In the aftermath of the First Breaking, the Demons emerged from the Abyss and immediately went on a rampage to destroy all of Realmspace. The gods needed to put a stop to this as none of them, including the otherwise darker gods such as Shar, wanted creation to end. Together they created a new form of Celestial designed to combat this new threat. The conflict corrupted the celestials, turning them into the Devils that we know today. Their leader, Asmodeus, struck a deal with the gods about how to supply souls for the war. He convinced them that it would be in their interest to threaten followers to make them stay away from sin. The gods agreed, and a binding contract was signed. But instead of merely being a threat, Asmodeus and his devils actively sought to lead souls astray so that they could later become fodder for the war. The Blood War is the complete focus of the Nine Hells Even if much happens that seems independent of it, it all comes back to that eternal struggle. Every layer of the Hells is required to provide soldiers and souls, and the search for new advantages will never end. The Nine Hells consists, as the name implies, of nine separate layers. A Lord of Hell working directly for Asmodeus rules each of these. From the uppermost to the lowest, the Hells are:
- Avernus is mostly where the battles with the Demons are fought. This fighting makes the entire layer a scarred battlefield of fire and smoke. Its ruler is Zariel, a former angel who went insane and mad with power. He's a general without mercy and a formidable soldier.
- Dis is a layer of magma rivers and inhospitable burning land. The city also named Dis is the only real refuge. It is ruled by the paranoid Dispater who is constantly hoarding secrets and new weapons to use in the Blood War.
- Minauros is a swamp where every city and every keep is constantly in decay and disrepair. Mammon who rules this land is a miser and ruthless merchant. Thieves and robbers ravage his lands, and even souls are for sale here.
- Phlegethos has a lot of volcanoes, and the landscape is broken up with magma rivers. The rulership is technically in the hands of Fierna, but its former ruler Belial acts as an official advisor of sorts. They encourage all sorts of desires but also function as a twisted judicial court of hell.
- Stygia is a frozen wasteland with a harsh climate for just about anyone. Its ruler is Levistus, but he took part in an attempted coup against Asmodeus, and as punishment, he is locked into an ice block somewhere on this layer. He's still able to reach out with his mind and thus still fulfil his quota of souls. But the devil Greyon is doing his best to find and kill Levistus to take power for himself.
- Malbolge is the prison of the Nine Hells. It is a giant mountain where boulders and debris constantly slide down the cliffs, possibly hitting prisoners hanging in cages, poles or suffering some other punishment. The ruler of Malbolge is Glasya, who may or may not be Asmodeus' daughter. She tried to unseat him once and often tries to twist the laws of the Hells to her advantage, yet she remains in her position.
- Maladomini is filled with the ruins of cities, and corrupted palaces and gardens. Here, Beelzebul files away every contract, edict, or other documents in the Hells.
- Cania is a dangerous place, filled with experiments for new spells, magic items and anything else that can harness great power. Mephistopheles is always seeking more power and has no sympathy for those he experiments on. Souls of those who can research more powerful magic are treated well. Until they aren't helpful anymore as anything but test subjects.
- Finally, Nessus is ruled by Asmodeus himself. It has all the aspects of the other eight Hells, but the way those areas interact creates even more brutality.