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A fiend was an evil creature from one of the Fiendish Planes, also called the Lower planes in some cosmological models. They were not just evil, but born of evil; primal malevolence was one of the roots of their nature, and the evil essence of the fiendish planes permeated every part of their bodies.[2]

There's more to their villainy than meets the eye.
— A sage of the Prime Material plane[3]

Personality[]

Fiends lived long, and some had an inhuman view on time and life. They were capable of viewing a century passing by as inconsequential.[4]

Society[]

Relationships[]

The demons and the devils held an eternal enmity for one another as they waged the Blood War.[5]

True Name[]

Every creature had a true name that made it possible for other creatures who knew it to gain control over the them. For fiends, the true name was a double-edged sword. Knowing their own true name made it possible for a fiend to rise up the fiendish ranks, something that was very difficult for fiends without that knowledge. On the other hand if knowledge of a fiend's true name somehow spilled out, it granted other creatures control over them. This control extended very far. For example, a mortal knowing the true name of a fiend could not only call it from the Lower planes to the Prime Material plane but also force it into servitude. Fiends could inconvenience or torment their rivals by helping mortals discover their rival's true names.[4]

As mentioned above, a fiend needed knowledge about its true name to rise up the fiendish hierarchy. It often happened that the true name became different on changing form. It was believed that this was not the true name changing but some form of evolution of the true name. The core of the true name remained the same but there were some additions to it. When a mortal used an outdated true name to bind a fiend, the fiend responded to the binding. However, the control the mortal exhibited over the fiend was not complete and could have fatal consequences for the mortal.[4]

Mortals[]

The first lesson you need to learn is that devils and demons are not at all alike. See, demons—they’re predictable. They come right at you, like bundles of white-hot rage given fangs and claws. But a devil—he’ll be your friend, and like a friend, he’ll help you out of a jam, see. Need a few coins to get by? The devil’s got a few to spare. Need a warm body to fill your bed? The devil knows the best ladies. Want status? Riches? Property? Magic? Power? The devil has the answers. He’ll give you all you want and more. And what does he want in exchange? Just a little thing— a trifle, really. And it won’t affect you in the slightest. All he wants is your soul.
— Conner Smithson, Seeker of Virtue on devils[6]

Mortals and the worlds they inhabited were often seen as useful by fiends, though this did not mean that they viewed mortals as having any intrinsic value. The value of mortals laid in their potential to be turned into fiends after dying. To do this, mortals were exposed to temptation by certain types of fiends. Otherwise, mortals were of use only as slaves, playthings, food, and mercenaries as far as the fiends were concerned. The Prime Material plane was seen as a potential battlefield due to its lack of guardian outsiders, however, it was at its most useful when used as a generator of faith.[7]

I won’t tell you how I learned to bind the life force of a marilith to my own, but I did it just the same. See, I wanted immortality and riches beyond my wildest dreams. ’Course, I knew the fiend’s word wasn’t worth a speck of dirt, but I also knew she couldn’t refuse; after all, I held her life in my hands, right? Wrong. She took some of mine in return, and I’ve learned since that the immortality I was promised is eternal life as a dretch in her service. Sound like something a tanar'ri’d do? No, I didn't think so, either. See, I was ready for her to boldly break her word and try to squash me. I wasn’t ready to be peeled. But it just goes to prove my point: Every tanar’ri is an exception to the rule.
— Telson Splithorn, a bariaur on demons.[8]

History[]

The most important event in the history of fiends was the Blood War. The Blood War was an interplanar battle between demons and devils, which cost many lives. Thus, both sides were forced to figure out how to rapidly refill their ranks. The answer both sides came up with was to utilize larvae, which souls of evil mortals would become upon death. As larvae would turn into fiends, these fiends could be used to bolster the ranks of either army. Because of this, both demons and devils started to work towards turning mortals evil.[9]

Ecology[]

Not every creature from the Lower planes was a fiend. Only baatezu, gehreleths, hordlings, tanar'ri, and yugoloths were actual fiends in the narrow sense.[2] In the broader sense, every outsider with evil as part of its being was a fiend.[10]

The life expectancy of a fiend was not known. An observation about their aging process was that they did not mature. Those fiends that reproduced, gave birth to a smaller version of their species that grew bigger and stronger with time, but a fiend dying of natural causes or just growing old was never observed. Because of this, it was assumed that they were immortal. One unique feature was that they changed from time to time into a different form. However, this was transformation and not some form of biological metamorphosis.[11]

Subtypes[]

Is one fiend more evil than the others? Depends on who you ask. Some might consider a quick death more merciful than prolonged torment. Some might think oblivion is much, much worse. Now, I’m not going to say which fiends I think are the most evil. That's a fool’s game.
— Ice the Thrice-Born[12]

Demons[]

Main article: Demons

Demons were the most widespread race of fiends. They were chaotic evil and were native to the Abyss. Tanar'ri, obyriths, and loumara were the three main races of demons, but there were many other species as well.[13]

Yugoloths[]

Main article: Yugoloth

Also known as daemons, yugoloths were manipulative, neutral evil fiends native to the Blood Rift. They were secretive and mercenary by nature.[5][14]

Devils[]

Main article: Devils

Devils were lawful evil fiends who hailed from the Nine Hells of Baator. The baatezu were the dominant species.[5]

Demodands[]

Main article: Demodand

Also known as gehreleths, demodands were said to have been fashioned by one of the primal creations of Evil, exiled because of their chaotic taint.[15] They dwelt in the Supreme Throne.[5]

Archfiends[]

Main article: Archfiend

Archfiends were not actually a separate kind of fiend on their own, but rather a grouping of powerful, unique fiends of any of the above kinds. The most prominent groups were the archdevils and demon lords. Archfiends could be incredibly powerful, almost as powerful as true deities.

Half-fiends[]

Main article: Half-fiend

Due to their magical natures, fiends were capable of breeding with most other creatures. The resulting offspring was called a half-fiend. Some such hybrids could breed true. Notable varieties of half-fiends included cambions, and draegloths.

Other Fiends[]

Achaierai 
Creatures that looked like large, flightless birds with four legs.
Hell hounds 
Fiends that looked like large, powerfully built dogs with rust-red fur, red eyes, and black teeth and markings.
Barghests 
Shapechanging fiends native to Gehenna, barghests naturally resembled large, goblin-wolf hybrids with orange eyes and blue fur.
Larvae 
Also called soul larvae, larva were the fiendish remnants of evil mortal souls.
Night hags 
Merciless, horrible humanoid fiends with black skin, red eyes, skeletal bodies, clawed hands, and horns. Night hags also possessed powerful magical abilities.
Nightmares 
Neutral evil fiends that appeared as large black horses with flame in place of a mane and tail, and flaming hooves.
Maelephants 
Large, humanoid fiends with clawed hands and elephant-like heads. They were often employed by more powerful fiends as guardians of treasure.
Rakshasas 
Powerful, sorcerous fiends from the lawful planes with animal-like heads and backwards hands.
Vorr 
Bloodhound-like fiends that hunted in packs.

Appendix[]

Further Reading[]

References[]

  1. Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 308. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 6. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  3. Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 88. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 142–165. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  6. Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Edited by Chris Thomasson, Gary Sarli, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 18. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
  7. Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 8. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  8. Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 53. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  9. Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 7–8. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  10. Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 308–309. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  11. Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 6–7. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  12. Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 6. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  13. Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
  14. Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 27. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
  15. Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 83–84. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.

Connections[]

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