D&Demons - A Rough Guide to the Abyss
Date: Sat, November 05, 2005
Topic: Beyond Oerth

The Infinite Layers of the Abyss. No listing is then possible of every layer. Scholars (to be polite) have, however, delved deep into the depths of the deparvity that is the Abyss. So. Put on your holy symbol. Tuck in your inhibitions. Roll up your sleeves. And say your prayers. A roll call of the layers of the Abyss awaits. Nearly 100 "officially" named layers guaranteed to flay the flesh from you bones, sear your soul and pop the gooey goodness from your eyeballs! Express elevator, going DOWN!

D&Demons - A Rough Guide to the Abyss
By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
Posted with permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

The following is a simple listing, drawn from a number of published sources. It is a list of the known and named layers of the Abyss. Canon has been followed as nearly as possible but several caveats are in order.

Canon in the day and age of the Third Edition of D&D is more various than it has ever been. Where once TSR and later Wotc controlled canon D&D materials almost exclusively, with the advent of the Third Edition of D&D and the Open Gaming License, third parties may now add to canon. They may add to at least that canon common to D&D, if not Greyhawk specifically. The following list looks to this broader canon but includes TSR and Wotc canon materials, as well.

In the following listing, no nameless realms are included. A number of layers of the Abyss are variously described in a number of sources but are not named, nor their ruler, if any, identified. These are not included.

In alternative cases, a layer of the Abyss may be named, and perhaps even its is ruler identified, but its number is not identified. In such cases, an attempt has been made to determine the layer number if there are any clues given in that plane’s description or in the description of another plane making reference to the plane in question. Resort has also been had to actual mythological references in the case of demons drawn from such sources or identifiably so, where such references may suggest correspondences between known demons that can be translated into approximate "layers." This same methodology has been applied to some of the more elusive "game demons," as well. In other words, sometimes resort is had to guesswork, hopefully educated. This is particularly the case with a number of Greyhawk specific layers.

Finally, the lower planes are a source of infinite curiosity and fascination for any number of players and publishers who have or will continue to add numbered layers to the Abyss. This list, perhaps any list, cannot be entirely complete. Ever.

Layer No. 1 - The Plain of Infinite Portals/The Wasteland of Gates/Pazunia
Ruler - Pazuzu
Notes - The first layer of the Abyss is variously given the three names above. Pazuzu is also noted as the ruler of 503rd Layer of the Abyss - Torremor.

Layer No. 2 - Driller’s Hive
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 3 - The Forgotten Land
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 4 - The Grand Abyss
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 5 - Wormblood
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 6 - The Realm of a Million Eyes
Ruler - The Great Mother
Notes - This is the principle realm of the beholder mother deity.

Layer No. 7 - The Phantom Plane
Ruler - Sess’inik

Layer No. 8 - The Skin-Shredder
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 9 - The Burning Water
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 10 - The Hellhole
Ruler - Unknown
Notes - The name of this layer is odd for a layer of the Abyss but suggests a connection to the Nine Hells.

Layer No. 11 - Molrat
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 12 - The Twelve Trees
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 13 - The Blood Tor
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 14 - The Jagged Tor of Final Reckoning
Ruler - Gamigin

Layer No. 23 - The Ice Wastes/The Iron Wastes/Tschyrtolikya
Ruler - Kostchtchie
Notes - Kostchtchie’s realm is variously given the three names above.

Layer No. 24 - Elenur/The Elemental Wastes
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 25 - Ic’vnign/The Swarming Jungle
Ruler - I’tkk’chavni

Layer No. 26 - Necrodus
Ruler - Uruhz

Layer No. 27 - Malignebula
Ruler - Lissa’aere

Layer No. 28 - Zahhak
Ruler - Unknown(?)
Notes - An interesting "layer of confluence," Zahhak is arguably referenced in three widely variant sources and is assigned this layer pending more in depth research.

Layer No. 29 - Maldinach/The Desert of Broken Bones
Ruler - Azazel
Notes - This layer has two alternative names.

Layer No. 30 - The Shadow Fortress
Ruler - Iyaviht

Layer Nos. 45/46/47 - Azzagrat
Ruler - Grazzt
Notes - Once Grazzt was noted as the only demon prince to control more than a single layer. While he still is the only demon prince to control three layers, arguably Pazuzu (1st and 503rd) and Lolth (65th and 66th) each control two layers and Lolth might control three (64th, 65th and 66th) as well. If deific beings are to be counted, Kali also controls two layers, the 500th and the 643rd, while Urdlen is said to control both the 339th and the 399th layers.

Layer No. 57 - The Torturous Truth
Ruler - Alvarez

Layer No. 58 - Sraosha
Ruler - Azidahaka

Layer No. 63 - The Final Highway
Ruler - Seere

Layer Nos. 65/66 - The Demonweb Pits
Ruler - Lolth
Notes - Lolth is variously noted as ruling both the 65th and 66th layers of the Abyss. It is suggested that she may also rule the 64th layer, which is noted only as that adjacent and prescendent to the 65th layer. There is a further suggestion that the presumptive 64th layer may be contained or "impacted" within the 65th layer.

Layer No. 67 - The Heaving Hills
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 68 - The Soaking Canyon of Malignancy
Ruler - Marbas

Layer No. 69 - The Crushing Plain
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 70 - The Ice Floe
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 71 - Spirac
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 72 - Darklight
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 73 - The Wells of Darkness
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 74 - Smargard
Ruler - Merrshaulk/Ramenos
Notes - The 74th layer is variously said to be ruled by the first two aforementioned beings. The 74th layer is also one of two "yuan-ti" layers, the other being the 111th layer.

Layer No. 75 - Kolopan
Ruler - Vespar

Layer No. 88 - The Brine Flats/The Gaping Maw
Ruler - Demogorgon
Notes - Demogorgon’s realms is known by the foregoing two alternative names.

Layer No. 99 - The Sea of Screams
Ruler - Unknown
Notes - The 99th layer is particularly chaotic and is reported to contain a number of subrealms or demi-layers. See generally discussion of Layer Nos. 65 and 66 and the possible "impacted" 64th layer.

Layer No. 110 - Charnalhome
Ruler - Shax

Layer No. 111 - The Mind of Evil
Ruler - Sch’theraqpasstt
Notes - This is one of two "yuan-ti" layers and likely the original, with the 74th layer and Merrshaulk coming into existence after Sch’theraqpasstt’s failed attempt at ultimate power.

Layer No. 113 - Thanatos
Ruler - Orcus
Notes - Orcus in his complex history has gained, lost and regained Thanatos. He is also reputed to have controlled other layers, in one guise or manner or another, which are not named.

Layer No. 128 - Slugbed
Ruler - Lupercio

Layer No. 176 - Hollow’s Heart
Ruler - Fraz-Urb’luu
Notes - Fraz-Urb’luu has, at times, been deposed as the ruler of this layer.

Layer No. 180 - Restarion/The Rotting Palace
Ruler - Sabnach

Layer No. 181 - The Rotting Plane
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 182 - Duidan
Ruler - Behemoth

Layer No. 222 - The Slime Pits/The Amoebic Sea/Shedaklah
Ruler - Juiblex/Zuggtmoy
Notes - Both Juiblex and Zuggtmoy are said to rule this plane that is variously given the foregoing three names. It seems more likely that Zuggtmoy’s realm is otherwise. See Layer 223.

Layer No. 223 - Mycorgi
Ruler - Zuggtmoy
Notes - See Layer No. 222.

Layer No. 274 - Durao
Ruler - Unknown

Layer 297 - The Sighing Cliffs
Ruler - Lynkhab

Layer No. 302 - The Bloodpyre Fields
Ruler - Flauros

Layer No. 303 - Sulfanorum
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 304 - The Battlefield
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 305 - Jahklout
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 306 - The Eternal Lists
Ruler - Eligor

Layer No. 307 - The Festival Everlasting
Ruler - Ipos

Layer No. 308 - The Cathedral Thelemic
Ruler - Socothbenoth

Layer No. 309 - Ablimikarn/The Evershifting Vale
Ruler - Nocticula
Note - This layer has two alternative names.

Layer No. 313 - Illssender’s Realm
Ruler - Illssender

Layer No. 330 - The Plateau
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 331 - The Jungles
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 332 - The Layer of the Hunt
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 333 - Mezzafgraduun
Ruler - The Abat-dolor
Notes - This plain is home to the Abat-Dolor and has been variously held by Graz’zt and Elazalag.

Layer No. 334 - The Cyanic Fens
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 339 - The Worm Realm (I)
Ruler - Urdlen
Notes - Urdlen is said to also control the 399th layer, also known as the Worm Realm.

Layer No. 348 - The Fortress of Indifference
Ruler - Tapheon

Layer No. 366 - Ojukalazogadit
Ruler - Ojukalazogadit
Note - This is a sentient plane.

Layer No. 377 - The Plains of Gallenshu
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 397 (399) - Iyondagur
Ruler - Elazalag
Notes - Iyondagur is named the 399th layer, which conflicts with Urdlen’s control of The Worm Realm, also identified as the 399th layer. A compromise suggests that Iyondagur is the 397th layer, the nearest "open" layer and then recognizing the primacy of "IP holder" canon." If Urdlen is said to erroneously hold the 399th layer, but only the 339th, then there is no difficulty acknowledging the 399th layer as Iyondagur. This may be the most workable solution.

Layer No. 398 - Shaddonon
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 399 - The Worm Realm (II)
Ruler - Urdlen
Notes - Urdlen is said to also control the 339th layer, also known as the Worm Realm.

Layer No. 400 - Woeful Escarand
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 403 - The Rainless Waste
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 422 - Yeenoghu’s Realm
Ruler - Yeenoghu
Note - Yeenoghu has at times been deposed as the ruler of this layer.

Layer No. 489 - The Noisome Vale
Ruler - Tarnhem
Notes - Much like Orcus and Sch’theraqpasstt, Tarnhem has been, in the past, defeated and at certain points in time has lost control of the 489th layer.

Layer No. 499 - Carroristo
Ruler - Unknown

Layer No. 500 - Kali’s Realm
Ruler - Kali
Notes - Kali is also said to control the 643rd layer.

Layer No. 503 - Torremor
Ruler - Pazuzu (Pazrael)
Notes - Pazuzu is also noted to rule the 1st layer of the Abyss. He rules the 503rd layer at times as Pazrael in an attempt to confuse those aware of his true name.

Layer No. 586 - The Prison of the Mad God
Ruler - Diinkarazan

Layer No. 587 - The Landless Aerie
Ruler - Decarabia

Layer No. 588 - Cerebulim/The Hermetic Horizon
Ruler - Haagenti

Layer No. 599 - The Caves of Chaos
Ruler - Anarazel

Layer No. 600 - The Endless Maze/Shubgottia
Ruler - Bahomet
Notes - Bahomet’s realm is known by both of the foregoing names.

Layer No. 601 - Conflagratum
Ruler - Alzrius

Layer No. 643 - The Caverns of the Skull God
Ruler - Kali
Notes - Kali also rules the 500th layer of the Abyss.

Layer No. 663 - Dizalakine
Ruler - Raum

Layer No. 664 - The Terminal Archive
Ruler - Astaroth

Layer No. 665 - Pleroma
Ruler - Abraxas

Layer No. 666 - The Bottomless Pit
Ruler - Abaddon

Author’s End Note

This list is neither exhaustive nor authoritative (nor does it pretend to be) to the degree that a number of layers, perhaps a third, have been assigned a number that either suggested itself or was figured by reference to other material.

The following sources were principally referenced in compiling this list:
The Book of Fiends (Green Ronin)
The Book of Vile Darkness (Wizards of the Coast)
Faces of Evil - The Fiends (TSR)
Gord the Rogue Series (TSR and New Infinities)
Hellbound - The Bloodwar (TSR)
The Manual of the Planes (1st Edition TSR and 3rd Edition Wizards of the Coast)
The Mines of Bloodstone (TSR)
The Monster Manuals (TSR and Wotc)
Planes of Chaos (TSR)
Planescape Campaign Setting (TSR)
Slayers Guide to Demons (Mongoose)
Tales of the Outer Planes (TSR)
The Throne of Bloodstone (TSR)
Zahhak (Mongoose)

With the exception of the Bloodstone modules and Faces of Evil, which are "collectables" of one stripe or another, all of these products are generally available.

Some more esoteric sources of official D&D demons have been intentionally excluded because they raise issues requiring too much explanation. Two such sources (The Fiend Factory demons from the UK and the Infernus/Infernum grouping of products) may be dealt with in separate articles that can look at their unique peculiarities. Quasi-official sources for D&D demons include Lou Zocchi’s Gamescience demon products, those of Judges Guild, those of the Arduin Grimore and some even more obscure titles from the early days of D&D when TSR granted licenses or "approvals" for D&D products or did not immediately bring suit against infringements of its IP claiming to be "official," at least not before the products saw print. All of these may warrant articles to fit their demons into a grand picture of D&Demons but all are sourced from "collectable" products that are not readily available.

In addition to the foregoing, there are numerous books from d20 and OGL publishers that deal with demons somewhat directly or incidentally. In the latter case, any number of TSR products make mention of a demon here or there, as well. These products have been excluded for a variety of reasons, often because I have not settled on how they should be finally fit into my conception of D&Demons.

The above list is the present "baseline" that I use in my Greyhawk campaign, edited as noted, supra, to stick to material everyone can get a hold of should they wish to do so and which makes reasonable sense.

Some may ask why no descriptions of the layers have been added. Space is one consideration. The other is that many layers are nothing more than a name.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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