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Belial (Dungeons and Dragons)

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Belial
FiernaandBelial.jpg
Lady Fierna and Belial as portrayed in Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Art by Eric Deschamps.
Game background
Title(s) Lord of the Fourth
Lord of Pain and Sufferings
Home plane Phlegethos
Nine Hells
Power level Archdevil
Alignment Lawful Evil
Domains Pain, Hurt, Lust
Alias(es) The Lord of Pain and Sufferings
Superior Asmodeus
Design details
First appearance Dragon #75 - From the Sorcerer's Scroll: New Denizens of Devildom
Settings All Editions Dungeons and Dragons
Mythological Belial

Belial is an Arch-Devil of Hell (Baator) and lord of the Fourth Hell, Phlegethos in the Dungeons and Dragons role paying game. He retained his rule after the Reckoning of Hell, though he now shares this responsibility with his daughter Lady Fierna who serves as his mouthpiece (and possible lover). He has designs on the Fifth and Sixth levels of Hell. His symbols are a two-pronged ranseur and a handsome male face with dark features and small horns. A more elaborate symbol of Belial involves red, glowing eyes over a two-pronged ranseur, surrounded by a red tail with a wicked barb.


Description

Belial is said to have both the most handsome and diabolic appearance of all the devils. He is a tall, dark humanioid with small horns on his head, dresses always in regal finery and carries a ranseur. He is handsome and sexual, with large slanted eyes that smolder red.

Relationships

Belial is the father of Lady Fierna, though his consort Naome. He has an alliance with Telchur, Oerth's god of winter, as is said that he aided Telchur in Vatun's imprisonment. Belial has a secret alliance lasting centuries with Baalzebul, Lord of the Seventh Hell. Before the Reckoning, he was also allied with Moloch and Zariel. Two of the original members of the Dark Eight, Zaebos and Zapan, originally worked for him before taking on their present positions. He is a rival of Levistus, and was a rival of the Hag Countess before her demise. Since the ascension of Glasya, he has chosen a "wait and see" approach.

The bulk of Belial's scheming currently involves trying to keep tabs on his daughter without provoking her to straying further from his control. He is growing concerned that he is losing his grip on his power. Gazra is jealous and hateful toward Belial, but keeps those feelings well hidden.

Vassals

The following beings are among the most notable subjects of Belial on Phlegethos. The forces at their disposal are listed, where appropriate:

  • Balan - 40 companies of barbazu (Dragon #75)
  • Bathym - 30 companies of hamatula (Dragon #75)
  • Chamo - Legate (Dragon #75)
  • Gaziel - 11 companies of osyluths (Dragon #75)
  • Naome - Consort of Belial (Dragon #75)
  • Zaebos, pit fiend - Lieutenant, one of the Dark Eight
  • Zapan, pit fiend - 4 companies of cornugons, one of the Dark Eight

Realm and Clergy

Belial, currently the power behind the throne in Phlegethos, rules from his Hall of One Thousand Sighs and Screams within Fierna's tower of crystalline stone. Belial teaches his followers to revel in the pleasures and pains of the flesh. He delights in manipulating mortals. He also enjoys killing, craving the sensation of hot blood splashing against his body. That said, he is not a fool, and knows when to cut and run. Members of Belial's small cult devote themselves to trickery, seduction, domination, and secrets. They are generally more interested in personal than political corruption. Clerics of Belial sport thin, well-groomed beards (if male), dress in red and black, and wield the ranseur. Male clerics predominate. Temples to Belial feature circular altars and black and red candles, in elegant towers and halls. The decor is both understated and tasteful.

Apocrypha

In "The Politics of Hell" in Dragon #28, Belial was originally the devil in charge of politicians, the supreme commander of Hell's armies, and Satan's personal lieutenant, gaining the animosity of the other devils and the esteem of Satan when he acted to discipline the others for minor acts of rebellion. As a result, Belial was the only archdevil who remained on the side of Satan after Baalzebul's coup, and Belial became exiled along with his former master. In this version of the story (published years before Belial was officially introduced to the game in the Monster Manual II), Belial has remained exiled ever since. However, the armies of Hell have remained loyal to him, and Belial retained his influence over politicians and bureaucrats for some time, having kept his former contacts. He was described in that article as a beautiful angelic being riding a chariot of fire.[1]

In Legions of Hell by Chris Pramas, Belial was a fallen celestial (a former virtue, equivalent to a deva) like Baalzebul, thus explaining their natural alliance, and like the latter devil was treated as an upstart by Dispater and Mephistopheles, who were "born of the baatezu race." It says "Only Asmodeus is a better liar than Belial." His servants in that book include Ariel, a winged warrior with the head of a lion who oversees the tortures of the Fourth Hell; Antaia, the Witch Queen; Balan, Master of the Infernal Hunt; and Naamah, Contessa of Duplicity.[2]


Creative Origins

Belial, whose name has been translated to mean "worthlessness," is based on the demon from Christian and Jewish apocrypha of the same name.


Publication History

Belial was first detailed in Gary Gygax's article "From the Sorcerer's Scroll: New Denizens of Devildom," in Dragon #75 (TSR, 1983).[3] He also appeared in the original Monster Manual II (1983).[4] Belial's realm was further detailed in Ed Greenwood's article "The Nine Hells Part I" in Dragon #75 (1983).[5]

Belial did not initially appear in 2nd edition, and in the Planescape line the lord of Phlegethos was instead Lady Fierna. Eventually, it was revealed that Belial and Lady Fierna now shared rulership of Phlegethos, in Guide to Hell (1999).[6]

In third edition, Belial appeared along with the other lords of the Nine Hells in the Book of Vile Darkness (2002).[7] Belial was further detailed in the Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (2006).[8]

The 4th edition Monster Manual mentions that Belial and Fierna are still the lords of Phlegethos.[9]


Belial In Other Media

In Neverwinter Nights, a demon known as Belial, Lord of Fire makes an appearance. Belial appeared in Paizo Publishing's book Book of the Damned, Vol. 1: Princes of Darkness (2009), on page 13.[10]


References

  1. Von Thorn, Alexander. "The Politics of Hell." Dragon #28. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1979
  2. Pramas, Chris. Legions of Hell: Book of Fiends, Volume One. Renton, WA: Green Ronin Publishing, 2001
  3. Gygax, Gary. "From the Sorcerer's Scroll: New Denizens of Devildom" Dragon #75 (TSR, July 1983)
  4. Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual II (TSR, 1983)
  5. Greenwood, Ed. "The Nine Hells Part I." Dragon #75 (TSR, 1983)
  6. Pramas, Chris. Guide to Hell (TSR, 1999)
  7. Cook, Monte. Book of Vile Darkness (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
  8. Laws, Robin D, and Robert J Schwalb. Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)
  9. Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
  10. Schneider, F. Wesley. Book of the Damned, Vol. 1: Princes of Darkness (Paizo, 2009)


External Links