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“Knowledge forbidden? Suspicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord Envy them that? Can it be a sin to know? Can it be death?” -- John Milon, Paradise Lost 

Demons are malevolent spirits residing in the Lower Plane of Hell. They are beings of almost pure evil who lust after death, destruction, terror and hate. The species as a whole function with the goal to corrupt and twist humanity into something dark and to ultimately destroy them entirely. They are one of the most powerful and dangerous entities in the world of Shadowfell.  

The original demons (called Balor, or Greater Demons) were Fallen Angels, the remainder of the Rebellious Host that were cast out of Heaven after the First War. The vast majority, however, are corrupted human souls (known as Tanar'ri, or Lesser Demons) that have endured extensive torture and transformed into this new form. No matter the variety, demons are extremely powerful and utterly evil. 

HistoryEdit

When the universe was created, so too were the glorious celestial race of Angels, the first children of God and beings of pure positive energy. Greatest of the Angels were the seven Archangels. The second eldest of these was named Lucifer, and he was beautiful and his Choir loved him deeply. Together, the celestial Choirs sang together in a glorious and perfect harmony.  

Then, God made humans and told the angels to bow to them and love them more than Him, for they were his greatest creation. In his pride, Lucifer refused, seeing humans as flawed and murderous, unworthy of the love God commanded. He spread discord among his brothers and sisters, and before long, a third of the host of Heaven agreed. Lucifer came to believe that he was the one who should lead the Heavenly Host; he was wiser than God, for he could see humanity for what they truly were.  

A third of the Host rebelled with Lucifer and they started a grand rebellion that ended in the deaths of one-third of the entire population of Heaven. Lucifer and his dissenters were cast out of Heaven in punishment and sent to the Lower Plane of Hell. 

To his delight, Lucifer found that he still held power, though he had changed. His abilities were now mockeries of his old power; a twisted reflection of the beauty he once held. He gave this power to his nine most loyal servants and each changed their name to reflect the change in themselves. Each of the Nine, in turn, gave power to the remainder of the host. These were the first demons, twisted reflections of their former angelic selves.  

The demon Apophis was chosen among his brethren to prove humanity's weakness by tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden, which in turn led to the Fall of Man. For this offense, Lucifer was trapped in an extraplanar space referred to as Lucifer's Cage. Seven Seals were set in place to keep Lucifer bound. If the seven seals were ever all broken, Lucifer would be released. So, Lucifer let it be known that whoever freed him from his prison would be given Hell to rule. The Nine Archdukes, the greatest of the demonic horde, each claimed one layer of Hell and each secretly plotted to discover the Seven Seals before the others.  

Since then, demons have constantly worked to tempt and destroy humanity. Before long, corrupted human souls were added to their power, making the Hosts of Hell even more dangerous. Demons often worked to corrupt and tempt humans into darkness and many played a role in the early spread of monsters. 

Demons have, through the long course of human history, been behind many, many of the massacres, disasters, wars and plagues humanity has suffered. The two World Wars are both notable examples. 

CharacteristicsEdit

Tanar'ri, also known as Lesser Demons, are the result of human souls going to Hell and being tortured until no humanity is left in them, thus turning into Tanar'ri--dark, malicious spirits that revel in pain, chaos and death. Most demons have forgotten what it even means to be human. In general, demons engage in torture and destruction either for fun or to avoid being tortured themselves. 

Tanar'ri serve at the basic foot soldiers in the demonic hosts, and most demons active in the Material Plane are Lesser Demons either sent up to cause trouble or acting on the orders or on the behalf of Greater Demons. They are the most commonly encountered variety of demon, even for those who call themselves "Demon Hunters". These Lesser Demons are the result of a human soul that has been tortured, twisted and corrupted until they have lost all trace of their humanity and give in to the dark powers. This transformation is brutal, agonizing, endless and often takes decades. Lesser Demons do not possess a natural form; they are made up of a thick, noxious black smoke. They move by flying with perfect control of their gaseous forms. They often leave behind sulfur. They have the ability to possess a human by forcing themselves down their throats, literally, and psychically dominating them, assuming control over their motor and cognitive functions. The human who was possessed is often mentally aware of the demon's actions but are unable to regain control of their bodies unless the demon is somehow expelled.

Balor, or Greater Demons, are demons who were once angels, given their power by one of the Nine Archdukes (see below). They have long forgotten their Grace and have instead assumed an infernal fire that burns with intense hatred for humanity. Greater Demons are much more powerful than their Lesser kin, able to command Tanar'ri to do their bidding. Balor are known as the "Lieutenants" of Hell and the presence of a Balor signifies either an objective that is very important to Hell as a whole, or impending chaos, terror and death. They have a natural form, which is a sort of grotesque, twisted creature that seems made of sand-like shadows with glowing yellow eyes. On the Material Plane, they are able to assume a human form, making them much more difficult to find and catch than Lesser Demons. In this human form, their eyes sometimes flash yellow. A special group of Balor known as "Right Hands" or "Princes" (who are truly more feared than literally any other demon save for the Archdukes) have eyes that flash orange. Balor are finite in number, but it is so difficult and dangerous to try to kill one, they might as well be limitless.

The true steward of Hell are The Nine, the Baatezu, more commonly known as the Archdukes. These nine were the most loyal to Lucifer, so when they were cast down, Lucifer shared his power directly with them. Each commands massive influence and can even affect the structure of reality on the Material Plane to a greater extent than Balor. Archdukes have forms much like Balor, although their eyes flash Red. Additionally, if they assume a gaseous form to possess somebody, the smoke is a thick, oily red cloud. Archdukes rarely leave their respective layers of Hell, instead relying on their trusted Right Hands to make sure their business is being properly seen to.

Neither Lesser nor Greater Demons have much of a problem with torturing their own kind to achieve their goals. All demons are natural schemers, always plotting action to gain prestige and power. When pitted against other demons due to these individual goals, a demon will kill their own kind without a second thought; Greater Demons do it casually, and some find it good sport. 

Something all demons can agree on is that goodness, beauty, love and friendship are a disease and a poison. Humanity is a virus, less than worthless and everything they touch is worthy of destruction. Only by utterly corrupting and destroying the human race, and by bringing Heaven crashing down around their self-righteous former bretheren, can they finally know peace as rulers of all Creation.

But first they need to stop double-crossing and killing each other.  

Exiled Demons Edit

While rare, it is not unheard of for demons to be exiled from Hell. Such demons, such as Virgil and Mephisto, are usually exiled due to a failure in a task that is so extreme that is actually hurts the entirety of Hell. Tanar'ri are destroyed when this occurs and sent to Dis. Balor, on the other hand, are exiled to Earth, where they must spend their existence among humanity. The Exiled are largely cut off from their former power but a small portion of it still exists. Often, exiled demons cannot shapeshift or teleport, and depending on how long they've been exiled they will lose access to more abilities.

AppearanceEdit

When on the Material Plane, Lesser Demons take the form of a long, slender cloud of noxious black smoke. This disembodied form is difficult to pin down and while powerful, does not have access to its supernatural power. To exist on Earth for any real length of time, they must possess a human being (see Possession, below). A Tanar'ri's eyes are full-black. 

A Greater Demon, on the other hand, was once an angel that fell from Grace. They have two forms, a True Self and a human form. Their true self is a twisted, vile form too terrible to behold; its flesh is a mottled charcoal grey, with a horrible mouth, with an unhinged jaw and jagged teeth. They posses horns (often like a ram's, but not always), bat-like wings, four clawed fingers on each hand and a long, powerful, slender spaded tail. Every Balor's true form differs slightly from another's; some have hooves or a lower body resembling a Satyr. Apothis' true form is known to possess a forked tongue, while other demons do not. To look upon the true self of a Greater Demon would drive most humans mad, or cause them to go on a murderous rampage. Their human forms are surprisingly consistent in their base appearance, and is the primary form they take when on the Material Plane. 

An Archduke is similar, possessing both a true self and a human form. However, they are much more corrupted and twisted than their suborrdinates. Their true selves are truly massive (standing about 20 feet high), their mottled flesh crawling with maggots and a deep red in color. Their horns are ashen black and each wears a spiked crown on their heads. Their wings are incredibly wide and made of fire. The very landscape around them warps and bends with their presence. Their human forms possess several distinct features; eyes that are not remotely human in appearance and their bans are much more noticable.  

General AbilitiesEdit

A demon's power varies slightly from individual to individual, depending on their job, their rank, et cetera. All demons, however, possess the following physical traits (note that an Exiled Demon loses certain powers, as marked by a *):

  • Superhuman Strength: All demons possess strength that easily surpasses vampires or werewolves. 

  • Superhuman Durability: Demons have the capacity to withstand injury that would kill a human. They recover from wounds within seconds or minutes (though this has limitations; see Possession, below). 

  • Telepathy: All demons possess the ability to read the minds of mortals, though they cannot seem to do so against other Outsiders. 

  • Electromagnetic Interference: A demonic presence disrupts nearby electronics with their presence. Large numbers of them can cause a thunderstorm. 

  • Rituals & Spellcasting: All demons possess a degree of spellcasting ability, though some are obviously more talented and powerful in this regard than others. 

  • Telekinesis: All demons can manipulate their surroundings through sheer force of will.  

  • Possession: The act of a demon's spirit possessing a human body. A demon cannot posses a corpse, nor can it possess a non-human species (like a werewolf) or body that's already possessed. It's easier to possess a person in a state of heightened emotion or fear. Once in a human body, the demon has access to its full suite of abilities and the body will continually heal itself and regenerate...until the demon is exercised, at which point all of the damage that body has sustained will come back, normally killing the victim. Lesser Demons must possess a human to exist on the Material Plane, but Greater Demons and Archdukes do not, since they have human forms. They can both still possess human bodies, however; a Greater Demon's spirit appears to be a black cloud with rolling purple or red lightning, while an Archduke is a cloud of oily, red smoke. Doing so leaves their bodies behind, however, so many don't take the chance. 

Special AbilitiesEdit

BalorEdit

A greater demon has access to all of the previous abilities, as well as the following:

  • Teleportation*: A Greater Demon can instantly travel a short distance through force of will, without actually crossing the distance.

  • Pyrokinesis: Balor have the ability to start and control fires with their minds. Such flames are always blue. 

  • Electrokinesis: Many Balor are capable of manipulating electronic equipment or even channeling lightning through their bodies. 

  • Shapeshifting: All demons possess a limited degree of shapeshifting ability. For most, it is switching between their true self and human form, but they can also take the forms of certain animals (varying by individual). Chaos demons, specifically*, can change their shape to appear like other people, making them dangerous. 

  • Soul Reading: A demon can read the soul of a person to determine its purity. 

  • Thermokinesis: Greater Demons can alter the temperature with their minds, making it bitterly cold or horrifically hot. 

  • Weather Manipulation*: Many Greater Demons can change the weather, kicking up winds or driving winds, but others can create truly massive storms. 

  • Regeneration: A Balor is able to regenerate lost limbs. Any lost limbs turn to infernal ectoplasm once the new appendage grows in. 

  • Terrakinesis*: A Balor is able to generate minor tremors in the Earth. 

Baatezu Edit

The epitomy of demonic power, not only do Archdukes possess ALL of the above abilities, but also the following:

  • Biokinesis: Archdukes can manipulate the biology of mortal beings, such as giving them a hemorrhage or causing them to cough up blood, and even stopping a human's heart. 

  • Dimensional Shifting: The Baatezu are capable of moving freely between Hell to Earth, and can even teleport between the different Circles of Hell. 

  • Dream Walking: Archdukes can enter and control the dreams of others.

  • Mind Manipulation: Archdukes are capable of causing mental illness and can manipulate memories. Alternatively, they can heal mental illnesses as well. 

  • Exorcism: Baatezu can exorcise a Lesser Demon and force it back to Hell with a snap of their fingers. 

  • Black Light: Baatezy can generate a massive amount of negative, destructive energy that can obliterate large areas and powerful targets, capable of damaging even angelic beings. 

Demon DealsEdit

All demons can make a deal with a mortal, granting them a wish in exchange for their souls. Greater Demons seem to be able to do this easier and more often than Lesser Demons. Additionally, Lesser Demons tend to pervert the wish in some way (possibly from a lack of control), while Greater Demons display a greater degree of accuracy in terms of the wish being granted. A human who makes a Deal loses their soul but gains their specified desire. After ten years, the demon will return to collect.  

  • Reality Warping: Demons are capable of limited reality warping, changing certain aspects of the fabric in order to grant wishes. 

  • Resurrection: Through the use of a demon deal, Demons are capable of Resurrecting a dead mortal. 

Weaknesses Edit

  • Angel's Touch: The touch of an Angel on the forehead can kill the demon if the angel is of equal or greater power to it. If it is of lesser power, the best the angel can hope is to exercise the demon.  

  • Anti-Possession Sigil: This sigil can be worn as a necklace or tattooed onto a human's chest, over their heart. This makes even an Archduke unable to possess a human.  

  • Anti-Telepathy Sigil: By tattooing this symbol at the base of the skull, on the back of the neck, not even an Archduke can read the human's mind.  

  • Ban: All demons have a telltale trait that betrays their presence, as well as certain strange weaknesses called a "Ban". The ban differs from demon to demon. 

  • Consecrated Water: Sort of Holy Water on crack, this is excrutiatingly painful for Lesser Demons and Greater Demons, and can affect Archdukes like Holy Water affects Lesser Demons. 

  • Consecrated Weapons: A weapon that has been blessed by a priest can function like a combo of Holy Water and Iron, causing a demon extreme pain. Consecrated weapons can kill a Lesser Demon.  

  • Devil's Trap: This ancient sigil is capable of trapping a demon with in when places on a surface. While trapped, the demon cannot use their powers and are effectively helpless. The Devil's Trap works on demons of any level of power. 

  • Exorcism: Exorcising a demon will force it from a possessed body. Lesser Demons are sent back to Hell, while Greater Demons are merely sent back to their human bodies. 

  • Flesh Sigil: If a human can carve this sigil into the flesh of a possessed human with an iron blade, the demon is trapped inside of its host and unable to use any of its powers. The demon is not bound to one place, however, and can move freely unless otherwise restrained.  

  • Free Will: Demon's cannot take away a human's free will and cannot excert any kind of domination or mind control, even through the use of Enchantment spells. Possession is an obvious loophole, however. 

  • Heavenly Fire: The fire created by angels causes extreme pain to Balor and can kill Tanar'ri.  

  • Holy Light: Holy Light can kill even Balor.  

  • Holy Water: Holy water burns Lesser Demons and Greater Demons like acid and has proven to be a good defense against them. It doesn't kill them but it hurts like hell. Archdukes seem more or less highly resistant to Holy Water, if not completely immune. 

  • Holy FIre: Setting holy oil alight, the resulting fire is extremely painful to a demon, though not fatal. 

  • Iron: A weapon made of pure iron is capable of injuring any demon. 

  • Palo Santo: This sacred wood is painful to a demon like iron. If burned, its smoke acts like holy water and if stabbed through a demon's heart, acts like a Devil's Trap, trapping them to that spot until the stake is removed. 

  • Positive Energy: Positive energy, such as that generated by an angel, is deadly to a demon. However, the angel must be as powerful or more powerful than the demon they are attacking if the light is to have any effect beside giving the demon a sunburn. 

  • Salt: Lesser Demons cannot cross a line of salt. Does not affect Greater Demons or Archdukes. 

  • Speaking the Name of God: By saying the name of God, Christ or Jesus in Latin will cause a demon to flinch and their eyes to flash. Reach scripture also has this effect. This affects all demons.  

  • Staff of Banishment: Also known as the Staff of Elijah, all demons are susceptible to banishment back to Hell from this staff if the wielder is powerful enough.  

BreedingEdit

Greater Demons cannot create more of themselves, but are capable of reproducing with a human host. The resulting half-demon creatures is known as a Tiefling or a Cambion

Lesser Demons have no such ability, but they are being constantly created through the method of corrupting souls in Hell. 

HabitatEdit

Demons originate from the Lower Plane of Hell. Many demons complain that the Material Plane is too cold. 

DietEdit

Demons don't need to eat, though many enjoy it. Demonic tastes vary wildly, with some preferring to eat human food and others prefer to eat humas as food. When they do eat or drink, they binge, indulging well past the point of reason. 

ClassificationEdit

Demons are classified both by their type and their job:

TypeEdit

  • Tanar'ri: Lesser Demons. 

  • Balor: Greater Demons. 

  • Baatezu: Archdukes. 

RoleEdit

Every demon has a role to play in the grander scheme of Hell's work. A demon's role influences their specific capabilities, as well as their strongsuit when it comes to sowing pain and misery. 

  • Amaimon: Also known as Interrogators, the Amaimon specialize in ruthless, cruel and diabolic methods of torture and inquisition. Amaimon know exactly what their victims are afraid, and often employ this knowledge to torment a victim in every way they fear. Their questions twist through the mind of the victim like a snake until they get the information they seek and often even after. 

  • Ayngavhaul: Also known as Heresy Demons, the Ayngavhaul specialize as scholars of despair, spreading heresies and apocrypha, sowing disbelief and corruption among the righteous. 

  • Barbazu: Also called Tormentors, these demons specialize not only in flaying and violence, but in sowing terror in humans. They often stalk and terrorize entire families for weeks, starting small and growing in intensity and evil over time. 

  • Choronzon: Also called Chaos Demons, the Choronzon specialize in deception, chaos, mischief and commiting evil acts for their own sake. God help any community if a Choronzon becomes bored. Unpredictable and capable of shapeshifting to a higher degree than other Balor.

  • Hala: Also called Disaster Demons, the Hala spcialize in bringing storms and disasters. These disasters are often natural disasters, but can also be plane crashes, fires, train wrecks, freeway collisions, electrical outages and other such things. 

  • Herzou: Known also as Plague-Bearers, the Herzou spread disease, sickness and famine wherever they go. The Herzou delight in creating new sicknesses and many possess or disguise themselves as doctors. 

  • Lilitu: Also called tempters, these demons are the eponymous "devils on the shoulder", becoming invisible and whispering to mortals, weaking their moral resolve. Lilitu specialize in longterm mental torment, though it is very subtle and includes insomnia, constant subtle reminders of the temptation at hand and increased reward when they give in. At first. Soon, the temptation becomes a torment in and of itself.  

  • Magi: Demons who specialize as lore masters and ritual casters. 

  • Phistophilus: Also called Crossroads Demons, the Phistophilus are master negotiators, diplomats and salesmen. Even the least skilled crossroads demon could sell blood to a vampire. These demons specialize not only in granting wishes, but in the actual act of the hard sell. Phistophilus demons are, by nature, honest, rarely lying (if ever) due to the nature of their work. 

Notable Demons Edit

Name Demon Type Role Status
Mini Asmodeus
Asmodeus the Oppressor, The Steward of Hell
Baatezu Archduke of the Ninth Circle Alive
Mini Avernus
Avernus the Destroyer
Baatezu Archduke of the First Circle Alive
Mini Barnabus
Barnabus
Tanar'ri Ayngavhaul Alive
Mini Beelzebub
Beelzebub the Deceiver, Lord of the Flies
Baatezu Archduke of the Eighth Circle Alive
Mini Bensozia
Bensozia the Seducer, Queen of Hell
Baatezu Archduke of the Seventh Circle Alive
Mini Crowley
Crowley
Balor Magi, Prince of the Ninth Circle Alive
Mini Dis
Dis the Dispatcher
Baatezu Archduke of the Second Circle Alive
Mini Gozer
Gozer
Balor Amaimon Alive
Mini Hawkins
Unknown Demon
Unknown Unknown Alive
Mini Mephisto
Mephistopholes
Balor, Exiled Phistophilus (formerly) Alive
Mini Moloch
Moloch the Lawless
Baatezu Archduke of the Sixth Circle Alive
Mini Orcus
Orcus, Lord of the Dead
Baatezu Archduke of the Third Circle Alive
Mini Phlegethos
Phlegethos the Tormentor
Baatezu Archduke of the Fourth Circle Alive
Mini Stygia
Stygia the Pestilent
Baatezu Archduke of the Fifth Circle Alive
Mini Virgil
Apophis; aka Virgil
Balor, Exiled Choronzon (formerly) Alive

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