The Abyss was once thought to be a myth, that was before the Age of Blood
when demons and other foul creatures poured forth over Runetalras. Now virtually all peoples of Runetalras believe that the existential threat of the Abyss and the demons that inhabit it are very real. Few can truly know the horrors of the Abyss, but there are scant sources from those who have claimed to return from this plane of horror, most can be discounted, but there are a few which hold some merit.
Across the Prime Material Planes, evil is often understood as merely a concept or a label applied to those with opposing or misunderstood views. There are evil people who perform vile acts, but they tend to be relatable or even redeemable, basing their actions on some twisted or flawed sense of honour, pride, or ignorance.
The Abyss is a whole other beast, evil is manifest in the very fabric of the plane of existence and all the creatures within it. The horrors of the Abyss are objectively evil demons and other fiends, creatures born of pure hatred, bile, disgust, wrath, and other foul thoughts pushed to the extreme. Some sources claim the Abyss has 666 layers while others 999, still others
claim that it is infinite or as large as makes no difference.
Each layer of the Abyss offers a unique twist on death, pain, torment, suffering, and so much more. Some layers are filled with lakes of acid, while others are endless wastes of black or red sand that strip flesh from bone. Layers with skies filled with burning fire, toxic fumes, plumes of rancid smoke, or flesh-stripping fog have been documented, along with jungles of living vipers, salt bogs that bake under a relentless heat, and jagged mountains of living hate-filled ice. The Abyss seems more than expansive enough to encompass any and every kind of horror with its tortuous layers.
The natives of the Abyss are the demons, known far and wide across the multiverse for their endless taste for savagery, conquest, and blood. These creatures are spawned seemingly at random across all layers of the Abyss in a great cosmic game of chance – a demon spawned is that demon forever. Some are created as titanic engines of abyssal fury, while others form the lowest mobs of gibbering monstrous hordes.
Ruling over the teeming demonic masses are the Demon Lords
. These beings have clawed, fought, killed, and maimed their way to rule one or more layers, attaining some level of control and fealty over the chaotic realm. Many of these Demon Lords
are remnants of some older ruination buried deep in the twisted pits of the Abyss’ foulest layers, while still others have come to the Abyss to rule. Many more are simple bestial aspects of the demons’ own depraved nature, offering little in terms of strategy or decision-making and focusing instead on insatiable desires
Ancient sorcery and the foulest of blood magic rites can be learned from the right demons, so it is not uncommon for a spellcaster to summon one of these creatures from the Abyss to serve as teacher or spy. It seems that some kind of barrier prevents the demons, and also devils, and deities, from directly intervening upon the Prime Material Plane without act from the Material Plane, which is one of two reasons that direct demonic incursions which would no doubt bring about the end of Runetalras have been forestalled, the other reason being the Blood War.
Portals to the Plane
Portals to the Abyss are not particularly common upon the Prime Material Plane, as a result of some kind of barrier which prevents more direct contact from the Abyss to Runetalras. Portals to the Abyss are typically spontaneous in their form, having no perceivable pattern to their formation.
, also known as Abyssal Lords, or Demon Princes are archfiends who have gained great power and established a position of preeminence among demonkind. Over countless millennia, these demons have amassed tremendous power and authority over their domain.
The Demon Lords
dominate the Abyss and are individual demons of great power, determination, and even cruel cunning who bend and shape the Abyss and its inhabitants to meet their every whim. These mighty beings imagine themselves at the centre of the cosmos. Each Demon Lord strives to bring all planes under their command, subject to power, and twisted and warped to match the Demon Lord’s ideal of perfection.
The Demon Lords
’ arrogance is exceeded only by their ambition. While any rational being would dismiss their goals as empty ambitions sparked by madness, the truth remains that the Demon Lords
and their thralls are among the mightiest forces in the planes. It is conceivable that, if the Blood War turns dramatically in their favour, the Demon Lords
could put the rest of their apocalyptic plans in motion.
are masters of their domain, and within it their power rival the very deities.
The demon lord of minotaurs is known as the Prince of Beasts. Baphomet is an ultraviolent being who relishes physical combat whenever possible and is known to incite insatiable bloodlust in his followers. His realm in the Abyss
is the Endless Maze, the 600th layer, and there he encourages the many ruthless tribes of savage minotaurs to hunt and kill in his name. Baphomet has an intense rivalry with Yeenoghu, and the forces of the two clash constantly.
In the lightless caverns of the Shadowsea, Dagon dwells and schemes as the Prince of the Darkened Depths. It is a massive creature that harkens back to an ancient primordial era of the Abyss
, and some scholars say that Dagon is the oldest of the known Demon Lords
. For its incredible age, Dagon is renowned for its insight, and other demons often seek it out in the Shadowsea to consult with the demon lord. The true motivations of the enigmatic creature may never be known.
Primal rage and unfiltered chaos define Demogorgon, who stylizes himself as the Prince of Demons, and few argue that claim. Physically powerful and incredibly cunning, Demogorgon fights everyone and everything, including himself – the demon lord’s twin heads are possessed of two distinct minds that often war against one another. He commands legions of demons from his home on Gaping Maw, the 88th layer of the Abyss
, and he has had long standing feuds with Orcus
Illusions and trickery are the primary tools of Fraz-Urb’luu, the Prince of Deception. He is a powerful, conniving demon lord with great magical powers at his command, and his realm of Hollow’s Heart obeys his every whim. As befitting his title, Fraz-Urb’luu counts no ally among his demonic kind, instead relying upon vast networks of cultist upon other planes.
One of the most ambitious Demon Lords
on the Abyssal stage, Graz’zt is the Dark Prince and patron of tyrants across the multiverse. He holds more territory on the Abyss
than any other demon lord, stitching together three layers to form Azzagrat, but the ever-scheming Graz’zt always seeks more. He fights with every other demon lord whenever it’s convenient, but his feud with Demogorgon has become legendary. The symbol holding the Dark Prince’s six-fingered hand is used by his agents across the multiverse in his quest for ultimate conquest.
Slimy, amorphous, and grotesque nearly beyond description, Juiblex is the Faceless Lord and commands a great many oozes from his home realm of Shedaklah. He actually shares the layer with Zuggtmoy, Lady of Fungi, and the two face off against one another in a never-ending tug-of-war for the layer’s total control. Unlike some other Demon Lords
, the Faceless Lord has no guile and holds little intelligence, instead moving with brute force on his enemies whenever he sees an opportunity.
Shadows cling to this demon lord like a cloak, and Nocticula is known as the Undeniable for a good reason. Her realm of Darklight, the 72nd layer of the Abyss
, is a vast landscape of jagged mountain peaks under a bloated black sun that never sets. Nocticula is often associated with vampires, and while she counts many of them as her most ardent supporters, she also commands legions of hideous bats to do her bidding. She has a honeyed voice that drips with promise, but her physical appearance is that of a true monster.
The Prince of the Undead is one of the most active Demon Lords
in the Abyss
and holds one of the most feared artefacts in the multiverse, the wand that bears his name. Orcus
is a brutish force with necromantic powers unsurpassed among his demon lord peers (none of which he considers his equal), and his legions on Thanatos, the 113th layer, are more monstrously-fused undead than typical demon. He hates Demogorgon more than any other demon lord, but his fury and sheer willpower has driven more than one demon lord to be crushed beneath his goat hooves. Orcus
is perhaps the most active Demon Lord upon Runetalras, gaining more power since the Age of Blood
The first layer of the Abyss
holds no true ruler, but Pazuzu, the Prince of the Lower Aerial Kingdoms, is the undisputed master of the blood-red skies on the Plain of Infinite Portals. He is a screeching bird-like demon, a creature nearly as old as Dagon, and he has kept his position by being cowardly and opportunistic. From the massive fortress of Skeleton Tree, Pazuzu observes the happenings around him and sells the information to other interested parties, including other Demon Lords
and gods. Rumours persist he has a direct line of communication to the devil lords of the Nine Hells
The Emperor Lizard is a reclusive demon lord who dwells on the 7th layer of the Abyss
, in a fog enshrouded swamp and jungle known as the Phantom Plane. Sess’Innek’s realm is populated with the crumbling ruins of the previous inhabitants, but now it crawls with the fiendish lizards and lizardfolk that owe fealty to the layer’s current ruler. He appears as a massive humanoid lizard, much like a lizardfolk, with six arms in which he expertly wields longswords against opponents. Through some magical power, Sess’Innek has managed to seal the Phantom Plane from most outsiders, but in the Abyss
there’s always a way in.
The Flame of Darkness, the shadow that casts the light, the Shadow Flame lord of Aganathel. Tanflamman is a Demon Lord who is more subtle and cunning in his desires for domination, willing to wait out entire aeons to achieve its ends. Tanflamman is said to take on a thousand forms to appeal to more cultists in its efforts to gain power. Tanflamman is the ruler of the 22nd layer of the Abyss
Forever burrowing, the Squirming King is a colossal demonic worm that seems possessed of no unique intelligence. Its sheer size and voracity ranks it among the more powerful Demon Lords
of the Abyss
, but Ugudenk has no goal or thought save satiating its monstrous appetite. The Writhing Realm, the 177th layer of the Abyss
, is a labyrinthine network of tunnels created by the Squirming King’s passing, and it is populated by no end of scavengers that follow in Ugudenk’s wake.
The Prince of Gnolls is a master hunter and savage, bloodthirsty foe. It is widely accepted that the gnolls that populated the multiverse originated in Yeenoghu’s wake, a horrendous transformation that created a race of monsters as ruthless as their demon lord progenitor. In the Death Dells, the 422nd layer of the Abyss
, Yeenoghu hunts through the endless canyons and crags attended by great packs of demonic servants and powerful fiendish gnolls. The Prince of Gnolls holds a never-ending grudge against Baphomet, though the original cause is unknown, and the two send wave after wave of their followers against one another in pitched battles.
One of the more active Demon Lords
outside of the Abyss
is the Lady of Fungi, Zuggtmoy. She maintains strong cults on the Prime Material Plane, though she has learned to disguise her true nature and hide behind religious facades in order to facilitate more worship.
Denizens of Disorder
The only native inhabitants of the Abyss are demons, though only may not be the appropriate term. The demons are countless in their forms, and the common types are only common as they have proved so effective at surviving with endless horror and destruction which theAbyss vomits out. As for sustenance, the abominations that the Abyss spawn are endless with the powerful simply consume the weak.