D&D General What if the Blood War ended? (Possible Outcomes Discussion)

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
But the Abyss is likely way, way bigger than Hell. Since each layer is the size of a planet on both planes, you could fit hundreds of millions of demons on each of the 700+ layers, so united or divided, they would still overpower the devils if it were not for some outside force.

Not to mention that the devils is a splinter of the celestials that is still gathring troops.
AND the devils fight on hometurf more often where they can be permakilled.
So the devils numbers are likely underpopulating their 9 layers by a noticeable amount.

Therefore the numbers the demons send to the Blood War has to be a sliver of their population.
 

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Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
But the Abyss is likely way, way bigger than Hell. Since each layer is the size of a planet on both planes, you could fit hundreds of millions of demons on each of the 700+ layers, so united or divided, they would still overpower the devils if it were not for some outside force.

So? It doesn't matter how many more times there are of demons; the vast majority of them are fighting each other, and getting permanently destroyed, in the Abyss. Only a small fraction of the demons forms enough cohesion to wage the Blood War directly with devils.

Not to mention, the devils have far more effective, and powerful, leadership than demons. With RAW, Bel and Zariel can kick the poop out of Yeenoghu, Baphomet and even Orcus. And they're considered the weakest devils in the archdevil hierarchy.

Reading Descent into Avernus, Zariel literally pursues one-to-one combat with Demon Lords to defeat them single-handedly and rout their forces. She imprisoned Kostchiechie in this way.
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
Yes, that definitely is a huge flaw in the Demons, but the Devils are not completely without that factor. They're always plotting, scheming, and backstabbing each other.

True, but the hierarchy mostly keeps them in line. In the Avernus book, Bel is plotting against Zariel but is bound against taking any direct action against her. There are countless such contracts and oaths sworn to keep peace in this way, so direct war between layers is not common.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
True, but the hierarchy mostly keeps them in line. In the Avernus book, Bel is plotting against Zariel but is bound against taking any direct action against her. There are countless such contracts and oaths sworn to keep peace in this way, so direct war between layers is not common.
Yeah, it's not common, (as in it doesn't happen often), but it certainly happens. Have you ever looked at the list of Archdevils who are/have plotting/plotted against fellow archdevils, or even Asmodeus? Mephistopheles, Moloch, technically Glasya, etc.

I remember watching in a Matthew Colville episode (I don't remember which one), a paraphrased quote he took from a book series where there was a war between law and chaos. It went along the lines of how chaotic creatures (demons) are more predictable and stable than the lawful ones (devils). Demons always only fight for themselves, while devils work together but betray each other whenever they get the opportunity. In some ways, demons are more lawful than devils, at least in societal structure.
 

Yeah, it's not common, (as in it doesn't happen often), but it certainly happens. Have you ever looked at the list of Archdevils who are/have plotting/plotted against fellow archdevils, or even Asmodeus? Mephistopheles, Moloch, technically Glasya, etc.

Here's a site with unparalleled resources in this aspect:

A Guide to Archdevils

The same guy put out Emirikol's Guide to Devils on DMs Guild, and it is a fantastic resource, but keep in mind it predates Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes and Descent into Avernus and therefore doesn't have the info from those books. Instead it presents an amalgalm of all lore from every edition (most significantly, the Ancient Baatorians of 2E and the rebellion against the god He Who Was from 4E are both incorporated) and statblocks for devils from previous editions (a few of which have been officially updated to 5E since).
 

Thirteenspades

Great Wyrm
So? It doesn't matter how many more times there are of demons; the vast majority of them are fighting each other, and getting permanently destroyed, in the Abyss. Only a small fraction of the demons forms enough cohesion to wage the Blood War directly with devils.

Not to mention, the devils have far more effective, and powerful, leadership than demons. With RAW, Bel and Zariel can kick the poop out of Yeenoghu, Baphomet and even Orcus. And they're considered the weakest devils in the archdevil hierarchy.

Reading Descent into Avernus, Zariel literally pursues one-to-one combat with Demon Lords to defeat them single-handedly and rout their forces. She imprisoned Kostchiechie in this way.
I can understand her imprisoning K in DiA and that makes sense, but Zariel didn't kill Kostchtchie, she trapped him. Not to mention that demigods killing far more powerful true gods does happen in D&D, circumstances have a lot to do with it. And all the Archdevils are only given the power Asmodeus grants & he can take it away as he wishes. Kostchtchie is also not the most powerful demon lord (just like Zariel isn't the most powerful Archdevil). Looking at some of his better designed statblocks:
Screenshot_20200805-160224_Xodo Docs.jpg
Screenshot_20200805-160228_Xodo Docs.jpg
Kostchtchie-Update.jpg
They're big, but so are all demon lords. I think demons are underrated in respect to how they can be organized and strategic when they want to. With INT 25, demon lords should do more than pettily war for millions of years with each other never getting anything done because they can't organize their armies. Yes, most are completely chaotic but Demon Lords are able to fix that and were it not for some outside force, even with a few dozen demon lords affecting the blood war they would still overpower devils, if not Asmodeus himself.
Asmodeus is of course the deciding factor, if the demons suddenly gained power (E.G Orcus retrieves his lost divinity and becomes a full fledged god again) they would sweep through hell. The balance of the Blood War hangs on a thread.
 
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I don't have too much knowledge on the Blood War, but I'll weigh in briefly. It was believed to have been briefly stopped when Asmodeus abosrb the divine power of Azuth and pushed the Abyss into the Elemental Chaos, but it soon started up again.

The Blood War ending would be chaos, to be sure. It would be difficult for the celestials, as they would have to break their alignment and the demands of good and justice (unless they could find a loophole there, as it could be argued that fighting against fiends is good and just, as it would preserve order and the Upper Planes, and the Material Plane).
 

Mirtek

Hero
With RAW, Bel and Zariel can kick the poop out of Yeenoghu, Baphomet and even Orcus. And they're considered the weakest devils in the archdevil hierarchy.
Which I think just shows that in 5e the place in the infernal hierarchy does not correlate with their personal CR. Zariel is probably already one of the highest CR archdevils despite only being lord of the first. Otherwise we'd have them eclipsing Tiamat before even reaching Mephistopheles

I don't have too much knowledge on the Blood War, but I'll weigh in briefly. It was believed to have been briefly stopped when Asmodeus abosrb the divine power of Azuth and pushed the Abyss into the Elemental Chaos, but it soon started up again.

The Blood War ending would be chaos, to be sure. It would be difficult for the celestials, as they would have to break their alignment and the demands of good and justice (unless they could find a loophole there, as it could be argued that fighting against fiends is good and just, as it would preserve order and the Upper Planes, and the Material Plane).
But then it didn't end because one side had really won the war, but just because they became to separated to wage war on one another.

One side truly winning would irrevocably shift the fundamental axis of existences toward law or chaos. If the devils would win and law would saturate the cosmos on a fundamental level, one could expect lesser chaos aligned planes becoming less chaotic and more neutral while the true planes of chaos (and their inhabitants) would become sickly and weakened over time -, poisoned by reality starting to turn against them at it's most fundamental level.

If the devils were patient enough slaad and chaotic celestials might die out without them having to launch any attacks to do them in.
 
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Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
I can understand her imprisoning K in DiA and that makes sense, but Zariel didn't kill Kostchtchie, she trapped him. Not to mention that demigods killing far more powerful true gods does happen in D&D, circumstances have a lot to do with it. And all the Archdevils are only given the power Asmodeus grants & he can take it away as he wishes. Kostchtchie is also not the most powerful demon lord (just like Zariel isn't the most powerful Archdevil). Looking at some of his better designed statblocks:
They're big, but so are all demon lords. I think demons are underrated in respect to how they can be organized and strategic when they want to. With INT 25, demon lords should do more than pettily war for millions of years with each other never getting anything done because they can't organize their armies. Yes, most are completely chaotic but Demon Lords are able to fix that and were it not for some outside force, even with a few dozen demon lords affecting the blood war they would still overpower devils, if not Asmodeus himself.
Asmodeus is of course the deciding factor, if the demons suddenly gained power (E.G Orcus retrieves his lost divinity and becomes a full fledged god again) they would sweep through hell. The balance of the Blood War hangs on a thread.

I gotta ignore the other statblocks you mention, because we are talking about 5E here. Second, Zariel doesn't kill Kostchiechie on purpose; if she did, he would just reform in the Abyss. She purposefully imprisoned him instead.

You're giving way to much credit to the Demon Lords here; sure they're intelligence, even wise if you look at their stats. But their hopelessly ambitious, cruel and inconsistent. They simply aren't capable of holding together an alliance with another Demon Lord for long, because they are always thinking "When is the right moment for me to stab him in the back so only I'm in charge?" And they're ALL thinking that, and eventually one moves and the whole thing devolves into infighting. They're all extremely intelligent, but they lack the inherent ability of the devils to organize themselves in any way that lasts longer (or larger) than a brief alliance to invade hell.

Demon Lords don't even share the same idea about what conquering the Multiverse would even look like. Yeenoghu just wants to burn and destroy, Orcus wants an undead wasteland, Juiblex wants to eat everything, Graz'zt wants a big violent orgy... their goals are extremely contradictory. The devils though have the same goal; cold, merciless domination.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Plus demon princes have to defend their layers. The more layers they have, the more of their army that must stay behind.

Therefore only the strongest or weakest demon lords would be involved in the blood war at any given time. The strongest might have a spare army. The weakest have nothing to defend.

So Avernus is mostly attacked by armies of chumps and rejects.
 


Stormonu

Legend
Taking a page from history, twisting it and off running:

Asmodeus has been working for ages on an artifact that allows him to destroy the Abyss and the demons within. It partially works, shattering the Abyss and obliterating all known demons. He is then able to secretly forge a non-aggression and trade pact with the Yugoloths and the forces of Acheron, that greatly favors Hell. Hades pays tribute in souls, but remains aloof for now. The triumvirate becomes known colloquially as the Axis of Evil.

Alarmed by the sudden and abrupt end of the Blood War, the quickly allied Celestial planes sue for an end of aggression against the other planes. Crafty Asmodeus agrees, but not before crossing the river Styx and seizing Carceri. Though the upper planes balk at the seizure, they do not have the forces nor will to take it back and are satisfied by Asmodeus's word that it remain a prison plane, ostensibly to be used to hold the few rogue demon lords that escaped utter destruction. Olympus and Ysgard fall to bickering and debate over the situation, and long-held grudges erupt into cross-realm raids as its warriors clash impotently against each other, to be reborn daily and continue their grudges against one another. Celestia remains guardingly quiet and introspective. Mechanus builds great clockwork walls to isolate itself from bordering Acheron, but its modron armies simply gather at the rising, thickening wall and wait.

The upper planes are thus neutralized and focus their attention on the Prime Material, fearing that if there is to be war, it will be determined by the reaping of souls from that plane. Except Arcadia. Unwilling to allow evil to entrench itself, it conducts at first covert intelligence raids into Acheron and Gehenna, until it is able to reach into Hell itself. Only for the raiding forces to find themselves falling into Asmodeus's trap and being captured.

Hell parades the captured raiders prominently, causing the upper planes to shun Arcadia and further withdraw from any thought of similar actions. After their propaganda usage is finished, the Arcadian raiders are sent to the depths of Carceri, to become prize prisoners among the other imprisoned foes of Asmodeus.

For a short time, an unsettling quiet - save for the occasional Olympus-Ysgard raid - reigns over the outer planes. Among the vigilant of the upper planes, there are alarming signs of increased corruption and cultism rising among the mortals of the Prime Material, but it only turns eyes away from the smoking factories of Gehenna and the growing numbers of shades filling the Gray Wastes.

It is on the eve of the Last Night that warning comes almost too late. A few desperate survivors from the Arcadia raids return with only moments to warn the Upper planes of the war to come. Asmodeus and all the forces of Hell are on the march - following in the wake of the released titans of Carceri. The attack comes not through Archeron as had been expected by many. Instead, the mapped, mad tunnels of Pandemonium are covertly used by the titanic forces to emerge into Limbo. The soup of Chaos is overrun and molded into forces of war in a single night. The mighty titans call upon their brethren - the jotun of Ysgard - and the home of the Vanir is laid to siege.

Instantly, Mechanus declares war upon the forces of Hell, and as instantly, they discover their mistake. Atop the metal cubes of Archeron, the hordes of that realm crash down upon the clockwork wall, grinding them to an utter halt. Astride war machines forged in Gehenna, the goblin and gnoll hordes rush through the clockwork mechanisms of Limbo and the great gears come to a grinding halt. For the Modrons, it is not a retreat, but a rout and a massacre. Only through the ingenious workings of Primus are a scant handful capable of escaping the slaughter, scattered to the remaining planes and away from the conflict.

But all is not lost! Where Olympus and Ysgard had fenced against one another, they stand united against the titanic forces arrayed against them. As for the forces of Arcadia, they find themselves facing a prepared Arcadia, who themselves had not been idle and reshaped their plane into an unassailable fortress that repels even the most fantastic war machines of Gehenna with equally fantastic hand-wrought creations of the Arcadias. The skies and the seas flicker with the arcane energies of their contests, and even the mightily hurled cubes of Acheron fail the fighting spirit of the Arcadians.

As the battle at both fronts wavers, Asmodeus makes his third calculated strike, hoping to rend the upper planes in twain. Utilizing enslaved demons he had transfigured with Hellish modifications, Asmodeus strikes at Mount Celestia itself with a suicidal force. However, he miscalculates the will of the Celestians, who though shocked and surprised by the gruesome assault are able to repel the attack. And it is only then that Asmodeus realizes his mistake, as the vast armory of Celestia is opened, and the peaceful realm girds itself for war.

However, Asmodeus has prepared himself for this possibility, and draws upon the shades of Hades and it night hags, drawing new forces to bolster the twin battlefronts. He is sure if that he can turn the war into one of attrition the forces of good will waver, and as before, sue for peace. So long as he keeps the ground he has so far gained, he can end the war and restart it at a time of his choosing, slowly whittling away at the upper planes until he rules it all.

But Celestia strikes where Asmodeus does not expect - taking their forces directly to the Prime Material plane. No longer are the forces of good content to sit back and allow mortals to blindly choose their fate. The evil are reaped at the source, whittling down Asmodeus's ability to bolster his troops. Then, slowly, inch by inch, the calleousness to which he committed his troops to the twin fronts begins to result in his forces being unable to hold their ground. Soon, where Arcadia was forced back inch by inch, it instead builds outward. On the other front, a united Olympus and Ysgard teaches the mighty titans that they were beaten before - and still can be beaten back even now.

It is only when the refugees of Mechanus restart the gears of their home plane that Asmodeus realizes the dire straights he is in. The titans are then dispersed and their hold on the chaos stuff of Limbo, and Hell's forces retreat back towards their home plane. Few, however, are successful in navigating the mad tunnels of Pandemonium to return home. Arcadia and Mechanus combine forces, turning the war cubes of Acheron into heaps of scrap and the hordes of Acheron flee to hide themselves, only to be crushed under the weight of the tumbling, crumbling blocks of iron.

As the noose closes on Asmodeus, Gehenna disavows their alliance with Hell and retreats back to the relative safety of their fiery mountains. The advancing forces, however, spare them no pity. Gehenna becomes a new form of Carceri, its yugoloths imprisoned in fiery, ever-burning tombs forged of their own volcanic peaks.

Asmodeus retreats into the lowest reaches of Hell, surrounding himself with an impenetrable ring of his most powerful servants. But the forces of the upper planes are never penetrate into his final abode until after the last survivors of the Abyss have their final revenge. Unknown to Asmodeus, the Abyss secretly was able to reform from a small globlet that survived the realms initial destruction. Rumor says it was Orcus who reformed to take Asmodeus in his clutches while still surrounded by a dozen pit fiends, but no one is quite sure which demon lord manifested to face the lord of Hell - or what Asmodeus's final fate may have been - nor where now the Abyss lies.

Now, however, the lower planes lie empty or exist only as dimished prisons to its former lords. The expunging of the prime lasted only a mere generation before the seeds of evil once again started to rear its ugly head - whispers that the seeds have been planted by enigmatic demon kind from their hidden realm. The tide grows - ever so slowly...
 
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dave2008

Legend
Not to mention, the devils have far more effective, and powerful, leadership than demons. With RAW, Bel and Zariel can kick the poop out of Yeenoghu, Baphomet and even Orcus. And they're considered the weakest devils in the archdevil hierarchy.
I thought Bel was like CR 21 or something in DiA? That is lower than all of the Demon Lords.

Also, I do think Zariel is too high in 5e, but I don't think she has ever been stated before, so we don't really know how powerful she was relative to the other Archdevils in previous editions.

Regardless, I always default to 1e in these scenarios and have Demogorgon more powerful than Asmodeus. So, IMO, the official stat blocks for the demon lords are two weak.

EDIT: Never mind, Bel is CR 25. However, Orcus and Demorgorgon are CR 26 like Zariel. Personally I think that should be higher, but that is 5e for ya.
 
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Not sure if this has been mentioned, but The Blood War officially took a break to address the Illithid/Mindflayer problem, so maybe Squid-Head 2: The Revenge wipes all that out.
 
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Stormonu

Legend
Regardless, I always default to 1e in these scenarios and have Demogorgon more powerful than Asmodeus. So, IMO, the official stat blocks for the demon lords are two week.

pfsh. Giving these entities stat blocks in the first place was the mistake.

Always remember. Johnny beat the devil with nothing but a fiddle.
 


dave2008

Legend
pfsh. Giving these entities stat blocks in the first place was the mistake.

Always remember. Johnny beat the devil with nothing but a fiddle.
Ya, it is not D&D if you can't give stats to devils, demons, and gods. Heck I poured over the MM and Deities & Demigods for years as a kid before i have got to play. Just reading those books is almost as much D&D to me as playing the game.
 

Ya, it is not D&D if you can't give stats to devils, demons, and gods. Heck I poured over the MM and Deities & Demigods for years as a kid before i have got to play. Just reading those books is almost as much D&D to me as playing the game.

Yep, the 1st Ed Deities & Demigods (Cthulhu and Melnibonean) sucked me right in back in the day; and to this day is my favourite of all D&D goods to peruse.
 
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