The Pit Fiend from Dark Knight of Karameikos

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Havard
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The Pit Fiend from Dark Knight of Karameikos

Post by Havard » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:19 am

In this thread in the Mystara forum, we are talking about the novel Dark Knight of Karameikos, which includes some links to Planescape and the Blood War. Personally I did not much care for this aspect of the book, mainly because of the way it was handled and how it was seemingly forced into the novel by the TSR Marketing Department. However, if we accept that the Pit Fiend encountered in the novel is in fact involved in the Blood War, could Planescape lore tell us more about him and the strange suit of armor he sent to Mystara?

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Re: The Pit Fiend from Dark Knight of Karameikos

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:33 pm

I haven't read, and don't own, this novel so any help I can give is going to be limited by that.

Based on the summary given in the other thread, though, here's my opinion:

In Planescape, the Blood War is run by the Dark Eight, a group of eight named pit fiends each responsible for a different aspect of the war effort. The project depicted in Dark Knight of Karameikos would fall under the auspices of Furcas, who is head of the Ministry of Mortal Relations.

From the Hellbound: The Blood War boxed set:
Hellbound: The Blood War wrote:Furcas is in charge of Mortal Relations—or, in other words, the corruption and recruitment of willing primes and planars for the baatezu cause. He commands the erinyes and others who can walk the Prime Material Plane. Though Furcas scorns mortals and their petty ambitions, he's smart enough to see them as valuable tools, and, of course, potential recruits when they die. He sends his minions to lure the mightiest sorcerers and strongest warriors into the service of the baatezu. Furcas also seeks out those with potential for such '"greatness," and he's always on the lookout for berks who serve the cause of chaos (in order to do away with the dogs before they gain too much power).
The position of Dark Knight doesn't seem to be exactly "willing," but this still seems to be within Furcas's purview of the corruption of mortals to further the baatezu cause.

In addition, Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells states that the original Furcas has only recently died and been replaced by a new pit fiend, given the same name to preserve the illusion of continuity (in Hellbound: The Blood War, the original Furcas was still alive, so this must have been very recent). Killing off an ancient, canny villain like Furcas off screen was something that annoyed me about Fiendish Codex II, but I feel better about it if he dies at the climax of a novel. At least this way someone got a story out of it. Fiendish Codex II doesn't specify how the original Furcas died.

The pit fiend in Dark Knight of Karameikos is clearly high-ranking, since he oversees activities on countless worlds, but whether or not he's actually Furcas or a subordinate depends on whether he's only in charge of the Dark Knight project or if this is only one of the projects he's overseeing. I'm sure there are lesser pit fiends and other devils under Furcas's command who oversee specific projects.

If the Dark Knight's suit of armor is black, it's probably made from arjale (described in "Nine Hells Revisited" by Ed Greenwood in Dragon #91). Arjale is a rare infernal metal often used to forge diabolic talismans. Alloyed with iron, it becomes a greenish-gray metal that's probably supposed to be the same thing as the Baatorian greensteel detailed in Planescape and 3rd edition.

In the Immortal Set/Wrath of the Immortals/Mystara cosmology, the Immortal most interested in mortal souls is Hel, so the Dark Knight project may ultimately be her brainchild. However, the project serves the Sphere of Entropy as a whole rather than any one Immortal in particular and is probably active whether Hel, Nyx, or Thanatos currently rules the Sphere.

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Re: The Pit Fiend from Dark Knight of Karameikos

Post by Havard » Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:01 pm

I forgot to answer this last year :o, but thank you so much for these suggestions for the background. I like the idea of this Pit Fiend being a high ranking servant of Furcas. Perhaps the Pit Fiend is manipulated by Hel to cause trouble on Mystara, but doesnt realize that this is a fairly unique world? It depends on how you want to treat Mystara in the context of Planescape of course, but I think it deservers a kind of special treatment being the only world protected by Immortals.

I wonder if the failure of the Dark Knight somehow affected the Blood Wars somehow. Or at least got the Pit Fiend demoted. If Grygory truly slayed someone like Furcas himself that would be truly epic, although it seems a bit far fetched that a sole Knight of Karameikos should be able to do something like this.

There is a detailed summary of the novel in this thread.

-Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
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ripvanwormer
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Re: The Pit Fiend from Dark Knight of Karameikos

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:54 am

Havard wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:01 pm
I forgot to answer this last year :o, but thank you so much for these suggestions for the background. I like the idea of this Pit Fiend being a high ranking servant of Furcas. Perhaps the Pit Fiend is manipulated by Hel to cause trouble on Mystara, but doesnt realize that this is a fairly unique world? It depends on how you want to treat Mystara in the context of Planescape of course, but I think it deservers a kind of special treatment being the only world protected by Immortals.

I wonder if the failure of the Dark Knight somehow affected the Blood Wars somehow. Or at least got the Pit Fiend demoted. If Grygory truly slayed someone like Furcas himself that would be truly epic, although it seems a bit far fetched that a sole Knight of Karameikos should be able to do something like this.

There is a detailed summary of the novel in this thread.

-Havard
Hm. From NPCDave's description, it seems like the pit fiend was already disgraced/demoted from having his army destroyed in the Blood War, and the black knight project was an attempt to rebuild his forces and get back into favor with his superiors. l If the pit fiend is trying to rebuild his army he probably isn't Furcas himself (who doesn't have or need a personal army, being one of the eight pit fiends in charge of all the armies of Baator).

If that's the case, the pit fiend's failure maintains the status quo in the Blood War. His hypothetical success might have changed things for the baatezu, but primarily, it seems, it was about the fiend's personal ambition than it was about success for his race/alignment/Sphere of Existence.

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