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'Devils personify tyranny, their society and culture is based upon rigid hierarchy where the affluent abuse those below them, and only serve in collecting souls of mortals can change their position.' - Perr Dithine

Devils personify tyranny, with a totalitarian society dedicated to the domination of mortal life. The shadow of the Nine Hells of Baa tor extends far across the multiverse, and Asmodeus, the dark lord of Ness us, strives to subjugate the cosmos to satisfy his thirst for power. To do so, he must continually expand his infernal armies, sending his servants to the mortal realm to corrupt the souls from which new devils are spawned.   Devils live to conquer, enslave, and oppress. They take perverse delight in exercising authority over the weak, and any creature that defies the authority of a devil faces swift and cruel punishment. Every interaction is an opportunity for a devil to display its power, and all devils have a keen understanding of how to use and abuse their power.   Devils understand the failings that plague intelligent mortals, and they use that knowledge to lead mortals into temptation and darkness, turning creatures into slaves to their own corruption. Devils on the Material Plane use their influence to manipulate humanoid rulers, whispering evil thoughts, fomenting paranoia, and eventually driving them to tyrannical actions.   In accordance with their lawful alignment, devils obey even when they envy or dislike their superiors, knowing that their obedience will be rewarded. The hierarchy of the Nine Hells depends on this unswerving loyalty, without which that fiendish plane would become as anarchic as the Abyss.   At the same time, it is in the nature of devils to scheme, creating in some a desire to rule that eclipses their contentment to be ruled. This singular ambition is strongest among the Archdevils whom Asmodeus appoints to rule the nine layers of the Nine Hells. These high-ranking fiends are the only devils to ever sample true power, which they crave like the sweetest ambrosia.  

Dark Dealers and Soul Mongers

Devils are confined to the Lower Planes, but they can travel b_eyond those planes by way of portals or powerful summoning magic. They love to strike bargains with mortals seeking to gain some benefit or prize, but a mortal making such a bargain must be wary. Devils are crafty negotiators and positively ruthless at enforcing the terms of an agreement. Moreover, a contract with even the lowliest devil is enforced by Asmodeus's will. Any mortal creature that breaks such a contract instantly forfeits its soul, which is spirited away to the Nine Hells.   To own a creature's soul is to have absolute control over that creature, and most devils accept no other currency in exchange for the fiendish power and boons they can provide. A soul is usually forfeited when a mortal dies naturally, for devils are immortal and can wait years for a contract to play out. If a contract allows a devil to claim a mortal's soul before death, it can instantly return to the Nine Hells with the soul in its possession. Only divine intervention can release a soul after a devil has claimed it.  

Infernal Hierarchy

The Nine Hells has a rigid hierarchy that defines every aspect of its society. Asmodeus is the supreme ruler of all devils, and the only creature in the Nine Hells with the powers of a lesser god. Worshipped as such in the Material Plane, Asmodeus inspires the evil humanoid cults that take his name. In the Nine Hells, he commands scores of pit fiend generals, which in turn command legions of subordinates.   A supreme tyrant, a brilliant deceiver, and a master of subtlety, Asmodeus protects his throne by keeping his friends close and his enemies closer. He delegates most matters of rulership to the pit fiends and lesser arch devils that make up the infernal bureaucracy of the Nine Hells, even as he knows that those powerful devils conspire to usurp the Throne of Baa tor from which he rules. Asmodeus appoints Archdevils, and he can strip any member of the infernal hierarchy of rank and status as he likes.   If it dies outside the Nine Hells, a devil disappears in a cloud of sulphurous smoke or dissolves into a pool of ichor, instantly returning to its home layer, where it reforms at full strength. Devils that die in the Nine Hells are destroyed forever- a fate that even Asmodeus fears.   Archdevils. The Archdevils include all the current and deposed rulers of the Nine Hells, as well as the dukes and duchesses that make up their courts, attend them as advisers, and hope to supplant them. Every archdevil is a unique being with an appearance that reflects its particular evil nature.   Greater Devils. The greater devils include the pit fiends, erinyes, horned devils, and ice devils that command lesser devils and attend the Archdevils.   Lesser Devils. The lesser devils include numerous strains of fiends, including imps, chain devils, spined devils, bearded devils, barbed devils, and bone devils.   Lemures. The lowest form of devil, lemures are the twisted and tormented souls of evil and corrupted mortals. A lemure killed in the Nine Hells is only permanently destroyed if it is killed with a blessed weapon or if its shapeless corpse is splashed with holy water before it can return to life.  

Promotion and Demotion

When the soul of an evil mortal sinks into the Nine Hells, it takes on the physical form of a wretched lemure. Archdevils and greater devils have the power to promote lemures to lesser devils.   Archdevils can promote lesser devils to greater devils, and Asmodeus alone can promote a greater devil to archdevil status. This diabolic promotion invokes a brief, painful transformation, with the devil's memories passing intact from one form to the next. Low-level promotions are typically based on need, such as when a pit fiend transforms lemures into imps to gain invisible spies under its command.   High-level promotions are almost always based on merit, such as when a bone devil that distinguishes itself in battle is transformed into a horned devil by the archdevil it serves. A devil is seldom promoted more than one step at a time in the hierarchy of infernal forms.

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