Archives of Nethys

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Demon Lord

Source Bestiary 4 pg. 45
The mightiest of all demons are the demon lords of the Abyss, inf luential entities of chaos and evil and powerful demigods who each rule vast realms of horror and vice. Each demon lord is a unique creature, a paragon of sin that exists only to further its own desires. The genesis of demon lords varies. The majority of them rise from lesser demons who have transformed into powerful entities (this was how Pazuzu became a demon lord). In rare cases, a demon lord transitions directly from being a powerful, sinful mortal into the role of demon lord (as is the case with Kostchtchie), or from a qlippoth into a demon lord as a result of unknowable influences in the Abyss (as is the case with Dagon).

When a demon gathers enough power, whether by gaining class levels, advancing in Hit Dice, gaining many mythic tiers or ranks, undertaking a vile ritual, or simply amassing a sufficiently large and devoted following, it becomes what is known as a nascent demon lord. It may remain a nascent lord indefinitely, but usually seeks to complete its transformation into a full-f ledged demon lord. In order to do so, the nascent lord must build a cult among mortals, but more importantly it must claim and control a large enough Abyssal realm that the plane itself takes notice and elevates the nascent lord to the power level of a demon lord. In a few cases, demon lords have been known to ascend to the status of full deities. While there are likely thousands of nascent demon lords in existence at any one time in the Abyss, the number of fullf ledged demon lords is more limited—known examples of demon lords number in the dozens.

The phrase “demon lord” is gender neutral—there are male, female, and genderless demon lords, as well as demon lords with multiple genders.

A demon lord may be contacted via commune, and can be conjured via a gate spell, but when so called, a demon lord is under no compulsion to come through the gate. Typically, a demon lord requires an enormous and significant offering or sacrifice before it deigns to answer a gate spell.

Abyssal Realms

Demon lords’ realms range in size, but even the smallest are as large as a continent, and the greatest are larger than some planets. The realms’ environments, themes, and traits are as unique as the demon lords themselves, presenting unusual challenges and dangers to creatures trying to explore them. Yet despite the close connection a demon lord has to its realm, it does not exert total control over the realm, and powerful adventurers can infiltrate such realms and accomplish goals without arousing the lord’s anger—if they’re careful.

A demon lord gains the following additional powers while in its realm (the statistics presented on the following pages do not include these abilities):
  • Mythic: A demon lord functions as a 10th mythic rank creature, including the mythic power ability (10/day, surge +1d12). It may expend uses of mythic power to use the mythic versions of any spell-like ability denoted with an asterisk (*) just as if the ability were a mythic spell.
  • Use of the following spell-like abilities at will—demand, discern location, fabricate, major creation, and polymorph any object (when used on objects or creatures that are native to the realm, the polymorph duration factor increases by 6).
  • Use of the following spell-like abilities once per day—binding, miracle (limited to physical effects that manipulate the realm or to effects that are relevant to the demon lord’s areas of concern)
  • Heightened Awareness (Ex): A demon lord gains a +10 insight bonus on Perception checks and Initiative checks.

Demon Lords in a Campaign

Each demon lord is a unique creature ranging in power from CR 26 to CR 30. Demon lords are generally beyond the reach of most mortal heroes, and should not be placed in an adventure without careful consideration. In most cases, they are best used as the final enemies of long campaigns—especially campaigns in which the PCs themselves are mythic characters—and even getting an audience with one should be a memorable event.

Yet even if demon lords are far outside the abilities of most heroes to combat directly, they can still be used as foes in campaigns of all levels, inspiring or directing monsters, mortals, and entire cults. Opposing and defeating a cult is a time-honored plotline for a campaign, and a climactic encounter where the PCs must close a portal before the cult’s demon lord manifests in the flesh can make an exciting capstone to a longrunning campaign, especially if the demon lord in question appears for a round or 2 to fight the PCs before the closing of the portal forces it back to the Abyss. Alternatively, rather than having the PCs face the demon lord at full power, you can build a campaign where the PCs systematically undermine and destroy a demon lord’s resources, imposing increasing penalties on it and gathering potent weapons so that when the time comes for the final confrontation, the PCs are powerful and the demon lord is weakened to a state below its normal CR. An easy way to model weakening a demon in this manner is to assign negative levels to the demon—normally, a demon lord is immune to level drain, but in this case, the reduction of its resources and sources of power can bypass that immunity for a time... at least, until the demon lord can rebuild and recover.

Creatures in "Demon Lord" Category

NameCR
Baphomet27
Dagon28
Deskari29
Kostchtchie26
Nocticula30
Pazuzu30
Shax28
Sifkesh28
Xoveron27

Demon Lord, Shax

This stork-headed, winged humanoid is spattered with blood and wields a pair of gory, razor-sharp daggers in his dripping hands.

Shax CR 28

Source Pathfinder #74: Sword of Valor pg. 84
XP 4,915,200
CE Medium outsider (chaotic, demon, evil, extraplanar)
Init +18; Senses darkvision 60 ft., detect good, detect law, true seeing; Perception +54
Aura bleeding wounds (30 ft.), frightful presence (120 ft., DC 36), unholy aura (DC 28)

Defense

AC 46, touch 38, flat-footed 32 (+14 Dex, +8 natural, +14 profane)
hp 676 (33d10+495); regeneration 30 (deific or mythic)
Fort +26, Ref +32, Will +28
Defensive Abilities absorb blood, Abyssal resurrection, freedom of movement; DR 20/cold iron, epic, and good; Immune ability damage and drain, bleed, charm and compulsion effects, death effects, electricity, energy drain, poison, petrification; Resist acid 30, cold 30, fire 30; SR 39

Offense

Speed 50 ft.
Melee +5 unholy dagger +46/+41/+36/+31 (1d4+15/17–20), +5 unholy dagger +46/+41/+36/+31 (1d4+15/17–20), bite +38 (1d6+5)
Ranged thrown surgical tool +47/+42/+37/+32 (1d6+10)
Special Attacks command blood, frightful weapon prowess, painful cuts, sneak attack +5d6
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 28th; concentration +38)
Constant—detect good, detect law, freedom of movement, true seeing, unholy aura
At will—astral projection, blasphemy (DC 27), blood biographyAPG (DC 23), desecrate, greater dispel magic, greater teleport, telekinesis (DC 25), shapechange, spiritual weapon, unhallow, unholy blight (DC 24)
3/day—blade barrier (DC 26), mage’s sword, summon demons, symbol of pain (DC 25)
1/day—finger of death (DC 27), time stop, weird (DC 29)

Statistics

Str 30, Dex 39, Con 40, Int 30, Wis 31, Cha 31
Base Atk +33; CMB +43 (+47 disarm); CMD 81
Feats Blinding Critical, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Critical Focus, Double Slice, Greater Disarm, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Critical (dagger), Improved Disarm, Improved Initiative, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Improvised Weapon Mastery, Quick Draw, Throw Anything, Two-Weapon Fighting, Two-Weapon Rend
Skills Acrobatics +50, Bluff +46, Craft (alchemy) +46, Disable Device +50, Fly +47, Heal +43, Intimidate +46, Knowledge (arcana) +43, Knowledge (engineering) +21, Knowledge (planes) +46, Knowledge (religion) +43, Perception +54, Sense Motive +46, Sleight of Hand +47, Spellcraft +43, Stealth +50, Use Magic Device +46; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Draconic; telepathy 300 ft.
SQ master of lies

Ecology

Environment any (Abyss)
Organization solitary (unique)
Treasure triple (2 +5 unholy daggers, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Absorb Blood (Su) If a creature dies while under the effects of Shax’s ability to command blood, all of the victim’s blood slithers out of its body and moves at a speed of 60 feet toward Shax. If the slithering blood reaches Shax, it flows up onto his body and is absorbed, affecting Shax as a heal spell (CL 28th). A slithering pool of blood can be destroyed by any amount of fire damage applied to it before it reaches its goal, or by the application of an effect that transmutes liquid to something other than blood.

Aura of Bleeding Wounds (Su) Whenever a creature takes piercing or slashing damage within 30 feet of Shax, it takes an additional 1d6 points of bleed damage. This bleed damage stacks with itself, up to a maximum of 10d6 points. As a free action, Shax may designate any number of creatures within the aura to be exempt from this effect.

Command Blood (Su) As a swift action, Shax can command the blood of any creature that is currently suffering from bleed damage to do his bidding. The target must be within 60 feet of Shax for him to use this ability. The target can resist this ability with a successful DC 36 Fortitude save. If the target fails the save, Shax can command the victim’s blood to behave in one of the manners listed below. Once commanded, the blood continues to function in this way for as long as the victim continues to bleed. Shax can change the effect in a subsequent round by using this ability again, but no more than one of the following effects can be in effect at any one time. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Blinding Blood: The victim’s blood runs up into its eyes and blinds it at the start of its turn unless the victim takes a move action to wipe away the blood. Once a victim is blinded in this way, it remains blinded as long as the bleed effect continues.

Bloody Mess: The victim’s blood spreads out across its body, making it slippery. This grants a +10 circumstance bonus on Escape Artist checks and all attempts to resist being grappled, but the victim must succeed at a DC 36 Reflex save at the start of each round or drop objects it holds. These effects last as long as the bleed effect continues.

Choking Blood: The target’s blood runs up into its nostrils and mouth unless the creature uses a free hand to pinch its nose shut and holds its breath. If the target doesn’t do so, the blood runs into its lungs and the creature must succeed at a Constitution check each round or it begins to drown. Once a victim begins to drown, it continues to do so as long as the bleed effect persists.

Gruesome Tendrils: This effect automatically ends any bleed effects the victim is currently suffering as it causes the blood coating the victim to solidify into thin, whiplike tendrils that lash out at any creature within 5 feet. Any creature that begins its turn in this area automatically takes 1d6 points of slashing damage and 1d6 points of bleed damage; a successful DC 36 Reflex save prevents this damage.

Frightful Weapon Prowess (Ex) When an opponent observes Shax’s attacks, the frightening display of the demon lord’s grace makes the victim take additional damage from those attacks, as if simply imagining the damage were enough to cause injury. Shax gains a profane bonus equal to his Charisma modifier on damage rolls (+10 damage) with all weapon attacks and ranged attacks made against a victim who can observe him. This damage is negated if the victim closes its eyes, but doing so puts the opponent in greater danger from Shax’s sneak attacks. This is a visual fear effect.

Master of Lies (Ex) Shax is immune to any magical effect that discerns lies or forces him to speak the truth.

Painful Cuts (Ex) Whenever Shax threatens a critical hit with a slashing weapon, the victim must succeed at a DC 36 Fortitude save or be staggered by the pain for 1 round. If the hit was a critical hit, the staggered effect lasts for 1d4 rounds on a failed saving throw. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Description

Shax is the demon lord of envy, lies, and—above all else—murder. He rules an Abyssal realm known as Charnelhome, an immense mansion the size of a city perched atop a slanted bluff surrounded by a bog of thorny, blood-drinking plants. He is fond of inviting his captured enemies as well as his greatest worshipers into the chambers of this building, for those who survive his deathtraps often serve as lessons as to how he can improve his methods of mayhem.

Shax is particularly skilled at blinding foes with critical hits—when he does so, he likes to pluck the eyes from his victim’s face as part of the attack and swiftly gobble them down whole. He can hurl the countless surgical tools he carries on his body as deadly weapons, but prefers to slaughter foes in melee.

Shax’s Cult

Babaus, chokers, derros, drow, evil nobles, serial killers, and torturers worship Shax by inf licting grisly torments on other conscious and living souls. The subjects of these tortures aren’t always unwilling or innocent victims, although his cultists prefer tormenting enemies of the faith over allies or members. The cult’s holy places are narrow alleyways in violent parts of large cities, hidden rooms in grand estates, and secret dungeons filled with deathtraps and torture chambers. These unholy temples are often guarded by fiendish animals (particularly large, predatory birds) and shadow demons, but are usually watched over by a number of babau demons as well. Enhanced versions of these demons, called the Sons of Shax, and can be found serving his greatest cults (Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Demons Revisited 7).

Shax’s unholy symbol is a curved white feather sitting in a pool of blood. His favored weapon is the dagger. He grants access to the domains of Chaos, Destruction, Evil, and Nobility, and to the subdomains of Demon, Leadership, Martyr, and Rage. For more rules about demon lords, including the full rules of Shax’s Abyssal resurrection and summon demons abilities, see Pathfinder Adventure Path #73 page 81 or Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 4.