Asmodeus

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Description
Asmodeus is depicted as the strongest, most cunning, and most handsome of all devils. He is typically described as appearing as a giant human, with dark skin and hair, red eyes, handsome features, and small horns on his forehead. He dresses in regal finery of unimaginable expense. Beneath his clothing, Asmodeus’ body is covered in bloody wounds which he sustained when he fell from the Upper Planes.

Asmodeus was the undisputed master of the Nine Hells, commanding fear and respect from all those who occupied his realm. Even the gods who dwelt in the Nine Hells gave Asmodeus his proper due. Though the archdevils might work to usurp him, few had the courage to act openly. Asmodeus’s machinations were long in the making, and they might take centuries, if not millennia, to see resolution.

History
According to lore, Asmodeus began as a servant of the lawful gods. Asmodeus is described in some versions of the myth as an “angel” (though this is self-contradictory given the time period this would have occurred during). He was “the bravest, toughest, fiercest and most beautiful of angels,”created to guard the Abyss, and keep Tharizdun and his forces in check, so that the gods could concern themselves with the worlds of sentient beings.

After eons of fighting the creatures from the abyss, Asmodeus and some of his fellows began to change. They grew similar in appearance and methods to the demons which they fought. Afraid of his power and of the changes he had undergone, the gods put Asmodeus on trial and demanded that he be cast out of the Upper Planes. However, he argued effectively (and correctly) that he and his fellows had not violated the law. Asmodeus and his followers successfully sued for access to the Upper Planes and the honors to which they were entitled.

Once the gods perfected the worlds and sentient beings, the demons attacked these, too. The gods created mountains, oceans, and wastelands to seal up the gates to the Abyss, but their creations defied their orders and explored their worlds, accidentally unsealing the gates. The gods could not understand why their creations did not follow their instructions, until Asmodeus explained to them that their system did not work because it relied solely upon voluntary compliance. He further explained that the only way to ensure obedience was to threaten mortals with a disincentive; hence, Asmodeus invented the concept of punishment.

Asmodeus convinced the gods to sign a contract called the Pact Primeval. This contract allowed Asmodeus and his fellow devils to take up residence in the abandoned realm of Baator, to punish the souls of wicked mortals, and to extract magical energy from the souls under their care in order to fuel their powers. Otherwise, Asmodeus reasoned, they would have to be granted the powers of godhood in order to do their job, which the current gods would surely find unacceptable.

The gods found the arrangement agreeable, at first. However, they eventually realized that fewer and fewer mortal souls were ascending to the Upper Planes, and Asmodeus was deliberately tempting mortals to damnation. When they arrived in Baator, the gods found that he had turned it into a nightmarish world of endless suffering, filled with countless new devils. When called to account for his actions, Asmodeus uttered the famous words, “Read the fine print.”

Asmodeus watched the rise and fall of other archdevils far craftier than any of his contemporaries. He kept to himself, letting his minions stew in fear of what he would do next. When the Spellplagure hit, Asmodeus retained his position all through the Reckoning of Hell, unlike many of the other archdevils, proving to all that he was their better.

After the Spell Plague, Asmodeus designed the Great Pact, creating a peace that improved his position in the pantheon, while removing all opposition to his rule in the Nine Hells.

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Religion
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.

Temples
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.”

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Worshipers
Though Asmodeus’s faith is by far the largest of the diabolic cults, few of Asmodeus’ followers are known by name. A notable exception is Christophe Jean Markosian, “The Devil Behind Thrones,” a hierarch of the Horned Society. Most of Asmodeus’s worshipers are based in the towns and cities of humans and demihumans, 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.

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Asmodeus

The Miros Underground CarlostheDwarf