The politics of Hell
by Alexander von Thorn
(Author’s note: The following article cannot be considered the official doctrine of either the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® game or the Roman Catholic Church. However, it is compatible with the AD&D® rules, and except for the parts about Asmodeus it is not in conflict with works on demonology as generally accepted by Catholic exorcists, thus enjoying tacit approval by the Church. However, this article does not have a nihil obstat: Much of it is original, and it approaches the subject from a different angle than a religious tract would, and should not be considered as such. The rise of Asmodeus is not documented in any major text on demonology, but very little original work on the subject has been done since the Middle Ages, so it is possible that the situation has changed. Perhaps Mr. Gygax has more accurate sources of information...)
Once upon a time, there were no devils. Only God and the angels were in heaven. (The term God is used to refer to the Creator of the Universe. He is called Yahweh by some, Allah by others, and is known by many other names.) The most powerful, most intelligent, and most beautiful of all the angels was called Satan. He was given these traits by God in order to carry out the most arduous task among all the angels — that of testing the merit of mortal men.
Satan used temptation and suffering to try to get men to choose evil instead of good. He usually succeeded in his work, because most men had something (or someone) which they held near and dear, over and above considerations of ethics, and so Satan came to hold the majority of mankind in contempt.
Satan was not happy in his work, because he had to cause the downfall of many men who otherwise would have led relatively blameless lives. Sometimes he had to cause great suffering in the lives of good men, like Job, which he didn’t like to do, either. Job had done nothing to deserve the problems that Satan gave him, and Satan came to feel sorry for Job and those like him.
Satan felt that God was being unfair. In coming to the conclusion, he valued his own judgement above the wisdom of God. His thinking gradually came around to the idea that there were better ways of organizing the universe than the way God had set it up. He came to think that he could do a better job than God. Satan discussed his ideas with other angels, and many agreed that he had some valid points.
Eventually, Satan challenged God, and many angels supported him. But God and his supporters were victorious, and Satan and his supporters were sentenced to hell for all eternity unless they repented their sins. Satan responded, “Better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven!” With that, he passed to hell in a brilliant flash, and from that time on his followers, human and supernatural, gave him the name of Lucifer, "Prince of Light,” and the star of the morning was named for him. The French claim that when Satan passed through the earthly plane en route from heaven to hell, he went down through the island of Mont St. Michel, off the coast of Brittany.
Some scholars theorize that the influence of the devils, who were now actively working against God and good, was the reason that God sent his son to Earth, although that belief is not universal among Christians. However, parts of the Book of Isaiah which refer to a Messiah are thought to have been written during the Babylonian exile of the Jews, which happened shortly after the fall of the devils (at least as far as this writer can figure out). It is also said that God misses Satan, and that He hopes that he will repent and ask God’s forgiveness, which of course He will grant to any of the fallen angels (although God may require some service to be performed, in order to test their rededication to the cause of righteousness. It is thought that it is this possibility that holds many of the devils back from repentance. Whatever the reason, no devil has ever repented).
And so, Satan became the lord of hell. All the devils worked for the damnation of men and the promulgation of evil and suffering. Satan found it ridiculously easy to accomplish anything he wanted, using his talents of temptation and suffering. The mere threat of his immense power kept the other devils in line. A group of humans who were obsessed by power, or evil, or both, developed a cult around Satan, and they set up a tight hierarchy in order to pursue their goals through evil. Even some of the illiterate peasants occasionally said a prayer to Satan when God didn't seem to answer their prayers.
最终，撒旦挑战了上帝，许多天使支持他。但是，上帝和他的支持者们都取得了胜利，而撒旦和他的支持者们却被判了地狱，除非他们忏悔他们的罪恶。撒但回答说:“在地狱里掌权，胜过在天上事奉。”于是，他灵光一闪，从他的追随者、人类和超自然的人那里，给他起名叫路西法的名字，“光明之王”，而晨星就是以他的名字命名的。法国人声称，当撒旦从天堂到地狱的途中经过尘世的飞机时，他穿过了布列塔尼海岸外的蒙特圣米歇尔岛(Mont st . Michel)。
The forces of evil were strong, and flourished in the ignorance of the Dark Ages. Satan schemed and plotted, for he believed that he had simply been outmaneuvered by the forces of good because he had failed to plan his first assault properly. He felt that if he took the time to develop a strategy, to take advantage of his own strengths and minimize his forces’ weaknesses, while capitalizing on the weaknesses and neutralizing the strengths of the enemy, then he had a good shot at winning the final conflict.
But Satan was an arbitrary ruler. He took it for granted that all the fallen angels would follow him without question. However, some of the other devils were also proud, and they did not agree with all the orders Satan gave, just as they had (like Satan) disagreed with God. Beelzebub, in particular, felt that he and the other devils should have more of a free hand in encouraging acts of evil, and more of a say in matters of general policy in hell. Beelzebub discussed this with the other important devils — Adramelech, Astaroth, Moloch, Nergal, Amaimon, Belphegor, and many others — and most agreed with Beelzebub, after promises of more power and freedom under a new order. The others were noncommittal, for they were afraid of the wrath of Satan and would not speak against Satan even in private, although they did not reveal Beelzebub’s plan to Satan. Those devils who supported Beelzebub would once in a while question a minor order from Satan, or neglect to perform a trivial task. When these rebels were discovered, Satan sent Belial, his personal lieutenant, to deal with them. Belial became hated by the other devils and at the same time grew in the esteem of Satan.
Eventually, Beelzebub challenged Satan, and when it was seen that more of the powerful devils supported Beelzebub, the other devils flocked to his cause, leaving only Belial on the side of Satan.
So Satan and Belial became exiles from hell, forced to find other places within the multiverse to hide out and make their abode, while Beelzebub became the new lord of hell. With Belial gone, Moloch became the new supreme commander of the armies of hell, and Asmodeus became the devil in charge of politicians and bureaucrats, while Adramelech became second in the overall hierarchy after Beelzebub, serving as chancellor of hell, which was the equivalent of a prime minister of a government of which Beelzebub was the president or king.
However, the armies of hell remained secretly loyal to Belial, and they helped him whenever they had the opportunity to do so without being caught. Also, Belial kept his old contacts, and retained a great deal of his influence with politicians and bureaucrats for some time. Satan, for his part, remained very powerful, because the covens remained faithful to him. In fact, most people (including the majority of the clergy) were not aware of the change in the leadership of hell. To this day, when people think of “The Devil,” they think of Satan, and if the name of any devil is mentioned in a Catholic sacramental ritual, it is his (e.g., when the celebrant asks, “Do you reject Satan?" etc.).
Of course, the exorcists and demonologists knew about the change, and after the fall of Satan his name was left out of the hierarchies compiled by them. The time of this event is not certain, but evidence suggests that it probably occcurred at about the time of the Renaissance. Indeed, it may have been partially responsible for the Renaissance, because Satan had tried to keep mankind steeped in mystery and ignorance, while Beelzebub thought that new areas of knowledge could lead to new forms of evil. During the Middle Ages, warfare had been a very personal affair. Lords battled over matters of vengeance, or family honor, or simple greed. They were followed by loyal men-at-arms and their bows, and everyone went home at harvest time. Then came the rise of national empires, and men were drafted into armies in the names of kings they’d never seen, to fight with guns and cannons over matters of politics, or religion, or just strategic objectives. Arbitrary and capricious monarchs gave way to systematic dictatorships of terror. Ignorance and superstition were replaced by science and technology totally devoid of morality. Of course, things were not so bad in every respect, but Beelzebub does seem to have made his point.
However, Beelzebub had difficulty controlling the devils. He could not order them about the way Satan had, because he had gained power by promising more freedom of action. In fact, some of the more powerful arch-devils told him (in a roundabout way) that his authority would be in jeopardy if he tried to assert himself too much. So, the only means that Beelzebub could use to get things done in hell were by persuasion or by doing favors for the devils. Needless to say, these were not enough, even if Beelzebub had had the time to talk to all the arch-devils in order to explain why things had to be done, or to do all the errands that he had to do to get things done. The devils ended up aiding humans against each other, with little coordination, so that they fell into disrepute because they could not fulfill their conflicting promises. Beelzebub’s attempts to restore order were futile because the more powerful arch-devils would not agree with Beelzebub on how to resolve some of the more important conflicts. In fact, some of them preferred to let the situation deteriorate so that they could increase their personal power.
Also, the spirit of anticlericism and atheism that the devils had succeeded in creating worked against them; people rejected the idea of devils, writing them off as mere superstition, when they rejected the idea of a God.
Many devils were dissatisfied with the rule of Beelzebub, but there was no apparent successor. Astaroth, the next most powerful devil, was happy in his role as treasurer of hell, and he almost always achieved his objectives without needing the mantle of authority that came with being lord of hell. Adramelech was not a very personally strong devil, and he was rather ineffectual when things were as disorganized as they were. Dispater and Geryon were strong, but they lacked the necessary talents of leadership. Most of the other arch-devils were satisfied to increase their power at the expense of Beelzebub's, because they thought that the position of lord of hell was a thankless job, and that if someone with less sheer power than Beelzebub held the post, hell would be worse off than it already was.
However, one figure — Asmodeus, one of the lesser archdevils — felt differently. He was like an administrative assistant to Amaimon, the devil in command of the largest of the four armies of hell. Asmodeus took care of non-military matters for Amaimon. He was also the devil in charge of politicians and bureaucrats, as noted previously, and with the rise of democracies in the 18th and 19th centuries, the influence of Asmodeus became even greater.
Asmodeus was a master of deception, and he had great skill in finding things out (especially concealed treasures), which were invaluable traits in dealing with politicians. Asmodeus was therefore well known in hell, and he was well informed on important matters in hell, but most devils saw him as a minor functionary in the upper echelons of hell. However, the skills of diplomacy and negotiation which he had developed in order to better help human politicians were very useful in hell, because of the disorganized, uncertain situation there. More and more often, Asmodeus found himself mediating disputes and helping to form a consensus among the devils on important policy matters. The devils came to respect his judgement, and set him to organizing some of the more important projects.
With this visible support to reinforce him, Asmodeus decided that his administrative skills were just what hell needed. So he approached some of the more powerful devils and suggested that he might make a better ruler than Beelzebub. Support for his plan in the upper echelon was lukewarm at first, so he sweetened the proposal by doing a number of one-shot favors, or promising to do something that individual devils especially wanted. After a while, many devils came to side with him, but a significant number still thought that Beelzebub’s power was necessary to maintain any semblance of order in hell.
Asmodeus found a solution: He promised to keep Beelzebub in hell at the top of the hierarchy, second only to himself. The devils agreed to support him so long as they did not have to resort to violence, promising in return that they would, if necessary, refuse to obey Beelzebub’s orders in a show of solidarity. Even Astaroth agreed that Asmodeus would probably be a more capable ruler.
With the support of the devils assured, Asmodeus revealed his plan to the lord. Asmodeus demanded that Beelzebub voluntarily reduce his personal strength in order to prevent any possible future challenges to his authority, and that he change his name from Beelzebub, meaning "Prince of Devils,” to Baal- zebul, meaning “Lord of the Flies” (i.e. little devils). The reason for that was so that the old rituals of power invoking the old name would not work. Beelzebub was enraged with that, and almost attacked Asmodeus, until Asmodeus told Beelzebub to see which side the other arch-devils, such as Astaroth, were on. Beelzebub hesitated, and then reconsidered his attack. He summoned Astaroth. Upon his arrival, Astaroth greeted them with, “Hello, Baalzebul. Hello, Lord Asmodeus.” And with that, Beelzebub knew that he had been overthrown.
Thus it was that Asmodeus became lord of hell. Shortly thereafter, the “war to end all wars” was fought, and then came Mussolini and Hitler, the death camps and purges, the A-bomb and other atrocities in a war that claimed more than 15 million soldiers in battle and countless other lives. One could say that Asmodeus has known some success.
Through his politicking and playing one devil off against another, Asmodeus manages to keep a fairly tight rein on the activities of the devils. Baalzebul still secretly schemes to retake his former position, and there are a few other devils now who think that they could handle the leadership of hell, but none have yet dared to openly oppose the rule of Asmodeus.
Asmodeus has reorganized hell to suit his purposes. Satan had originally divided hell into nine distinct planes, in order to keep track of which damned soul went where. Asmodeus has dispensed with the old structuring and doled out the planes as sort of fiefdoms under his suzerainty. He kept the ninth plane as his personal demesne and granted the sixth and seventh to Baalzebul, out of respect for his previous service, making him the only devil to rule two entire planes personally. Dispater and Geryon were also granted entire planes because they were the first to support Asmodeus, and they have since been his most loyal followers. The other planes are divided among the other six dozen or so arch-devils. Astaroth was offered a plane, but he declined the responsibility.
Asmodeus has used his position to increase his personal strength to the point that he is now the most powerful devil to be found on the nine planes of hell. This is unheard of, but it was barely possible by the laws of the multiverse because the departure of Satan and Belial from hell and the reduction in strength that Baalzebul was forced to suffer left a slight imbalance in the multiverse which Asmodeus used to increase his own strength. And so, all the planes of hell are now securely under the dominion of Lord Asmodeus.
在魔鬼的支持下，阿斯莫德斯向上帝透露了他的计划。Asmodeus要求Beelzebub自愿减少他的个人力量，以防止将来对他的权威有任何可能的挑战，并且他将他的名字从Beelzebub，也就是“恶魔之王”的意思转变为Baal - zebul，意思是“苍蝇王”(即小恶魔)。这样做的原因是旧的权力仪式不会起作用。魔王被激怒了，几乎要攻击阿斯莫德斯，直到阿斯莫德斯告诉别西卜，看看其他的大恶魔，比如阿斯达特，在哪里。Beelzebub犹豫了一下，然后重新考虑了他的攻击。他召唤了Astaroth。在他到来的时候，阿斯塔罗斯向他们打招呼:“你好，Baalzebul。”你好,主魔王”。于是，别西卜知道他被打倒了。
The Politics of Hell:
Original layout, August 1979; issue # 28
More Masters of Deviltry Satan
FREQUENCY Very rare
NO. APPEARING 1
ARMOR CLASS -8
MOVE Whatever desired
HIT DICE 333 hit points
% IN LAIR 5%
TREASURE TYPE H(*2), l(*2), U(*2)
NO. ATTACKS 1
SPECIAL ATTACKS +3 or better weapon and purity of heart required to hit
MAGIC RESISTANCE 95%
ALIGNMENT Lawful evil
PSIONIC ABILITY Special
Attack/Defense Modes Special
Satan ("The Prince of Darkness,” “The Adversary,” Lucifer, “The Prince of Light’’): First among devils, Satan is a being feared by all. He can appear in any form he wishes, but the form he prefers is that of a normal man, having features which are most likely to engender trust and respect from the person he is dealing with. In places where he is master (which are rare these days, although becoming more common), he will appear in roughly humanoid form, about 7' tall, with horns, tail and pitch- fork and having a deep red skin color, almost maroon, with a majestic countenance. He can move as fast as he wants to, and he can accurately teleport, cross dimensions or even travel through time if need be. In order to strike Satan with a weapon, the attacker would need a +3 weapon to hit him, and he would also have to have a clear conscience and an absolute determination to pursue one’s objective, which of course must be of the purest motives. Anyone who dares to attack Satan psionically will automatically fall into his control forever (a Wish can recover an individual, but nothing less will do). Of course, Satan cannot be affected by a psionic attack, but he will not use normal psionic attack modes. Satan may use any spell or psionic discipline as often as he likes. He cast spells as if he was a 30th-level character, except for druidic spells, which he casts at 14th level of ability. He has an effective psionic ability of 500, although he does not actually use any points when employing psionic powers.
Satan also has the ability to alter fate, in order to cause a number of unfortunate events to happen to an individual, such as the death of friends and family and the ruin of business, career, property, social status, reputation and health, to start with. Fortunately, however, for the victim, if he remains resolute in the face of this suffering, the forces of good will eventually relieve his problems in order to maintain the balance of the multiverse, although the victim may not receive any compensation for the trouble he has gone through.
Satan's main ability is the power of temptation. He can grant anyone a wish that will give that person anything he desires. All he has to do is sign a little contract, using his own blood in lieu of ink. These wishes are much more powerful than ordinary wishes. Satan can also grant normal wishes (as a Wish spell) without the blood contract, but he rarely does so except to give some kind of assistance to those already doomed, or perhaps as a reward for faithful service. For anything important, he usually insists on a contract.
After seven years a person who has sold his soul to Satan for one of these wishes will surrender his soul to the devil (wishes notwithstanding). If the individual has wished for immortality, then the time of collection is whenever the individual decides that he has had enough of life, and voluntarily goes to hell (most such people do in the end), or else until the person dies by violence. (Immortality does not protect a person from being killed either by accident or by combat, although Satan will sometimes give a person some protection against this, such as magic armor or a wish or two, or something along those lines, because Satan prefers people to come to hell of their own free will.)
As for those who appear to be able to put with immortality, Satan has been known to give out a few unexpected surprises, which of course is not covered in the contract, in order to make the decision to go to hell easier by making life a little less pleasant (i.e., intolerable). If a person has not wished for immortality, then he may have more wishes besides the first one. Each one costs a year of the condemned one’s remaining time.
For game purposes, it is best to have the contract actually written out, with identical copies for a character and the DM (which any involved player should study carefully before signing), because Satan is extremely literal, and he takes sadistic pleasure in twisting the intent of a contract by fulfilling its letter. Normally, a lawyer cannot be consulted on such a contract, and those who will give legal advice on such matters charge an exorbitant fee. The contract will typically be simply worded,stating who gives and gets what. Once an individual accepts a wish from Satan, there is little chance of getting out of the contract, but it is possible. It is impossible to remove the compulsion to surrender one's soul to Satan unless the contract was signed while the individual was not in control of himself, in which case the contract is void and the wish is revoked. Satan will retaliate against the person responsible for this. However, as long as a person is satisfied with the contract, or at least as long as the person does not want to get out of the contract, there is no power in the universe —not a wish, not even God Himself (well, maybe He can, but He never has) — that can terminate the contract. On the other hand, if the condemned person decides that he wants to get out of the contract, there are steps he can take. He still cannot remove the compulsion to relinquish his soul, but he can enlist the assistance of some ultra-powerful being who will do battle with Satan on his behalf.
Unfortunately, once the person decides that he wants to terminate the contract, the time he has remaining in years is reduced to that many hours before Satan comes to collect, so one must act quickly after changing his mind. Also, any other devil will attempt to detain the condemned person, or failing that, to kill him. The devils cooperate with Satan in this one area because the reputation of all devildom is at stake. Naturally, a person cannot take any positive action to get out of a contract without first deciding to do so. Any cleric of at least Patriarch level can invoke the name of his deity to save the person’s soul. However, they usually require some token of one's devotion to the cause of good, such as the performance of some appropriate quest, as the price of redemption. In any event, an Atonement spell must be cast on the person, and a Quest usually is, too (hence the requirement of an eighth-level cleric). The normal penalty for failure to complete the Quest is the immediate return of the person’s soul to Satan.
Satan’s allies include those covens of witches who worship him, most others who have sold their souls to him, and Belial. Sometimes Satan will ask one of the humans under his influence to perform some task for him. This is entirely voluntary (well, almost; it’s not a good idea to cross Satan), and he will reward the person appropriately upon completion. His enemies include all those devils who acknowledge Asmodeus as lord of hell (i.e., all the other devils except Belial), all the demons, all the angels, all the gods and other powers of good, chaos, neutrality, or any combination thereof, and all the gods and other powers of lawful evil and neutral lawful or neutral evil who are allied with or support Asmodeus or any other enemy of Satan. (And you thought your character had problems!)
Very rare Very rare
12" by himself, 18“ by himself,
24"/48" in chariot 9"124" on dragon
122 hit points 155 hit points
U, W unlimited
1 bite 1 (plus snake)
3-18 plus poison 1-8 (see snake entry in Monster Manual)
+2 or better +3 or better
weapon to hit weapon to hit
Lawful evil Lawful evil
L (11') L(8')
Belial (pronouncd BEE-lee-ul; the name means "Worthlessness"): At one time, Belial was the devil in charge of politicians, the supreme commander of the armies of hell and the personal lieutenant of Satan. He now spends most of his time on the run throughout the multiverse. In the Lesser Key of Solomon, a medieval grimoire which lists and describes most of the archdevils, Belial is described as a beautiful angelic being riding a chariot of fire, and his voice is pleasant to listen to. Belial’s Chariot of Fire has three times the hit points and capacity of a Chariot of Sustarre, but otherwise it is equivalent in all respects. If it is destroyed, he can replace it the next day. He has the power of beguiling, with -2 on the defender’s saving throw. Those who wish to summon Belial must sacrifice something of great value to the summoner, because he wishes to avoid being summoned by a potential enemy, of whom he has many.
Once per turn or melee round, Belial may use any one of the following powers at will: pyrotechnics, produce flame, wall of fire, light, read languages, read magic, detect invisible, locate object, invisibility, beguiling (as noted above), geas, restoration, raise dead, (fulfull another's) wish. Once per day he can find a familiar of the summoner’s choice automatically, and use a symbol of fear and a symbol of stunning.
His skill in dealing with politicians is almost equal to that of Asmodeus, although Asmodeus will attempt to punish anyone who he finds out has been consorting with Belial. As the former commander of the armies of hell, Belial still commands respect from the troops (somewhat like Napoleon). They will notdirect- ly act to harm him, and they will give him some assistance if they can do so without being caught by the other arch-devils. In the presence of both Asmodeus and Belial, the armies of hell will make an attempt to capture Belial, because they do not want the anger of the lord of hell upon them.
Belial's other allies are Satan and the former lord’s followers. His enemies are the same as those of Satan, except for the armies of Hell as stated. However, the other devils have more enmity for Belial than for Satan, because Belial did a lot of Satan’s dirty work when the two of them were in charge, and Belial seemed to enjoy harassing the devils.
Astaroth: This arch-devil is the treasurer of hell. He used to be third in the hierarchy behind Beelzebub and Adramelech, but now he acts rather independently of the current regime. Nominally he is still third, behind Asmodeus and Baalzebul, although neither of them would try to pull rank on Astaroth except in a dire emergency. Likewise, he never orders other devils around, but sometimes he will exchange favors if he wants something done. He appears as an awesome man-like being who stands 8 feet tall. He looks somewhat overweight and is richly dressed, reeking with filthy lucre.
He also reeks with a burning stench which will cause 1-6 points of fire damage to all creatures within 30’, although a ring of fire resistance or its equivalent will protect a being against this. Still, one must make a saving throw vs. poison if within 10’ or lose consciousness from the smell for 2-12 turns unless one can get a neutralize poison within one turn. (Losing consciousness in the presence of an arch-devil is not a very bright thing to do, and should be avoided.)
Astaroth usually rides a huge ancient red dragon, and he carries a large pit viper (giant poisonous snake) wrapped around his right arm. He can also strike with his left arm for 1-8 points of damage because, like most devils, he is left-handed.
Astaroth may once per turn or melee round use one of the following powers at will: pyrotechnics, produce flame, wall of fire, ice storm, wall of ice, continual light, read languages, read magic, detect invisible, locate object, invisibility, dispel magic, shape change, beguile, rulership, charm monster, geas, restoration, raise dead, (fulfill another’s) wish. Once per day he may do each of the following: legend lore, contact lower plane and precognition (90% accurate). His gaze causes confusion to his enemies (as spell).
Astaroth can create treasure, in the form of coins, gems or jewelry, at will. The DM will determine how much he has lying around, and how much can be carried away. He can teach any of the liberal arts very quickly. Astaroth is immune to psionic attack, and he cannot make a psionic attack.
Astaroth will willingly talk about the fall of the devils, but he does not speak of his own part in that event. In fact, he acts as though he was not subject to the fall, as if he were still working selflessly for the will of God and the good of mankind. Nevertheless, he is a devil of great power, and most devils give him great respect and a wide berth. One must take what he says to the contrary with a grain of salt.
Curiously enough, a number of sources state that Astaroth,in addition to his duties as the devil responsible for financial matters, is also the devil in charge of supervising the activities of devils in the United States. This would seem to indicate that the devils find the United States of great importance and stature, for no other nation has a devil of such rank overseeing it. He may also be partially responsible for all the commercial hype that Americans are subjected to. Then again, it could just be that mere men create such colossal inanity. No one knows for sure (except maybe God, in which case He will hold those culpable to account for their actions).
Last word: The Lesser Key of Solomon warns that when summoning Asmodeus, the summoner must not be wearing anything on his head, or Asmodeus will “deceive" him. That includes helms and other headgear. Forewarned is forearmed.