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General Graz'zt, the spawn of Pale Night.... and Nyarlathotep?

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
I remember it being suggested somewhere that Graz'zt is the son of Nyarlathotep, which is something given how Pale Night the Mother of Demons, is an Eldritch Abomination herself, a being who's true form is so terrifying reality makes her appear as shroud on a feminine form. I think they've generally tried to keep the other part his lineage mysterious, possibly due to the ambiguous status of including stuff in the Chthulhu mythos in D&D. Pale Night who was first introduced Fiends: Faces of Evil, though is an established part of D&D since 2e. Having either Pale Night or Nyarlathotep or both as his parents, makes Graz'zt out to be far more foreboding than he often gets depicted as. He is a prince of lies too, so none of it could be true too.
 

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Hexmage-EN

Adventurer
My preferred take is that Graz'zt's father was Asmodeus. Of course, I also like the 4E take on Asmodeus best, where he was an angel who guarded Tharizdun's prison until Pazuzu convinced him to rebel against his god and take a shard of the Heart of the Abyss to kill him with. Perhaps Pazuzu introduced Asmodeus to Pale Night, a fellow obyrith, during this time. Asmodeus took young Graz'zt with him with the intention of one day sending Graz'zt back to his plane of birth as an archdevil conqueror.

As it stands now, Graz'zt has supposedly rebelled and embraced being a demon lord, combining multiple layers of the Abyss in a way similar to how the Nine Hells are arranged. In 3.5's Expedition to the Demonweb Pits he also attempted to establish a council of demon lords.

However, his son Rule-of-Three is said to be aiding Graz'zt in a plan to unite the various fiends. Plus, as of 5E Asmodeus was the one who commissioned the creation of the yugoloths, a neutral evil race between demons and devils (man, yugoloths sure did receive a lore downgrade; they went from the original fiends to just a project Asmodeus paid some night hags to produce). Finally, Graz'zt's on-again-off-again lover, Iggwilv, is the author of the Demonomicon and is said to know the true names of multiple demon lords (one possible ending to 3.5's Savage Tide adventure path even has Iggwilv obtaining a portion of Demogorgon's essence; 4E's Demonomicon states that this did indeed happen and that she still possesses a fragment of the Prince of Demons).

Perhaps Graz'zt, Iggwilv, and Asmodeus (and maybe even Pazuzu and Pale Night) have some kind of grand long-term scheme in mind?
 
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Wishbone

Paladin Radmaster
It comes up in the Demonomicon of Iggwilv article on Graz'zt as a possible origin that Graz'zt is the son of Pale Night and Asmodeus/Loki/Set/a baernaloth/a cosmic entity of a thousand names and crawling chaos (sounds like Nyarlathotep!).
"The exact nature of the entity that Pale Night ensnared and mated with has long been the subject of debate among scholars. Those with their own desires and allegiances invoke names such as Asmodeus, Loki, Set, or even one of the ancient baernaloths, perhaps basing their theories more upon personal prejudice and loyalty than actual evidence. Others maintain that she chose as her mate the patriarch of an ancient race of immortal warriors from an alternate reality. Some hold it was the Abyss itself Pale Night called into her vault. A few ancient and ageless scholars believe that Pale Night was not, in fact, the aggressor in this matter, but that one of the Old Gods themselves, a cosmic entity of a thousand names and crawling chaos, visited Pale Night from his own court at the center of the universe, leaving her impregnated in an attempt to spawn a race of demons who would fulfill unknowable roles in his own dire plans for reality."​
Having either Pale Night or Nyarlathotep or both as his parents, makes Graz'zt out to be far more foreboding than he often gets depicted as. He is a prince of lies too, so none of it could be true too.

I know 4th edition said Graz'zt was a former archdevil who served Asmodeus turned demon lord who wasn't actually directly related to Pale Night. One option could be that Pale Night was responsible for converting Graz'zt from an archdevil into a demon lord and is thus his "mother." Multiple origin stories for the prince of lies would make sense. Very Joker-esque to have a backstory that's multiple choice!
 
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jgsugden

Legend
I remember it being suggested somewhere that Graz'zt is the son of Nyarlathotep, which is something given how Pale Night the Mother of Demons, is an Eldritch Abomination herself, a being who's true form is so terrifying reality makes her appear as shroud on a feminine form.
Don't kink shame.

In my setting, The Cthulhu beasts are manifestations of the collapse of the Far Realm (which is an entire cosmology) into the Main Cosmology. Demons were created when the Far Realm collided with the Hells, etc... As a result, several beings have three parents - their biological parents, and then the thing from the Far Realm that transmuted them into something new. This gives you a lot of versatility for conversations like this one.
 


cbwjm

Hero
I really like the story that Grazz't is a former archdevil who went to the Abyss to form his own empire. Matches with his general motivations and methods of ensnaring people I think.
 


Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
I really don't like the Archdevil backstory, because it's from a time when they really tried to restrict certain things in the story because a lot of things didn't "fit nicely" such as Demons that are more than just rampaging monsters, rather than the emphasis on some "vices" and "sins" over the other vices and sins of Devils. So I'm more for things where there are contradictions or perceived redundancies. So Demons can be manipulative and subtle too just like other Fiends, along with being forces of destruction. What matters is the goal of their approach, and not "well that makes Demons and Devils too alike".

That said it could be one story that some believe, but others will point out that there's many holes in it because of this other thing. I get that the idea of the Obyriths ties very much into the Queen of Chaos and the Rod of Seven Parts, which has been contradictory to other things in D&D.
 


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