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Ardat the Unavowed is a minor demon lord, queen of the Harpies, and Abyssal patron of secret or failing marriages.[1]

Appearance and personality

Ardat the Unavowed appeears as a three-headed harpy with raven-black feathers. Her left head is that of a beautiful woman; the middle head a monstrous harpy; and the right an elderly crone.[2]

As typical for a tanar'ri demon, Ardat is chaotic evil in alignment.

Abilities

As a demon lord, even a minor one, Ardat is extremely powerful, moreso than any typical tanar'ri demon. Even without relying on her unique abilities, her strength in combat is formidable.[2]

Ardat's touch sunders enchantments, transmutation spells, and curses. If the caster of the original spell is nearby, they are stunned by the backlash.

Each of her three heads can shriek, permanently damaging the mind of anyone within range. The effect can inflict insanity on those who hear it.

Her spell-like abilities include the ability to inflict confusion, cause antipathy, dominate victims, and power word kill.

Ardat the Unavowed cannot be harmed by mind-affecting magic.

Realm

Ardat controls no layer of the Abyss. She and her armies travel the Abyss, and are often found in the Grand Abyss, the Plains of Gallenshu, the Scalding Sea, and Pazuzu's realm Torremor.[2]

Worship

Worshipers

Ardat the Unavowed is worshiped by harpies, many of whom revere her as a goddess. Sirens also number among her followers. Her few humanoid followers are bizarre outcasts of societies.

Rituals

Cultists of Ardat perform a grisly form of human sacrifice. Victims are tied to thorny trees, flayed, and left to die. Harpy cultists will often sing to enthral the victim as they die.[2]

Orders

Ardat's most beloved cult are the Soul Sirens, a cabal of harpies with demonic blood who train in the skills of the ranger and bard.[2]

Relationships

Enemies

She has enmity with Baphomet, who hired a powerful harpy cabal known as the Soul Sirens for an attack on the city of Hykanask on the 52nd layer of the Abyss, only to strand them there when the battle was over.[3] Ardat has been obsessed with vengeance ever since.[2]

Allies

Ardat is suspected to be making an alliance with Pazuzu in order to enact vengeance against Baphomet.

Minions

Ardat's forces include harpies, who consider her their queen; a great variety of evil fey; and succubi. Her armies also include numerous mentally dominated thralls, and much of her minions' duties involve recruiting new thralls.

Publication history

AD&D 1st edition

Ardat's name first appeared in a list of Rulers of the Abyss in AD&D's Monster Manual II (1e) (1983), p.35. She is listed as a female demon lord.

D&D 3rd edition

Ardat was referenced in Dragon #341 (Mar 2006), p.24, in the article Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Baphomet, where her feud with Baphomet was noted. She was subsequently listed in Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (2006), p.155-157.

Ardat is finally described in detail in the final print issue of Dragon Magazine, issue 359 (Sept 2007), on page 47, in the article Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Apocrypha.

Creative origins

The name Ardat appears in Babylonian mythology as a female spirit. The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia (1904) describes a being "ardat-lili", with "lili" denoting a spirit or supernatural creature (believed to be cognate with the Lilith of Hebrew myth). It describes Ardat-lili as a creature which breeds half-demons and may have association with marriage and childbirth.

Ardat Lili appears in the short story Witch from Hell's Kitchen (1952), by Robert E. Howard:[4]

"Verily, warrior, they plot thy ruin in the House of Arabu. Your sword can not prevail against her, or against her mate Ardat Lili. In the gloom of midnight her teeth will find your throat. Her laugh will blast your ears, and her burning kisses will wither you like a dead leaf blowing in the hot winds of the desert. Madness and dissolution will be your lot, and you will descend to the House of Arabu whence none returns."

While Robert E. Howard is cited in Appendix N as an author whose works influenced Dungeons & Dragons, Ardat Lili appears in this particular story as a male figure, which is inconsistent with both the original Babylonian myth and the female Ardat in the list in Monster Manual II (1e) (1983), p.35. The inclusion of other Babylonian figures such as Nergel and Ereshkigal, and the "Alu"-demon named for Babylonian myth, suggests that Gygax sourced the name Ardat from some mythological reference book.

The name Ardat also appears in the Biblical text 2 Esdras 9:26: The line reads:[5]

"I went out as he told me into the field that is called Ardat. I sat there among the flowers, I ate of the plants of the field, and their food satisfied me."

The book of 2 Esdras is considered apocryphal by most major Christian denominations. In the apocrypha to the King James Bible, Ardat is spelled "Ardath".[6][7]

References

  1. Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (2006), p.155-157.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Apocrypha, Dragon #359 (Sep 2007), p.47.
  3. Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Baphomet, Dragon #341 (Mar 2006), p.24.
  4. Witch From Hell's Kitchen (1952), by Robert E. Howard. Public domain.
  5. 2 Esdras 9:26, Common English Bible
  6. 2 Esdras 9:26, King James Version, Wikisource.
  7. 2 Esdras, Wikipedia.
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