The Lower Planes
Lay of the Land
- Kingdom of Fiends: The Lower Planes is both the prison and the kingdom of the Horned King and the Prince of Undeath, and represents cosmic Evil.
- Eternal Prison of the Damned: The only solace the demons take in this accursed realm is to eternally torture any mortals who wind up here. Every creature who lives here, great and small, is a prisoner that cannot escape unless mortals interfere with the boundaries between the planes of existence. As a result, it is many fiends' goals to coerce people into opening portals to the Lower Planes, to allow them to escape.
- Multiple Layers: The Lower Planes are composed of seven demi-planes, stacked upon one another like floors of a tower. Each layer is ruled by one of the Lords of Sin, powerful arch-fiends who are the patron gods of their respective vice.
- The Soul-Trade: The currency of Hell is souls. Devils covet them irrationally, using them in the same way humans use money. They flaunt them like jewelry, and hoist them over one another’s heads as status symbols. But humans can’t separate themselves from their own souls, even willingly. So, devils resort to trickery and dark magic to facilitate the trade. They promise great power to mortals, typically in exchange for favors or even valuable objects, taking the mortal’s soul as collateral. They care little for actually receiving these things, instead preferring to make it as difficult as possible to complete the bargain, thus allowing the devil to keep the soul. Demons are more straightforward; any creature they slay, they steal their soul, and when demons are slayed in-turn, they return to the Lower Planes, souls in-tact. Thus, demons will find any way they can to break into other planes, kill as many creatures as possible before being killed themselves, at which point, they will return home with a handful of precious treasures.
- Tyranny & Destruction: Devils and demons are the only creatures capable of surviving upon this wasteland. The former build impressive cities of crimson stone and black iron, while the latter roam about the blasted landscape like animals. The presence of any order whatsoever -- even something as simple as geometric shapes -- is offensive to demons, and they are driven to destroy whatever they encounter. The devils do their best to subjugate and enslave the less-intelligent demons. They have been warring for eternity.
- Inhospitable: Existence here is designed to be miserable; it's no wonder the inhabitants of the Lower Planes want little more than to escape it. The whole plane is essentially a desert of reddish rock, bisected by rivers of boiling blood and acid, with occasional gouts of flame bursting from the earth. If it were any less dangerous, it would probably be dreadfully boring.
- Prison of Souls: Each level of the Lower Planes is ruled by one of the Lords of Sin, and houses souls in their possessions. Myths and legends tell of heroes of great renown who infiltrated the Lower Planes to rescue the forlorn souls of their friends, families, or lovers.
- The Vale of Shadows: This far-flung corner of Hell is home to the Prince of Undeath and his hordes of abyssal ghouls and shadow-demons. It reeks of pervasive necrotic magic that saps the strength and willpower of any who venture here.
- The topmost layer is ruled by Grast, the Lord of Lust. Souls under his sway are forced to gestate lesser demons in their abdomens, before they violently burst out of the chest of the poor souls who, to their horror, remain alive throughout the entire process as their bodies slowly stitch themselves back together.
- The second layer is ruled by Jubilex, the Lord of Gluttony. The souls here are so desperate to eat that they hungrily devour bitter slime that coats the ground, before vomiting it up again.
- The third layer contains the treasure vault of Mammon, the Lord of Greed. They are forced to endlessly count, sort, and clean his hoard of gold and jewels, but touching his riches burns their skin.
- The fourth layer is a great maze of jagged stone, ruled by the Lord of Wrath, Baephomat. Souls trapped here constantly fight among one another, while being hunted by angry demons. Those whose bodies are destroyed are reformed almost instantly.
- A forest of towering mushrooms, with a floor of mold, makes up the fifth level, where dwells Zug-ti-moi, the Lady of Sloth. The air is filled with thick spores which make the souls trapped here drowsy and sluggish, unable to move as the fungus slowly and painfully digest them for eternity.
- Phraez-urb'lu, the Prince of Deceptions and Lord of Envy, inhabits the sixth layer, a confusing bunch of caves haunted by illusory sounds and images. The souls in his possession are chased throughout the caves, all while witnessing illusions of their fellows resting safely -- only no one in the Lower Planes rests.
- The deepest level of the Lower Planes is home to the Horned King himself, where he is waited on by enslaved souls, bound in chains while being whipped and prodded by pit fiends and other powerful devils.
- Tucked away on the lowest level is also the Vale of Shadows, a gloomy, fog-filled land of grey stone and dead forests, where the Prince of Undeath is trapped. The Vale of Shadows is home to hoards of undead, as well as the sorrow-spawn, the twisted forms of souls trapped in this dreadful place.
- Humanoid souls are the only commodity in the Lower Planes. They form into physical humanoids whose willpower is forfeit to the Arch-Fiends that own them.
- Demons and devils tend to trade souls for one another, out of boredom, or to foster alliances with one another.
- Souls in the Lower Planes are made up of cultists, warlocks, and servants of Arch-Fiends who failed them in life or were tricked by an unfair bargain. Innocents who were killed by servants of Arch-Fiends also spawn in the Lower Planes. Souls in the Lower Planes cannot be resurrected in the material plane.