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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]

Description[]

By their very nature as beings of chaos, it was a mistake to assume that the tanar'ri had any physical traits shared across the entire race. From their skin to their organs, any sense of patterns or logical progression was absent.[9] While a common set of standard forms appeared frequently enough to give the appearance of a classification system, the truth was that for every known shape of the tanar'ri there were perhaps dozens unknown.[10]

The only true rule behind the form of the tanar'ri was that they followed function, each shape an adaptation to the infinitely inhospitable depths of the Abyss. It was believed that some layers housed particular types of tanar'ri, and that those in small secluded regions might all share the same basic forms.[9][10] Furthermore, the tanar'ri were mutable, always in a state of individual evolution to grow stronger, the path of which also depended on the nature of their environment.[11] In short, the tanar'ri form followed no ultimate pattern because the lives and lands of the tanar'ri followed no ultimate pattern, with some types being entirely unique.[9][10]

Despite not following any overall rules, there were some major commonalities when it came to the tanar'ri forms. Most tanar'ri had some humanoid features due to their close ties to the mortal realm,[12] but many of the earliest varieties were monstrous and primeval in appearance with little if any such traits, the raw chaos of the Abyss leaving them in such bestial forms. Furthermore, many tanar'ri were also noted to share an odd feature in that parts of them seemed artificial, almost mechanical in appearance. Some, like the hezrou and glabrezu for example, had half-organic plating under their flesh. These were the markings of alterations made by the sibriex to the still-developing tanar'ri long ago.[7][13]

Personality[]

Just how bad are the tanar’ri, anyway? Take the worst mortal murderer, the most amoral human monster imaginable. Now imagine all the horrors he’s committed on his victims (steel yourself!) — wearing their skins, devouring their bodies, and other unspeakable acts — and multiply that by a hundred, a thousand. That mindless callousness and disregard for others, coupled with savage delight in pain and suffering, merely scratches the surface (the surface!) of the tanar’ric mindset. At least mortals who commit reprehensible actions usually feel some twinge of guilt; the tanar’ri revel in the misery they inflict.
— The dwarf Michil Kedell[14]

If the obyriths that came before them embodied the chaos of the Abyss, then the tanar'ri were incarnations of its evil.[7] Indeed, the tanar'ri were bred for evil, as well as torment and corruption,[15] not simply existing, but reveling in anarchy and bloodshed in accordance with their twisted desires.[15][11] It was these desires, not doctrines, that fueled the violent inner drives which seemed insane to other beings.[16] They delighted in cruelty towards the weak[17] and mercilessly reigned over others[18][19] with capricious, gleeful savagery.[11] Cold-heartedly callous yet burningly passionate,[15][17][20] the tanar'ri acted on bursts of manic insight and creativity,[21] and directed all of their energy into satisfying the most selfish and hateful of their urges.[17]

The vile tastes of the tanar'ri ran wide; they took perverse pleasure in the torture of the mind as well as the body. Scale was also no deterrent, for they also leapt at the opportunity to inflict brutalities big and small, from burning the flesh from bodies to plucking off the limbs of insects.[17] Anything that moved was at risk of being killed and anything that talked was at risk of being cheated,[19] for the tanar'ri had hate for all things that lived and even some that did not.[11] Simply put, the tanar'ri were chaotic evil personified,[16] creatures to whom the concepts of love and friendship had been long-forgotten as anything but tools to inspire hope to be manipulated and crushed in a world colored only by fury and bleak hate.[20]

You want to understand the tanar'ri? Here's how. Look into yourself. Find the core of hatred there. Don’t worry if you can’t find it right away. Just keep searching. Eventually, you'll peel away the skin of what you thought was virtue and find a writhing pit of darkest sin. Even if you’re one of the purest berks in existence, you'll still discover the part of you that's blacker than any ebony. The part that tastes of bitterness, despair, and envy. The part that tastes, most of all, of rage at all the things you can't change and all the things you might have. Hold that malevolent core in the palm of your mind for a time. Picture it expanding, slowly growing to become the size of your entire heart. Feel it thumping in your chest, stronger and stronger, attuning every fiber of your being to its wicked rhythms of pain and horror... Your heart of darkness keeps growing. It extends its veins like spitting serpents through your body, cancerous lesions of violence erupting across your skin. Your body blackens to match your heart, and your mind soon follows... Got all that? That's only the barest glimmer of how the tanar’ri feel. Don't mess with them. Don't even argue with them — their rage can scald the skin from your face and boil the water from your eyes.
— Jessyme Rauch[20]

Perhaps more than anything else, the tanar'ri raged, seething with a nameless and formless hate that burned within them.[11] Some claimed that the source of this inner rage was their hideous forms, but this wasn't the case. Most of the tanar'ri liked their forms, strong and adaptable as they were,[14] and no matter the endlessness of their bodies, malevolence still laid at their cores.[15] One of the potentially more valid explanations was that the tanar'ri were lashing out due to their oppression, venting their aggression on those they could. However, this theory also had its own holes, for it was likely that some tanar'ri accepted, and even enjoyed harsh treatment, and those that took orders from no one were still cruel for its own sake.[14]

Another theory purported that the true motive behind tanar'ric behavior was the desire for release. Through destruction and death, the tanar'ri hoped to expel their rage, passion, and fear, only to find that it was impossible. No matter how much they screamed or destroyed, they would never hope to express themselves enough, and never find even the temporary relief that a mortal could. The only thing that could alleviate the strain of ever-building rage, as the theory went, was causing suffering to others. True or not, those that would cast the tanar'ri condition as tragic in light of this idea were likely misplacing their sympathy.[11]

Through their own wicked deeds, the tanar'ri condemned themselves to the horrors of the Abyss. They were not misunderstood victims, but those who consistently and completely put their own wants above others needs, stopping only when forced to.[11] In a sense, their former selves had wanted to become tanar'ri, even if they started as the lowest of the low, as from there they could rise to greater power,[22] with those at the top having fought their way there to be truly free from anyone's demands.[14] Raw, unassailable power was their goal, the only path to achieving it to take all for yourself and crush all else beneath you, and the Abyss the best place for it.[22]

Either way, the tanar'ri liked causing agony and death even without the motivation of soothing their own suffering. If unending rage was their predominant emotion then to cause pain was their predominant desire. Though they might indulge in other passions, to hurt was the one drive that overpowered all others. Whether or not it would make them feel better, they would inflict it all the same.[11]

Chaos[]

There were those who would try and take advantage of the chaotic nature of the tanar'ri for their own benefit (particularly those of lawful natures). These individuals believed, incorrectly, that the tanar'ri were incapable of making complicated plans or even doing any planning whatsoever, and therefore would be easy victims for those that could. All this was simply wrong, and in all likelihood spread in part by the tanar'ri themselves. Chaos was not the same thing as stupidity, and the tanar'ri were by no means too chaotic to have foresight.[10][11]

Every basher's seen the Xaositects raving in the sprawling Bazaar and the stinking Hive of Sigil. Many of the poor sods are crazy and can’t help it. Others, however, struggle mightily to be crazy, trying hard to throw off the shackles of restraint (no matter who might have put them there in the first place). It’s hard to say which group has it worse and which the tanar’ri resemble more. But the truth of it is that both kinds of Xaositects typify tanar’ric nature; Barmy naturally and trying desperately to get even more so. "Barmy" may be too strong a word; the tanar’ri are too canny to be dismissed as simple lunatics. But then, only one other word can describe a whole race of creatures with no structure: chaotic.
— Michil Kedell[23]

The tanar'ri were cunning creatures,[21] fully capable of acting logically and efficiently, and did in fact make plans. Sometimes this was done in short bursts, at others it took decades, and sometimes they weaved schemes than required centuries of work. Where the chaotic nature of the tanar'ri made itself apparent was that the tanar'ri didn't work together.[10][11] The baatezu, the lawful counterparts of the tanar'ri, made calculated moves as part of a larger plan, their grand scheme to achieve racial dominion over all the multiverse. They acted both with future generations and the desires of their superiors in mind. In stark contrast, the tanar'ri enacted plans only with the goal of increasing their own power and pleasure, racial solidarity or their impact on those that would come after being irrelevant to them.[17][16][24]

When a tanar'ri acted, it was to advance their own agendas and establish their own personal footholds.[17] They preferred to wallow in the heat of the moment, and tended to ignore the bigger picture in favor of focusing only on themselves.[11] Put simply, the tanar'ri enacted their plans because they could,[17] and if anyone knew the dangers of complete self-interest, it was the baatezu.[10]

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 that dealt with demons.[14]

Aside from their selfishness, the tanar'ri were chaotic in that they were utterly unpredictable.[21] At times they might maim the person closest to them without a second thought and at others they might be in a generous mood and behave with relative beneficence. Laws and loopholes did not bind them, for the only rule they respected was that of force, and even that they might ignore. Instead, they might choose to deceive, perhaps with verbal manipulation, but nothing stopped them from simply lying to get what they wanted.[17] Not even a tanar'ri often knew what it would do next, and the very concept that such a being could even manage to exist could be unfathomable for those deeply steeped in the ideals of order.[10]

Although not stupid, the tanar'ri didn't exactly learn from their experiences.[25] Understanding this mindset could be made simpler, however, once one remembered the nature of the tanar'ri's home: not just chaos, but Chaos, the cosmic force. Anything could and usually did happen in the Abyss, and so the tanar'ri were justifiably paranoid, always watching their backs and doing so in every direction. They were alert for all possibilities, but normally expected the worst knowing that was the most likely outcome. The tanar'ri did lay plans, and discarded them just as quickly as they were hatched, for the trait most selected for in their environment was adaptability.[26]

In chaos, one could also find one of the few admirable traits of the tanar'ri (and the fiends of the Abyss at large). Each was an individual and based their lives on the triumph of individuality above all else, as well as how they differed from those around them. They fought with such ferocity because each was upholding their own personal visions.[9][14] It was in this that one could find the fundamental key to understanding the tanar'ri, an idea repeated independently by several members of the wildly independent race. Each tanar'ri believed that it, and only it, knew "the Answer", the true meaning of life. Though some of the lower tanar'ri sought only to kill and hurt, those with any level of intelligence had sought out the answers to life's questions themselves.[14]

After obtaining "the Answer", the tanar'ri then sought to teach what they had learnt, which was not the same thing as trying to enlighten others. They only sought to spread their personal chaotic philosophy, to impose it on others, and the only way they knew how to teach was by providing personal and painful experience.[14] Furthermore, each felt that the unpredictable and inexplicable ways of the cosmos sought to prove them right and that the weight of reality was on their shoulders. They were filled with impotent rage at a cosmos that cared not for them, and practically nothing could convince them that the multiverse was a kind place. In their eyes, life was cheap, and so they might as well make the most of it at the expense of everyone else.[20][21]

Redemption[]

For a tanar'ri to ever change their ways, they would have to change from within themselves, and this is where the ever-mutable race was the least likely to change. Their inner certainty empowered them, and to change would require self-doubt, the capacity to conceive of the notion that they could be wrong.[20][14] As unlikely as it was, however, even tanar'ri were capable of that kind of change.[9] Over a millennia of exposure to carnage unending, even a tanar'ri's innate bloodlust could wane, an "unnatural" tendency they normally tried to hide.[15] Furthermore, the tanar'ri took pride in their differences, and some spent so much time focusing on the beauty and horror of the self that they stumbled upon a way to be truly unique: by embracing goodness with all their hearts.[9]

Most tanar'ri that did this reveled in their new beliefs for a time, flaunting them whenever possible, but before long came to appreciate their past more and returned to their old habits with newfound enthusiasm and a better understanding than before.[9] However, not all of them got back their desire to kill and maim even after time away from the action,[15] and a few tanar'ri that did changed their ways truly meant it. Such tanar'ri stood by their new beliefs and learned to truly cleanse themselves of evil. They were traitors to the Abyss that was their origin, seeking to be different and savoring what set them apart so much that they defied the very nature of their being.[9]

The tanar'ri were used to all kinds of betrayal[9] and demons did hate the forces of good.[27] However, though they avenged themselves when possible, their focus on the defeat of the baatezu devils of Baator] meant they had little time to plan the downfall of such a traitor, usually just letting such hatred fester.[9] They lacked the sheer vengefulness of the baatezu, as well as the cold malice of yugoloths, being too passionate and fiery to savor revenge slowly over years as opposed to just having it all at once.[17][28] This would be different if the tanar'ri had joined the baatezu, but it as likely that no tanar'ri could do that even if they wanted to, at least not for very long. Though the evil in their natures could be repressed, the tanar'ri could not truly hold back the chaos.[9]

Abilities[]

Given the nature of the tanar'ri, the race couldn't be said to have "standard abilities", merely powers seen in varying frequencies. Fiends like the baatezu had far more common powers, although to compensate the various tanar'ri breeds had far more individual powers than the baatezu ones did. Almost all tanar'ri the ability to see in darkness through infravision, had the darkness spell-like ability, could telepathically communicate, and summon various other types of tanar'ri. They also used to universally possess the power to teleport without error, but due to yugoloth tampering not even that could be said with any level of certainty.[12][16][29]

Of the various elements and harmful substances in the universe, the tanar'ri were known to be completely immune to the effects of electricity and poison. Fire was debatably useful, ranging from not working at all on them to the tanar'ri being only partially resistant, but magic fire was normally more effective. They were also resistant to the cold and to harmful gases and acid, though magical acid normally worked without fail. Magic missiles were known to be fully effective, as was the obvious holy water. In terms of weapons, magical, holy, cold iron and silver ones worked well, though the more powerful tanar'ri were resistant to silver.[12][16][29]

Remember, though: No two tanar’ri are exactly the same. A fool who expects the same thing to work on all of them is a fool. Sometimes, what kills one fiend might not even wound another of the same type.
— Xanxost the blue slaad.[29]

Aside from these commonalities, there was perhaps no telling what an individual tanar'ri might be capable of. A given tanar'ri might be able to see in many directions at once, or use their eyes to detect heat, cold, magic, anger, peacefulness, different realities, or any other numbers of things. Some were equipped with wicked claws for rending flesh while others had serpentine appendages that could strike like a blindingly fast whip. Some powers were even less obvious than that, such as those with a strange neck and oddly shaped ears being able to create sound waves capable of collapsing earth, structures, and possibly even blood vessels.[9]

Combat[]

The tanar'ri were dogged combatants with a relentless ferocity allowing them to keep fighting even when badly hurt,[29] the less intelligent ones often attacking without question and fighting to the death.[16] However, not all tanar'ri were simply predictable murderers. For example, they might angrily devour someone that threatened them, but might also take a shining to mortals that tried and failed to kill them, finding their overestimation of their own abilities amusing. At the same time, this might also translate to them slaughtering the mortal, laughing the entire time.[29]

A common trend among the tanar'ri was that most were normally reluctant to use their summoning powers. They disdained doing not only due to their arrogance, but because they would likely be beholden to the summoner, and they loathed owing favors to each other. Only if they were in obvious, life-threatening danger would they use their power and risk such a debt,[12][30] although stronger demons often did so with less hesitation.[31]

Warfare[]

The military forces of the tanar'ri consisted of millions of fiends, though in practical terms they had no actual armies, but rather hordes. Driven forward by fierce wills and vicious cruelty, the tanar'ri normally had no strategy, simply charging at the foe with intent to destroy them. They moved without regard for anyone else among their number, hoping to overwhelm through sheer force of numbers knowing that countless more of them were waiting to join the fight.[11][32]

If the tanar'ri ever managed to work together to agree on specific tactics or a plan before fighting, they would have the capacity to destroy even their ancient baatezu enemies, but such a thing was not in their nature.[32] Their chaotic ways notwithstanding, the tanar'ri had little capacity to use said tactics anyway, even if they felt like they needed them and wanted to apply them. Much of this was because their incredible numbers made it practically impossible to sort them out and send them off in different directions to make calculated strikes.[33]

Where the tanar'ri forces excelled however, was in their reactivity. In the swirling conflict and chaos of a wartime scenario, the tanar'ri thrived on confusion and disorientation. Members of other military forces would try to keep track of the number and location of enemy forces, but the tanar'ri mostly didn't care where they were or when so long as they could fight the enemy, and their commanders could simply respond to to problems by driving forward more soldiers to plug the holes in the offensive.[33] Furthermore, the residents of the ever-changing Abyss weren't truly caught off guard when ambushed, just going with the flow and attacking any invaders.[34]

Society[]

Society? Balderdash! The Abyss has no society, and neither do the tanar’ri - at least, none that spans the whole plane... Certainly, small kingdoms do exist throughout the plane, and some fiefdoms blanket entire layers. But whereas the baatezu rally around a single unifying principle, the tanar'ric instinct encourages divisiveness and chaos by its very nature, and the imposition of a single society goes against every drop of blood the tanar’ri possess.
— Michil Kedell[14]

The tanar'ri were the unchallenged master race of the Abyss, reigning over almost every layer within it.[12][15] However, this in no way meant that the Abyss was in any state of peace or unity. Rather, the Abyss was defined by a constant struggle of plotting and battles, endless petty fights for position and power. Though the details changed, such as the subtlety of the conflict or the fate of the losers once the battle had ended, the overall condition remained the same.[23][16]

The Abyss was filled with innumerable strongholds of various materials both mundane and esoteric, each tried and tested by the constant, assaults that happened almost daily, at least somewhere, within its depths. The nature of the tanar'ri meant that it was practically impossible to predict when an attack was coming or adequately prepare for all potential attacks. Sometimes it was due to a relatively pragmatic territorial dispute, at others it was because one party felt insulted, and at others still the aggressor simply felt like attacking. Furthermore, the would-be attacked tanar'ri had their own violence and schemes that they sought to enact without interference from outside forces.[23]

It was in this need to hold one's enemies at bay that tanar'ri politics came into play. Through political maneuvering, the tanar'ri could forestall attacks until they were prepared, buying them time to marshal their defenses, ready their own attacks, or summon their supposed allies. In stark contrast to the rigorous and complicated procedures of infernal politics, the tanar'ri system was turbulent and simple. In the Abyss, politics was merely a matter of who seemed to hold the most power, whether it was physical, magical, numerical, influential, or any other form.[23]

The tanar'ri were a fickle race that normally sided with the strongest party unless they were (or believed that they would be) personally threatened, in which case they attempted to appear stronger in order to gain more allies themselves for their own protection.[23] They served out of fear rather than any sense of loyalty to their masters, and unlike the baatezu only took their duties seriously if at risk of being caught avoiding them. They could be bribed with money, power, or chances at vengeance, and if not insulted by the offer would likely take the bribe, although if and how long they would stay bribed was a different question.[15][18][35]

This complete lack of certainty in the world around them was the reason why tanar'ri politics were so unstable.[36] Tanar'ri culture reflected its participants, simultaneously expecting nothing and staying ready for anything.[26] It was impossible to predict the next moves of their rivals, for their enemies might move without any provocation or forethought.[36] The fiends were always suspicious of one another, to the point that one of the best responses when asked awkward questions by them was to change the subject to their enemies, even if one didn't know who those enemies were. Each was always looking over their shoulder and looking out only for themselves[15][18] for the one cardinal rule that even the tanar'ri obeyed was to trust nothing and no one.[36]

Castes[]

Why, do you know that some primes still classify the multitudinous tanar’ri by type, creatively labelling them Type I fiends, Type II fiends, and so on? I can’t decide which is greater: the irony of trying to pin one of the most haphazard races in the cosmos to the wall like dead butterflies, or the arrogance of the primes in thinking they could do it in the first place.
— Michil Kedell[10]

A common misconception about the tanar'ri was that, like other fiends such as baatezu or yugoloths, they followed a caste system of forms.[37] This was simply untrue, for although the tanar'ri could be broken into rough rankings, the truth was that the tanar'ri could not be organized into any kind of form-based hierarchy. Any terminology used to try and sort them, such as the "Type" system or the "least, lesser, greater, true" format, was something placed upon them by other beings.[10][37][11] At best, the rankings were broad guesses of a common form's general level of power.[16]

Practically speaking there was no such thing as stations in the Abyss.[9] The ranks only mattered so far as it affected assumptions of a given tanar'ri's power,[37] for the status of the tanar'ri was determined not in what they were, but in what they could do. For example, something that looked like a balor would be treated as such (that was to say normally left alone) but there was no social consequence for attacking a balor (at least without further context) besides whatever the balor saw fit to do to its assailant. A tanar'ri might want to see if such a being was really as powerful as they had heard and actually commit to attacking them.[9] Furthermore, if a weaker tanar'ri type did manage to best a normally stronger type, they would receive great amounts of status themselves.[16]

Ironically, the tanar'ri themselves sometimes used these mortal-made labels, flaunting them in order to convince others to do their bidding. For example, a lesser tanar'ri might try and convince a least tanar'ri that it stood no chance against a being of higher rank, only to instantly ignore the castes and argue to a greater tanar'ri that the divisions were useless, citing some other advantage as evidence.[23] Similarly, the tanar'ri changed their personal titles faster than the average person changed their mind based on whatever they felt would get them the most respect and power.[38] Ultimately the tanar'ri cared little about monikers or supposed castes, only power,[16] and like all their politics those mattered to them only so long as it served their current wants and needs.[23]

Ascension[]

Although many tanar'ri were focused on gaining power and influence within the Abyss, it was important to note that not all of them were.[39] Some didn't crave the level of strength and infamy that others aspired to, and were generally content to cause chaos at their own personal level. Unlike with the baatezu, the large majority of them weren't obsessed with rising to the top, even if they did have their own goals.[9] To ascend to the heights of power would take eons of unrelenting wickedness and likely the betrayal of everything they held close. However, for those who did pursue the path for power, they would find that all they had left was the desire for more.[11]

At the lowest end of the power scale, tanar'ri politics was simplistic and savage, with the lesser fiends operating purely based on apparent destructive power. In other words, if something looked dangerous, whether due to physical or magical power, the more likely they would be avoided or obeyed. A brutal appearance and cruel demeanor had to be displayed simply to survive. Higher on the power scale, tanar'ri of around the same power level as each other were more subtly imposing. At this stage, tanar'ri had to deal with each other from many positions, both high and low, and took on different visages depending on who they were talking to.[36]

For example, weaker tanar'ri didn't understand the greater subtlety of their superiors. They obeyed strength and equated it with appearance, shrinking from it even as they desired it themselves. As such, when higher tanar'ri communicated with their lessers, they took on a more ferocious form, power being a language their inferiors could understand.[36] However, tanar'ri that rose higher also needed to start hiding, rather than just exaggerating, their true strength. Acting all-powerful would swiftly result in being tested from all sides (for tanar'ri loved toppling what others had built) but seeming too weak also made one a target, creating a delicate balance that had to be maintained to avoid attack.[23]

Among the highest members of the tanar'ri race, politics (in other words looking dangerous) went beyond brutality and appearance. At this level, it depended on word choice, posture, gesturing, and many other factors that went unnoticed by the lesser members of the race. The players of this game wanted not just to survive, but thrive, seeking the power of rulership and in doing so created an atmosphere of constant hate and paranoia. Notably, despite despising their own oppression, the tana'ri that rose to power had no compunctions about perpetuating the cycle of abuse with their lessers. They used their own suffering as justification to hurt and use others, reinforcing the race's chaotic evil ways.[36]

Near the top of this system were the tanar'ri princes, who gathered on the 1st layer of the Abyss, The Plain of Infinite Portals, in massive iron fortresses. Warring and scheming, these entities commanded massive hordes and attempted to glorify themselves in the eyes of their peers and mortals alike. They astrally projected to the Material Plane to sway events in their favor and tried to best the other tanar'ric princes, all to the end of claiming an entire layer of the Abyss as their own. Those that managed to accomplish this feat would join the infamous ranks of the demon lords.[38][40]

Tanar'ri Lords[]

At the very peak of the system were the demon lords, the kings of the tanar'ri.[15] They were the most powerful adherents of the tanar'ric path to power, their struggles against each other affecting almost every recess of the Abyss.[41] Even more so than the normal members of the tanar'ri race, each one held to their own personal vision, their idea of what was "best" for the Abyss and the multiverse at large, and worked against each other to achieve it.[36] Were one to grow powerful enough to unite all the layers, the Abyss could hypothetically have a singular ruler.[14]

However, this was more hypothetical than anything else, for while a demon lord could claim multiple levels of the Abyss, becoming too powerful would prompt action. The threat of such domination would likely result in the weaker tanar'ri rising against the one who would crush their freedoms (for even the tanar'ri were capable of concerted action). Moreover, were one Abyssal lord to become too dangerous (or arrogant) the others might band together to thwart them by marshaling their armies, banishing him, or by turning a confidante (for even the tanar'ri were known to have confidantes) against them. Conversely, this could fail, and while the tanar'ri might be able to occassionally ally, they always expected betrayal and tried to do unto others before they could do it to them.[14][23][36]

Exactly what they wanted to accomplish varied from lord to lord, though there were dozens of examples of tanar'ri lords claiming dominion over specific types of tanar'ri, such as succubi or barlguras.[42] However, there was one rank that several of the most powerful tanar'ri of the Abyss all aspired to: the mantle of "Prince of Demons". Unlike the various self-granted titles of Abyssal lords and princes,[38] "Prince of Demons" was not just some hollow epithet, but a position that granted the holder actual, tangible power. The wielder of this power exuded an aura of demonic command, allowing them to force virtually all demons to do as they desired. Only other demon lords and those who pledged their souls to them (those imbued with a tiny fraction of their power) were immune.[43]

For the power to be claimed, the current holder first had to be slain, causing a strange, shadowy, crown-like emanation to appear, a manifestation of the right to mastery. The one who killed the previous holder was vastly more likely (though not guaranteed) to receive the mantle, with the odds increasing based on personal magnetism, involvement with the death, and blood relation to the former ruler.[44]

Well-known tanar'ri lords included:

  • Baphomet: Known as the Prince of Beasts, Baphomet was the patron of minotaurs and other savage creatures, and divided the world between him and his predators and a cosmos of prey. He sought to destroy the weakness of civilization so that all would embrace their animal instincts, and to remake the multiverse into his own personal hunting ground. His strength and savagery tempered by shrewdness and study, the Horned King combined the dual aspects of man and beast to become something more dangerous than either one.[45][46][47][48]
  • Demogorgon: Prince of Demons by right of sheer might, Demogorgon was the primeval, first tanar'ri, and the embodiment of chaos and destruction. Formed from the primal fears of the earliest mortals, Demogorgon's very name inspired that same terror, he himself being constantly paranoid and seeing everyone as possible threats. His twin aspects — Aameul and Hathradiah — sought to corrupt all goodness, undo all order, and ultimately leave themselves alone in the universe, finally able to rest free from any fear of harm.[48][45][49][6][50]
  • Fraz-Urb'luu: Known as the Prince of Deception, Fraz-Urb'luu was the most duplicitous of all demons, the patron of tricksters who used every cunning ploy to manipulate others into enacting his will. The master illusionist crafted fantasy worlds to lure his victims into lives of self-delusion and considered himself the only being smart enough to see the truth behind the many lies of the multiverse. It was unknown if his cryptic talk of guiding the cosmos to some enigmatic, grand design was yet another deception.[51][52][53]
  • Graz'zt: Called the Dark Prince, Graz'zt was patron of corrupt rulers and decadent tyrants, his reputation as the most humanoid demon lord belying his capacity for evil. The Prince of Pleasure viewed the multiverse as a plaything that he would one day fully dominate, creating a cosmos where all beings loved and worshiped him and existed only to give him pleasure. Charming and guileful, Graz'zt was the ultimate hedonist and an inciter of uncontrollable urges, a being for whom the only sins were moderation and kindness.[48][51][54][55][56]
  • Juiblex: Ridiculed by his peers as Lord of Nothing, Juiblex was the loathsome and often shunned demon lord of slime and ooze. The Faceless Lord was said to have spawned all slimes, leaving new oozes in his dripping wake, and his sole reason for existence was to flood the multiverse with his vile filth until all that lived were his amorphous reflections. Juiblex's foul nature reflected the corruption that was the source of the Abyss, and every putrescent slime was a mindless extension of himself, a limb bound to his nauseating will.[48][54][57][58][59]
  • Kostchtchie: Known as the Prince of Wrath, Kostchtchie was the patron of frost giants, seeking to utterly subjugate them above all else and enraged by nothing else more than the idea that some did not worship him. He had long identified as one rather than as a tanar'ri and quickly unleashed his fury on those who suggested he wasn't, indeed desiring the complete genocide of the entire tanar'ri race. Kostchtchie's rage and hate were legendary in the Abyss, his awful temper the reason why most left him to rule his icy wastes.[60][61]
  • Malcanthet: Holder of the title Queen of Succubi, Malcanthet was the patron of the indulgent and lustful, those who would use their charms to control and destroy others. She valued most the sensuality of her body, and all her schemes went towards her primary motivation of achieving self-gratification, whether by experiencing a new form of pleasure or bringing down a hated rival. Though once strictly a resident of the Abyss, she had once shifted allegiance to the Nine Hells, and had become a mistress of the lower planes as a whole.[62][63][64]
  • Orcus: The self-proclaimed Prince of the Undead, Orcus was a patron of those seeking undeath, as well as those already in its cold embrace. The nihilistic lord despised the dead, only using them as tools to silence the incessant noise of the hated living and extinguish all light, thus leaving the cosmos a dead, dark, and eternally unchanging necropolis. Though not the strongest lord, he had the greatest cult and was the closest to obtaining divinity, having already risen as the undead demon god Tenebrous before coming back to "life".[48][54][65][66][67]
  • Yeenoghu: Called the Prince of Gnolls, Yeenoghu was the patron of the hyena-like race, and sought to see his people dominate the world before all life, including them, was extinct. The Ruler of Ruin hungered most for senseless slaughter and death, delighting in the sorrow that followed the destruction of the cherished, and ultimately pursued the utter annihilation of all. Moreso than other demon lords, the Beast of Butchery embodied killing, and he was the one, through his brutal massacres, who had most scarred the mortal world.[48][54][68][69]
  • Zuggtmoy: Known as the Lady of Fungi, Zuggtmoy was said by some to be the source of such organisms, the progenitor of all mushrooms and mold. The Lady of Rot was utterly inhuman, an alien, fungoid intelligence parodying the ways of a living mortal who sought only to infect, consume, and, perhaps ultimately, control all other living things. Some believed that she was not truly a patron of fungi, for she desired decay not to renew life but for its own sake, embodying only the virulence and death that fungi represented.[54][70][54][71]

Military/Blood War[]

Vast, disorganized companies of tanar'ri hordes disembarked every days from the depths of the Abyss, spreading mayhem across the multiverse. Though they sometimes spread their chaos across the Middle, or even Upper planes, the focus of the demonic host was the Lower planes.[8] Since the dawn of the tanar'ri,[16] almost as long as the existence Great Wheel, they had waged war against the baatezu, continuing the ancient conflict known as the Blood War.[41]

Some believed that the tanar'ri lived only to fight the Blood War, which was true enough in some cases. Most of the strongest tanar'ri, those called the true tanar'ri, drove the war effort, pushing the rest of their race to erase the baatezu from existence.[8] The disorderly demons fought the Blood War primarily because the true tanar'ri pushed this will onto them,[16] for in their eyes the only purpose of the lower class (those often classified as "least" or "lesser" tanar'ri) was to fight the Blood War,[72] an arrangement they only seemed to benefit from.[8] The many tanar'ri lords of the Abyss also meddled in the Blood War to varying degrees.[11]

Some tanar'ri lords hated the baatezu with passion surpassing even the most passionate balor, throwing their resources into it, while others were actively interested in it only as a means to gain more power. Kostchtchie sent murderous frost giant wizards loose on them, while Lissa'aere the Noxious's alu-fiend, nabassu, and vrock army had stopped more than one invasion at the Abyssal borders. Alzrius, Lord of Infernal Light, had his army of armanites and babaus conduct lightning-quick strikes beyond the Abyss, leaving trails of burning destruction in their wake.,[73][74][75] and even the Queen of Chaos, a non-tanar'ri demon lord, made rare contributions, sending mobs of a subspecies of spyder-fiend tanar'ri called phisarazu to conduct rapid raids.[76]

At the same time, many tanar'ri lords didn't care all, some locking themselves away, others preferring to scheme against their fellows, and others still wanting to end the Blood War and unite all fiends to destroy the forces of good.[8][73] In truth, not all tanar'ri cared much about the Blood War, with many avoiding it in favor of domestic politics.[41] One would assume that the leaders would do all they could to promote their own race, but both the true tanar'ri and tanar'ri lords often pursued their own agendas at the cost of victory.[11] Shaktari the Marilith Queen, for example, won legendary triumphs over the baatezu only to be imprisoned, purportedly through an unthinkable pact between archdevils and her demon lord enemies.[77] There was no central command to coordinate the many hordes of the Abyss,[11] and no lords agreed on just how to proceed.[8]

Roles[]

Recruitment 

Different types of tanar'ri played different roles in the prosecution of the Blood War, some of which were not directly combat oriented, such as recruitment and resource gathering. The surprisingly subtle glabrezu were an excellent example, for while they took only a smallfl part in the slaughter of the Blood War, they were still frequently associated with it. Their manipulative ways drew strength from other planes, sapping them of strength and souls to empower the Abyss.[78][74][79][80] Conversely, alkiliths brought the Abyss to mortals rather than the other way around, spreading its hate, spite, and corruption (both physical and moral) to the multiverse. Though able to avoid recruitment by hiding in inhospitable places, they would fight when needed, and they would viciously attack any baatezu they encountered.[81]

Succubi (before their change of allegiance at the least) served a similar purpose, contributing to the war effort by corrupting and killing mortals, thus getting them sent to the Abyss. They acted independently and generally answered to no one, a situation the more powerful tanar'ri tolerated due to their service.[82][83] Nabassu meanwhile served only to spread the belief that the tanar'ri were beings to be feared, entering the mortal world to kill and terrify locals. In the Outer Planes, where belief could translate to power, this duty went to strengthen the race as a whole.[83]

After a mortal died and were sent to the Abyss, many would end up before a nalfeshnee, who were tasked with judging the quality of mortal spirits by their capacity for hatred and evil.[74][84][85] Afterwards, a great majority of the new arrivals were deposited either on a layer where they'd be sent to the forefront of the war, or the 1st layer,[86] which the baatezu were bent on taking.[40] Nalfeshnee did not command armies, but determined their composition by empowering or depowering new recruits, altering their forms and intelligence. Some said that the nalfeshnees truly controlled the Blood War for this reason, as the success of the tanar'ri depended on the quality of recruits, the armies doomed to failure if their soldiers were not properly vetted and given forms unworthy of their wickedness.[74][84][87]

Warriors

The most expendable warriors of the Blood War were the tanar'ri normally deemed to be least, the manes, dretches, and rutterkin.[11] Of them, the rutterkin were both strongest and least utilized, as they were social outcasts. Though sometimes used as common foot soldiers and skirmishers,[11][15][86] they often were not even given the questionable prestige of being fodder, serving only to guard their home.[11][88] Weakest of the least were manes, who shared the mania of the rutterkin[11] and were first to be herded into battle,[37] washed over the enemy in vast mobs like a controlled fire.[89] The most "respected" of the least were the dretches, pathetic primary infantry important to the war.[11] The mindless manes quickly forgot their orders or to use any weapons they were given, but dretches had some self-preservation and could understand their situation.[11][90][90]

Among the more powerful tanar'ri, several specialized in direct confrontation. Bulezau were bred to fight in the Blood War, essentially acting as much more powerful manes or dretches. They were possibly the toughest front-line troops of the tanar'ri, used as heavy infantry and assault leaders. They enthusiastically pursued the War, engaging the baatezu with frightening bloodlust and plunging into the fray with reckless abandon, their dependable refusal to retreat even when clearly doomed being highly valued.[74][78][91] Another group of tauric tanar'ri warriors were the armanties, mobile shock cavalry that devastated the enemy with quick, repeated, aerial charges rather than relying on tactics or timing, to survive. They reveled in the chaos of mass combat, but were also mercenaries, favoring bloody missions with little personal risk.[74][83][92]

The tanar'ri also had many members among them who specialized in ranged combat. Arrow demons were associated with the Blood War and, notably for tanar'ri, preferred fighting in ordered legions with several hundreds of their kin, and were fielded as such by their commanders. From behind masses of fodder they rained down barrages of missiles, often using arrows with heads made from materials able to overcome the resistances of commonly-encountered foes.[93] Solamiths meanwhile, offered little to Blood War armies, but still found occasional employ. When not used to dispose of unwanted captives, they helped to ward off extraplanar threats, acting as sentries or army artillery by hurling globs of "soulfire" at the enemy with great accuracy.[94]

Other types of tanar'ri specialized in the use of stealth and subterfuge to assist in the Blood War. Barlguras used their camouflage abilities to scout ahead for the more "organized" tanar'ri forces. Though experts in surprise attacks, they actively tried to avoid participation in the Blood War.[83][74] On the other hand, cerebriliths, demonic users of the Invisible Art, only joined Abyssal armies as specialists to deal with specific psionic targets.[95] Most maurezhi, meanwhile, were recruited before getting the chance to unlock their true potential, acting as skirmishers and marauders, but those who did were assassins and spies that kept an eye on the baatezu war effort. They were used to infiltrate baatezu camps undetected, stealing the forms and possibly secret plans of their foes.[83][74][96]

Tanar'ric half-fiends also served in the Blood War. Cambions, defined the offspring of tanar'ri and female humans, were perhaps the most useful of those typically classified as lesser. They too were excellent spies and infiltrators, sometimes using their ability to change forms to sneak into enemy ranks and confuse the opposition, and were valued in the Blood War as assassins.[83][74][97] Alu-fiends, defined as the offspring of succubi and humans, aided the Abyss as battlemages, unleashing minor arcane destruction. Their spellcasting managed to win a few battles, but mostly had little lasting effect, though they were still valued by their superiors enough that they refused to release them.[37][74]

Among the most dangerous participants in the Blood War were vrocks. Though relatively weak as individuals, it was when vrocks acted in unison, coordinating with perfect timing able to give even baatezu pause, that they became the elite troops of the Abyss. They rivaled the bulezau in resilience, but were also mobile, letting them serve as aerial scouts and skirmishers, and could gather together to unleash magical destruction.[78][74][91][15] Jovocs were also frequently connected to the Blood War and considered to be invaluable on the front lines of tanar'ri armies due to their ability to inflict the damage they suffered on others. They were experienced with ambushes and often using hit-and-run tactics, yet a unit of them could survive repeated attacks and still survive to get their revenge.[98]

Goristroi, meanwhile, lacked magic, mobility, or coordination, but compensated with incredible strength, for they were bred for war. They were used as citadels to carry lesser tanar'ri, who rode on giant helms strapped to them, and to destroy enemy fortifications. Though practically fearless, they feared falling from great heights and so were rarely ordered to scale walls.[78][74][99] While goristroi had to be guided into battles, the wastriliths consciously chose to take part in the Blood War (albeit only because they didn't want to share the waters with anyone, including each other). They repelled invasions that came by water, gathering aquatic monsters to fight off such attacks, and took the fight to the baatezu by attacking them on their home plane.[78][74]

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.[100]
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][81][101][102]

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.[92][103][104]
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.[93]
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.[72][105]
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.[74][87][106]
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.[83][107][108][109]
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 by breeding minotaurs and tanar'ri, the buleazu were too wild even for the Prince of Beasts.[110][111][91]
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.[95][112]
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.[78][113][114][115][116]
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.[107][117][118]
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.[119]
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][78][31]
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.[107][120][121]
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.[107][122][123]
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.[98][124]
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.[125]
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.[126][127][128]
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.[129][130]
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.[90][89][131]
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.[107][132][133]
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.[96][134]
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.[135][136]
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.[137][138][139]
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][140][141]
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][142][143][144][145]
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.[87][37][146][39]
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.[147]
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.[117][148][149][150]
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.[94][151]
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.[152]
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.[76]
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][83][153]
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.[154]
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][78][155][156][157]
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.[13][158]

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[20]

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[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 40–48. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  2. Dungeons & Dragons FAQ (HTML). Wizards of the Coast. (2003). Archived from the original on 2017-07-09. Retrieved on 2018-05-22.
  3. J. Paul LaFountain (1991). Monstrous Compendium: Outer Planes Appendix. Edited by Timothy B. Brown. (TSR, Inc.), p. 5. ISBN 1-56076-055-9.
  4. Colin McComb (July 1996). “The Chant of the War”. In Ray Vallese ed. Hellbound: The Blood War (TSR, Inc.), p. 4. ISBN 0-7869-0407-0.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 James Jacobs (March 2007). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Malcanthet: Queen of the Succubi”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #353 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 23.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 James Jacobs (July 2007). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Demogorgon: Prince of Demons”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #357 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 21.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 James Jacobs (September 2007). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Apocrypha”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #359 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 44.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 63. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 48–49. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 43. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 11.13 11.14 11.15 11.16 11.17 11.18 11.19 11.20 11.21 11.22 Colin McComb, Monte Cook (July 1996). “The Dark of the War”. In Ray Vallese ed. Hellbound: The Blood War (TSR, Inc.), pp. 21–22. ISBN 0-7869-0407-0.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 28. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
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