The sixth plane of the Nine Hells is ruled by Baalzebul through his viceroy (hand of authority) Moloch (Baalzebul’s own abode is not on this plane). Moloch is continually ordered about by his lord and watched by the tribune Bileth, for Baalzebul fears that to allow the Grand Duke to rest undisturbed here for long would enable him to somehow wrest control of Malbolge from the Lord of the Flies.
An outsider might well wonder why Moloch would want to rule such a place, for nothing grows in Malbolge. It is a plane of craggy, tumbled black stone and ash, filled with stinking vapors, smokes, fire pits, and huge caves and caverns. The air is always hot and choking, and intruders will find that anything flammable remaining in contact with the ground for more than 30 seconds (such as dry wood, paper, hair, dry cloth, and the like) must save versus (normal) fire or burst into flames. Any such substances that are almost continually in contact with the ground (e.g., the soles of boots) must save at the end of every other turn.
Malbolge is a noisy place, populated by tormented lemures, Malebranche, and occasional spined and styx devils, all of whom suffer at the hands of the cruel Baalzebul (who delights in torture), upon his visits, and the almost equally cruel Moloch. Both delight in the torture and disfigurement of devils, so many of the lesser devils found on this plane will hate them to the point of agreeing to active rebellion (if such an effort seems likely to succeed), and such devils are likely to be missing an arm or leg, or be suffering a similar sort of infirmity, as a result of the amusements of the Grand Duke and his master.
Malbolge is continually patrolled by pairs of Malebranche who report to their commander, the pit fiend Bethage; to the legate Tartach; or to Moloch himself (or to Baalzebul, if the Lord of the Flies is present). Intruders are always brought alive to the horned devils’ commander for torment and questioning (or the Malebranche patrol themselves will suffer in the intruders’ place). Few intruders escape, and fewer still are allowed to live for any length of time, for Baalzebul jealously grasps and guards all power and knowledge that he can, seeking to keep it from other archdevils (particularly Mephistopheles and Asmodeus), so as to eventually gain the power to rule all of the hells.
Moloch moves with his consort Lilith from fortress to fortress of the Malebranche upon Baalzebul’s orders (usually brought by the herald Neabaz). Tartach is Moloch’s deputy and ambassador to the vassal dukes and to visitors, and Bileth is the tribune installed by Baalzebul as a watchdog upon Moloch and others who would take control of the plane. Baalzebul finds it a continual struggle to retain two planes under his own sway, in a diabolic society where all are ambitious and there are not enough planes to go around. All of the vassals and assistants to Moloch, including Lilith, are regarded as loyal to Baalzebul, although Tartach and Lilith (who feel largely powerless in the current regime) might support a strong bid to seize Malbolge by another arch-devil.
The defensive forces of Malbolge consist of nine companies of Malebranche under the command of the pit fiend Bethage, and sixteen companies of bone devils led by the pit fiend Herobaal.