Once upon a time, there was only Dungeons & Dragons. There were no editions, save for the printing editions of the original woodgrain and white boxes. And then, one day in 1977, a book called the Monster Manual arrived, heralding the beginning of a new, “Advanced” D&D. And in that tome, there was an arch-devil named Asmodeus.
The mere mention of his name would send shivers down the spines of any player. As Overlord of every duke in all the Nine Hells, dwelling in a palace at the bottom of the deepest rift in the deepest hell, it might seem he had more than enough to keep him busy. That’s all well and
good evil. But even an arch-devil can get bored sometimes, and that’s when he meddles in the affairs of those stout adventurers on the Material Plane.
DMs can still find plenty of ways to use Asmodeus in their D&D sessions today. Should they? Sure. After all, what self-respecting adventurer could refrain from their chance to take down the biggest baddie of them all? It’s a story hook that sells itself. At the very least, it’ll give the players something to tell the grandkids about someday. “When I was your age, I trapped Asmodeus, then blasted him with a natural 20 die roll,” they might say. “You should have seen the xp. It was glorious. And collecting 1,000,000 gp for that glowing ruby rod afterwards? Oh, if only you’d been there to see it!”
So where might the arch-fiend fit into your campaign? Here are three adventure hooks for a DM to have fun with Asmodeus.
Hook #1 – The Lava Tiger
In this adventure, Asmodeus has a lava tiger, not unlike the one shown here. This lava tiger is one of his most prized possessions. The lava tiger somehow escapes and finds its way into the lands where your adventures are already in progress. The lava tiger wreaks havoc in the wilderness, and works its way down the food chain by feeding on the wildlife with reckless abandon. Local commoners, farmers, and townsfolk are terrified at night, for the sounds of the tiger’s growls and roars from off in the distance are the stuff of nightmares. It will be hunted, and rightly so. Rewards will be offered. Give it a stat block. Give it a hundred hit points, seven attacks per round with a special rend attack, and a formidable AC -5. Let all who hear its roar within a hundred feet make saving throws versus spell, or else panic and flee in fear. Eventually, Asmodeus will come looking for his pet, using a polymorph self spell to make him appear as a nondescript stranger in a tavern one evening; a tavern in which your PCs are enjoying “a hot time in the old town tonight.” Asmodeus offers gems to any who can help guide or point the way to where the lava tiger was last seen or heard. He’ll offer 66 gems as payment up front, with another 600 gems promised afterwards, if the guidance and/or information proves useful to him.
Hook #2 – The Diabolical Pirate
Anyone who’s read Good Omens or seen the original Bedazzled can imagine the more whimsical side of the Faustian devil come to our world. Suppose our Asmodeus fancies something similar, but for him, it’s a pirate’s life he craves. He comes to the material plane as Captain Asmo, in command of a six-masted frigate called the Deus, and he busies himself with the plundering of as many merchant ships that he can find. This, of course, leads to conflict with rival pirate captains on the high seas. Trade is disrupted, and supplies among the coastal communities begin to wane. Rationing begins. Can a pestilence be far behind? One day, the PCs notice something very interesting on a bounty board in a seaside fishing village. It’s a bounty on the head of Captain Asmo. “Wanted Dead Or Alive,” it reads, “by order of his majesty the King, for crimes against humanity (too many to list here.) 75,000 gp if dead. 125,000 gp if alive. Serious inquiries only. No looky-loos or time-wasters. References are a plus.” Soon after all this, the PCs find themselves puffing out their chests on board a seaworthy vessel with which to hunt Captain Asmo and claim their reward. One can only hope that the PCs know how to swim, wearing their chain mail and plate mail, when their boat eventually capsizes during a combat with the Deus. It’s only a matter of time before that happens. Insert sinister laughter here.
Hook #3 – The Vandal’s Trap
A note arrives at the royal castle of the King, advising him that an obscure duke has passed on and bequeathed an ancient artifact to whoever proves him- or herself to be the bravest adventurer in the land. To prove their bravery, PCs must scale the tallest peak in the land, subdue the dragon that lives there, mount it, ride it to the royal castle, and present the dragon to the King, as a gift. The duke is Asmodeus, of course, who, for his own amusement, has a cunning plan to trap whoever climbs the tallest peak hoping to retrieving the ancient artifact from its hiding place. There is no artifact, of course, and the red dragon that purportedly dwells there is merely an illusion (created by Asmodeus.) Upon their arrival atop this highest peak, the PCs will see the illusory dragon, and also what appears to be a ruby rod. This ruby rod is not, of course, the one which belongs to Asmodeus. It’s an exact replica, placed there by Asmodeus himself as a mischievous trap. Whoever grabs it will fall victim to a powerful geas spell, for which there is no saving throw allowed. This geas will compel the victim to go and vandalize the royal castle 666 times. The victim will certainly be captured by royal guards soon after the first such instances of vandalism, imprisoned, and made an example of.