Table of Contents
Unlike the infinite layers of the abyss, across many Material Planes, the notion of ‘evil’ often exists as an elusive abstraction, a subjective puzzle challenging the philosophies and ethics that shape countless worlds. Here, evil is not always an unambiguous force; rather, it takes form through the complex interplay of actions, intentions, and consequences.
Creatures of malevolence walk among us, casting shadows of varying darkness across the lands. Some of these beings, like the conniving necromancers or bloodthirsty assassins, are admittedly difficult to redeem in the eyes of society. Yet even in their vile pursuits, they retain a shard of understandable humanity—a sliver of relatability that, paradoxically, makes them all the more unsettling.
Take, for instance, the marauding orcish hordes, their tusks stained with the blood of their enemies. On the surface, they appear as the epitome of destructive savagery, a walking embodiment of unchecked violence. Yet delve deeper, and you’ll discover a tribal society operating on its own code of honor and hierarchy. It’s a distorted mirror reflecting our own concepts of pride, kinship, and even the elemental need for sustenance. Their war cries may be fearsome, their acts unforgivable, but they’re motivated by the same basic drives that fuel all sentient life: the pursuit of prosperity, the protection of kin, and the unyielding will to survive.
Even vampires, those ageless predators who hunt the night, are not merely monsters. In many instances, they were once humans who loved and lost, who made fateful decisions—often out of desperation—that forever damned them. Their insatiable thirst for blood, a cruel curse, compels them to acts of horror, yet deep within their eternal night lurks the tragedy of a life that once was. They are simultaneously victim and villain, a complex duality that challenges our black-and-white definitions of evil.
So, tread carefully, who seek to explore or exploit the Abyss. It is not just a realm; it is a living testament to the farthest extremes of existence, a twisted monument to all that should not be but horrifyingly is. Whether you’re a wayward adventurer or a scholar of the dark arts, know that the Abyss does not discriminate. It hungers for all.
As you journey through the endlessly complex labyrinth of the Material Planes, bear in mind that the concept of ‘evil’ is far from a singular, unchanging monolith. It is rather a convoluted tapestry woven from the threads of cultural norms, individual agency, and the haunting questions that plague our existential existence. The very notion of evil is like a prismatic jewel, multi-faceted and ever-changing, catching and refracting light in ways that can both dazzle and disturb.
Within this fractured gemstone, the boundary between right and wrong doesn’t run in a straight line but meanders unpredictably, creating a perilous landscape that challenges our moral compass at every turn. It’s a quagmire of ethical quicksand, where the footing is treacherously uncertain and the route ahead far from clear. One misstep, one misguided choice, can plunge you into shadowy depths from which there is no easy escape.
And it’s here, on this precarious moral terrain, that you are forced to confront not just the grotesque abominations that roam the external world, but also the sinister recesses of your own inner psyche. You meet the haunting specters of your own fears, the chilling echo of your own potential for darkness. For it’s in the face of complex evil that we discover our own vulnerabilities, our own capacity for malevolence, and the frightening reality that we, too, are players in this grand, unsettling drama of good and evil.
So as you navigate these multifaceted realms, ponder the complexities and nuances that give ‘evil’ its disturbing yet intriguing character. Remember that understanding the true nature of malevolence isn’t about drawing lines but about navigating a labyrinth—a labyrinth where the walls are constantly shifting, and where the exit may well be a deeper entry into the maze of our own souls.
Evil Manifestation of Energy
In the Abyss, evil is a manifest energy that permeates the very fabric of the plane. This is the evil of demons and other fiends, creatures born of pure hatred, bile, disgust, wrath, and other foul thoughts pushed to the extreme, and the layers of their plane spin into infinity. How many layers are truly in the Abyss? Some planar scholars point to the number 666 as having special significance, but deeper layers have been discovered.
Each layer of the Abyss offers a unique twist on death, pain, torment, suffering, and so much more. Some layers are filled with lakes of acid, while others are endless wastes of black or red sand that strip flesh from bone. Layers with skies filled with burning fire, toxic fumes, plumes of rancid smoke, or flesh-stripping fog have been documented, along with jungles of living vipers, salt bogs that bake under a relentless heat, and jagged mountains of living hate-filled ice.
If there’s a home for chaos and evil in the Outer Planes, it lives in the Abyss.
Natives of the Abyss
The natives of the Abyss are the demons, known far and wide across the multiverse for their endless taste
for savagery, conquest, and blood. These creatures are spawned seemingly at random across all layers of the Abyss in a great cosmic game of chance – a demon spawned is that demon forever. Some are created as titanic engines of abyssal fury, while others form the lowest mobs of gibbering monstrous hordes.
Ruling over the teeming demonic masses are the demon lords. These beings have clawed, fought, killed, and maimed their way to rule one or more layers, attaining some level of control and fealty over the chaotic realm. Many of these demon lords are remnants of some primordial order buried deep in the twisted pits of the Abyss’ foulest layers, while still others have come to the Abyss to rule. Many more are simple bestial aspects of the demons’ own depraved nature, offering little in terms of strategy or decision-making and focusing instead on insatiable desires.
Ancient sorcery and the foulest of blood magic rites can be learned from the right demons, so it is not uncommon for a spellcaster to summon one of these creatures from the Abyss to serve as teacher or spy. Adding to certain planar barriers enacted around many Material Plane worlds preventing direct demonic incursion and the result is a whole host of creatures that have learned the ways of mortal beings. Some twist and manipulate, others corrupt and destroy, but their goal is always the same – to break free and spill chaos and death across the multiverse.
Wage War on Hell
The call to arms resounds, not in celestial halls or on the battlefields of mortal realms, but in the sulfurous canyons and infernal chambers of Hell itself. For the demons of the Abyss and their terrifying overlords find themselves locked in a ceaseless and malevolent struggle with an enemy as unlikely as it is formidable—the devils of the Nine Hells. This eternal and catastrophic clash is known by a name that chills the very marrow of any who hear it: the Blood War.
It’s a contest of damned souls, wicked intellects, and cosmic ambitions, with the devils and their infernal princes employing an arsenal of strategy, cunning, and sheer force to keep the demonic fury confined mostly within the chaotic expanse of the Abyss. Yet make no mistake: this containment is not born out of some misplaced sense of honor or duty, for these are concepts as alien to devils as mercy is to demons.
Rather, the denizens of Hell act out of a chilling pragmatism, keenly aware that they have just as much to lose in this unholy war as any other beings in the multiverse. If the seething, uncontrollable tidal wave of demonic malevolence were to break free and crash against the shores of existence, the aftermath would spell calamity not just for mortal worlds but for the infernal hierarchies of Hell itself.
Imagine then, the apocalyptic scale of this war, where not just souls, but entire planes of existence hang in the balance. Each diabolical strategy that succeeds, each demonic assault that is repelled, is but a minor note in a dissonant symphony of universal peril. It’s a battle with no heroes, only varying shades of villains, each as desperate as the other to ensure their own vile survival by keeping the Abyss at bay.
So when you hear the term “Wage war on Hell,” understand the profound irony and futility embedded in those words. The war is already waged, and the stakes are as high as the heavens are distant. Hell wars against itself, and in doing so, prevents an even greater chaos from swallowing us all whole—a grim reminder that even in the deepest pits of malevolence, the enemy of my enemy may well be the only thing keeping an even greater evil at bay.
You may want to continue reading about Hell.