Malefacta Geographic Location in Corexus | World Anvil


The ever-burning home of Devilkind, home of Lawful Evil and the legendary Archfiend who rules over it all


Overall, the geography of Malefacta varies between its many layers but a handful of things remain startling consistent no matter which layer one ventures to - fire, poison, and suffering. Here in Malefacta, the very air itself burns with a literally hellish heat born of Hellfire that roasts and chars the flesh from the bones of even the most heat-resistant creatures in mere seconds, while the air, seemingly pure at first glance, is in truth so acrid and poisonous that in a scant handful of breaths most living creatures find their bodily functions shutting down and falling apart in the most gruesome and vile of ways.   While the exact forms of this fire and poison may vary between Malefacta's varied layers, the substance of them should always be kept in mind by any who find themselves traversing the plane in any fashion - no matter what forms the geography of Malefacta may take on, one should never allow themselves to be taken in by its apparent harmlessness...for Malefacta is always lethal.   Overall, Malefacta itself is divided into nine seperate and distinct "layers" that, to many mortal depictions appears to very much resemble an inverted layer cake - each layer, deadly in its own distinct ways, is well-known to contain its own geography, terrain, and overall appearance and features such that many explorers are best prepared for venturing into Malefacta itself by envisioning each layer as its own distinct plane of existence, so different and varied is each. Indeed, each layer is SO distinct that almost none in the cosmology of Ea, even the Major Gods themselves, know the truths of Malefacta and how each layer came to be or indeed why each layer came to be.   While many contemporary scholars of Malefacta presume that the nine-layered structure of the plane of Lawful Evil is largely due to the distinct sins each plane is believed to represent at the point it broke away from the larger plane of evil long ago(See The Cosmology of Ea for more information on the history of the cosmos), while others believe each plane nothing more than a manifestation of the whims of Malefacta's master, Asmodeus. Whatever the truth may be, the layers themselves remain a mysterious thing full of countless mysteries few are likely to uncover anytime soon.


Little exists within Malefacta that is not dead, damned, or soon to be either - the air is a poison most virulent and the ground smolders constantly with Hellfire(Neither of which are very conducive to life as mortals understand it), but what life does exist in Malefacta is hardy beyond measure and adapted to cause as much pain and suffering as mortals could imagine.   New devils, formed the souls of the plane's petitioners judged by Molt, The Shadow and his court of the dead and later sent onwards through the River of Souls towards Malefacta, take form across the layers of Malefacta after being sentenced and assessed in the Intake Yards of Aglennath, the first layer. Afterwards, these souls are dispersed to the appropriate layer corresponding to their sins in life and go on to form the bulk of the plane's "lifeforms", whether via becoming mindless petitioners or slaves or by ascending into the ranks of Devilkind within Hell's ordered machines of government. Rarely, souls so worthless as to be snuffed out shortly after arrival transform into new terrain according to the layer they are sentenced - the weak are slain or themselves become strong so they can prey upon others who can in turn continue Malefacta's twisted ecosystem of torment.

Ecosystem Cycles

As a realm of constant poison and ever-burning Hellfire, Malefacta is a realm that knows no seasons nor cycles of any kind - suffering is the order of the day as the entire plane and all nine of its layers move and twist according to the whims of its master, Asmodeus, The Archfiend.

Localized Phenomena

Each layer, described below, is known to have its own phenomena and unique locales - Malefacta is for reasons beyond mortal or divine comprehension disturbingly varied in both makeup, architecture, and nearly every metric available to those who survey it.


The climate of Malefacta is so notoriously horrible and lethal that it has given rise to a mortal term entirely dedicated to describing something so awful and painful as to be inhuman - "Hellish". That word, as one might expect, fits very well in Malefacta - though the exact kind of lethality varies from layer to layer, overall Malefacta's air is so poisonous and its terrain so unfathomably hot thanks to the Hellfire that burns within its heart that mortal life(and even that of other celestials or outsiders) are snuffed out in short order without proper protection.

Fauna & Flora

Malefacta is not entirely devoid of flora and fauna, but that which it does possess is specialized towards inflicting suffering above all other things - in Malefacta, the souls of the tortured and the damned are currency of the highest order, so all that exists there does so to further that purpose. Oftentimes, nearly every piece of flora or fauna that one can find within Malefacta was once a living petitioner or sinner or failed devil who was punished or simply lost the strength to continue on its current form.

Natural Resources

Malefacta, by its very nature, has only one natural resource in abundance(If one does not count suffering nor souls, nor the armies which enforce both) - Hellfire. Prized by mortals across the Inner Sphere for its extreme lethality, it is Malefacta's one and only true "natural resource" - at least by all conventional standards.   By other standards, Malefacta has a few more resources to speak of - namely, the legions of its various layers which are themselves well-known and famous military units(although they rarely march in mortal conflicts). As well, despite its cruelties few places in the cosmos are as skilled as the smiths of Malefacta in manipulating the essence of souls or the power inherent to the mortal spirit when properly applied or unlocked with the right methods(Often pain and suffering).   As well, though few might truly fathom the scope of them, Malefacta is obscenely rich - thanks to the efforts of its Third Layer and its genius Archdevil master, its coffers have only expanded since the dawn of reality.


For the history of Malefacta in relation to the cosmology of Ea, refer to The Cosmology of Ea.   Otherwise, as to the history of the plane itself and its mysterious ruler Asmodeus, The Archfiend, few truly know the extent of the plane's history - or why many of its layers bear such incredibly varied and distinct architecture, ecology, ruins, and more as if each were once entire planes of existence all their own anchored to Malefacta's burning expanses via unknown means. Whatever answers the plane or its master may hide, are likely never to be uncovered anytime soon.


Absolutely no creatures visit Malefacta on accident - Malefacta's main source of incoming life is the RIver of Souls, who send the plane a constant stream of once-mortal petitioners according to their sentencing in the courts of Molt, The Shadow and his Court of the Dead in The Timeless Boneyard.

The Nine Layers of Malefacta



  Ruler: Zemirah   Description: The first layer, home to Aglennath, the City of Blood. Open to the Astral Sea as a whole, it has no "upper bound" and opens directly upwards into the Astral Sea - otherwise, it is a Volcanic Wasteland where new boiling lavaflows constantly threaten to bury the city of Aglennath inside a cascade of molted rock. New matter is being ejected from it constantly, which is said to flow from its source in Jelesto all the way up to Aglennath where it can be "released" into the Astral Sea or used to expand Hell as a whole. Despite its status as the frontier of Malefacta, it is as close to a land of constant change as the plane can tolerate - serving as a nexus point where the power of Malefacta meets the power of the River Styx and several unshackled planar portals to The Abyssal Wastes, battles wage unendingly here as all souls arriving in hell are sent to the courts of the City of Blood to be judged, organized, arranged, and sent on their way to the proper layer for their eternal punishment. Though it was once a layer where the Archdevil in charge of it changed frequently, it has stabilized in recent eons thanks to the advent of its current master Zemirah - who wielded the power inherent to her foul Aenai Bloodline to carve out a powerful following within the plane and take the throne of Aglennath for herself, which she has held with brutality and cunning ever since in the name of Asmodeus himself.


  Ruler: Kasyrgan   Description: The second layer, home to Saejira, the City of War. The textbook defition of what many consider "hellish", Saejira is a land that once held clear and abundant natural beauty that has since boiled away as the plane was slowly corrupted long ago by its devilish residents - sprawling forests reduced to ashen wastelands, massive oceans transformed into lakes of liquid hellfire, and temperate grasslands turned into smoldering fields of the dead and damned; none can say for certain why the plane displays such once prominent beauty, nor where its creators or architects may have gone - only that in its place has descended the massive, sprawling City of War and the countless military fortifications that now surround it; a monument to the flawless perfection of Hell's bureaucracy that churns and roils unendingly. Built for one purpose and one purpose only, Saejira is home to the largest and most well-trained legions of hell which endlessly drill upon its burning fields - a well-oiled machine within which even the most robust souls soon despair and break.


  Ruler: Mammon   Description: The third layer, home to Xelmoch, the City of Whispers. By and large making up the sewers and subterranean caverns beneath Saejira, Xelmoch is a plane of ever-sinking poison rivers, sprawling stone caverns, and acid swamps contained within the confines of Saejira's sewers and runoff networks that, unlike its counterpart of Aglennath, is constantly at risk of sinking ever-deeper into the toxic runoff and the damned muck produced by the city above - only the efforts of thousands of slaves and servitors working around the clock keep the city from sinking into the muck constantly pouring in via the sewer channels that run all the way up to Saejira, far above. A land of caverns, vaults, riches, and infinite wealth, Xelmoch is in many ways the treasure vault of Malefacta which contains the legendary Counting House in which all the wealth of the plane is counted and tallied, its supplies catelogued, and its soldiers equipped according to their needs. Home to the longest-serving of all the Archdukes and one of the few confirmed to have never been deposed in all his reign, Xelmoch is run by the brilliant Overmind known as Mammon - a mathematical and statistical genius believed to be so ancient as to have once served directly at the side of Asmodeus himself during the early years of the Planescape before Malefacta had even split from what was once the larger plane of evil. All-seeing and all-knowing, Mammon ensures all facets of Xelmoch operate according to his infernal will and that not a single copper piece falls out of place within the domain he rules.


  Ruler: Val'gath   Description: The fourth layer, home to Jelesto, the City of Steel. While many commonly attribute the true "heat" of hell to come from its lowest layer in Malvus based on the notion of rising heat, in truth the roaring hellish heart of Malefacta can be found in Jelesto, its fourth layer - a blazing, overindustrialized layer where little of the layer's natural terrain has not been buried beneath Jelesto's rampantly expanding infernal iron cityscape of suffering, Jelesto most importantly serves as the central "furnace" of Malefacta and the source of most all Hellfire within the enormous multi-layered plane. Deep within its innumerable forges, the souls of Hell's Devils and Petitioners are pounded into shapes all according to the highly ordered schedule of promotions, demotions, punishments, rewards, and more - everything operating according to the precise and hyper-punctual timekeeping of its ruler Val'gath. From the hellfire-powered forges at the heart of Jelesto, the acrid skies and burning lava flows of Malefacta flow largely up through massive magma tubes carved into the plane itself(Which are by and large the only natural pathways from Jelesto to Xelmoch and the higher layers) which, in time, spew out of the first layer into the Astral Sea. The Runoff from Jelesto's forges, acrid and putrid liquid hellfire, cascade down through natural spillways into Ibririel's well-disguised oceans far below in the Fifth Layer.


  Ruler: Rubrixan   Description: The fifth layer, home to Ibririel, the City of Heresy. Located beneath the roaring forges of Jelesto through portals active within the forge's deepest reaches(And a handful of other portals that are kept a closely guarded secret by the layer's Archduke), Ibririel is a layer that was, for much of Malefacta's history, the sole barrier to continued invasion of the plane itself - at first glance, Ibririel's natural terrain is one of seemingly celestial beauty; gorgeous rolling hills of green and open skies of fresh blue air are but the smallest of the plane's apparent 'comforts', each more insidious and alluring than the last in ways beyond mortal comprehension. However, it is for good reason known as the sprawling home to the City of Heresy - the plane's apparent comforts, handcrafted by the plane's singular Archduke to be as inviting as possible, as naught but well-crafted illusions; green hills that hide burning acid lakes, blue skies that appear breathable but quickly reveal themselves to be air so poisonous and acidic as to melt even devils and demons, and sprawling seemingly liquid oceans that in the end are naught but illusions to hide lakes of liquid hellfire in which the plane's petitioners burn eternal. Here, the comforts offered are so real and potent that even celestials and angels are known to fall from grace amongst the plane's beautiful meadows and rolling hills...or even worse, under the careful ministrations of the plane's devils who each offer dreams and desires beyond imagination. Many such beguiled victims of Ibririel can still be found even now, wandering aimlessly across the layer's natural terrain trapped in delusions from which they shall never wake from unless they give in and accept the temptations of Ibririel. Ruled by the mysterious Archdevil Rubrixan who holds the intriguing epithet 'The Living Grimoire' with a both seemingly comprised entirely of paper and script(said to have originated from a mighty magical artifact-level grimoire or codex cast down into Malefacta by its original master long ago), Ibririel's hyper-magical master is said to maintain the largest number of hellmouth portals to nearly every other layer of Malefacta and supposedly even other Planes themselves, whose locations are known only to the elusive Archdevil themselves.


  Ruler: Suzusa   Description: The sixth layer, home to Baalzoth, the City of Death. A layer that was, in the grand scheme of the cosmos, only 'recently' penetrated by the ever-vigilant enemies of Malefacta, Baalzoth lies far, far beneath the fifth layer of Ibririel accessible via only one known method - through a hidden hellmouth portal in the throne room of Ibririel's ruler, Rubrixan. Rumors abound of other means of entry into the sixth layer, ranging from such believable tales as natural passageways at the bottom of Ibrirel's gaping chasms and canyons to more fantastical tales such as portals hidden amongst the endless libraries of sin between the pages of heretical books Ibririel is famous for. Whatever the truth may be, the reality that the invaders who uncovered Baalzoth for the first time found was, like much of the rest of Malefacta's layers, fantastically strange - a layer covered almost entirely in sprawling forests and impossible dense jungles, Baalzoth and its Eponymous city is well-hidden within the hyper-predatory hellish forests that cover almost the entire layer, covered almost entirely beneath a massive canopy of roots that, even if cut, grow back in a matter of hours. Here, within Baalzoth's haunted forests, the roaring hellfire common on the upper forges is replaced with a more nuanced visage of hell - dense mists so hot as to peel flesh from bone and overcast skies from which boiling liquid hellfire and hellish ash drizzles and falls constantly, all the while the spirits of hell's damned petitioners hide within the forests of the layer from the eternal hunts undertaken by the layer's devilish occupants.


  Ruler: Jehir   Description: The seventh layer, home to Stygia, the City of Fear. Perhaps the most unusual of all of Malefacta's layers, Stygia is a layer of frozen black ocean and towering glaciers - no true land or landmasses exist within this abominable layer, accessible only via well-guarded hellmouth portals in the Sixth Layer or via the River Styx itself. Instead, the layer is covered entirely in a dark black ocean disturbingly reminiscent of the water of the River Styx - upon this singular oceanic expanse within which lurks leviathans of gigantic size(Rarely seen and known mostly from legend, appearing only when the tiniest parts of their bodies such as crests breach the surface and shatter entire glaciers and cities) floats glaciers the size of entire continents. Here, the weather is especially harsh and deadly even by the standards of Malefacta - frozen winds whip across the plane in temperatures that often plunge low enough to snape-freeze even the flesh of devils and rapidly render even adamantine as brittle as paper, while blizzards of razor-sharp ice crystals often sweep across the glaciers containing winds that blow with enough strength to pull giants and titans into the sky. Perhaps most disturbing of all lies the city of Stygia itself, the famed City of Fear, which lies upon the banks of the true River Styx which carves effortlessly through the plane in a sweeping S-like shape; subtly darker and somehow newer than the black waters of the Stygia itself, the city ekes out a living on the thin strips of land along the banks of the true River Styx in the shadow of the fearsome Archdevil Jehir's frozen Palace atop a nearby glacier. The black ocean of Stygia, though seemingly bottomless, often shifts and ripples to reveal entire drowned cities and civilizations, as if an entire world were drowned in its blackened waters and frozen over...


  Ruler: Barbatos   Description: The eighth layer, home to Eosheonia, the City of Darkness. A layer only penetrated within the last thousand years of the planescape's history by the legendary Angel known as Azaliah the Purifier, who led the armies of the Celestial Host all the way through the damnable layers of Malefacta, Eosheonia is a layer that much like Stygia above it has no ground of its own - made up of a series of infernal iron spires and platforms that are said to stretch up from the bottom of Stygia's seemingly infinite ocean in defiance of all mortal physics and three dimensional laws of space, Eosheonia's only known access points are, as one might expect, at the very bottom of Stygia's black ocean where, eventually, if one goes deep enough, the world will seem to "invert" and reveal the infinite darkness of Eosheonia and the bases of the massive infernal iron spires that rise to heights so towering that mortals could spend lifetimes climbing and never reach the top. Here, the damnable reality-twisting geography of Malefacta is on full display as the layer, ruled by the eldest Archdevil in Malefacta trusted exclusively by the Lord of the Nine himself to guard the gates of the Ninth Layer, is warped and twisted beyond reckoning - the spires of the layer, connected by an intricate network of bridges and chain links, form the only solid ground the layer has to call its own, both atop and within the spires themselves as cages hang from the spires and that which connects them containing the layer's tortured victims. The air and skies of Eosheonia are little better than what little geography it has - its skies eternally clouded by ash and hellfire, Eosheonia's true sky reveals itself when this cover of ash and hellfire parts, revealing a smothering darkness more deeper and complete than any darkness in the cosmos.


  Ruler: Asmodeus   Description: The ninth layer, home to the Palace of Asmodeus. Little is truly known about this layer, as it is accessible only via the lowest levels of Eosheonia itself above - in a confusing display of twisted hellish geography, to truly reach the Ninth Layer of Hell requires one to climb the spires of Eosheonia then cast onesself back down into the darkest, endless depths for the incalculable periods of time it takes to fall to the layer's bottom; long enough indeed for mortals to die of starvation, thirst, or even old age before eventually reaching the final layer, Malvus. The journey, in truth, is one even other Devils often fail to endure and survive - even the legendary Celestial Azaliah, whose armies pierced the Eighth Layer and made landfall in the Ninth, never truly reached the palace of the Lord of the Ninth himself - the mere act of journeying to this twisted layer itself was enough to nearly destroy the armies that had, up until then, proven invincible. From what little information exists, little is allowed to exist here in a permanent fashion - only the mightiest of Devils(Typically especially loyal Pit Fiends or especially loyal Archdevils) are allowed residence here, both due to arrogance of the Layer's master and the layer's unnatural geography itself which is said to be so alien and unknowable that most are driven howling mad in short order. Though never confirmed, the lethality and strangeness of this final and bottommost layer of Malefacta as well as the inhuman and alien visitors and denizens of the layer are supposedly attributed to the presence of The Gloam within and across Malvus itself. Notably, while little is known of the layer's master or his palace, none of the Archdevils save the Lord of the Eighth Layer, Barbatos, are allowed permanent residence on the Ninth Layer, nor even entrusted with the means to reach that very layer...though the lord of the third layer, Mammon, is said to have once held this privilege long ago.
Alternative Name(s)
The Nine Hells, The Eight Cities of Malefacta, The Nine Hells of Malefacta
Plane of Existence
Location under

The Battle for Stygia

Though Malefacta has withered a truly astronomical amount of assaults and invasions since the formation of the Cosmos as a whole, few events were as dramatic nor as destructive for the plane or its denizens than an event known to Devilkind as "The Stygian Sundering" that took place long enough ago that the exact dates have since been lost to time and history.   Taking place on the frozen Seventh Layer of Malefacta known as Stygia, a layer that was at the time a layer of a seemingly infinitely wide and infinitely deep ocean as black as a nightmare that resembled the water of the River Styx with no ice nor glaciers nor chill in sight, the event that would become known as "The Stygian Sundering" began when a cult of Círzithara, The Uttercold Mother successfully managed to invoke a ritual that allowed their beloved Goddess to not only escape her prison in The Uttercold Nucleus but to emerge in the skies above Stygia's infinite ocean. Their plan, as legend goes, was to allow their Goddess to freeze the waters of Stygia over and transform it into a layer befitting her splendor - from which she would go on and in time freeze over all the Nine Layers of Malefacta, thus transforming the entire plane into a palace they believed she deserved.   How exactly much of a helping hand(known or not) in the plans of her followers Asmodeus, The Archfiend had is speculated upon to this very day - and the truth, like many things relating to the master of Malefacta, shall likely never be known - but regardless of the intentions of such a plan it quickly spiraled out of control for all involved thanks to the rapid intervention of a singular party none could have possibly expected or predicted: Vvaal, The Bound Obliterator.   Shortly after Círzithara made landfall in Stygia and began to chill the entirety of the layer down to its very core, releasing such a chill that legends abound even to this day of the forges high above in Hell's Fourth Layer of Jelesto sputtering and nearly extinguishing, a legion of devils led by the lord of the Eighth Layer, Barbatos, arrived on the scene prepared to not only defeat Círzithara but to capture her. Though their battle was short, the blowback from the fight between the mightiest Archdevil in service to Asmodeus and the source of all Uttercold in the cosmos rocked Malefacta to its very core, and even released ripples into the planescape beyond that only intensified when Asmodeus himself entered the fray to finally drag the frozen invader down into his fiery slave pits far below when she proved more resilient to capture than initially expected.   Yet, the ripples from that fight had repercussions none could have anticipated - resonating up through the shores of the River Styx that laid nearby the conflict and resounding all the way across the Planescape into The Gnawing Oblivion, planar prison of Vvaal, The Bound Obliterator, the echoes of that fight weakened the Divine Trammels that held the Primordial of Oblivion inside his prison enough that the Primordial himself managed to slip his bonds. Yet, in defiance of everything that Vvaal had and still holds as his primary goals, he did not immediately slip his bonds and begin a path of destruction towards the Inner Sphere - instead, the central parts of his essence(Which have not before or since EVER left the bounds of his prison, reasons unknown) raced upwards along the Styx and arrived at the site of Asmodeus's and Círzithara's conflict and, to the surprise of everyone present - came to Círzithara, The Uttercold Mother's defence.   In the only documented case in the history of the cosmos, the Primordial of Oblivion wielded all his usually formless and maddening bulk with thundering, deadly precision that shattered(and continues to shatter) the notions holding the Primordial of Oblivion as naught but a mindless brute long devoid of sanity or anything resembling a personality. Fighting with all his might even as the cosmos sprang to life at his escape, Vvaal's obliviating power easily matched and overpowered the Lord of Malefacta himself and Barbatos at his side in mere seconds, all while sheltering the wounded Círzithara within an Obliviating Sphere through which no attack could hope to pierce. Caught off guard by the arrival of the Primordial of Oblivion, the Lord of Malefacta proved outmatched in every category - the typically mindless and destructive bulk of Vvaal, now wielded like a surgeon's scalpel, landed each blow with such cacophanous clarity that even now Stygia has yet to shake off the frozen remnants of that terrible conflict...and Asmodeus, The Archfiend himself, even now, is rumored to have scars down to his very soul as a permanent reminder of the overwhelming power of the Primordial God of Oblivion and the humiliating price of failure.   And as the Lord of the Nine, eager to be free of his deadly foe, accepted the Major Gods' intervention in his realm to re-imprison the Primordial of Oblivion(And survived only thanks to their arrival and intervention, many claim), the Major Gods and all present were shocked to see that Vvaal, for reasons none could fathom then or now, allowed himself to be rechained with little resistance(The only time of such an occurance happening) as Círzithara was miraculously recovered unharmed from within his vast bulk - protected and kept safe from any further harm cradled within the Obliviating Sphere in a manner so tender that all Divines present were shaken to their very cores. Though the conflict ended with a loss on all sides, as all involved returned to their points of origin(Willing or by force), Stygia was forever scarred by the battle - freezing over and becoming the frozen glacier-infested hellscape it is today.


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