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The Demons of Elhal

Tyriv Post smallSince their creation by Ebnus, the Demons have been a blight upon Elhal. While some with more narrow minds might say the same thing about the Orcs or Giants, the truth is that those races have their own positive effects on the world, even if we do not fully agree with the norms of their societies. The Orcs have made tremendous discoveries in the areas of natural science and agriculture, and the Giants create some of the most amazing art.

The Demons, on the other hand, have not contributed anything positive to Elhal. They consume everything around them, and in their wake leave nothing but corruption. The society of the Demons is one of total control, and what they cannot control, they corrupt. What cannot be corrupted, they destroy.

In the next few lectures, we are going to focus on the Demons. Today’s lecture will be an overview, and then in the subsequent lectures we will focus on each of the different types of Demons.

The Demons of Elhal

From a scientific level it’s hard to say if the Demons are alive, or if they are some kind of magical construct. In support of them being alive, the higher castes of demons do exhibit human-like emotions and have interests in things such as art and literature. Yet they cannot reproduce, they do not breathe, nor eat, nor sleep, lending support to them being a construct.

The truth is they are a bit of both, once living humans, they are transformed by a Demon Forge into a Demon. That process rips away their human soul, infuses their body with Ebon metal, and imparts upon them a false soul which gives them some amount of autonomy.

In our lectures about each of the castes of the Demons we will learn more about the Demon Forge and the process by which each caste is created.

Demonic Castes

Demon Castes

Ebnus created different Demons for different purposes. The different types of Demons are arranged in the following caste structure (top to bottom):

  • Demon King (Ebnus)
  • Demon Princes
  • Demon Lords
  • Demon Knights
  • Demon Soldiers

The caste structure represents several things about the Demons:

  • Numbers – The lower the caste, the larger the population.
  • Intelligence – The lower castes are not as intelligent as the higher castes.
  • Autonomy – The lower castes have less autonomy and rely on the orders of the upper castes.
  • Personality – The lower castes are more homogeneous in personality, where the upper castes have increasing individuality.
  • Power – The lower castes are less powerful than the upper castes.
  • Control – The upper castes are able to exert their will upon the lower castes.

Let us now take a high-level look at each caste. I have omitted the Demon King, as we have spent several lectures talking about his origins. We will start with the bottom caste and move upwards.

Demon Soldier

The Demon Soldier is the most human looking of the Demons, being the direct product of the conversion of a human. The Demon Soldier has a basic intelligence and autonomy. It is able to follow simple commands and take some basic initiative. It is prone to violence when confused. Like all Demons it is armored, and has no need for food, water, sleep, etc. This is the working class of Demons. They perform all the physical labor and do the majority of the fighting.

Demon Knight

The Demon Knight is a specialized and more advanced Demon Soldier. They are fierce warriors with tremendous strength and great prowess in battle. The Demon Knight has the intelligence of an average human, but with less autonomy. The Demon Knight is able to carry out broad commands: capture this area, find a specific person, etc. The Demon Knight is able to lead a group of up to ten Demon Soldiers, keeping them focused on a task. Demon Soldiers are always more efficient in the presence of a Demon Knight.

Demon Lord

The Demon Lords are more cerebral constructs. While they are larger than the Demon Knights, they have given up strength for both intelligence and arcane ability. A Demon Lord is as intelligent and as educated as any seasoned scholar. The Demon Lord is in charge of controlling large regions on behalf of their Prince. They command groups of Demon Knights, directing them towards an objective.

They are the lowest caste which can utilize Demon Magic (Which we will talk about below). They are the caste which is in charge of coming up with new arcane technologies, which is nearly always the corruption of some form of technology or arcane practice.

Demon Prince

The Demon Prince is the most powerful of the Demon Castes. There are only nine of them, as we have discussed in the past . These creatures combine the strength and battle prowess of a Demon Knight with the intelligence and arcane abilities of a Demon Lord. Of all the castes, they are the most human-like with regard to personalities and desires.

They command groups of Demon Lords in carrying out the will of the Demon King. Though since the Death of the Demon King, they have proven to be capable of advancing their own goals.

Demon Magic

As mentioned in earlier lectures, Demons possess an arcane discipline. Demon Magic is much like human magic in many ways. It centers around using the strength of the mind, willpower, to shape available arcane energy into desired effects. The main difference between Human Magic and Demon Magic is the source of the energy.

Traditional Human mages use their own souls as their source of arcane energy. This is why humans injure themselves when they cast magic. (The exception are the Awakened Mages, a tradition that will be discovered by the Archmage Shankar). Demons, as we said before, do not create anything, and thus are unable to draw arcane energy from themselves. Some speculate they lack a soul, the inner arcane energy in a human.

Demons instead get their arcane energy from external sources, mainly humans undergoing Demonic Transformation. During the transformation process, the human souls are ripped from their bodies, harvested and stored into crystals. The size of the crystal determines how many souls it can contain; the larger the crystal, the more souls. These crystals have a green glow, and are able to be used by Demons to cast arcane spells. The casting of the spells consumes the soul energy, depleting the crystal until it is empty, after which it can be filled again.

Thus a green crystal contains the soul of a human which cannot travel to Olamaba, the All-Father’s celestial home. This is why humans will always break any Demon crystals they find, releasing the souls so that they may join the life after. This is very similar to the burning of the prayer scrolls, so that the smoke can carry our prayers up to the All-Father.

Culture

If Demons have a culture, it could best be though of as a culture of control. Every caste controls the ones below it. Demon society is orderly, but devoid of creativity. In the absence of being able to create, the Demons corrupt. All of the Palaces, the Enshos, of the Demon Princes were once great structures in their own right, which the Demons warped to suite their needs and their desires.

The society of the Demons is one of total control, and what they cannot control, they corrupt. What cannot be corrupted, they destroy. 

Demons do not play sports, do not write poetry, paint, sculpt, or ponder the greater meaning of the universe. Rather they rely on humans for those things. It is not that Demons do not appreciate creative works, especially art, but they are incapable of producing it themselves. While the higher castes of Demons are capable of appreciating the aesthetics of art, they express this by possession and control of the piece and sometimes the artist.

Demon society does not follow a clock nor the seasons, as the passage of both has little bearing on their existence. An Ensho is busy at all hours of the day and night, and a Demon army never considers season when thinking of travel or battle.

The Demons have only a devotion to the Demon King. They despise the religion of the All-Father, but are neutral towards the Cults of Humanis.

Final Thoughts

It is nearly impossible to have lived during this time and not be biased against the Demons. I have no stories of anyone befriending a Demon, or any Demons turning to the All-Father. While they come from humans, they are anything but human. In fact, they are nearly our opposites in every way. I can only hope that, before I draw my last breath, the heroes of this world will remove them from our lands forever.

In our next lecture, we will take a closer look at the Demon Soldier.

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Phil Vecchione

Game Designer, Project Manager, Writer, Podcaster, and Blogger — As a man of many hats, Phil has been working in the roleplaying game industry since 2009 working with Engine Publishing, Evil Beagle Games, Third Eye Games, and Pelgrane Games. His work has won or been nominated for a number of awards, including the ENnie, Golden Geek, and Origins Award. Phil is also a trained Project Manager and applies his mad Gantt Charting skills to all of Encoded’s work.

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  • The Demon Soldier | Encoded Designs08 April 2015
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