Archives of Nethys

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Qlippoth

Source Bestiary 2 pg. 218
Before the Abyss was taught how to process and transform larvae into demons—indeed, before larvae even existed or the idea of mortal life had been conceived—it was rife with foul life. These creatures exist still, yet in drastically reduced numbers and often only in the deepest pits of the plane. Known as the qlippoth (the singular and plural are identical), these fiends may well be the oldest form of life in the Great Beyond—certainly, they were already in existence before the proteans discovered them. Some believe that the qlippoth come from an unknowable realm on what might be described as the “outside shell” of the Outer Sphere, but if the qlippoth are to be taken as indicative of what order of existence rules in such a realm, it is a good thing indeed that this outer realm is so impossibly distant.

The qlippoth do not possess in their forms anything approximating the human shape except by cosmic fluke or sinister mockery. In their twitching, squirming visages, the mad might make comparisons to life’s most primeval shapes—spiders and cephalopods, insects and worms, and even baser forms of life. What this might imply about these lower forms of life has disturbed philosophers for ages, and is not a train of thought that many enjoy lingering upon.

Since the rise of mortal sin, the rule of the Abyss has passed from the qlippoth to the much more fecund demons. When the Abyss first “learned” how to transform mortal souls into demons, the resulting explosion of demonic life culminated in a violent and destructive war with the then-rulers of the Abyss—the qlippoth. For unguessed millennia this war raged across the countless layers of the Abyss. The qlippoth had the advantage of knowing their ancient realm and, as a general rule, were individually more powerful than most demons, but the demons had numbers on their side. And as the demons continued to win battle after battle, new powers among their kind rose—balors, balor lords, nascent demon lords, and eventually demon lords themselves. Over time, the qlippoth were hunted nearly to extinction on the upper layers of the Abyss, and were forced to retreat deep into that realm’s darkest and most remote realms, to places even the demons feared to tread.

Here, the qlippoth have festered and lurked for ages. None can say how many qlippoth survived that ancient war, for none can know how deep the Abyss goes. The qlippoth dwell in these darkest pits, periodically emerging to do battle against their hated demonic foes, yet their wrath is not limited to the demonic host. The qlippoth know that daemons played a role in “teaching” the Abyss how to birth demonic life, and their war with the denizens of Abaddon is one fueled more by a driving need to punish than any need for survival. Yet as the eons have worn on, the qlippoth have come to realize that the true enemy is not a fiendish race—it is mortal life itself. For as long as mortal life continues to sin and die, the Abyss can continue to birth demons into its pits and rifts. The destruction of sin, by changing the way mortals live, would halt demonic growth, yet the qlippoth have no concept of how this goal might be achieved—to the qlippoth, only the murder of all mortality can suffice.

As a result, all qlippoth possess within their minds a burning hatred of mortal life, particularly humanoids, whom they know to be the primary seeds of sin. When a qlippoth is conjured to the Material Plane, it seeks any way to escape control in order to maul and destroy humans—they have a particular hatred of children and pregnant women, and if given a choice between harming someone already dying or close to death and someone with a full life ahead of them, they always choose to attack the latter, save for the rare case where the death of an elder or a dying loved one might result in a chain reaction of death among the young.

When called via spells like planar ally that require opposed Charisma checks or similar mechanics in order for the conjuring spellcaster to secure the outsider’s aid, evil humanoids take a —6 penalty when interacting with qlippoth due to the sin in their souls. The promise of a task that would afford the qlippoth the opportunity to kill many humanoids, or a sacrifice of a pregnant woman or a child, can sometimes offset this penalty. When a qlippoth shakes off the shackles of a conjuration, it attempts to remain on the Material Plane as long as possible, and during that time tries to murder as many mortals as it can, doing its part to deprive the Abyss of possible future sinful souls to build demons from.

Qlippoth Lords

That the qlippoth have among their kind paragons akin to demon lords is indisputable, yet these powers rarely, if ever, emerge from the deepest realms of the Abyss to interact with the rest of the multiverse. They are only rarely worshiped on the Material Plane, but such cults, where they exist, are singularly destructive and ruinous.

Yet the power granted by mortal worship can have a curious effect on a qlippoth—it can, in a way, infect it with the sins of its worshipers. Qlippoth who become so infected are either murdered by their kin or forced to flee to the upper realms of the Abyss, where they complete their transformation and, instead of remaining qlippoth lords, become demon lords. One can know the nature of a demon lord that began life as a qlippoth most easily by its shape—those demon lords, such as ichthyic Dagon or foul and festering Jubilex, bear little or no sign of a humanoid frame.

Members

Augnagar (CR 14), Behimiron (CR 13), Cataboligne (CR 16), Chernobue (CR 12), Cythnigot (CR 2), Deinochos (CR 5), Gongorinan (CR 11), Gorgoros (CR 9), Hydraggon (CR 3), Iathavos (CR 20), Nyogoth (CR 10), Shoggti (CR 7), Thognorok (CR 4), Thulgant (CR 18), Utukku (CR 8), Vexenion (CR 6)