Raw Chaos and Pure Evil
Out of the maelstrom of chaos the demons came - a primordial horde of perverse souls consumed by hatred. They are as ancient and infinite as the multiverse itself. Even the bottomless Abyss could not contain their malice, and so they spread out across the planes, corrupting and destroying everything in their path. No living soul is beyond their reach, and with each conquered soul their numbers grow. What can stand against such a terrifying onslaught?
This supplement for the D&D game presents the definitive treatise on demons and their unspeakable home plane. Along with information about the physiology, psychology, society, and schemes of demonkind, you'll find feats, spells, items, and tactics commonly employed by demons and those who oppose them. This book also provides detailed information on various demons, demon lords, and Abyssal layers.
To use this supplement, a Dungeon Master also needs the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual.
Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (2006) by Ed Stark, James Jacobs, and Erik Mona, is an astoundingly good product - and I write that as someone who loves Abyss-centered D&D adventures well enough to be pretty critical and dismissive of poor work in the area. This sourcebook has beautiful art (in the "wow, that's a horrible demon" sense of "beautiful"); the content is tightly focused, full of good flavor, and packed with both good information and solid design. As it's written for 3.5E D&D, the monsters translate nicely for many versions of the game. Even better, the evocative descriptions throughout make this book useful for any edition's plane-hopping or Abyss-focused campaign.
It's worth picking up just for Chapter 5, "Into the Abyss," alone.
Demons and Demon Lords. Most of the information in this chapter is new, although there's some material on demon lords carried over from the Book of Vile Darkness. These chapters present three subtypes of demons (the dream-like loumara, primeval obyrith, and common tanar'ri), 16 types of demons, and 14 demon lords. Miss the orangutan-like bar-igura or the hideous, housefly-like chasme? They're here, alongside rutterkin, the handmaidens of Lolth known as yochlol, and a flapping cloud of cackling evil known as a broodswarm.
The demon lord chapter details all your favorites: the minotaur lord Baphomet; two-headed Demogorgon; lying Fraz-Urb'luu; tyrannical Graz'zt; the noisome lord Juiblex; gigantic Kostchtchie; Orcus, the Prince of Undead; Yeenoghu, Demon Prince of Gnolls; Zuggtmoy, the Lady of Fungi; and more. There are also rules for making your own demon lords, as well as details of demon lord aspects, who are weaker than a full-fledged lord.
Let's Make a Deal! Chapter 4 is all about trafficking with demons. The roles of demon hunters, demon masters, demon summoners, and demon worshippers are described, along with nine prestige classes and 23 feats, including "Vile" feats (for the evil, recurring here from Book of Vile Darkness) and "Abyssal Heritor" feats (linking the Abyss with mortals). If you want vestigial wings, forbidden knowledge, extra control over demons, or are willing to trade your independence in exchange for demonic power, here's where you head.
This chapter also includes Abyssal magic for bards, blackguards, clerics, druids, paladins, and wizards. Exorcise a fiend from a possessed victim or cast oozepuppet to control slimes and oozes - what more could you ask for? The chapter ends with details of the Black Cult of Ahm, an organization dedicated to expanding the mortal holdings of demonic lore.
So Many Layers, So Little Time. There are an infinite number of layers in the Abyssal plane, and fifteen of them are detailed beautifully herein. Chapter 5, "Into the Abyss," starts with an 8-page overview of the plane, and if you're at all like me, you'll be delighted by the many references to Planescape. These details are minor to non-fans, but they bring back great memories to anyone who has played the 2nd edition planar setting. Techniques for getting around the plane, common hazards, denizens, and planar traits are all discussed.
The detailed layers include the Plain of Infinite Portals; Azzagrat, the marketplaces of Graz'zt; Lolth's Demonweb; Orcus's Thanatos; The Endless Maze; and ten others. Each realm's descriptions include information about the demon lord ruler, important locations, color maps, unique and special planar traits, plot hooks, and appropriate random encounters. These locations are the best-written section of the book, and are easy to fit into any planar game.
The book finishes with appendices that details lords of the Abyss, layers of the Abyss, and an index of demons. They top off a well-organized and well-written book that's a must for anyone interested in sending their game's heroes into the spiraling madness of the Abyss. With this book as a reference, the players will surely enjoy the experience.
About the Creators. Ed Stark is a content developer at Zenimax Online, working on Elder Scrolls Online. Erik Mona is an author, editor, and publisher, currently serving as Publisher of Paizo Publishing, LLC. Past positions include editor-in-chief of Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron. James Jacobs wrote his first published D&D adventure at the age of 14, and is now Creative Director of Pathfinder.
About the Product Historian
History and commentary of this product was written by Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin of the independent D&D fansite ENWorld. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.