Dispater (Dungeons & Dragons)

Dispater (Dungeons & Dragons)
Game background
Title(s) Lord of the Second
Home plane Nine Hells
Power level Archdevil
Alignment Lawful Evil
Superior Asmodeus
Design details

In many campaign settings for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, Dispater is an Arch-Devil of Hell (Baator in later editions of the game), and the Lord of the Iron City of Dis.

Dispater was one of the few arch-devils that retained his position after the Reckoning of Hell. Dispater is lord of Dis, the Second Plane of Hell.

His symbol is a fortress embossed on a reinforced metal shield.


Creative origins

Dispater was inspired by the Dis Pater of Roman myth, a name for Pluto, god of the underworld.[citation needed]

Publication history

Dispater first appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977).[1] Dispater's realm was further detailed in Ed Greenwood's "The Nine Hells Part I" in Dragon #75 (1983).[2]

Dispater did not initially appear in 2nd edition, but he did feature prominently in the Planescape line, particularly in the adventure Fires of Dis (1995).[3] His history as part of the Reckoning of Hell was detailed in Guide to Hell (1999).[4]

In third edition, Dispater appeared along with the other lords of the Nine Hells in the Book of Vile Darkness (2002).[5] Dispater was further detailed in the Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (2006).[6]

The 4th edition Monster Manual mentions that Dispater is still the lord of Dis.[7]


Being based on a pagan Roman god rather than a Christian demon, Dispater was one of the few archfiends not suppressed during TSR's crackdown on demons and devils. He was the only Lord of Baator from first edition AD&D mentioned in the Planescape Campaign Setting boxed set, and the only one of the Lords of the Nine not to undergo a change in name, appearance, or station in second edition AD&D. As a result, he survived the Reckoning, which was how the various second edition changes were eventually explained in-game, more or less unscathed. In the Book of Vile Darkness, Monte Cook described him having iron skin, a feature he had not possessed in previous sources.


Dispater stands at seven feet tall, is evilly handsome and looks human except for his small horns, tail, and cloven left hoof. He has a rod which acts as both a rod of rulership and a staff of striking that deals double normal damage.

Dispater is incredibly cautious to the point of paranoia. He always has at least nine different back up plans for any situation. He is also always polite and calm even in very troubling and stressful situations. Dispater's iron tower is itself a powerful magic item which makes Dispater almost impossible to kill as long as he remains inside it. Dispater never leaves his tower unless forced, most notably for the yearly council with Asmodeus which all the Archdevils are required to attend.


Dispater is the sworn enemy of Baalzebul and is allied with Mephistopheles and as such most of his plans focus on the destruction of Baalzebul. His consort is Lilis.


The following beings are among the most notable subjects of Dispater. The forces at their disposal are listed, where appropriate:

  • Alocer - 36 companies of erinyes (DR75).
  • Arioch - Avenger (DR75).
  • Biffant - Provost (DR75).
  • Bitru - 70 companies of erinyes (DR 75).
  • Lilis - Consort to Dispater (DR75).
  • Merodach - 21 companies of hamatula (DR75).
  • Talos the Triple Iron Golem - Ancient iron golem who serves Lord Dispater.
  • Titivilus - Messenger of Dispater, Nuncio (MM2).
  • Ustyhrin-Ja - Pleasure Devil Desciple who serves her master with frevor and leads his warrior harem.
  • Zaggutch - Pit fiend lieutenant (FoD).

Former vassals

The following beings once served in Dispater's court:

  • Baalzephon - Before the Reckoning of Hell, this pit fiend served Dispater as Prime Minister.
  • Bel - Before entering the service of Zariel on Avernus, Bel commanded three companies of horned devils known as the Iron Guard.


Dispater rules Dis, the Second Layer of Hell, from the Iron City of Dis.


Dispater is extremely conservative, representing evil in its most stagnant form. The doctrines of Dispater are about contingencies and options.


Dispater's cult appeals to those who value stability as much as cruelty. They tend to build impregnable fortresses, carefully reviewing defensive protocol and possible escape plans. They include many hobgoblins, goblins, and similar humanoids.


Clerics of Dispater wear gray clothing and conceal their faces behind iron masks. They wield heavy maces and are usually heavily armored. Disciples of Dispater verge on paranoia and are distrustful of all around them.


According to Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells, when Asmodeus created Baator, he, Mephistopheles, and Dispater were the first of the baatezu to set foot on the plane. Dispater has controlled Dis ever since.[6]

Thousands of years ago, Dispater helped broker the pact between Tiamat's red dragon consort Ephelomon and Gith, first leader of the githyanki. In return, he claimed Gith's soul, which he has kept imprisoned in his iron city ever since.

In the Reckoning, Dispater's legendary tower was the first to be attacked and was laid siege to by Zariel. However, Mammon managed to help Dispater beat the besieging army back and then they both invaded Maladomini to attack Baalzebul.

After the Reckoning, Dispater retained his position as ruler of Dis. He is still an ally of Mephistopheles and he, Mephistopheles, Baalzebul, and Belial form the only two real alliances in Hell.

In the adventure Fires of Dis, Dispater was behind a plot to ruin a noble crusading paladin and prevent the ascension of the gate-town of Fortitude.[3]


  1. ^ Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  2. ^ Greenwood, Ed. "The Nine Hells Part I." Dragon #75 (TSR, 1983)
  3. ^ a b Perrin, Steve, and Ray Vallese. Fires of Dis (TSR, 1995)
  4. ^ Pramas, Chris. Guide to Hell (TSR, 1999)
  5. ^ Cook, Monte. Book of Vile Darkness (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
  6. ^ a b Laws, Robin D, and Robert J Schwalb. Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)
  7. ^ Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)

Additional reading

  • Richard Baker, Rob Heinsoo, and James Wyatt. Manual of the Planes. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2008.
  • McComb, Colin. Faces of Evil: The Fiends (Wizards of the Coast, 1997)
  • McComb, Colin. "The Lords of the Nine." Dragon #223. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR 1995.
  • Schwalb, Robert J." "Tu'narath, City of Death." Dragon #377. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2009.
  • -----. "A Tyranny of Souls." Dungeon #168. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2009.

External links

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