General of Hell
God of Fires
Lord of the Sixth
Moloch (pronounced MOH-lok)1 is an archdevil and ruler of the infernal layer of Malebolge. It is said that all who burn join the armies of Moloch. A being of seething wrath, the Lord of the Sixth embodies both absolute discipline and directed destructive force. General of Hell's armies, Moloch endlessly trains his infernal legions to be the greatest martial force in the multiverse,2 and ultimately defeat the hosts of Heaven and goodness throughout the Great Beyond.3 His unholy symbol is a yellow flame surrounded by the head of a bull.4
Whatever body Moloch might have once possessed was consumed in flame long ago. Now, the General of Hell is an embodiment of the most devastating, inhuman aspects of war, a creature of fearsome black metal and spiked armor encrusted with the blood of countless opponents. Upon his breastplate are the severed wings of Imopheil, an angel who dared to assail Hell.5 With his clawed gauntlets he exerts the strength of a titan to heft the blood-soaked sword Ramithaine and the horned battleaxe Goreletch. Even in his most tempered moods, flames leap from Moloch's eyes, flaring nostrils, and every other joint and chink of his scorched armor, this blaze growing more wild as the archfiend's ire rises. He never removes his armor, though on the rare occasions where it has become damaged in the heat of battle, nothing lies beneath but flames and the faint outline of withered, fire-charred bones.2
Prior to the exodus of the devils from Heaven, the exscinder archon that would become Moloch tended the Heresy Ovens in the Great Library of Harmonious Scripture. For aeons, he served Heaven dutifully, never reading a word of the forbidden texts in the Heresy Ovens.6
Just before the fall of Asmodeus, his lieutenant Baalzebul entered the Great Library and asked for a piece of the Great Library's flame. His request was granted, but since Baalzebul could not control the flames, he instead led the exscinder outside, carrying with him a single cinder. Knowing that no archon would deny him, Asmodeus drew him into his plots, armed him with the blasphemous flames and sent him into battle; it is unknown whether he followed Asmodeus out of obedience or corruption of the flames.6
The former exscinder led his forces from victory to victory, while the flames slowly fed off his own essence and became one and the same with him. Eventually, Asmodeus clad the burning archon in black plate armour and named him Moloch.67
Moloch serves Asmodeus with unquestionable loyalty, and in turn Asmodeus trusts him with command of nearly all devils. Moloch's other great ally in Hell is Dispater, a fellow veteran lieutenant of Asmodeus; Dispater constantly provides Moloch with conscripts or war machines, and can trust Moloch to defend Dis if the need arises. Moloch is also one of the few devils willing to deal with his former superior Baalzebul and his endless lies.6
Moloch is hated by Torag, who sees Moloch's portfolio as a corruption of his own. Moloch actively seeks to convert dwarves and considers Torag's priests his favourite sacrifices. Moloch seemingly randomly sends missives to the Cinder Furnace, Szuriel's domain on Abaddon, for unknown reasons; otherwise, his only interest outside of Hell is conquest.6
Moloch is known for being disciplined, severe, and merciless, but aside from commanding Hell's war machine, he is also very mercenary in his recruitment for his legions in that he is willing to provide services for those who honor him; if people sacrifice to him, he fixes their problems. Should one burn offerings to Moloch to stop a flood and save their village, he is probably more likely to step in and stop the flood than the other archdevils.89The caveat, of course, is that whether one worships him as part of a militaristic cult, as part of the traditions of one's people, or just because his standing offer of aid is tempting, serving him damns a soul to his fortress realm in Malebolge after death. But when faced with dying at the hands of a foe, infernal intervention for either benevolent or selfish reason might be worth the price of later damnation.8
The human ethnic group known as the Beshzens, native to the Kelesh Empire, turned to Moloch after their cities were destroyed by a Spawn of Rovagug about 1,000 years ago. Since then, other Keleshites have mistrusted the Beshzens.10
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 247. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- Sean K Reynolds. (August 25, 2009). Book of the Damned: Moloch and Stygia, Paizo Blog.
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 231. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- Princes of Darkness, Book of the Damned Volume 1, inside front cover. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Chapter 1: Fiendish Divinities” in Book of the Damned, 78–79. Paizo Inc., 2017 .
- “Moloch, the Ashen Bull” in The Inferno Gate, 68–72. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- “Hell and the Archdevils” in Princes of Darkness, Book of the Damned Volume 1, 19. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- David Eitelbach. (April 24, 2009). Roots & Beginnings: Book of the Damned (Part 2), Paizo Blog.
- “Chapter 1: Fiendish Divinities” in Book of the Damned, 79. Paizo Inc., 2017 .
- “People of Qadira” in Qadira, Jewel of the East, 27. Paizo Inc., 2017 .
- “Moloch, the Ashen Bull” in The Inferno Gate, 70. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- “Moloch, the Ashen Bull” in The Inferno Gate, 71. Paizo Inc., 2016 .