“There is a danger in thinking that Demons are easier to understand than angels. At first glance, this may seem true. They have emotions, much as we do, while Angels just seem to follow an alien set of laws. However, these laws are what make Angels safer and more predictable. You never know what a Demon will do next, and with the kind of power these things are capable of throwing around, that's never a good thing.”
Extract from summoning safety briefing, delivered to new members at the Slough Institute of Magical Sciences.
Demons are one part of the race of Celestials which inhabit the realm known as Aether, and appear to be a counterpart race to the Angels, to whom they appear to be opposed in all matters. As with the Angels, they have been featured in human folklore and legends for further back than records go. While humanity does not know much about demons as a whole, the mythology surrounding them paints some as cunning and deceptive, with others being brash and unruly. In either case, they are rarely predictable.
Appearance wise, demons vary greatly. While most are capable of taking humanoid forms, they may just as readily appear as something utterly monstrous or alien. While most have preferred forms they use, they seem to have a great deal of freedom in the shapes they can take.
As with all Celestials, Demons possess magic far greater than any human could hope to attain on their own. Most demons are capable of possessing humans and animals, taking temporary control and acting through them. More cooperative Demons have been known to offer their services or teaching to those with something to offer, but the general consensus is that such deals are rarely worth it in the long run, and should be entered into only with extreme caution and as a last resort.
What little experienced witches have gleaned from the few Demons willing to talk with them gives little to no indication that Demons have any form of societal structure. In fact, they have been known to hold established societal rules and traditions in contempt. While some have spoken of personal ties to others, either as companions, superiors or underlings, these ties seem to be formed on the whims of the Demons involved, rather than any established order.
Two things the Demons do tend to respect are usefulness and strength. Not just strength of body, but of will and character. They don't seem to care for concepts such as good and evil, but in simply being true to one's own nature. They have been known to at least temporarily ally with humans whom they either respect or have something to gain from, but will just as readily exploit any perceived weakness.
These traits have led to somewhat conflicted views on the nature of Demons, from free spirits who cast off the chains of oppression, to self-absorbed, anarchistic monsters who want nothing more than to see life as we know it burn. What we do know for certain is that they have an almost universal antipathy towards Angels, and put a great deal of stock in magical knowledge. Beyond that, their motivations are largely unknown.
Summoning Demons requires some form of sacrifice, with different sacrifices calling on different Demons. Summoning without knowing which Demon your sacrifice will likely attract is possible, but can lead to uncertain results, which is inadvisable, to say the least. What follows is a list of well-known demons, what is known about them, and, in the cases where it is known, recommended offerings to summon them.
[OC: If your character knows a summoning ritual, they can attempt to summon demons for which they know what kind of offering would be suitable. The likelihood of succeeding increases with the suitability of the offering, but success is rarely certain.]
“Throw more imps at it, they said. That will fix the problem, they said. There's no way this could get worse.”
“What did you just call me?”
Not an individual Demon, but rather a class of them, and the lowest class at that. Lesser Demons are fairly unintelligent, in most regards, but can be surprisingly cunning. They are also physically stronger than humans and most know at least a degree of Celestial magic. They make good temporary workers, but individual pride tends to stop large groups from working together without something higher up the food chain to keep them in line.
While potentially very useful, the random nature of summoning Lesser Demons can lead to mistakes if not careful. Some have been known to refer to Lesser Demons by the derogatory term “Imp.” These people are no longer with us.
Sacrifice Required: Witches rarely record the sacrifices for individual Imps, but low quality, easy to obtain sacrifices usually results in the summoning of Lesser Demons. Usually.
Of the higher tier demons, Seir is one of the safer Demons to summon. Even tempered and usually appearing in the form of a human with eagle's wings, Seir is often mistaken for an angel by those not in the know. Seir's known abilities tend to revolve around athletics and exploration.
Sacrifice Required: Seir responds best to sacrifices associated with exceptional feats of exploration or non-violent physical accomplishments.
This demon is one to watch, and also completely forbidden to summon. Shax specialises in thievery and deception. They often take the form of various animals, but they are far from the only demon to do so, making identifying Shax extremely difficult. Any further information is restricted.
Sacrifice Required: [You do not have permission to view this information.]
A mid-tier demon with big ambitions. Valefar seems to enjoy cultivating relationships with humans, responding well to summons and occasionally offering, um, interesting deals to those who gain favour. Valefar typically integrates leonine or equine characteristics into their appearance, together with a putrefaction motif that some summoners find rather distracting.
Sacrifice required: Anything strongly associated with power. Dangerous things. Inadvisable electrical arrays.
Why there would be need for demonic administrator warriors, nobody knows, but Kimaris is one of the best. While some have made use of the Demon's skills in administration, Kimaris is included here less for their potential usefulness, and more for the curiosity of their existence. What possible need could Demons have for cultivating this particular combination of skills?
Sacrifice Required: Money. The more obscure, rare and ancient, the better. Kimaris has occasionally responded well to certain books and scrolls, but this method is very hit and miss, and has been known to cause offence.
Muriel was cornered in a hardware shop in Norwich with their allies the Norwich University Light Entertainment Society. The fight which ensued levelled three buildings and destroyed an angel.
Muriel likes drama, spectacle and heightened emotion.
Nobody knows who or what this thing is, but it’s known as the bane of summoners everywhere. This is one of the single most summoned demons on record, always accidentally. If a summoning goes wrong, there’s a not insignificant chance that this is what’s coming through. A combination of survivors’ accounts and video recordings paint a grizzly picture of a many-limbed, hulking figure with no interest in humans beyond slaughter.
Things you should know if you encounter this Demon:
Sacrifice Required: Nobody knows. This thing has responded to all manner of summons and offerings, but has never been known to respond positively to them. Nobody ever deliberately summons this one. Why would you want to?
A name most are familiar with, at least in passing, Lucifer is spoke of in reverence by a number of Demons. Sometimes called “The First Demon,” Whether or not Lucifer actually is a Demon, an Angel something else entirely, or even exists at all, is currently unknown.