“Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long years
Stole million man’s soul and faith.”
-The Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil
One of the oldest entities in existence, Asmodeus is the most powerful of the Archdevils of Hell. He is so powerful that he has arisen to be a god.
He is a major enemy to the forces of Good and Light, seeking to establish dominance over all of creation.
He is an evil creature who delights in the use of force to dominate the weak and enslave all those under him.
That is not to say he is a cartoon villain though. Asmodeus works on a very long timeline and prefers to wait and see rather than act rashly.
Asmodeus Deific Lore
One of the problems when looking into the Lore of Asmodeus is that most of what is known about his history and power comes from his followers, and those followers are not necessarily a trustworthy lot.
It is known that Asmodeus is one of the oldest deities in existence, and his worship is almost just as old.
Asmodeus is Lawful Evil and detests chaos with a passion.
The symbol of Asmodeus is a red pentagram. His sacred animal is the serpent. His favored weapon is the mace. His favored colors are black and red.
At first, they were just motes of power floating in an infinite abyss. Slowly, as other beings came into existence, these two first motes became sentient and then cognizant. One created language. This was Ihys. The other created the meaning behind that language. This was Asmodeus.
These first motes became the gods we now know in Golarion. Together, they began to create reality as we know it. They sculpted the heavens, the earth, and all the fundamental laws of reality.
Ihys then changed everything when he created mortals and the concept of souls and worship. He then gave these mortals free will.
This gift of free will created a schism in the gods. Asmodeus saw free will as introducing chaos and disorder into a system that was based fundamentally on law.
Ihys, on the other hand, believed that true good could only come from mortal souls choosing to do good things rather than being forced to do good.
This argument erupted into a war with the gods split on either side of the conflict of Order vs. Chaos. Asmodeus and Ihys met for the last time on the field of battle where Asmodeus slew his brother with his great spear while at the same time offering his hand in brotherhood.
This was the first act of treachery in the Multiverse.
Despite his victory and kin-slaying, Asmodeus felt sorrow for his brother’s death. He decided to let his brother’s dream of free will remain with mortals, but he erected his own realm of order, law, and absolute control: Hell.
When the monstrous god Rovagug threatened to destroy creation, Asmodeus stepped in along with the other deities to combat the creature and seal it away at the heart of the world.
It is said in the Concordance of Rivals that when the End Times come for Golarion, Asmodeus will unleash Rovagug in one last act of defiance against the other gods. In doing so, all will be destroyed, and only Groetus, the god of the End, will remain.
Asmodeus has the ability to take on any appearance he chooses and uses this ability for much of his mischief-making.
When depicted in art, he is often seen as a statuesque humanoid devil with red skin, horns, cloven hooves, and long black hair.
He is often depicted as carrying a contract in one hand and his Ruby Mace in the other, though sometimes the mace can take the form of a rod or a staff.
There is a different form he can take as well, which some believe is his true form.
It is much like his artistic representation, except more twisted and corrupted by evil. In this form, he bleeds ceaselessly from unhealing wounds. These wounds are said to be injuries inflicted on him by Ihys before his death.
All of Hell is the plane of Asmodeus, for he is its shaper and king. The whole plane is his dominion. Mostly he keeps to the lower level, Nessus, choosing to allow his subordinate fiends and devils to enact his will in the upper layers.
Deep in Nessus is his hall, known as Catafalque. No one other than Asmodeus is allowed within the Catafalque. There are many rumors as to what occurs within this hall, but no concrete evidence of what transpires inside has come to light.
Allies and Enemies
As a rule, the other gods of Golarion interact with Asmodeus in as limited a fashion as they can. While he is the easiest of the devils to deal with and the easiest of the evil deities to interact with, his assistance always comes with a price.
For his own part, Asmodeus keeps the other gods and their faiths at arm’s length. They are often only mildly of amusement as they are all just distractions for mortals on their way to the grave.
He gives slightly more respect to other gods of law, but he has an ongoing feud with Irori, the God of Enlightenment. Irori sees Asmodeus as frustrating as his contracts invalidate the hard work of many people.
While the other archdevils of Hell are nominally sworn to serve Asmodeus, they are often scheming against the King of Hell. None have toppled him yet though.
The King of Hell has many servants who follow him. Many devils and fiends follow his philosophy and call him their liege. The infernal dukes of all are all sworn to his service as are many evil mortals who worship him in secret or out in the open.
Asmodeus does have some more specific and specialized servants:
- Hesperians are also known as Accomplice Devils and are Asmodeus’s divine servitor race. They often travel to the material plane to corrupt and tempt mortals into one-sided deals.
- Basileus is Asmodeus’s Herald. He is the Voice of Hell and appears as an unearthly beautiful male humanoid with long blonde hair.
In Golarion, Asmodeus worship is at its strongest among the Chelaxians and their vassal states. This leads to the name Infernal Chelax.
Asmodeus believes the strong should rule over the weak, and those who are weak should accept their masters with steadfast obedience.
He is the ruler of contracts and negotiation, always seeking to use words to gain the most advantageous position.
Strict discipline must be adhered to at all times with unwavering devotion from all those who serve the King of Hell.
Edicts: Negotiate contracts to your best advantage, rule tyrannically and torture weaker beings, show subservience to your betters
Anathema: Break a contract, free a slave, insult Asmodeus by showing mercy to your enemies
Those who follow Asmodeus are often those who are in power: nobles, judges, and bureaucrats. Those who hold power and choose to lord it above those under them and who seek to hold onto that power before anything else are often drawn to the King of Hell’s dogma.
Among non-humans, Kobolds are the most common worshipers of Asmodeus. His dogma appeals to the race, which also believes in the strong ruling the weak through trickery and subterfuge. This also makes them easy to manipulate by other Asmodeans, who use Kobolds as unwitting pawns.
Most clerics of Asmodeus’s church are well dressed with clean-cut styles that show off their wealth without flaunting it wildly. “Old rich” in style.
It is often colored in black and red accents, and during ceremonies, they often adorn themselves with horned helms to emulate their lord.
Amongst the clergy, you will mostly find clerics with a good number of wizards and blackguards rounding out the numbers. Thaumaturgists are in a small minority but are definitely a part of Asmodean worshipers.
The clergy is often called from the rich as Asmodeus’s dogma attracts those with power. Wealth then attracts even more wealth as is the case in most noble societies.
Asmodean clerics are often ordered in strict hierarchies typically based on secular power as well as spiritual power, ensuring those who make decisions for the church are also in the best place to disseminate that to the unknowing populous.
Temples and Shrines
The only place where worship of Asmodeus warrants actual temples is in Chelax where he has grand halls built in his honor. They often contain diabolical motifs and hellish sights.
Sometimes they are even incorporated as part of government or public buildings to enforce the dominance of Asmodeus worship over all.
Outside of Chelax, his worship is much more secretive. Mostly, there might be small shrines built to his honor in secret places amongst the nobility. Secretive clubhouses where only the elite are allowed to congregate are prime places for subtle Asmodean shrines.
Universally, places of Asmodean worship will show the King of Hell in dominance above the other gods and in a position of supremacy above all powers and principles.
In Asmodean worship, there are two texts that can be considered holy:
- The Asmodean Disciplines is the sum total of the doctrines of Asmodean worship for the faithful. It is a massive tome with many supplements and addenda reflecting how old the worship of Asmodeus really is.
- The Asmodean Monograph is an abridged version of the Asmodean Disciplines numbering only 1,000 pages in its length. It focuses on the core truths of Asmodean Worship and is designed for the layman to understand. While it doesn’t have the same depth of knowledge the Disciplines have, it holds nothing back when it comes to hellish names and practices. The Monograph can only be changed under mandate from Hell itself.
Below are listed some options for Players or NPCs to use when they want to connect themselves deeper to the worship of Asmodeus.
It should be noted that the worship of Asmodeus is evil and corrupting to a person’s soul. As a GM, you should be very careful if you allow any of your players to dip into playing as an Asmodean. It has the potential to really derail your campaign.
For the most part, these below magical items and character builds would be better for antagonists rather than player characters.
For obvious reasons, we have separated the mechanics of this section into Pathfinder First Edition and Pathfinder 2nd Edition.
Pathfinder 1st Edition
Below is a list of archetypal builds for Asmodean characters:
Asmodean characters could possibly have these feats:
These magical items are directly related to the worship and service of Asmodeus. These items would be great for NPCs to wield against the player characters or for the Player characters to be on a quest to destroy:
- Altar of Asmodeus
- Half-Plate of the Dark Prince
- Profane Seal Signet
- Hell’s Eye
- Barbed Pentacle of Asmodeus
- Circlet of Persuasion
- Diabolical Masquerade Mask
- Infernal Cord (Greater)
- Hamatulatsu Robe
- Infernal Cord (Normal)
- Pentacle Token
These creatures are directly connected to the Church of Asmodeus and would make powerful antagonists:
Domains and Subdomains
Clerics of Asmodeus have access to the following domains and subdomains:
- Devil (Evil)
- Devil (Law)
- Legislation (Law)
* Requires the Acolyte of Apocrypha trait.
Worshipers of Asmodeus can and will wield these specialized fell magics against the player characters:
- Beguiling Gift
- Burning Gaze
- Infernal Healing
- Infernal Healing, Greater
- Planar Binding
- Shared Sacrifice
- Spellcasting Contract
- Spellcasting Contract, Greater
- Spellcasting Contract, Lesser
- Vision of Hell
Below is a list of traits available to Asmodean characters or characters connected to Asmodeus. It should be noted that players can only have one religious trait for the campaign:
Pathfinder 2nd Edition
Below are options for a character connected to Asmodeus in Pathfinder 2nd edition. Worshipers of Asmodeus are very dangerous, and flirting with hellish powers should never be done lightly:
- Divine Ability: Any, though characters who commit themselves to Asmodeus this way have their souls bound to the Dark Prince for all eternity
- Divine Font: Harm
- Divine Skill: Deception
- Favored Weapon: Mace
- Domains: Confidence, fire, trickery, tyranny
- Alternate Domains: Duty, glyph
- Cleric Spells 1st: charm, 4th: suggestion, 6th: mislead
Even the king of hell cannot freely work on the material plane. Like the gods, he is bound to work with a light and subtle touch, though that is no real trouble for him as Asmodeus works in subtle ways already.
Should a mortal please him, he might offer a boon to help them in future endeavors. Should a mortal follower displease him, he might curse them to force them back onto the “right track.”
Asmodeus tends to offer his gifts to entice those on the precipice of yielding to his vile temptations. His curses come most often in response to those who break contracts in his name or commit other personal insults.
Minor Boon: Pleased by your talent for manipulation, Asmodeus amplifies your skills. Once, when you fail at the Diplomacy check to make a significant or consequential Request, you can cast suggestion on the target of your Request, suggesting the same course of action. This is a divine-innate spell.
Moderate Boon: Your eyes glow red like embers, and your skin takes on a crimson tone. You gain darkvision and fire resistance 5.
Major Boon: Asmodeus helps enforce your bargains and contracts. When a creature enters a bargain or contract with you uncoerced and of its own free will, it can’t voluntarily violate its side of the bargain as long as you uphold your side. You can always choose to violate the bargain yourself, but if you do, the creature is no longer bound to fulfill its part.
Minor Curse: Asmodeus’s flames burn you with great malice. You gain weakness 5 to fire.
Moderate Curse: Asmodeus forces your compliance. You can’t voluntarily back out of an agreement or contract or go back on your word, though you need follow only the letter of the agreement, not the spirit.
Major Curse: Asmodeus has taken note of the chaos you have wrought. You receive an ancient wound that feels older than time itself. You become permanently drained 4, and nothing short of another intercession can remove the condition. Your wound aches fiercely whenever you perform a particularly chaotic act, causing you to become sickened 1.