Loremasters and other scholarly folk always seek information to fill the gaps of their knowledge. With luck and skill, they can discover knowledge that some find useful, but they sometimes find that others believe that the lore they pursue would be best forgotten eternally. The passages below fall into the former category for many who must deal with Abyssal topics in their research and their journeys. Why not take a look and make your own decision on the subjects discussed, though? What harm could it do?
With great pride, we present the "lost" sections of the Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. Use the knowledge contained within these entries in good health.
The following layers bear further discussion due to their cultural, historical, or biological importance to the Abyss. Those seeking more information on these fell locales are urged to consult the Mors Mysterium Nominum, the Black Scrolls of Ahm, or the Demonomicon of Iggwilv.
The Forgotten Land
Layer Number: 3
Centuries ago, some enterprising demon attempted to subvert the flow of the River Styx in a great magical ritual that backfired. The oldest multiversal guides suggest that the Styx once touched upon the layer, but after about 600 years ago such reports fade, replaced by a more lurid tale of demons and mortals alike beset by horrible memory loss, until finally setting foot upon the third layer of the Abyss meant completely giving up all memory and sense of personal identity.
Because numerous pristine cities lie abandoned upon the layer after their forgetful inhabitants starved themselves centuries ago, powerful demon lords such as Graz'zt and Demogorgon often send exploration teams in the form of golems under the control of allied wizards. Rumors of what the demon princes are looking for range from a fragment of the Rod of Seven Parts to the infamous plane-spanning engine known as the Barbatos Device.
Extremely hardy, unusually crafty creatures manage to survive here, somehow shaking off the memory-draining aspect of the layer to thrive, after a fashion, usually by adapting some element of the layer's process to their own biology. In this manner, reason stealers (Monster Manual II 178) grow fat on the discarded memories floating invisibly upon the air while vasuthants (Monster Manual III 182) lurk in the layer's deeper shadows, waiting for a chance to drain a passing victim of life energy.
The most powerful and well-known inhabitant of the Forgotten Land is hardly known at all. The demon lord Zzyczesiya the Ungrasped dwells within a forlorn city of impossible towers and weed-choked shattered atriums. The obscure demon lord considers itself the patron of confused and malevolent ignorance, and revels in its anonymity. The least trusting of those plumbing the secrets of the Forgotten Land believe that Zzyczesiya knows a secret of great import and seeks refuge in the Forgotten Land to stave off inquisitors and to eventually forget the lore and free itself from the terrible responsibility of knowledge.
Layer Number: 71
A dense forest of spiky ferns and tall, skinny mountains comprise the best hunting grounds in the Abyss, for the woodland depths and impossible heights teem with a staggering variety of unusual animals and magical beasts. Cunning fiends flock to Spirac to hunt yeth hounds (MM 260), vorrs (Fiend Folio 186), nightmare beasts (Monster Manual II 161), and worse. Some of the wiser hunters bring lesser demons such as abyssal skulkers (Monster Manual II 57) and jariliths (Monster Manual II 61) along to help track and kill their prey.
Many demon lords use Spirac as their personal hunting grounds, taking great offense when they run into mortals or other demons invading "their" territory. Despite these claims, no one demon lord controls Spirac for the simple reason that the layer resists any sort of cultivation or civilization. Buildings constructed on the layer crumble into weed-choked ruins and then into natural rock within months of their creation, leaving Spirac an almost complete wilderness.
Not all of Spirac's visitors come seeking game. According to Abyssal lore, a mountain pool near the assumed geographic center of the infinite layer rejuvenates 1d4 x 10 years from a body each time the mortal bathes in the pool. The phenomenon has drawn many mortals to the plane, with most ending up amid scraps of once-fierce prey in the bags of renowned demonic huntsmen. Those who reach the pool, it is said, must sacrifice a portion of their free will to the demon lady Soneillon, who dwells in its unwholesome depths.
Layer Number: 89
Ruler: Dagon (see FC1 59)
Traits: Infinite, water-dominant
The deepest trenches and chasms of Demogorgon's Gaping Maw lead to an ocean below the ocean, a lightless realm of horror called the Shadowsea, domain of Dagon, Prince of the Darkened Depths. Long has the reclusive obyrith lord dwelled in this nigh-inaccessible nethermere, growing fat on the tribute of quivering tanar'ri who visit to learn the secrets of the ancient Abyss.
Dagon's amorphous palace grows from the ocean floor, a looming edifice of slimy mud cut through with colonies of immense sea worms and crawling with blind, phosphorescent skitterers. Wastriliths (Fiend Folio 54) pose a significant danger. As Dagon's favored servitors, they enjoy free reign of the layer, so long as their predations do not befoul the demon lord's inscrutable plots. Even the rare skulvyn (Fiend Folio 54) or myrmyxicus (Fiend Folio 52) take pause before braving the Shadowsea, for rumors persist of giant clouds of cloying pollution neither wholly alive nor dead that strip the flesh from those who fall within their discolored expanse.
The Dreaming Gulf
Layer Number: 230
Traits: Light gravity, infinite, major positive-dominant, strongly chaos- and evil-aligned, wild magic
In the history of the multiverse, countless Material Plane worlds have lived only to die in some magical cataclysm, impact event, or unstoppable disease. So too have entire pantheons risen and fallen, their divine bodies floating in the void of the Astral Plane as the last monument to their august accomplishments. But what would happen if a portion of these deities' minds remained, forever locked into an eternity of dormancy on the Astral. Would they dream?
There can be no other explanation for the Dreaming Gulf, the phantasmagoric 230th layer of the Abyss, a gulf of wind and darkness in which float what can only be described as the cast-off dreams of a dead pantheon of evil gods. The Abyss has been trying to "digest" these dreams for eons, and it can only do so by breaking off small parts and eating them in tiny bite-sized chunks. Once the Abyss digests these fragments of dreams, what it excretes out into other layers or the Material Plane are the loumara demons.
As yet, relatively few loumaras have been catalogued by the Fraternity of Order, but explorers are urged to protect themselves against possession in all its forms, for such is the chosen weapon of the loumaras.
Layer Number: 274
The Blood War spans the Lower Planes, but much of the fighting takes place in the Bleak Eternity of Gehenna, a plane of five sloping volcanic layers that teems with scheming yugoloths and grasping, desperate petitioners. Most of the tanar'ri who come to Gehenna to fight do so on the turbulent waters of the River Styx, having departed from the militaristic Abyssal layer known as Durao.
The small layer is one of the primary embarkation points for Blood War battlefields, and huge rusting iron wharves and barracks huddle upon the banks of the Styx at the edge of a trackless fetid swamp. Thousands of demonic soldiers and Abyssal horrors constantly tromp through the iron streets, their footfalls ringing for miles and giving Durao a bellicose cadence.
Many of the demons assigned to Durao and points beyond were tricked into service by craftier fiends or pressed into arms by powerful molydei wandering the Plain of Infinite Portals. Desertion rates skyrocket upon news of a particularly grisly battle, for while cunning tanar'ri like hezrous or glabrezus embrace any chance to explode into violence, the much weaker manes, dretches, and rutterkin who comprise the bulk of the cannon fodder often abandon their fellows at the slightest provocation. Three molydei prowl the far reaches of the layer in search of deserters, but instead of collaring them and returning them to their ranks, the two-headed demons slay them outright, reasoning that more will come immediately upon their heels.
All varieties of demons dwell upon Durao, but the most common are those frequently associated with the Blood War such as babaus (MM 40), glabrezus (MM 43), jovocs (Monster Manual II 58), kelvezu (Monster Manual II 58), and arrow demons (Monster Manual III 34). Few mortals are allowed to live once they have glimpsed the mighty tanar'ri war machine at its very heart.
Lair of the Beast and Mansion of the Rake
Layer Number: 487
Some vampires embrace their eternal curse, reveling in the passage of each generation and the rise of every moon. Others hate what they have become and seek to reverse the process, shedding their life-draining aspects to once again walk the world as a mortal. Kanchelsis, the passionate master of the 487th layer of the Abyss, wanted something more. Simple immortality in the form of undeath was not enough. Kanchelsis sought to become a god.
The vampire lord's domain is an immense, ever-changing mansion of baroquely decorated halls of mirrors, vast corridors festooned with framed portraits, screeching aviaries, and chilling indoor gardens. The mansion reacts to his slightest thought, and the vampire demigod enjoys loosing mortals into his realm and terrorizing them with shifting walls, dropping floors, and collapsing staircases.
Kanchelsis's primary servants are three ravenous blood fiends (Fiend Folio 47) named Memnul, Dagrobard, and Vonce. He tries to keep these creatures chained away, for when they are loose their fury is legendary. So too is the fury of Kanchelsis, who has not yet managed to tame the divine energy that infuses every aspect of his being. Although he prefers to present a civilized veneer, the vampire lord is prone to fitful, feral rages, during which time he says "the Beast" takes over, and all civility fades into senseless brutality. Encounters in the mansion during these bouts invariably take on the characteristics of a horrific chase, where visitors run at full speed through ever-shifting corridors and rooms to avoid the insatiable hunger of their formerly cosmopolitan host.
Kanchelsis is the chief architect of the world-spanning vampiric brotherhood known as the Union of Eclipses. Members of the order seek to enrich themselves while on their home worlds and pay honor to Kanchelsis thrice annually, during convocations that bring dozens of elder vampires to the mansion to discuss the affairs of the society. Those who slay one member of the Union of Eclipses commit an affront against all of them, and the immortal undead have long memories indeed.
Layer Number: 628
Ruler: His Worshipful Benevolence, Hiram XVII of Gallamede
An unusual victory for the forces of good seems to be taking place in the remote Abyssal layer of Vallashan, which is currently under the control of human raiders from the Material Plane world of Gallamede. Some 640 strong, the warriors and clerics of Gallamede invaded the Abyss nearly a decade ago, pushing back against incursions into their homeland and taking the fight back to the lair of their demonic enemies. To their surprise, the paladin-led host achieved victory after victory, and soon the army of Hiram XVII (LG male human paladin 16) inhabited the ruins of a fantastic cityscape of human design that appears to have been abandoned a thousand years ago. With the collapse of the gate back to Gallamede several months ago, the humans have now set about converting the layer to good, striking down baleful valley monuments and replacing them with circle-topped dolmens sacred to their own lawful good religious tradition. Hope grows high, as each battle brings a greater victory. Could the conversion of an Abyssal layer be at hand?
No. In fact, Hiram and his gullible army of altruists are but the latest in a long line of would-be conquerors allowed to defeat the demons of this layer so that, in victory, they might become corrupted by the nature of the Abyssal layer itself. Already the devoted war maidens of Hiram's host have begun to turn on each other in jealousy or rage, and within months the greatest threat to the army will be its own members. If the pattern holds, Hiram's men will rise up against him in a chaotic revolt, each convinced that he could do a better job leading the invasion, and within a generation all of them will have either been killed or so corrupted to chaos and evil that their souls cycle back to the Abyss.
Layer Number: 663
Ruler: Obox-Ob (see FC1 71)
The domain of the obyrith lord Obox-ob is a realm of vermin-infested jagged badlands abutting vast oceans of thick syrupy resin. The ekolids (FC1 38) that serve as Obox-ob's debased aristocracy construct enormously complex hive cities by dipping mortal victims into this foul-smelling goop, which completely hardens their bodies at the exact moment of suffocation, making each treated victim a unique sculpture of terrifying death. The industrious ekolids pile these hardened corpses into the great towers and cathedrals that crowd their buzzing cities, much to the delight of the Prince of Vermin. The chattering markets of ekolid cities offer poisons from a hundred worlds and slaves for use as incubators, but the meticulous obyriths have little patience for mortals and generally attack them on sight. The choicest captives are impregnated with the eggs of ekolid high nobility, and the creatures gather in vast numbers to observe wild sessions of "performance hatching," with high honors going to those ekolids responsible for the most gruesome death of a host creature.
In addition to the foul ekolids and Obox-ob himself, Zionyn is home to countless varieties of fiendish vermin and aberrations, including abyssal ant swarms (Fiend Folio 166), brood keepers (Monster Manual III 20), and cheliceras (Monster Manual III 27). Due to the extreme hostility of most natives to mortal explorers, the Fraternity of Order recently placed Zionyn on indefinite interdiction, forbidding its members from braving its unwholesome dangers.