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Obscure demon lords


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John Low

First Post
In addition, you might want to check out "Book of the Damned II: Lords of Chaos." It's not D&D, of course (it's Pathfinder), but it's compatible with 3rd edition and I tried to write it so that it works well with Green Ronin's "Book of Fiends" AND with WotC's "Fiendish Codex I." Meaning, there's not a lot of overlap, but there is some details on demon lords from that old MM2 table whose names come from real-world mythology... particularly Abraxas, Nocticula, and Socothbenoth, but also a few other mythological demons that never appeared on the MM2 list like Lamashtu and Haagenti.
Abraxas and Socoth fit just fine with the two other books, but each of the three has a different and conflicting take on Nocticula.
The book of fiends describe her as a tutelary patron of women and of earthly communion through sex and hallucinogens, served by half-plant half-succubi half-giant-leech demons called alrunes (it also points that she envies the title of "witch queen" claimed by an archdevil, but the rest of the article don't associate her directly with witches); the fiendish codex gives this role to a unique shapechanging tree (not sure where this comes from) called Alrunes and concerns her with night; and the pathfinder book stapples her name (along with the dominion over assassins and whores) on Malcanthet's throne.
There's also the problem of pathfinder's Nocticula having dominion on darkness and shadow demons, when these are the domain of Rhyxali, Grazz't sister in previous D&D products, which is supposed to have no enemy among the other lords. I guess she could have been killed still, but I rather like her...

I would solve the confusion by following the FC1 on Alrunes' concerns about sisterhood the protection of women and add the Book of fiends's characterization of Nocticula (concerns for women, fey, nature and drugs, initiatic practices centered on the association of all of those, plus the service of avenging and castrating demons), keeping Malcanthet as the queen of succubi whose main concern is :):):):)ing (with) the other lords and princes, and making Nocticula a queen of night and of witches, whores, assassins and whoever else relies on night's cover to pursue their clandestine activities, as a mix of what's left of the three versions.

But adapting potential future pathfinder products where the queen of succubi is also queen of darkness and assassins into this would be difficult if these titles matter in the story. And I do hope for a high-level adventure path in the Abyss.
 
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Dark Mistress

First Post
Abraxas and Socoth fit just fine with the two other books, but each of the three has a different and conflicting take on Nocticula.
The book of fiends describe her as a tutelary patron of women and of earthly communion through sex and hallucinogens, served by half-plant half-succubi half-giant-leech demons called alrunes (it also points that she envies the title of "witch queen" claimed by an archdevil, but the rest of the article don't associate her directly with witches); the fiendish codex gives this role to a unique shapechanging tree (not sure where this comes from) called Alrunes and concerns her with night; and the pathfinder book stapples her name (along with the dominion over assassins and whores) on Malcanthet's throne.
There's also the problem of pathfinder's Nocticula having dominion on darkness and shadow demons, when these are the domain of Rhyxali, Grazz't sister in previous D&D products, which is supposed to have no enemy among the other lords. I guess she could have been killed still, but I rather like her...

I would solve the confusion by following the FC1 on Alrunes' concerns about sisterhood the protection of women and add the Book of fiends's characterization of Nocticula (concerns for women, fey, nature and drugs, initiatic practices centered on the association of all of those, plus the service of avenging and castrating demons), keeping Malcanthet as the queen of succubi whose main concern is :):):):)ing (with) the other lords and princes, and making Nocticula a queen of night and of witches, whores, assassins and whoever else relies on night's cover to pursue their clandestine activities, as a mix of what's left of the three versions.

But adapting potential future pathfinder products where the queen of succubi is also queen of darkness and assassins into this would be difficult if these titles matter in the story. And I do hope for a high-level adventure path in the Abyss.

A big reason why Pathfinder has some differences is because demons like Malcanthet are not open content. So Pathfinder had to make someone to fill her place, so we got the new Nocticula. Same with some of the others. Of course James should have used me in place of Malcanthet but that's besides the point. :)
 

John Low

First Post
Heh.
Well, I understand, but I would have prefered if they used a new name and a more similar role, like they did for Sifkesh/Lynkhab.


Hm, after reading her entry again, Sifkesh is not so similar to Lynkhab, with a different origin and no concern for Desire. But they're still similar enough to fit in the same stories: adding the characteristics of the D&D one to the pathfinder one is easy. Nocticula pose more problems, but to james jacob's credit she's the only one (I found) in this case.
 
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James Jacobs

Adventurer
Nocticula's really the only one that does pose a few difficulties between various editions of the game, but that IS because there are certain "gaps" that we had to fill in Pathfinder that we couldn't use from traditional D&D due to the fact that a few key demon lord niches (particularly those filled by Graz'zt and Malcanthet... despite the fact Malcanthet was pretty much completely developed in the pages of Dungeon Magazine and the Fiendish Codex by me, based on some original ideas from Rob Kuntz).

I went with Nocticula as being Paizo's succubus queen because I wanted to use a name from mythology, first and foremost. She has no real ties to canon D&D, so it's only Erik's work from the Green Ronin book that gets into conflict there. Frankly, I kinda think that Erik's version of Nocticula from Armies of the Abyss is kinda too friendly and nice to be a demon lord, so for Nocticula's incarnation into Golarion, I made her a lot meaner.

There's a LITTLE bit of conflict between that book's Flauros and Pathifnders Flauros as well, but mostly only in physical appearance.

We also couldn't use Rhyxali at all either, so when it came to figuring out who ruled the shadow demons in Pathfinder's setting, I gave that to Nocticula as well (she stole that from a previous demon lord, though).

Personally, I think that Nocticula and Malcanthet are different enough that they COULD exist side-by-side in the same setting. Heck, in canon D&D, we've already got Lynkhab, Malcanthet, Shami-Aumorae, and a couple other powerful succubus types vying for total control, so what's one more to the mix?

In any case, while Nocticula is very much our "replacement Malcanthet," I did try to give her a different spin. Whereas Malcanthet's more about political manipulations and the like, Nocticula's more about solving those types of problems with assassinations. Nocticula's more of a combat focused succubus than Malcanthet, in other words. If the two of them teamed up to go adventuring, they'd probably compliment each other's strengths and weaknesses quite well.

The Sifkesh/Lynkhab link, on the other hand, is not a link at all. Despite the fact that those two have a little bit of crossover, they really are different demon lords. There's no more conflict there, I think, than you have between our spider demon lord Mazmezz and Lolth.

The Abyss is a big place. There's plenty of room for all sorts of demon lords in there.
 

John Low

First Post
A suicidal female demon queen of depression and desire ruling a layer called the sighing cliffs, and a female demon queen of depression and of the suicidal ruling a city that regularily falls down a cliff ?
I thought that was more than a coincidence.

That's true that one can easily have two minor demons lords concerned with the self-destructive. But I disagree that major demons and deities could accept easily the competition of others. In FR, Lolth sent Selvetarm against the demon lord of spiders (and I vaguely remember having read that she's done the job herself, presumably in another setting).
Same for the Queen of succubi, whatever her name it's difficult to have two of them. Shami-amourae and the others would like the title but the main point of their story is that they can't claim it (yet), like grazz't can't claim to be the prince of demons.
The simple solution is to change it in one's campaign, demoting one or the other, but the choice is difficult when their character is different.

I wouldn't argue that your new nocticula is a copy of your old malcanthet, by the way, though she does sit in her throne. I actually quite like to have a major demon lord of assassins, that was lacking in the previous lists (actually no, just checked and there was one alluded to in two of your dragon articles) and that fits a succubus. That's precisely that difference that complicates the matter.

Did you choose to avoid making use of a similar name on a similar character, like what was done with Vaz'zht and Zahr'Ub-Luur, or were you forced to go further than that by a more aggressive stance from WOTC ?
 

TarionzCousin

Second Most Angelic Devil Ever
I really need to get around to reading those Gord novels one of these days. :)

Powells Books currently has three Gord novels, not too expensive.

At Amazon they can be very expensive new but usually cheap used.

Ebay currently has some as well.

Of all the Gord books, it looks like [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Dance-Demons-Gord-Rogue-Gygax/dp/0425113426/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1308156038&sr=8-3"]Dance of Demons[/ame] would be most helpful.

One review at Amazon lists these Otherworldly Beings as included in Dance of Demons: Graz'zt, Demogorgon, Mandrillagon, Orcus, as well as daemonkings like Anthraxus and Infestix.
 
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James Jacobs

Adventurer
A suicidal female demon queen of depression and desire ruling a layer called the sighing cliffs, and a female demon queen of depression and of the suicidal ruling a city that regularily falls down a cliff ?
I thought that was more than a coincidence.

It probably is more than a coincidence, but I certainly didn't design Sifkesh to be a replacement for what's-her-name. The fact that they're both demon lords of suicide, though, means that they're going to be similar. The fact that I wrote a lot of the 3rd edition demon content AND that I wrote all of the Pathfinder demon content also means there's similarities. You can see similar similarities in Dagon, Lamashtu, Mazmezz/Lolth, Kabriri/Yeenoghu, Socothbenoth/Graz'zt, and a few others.

Had Wizards of the Coast made all of the demons in the Abyss open content, I would have been more than happy for those demons to be the same ones in Golarion/Pathfinder. That's not the case, so I do the next best thing—I expand and develop along similar, parallel routes so that even though I can't talk about Malcanthet and Graz'zt and Lynkhab and all the rest in print, in anyone's home Pathfinder game (including mine, if I so choose), including closed-content material from D&D is a relatively simple task.

Did you choose to avoid making use of a similar name on a similar character, like what was done with Vaz'zht and Zahr'Ub-Luur, or were you forced to go further than that by a more aggressive stance from WOTC ?

I chose to avoid using those almost-but-not-quite names because I kind of think it's a little silly and a little petulant. I'd rather come up with something brand new or something from mythology and run with it there. In the case of the Sifkesh/Lynkhab similarities, those are indeed mostly coincidental, since of all my demon lore, very little, relatively, comes from Planescape (I wasn't allowed to read/buy a lot of Planescape stuff back in the day since I had one of THOSE GMs who controls a lot of the world content, and he wanted very much to run a Planescape game, so Lynkhab never really settled into my mind as a significant character in the same way the 1st edition Gygaxian demon lords did).

In the case of Fraz Urb'luu, who IS open content thanks to the Tome of Horrors, we chose not to do anything with him in Pathfinder and Golarion for other reasons. He's not from mythology, after all—he's like Graz'zt in that he was more or less created whole-cloth out of nothing, and is very integrated into Greyhawk and that world's history. I'd rather leave Fraz in Greyhawk and not try to transpose him elsewhere. Moving him (or Graz'zt, or Iuz) out of Greyhawk devalues and weakens those characters in my opinion.
 

James Jacobs

Adventurer
I'd also like to chime in on Gygax's Gord novels. They're GREAT fun to read, and they have a lot of cool (mostly non-canon, but still cool) demon stuff in there. Good times.
 

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