Eltab appears as a fifteen-foot-tall humanoid with the head of a canine-like creature. His head sports numerous antlers and horns and his body is covered with bony dark red plates. He has silted yellow glowing eyes.
Eltab rules the 248th layer of the Abyss known as the Hidden Layer. It is a vast wasteland of boulders and fissures constantly beset with intensive electrical storms, making it inimical to most life except for demons and deadly plant life such as viper trees, ironmaws, and bloodthorns. In the past thousand years or so, because of Eltab’s absence, the Hidden Layer has been fragmented in ever-changing fiefdoms as Eltab’s former lieutenants, including the balor Ndulu, fight over the vacated realm.
Thanks to the bindings cast by the Narfelli demon-binders on Eltab when they summoned him, they also somehow linked fragments of the Hidden Layer into Faerûn, as well. So pieces of the layer, known as demoncysts, are lying scattered beneath the ground all over northeast Faerûn.
Demoncysts are typically a hundred feet or more in diameter. The environment of the cyst does not interact with the surrounding terrestrial environment (and vice versa), thus each cyst resembles a cave that contains a wholly different environment than the surrounding earth or open space. Some cysts are empty, but others contain fiends and/or servants of Eltab. The largest cyst, known as the Hall of the Hidden Throne, lies in Eltab’s current location, the Citadel of Conjurers. This cyst contains Eltab’s palace and the calling circle that tied Eltab to the Realms. In fact, until this circle is destroyed, Eltab cannot leave Faerûn or return to the Abyss.
The demon lord Eltab was a potent force in the Abyss, rivaling the powers of Graz'zt, Orcus and even Demogorgon himself. However, during the ancient days of Faerûn, the empires of Narfell and Raumathar engaged in a bitter war, which ultimately destroyed both empires. During this war, Eltab was summoned to Faerûn by the so-called demon-binders of Narfell, so he could be used as a pawn against their hated enemy. Eltab lead a demonic horde on the behalf of Narfell and invaded Raumathan, a city of Rashemen, which he quickly conquered and set up himself up as its ruler.
Eltab’s rule was brief, as an alliance of spell-casters (including the Witches of Rashemen) overthrew Eltab. Eltab was forced to flee, but the Rashemi witches caught up with him in the Sharawood, imprisoning him beneath the ground, and bound a dracolich called the Everlasting Wyrm to guard over him.
A hundred or so years later, followers of the dark god Myrkul, intending to plunder the hoard of the Everlasting Wyrm, discovered the imprisoned demon lord. They agreed to release Eltab under the condition that he serve Myrkul’s church for ninety-nine years. With Eltab’s aid, the followers of Myrkul took control of the city of Shandaular and in its place, established the theocratic city of Eltabranar.
Later, Eltab prompted an ill-fated invasion of the nations of Unther and Mulhorand. Eltab was once again imprisoned, this time by the god-kings who led Mulhorand, into a demoncyst (see Realm Below) beneath Thaymount.
The infamous Red Wizards found Eltab more than seven hundred years later. The wizards used an ancient Narfelli demon-binding ritual and called Eltab forth to assist them in their war with the Mulhorandi god-kings. The god-kings’ armies were routed and the nation of Thay was established. When the Red Wizards found they couldn’t dismiss Eltab, they imprisoned him near the mouth of the river that now is named after the demon lord and built a capitol city named Eltabbar over the prison.
More recently, the Thayan lich Szass Tam realized that Eltab would soon break out of his prison. He deliberately released Eltab with the intention of using a spell to permanently enslave Eltab. But his plan was foiled by a group of adventurers, allowing Eltab to escape into a demoncyst below Thaymount. During a retaliatory confrontation with Szass Tam, Eltab was seemingly destroyed, but thanks to the binding cast on him by the ancient Narfelli demon-binders, he was magically transported to the Citadel of Conjurers in the nation of Impiltur, where he is currently plotting new plans for conquests and revenge.
- Boyd, Eric L., Jeff Crook, and Wil Upchurch. Champions of Ruin. Wizards of the Coast, 2005.
- Jacobs, James, Erik Mona, and Ed Stark. Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. Wizards of the Coast, 2006.
- Pryor, Anthony. Spellbound. TSR, 1995.
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