Beleth

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Greyhawk Deity
Beleth
Title(s) Prince of Imps
The Witch's Viscount
Home Plane Baator (Malbolge)
Power Level Duke of Hell
Gender Male
Class(es) n/a
Alignment Lawful evil
Portfolio Imps
Domains n/a
Alias(es) None
Superior Glasya

Beleth, known as the Prince of Imps and the Witch's Viscount, is a Duke of Hell in the service of Glasya. Beleth does not control all of the imps in Hell, but he controls many of them, and has since the Age before Ages.

Description

Beleth commonly appears as a gaunt, middle-aged human with blue eyes and a clean-shaven face. He wears black leather clothes and a broad-brimmed hat, and carries a mahogany walking stick with a golden sphere at the tip. At will, he may transform into his diabolic form, with batlike wings, a barbed tail, and small horns. In his fully diabolic form, his teeth and nails are gray.

Relationships

Beleth has served Glasya for a few years now, since the death of his previous mistress, the Hag Countess. Before that he served Moloch.

As one of the greatest spymasters in the Nine Hells, Beleth knows intimate details about nearly every other diabolic noble. He trades information with them, promising to hold this information inviolate for at least 100 years. He will rent out the services of his spies in exchange for political favors, added territories, additional minions, and occasionally souls and treasure. Of the other archdukes, Dispater employs his services most frequently. Bel and Levistus employ him on occasion as well. Baalzebul, Belial, and Fierna hate him, blaming him for helping to oust their former ally Moloch. Moloch, of course, hates him most of all.

Rumors say that Beleth reports everything he learns to Asmodeus, making the King of Hell an exception to his usual rules and loyalties.

Because his followers are minor spellcasters such as witches and hedge wizards, he has few rivals for them among the hosts of Hell. However, some of the demon lords, such as Graz'zt, do compete with him for such followers.

Vassals

  • General Baraddal is a war devil who serves as Beleth's battlefield commander.
  • Baron Uzendiun is a bone devil who is second-in-command of Beleth's spy network.
  • Alzach, Beleth's closest companion, is a shapeshifter with three different forms. No one but Beleth realizes they are all the same devil. He is said to be the eldest of the imps, having existed since long before mortal souls were turned into devils.

Beleth commands ten companies of bearded devils, eight companies of bone devils, four companies of chain devils, and twelve companies of legion devils. He also commands the equivalent of five companies of female devils of temptation, and the equivalent of eighty companies of imps. A standard diabolic company comprises 333 devils, though a company of minor devils such as imps might contain 666 in each company. Most of his imps are scattered throughout the Hells, making it very difficult for others to tell when one of them might be one of Beleth's agents.

Realm

Beleth rules a fiefdom in Malbolge, the sixth of the Nine Hells.

Dogma

Beleth believes that the tiniest dangers are the ones that deities, devils, and mortals alike are the most likely to overlook. Accordingly he focuses on seemingly small and insignificant minions like the humble imps, and he attempts to corrupt the souls of minor and low-level spellcasters rather than compete with the archdevils for the most powerful mortals. He has no desire to become an archdevil himself, but seeks to use his influence, knowledge, and the favors owed him to become a puppetmaster who controls the apparent lords from behind the scenes.

Worshippers

Beleth has few true cults. Most of his worshippers are individual spellcasters, or small covens of warlocks and witches. Most such covens average 7-13 members. They hold little power in their communities, keeping themselves secret and calling upon Beleth to grant them imps as familiars. On rare occasions, Beleth appears before a coven in person to ensure their loyalty, enjoy carnal relations, or claim a sacrifice.

History

Like many of the oldest devils, Beleth was once an angel. In his angelic life, Beleth served as a bureaucrat delivering orders from his deity to the angelic generals. When Asmodeus rebelled against the gods, however, Beleth realized he was unsatisfied with his role and elected secretly to join the rebellion. Retaining his job for a time, he changed orders in transit and delivered intelligence to Asmodeus. Eventually his duplicity was uncovered, and Beleth fled with his messengers to Asmodeus's army, serving under Moloch as a master of spies.

After the fallen ones moved to the Nine Hells, Beleth was granted a small domain in Malbolge, continuing as a vassal to Moloch. For a while he labored in obscurity, but after the devils learned how to make mortal souls into more of their kind, Beleth began recruiting newly created imps to serve him. While many other devils treated the lowly imps with contempt, Beleth gave them a degree of respect, and over the centuries he became the chief patron of imps in general. He also began targeting minor mortal mages for corruption. As the ages passed, Beleth's growing impish network of spies brought him a considerable amount of power, and Moloch brought the Prince of Imps into his inner circle.

Many centuries later, Beleth had allied himself with Malagarde, Moloch's lover, and joined the conspiracy (along with Tartach and Geryon) to manipulate Moloch into joining the rebellion that became known as the Reckoning of Hell. When the rebellious lords were defeated, they encouraged him to stand proud and defiant against Asmodeus. As a result, Asmodeus cast Moloch from his throne, replacing him with Malagarde as the new Hag Countess of Malbolge. Beleth continued to serve the hag as her spymaster.

When the Hag Countess's bizarre transformation a few years ago ended her reign, Glasya agreed to let Beleth keep his old position in her new court.

See also

Bibliography

  • Marmell, Ari. "Codex of Betrayal: Beleth, the Witch's Viscount." Dragon #365. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2008. Available online: [1]