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Other A Taxonomy of the Demon Realm

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Overview
The geography of Hell and its inhabitants are inextricably bound. The flows of infernal essence are drawn to specific forms and specific forms arise from concentrations of that essence. And so the great and terrible Nobility of Hell are lord, landscape, and rules of nature all in one. For all that the Demon Realm is infinite in scope and variation, some things are underpin it all like bones or breath or beams.

The Principles that are said to rule from their prison-city of the Palace Infernal are whence the rest of Demonkind descend. Some philosophers say that the true essences of the Principles dwell in the palace while the fundament of Hell’s sphere is fashioned from their vast, sleeping forms. Others claim the weakest avatars of the Principles are there imprisoned, cut off from the other fragments of their meta-souls. A few postulate that the Principles exist in a state of superposition which traps them within the spaces that they do not fill, but this claim is typically met with thrown objects or rolled eyes.

That very terrain gives rise flora and fauna both – sometimes one to produce the other. These lowest things are known as Beasts – creatures without the drive and intellect of ‘true’ Demons, but nonetheless powerful and cunning, driven by strange impulses.

Each Circle has a Beast referred to as its Hound, even if that should be the feline Aubades of the Hellsun or the eyeless horrors of Hell’s Night. Hounds arise in a myriad of ways, like many Beasts, though often they are cultivated by the ruling powers.

The rest of Demonkind has murkier origins. Rabble, the lowest of the Demonic classes, include Imps, Fiends, and Devils. Imps and Fiends often spawn from other Demons or the very stone of their Circle, and are often considered the lowest of their kind.

Devils stand at the top of the Rabble, beings of considerable power and intellect, of sweeping ambitions and intense passions. Devils are known to ascend from the lower ranks, most of the time, but some seem to appear from nowhere. Indeed, when learned sages and oracles try to trace the history of certain Devils the commonality of their genesis is a single phrase: it was ever thus.

Devils may ascend to the Nobility, or make the arguably lateral move to become Citizens of Pandemonium.

The Nobility defy easy classification. Each one is practically an ecosystem unto itself. Their Demesne warps and shifts to reflect their masters; the highest ranking of Demons shape their underlings and their estates accordingly.

Offering a single example is the most expedient means of explanation.

TACITUS, ILLUMINOR-PRINCE OF HELL, THE UNBLINKING EYE, THE PITILESS SUN, SHINING LORD OF THE PAPER DESERT, THRICE-BROKEN, THE REVELATION OF TIME,
who taught mortals the secrets of conquest.

From whom descends

SHAUKUR dan TACITUS, DUCHESS OF THE SEPULCHRE-LIBRARY, BREAKER OF EMPIRE, BEACON OF THE SUNBLIND, THE WHITE HEAT OF MONARCHY, PATRON OF GENOCIDES

From whom descends

TASAT’AL dan SHAUKUR, EARL OF THE BURNING WHEEL, ANVIL OF THE SLAVER’S CHAIN, THE COIN-EYED DEVIL, SUN-SHUNNED

From whom descends

ASHTAR dan TASAT’AL, COUNT OF THE GOLDEN PANOPTICON, ALL-SEEING EYE

Each of these Nobles is concerned with foresight and control, each has fallen from grace somewhere in their past, and their Demesnes are less martial than many of their peers. Although another six Dukes, each of whom rule another seven Earls, from each another seven Counts, means that recognizing descendants of Tacitus is not impossible (though it helps that Lightbringers insist on mapping their lineages in their names) even if their rubric has spread wide over their jostling hierarchy.

The nature of individual Nobles is a topic best left to dedicated grimoires, in turn best left in locked cabinets and not examined too closely.
 

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Messengers are the Imps of the Hellsun, and predictably consider themselves above the appellation. To be sure, they are typically more intelligent and fewer in number than those of other Circles, but in the end suffer many of the same weaknesses. Frequently four feet, and lithe, the Messengers have more dramatically long and narrow ears than other Imps, and their faces are very close to human. Rather than have eyes on their face, however, Messengers feature a beaten-brass halo studded with eyes. A few have wings, particularly Titled Messengers, though they rarely allow for flight beyond the sphere of the First Circle.

Viewing themselves as footsoldiers, guards, and most of all pages to ranking Lightbringers, Messengers will attach themselves to such Demons as soon as possible and serve them faithfully. They gladly throw their lives away in the hopes of earning the approval of their superiors, and often the survivors are recognized for skill and cleverness. A few endeavour to keep in the back and make themselves indispensable in other ways, but no Lightbringer can survive without demonstrating skill at arms. Thriving in the strict hierarchies of the Hellsun, singular Messengers are rare enough – a few are given command of a small squad of their lesser fellows or prove themselves able aide-de-camps for their masters, but Titled Messengers are normally renegades of one kind or another.
Messengers are not permitted to carry swords, and favour staves. A few employ daggers and pistols, particularly those given a command. Messengers simply bud off from the burning rings of the Hellsun; small rings that rapidly grow to a full Messenger when they land on the surface. They are typically fewer in number than their analogues from Circles, but likewise rarely become more scarce than that as replacements descend from the burning rings quite regularly.
  • Couronne dan Tassiel is sergeant to a crack squad of Messenger siegebreakers; a band of acrobatic and dignified warriors who risk destruction to seize gatehouses for their lord. Couronne has wondered, from time to time, what would happen if she simply claimed one such fortress, but drives the thoughts away. Surely Tassiel will recognize her service…
  • Quentyn the Wanderer is a renowned duelist, a lone Messenger who dares carry a sword and defend his honour from his betters. A taciturn and purposeful Demon, Quentyn wears a modified uniform from the army of a slain Duke of Hell, and seems driven by a hatred uncommon even in Hell. Many Counts of the Hellsun are concerned about the consequences of Quentyn attaining higher rank.
  • Ullor Twice-Penitent guards a well of light in an isolated span of the Hellsun, meditating on the nature of Hell and the purpose of Demonkind. Pilgrims visit to seek their wisdom, or to try beg instruction in martial techniques. Ullor has never killed a single opponent, nor ever been defeated.
Once, there was a Messenger who sought to ascend to the rank of Count (as many do) but found it difficult to distinguish herself from among her peers. All Messengers are able warriors, skilled with whatever weapon comes to hand. At first, she sought to master the staff beyond even the ability of her legion. Alas, neither her master nor the Principles acknowledged this effort. And so she defeated her commanding Messenger in single combat and replaced him, thence striving to treat dirk and pistol as extensions of her body. This, too, remained beneath the notice of her superiors. Incensed, the Messenger challenged her Count to a duel to demonstrate her power. Her staff was snapped in twain by a barbed comment, her dirk cast aside with a chiding glare, and her pistol shattered from sheer embarrassment. In the moment of her annihilation the root of her folly finally became apparent. She had trained too narrowly.

Name: Messenger
Circle: First Circle, The Hellsun
Family:
Imp
Class: Rabble
Preferred Habitat: Where they are bidden.
Reproduction: Environmental Extrusion
Typical Appearance; No taller than four feet, with eyes on a halo over their head and long, pointed ears. Typically shades of ivory, with older Messengers better equipped and sometimes sporting wings.
Theological Significance: “Existence is conflict.
 

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In keeping with the their inconstant and nightmarish realm, Lurkers are difficult to tell apart from other Unseen. Outside Hell’s Night, they are smaller even than Gremlins and have huge, bulbous white eyes on their overlarge heads. They have neither ears nor mouths, as they mainly communicate by telepathy. They prefer to shroud themselves in robes and hoods when away from their home Circle. While in Hell’s Night, they take wrap themselves in illusions and their shape deforms into something more pleasing to the nearest Count or higher-ranking Demon.

Lurkers typically serve as spies and general dogsbodies for their masters, operating in inchoate clouds of white eyes and whispering voices traveling in the wake of Groundskeepers or worse. If left to their own devices, they will attempt to wear down the resolve and will to live of any prey – Demon or otherwise – until it can no longer resist their attacks and allows itself to be consumed. Titled Lurkers can be especially dangerous, wielding their swarm as an extension of their own significant mental powers, often employed as spymasters or assassins by their masters. Those without a master engage in convoluted schemes of theft, murder, and sabotage. A bored Lurker is quick to foment political tension even if it cannot exploit it.

Lurkers emerge from sleeping Unseen, spun off by their Essence flows as the great Demons dream in fitful slumber. Often a freshly spawned cloud of Lurkers will be hell-bent on fulfilling a specific purpose presumably related to whatever the Unseen was thinking at the time of their creation.
  • Many-Faced Epsis has dwelt in the borders between three warring Estates for cycles untold, he and his swarm wearing elegant uniforms and identical white masks as they ensure the war does not end. A few times over the millennia, wandering warriors have gone to slay Epsis and found the task surprisingly easy. And yet Epsis persists – some say he sacrifices a member of his swarm in his stead, others that the entity called Epsis simply selects a new host from amid the swarm. At least one enterprising Demon is collecting debts on what happens if a previously slain Epsis reincorporates.
  • Reaver Bleakly has abandoned their home Circle to serve a Brute Count, who sails the great seas of Hell in a burning ship of iron and brass, raiding coastal settlements. Bleakly has command of an escort ship, and dresses like an officer from a more civilized Estate. They come sweeping out of the darkness to capture small vessels or lone entities on the shore, and subject them to a living nightmare until all valuable information is extracted to better inform the next raid.
  • Yoel the Pilgrim is a lone Lurker who wanders across Hell, looking for something they will not name. Despite the infamy surrounding this bent and heavily robed figure, many begins – especially mortals – make the mistake of taking her offers of power or wisdom. At first, this gift is a powerful boon, but by the time the Pilgrim has moved on, her one-time pupil has become the architect of their own annihilation.
Name: Lurker
Circle: Second Circle, Hell’s Night
Family:
Imp
Class: Rabble
Preferred Habitat: Anywhere dark
Reproduction: Demonic Emanation
Typical Appearance; No taller than two feet, with big round white eyes and batlike ears. Usually shades of blue, black, and purple.
Theological Significance: “The best mask is none at all.”
 

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When most mortals think of Imps. they think of the Avernals, the least of the Second Circle Brutes.
The largest of all Imps, Avernals would be just over four feet tall if they ever stood up straight, but they're often hunched over due to the great weight of their upper bodies, which gives them an ape-like aspect. They often have small, pointed horns - although one can recognise the leader of a Riot by their more impressive curved horns and vestigial wings. They have skinny tails, short legs with hooved feet (more powerful than they appear), thick necks, and powerfully muscled arms. In the event one does stand up straight, their knuckles scrape the ground. Most often hairless, with smaller ears and bigger teeth than other Imps, with flesh in shades of red, brass, and basalt.

Avernals are manual labour and shocktroops to their betters. Unattended, they lounge in lava pools as if they were public baths and intermittently engage in savage fistfights (both to establish a hierarchy, and because they like to fight). Never very disciplined, they are nonetheless a force to be reckoned with when commanded to battle which compensates for a lack of training with raw power and rapid regeneration. Unless you can decapitate an Imp in one strike, they'll often recover from their wounds in seconds and fight with even greater ferocity to kill the one who hit them.
When not being sent screaming at a foe, they are normally employed assisting higher ranking Demons in construction projects, mining, or moving heavy goods. Strong, durable, and quick to respect anyone who can threaten them with physical violence, they prove a tireless workforce with proper oversight. Without oversight, they'll engage in acts of petty rebellion and slacking off to drink and fight. Titled Avernals often behave like gang leaders, union bosses, or mercenary commanders, depending on what they prefer to do.

Avernals spawn from pools of burning blood or severed limbs left behind when other Brutes fight.

  • Big Rico commands a Riot in Wildward Doldrum, in the Ur-City, and runs security for various pubs, brothels, arenas, theatres, and merchants. To date, he's shown no particular ambition and seems to like personally working some of his contracts alongside his goons, but he and his signature bladed knuckles stamp out all competition in the area. No one does a slice like Big Rico. No one.
  • Joyful Agony is among the most desired courtesans in their district of Pandemonium, a masochist whose Brute capacity to survive extreme injury makes them popular with all manner of sadists. Their wealth and prestige gives them a lot of influence among socialites of the Demon City. Their penchant for savage retribution against anyone trespassing against their fellow courtesans affords them much respect.
  • Furiosa wanders the vast wilderness of Hell alone, a renowned martial artist who fights unarmed and unwilling founder of a monastic order called The Path of the Wasp. She offers her services as a warrior to those seeking vengeance over minor slights, accepting payment in the form of strong drink and a place to sleep for the Dreamfall. She rarely kills, but her explosive and reckless fighting style routinely ruins the property of her targets.

Name: Avernal
Collective Noun: A Riot
Circle: Third Circle. The Blasted Earth
Family: Imp
Class: Rabble
Preferred Habitat: Molten lava pools.
Reproduction: Demonic Emanation
Typical Appearance; No taller 4'2'', with short horns, round black eyes, red/brass/black flesh, and a very muscular upper body.
Theological Significance: “Anger is the fuel burned by the fires of Will”
 

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Shivers are perhaps the second most common creature found in the Bitter Seas. Cruel, cunning, serpentine Imps, Shivers gather in shoals around the demesnes of Drowner nobility. Their bodies are sinuous and long, their legs more like fins than anything else. Their long snouts are full of teeth, and their beady eyes full of malice. They are often beautiful in motion; in water they are incredibly graceful and their scales catch the light like mirrored glass. This is a ploy to lure in unwitting prey, that the Shivers can rend them with sharp claws and venomous fangs.

Shivers serve mainly as watchdogs and informants. It is impossible to get close to most of the icy palaces of the Bitter Sea without being noticed by the local shoals of Shivers, who will gladly inform their masters. Ambitious Shivers will infiltrate the shoals around other estates to send intelligence to their liege. Very ambitions Shivers will engage in sabotage and assassination until such behaviour earns them a Title and makes it harder for them to pass unnoticed among their kin. Shivers are also employed as a means of execution, victims thrown from the battlements to be devoured in a writhing swarm of teeth and claws.

Masterless Shivers tend to be quite solitary, selling their services as spies, poisoners, thieves, and sometimes diplomats. The average Shiver is incapable of telling the truth, compulsively lying at the merest provocation, and so their brethren which develop the skill of sincerity can be very useful.

Shivers are formed in the icebergs of the Bitter Seas, especially in the underside of those supporting demesnes. When the ice breaks or melts, Essence animates the bodies and gives life to new Shivers. Often elder Shivers that were killed will violently reincarnate in these bodies, rapidly transforming them to conform with their self-image.

  • One-Eyed Temeri is reputed to be an unusually skilled alchemist, traveling the surface realm in a wheeled bathtub. Said bathtub is followed by a cart-cum-workshop, and the whole assemblage is drawn by an immense sea slug Demon affectionately referred to as Winkles. Temeri can fashion potent mixtures from the slug’s secretions, and sells his more powerful potions in exchange for an interesting story about what the buyer means to use it for.
  • Brazen Scuttleship earned her name doing what she loves best – having her shoal salvage vessels that enter her master’s territory, bringing them to his scrapheap, and then offering the stranded travelers a ride there to buy back their ship piece by piece. Sometimes they even salvage abandoned craft, too.
  • Imdir Cutting Whip is a martial artist who devised her own unique style, using her unusually long and thin tail as a whip. She is infamously harsh to potential students, and her circuitous pilgrimage around the Bitter Seas is usually dogged by a limping crowd of bleeding adherents.

Name: Shiver

Circle: Fourth Circle, the Bitter Seas
Collective Noun:
A Shoal
Family:
Imp
Class: Rabble
Preferred Habitat: Close to Demenses
Reproduction: Spontaneous Incarnation

Typical Appearance; From tail to snout they are nearly four feet long, but most of that is tail. Their legs are more like fins and not particularly able to carry their weight. Their fingers are webbed, with claws as sharp as their rows and rows of teeth. Their scales are typically dark hues of green, blue, and gray, with more powerful Shivers featuring spines or horns.
 

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All Devourers are endlessly mutable creatures, capable of reshaping themselves according to their whims – insofar as their power allows. Pustules can never really hide their nature, always small and wide-mouthed. Pustules also have a habit of following trends; the smartest Pustule in an infection will find some unique combination of mutations and its siblings will follow suit, or an infection will ape the aesthetics of the ruling Demon. Which means Pustules could take the form of tiny women with impossibly proportioned hips and breasts, or tanned, pierced little Lotharios, or a head surrounded by genital-tipped tentacles. Given their lack of power, however, Pustules struggle to assume forms which are not on some level grotesque or eerie.

Pustules are so named because they initially bud from the flesh of the Great Beast. Scores are consumed again by the Beast, or eaten by other Demons. Those that escape like to attach themselves to bigger Demons, living in their flesh or on their demesnes. Voracious eaters, Pustules consume more or less anything they can get their grubby little claws on and, when they’ve eaten enough, split into two. They can be distracted from their eating by being sent into battle, or used as sport, food, servants, dancers, and toys. For a time, at least.

Titled Pustules tend to be favoured concubines, head chefs, or occupy other positions of respectable servitude, but plenty of them go their own way using their impressionable fellow Pustules as minions as they pursue whatever they find especially interesting. Obsession defines the Devourers, and few mere Imps can deviate from such deeply embedded impulses.
  • Thimblethumb Rezza dearly wanted to be a fashion designer to the elite of Pandemonium, and took off to the Demon City to open a boutique. Unfortunately, between the nature of the Ur-City and the limited imagination of Pustules, he found himself owning a boutique on a street full of boutiques owned by other Pustules with the same dream. Now he’s gaining a reputation for sabotage and slander rather than fine clothing.
  • Sumptuous Su runs a brothel in Pandemonium staffed exclusively by Pustules. Mortals find themselves in Hell often enough, and the ones who survive are aware of the dangers inherent in romancing Demons (not that this stops a lot of them), and so Su offers a relatively safe place to indulge. They hope to secure a Pact with a client likely to find their way back to the mortal realm, out of an overwhelming desire to experience another world.
  • Crouching Teratoma fancies herself a stealth-assassin, and has trained her infection as a screen of incompetent goons in black uniforms. Either they provide a distraction from her backstabbing strikes against targets, or she disguises herself among their bumbling ranks to lull victims into a false sense of security. She dearly wishes to be taken seriously by an Unseen Count who runs an assassins guild.

Name: Pustule
Collective Noun: An Infection
Circle: Fifth Circle, The Great Beast
Family:
Imp
Class: Rabble
Preferred Habitat: Everywhere you’d prefer they are not.
Reproduction: Division
Typical Appearance: Rarely taller than two and half feet, Pustules are rotund and jolly little beasts with wide mouths and big round eyes. Given the usual powers of Devourers, Pustules frequently sport mutations that make a predictable appearance hard to pin down.
Theological Significance: “Want is a careless cut”
 

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The Gremlin is the lowest ranking Demon of the Sixth Circle, even among the rest of the Rabble. Diminutive and long-armed, with large eyes and pointed ears, they make up for their small size with numbers and firepower. While all Breakers are peerless machinists and smiths, Gremlins delight in explosions and catastrophic mechanical failures, which leads them to deal with almost any obstacle by building a bigger gun – though impatient as they are, they prefer to scavenge components and cobble things together rather than manufacture from raw materials. That said, it’s not uncommon for some cannier Gremlins to use their small size and swift reflexes as pickpockets, or combine this with their mechanical skills to burgle vaults.

The role of Gremlins in their Circle is a function of their troublesome habits and expendability; like most Imps, they’re often lacking in much personality and group together in swarms under a smarter example of their kind likely destined to earn a Title. As is common among Demons, they reproduce asexually, and fresh Gremlins will emerge from their hoards of scrap to replace any losses within a few Dreams. Thus, Gremlins are popular as cheap and plentiful labour, saboteurs, gunners, spare parts, food, and victims on which crueler Demons can vent their frustrations without causing a diplomatic incident.

Gremlins who earn Titles typically lead an infestation, dwelling in crude tunnels under towns and cities or living in the wreckage of war machines. Most will spend the rest of eternity this way – a fixture of the Estate on which they dwell, filling a niche and ruthlessly ousting competition. A rare few might ascend to the rank of Count, and those that do rarely remain Gremlins as the whims of the Principles warp them into more pleasing shapes.

Gremlins often augment themselves with scope-eyes, stabilizers, ammo drums, and a few with self-destruct devices. They covet titanium and will settle for steel or iron if they can’t find or steal any. Their excreta work as a crude gunpowder analogue, so most infestations rapidly salvage enough to fashion muskets for themselves. It also means a Gremlin with a full belly is a hazard around open flames.

  • Tio Longreach leads an infestation near Powderscar. He and his Gremlins favour the conical plastraw hats of the field workers and dull red clothes. Hired as mercenaries, they’re excellent marksmen and treated with a modicum of respect. Tio is content to hold this position.
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  • Shasta Devildrill runs a mining gang of Gremlins on the inward slopes of Vestor’s Corpse, extracting precious stones and petrified blood from vast arteries. They also have a profitable side-business in safe-cracking. They can be recognized by the drillbits welded to their mining helmets, and Shasta themselves favours a ridiculous pickaxe/power drill combo they built from scratch.
  • Snicker-Snack Shellseeker was the maiden of a mobile battle shrine to a holy artillery shell, until she was seduced by a pilgrim and the shell stolen. Now she wanders Hell in search of the shell and her seducer, so that her holy purpose may resume and her honour be restored through gratuitous violence.
There is a legend that a Gremlin found the shell of a dead Demon leftover from the First War. They bade the swarm to repair and refit it, such that they could ride in the skull while their kin operated the limbs. To their great amusement, they were invited to the palace of the local Earlessa as if a foreign visitor. They spoke with the Earl of gunsmithing and walls, of the mystery of the Principles and majesty of Pandemonium. By the time the Earlessa waxed drunkenly of her distaste for Gremlins, the corpsewalking Gremlin had forgotten who they were. They agreed wholeheartedly. Within the body, the swarm had fused together like a grotesque armature, and the leader’s eyes grew to fit the sockets in the skull, and no longer were there Gremlins in that estate.

Name: Gremlin
Circle: Sixth Circle, The Infernal Machine
Family:
Imp
Class: Rabble
Preferred Habitat: Urban
Reproduction: Spontaneous Sympathetic Emergence
Typical Appearance; No taller than two feet, with large eyes and ears. Typically take on the colouration of the dominant Estate material (e.g. reddish in settlements on the edge of the Rust Desert), mixed with their iron-gray natural skin and coarse black hair.

Theological Significance: “Many may be one but one cannot be many”
 

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Each Bladesworn of the Hellsun is of two parts – the obvious Demon of (usually) human shape, and the edged weapon with which they are bound. Most commonly a sword, any number of glaives, axes, knives, or bladed whips can also be found among their kind. A few notably idiosyncratic Bladesworn even employ flanged maces with sharp, exaggerated fins. These are often more expressive of the Demon than the anthropoid body, which is typically tall, beautiful, and hued most predominantly in shades of gold, bronze, ivory. One infamous Bladesworn appears to be a muscular, brooding man of black glass in whom a tiny star burns like a visible heart. Each of their weapons is unique, whether over-wrought and extravagant, or elegant and simple, frequently engraved with minute script or art detailing their history.

There are two competing tales of the first Bladesworn. One which is rejected by almost all Bladesworn and most other Lightbringers, but still enjoys some popularity, begins with a human warlord named Chaon. A rough and barbarous warrior of antiquity, it is held in legend that he was taught the arts of war by one of the Princes of the Hellsun, and gifted a sword forged from trapped, tainted sunlight. By the power of the blade and the wisdom of the lessons, his rose to rule his tribe and conquered his neighbours – but he was not satisfied and sought greater enemies, more conquests, more power. They say he was the first mortal to name himself king. The nature of his death is uncertain, but many say he fell in a duel against a powerful Vampire, perhaps even Vasnok herself, and was rewarded by awakening in Hell as the first Bladesworn.

The more popular story is that when Gogan, Illuminor-Prince of Duelists was struck down in a battle at the beginning of time, their sword leapt from their hand and manifested a wielder that it might defend its maker. This allowed Gogan to recover their strength and triumph, but the question remained of what to do with the sword. They named it Akon, the Wilful Blade, and made it captain of their honour guard. Inspired by this gracious reward, the abandoned weapons of other Princes followed suit out of devotion to their makers and masters. Akon long ago transcended his station and now rules a ring of the Hellsun as a mighty Duke, and while he doesn’t confirm the tale, neither will he deny it.

Accordingly, many Bladesworn strive for perfection in the use of their chosen weapon. They serve as champions, bodyguards and sellswords to various Nobles, or become wandering warriors across the face of Hell in search of ever greater opponents. Some Nobles make a point of never allowing indentured Bladesworn to meet – they invariably insist on a ritual duel to determine hierarchy, a ranking of which each Bladesworn seems keenly and supernaturally aware.

Echoing the tale of Akon, it is not unusual for a storied but abandoned weapon to spawn a new Bladesworn. In recollection of Chaon, sometimes a blade falls into the hands of a mortal, and leads them on a path to Hell. Whatever the truth of the matter, there are believed to be no more than 777 Bladesworn active at any time.

  • Dashen, The Third Sword, appears as a beautiful, broad-shouldered man with bronze skin and black hair. He wields a gently curved blade almost as long as he is tall. As punishment for trying to usurp the Nuclear Throne he now travels Hell as bodyguard to an obscure monk.
  • Ji Mo has declared that she will kill God. A powerfully muscular Demon who favours an elegant, serpentine glaive. She accosts priests, sages, monks, and Nobles in her quest to locate and battle the creator. An infamous drunkard.
  • Atterac the Broken guards the first Sun Gate beyond the outskirts of Pandemonium. Those seeking to reach the Hellsun without invitation must first defeat this thin, masked Demon. Their blade is an executioner’s sword, long since broken in half, the whereabouts of the upper section unknown. The remainder of the blade, fully four feet long, sits driven into the earth before the gate with prayer strips hanging from the handle. Atterac has not drawn it in centuries, but is perfectly capable of repelling trespassers barehanded.
Name: Bladesworn
Circle: First Circle, The Hellsun
Family:
Fiend
Class: Rabble
Preferred Habitat: Wherever worthy foes may be found
Reproduction: Spontaneous Emergence/Corrupted Mortals

Typical Appearance: Around six feet in height, well-muscled, with pleasing features and forms. Always bearing an edged weapon unique to the owner.

Theological Significance: “Divinity Through Violence”
 

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Despite the implication of their name, half of all Manics at least lack the frantic energy of their peers. All, however, are driven by a singular obsession that they find any excuse to avoid directly pursuing.

The average Manic is taller than an Imp and frequently around four feet tall, discounting ears or hair; both of which tend to be long and worn high. Like most Unseen, their flesh tends to be shades of purple, blue, and black with hints of silver or green. Typically humanoid in shape, but it’s not uncommon for them to have patches of chitin, extra eyes, or up to six limbs. Oddly, many of them resent comparisons to spiders.

Predictably, they rarely rise above their station – perhaps even less so than Imps – serving as minions to higher-ranking Demons as an excuse to focus on their goal from afar. Those without immediate responsibilities foisted on them, or a little more ambition, tend to assemble ludicrously convoluted schemes to achieve their goals. In general, knowing your minion is plotting against you in comically self-defeating fashion is preferable to one whose intentions remain hidden, and if you can keep them busy doing other things you hardly ever need worry. The danger lies in the rare Manic of such skill that it rapidly succeeds at other tasks, leaving itself lacking in excuses, or the even rarer example whose obsessive machinations are worryingly competent – something rivals, targets, and enemies may not realize until the noose tightens around them.

Like Imps, Manics usually spin out of the dreams of the most vast and terrible Unseen.

They usually find themselves employed as bureaucrats, spies, assassins, concubines, and weaponized diplomats (good luck getting all the paperwork done with one of these on staff. Some Demons take their filing extremely seriously).

Titled Manics skew to extremes; berserker-commanders of mercenary companies or aloof masterminds manipulating everyone around them.

  • Mora Mori serves as chamberlain to Kulshedra, the Great Serpent of the Lake of Inks. He also manages a vast spy network among lower-ranking Demons with intent to find and destroy his rival, Yakub the Bound, by luring him into a fatal confrontation.
  • Lewish All-Teeth is a roaming killer, hired not for discretion but to make a point. Her name comes from her favoured weapons – the jawbones of other Demons artfully broken and reassembled into crude hatchets and tonfa. It is only when you see her in action you realize she must, at one time, have been a dancer or hoped to become one. A Lightbringer once applauded as Lewish cut her into seven pieces.
  • The Bladesong is the master of an obscure monastery where acolytes train in an esoteric martial art tied to the intersection of music and violence. No one has actually seen the Bladesong himself practice in many cycles – he spends much of his time writing elegantly crafted poetry based on puns. Famously caused an Incubus to cringe himself into a unique new form with a particularly devastating play on the word vulva.
Name: Manic
Circle: Second Circle: Hell’s Night
Family:
Fiend
Class: Rabble
Preferred Habitat: Comfortable, dim-lit urban locations.
Reproduction: Demonic Emanation

Typical Appearance: Rarely taller than five feet, never shorter than three. Fond of comfortable but stylish attire which is nonetheless rather unkempt. Has between four and six limbs, up to three eyes.

Theological Significance: “Behold, the careless sword that sunders nations!”
 

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