Cheliax, Empire of Devils
Asmodeus (pronounced as-MO-day-us) is the most powerful of the nine archdevils that inhabit Hell, and the only one of Hell’s rulers to claim full divinity. It was he who is credited with the penning the contract of creation, within which his followers believe is hidden the means for their patron’s eventual rise to supremacy.
Titles: The Archfiend, Dark Prince, The First, God-Fiend, King of Hell, Lord of Darkness, Lord of Hell, Lord of the Pit, Master of Witches, Prince of Darkness, Prince of Devils, Prince of Hell, Prince of Law, Ruler of Hell
Home: The Catafalque, Nessus, Hell
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Portfolio: Tyranny, Slavery, Pride, Contracts
Worshipers: Slavers, Bureaucrats, Tyrants
Cleric Alignments: LN, LE, NE
Domains: Evil, Fire, Law, Magic, Trickery
Subdomains: Arcane, Ash, Deception, Devil, Divine, Smoke
Favored Weapon: Mace
Symbol: Red Pentagram
Sacred Animal: Serpent
Sacred Colors: Black, Red
Asmodeus believes that the strong should rightfully govern the weak, who in turn owe their masters unwavering obedience. He loves negotiations and contracts, especially those that give one of the parties a distinct, hidden advantage over the other. He expects and appreciates flattery, but its never fooled by it, seeing it as a negotiation tactic, as well as a duty those in inferior positions owe their betters.
According to the Book of the Damned, Asmodeus is one of the two primeval entities with his brother and equal, Ihys.
The Birth of the First
Born spontaneously from the mysterious source of life known as the Seal, the two, together known as the First, began as formless motes of energy. When the Seal birthed other, lesser motes, the First became self-aware. Eons passed, and slowly the First, and the lesser motes, began exploring creation. These were the first gods.
One of the First came upon a sigil upon the Seal, and with its discovery, symbols and meaning came into existence. His brother uttered the first sound and discovered speech; he named himself Ihys. His brother, the creator of meaning, he named Asmodeus.
Creation of Mortality
Ihys and Asmodeus, together with the lesser gods, began to sculpt creation to their liking and slowly introduced the concept of order into reality, creating stars, planets, and the fundamental laws that bind them. Then Ihys forever changed their creation: he created the first mortals, discovering the concept of souls and worship, and the other gods followed his example. Ihys bestowed upon mortals free will, causing the first schism of the gods, between those (like Asmodeus) who viewed mortals as mere tools and those (as Ihys) who desired freedom for their creations.
War in Heaven
Asmodeus, devastated by his brother’s actions, showed Ihys the chaos and destruction that he had sowed; but Ihys, believing good came from mortals’ free will, opposed Asmodeus. War tore the gods, the first conflict between order and chaos. Ihys defended the right of mortals to choose their own destiny with the empyreal lord Sarenrae at his right hand. Finally, on a distant world, Ihys and Asmodeus met for the last time on the field of battle. Asmodeus offered his hand in brotherhood, and then performed the first act of treachery, murdering Ihys with a great spear.
In a last act of sympathy for his brother, Asmodeus allowed Ihys’s dream of freedom to stand. He then created Hell as a monument to the old ways of absolute, merciless order and as a warning of what he would one day make anew.
Asmodeus forged the contract of creation, then accepted by all the gods and rumored to contain a secret that will one day lead to its author’s rise to power above his fellow deities. The God-Fiend also played a key role in the defeat and imprisonment of Rovagug. The Rough Beast was sealed away in the Pit of Gormuz, the only key to his prison kept by the Prince of Darkness himself.
For obvious reasons, the Prince of Hell is quite interested in the nation of Cheliax, and is believed to have personally been involved with its rulers twice in the last century. His first interaction was with Queen Abrogail I, with whom he made the infernal bargain that still binds that nation to Hell, an agreement said to have taken place in the Barrowood. His second was with her granddaughter, Queen Abrogail II. He is thought to have recently sent the erinyes Lrilatha to serve as her personal advisor and tutor.
Other gods find the Prince of Darkness the easiest of the evil deities to deal with, though they realize his aid is not to be sought, or accepted, lightly. For his part, Asmodeus regards other faiths with mild amusement, seeing them as weak, temporary distractions to mortal worshipers. Unsurprisingly, he gives more respect to other deities who stress the rule of law, but has an ongoing feud with Irori, who dislikes the Prince of Hell for tearing down and undermining the hard work of others.
First of the Archdevils
Asmodeus is the lord of the Archdevils, the rulers of the nine layers of Hell, and the only one of his kind to claim the status of true deity. The other archdevils constantly vie for his power, but none have managed to ever outwit or overpower the Prince of Hell.
Asmodeus is the undisputed ruler of Hell, where he resides in the deepest circle, the volcanic desolation of Nessus.
Asmodeus is generally depicted in art as a large, flame-enshrouded man with red skin, cloven hooves, and horns, surrounded by a pale flame nimbus. He is often shows wielding a contract or a flaming mace. Though many believe that this is his true form, some speak of a more fiendish form with constantly bleeding wounds. Asmodeus is also capable of taking the shape of any creature, an ability he uses to gain an advantage in negotiations through intimidation, comfort, or pity. He is also represented by his holy symbol, an upside down red pentagram.
The Prince of Law generally does not lower himself to directly interact with mortals, not even his own faithful. A particular powerful person will occasionally grab his attention and receive Asmodeus’ support, as long as the mortal’s actions coincide with the god’s own interests. Failure or incompetence is punished quite severely, generally via burning pain, or writing that appears in blood or fire. Asmodeus often assigns his own infernal servants to assist these mortals, so that they might prod them in useful directions.
The Prince of Darkness has many servants who rise and fall in popularity according to his whims. His divine servitor race are the hesperians, or accomplice devils, who travel to the Material Plane to help bring important mortals into Hell’s grasp. In Hell (and sometimes) beyond, Asmodeus is served by a number of races that share his philosophy, including cerberi, shapechangers of all kinds, and of course, devils.
This devil serves as the Prince of Darkness’ current herald. He appears as a handsome young male possessing blond hair, perceived to be of the same species as that of any creature that encounters him. Additionally, Basileus can freely take a form of supernatural terror; this form differs from one viewer to another, each faced with the greatest fear he or she can imagine.
Church of Asmodeus
Asmodeus’ faith is strongest in Infernal Cheliax and several of its vassal states, including Isger and Nidal, but he also has a significant following among the Chelaxians throughout the Inner Sea region.
The Prince of Hell preaches strict discipline and unwavering devotion from his worshipers; the strong should rule the weak. The Prince of Darkness expects flattery from his followers, appreciating it for what it is, and delights in deals and contracts that secretly favor one party over another. Followers of the Prince of Darkness often include nobles and bureaucrats, especially those participating in the slave trade and in those nations where his worship is openly accepted.
Knights of Asmodeus wear the typical black and red associated with the Dark Prince, often wielding a spiked mace. They seek out order to gain power. Some call themselves paladins to give their behavior a gloss of righteousness.
Beyond humans and other “civilized” races, Asmodeus is commonly worshiped by kobolds. His dogma of subjugation of the weak through trickery appeals to kobolds, who live in a society with a strict hierarchy and use deception to make up for their physical weakness. Asmodeus is also a god of fire, which kobolds use extensively in mining and metalworking. Kobold priests of Asmodeus appeal to their kindred’s insecurity and lust for power, making them easily manipulated pawns.
Asmodeus’ priests usually dress in clean and orderly red-accented black dress, and often wear horned masks or helmets for ceremonies. Clothing worn is usually expensive, and clearly so, as the faith preaches that wealth attracts wealth. In countries not under Cheliax’s yoke, priests are expected to abide by local laws and take sacrifices only from willing victims. It is also common for individual priests to offer the sacrifice of a small animal before preparing spells. Clerics of Asmodeus may prepare lesser geas and a variant of geas, and the Prince of Darkness grants access to infernal healing and greater infernal healing.
The Church of Asmodeus is taking an active role in caring for the orphans left by Isger’s Goblinblood Wars. Monasteries have been established to look after these unfortunates, and indoctrinate them in the worship of Asmodeus. The most well known are the Sisters of the Golden Erinyes.
The Hellknight Order of the God Claw venerates the lawful aspects of Asmodeus, along with those of a number of other deities, but is independent, and not part of the church hierarchy.
Temples and Shrines
Public temples dedicated to Asmodeus contain many diabolical motifs, and can be found throughout Cheliax and its dependencies, often existing alongside and within the nation’s government buildings. In other places he is worshiped in secret houses that exist throughout Golarion.2 Many of his temples were originally dedicated to other gods, and later acquired by his faithful to serve their profane purposes. While in the churches of other deities Asmodeus is most often depicted as an adversary or foil, the Church of Asmodeus always shows him in a position of dominance, with other gods bowing down before him.
The Asmodean Disciplines
Asmodeus’ doctrines and the practices of his faithful can be found within this document. It is accompanied by various additions and supplemental documents.
The Asmodean Monograph
This text records a simplified version of the doctrine of the Prince of Darkness, although it relies on many supplemental volumes and appendices.