A Note about Demons in Fantasy Role-Playing Games:
Demons are a necessary and important part of full fantasy gaming, as they occupy a special place in literature and tradition as the Ultimate Enemies of Mankind. Nevertheless, they are all powerful beings – indeed, they will entirely overmatch average PC. This means that one must treat Demons with an eye toward the long-range perspective of the campaign – a campaign in which the PCs have a continuing part to play. In short, Demons are more than monstrous killing mechanisms but rather as great forces that have an effect on the lives and goals of the Player Characters.The Great Demons, the full subjects of Hell, are immortal and not subject to death, they can only suffer banishment from this Plane of Existence for a time until they recover their powers and can reopen the Gate between Worlds. This gives them a peculiar attitude toward mortals and events in the world of men. First, they have an immensely inflated opinion of their own powers, believing themselves to be well nigh invincible. Indeed, this very hubris makes them demons in the first place! This, combined with a great contempt for the ability of mortals to oppose them seriously, believing as they do that men are morally weak and thus, they underestimate their Player Character adversaries and often do not follow through to be certain of an enemy’s permanent elimination.
The Great Demons are immensely powerful in gaming terms. They have to be if Players are to lake them seriously. At the same time, while the Great Demons can easily wipe out most PC adversaries there is a balance in the Cosmic Game; something is there which acts to protect men of good heart so that they do not quite perish. They may seem to be defeated utterly and yet they rise up and confront the Evil repeatedly. This is the True Heroic Tradition. Thus all PC Heroes, subject to a successful resurrection check, survive a slaying at the hands of a Great Demon. No form of Clerical miracle takes place; it is a matter for a Higher Power to decide. All the hero knows is that the Demon seemed to be tearing him apart when the ‘lights went out’. He then awakes a few minutes or hours later to find he is battered but alive!
In addition, the Great Demons have a view that spans thousands of years and do not see the events of an infinitesimal moment in their long lives to be of particular importance. Thus, they do not take the time to make sure of their mortal opponents. The fact is that the Great Demons make mistakes. They may, for example, incapacitate their opponents and place them in difficult circumstances as their form of sadistic joke. Thus a player hero defeated by a Great Demon might find he is banished to a copper mine in the desert somewhere, chained and naked except for a loin cloth, or he might awake to find himself chained to an oar in a galley. The Demon might allow him to remain in his present situation, the Demon being so self-assured that he feels he can permit the foolish mortal to live and suffer in the knowledge that he is utterly helpless against the Power of Hell. The Demon is playing with his toys, and a hero worth his salt will demonstrate that one cannot toy with the Heroes of Men. From a long-term point of view, this form of adventure gaming is filled with opportunities.
The Lesser Demons are mortal. Demonic Beasts, Infernal Warriors, Tempters, Destroyers, and Furies have a slightly more cautious view of men. Put bluntly, the Lower Demons know that sufficiently powerful heroes can kill them, and thus they may tend to play for keeps on principle. In their case, a slaying of a PC Hero is subject to Intelligence Check on their part. If they fail the save, the Hero has same the chance for Divine Intervention in the form of a CON Check as with a greater demon. In addition, the Lesser Demon might choose to ‘play with his toys’ because of an over-inflated sense of his power- -showing much the same contempt as his more powerful superiors. Thus, they may spare to have a return bout with his Demonic adversary.
NPCs are not subject to the above considerations. In the game, they are the victims of Evil that the Heroes are attempting to defeat and act as a spur to tile courage of PCs to find a solution to the problem. Some Game Masters might object to this seeming intervention in the natural course of events. However, D&D is a game, and it attempts to simulate the events that occur in a fantasy adventure fully in the tradition. In the literature, Heroes survive certain death repeatedly, where lesser men perish. There is no way to simulate this fate factor in a combat or magic system without distorting the system. Nevertheless, we can alter the outcome. This is our solution to the problem of confronting the PCs with almost impossible odds against them, yet permitting survival of a Character Hero if he is defeated.
A Note on Nomenclature
Demons and devils are the evil spirit beings that inhabit the lower planes. A Devil is a named spirit while a demon is the rank and file of the Hellish Host.
Unless otherwise noted, non-magical weapons can harm demons. All devils and demons have or are able to perform the following:
- Charm Person
- Infravision 60’
- Teleport Without Error
- Know Alignment
- Cause Fear (effect varies)
- Animate Dead
Devils are able to summon their fellows, summoning being similar to a monster summoning spell. Because they have a special form of telepathy, devils are able to understand and converse with any intelligent creature.
The listed attack forms, as noted below, affect devils:
|Attack||Maximum Damage Will be:|
|fire (dragon, magical)||none|
|gas (poisonous, etc.)||half|
*unless affected by normal weapons, in which case damage will be according to the weapon type
Organization of the Hellish Host
There are 10 circles of hell, only nine of which are accessible by mortal souls – there are some depths of depravity to which even the worst of men cannot descend. These correspond to the Tree of Impure Emanations, and they are as follows:
The orders of demons in order of ascending power are:
- Lost Souls – the Lost and the Damned
- Petty Demons – the lesser beasts of Hell
- Infernal Warriors – Foot soldiers of the Hellish Host
- Tempters – Demons of Carnality & Demons of Wealth and Power
- Furies – Avengers of Sin
- Destroyers – Demons of Fire & Darkness
- Chevalier L’Enfer – The Chivalry of Hell
- Fallen Angels – Nobles of Hell
- Powers – Great Lords of the Hellish Host
- Principalities – Princes of the Hellish Host
- His Satanic Majesty
All devils are able to move about the planes of Hell (although they dare not do so without authorization, save for the Fallen Angels, Powers or Principalities). Devils can also move through the astral plane, although they seldom do so. No devil is able to enter the other planes unless someone performs the proper ritual to open a gate, or one speaks the proper name of a devil (and the devil hears).
It is possible to destroy the material form of a greater devil or a fallen angel, power or principality, but such creatures are immortal and they always return to life. Devils can never be subdued.
All devils can direct their attacks against two or more opponents if the means are at hand. If a greater devil has its material form destroyed, it returns to lemure status for nine decades of torment before it resumes its former station. If the material form of a fallen angel, power or principality is destroyed, that arch-devil is bound to its own particular plane of Hell for a decade (unless again properly called forth prior to the end of the 10 years) and a great loss of face is suffered (and fury in Hell is unmatched then).
The Lesser Lords in the Hierarchy of Hell
The following is a list of the dukes of Hell as well as some of their foremost henchmen. There are no individual statistics and descriptions for many of these devils. Indeed, some are but little stronger than a pit fiend, or are, in fact, actual pit fiends.
|Name||In the Service Of||Command or Position|
|Abigor||Beelzebub||60 companies of malebranche|
|Agares||Geryon||31 companies of bone devils|
|Alocer||Dispater||36 companies of erinyes|
|Amduscias||Zariel||29 companies of abishai|
|Amon||Geryon||40 companies of bone devils|
|Bael||Mammon||66 companies of barbed devils|
|Balan||Belial||40 companies of bearded devils|
|Bathym||Belial||30 companies of barbed devils|
|Bel*||Dispater||3 companies of malebranche|
|Bethage*||Moloch||9 companies of malebranche|
|Bifrons||Mephistopheles||26 companies of ice devils|
|Bitru||Dispater||70 companies of erinyes|
|Buer||Asmodeus||15 companies of pit fiends|
|Bune||Asmodeus||30 companies of malebranche|
|Caarcrinolaas||Mammon||36 companies of barbed devils|
|Fecor*||Geryon||8 companies of malebranche|
|Furcas*||Dispater||12 companies of bearded devils|
|Gaziel||Belial||11 companies of bone devils|
|Glasya (F)||Mammon||Consort; daughter of Asmodeus|
|Goap*||Zariel||3 companies of erinyes|
|Herobaal*||Moloch||16 companies of bone devils|
|Herodias||Geryon||Magi st ra te|
|Hutijin||Mephistopheles||2 companies of pit fiends|
|Machalas||Geryon||11 companies of barbed devils|
|Malphas||Zariel||40 companies of abishai|
|Melchon||Mammon||18 companies of erinyes|
|Merodach||Dispater||21 companies of barbed devils|
|Morax||Asmodeus||9 companies of pit fiends|
|Nexroth*||Mephistopheles||16 companies of malebranche|
|Rimmon||Asmodeus||5 companies of ice devils|
|Zagum||Asmodeus||30 companies of barbed devils|
|Zapan*||Belial||4 companies of malebranche|
|Zepar||Baalzebul||28 companies of malebranche|
|Zimimar*||Mammon||6 companies of bone devils|
Those demons whose names are marked with an asterix (*) are pit fiends.