Dungeons & Dragons Lore Wiki
Advertisement

Fraz-Urb'luu, Prince of Deception, is a demon lord. He is best known for his imprisonment on the Material Plane in the dungeons beneath Castle Greyhawk.

His name is pronounced "fraz-URB-loo".[1]

Description

Appearance

Fraz-Urb'luu is a huge, muscular gorilla-like creature, covered in pale blue hair. He stands over eighteen feet tall, despite his hunched posture. He has a pair of huge batlike wings and a long, hairless tail with a razor-sharp tip. His head is bald except for the tufts of hair from his jowls, and his eyes burn with cold blue light. His feet are broad and wide, and his hands are large, with stubby fingers and long talons. His mouth is enormous and filled with great fangs,[2] which he reveals when he is pleased and believes he is gaining the upper hand in conflict.[3]

However, he can assume other forms, and sometimes loses himself in a role for a time. His true form is thought to stand only around twelve feet tall and resembles a massive gargoyle.[4]

Personality and alignment

A master of lies and deceit, Fraz-Urb'luu has long preferred the use of trickery and deception rather than violence. However, since his imprisonment, he has entered a period of anger and revenge, and in current times is just as likely to fight using brute force. Fraz-Urb'luu's rage will not be sated as long as a single human lives.[2]

Even so, he prefers to fight using clever tactics. He begins by using transformation and illusion powers to approach the enemy, often summoning other demons as a distraction. Then, assuming true form, he enters melee, fighting aggressively and with heavy swings. He can also constrict enemies with his tail.[2] If seriously wounded, he will use his powers of deception to summon another demon lord before teleporting away.[5]

His hatred of humanity is limitless. Against humans, he will fight them in melee, not stopping until they are all slain.[5]

As a tanar'ri demon, Fraz-Urb-luu is chaotic evil in alignment.

Names and titles

Fraz-Urb'luu is called the Prince of Deception.[2] He is also called Prince of Deceit,[6] and Demon Lord of Illusions.[4]

His name is variously spelled Fraz-Urb'luu, Fraz-Urb'Luu, and Fraz-Urb-luu.

Abilities and traits

Unique powers

Fraz-Urb'luu, Prince of Deception, has the ability to summon another demon by deceiving them into thinking that they are being summoned by a reckless mortal. He can even summon demon princes with this ability, although those with strong will can resist him, and he generally avoids summoning demons who are much more powerful than himself. Demons so summoned often fly into rage and attack the nearest enemy, while Fraz-Urb'luu himself teleports away or hides.[2]

Fraz-Urb'luu's touch can permanently disjunct the power of magic items, similar to the spell Mordenkainen's disjunction. Doing so permanently erases all magic power from item. He can even destroy artifacts this way, but they will recover their power after 100 years.[2]

Divination magic does not work on him.[2]

Supernatural powers

Fraz-Urb'luu can summon a group of demons, such as vrocks or skurchurs, and occasionally nalfeshnees.[2]

He is able to craft any magical staff, and use all magical staffs. He is able to cast numerous spells, including illusion spells, teleportation, monster summoning, and polymorphing.[2]

He is resistant to weapons and immune to electricity and poison, as well as resistant to other forms of injury. He has telepathy and the ability to see in darkness.[2]

He is able to use the dark speech, a dangerous and evil language whose mere words can harm and kill.[2]

Worship

Worshipers

The cult of Fraz-Urb'luu is one of the most ancient of all demon cults, and has existed since before any known written history.

Secret cults to Fraz-Urb'luu organize themselves in a cell structure, with the leaders of each cell in contact with others. They focus on corrupting secular organizations such as guilds and governments, siphoning off profits to fund more public cults, called Cults of Deception.

A typical Cult of Deception has around a dozen members, many of whom are clerics. They pose as worshipers of another deity, usually a good-aligned one operating from a small rural shrine, and openly do good deeds in their community to gain the public's trust, such as offering spellcasting for free. In doing so, they trick people into joining their religion.[2]

They may hire adventurers to serve their needs, often deceiving their true intent. For example, they may send a party to recover information on the location of the Staff of Fraz-Urb'luu, under the guise of hiding the staff from his cult.[3]

Fraz-Urb'luu is a patron of illusionists and tricksters.[5]

Creed

Fraz-Urb'luu offers the domains of chaos, evil, trickery, and war.

Deception is his word. Many followers are not even aware that they follow him, believing that they worship some other deity or another fiend.[4]

Rituals

Once per year, each Cult of Deception engages in human sacrifice, a major event for which the cult prepares all year long. The victim must be a member of the cult's "religion" who was tricked into joining, and lawful good members are preferred. The member is first sent on a few missions for the church, committing evil deeds which seem on the surface to be in the greater good. Finally, they try to convince the member to offer themselves as a sacrifice, often promising a glorious afterlife or suggesting the hero will be restored to life.

Sacrificed members at first find themselves in their promised afterlife, with Fraz-Urb'luu himself taking the guise of the religion's false god. Of course, their idyllic afterlife is an elaborate deception. Over the course of months or years, the demon lord slowly removes layers of the illusion, until the victim realizes the truth. At that point, Fraz-Urb'luu personally visits them to show an illusion of the harm done by the victim's delusions during his life, after which he consumes their soul.[2]

Clergy

The leader of a Cult of Deception is a thrall of Fraz-Urb'luu, a charlatan and powerful spellcaster. Their role involves tricking individuals, especially powerful adventurers, into unknowningly following Fraz-Urb'luu. They are often bards or warlocks, but wizards, illusionists, and even clerics specializing in illusion. They prefer to use trickery to achieve their goals, but are not beyond violence when deception fails.[2]

The abilities of such thralls include proficiency with illusion magic, tricking summoned creatures into believing that the thrall is their summoner, feigning that mind-affecting spells have been effective, and skill with the use of magic staffs. The most powerful gain skurchur demons as followers and are even able to transform an illusion into reality.[2]

Organizations

Temples and shrines

The center of Fraz-Urb'luu's worship is Karantis, a great iron city in Hollow's Heart. The entire city is, in a way, one massive temple dedicated to his worship. Its ruler is the gorilla-headed Hollow Rajah Kiltikairit.[2]

Holy symbol

Various symbols represent Fraz-Urb'luu. Historically, an image of the Staff of Fraz-Urb'luu was his symbol. Since his escape from imprisonment, he has used an ever-changing variety of symbols, all of which feature a partially devoured human skull whose eyes have been turned to gaze upon the skull's interior.[2]

Notable followers

  • Father Darius Balthazar, a human cleric and thaumaturgist posing as a cleric of sun god Pelor, whose cult consists of merchants and city officials who seek to corrupt the community[6]
  • Kalystys, half-succubus half-drow thrall of Fraz-Urb'luu[7]
  • Ezoran, an archmage who seeks to help Fraz-Urb'luu recover his staff[8]

Realm

Fraz-Urb'luu's realm is Hollow's Heart, the 176th layer of the Abyss. It is a vast realm, as large as a major continent, and features a blood-red desert known as the Blood Tunes, a razor sharp mountain range called the Demon's Teeth, and the foul green Hollow Sea. The plane's capital is city of Zoragmelok, an adamantine-walled fortress housing the spirits of those sacrificed to Fraz-Urb'luu in the false expectation of a reward of riches and pleasure. Beyond this region, Hollow's Heart is an endless plane of powdery white sand.[2]

Treasure

Fraz-Urb'luu once possessed Fraz-Urb'luu's Staff, an artifact of great power. This scepter gave him the ability to manipulate the appearance of his realm at will and command great forces, even mentally inslaving heroes of good at times.[2] It was generally believed to have been sundered into multiple pieces.[9]

Items beloning to Fraz-Urb'luu which were captured from him by the wizard Zagig include a potion of delusion, philter of persuasiveness, oil of disenchantment, rod of beguiling, amulet of inescapable location, cloak of displacement, helm of opposite alignment, sword of life stealing, and some dart of homing.[9]

Many magic items are named for or inspired by Fraz-Urb'luu:

  • A shield owned by the alu-fiend Jillian is shaped in the likeness of Fraz-Urb'luu, and cursed so that any non-tanar'ri who touches it loses the ability to speak truthfully[10]
  • The Infinite Panoply was created for him, an armor which transforms its appearance each day and deals damage back to the attacker[11]

Relationships

Allies

Fraz-Urb'luu is hated by most demon lords for his untrustworthiness. He has few allies, if any, and no demon lords consider him an ally.[5]

Enemies

For much of the history of the Abyss, Fraz-Urb'luu considered practically all other demon lords to be his enemies.

Fraz-Urb'luu has a hatred of the Material Plane after being imprisoned there for centuries, and ultimately plots its ruin. He has a particular hatred of humans for the same reason.[2]

Family

Fraz-Urb'luu has a son, the half-fiend Tsojcanth, although few are aware of the relation.[12]

Minions, servants, and forces

Avatars and aspects

Fraz-Urb'luu hates to travel to the Material Plane, but when his presence is required there he sends an aspect, a fragment of his lifeforce. It manifests as a smaller, less impressive version of himself, standing only twelve feet tall. His faithful are occasionally able to summon such an aspect. Even one of the least powerful of his aspects is approximately as powerful as a vrock or hezrou demon, and some are even more powerful than that.[2]

Demon minions

Fraz-Urb'luu favors the use of demons which trickery, including succubi, lilitu,[5] and skurchurs. The skurchur demons are small long-necked vulture-like creatures who are masters of disguise, commonly taking the form of a well-dressed halfling or gnome. They serve as advisors to leaders and give deceptively harmful recommendations. They have the ability to make a person more beautiful, at the cost of their wisdom.[2]

He is served by a cabal of corrupted rakshasas, a group known as the Hollow Rajahs. They fill positions of government in his realm. Unlike the tiger-like appearance, they resemble a variety of different animals. Many are sorcerers. Some are speculated to exist on other planes, including the Material Plane, where they serve Fraz-Urb-luu as spies.[2] Fraz-Urb'luu particularly attempts to deceive and corrupt devas, who will be reborn in his capital of Zoragmelok as rakshasas in his service.[3]

References to devas reincarnating as members of his rakshasa are specific to D&D 4th edition, where "deva" refers to a humanoid race unique to that edition. These devas differ from D&D 5th edition's deva, which is based on D&D 3rd edition's astral deva.

History

Origin

According to the Demonomicon of Iggwilv, Fraz-Urb'luu is one of the earliest tanar'ri demons to rise to the status of a lord of the Abyss. His presence has been constant throughout the rise and fall of Abyssal nobles and the shifting tides of tanar'ri politics. His cults are so ancient that his face appears in ruins of fallen civilizations whose identity is lost to time.[2]

Fraz-Urb'luu had long been ruler of his domain, Hollow's Heart, a realm over which he had near complete control. He had godlike ability to reshape his realm with a mere thought, making it difficult to conquer as long as he remained in his realm. He was content to play with tormenting his minions and prisoners, or summoning rival demon lords for his own amusement, a habit which made him many enemies. However, none of his enemies could set aside their differences for long enough to mount a successful invasion of his realm.[2]

Imprisonment

Around two centuries ago, the human wizard Zagig Yragerne and his apprentice Iggwilv summoned Fraz-Urb'luu to the Material Plane in the world of Oerth. Fra-Urb'luu underestimated the humans, assuming that they were not powerful enough to bind him, and imagined that he would reward their arrogance by rampaging and destroying a few human nations.

Instead, Zagig confronted the summoned demon lord with a powerful artifact known as the Ichor Lance, provided by Iggwilv via her connections in the Abyss, who also acquired clues as to Fraz-Urb'luu's truename. Fraz-Urb'luu wrested the lance from the wizard and easily disjoined its power, only for its energy to rebound against the demon lord and strip him of his power. Fraz-Urb'luu realized all too late that this was Zagig's plan all along, and the mage was able to imprison him and a massive stone bas-relief in the dungeons beneath Castle Greyhawk.[2]

Fraz-Urb'luu spent the following centuries taunting adventurers with riddles and schemes. Over time, visitors to the dungeon decreased, and the Prince of Deception's rage grew. Meanwhile, his enemies took the opportunity to descend en masse upon his realm of Hollow's Heart, as he was unavailable to manipulate its mutable terrain. His minions were slaughtered, and within a few years the entire realm collapsed into an endless white plain of sand under an empty black sky. His enemies were also able to seize Fraz-Urb'luu's Staff, a priceless artifact and key to his ability to reshape his domain.[2]

Fraz-Urb'luu's imprisonment lasted over two hundred years.[13]

Fraz-Urb'luu was presumably imprisoned at some point between 320 CY, when Zagig began construction of Castle Greyhawk, and 362 CY, 200 years before he escaped his imprisonment.

Recent history

Fraz-Urb'luu' imprisonment finally ended over 25 years ago, in the year 562 CY by the calendar of Oerth,[14] when he was able to trick two adventurers, a magic-user and a cleric,[15] into assisting his escape. He joyously carried his rescuers off to the Abyss, only to discover his realm destroyed and occupied in sections by minor unique demons, who had managed to reshape pieces of the layer to their liking. Seeing his home destroyed, he entered a rage which has continued to this day.[2]

He gathered his forces and destroyed the squatters in his domain, while also seeing off attackers from rival demon lords, notably including Graz'zt, Demogorgon, and Socothbenoth. The process of rebuilding his realm has been arduous and frought with setbacks.[2]

Although the names of Fraz-Urb'luu's accidental rescuers are never canonically given, this event originally took place in Gary Gygax's home campaign, in which the player characters were Erac's Cousin and Aylerach. Art of his rescue appears in Dragon #333 (Jul 2005), p.25.
The Greyhawk "current year" during the run of D&D 3rd edition from 2000-2007 ran from 591 to 597 CY, meaning Fraz-Urb'luu escaped 29-35 years ago.

Current events

Fraz-Urb'luu struggles to rebuild his realm, a task made difficult by the lack of his signature staff, which allows him the godlike ability to manipulate his realm's terrain. Once he has recovered his original power, he plans to invade the Material Plane, eradicating the world and the entire human race.[2]

Publication history

AD&D 1st edition

Fraz-Urb'luu first appears in S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (1982), under the spelling Fraz-Urb-luu, in which he is given full statistics and description. He appears again in Monster Manual II (1e) (1983), p.39, under the now standard spelling Fraz-Urb'luu. He is a unique creature standing 18 feet tall and having 233 hit points.

He makes an appearance in high-level adventure H4 The Throne of Bloodstone (1988), p.42.

Fraz-Urb'luu is mentioned in Manual of the Planes (1e) (1987), p.102.

Items related to him are mentioned in The Plight of Cirria, Dungeon #9 (Jan/Feb 1988), p.62-63 and Bzallin's Blacksphere, Dungeon #64 (Sep/Oct 1997), p.36.

AD&D 2nd edition

Fraz-Urb'luu's imprisonment beneath Castle Greyhawk is mentioned in The City of Greyhawk (1989) boxed set, where he makes a brief appearance in short adventure module The Lich-Staff. His imprisonment is briefly mentioned in Greyhawk sourcebook The Adventure Begins (1998), p.75.

An artifact called the Infinite Panoply created for Fraz-Urb'luu appears in Armor of the Abyssal Lords, Dragon #270 (Apr 2000), p.67. He is briefly mentioned in Polyhedron #134 (Jan 1999), p.19.

D&D 3rd edition

The most detailed description of Fraz-Urb'luu in D&D third edition is The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Fraz-Urb'luu, Dragon #333 (Jul 2005), p.25-39. He is given statistics as a CR 28 creature, with a CR 10 aspect. He also appeared on the cover of that magazine. He is briefly mentioned in Demonomicon articles in Dragon #357 and #359.

Fraz-Urb'luu is described in detail in Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (2006), p.63-65, where his statblock describes him as a CR 21 creature. His realm, Hollow's Heart, is described on pages 142-144 of that book. A web enhancement for that book gives statistics for a CR 7 aspect of Fraz-Urb'luu.

He is given brief mentions in Defenders of the Faith (2001), p.96 and Book of Vile Darkness (3e) (2002), p.125. A follower of his cult is described in Cityscape (2006), p.121. His links to the history of the City of Greyhawk influence Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk (2007), with his realm of Hollow's Heart appearing on pages 181-182.

In the editorial to Dragon #320 (Jun 2004), Gary Gygax related an anecdote regarding the appearance of Fraz-Urb'luu in his original Greyhawk campaign, using the original spelling of "Fraz-urb-luu".

A portrait of him appears in Maure Castle: The Greater Halls, Dungeon #139 (Oct 2006), p.75, by Rob Kuntz.

D&D 4th edition

Fraz-Urb'luu is briefly mentioned in Demonomicon (2010), p.79-80. He is quoted in the introduction to the Demonomicon (2010), where he claims to have been an adventurer once, although as Prince of Deception this is probably a lie.

His dealings with Iggwilv are mentioned in The Iggwilv-Graz'zt Affair, Dragon #414 (Aug 2012).

The most detailed description of him in D&D 4th edition appears in Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Fraz-Urb'luu, Prince of Deception, Dungeon #208 (Nov 2012). Here, he is given full statistics as a level 30 solo skirmisher, with level 30 minion vrock and nalfeshnee lackeys.

D&D 5th edition

Fraz-Urb'luu is given a complete statblock and description in Out of the Abyss (2015), p.238-139, where he is a challenge rating 23 creature. He is detailed in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes (2018), p.146-147, and his followers on page 28-30.

He is briefly named in Monster Manual (5e) (2014), p.52.

Creative origins

Fraz-Urb'luu is an original creation of Gary Gygax.

In the editorial to Dragon #320 (Jun 2004), Gygax describes the demon lord's appearance in his Castle Greyhawk home campaign. Gygax's son Ernie, playing the fighter/magic-user Erac's Cousin, and Mark Ratner, playing the paladin Aylerach, encountered a bas-relief face of Fraz-Urb'luu, imprisoned within the wall. The demon lord convinced them that he was a good being, and they sought out a scroll in the dungeon with which they freed him. According to James Jacobs in The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Fraz-Urb'luu, Dragon #333 (Jul 2005), p.25-39, the pair attempted to use a scroll of gate which attracted the attention of Zeus, but a percentile die roll of 5% meant that the deity ignored them.

The pair were carried back to the Abyss. Gygax ruled that the players' magic weapons became useless hunks of iron in the Abyss, with Erac's Cousin losing two vorpal swords and Aylerach losing a +5 holy avenger. Eventually, Fraz-Urb'luu decided that a paladin could not continue to exist in the Abyss, and, based on a die roll, decided to spare them and let them leave.[16]

The players never managed to restore their weapons or re-imprison Fraz-Urb-luu. In 2007, Gygax admitted that the ruling which destroying the players' weapons was unfair, and he regretted making it ever after.[17]

Reception and influence

References

  1. Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd, Dragon #93 (Jan 1985), p.24-30.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Fraz-Urb'luu, Dragon #333 (Jul 2005), p.25-39.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Fraz-Urb'luu, Prince of Deception, Dungeon #208 (Nov 2012).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Out of the Abyss (2015), p.238-239.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (2006), p.63-65.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Cityscape (2006), p.121-122.
  7. Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk (2007), p.115-116.
  8. The Plight of Cirria, Dragon #9 (Sep 1977), p.62-63.
  9. 9.0 9.1 The City of Greyhawk, The Lich-Staff (1989).
  10. Bzallin's Blacksphere, Dungeon #64 (Sep/Oct 1997), p.36.
  11. Armor of the Abyssal Lords, Dragon #270 (Apr 2000), p.67.
  12. Dragon #414 (Aug 2012), p.The Iggwilv-Graz'zt Affair.
  13. Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (2006), p.142-144.
  14. Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk (2007), p.39.
  15. Monster Manual II (1e) (1983).
  16. Q&A with Gary Gygax, page 273. ENWorld, Jun 2, 2006.
  17. Q&A with Gary Gygax, page 393. ENWorld, Jul 23, 2007.
Advertisement