Fraz-Urb'luu

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Fraz-Urb'luu, also known as the Prince of Deception, is a Demon Prince from the oldest days of Dungeons & Dragons. Indeed, he's one of the very oldest, having been created by Gary Gygax to dick over one of his party members.

Meta-History[edit]

In the original Greyhawk campaign, Ernie Gygax's player character - Erac's Cousin, a fighter/mage - had managed to acquire both a pair of vorpal swords and the ability to dual-wield them, and Gygax felt that this made the character too powerful. As a result, Gary manipulated events so that Erac's Cousin stumbled upon a frieze in the depths of Castle Greyhawk that, when he fiddled with it, released a Demon Prince who carried Erac's Cousin (and also his partner Ayelerach, a fighter) off to a layer in the Abyss, with the magical swords being destroyed as part of the process. This story would be recounted in an editorial address in Oerth Journal #5, titled "Robilar Remembers: Erac's Cousin". The story would then be repeated in Dragon Magazine #333.

Publication History[edit]

Fraz-Urb'luu first appeared in module The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (where the titular villain is said to be his half-fiend son by a human witch named Vilhara), only to be reprinted under the "Demon" heading in the Monster Manual II for [[Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition.

In the description of this powerful fiend, it stated that: "For centuries, he was imprisoned in a bas-relief visage (described as a stone prison in Monster Manual II) in the dungeons beneath Castle Greyhawk. Many unwary adventurers were destroyed after speaking to the visage, but eventually he duped a mighty cleric and a powerful magic-user into performing several heroic deeds that freed him from his carved prison. The Prince of Deception then carried the unwitting tools into slavery on his own plane in the Abyss." The description also notes that: "The only two individuals who have journeyed there (Fraz-Urb-luu's abyssal plane) and returned also report that magical items taken there lose their magic. They themselves lost swords of the utmost power. It therefore seems almost certain (90% chance) that magical items taken there, short of artifacts or relics, will be ruined." In case it's not obvious, this was a sly nod to his meta-origin, above.

Fraz-Urb'luu fell into obscurity in 2nd edition, meriting only a mention in the Planescape splatbook "Faces of Evil: The Fiends".

In Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, he received a return to glory with his own Demonomicon of Iggwilv article in Dragon Magazine #333, before formally returning to canon with the Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss.

In Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, Fraz was converted over with a second Demonomicon of Iggwilv article in Dungeon Magazine #206.

In Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, Fraz-Urb'Luu made his most recent appearance to date in the adventure Out of the Abyss.

Description[edit]

Fraz-Urb'luu is a large beast over eighteen feet in height, despite his hunched posture. His muscular gorilla-like body is covered with short coarse hair of pale blue. His feet are broad and splayed, and his hands are large but the fingers relatively stubby and tipped with long, jagged talons. Two vast batlike wings protrude from his back. His tail is long and hairless with a gray base fading to a razor sharp base. His head is bald and gray-skinned, save for tufts of ragged hair hanging from his jowls. Large ragged ears protrude from the center of his skull to well above its pointed ridged peak. His eyes are relatively small but burn with cold blue light. Yet the most terrible aspect of his visage is his mouth which is overly large and filled with huge fangs.

History[edit]

The demon prince Fraz-Urb'luu was one of the first tanar'ri to rise to power in the Abyss after the fall of the obyriths. Although he was never the most powerful of the demon princes, his vast intellect has enabled him to outlive countless rivals. Fraz-Urb'luu eventually mastered the art of summoning, to the point where he could forcibly summon other demon lords into his court in order to humiliate and degrade them for his own amusement. Fraz-Urb'luu's staff, which granted him control of every aspect of his layer, discouraged any retaliatory strikes against him from his revenge-seeking "guests," so they conspired for a more subtle punishment.

These demon lords fashioned an artifact called the Ichor Lance, which they gave to the mad archmage Zagig Yragerne. Zagig summoned Fraz-Urb'luu and tried to use the lance on the Prince of Deception. Fraz-Urb'luu seized the lance and used his power to disjoin the artifact. However, as a side effect of destroying the lance, the demon prince lost all of his innate magical powers, which enabled Zagyg to imprison the demon prince in a bas-relief in the dungeon beneath Castle Greyhawk. For centuries, many adventurers in the dungeon were destroyed after speaking to this imprisoned form. The demon recently managed to escape by tricking a wizard and a cleric into freeing him. He then transported these fools, probably Erac's Cousin and his adventuring companion Ayelerarch, to his domain of Hollow's Heart in the Abyss after destroying all their gear and left them for dead.

Since then, Fraz-Urb'luu has spent much of his time eliminating other demon lords who moved into his territory with him away and searching for his staff.

Relationships[edit]

Fraz-Urb'luu is one of the most hated of the Abyssal lords, as several demon lords are still smarting from the memory of their past "audiences" with the Prince of Deception. Some of Fraz-Urb'luu's enemies include Graz'zt, Demogorgon, and Ugudenk, the writhing Obyrith Lord of Worms and Hungry Parasites.

The Prince of Deception had also sworn revenge against all of humanity for his imprisonment and humiliation, for it was Zagyg (at the time a mere human) who was responsible for his confinement and loss of status.

Fraz-Urb'luu has at least one half-human son, sired before his imprisonment, the wizard Tsojcanth, whose mother was the witch Vilhara.

Realm[edit]

Fraz-Urb'luu rules the 176th layer of the Abyss. This realm, called Hollow's Heart, had reverted in Fraz-Urb'luu's absence to a wasteland of white dust under a black, starless sky. Various minor demon nobles had moved into Hollow's Heart during his imprisonment in order to stake out their own territories. Upon his return, Fraz-Urb'luu began the process of driving these squatters out of his domain.

At the height of his power, the demon lord could control the features and terrains of his layer at a whim, creating mountains and gorges within seconds. However, this required the use of the powerful Staff of Fraz-Urb'luu, which was stolen at the time of his imprisonment and has since been sundered into several pieces, all of which are scattered across the various planes of existence. The Prince of Deception therefore now focuses his attention on searching for his staff so that he may regain full control over his realm.

Gallery[edit]

The Demon Princes of Dungeons & Dragons
Tanar'ri: Baphomet - Demogorgon - Doresain - Fraz-Urb'luu - Graz'zt
Juiblex - Kostchtchie - Lolth - Malcanthet - Miska the Wolf-Spider
Orcus - Sess'innek - Shaktari - Turaglas - Yeenoghu - Zuggtmoy
Obyrith: Dagon - Obox-ob - Pale Night - Pazuzu - The Queen of Chaos - Sertrous