, overwhelming power. Once restrained, he could easily use his fangs to inject his adversaries with a disease-laden venom. The wasting poison was similar to mummy rot but acted much faster and couldn't be stopped with anything short of a heal spell.
Mammon's realm of Minauros was a murky, miserable mire plagued by perpetual rain. The fetid, blackened dirt had been melted into cesspools and marshes by the precipitation of oily sludge, occasionally accompanied by hailstones of polluted ice mixed with metal shards and teeth. The only light source arose from the stinking clouds of yellow-green swamp gas and heat could only be found underground, turning some spots of otherwise cold water into geysers of mud. Various foul odors bubbled up from the putrid waters, and intaking the contaminated ooze was an easy way to catch a horrible disease. Closer to the center of Minauros were rifts filled with slime and ash-spewing volcanoes.
It was said that Minauros was built upon the bodies of the dead, and indeed the blighted bog was littered with carrion and bones. Trying to navigate the murky layer could lead to accidentally tripping over the scattered remains of the dead or falling into a sinkhole. Amorphous lemures and cowardly spinagons were abundant in the swamp due to Mammon's paranoia and short temper forcing him to keep plentiful supplies of worthless devils nearby in case he needed to spontaneously fire someone important. Pitiful, demoted nupperibos could also be found blindly slogging through the filth, along with lesser devils seeking to redeem themselves in Mammon's eyes.
The civilization of Minauros was always on the edge of collapse, filled with cyclopean cities of well-carved stone and once grand fortresses perpetually submerging further into the mud. The newer structures showcased second-rate materials and shoddy constructions techniques and so constantly had to be repaired, redone or entirely replaced. The capital city that Minauros was named after was also referred to as the Sinking City due to its ever-descending nature; it would only take a few millennia for the world-sized city to fully sink into the frigid muck. It was thought that all of the original structures of the city had fallen long ago, and that some had been stolen from the Outlands.
What streets weren't made of uneasy, buckling paving stones that could make wheeled travel impossible at times were merely large stones that were always being replaced when they inevitably sunk beyond vision. The architects attempted to alleviate the effects of the hail by building large canopies, but this only increased the frequency with which the teetering buildings collapsed thanks to the precariously placed pillars that were their shifting foundation. Teams of lower class devils would repurpose the debris to be used in the foundations and often fought, sometimes to the death or to the point of critical injury, on who would get the stones. Even Mammon's home, a golden, gem-studded palace, more comparable to a mausoleum than a dwelling, had been slowly sinking into the scummy soup from its haphazard position.
The reason for the dismal state of Minauros was that Mammon's greed was as bottomless as the swamp. His nameless residence itself was built out of exotic black stones, likely brought from the Prime Material Plane, was crowded with innumerable, treasures and anything of worth within the layer was swiftly destroyed or taken inside the pillared halls. Yet despite his immeasurable levels of wealth, Mammon seemed uninterested in the well-being of his own domain and unwilling to invest more than the minimal amount of wealth needed to perform maintenance, even in regards to the practical upkeep of his home. Normally stone was saved for the construction of prison cells, which in reality were simply pits in the marsh with rocks at the bottom and chains tying them to a higher surface, while the money in his treasury was only ever used to keep the soul market of Minauros functional. The Sinking City was one of the most bustling, robust soul markets in the planes, where heinous devils and worse mortals acted as functionaries for those wishing to prove their worth to the Viscount of Minauros.
Mammon rarely left the Sinking City as he preferred ruling his domain from a singular location, although normally he wasn't actually supervising the realm. Instead, a majority of his time was spent was spent under the corrupted depths where he devised new, nefarious schemes. Like his peers, he coveted the crown of Asmodeus and plotted to overthrow him, but where he differed from them was that he didn't bother with treacherous baatezu politics and instead conspired to enrich himself. He wasted no time sleeping, devoting every second to his money-making machinations so as to increase his unwieldly income rate.
Mammon primary method of influence was through the use of his overwhelming wealth. In exchange for items and services he wanted he offered financial loans, and sometimes hired mercenaries to fend off particularly dangerous demonic hordes with the expectation of receiving the invader's loot. Where the River Styx sluggishly slogged through Minauros there were soul collectors of Mammon on the banks to drag off the lemures within, recording and redistributing them based on contracts and current laws. The King of Avarice was one of the few archdevils willing to barter in gold as opposed to souls and any surplus petitioners were appropriated and sold for money.
When Mammon was angry or needed to relax he'd revert to his pit fiend form, mount his massive nightmare, release a pack of larger than average hell hounds and go on a trophy-taking hunt. Devilish deserters were the most frequent quarry but wandering mortals were also fair game.
Mammon was hopelessly lacking in allies among the other Lords of the Nine, and even Tiamat despised him for stealing her dragon worshipers by appealing to the greed. While he was once in an alliance with Dispater, and by extension Mephistopheles, he likely never trusted the Iron Duke in the first place. He almost instantly began groveling before Asmodeus the moment he proved victorious, betraying both his partners without a second thought thus earning him the suspicion and scorn of every other archdevil.
Mammon had a particularly complex relationship with the relatively new archdevil and his former consort, Glasya. It was said that her position as Mammon's concubine wasn't something she had set out to claim, but a form of punishment placed upon her by Asmodeus. The spoilt Princess of Hell, accustomed to the comforts of Nessus, was forced to endure the disgusting advances of the Serpent and the backwater slum that was his layer. Still, others posited that she came to Minauros willingly, possibly out of some form of genuine affection or merely as a way to annoy the other archdevils, particularly her father, before the Lord of Nessus broke off their relationship.
Mammon put up little to no resistance against Asmodeus's demands, possibly earning Glasya's scorn, and his attitude towards his former consort were similarly enigmatic. On one hand, he was potentially embittered towards her for her supposed manipulation and frightened of her rise to archduchess, but on the other hand he was thought to want her at his feet when he conquered the Nine Hells. Whether or not the two had rekindled their old spark outside of Asmodeus's eye or still passionately resented each other was truly unknown, although given the twisted nature of infernal, romantic intrigue and the backwards, baatezu approach to relationships, both could be true.
While Mammon was the master of Minauros in name he often neglected it, leaving such matters to his seneschal Focalor. Respectful but silent, Focalar handled the administration, diplomacy and security or Minauros in his master's absence, as well as the protection of Glasya during her time as his consort. Despite appearing completely loyal, having resisted the constant temptations by rival archdevils to win him over to their side, Focalar hated his master for his incompetence and irresponsibility. He willingly worked with Glasya when he was her bodyguard, using his actual awareness of the political sphere to undermine Mammon with intent to destroy him.
Mammon was also reliant on his powerful vassal dukes, that dwelt far from the Sinking City amidst dead woods and volcanoes, to protect the realm. His chief vassal was the Bronze General Bael, a tactical mastermind whose unending triumph over Abyssal legions with his sixty-six barbazu companies earned him great acclaim. Although he struggled with baatezu politics, Bael still plotted to takeover Minauros by overthrowing both Focalor and Mammon. Other important servants included Caarcrinolaas, a duke aware but seemingly indifferent to Bael's motives, Melchon, an outwardly loyal duke that had earned Focalor's suspicion, and Glwa, a new, obscure consort. It was believed that without the wisdom of Focalor, the military genius of Bael, and the strength of his other dukes, that Mammon would be an easily supplanted adversary.
Ironically, despite his dependency on his dukes and the political minefield his court became as a result of his paranoia, the unworthy archdevil's servitors all seemingly schemed to dethrone him. While the lesser leaders, Caarcrinolaas and Melchon, both independently conspired to murder Bael to seize his forces with the hope of using them to defeat Mammon, Focalor, along with Glwa, planned to use the Bronze General to their advantage by forcing him into a situation where he would have to overthrow their master. Afterwards, Focalor would be the power behind the throne, puppeteering the new archdevil from the shadows.
Desiring absolute loyalty from his servants, Mammon surrounded himself with devils known for their obedience. Brutish barbazus were common, used to haul carts and sometimes to trade between other circles of the Nine Hells in search of souls worthy of becoming narzugons. Despite their hatred for Minauros's humidity, his armies were led by gelugons and mostly comprised of osyluths and hamatulas. Hamatulas in particular were prevalent throughout Minauros, partly as a result of the large distance that petitioners had to travel in order to harvest stone from the volcanoes making them liable to escape. When prisoners escaped, sometimes being intentionally released by a hamatula to hunt them for sport, Focalor or Mammon would have to go after them personally if their minions were incapable of recapturing or killing them.
Mammon's minions were experts in transactions involving the soul, but even such experienced harvesters often found themselves shocked at the low prices for which immortal souls were offered. Using a guidebook known as The Accounting and Valuation of All Things, they could assess a soul's value in relation to various other goods, allowing for a minimal drain on Mammon's treasury. They generally attempted to imitate his behavior in the hopes of winning his good will and their shared traits included greed. Normally devils only viewed treasure as a useful tool to be discarded as needed, but Mammon's agents might take moderate and even extreme risks just to protect their gold.
Mammon's area of expertise was not diplomacy, but the soul trade, and after realizing his inability to form new relationships with the major figures of Hell, he devoted himself to it further. Of all the archdevils, his efforts to reap souls always proved the most bountiful, and he did so, as one might expect, with his raw affluence. As patron of the greedy and lustful, Mammon drew in the materialistic mortals that not only desired the pleasures of wealth but the pleasure of denying it to others, spreading their avarice like a virulent plague. He also, based on the principle that "money is the root of all evil", incited the rich and powerful into abandoning acts of charity, sabotaged industries and bankrupted once prosperous nations. In his mission to cause economic collapse, he had sent a vast number of his devils to mortal realms, each desperate to sow desperation and send the millions in destabilized regions to Minauros.
Like Mammon himself, his followers excelled at managing relations between groups by two-facedly switching between attitudes. They would stoop to any tactic, no matter how humiliating, awkward, or otherwise unpleasant, to get what they wanted, flipping between merciless violence and cowardly retreats in an instant. Completely lacking in shame, they conversely had no honor, lying, cheating and stealing as needed. Rarely could they operate within a group of supposed allies before quickly betraying them in order to get ahead, avoiding personal risk by sacrificing their companions. Such reputation, along with other unsavory behaviors, forced them to live a con-artist's life of constant, solemn travel, moving on before word of their infamy caught on in the local area.
Mammon's influence on the Material Plane wasn't limited to lone scammers, for he also had widespread cults. Having gained exorbitant wealth from dirty dealings, coercion and extortion, such cultists could be found at the peak of high society, and in merchant or trade guilds. The powers offered by Mammon allowed his followers to thieve and deceive with almost supernatural skill, grasping unkept items from several feet away and manipulating the idea of value and where it laid in the minds of others. Races typically found underneath Mammon included duergar and goblinoids, along with several less conventional worshipers like beholders. Illithids were also in his ranks to the point where had a special team of information gatherers comprised of them, as well as the more interactive of evil dragons, them being his most favored followers.
|“||Almighty Mammon, lord of lust and king of covetousness, I call upon your great might to get what I want. I prostrate myself before you and your relentless power. Bring me my heart’s desire.||”|
|— Zbavra the Witch-Queen|
Mammonian cult initiation required the neophyte to betray their closest friend for personal gain and perform a perverse ritual as demeaning as it was disgusting. Such behavior was in line with the gross service provenly loyal cultists could have to endure if invited to Mammon's court. While horrendous, attending his court could curry wealth beyond the imagination of mortals. One such regular attendee was the former cleric of Hextor, Zbavra, and other notable cultists included the dwarf Dorban Smokestone and the illithid Ruulam. Mammonian clerics, also known as covetors, wore gold-trimmed, red robes and golden ornamentation. Rogues and bards, typically those interested in money rather than murder, could occasionally be found as his disciples.
Mammon's temple were obscenely ornate and ungodly gaudy, showcasing so much treasure that the raw garishness bordered on ridiculous. True to Mammon's nature, the lairs and implements within weren't so much tools to protect their wealth but wealth that also performed a function. From the altars, to the sacrificial daggers, to the temples themselves, almost everything was made of gold and adorned with gemstones. Cultists prospered by using temples as locations for back-alley deals, conspiring together and making commercial pacts within that would carry out into the wider world. Temples were chocked full of wards, traps and guardians appropriate for defending such riches, often the types of non-humanoid monsters that served as Mammon's cultists.
Mammon's aspects were abundant in Faerun, often under the guise of a yuan-ti, spreading and encouraging avarice in order to more easily manipulate mortals. They found sunny climates unpleasant, being used to the polluted dampness of Minauros, and were rarely found in natural settings. Instead they lurked in urban areas, anywhere from behind the walls of the Zhentil Keep, to the streets of Sembia, to the alleys of Waterdeep. Even in terms of fighting they were greedy creatures with a "me first" attitude that impeded their ability to work in concert with their servants. Part of the reason for their rapaciousness, outside of it being in their nature, was that they had no possessions outside of special gear given for their assignment; all other acquired goods were sent to Mammon, leaving them with nothing but unfulfilled desire.
As the first to retreat before and submit beneath Asmodeus after the disaster that was the Reckoning, Mammon was left disgraced and, despite his kowtowing, punished. His relationship with Glasya was ended, but his real punishment began once he changed his name to Minauros. Asmodeus changed Mammon's natural form, possibly for his own reasons and possibly because Mammon asked him to as a sign that he was a "new devil" that wouldn't betray him, into one resembling Geryon, the only archdevil that had stayed loyal to Asmodeus during the Reckoning.
Rumors and LegendsEdit
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- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 145–146. ISBN 0-7869-3940-0.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Ed Greenwood (July 1983). “The Nine Hells, Part I”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #75 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 24–26.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Monte Cook (Oct 2002). Book of Vile Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 60–61. ISBN 0-7869-0672-3.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 2008). Manual of the Planes 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 100–101. ISBN 978-0-7869-5002-7.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, James Wyatt (2014). Dungeon Master's Guide 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 64. ISBN 978-0786965622.
- ↑ 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 Colin McComb (November 1995). “The Lords of the Nine”. In Pierce Watters ed. Dragon #223 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 14–15.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 81. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 8.16 8.17 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 12.20, 170–171. ISBN 978-0786966240.
- ↑ 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 9.18 Monte Cook (Oct 2002). Book of Vile Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 148–150. ISBN 0-7869-0672-3.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 19–20.26–27. ISBN 0-7869-3940-0.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 47. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
- ↑ 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 12.13 12.14 12.15 12.16 12.17 12.18 Chris Pramas (1999). Guide to Hell. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 31.40–41.46. ISBN 978-0786914319.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 Robert Wiese (2007-02-16). Fiendish Codex II Fiendish Aspects. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2020-04-029}.
- ↑ 14.00 14.01 14.02 14.03 14.04 14.05 14.06 14.07 14.08 14.09 14.10 14.11 14.12 Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 45–50. ISBN 0-7869-3940-0.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Robert J. Schwalb (December 2011). “Codex of Betrayal: Glasya”. In Steve Winter ed. Dungeon #197 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 2–5.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Colin McComb (February 1995). “Baator”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Law (TSR, Inc), pp. 17–18. ISBN 0-7869-0093-8.
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Jeff Grubb, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan (September 2001). Manual of the Planes 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 117.119. ISBN 0-7869-1850-8.
- ↑ Monte Cook (Oct 2002). Book of Vile Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 167. ISBN 0-7869-0672-3.
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 61–62. ISBN 0-7869-3940-0.
- ↑ Robert J. Schwalb (October 2007). “Infernal Aristocracy: The Dukes of Hell”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #360 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 44–46.
- ↑ Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 81–84. ISBN 0-7869-3940-0.
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 Monte Cook (1998). A Paladin in Hell. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 28. ISBN 978-0786912100.
- ↑ Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 30. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.