I’m just beginning the process of writing the Stygia portion of my Hellcrawl – the fifth circle of Hell, to be precise, wherein dwell the wrathful and the sullen. What follows is my initial sketch of the overview. Some parts are in a finished state, most are just bits and pieces of notes. I thought it might be interesting to people – like an illustrator showing a sketch before the finished drawing.
WHAT – swamp, mangroves, weird plants, amphibians, deeper lakes, river
Wrathful souls in the mud, biting and attacking
Souls of the sullen beneath the waters, grasping and pulling people down
Inability to control anger and rage
Tower wreathed in flame and boatman Phlegyas taking people across the Styx proper
Blue bayou pirates
Terrains – mud flats, rocky islands, wooded islands, clumps of mangrove, Spanish forts, Spanish moss, vines
“Shooting the Rapids”
You have to do a check to find a channel to the hex you want to enter – if successful, you find a deep channel. If not, you find a shallow channel filled with the souls of the wrathful, who are stuck in the mud but no less dangerous for it.
Reflex saving throws – once per mile
If failed, you are grappled by first one wrathful, then 1d4 more per round, all trying to damage you and pull you into the mud, where then the sullen grab from below and suck you in to drown
Dipping in the Styx can make people invulnerable for a time (1d8 days) (bonus to armor and saves), but also makes them intemperate (save or go berserk)
Races of Stygia
Stygia, like most of the other circles of Hell, is not only inhabited by pitchfork-carrying devils and their victims. ??? races known to people of the surface world dwell in Stygia, though these races have been changed in many ways by their habitation in Hell.
Sahuagin: The sahuagin of Hell are not terribly different from the sahuagin of any other world – a testament of sorts to their innate wickedness and ferocity. The Stygian sahuagin have dull black scales that aid them in surprising their prey in the black waters of the swamp and river.
Frog Men: The frog men have long, thin legs and great, wide mouths filled with needle thin teeth. They have glossy black skin and warm, amber eyes that produce a dim glow. Their tongues are long and barbed, and those struck by them must pass a saving throw or be infected by disease (lose 1d3 points of wisdom per day).
Ogres: The ogres of Stygia are the devoted servants of Bael. They have greenish-black skin and lank, green hair that grows to their ankles. This hair is matted, sometimes braided, and the ogres weave iron knobs into the ends so that their hair becomes a weapon while they are fighting. Any creature in melee contact with them must save each round or suffer 1d4 points of damage from these knobs. The ogres of Stygia are berserkers (two attacks per round).
Mermaids: The mermaids of Stygia have pallid skin and overly large, deep green eyes that can allow them to charm person. Their lower bodies are those of eels and their hands are tipped with deep, green claws. They are utterly without mercy and quite carnivorous.
Lords of Stygia
Prince Baal of the Land – sometimes Bael, Baell – associated with Ashtaroth – principal king of Hell – 66 legions of demons, main assistant of Satan – can make people invisible or wise, speaks hoarsely, carries ashes in his pocket, appear in forms of man, cat and toad or as a man or bull
Prince Dagon of the Water – also called Lotan, patron of Ophir – has a chain gang of drowned kings – Anat is his sister, cooked kings on a fisherman’s spit – wife is Ishara or Shala – patron of Hammurabi – weapon of the god was used to slay Arman and Ibla by Naram-Sin – Joppa (Jaffa, famous for Jonah) is the land of Dagon – possesses the head of Saul – also called Marnas – Saint Porphyry destroyed his temples
Ishara – goddess of the oath, “binding promise”, “magical charming”, “white ghost” – inflicts bodily penalties to oathbreakers, in particular breakers of military oaths and a goddess of medicine, mother of the seven stars, associated with Scorpio, also love goddess and associated with underworld
Vepar – strong Great Duke of Hell, 29 legions of demons, governs waters and guides armored ships laden with ammunition and weapons; can bring storms and rough seas, can make men die in three days by putrefying sores and wounds, causing worms to breed in them, depicted as a mermaid
Furfur- great earl, chief of perytons – 29 legions of demons, liar unless compelled to enter magic triangle – causes love between man and woman, creates storms and tempests, thunder, lightning and blasts, teaches on secret and divine things, can appear as winged deer or angel – corruption of Furcifer, Latin for scoundrel
Aguares – duke of the eastern zone of upper Hells – duke served by 31 legions – see NOD 9 – can make runaways come back, and those who run stand still, cause earthquakes and teaches languages, finds pleasure in teaching immoral expressions, destroy dignities (temporal and supernatural) – pale old man riding crocodile with hawk on his fist
Scox – chief of the eblis – Marquis – also Shax, Chax, Shass, Shaz – 1000 legions of demons on evil horses, takes away the sight, hearing and understanding, steals money from kings’ houses, steals anything, discover hidden things, faithful and obedient, but a great liar, stork who speaks with a subtle and hoarse voice, but voice becomes beautiful when forced into magical triangle and made to speak the truth
Nickar – chief of the kelpies and pirates – green hair and plays harp – mermaid creature
Styx – daughter of Oceanus and Tethys – a titan/neried, wife to Pallas, bore him Zelus, Nike, Kratos and Bia (Eos) – supported Zeus in the titanomachy
Phlegyas – the boatman of the Styx (according to Dante)
Demons – Lemures, Dretches, Imps, Achaierai, Rutterkin, Vrock, Chasme, Hydrodaemon, Greruor, Shrroth
Undead Raven Swarm
Death head moths