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Tanar'ri (pronounced: /tɑːˈnɑːrritah-NAHR-ree[2] or: /tɛˈnɑːriteh-NAH-ree[3] or: /təˈnɑːrituh-NAHR-ee[4]) were the dominant race of demons in the Abyss, evil souls warped by its raw chaos into manifestations of mortal failing. Whether they arose naturally from sins and spirits, or were shaped by evil gods or other powerful demons, all tanar'ri were embodiments of vice, depraved inner demons spawned from the darkest corners of mortal minds.[5][6][7]

Purveyors of ill intent and creatures of utter cruelty, it's likely that the tanar'ri are the most mean-spirited and thoroughly evil monsters in existence. They view life as a nuisance. They see the living as toys to be savagely abused and then discarded. They care for nothing but themselves, and they don’t even care about themselves all that much... The tanar’ri are destructive, petty, and hateful, proud to exemplify all the worst that can come from chaos.
— Jessyme Rauch, Tanar’ri Specialist Extraordinaire[8]

Types of Tanar'ri[]

Adaru 
Millipede-like demons of pure corruption, adarus were verminous, venomous tanar'ri that oozed filth and spewed toxicity. Created by Talona, Lady of Poison, they awoke to vile sentience in response to the terrible results of a mortal's deceit, and manipulated other demons with lies and false promises.[9]
Alkilith 
Disgusting masses of phosphorescent green ooze, alkiliths were pollution and putrescence made hatefully alive. The spawn of Juiblex, Demon Lord of Ooze, were embodiments of sloth that by merely infecting the world brought moral decay, desecration of the pristine, and the corrosion of reality itself.[6][10][11][12]

An armanite (left) and uridezu (right) in front of a goristro.

Armanite 
Monstrous, centaur-like tanar'ri, armanites acted as heavy cavalry in demonic armies when not running wild across the Abyss. Vicious and quarrelsome yet brutally disciplined, armanites were militaristic mercenaries that fought for plunder, and to sate their bloodlust in the chaotic frenzy of battle.[13][14][15]
Arrow demon 
Four-armed, humanoid tanar'ri capable of wielding two longbows at once, arrow demons were created to fight in the armies of the Abyss. Although the Abyssal archers understood a life of service and the value of group action, they were demons through and through, hateful of hope and alien to altruism.[16]
Babau 
Sneaky, skeletal demons of deviousness and discretion, babaus were tanar'ri notable for placing work before pain. Efficiently evil and mechanically malicious, they were the alleged result of Glasya and Graz'zt's "union", when the subversive Princess of the Night spilled the Dark Prince's blood.[17][18]
Balor 

A balor and marilith, two types of tanar'ri.

With burning rage and lightning fury, balors were mighty tanar'ri champions and generals with the primal urge to battle. Brilliant, corruptive, and inspiring, they were passionate hate personified, and channeled their unholy power into the fight for freedom — the freedom of evil from order and reason.[19][20][21]
Barlgura 
Animalistic ape-like demons, barlguras were tribal pack hunters that took gruesome trophies from their prey. Manifestations of savage brutality, leaping demons bounded unseen through the wilds using camouflage and teleportation, for the ambush predators were experts in guerilla warfare.[22][23][24][25]
Bulezau 
Minotaur-like demons of unending ferocity, buleazus were embodiments of nature's violence, heavy infantry that went beyond savagery with bestial, suicidal rage. Made by Baphomet, Lord of Minotaurs, by breeding minotaurs and tanar'ri, the buleazu were too wild even for the Prince of Beasts.[26][27][28]
Cerebrilith 
The size of an ogre yet intellectually fearsome, cerebriliths were tanar'ri with exposed, swollen brains, and the power of psionics. The horrifying creatures loved to kill intelligent beings so as to extract and examine their brains to gain new insight into the Invisible Art.[29][30]
Chasme 
Cunning, craven tanar'ri sent to punish other demons, the lowly, fly-like chasmes tracked down traitors branded for service through a psychic imprint of chaotic evil before returning and torturing them. They emerged as maggots from the Abyss's dead, before feeding off the plane's pervasive corruption.[31][32][33][34][35]
Dretch 

A hezrou overlord keeping a leash on his dretch as a manipulating succubus whispers to him.

The wretched dregs of the tanar'ri, dretches were the least of their kind, pathetic and squalid beings with few redeeming qualities. Cowardly and stupid, it was only due to possessing enough mutability and malice as mortals that dretches managed to maintain a fraction of their former minds.[22][36][37]
Gadacro 
Small, flying tanar'ri with a love of shiny baubles and a taste for freshly plucked eyes, gadacros were lesser demons of viciousness tempered by cowardice. Like demonic carrion birds, murders of them trailed demonic hosts to pick off surviving stragglers, betraying their kin whenever beneficial.[38]
Glabrezu 

A brutish nalfeshnee, corrupting glabrezu, and babau assassin.

Monstrous in appearance and of devious mind, glabrezus were ambitious demons, insidious schemers and the foremost corruptors of the Abyss. Embodiments of envy, such tanar'ri tempted the weak-willed with infectious promises of unmatched power, the onset of megalomania that would beget a pandemic of sin.[5][34][39]
Goristro 
Another creation of Baphomet, goristros were huge, ferocious tanar'ri that resembled fiendish minotaurs and were often used as living siege engines. The hulking demons had unimaginable strength, and spending centuries in breeding pits had made them frighteningly good at their sole task: smashing.[22][40][41]
Hezrou 
Stinky, slimy, and violent, hezrous were toad-like tanar'ri that kept watch of weaker demonic forces for stronger, less numerous masters. Unusually compliant and brutally simple, they sought only to eat and destroy, and would work with anyone of sufficient strength who tolerated these traits.[22][42][43]
Jovoc 
Resembling the blackened corpses of children, jovocs were nimble demons that spread their pain to those around them. Born from gloom, despair, and strife, jovocs existed to cause further anguish, their appearance in the world a portent of the suffering soon to come.[44][45]
Kastighur 
Massive, sadistic tanar'ri, kastighurs often served as prison guards and hunters for more powerful, intellectual demons. More than mere sadists, they literally consumed the terror, panic, and hopelessness of those they tortured and tracked down, their greatest delight being the act of breaking wills.[46]
Klurichir 
Tanar'ri of truly unfathomable might, klurichirs were demonic abominations, rare entities so powerful that they terrified even balors. Rivaling the power of demon lords but not bound by a layer, they were spawned in the lowest levels of the infinite Abyss by the corruption at its core.[47][48][49]
Lilitu 
Former succubi reborn in their own ashes, lilitus were heretical tanar'ri that subsisted on the profane joy of twisting priests into demon worshipers. The first to become lilitus were born of Malcanthet, Queen of Succubi, and Antisif the Befouler, whose corruptive nature unlocked the blasphemous rite.[50][51]
Mane 

A mane (lower left) next to a bar-lgura and rutterkin (back).

Little more than demonic petitioners, the corpse-like manes were mere sub-tanar'ic spirits even lower than the dretches. Truly abysmal, they were the physical shells of souls driven to mad hatred by loss and agony, too wicked to be spared from the Abyss but not enough to have real promise there.[52][53][54]
Marilith 
Six-armed, serpentine tanar'ri of militant brilliance, mariliths were demons that could act with cold logic. Proud of their martial prowess, experts in warfare, and able to coordinate demon armies, mariliths could master or suppress their inner rage to predict (if not truly understand) the forces of law.[22][55][56]
Maurezhi 
Ghoul-like tanar'ri created from a corrupted elf society by Doresain, Prince of Ghouls, maurezhi consumed their kills to steal their forms and memories. Scourge incarnations of the undeath plague, they spread chaos and evil through vile bite, infecting mortals with an unholy, overpowering hunger for flesh.[57][58]
Mavawhan 
Rare, cold-dwelling demons native to the Iron Wastes, mavawhans were tanar'ri known for focused fury and chilling magic able to freeze victims solid. The ice demons sought to take back their homelands from tanar'ri-hating Kostchtchie, who had driven them to the corners of their home.[59][60]
Molydeus 
Two-headed tanar'ri created by demon lords, molydei were sent to ensure the loyalty of more powerful servants, rivaling balors in power and surpassing them in fearsomeness. Their wolf head symbolized rage and their serpent head mistrust, the latter's bite able to reduce any demon to a mere mane.[61][62][63]
Myrmyxicus 
Primeval, aquatic demons, myrmyxicuses were among the earliest tanar'ri, immensely powerful creatures that commanded respect from even the haughtiest balor. Rulers of the Abyssian Ocean, each was the master of a grand slave empire, their captives ranging from unlucky humans to overconfident demon lords.[7][64][65]
Nabassu 

(from left to right): A succubus of Pazuzu, a bar-lgura of Demogorgon, a nabassu of Orcus, a babau of Kostchtchie, a palrethee of Pale Night, and an arrow demon of Zuggtmoy.

Gargoylish demons ever-hungry for souls, nabassus were tanar'ri spawned from gluttony that peered into the Material realm waiting to enter and feed. Instantly recognizable as demons, they spread fear and death on the Material Plane to instill terror in mortals, thus bringing power to all demonkind.[5][66][67][68][69]
Nalfeshnee 
The corpulent nobles of the tanar'ri, nalfeshnees were the judges of souls, picking the forms of most arrivals based on their own warped sense of "justice". The bloated demons embodied both hunger and sloth, and readied souls for conversion by consuming their hate and despair, leaving only husks.[70][71][72]
Palrethee 
Constantly aflame, palrethees were tanar'ri of arrogance and ambition who sought to rule the Abyss as balors. Despite their great levels of sadistic intent and wickedness, the power-hungry creatures failed their trial by fire, and so as punishment were sentenced to burn for all eternity.[73]
Rutterkin 
Twisted mutants in unending pain, rutterkin were outcasts of demonkind, utterly despised creatures cursed with deformity for their pride. Creatures of utter chaos, they were unrestrained by relationships, societies, and even consistency, their own forms always warping horrifically against their will.[36][74][75][76]
Solamith 
Obese tanar'ri of all-consuming appetite, gluttonous depravity, and burning hunger, the flesh of solamiths was charged with the spiritual fire of their prey. They savored each bite of lesser fiend or petitioner, and once finished, a spiritual echo pleading for release appeared as a new face on their guts.[77][78]
Sorrowsworn demon 
Tanar'ri of emptiness and futility, sorrowsworn demons were predators and perpetuators of weakness, grief, and despair. They appeared after tragedies in places of great misery, whispering about losses big and small, past and future, real and imagined, and the inevitably of losing what one held most dear.[79]
Spyder-fiend 
Combining the worst traits of lupines and arachnids, spyder-fiends were the servants of Miska the Wolf-Spider, the second Prince of Demons and first tanar'ri to claim the title. The horrid demons were cruel, cunning, and said to be the offspring of their master and the Queen of Chaos.[80]
Succubus 
Sinister seductresses, succubi enticed important souls with vile debauchery, encouraging their darkest desires before leaving them with empty pleasure. Embracing mortal form rather than twisting it, they were born from the primal, deadly sin of lust, the one most potent for seeding new demonic life.[5][25][81]
Uridezu 
Cowardly and rat-like, uridezu were verminous tanar'ri that served as henchmen for more powerful demons. The rodents retained a connection to the rats of the Material Plane and had a similar niche in the Abyss, that of scavenging nuisances that lurked unseen in the shadows stealing scraps of food.[82]
Vrock 
Vulture-like demons of notorious selfishness, vrocks could coordinate with each other to a startling degree, battling with uncanny grace in elite fighting squads. They were also hateful creatures spawned from the ancient sin of wrath, their instinctive teamwork undermined by greed and bloodlust.[5][34][83][84][85]
Yochlol 
Known as the Handmaidens of Lolth, yochlols were tanar'ri created from succubi through terrible rites exclusive to the Spider Queen. Though absolutely loyal to Lolth and sent to ensure drow fealty, they were notable being able to work with each other, and form genuine friendships with mortals.[86][87]

History[]

While we've strived to bring you the truth, what you read here may or may not be wholly accurate. That’s because what’s true now may become false later, and what was false before may become true in time. With the tanar’ri, all things are possible.
— Jessyme Rauch[88]

The tanar'ri were originally the slaves of the obyriths, but eventually revolted against their masters, killing most of them and taking over the Abyss.[6]

Appendix[]

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