Nine Hells Geographic Location in OperaQuest | World Anvil
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Nine Hells

The Nine Hells are the home of the Devils and Archdevils in the Lower Planes. They are the planar embodiment of lawful evil. The highest-ranking, and therefore deepest-dwelling, of the devils is King Asmodeus, reigning from the molten iron throne of Nexentrus.   The Nine Hells are the most well-known of the Lower Planes in mortal society and the most oft-described in religious texts as a punishment for the wicked. Different societies have different names for them, such as the Elvish Anaethéma and the Gnomish lüs Ándjelees.


The Nine Hells consist of nine interlocking and ever-deepening circles, ranging from relatively mild (though still perilous and unpleasant) to unimaginably hostile. The circles are as follows:   Avernus. Most portals to the Hells find their endpoints here, on the cragged, rocky beaches that ring a sea of viscous blood. The Bronze Citadel looms above the shores, crawling with devils and fiendish priests eager to make a name ofr themselves, both within the Blood Wars and among the few brave mortals who appear through dark tunnels into their lofty spires and deep catacombs. Though Baroness Zariel rules the layer with military precision, Tiamat lurks within the largest cave around the blood-drenched cove, and has done so for millennia, since her creation of the Chromatic Dragon. None know why she remains in such a mild level of the Hells, nor why warlike Zariel has never threatened to challenge her power. These shores are common theaters for aquatic and semi-aquatic battles within the Blood Wars.   Dys. This craggy layer of canyons wedged between near-vertical slopes is ruled by Dispater the Lustful, primary armorer of the devils of the Blood Wars. Those souls who allow their hungers for flesh and violence control their actions find themselves at the bottoms of these canyons, constantly attempting to climb above the rising stench of the poisoned waters that rage within their depths.   Minaíros. Towers of gold rise from the magma lakes of Minaíros, sizzling and shimmering white-hot where they meet the molten rock below. Some say the magma itself is more molten gold than ordinary basalt—the melted-down treasure of five thousand years of greedy kings buried with their riches, hell-bent on taking their money with them into the afterlife. Greedier than any mortal king, of course, is Count Mammon, a massive fiend made entirely of piles of money. His wicked, avaricious grin gleams with diamond teeth, and his corpulent, sluglike body is made of stacks of gold and silver, shifting through his domain with the soft sound of coin scraping on coin. Souls committed to Minaíros's sweltering depths are rarely cajoled or bargained with; rather, they are people who threw themselves onto altars of greed willingly in life, hoarding treasure at the expense of others.   Phlegethos. This realm bears a stench like unwashed mortals, pooling in great lakes of bodily fluids in which fatty islands aimlessly drift. This is the layer of ignorance, in which those who willingly looked away from injustice and horror slowly suffocate in their own stenches and drown. Rimmon rules this layer, though he prefers to send the souls within it endlessly to the Blood Wars rather than dealing with their punishment himself.   Stygia. An unforgiviing land of ice where freezing flames burn and crystallize flesh simultaneously, this was long both the prison and the domain of the treacherous Levistus. He betrayed Asmodeus during a journey to the surface where he charmed and swayed many members of the first cult of Asmodeus, and thus he was banished to only inhabit these icy caves for a thousand years. When his crystal chains were finally broken, he remained in the realm and ruled it as his own—both out of comfort in the environment and fear that Asmodeus would discover the enchantment broken.   Malbolge. The desolate, crumbling fortresses of Malbolge that dot its blackened hillsides have seen many a war between archdevils vying for power. The current ruler of Malbolge is Princess Glasya, daughter of Asmodeus himself. In every place that Malbolge holds onto any semblance of riches or luxury—any gleaming patch of gemstones, any shimmering throws of silk—Glasya is bound to lie in wait, ready to seize upon the devils who seek them and extort service and acts of fealty from them. Before Glasya was born, Baazelbal ruled this realm, which was filled with cities and roads traversed by devils who kept careful record of every mortal sin.   Maladomini. The seventh level of the hells—the deepest to which mortals have ever discovered a circle—is ruled by Lillith, High Priestess of Punishment. The damned souls of Maladomini primarily consist of warmongers and those who lash out the most violently against The Fates. Killers of undeserving Souls, ruthless advisors of rampaging warlords, architects of widespread slaughter—all find themselves within the war-scarred and debris-laden wastelands, tortured by searing visions of the innocents whose death their decisions caused.   Cania. Archduke Mephistopheles, the Mad Mage, controls all comings and goings within Cania with immortal precision. Each surface in Cania is a toothy mouth with a long, sticky, prehensile tongue. Even those who fly above or burrow below cannot avoid getting gnashed endlessly in the sea of jaws as they traverse the plane.   Nexentrus. The deepest layer of the Hells is a bleak void of black asphalt beneath a charcoal sky. Only a single structure rises from the flat, lifeless land: the Monolith of Nexentrus, a towering palace with seemingly no entrances nor exits. Here, King Asmodeus sits upon a throne of molten iron, ruler of all he surveys and of all the hells above him.
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Cover image: by Trollinho


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