The Nentir Vale and beyond (D&D 4e)
Overview and commandments
Asmodeus is the evil god of tyranny and domination. He rules the Nine Hells with an iron fist and a silver tongue. Aside from devils, evil creatures such as rakshasas pay him homage, and evil tieflings and warlocks are drawn to his dark cults. His rules are strict and his punishments harsh:
✦ Seek power over others, that you might rule with strength as the Lord of Hell does.
✦ Repay evil with evil. If others are kind to you, exploit their weakness for your own gain.
✦ Show neither pity nor mercy to those who are caught underfoot as you climb your way to power. The weak do not deserve compassion.
Powers, abilities, and resources
Asmodeus is the most powerful of infernal beings. Like the other Archdevils, he is almost impervious to mundane attacks and requires powerful magics to slay. A powerful aura of submission is said to surround him, making most who approach him slaves to his will.
As the master of Hell, he has complete power over lesser devils, including other lords of Baator. Several times he has permanently changed their physical forms at a whim. He transformed Mammon into a humanoid/serpent hybrid, and cursed Baalzebul with the form of a gigantic slug with tiny, useless arms.
Asmodeus carries a powerful unique artifact, the Ruby Rod, that allows him to use several powerful offensive and defensive spells. The Rod allows Asmodeus to attack with elemental forces, force his enemies to cower in fear, or cover himself with a field which heals and protects him. It is also a powerful melee weapon that can cause grievous wounds with the merest touch. The Ruby Rod is a fragment of the shard of pure evil that created the Abyss.
In addition to the Ruby Rod, Asmodeus possesses material wealth greater than entire mortal worlds.
Finally, Asmodeus is an ancient schemer and deadly manipulator, orchestrator of the most Machiavellian of schemes. He lays plans millennia in advance, patiently biding his time until his machinations come to fruition.
Asmodeus is the strongest, most cunning, and most handsome of all devils. He is said to appear as a giant human, over 13 feet tall, with dark skin and hair, red eyes, handsome features, and small horns on his forehead. He dresses in regal finery of unimaginable expense; a single article of clothing worn by Asmodeus is worth more money than an average nation will spend on food in a year. Beneath his clothing, Asmodeus’ body is covered in bloody wounds which he sustained when he fell from the Upper Planes. His wounds ooze blood daily, and any drop of blood which touches the ground grows into a powerful devil.
However he has also been described as a “calm, chillingly reasonable” being with a modest appearance that hides his true power.
Asmodeus is a former angel, once in service to a god only known as He Who Was. Asmodeus, as one of the greatest of the angels, was entrusted with leading angelic hosts in battle against the enemies of the gods. Though he served He Who Was loyally, Asmodeus believed that his deific master was far too forgiving and unwilling to use force. After the conflict, which came to be known as the Dawn War, Asmodeus was assigned to guard the entrance to the prison of the god Tharizdun which was located in the Abyss. The demon lord Pazuzu appeared to Asmodeus, as detailed in the Demonomicon, and encouraged the angel to act on his thoughts of rebellion against He Who Was. When Asmodeus was ready to rise up, Pazuzu aided him in obtaining a small piece of the shard of evil at the heart of the Abyss, which Asmodeus used to create his infamous Ruby Rod. Asmodeus returned to Baathion, the realm of He Who Was, gathered those angels who would join his side, and instigated a rebellion that ended with his former master’s death. With his last moments of life, He Who Was cursed Asmodeus and all the angels who had followed him. The angels were transformed into the first devils, and the beautiful astral dominion of Baathion was transformed into a prison realm known as the Nine Hells of Baator. Asmodeus assumed the divine might of the fallen deity and became a god himself, albeit one trapped inside his own dominion.
During the Dawn War he worked with Bane; although they hated each other personally they were disciplined enough to work well together. After the war, Bane anticipated the eventual angelic rebellion Asmodeus would launch, and alone of the Gods he was not surprised when it finally happened. Bane wanted to help, but both he and Asmodeus wanted to avoid bringing the other Gods into the fight, and feared that any open collaboration between the two of them would cause exactly that; to avoid notice, instead of soldiers Bane sent aid in the form of advisors and strategy experts. Whether or not this made any difference is unknown, but the devils will deal (slightly) more honestly with followers of Bane than worshippers of other Gods, and Bane`s followers are more likely than others to summon and employ devils.
Asmodeus has few allies amongst the other Gods, and is on especially bad terms with Moradin and Avandra. He has a cordial relationship with Erathis, who regards tyranny as just another form that civilization can take. Asmodeus and Bane still maintain a facade of friendship, at least until one is powerful and confident enough to actually overthrow the other.
It is said that Asmodeus owes Pazuzu a favor for his help in the war, and has not yet repaid him.
Asmodeus is devoted to oppression and might through subversive action. He imposes strict rules and harsh punishments on his followers. The cult of Asmodeus urges its adherents to seek power over others, to repay evil with further evil (an eye for an eye), to exploit kindness for personal gain, and to show no compassion for the weak and downtrodden. All done in the most legal possible manner of course, and never overtly.
Typical rhetoric from worshippers of Asmodeus will discuss “promoting personal excellence and independence,” “taking care of one’s own affairs” and “ridding oneself of weakness”. Sometimes one will hear of “ascending to godhood”, or “no gods, no masters”. When harming innocents, their actions are discussed as “providing motivation to succeed”. Most often, ritual practices are deeply secretive and not publicly discussed. Most followers will not publicly admit their worship of Asmodeus, as that would compromise their potential bargaining position for greater power over non-followers.
Though Asmodeus’s faith is by far the largest of the diabolic cults, few of Asmodeus’ followers are known by name. Most of Asmodeus’s worshippers are based in the towns and cities of humans and demi-humans, though Asmodeus has some monstrous followers as well. His cultists use his faith as a stepping stone to wealth and power. They form secret alliances, using their wealth and connections to bring status and power to other members of the society.
In most lands, temples to Asmodeus are hidden subterranean complexes, though in places dominated by lawful evil, they may dominate the landscape. If a cult of Baalzebul overthrows the local government, cultists of Asmodeus typically assume control of their headquarters to bring the local diabolism into its “establishment phase.”
Family- Asmodeus’ chief consort, before her death, was a devil named Bensozia. Together they had a daughter named Glasya, who now rules over the sixth layer of Baator.
Vassals- The following beings are among the most notable subjects of Asmodeus:
Adramalech — Chancellor of Hell, Keeper of Records
Alastor the Grim, pit fiend — Executioner.
Baalberith, pit fiend — Major domo.
Bensozia — Consort of Asmodeus, Queen of Hell (Deceased).
Buer- Legion Commander.
Bune — Legion Commander.
Glasya – Daughter of Asmodeus and Bensozia, former Mistress of the Erinyes, now Lord of the Sixth.
Martinet, pit fiend — Constable.
Morax — Legion Commander.
Phongor — Inquisitor of Hell.
Rimmon — Legion Commander.
The Spark Hunters – Lord Asmodeus’ personal guard of 13 who capture and/or slay mortals who draw their master’s ire.
Zagum — Legion Commander.
Enemies- Though he schemes against all the arch-devils, Asmodeus has a special hatred for Levistus.
As the Lord of Hell, Asmodeus also oversees the Blood War against the chaotic demons and their demon prince leaders.