The greatest and most terrible of devils are the archdevils of Hell, powerful scions of law and evil, subtle and sophisticated demigods who each rule one of the eight vast planes of torment that form the layers of Hell. Each archdevil is a unique creature, and each fits into a specific role in the cosmic chain of corruption and oppression that devils use to bind the cosmos to their will. The first archdevils rose to power soon after their lord Asmodeus claimed Hell as his realm. Asmodeus has guided the rise of other archdevils, sometimes directly creating them as he did Belial and Mephistopheles. Others are older beings who pledged their allegiance to Asmodeus during heavenly rebellions, like Baalzebul and Dispater. Asmodeus has even been known, when in need of additional loyal viceroys, to grant archdevildom to creatures outside the diabolic race, as in the case of ascended mysteries like Barbatos and Geryon.
Below the ranks of true archdevils are Hell’s infernal dukes. These infernal nobles have the potential for power equal to some of the archdevils, but without a layer of Hell under their rule, they cannot truly be counted the equal of an archdevil. An infernal duke can rise in power by gaining class levels, advancing in Hit Dice, gaining mythic ranks, undertaking a vile ritual, amassing a sufficiently large and devoted following, or, rarely, at the leave of their blasphemous lords. However, until Asmodeus sees fit to award an infernal duke its own layer of Hell (to replace a fallen archdevil or one being punished via demotion to infernal duke), such a devil is not itself an archdevil. It should be noted that as scions of law, infernal dukes and archdevils remain loyal to Asmodeus and Hell, though they might resort to trickery and subterfuge to bolster their own resources and reputations.
Those who are not loyal are quickly and inevitably revealed as traitors and punished accordingly by the Prince of Darkness.
An archdevil can be contacted via commune or contact other plane, and can be conjured via a gate spell, but when so called, an archdevil is under no compulsion to come through the gate. Typically, an archdevil requires an enormous and significant offering or sacrifice before it deigns to answer a gate spell.
The Layers of Hell
Each archdevil rules one of the eight upper layers of Hell, with infernal dukes ruling fiefdoms within it. These layers are immense in size and composed of hundreds or even thousands of smaller subdomains, each of which may be the size of a continent or as small as a strange and secret city. The environments, themes, and traits of each layer are as unique as the archdevils themselves and can shift and change in response to the mood and intention of its archdevil master.
An archdevil does not exert total control over its realm, though, and powerful adventurers can infiltrate a layer and accomplish various goals without arousing the anger of its archdevil overlord—if they are careful.
An archdevil gains the following additional powers while in its realm (the statistics presented on the following pages do not include these abilities):
- Mythic: An archdevil functions as a 10th-rank mythic creature, including having the mythic power ability (10/day, surge +1d12). It can expend uses of mythic power to use the mythic versions of any spell-like ability denoted with a superscript “M,” as if the ability were a mythic spell.
- Use of the following spell-like abilities at will—demand, discern location, fabricate, major creation, and polymorph any object (when used on objects or creatures that are native to the realm, the polymorph duration factor increases by 6).
- Use of the following spell-like abilities once per day:
Heightened Awareness (Ex)
Archdevils In A Campaign
Each archdevil is a unique creature ranging in power from CR 26 to CR 30. Their CRs have no impact on their standing or influence in Hell’s hierarchy. Between raw power, ingenious contingencies, and legions of servants, Asmodeus’s deputies share roughly similar potential for nefariousness and ruin. In any case, archdevils are generally beyond the reach of most mortal heroes, and should not be placed in an adventure without careful consideration.
In most cases, they are best used as the final enemies of a long campaign—especially campaigns in which the PCs themselves are mythic characters—and even getting an audience with one should be a memorable event.
Yet while archdevils are beyond the abilities of most heroes to combat directly, they are perfect puppet masters and masterminds, inspiring and directing monsters, mortals, and entire cults at every level of a campaign.
Halting a sinister ritual to unleash an archdevil on the world is a classic capstone, allowing a brief encounter with the archdevil and its minions before the ritual is halted and the archdevil forced back to Hell. Alternatively, the heroes can work to destroy an archdevil’s resources, imposing increasing penalties on it and gathering potent weapons to use against it, allowing PCs to face the archdevil at a diminished CR or with negative levels (even though they are normally immune to negative levels) to represent its reduced power… until the archdevil can rebuild and recover its strength.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 6 © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Robert Brookes, Benjamin Bruck, John Compton, Paris Crenshaw, Adam Daigle, Crystal Frasier, James Jacobs, Thurston Hillman, Tim Hitchcock, Brandon Hodge, Jason Keeley, Isabelle Lee, Jason Nelson, Tim Nightengale, F. Wesley Schneider, David Schwartz, Mark Seifter, Todd Stewart, Josh Vogt, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.