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Moloch (Dungeons and Dragons)
|Title(s)||Former Ruler of Malbolge|
|First appearance||Dragon #75 - From the Sorcerer's Scroll: New Denizens of Devildom|
|Settings||All Editions Dungeons and Dragons|
Moloch is an Arch-devil of Hell (Baator), and once served as the viceroy of Baalzebul in the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game.
Moloch is a great, square-bodied creature with red-orange skin. His limbs are short and thick, and his hands and feet are huge and square, with horns on his feet. His head is also horned, and huge with slanting fiery eyes and a gaping mouth. His monstrous body conceals a genius-level intellect.
Like many of the oldest lords of Hell, Moloch was once an angel created by the powers of Law to battle the demons of the Abyss in the Age Before Ages, before the Battle of Pesh and the subsequent realignment of the planes. Of all the warriors in the legions serving Asmodeus, it is said that Moloch was the greatest. He was rewarded for his prowess and loyalty with rulership of the sixth plane of Hell, Malbolge. In order to check his power, however, Asmodeus made him the vassal of Baalzebul, serving as the Lord of the Flies' viceroy on the layer he controlled. Asmodeus hoped Moloch and Baalzebul would spend their time watching one another for signs of betrayal rather than trying to storm Nessus.
This worked for a time, but Moloch and Baalzebul allied with Zariel and Belial in the Reckoning of Hell some millennia back in order to do just as Asmodeus had feared. The Lord of the Ninth was prepared, of course, and defeated the rebels handily when their pit fiend generals betrayed them.
Moloch was replaced by his mistress, the Hag Countess, who had set him up to fall. For centuries, Moloch had been recruiting allies and gathering new minions in preparation for seizing back his old domain through military force. Three days before his intended invasion, he hid in a backwater world on the Prime Material Plane to wait for the appropriate moment to plane shift to the Hells in a surprise attack. By an unfortunate coincidence, the world (obviously not Oerth) was severed from contact with other planes due to an unforeseen cataclysm involving the theft of the stone around which the world had been created. As Moloch was unable to leave his erstwhile hiding place, his army was slaughtered by minions of the Hag Countess.
Though the Hag Countess has since been replaced by Asmodeus's daughter Glasya, Moloch now dwells among the other outcast devils of Avernus, Hell's first layer. He works with other exiles to rebuild his army and return to power, overthrowing Glasya and, he hopes, one day Asmodeus too.
Before his overthrow, the following beings were among the most notable subjects of Moloch. The forces formerly at their disposal are listed, where appropriate:
- Bethage, pit fiend - 9 companies of cornugons
- Bileth - Baalzebul's Tribune (Dragon #76)
- Herobaal, pit fiend - 16 companies of osyluths
- Lilith - Consort to Moloch (Dragon #76)
- Tartach - Baalzebul's Legate (Dragon #76)
In The Apocalypse Stone, Moloch is served by several fiends, including:
- Skallathrax - An arcanaloth mercenary.
- Grellnor - Skallathrax's [nycaloth bodyguard.
- Three unnamed pit fiends.
Moloch also creates a squad of flesh golems created from the stitched-together body parts of the player characters' friends and family.
Moloch's cults are small and fractious, disturbed by their masters' long absence. They cannot cast spells higher than 3rd level.
Moloch is based on the Moloch of traditional demonology.
Moloch first appeared in Gary Gygax's article "From the Sorcerer's Scroll: New Denizens of Devildom," in Dragon #75, as part of a preview for the Monster Manual II. He appeared in the Monster Manual II later that same year in 1983. Moloch's realm was further detailed in Ed Greenwood's article "The Nine Hells Part II" in Dragon #76 (1983).
Moloch did not initially appear in 2nd edition, and in the Planescape line the lord of Malbolge was instead the Hag Countess. Eventually, it was revealed that Moloch had been betrayed by the Hag Countess, who deposed him as the lord of his layer, in Guide to Hell (1999). He was a major villain of the 2000 adventure The Apocalypse Stone, in which he inadvertently became stranded on a dying world as part of his bid to retake his layer of Hell.
Moloch appeared under the "devil" heading in the Tome of Horrors (2002) from Necromancer Games.
Moloch appeared in Paizo Publishing's book Book of the Damned, Vol. 1: Princes of Darkness (2009), on page 17.
- Gygax, Gary. "From the Sorcerer's Scroll: New Denizens of Devildom" Dragon #75 (TSR, July 1983)
- Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual II (TSR, 1983)
- Greenwood, Ed. "The Nine Hells Part II." Dragon #76 (TSR, 1983)
- Pramas, Chris. Guide to Hell (TSR, 1999)
- Carl, Jason, and Chris Pramas. The Apocalypse Stone. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2000
- Laws, Robin D, and Robert J Schwalb. Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)
- Schwalb, Robert J. "Infernal Aristocracy." Dragon #360, October 2007. Available online: 
- Green, Scott (2002). Tome of Horrors, 102–103, Necromancer Games.
- Schneider, F. Wesley. Book of the Damned, Vol. 1: Princes of Darkness (Paizo, 2009)