In AD&D's Planescape setting, Acheron is the plane of Lawful Lawful Evil, lying between Baator and Mechanus. It has four layers, but all are similar, consisting as they do of geometric figures in rusty iron hurtling through a lightless void. The orc and goblin gods dwell here.

Other name of the planet LV-426 from Alien and Aliens. On this planet was colony Hadley's Hope.


The first mention of the river Acheron occurs in the Odyssey, where it is described in the subterranean world of Hell, together with Pyriphlegethon and Cocytus. The Acheron is the river which souls have to cross to reach the empire of the Dead. A ferryman, Charon, has the duty of carrying them from one side to the other. The river is almost stagnant and its banks are thick with reeds and heavy with mud. According to tradition Acheron was a son of Earth (Gaia), condemned to stay underground as punishment for having allowed the Giants, who were thirsty after their struggle with the Olympians, to drink his waters. By Orphnea, the Nymph of Darkness or, in another version, by Gorgyra, Acheron had begotten Ascalaphus, the youth who was changed by Demeter into an owl.

There was a river Acheron in Epirus, on the western side of the Greek mainland, which ran through wild countryside and after flowing for some distance, disappeared into a deep cleft. When it surfaced again, near its mouth, it formed an unhealthy marsh set in a barren landscape. An etymological mistake (according to which its name was thought to be derived from the Greek word for sorrow) as well as the characteristics of the river in Epirus undoubtedly contributed to the birth of the idea that it was associated with Hell, and its earthly features were transferred to the subterranean world.

In the mystical beliefs current under the Roman Empire the Acheron was regarded as lying somewhere near the South Pole, among the constellations of the Antipodes.


Table of Sources:
- Hom. Od. 10, 513
- Euripides, Alc. 439ff.
- Virgil, Aen. 6, 295
- Ovid, Met. 5, 534ff.
- Apollod. Bibl. 1, 5, 3
- Hdt. 5, 92, 7
- Paus. 1, 17, 5; 5, 14, 2ff.; 10, 28, 1f

He awoke. A slight chill began to move down the spine. He no longer knew where he was. An eigengrau blackness surrounded the earthly scented air; as he lay on his back there seemed to be no discernible difference between the dull sky and the emptiness behind his eyelids. The man slowly lifted his body from the dry, desolate soil. Vertigo struggled against his every movement, but as the blood rushed to his head he soon regained a solid footing. He scanned the world around him.

The surroundings were entirely foreign. A light fog covered the half-dead landscape, a few weeds growing across the poor soil near his feet. No light penetrated the thick darkness of the sky, yet the brightness of the ground he stood upon would have suggested that the moon shone bright upon the sky. The cold of the air could be felt through his thin, dirt covered dress shirt. It did not take him long to find the dim glow of a torch in the near distance. Hobbling, still recovering from the effects of his unconsciousness, the middle-aged man mustered his strength and marched himself toward this faint evidence of humanity.

Given his state, it wouldn't be surprising if it had taken an hour to reach this torch. Yet, with much perseverance, he had seen the glow grow in its luminance until its wooden frame could be seen in view. In fact, there were two torches buried into the earth, supported on a primitive fence made of sticks. A trickling sound of water began to enter into his ear, and the fresh smell wandered into his nose.

In the hope of a drink, the man, in slow step, moved himself forward through the waist-high corridor offered to him. His shivering was becoming further noticeable; teeth began to chatter. The man put his hands into his pockets, and pressed forward.

Not long thereafter on the short and winding trail, he came upon a crude dock, the branches it consisted of gray and peeling. Not a soul could be seen alive in the entire horizon. A grand and wide river intersected his path. The river, much like the rest of the landscape, was rather foreign. Its deepness and immensity could be felt in the very core of the man's being, and yet its waters were devoid entirely of a single wave. A black, mirror-like surface made it seem as if were made of crude oil. While he stood looking into the distance upon the dock, a voice called upon the man's right side.

"Give me your fare."

The man's heart raced in the startle of hearing the raspy voice. An emaciated man, of approximately 6 feet in height, appeared upon a rickety wooden gondola, his sickly, long fingers grasped upon a rotting wooden pole. The gondolier's other hand stood extended, awaiting something to be placed upon it. The man made no second thoughts in pulling out a bill from the wallet in his right pocket, immediately placing it into the almost skeletal hand.

"Get in."

He obeyed.

The gondola creaked as he began to place his body onto its seemingly unstable hull. He sat, while the man departed from the strange shore. The water began to take the feel of the sky; an vast and deep void was seen as the two men slowly crossed the river.

"Where am I?" inquired the man.

"Acheron." replied the figure.

"Who are you?"


The figure would not answer any further question. Kharon steered upon the river in silence. The man began to piece it together; he was dead, floating down the river of pain towards the ghastly of Hades. He could not bear it, for the tears began to roll down his cheeks. For all his life, he was a good Christian man, and all those days praising the name of the Lord, those long hours spent sitting at the Sunday mass, were for naught. He began to wish he never paid the ghastly ferryman. Kharon, meanwhile, steered upon the river in silence. Such men he did not hold any pity for; the gods had always made their presence felt upon all the earth.

Gloom and despair rose upon the distance. Doric columns rose tall from the ground, colored with a night blue in that strange light of the underworld.

"We arrive upon Hades." the raspy voice decreed.

The man stepped out of the boat, and onto the rickety dock. For being an afterlife who bared the deaths of all the souls of the entire human race, not a soul made its presence. Even Kharon had disappeared from behind him. Having exhausted any other choice when he chose to cross the Acheron, he walked through those Doric gates, gulping with anxiety.

He soon found himself walking through a dark tunnel. The darkness, in fact, made all detail of the world disappear; he merely found himself walking into an endless void. Yet, the walls and floor still seemed to exist albeit invisibly, straight as an arrow as far as he could feel. The slightest of insanity began to creep into him. As he further pushed through the corridor, so too did he push further from his sanity. He began to run in desperation. But he felt no further to his destination than before. The man was panting, wheezing, choking to get to the end.

A thick stone slab of a podium met his face. He fell to the ground, neither in pain, or bloodied by the trauma. Before him, only the silhouettes of three men upon a table could be seen.

"Pesmoutoonomasas" the leader of the tribune order him.

The man could not understand what the judge spoke. Yet, he could not speak himself. A strange feeling had shaken him, and he no longer knew the words he wished to say. He could no longer say what he wished to say. A slurry of strange utterances were all that could come out.

"Azoasasprokeitainateleiosei." another judge said.

What seemed so solid before could no longer hold itself together. There no longer was the feeling of solid ground. The podium at which the tribunal sat seemed to be fading, the man slowly realizing how his vision was fraying upon its edges. He could not utter a word. Thinking was impossible; nothing came together. Absolute darkness crept in. A sense of peace fell around him. He felt nothing and could comprehend nothing.

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Robertson, but he's gone brain dead."

The doctor stood next to his patient. A woman and her child whimpered in sorrow in the seat next to him. A single, monotonous tone rung from the electrocardiograph. The doctor scrawled his signature onto a sheet of paper upon his clipboard, and sauntered out of the room to file away the necessary paperwork.

Ach"e*ron (#), n. [L., fr. Gr. .] Myth.

A river in the Nether World or infernal regions; also, the infernal regions themselves. By some of the English poets it was supposed to be a flaming lake or gulf.



© Webster 1913.

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