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, Sifkesh

This gaunt woman has blood-soaked hair, eyes and lips stitched shut with wire, and severed limbs that float nearby as if they were still attached.

Sifkesh CR 28

Source Pathfinder #75: Demon's Heresy pg. 86
XP 4,915,200
CE Medium outsider (chaotic, demon, evil, extraplanar)
Init +12; Senses darkvision 60 ft., detect good, detect law, true seeing; Perception +51
Aura frightful presence (120 ft., DC 38), unholy aura (20 ft., DC 31)

Defense

AC 49, touch 43, flat-footed 36 (+4 deflection, +12 Dex, +1 dodge, +6 natural, +16 profane)
hp 666 (31d10+496); regeneration 30 (deific or mythic)
Fort +30, Ref +33, Will +30
Defensive Abilities critical healing, freedom of movement, heretical; DR 20/cold iron, epic, and good; Immune ability damage and drain, bleed, charm and compulsion effects, death effects, electricity, energy drain, petrification, poison, slashing weapons; Resist acid 30, cold 30, fire 30; SR 39

Offense

Speed 30 ft., fly 120 ft. (perfect)
Melee +5 unholy speed war razor +47/+42/+37/+32 (1d4+27/19–20), claw +42 (4d6+27/19–20 plus 1d4 Cha drain)
Space 5 ft., Reach 30 ft.
Special Attacks Charisma drain, despairing cry, precise cuts, suicide
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 28th; concentration +41)
Constant—detect good, detect law, freedom of movement, true seeing, unholy aura
At will—astral projection, blasphemy (DC 30), crushing despair (DC 27), desecrate, greater dispel magic, greater teleport, telekinesis (DC 28), shapechange, suggestion (DC 26), unhallow, unholy blight (DC 27)
3/day—demand (DC 31), quickened dominate person (DC 28), quickened suggestion (DC 26), summon demons, symbol of strifeUM (DC 32)
1/day—sympathy (DC 31), time stop, weird (DC 32)

Statistics

Str 32, Dex 35, Con 42, Int 33, Wis 29, Cha 36
Base Atk +31; CMB +42; CMD 85 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Craft Construct, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Wondrous Item, Critical Focus, Dodge, Improved Critical (war razor), Improved Critical (claw), Mobility, Power Attack, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (dominate person, suggestion), Spring Attack, Staggering Critical, Whirlwind Attack
Skills Acrobatics +46, Bluff +47, Diplomacy +47, Fly +54, Intimidate +44, Knowledge (arcana) +42, Knowledge (engineering) +42, Knowledge (history) +42, Knowledge (local) +42, Knowledge (nobility) +45, Knowledge (planes) +45, Knowledge (religion) +42, Perception +51, Sense Motive +43, Spellcraft +45, Stealth +46, Use Magic Device +44; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception
Languages Abyssal (can’t speak), Celestial (can’t speak), Common (can’t speak); telepathy 300 ft.
SQ demon lord traits, detached limbs

Ecology

Environment any (Abyss)
Organization solitary (unique)
Treasure triple (+5 unholy speed war razor, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Charisma Drain (Su) Sifkesh’s claw leaves hideous scars that resist healing even via magic; these scars manifest as Charisma drain. The more scars a victim gains in this manner, the more despondent and depressed its personality grows. A creature whose Charisma score is drained to 3 or lower by this attack automatically fails any Will save against any spell-like ability or supernatural attack made by Sifkesh. A successful DC 41 Will save resists the Charisma drain inflicted by this attack, and instead causes the victim to be sickened for 1 round. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Critical Healing (Ex) Critical hits cause Sifkesh to experience a sudden rush of energy and healing. Any additional damage dealt to Sifkesh by a critical hit actually heals her of that amount of damage rather than harming her. This damage applies simultaneously to the attack’s normal damage, and can prevent her from being slain if the damage from the normal attack would otherwise have been enough to kill her. Sifkesh takes no damage at all (but neither does she gain healing) from critical hits she or her allies deal to her—only attempts to actually damage her can heal her in this way. Whenever Sifkesh is healed of any damage in this manner, she becomes hasted for 1 round. Sifkesh takes normal damage from sneak attacks and other precision-based damage.

Despairing Cry (Su) Once every 1d4 rounds as a swift action, Sifkesh can unleash a soul-rending mournful scream that affects all creatures in a 60-foot-radius spread. A creature in this area must attempt a successful DC 38 Will save or be overcome by suicidal despair—on a successful save, a creature is merely sickened for 1d4 rounds. A creature fully affected by this special attack takes a –6 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, ability checks, skill checks, and weapon damage rolls, and cannot gain the benefit of any morale bonus for 24 hours. A creature that is normally immune to fear loses that ability while under the effects of despairing cry, and can be ordered to take obviously suicidal acts while under the influence of effects like charm person, dominate person, and suggestion. The effects of multiple despairing cries do not stack. This is a mindaffecting sonic curse effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Detached Limbs (Su) Sifkesh’s arms, legs, and head are not physically attached to her torso. Instead, they float in approximately the positions they would normally take up, but never quite perfectly aligned. She is immune to any effect that severs limbs or her head. In addition, when she attacks, her limbs can move with surprising speed, effectively granting her exceptional reach for a Medium creature.

Heretical (Ex) Sifkesh’s heretical persona protects her from servants of faith. Against any spell cast by a divine spellcaster, her Spell Resistance increases to 41, and she gains a +2 bonus on all saving throws against such spells. A divine spellcaster who willingly touches Sifkesh must succeed at a DC 38 Will save or be nauseated for 1d4 rounds. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Immune to Edged Weapons (Ex) Sifkesh is immune to all forms of slashing damage and bleed effects.

Precise Cuts (Ex) Sifkesh deals an amount of additional damage equal to her Intelligence bonus on any successful attack that deals slashing damage.

Suicide (Su) Once per day as an immediate action, Sifkesh can drop her defenses when attacked by a foe. She is treated as flat-footed for this attack, loses her profane bonus to her AC and spell resistance, and automatically fails any saving throws against that attack. If this attack kills her, she immediately utters her despairing cry (even if she’s already used it within the previous 1d4 rounds). Any creatures affected by this particular despairing cry are also stunned for 1d4 rounds. One round after she commits suicide, Sifkesh automatically comes back to life, as if affected by true resurrection.

Description

Sifkesh, the Sacred Whore, is the demon lord of suicide, heresy, and hopeless despair. She rules the Abyssal realm of Vantian, the legendary City of Open Windows. The city itself is constantly destroying itself, as its buildings continually plummet into the churning surf along an eternally crumbling coastline.

Sifkesh is among the most enigmatic of all demon lords, for she seems more diabolic or even daemonic in her personality and appearance. Planar scholars have long struggled to interpret the demon lord’s position and power. The belief that Sif kesh rose from the animus of a heretical erinyes who became the first of Hell’s heretics is correct, and she constantly works to seduce and lure additional powerful devils from their infernal roles, inviting some to join her as favored minions but leaving others in place so they can more easily work to subvert Hell’s machinations.

Sifkesh’s Cult

Sifkesh is worshiped by blasphemers, heretics, outcasts from other religions, and survivors of botched suicide attempts. Her faithful are relatively solitary individuals, and there isn’t a strong element of group worship of the demon lord—her cults tend to be small and often amount to only a single worshiper who might employ or rule his own group of minions or followers who don’t actually serve the Sacred Whore. Worship of Sifkesh is a deeply personal and secretive thing, and many of her followers publicly belong to other religions, worshiping the demon lord of heresy in secret as they work to undermine the faith their allies and companions believe them to have. Holy sites to Sifkesh include desecrated churches, haunted houses, and towers with too many windows—nearly always, such temples and shrines to Sifkesh are empty and abandoned. The lone worshiper might share the site with other creatures such as predators or undead, and may even rely upon the presence of such creatures as convenient protection and defense against the enemy.

Sifkesh’s unholy symbol is a pair of feminine hands crossed at slashed wrists. Her favored weapon is the war razor (The Inner Sea World Guide 290–291). She grants access to the domains of Chaos, Evil, Madness, and Trickery, and to the subdomains of Deception, Demon, Loss, and Nightmare (even though she normally wouldn’t be able to grant access to the subdomain of Loss, she can do so due to her close associations with despair and hopelessness).