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Nessus is the ninth and deepest layer of the Hells and requires The Workshop tag to enter.

The Coil, March 2007
The Coil, March 2007

The deepest realm of the Nine Hells, Nessus is a layer shattered by rifts in the otherwise dead stone. An offshoot of the River Styx flows here and there, dropping into rifts and trickling its way across the layer. Near the center is a rift of immense depth and width where Malsheem, the Citadel of Hell, rises from the rift. It is within where Asmodeus rules over the Hells, and is where the adventurers will make their final gamble for demigod status. Unfortunately aside from the regular denizens of the Ninth layer of Hell, Malsheem itself is inhabited by potentially millions of devils held in reserve for the cataclysmic battle that Asmodeus foresees dwarfing the Blood War.

~ from Volo's Guide to Baator, Abridged, 3rd Edition.



Nessus can be a tough and time consuming run, yet yields great rewards (especially for previously non-demigod characters). A full and balanced party is generally required, yet it has been 5-manned before. The combination of deep-hells' penalties and towards the end of the run, new and powerful monsters unique to this layer makes this run quite the challenge.

Successfully completing the run can, if you've tagged through the previous layers consecutively, yield a permanent +2 bonus to every ability score, which can be gained a second time the same way and mark your character as a Demigod. Additionally, your character will be tagged to be able to use Asmodeus Artifacts which are unmatched in power.

General Guide

Layer AB AC E:Imm P:Imm Sk Sv DC
1 2 1 3% 5% 2 1 1
2 2 3 6% 10% 4 2 1
3 3 4 9% 15% 6 2 1
4 4 6 12% 20% 8 2 2
5 4 7 15% 25% 10 3 2
6 5 9 18% 30% 12 3 2
7 6 10 21% 35% 14 4 3
8 6 12 24% 40% 16 4 3
9 7 13 27% 45% 18 5 3
10 8 15 30% 50% 20 5 4
11 8 16 33% 55% 22 6 4
12 9 18 36% 60% 24 6 4
13 10 19 39% 65% 26 7 5

You'll see most hells monsters here. There are no set Amnizu, Arachills, Rakshasa*, Cinderscales, Coldforge Constructs, Gelugons, Ice Fiends, Ice Reavers, Kytons, Pyrexic Fumes, Living Colds, Malefic Winds, Nupperibo, Mammons Tears, Narzugons, Sahuagin, Soul Shells. Minauran Murkfiends or Swamp Fiends.

  • Rakshasa can spawn on a random, as usual and seem to have a higher than normal chance especially in The Serpent's Coil.

All the usual saves are present throughout the run including:

  • DC55 Will save vs. fear by Cornugons
  • DC55 Will save vs. Amnesia and stun by Amnizus
  • DC55 Reflex save vs. Festering Wound by Hamatulas
  • DC55 Fortitude saves vs. poison-death by Osyluths
  • DC57 Reflex save vs. Meteor Swarm by Pit Fiends
  • DC60 Fortitude save vs. poison-death by Pit Fiends

as well as many others.

Acid, Electrical, and Magical are your best, constant immunities for the majority of the run, primarily for Kickback.

First Map: Nessus - The Rift

  • Generic Hells monsters will spawn here, including a horde of Pit Fiends. It's a small map, and pretty straight forward. A good majority of the spawns spawn near or on-top-of loot, so watch your AoE loot-breaker spells. The mini-boss is a pit fiend.

Second Map: Nessus - Malsheem

  • Home to "The Maze". This map is also relatively small, but the third room of the area gives the zone its name. Invisible walls and random ports will make traversing this maze extremely treacherous and time-consuming; if the maze is not completed within 45 minutes, your group will start encountering respawns.
  • Be careful when entering the last room in the area as moving forwards can cause creatures to spawn and prevent members of your party from entering the room until they have been killed.
  • Ask your group members for strategies concerning this area.

**Spoiler**: Nessus Maze Map

Map 2.5: Nessus - Descent of Asmodeus

  • Free rest zone ala Cania. Once you reach this point you will not be able to play another server for 24 hours (or risk returning here on that server) unless you choose the option to return to Ascension via the Portal.

Third Map: Nessus - The Serpent's Coil

  • Note: It is not possible to portal to this map through the use of Stones of Succor or the Asmodeus amulet, the last point at which new party members can join the run is before entry to the Descent of Asmodeus at the end of map 2.
  • Home to Asmodeus. This map is long and features two new and VERY unique creatures. Ask your party for details, strategies and precautions.

Boss Strategy

Good luck. You will have to discuss this with your party.

Player Tips

  • Play smart. Play well. Pay Attention.
  • Don't use the keys to navigate in the maze (2nd map, 3rd room), only use the mouse.
  • Do not move past the point where the first teleporter is in the maze (your party can advise you where this is) unless you are the maze runner or you will find yourself potentially stuck away from your party with no easy means of rescue. It is advisable to have at least one Arport Arcane in your inventory just in case this happens to you.

See Also

The Hells
Bestiary: Hells
Hells Drops
Nessus Drops
Asmodeus Artifacts

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