Demons and devils are malign supernatural creatures. The term demon comes from daemon, a Greek word meaning a kind of spirit. Devil comes from the ancient word deva, meaning a divine being in the language of the Persians' enemies.
Alternate terms: fiend, oni
Demons and Devils in MythologyEdit
In Christian mythology, demons are the fallen servants of the Almighty, consigned to the fires of Hell. Their envy drives them to seek to corrupt the souls of the living. They are led by Satan.
Demons and Devils in Dungeons & DragonsEdit
In classic D&D, demons are aligned with the forces of chaotic evil and devils with lawful evil. The devils are led by Asmodeus, chief of the archdevils and possibly one of the most ancient evils of existence. The demons are ruled by Demogorgon.
In AD&D Second Edition, the ruling devils were called Baatezu and the demons Tana'ari. The Planescape setting introduced the concept of the Blood War, an ancient struggle between the chaotic demons and their bitter enemies, the devils. In Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition, this concept expanded to include the idea that demons were inimicable to existence and the devils, misguided as they were, constituted an important defense against the forces of the Abyss.
Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition modified demons and devils somewhat from their origins, identifying demons with the Elemental Chaos and making devils figures of deception and temptation. Asmodeus became a deity. Some creatures, such as succubi went from being one kind of creature to the other, with the devils being more humanoid and the demons more monstrous, as a rule.
Demons and Devils in Other GamesEdit
In Talislanta, demons are embodiments of entropy, composed of elemental or primal forces such as fire or disease. They are constantly destroying existence. Their enemies, the devils, led by Diabolus, live in a City of Brass on the edge of Oblivion. Once powerful Archons, angelic, demi-divine beings, they were consigned their for their sins of pride and created servitor races.
In the Palladium Role-Playing Game, demons and devils are ancient rivals. Demons are more chaotic and devils more hiearchical, similar to their counterparts in D&D. However, they are not divided by any particular metaphysical quality.