As the Demon Princes are to Tanar'ri and other demons, so too are Archdevils to Baatezu and other devils. These are the demigod-like rulers of the Nine Hells of Baator, or just plain Hell if you're coming from Pathfinder, the commanders of the diabolic legions and the other major contestants for Big Bad Evil Guys for players to defeat.
Because D&D's devils have a certain Abrahamic influence, there are traditionally far fewer of them than there are Demon Princes; in fact, in some sourcebooks, the Archdevils are the same thing as the Archdukes, which means that if you don't count their boss Asmodeus as one of them, there's only ever eight Arch-Devils in total, plus a handful of former Archdukes who have the power but no longer have the authority. Who's who depends on which edition you're looking at. Other editions make it clear that there Archdevils consist of both Archdukes - the layer rulers - and Dukes, which are Archdevils not quite strong enough to have their own layer.
Pathfinder, in comparison, has a much fuller roster of Archdevils; as well as Infernal Dukes like in D&D, there are also the Malebranche - unique and powerful devils strong enough to ravage worlds themselves, essentially a next tier down from the Infernal Dukes, and the Whore Queens - a band of four female fallen angel archdevils who have risen as high as they can in the misogynistic hierarchy of Hell, and whose cults are comparable to those of the Archdukes.
- 1 The Archdukes of Baator
- 2 Other Archdukes
- 3 Infernal Dukes
- 4 The Archdukes of Hell
The Archdukes of Baator
Over the eons various archdukes have risen and fallen, overthrowing their masters and being kicked out of office by their underlings. A few of them are notable in the history of Baator.
The previous Lord of the First, Zariel was a fallen angel with burned wings and a piercing gaze. She had Bel as her loyal servant, general and perhaps lover too. To her folly she trusted him too much, which eventually lead him to turn her court against her and imprisoning her. Ever since she remained locked up in the dungeons of the Bronze Citadel, where she is drained of her power by Bel and has her flesh cut up and fed to the lord.
In 5e however there was a change of power: by decree of Asmodeus Zariel was freed and reinstated as the Lord of the First while Bel was demoted to her adviser, because Asmodeus preferred her aggressive risk-taking approach over Bels cautious and reserved one, since Bel actually temporarily lost his entire fucking layer to demons at one point. The exact reason behind this is unknown and likely to remain unexplained until the next version of the Fiendish Codex or The Manual of the Planes is released. (Told you the whole deposing plot was a sex thing.)
Geryon, Former Lord of the Fifth
The devil Geryon ruled the Fifth for many centuries. At least until the Reckoning, where Geryon was the only Archduke to rise in the defense of Asmodeus. The reward for his loyalty was to be deposed and have Levistus reinstated (although never freed from his icy prison).
What happened to Geryon remained a bit of a mystery, though it is said that after the betrayal he began to doubt his actions and lost all hope at which point Asmodeus struck him down even further, obliterating him. Some believe that the energy was never transferred back to Levistus, since why would he need it if buried under a glacier of ice? The story goes that Levistus was being used as a novel distraction for the rest of the Archdukes and that Geryon's energy was being stored until Asmodeus' daughter Glasya was ready to be promoted to rulership over the Sixth layer.
As for Geryon himself, stripped of his power, what remained of his essence departed into that in-between space where Vestiges go, granting those who seek him out powerful vision bonuses and a gaze attack, though his influence is to force his binders into becoming overly trusting to the point of being dangerously naive.
...But then he somehow got better in 5e. Mordenkaine's tome of foes has a section on the Archdevil cults which notes that Geryon's consists of individuals with whom he strikes bargains. Those who seek brute strength like orcs, trolls and ogres are often drawn into the fold. This means that despite being deposed he still has some degree of power.
Malagard, The Hag Countess
A former adviser of Moloch, the previous Lord of the Sixth. The Hag Countess was not a devil or even a fallen angel. Malagard was a Night Hag, an evil creature normally living on the Gray Wastes of Hades. She was a prominent member of Moloch's court and possibly also his lover (try getting that horrifying image out of your head). During the Reckoning she encouraged her lord to rise up against Asmodeus, which he did fervently. Malagard meanwhile was in correspondence with the loyal Geryon, plotting his downfall. When the gig was up Moloch was the only lord who defied Asmodeus because Malagard told him that Asmodeus would respect his strength if he did. Asmodeus was of course not amused and stripped Moloch of his power, replacing him with Malagard. The new Lord of the Sixth quickly booted Moloch out, and the former lord is on the run since. She used to visit her nobles in disguise, so those who treated mysterious visitors with disrespect quickly found themselves at the ire of their lord. Malagard knew better than to test her political mettle with the other lords and instead aimed for something higher: godhood. She knew all the other lords were just pretenders and no true powers and as such was not content with just being one of them. Malagard frequently went to the Astral Plane to study the dead gods floating around there, but she made little progress in her research as to what the essence of godhood is.
The Hag Countess met an extremely gruesome end. One day she began to suffer terrible spasms and began to swell to beyond grotesque proportions. With her the entire layer changed, from a vast slope into a more level surface. Her body was torn apart; her fingers turned into spires, her hair into a grotesque forest, her ribs became bizarre mountain ranges and her skull grew to the size of a citadel, which is used by Glasya to this day. This proved to be the permanent undoing of the Hag Countess, replaced by Asmodeus’ daughter. This is likely the reason that the Overlord of Hell chose such an unusual being as the Lord of the Sixth: she was meant as a placeholder until he could tame Glasya and have her take responsibility. With the demise of Malagard it seemed that this time was ripe, making the former lord useless.
Moloch, Former Lord of the Sixth
Moloch was once the lord of the Sixth. During his time the Reckoning of Hell took place, which saw him on the side of Baalzebul alongside his fellow fallen Celestials. After being humiliated and defeated he and his fellow Archdukes were summoned to appear before Asmodeus to grovel. Moloch, being a dumbass, took the advice of his adviser/consort Malagard to defy Asmodeus. Instead of begging like his peers he proverbally whipped out his dick and invited Asmodeus to suck it. Looking at this display unimpressed for an uncomfortable long amount of time he kicked Moloch out and stripped him of his powers as an Archduke before he hit the ground. Malagard, not expecting this to actually work, laughed her ass off all the while and kicked the loser out before being imbued with the power of the Lord of the Sixth.
Now a refugee, Moloch started to plot revenge. Alternating between Baator and the Material Plane, he gathered whatever forces and power he can in an attempt to get revenge. One of his plots involved the Apocalypse Stone, a very high-level module for AD&D involving the end of the world. Moloch is currently still at large.
Gargauth, "Lord of the Tenth"
|Broken animal horn|
|Divine Rank||Demigod / Arch-Devil|
|Portfolio||Betrayal, Cruelty, Corruption, Power|
|Domains||Charm, Evil, Law, Trickery|
|Home Plane||Prime Material Plane|
|Worshippers||Corrupt politicians, Sorcerers, Traitors|
|Favoured Weapon||Corruptor (Dagger)|
Worshipped by some in Faerun as a demigod of corruption and betrayal. He was apparently exiled from Baator because he was too much of a handful for the other Archdukes of Hell, though much of what happened is never actually revealed. He was probably just a casualty of the politics of hell, but rather than being cast down or destroyed, he managed to get out.
Afterwards He travelled the planes, returning to Toril time and time again. He spreads his cults and corruption around, with the aim of ensnaring the planet and dragging it back to the Nine Hells where he can rule it as a Tenth layer, because it worked so well for Mephistopheles when he tried it. Though he is also opposed to other evil deities like Shar and Cyric.
The fact that Gargauth holds some actual divine status shows that he could have been a serious power player in the politics of Hell, since it took Asmodeus so long to attain similar status for himself. Although that also illustrates the point that personal power alone can mean very little on the planes when the Archdukes of the Nine had much more widespread influence and control.
|The Deities of Forgotten Realms|
|Good|| Ilmater - Nobanion
Torm - Tyr
| Chauntea - Deneir - Eldath - Enlil
Gwaeron Windstrom - Lathander
Mielikki - Milil - Mystra - Shiallia
| Lliira - Lurue - Selûne - Sharess |
Sune - Tymora - Valkur
|Neutral|| Azuth - Helm - Hoar
Jergal - Kelemvor
Red Knight - Savras
Siamorphe - Ulutiu
| Akadi - Ao - Auppenser - Gond
Grumbar - Istishia - Karsus
Kossuth - Oghma - Silvanus
Tempus - Ubtao - Waukeen
| Finder Wyvernspur - Ibrandul - Leira |
Mask - Shaundakul - Uthgar
|Evil|| Asmodeus - Bane
Gargauth - Gilgeam
Iyachtu Xvim - Loviatar
| Auril - Bhaal - Myrkul
Shar - Velsharoon
| Beshaba - Cyric - Garagos |
Malar - Moander - Talona
Talos - Umberlee
In contrast to the above, these Archdevils never were rulers of the nine layers of Baator, but they're still powerful figures in their own right.
A powerful vassal of Mammon, who is also known as the Bronze General. Whilst he's a brilliant tactician, politically, he's kind of inept.
An ascended pit fiend servant of Mephistopheles renowned for both his loyalty to his master and his hatred for mortals.
A scheming archdevil imp who serves as seneschal to Dispater, and may be usurping power right from under his paranoid master's nose.
The Archdukes of Hell
In Pathfinder, these are the reigning archdevils of Hell.
Named after a minor fiendish noble mentioned a few times throughout the books, Barbatos is the gatekeeper of hell. He's not a devil or even a fiend: he resembles some kind of hunched being made from barbed tentacle vines. He protects Hell from invasions by angels and demons alike and makes sure that the souls of the damned are ferried to their final fates. Him not being a devil harkens back to the Hag Countess Malagard, who just like Barbatos is from outside of the plane. Except she's a Hag and Barbatos is... well, it's not entirely clear.
Dispater and Asmodeus go way back even in Pathfinder. This grants him a favored place in Hell, but he generally keeps out of infernal politics. Instead he focusses on building the perfect society in which everyone, not just the devils, can live. Given that this community is literally made in Hell, this is not a good thing. In a sense he's an ideal king: calm, deliberate and careful, but he's also ruthless, manipulative and unforgiving. Dispater is big on etiquette as well, and violating it is a surefire way to draw his ire. Yet strangely he also values courtly love and marriage, making him unique amongst his fellow Archdevils. Dispater looks like a typical devil: a horned, red-skinned humanoid with flames crowning his head and tipping his tail.
The punchline to all "evil bankers" jokes, Mammon is the treasurer of Hell. A fallen angel, Mammon was slain long ago. But instead of passing on his soul jealously clinged to existence and managed to infuse himself into the wealth that surrounded his place of death. Mammon eventually managed to bind himself to these riches, making him one with the treasures of Hell. He meticulously keeps track of Hell's finances and reports them directly to Asmodeus. Mammon can easily possess objects or people of any kind, but his favorite body is a construct called the Argent Prince that looks like an idealized form of his old body, and grants Mammon a buttload of immunities and abilities.
The Pale Kiss is a creation of Asmodeus himself. Only the Prince of Darkness himself knows exactly what Belial is or where he came from, and Belial does not seem to care. He can take just about any form he wants almost subconsciously, taking whatever form is most desirable for whoever looks at him. This is one of the purposes for which Belial was created: Asmodeus also granted him boundless imagination and creativity in order to create objects of incredible beauty and cruelty. Belial has created everything from art to weapons, magics and even races of servitors, but once he's done with something Belial gets bored and moves on. On top of his creativity Belial is also a creature of boundless lust, and there are innumerable half-fiends out there of every kind who can trace their lineage back to the Pale Kiss.
Greatly resembling his D&D counterpart, Geryon is the lord of Stygia. He did not start out as a devil: he was once an Asura rana, one of the greatest accidents of the gods. When Asmodeus came rolling into town he made a deal with the Prince of Darkness, betrayed his fellow Asuras and strengthened the devils' grip on the plane. In return for his services Geryon was made into an Archdevil. He has unrivaled knowledge of impossible religious truth and the gravest heresies, being more or less the librarian of Hell. Geryon looks a lot like his D&D counterpart: a massive devilish humanoid with the lower body of a snake. Except he's three snakes; one red, one yellow and one blue. The yellow one wields a flail, the blue one carries a shield and the red one carries a great horn that twists the perception of whoever hears it. According to Bestiary 6, he's literally the three snakes; each one can simply regurgitate part of any being it's ever eaten and use it to interact.
As the general of Hell, it is Moloch's job to lead its armies to victory all across the planes. He does not only commands devils: petitioners, other denizens of Hell and mercenaries who flocked to the banner of Hell all answer to him. Moloch runs a tight ship and suffers no insubordination, punishing transgressors harshly. Those who deliver on his expectations are rewarded accordingly, but he demands constant service. Moloch is a great tactician as well, having studied war in all of its forms for eons to become a true master. Desptie being the master of Malebolge he commands forces on the front lines, much like how Bel does it on Baator. This makes it seem that he and Barbatos have switched places when compared to their D&D kin. Moloch himself kind of looks like Bel as well, except he's combined with Deathwing; a giant burning dude with black metal that's also his skin and fire streaming between the gaps.
The Lord of the Flies, Baalzebul was once the right hand man of Asmodeus. But he grew too proud, too greedy and this proved his downfall. When he demanded to rule over several layers of Hell instead of just one Asmodeus punished him by unmaking his beautiful angelic form and gave him a hideous one in return, much like how it went down in Baator. In Pathfinder however Baalzebul was turned into a swarm of millions of insects. When combined together these take a humanoid form that can sort of resemble his old body, except it's nowhere near as beautiful. Baalzebul is now plotting to get back what he lost and get revenge on Asmodeus. His arrogance and pettiness is to such a degree that while he favors the longsword he demands that his followers stick to spears instead.
Made from the very stuff of Hell itself, Mephistopheles is the ruler of Caina and the greatest master of the infernal contract to walk the planes. He loves to tempt mortals into giving up their souls, often without them realizing it. His favorite weapon is his adamantine quill pen that allows him to whip up a perfect contract in a few seconds. Mephistopheles has great skill at weaseling himself into the good graces of another person, figure out their secrets and force them to tell the truth. The devil himself looks like a classical horned and winged red devil, except he has three sets of wings: a pair of burning ones that can strike to set something on fire, a pair of draconic wings to make a target bleed and a pair of raven wings to make a target permanently go blind.
|The Fiends of Pathfinder|
|Lawful:||Asuras - Devils - Kytons - Rakshasas|
|Neutral:||Daemons - Divs - Sahkils|
|Chaotic:||Demodands - Demons - Qlippoth|
|Lords:||Archdevils - Four Horsemen - Ahriman - Demon Princes|
|The inhabitants of the Planes of Planescape|
|Upper Planes:||Aasimon - Angels - Animal Lords - Archons - Asuras - Eladrin - Guardinals - Lillend|
|Middle Planes:||Formians - Githzerai - Inevitables - Marut - Modrons - Rilmani - Slaadi|
|Lower Planes:|| Alu-Fiends - Baatezu - Bladelings - Cambions - Demodands - Erinyes - Hags |
Hordlings - Imps - Kytons - Marilith - Obyrith - Succubi - Tanar'ri - Yugoloth
|Transitive Planes:||Astral Dreadnought - Githyanki|
|Inner Planes:||Azers - Elementals - Genies - Grues - Mephit - Salamanders - Sylphs|
|Sigil:||Dabus - Cranium Rats|
|High-ups:||Archangels - Archdevils - Archfey - Archomentals - Demon Princes|