Friday, August 1, 2014


Ages ago, before it was known as the Nine Hells, the small planet Baator was home to a winged race of beings known as the avariel.  The leader of the avariel was a powerful immortal known as Asmodeus.  Asmodeus was a lawful but prideful immortal, and he became convinced that it was his destiny to slay the corrupted lord of the Tetrahedron, Primus.

Asmodeus led a contingent of the most powerful avariel into the Tetrahedron, and the group fought its way to the center of the ship. After a long, hard-fought battle, only Asmodeus and Primus remained in the chamber at the Tetrahedron's core.  As Asmodeus approached to do battle with Primus, the evil Primus begged for his life and, appealing to Asmodeus' vanity, acknowledged Asmodeus as the superior being. In exchange for his life, Primus offered to Asmodeus his greatest asset, a second yellow cube that Primus had been constructing, similar to the very extradimensional cube which had corrupted Primus.  Primus claimed that a being with the lawful heart and wisdom of Asmodeus would be able to use the cube for good, and provide the Pyrax system with a counterbalance to his own evil power.

Whether through magical enchantment or simple guile, Primus was able to convince Asmodeus to accept his offer.  Asmodeus took the small cube and returned to Baator.  He began mistaking law for goodness, and became obsessed with rules and punishment.  Some of the avariel joined Asmodeus as he assembled an army to conquer the solar system in the name of his rapidly degrading sense of justice.  Others saw through his corruption and rebelled.

The avariel fought a long and brutal civil war.  Asmodeus eventually lost all pretense of righteousness as his power grew, and he granted infernal powers to the avariel who sided with him, creating the devils.  As the rebellious avariel began to be slaughtered, the Celestial Emperor saw the good in them and granted them divine powers of their own,  creating the angels.  The angels and the devils fought for a hundred years, but the devils continuously gained the upper hand.  Eventually the angels retreated to Carceri and other planets, from which they continue to battle the devils.  For seven thousand years the planet Baator has rested firmly in the hands of the devils.

Baator is a very small planet, the smallest in the solar system. It is home to the thoroughly evil devils, of which there are many varieties. It is composed of eight interlocking landmasses seperated by a wide red river known as the River Styx, as well as a southern ocean of icebergs. The four southern continents are the vast Avernus, tiny Duarga, volcanic Phlegethos and mountainous Malbolge, while the four northern continenents are the swamp-filled Minauros, the ruins of Maladomini, frozen Cania, and scarred Nessus, the seat of Asmodeus's power.

(Some parts of the following are copied from the Baator entry on wikipedia and the Kocrachon 2nd Edition Dungeons and Dragons entry, although in all instances it has been modified as needed to fit the Diamond City Dispatch campaign setting.)

The largest continent on Baator is a southern land called Avernus. The vast central and eastern portions of Avernus are filled with an arid scrubland called Draukari, where the cannibalistic plainsjan roam.  The most notable location in Draukari is the Bronze Citadel at the edge of the Lake of Despond, a fortress-like city that is home to the ruler of Avernus, the Archduke Bel.  Within the fourteen concentric walls of the Bronze Citadel are meager farms tended by weary slaves.  As devils do not need to consume food, the Bronze Citadel exports the food and water to feed slaves across Baator.  Other settlements in Draukari include Frekstavic, Nibellin, and Snjaril.  

The plainsjan of Draukari is a small gremlin-like creature with an intoxicating bite.  It is not technically a devil, since they were never avariel, but they have always wandered Draukari.  The devils let them live so long as they continue to raid the borders of the neighboring Peaceable Lands.  They swarm upon any prey they think they can overwhelm. A plainsjan will almost always be found in groups of at least two.  Solitary plainsjan are unheard of.  The typical plainsjan hunting party will have exactly two howlers, four to eight slashers, and eight to twenty bombers.

On the western edge of Avernus is a mountainous realm called Azharul.  Azharul is filled with abishai, draconic devils that protect the Maggot Pit, a crater several miles wide and filled with infernal larvae that hatch to become devils.  Nearby is the Pillar of Skulls, a self-explanatory tower over a mile high.  Abthalom is a desolate valley in Azharul.  Locations in Abthalom include the vast, ruined Temple of Takhisis and the Tower of High Sorcery populated with the ancient, undead avariel known as arcanians.

In the south is another forest called the Peaceable Lands, home to the lawful anadjiin. The Peaceable Lands are controlled by the ruthlessly lawful psionic anadjiin, who keep the devils at bay.  The major settlement of the Peaceable Lands is an anadjiin tower nest named Goldspire, one of the only places in Baator where devils dare not tread.  Goldspire has a portal to the Shatterfield settlement of Ribcage.

The anadjiin are a flying insectoid race with a strict code of behavior.  They are telepathic, and swarm en masse upon any devil that enters their realm.  The anadjiin are allied with the sun dragons, but do not share the sun dragons' concern over the fate of the slaves of Avernus.  The extremely intelligent beings do not concern themselves with the concepts of good or evil.  They only seek to preserve their race and territory at all costs, and have been successful at doing so.

West of Avernus is the smallest landmass on Baator, essentially an island called Druaga that is dominated by large formless iron spires scattered across the slopes of a vast mountain.

Atop the mountain is the sprawling iron city of Dis, the largest city on Baator.  It is ruled from the Iron Tower on the mountain's peak by the archduke Dispater.

Strangely enough, Dis welcomes travellers from other planets, although the strict and esoteric laws can easily land a visitor in Mentiri, the horrendous infernal prison.  Mount Druega is riddled with vents and dungeons that channel steam and hot air to the surface.  The heat that rises through the vents makes the iron of the city blisteringly hot.

The prison Mentiri lies beneath the surface of the Knoll of Blades in Dis. At its core are the Agony Halls, where freshly created pain devils learn their torture techniques.  The sadistic keepers of the prison, the kocrachons, are also the abhorrent instructors at the Agony Hall.   Here, they teach the physiology and psychology of their victims to pain devils. The insectoid kocrachons are masters of inflicting tortures both mental and physical on those unfortunate enough to fall into their clutches. Only rarely do they actually kill their victims, preferring instead to inflict pain and still more pain.

Kocrachons that break the will of angels are accorded respect and high honors; these creatures withstand incredible amounts of abuse, which reflects well upon their torturers. The devils demonstrate their techniques on these and other good creatures until there’s nothing left but a shivering, screaming wreck of a celestial being. Naturally, kocrachons love to sink their claws and knives into goodness.

Some sages speculate that kocrachons torture mortal prisoners as preparation for molding them into various types of devils. Strangely, some prisoners develop a sort of kinship for those who give them such exquisite pain. Hatred for their captors may still burn in their breasts, but that emotion recedes before the craving for more pain. Some even experience a twisted devotion to their torturers and may willingly do as the kocrachons suggest.


East of Avernus is Phlegethos, a fiery wasteland filled with active volcanoes, hills of ash, gouting fires, streams of magma, pits of smoking excrement, and burning sand beneath a screaming rain of magical fire flakes. Lady Fierna and Archduke Belial are the lords of this land. Duergar make their home beneath the surface of Phlegethos, but few others can exist here for long without suitable protection from the extreme heat.

The fortress capital city of Abriymoch is built on the southern edge of Phlegethos.  It is on the lip of a volcano, is composed of hardened magma and obsidian and is somewhat more bearable than the rest of the continent. It has little tolerance for outsiders, but important allies of Fierna and Belial have their places in its society. The pit fiend Gazra dwells here in a palace of crystal. He is the commander of the hamatulas, or barbed devils as you may know them.  Fierna and Belial reside in a palace of pure obsidian high up on one side of the city.

The ground of Phlegethos is always uncomfortably hot. This, as well as patrols of barbed devils, keep most intruders constantly on the move. Tremors are common, and it is not unusual for the ground to violently erupt or fissures to open without notice. The sky of Phlegethos is a dark, smoky void, but constantly leaping flames provide weird illumination to the harsh landscape.

Rivers of lava emerge from at least two massive lakes in the center of the continent, where the flames burn brightest. The rivers of lava empty, steaming, into the River Styx the ocean of Stygia .  This lava is inhabited by numerous wandering salamanders that were brought from Pandemonium to Phlegethos in days long past, to be bound in servitude to the master of that land. Given that salamanders are not prone to taking orders, this didn't work out, and most were slain by Belial's servants and vassals. Those few who escaped remain bound to Phlegethos by Belial's magic, and continue to survive by avoiding large groups of devils and snatching lone individuals who venture too close to one of the fiery rivers.

The Pit of Flame is a boiling, fiery sea of refuse empowered by the primal energy of Baator. It is a place of both promotion and punishment for devils across the planet. Thousands of osyluths watch it to ensure that it is not abused.

West of the island of Druaga and east of Phlegethos is Malbolge, a rocky, mountainous land filled with what appear to be beautiful verdant valleys.  In fact, the garden valleys of Malborge are filled with poison and decay.

On the mountainsides, rockslides and avalanches of boulders are common. Numerous stone and copper fortresses provide some refuge from the avalanches. Once ruled by Moloch, he was deposed during the Reckoning of Hell and replaced by The Hag Countess Malagard. Malagard has since died, her body expanding and imploding to the point that the city of Malagard's End is literally her remains. Now Glasya, daughter of Asmodeus, currently rules Malbolge.

The nobles of this land once dwelled in stone and copper fortresses, whose metal plating helps ward off the worst of the falling stones. The Hag Countess once traveled between these fortresses in disguise, testing the gentility of her subjects; she despised mindless brutality, and destroyed those who committed it.

After the Hag Countess' demise, those few nobles who were not purged by Glaysa for treachery now live in the gardens of Osseia with the Princess of Hell in her white palace.

At the south pole of Baator, bordered by Avernus, Phlegethos,  and Malborge, is a freezing, murky ocean named Stygia.   Stygia is filled with vast icebergs.  The land is plagued with lightning storms, and the ice may be lit by weird cold flames. Tantlin, the City of Ice, is built on a huge ice floe with a large harbor.  The lack of any kind of law enforcement leads itself to gangs controlling much of the city.

Prince Levistus rules over this land, frozen in a giant iceberg as punishment for betraying Asmodeus. For many centuries, Stygia was given over to the fiend Geryon. Geryon was recently deposed, and Levistus was reinstated, though he remains in his iceberg unable to govern.

Realms in this area include the underwater sahuagin land of Sheyruushk, the frost goblin villages of Ankhwugaht on the frozen shores of Avernus, and the gargantuan iceberg of Steadfast Chill, the last bastion of angels on Baator.
The defiant thanoi live in Stygia but are not devils, and thus serve no master.  The thanoi hunt the creatures of the depths of the Stygia, and have no love for the devils with whom they share the icy sea.

North of Druaga is the boggy realm of Minauros, which reaches almost to the north pole. Minauros is an endless bog of vile pollution. The weather in Minauros consists of acidic rain, flesh-slicing hail, and harsh winds. Most of the land is a vast dismal marsh of foul rotting soil, littered with carrion and pools of water. Through murky fog, one often encounters numerous carcasses soaking up the filthy rain. Another horrid feature of these lands are "cells." These are large shallow pits, filled to a depth of two or three feet with water. Chains and manacles of brass and iron are attached to huge stones laying at the bottom of the cells, where intruders and others captured by Mammon's barbed devil sentinels will be kept. The chained prisoners are forced to stand or sit in the chill, fetid water until they die from exposure or starvation, unless they are taken away for torture or interrogation first. Fortunate prisoners escape, though occasionally the barbed devils will allow a prisoner to escape in order to hunt it for sport.

Hanging in the sky over the stink of Minauros can be found the kyton city of Jangling Hiter, City of Chains, suspended by chains from a floating earthmote miles in the sky.

The greedy Mammon the Viscount is the ruler of Minauros; he rules from the sinking city of Minaur. Mammon resembles a long serpent with a human torso. He rules from the centre of the city, within a huge mausoleum-like structure made of gold.

East of Minauros and north of western Avernus and Eastern Phlegethos is the somewhat small realm of Maladomini, a hell of ruins.  At one time this was the center of avariel civilization.  Now, everything natural in this land has been defaced, destroyed, or stripped away, replaced with strip mines, quarries, poorly maintained roads and bridges, rivers of molten lava, slag heaps, wasted cities, and polluted canals, filled with stinking vapors, earth tremors, fire pits, and mines. Tieflings and other refugees hide in the ruins.

The archduke of Maladomini is a giant slug known only as the Lord of the Flies, He is never satisfied with his cities, always demanding that they be destroyed and rebuilt based on tiny, unnoticeable flaws. Nothing less than perfection will do for him, even if he has to destroy his entire land - indeed, all of Baator - to achieve it.

The major intact cities are Grenpoli, the city of treachery and diplomacy run by the erinyes noble Mysdemn Wordtwister, a fortress called the Relentless, and Baalzebul, a city of black spires from which the Lord of Flies himself rules.
North of Phlegethos and Malbolge, east of Maladomini and west of Minauros, is Nessus, Asmodeus's seat of power. It is a place of pits and ravines of virtually endless depths. The great citadel of Malsheem is the largest single fortress in the solar system. Here, Asmodeus rules over the entire planet, and thus the entire race of devils.

The surface of Nessus is a scorched black plain shattered by deep rifts. Many of the ravines and canyons here reach a hundred miles into undifferentiated, dead stone. Most of the trenches seem natural, but some appear as if they were cut or blasted into the land.

A rift of incredible depth and width lies in the center of Nessus. Malsheem, the Citadel of Hell rises in its dark, elegant, fiendish beauty from the trench. From here, the Overlord of Hell, Asmodeus, rules the planet of Baator.

At the north pole of Baator is an unimaginably cold wasteland, where few living things can survive more than a few moments in an unsheltered area. Huge fast moving glaciers crash around the layer sending snow and ice up in the sky. It is dominated by intense, freezing cold, and is extremely hostile toward those who are unwelcome, which includes nearly every being that enters. It is the home of the gelugon.

The layer is ruled over by Mephistopheles, from his great citadel of ice Mephistar. It sits upon a giant glacier called Nargus, the movement of which is controlled by Mephistopheles himself. Inside Mephistar huge heated baths and fire warm the citadel, providing quite a comfortable environment.

 Many things lie hidden under the ice of Cania: vast lost cities, frozen armies, and ancient creatures of amazing power.

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