You don’t become the Lord of all Devils by waking up early and dreaming real hard. In the realm of the Infernal, you have to plan for centuries, keep ten steps ahead of your enemies, and above all else, never let your opponent realize that they’ve already lost.
Asmodeus is the Lord of Nessus and acting Ruler of all other Arch Devils in Baator. He is cunning and ruthless. His plans are incomprehensively complicated and span timelines longer than the lives of most dragons. These qualities have not only allowed him to survive the Reckoning of Hell, but he has also ascended into godhood.
Author’s Note: Asmodeus, as an idea, is not a creation of the article’s author. It’s not even a creation of Wizards of the Coast, but we are assuming their version of the character’s fictional history and background. It will not be rehashed here. Check out the Fiendish Codex II, the Manual of the Planes or Wikipedia for more.
Arcana/History/Religion 15: Asmodeus is the evil god of civilization and tyranny. One of the ultimate symbols of law and power, he is often worshiped among the nobility, even in nations that aren’t evil.
legions of devils. As even his own archdevils plot against him, he is never without a small contingent of loyal devil guards.
History/Religion 34: It is said that Asmodeus can subvert the will of even the greatest of heroes with but a glance. In combat, he rarely takes to melee blows, but instead uses his mind to direct the actions of others.
Religion 40: Asmodeus was once an angel who was cast off, and came to seek his own power. Over hundreds of thousands of years, he has built up that power, and his plots extend hundreds of thousands of years in the future still. With divinity finally in his grasps, the only thing that holds him back is his desire to wipe out demon-kind.
In Combat: Asmodeus takes combat very seriously, but rarely shows it. He generally will stay in one place, looking rather bored and direct combat, while he uses his Gaze of Lawful Command and ranged attacks. When engaged in melee he will teleport away to a better position.
If the others fall, or certain combatants grow particularly worrisome, he will enter melee in order to keep those who are not under his sway weakened. Once in melee, he keeps as many people within 5 squares as possible, in order to make best use of Mass Subjugation and Aura of Might.
Encounters: Asmodeus never enters combat alone, and is almost always accompanied by at least two powerful pit fiends. He employs many unique archdevils in his court, who can act as elite units, and almost always compliment Asmodeus’ already potent abilities.
The Ruby Rod: This finely crafted scepter would make even the richest of kings turn their heads in awe. That is only the beginning of its power. The Ruby tip of this immaculate rod is actually a fragment of true evil, recovered from the Abyss.
Arcana/History/Religion 24: Asmodeus’ Ruby Rod is a symbol of his great power. It is said the Demon Princes each would do nearly anything to hold it in their grasps.
Arcana/History/Religion 36: The Ruby Rod is not just a symbol of his power, but a source. Without it in his grasp, his immediate options to an unforeseen circumstance would be limited.
A hero who could separate the two, might find their only chance of victory over the prince of all evil.
Arcana/Religion 42: Asmodeus is never without his Ruby Rod. Its forging is one of great contention, as its main source of power is a fragment of true evil, stolen from the Abyss. Some Archdevils contend that if Asmodeus was overthrown, and the scepter cast out, then devil-kind would finally be free of the Blood War and could turn their mind to other conquests.
Plots: Asmodeus is an excellent villain to mastermind a three-tier campaign around. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Heroic: A local noble seems to be closing all the temples one by one, for odd and unfounded reasons. Yet he continues to sponsor religious festivals, which seem more laden with liquor, dance and vice each time one comes around. A series of odd events around these holy days lead the players to uncover a secret church to Asmodeus, but as of yet they can’t prove that they’re responsible for any wrongdoing.
Paragon: The heroes are sent away on a quest to slay a rampaging demon in a neighboring area. When they return the local Lord has renounced Pelor and is worshiping Asmodeus now. He argues, quite publicly, that Asmodeus is the patron of civilization and the festivals of the other gods seems to be leading his people to a life of sloth and debauchery. The church becomes public, and soon devils are given free reign to wander the streets, make deals, and oversee labor. Do the PCs go underground and fight a war against the rightful ruler, or do they hold back their swords and try to find out what’s really going on, in a public and lawful way?
Epic: It is revealed that the Local Lord has both a succubus and an invisible imp working his court and his thoughts are not his own. However, it’s not just him; many other local lords begin gathering armies in the name of Asmodeus. The PCs do what they can, but soon learn that they can’t save everyone at once. Do they pick and choose, go gather their own army, or take the fight to the source and open a gate to Baator?
Going to PAXEast???
If you want a go at Amsodeus before your DM gets around to using him, I hope to see you at PAXEast! On Friday from 3:30 to 6:00 in the Free Play Area I’ll be running encounters featuring Lizardfolk and Asmodeus! You can even bring your best level 30 for the occasion. I’ll have some samples from our store to showcase and give away!
If you’re going to be there early, and are waiting in line for the Keynote, meet us in the Level 2 Lobby at 8:10 AM. I’ll be showing some new and rusty gamers the ins and outs of 4th edition and running a couple of encounters while we wait to be let in.
I’ll also be in the official Wizards of the Coast area judging the Heroes of Shadow Preview on Friday from 7 to 11, Learn to Play on Sunday from 1-3, and 3-5. Least but not least, I’ll be taking part in the DM Challenge, Saturday Night from 7 to 11. In true Stuffer Shack fashion, my adventure will feature brand new creatures, traps and encounters. We’ll need lots of players, so come by. Characters are provided for these events!