- 1 The Nature of Demons
- 2 Physical Classifications
- 3 Types of Demons by Circle
The Nature of Demons
In the hierarchy of the Underworld, Demon Lords or Princes are the strongest below the Death Gods. Some demon lords are former gods themselves, who were cast down, exiled, or imprisoned for various reasons. Unlike lesser demons, they have true free will and may not be purely evil. The Gods of Death keep an eye on these demons and attempt to ensure they do not escape. Under the Demon Lords are demons of other ranks, with different names and systems depending on the type of demon, though countless demons are not so categorized by Men.
Temptation of Souls
All demons can disguise themselves as a human to tempt mortals to sin, particularly in relation to their own aspect of evil. All demons revel in their own particular brand of evil, and they enjoy nothing more than traveling to the surface world to corrupt mortals into committing their favorite sin so that their souls will be bound to that demon forever. When a mortal dies and his soul goes to the Underworld, the Judges of the Dead will assign the souls of the wicked to the demon whose domain suits their sin, or the demon to whom they are bound by contract. This increases the power of the demons in control over them.
Demonic Magic and Summoning
A demon's access to the mortal realm is limited, and they have no real way to reach it save through the machinations of power-hungry mortals. Practitioners of demonic magic are all too happy to oblige, hoping to control a demon’s power in order to increase his own, even though the demon has similar designs. Some men eagerly sign away their souls to the demon's possession in exchange for access to magic power. The more they use this magic, the more they lose their soul to the demon.
Other magi merely summon a demon physically as a servant, hoping to bind him with runes or other spells. Demons always attempt to influence their summoner to gain power over them, or eventually break free of the summoner's control and then roam the mortal world at their leisure, sowing the seeds of evil.
One method employed by particularly powerful demons or demons whose summoners are particularly weak-willed is possession. The demon will enter the spirit realm and dive into the mind of a mortal, battling the mortal's own spirit for control of his body. The possessed then becomes merely a physical puppet for the demon to travel the mortal realm. Possession is preferred by many demons over shape-shifting, because the latter can be interrupted by a break of concentration, revealing the demon's true form, while the former can only be reversed (short of killing the host) through the difficult process of exorcism, usually by a priest or shaman. There are numerous types of demonic possession, some more complicated than others. Not all of them are fully understood.
Some say that, if the mortal is possessed long enough, he or she will eventually lose their soul to the demonic corruption and begin gaining demonic features, eventually transforming into a full demon, in a method not unlike a demon-kin who gives into their temptation (see below).
Most types of demons are capable of mating with any mortal that possesses a soul (the spirits of animals do not count). The soul of their offspring is then tainted with the darkness of their demon blood, tempting them constantly into their demonic parent's particular brand of sin. Those who give in completely will eventually become indistinguishable from full-blooded demons. For more information, see demon-kin.
Like undead, demons are sensitive to light and holy power. When in the mortal realm, they are always careful to avoid places of worship. Holy men are most likely to see through a demon's disguise, especially Knights Templar, who specialize in hunting down and destroying demons. When slain in the mortal realm, a demon will simply be banished back to the Underworld. Each time they are slain, they find it harder to return, but the only way to permanently slay a demon is to kill them in their own native realm, the Underworld... a feat far easier said than done.
Those who study demons frequently divide them into four categories based on their physical attributes. These categories are named for the four humors.
Most demons fall under the Sanguine category. Sanguine demons usually have most of the following attributes: sharp horns, a tail, bright and often cat-like eyes, bat-like wings, clawed fingers, and sharp canines.
Melancholic usually have most of the following attributes: curved horns, dark sunken eyes, strange misty hair, black-feathered wings, and pitch-black tears and blood.
Choleric demons have insect-like attributes: multi-faceted eyes and ragged transparent wings, bony horns, and skeletal claws.
Phlegmatic demons are the most chaotic in appearance, their physical forms varying widely. They usually have tentacles on various parts of their body and ragged black, bony wings on their back.
Types of Demons by Circle
Most demons also belongs to a certain “circle” of domains, although this certainly does not mean that they are always allied with other members of their “circle.” Every demon lord has followers or minions (their spawn) that must obey their commands and, generally, mimic their appearance. Since only certain types of demons have frequently identified followers, for more information on the spawn of a demon lord without specified servants, see the articles of the demon lords themselves. All demon lords, however, have evil spawn that serve them.
The Circle of Sin
Malice - Demon lord Apophis (sanguine).
Betrayal - Demon lord Orcus (sanguine).
Tyranny - Demon lord Saurva (sanguine).
The Circle of Passion
Fear - Demon lords Phobos and Deimos (phlegmatic).
Pride - Demon lord Arashk (melancholic).
The Circle of Destruction
Plague - Demon lord Utarviz (choleric).
Doom - Demon lord Moros (sanguine).
Madness - Demon lord Agruzgakbalat (phlegmatic).
The following belong to no Circle, instead operating on their own. Some still consider them demon lords, but the Circles would likely dispute this.
Chaos - Many of the children of Eris, goddess of Chaos and Discord (sometimes classified as a melancholic demon lord herself), dwell in the Underworld and are raised up by Eris to amplify the chaos of a battlefield. They include the Achlys, ethereal demons of the Mist of Death; the Phonoi, demons of Murder; the Dysnomia, demons of Anarchy; the Aitei, demons of ruin; and the Androktasai, demons of careless slaughter. They usually circle over the eternal wars of the Underworld, helping them to continue forever by spreading constant discord. Some claim they have the ability to pass beneath the Underworld into the realm of Eternal Shadow, the endless Void that is sometimes itself personified as Chaos.