Thursday, July 25, 2013

Shaggy Demodand

It’s our first demodand!  Are you excited?  I’m excited.

First of all, these are monsters with some history.  They date back to the 1e Monster Manual II—likely owing their name to Jack Vance’s deodands.  In 2e they were relabeled as gehreleths (a fact, by the way, that I did not know until prepping this entry—I’d wondered what happened to those guys!) and (I presume) got much more attention thanks to the Planescape setting.  Demodands/gehreleths were the wardens of the prison plane, the Tarterian Depths of Carceri—resentful guards just as trapped as the prisoners they minded.  In 3.0/3.5, the returned to the name demodands in the Fiend Folio and, best of all, they had (spoilers—katerinasfire: earmuffs) a huge role in the first Dungeon Adventure Path, Shackled City.

In Pathfinder the focus has shifted.  Instead of jailors, now demodands are oozy failed creations courtesy of the thanatotic titans.  They are symbols of an aborted universe that might have been, an alternate belief system undermining the forces of both good and evil.  (Note especially the faith-stealing strike and heretical soul abilities.)  They are also symbols of the tenacity of life, but life gone horribly wrong—of rutting in the dark, of spawning, of young marinating in their parents’ putrefaction.  (Of course, if you still love demodands as wardens, that works, too.)

Shaggy demodands (also known as shator demodands) are the most powerful of the described demodands—nearly as mighty as the titans themselves.  This means they might be their titan masters’ right hands, generals of terrifying Abyssal armies…or eager to foment their own plans throughout the multiverse.  After all, the titans rebelled against the gods.  How long before the demodands get similar ideas…?

After being weakened in a battle with a fiendish umbral dragon, an Elysian titan is captured by a shaggy demodand.  The demodand begins siphoning off portions of the Elysian titan’s power to grant spells to his vile cultists, who revel in their newfound, god-untainted powers causing mayhem throughout the city.

A shaggy demodand known only as the Cestus runs a gladiatorial arena in the seventh layer of Absalom.  He specializes in pitting celestials and other outsiders against exotic mortals armed with weapons that cause their divine opponents the greatest pain.

Dr. Parotoidus is a shaggy demodand who runs the Placitorium, an asylum known throughout the Planes for its extreme treatments of hopeless mental cases.  Only the doctor’s signature—or his death—can release a patient once they’ve been admitted into his care.  Except even that is not enough—the shaggy demodand is not actually the institution’s head, but its first patient.  The real heads, a brother and sister pair of tengus and a sentient spell of imprisonment, have built up the asylum to create an outlet for the demodand’s aberrant and reality-threatening desires.

Pathfinder Bestiary 3 69

3.0/3.5 fans, demodands are a great excuse to whip out the Book of Vile Darkness.  Not only are the Book’s vile spells and exotic poisons fantastic in the toad-like hands of the demodands, but the divine-spell-stealing ur-priest prestige class would be perfect for representing a demodand-worshipping cult leader.

Syringesin is back!  I was worried we’d lost him.  And vanadies rightly points out that the shae feature in the module The Midnight Mirror.  (Of course, I love TMM for the positively ruthless lurkers in light…)

1 comment:

  1. thanks, I wasn't familiar with the pathfinder take on demodands. Nice