28 Nov

Fraz-Urb’luu, the Prince of Deception, Part 1

“I eat vorpal swords for breakfast.”
True story.

This month sees my article, Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Fraz-Urb’luu, the Prince of Deception, appear in Dungeon #208. To go along with it, I’m adding some supplemental information here about the least popular demon prince of the Abyss, Fraz-Urb’luu. Obviously, this additional material is not official Wizards of the Coast canon. This “bonus content” is essentially fan material that just happens to be written by the guy who wrote the article about Fraz-Urb’luu.

With that in mind I also want to point out that I stood on the shoulders of giants to create what I did about the demon prince that was born of Gary Gygax’s personal campaign world and refined over the years. Fraz-Urb’luu is a piece of Dungeons & Dragons history and I was honored to add my own thoughts to what came before. As I’ve said previously, I have a soft spot for villains and the demons (and devils) of Dungeons & Dragons are no exception.

The Watchful Rajah

Some enemies of Fraz-Urb’luu seek to reassemble his staff for themselves, others have taken great pains simply to hide the pieces. His cults watch over the material world for signs of the artifact, under the supervision of one of his most trusted servants and a vast inter-planar network of spies.

Hammership - Fraz-urb'luu
The Beacon of…
Originally a merchant vessel when Anarigret boarded it and slaughtered its crew, Anarigret’s planar dromond serves as a mobile command center for his network of spies. Its original name was the Beacon of Truth, but the rakshasa ordered the word “truth” scoured from the hull in the name of Fraz-Urb’luu and now it is simply known as the Beacon of…

The rakshasa Anarigret, known as the Watchful Rajah, remained loyal to Fraz-Urb’luu even through the demon prince’s imprisonment. Trapped by the armies that ravaged Hollow’s Heart he sought to rescue his master, boldly leading a pack of demons to hijack an astral ship and run a blockade set by the forces of Orcus. Although he and his crew fought past the blockade, they were unable to escape the Elemental Chaos completely and were never able to come to Fraz-Urb’luu’s aid.

When the demon prince finally returned to Hollow’s Heart and found many of his once-trusted rakshasa advisors and governors carving up his domain, he welcomed Anarigret’s return. The Watchful Rajah’s first official duty was to preside over the executions of his traitorous colleagues. Following that, Anarigret’s ship was refitted and he was sent into the Astral Sea to monitor the efforts of Fraz-Urb’luu’s enemies and any efforts to recover the pieced of his broken staff.

Anarigret, Favored of Fraz-Urb’luu

The rakshasa embodies the philosophy of his master. Anarigret prefers to manipulate enemies, avoiding direct conflict. In fact, if he can pit two foes against one another so that he can exploit the outcome of the confrontation, all the better. When presented with an opportunity, however, Anarigret personally involves himself with attempts to corrupt devas. He frequently surrounds himself with passion devils that use their change shape ability to appear as rakshasas.

A large contingent of the crew is made up of doppelgangers who change their shape to resemble the rest of the humanoid crew. Whenever they are bound for a new port, between four and six incubi accompany the vessel and disappear into the port to spy, establish potential cults, and sow mischief. If he anticipates combat, Anarigret typically summons additional demons below deck but otherwise he tries to conceal the fiendish nature of the ship and its purpose.

Adventure Hooks

His organization’s inter-planar reach can place him at odds with the PCs under a variety of circumstances:

  • An agent of Anarigret seeks to usurp his power by demonstrating initiative and recovering a piece of the Staff of Fraz-Urb’luu. She hires the PCs to recover the piece but agents of the Watchful Rajah seek to not only recover the fragment but to determine the identity of the characters’ patron, quickly putting them on the defensive.
  • A crewmember of the Beacon of… has been masquerading as one of the PCs to gain access to a sacred library of the character’s deity. Now the character is to blame for a missing religious text. The party must deal with the temple’s investigators and catch the agent before the ship sets sail.
  • A lich attempts to summon Fraz-Urb’luu to his stronghold, believing he can imprison the demon prince as Zagig once did. Instead he discovers the Prince of Deception has duped him into calling forth Ugudenk to save him the trouble of evicting the Squirming King from his realm. Now a host of burrowing monstrosities is literally undermining the entire region.

The Watchful Rajah is an opponent for paragon-tier adventurers. He is unlikely to confront the party directly when they first come to his notice, but their efforts eventually culminate in direct conflict when he has had enough of their interference. More on this confrontation in upcoming posts.

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