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Mephistopheles (Dungeons and Dragons)
Mephistopheles as portrayed on the cover of Dungeon Magazine #140.
Art by Howard Lyon.
|Title(s)||Lord of the Eighth|
|First appearance||Dragon #75 - From the Sorcerer's Scroll: New Denizens of Devildom|
|Settings||All Editions Dungeons and Dragons|
Mephistopheles is an Arch-Devil of Hell (Baator) in the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game. He is known as the "Lord of No Mercy" and the "Cold Lord".
Mephistopheles (or Mephisto for short) is the lord of Cania, the eighth plane of Hell. He was the main opponent of Baalzebul during the Reckoning of Hell, and still holds a claim to his own layer. He seeks to take Baalzebul's layer away from him, that he may gain enough power to one day challenge Asmodeus for rulership of all the Nine Hells. His symbol is a flame made of copper and gold, or a red hand with black fingernails shrouded in dark flames. He is constantly coming up with new symbols.
In the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook Monster Manual II, Mephistopheles is a 9-foot-tall (2.7 m), blue-black humanoid with handsome, yet diabolical features. He has huge muscles that befit his great strength, and his speech is whispering wind. His wings, horns, and talons are deep blue and his scales are sooty black. His eyes are pale blue with red irises and pupils. In the 3rd edition supplement Book of Vile Darkness, he is nine feet tall, with red skin, white eyes, horns, bat wings, and straight black hair. He wears flowing black capes and wields a three-pronged ranseur.
Mephistopheles displays to the public world a face of charm, wit, and civility; however, he is infamous for flying into rages when in private and hides a terrible temper from public view. He is a schemer and although he has told Asmodeus to his face that he will rule hell in Asmodeus' stead, the Lord of the Nine allows him to remain in his position due to his more extreme hatred for Baalzebul. His schemes are also always flamboyant and flashy. For example, after the Reckoning of Hell he adopted the persona "Molikroth" and launched a fake coup against himself. Much later, he unveiled his true form, revealing that "Molikroth" had been a ruse. Using this method to ferret out traitors, particularly the treacherous pit fiends of his court, he killed or banished any who had aided "Molikroth" during this time.
Mephistopheles is allied with Dispater. He was once an ally of Mammon, but no longer trusts him since the Lord of Avarice betrayed his allies during the Reckoning. Mephistopheles has rebuffed Bel's offers of alliance. Mephistopheles counts himself the enemy of Belial and Baalzebul; should they ever ally against him, he will attempt to use Fierna against her father, either as an ally or a hostage.
The following beings are among the most notable subjects of Mephistopheles. The forces at their disposal are listed, where appropriate:
- Antilia- Lady Antilia, the High Cantor, is a beautiful half-devil/half-elven bard who leads her master's court in hymnals. It is rumored that she is his daughter. The result of a tryst between Lord Mephistopeles and a powerful elven queen turned hellfire cleric. She mirrors her "father's" appearance which further cements these suspicions. She is briefly mentioned in the Book of Vile Darkness.
- Adonides - Steward (DR76)
- Baalphegor - Consort to Mephistopheles (DR76)
- Barbas - Chamberlain of Mephistar (DR76)
- Bele - Justicar (DR76)
- Beltorius - A pit fiend servant of Mephistopheles, now allied with fire giants.
- Bifrons - 26 companies of gelugons (DR76)
- Buldumech - a pit fiend who formerly served Mephistopheles before defecting to the service of the undead dragon Lashonna.
- Hutijin - 2 companies of pit fiends (MM2)
- Testaroun - Lord Testaroun is mentioned in the Book of Vile Darkness. He is an ancient red dragon who was brought to serve his new master through bribes of treasure. Testaroun's job is merely to make Lord Mephistopheles's throneroom look more foreboding. Unlike normal dragons of his kind, Testaroun can now breathe hellfire and is immune to cold, thanks to the personal attentions of his new patron.
Mephistopheles rules Cania from a citadel called Mephistar, built on a massive glacier. Once it was a place of chill, staffed with ice devils, but it has become a place of infernal heat since he has developed a new substance known as hellfire.
Until recently, Mephistopheles operated cults for Asmodeus as part of his vassalage to the Overlord of Hell; many mortals do not realize that he and Asmodeus are separate beings. He has been slowly weaseling out of these duties in favor of establishing cults of his own, based on promising his worshippers control over hellfire, a magical substance of his own design. These hidden cults do not restrict themselves to lawful evil members. Clerics, wizards, warlocks, and sorcerers are his most frequent converts. His covens typically consist of schemers and megalomaniacs. Fire giants and other fire-based creatures often attempt to become disciples of Mephistopheles.
The leaders of Mephistopheles' cults are known as hellfire stewards or hellfire masters. They wear black and red. Their favored weapon is the ranseur. They usually do not speak, but when they must speak, they shout.
Temples to Mephistopheles feature massive fire pits in which victims are burnt alive. These pits are usually rigged so that they flare up at times that are inconvenient to passerby. The altar is a slab of dark stone, blackened by flame.
The Book of Brimstone was written by a monk called Andros during a period he spent in Mephistopheles's own palace. Although he subsequently went insane and was lost in the wastes of Cania, the four known copies of the tome are highly sought-after by Mephistopheles's worshipers. The first portion of the Book describes the proper worship of Mephistopheles, instructions for sacrificing to the devil, and instructions for becoming his disciple. The second part includes a small collection of arcane spells with an infernal bent.
Artifacts and Relics
- The Heart of Mephistopheles is a massive ruby, a foot in diameter, that contains a portion of Mephistopheles's own intellect. It allows its wielders to dominate and slay those who oppose them; it also creates a mile-radius are in which summoned devils cannot be magically dismissed back to their home plane. Its method of destruction is a closely guarded secret. The Heart is currently in the hands of the pit fiend Beltorius.
- Baalphegor's Grace is a vial containing the blood and tears of Mephistopheles's consort, Baalphegor. Those who drink from it and survive can command a flight of deadly erinyes known as the Blessed Angels. This artifact is currently in the hands of the undead dragon, Lashonna.
Mephistopheles is named for the Mephistopheles of Christian mythology.
Mephistopheles was first detailed in Gary Gygax's article "From the Sorcerer's Scroll: New Denizens of Devildom," in Dragon #75 (TSR, 1983). He also appeared in the original Monster Manual II (1983). Mephistopheles's realm was further detailed in Ed Greenwood's article "The Nine Hells Part II" in Dragon #76 (1983).
Mephistopheles did not initially appear in 2nd edition, and in the Planescape line the lord of Cania was instead Molikroth. Eventually, it was revealed that Molikroth was a false persona used by Mephistopheles, in Guide to Hell (1999).
In third edition, Mephistopheles appeared along with the other lords of the Nine Hells in the Book of Vile Darkness (2002). Mephistopheles was further detailed in the Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (2006).
The 4th edition Monster Manual mentions that Mephistopheles is still the lord of Cania.
Mephistopheles in Other Media
Mephistopheles appeared as himself, Lord of Cania, in the role playing video game Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, where he planned to invade the city of Waterdeep and lay claim to Faerûn and later Toril. The player is supposed to defeat Mephistopheles in order to finish the game. As well, in the said game, Mephistopheles did not destroy his traitorous generals after the Molikroth Rebellion, but rather banished them by the power of their true names.
Mephistopheles is also the patron deity of characters Komiyan and Gort in the Keenspot webcomic Darken. He lays the quest upon Gort that drives the main plot of the comic forward.
- Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual II (TSR, 1983)
- Cook, Monte. Book of Vile Darkness (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
- Olson, Dave. "Heart of Hellfire Mountain." Dungeon #140 (Wizards of the Coast, November 2006)
- Leati, Tito. "Dawn of a New Age." Dungeon #135. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2006
- Gygax, Gary. "From the Sorcerer's Scroll: New Denizens of Devildom" Dragon #75 (TSR, July 1983)
- Greenwood, Ed. "The Nine Hells Part II." Dragon #76 (TSR, 1983)
- Pramas, Chris. Guide to Hell (TSR, 1999)
- Laws, Robin D, and Robert J Schwalb. Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (Wizards of the Coast, 2006
- Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)