Tales of Tolgard
Nine Hells of Baator
This realm is the ultimate expression of lawful evil where sympathy withers on the vine while malice blooms. There are nine levels that make up Baator, each lower than the next, like ledges stepping down into an ever deeper pit. It is the home plane of devils who are ruled by Asmodeus and the Archdukes whose power is comparable to Prince Talisid and the Five Champions of the Blessed Fields of Elysium and the Demon Princes of the Infinite Layers of the Abyss.
The River Styx flows through the Avernus layer, allowing access by its waters to neighboring Lower Planes. There are also free standing portals, which look like circles of crimson light, scattered across the plane.
The majority of the residents of Baator are the various varieties of devils, such as chain devils. There are other infernal creatures here, such as nightmares, that seek to torture anyone they can find. Finally, a few powerful mortals make their home here; their mighty fortresses are often protected by lesser devils that they contract with.
There are two basic types of petitioner in Baator. The first kind, making up the majority, are the evil, proud, and ambitious souls without empathy or charity. These beings become ghostly, white shades that the local devils twist and torture for sport. Only when the souls are so twisted and tainted that they finally die does their essence join with the plane.
The second type are called lemures. Only the most evil of mortals become lemures who, while mindless and heaped with abuse, at least have a use in this realm. When not doing the menial tasks around the plane, these wretched souls are the front line soldiers in the Blood War and are spent like water.
Baator and the Nine Hells
- Normal Gravity
- Divinely Morphic
- Infinite Size
- Mixed Elemental and Energy Traits
- Mildly Law Aligned and Mildly Evil Aligned
- Normal Magic
Baator is divided into nine layers.
The first layer is a wasteland. The ground is a charred, rubble strewn plain with mountains and foothills breaking it up. There are legions of armored devils here preparing for the next sortie in the Blood War. Crimson light fills the layer and great spheres of flame float through the air, occasionally colliding with the ground and the denizens. Rivers of blood flow through this layer, eventually into the River Styx.
This entire layer is a burning, iron-walled city. The unending heat burns within every wall and a pall of smoke rises up to form a haze over the entire city. The city sits within a great ring of mountains, but few travelers ever move beyond the mammoth town.
The third stratum is a fetid quagmire. Bitter winds, acidic rains, and crushing hail rule this bog. The water in the marsh are so cold in places that they freeze solid. In others, slimy water boils and steams from infernal heat. At the lowest parts, water constantly dribbles and flow down to the next layer.
The fourth layer is a place of fire and pain very similar to the Plane of Fire. Here rivers of liquid fire flow across the land and the air itself is consumed by dancing flames. Without some kind of magical protection, a visitor will burst into flame. This entire layer has the fire dominant trait.
The fifth layer is a realm of ice draped in snow. Most of this realm is covered in a sea of ice floes and icebergs. The only open water is the rushing flow of the River Styx. The danger does not end here, however, as icebergs and fiendish sharks live here and hunger for ships and snacks respectively. Upon the ice floes are built all of the cities and castles of the layer. Lightning constantly forks across the sky so flying creatures are a rare sight.
The sixth stratum is an endless, rocky slope similar to the Plane of Bleak Eternity. Cascades of boulders are a common sight which crush anything to a pulp beneath their jagged, if abbreviated, embrace. The skies above boil with leprous swaths of color. The devils in this plane hide in copper-clad fortresses to avoid the worst of the rock slides.
This layer is covered with ruined, abandoned cities. Under a dried-blood sky petitioners continuously quarry, carve, and build new cities for the Lord of the Seventh. Mine pits, brackish canals, and slag heaps cover the land like open, seeping wounds. Newer cities are built upon the bones of their predecessors but the lord is never satisfied; as soon as one cities is finished, another begins as he seeks out hellish perfection.
The eighth layer, like the fifth, is one of cold. The cold is much more intense on this layer, however, and seeks out warmth like a living thing. Glaciers scour this landscape, moving as fast a human can run. The glaciers tend to crash into each other, sending down avalanches of snow upon everything around them. The movement of the ice often reveals thousand year old corpses, previous victims of the chill, that are perfectly preserved. The cold is so intense that it will kill anyone left exposed to is for more than a few minutes, cutting right through warm clothing.
The deepest realm of the Nine Hells, Nessus is a plain shattered by rifts. These fissures are deeper than the deepest ocean trench. Many of the ravines here reach thousand of miles into the dead stone. Most of them seem natural, but a few seem to have been cut or magically blasted out. There is rumored to be a tributary to the River Styx in this layer, but few if any know where.
This layer is the home of Asmodeus, King of the Nine Hells and Lord of the Ninth. He lives in Malsheem, the Citadel of Hell. Malsheem is the largest known citadel in the outer planes. There is room within its walls to house millions of devils, a force that Asmodeus is holding back for a apocalyptic battle that he foresees that will make the Blood War pale by comparison.