Daemons: how are they still around?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge

K177Y C47 wrote:
For those getting confused by what the fluff and the "crunch" I would like to point out that Cthulhu, the that is supposed to be able to end planets and all sorts of other horrid things, is a CR 30...

You are thinking of Azathoth. IIRC Cthulhu is a herald or somesuch of Azathoth. Besides, That is just his Avatar.

Liberty's Edge

I take it since everyone is ignoring my earlier post, that you are all in on the yugoloth plot to make it seem that they don't exist?! I should have known!


Aspasia de Malagant wrote:
K177Y C47 wrote:
For those getting confused by what the fluff and the "crunch" I would like to point out that Cthulhu, the that is supposed to be able to end planets and all sorts of other horrid things, is a CR 30...
You are thinking of Azathoth. IIRC Cthulhu is a herald or somesuch of Azathoth. Besides, That is just his Avatar.

I was pretty certain that Cthulhu (being a great old one) is effectively a demi-god in the pathfinder mythos.

As for it being his avatar, I am pretty certain that the Cthulhu write up in Beastiary 4 is THE Cthulhu. As in, THE guy himself. Which is weird because in the write up of the Star-Spawn of Cthulhu, it says he is so massive that stats are meaningless to him.


Correct. Cthulhu is a demigod.

Contributor

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I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the speculation here. :)


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

It's the 1) The Divine Mandate, 2) Homefield Advantage, 3)River Styx, 4)a balance between not 2 or 3 but every other plane.

1) the divine mandate, from what I can gleen from a myriad of sources, prevents direct intervention on other outerplanes by semi-divine and divine sources. This prevents exceedingly powerful entities like Lamashtu from personally invading Abadon or Hell (or anywhere else for that matter) and just wiping the floor with any opposition. Lamashtu would have to use intermediaries, which helps to blunt her significant power and is always going to be less efficient.

2) Look at the write up for a Demon Lord on his/her home plane vs. another plane. The bump in power means that on your home plane you have significant advantages. A CR30 monster vs a CR30 monster PLUS 10 uses of mythic power and +10 Initiative, and a bunch of awesome spell-likes. That makes a big difference.

3) As stated above, Charon is the river styx. If you read through the description of the Abyssal realms, you quickly realize that Styx runs through ALL of them. It might be a bit of a problem attacking another plane if your enemy has the key to your back door.

4) There is a very delecate balance between not just the 3 lower planes but also between the lower and upper planes and the "middle" planes and if you try to tip the balance you will upset the balance, possibly causing significant more harm than good. Need and example? Rovagogue. When he tried to upset the balance, he ended up facing the combined might of both Good and Evil deities.


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Other points to consider.

Lamashtu's greatest enemy isn't the Horsemen, it's Pazuzu, who is a single CR 30 demon Lord. She hasn't tried to snuff him out because it's just too difficult, and doing so would be costly and leave her vulnerable to attack.

If Lamashtu can't take out an enemy she hates in more friendly territory, why would she move against four powerful demigods?

As far as Demons in general go, they have only ever united once IIRC, when Desna popped into the Abyss and took out Aolar. Even then the alliance quickly fell apart. Demons just have trouble overcoming there backstabbing tendencies with other demon lords.

Secondly, at least some demons have loose alliances with daemons. For instance, as someone pointed out above, Thanatodaemons serve in Nocticula's capital city.

Finally, one point I have not mentioned, while there are no "diety" level daemons, they have leased out parts of Abaddon to gods such as Urgathoa and Zyphus, as well as Ahriman and his Divs. It's not clear why they have done this, but a reasonable guess would infer some sort of mutual protection. So really, you would not only be potentially facing down 4 united demigods, but at least two full dieties and another demigod.


Avoiding any specific , but lets look at this from our world.... Ok so lets say everyone hates .... Canada, the odds of getting the entire rest of the world to work together on the same team against Canada are slim. Even with a common enemy, it's hard to get a solid alliance going, rallying the entire world against one country is virtually impossible. now picture that on a universal scale and it becomes even more crazy..... now picture it on a Multiversal scale and it's so unlikely it isn't even funny.

And everything else everyone mentioned.


I haven't seen the rules or stats for the Kingdoms that the Daemons have. Maybe they have better mass combat. Maybe they are good at playing the diplomacy or deception card against lesser races to keep the big boys off balance. What are the statistics for their kingdoms?

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The Oinodaemon is a gigantic bugaboo. Its nature and status are complete unknowns at this point. And the fact that the Four have this worship/hate/fear relationship with it only makes that a more poignant point of worry for those that are aware of its existence.

Charon might literally be the Styx by some interpretations, but the Fifth might literally be Abaddon itself as a conscious entity if it ever awoke. The Abyss might in some sense itself be alive, but it's alive like a paramecium reacts to stimuli, but it's reactionary, intuitive, not directed by a higher order mind. That sort of thing but fully self-aware and directed is potentially what the Four unleashed when they killed/bound/ate/loved/defiled/etc the Oinodaemon. That eclipse looming over Abaddon is a lidded eyeball.

But then again, the Oinodaemon might be deceased and scattered throughout the entirety of daemon-kind as iterations of the Four have devoured its perpetually regenerating corpse and then themselves been killed and consumed, recycled into the plane and spat back out anew.

Or the Oinodaemon might never have existed at all. It's a myth and nothing more. The daemons might have taken a page from the 'loths and pulled the wool over the collective eyes of the cosmos. What better way to convince the entirety of the multiverse that something horrific exists locked away and held in check by the Four then to deny its existence and brutally suppress any knowledge of it? There's nothing there and there never was. Too bad then if reality is shaped by belief. What happens if the lie one day becomes physically manifest?

The Oinodaemon is whatever works best for your campaigns. The exact nature of it either in the past or in the present day hasn't been established. Future sourcebooks might of course, but so far it's an open mystery without numbers.

Grand Lodge

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Considering the Book of the Damned says that the Oinodeamon pretty much IS the plane of Abaddon, that may be a really good reason why no one wants to invade the place.

Lamashtu is a god who lives in the Abyss. She isn't the actual Abyss itself. I imagine that, if she actually invaded, her first assault on Abaddon would last just about as long as it took for her to realize that the opposing god of Abaddon WAS Abaddon. Sort of like in the Alan Moore comic where the alien bounty hunter lands on a strange planet and goes looking for the unsociable Green Lantern Mogo. Best to leave before he notices and things ... escalate.

That, and there's basically no way that Hell, the Abyss, Heaven, or any other outer planar realm would:

A.) Team up with someone else to wipe out a third party, because outer planar entities of different alignments probably couldn't cooperate long enough to do that. Or,

B.) Invade Abaddon alone and risk being weakened enough for someone else to jump them. Or,

C.) Want to invade Abaddon in the first place and risk adding the unforeseen complications of a sudden planar power vacuum to their own timetable of plans.

So the "why" that I'm curious about isn't "why is Abaddon still around". I'm curious why the most powerful daemon and creator of the horseman is named "Oinodaemon".

He's the ... wine ... demon? The vine demon? I wonder if there is a rationale behind that name choice.


I always looked at it like this:

The demon princes and archdevils need the daemons, and the daemons need the demons and devils. The demons and devils utilize the daemons neutral nature, hiring them as mercenaries to fight the other side. They also need them as backup in case the celestials ever plan a mass incursion into the hells. Tatarus (the realm/plane of daemons) is also used as a staging point for the demons and devils for massive wars against each other. It is more convenient for now, that Tartarus stays in neutral hands. Neither the demons nor the devils want the plane to fall into the hands of the other. The daemons know this fact, and exploit it to their own advantage.

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Aberrant Templar wrote:


He's the ... wine ... demon? The vine demon? I wonder if there is a rationale behind that name choice.

It's a D&D throwback reference. In 1e D&D the chief daemon was Anthraxus the Oinodaemon. Oinos was the first layer of Hades. Courtesy of the OGL Tome of Horrors, the name 'The Oinodaemon' is available for reference.

Apollyon the Horseman of Pestilence himself liberally references Anthraxus in appearance and disease related powers. But other bits of Anthraxus's nature as the supreme overlord of NE fiends provided inspiration for Pathfinder's Oinodaemon.


shadowqueenMedea wrote:

I always looked at it like this:

The demon princes and archdevils need the daemons, and the daemons need the demons and devils. The demons and devils utilize the daemons neutral nature, hiring them as mercenaries to fight the other side. They also need them as backup in case the celestials ever plan a mass incursion into the hells. Tatarus (the realm/plane of daemons) is also used as a staging point for the demons and devils for massive wars against each other. It is more convenient for now, that Tartarus stays in neutral hands. Neither the demons nor the devils want the plane to fall into the hands of the other. The daemons know this fact, and exploit it to their own advantage.

I think you mistake PF's daemons for dnd 3.5's daemons. There is no demon vs devil war here and the plane the daemons live on is called Abaddon, not Tartarus.


Cuàn wrote:
shadowqueenMedea wrote:

I always looked at it like this:

The demon princes and archdevils need the daemons, and the daemons need the demons and devils. The demons and devils utilize the daemons neutral nature, hiring them as mercenaries to fight the other side. They also need them as backup in case the celestials ever plan a mass incursion into the hells. Tatarus (the realm/plane of daemons) is also used as a staging point for the demons and devils for massive wars against each other. It is more convenient for now, that Tartarus stays in neutral hands. Neither the demons nor the devils want the plane to fall into the hands of the other. The daemons know this fact, and exploit it to their own advantage.

I think you mistake PF's daemons for dnd 3.5's daemons. There is no demon vs devil war here and the plane the daemons live on is called Abaddon, not Tartarus.

Thanks for clearing that up. I had no idea they changed the mythos like that. I just switched to Pathfinder a couple months ago, so I'm not up on all the lore yet. Pathfinder has been much better than D&D so far, imo.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

And the daemons in D&D were based in Hades, the NE plane. Tartarus was the prison plane where Demodands came from.

;)

==Aelryinth


"Oinodaemon" would seem to be "wine spirit," which I would take as being Dionysius. Alternatively, it could be the Open in Name Only Daemon.


I want them to live long enough to let my players destroy the equilibrium.

Grand Lodge

Where can I read up on all this Info that is being tossed around?


The three Books of the Damned have a lot of this, if you want the background on the three major evil outsider races in Golarion


Well, this thread's certainly come a ways since my last post. I'm glad to see so much discussion.

Couple of things--I was never at any point suggesting that Heaven, Hell, and the Abyss all ally together against the daemons. My argument was that, going off the information presented, any one of those groups could likely manhandle the daemons.

If Lamashtu can't personally invade another plane, someone forgot to tell her that in the last war. She personally killed two of the Horsemen from the time, or so say the Books of the Damned. I also completely concur with the poster who said that if Asmodeus himself led an invasion with the archdevils I'm not seeing much the Four could do about it.

The notion of the Four throwing the deadman switching and loosing the Oinodaemon is a cool one, but it still has a couple of issues. For one, the Four were able to defeat the Oinodaemon themselves. If he's as powerful as some are making him out to be, than the Four themselves would almost have to be stronger than demon lords or archdevils. If they only are that strong, then he can't be powerful enough to be a deterrent on his own.

Lots of what has been said here is great fuel for campaign ideas, but I do maintain that someone didn't do the math when they created the three books.

Silver Crusade

Ish simple.

Devils - okay

Demons - cool

Daemons - badass


Joe Shmoe 741 wrote:
The thing with Pharasma is actually quite problematic too--we're supposed to buy that the Four were able to force her to open the floodgates, when they one of the weakest factions around?

Again, I was refering to the janitor bit. It's possible that, while yes, they are evil, they are the end of the universe. Meaning, they're the ones who clean up and shut everything down. They are the horsemen of the apocalypse, after all. And if they're fighting, chances are everything is. Charon telling Pharasma that isn't so much a 'We'll MAKE you do it' as it is a 'You know how the universe is going to end, and you know what role we serve'.

As others have pointed out, there are good reasons for people not to lay the smack down on daemons. Exposing weakness to other groups is one of them. The horsemen may not be as powerful as gods, but that doesn't mean they're stupid. Chances are, they can put up enough of a fight to significantly wound a group coming after them, leaving them open for other enemies. And if the horsemen are anything like demons, then they also have the homefield advantage so long as they play the defense game. Smart tactics combined with a strong defense can definately be dangerous.

Besides, daemons aren't enough of a threat yet. You've pointed out just how weak they are mathematically. If these guys are so weak, why should anyone bother to take them out? Especially when attacking them could leave you vulnerable, and the other factions are ready to tear into you? It's possible the horsemen know this, and are purposely feigning weakness.

Joe Shmoe 741 wrote:
I also completely concur with the poster who said that if Asmodeus himself led an invasion with the archdevils I'm not seeing much the Four could do about it.

They play the defense game, and the Empyreal Lords suddenly see an opportunity to rid the world of a great evil, and attack from the other side. At which point, the Demons see that the Lords are under attack, and start swinging. When they all fight, that may be the apocalypse. So, mutually assured destruction.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013

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Wish I'd gotten in on this thread from the beginning. I love me some daemons.

The reasons the daemons (old school yugoloths) abide are legion:

They are older and smarter than the other types of outsiders. The universe has had death as long as it's had life. And any other factions arise from the exchange of one to another.

The multiverse is deterministic, at least in the daemons' case. The natural ebb and flow of life/death, creation/destruction doesn't necessary feed the loop that sustains angels, devils, and demons. As long as there is death or nihilism of any kind, the forces of Abbadon gain at the least philosiphical reinforcement.

They are mercenary. At least the yugoloths were well known to craft plots for the compartmental destruction of everything. This meant the devils used the yugoloths to undermine the plots of daemons and kill them by the millions, and vice verse. They create their own job security, and are to good at their job to be fired by those who help perpetuate them.

Who says the oinodaemon and its servitors didn't craft the very conflict between good and evil; law and chaos. After all, that conflict literally has the multiverse working to murder itself.

Finally, and most importantly, daemons are cooler and thus I have decreed they are sneakier, stronger, and more awesomer. : )


I think the daemons fly under the radar because everyone else is focused on making sure Globsters don't overrun the cosmos.


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Rapthorn2ndform wrote:

HERE I PRESENT THE ULTIMATE POWER OF THE FIFTH HORSEMAN OF THE APOCALYPSE! LOOK UPON THAT WHICH ALL BEINGS, BOTH MORTAL AND GOD, FEAR ABOVE ALL!

http://funatzoo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Asked-for-a-pony.jpg

Goshdarnit I was deceived by the mention of ponies!

The Beard wrote:
Oh, and everybody gives you diseases. Lots of diseases. All of the diseases, forever.

Okay, this is where the metaphor starts to sound racist.

Shadowdweller wrote:
Even if Lamashtu is much stronger than the daemons are collectively, that doesn't necessarily mean that she has the forces to win a multi-front war. Does one imagine Lamashtu's own myriad personal enemies would kindly refrain from attacking her if she were to devote her resources to eradicating the daemons?

This reminds me of a Small World game I once played (for context, Small World is basically fantasy Risk).

See, my brother decides, "Okay, I hate these trolls, I'm just gonna wipe 'em off the face of the planet." He starts moving in, but finds that trolls' strongholds make them a pain in the ass to exterminate. And then, while he's busy there, my orcs start nabbing my his poorly-fortified land.

Trolls are an awful lot like daemons in that, most of the time, they just ain't worth it.

Actually, same goes for internet trolls.

Joe Shmoe wrote:
If Lamashtu can't personally invade another plane, someone forgot to tell her that in the last war.

Well, she can, and did, but it was stupid and she lost. Again, Abaddon is too expensive and too useful for other beings.

Joe wrote:
The notion of the Four throwing the deadman switching and loosing the Oinodaemon is a cool one, but it still has a couple of issues. For one, the Four were able to defeat the Oinodaemon themselves. If he's as powerful as some are making him out to be, than the Four themselves would almost have to be stronger than demon lords or archdevils. If they only are that strong, then he can't be powerful enough to be a deterrent on his own.

Victory isn't just a matter of "1+1+1+1=4". Odds are they tricked the Oinodaemon, perhaps employing some powerful ritual only they know.

And who said they'd turn him loose? More likely they just wouldn't be able to keep it under control if attacked. Sort of a, "Gee, I just dunno, Lammy, my carpal tunnel syndrome may kick in and I may accidentally pull the trigger if I'm, say, distracted by somethin', know what I'm saying? I'm saying get the f!%! out of my house."

You say someone didn't do the math. One goddess and her little layerfull of demons vs. an entire plane's worth of daemons + whatever pals they have lying around + any of Lamashtu's enemies that decide to annoy her back home? On their home plane? The fact that Lamashtu was even able to accomplish what she did is testament to what a freakin' badass she is, but there was no way she could win that war.

Too bad demons are kinda dumb that way.


To put things in a mathy light (I've got a midterm tomorrow), let H stand for the demons Lamashtu has to keep home, D for other demons and P for planar advantages. This is ignoring whatever allies the daemons might have lying around, as well as the financial implications of attacking the richest Lower Plane around, because I am not that good at math.

We'll use a base total of 100 daemons and, say, 75 Lamashtu demons, to be kind to Lamashtu.

100 • p + d > (75 - h) / P

Any questions?

;D

Wow, KC, That Was Totally Pointless And Didn't Explain Anything At All:
My point boils down to, "Demons may outnumber daemons, but Lamashtu's army is a fraction of the whole and probably does not."

Oh, also, as to why Pharasma would do what the daemons said - like others pointed out, it probably wasn't a matter of threats (though I wouldn't favor a lone goddess versus even the weakest of the Big Three evil realms). The daemons hold a distinguished role among their kind, being relatively impartial. I expect they much have some sort of agreement with Pharasma. Whether she's happy about it or not.

EDIT: And if Asmodeus got a lobotomy and decided to waste resources killing yugoloths daemons, sure, he would win. Except he wouldn't. He'd get his ass kicked. Because him leaving Hell so unguarded would kick off the whole cold war and before you can say "Greyhawk ripoff!" there's a big extraplanar massacre going on as angels and demons and everything else with plane shift prepared goes on a rampage mopping up whoever he left behind. More liek AsmoDUHus amiriteorwut?


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Just a thought; if we accept that the daemons are both numerically inferior and lower in power to both the demons and devils (based on the stats), there is nothing in the PF canon that would stop us assuming that the daemons have some form of magical home ground advantage that makes it incredibly difficult for anyone to invade with the intent of destroying them all. Too weak to invade others doesn't make them too weak to defend themselves.

Just look at kobolds.

Reggie


Random things -

1) If I'm understanding things right, Lamushtu invaded Abaddon back when she was "merely" a demon lord. While she was ultimately repelled, she actually captured the then-Horseman of War and took him back to the Abyss with her. Szuriel, the current Horseman of War, rose to power shortly afterwards.

2) Daemons have limited numbers by choice - they actively consume the petitioners sent their way, aggressively limiting the number that ever become daemons. Having to defend against an extraplanar invasion could result in an abatement of that tendency, allowing the daemonic numbers to rapidly repopulate.

3) Abaddon continues to get neutral evil souls because it is the rightful repository of such souls. The goblin race alone (which is generally neutral evil and pretty bad at religion, so only a portion of them actually go to Lamashtu or the Barghest Hero Gods) provides Abaddon a staggering flood of wicked souls.

4) The Great Beyond did have an amusing bit concerning souls condemned to Abaddon - that outside the gate to Abaddon wait a devil and a demon, who are allowed to contract with those souls condemmned to Abaddon. And so such a soul gets a last chance to sell itself to Hell or the Abyss for the express purpose of not going to Abaddon.

5) While Asmodeus or the now-goddess Lamashtu probably COULD conquer Abaddon, the expenditures needed to do so would be staggering, and would leave themselves vulnerable to each other, among other foes.

@Reggie - Horsemen of the Apocalypse makes clear that the Four Horsemen, with their near-absolute dominion over Abaddon, can reshape the plane as they see fit. So yeah, they have a pretty enormous home advantage.


You know, I've like most of this discussion, and a lot of the reasons kicked around have been pretty neat ideas. This conversely:

"One goddess and her little layerfull of demons vs. an entire plane's worth of daemons + whatever pals they have lying around + any of Lamashtu's enemies that decide to annoy her back home? On their home plane? The fact that Lamashtu was even able to accomplish what she did is testament to what a freakin' badass she is, but there was no way she could win that war."

Yeah, kindly don't imply that I'm too dumb to do the math myself, thanks. The section of the Book of the Damned that discusses the war never mentions the daemons involving their allies (or even if they have allies), or any of Lamashtu's enemies turning on her, or anything to that effect. It talks about Lamashtu leading a massive invasion at the head of "the hordes of the Abyss" (which sounds to me like a little more than one tiny section of the Abyss), and the daemons repelling it themselves.

In fact regarding the whole allies suggestion in general? What allies? A number of people have suggested Zyphus and Urgathoa, and I assume that's who everyone else who mentions allies means as well. The problem with that is that the third Book of the Damned explicitly states that the Horsemen's reasons for allowing those two deities to reside in Abaddon are unfathomable. They're there "because they helped us kick Lamasthu's ass" isn't unfathomable and would presumably be referenced in the sections that talk about the war. In point of fact, the book takes pains to remind us that for all that Zyphus and Urgathoa's minions sometimes cooperate with those of the Horsemen, both deities know that the Horsemen view the universe as a zero-sum game, and are therefore very choosy about helping them.

I'll reiterate that once again, I like the daemons. I think they're a cool faction, and I like using them in my games. I just think that for what the setting material says about their accomplishments to be true, the Horsemen have to be a heck of a lot more powerful than your average demon lord/archdevil/what have you. And I think that the writer's of their book made a mistake by saying that they weren't (and for that matter by saying that harbingers are only as strong as the average nascent demon lord).


I don't think it really matters there are just four Horseman, they have died many times in the past but they have always been replaced easily. To me it seems the Horsemen can be killed but their power can't so easily be stripped, it simply transfers to another who takes the mantle.

if you are looking at it like that, invading the realm and expending a lot of effort killing a horseman just isn't paying off,


Actually, do we even know IF daemons are numerically inferior to other evil outsiders? I assume. I assume that demons are probably the most numerous, if only because a single larvae can sometimes spawn multiple Demons. But the Devil advancement chart is pretty strictly regulated and controlled, and it seem likely that the population at each CR tier is much smaller than those below it.

So even though Daemons hunt there own kind, they may proportionally end up having a larger population of high CR races compared to devils.

In addition, (and this is personal opinion) most races are going to tend toward neutrality more than law or chaos. There might be a much higher percentage of souls earmarked for Abaddon than Hell or the Abyss. That would also explain the much higher attempts at recruitment of souls by Devils and demons. Daemons just don't really care, since they probably have a steady supply of souls coming there way.

And again, Lamashtu's greatest enemy is Pazuzu. If you have trouble believing Lamashtu couldn't wipe the floor with the horsemen, how do you explain Pazuzu still flying around the abyss?

Also: one last thing. The CR scale stops at CR 30, and after that it gets pretty nebulous. While Lamashtu is a pretty major god, we have no clue how powerful she is. She might only barely be more powerful than a demon lord.


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I like the idea that killing a Horseman does nothing. "Horseman" is a title -- kill one of these guys, and some sort of succession mechanism kicks in, and another daemon takes their place, becoming just as powerful. So you can defeat an individual Horseman, but all it gains you is a temporary disorganization in the ranks of the daemons.

(There's actually precedent for this, though you have to go back to 3.5 and the Savage Tide AP. At the end of it, the PCs square off against Demogorgon. If they defeat him and take over his plane of the Abyss, 30 days later one of the PCs grows a second head.)

Doug M.

Contributor

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And because I didn't say so before: Given that we're talking about daemons, and since I wrote BotD 3, I should mention that unless it also appears in print, anything I say here in this thread is just speculation and musing on my part and not canonical for Golarion*. I'm just a freelancer. :)

*though God help the PCs in my current home campaign.


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Because the cosmos of the Pathfinder setting doesn't assume that everyone always does the most expedient, direct, or pragmatic thing straight to the accomplishment of a given goal. "Why do certain dictators of tiny countries continue to exist despite being surrounded by bigger or more powerful nations who hate them?" Because of the human element. People have other concerns on their minds, other priorities. The only time everyone ever got together to beat up on a universe-ending threat was Rovagug, and he was literally trying to wipe everything out right then and there and was more than capable of it.

The daemons are playing a long game, and they're in no hurry. Afterall, everything dies eventually.

Shadow Lodge

The whole Outer Planes Cold War always looked to me to be indicative of their influences on the Material Plane:
Just like we've got solids, liquids, gases and energy with the help of the Elemental planes and their influence, so do the Outer Planes provide idealistic abstractions for moral extremes.
Good, Evil, Law, Chaos and Neutrality, as concepts, are eternally at odds and can't be killed, even when their co-terminus dimensions of solid tyranny or justice or violence grow bodies and fight each other. Either the outsiders die on their own planes and get recycled into them (as is my understanding) or die, get devoured or change sides, thus necessitating the renewable resource of mortal souls to top up their reserves.
The celestials, try as they might, would not be able to wipe out all fiends forever. Nor will devils catch every single soul in the cosmos, nor would demons be able to clear out Abaddon. If they are all just outgrowths of their home planes, and the Fifth is representative of Abaddon as a whole, wiping it and the daemons out would be tantamount to erasing pessimistic nihilism as a moral view, just as destroying Heaven would entail ending all justice as a concept forever. As a previous poster said, no matter who gains on whom, anything that results in death will let daemons count it as a win for themselves. As long as there are people who choose or become evil, for whatever reason, Abaddon will still be around. How many NE PCs have you ever fielded?

...I haven't yet, but a player I know has a tendency for all of her characters to get their souls damned (mostly to Abaddon), resulting in a GM disallowing any more evil from her.

Lastly, as they neither ride horses, nor are they men, I've always referred to them as The Riders instead. It still works.


I do wonder about the Pazuzu thing (why Lamashtu can't just squish him since she's a full goddess and he's just a demon lord).

But I think what's going on is kind of what MMCJawa suggested -- Lamashtu may not be THAT much stronger than Pazuzu or a horseman. IIRC she stole her divinity from Curchanus after setting a trap for him, so if she's as powerful as he was, then she's at a level where a demon lord with a good plan and the right circumstances could possibly take her down. So she can't just walk into Pazuzu's sanctum and stomp him.

I kind of wish we had stats, at least so we could know "Lamashtu is stronger than Iomedae, but weaker than Asmodeus or Pharasma" or whatever.


I prefer to include Planescape (+ Spelljammer; the "Golarion" sphere is just a really long way away from most, and has certain oddities to it that keep most cutters from going too near, although not so much the berks... but then, that's why they're berks), the Wheel and the Blood War for my Golarion. It has significantly more detail for me to draw on and I prefer the setting to the Great Beyond of PF. Adjustments tend to be minor, and it imbues more balance to the LE, NE and CE factions.

Granted, this doesn't work for those running Great Beyond.

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Lamashtu may not be THAT much stronger than Pazuzu or a horseman. IIRC she stole her divinity from Curchanus after setting a trap for him

She absorbed his portfolio of beasts, IIRC, and in doing so (and ascending) warped/changed it because of her different attitude, so it had knock-on effects for that portfolio everywhere. I don't know if that means she absorbed all his power (some may just have been lost - it doesn't have to be a 100% transfer).

I think an older god is generally stronger than a younger one, though.

Shadow Lodge

There's also a notable difference between an entities sheer personal power, and the amount of power and influence they actually wield.

Iomedae is a full god, and one of the "big 20" in the Inner Sea Region. However, her influence doesn't really extend much back that area...she's relatively unknown even on other continents, much less in the multiverse at large.

Compare her to the Four Horsemen. They might just be demigods (although the Oinodaemon's status and power level is extremely vague...it might be a god...it might be BEYOND a god)...but their power and influence vastly VASTLY exceeds that of Iomedae. Where she is really only majorly known on one paltry orb in the Material Plane, the Horsement are known multiverse-wide.


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Based on her post-goddesshood deeds - which includes, among other things, tearing the region of Basalfeyst out of Hell and attaching it to her Abyssal realm - Lamashtu's pretty damn strong as deity.

The various true deities are generally within the samne weight class, with the power levels only being a matter for degrees. Rovagug is the notable and significant exception.

I think the lesson to draw from Curchanas's death isn't that Curchanas was weak, but that any true deity, for all its power staggering power (Lamashtu could create a CR 25 nascent demon lord in the time it's taken me to write this post), is still vulnerable if it gets sloppy.

Perhaps part of why the good-aligned deities got mad at Desna for her Abyssal foray had less to do with her possibly uniting the Abyss (as that would've been bad but probably temporary), and more to do with the possibility that Desna could've died if the demon lord had been ready for her.

Fortunately, the demon lord Desna went after got caught flat-footed and was promptly exploded. Nocticula or Pazuzu would've been another matter, I think. The multiverse where Nocticula is the demon goddess of dreams or Pazuzu is the demon god of stars would not be a happy place.

The demon lord Lamashtu defeated a Horseman of War and did staggering damage to Abaddon, leaving a stretch that even the daemons have to treat as no-man's land. Szuriel rose to power after that. Presumably the Four Horseman, or at least Szuriel, have been preparing for facing a real divinity ever since. Heh. Now I'm inclined to say that while Szuriel might be preparing, Charon isn't preparing. Charon's ready.

The next great power to invade Abaddon does so at its own risk.

Shadow Lodge

Joe Shmoe 741 wrote:
For one, the Four were able to defeat the Oinodaemon themselves.

Is that a concrete fact, or is it merely theory?


Joe Shmoe 741 wrote:

Yeah, kindly don't imply that I'm too dumb to do the math myself, thanks.

Well, this got contentious fast. I apologize; I wasn't attempting to imply any such thing.

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The section of the Book of the Damned that discusses the war never mentions the daemons involving their allies (or even if they have allies), or any of Lamashtu's enemies turning on her, or anything to that effect. It talks about Lamashtu leading a massive invasion at the head of "the hordes of the Abyss" (which sounds to me like a little more than one tiny section of the Abyss), and the daemons repelling it themselves.

That doesn't mean the allies and enemies didn't get involved.

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In fact regarding the whole allies suggestion in general? What allies?

The daemons are pretty rich. I'm thinking they could get some folk involved--night hags, cambions, that sorta thing.

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I'll reiterate that once again, I like the daemons. I think they're a cool faction, and I like using them in my games. I just think that for what the setting material says about their accomplishments to be true, the Horsemen have to be a heck of a lot more powerful than your average demon lord/archdevil/what have you. And I think that the writer's of their book made a mistake by saying that they weren't (and for that matter by saying that harbingers are only as strong as the average nascent demon lord).

I think your answer's been brought up several times, actually. The daemons are very well-fortified and very rich, making it impractical to wage a long-term war against them. What more reason do we need?

Contributor

Kthulhu wrote:
Joe Shmoe 741 wrote:
For one, the Four were able to defeat the Oinodaemon themselves.
Is that a concrete fact, or is it merely theory?

How the Four accomplished their binding of the Oinodaemon isn't ever defined in explicit terms, just the after-effects of it.

I think that it's implied that the Four did it as a conspiracy of only themselves, without outside help, but canonically it's not addressed.

Shadow Lodge

Is it even definitive that the Oinodaemon is in fact bound? Or is it possible that it just doesn't stoop to interact with any others than the Four Horsemen?

Dark Archive

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[tangent]I always liked the title Oinodaemon *because* of the association with wine. An entity fueled by the self-destruction of mortal life, linked to a common drink, created from the decay and corruption of edible fruits (which lose much of their 'food' value in the process, making the creation of these drinks, and the destruction of foodstuffs, in a world where others die of hunger, an act of great callousness), that ravages the health of the drinker and erodes their self-control and sense of self-worth, making them more beast than man, and eventually leads to their death, and yet is sought after and consumed willingly, even by those who are fully aware of its destructive potential, making every scented cup a small act of surrender, a step in a long road to self-ruin and suicide. At it's worst (and the daemons don't care for anything but the worst!), wine is a toxic byproduct of organic death and decay, that inevitably leads to moral and spiritual and physical corruption and degeneration of the drinker. What wouldn't a daemon, a creature that profits by the erosion and destruction and slow consumption of mortal souls, not love about wine and strong drink?

As for how the Four beat the Oinodaemon, he was probably pretty deep in his cups at the time...[/tangent]


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If Elvanna and Rasputin can trap CR 30 Baba Yaga, I don't see a reason why the Horsemen couldn't trap the Oinodaemon, or take on more powerful gods with planning and subterfuge.

Liberty's Edge

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Why are the Four Horsemen and the Daemons still around?

For the same reason Communist Vietnam is still around even after being involved in head-to-head conflicts against France and the United States, and a massive invasion by China, all while being a smaller, less well-equipped power.

Simply put: Experienced, battle-hardened soldiers; extremely well-developed and flexible guerilla fighting techniques; use of shocking and demoralizing surprise tactics; intimate knowledge of the lay of the terrain; possession of a ruthless resolve to combat and destroy any and all invaders; and a terrain in which it is an absolute nightmare to engage in close-quarters combat.

Just as in Vietnam, in a campaign against Daemons, you may win every single battle, but end up losing the war to ghastly and costly attrition.


I don't know if "battle-hardened" applies to daemons (given they do have fewer high-level entities), but the rest certainly works. And if you interpret "battle-hardened" as "experienced" (rather than translating it into fantasy terms as "powerful"), that works fairly well, too.


With the logic that they are weaker and so should be extinct it would also be logical than the entire fantasy monster-world should be extinct on Golarion because nothing, nothing can stand against chainguns and lasers, so the entire worlds would already be extinct and only robots and advanced humans should be there as everything perishes before their eyes cuz they don't make a chance against guns.

So I don't think Daemons should be extinct at all, not more than any other race at least.


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Another thought: balance. The universe is filled with creatures that represent certain ideals. The daemons are but one of those races. They're a known quantity. If everyone went out and exterminated them, well, then something new and worse might pop up in Abaddon instead. What's worse than the daemons? No one wants to know.

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