Some old-school demons that I dug up...

8 posts / 0 new
Last post
elderbrain
Offline
Last seen: 3 weeks 11 hours ago
Joined: 2011-09-07 20:09
Some old-school demons that I dug up...

Yesterday, while perusing my old AD&D Monster Manual II, I was looking at the index and found some intriguing demon names that, as far as I know, never actually got used or statted up. If you look at your old AD&D Monster Manual one, under "Demon", note what it says for Type IV, V, and VI demons: "Nalfeshnee, etc." "Marilith, etc. "Balor, etc." Well, in the index to Monster Manual II, they give names for additional demons of those types: Type IV includes Nalfeshnee AND Bilwhr and Johud. Type V includes Marilith AND Aishapra and Kevokulli and Rehnaremme. Type VI includes Balor AND Alzoll, Errtu, Ndulu, Ter-Soth, and Wendonai.

This raises a question. Are each of these names those of an entire type of demon (my guess), or were they supposed to be the names of individuals? If the latter, it would imply that the authors meant there were only six type VI demons in existence, which is barmy. (On the other hand, it was once suggested that there were only twenty-four balors in the Abyss, lol!) On this theory, there was once a demon with the personal name "Balor", another named "Alzoll", and so forth, and the entire breed of balors are named after the original. Which makes one wonder what happened to his five brethren?

Wicke
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 21 hours ago
Joined: 2009-04-24 21:17
That's fascinating...

That's fascinating...

I'm going to go with simply undeveloped types of demons. It could be an interesting exercise to develop a story wherein each of those names was some sort of primordial demon archetype, and only the ones still around today were successful.

Quickleaf
Quickleaf's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2012-02-03 14:47
True Names

IIRC the demon names were originally supposed to be individual True Names, so there wasn't a sub-species of marilith, rather the True Name of a particular Type V demon was "Marilith." At least that's what I recall talking to players older than me (I'm 33) and from the Dragonsfoot forums.

Karsus
Karsus's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 4 hours ago
Joined: 2011-07-05 03:48
I can't speak for all of them

I can't speak for all of them, but Errtu and Wendonai are individual balors in the Forgotten Realms setting. Each of them make appearances in novels; Errtu in R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt Do'urden series, and Wendonai in Lisa Smedman's Lady Penitent trilogy.

KnightOfDecay
KnightOfDecay's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 11 hours ago
Joined: 2013-02-14 15:23
The Balor entry on wikipedia

The Balor entry on wikipedia says that according to the 1st Edition Dungeon Masters Guide there were only six Type VI Demons in the multiverse, who were each unique in both name and form. Each Type VI Demon had its own individual name as an indication of their importance and power (Errtu, Ndulu, Ter-Soth, Alzoll, and Wendonai, with Balor itself being the greatest and most powerful of them all).
Lesser demons (Types I - III and lower) had only a species name, and not individual appellations.

Glim
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: 2012-05-25 20:12
I did some digging, and I

I did some digging, and I really should point you guys to this list, because it is proving to be an awesome starting point when looking into demons.

I don't know too much about the deep distant past, but in the early OD&D books what we now call balors were called balrogs. That caused a kerfuffle with the Tolkien estate, and they changed it to Type VI. I don't know if the typing system was in place before the change, and I don't know whether Balor showed up this early.

Then Basic D&D comes along, but during its run is never very concerned with demons as a whole. I think they get introduced as late at the Immortals set, and they have very different names and no numbered types. Balors are referred to as Roaring Demons.

In AD&D1e we see the Types return, and also the names for Type IV (although the book says that not all of these are worthy enough to have a true name), Type V and VI. "Each type VI demon has its own name (Balor is a type VI demon of the largest size). Six are known to exist." it says. Not necessarily untrue, because it leaves some room for unknown ones to exist*, and later on the DMG provides us with the six known names (Alzoll, Balor, Errtu, Ndulu, Ter-soth, Wendonai).

* Dragon #13, (incidentally still referring to Eldritch Wizardry instead of the Monster Manual) has a system to create other demons not limited to the listed types. In it the author, Jon Pickens, creates Nasthrapur using these rules, who is a Type VI demon, but quite different from what we now know as Balors. Further corroborating the other types is a(n offhand) line in the AD&D's Deities & Demigods/Legends & Lore books, in the write-up for Kuan Yin, which mentions the possibility of 500 types of demons.

Over the course of the AD&D1e run some other type VIs crop up:

  • Dakunth (Dragon #24),the son of Thakta Tylden, god of war;
  • Monster Manual II mentions 6 other (unnamed) type VI demons (going as far as to specify that these aren't the six mentioned in MM1), as bodyguards for Pazuzu (later known as The Six Wings of Pazuzu);
  • Grintharke, ruler of Hellgate Keep (in Egg of the Phoenix and The Savage Frontier);

For those counting at home, that's 14 type VIs. Because then H4 - The Throne of Bloodstone in all its silliness opens the gates to the Abyss and introduces us to heaps of other type VIs.

  • It mentions the individual known as Balor by name, and puts him in the employ of Demogorgon.
  • It also names Ter-Soth, who's a commander in Orcus' employ.
  • It introduces a new type VI, Glyphimhor - Demon Lord of Orcusgate (later known as Lachrymosa), who will go on to play a part in Dead Gods.
  • Then there's two unnamed type VIs as rulers of the City of Fire and the City of Ice, also on Orcus' layer.
  • Graz'zt has three unnamed type VIs in his court.
  • And there's a group of ten anonymous type VIs in there, torturing a solar.
That's 30 type VIs accounted for.

After that AD&D2e comes out and replaces demons with tanar'ri and also does away with the typing. All type VIs are now called balors. Monstrous Compendium 8 then brings us the infamous line about the 24 balors (which is already untrue at that point because of H4). The line is also nuanced somewhat by stating there's at least 24 balors known to exist.
(then again, maybe not all Type VIs we've met so far have become balors, and some went on to become... something else).

Thereafter Wendonai and Errtu are definitely referred to as balors and so is Glyphimhor.

There's also the point that there's definitely some bandwidth between the lowly balors, demon lords and demon princes, but with The Abyss as chaotic as it is there's no clear power hierarchy and many titles are simply donned instead of granted. For instance, pretty early on Ndulu is called a demon lord, while Ter-soth seems to be a bit of an idiot (immediately after his tiny, tiny stat-block is mentioned, there's a huge half-page write-up about a fire mephit who is apparently his ultimate nemesis).

And again, not everything that once was a type VI has to have become a balor. You never know in The Abyss.

KnightOfDecay
KnightOfDecay's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 11 hours ago
Joined: 2013-02-14 15:23
Wow, great synopsis. Thanks

Wow, great synopsis. Thanks Glim!

Glim
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: 2012-05-25 20:12
Something that just occurred

Something that just occurred to me, considering we can easily have both the balor 'type' and the Balor individual at the same time:

Maybe Balor went on to become the Lord of all Balors? Kind of like how the demon lord Shaktari the Queen of Poison (531) claims rulership over all Marilithis?

That makes for interesting options, because there's already someone, Kardum - King of Fire Demons (21), that claims that title. Maybe Balor disappeared? Maybe he rules from the shadows through his puppet Kardum? Maybe they're engaged in an all out open war? Maybe Kardum has something on Balor? Also, being the first, or first discovered, or physically the most imposing doesn't have to mean anything with regards to 'powerlevel'.

Also, if you're looking for non-balor Type VIs, Alzoll is probably the most obvious choice, because he's never referenced again after the DMG/MM (except for the pronunciation guide in Dragon 93).