Graz'zt is one of the most powerful fiends in the Abyss. Though wielding great martial and magical skill, Graz'zt's greatest weapons are his mastery of seduction and guile. He entertains the notion that he is the most cunning and intelligent creature in the Abyss; indeed, there are few who could possibly contest such a claim.
Graz'zt combines military might with arcane power and a crafty, demented genius mind to dominate three layers of the Abyss, known collectively as Azzagrat.
Standing nine feet tall, Graz'zt appears as a lithe, muscular humanoid. His skin shines like polished obsidian, and his eyes glitter with malevolent green light. He has yellowed fangs, pointed ears, and six slender fingers decorating each hand. He is sometimes described as having six small black horns half-hidden amid his thick black hair. These fiendish traits are apparent, regardless of whatever form Graz'zt chooses to take. He is considered among the comeliest demon lords of the Abyss, and dresses in the most expensive and elegant finery on the entire plane.
The Dark Prince is a deeply sexual, erotic being. He is known on many worlds only in legend, as a dark figure who visits witches and sorcerers, granting them sexual favors as well as magical powers. As a result, his female consorts have populated the multiverse with a depraved host of half-fiend children. Some learn of their father's identity and delve into the Abyss, hoping to usurp his power. His dark elf son, Athux, leads Graz'zt's demonic army, while his daughter Thraxxia serves as a private assassin. His son Arzial, the Blooded Baron, serves him as a vassal. Other children of Graz'zt include Belyara and Rule-of-Three.
For a time, Graz'zt was trapped on the Material Plane by the witch-queen Iggwilv, who used his insight to elevate her own power. Eventually, she succumbed to the Dark Prince's charms, and their story was made infamous by the product of their romance: the vile demigod Iuz. Graz'zt ultimately returned to the Abyss, but rumors abound that he did, in fact, fall in love with his captor. In Gary Gygax's Gord the Rogue novels, prior to his capture by Iggwilv, Graz'zt ruled his realm with his queen and consort, a demonness named Elazalag.
The god Raxivort was once a servant of the Dark Prince. He stole powerful artifacts from Graz'zt and escaped to the howling chasms of Pandemonium, where he became the divine patron of rodents and bats. Raxivort even has his own chosen race, a goblinoid horde known as the xvarts.
Through his own schemings and mischief, Graz'zt has become the chief enemy of Waukeen, the Forgotten Realms goddess of Wealth and Merchantry. The deity bargained for safe passage across Zelatar with information regarding a secret horde of treasure. Graz'zt readily accepted the offer, but betrayed Waukeen as soon as she arrived in the Abyss. His goal was to usurp her power. Imprisoned in the Argent Palace, the goddess was forced to witness profane celebrations held in her honor. Her rescue is detailed in the module For Duty & Deity.
But even the wrath of a god cannot compare to the hatred and spite of the Dark Prince's chief rivals, Demogorgon and Orcus. The violence of the eternal war between these three demons rivals that of the Blood War, and costs them unthinkable resources that could be put to use in the battles against the baatezu. Graz'zt covets Demogorgon's title as the Prince of Demons above all else, and throws army after army at his most hated enemy in hopes of claiming it.
Graz'zt has made enemies of many other lords of the Abyss as well, including Baphomet, Yeenoghu, Malcanthet, Kostchtchie, and Socothbenoth. Thanks to the efforts of his son Athux, he recently overthrew the demon prince Adimarchus, who ruled Occipitus, the 507th layer of the Abyss, though he has yet to actually conquer that particular layer.
Recently Graz'zt has concocted a scheme to revenge himself against Lolth, who rejected his offers of an alliance.
Graz'zt's most powerful servant is a mysterious, hyper-intelligent demon named Verin. Like Graz'zt, Verin appears almost human, but his skin is deathly pale, and he constantly oozes spiritual slime. Verin can change his form at will, and often elects a black-skinned mirror image of himself, known as Ztefano. He serves as the Dark Prince's major domo and chief ambassador to the other demon lords.
Graz'zt is always attended by six powerful lamias, and his marilith escorts, Unhath and Reluhantis, are never far from his side. When at his palace, the Dark Prince keeps many attractive demons at hand, to feed his ferocious sexual appetite. Bodaks and similar horrors are the only other occupants of the Argent Palace.
Technically, every demon living within Graz'zt's world-spanning empire is considered one of his loyal servants; those who prove otherwise are fed to the carnivorous plants in his perfumed hanging gardens. Noteworthy minions include a hulking goristro named Orwantz, who acts as Graz'zt's personal border control for Azzagrat, Arzial, ruler of the barony of Vulderpayne, and Rule-of-Three, a cambion who meets secretly with other fiends of the Lower Planes to strategize an attack against the celestials.
Graz'zt rules an Abyssal realm called Azzagrat, which spans three layers of that demoniac plane (the 45th, 46th, and 47th). The layers are connected by the deadly River of Salt and a variety of portals, some hidden in groves of viper trees and others in ovens of green fire. The 45th layer is a "gray, windswept steppe." The 46th layer is lit from the ground, so that shadows stretch to the sky. The 47th layer is illuminated by a blue sun, and blue flames of icy cold "burn" on this level. Graz'zt's chief city, Zelatar, spans all three layers.
Although he has not yet achieved divine status, Graz'zt is worshiped by many monstrous races, most notably lamias. Many of his high priests, known as the Chosen, are female, and the rituals they perform are violent and involve themes of darkness and betrayal.
Myths and legends
Some sources claim that Graz'zt was the creator of the Vasharans, a breed compared to humans as the drow are compared to elves. Deemed cruel and soulless by the gods who created him, the Vasharans' Adam-like ancestor was destroyed. But Graz'zt breathed new life into the corpse, long before he attained his present status. It is a terrifying legacy, for the Vasharans are obsessed with deicide, and destroying all gods has become the reason for their existence.
Graz'zt was originally created by Gary Gygax, and first appeared in module S4, The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and in the original AD&D Monster Manual II. After leaving TSR, Gygax featured Graz'zt in the Gord the Rogue novel series. The character has since been expanded upon by other designers.
Various incarnations have appeared over time; in Gygax's Gord the Rogue novels, Graz'zt is known as the Ebon Lord of the Abat-Dolor, a race of demons who all look more or less like him. He ruled over the Abat-Dolor with his queen and consort, Elazalag, until he was captured by the witch queen Iggwilv. After seducing her, the Ebon Lord founded a new mongrel empire, forsaking his kin in an effort to enslave any and all of the demon breeds.
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