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7 Hex Dragon Demons

See the Necromancer in 7HD House Rules for a discussion of the difference between Spirit Energy and Souls. Briefly, Spirit energy is soul residues of intense emotions. Some is benevolent, some is malevolent depending on the area and its history. Spirit energy forms much of the Spirit Field. Demons seem to work through Spirit Energy in some ways and the ruptures that allow them into Cidri create waves in the Spirit World. This phenomena is believed to be related to the increase in undead activity (especially Impressioned Remains, Wights and Night-Gaunts).

Culture

Demons are extra-planar beings of varying power who feed especially on the malevolent side of Spirit energy and attempt to capture confused or evil souls who wander too far after death. They are imperialistic and several factions are attempting to break into Cidri even when not being called by impudent Wizards/Necromancers. With the richness of magic on Cidri, there have been a handful of ruptures that allowed demons to take physical form and pour through. Each time they have been beaten back by small armies and bands of powerful heros, necromancers and wizards. However many escaped and moved in full time, working from the other side to weaken resistance, spy and help find new ruptures. They are not numerous, but there is likely to be an Incubus/Succubus or two with attendant Imps in any large city working in the background to create strife with the idea of weakening resistance should the day come when the barriers can be ruptured. Drivers and Drones have been found hiding in deep caverns by delving Dwarves. Reptile Men are rumored to be on not entirely unfriendly terms with Demons as it suits their purposes, believing they can survive a demon invasion. Orcs can often be found worshiping a Demon of some kind as a local cult. Reapers are prevelant enough to find their way into popular mythologies as symbols of death itself, etc.

Demons are strictly hierarchical within their clan and much of demon culture revolves around the duels, rituals and combats that exactly place individuals in the pecking order. There are ritual scars and wounds that form the basis of social standing and status (scars from your Driver or Lesser Demon abusing you or scars from duels). Higher demons (Drivers on up) will often involve their underlings when trying to settle standing order with other of like status. Social standing comes with near absolute authority of those under you. The only outlet to blantent incompetence is to incite rebellion with the help of a rival dominant demon with the idea that the rival will be a better master than the current one.

Outside the clan the culture is highly disorganized with fragile coalitions and intercene warfare the rule of the day. They can unite to defend themselves, but will still plot to over throw their allies when the conflict is done.

It is believed that in their own Plane that they do not look like what they do on Cidri, but that they take physical form by crossing into our plane and that reflects their nature in some unknown way.

Types

Demon Drivers are tall muscular mostly bipedal creatures (some in more exotic forms have been found: some with four arms, some spider-like, or Minotaur-like, etc). They have thick horney hides, domineering temperments and a sociopathic drive for control. In organized combat they will have 10-100 Demon Drones, 2-10 Imps for spell support and platoon leaders, and sometimes a succubus/incubus as spy. They are very intelligent and will use every strategem in the book (traps, feints, ambushes, attacks on supply lines, invisibility and teleportation to assasinate key opposing strategists, delay an attack for a month while a succubus seduces a key General, etc). They also realize that Drones will fight to the death without fear and will use them as bait (often disguised with Glamour or Illusions) or gambits. They almost never travel alone and will have at least one pet imp and three to five strong Drones as body guards. They represent the lowest level of the dominant class of the known demon culture.

Demon Imps - smallish, 4-5' tall gangly mostly hairless demons with rubbery skin and a cruel sense of humour. They are subservient to stronger demons and domineering and petulant to lesser being. They are used as spell support for larger formations of demons or for personal servents/mages to Driver and higher demons. They can have most spells avaliable to wizards (except summon elemental) and necromancers.

Demon Reaper - Tall (7' or so), gaunt; rather dark skin stretched over bones, mostly bipedal with large boney bat like wings. These demons are the most in touch with the Spirit Field and the hunters of new souls. They are often associated with images of death as they do try to collect souls that are lost or malcious. They are fearsome and horrific, like Liches (whom they hate), and carry a MH Induce Fear around with them at the center at no ST cost. They are solitary, but have been seen in small groups of 2-5 waiting for battles to start and have been seen with the occasional imp, night gaunt, spectre, etc. They usually use one large weapon (poleaxe, sickle, battleaxe, great sword) that will certainly have insidious properties (drain life like the Dead Hammers, freeze, control person/animal, etc) and Reapers will be talented with them if not Masters. Beware the fast flying Reaper with a PoleAx! They are, not unjustly, associated with Death itself in many Cidrian mythologies. They mostly use Necromantic, mind control and darkness spells, though others are available to them: detect life, fire, teleport, geas, invisibility, remove thrown spell, etc. They can summon spectres but do not summon True Skeletons and dislike them, nor do they summon other animals, myrmidons, giants, gargoyls, elementals or dragons. They do not like Necromancers for a variety of reasons (jealous of their ability with the Spirit Field which they hold to be their domain alone, indignant at their balancing/Natural Order approach to the Spirit Field as opposed to their demonic haul-and-plunder outlook), and will go after them. They tend to serve directly under a Greater Demon to collect souls, kill or to weaken morale amongst the enemy in an organized battle. More powerful ones can be enforcers/assassins/executioners for a clan, punishing/excuting Drones, Drivers, Succubi, Imps, etc. They are merciless and view most life in Cidri as so much cattle to be used for immediate profit. In adventures it is useful to pit one against a party of fairly advanced characters (40+ point characters with good magic items) to harry and pick off straglers. They can invisibly fly in and charge attack with PoleAx or sit back and cast spells. Very formidable if played well. So much so I usually have them under orders not to kill the adventurers, but only harry and observe them, or maybe rescue other minions of the same ilk from the Player Characters.

Succubus/Incubus - Can take any vaguely humanoid form between Dwarf and Minotaur (giants are too big and hobbits too small). Generally they choose to be very attractive to help get their way and gain adoring servants, but can appear ferocious or terrifying. They generally prefer cerebral machinations and long term domineering plans to frontal assault. They will plot, scheme, blackmail, seduce, tempt, drug, addict and slander to get their ways. They are cruel in a tempered way (too much cruelty reveals them and makes their day to day life more difficult). They tend towards the indolent and prefer the good life and will often have mansions and servants. Alternately, they can be attendant on a vain or addicted leader whom they can manipulate yet still blame for any major mistakes or misfortunes. They can recognize imps and will keep them as pets, ST batteries and message runners. Occassionally a less indolent Succubus/Incubus will command some demon drones or have a small orc or reptile man militia at hand. They are more likely to be away from other demons on Cidri. Where they come from they are in the dominated class (the highest rank there, but still dominated), so on Cidri they like to break free of their demon overlords and set up shop in some out of the way mid-sized city, big enough to indulge their proclivities, but small enough to avoid a Greater Demon summoning or passing Reaper or Driver).

Winged Shadow Demons represent a oddity of the demon culture and little is known about them. They do not seem to be under the direct control of even greater demons, yet they seem to occassionally (unwittingly?) coordinate attacks from time to time with other demons. They tend to explode unexpectedly out of the ground in large numbers (2000 - 20,000) near particularly notable sites (Temples, Powerful Wizard's Guilds, large graveyards, etc), they then feed on all humans and animals in the immediate area. With their collective intelligence and ability to fly fast, they are able to immediately shift resources to any places of resistance and coordinate attacks well. They have been brutally effective in wiping out largish cities in a matter of days. Their shadow, while not strong on an individual basis, can blank out the sun locally if several thousand take flight together. After a few weeks (when all the food is gone in the locale) they then scatter into smaller groups (40-500) and settle in dark woods, in caves and other areas out of direct sunlight and strong winds in a large radius around the original explosion. These areas tend to become blighted with disease and undead creatures orginating from these cursed woods, caves, bogs, etc. If nothing else, an explosion of Winged Shadow Demons usually precedes a horrible outbreak of demons, undead and disease in an area. Individually the Winged Shadow Demons are not particularly strong, but being collective in nature, they gain new attributes when in large group (in large numbers they can knock over building and castle towers, though indidually they are fairly soft bodied creatures). Also, they carry individual shadows that are faint, in groups of thousands they can black out the sun over a portion of a city. The relationship is unclear between the explosions and other demon/undead activity as most of the time the initial outbreak of Winged Shadows devastates the population in the immediate area and rescue attempts take weeks to mount and succesfully penetrate to the core area of the explosion. It is speculated that other demons follow the Winged Shadow explosions through whatever fissure they come through and find it easier to escape into Cidri in the confusion following the explosion. It is also unclear what role the Winged Shadows play in the broader demon culture (could be they are the hymenopteron of the demon world, a separate species that is mostly neutral, but sometimes hostile, to the dominant demon culture, could be there are even more powerful demons than Greater Demons who control them?).

They have dark grey gellatinous bodies with some kind of spine-like structure running along the back. Their bodies rapidly decay after death (the insides lasting only a few days, their hides a few weeks). They fly very fast as they are light, though the larger ones can grow to be quite large (11' wing span). They seem to have quiecent times where they will cluster on a tree, stalagtite/mite like Monarch butterflys. They are hard to hit due to the shadow (-1DX/-2DX at night or in dim lighting like torches underground) and if they are flying there is an additional -2DX to hit a flyer. If they outnumber their prey, they have two attack modes. The first, if they outnumber their opponents by more than two to one, is to dive bomb targets for a quick hit with their short stinging tails. Since they have a somewhat collective consciousness, they can have multiple precision attacks (up to 3 per turn on a one or two hex creature, with 3 more per 2 hexes of target, so 6 attacks on a giant, 3 on a centaur, 6 on a four hex dragon, 12 attacks on a 7hex dragon). The second strategy if they do not greatly outnumber their prey is simply to drop straight into HTH combat and bite. Their tails do 1+1, plus they secrete a substance that makes muscles stiff. Each attack requires a 3d save vs current ST (including injuries and fatigue) or lose -2DX due to muscle stiffness that lasts 8 turns. The secretion is not cumulative in terms of DX penalty, but it is in terms of length (i.e. if you are hit twice and fail your save twice you will be a -2DX for 16 turns). In HTH they do 1+2 with their octopus like mouths and wrap the victim in their wings, making any attempt to leave HTH a 4d vs DX endeavor, and attacks are at -1DX due to being wrapped up (though note the -1DX for the shadow does not apply in HTH). The GM should treat these creatures as having collective consciousness and making very informed descisions about attack plans and when to retreat since they will all know what everyone else is doing and who is injured and killed. Advanced ones with 8 IQs can have some basic IQ 8 spells (no more than 3). They are very predatory, including laying traps and ambushing, even given their general limted IQ (i.e. they will not have advanced strategies, but can exhibit some erie cunning and purposefulness). They rarely attack if outnumbered and will flee to ambush. They are not ferociously territorial and if a large army moves in, they will relocate. If a hive has a high IQ member, they will exhibit much higher organization, goal-directed behaviour and likely to be a large hive (200+). They are carnivours who will eat any meat with larger hives capable of herding animals or people.




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