There is no greater sorrow
Than to be mindful of the happy time
In misery. 
Baator is stylised as a plane of sinister evil and cruelty. The different types of devils that dwell here obey a strict hierarchical caste-like social structure. Each continually plots to advance their position through treachery and deception. Unlike the demons of the Abyss, the devils are highly organized, with a logical and calculating nature.
The plane itself is composed of nine different layers, each of which models a differing but no less inhospitable and dreadful environment, including barren plains of ash and rock to frozen wastes of endless ice.
The principal inhabitants of Baator are the devils, fiendish creatures of pure lawful evil; the most populous variety of devils are the baatezu, a race which effectively rules the plane. The devils are in a constant conflict known as the Blood War with the chaotic evil demons. The ultimate rulers of Baator are the Lords of the Nine, also called archdevils or Archdukes; each one rules absolutely over one of the layers. The current political climate of Baator was determined by a civil war known as the Reckoning of Hell.
Besides the devils, Baator is home to evil deities such as Tiamat and Kurtulmak, as well as hell hounds, fire giants, rakshasas, and other evil creatures. A few mortals live in well-defended fortresses in Baator. 
- 1 Avernus
- 2 Dis
- 3 Minauros
- 4 Phlegethos
- 5 Stygia
- 6 Malbolge
- 7 Maladomini
- 8 Cania
- 9 Nessus
- 10 Sources
A large dust cloud appears on the horizon, and the low, rumbling thunder makes you thirsty for rain. But this is a different kind of storm. A huge, black mass emerges from the haze, streaming into thousands of distinct shapes - a scrabbling horde of baatezu. Seething masses of melted lemures and blobby nupperibos spill forward from the front ranks, spurred on by jeering, gargoylelike abishai. Toward the rear, army banners are hoisted by an honor guard of barbazu that surround a monstrous pit fiend. Overhead flies a small squad of a dozen or so black abishai. 
The entryway to Baator seethes with danger. Devil armies muster on Avernus' stony wasteland, and it's primary waterway, the River Styx, robs intelligent creatures of their identities within moments of exposure. Other pools and rivers run thick with the blood shed in a million battles ready to claim the lives of any who slip from their rocky gore-slicked banks. Fireballs careen through the atmosphere, randomly incinerating those who are not immune to their effects. Toothy mountains loom on every side, offering fatal obstacles to those unwise enough to scale them, and sharp edges of crystalline rock tears at flesh and clothing.
Blood and viscera coat the entire surface of Avernus. That lump underfoot might be a rock, or it could be a stray bit of bone or horn ripped from the body of a devil or a demon. Although Bel, archduke and chief general of the Nine Hells does his best to fight his battles against demonkin in enemy territory, his layer is invaded by tanar'ri on a regular basis. He has pushed them back after every incursion, but only after his territory has been spattered afresh with gore. 
The Bronze Citadel
Bel's ever-expanding fortress, known as the Bronze Citadel, serves as Baator's principal bulwark against demonic invasion. Work crews of least devils continually slave over the structure, building new walls and war machines in circles around the original citadel.
The fortress is surrounded by fourteen concentric rings, each with it's own gate guarded by fearsome devils. A formidable array of ballistae, catapults and magical relics juts from each of these walls. The complex sprawls across 600 square miles of territory, and it's rearward structures stretch across the steeply rising foothills of the adjoining Stigmaris Mountains.
In the citadel's inner court, Bel confers with the Dark Eight about strategy for upcoming battles. Each of these unique pit fiends also maintains a household within Bel's fortress. 
A ring of steep mountains surrounds all you see - your hill’s part of the range - but the hike to the peaks an the other side of the city is unimaginable From the base of your mountain, though, a white cobblestone path winds its way across the plain toward the city.
One bright red and three swampy-green abishai crouch over the remains of a humanoid, so torn and chewed you can’t even make out its race. The red fiend rises from the sickening meal and bows mockingly in your direction. “Welcome to Dis, brave fools.” The other three fix their eyes on you, but continue to tear at the meaty bones. 
The City of Dis
In keeping with Baator's lawful nature, the realms within it's boundaries sometimes appear impossibly large. This situation is not the case in Dis - perhaps because the city embodies a paradox. Although it contains potentially unlimited space, those who travel within it always feel hemmed in, trapped, and oppressed. In fact, one can walk it's scalding streets forever and never get anywhere.
The approach to Dis presages it's spatial peculiarities. The traveler moves a punishing slant from a ring of spiny mountains. A road of broken skulls winds toward the black walls of the distant city, and one can reach it only by following this macabre track. Eventually, the skulls transform into spurs of hot iron.
No matter how long it takes to reach Dis, the entrance always comes as a sudden break in reality. The walls loom larger and larger, then suddenly the traveler has moved past them and is surrounded by omniously looming structures amid mazelike streets. No two maps of Dis are ever the same because it's configuaration invariably changes by the time the cartographer finishes his sketch.
Building crews of least devils sweat and toil, tearing down old structures and erecting new ones with impressive speed. However, the improvements they make are never discernible, because the cityscape alters faster than any laborers could ever arrange. Supposedly, both the mundane and the magical alterations reflect the inner workings of Dispater's mind. His recent paranoia can be seen with the increasingly cramped, warrenlike nature of the city's new streets. Scrying devices have recently become omnipresent, so the walls of Dis have ears. Iron statues of Dispater follow passerby with red, paranoid eyes. 
The Iron Tower
The changes in the rest of the city seem gradual next to those experienced by Dispater's fortress, which is located in the very center of Dis. This structure is always black, ugly and surrounded by a wrath of dark smoke, but all it's other physical features are subject to rapid change. The Iron Tower might be a square dome one minute, a stabbing first of iron the next.
Regardless of it's form, it remains visible from every point in the city except the Garden of Delights, and it always seems to be one block away. Baatezu instinctively understand how to overcome this spatial oddity and approach the structure, but other creatures trying to reach the fortress without he guidance of devils simply wander forever, remaining tantalizingly close to their goal without every reaching it.
The interior of the tower looks like the rest of the city, except that only Dispater and his servitors live there. His throne room lies in a vast, square vault, which always seems to be one corridor away to those who do not know the secret of moving directly into it. In fact, only Disapter's most trusted chancellors know how to access his throne room unbidden. Rumor holds that a creature entering this inner sanctum finds itself inside an even larger city, even father from Dispater than before, though the truth of such claims is unknown. 
and howsoever I turn,
and wherever I gaze. 
A constant, oily rain pelts down on Minauros, pounding it's black soil into a series of mudflats, swamps, mires and cesspools. From these bubbling, unclean waters issue various stomach-turning stenches, each more foul than the last. The skies roil with drooping, fecund clouds ranging in color from slate gray to putrid indigo.
Muddy conditions cut ground movement ratos by one half to two-thirds, and the high winds and rain slow flight speed's by one-half. However, devils of greater or higher rank that are native to Minauros have sufficient practice operating in these conditions to retain theri normal land and air speed. 
Hanging in the sky over the stink of Minauros can be found the anthill of Jangling Hiter, suspended by chains suspended from the underside of the second layer.
The Sinking City
To gain some protection from the layer's punishing hail storms, city builders construct huge stone canopies across the streets and laneways. Held up by precarious columns, these dilapidated canopies add to the continual danger of falling debris. As soon as a chunk of rock or brick falls from it's place, a work detail of lowly devils scurries out to grab it for one of the city's countless reclamation projects. Reclaimed stones are used to shore up the city's sinking foundations. Sometimes multiple crews run for the same stones, resulting in fights that can end in death or serious injury.
The Sinking City's major industry is the soul trade. Souls are carted here from the layer's other major metropolis Jangling Hiter, for transmutation to lemure form.
Fat-bellied amnizus gather in cafes, swilling flagons of noxious beverages and selling foul futures. Barbazu carters toss themselves onto benches to rest their weary muscles momentarily. Occasionally, numerous soul shells escape from a holding tank, kicking of a frantic stampede when all the devils withing half a mile scramble to claim merit points by recapturing them. 
Colloquially known as the City of Chains or Torture City, Jangling Hiter has hit upon a bizarre solution to it's infirm foundations. A network of jagged, razor-augmented chains rises from a series of slimy posts position throughout the city to the underside of Dis, the layer above Minauros. The residents of Jangling Hiter regard this feat of engineering with a remarkable lack of curiosity. To ask what holds the posts in place or how exactly the other ends were attached to Dis is to reveal oneself as a foreigner and therefore potential victim.
Jangling Hiter is populated mostly my chain devils. Pain devils, their chief rivals as torture masters, are distinctly unwelcome here. In massive factory-style installations, kytons filler the souls of the damned with long-honed precision. Hiter's kytons are so famously skilled at their craft that other arch-dukes - most notably Asmodeus and Levistus - farm out much of their soul-torturing work to them. Thus, tumbrels bearing raw or processed souls teeter regularly into and out of the city. In Jangling Hiter, transport is an industry second only to torture.
So many souls are tormented here that their agonized shrieks constitute a harrowing form of noise pollution. Undercover adventurers traveling in the city risk exposing themselves by reacting to the screams with fear or pity. Once every one to six hours, the combined groans of the tortured rise to a crescendo, necessitating a Will save from any nonevil character. On a failure, the character is visibly horrified, and any observer can readily penetrate her guise.
The city is divided into three neighborhoods, the Fiend, Merchant and Visitor Districts.
The fire of Phlegethos appears not only intelligent, but spiteful, too. Since devils are inherently protected from burns, it's hungry tongues must seek out the more vulnerable flesh of mortals and other planar travelers. 
Fierna's palace dominates the landscape of Phlegethos for miles. A lithe, snaking tower of crystalline stone wreathed in blue flame jurs sinuously into the shimmering air, rising from a ring of sputtering magma pools. Inside the tower, a burning staircase spirals down into the earth, leading to Fierna's pleasure domes. Each of these deep caverns is devoted to a seperate vice. Grates in the floors allow easy access to the inhabitants of a warren of prison cells below. Whenever she grows bored, Fierna can take a long lance and jab downward at a captive paladin or unicorn.
A good percentage of these cells are reserved entirely for the growing ranks of Fierna's ex-lovers. Her current paramours can easily see the fates to which their predecessors have been consigned, but they rarely stop to consider that they're likely to meet the same end. 
The Pit Of Flame
The Pit of Flame is a place of punishment for baatezu that have disobeyed their superiors or failed in their missions - be they from Phlegethos or other layers. The other archdevils contribute to the maintenance of the cages and suspension equipment in return for this service. Even the most flame-resistant devil can still be hurt - if not actually damaged - by the Pit's of Flame's unspeakably hot fires. The vast majority of devils regard the prospect of imprisonment here with stammering terror.
On the other hand, especially fierce and ambitious devils sometimes deliberately subject themselves to these flames, either as an act of showy penance for failure, or simply to prove their incredible toughness. Such voluntary penitents typically pay the cantilever operators to rescue them after a set period of time. The workers have been known to take bribes from mischievous onlookers to keep penitents ablaze for longer than the contracted period.
Nine horned devils led by cantankerous cornugon named Zammasir guard the Pit of Flame. Their task is to prevent escapes and rescue attempts, and to manhandle especially powerful devils into their punishment cages. Scores of barbazu operate the cantilevers. 
The streets of the city called Abriymoch run with molten lava. Constructed inside an active volcano, it's structures are hewn from obsidian and other crystalline rock.
Abriymoch provides a home for Baator's most fearsome defenders, a patrol force led by the pit fiend Gazra. He and his minions, many of them bone devils, police Baator's four uppermost layers, searching for unauthorized intruders and checking the papers of both mortals and devils. Gazra ultimately answers to Belial, but he must also fulfill the policing demands of Bel, Dispater and Mammon.
Abriymoch also houses the Diabolical Courts a - a supposedly independent institution devoted to resolving disputes among devils. 
Like a black serpent, the River Styx winds it's way through Stygia's salty waters but maintains its own integrity, meandering across Sytgia as it would a flattened land mass. Where it touches open ocean, its oily, putrescent waters are clearly distinguishable from the surrounding sea. The largest of the ice floes support entire cities, and the Styx cuts through these as well. Thus the river provides comparatively easy navigation for travelers, though it can steal the identities of any who are accidentally submerged in it. 
The Tomb Of Levistus
Bobbling slightly in the water, the iceberg prison of Archduke Levistus circulates uneasily through Stygia. Occasionally it floats into the Styx and out again, and it can become lodged for years at a time between bigger icebergs on the layer's borderlands.
Levistus periodically attempts engineering schemes designed to control the travels of his tomb. Recently, he tried to outfit it with a system of sails and rudders, but the effort was unsuccessful. Some say the soft laughter of Asmodeus can be heard whenever the currents sweep Levistus' home in another unwanted direction.
Levistus' dark frame can be seen through the iceberg's exceptionally clear blue ice from any angle. His posture of frustrated entrapment bespeaks his complete lack of maneuvering room inside his icy tomb.
On ice floe rafts, a gelugon guard detail keeps impertinent victors are bay. A regiment of airborne erinyes prevent flying creatures from befouling Levistus' home.
Diabolical law specifies the circumstances under which devils can legally attack one another. Specifically, a superior can always punish a direct inferior by any means, physical force included. In addition, devils can do any kind of violence to other devils whose rank they exceed by at least nine stations. Any other assault is illegal. Even two devils that wish to enter battle with one another cannot normally do so. By risking useless injury that might prevent them from performing their duties, they would be engaging in a property crime against their masters.
However, by filing the proper paperwork, devils that want to fight out their differences can gain a Liscense of Lawful Combat that entitles them to do battle in front of a paying audience at Duelist's Chasm. This jagged fissure in the vast iceberg called Ghiskidin has been carved out to house a circular dueling ground. Incised into each side of the fissure is a series of boxes that provide seating for the audience. Frayed rope ladders provide access for nonflying spectators. Barbazu gambling masters clamber from box to box, taking bets and shouting revised odds up to their amnizu bosses perched on the chasms' lip. 
Hall Of The Vanquished
Cultists of Levistus use the "Bind to Hell" spell to permanently divert the souls of those they slay to Baator. The souls of the mightiest victims are stored here, in the Hall of the Vanquished - a combination museum and training ground carved deep into Sygian ice. 
Less than a few years ago, Malbolge was the only layer of the Nine Hells not ruled by a devil. Instead, it was governed by Malagarde, the Hag Countess - a powerful night hag chosen as ruler by Asmodeus himself. The appointment of such a creature to rule over devils occasioned much quiet grumbling from many diabolical entities who considered themselves infinitely more suited to the post. Why would Asmodeus name a nondevil to rule in Baator? The answer, as it turned out, lay in his volatile relationship with his insolent and mischievous daughter, Glasya.
One morning, the Hag Countess had just doged an oncoming bouler and eviscerated a squirming lemure that had displeased her when she was wracked by terrible spasms. She collapsed to the eternal slope, shrieking in agony, and for a moment it looked as if the Lord of the Sixth would simply roll off the layer into the devouring void just past its edge. Then the land, too, began to convulse with earthquakes, and the tunnels beneath the surface turned themselves inside out. The Hag Countess' most loyal lieutenants were crushed by falling rock or swallowed by the hungry earth. Then the infertile soil of Malbolge seize the countess herself by the wrists and ankles and held her fast while she underwent a transformation even more shattering than the one destroying her land.
Clearly, some force was using the Hag Countess' own body as the foundation for a new, utterly different kind of terrain. When the slope of Malbolge bucked, shifted and found a new level, the Hag countess' innards were buried beneath it, forming a twisting maze of subterranean passageways. Her organs burst to the surface as lakes of bile and viscera, and her fingers became white towers. Each strand of her coarse grey hair converted itself into a greasy, hellish tree, and her teeth sank into the earth, lately to be mined as an inexhaustible source of ivory.
Through it all, the Hag Countess screamed and screamed. Even after her death should have been a certainty, her tortured cries kept echoing throughout Malbolge.
When the convulsions of the land began to wane and the Hag Countess cries at last faded away, the layer's surviving inhabitants began to claw their way free of their earthen tombs and climb precariously from the layer's newly grown mountains. As they blinked in surprise at the new landscape, a golden litter floated up from the layers below. Winged devils held it aloft on straining shoulders, and shake-headed imps capered on it's canopy. Lounging on silken pillows was the new ruler of Malbolge - the cruel, beautiful daughter of Asmodeus.
When the Hag Countess' chancellor, a paeliryon named Axacrusis, dared to challenge the newcomer's presence, Glasya sashayed insouciantly from her litter and unfurled the letter of authority from her father investing her as Archduchess of Malbolge. She then demanded that Axacrusis eviscerate itself and invited her imps and bearers to feast on the remains, Axacrusis has yet to die, and Glasya's followers dine on the former chancellor still.
Since its dramatic change in leadership, Malbolge has become the layer of corrupt and bloated growth. Those who die on its cancerous ground are absorbed into it. Malbolge nourishes itself on these corpses, taking what it wants and leaving the rest as desiccated remnants to linger on in undying agony. 
Ossie, Fortress of Glasya
A gnarled forest of twisted trees and grasping briars densely covers the ground of the Hair Forest. The vegetation is so closely packed that movement is hampered. Close inspection reveals that each bit of the rugged plant life is actually enlarged, scaly piece of hair, rooted in the white, flaky soil. 
The bulk of Glasya's minions dwell underground in this series of cramped and twisted passageways, which was formed from Malagarde's intestinal tracts. Though the walls of these catacombs are sturdy and resistant as stone, they retain a disgusting, fleshy appearance, and acrid intestinal fluids expelled by puckering glands periodically sluice down their surfaces. 
The Birthing Pit
Malbolge's soul shells become lemures at the Birthing Pit, a bulging mound of earth located in the center of the layer. Pain devils receive flayed souls in tumbrels, hustle them up creaking wooden ramps, and prod them over the edge, to be devoured by dozens of snapping, toothless mouths. About 9 hours later, the finished lemures ooze out of the mound's surface and dribble down it's side to the bare earth below. Flail-wielding pain devils then drive the msierable creatures off to wander mindlessly about the surface of Malbolge. 
Lakes Of Bile
This collection of reeking lakes and pools produces a variety of potent poisons and acids, which are bottled for export bx a small army of nupperibo and spinagons. These products are made available to Glasya's cultists and sold to devils from other layers, as well as interested parties on the Material Plane, for cash or trade goods. 
Tower Of Pain
Ten ivory towers, each corresponding to one of Malagarde's fingers, claw their way from the earth to point in mute supplciation to the sky. Glasya has completed extensive construction work on the first of these towers and is hollowing out the second for a as-yet-unannounced purpose.
The first finger has become the Tower of Pain - an establishment of torture for her most dangerous enemies. 
Maladomini Cumbling cities dot the decaying, pitted expanses of Maladomini. Sludge-choken rivers wend their way past endless strip mines, and sentient chunks of polluted matter caawl up onto the riverbanks, only to gasp and die upon inhaling the toxic air. Drying forests collapse, succumb to rot, or burst spontaneously into damp, smoldering flame. Like a wounded beast clinging hopelessly to life, the layer constantly shudders, moans and weeps foul black inchor. 
The city of Grenpoli is a haven for pure politics. Here violence is forbidden, wit and guile are the only permissible weapons. Powerful wards prevent any weapons from entering the city by any means. Would-be-smugglers find their weapons teleported back to their homes - even if those homes are on other planes. Furthermore, spells that deal physical or draining damage do not work within the city, and all summoning spells automatically fail. Erinyes patrollers can dispel or counter just about any other magic cast in an offensive manner.
A cunning erinyes called Mysdemn rules the city with an implacable sense of justice. Lawbreakers are subjected to a single, universal punishment - summary execution.
A school of politics located here provides elementary instruction in intrigue. Graduates complete their studies with exercises in Offalion.
Grenpoli serves as an accidental sanctuary for nondevil residents of Baator. If such a creature can get inside the city, its pursuers must give up the chase until it leaves again. Thus, Grenpoli houses a slowly growing population of mortal malcontents from a thousand worlds, who have mingled together to form a new, warped society. Large cadres of enforcers from all layers of the Nine Hells camp outside its boundaries, waiting to intercept any wanted individuals who try to slink out. Inside the city, their associates conduct various nonviolent intrigues designed to inspire their targets to abandon the city.
Grenpoli also provides a neutral ground for rival devils to work out their differences, or simply to forge deals without fear of ambush. 
Citadel Of Mephistar
From a slowly melting throne, the Archduke of Cania oversees the activities of a legion of obsequious servitors. From three terraced levels below, dozens of icy tenements containing thousands of living spaces vault improbably skyward. These structures echo devlish society in a microcosm. Lowly least devils are crammed into tiny warrens at the base of each structure, and swaggering hellfire masters enjoy vast suites at the top. Whenever a devil is promoted or demoted, its living assignment changes so that no devil must face the distress of living next to an inferior - or the terror of close proximity to a superior. 
Thousands of feet beneath the glacier T'chemox, under countless tons of ice, lies the ancient city of Kintyre. Until recently, Kintyre was an inaccessible place of mystery and a testament to the power of Mephistopheles. Legend holds that the archduke crushed its inhabitants in one fell swoop because its overlord sided with one of his rivals.
Now, at their lord's behest, the devils staffing the School of Hellfire have begun to excavate Kintyre and plumb its secrets. The reason for this sudden interest is clear - some recently recovered texts named Kintyre as the resting place of several relics that would be invaluable to further hellfire research. Work crews now toil nonstop, braving unspeakably fierce storms, to dig shafts down into the city. Exploration teams have already begun to enter Kinryre by way of the first of these near-vertical passageways to search for the desired relics. 
A recent addition to the Canian landscape, the mountain retreat called Nebulat provides a home for the layer's displaced and discontented ice devil population. The settlement sits on shelves of magically generated ice that radiate from the side of the mountain Gelineth like crystalline fungus. 
The absolutely flatness of Nessus allows a viewer to see for miles in all directions. Devoid of trees, structures, and changes in elevation its desolate landscape provides little or no cover. Beings moving across its surface can be seen for hours before they finally close to ranged weapon distance.
A network of crisscrossing gouges, gorges and canyons scars the dry and rocky plain. The largest of these crevasses are miles across and dozens of miles deep. The layer's millions of inhabitants dwell within these canyons, either in caves carved out of the walls, or on the crevasse floors. Although the surface of Nessus is finite, its twisting canyons and tunnels contain an effectively infinite amount of space.
In keeping with the layer's utter hostility to travelers, the crevasses are completely unmarked. Maps of the surface have been cobbled together from sketches created by generations of suicidal brave cartographers. But even when accurate, these maps are difficult to match with conditions on the ground.
Few bridges span the canyons, and those that do exist are either heavily guarded or trapped. Any seemingly unguarded bridge is likely to hurl travelers into the gorge below if the correct password is not uttered when they reach the midway point. Without exception, the gorges are deeper than 200 feet.
Flightless devils are expected to remain in their home crevasses. In cases of emergency though, they can travel up and down the walls either by holding right to treacherous hand holds or by using the fraying rope ladders. Inhabitants with poor climbing skills tend to stick close to their caves or hovels, venturing forth only when their lives depend on it. Indeed, devils plunge to their deaths from the canyon walls on an infrequent but regular basis. 
The Serpent's Coil
Creation myths regarding devils disagree in many particulars, but most fail to mention one incident - Asmodeus' final fall from the upper realms. His route to the Pit remains a part of the Nessian landscape - a spiraling canyon called the Serpent's Coil. Presumably, most of this corkscrewing tunnel was once underground, but over the eons it has collapsed on itself, leaving a swirling incision on the surface. The canyon becomes deeper with each new curve until it reaches its endpoint, where it becomes incalculably deep. This spot is where Asmodeus sits to this day, scheming, commanding and bleeding still. Every drop of his spilled blood becomes a greater devil - usually a pit fiend. Infused with maniacal loyalty, these spawns of Asmodeus patrol the Serpent's Coil, hunting for intruders to eradicate. 
 Dante's Divine Comedy
 Fire's of Dis - AD&D Planescape Adventure
 Fiendish Codex 2: Tyrants of Hell
 Monster Manual 2 (1983)
 Amia Lore Topic: The seventh layer: Maladomini