Tuesday, December 29, 2009


This adventure for the Necronomicon setting will likely be the last one for now, as I consider that there's enough of them to keep my players and myself entertained for a long time (and I'm running out of ideas!). "Flesh" is mainly based on the films "Lord of Illusions", by Clive Barker, and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", by Tobe Hooper; and also inspired by the "Hellboy" film and the "Herbert West: Reanimator" and "From Beyond" short stories by H. P. Lovecraft. The aim is to make a new lovecraftian take on the serial killer horror cliche. The plot of the adventure will revolve about a severely insane serial killer, disciple of an investigator into unknown realities, who died/disappeared when using a device "to see reality as truly is", actually more of a merger of our reality and another, and their inhabitants. The disciple, now alone, and gone crazy by the "miracles" he witnessed, is attempting to resurrect his master bringing his soul back from beyond into a new body he's creating for him from the corpses of people he kidnaps and then kills. The PCs will find themselves without gas when travelling, and will have to get to the nearest town, an almost dead one, where the antagonist lives. As he kidnaps one of the PCs, the others will have to chase him to his lair. If they are quick enough they may save the life of their friend; otherwise he will be already killed, and his flesh used to finish the new body for the master, who would then be brought to life using the dimensional device. In this last case the master is now an alien entity of immense power, so the only way for the PCs would be to try to banish it from our reality manipulating the device. And in any case, in the lair the PCs will have to confront strange gelatinous worms that had been brought in previous experiments, as well as some other lesser disciples from the master, apart from the bulky and slightly "transformed" serial killer.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


The devils are the fiendish creatures living in Avernus (a word meaning abyss). This plane was once that in which angels lived (see the description of the hellish planes in this regard); it was a plane with a slightly lawful alignment, and mostly empty, because all angels were flyers and required nothing but floating islands on which to build their civilization. But when Thanatos was full of demons, they were driven to conquer another plane; and sadly for angels, theirs was the chosen plane. After a long campaign under the military leadership of Satan, the plane was conquered and became the home of demons, being imposed the new fiendish name of Avernus. Given the lawful nature of the plane, it was the demons with such trends who moved to live there, led by Lucipher. Over time, these demons started calling themselves "devils", the name by which they are known today; and some new purely diabolical races have appeared with no past and no relation with the demons from Thanatos. Of course, the evil tendency of all fiends caused wars and conflicts to arise between demons and devils, even in a shaky truce pacted between their leaders.

As most Archdevils, Abyssus has become the living embodiment of a negative emotion. In his case, it is despair; and this Archdevil has the bad luck of falling prey to his sphere of power himself. Therefore, although he looks fairly humanoid, framed by two gnawed black wings, the grimaces of pain and despair that he doesn't stop doing for ever and ever have deformed his face to an extent that would be cartoonish if not for the feeling that emanates from him. That despair from which he's a source makes him avoided by most Archdevils, who just by approaching him begin to suffer and mourn his hellish condition. And if this is true with the powerful Archdevils it's easy to comprehend how much he can affect the souls that fall under his rule: it's the most feared fate, and any deal can be made to get rid of an eternity under his influence.

He's perhaps the most elegant Archdevil of all the inhabitants of Avernus, or of any of the hellish planes, and this is because Adramelech is the Master of Vanity. His obsession with physical appearance is such that his wardrobes occupy most of his vast palace, which means that he stores more clothes than what could be found in many whole human cities. He also likes to alter his own physique to match the clothes he wears, although he feels a predilection for dark shades of blue and metallic greens; as these colors are present in the feathers of the peacock he's often decorated with them, and in fact it has become his emblem. As an Archdevil he holds little power, but gets along well with most others, to whom he serves as an aesthetic consultant; and in his dealings with humans his extreme handsomeness and diplomatic and protocol delicacy gives him a great advantage.

This Archdevil stands out among the others due to his severity and always relentless spirit, what has earned him the nickname "The Executioner". But it's not as if he presided over summary executions and cruel justice (that is left to others), but over the justice that the very spirit applies to itself: remorse. Alastor is capable of causing deep remorse attacks worldwide, not only to those guilty of major crimes and sins, but also to anyone who feels that has committed some fault, however small that is. The appearance of this Archdevil does justice to his personality, and his eyes that watch from under a perpetually furrowed brow can distill a sentence able to rip through the souls of all who face him. He's the only bearded devil, and that is because the dwarves are his main victims, as their deep sense of honor makes them likely to have regrets.

One of the best known Archdevils in the material plane, and one that has the largest predicament; also in Avernus he's very high in the hierarchy, due to his power, his age, and the deeds which he staged. Asmodeus is the great corrupter, dedicated to extending the depravity and licentiousness among all civilizations in the cosmos. Of course, it's the lawfully aligned civilizations those in which his destructive power is more noted, because as the corruption spreads among the levels of their hierarchies they eventually become unstable and collapse like a castle made of cards. Perhaps only the devilish order is immune to the corruption caused by him, as this is grounded in their system naturally. However, his activities causes that Asmodeus does not keep good relations with Nergal and his associates; while on the other hand Adramelech is one of his closest friends and allies, and has a (limited) favour from Lucipher.

This Archdevil has little power, but has managed to make his way step by step in Avernus and between Ajsalium's mortals too. Baalberit could be classified as the "Prince of Wayward Lawyers", because his specialty is the legal and judicial rhetoric; and in a lawful society like that of devils, you can make a very profitable use of this ability (which is what this Archdevil is devoted to). Of course, his complete lack of scruples makes that he can constantly switch sides, so he has no real ally, but also no notable enemy. On the other hand, humans call him the "Archivist", because given his prodigious memory he can remember thousands of data on any topic; and some have gone to him to acquire knowledge of the history of the cosmos. Of course the reliability of the version explained by a devil is something that leaves much to be desired, since for Baalberit knowledge does not imply veracity.

This Archdevil is subject to Nergal, for whom he's his right hand and, in many ways, his most faithful executor. In diabolical society, Baalcefon occupies the lackluster but eventually influential rank of chief of sentries and guards. No civilization devotes more resources to these endeavors that a lawful evil one, so the network of agents depending from Baalcefon is extremely broad, and his contacts are so abundant that there is virtually no plot or plan of which he won't learn. This is the kind of services he's ready to offer to mortals (for a price, preferably in blood), along with another equally valuable: he's capable of ensuring the loyalty of slaves, and their complete submission to their masters. Finally, it is noteworthy that, like Baalberit, he's a relative to the Demon Prince Baal (hence their names), but no one but themselves know what this relationship exactly is and how it can affect loyalties.

Bucon is one of the most sadly busy Archdevils in the material world since the beginning of time, and its supreme malice surely will guarantee that he never abandons his tasks. He is nothing less than the popularly known as "Demon of Jealousy", but actually he's a devil. For some reason, probably due to the intervention of a deity, this devil was doomed to never be loved, while he himself is driven by passion. This contradiction tortures him continuously, and is the reason that has forged his resentful character against all those who can enjoy mutual love. Thus he's dedicated to sow discord between lovers, imposing in their hearts the shadow of a doubt that grows in depth and darkness until it corrupts love and turns it into hate and madness. In addition, Bucon takes that moment to offer his services to eliminate any possible rival in exchange for the soul of the jealous lover, thus sealing his doom.

For an Archdevil, the extremely passionate character of Gaab leads him to behave in a way that rather suggests a demon. But make no mistake: behind this facade of apparent fanaticism hides a mind as cold and ruthless as few. His empire on extreme passions makes him deeply hate any tepidity, and he's sometimes known as the "Scourge of Neutrality", because for him that is a real aberration, and has proposed to eradicate it from the cosmos. And if he hates all neutrality you can imagine his fury at true neutrals; his eternal campaign against monks is the greatest suffering that they must endure. Gaab enters their dreams and thoughts, awakening all seeds of radicalism to make them abandon their neutral and equidistant stance. Gaab's passion for his cause leads him to attack not only mortals but also any other creature, even gods, as he's not even afraid of these (being Ivellios the fetish of his hatred).

Goleenban is one of the two she-Archdevils of Avernus, and she's quite beautiful and elegant, but her beauty cannot compensate for even a fraction of her terrible evil. She lives in an area of Avernus rather peculiar, since it is an absolutely vast uninhabited desert, and separated from the rest of floating islands in which her fellow Archdevils live; in fact its landscape is quite similar to that which can be found on most of Thanatos. The reason for the voluntary isolation of Goleenban is that this devil from the desert is the Spirit of Solitude. Every time someone gets lost and is left alone, especially if that happens in places of difficult access and exit more than unlikely, Goleenban comes swiftly and wraps the lost one in a tenuous cloak that makes him keenly aware of his loneliness. After a few days, the oppression caused is so strong that he begins to go mad, finally leading to his death as all sense of reality is lost too.

This is one of the Archdevils with a most pleasant treatment, as his manners are very far away from the seriousness that most Archdevils have. Great striker, he looks like a handsome and charming young, and exudes a big confidence in himself and a certain arrogance. The reason for this behavior is that Jezbeth is the devil of imaginary wonders, fraud and deception. With him around, you can never be sure of what is real and what is not, since he likes to alter all of reality around him, and he does so almost unconsciously. So for centuries and millennia has been invoked by the mortals from the material plane as protector for liars and swindlers, to free them from the clutches of earthly law; making him one of the most popular Archdevils. As an anecdote about Jezbeth, it's noteworthy that his name has a feminine tone, and in fact some believe that this is a she-devil, whose first and longest deception is impersonating a male one.

Second only to Lucipher himself, the name of Leviathan is known and feared throughout the whole cosmos. Their appearance is impressive, and has a strong military air. Not surprisingly, since he's the diabolical Lord High Admiral, and Lord of Avernus' seas (i.e., the vacuum flows in which the islands float), in which he's usually found aboard weird constructs driven by the energy of thousands of enslaved and tortured souls. His credentials do not end with war, though, but apart from his military worth he's a big liar, and therefore also triumphs in politics (the continuation of war by other means). He's also a great epicure, a powerful incubus who likes to "enjoy" famous women, which are passionately attached to him, and manipulated at will. The rituals to invoke his attention are often held in the dead of winter, and is best done in the middle of a snowy and icy wasteland.

There was a time when Satan reigned supreme over all the progeny of fiends, and when Lucipher and Belzebuth were his faithful lieutenants. After their rebellion, nowadays Lucipher can only be compared to Belzebuth, and he's therefore the most feared Archdevil. His power is immeasurable and incontestable, the reason why he's the leader of the Archdevils, with the title of "Prince of the Abyss." his name means "Morning Star", a truly romantic name, which is due to his unbelievable handsomeness. His face is flawless, and has an expression of melancholy that makes him yet more appealing; he wears a crown of fire (similar to Belzebuth's one), but that burns with softness and fluidity; and from his back sprout four wings of feathers perfect but as black as the deepest night and death. For some reason that nobody knows, his worship has spread in recent times across Alterria and its civilized feudal countries. His followers carry rites in his honor between spring and summer.

He is, by far, the most widely seen Archdevil in Ajsalium (and other alternative material planes), because in a sense he's like an intermediary between Avernus and mortals. He could not perform this function if he didn't know to appear helpful, kind, clever and polite, but also ruthless when the time comes to retrieve the agreed price and immune to any kind of affection. He's in charge of sealing all major agreements, what makes him enjoy a very high position, having the obligation to report only to Lucipher. But this does not make him happier, because he repented long ago of doing evil deeds, but because of his diabolical nature he's bound to act evil against his will; besides that he can't overcome his pride and inability to love. Getting far away from Avernus on a regular basis could make him vulnerable to attacks, but even the most powerful celestials dare not do it, because although he has never shown much power it's suspected that he has it at the level of the greatest Archdevils.

Nergal is a tenebrous Archdevil, chief of the secret police from Avernus; he is the embodiment of vindictive justice. In the diabolical hierarchy he depends directly from Lucipher, and has the control over the very wide police system of Avernus, needed to keep the fierce order and control that these lawful beings love so much; being Baalcefon his subordinate. Despite his relation with Lucipher, Nergal is not considered one of the most important Archdevils as his functions are considered minor as they are limited to the plane of Avernus and not to extend the evil cause across the cosmos. He believes he is owed more respect and admiration, because if not for his zeal society would have fallen into demonic chaos; this resentment makes him especially relentless in his work and strive for perfection at any cost. In the material plane sometimes the souls of the worst murderers sentenced to death are assigned to Nergal, but only in isolated cases of utter depravity.

The other she-Archdevil, alongside Goleenban, is even more sinister than the latter. Her nickname is the "Strangler", given the pleasure she finds killing her enemies in this way; for that she has entwined in her complex dress multiple pieces of string or strips of many different fabrics, from silk to leather, gone through rough hemp. Rhabdos is the matron of murderers, torture and sex, preferably when all this is happening in unison; many psychopaths and rapists have ensured that a female inner voice drove them to commit their crimes; if true, it would be Rhabdos, although the clerics set up to judge these criminals are very aware that Rhabdos doesn't enter a heart that has not already opened to her voluntarily. Moreover, this she-Archdevil is the symbol of betrayal, leading to suspicion even amongst her fellows, except Baalberit, her lover and the closest thing to an ally with which she can count, this female always thirsty for blood and pleasure.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


So, here I present a challenge I've just thrown to myself: painting all the monster minis from the DOOM boardgame and its expansion (that's 96 figures) during this winter.

This actually started as a speed painting project, in which I expected to paint all that in just two weeks, thanks to the fact that I was on holidays. But just prepping the damn minis took me the first week (many noticeable mold lines, and being made of soft plastic sanding must be done very carefully). So I've been forced to accept there's no way I can reach my original goal. And instead of just getting demoralized and giving up, this time I've done something intelligent and set a new goal, that should be reachable according to the facts I've gathered about painting times, etc.
The project, then, is to paint the 96 miniatures of DOOM monsters during December, January and February. They will be painted to a tabletop standard using a speed painting technique I'm experimenting with them right now. The six marine miniatures are not included in the challenge because I want to paint them to a higher standard, with more advanced techniques; but if I finish the winter challenge with some time left I may paint them too.

The technique I've just mentioned above is based on the fact that now I paint with the Master Series Paints from Reaper Miniatures (link in sidebar), that come in triads of three shades per colour: dark, medium and bright; and the new Citadel washes. The technique thus consists basically of five steps:
1) Basecoat with dark shade.
2) Paintbrush with medium shade, all over the mini except deep recesses.
3) Paintbrush with bright shade, concentrating in smaller defined areas.
4) Wash with thinned Citadel washes.
5) Finish painting details.
This is just a variation of the typical GW's tabletop procedure of basecoating, inking and drybrushing. The reason I save the washing for the final step is that I expected it to act slightly like a glaze does, and diminish the chalky effect drybrushing causes. And it has actually worked fine in the first lot of painted minis, so I'm a happy bunny. The exception to this will be metallic parts, in which I'll follow the more traditional order of steps, because there's no chalkiness problem with metallic paints.

I will keep you updated of the progress of this winter challenge posting pics of the painted minis everytime I finish a group of them. To begin with, here you have the 12 imps. It has taken me approximately six hours to finish them, so that's half hour per mini on average; not a bad time for me, that I'm a rather slow painter.

Here they are, all of them ready for some fraggin' action
Huge close-up showing every minor painting mistake
Obedient imps in formation to show all angles of the minis
The paintjobs are not top job, but still beat the crap out of unpainted minis
As you can see, I have not gone for the Doom 3 colour scheme. The boardgame is based in that version of the game, but I don't really like that all demons are basically grey; I "grew up" with the classics Doom and Doom 2, which had vividly coloured monsters. Now I understand that such bright colours wouldn't really suit a host of demons; but I'm aiming at a compromise in between, of varied yet similar colours, with little saturation and a gloomy feel.

Finally, if this challenge goes well, it can become a seasonal event. Next year I expect to have four holiday periods of three weeks, each one at the beginning of a season (March, June, September and December). I will use those periods to start projects similar to this one, still having a couple more months to finish them. And I have already decided what the spring challenge will be: painting all the minis from the Descent boardgame (60 monsters plus 20 characters). For the summer challenge I may paint the minis of medieval townsfolk from Reaper and villagers from Hasslefree (that's 22 figures, including children... plus two chickens!).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Of the three Hellish Planes, the first one to exist was Thanatos (word meaning destruction), and this is the plane where demons live in. These are, in addition to evil, of a generally chaotic alignment, something that can be seen as they generally have a monstrous appearance. Usually, they are the strongest physically, and the most bloodthirsty and impulsive. Therefore, we cannot say that the Demon Princes are genuine rulers, because Thanatos is too chaotic for the existence of something like a minimally stable and controlled society. They are simply the most powerful and strongest amongst them, and the rest of demons obey them for sheer terror at the prospect of unbridled anger. And among them there is no other hierarchy than that of the more powerful over the weaker (although talking of weakness in any case is an euphemism). From a mythological or theological view, the Demon Princes are also embodiments of monstrosities of all kinds, and idols of savage and primitive mortals. The following list is not exhaustive, so inventive gamemasters are free to create new Demon Princes at their convenience; but hopefully you will find here everything needed to develop an adventure or campaign.

Ahrimanes is a Demon Prince particularly ugly and hideous: it has three feints of faces in his head, "feints" because they have only two atrophied vestigial eyes and holes filled with crooked teeth in the manner of mouth, from which perennially arises an incredibly breath foul; the head is surmounted by three curved horns. His repulsive appearance is enhanced by being always surrounded by an almost solid darkness, moving with him. According to some legends, this horrible demon was the first fiendish creature to put its feet on the material plane; habit that still keeps today, and it's from him that emanate many of the terrestrial monstrosities. Anyway, despite what might be thought, he's not a too powerful demon; although his importance lies, not only on his horrific appearance, but on the fact that he's one of the oldest inhabitants of Thanatos, one of the first born; and that's enough to earn him the admiration of other younger demons.

This Demon Prince looks like a giant horse, equipped with exceptionally strong muscles and a fur as black as the darkest pits of hell, fur that is marked with many scars that give off a bloody and sticky ichor. His eyes shine like two red-hot irons, and it's hard not to die of terror in front of his eyes full of anger; and if that fails, his breath is fatal. He lives buried in the depths of Thanatos, and it's almost impossible to find on the surface; it is assumed that he also likes to move around the earth elemental plane. In Ajsalium he's especially feared by dwarven miners, and there are numerous accounts from survivors of catastrophic collapses in mines which claim that they were caused by Aneberg, and that the unhealthy gases in mines are but his breath.

This female demon is, in many respects, an exception to the rule that dominates the looks and habitual tendencies of the rest of her species. In fact, Astartea meets the schemes of the devils, and certainly would have moved to Avernus if not for staying with her husband Astaroth (see below). The case is that Astartea is very beautiful and elegant; she's got a pale complexion and rugged but beautiful features, she dresses with nice silks of the most elaborate softness, and adorned with threads of gold, silver, platinum, and other even more exotic metals. Her head is scalloped by the horns of a silver crescent moon, and in fact she's often taken as the "Lady of the Moon"; so she could be a renegade member of the race of angels who live there, or perhaps a descendant of the Rat who lived there for some time. His admirers often undertake, with each moon's last quarter, venereal rites full of sensuality.

Astartea's husband, Astaroth seems almost her opposite; it's hard to imagine a couple with most different and opposed appearances, and impossible to guess the motives of their union. For everything that Astartea has of beauty, Astaroth has of repulsiveness: perhaps only Ahriman is as ugly and nauseating. Astaroth is a grotesquely fat demon with nasty habits, dropping saliva off the corner of his lips and mucus from the nostrils. Also, the stench is for him a business card which precedes him whereever he goes. And despite all that he enjoys some popularity among mortals, because in Thanatos he's the Prince in charge of custody of the hoards and treasures, which they like to accumulate despite their futility at the hellish planes. Another of his attributes is being patron of insects, especially of the most annoying ones, and it is said that he leverages the height of summer to launch his army of hornets, mosquitoes and the like all over the world, to inflict small torments to mortals.

One of the most famous Demon Princes, it's also common referring to him in books as "the messenger", because his role in the demonic host is being the prime standard bearer of the demonic armies. That makes him the right arm of Baal, and one of the greatest allies of Beelzebuth. Azazel's appearance has become a typical image to represent the fiendish creatures: it is a male goat that walks upright like a humanoid. His physical strength is very considerable, and his determination on the battlefield absolutely unwavering; the banner that he bears, in addition to its terrifying magical powers, is topped with a sharp blade with which he cuts the throat of anyone who puts in front. The rituals in his name include the sacrifice of goats to purge the sins that he would punish, whence comes the term "scapegoat."

Baal is probably the second most powerful Demon Prince, only behind Beelzebuth himself. He is the commander in chief of the demonic army, which he rules with absolute and uncontested authority, in addition to great intelligence and wisdom. His physical strength is immeasurable, and is his extensive martial skills, which he's always willing to put to practice, against both voluntary and forced opponents. Curiously, despite all these traits normally regarded as masculine, Baal is hermaphroditic, although his general appearance looks more masculine than feminine. His self-begotten offspring are some terrible winds that, from time to time, travel and plague Thanatos itself, and that reach the material plane, where during the autumn make leaves fall from the trees and extend the kind of death of nature which later remains during the winter.

Another major Demon Prince, especially for the minotaurs, for whom he's their patron, and presumably their creator. That should not suggest that his appearance is that of a minotaur, but he's a two-headed demon with the face of a beautiful woman on one side and a bearded man on the other, and yes, large bull horns. He supposedly created the minotaurs when he cursed a vain hero of ancient times who wanted to be as strong as a bull; the irrepressible sexual appetite of the created monstrosity caused it to become a race. Baphomet lives in a colossal labyrinth, the most difficult of all that may exist, because, in addition to its immense size and complexity, it constantly changes its layout. Only Eurynome (a Lord of Temptation from Inferno) got in and out of it, which humbled Baphomet so much and filled him with such rage that he tore Eurynome's eyes as punishment (such events are common among all the fiends).

This is one of the less powerful Demon Princes, but that does not prevent him from also being one of the most dangerous ones, even to their own kind. Behemoth is extremely clumsy and stupid, and many demons mock him right in his face; and although he's easily irritated, his clumsiness and slowness of movement does only take dodging to avoid him. His danger comes from being the Prince of Gluttony; his shape is that of a gargantuan ox (so big that it is incredible to believe even seeing with your own eyes). And this huge ox cannot stop eating for a moment, and can literally eat anything. So much so that they keep him chained and locked up almost all the time, because otherwise he would be able to eventually eat the whole plane of Thanatos. In fact, there is a terrible hole that stretches for hundreds of miles and is the result of Behemoth's constant devouring; and wise men don't forget the threat that hangs over mortals if he were released in the material plane.

Belzebuth is the undisputed leader of the Demon Princes. He's the most powerful of them all, and his power is only comparable, now, with that of Lucipher, with whom he devised the plan to get rid of Satan when his ascension to godhood broke the "feudal" balance between master demons and devils. He looks downright impressive, and has nothing to envy anyone: his size is prodigious, his forehead is encircled by a crown of fire, which glows as much as his menacing eyes. Other characteristic features are his huge bat wings and the horns, and the ability to breathe flames like a dragon; his general appearance is also a fiendish archetype. His name means "Lord of the Flies", as he is always accompanied by these nasty bugs (which makes him easily recognizable to any careful observer), and in fact he may take the form of a giant fly at will.

This Demon Prince is one of the most hateful and frightening. Among other titles, he's the proud holder of "Destroyer of Cities", which gives a clear idea of his concept on the fate of the life and works of mortals. This Prince of Annihilation only finds joy in spreading ruin everywhere, and his hatred of all that remains standing is inextinguishable. Fortunately, his power is not comparable to that of the major leaders; granted that that is little consolation to those who suffer his wrath, since the devastation caused by him always takes years to rebuild and regenerate. This extends to Thanatos too, where every building eventually undergoes his harassment, sooner or later; and in this sense Halfas is a good example of an extreme case of chaotic evil alignment, unable to make any distinction. Although preferably he likes roaming planes and places inhabited by beings of law, to destroy their buildings, which are usually neat and impressive.

As Astartea, Lilith is a happy exception to the common monstrous aspect of demons. This ancient Demon Princess is the Queen of the Succubi, the mother of them all, and the most notable for its irresistible charms. This "man-eater" (in the most sexual sense of the expression), within her evil still keeps tremendously attractive manners and attitude, so few are able to resist her advances. She feels a special fondness for human males, and it's said that when the first men appeared Lilith embodied in Ajsalium, copulating with them and generating the first half-demons, whose blood was then diluted in the entire human race (a theory supported mainly by elves and dwarves, but much less by human scholars). Anyway, Lilith's sexual appetite seems to be incapable of being ever satisfied, or at least there has been no consort of any race or species capable of leaving her completely satisfied; she is still searching.

Malthus is one of the Demon Princes most feared by all mortals, because its main attribute is being the Prince of Diseases. This also directly confronts him with the goddess Fiolsvinn (who is, among other things, a goddess of protection of life and health); a type of confrontation that most fiends don't follow because defeat is likely. What doesn't mean that almost every of them won't support the unwholesome activities of this demon; except those with a greater martial spirit, for whom it is a shame that an opponent die all by himself instead of killing him with their own hands. But Malthus, like a big kid, enjoys creating new diseases and indiscriminately disseminating them everywhere, including the material plane, where he uses rats and other strange followers to desolate the lands.

Mictlan is a Prince of Gluttony, like Behemoth, yet the differences are striking: while Behemoth is a clumsy and dumb ox whose eating habits are due to an insatiable hunger, Mictlan is governed by the true vice of gluttony, eating just for the sheer pleasure of eating, to the point of madness. This also extends to greed, to the excessive desire to accumulate and accumulate. The appearance of the demon does justice to his repulsive personality and sour character: his skin is dark and has a greasy luster, and from all body parts many tentacles sprout, with which he holds any edible object (if still alive, the better; and if they scream, much better). In his face stand his little and completely black eyes, small windows to his rotten soul, and, of course, a huge mouth in constant motion, always brooding with great pleasure and unpleasant pasty noises.

Moloch is well known to mortals, as he's one of the Demon Princes that hold more predicament among them in ancient times, and whose rites were more gruesome. His name means (or so the sages understand) "Prince of the Land of Tears", which has been linked to the extreme pain caused by the sacrifices that this demon has always required: babies and innocent children, who were to be teared apart, alive, and whose blood was for the cultists to bath in. In exchange for these bloody sacrifices Moloch offered fertility, both to humans and for agriculture and livestock. The idols carved in his image and likeness, always cast in bronze to reflect the blood of this demon, that is molten bronze, always carry a royal crown, and the head of some kind of beef (bull, ox, cow, or even buffalo), perhaps because of his popularity among the first farmers and ranchers.

Among the Demon Princes, Xafan is the youngest of them all, and the only one who actually has a sense of humor, albeit in the manner of a demon. He is totally immune to fire, and besides there is nothing he likes better in all existence. He spend as much time, or more, diving through they plasma of the elemental plane of fire as in Thanatos itself, where he always ignites huge bonfires in which to rest. The immunity does not prevent his body to get blistered and sore, nor his skin to be a bright red. His passion for the unbridled fire once led him to try to burn an entire heavenly plane; and although he didn't achieve his purpose, the temerity of such an act won him the sympathy of many fiends, and the other Demon Princes allowed him to maintain fires all across Thanatos. He's also able to teleport between any flames too, and that has been tapped to make him a kind of messenger.

Sunday, December 6, 2009



Thanatos is the first of the Hellish Planes to exist, and still is the "biggest" and most populated one (the quotation marks is because this plane, like most, is infinite, so "large" or "small" is really just a comparison of the measure perceived from within by its inhabitants). This plane was originally created by Bhrater, one of three Übergods, the embodiment of light and consciousness, to serve as the prison for Three Rats, the Übergoddesses incarnation of destruction, corruption, evil and death. This impregnable prison should absorb the cosmic and divine essence of the evil creatures, but something went wrong; one of them managed to preserve her conscience, which in fact allowed her to become one with the plane. It is from then on that this plane was renamed Thanatos, fiendish word meaning "destruction", in reference to her divine soul. Of course, the other two rats were quickly removed from there and banished to elsewhere (the material plane, and some unknown location), to prevent the three eventually merging into a single quasi-omnipotent being. Unfortunately for Thanatos, as a deity, her new form did not last long: her state of existence was more than her soul could control, and began breaking out of control. From the very substance of the plane emerged new forms with their own life, evil metastasis trying to open a path in a wild eruption of life. Finally, Satan was the first to open the gap and tear the tissue of Thanatos, and thus of his mother, standing portentous amidst the immensity of the plane. After him, the whole plane convulsed in a long labor of centuries in which horrific creatures arose incessantly; even today there are still these occasional "births", with demons breaking through from the earth, an abhorrent antithesis of a burial.

The present appearance of Thanatos is that of a huge desert, actually endless. Where you look to, you only see miles and more miles of arid expanse. With the plane lacking any curvature, the horizon potentially extend to infinity, which merely enlarges the feeling of being lost in the desert in the middle of nowhere. Of course, nothing is further from the truth; one thing is that it's basically a desert, and quite another thing wold be to be empty. For starters, the morphology is not as uniform as it seems at first glance: in so much space, there are many geographical and terrain noteworthy features, although almost none of them disobey the norm of aridity and sterility that plagues this disagreeable plane.

Most of the plane is a rocky desert, whose floor is covered with gravel and dust; but there are also great sand deserts, or made of other materials such as sulfur. And, of course, the widely known "desert of bones" which is just that: a desert where the soil is composed of bones crushed up until they are nothing but a white powder, the bones of those who have perished at the hands of demons since the beginning of time, either violently or for making deals with them. In this desert of death some bones stand out, because despite being broken and chipped, are as big as trees; it is terrifying to think to what creatures they might have belonged, and terrifying to realize that, however great they were, they succumbed to the demonic hordes.

In addition to deserts, especially common in the valleys, you can also find huge chains of mountains, whose peaks rise beyond where the eye can reach, with the tops piercing the deep darkness which is the highest area of the mock atmosphere of Thanatos. Surely the dwarves would give anything to get to work in such mountains (and surely the demons would gladly take something from them, their lives). Some of the mountains are solid and dense as the most robust rock impregnated with ore; but others are pierced by endless caves and caverns. Thanatos has existed for more eons that mortals are able to imagine, and to calculate the number of demons the measure of "millions" falls short; but still not all the caves have been fully explored. Some are well known and frequented, because they act as a step to cross the mountains through the underground, a must for non-flying demons that would need months to surround or climb them; but many small branches and deviations are spread everywhere, reaching areas incredibly remote from the original entry. So easy is to get lost that demons try to avoid these less common routes for fear of wandering for eternity; the demonic folklore tells rumors and legends about demons that were lost forever, and let's not forget that these creatures are immortals, so in theory they are still looking for a way out...

Apart from mountains, volcanoes are a fairly common stamp of Thanatos. It's really hard to know where the magma comes from, as Thanatos has not a geological structure as that of a planet; it's as if the volcano were but a form of manifesting the anger and violence of the plane itself. These volcanoes remain in continuous eruptions, of unprecedented violence, and the roars are heard even before feeling the earth's tremors. The clouds of smoke are so great that some manage to get together with those from other distant volcanoes, plunging large areas of the plane in the perpetual darkness of an atmosphere saturated of hot ash, the heat of which is unquenchable. The rivers of lava run freely bulldozing everything, and the formations that arise once they cool are, at least, impressive and appalling in their magnitude.

But even though in the whole plane the heat is almost unbearable (apart from the fact that it has the very annoying peculiarity that it "beats", feeling puffs of heat to the rhythm of heart beat, to the rhythm of the simulacrum of life of Thanatos itself), there is also some solace in the scattered rivers and streams that run through the most unlikely places. These rivers may arise from any point, and flow without ever emptying into any sea or lake; they just submerge back underground to disappear and not continue. The route is not based on any logic neither, and they may even go up mountains; the only thing they all have in common is being extremely treacherous, because the bed is usually composed of sharp and pointy rocks, and rapids and eddies can appear in a seemingly random way, although the probability increases whenever something or someone is immersed in them. But the daring can enjoy a refreshing swim in their waters, or drink this fresh and crystal clear liquid; provided they don't find that the "water" burns as acid or turns out to be a deadly poison, something there's no way to know until testing is done.

And it is also possible for these rivers to get mixed with others formed from the rain of Thanatos, a rain that, as expected, is not exactly normal: gallons of blood are spilled on the surface, dying it red. Most deserts of Thanatos have a reddish tinge, which is due precisely to the remnants from the rained blood; remains that also emanate a significant stench of death unbearable for those not used to it. Demons, meanwhile, enjoy a lot these rains, and for them to bath in blood, or drink from the puddles that originate, induces them a state of frenzy and savagery greater than the usual in them. That's why the sound of rain is quickly joined by howls of rage and fury, and the sound of fighting, as soon as violence is unleashed.

To end this description of Thanatos, let's remember that this plane is inhabited, in addition to millions of demons, by their leaders, the Demon Princes. These monstrosities, led by the haughty and cruel Belzebuth, have a power that ridicules the mightiest of mortals from Ajsalium, and almost all the inhabitants of other planes; it is believed that only the gods exceeded them in power... and not all of them. These Princes of destruction have established their homes in various parts of Thanatos, always choosing those that best suit their tastes or characteristics. Whole armies, of slaves and servants fearful of the wrath of their masters, surround these buildings, that are also designed to withstand any attack, since amongdemons war is almost a routine, whether against the inhabitants of other planes, or between themselves.


Avernus is the Hellish Plane inhabited by devils, the second in existence. Properly speaking, the plane already existed long before the devils got to it, but then it had another name, Celestia, and other inhabitants: the angels. As it is, however difficult it may seem, Avernus was once a Heavenly Plane. But the "birth rate" inherent to the plane of Thanatos itself, coupled with the demonic promiscuity that gave rise to new generations of demons, soon created a foreseeable overpopulation. Of course, an infinite plane should be capable of hosting countless creatures, but these always have tendency to concentrate, and there's a reluctance to dispersion. So the demons decided it was time to expand their horizons, conquering some new plane on which to settle; this would later be continued with future conquests.

It was the plane inhabited by the angels the chosen one. No god lived in it, so it was quite unprotected in that regard; and although the angels have always been known as determined warriors, their small numbers did not seem enough to rival the invasion of demons. Of course angels were willing to make a formidable stand, and fought in a desperate resistance, sweeping away thousands and thousands of demons in continual battles and massacres. But numerical superiority was still overwhelming, and what is more, the demonic leader, Satan himself, was likely the best commander of the cosmos; the military campaign he planned was executed to perfection until the last angels were expelled from their natal plane and forced to roam the cosmos. This plane had a slightly lawful alignment, so that it were the demons withthe same alignment those who moved to it, plus some neutrals. The evil that brought with them eventually came to affect the plane; Thanatos, in turn, now holding only the demons of chaotic trend, "absorbed" this alignment. Regarding the demons that had migrated, over time, they started to being called devils, still bearing the name today.

The plane was renamed Avernus, who in the fiendish language means "abyss", due to it being mostly empty. Indeed, Avernus is basically a huge hollow dotted here and there with floating islands. These islands have a very variable size, and there are those which are only small rocks unable to accommodate more than a few buildings, up to giant rocks of irregular contour on whose surface have been growing continuously evolving cities, the largest of the which are the size of a kingdom from Ajsalium. Of course, not all of these islands are inhabited; most of those that are have an average size, enough to hold one or two normal cities; the biggest ones are reserved for the Archdevils, who establish their bases in them.

There's not just one single force of gravity in the plane, but each island has its own gravitational pull, which is more or less uniform regardless of the size of these; but there are exceptions to this rule, too, and some small islands have a gravity so strong that keeps everything in its surface flattened against it, while the gravity of huge conglomerates is so mild that with a good jump can one break away from it. But what all the islands have in common is that gravity only affects whom is standing in them; this means that, if someone were just a few meters from the surface, he would not be attracted to it even in a million years. In the rest of the plane, i.e. in the vacuum, there is no gravity at all, so flying through is free; but the lack of a consistent atmosphere hinders the normal flight of flapping wings, which finds little resistance enabling it to secure a big push forward. Of course the atmosphere is not so tenuous as to prevent breathing to creatures that need it (now, who in his right mind, other than a devil, might want to be there?).

As mentioned, among isle and isle there are huge expanses of emptiness, to which the devils often refer as "seas". It is not an inappropriate name, because despite the vacuum, this is more apparent than real, as there are ebbs and flows in it, and clear streams. These currents are very useful, as they allow communication with other islands, because the distance between them is often so great that without the help of the currents it could take years to reach even the closest one; and even though the devils are immortal, their patience is limited. As you might guess, the usual method of locomotion is flight, so the devils with this capability have a great advantage over their earthbound counterparts, which usually must settle for millennia without leaving a single island.

Of course, these also have their transportation. Besides the teleportation portals that exist between major population centers of Avernus, the vacuum seas are constantly traveled by a huge fleet of diabolical ships. These bizarre looking crafts are capable of maneuvering in three dimensions, something essential to navigate the plane, and are fueled with the souls of those who fell at the hands of devils; getting "fuel" thus becomes a perfect excuse for the continuous attacks of the inhabitants of Avernus to other planes, although, of course, it's nothing more than an excuse to justify ironically a taste for bloodshed and suffering. However, travel on board these ships is not without risks, as the vacuum, to be such, has a significant number of small rocks, barely the size of a shed, that float randomly or move on rapid processions. The impact of one of these rocks against a ship can destroy it, and any devil that can't fly will end floating forever... or until another rock directly hits it.

But there is also a curious element that seems out of place in Avernus: in one of the limits of the plane (although there is no way of knowing what limits Avernus in that area), lies a vast area of barren rock, thick and concave, far away from the nearest island for a whole eternity. Its size is so large that its concavity could hold an entire planet; not to mention the rather small islands of Avernus. Furthermore, from this remote desert the whole Avernus can be seen, in a strange vision that allows seeing everything, even what is behind other things; obviously, a vision so strange is incomprehensible to a mind that is not highly advanced, and may be uncomfortable or even painful. It's in this wilderness where Goleenban lives, the she-Archdevil of Solitude, and you cannot deny that there is no place more lonely than this in the whole plane. Only on the rare occasions when it's necessary to gather millions of devils in a single place do they move to these domains through portals that Goleenban opens.

Anyway, this is not the only danger of the vacuum, because although it often behaves like an ocean, other times it does as the sky. And when that happens, the storms that break are majestic. The clouds form from nothing, sometimes engulfing and trapping inside ships or islands complete with its citadels, and soaking all up. Literally, every biological being is at risk of drowning to death; and all, mortal or immortal, must endure an incredible strain on their bodies, numbing them. The deafening thunder rumble through the ether to immeasurable distances, and at any point of Avernus the sounds of thunder that clashed millennia ago can always be heard, still traveling. The lightning bolts light up the plane with a blinding light and a destructive power that could only be equaled by the wrath of the gods.

But the devils are already accustomed to these displays of vicious temperament of their plane, and are not afraid. They remain undaunted in their strongholds and cities full of proud and lofty towers, from whose watch points you can see the immensity of Avernus. Below activity is almost feverish, and the bustle of devils that go and come, attending the chores of Evil and their own, can be irritating to the ear. This noise is also joined by the constant shouts and cries of all those prisoners, hundreds of them everywhere, who constantly suffer torture at the hands of the very cruel and very efficient devils in the dark and damp dungeons that always spread, inexorably, like a spider web beneath the streets. And in the middle of the largest cities, in the top of their palaces, live the Archdevils, ruling with an iron hand and cruel law all their slightly loyal subjects; these semi-divine beings like to peek from their huge balconies, to watch their home and rejoice in the cries of their hosts.


Inferno, probably the word that wakes up more terror among most of the inhabitants of Ajsalium, among all those good people who only aim to pass through life with as little suffering as possible. Inferno is one of the three Hellish Planes, the smallest and most recent of them, but that directly affects the world of Ajsalium, which makes it the best known; to the extent that it is based on its name that all infernal creatures have been named. Inferno is a word from the common language of fiends (demons, devils and infernals), that means "doom" or "damnation": both for Ajsalium, that has to stand the continued aggression of its inhabitants, as for the souls of those who allow themselves to be corrupted, who after their death are sent to this plane, where almost certainly will be nothing but unfortunate creatures abused, enslaved and tortured by the most powerful infernals. Over the years, and due to the evolution of the common language, "Inferno" in many places has been substituted with the more generic "hell," a word present in all dialects of the world, used to refer to the worst imaginable things and with which to frighten children.

The origin of Inferno took place during the Long War, although it is difficult to establish the exact time, and there are several theories. Some feel that this plane was generated spontaneously by the Vortex itself, and it would be simultaneous with this; some delay it until shortly after, believing that it grew gradually; at the opposite end of the scale are those who think it was created by the Lords of Temptation and Inferno as a safe haven after their defeat in the Long War, or that it was Azeth who created it, before heading to his fate fighting Shratak Eternalflame, anticipating the eventual outcome of this duel. The fact is that no infernal, powerful or not, has ever revealed this knowledge to his heretical followers, either by ignorance, indifference, or perhaps because it may give a clue to their defeat. Anyway, Inferno is a half-plane partially coextensive with the material plane of Ajsalium, which means that some areas of Ajsalium, usually those within the deepest Underworld, gradually and subtly transforms into Inferno, almost without it being noticed.

Many priests, including those of the evil deities, like to tell horrendous descriptions of Inferno in their homilies, so to discourage all his parishioners to have dealings with infernals and abandon the true faith in the gods. And although many believe that these descriptions are nothing but an almost theatrical ploy to ensure the fidelity of the believers, and thus maintain their status and power, actually they are based on real facts that have been collected over the centuries from various sources, in an investigation that has been, at best, hard and painful like no other. Here we present the description of this damned plane.

Inferno consists of six "circles", although actually they are spheres (naturally). A magician expert in planar wisdom and fond of exactness (almost all of them are), would say that neither are they spheres, but are deformed and have an ovoid shape, since the Vortex (please recall that this is a great planar anomaly) exerts on these "circles" a remarkable attraction similar to the gravitational one. This attraction also causes that the circles are not concentric, but that the greater the "depth" the greater the attraction and proximity to the vortex, where really all these layers overlap tangentially. Of course, once in Inferno that does not really matter, because each circle or layer, technical name for the planar subdivision, is large enough so that its limits and form cannot be perceived. Just knowledge of the "off-center" which is the Vortex could be of interest, as a shortcut to reach any part of Inferno; although the wild energies released there prevent any living being from approaching without perishing, literally consumed by magical flames. We will now review the six layers from the outermost and most "friendly" to the innermost one.

First Circle: The first Circle of Hell has the peculiarity of not belonging entirely to this plane: it is both in Ajsalium as in Inferno. This circle actually is composed of all areas from Ajsalium that are partially coextensive with Inferno, producing a gradual transition from one to the other plane in this bastard layer. Getting to the First Circle is relatively simple: just enter the Underworld and choose the roads leading into the inner planet; sooner or later all creatures that an adventurous party may find would be infernals of one kind or another. If you do not want to travel the dangerous roads of the Underworld you can also opt for something as simple as digging; but the depths where the change occurs won't be reached with a small human excavation, but with a prodigious work of dwarf mining. In fact, this was the origin of hellish dwarves: they dug so deep in search for the prime ore used to forge black steel that they unknowingly reached the First Circle; its corrupting influence didn't take long to claim its toll on the bodies and minds of those unfortunate dwarves. These wretched dwarfs are one of the breeds most easily found at this Circle, and also a growing number of drow, both normal (as normal as a drow can be), and some hellish monsters created by Tylith, as the nathlice aberrations. Besides these, you can find many breeds of infernals, usually the less powerful ones (poor consolation). There is no Infernal Lord inhabiting this Circle, for it not being truly infernal; but that won't remove the possibility of encountering large patrols or even entire armies preparing a future invasion of the surface.

Second Circle: This Second Circle is really wholly part of Inferno, and any careful observer can find evidence to show that: for example, no mortal creature lives there except, perhaps, slaves that anyway will not live long. There is another very clear geologic evidence: while the First Circle is basically a labyrinthine set of caves in the rock mass of the planetary crust, reaching the Second Circle seems as if one is arriving to a new planetary surface, with mountains, valleys, plains, and a "sky" very dark but whose upper limit can't be seen. The change from the First to the Second Circle is rather abrupt and sudden, and it's usually like leaving a narrow passageway to get to a huge cave, so huge that it's the entire hellish layer. Otherwise, apart from the eternally overcast or nocturnal sky, it looks quite normal and even seems habitable. There are rivers, lakes or seas, which through the First Circle communicate with Ajsalium oceans. This is very well known to Dagon, one of the three Infernal Lords who have their abode established in this plane. Of course, it's the infernals who make this layer uninhabitable; they buff by the thousands or millions everywhere, and it is almost impossible to keep hidden from their eyes, for which the darkness of the Circle is no problem. In addition to Dagon, Belial and Uphir live in this Circle. Finding the home of Belial is no problem: it's just a matter of following the trail of infernals practicing lurid sex plays, and allegedly, miles away from his palace moans of pleasure and cries of pain can already be heard. Yet, the armies that protect each Lord, numerous as those from the greatest nations of Ajsalium, will give good account of intruders long before.

Third Circle: Neither does this Third Circle look too strange for an inhabitant of Ajsalium; despite being much less varied than the terrain of the Second Circle, this is similar to many areas Ajsalium: this is a huge forest in perpetual night. The way to reach this Circle is precisely to enter one of the forests of the Second, forest whose trees only have black leaves, and that the more we enter into the forest, that is, as we enter the Third Circle, become even more macabre and sinister. There is a superstition that says that this Circle was forged from the nightmares of Ajsalium residents, especially those of children; it may be true, because it brings together elements of the most gloomy fairy tales. The trunks of the trees are twisted, and its rough branches move to a non-existent wind, lashing anyone standing there; ghosts of dead animals appear and disappear continuously at the periphery of sight, and the rivers and streams are of stinking feces from which monstrous creatures drink. The wandering undead are numerous, as they form the bulk of the followers of Mania, "Queen of the Dead", one of the Infernal Ladies who dwell in this Circle; the others being Habondia, "Queen of the Fairies", surrounded by small twisted infernal fairies, as evil as seemingly harmless and helpful, and Nocticula, "Patroness of Witches", protected by thousands of cats in which reincarnate the souls of many of his most trusted and advanced disciples. These are not the only inhabitants, as herds of fultaurians, yrbesnaks and other beasts like to hunt in this infernal forest.

Fourth Circle: The Fourth Circle of Inferno no longer has any resemblance to any part of Ajsalium, except the most arid deserts of Rynath or Supterra. Basically it is a seemingly endless stretch of parched land, infertile and barren. Indeed, this Circle is quite similar to Thanatos, the native hellish plane of the demons, although this similarity is merely coincidental. It is reached by getting lost in some places of the Third Circle, where the twisted vegetation is scarce and the weather turns warm so obviously; after much wandering, the ground underfoot becomes a vast sea of sand and dust. Like any material desert, this is an extremely inhospitable place, with a high temperature, and an annoying soft light that seems to come from nowhere in particular, and that takes strange tones and shades of colour when it to passes through the mists and fogs that virtually fill the entire atmosphere of the layer. These mists are not wet, but actually it's made of the vapors that emanate from the many highly toxic chemicals that make up the dusty desert floor, as well as those that arise from some geyser-like wells. Throughout this Circle, there is nothing remotely similar to a plant and not a single drop of edible water, the only liquids are those of some scattered magma rivers; only the infernals can survive in such a place. Among these, we found two more Infernal Lords: Belphegor and Leonardo. The former enjoys the climate and morphology of the layer, and has built his palace amid a sea of sulfur; the latter has chosen this Circle because it's the one that offers him the greatest solitude and quietness, as befits his serene mood.

Fifth Circle: The way to reach this Circle is the most complicated of the top five layers, as it must be done by flying from the deserts of the Fourth. If sufficient height is reached, there will come a point when the sight of the desert and even its mists is lost, and in which one is in a apparently empty space, buffeted by winds of all kinds. This reminds a little to Avernus, but neither should this be given any more importance than mere chance. What is important, really, is that it is better that the ability to fly does not depend exclusively on purely physical means, such as simple wings, as the strong winds are the most typical characteristic of the layer, filling it in its entirety in brutal and chaotic ways: unbearably hot gusts of air currents collide with freezing drafts, forming tornadoes and whirlwinds of irresistible force. Around this Circle exist just a few zones of land areas, and even these come flying through the air occasionally to again stop "settling", apparently in the middle of nowhere, a few days later. This morphology makes the Fifth Circle the ideal place for all flying infernals, although the force of the winds keep away the weakest ones: Lords Eblis and Samael clearly do not belong to this group, so here they have their true home . They let themselves to get driven by gales across hundreds of miles, living without ever stepping on land, and accompanied by many followers who can't fight against the winds, nor would they try anyway, as they are cheerful to accompany their masters.

Sixth Circle: The sixth and final Circle of Hell is a terrible place, to say the least; terrible even for most infernal creatures, including some of the great Lords. This Circle is a huge void, an infinite well of darkness and evil beyond all physical or rational law; it's size may be as large as the infinite, and yet its walls constantly compress all who are contained therein; a single second becomes an eternity, and eons pass in less than a minute. Needless to say that no mortal creature, even the most powerful of dragons, could stand a stay in a place like this, where the flashes of magical energy that penetrate through the Vortex consume all matter with licks of unbearable pain; the Sixth Circle not only is the nearest to the Vortex, but supposedly identifies with it: it would then be the eye of the hurricane. Crossing the Vortex is beyond the reach of anyone less than a deity, and entering this Circle seems impossible for anyone not supposed to be in this heart of darkness, since there is no clear path or access to it from the rest of Inferno, nor teleportation portals. Those who must be there (the Infernal Lords called to Council) simply appear in the Sixth Circle as if having been absorbed by it; something that perhaps is more than a simple metaphor. That two Infernal Lords have chosen this Circle to spend their millennia of life allows us to form an idea of what degree of corruption they've achieved; the evil of Abaddon and Azrael is so pure that it is, in its way, perfect; the terror that they wake is, therefore, understandable. In addition to them, also the eight Lords of Temptation, supreme masters of Inferno, call this Circle their home; there they periodically meet in the so-called Infernal Council, located somewhere in the Circle that's, as expected, impossible to find for anyone who is not a member.