A realm of vast wastelands under a rotten sky, Abaddon is perpetually cloaked in a cloying black mist and the oppressive twilight of an endless solar eclipse. The poisoned River Styx has its source in Abaddon, before it meanders like a twisted serpent onto other planes. Abaddon may be the most hostile of the Outer Planes; it is the home of the daemons, fiends of pure evil untouched by the struggle between law and chaos, who personify oblivion and destruction. Daemons, which are ruled by four godlike archdaemons, are feared throughout the Great Beyond as devourers of souls.
Although more stable than the infinite fissures of The Abyss, and free from the tyrannical rigidity of Hell, Abaddon nevertheless stands as one of the most hostile planes in the multiverse. In its blistered and blackened reaches, both mortal souls and outsiders find themselves preyed upon by the fiendish residents, either slain outright or offered up bound and bleeding to the plane’s rulers as specimens upon which to feast or experiment. Constantly remade to suit its masters’ sick whimsy, Abaddon is a twisted and shifting place that forbears all attempts at mapping, and which only the insane or desperate dare to visit. This is the home of the daemons, those fiends who seek neither to corrupt life nor to bind it to their will, but rather to destroy it utterly. Their wasteland is bleak and dark, lit only by the pervasive, eerie half-light of the plane’s perpetually eclipsed sun. Deserts of ashes, oceans of acid, continent-wide fields of bones, forests of burning trees like living candelabras, and floodplains of salt and toxic sludge welcome visitors pressing through the gloom and the cold, cloying mists. Amid this desolation, all is silent save for the screams of mortal souls hunted for sport and the mad laughter of daemons feeding upon them.
Spirits condemned to Abaddon flood into the plane like clockwork, falling from the eclipse-darkened sky like shining, screaming meteors. Half of them never reach the ground, snatched up by winged hunters mid-descent or ensnared by magic and transported to holding pens and slaughterhouses where spiritual consumption operates on an industrial scale. Those that do survive to reach the ground find only horror as they scatter, confused and dazed, before being hunted. Other souls arrive by way of daemonic conquest or predation beyond the plane’s borders, dragged back to Abaddon in vast slave lines. No paradise awaits those mad souls who offer the daemons worship, or whose evil natures condemn them to this plane. No liberation waits to grant them hope. There is no greater meaning, only the extinction of the soul. Those mortal souls that evade capture or travel to the plane for their own reasons are known as the hunted—but few of them endure for long. Those that survive do so by betraying and ultimately preying upon their fellows, and in time transcend their status and become daemons themselves, warped by their own inner natures and the plane’s touch in an ironic, horrific reversal.
All members of daemonkind bow before their greatest kindred, known as the Four Horsemen. Each Horseman personifies one of the greatest threats to mortal life—pestilence, war, famine, and death—and under their rule, they and their lesser kindred feast upon mortals and immortals alike, bleeding the universe dry of its animating essences. Most of Abaddon falls under the direct rule of one Horseman or another, but while they work toward the same ends, each of the Four operates according to his or her own independent agenda.
The Four do not openly wage war upon one another, instead cooperating as an unholy fellowship and presenting a supposedly unified front to the cosmos, though below them the daemonic ranks churn with schemes and outright fratricide. Philosophy, ideology, and differing arts and methods bow before the unifying drive of their kind: to hasten the inevitable oblivion that awaits all life. The daemons are often seen as neutral, their dispositions placing them between the extreme order of devils and the chaotic destruction of demons, yet this simplification is somewhat misleading. Daemons are not devoted to impartiality—rather, chaos is accepted so long as it fosters their goals, while law is co-opted as a useful framework to hasten the end of all things. Daemons are evil bereft of all mitigating influences, single-minded incarnations of nihilism in its purest form, villains willing to use any tool to achieve their goals, whatever they may be.
Far from the plane’s core, away from the constantly replenishing tides of souls, Abaddon’s unclaimed wastelands are squabbled over by non-daemonic powers, potent daemon warlords known as harbingers, and lesser daemonic nobles out of favor with the Horsemen.
Even in a plane so devoted to destruction, there are legends. These whisper of another domain, lurking within Abaddon’s core and touched by the bordering domains of the Four, locked away like a cold and silent heart. It was here, the stories whisper, that the Four once served as servants in the early days of the plane, bound to an entity both more powerful and less knowable. And it was in this now-hidden domain that they betrayed, bound, and butchered their master, feasting upon its flesh and seizing its power as their own. Only the Four know whether there’s any truth to this tale. Either way, it hardly matters, for though individual Horsemen may fall and be replaced in their positions, the sovereignty of the Horsemen as a whole remains absolute.
On Abaddon, taunting telepathic dirges ring like church bells through the looming clouds as daemons flit about the eclipse-blackened sky, the fiends phasing in and out of reality and screaming fiendish hymns of pain and oblivion. Below them, the citadels of the Four stand brooding over the broken lands, monuments to the power of the unknowable masters of daemonkind.
Abaddon has the following planar traits:
- Divinely Morphic: Deities with domains in Abaddon can alter the plane at will.
- Enhanced Magic: Spells and spell-like abilities with the evil descriptor are enhanced.
- Impeded Magic: Spells and spell-like abilities with the good descriptor are impeded.
|Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Book of the Damned, Vol. 3 © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Todd Stewart