Excerpts from the Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Fraz-Urb'luu and the Rod of Absolution
Date: Sun, June 02, 2002
Topic: Myths & Legends
Fraz-Urb'luu is perhaps the most infamous of all demonkind, rivaled only by Abaraxus in that regard. The legends that describe the Lord Of Subversive Imaginings hint that he may be one of the most powerful of all demons, and that his "disappearance" and "capture" by Zagig are more likely myth than substance . . . .
Excerpts from the Demonomicon of Iggwilv:
Fraz-Urb'luu, Lord of Deceit and Illusion
Copyright 2002 by Allan T. Grohe, Jr. Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Fraz-Urb'luu is the most feared demon to have stalked the multitudinous layers of the Abyss (with Abraxus pulling a very close second). His reputation for plotting, revenge, terrorism, and fearsome power are all that maintain the integrity and safety of his home plane, after the hundreds of years of his absence. When active, Fraz-Urb'luu meddled in the affairs of any and all lesser creatures. He relished chaos and wrought disruption wherever he turned---destroying the plans, schemes, wars, and plottings of the Lords of the Abyss for the sheer joy of it. Nor could the Abyss contain his havoc---the Lords of Hell, the rulers of Xalta, Minythys, and Sarendathos, each suffered from his depredations---all of the Pandemonium, in fact, served as his twisted playground. Fraz' has turned the tides of countless Abyssal battles, and engineered major multi-planar defeats for Bayemon, Graz'zt, and Orcus, as their nearly-achieved victories were swept away through Fraz's interference. The Lord of Subversive Imaginings could care less: they exist at his whims, and then only to entertain him . . .
Physically, Fraz-Urb'luu is as strong as a storm giant, and revels in physical battles during which he sometimes vents his primal, bestial urges. Fraz' stands 37 feet tall in his natural form, with two dull-black leathery 57' wings. His skin is a pale blue-lavender and his long hair is slate-grey. His feet are broad and splayed, with three short toes on each (rather like an elephant's toes). Fraz's face contrasts hideously with his bestial body. His skull is humanoid, and similar in shape to that of a Neanderthal man, with a sagittal crest/ridge, heavy brow, and a domed forehead; his features are thick and heavy. His ears are large and ragged, with several lobes to each; they appear vaguely elvish in shape, although more blunt. Fraz's sunken eyes burn a fierce green, with black pupils. His teeth are steel blue, as are his claws. His tail is hairless and prehensile, over 50' long, and ends in a 7' long barb (also steel blue).
Fraz's voice is normally booming and Slavic. He alters it frequently, however, when playing the part of some role that he has assumed. Fraz' has a warped and twisted sense of humor, and has been known to grant his creations, slaves, victims, etc. their freedom when opportunely amused. He is also an implacable foe who has hunted enemies across the multiverse in order to exact his vicious revenge, when he is so inclined.
None know Fraz-Urb'luu's current whereabouts. Many believe that Fraz' is waiting for someone---anyone---to try to take over his home plane, Iponyss'ithyss (ih pohn iss ih thiss), so that he can return from his place of hiding to wage planar war upon the trespassers. Iponyss'ithyss is sometimes known as Terminus, since it is the 666th (and final) layer of the Abyss. It is a horrid plane, and wildly anti-magical in nature.
In his long life, Fraz' has created and destroyed more planes and races than there are Abyssal layers. Old Abyssal legends state that balrogs, for example, were the denizens of a realm which Fraz' created for his amusement: he set himself up as a Dark Lord, and watched and battled in this world for millennia, in two primary guises; he destroyed it when he finally grew bored. Somehow the balrogs discovered his ruse, and fled into the multiverse, eventually reaching the Web. Any being (whether native or not) within one of the Lord of Deception's realms is subject to all the local laws and planar constants for that realm (this is another reason that Iponyss'ithyss remains sacrosanct, since it is anti-magical to anyone and anything which is not Fraz-Urb'luu . . . ).
The abilities of Fraz-Urb'luu are legendary in scope---and legend may be too meager in its assessment. Fraz' is one of the six Firstborn lords, and second in magical power only to Alrunes; only Sceirion and Obox-ob are his near-equals. In addition to his Firstborn standard demonic powers, Fraz-Urb'luu possesses the ability to use any illusory power at will (both imaging and phantasms), with permanence (if so desired). All saving throws against his illusion magics are natural saves at -6 and -30% MR. Fraz' employs imaging in combat, allowing him to switch images from segment to segment: an attacker will see Fraz's image where something else is, and that person/thing/item's image where Fraz' is. This power can be used at a 7" range and it will affect anyone and anything (including illusions, phantasms, decideans, etc.), and can be used in conjunction with any of Fraz's abilities.
Other powers of the Lord of Transient Realities include seven-times human hearing, four-times vision (all other senses are thrice human standards), fear (manifests in any desired form, -2 save), telekinese 20,000 gp weight, impenetrable continual darkness (up to 1/4 mile radius), betray thoughts (combines ESP, know alignment, clairaud/voy, and sensitivity to psychic impressions), power word (sleep or blind, 1/day), chaos (4/week), and maelstrom (1/week). Fraz-Urb'luu has two different gate-like abilities. The first gate allows him to 100% gate in various greater demons; he tends to summon balrogs (because it annoys them), shadow demons, xuphaitz, ruzellir, babau, goristroi, etc. The second gate allows Fraz' an 85% chance to be able to summon a demon prince (or two at a 60% chance); the duped lord(s) will assume that the locals summoned him/her and respond appropriately to an unprotected, unwelcomed summoning. The latter power is one of Fraz's hallmark abilities, and he prefers to use it over summoning lesser demons.
Mortals and least-deities alike risk their souls should they attempt employ deception in Fraz's presence: if any non-god lies to him they must save vs. Death Magic at -1 or immediately burn into fine blue ash (no resurrection possible without a well-worded wish); should any non-godling employ their name and Fraz's name and a deception in the same sentence or clause, they must make a natural save vs. Spells or become obedient to him (dispel evil or stronger measures may remove this compunction).
Fraz-Urb'luu's defenses are equally impressive. His immunities include all illusions/phantasms and detection of any sort by a non-divine being (witch sight may reveal him as a nebulous, shifting cloud of pigments [05%], otherwise Fraz' will reflect the presence, thoughts, power, etc. of a random lord of the lower planes within a five-plane radius). Fraz' requires a +4 or better weapon to be hit in combat.
Fraz-Urb'luu was imprisoned within a great stone effigy while exploring a strange, island-like Fading Land at some unknown time within the past five centuries. The Mad Archmage, Zagig Yragerne, discovered this demiplane in CY 381 after researching the effigies, known as a moai in an ancient dialect of Flan. After careful (though erratic) research and preparation, Zagig returned to the Fading Land and transported the moai in which Fraz' had been imprisoned to the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk. He placed it prominently on the tenth level, where it has remained to confound adventurers ever since.
Scholars of Zagig have postulated that this unnamed Fading Land inspired his creation of the demiplane ruled by Oonga, known to Tenser, Robilar, and others as the Isle of the Ape. Some of Zagig's surviving research notes, as decoded by similar scholars, speculate that the Fading Land did not imprison Fraz', but instead somehow transformed him into the moai, and that the hundreds of other moai of the Fading Land may in fact be similarly transformed creatures. How Zagig escaped imprisonment and/or transformation while within the Fading Land remains unknown.
The Rod of Absolution
Description: This highly ornamented rod stands 12'10" tall in its natural state, although it can fluctuate in height from 5' to 55' tall. It is fashioned from an unknown metal that is steely-rust red in hue. The Rod has a large central "window" of empty space, which depicts a strange star-scape, random Abyssal layers, etc. unless commanded otherwise. Surrounding the window are sorcerous runes of shifting silver, lavender, steel-blue, and copper. Crowning the window are two horns of the same metal, lacquered black in hue. Between the horns is a spiked headpiece. The main length of the metallic rod consists of a series of horns, twisted bodies, leering skulls, etc., which end in an 20" long, face-like spike.
History: The Rod of Absolution was forged aeons ago by the Lord of Deception, Fraz-Urb'luu. It is not known how or where he forged this artifact, but scholars believe the metal to be indigenous to one of the myriad of false planes which Fraz' has created and destroyed; Gresil refers to the metal as illusium.
Fraz' named the rod as a cruel joke---the word absolution is derived from the word absolve---to forgive---while the Lord of Deceit granted the Rod power over absolutes. Over the aeons, Fraz' has allowed the Rod to pass into mortal worlds, there to wreak havoc what havoc it can. Several alternate names have therefore been attached to it, including The Reality Shaper (in Ilryx, doomed to be forgotten), The World Tree (among the Phyraghians, who disappeared into realms of the Rod's creation), and the Blackstaff (the ceremonial staff of Olvadiz I, the final Emperor of Blackmoor).
Powers and Functions
The Rod of Absolution is a tool of creation and deception. As such, it commands subjective realities by altering them to conform to its wielder's desires.
The following number among its known abilities, which are usable at will; none have charges.
Weapon and Defense Functions
- the window may be employed to scry and transport as a mirror of mental prowess (the window enlarges to allow the passage of up to Large-sized creatures to the depicted world); the window does not usually allow two-way passage, although it may do so upon command
- the window may act as a conduit for planar energies and/or matter (this is essentially the same function as above, with non-living matter)
- using the Rod, a wielder may create planes, demiplanes, gates, and similar structures; such creations will have a measure of permanence and depth of reality according to the power of the Rod's wielder (Fraz' has been known to boost a wielder's power in order to wreak additional havoc, as with the Phyraghian Exodus, for example); the specifics of this function remain hidden, however
- the Rod is a +6 multi-planar weapon, and strikes as a two-handed sword for 1-12 points of damage (plus Strength bonus, if any), assuming that it is Medium-sized (5-7' tall); in its natural state, it causes 2-24 points of damage, and at its maximum dimensions the Rod causes 5-60 points of damage (which is the size that Fraz' typically employs)
- displacement may be created at will, in any number of creatures, who must touch or be touched by the Rod; instances of permanent displacement have been known to occur (whether intentionally or as a side effect of wielding the Rod remains unknown)
- Murlynd's Void may be cast thrice per day; the Rod and its caster remain immune to its effects so long as the staff is firmly grounded and retains a grip on the Rod)
- reverse gravity may be cast daily, with caster immunity as above
- many further powers are attributed to this fell device, including beguilement and rulership
- a few sages of artifacts and relics have grouped the Rod of Absolution together with the other Talismans of the Lost Gods (including the Cloak, Brooch, and Tiara of the Lost Gods); it seems unlikely that Fraz' has any relationship to those hidden figures, and that the speculation seems spurrious at best
- no methods of destruction for the Rod exist; reliable records from the reign of Olvadiz I exist which describe a Sphere of Annihilation passing through the Rod and leaving it unharmed and/or the Sphere being gated away
For a visual reference for the Rod of Absolution, see Philippe Druillet's Elric le Necromancien (or the image on this web page http://espanol.geocities.com/azatothcl/druillet/druillet1.jpg). Note that the image doesn't seem to work unless you cut and paste the URL into a new browser window (this problem exists in both IE and Netscape).
First Edition Stats for Fraz-Urb'luu follow, and I may update them to Third Edition (but probably not anytime soon). Several of his psionic powers are from Dragon 78 (October 1983) articles on the Deryni and the Psionicist, and also from psionics rules developed by my old DM (Allen Ruch) and I. If you don't use psionics (and I don't either anymore), be sure to add equivalent magical powers to Fraz's spells-at-will repertoire.
Frequency: Unique (Very, Very Rare)
No. Appearing: 1
Armor Class: -8
Move: 15"/18" (MC:D)
Hit Dice: 233 Hit Points (52 HD)
% in Prison: 100% [ha!]
Treasure Type: Nil
No. of Attacks: 3 and 1; or 1 and 1
Damage/Attack: 11-22/11-22 by claws/fists (d10+12), 12-26 by bite (2d6+10), and 8-19 by tail slash (1-12+7) or 13-32 by tail thrust (1-20+12); or, by weapon +12 and by tail
Special Attacks: Items struck must save vs. Crushing Blow or be destroyed; see below
Special Defenses: +4 or better weapon to hit; imaging; see below
Magic Resistance: 89% and see below
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Size: 37 feet tall, 114' wingspan (L)
Psionic Ability: 386
Attacks: Archetype Devolution, Cognitive Paralysis, Chronomimetic Assassin, Ego Alienation, Ego Whip, Id Insinuation, Memory Flood, Mind Thrust, Psychic Chameleon, Psychic Crush, Psionic Blast, Schemata Disruption, Stochastic Pulse
Level/XP Value: XI/I can't count that high
Defenses: Cognate Barrier, Ego Collapse, Id Mask, Libidic Fugue, Mind Blank, Mnemonic Wall, Neuronic Echo, Shadow Mask, Thought Shield, Tower of Iron Will
Devotions: Lights (1st), Molecular Rearrangement (26th), Sensory Deprivation (22nd), Dream Visions (28th), Precognition (17th)
Sciences: Light Manipulation (32nd), Mental Surgery (20th), Rapport (32nd)
Arts: Amplification (15th), Wards (19th)
Gift: Limited Omniscience (16th)
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Firstborn, demon, Zagig