Obyriths were an eldritch race of demons so ancient that they predated mortal life, and even the existence of the gods.[2] Simply looking upon their strange shapes could drive a mortal insane, and even the cosmos itself was horrified by their presence.[3][4][5]

Description[edit | edit source]

Though the obyrith race teetered on the brink of extinction, enough varieties had survived the downfall of their kind to paint a dreadful picture of the sort of shapes they once took.[6] Their abominable forms were utterly alien and bore nearly no resemblance to modern mortal life, closer as they were to basal organisms such as insects and cephalopods.[3][5]

However, the obyriths were more than just revolting, for the revulsion their appearances invoked surpassed matters of mere subjective taste. More than ugly, the forms of the obyriths were simply wrong, their noxious vileness transcending to the ranks of fact. This atrociousness extended beyond visual appearance to every aspect of their existence; everything from the sounds they made, to the foul odors they exuded, to the taste they left in one's mouth was an appalling affront to all senses.[3][7] Reality itself was incapable of describing the unspeakable horrors that were the objectively offensive obyriths, and even it seemingly desired to forget their vile visages.[5][8]

Personality[edit | edit source]

As demons, the obyriths were cruel creatures of great malevolence. In the absence of outside threats, they had spent much of their time in power infighting, making war with each other and conducting political schemes for power. Decadence and depravity were commonplace during their time of dominion.[9]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

The uniquely awful presence of different kinds of obyriths bestowed a different kind of insanity to those that perceived them; each form of madness was typically permanent unless undone with powerful healing magic, although chaotic evil creatures of extraplanar origins were immune.[3]

Like the tanar'ri, most obyriths had telepathy, and were resistant to poisons, acids, fire, and cold, although the tanar'ri were fully immune to electricity where the obyriths were simply resistant. In addition to these abilities, all obyriths had truesight, could not have their minds supernaturally altered, and healed from injury with incredible speed, the exact rate dependent on the kind of obyrith.[3]

The range of telepathy for obyrith lords was 100 ft (30 m), a third of the range of normal demon lords.[10] Whereas most demon lords had access to blasphemy and unholy aura as spell-like abilities, obyrith lords had their chaotic counterparts in the form of word of chaos and cloak of chaos.[11]

Society[edit | edit source]

Defeated and dying, relatively few obyriths remained in the Abyss's most remote recesses, and of those that did, few maintained any real influence. Those that continued to cling to existence either had the tacit approval of the tanar'ri, the effort it would take to fight them not worth their defeat, or claimed domains too inhospitable or isolated to try conquering.[9]

Once legion, the obyrith lords had been drastically reduced in number, only a handful surviving to modern times following the destruction of their reality and the wars that followed the birth of the Abyss. However, twelve of the few remaining obyrith lords were members of a secret alliance formed to restore obyrith dominion. Since the defeat of Obox-ob, these remaining lords, called the Queen's Conclave or Quorum of the Twelve, came to the understanding that if one of them could conquer the Abyss, the obyriths would rise as a group and regain their lost power.[12]

The members of the Conclave fought as much as any other demon lords, if only to hide their allegiance, and perhaps only members knew who the others were. Instability was advantageous, for as the new demon lords conducted their wars, new opportunities for them to seize power would emerge. The alliance was considered a myth by most, even in the Abyss, with legends stating it had fallen long ago.[12][13]

Many demons weren't even aware what the title of obyrith really meant,[12][13] for the tanar'ri of the past had gone out of their way to kill as many as possible in an attempt to erase them from history.[9] Dagon was among the few, and possibly only, demon lord openly acknowledged to be an obyrith, and Pazuzu's dominion over Pazunia (where the Queen of Chaos held a once-a-millennia conference with the others) gave rise to rightful speculation he was also a participant.[12][13]

The meeting of the Queen's Conclave occurred when an immense mote of earth called A'orthorh eclipsed the dying star hovering above Pazunia, blanketing the realm in darkness and heralding the end of a great cycle as well as another's beginning. The conference was conducted at the opulent temple on top of the Great Ziggurat of Oth-Magurloth, the largest structure on the Plain of Infinite Portals and placed right along the Styx's central floodplains. Other demons, inluding lords, avoided the multi-colored ziggurat for fear it was cursed. Miles beneath the complex was an underground labyrinth, at the end of which was a portal called the Well of Entropy said to be the only connection to the original obyrith realm.[14][12][15]

Obyrith Lords[edit | edit source]

  • Areex: Titled the Forgotten Prince, no records of Areex could be found, and none could recall his nature, deeds, or why he was sealed in the Wells of Darkness. According to the synchronized barking of twenty-three gibberlings, Areex made a secret pact in "another place" with Bolothamogg, an elder evil said to be the void keeping reality from that beyond it. The message ordered him to go "Beyond the Stars" to pay the price.[16][17][18]
  • Bechard: Known as the Rotting Husk, Bechard was an immense lord of decay and obsolescence that resembled a knotted whale. Formerly the Lord of Tempests, with perfect weather control, he had been beached on his own deviant shores by outside forces. He endured for millennia unmoving, dying painfully in the Death Dells under the hot sun as he involuntarily injured himself with ferocious wind and acid rain.[17][19][20]
  • Cabiri: Called The Watching Master and the Many-Eyed Tyrant, Cabiri was a demon lord of observation that desired to see everything, whether fascinating or frightening. He used his divination powers to predict the future and scry into deeper layers of the Abyss, his recordings seemingly inspiring the cataloging efforts of the Fraternity of Order. He was imprisoned in the Wells of Darkness for debated reasons.[20][16][21]
  • Dagon: Prince of the Darkened Depths, Dagon was a primeval leviathan of a demon lord whose presence brought a fear of the sea and all that lurked beneath the water. He was a maddeningly massive being, ancient and powerful even by obyrith standards, and yet also an isolationist that acted as an oracle for the tanar'ri from within the depths of the Shadowsea.[22][23]
  • Dwiergus: Referred to as the Chrysalis Prince, Dwiergus was a house-sized soup of everchanging limbs that ruled The Fleshforges, an undulating, protoplasmic realm of hate and hunger. The eldritch, primordial demon lord was driven primarily by the desire to reshape all living things into demonic lifeforms, and implanted the overwhelming urge to remove a body part out of the irrational belief the Prince had tainted it.[24]
  • The Malgoth: Once a demon lord of god-like power, the being known as the Malgoth was destroyed when seven jealous demon lords allied to assault its several haunted layers deep in the Abyss. Little more than an alien intelligence for eons, it managed to escape to the Material Plane city of Istivin, existing as a shadowy, formless abstract of gloom, menace, hate, and tragedy that infused the settlement itself.[25][26]
  • Obox-ob: The original Prince of Demons, Obox-ob was said to be the first obyrith to rise from the primordial matter of the Abyss, an entropic demon lord of putrescence that could inject others with raw chaos stuff that consumed their bodies and souls. After being deposed and forced to retreat to the deep Abyssal realm of Zionyn, he was reduced to a patron of poison and spreader of entomophobia as the Prince of Vermin.[20][27]
  • Pale Night: The so-called Mother of Demons that came to be known by the name Pale Night was an unknowable being of such awful shape that reality itself tried to hide her. To see the truth beyond the veil was to court death, her incorporeal form a harbinger of insanity and dreadful births. Seen as a mother figure by many in the Abyss, there was no knowing what horrors she was truly responsible for spawning.[20][28]
  • Pazuzu: Prince of the Lower Aerial Kingdoms, Pazuzu declared all Abyssal skies as his, and few cared enough to fight him over such a claim. Though once an obyrith lord, he had somehow "evolved" into a kind of intermediate form between obyrith and tanar'ri, gaining a bond to evil creatures of the air in place of his once-maddening form. Upon the calling of his name thrice, he appeared to offer corruption disguised as aid.[29]
  • The Queen of Chaos: Her actual name stricken from history, the self-styled Queen of Chaos led the obyriths to war against the rest of reality, specifically against the forces of law. Certainly a force of change, the Queen was behind the fall of Obox-Ob, and had killed, imprisoned, and weakened those obyriths that opposed her. She retreated to The Steaming Fen after her defeat and despite the hopes of a few obyriths, hadn't been seen since.[20][9][30]
  • Sertrous: Called the Prince of Heretics, Sertrous was a minor lord of parasites and crawling things before the Queen of Chaos nearly killed him for insolence. He managed to possess a snake, and after recovering, waged war against god-devoted mortals. Though slain, his spirit bound to his severed head, the ophidiophobia-spreading fiend managed to speak words that his solar killer spread, a truth no god wanted spoken.[4]
  • Ubothar: Known as the Thunder Below, Ubothar was a festering obyrith lord banished by the Queen of Chaos and imprisoned on the Material Plane. Worshiped by some as a destructive aspect of nature, Ubothar had spent eons slumbering deep underground. His titanic form could cause earthquakes even as he slept, and his cataclysmic awakening alone could destroy mountains.[20][31]
  • Ugudenk: Referred to as the Squirming King, Ugudenk was a worm-like obyrith that primarily dug through his Writhing Realm. Seemingly immortal, it was speculated he was himself an Abyssal layer, his maw a feeding tendril that sometimes reached across the multiverse to devour at apparent random. His presence brought a fear of that which burrowed, and the crippling thought he could burst from the ground at any time.[32]
  • Veshvoriak: Once the ruler of his own Abyssal layer, Veshvoriak had long been cast into the Iron Wastes and frozen in a glacial rift. Despite telepathically sending out ancient memories, secrets, and whispers about its wish for freedom, it wasn't clear if Veshvoriak was actually alive but frozen, slumbering, or if the long-dead obyrith's alien mind was simply emitting echoes of his last thoughts.[33][34]
  • Vroth-Khun: Lurking in one of the deeper layers of the Abyss, Vroth-Khun was a gibbering, poisonous entity that had built towers from the slain bodies of his spawnlings, only to devour them and repeat the process. Like many, the Queen of Chaos banished him from the Abyss for refusing her call to war.[20]

Other obyrith lords were known to have existed, including:

  • Asima: Titled The Unanticipated, Asima was a faceless demon lord of unfortunate surprises thought to have played a role in the creation of the Grand Abyss. Said to have betrayed the obyriths in ages past, her unrotting remains rested undisturbed for millennia, and legends said that deep in her burial mound was the identity of the members of a secret obyrith alliance.[35][36][17]
  • Kizarvidexus: Called the Horned Duke, Kizarvidexus was described as a cloaked figure with two long, curved horns tipped in the deepest shades of red. He joined the fight against the Wind Dukes of Aaqa, managing to destroy the Wind Duke Zosiel with a sphere of annihilation before being slain by Wind Duke Icosiel. Small bits of his flesh oozed from his Well, before being scattered by a perpetual tornado and eaten by scavengers.[37][38]

Ecology[edit | edit source]

In its original incarnation, the Abyss was, if anything, more horrifying than it would later become. In this harsh, primeval state of utter chaos, rampant evil, and seeming infinity, only the obyriths possessed the cunning and natural defenses needed  to survive. Life fecund and foul infested its oceans and unimaginable horror rose from the primal chaos in times long forgotten.[9][20] If the tanar'ri were embodiments of Abyssal evil, then obyriths were manifestations of its chaos, and indeed the chaos of the Abyss suffused the ancient obyriths moreso than the demons spawned from mortal souls.[5][39] The Demonomicon of Iggwilv went as far as to suggest that good and evil were artificial constructions that came to be when the gods gave free will to mortal beings.[5]

Though a few tenacious breeds of obyrith managed to persist in certain layers,[3] it was possible that the conditions for their creation had been lost with their dominion.[40] Were an obyrith to retake the mantle of Prince of Demons however, perhaps the tanar'ri would be forced into hiding and the obyriths would resurge.[41] Some obyriths (such as Pazuzu) had managed to progress past their roots to become their own kinds of demons, sometimes even taking humanoid form, although this was likely either due to coincidence or a cruel form of mockery.[5][22][29]

Varieties[edit | edit source]

  • Draudnu: Draudnus were perhaps the joint creations of Obox-ob and Pale Night, bloodthirsty demons that sought to rid the Abyss of all non-obyrith life. They were referred to as the Mother of Demon's children, and their presence caused others to get the sickening sense that something was growing inside of them.[42][43]
  • Ekolid: Ekolids were demons that, while intelligent, were constantly driven to reproduce by injecting non-ekolids with their eggs before the maggots viscerally burst from their bodies. They embodied the instinctual fear of becoming infested, and caused parasitosis in those nearby.[44]
  • Golothoma: Golothomas were predatory demons compelled to devour others through the writhing darkness that was their shadows. Originating from Ugudenk's lightless tunnels, those exposed to them became obsessed with shadows, unable to stand the light and too willing to accept the dark.[4]
  • Laghathti: Laghathti were demonic inhabitants of the River Styx that fed on the memories of those they encountered, particularly tragic and depressing ones. Their presence induced partial amnesia, much like the Styx itself.[45]
  • Sibriex: Sibriexes were created by an ancient obyrith clan specializing in slavery and body modification. Viewing others only as material for the art that was their flesh-grafting, they were egotists whose presence drained self-worth and warped minds into believing their forms to be physical perfection.[40][46]
  • Uzollru: Uzollrus were leviathans among obyriths that sought out living creatures to gleefully liquefy and drink them. Perhaps once an intelligent, civilized race, they had mysteriously been reduced to primitive, roaming monsters, whose presence could render minds feeble from their sheer size.[47]
  • Verakia: Verakias were saurian savages, bestial obyriths that even Demogorgon would recognize for their ferocity. The wild fury and killing potential embodied by their claws and fangs inspired a psychopathic need to slash and slaughter in those that looked upon their feral forms.[48]
  • Wastrilith: Wastriliths were once obyriths, but evolved into their own demonic subspecies. Reviled as water lords, with power over the oceans and their inhabitants, their corruption manifested not in a maddening form, but in how their befouling presence tainted the waters they inhabited.[22][49][50]

History, Rumors, and Legends[edit | edit source]

Exactly how and why the first demons took form was a mystery to sages and the source of much debate.[51] Certain texts of incalculable age claimed that both the obyriths and a race of ancient Baatorians were spawned by the fiends known as the baernaloths,[9] ancient beings with unrivaled knowledge of lower planar creatures,[52] though the unified creation myth had few advocates outside Gehenna and Hades.[9] During his explorations of the Abyss, Cabiri apparently made some discovery about the creation of the obyrith race that led him to seek out the baernaloths.[21]

Bechard, who conversed melancholically about the bygone era of the obyriths, might telepathically mention to trusted visitors that the obyriths abandoned a race of fiendish creators before migrating to the Abyss, though he only retained a small piece of his once vast mind.[19] According to some, it was a baernaloth that Pale Night coupled with to spawn some of her Abyssal children, but similar tales replaced the baernaloth with other great beings of evil and they all seemed based more on personal bias than researched evidence.[53] Regardless of any baernaloth involvement or lack thereof (the ancient schemers would spread both sinister secrets and dark deceptions for no other reason than to cause suffering)[52] the oldest legends of the obyriths cast their race as being one beyond the multiverse itself.[54]

According to legend, the obyriths had been despicable lords of evil incarnate long before mortal life forms and even the deities they worshiped had come to exist, but not in the reality they eventually found themselves in.[5][54] Long ago, obyriths were the masters of a forgotten realm past the cosmos, the name of their ancient domain having been lost to time, but while technically the rulers of this reality, the obyriths were prisoners of their own actions. The vile fiends had destroyed their universe, draining the dimension of life and power to feed their dark hunger and turning whatever it once was into a decaying world of crumbling ruins.[54][55][56]

Escape to the Abyss[edit | edit source]

The obyriths were not unaware of their limited amount of time,[54] and one of them, purportedly Pazuzu, had hatched an idea on how they could preserve themselves.[56] The obyriths would create a shard of ultimate evil, an object powerful enough to breach the barriers between reality. After pushing past the confines of the cosmos, the shard would serve as an entryway, a seed of evil that they could use to corrupt the most powerful entities in this realm before coming through themselves while leaving their on dying world behind. Once they bent their pawns to their will, they could finally reshape this new reality in their own unimaginable image.[54]

Some claimed that the shard was actually comprised of many of the original obyriths, their wastes souls conglomerated in order to enact the plan.[51] Eons passed as the waiting obyriths slowly died out, until a power-hungry entity known as Tharizdun discovered their trap and seized the shard. The obyrith conduit quickly ruined the mentally and spiritually open being, the link between them driving him insane in an instant. The obyriths demanded he place the shard in the Astral Plane, promising him total reign over it if they served him faithfully.[54]

Unexpectedly however, Tharizdun saw an issue with this plan even in his maddened state; the gods would quickly take issue with this and turn on him before he could fully obtain the power he was promised. Rather than that, Tharizdun fled to the far corners of the cosmos and planted the seed into a churning expanse of primal chaos, a realm of fallen primordials he hoped to make his own. Power like that realm had never witnessed before erupted from the chaos where Tharizdun plunged the shard, as the nascent evil of their home exploded as black flame through a yawning vortex.[54]

Tharizdun's War[edit | edit source]

With no choice but to press on, the handful of remaining obyriths allowed themselves to be drawn through the vortex as their original home was consumed and finally destroyed.[54] The most powerful of their kind rose to demon lord levels of power while the lesser among them were absorbed into the swirling corruption.[1] Despite sudden changes in plans, the obyriths had seemingly achieved victory, winning a new realm to restart and a powerful servant to do their bidding. However, as the tear in reality closed, the obyriths were faced with a sudden turn of events that saw their fortunes reduced drastically.[54]

The power of evil and insanity from the shard had not only empowered Tharzidun, but the mad god's link to the obyriths shielded him from them even as he beheld them in all their glorious horror, and Tharzidun had declared mutiny against his supposed masters. Even as they were faced with an uncontrollable monster of their own creation, the vortex that had formed around the shard continued to grow into the Elemental Chaos, not stopping despite its connecting side being gone. Eons more passed as the obyriths battled against a merciless entity of unpredictably vast strength and power over the shard itself.[54]

The shard of evil piercing the primal chaos was said to have been the catalyst for demonic life, and Tharizdun called forth wave after wave of howling, suicidal demons to battle the obyriths. Only through cooperation did a small handful of the remaining original obyriths survive, forcing the endless battles to cease so both sides could withdraw to plot the other's destruction. As the Abyss settled however, as much as it could be said that something like the Abyss could "settle", a new threat to the obyriths emerged, for indeed the ignorance of the wider multiverse was fading and outsiders were beginning to notice their presence.[54]

Prince of Demons[edit | edit source]

The shard of evil had been made as a trap,[55] and as it whispered promises of power and dominion, the first primordial entities entered the newborn Abyss. They explored the shattered, desolated, and utterly corrupted realms unconcerned for morality until coming across the Abyssian Ocean, a multilayered, aquatic dimension connecting all the seas and oceans of the Abyss. Floating in its shallows was the shard, beckoning one strong enough to claim it to step forth and do so. It was uncertain which beings fought for the shard, some sources purporting that Dagon was a contender and some claiming Demogorgon, perhaps once a petulant primordial, had attempted to obtain it.[54][14]

Regardless, as the two fought, Obox-ob, still a demon lord of decay, crawled up from an unseen pit, slyly and effortlessly becoming the first Prince of Demons. As Prince of Demons, the threat that was Obox-ob gained unparalleled power, however even a being as mighty as he was enthralled to the Abyss's will. The new Prince of Demons was not the full master of the power and he suffered under the shard's weight as he struggled to fulfill its compelling direction to plant it in the Astral Sea, the purpose his kind created it for. However, some beings opposed this, fearing correctly that were Obox-ob to do so he could very well control all reality.[14]

Mighty primordials (Baphomet, Orcus, and Demogorgon according to some), attacked Obox-ob before he could reach the Astral Plane, flinging him and the shard into the vortex from which the Abyss had been spawned. This created a deep fissure into which the Abyssian Ocean drained out in a boiling storm, that fissure eventually becoming known as the Grand Abyss. The primodials-turned-demon lords dove after the shard, but doing so proved to be too eerie for them to continue. Even as they chased after its promises of power they felt their own power waning, the whispers suddenly going silent the deeper they chased after it. They quickly retreated, and the powerful primordial Garash, who slipped past them hoping to claim the shard, was never seen again. Since that dark day, the demon lords feared the notion of searching for the shard through the Grand Abyss, even as the seed burrowed ever deeper into the primal foundations of chaos.[14]

Age before Ages[edit | edit source]

For a time, in an Age before Ages still long before the advent of mortal life, the Abyss knew some form of what could relatively and tentatively be called "peace".[9][30] The obyriths were content, in a sense, to war amongst themselves, fighting to seize the domains and secrets of their neighbors while protecting their own, and the rest of reality, for the most part, was content to leave them to their internal squabbles.[30][9] Beings like Cabiri, Bechard, Pazuzu, Ubothar, and other croaking and cackling lords required a constant supply of various servitor races to serve in their forces and at their feasts.[20][9][21] Foul surgeries and rites were performed to make lifeforms in the obyrith image, and the sibriex breeding pits were vast places writhing with new innovations in horror.[9]

This time was one of a younger multiverse, when the deeper layers of the Abyss were still quivering in the aftershock of birth.[9][30] The deeper layers of the Abyss were too hostile, even for entities such as the obyriths, and while they did plumb those places carefully, they could seldom stay long before needing to return to their homes, if not due to inhospitality then to continue their conflicts with one another.[9][20] While some decided to delve into the darker reaches of the Abyss in an attempt to make those layers their own, the majority of the demons clustered on the 1st layer, the Plain of Infinite Portals, mostly keeping their fighting and breeding restricted to that domain.[14][20]

At this time, the obyriths made massive iron citadels, mighty fortresses of bizarre architectural design that crowded Pazunia's barren landscape.[9][57][58] As time went on, portals to deeper layers had formed on its surface,[14] and the obyriths situated their citadels on the rims of these chasms.[9] Around the beginning of the Age before Ages however, some of the obyriths sought a more direct means of exploration, and tried to simply burrow through the Plain of Infinite Portals using an elaborate magical working. The cataclysmic results of their experiment were the deaths of a dozen obyrith lords, the quaking of the entire plane, and the seemingly infinite Grand Abyss[59][60] (believed to have been started when the shard first fell through the initial vortex that allowed the obyriths to escape their reality).[14]

This pit had dozens of portals along its cliff faces allowing for two-way travel, making them far more reliable than the portals on the 1st layer. Great bridges, towers, and stone fortresses were constructed that crisscrossed the crevasse and hugged its walls, allowing for movement between areas of relatively similar elevation. The obyriths had come to some kind of agreement on how the Grand Abyss could be used, and installed intricate doors and portcullises to halt or allow entry, while Asima supposedly appointed a klurichir known as the Guardian of the Gates to protect the it from squatters and intruders. Still, most of the demonic activity was situated on the Plain of Infinite Portals, for the obyriths knew that to control it was to control the entire Abyss.[59][60]

Gods and Mortals[edit | edit source]

Meanwhile, the intrusion of primordials into the Abyss forced Tharizdun's hand, yet he couldn't oppose them alone. His attempt to press them into slavery failed as a result of their combined power, so instead, the mad god marshaled powerful elementals to try and carve a war path. Under the guise of a powerful entity known as the Elder Elemental Eye, Tharizdun easily swayed the primordial beings, already angry with the meddling gods, to his cause, convincing them that if he could claim the shard of evil that triumph over the Astral Sea would be assured. Only a few of his powerful followers knew Tharzidun was a deity, and his deceit rallied many elementals under his banner. Thus would the Dawn War between the forces of Law and Chaos soon commence.[14]

However, Tharizdun wouldn't get to fight his old adversaries, for the gods had finally been drawn to the activities of the Abyss.[14] The Demonomicon of Iggwilv suggested that the gods, horrified by the obyrith shapes, accidentally imparted a primal fear of the basal creatures they resembled into their followers' racial memories.[5] Tharizdun's plans were discovered and his power was insufficient to defeat his kin, who used their combined might to lock him in a remote Abyssal layer, strike his name from history (his only known moniker being the Chained God), and scatter his armies. Still, Tharizdun's efforts would not be entirely in vain due to a central figure to this conflict,[14] an entity history would know only as the Queen of Chaos. Said by some to have originated from the Ever-Changing Chaos of Limbo,[61] by others to be perhaps the most powerful obyrith,[14] and by others still to be an elder evil,[62] the Queen discovered something that possibly no other obyrith had; life had begun on the Material Plane.[20]

As these mortal souls seeped into the Abyss, the Queen was among the first to cultivate the new breed of demons they would become. Demogorgon, some said, was the first of the tanar'ri, a deformed and uncontrollable monster formed from the primal fears of mortal souls, which the Queen tossed aside in favor of his less broken successors. Various types of tanar'ri grew from an assortment of mortal sins, and the greatest fleshwarpers of the obyriths, the sibriexes, were called upon to adjust and transform them. Some types of tanar'ri still bore indicators of sibriex tampering in their almost mechanical designs, such as the half-organic armor plating of the hezrous and glabrezus.[30][40][5][20] It didn't take long for the tanar'ri to rival their masters in both variety and specialty,[30] and they had become the most numerous servants of the warring lords of Pazunia.[9]

Before the War[edit | edit source]

As the obyriths came to learn about other planes, the brazen Queen of Chaos came to the conclusion that it was for her to bring ruin to such realms,[20][9] and her first course of action to achieve this goal was to murder the current Prince of Demons, Obox-ob. It was the sheer audacity of the move that ensured the Queen's success, since such action against the Prince of Demons,[30] who had already refused her call to war,[4] was entirely unexpected.[30] Also integral to the conflict was Miska the Wolf-Spider, said by some to be the chief lieutenant of Tharzidun sent with the Princes of Elemental Evil to find the Abyss's shard[14] and by others to be a tanar'ri that grew to rival the demon lords of old in power.[30] Regardless, Obox-ob's forces fought Miska's invasion in a massive battle, and when the Prince was weakened, the Queen killed him before he could retaliate, with only a small portion of himself slinking off deep into the Abyss.[14][20][30]

Miska, who may have already been the Queen's most loyal servitor and consort, was granted the power and title of Prince of Demons, ensuring the obedience of the tanar'ri. Meanwhile, many of the remaining obyrith lords were in shock, and few were willing to risk the wrath of a being powerful enough to kill Obox-ob. Most of her rivals were cowed under her banner while those that resisted were murdered or imprisoned.[20][9][30][4] The Queen killed Sertrous,[4] beached Bechard, banished the likes of Ubothar and Vroth-Khun from the Abyss,[20] and drove many to the lowest depths of its still-uncharted corners.[9] Her forces in tow, the Queen of Chaos began a war against the multiverse itself.[9][63]

Law and Chaos[edit | edit source]

It was the great philosophical conflict between Law and Chaos that served as the backdrop of the climactic epoch of the Age Before Ages. The elemental realms served as its focus, although the still forming Outer and Material Planes were nonetheless important.[9][63][64] Though some forces of good came to the conclusion that, given the circumstances, the side of law would be the side of good, they would be sorely disappointed, as not every agent of chaos was malicious and not every arbiter of law upstanding.[65] Regardless, the Queen of Chaos turned to the sibriexes to augment her hordes,[40] and to ancient Cabiri for advice, drawing upon his divination powers many times to obtain resources few in the Abyss knew about.[21]

With the Prince of Demons at her side, the scale was tipped against law. Miska's savage demon hordes brought territory and converts, particularly in the Material Plane,[9] and even the gods seemed hard-pressed to stop them from taking the Astral Sea.[63] World after world fell, and with each loss for law, the once immutable rules of the cosmos became fluid and forgotten. Chaos was ascending, the Abyss going with it, and all seemed lost until a fateful battle at the Field of Pesh ended the eons-long conflict. On the Material Plane world of Oerth, one rich with magic and possibility, in the shadow of the mighty volcano known as the White Plume Mountain, a final battle against the agents of order known as the Wind Dukes of Aaqa commenced.[9] The battle was said to have spanned the Astral Plane, but in the end, using a powerful artifact called the Rod of Law, the Wind Dukes imprisoned Miska in the hibito unknown plane of Pandemonium, causing the forces of chaos to scatter and retreat.[63][9]

The Upheaval[edit | edit source]

Even as the surviving obyriths retreated back to the Plain of Infinite Portals, finding their armies decimated and their alliance left in shambles, a series of disastrous events fell upon their weakened race.[9][30] Though her assault on Obox-ob was perfectly timed, the Queen of Chaos had underestimated the forces of law,[30] and after falling back, had chosen to retreat from Pazunia to the 14th layer of the Abyss.[9] Cabiri was often accused in Abyssal lore to have been placed in the Wells of Darkness for refusing the Queen of Chaos,[16] but he could be more accurately said to have abandoned her. Having foreseen her failure, the Watching Master had delved deeper into the Abyss even before the humiliating defeat at the hands of the Wind Dukes of Aaqa, an action that, ironically, might have crippled the Queen most and instigated a self-fulfilling prophecy.[21] But perhaps most crushing of all was the defeat the fractured obyriths faced at the hands of fellow forces of chaos.[9]

From the heights of the Olympian Glades of Arborea dwelt Morwel, leader of the paragons of chaotic good that were the eladrin. The Faerie Queen of the Court of Stars sensed weakness, and ordered her ghaele knights to begin a devastating raid on the iron fortresses of Pazunia.[9] Jumping on the chance to rid the Abyss of the obyrith taint,[20] swarms of flying celestials in golden armor filled the skies of the Abyss's first layer,[9] throwing the already disrupted obyriths into disarray as they struggled to maintain their strongholds and died by the thousands along with their demonic thralls.[9][30] However, it was not the eladrin alone who purged the Abyss of the obyriths, hunting them to near extinction,[20] for just as different flavors of chaos had set upon each other, so too did the forces of the Abyss begin to destroy themselves.[9]

Soon after the eladrin raid began, the traitorous tanar'ri slaves began an open revolution against their masters. Sensing the Abyss was prepared to accept them, and lacking the influence of the Wolf-Spider, the tanar'ri rose up to defeat the weakened obyriths. The eladrin, to whom the differences between obyrith and tanar'ri were functionally irrelevant, killed all demonic entities with impunity. The Abyss's various pits and portals were filled with fleeing demons retreating into an infinite variety of hostile environments. Though some managed to thrive in their new homes, others vanished, disappearing to unknown reaches of the plane or meeting an end at the hands of fellow refugees.[9][20] The tanar'ri proved especially adept at becoming demon lords, and by the time the Plain of Infinite Portals was retaken from the eladrin,[9] and Obox-ob finally emerged from the depths of Zionyn, his age had passed,[27] and the tanar'ri were the undisputed masters of the Abyss.[9]

Decline[edit | edit source]

In a fraction of the time it took for them to ascend, the obyriths fell,[20] and without its masters, the Abyss entered an unknown epoch of even greater tumult than before.[53] Though the Queen of Chaos had beached Bechard, it was the tanar'ri who severed his connection to the 422nd layer and drained his life force,[19] and it was the alliance of seven tanar'ri lords that ended in the Malgoth being hunted down on the fields of Spirac that helped cement tanar'ri dominion centuries after the Queen's fall.[25]

After surviving the death of their original cosmos and the battle against Tharizdun,[8] their internal conflicts and the murderous reign of the Queen of Chaos, as well as the defeat against the Wind Dukes and final attack from the eladrin and tanar'ri, the few remaining obyrith lords were in no condition to try and reassert themselves, especially since the tanar'ri didn't want to leave a trace of their existence.[9][53] Though it couldn't be said whether or not they had some larger goal in mind when they augmented the tanar'ri, the sibriexes managed to survive the war unscathed, as they were too canny to let themselves be truly roped into it. Despite their numbers being stagnant and somewhat small, they continued to serve the new tanar'ri lords the same as they did the obyriths of old.[40]

Some of the remaining obyriths had the foresight to keep their names and natures secret,[63] and figures like Pazuzu or Dagon had no real desire to try and take the Abyss back in the first place, at least not so soon after the obyrith defeat.[53] Pale Night had made a vindictive attempt at prolonged revenge shortly after the Age before Ages ended, having stolen a generation of eladrin children with intent to slowly kill them alongside her rapidly declining obyrith allies. However, this move prompted a celestial invasion into her own realm and started a protracted war to return them, one that had turned most of her monochromatic nightmare realm into a phantasmagoric water-color world.[66]

The New Prince of Demons[edit | edit source]

The tanar'ri fell to war shortly after defeating the obyriths, with scores of "evolved" ones fighting to take the mantle of Prince of Demons. Few could claim more than a fraction of an Abyssal layer, (to take an entire layer was perhaps the final step to the crown) for just when one lord was poised to do so their enemies would unite to stop them. It was a ruinous time of excitement and murderous frenzy, but where there was betrayal there was growth, and a chance for new opportunities.[53] For ages the tanar'ri fought to see who would become Prince of Demons until two particularly powerful beings, Orcus and Graz'zt, rose to prominence, and the squabble became a race to see which of them would rise to the top. However, in their fight against each other, neither noticed the twisted form that was quickly emerging.[30]

Lurking in the shadows of planar wars, Demogorgon had grown stronger in the time since he first emerged in the Abyss and decided it was his time to act. None were prepared for him to appear and dozens of the most powerful tanar'ri lords were incapable of stopping him once he unexpectedly grabbed the title of Prince of Demons. Orcus and Graz'zt were too weakened to stop him, yet still sent agents to try and defeat the being who received begrudging respect from all the Abyss for his victories against the obyriths while they were still waning. Even the remaining obyriths had no choice but to sit and watch as Demogorgon crushed his rivals and rid the Astral Sea of its few remaining Abyssal assaulters. Though the demonic host rankled at his claim to power, the Prince of Demons had claimed his throne.[30][63][67]

Modernity[edit | edit source]

When the age of the obyriths ended, the greater conflict of law and chaos collapsed into an awkward stalemate between opposing philosophies. However, long after the planes had settled into an uneasy peace, the forces of evil continued the historic battle of law versus chaos, its current incarnation being the unending Blood War between devils and demons. The actual reasons behind the conflict, lost as they were to most, had become less important to those fighting the War then the tradition of slaughter.[9] It was said that corruption-loving Pazuzu had helped to kick off the war even as the Queen of Chaos planned more direct conquest, having appeared to Asmodeus while he was still an angelic being under the alias of Pazrael. Supposedly he planted the seed of pride that saw Asmodeus abandon his post and steal a shard of the Abyss to make into his Ruby Rod (although Asmodeus himself had too many origin stories and variations to keep track of).[56][63]

However, though the Abyss had never know true peace, its modern incarnation had calmed somewhat, the current demon lords defensively sniping and snarling at each other rather than risk their holdings going on the offensive. The former front lines of the Blood War were nowhere near as loud as they once were,[55] and ultimately the original obyriths making up the Queen's Conclave didn't particularly care about winning that pointless conflict. For them, the Blood War was simply a smokescreen to hide their true goal, obtaining the shard of evil at the Abyss's core to harness its eldritch might.[56]

Throughout all this, the seed of evil that spawned the Abyss simply cleaved its way through the cosmos, steadily increasing the Abyss's size even as other forces acted against it. Unseen and unstoppable, its whispers urged demons to destroy, promising ultimate power to the one that could conquer all the Abyss, something not even the obyriths once came close to doing.[55][68] If the Quorum were to seize the shard however, even an alliance of the multiverse's mightiest beings would struggle to oppose them as their horrific shapes resurged and spread across the cosmos once more.[13]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Mike Mearls, Brian R. James, Steve Townshend (July 2010). Demonomicon. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 146. ISBN 978-0786954926.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 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.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 27–28. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Schwalb, Robert J. (December 2007). Elder Evils. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 112–127. ISBN 978-0-7869-4733-1.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 James Jacobs (September 2007). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Apocrypha”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #359 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 44.
  6. Schwalb, Robert J. (December 2007). Elder Evils. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 118. ISBN 978-0-7869-4733-1.
  7. Richard Lee Byers (2012). The Masked Witches. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0786959827.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Mike Mearls, Brian R. James, Steve Townshend (July 2010). Demonomicon. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 17. ISBN 978-0786954926.
  9. 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 9.19 9.20 9.21 9.22 9.23 9.24 9.25 9.26 9.27 9.28 9.29 9.30 9.31 9.32 9.33 9.34 9.35 Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 106–107. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
  10. James Jacobs (September 2007). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Apocrypha”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #359 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 46.
  11. Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 58. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Mike Mearls, Brian R. James, Steve Townshend (July 2010). Demonomicon. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 17. ISBN 978-0786954926.
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Connections[edit | edit source]

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