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|First appearance||Dragon #75 - New Denizens of Devildom: A Partial Preview of Monster Manual II|
|Created by||Gary Gygax|
|Homeland||Baator - Nine Hells|
Queen of Hell|
Lady of Nessus
|Setting||All Editions Dungeons and Dragons|
- 1 Physical Description
- 2 Fictional Character Biography
- 3 Creative Origins
- 4 Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1st Edition (1977-1988)
- 5 Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition (1989-1999)
- 6 Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition (2000-2007)
- 7 Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition (2008-)
- 8 References
- 9 External Links
Bensozia is described in Dragon #76 as a tall statuesque devil with a human-like appearance. She has long white hair, large glistening black eyes, scarlet skin, large brown hooves, and a forked tail. She bears a brass scepter and wears loose black robes with a scarlet silk lining within, and a diadem of beaten gold set with large rubies.
Fictional Character Biography
Bensozia, the Queen of Hell, is first detailed for first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in Dragon #76, where she is described as the consort of Asmodeus, and his staunch supporter. She is described as "personally the most powerful of the consorts", but it is noted that "her influence is entirely linked with that of Asmodeus" and that she only speaks by the leave of Asmodeus. The articles states that Bensozia seems happy in her position, even though she is not always physically present with Asmodeus, and it also states that her natural manner is coldly polite and haughty, seldom revealing her true feelings.
Bensozia has always been described as the chief consort of Asmodeus, but her motivations differ between appearances and game editions. Her narrative role is primarily to serve as a source of conflict between the warring lords of Baator. She is an object of physical jealousy and is invariably murdered under tragic circumstances.
The second edition sourcebook Guide to Hell relates the story of how, in the long ago past, Levistus, the ruler of the 5th layer of Hell, ambushed Bensozia while she traveled through Stygia, slew her guards and then tried to turn her against Asmodeus. When she rebuffed Levistus, he grew angry and slew her. Asmodeus becomes enraged and as punishment he traps Levistus alive inside a block of ice.
The third edition Dungeons & Dragons manual Book of Vile Darkness changes the story a little; in this version, Levistus approaches Bensozia and invited to betray her husband Asmodeus. She refuses and Levistus slays her. According to Fiendish Codex II, Levistus attempted to ravish Bensozia, but he slew her when she would not submit to him. Levistus' treachery is a continual source of conflict between him, Asmodeus, and Glasya.
With the 4th edition re-imagining of Dungeons & Dragons continuity, Bensozia's role and backstory were changed, and the tone of her narrative shifted. In this continuity, she is the corrupted exarch of He Who Was, the benign deity against whom Asmodeus rebelled. Whereas in previous continuity she was a loyal and willing consort, in 4th edition Bensozia becomes Asmodeus' lover only unwillingly. She harbors a bitter resentment against him and plots willingly to undermine and overthrow him. She carries on an affair with Levistus and is eventually murdered by a jealous Glasya.
Bensozia was named for a real-life mythological figure, the French dark goddess of witches. This name is derived from the term bona socia, literally "the good neighbour." Her name supposedly was invoked during the ritual sabbath of the witches.
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1st Edition (1977-1988)
Bensozia's name first appears in a list in "New denizens of devildom: A partial preview of Monster Manual II" in Dragon #75 (1983). As the article's title suggests, this list of unique devils also appears in Monster Manual II (1983).
The following issue of Dragon describes her in more detail, in Ed Greenwood's article "The Nine Hells Part II".
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition (1989-1999)
Her ultimate fate was first revealed in the sourcebook Guide to Hell (1999).
Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition (2000-2007)
Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition (2008-)
Bensozia is presented in Dungeon #197 (2011) as a vengeful and bitter concubine intent on betraying Asmodeus.
- Greenwood, Ed. "The Nine Hells Part II." Dragon #76 (TSR, 1983)
- Schwalb, Robert J. "Codex of Betrayal: Glasya, Princess of the Nine Hells" Dungeon #197 (Wizards of the Coast, 2011)
- Pramas, Chris. Guide to Hell (TSR, 1999)
- Cook, Monte. Book of Vile Darkness (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
- Laws, Robin D, and Robert J Schwalb. Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)
- Ginzburg, Carlo (1991). Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches Sabbath. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226296938.
- Gygax, E. Gary. "New denizens of devildom: A partial preview of Monster Manual II" Dragon #75 (TSR, 1983)
- Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual II (TSR, 1983)
- Laws, Robin D, and Robert J. Schwalb. Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)