Khalas
Khalas

Khalas

[ Gehenna ] [ Khalas | Chamada | Mungoth | Krangath ]

Khalas

Gehenna — Layer the First

A waterfall and a lavafall side by side

The Steaming Furnace, the Gentle, First Mount, the Unforgiving

Themes of the Layer: In common with other layers of Gehenna, Khalas embodies the struggle of cutter versus terrain, of vainglory and hubris. Here, the landscape itself is a testament to the struggle for supremacy and the futility of such ambitions. The elements—fire, water, and earth—are in constant conflict, mirroring the ambitions of those who find themselves in Gehenna. In Khalas, to admit inferiority or show weakness can literally lead to one’s downfall. The forces at play ensure that no one element can dominate, just as no one individual can secure lasting power without constant vigilance and ruthlessness. Khalas also represents hidden riches, the extraction and exploitation of the land and the living, corporate greed, and slavery.

Sights and Sounds of Khalas

Khalas, the Steaming Furnace, embodies a stark landscape of raw, untamed power. The skies above are eternally dark, illuminated only by the dull red glow of volcanic activity from the mountain itself, and the geysers of shimmering steam that rise from countless boiling rivers and lava flows.

The steep slopes of Khalas are treacherous expanses of uneven, sloping terrain, riddled with gorges and ravines filled with sulphurous, bubbling waters. Frequent eruptions of lava add an extra sense of danger. Add on top of this boiling mud pits which a cutter must be careful to spot before striding right in. Or the caldera, lakes of boiling water or churning lava. There are steep slopes of scree just ready to collapse under boots of a traveller, into a landslide. And there are knife-sharp jagged rocks of obsidian which slice through ropes and boots alike. This layer is a study in dangerous terrain — and that’s before a cutter remembers that the sloping terrain of Gehenna never stops sloping. Anyone falling down the mountainside could potentially keep falling forever, smashed to pieces on the fall or flying off into the void that surrounds the mountains, where flying, poisonous slasraths wait to feast on the unfortunate

Waterfalls, including the massive River Styx, cascade down the rugged cliffs in torrents, creating an orchestra of roaring water and hissing steam. These flows often transform into great clouds of vapour as they eventually boil, adding a ghostly mist to the air. Only the Styx resists evaporation, diving underground into the treacherous churning tunnels. Navigation on this most turbulent stretch of the river is difficult even for marraenoloths, and little more than suicide for other pilots.

Dangers of Khalas

Khalas might be the most hospitable layer of Gehenna, but it remains a perilous place. The ground is perpetually hot, capable of burning unprotected flesh. Lava eruptions and magma overflows are sporadic but deadly, capable of melting through armour and possessions. The polluted waters of the Styx will cause memory loss as it does on other planes, while other corrupted rivers can cause sickness and disease, polluted by waste from the mines and general detritus of the plane. The currents of all are swift and merciless.

Denizens of Khalas

A rare bridge across a Khalan chasm; you can bet there will be a hefty toll to cross

The inhabitants of Khalas are as ruthless as the environment they inhabit. Among the most notorious are the dulhath divs, malevolent fiends who delight in corrupting hospitality and social norms. These creatures often disguise themselves as needy travellers or wounded victims, preying on those foolish enough to show compassion or seek refuge in Khalas. They set traps and manipulate situations to exploit the unwary.

Other denizens include various lesser fiends, petitioners who have been twisted by their sins, and opportunistic adventurers and traders looking to exploit the layer’s resources. The First Gehenna Trading Company maintains a presence here, their agents ever on the lookout for opportunities to profit from the suffering and ambition of others.

Locations of Khalas

  • Abomination’s Lair, the (realm of the Blowfish)
    • Planes of Conflict, Liber Malevolentiae [2e] p33
  • Aknuthrak (realm of Gaknulak)
    • On Hallowed Ground [2e] p176
  • Ashardalon’s Tongue (site)
    • Planar Handbook [3e] p182
  • Baletorch, the (site)
    • Manual of the Planes [5e] p198
  • Bridge at Khalas (site)
    • Hellbound: Dark of the War [2e] p58,60
  • Palace of Ugly Truth (realm of Syrul)
  • Cheisin (realm of Squerrik)
    • On Hallowed Ground [2e] p176
  • Corriegrave (realm of Math Mathonwy)
    • Corrieton (realm town)
    • Math’s Tower (site)
      • On Hallowed Ground [2e] p66,74,172
  • Daubei’s Obscure Woe (site)
    • Hellbound: Wargames [2e] p42-49,53
  • Flower Infernal (headquarters of the Tacharim)
    • The Great Modron March [2e] p105
  • Fo Ling Po (independent burg)
    • Planes of Conflict, Player’s Guide [2e] p26,27
  • Head for the Hills (independent burg)‡
  • River Styx (planar pathway)
  • Steep Ascent (planar pathway)
  • Teardrop Palace (realm of Sung Chiang)
    • Hellbound: Dark of the War [2e] p58,72; Manual of the Planes [3e] p113; On Hallowed Ground [2e] p153,178; Planes of Conflict [2e] Liber Malevolentiae p33-34, Monstrous Supplement p16-17, Player’s Guide p26; Planescape Campaign Setting [2e] DM’s Guide p58; Planewalker’s Handbook [2e] p21; Uncaged Faces of Sigil [2e] p74.
  • Throne of Blood (realm of Bhaal, abandoned)
    • On Hallowed Ground [2e] p182
  • Topheth of Hinnom (realm of Moloch)‡
  • Toranach (realm of Taranis)‡

Powers of Khalas

  • Bhaal (Faerûnian power of murder, dead?)
    • Dragon Magazine #332 p92-94; Guide to the Astral Plane [2e] p38; On Hallowed Ground [2e] p182
  • Blowfish, the (Cerilian awnsheghlien)
    • On Hallowed Ground [2e] p162; Planes of Conflict [2e] Liber Malevolentiae p33
  • Gaknulak (kobold power of trickery and traps)
    • On Hallowed Ground [2e] p176; Planes of Conflict [2e] Liber Malevolentiae p28
  • Math Mathonwy (Celtic power of magic)
    • On Hallowed Ground [2e] p66,70,74,172; Planes of Conflict [2e] Liber Malevolentiae p28
  • Moloch (former arch-duke of Baator)
    • Book of Vile Darkness [3e] p143,152,157; Dragon Magazine #347 p34; Fiendish Codex II [3e] p36,62
  • Squerrik (were-rat power of thieves)
    • On Hallowed Ground [2e] p176; Planes of Conflict [2e] Liber Malevolentiae p28
  • Sung Chiang (Chinese power of thieves)
    • Faction War [2e] p87; Great Modron March [2e] p101; Hellbound: Dark of the War [2e] p72; On Hallowed Ground [2e] p152,153,178; Planes of Conflict [2e] Liber Malevolentiae p27,28,32-34, Monstrous Supplement p16-17, Planescape Campaign Setting [2e] DM’s Guide p58; Uncaged Faces of Sigil [2e] p74,112.
  • Syrul (Oerdian power of lies and treachery)
  • Taranis (Celtic power of thunder)‡

Movers and Shakers

  • Daru Ib Shamiq (baernoloth)
    • Hellbound: Wargames [2e] p42-45,47,49-52,54,90

Organisation of Khalas

  • First Gehennan Trading Company
  • Tacharim, the
    • Great Modron March [2e] p33-42,54,58,102-111; Planescape Monstrous Compendium 3 [2e] p50

Creatures of Khalas

  • Aatheriexa
    • A bizarre flying tentacle-covered race of conquerors and slavers. Bestiary 5 [PF1e] p7
  • Achaierai
    • Manual of the Planes [3e] p124; Planes of Law [2e] Acheron p11,30 Monstrous Supplement p2-3,29; Planescape Campaign Setting DM’s Guide [2e] p49,56
  • Baatezu
    • Exiled, hiding or Blood War troops
  • Baku, Dark One
    • Planescape Monstrous Compendium 1 [2e] p30-31; Planes of Conflict [2e] Liber Benevolentiae p36-37,52; Planescape Campaign Setting DM’s Guide [2e] p53,55,57; Planewalker’s Handbook [2e] p20,137; The Infinite Staircase [2e] p20
  • Barghest
    • Dragon Magazine #26 p44, #138 p77, #350 p56; Faces of Evil [2e] p88; Planar Handbook [3e] p95; Planes of Conflict [2e] Liber Malevolentiae p32; Planescape Campaign Setting Monstrous Supplement [2e] p6-7
  • Bodythief
    • Intelligent plants who seek to create a perfect society by stealing bodies. Bestiary 4 [PF1e] p20
  • Bonespear
    • Predatory insect which can launch its horn at victims. Fiend Folio [3e] p24; Planescape Monstrous Compendium 2 [2e] p18; Planes of Conflict [2e] Liber Malevolentiae p32
  • Cherufe
    • Enormous reptilian made from magma. Bestiary 5 [PF1e] p55
  • Combusted
    • Reanimated corpse of a victim of spontaneous combustion. Bestiary 6 [PF1e] p63
  • Death dog
    • Worm-infested two-headed pack hunters. Bestiary 4 [PF1e] p44; Fiend Folio [3e] p41
  • Destrachan
    • Cruel reptilian pack hunters using sonic attacks. Bestiary 2 [PF1e] p83
  • Div
    • Aghash
      • Embodiments of the evil eye. Bestiary 3 [PF1e] p84; Bestiary 3 [PF2e]
    • Akvan
      • Destroyers of beauty and wonder. Bestiary 3 [PF1e] p85
    • Bushyasta
      • Fiends of sloth and laziness. Book of the Damned [PF1e] p248
    • Doru
      • Corrupting whispers in the dead of night. Bestiary 3 [PF1e] p86; Bestiary 3 [PF2e]
    • Druj nasu
      • Corrupters of corpses. What Grows Within [PF1e] p84
    • Dulhath‡ 
      • Corruptors of hospitality. Creature Codex [PF1e]
    • Ghawwas
      • Destroyers of waterways. Bestiary 3 [PF1e] p87
    • Immolith
      • Towering pillars of flame embodying pure destruction. Creature Codex [PF1e]
    • Pairaka
      • Seductive div of lust and corruption. Bestiary 3 [PF1e] p88; Bestiary 3 [PF2e]
    • Sepid
      • Elite enforcers of the div. Bestiary 3 [PF1e] p89; Bestiary 3 [PF2e]
    • Shira
      • Bestial stalkers and assassins. Bestiary 3 [PF1e] p90
    • Taromaiti
      • The gorgons of hate and malice. Creature Codex [PF1e]
  • Dragon, Pyroclastic
    • Dragon Magazine #300 [3e]; Draconomicon [4e]
  • Duergar
    • The wicked cousins of the dwarves, minsers, bandits and general bad eggs of the underground
  • Ettercap
    • Dragon Magazine #343 p66-71; Planes of Chaos [2e] Book of Chaos p41
  • Gehreleth
    • Raiding party out of Carceri, seeking slaves, food or just mindless violence
  • Ghorazagh
    • Tunneling monstrosities who build nests out of blood-glue. Bestiary 3 [PF1e] p124
  • Giant, cloud
    • Towering giants with smooth pale skin. Giants Revisted [PF1e]
  • Giant, fire
    • Lumbering stocky giants with flaming beards and hair. Giants Revisted [PF1e]
  • Giant, rune
    • Iron-skinned giant etched with glowing red runes. Giants Revisted [PF1e]
  • Giant, tomb
    • Towering lean giant with milk-white skin and a scythe. Bestiary 6 [PF1e]
  • Goblin
    • Petitioner or planar goblin, they’re trouble either way, and the Gehennan gobs are meaner than most
  • Goblin dog
    • They might look like mangy riding dogs but these are actually riding rats, used by Gehennan goblins. Bestiary 1 p157
  • Hell hound
    • Flaming wolves who attack in packs. Bestiary 1 [PF1e] p173
  • Hyakume
    • Hideous and corpulent, with numerous eyes dotting their bodies, hyakumes are mystics of malevolence. Bestiary 4 [PF1e] p153
  • Imp
    • Small winged devilish creature, formed from larvae by fiends. Often used a cantankerous familiars. Planescape Monstrous Compendium [2e]; Bestiary 1 [PF1e] 78, Monster Manual 1 [3e]
  • Joroguma
    • Beautiful woman with eight spider legs growing from their backs, these monsters lure planewalkers to their doom. Bestiary 3 [PF1e] p156
  • Kamadan
    • Leopard-like ambush predators with snakes sprouting from their shoulders paralytic poison and blinding spray. Bestiary 3 [PF1e] p158
  • Larva
    • Spirits of the evil dead, reformed into horrid worms with humanoid faces. Planescape Monstrous Compendium [2e] p62
  • Linqua
    • Short, squat sneaky thief minions of Sung Chiang who live underground. Planes of Conflict [2e] Momstrous Supplement
  • Medusa
    • Female humanoid with snakes for hair and a petrifying gaze. Bestiary 1 [PF1e] p201.
  • Mi-go
    • Graceful fungoid race who appear to be insect-like. They are scientists and colonists from an alien realm. Bestiary 4 [PF1e] p193.
  • Night hag
    • Traders in larvae and soul gems. Planescape Monstrous Compendium [2e] p80
  • Nightmare
    • Flaming equine harbingers of death who carry only the most evil of riders. Planescape Monstrous Compendium [2e] p82; Bestiary 1 [PF1e] p216
  • Nightmare, Cauchemar
    • A more dangerous species of the nightmare, reputed to be able to step into the Ethereal Plane with its rider as well as plane shift. 101 Variant Monsters [PF1e]
  • Phiuhl
    • Spirits of slain elementals which haunt the desolate cliffs of Gehenna. Planes of Conflict [2e] Monstrous Supplement, Fiend Folio [3e] p135
  • Quasit
    • Small winged demonic creature, formed from larvae by fiends. Often used a treacherous familiars. Planescape Monstrous Compendium [2e]; Bestiary 1 [PF1e] p66, Monster Manual 1 [3e]
  • Sabosan
    • Bat-like muscular vicious humanoid predators with leathery wings. Bestiary 3 [PF1e] p233
  • Shadowdrake
    • Fearsome dragons of the Styx. Planescape Monstrous Compendium II [2e] p92
  • Slasrath
    • Flying lamprey predators.Planes of Conflict [2e] Monstrous Supplement, Fiend Folio [3e] p158
  • Spider, hook
    • Patient psionic hunters of fiends. Planescape Monstrous Compendium II [2e] p92
  • Tanar’ri
    • Almost any kind of tanar’ri — they could be fugitives or Blood War troops
  • Terlen
    • Vicious winged shark predators of the land, rivers and skies. Fiend Folio [3e] p174; Planescape Monstrous Compendium 2 [2e] p114; Monster Manual 2 [3e] p197; Planes of Conflict [2e] Liber Malevolentiae 13,32,50
  • Urhag
    • Urhags are unnatural creatures of ancient ruins and barren canyons. Originally natives of the Demiplane of Leng, they can slip into the waking world via an infected dreamer’s flesh. Bestiary 6 [PF1e] p269
  • Vaath
    • Relentless, vicious predatory killers who love to inflict pain. Book of Vile Darkness [3e] p182, Planes of Conflict [2e] Liber Malevolentiae p13, Monstrous Supplement p26; Planewalker’s Handbook [2e] p20
  • Vaporighu
    • Bloated creatures covered in oozing sores and emitting a foul odour. They embody the pollution of the air itself. Planescape Monstrous Compendium 2 [2e] p118; Monster Manual 2 [3e] p197; Planes of Conflict [2e] Liber Malevolentiae p32; Planescape Campaign Setting DM’s Guide [2e] p58
  • Vishkanya
    • Reptilian humanoid race known for their skill with poisons. Bestiary 3 [PF1e] p281
  • Vrykolakas
    • This twisted rancid monstrosity knows only rage and relishes the suffering of those who failed it in life. Pathfinder 29: Mother of Flies
  • Weaverworm
    • Foul servants of powers of greed and gluttony. Pathfinder Adventure Path #45, Broken Moon [PF1e] p86
  • Xac-yel
    • Fire-based energy creature. Planar Handbook [3e] p119
  • Yugoloth
    • Arcanaloth
      • Record keepers and contract executors, recording Blood War transactions. They embody death by conspiracy. Planescape Monstrous Compendium [2e] p120
    • Baernaloth
      • Elder race of outcast solitary yugoloths, thought of as mythical. Planes of Conflict Monstrous Supplement [2e] p30
    • Canoloth
      • Scouts and skirmishes in yugoloth armies, guardians and bodyguards of more powerful ‘loths. Manual of the Planes [3e] p185; Planescape Monstrous Compendium [2e] p126
    • Dergoloth
      • Spherical insect-like beasts with five legs and three arms, mercenaries in the Blood War known for devouring the injured and dying on the battlefields. Personification of death by violence and insanity. Planescape Monstrous Compendium 2 [2e] p121; Bestiary 2 [PF1e] p66
    • Gacholoth
      • Infinitrators and terrorists of the Blood War. Personification of death by terrorism. Dungeon Magazine #49; Monstrous Compendum Annual Vol, 4 [2e] p93
    • Guardian Yugoloth (Ceustoloth)
      • Summoning fodder of the yugoloths, personification of death by suicide. Monstrous Manual [2e], Bestiary 2 [PF1e] p65 (as ceustodaemon)
    • Hydroloth
      • Elite fighting force for amphibious attacks. Personification of death by drowning. Planescape Monstrous Compendium 2 [2e] p122; Bestiary 2 [PF1e] p67
    • Marraenoloth
      • Skeletal ferrymen of the River Styx. Planescape Campaign Setting Monstrous Supplement [2e] p30; Tome of Horrors [PF1e], as charonodaemon
    • Mezzoloth
      • Humanoid insects used as foot soldiers and mercenaries. Manual of the Planes [3e] p186; Planescape Monstrous Compendium [2e] p123
    • Nycaloth
      • Elite cavalry, observers and reporters on Blood War battles. Personify death by falling. Planescape Monstrous Compendium [2e] p124, Manual of the Planes [3e] p185
    • Piscoloth
      • Sergeants and overseers of mercenary armies. Personification of death by poisoning. Planescape Monstrous Compendium [2e] p125; Fiend Folio [3e] p196; Bestiary 2 [PF1e] 72
    • Purroloth
      • Generals of massive armies, master tacticians. Bestiary 2 [PF1e] p73 (as purrodaemon)
    • Ultroloth
      • Officers and generals of Blood War armies. Represent death by oppression. Planescape Monstrous Compendium [2e] p126, Manual of the Planes [3e] p185
    • Voor, Lasher
      • Hulking, brutish yugoloths used as guardians or bodyguards. Monster Manual IV [3e] p193
    • Yagnoloth
      • Nobles of yugoloth fiefs. Planescape Monstrous Compendium [2e] p127

Canonical Sources

  • Dragon Magazine #358, p68 — River Styx in Gehenna
  • Great Modron March [2e]
  • Hellbound: The Blood War [2e]
  • Manual of the Planes [1e, 3e, & 5e]
  • Monster Manual 4 [3e]
  • On Hallowed Ground [2e]
  • Planar Handbook [3e]
  • Planes of Conflict [2e]
  • Planescape Campaign Setting: DM’s Guide to the Planes [2e]
  • Planescape Monstrous Compendium Vols. 1 & 2 [2e]
  • Planewalker’s Handbook [2e]

Canonwatch: Entries are from D&D canon unless otherwise marked, although when the canon is sparse I’ve got creative with the details; † adapted from a 3rd party publication; ‡ homebrew. As for the origin of the layer’s name; Khalas (when said in anger or frustation) is the Arabic word for the end of something, ‘finished’ or ‘enough’. Perhaps this is related?

More details to follow!

Other Sources:

  • Jon Winter-Holt

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