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A dretch demon.

Demons are malign and destructive creatures native to the Outer Sphere known as the Outer Rifts. They are ferocious, irredeemably evil creatures, and will attack and kill anything for the sheer fun of it, including other demons.23

Demon Lords

The most powerful of the demons are unique creatures with their own individual powers and abilities.4 These demon lords are known throughout the multiverse, and many cults exist to them on the Material Plane.5 The total number of demon lords is beyond knowing. Of the countless powerful demons who rule the various layers of the Outer Rifts, some are better and more widely known and worshiped. The most ubiquitous demon lord, and the only one to have attained full godhood is Lamashtu, the Mother of Monsters.6

Nascent demon lords

Just below the demon lords are the nascent demon lords: unique demons who have not yet claimed their own Abyssal realm. Like their more powerful brethren, nascent demon lords can grant spells to beings who worship them.7


Creatures that have not yet become fully fledged demons are known as proto-demons.8



Abyssal larvae, the shades from which demons originate.

Demons are, relatively speaking, a young race on planar timescales; as they arise from the interaction of sinful souls with the essence of the Outer Rifts,9 their existence by necessity postdates the appearance of the first mortals. Originally, mortal souls sent to the Outer Rifts by Pharasma's judgment did not mature into demons. Rather, they manifested as increasingly vast amounts of larvae that piled up and accumulated in great masses and seas of flesh on the rims of the Outer Rifts. Instead of demons, the Outer Rifts was ruled by its original denizens—the monstrous qlippoth.10911

True demons arose from the experiments of a now-forgotten daemonic Apocalypse Rider, whose fascination with both larvae and qlippoth led him to gather numerous specimens of each to experiment on in his fortress. His experiments eventually led him to attempt to directly fuse the larvae's sinful mortal essence with the living Abysal flesh of the qlippoth: this experiment succeeded beyond any expectation, warping and mutating the unfortunate qlippoth subject into the first demon to exist.10

This transformation was quickly noticed and adopted by the awareness of the Outer Rifts: within moments of the first demon's birth, a chain reaction swept through the Outer Rifts as millions of larvae metamorphosed into demons. In the span of a few heartbeats, an entire species erupted into being from the Outer Rifts' seas of larvae and swiftly became the most populous type of fiends in the Great Beyond. The repercussions of this genesis were significant. The qlippoth, the previous rulers of the Outer Rifts, were hunted to near extinction and forced into hiding in the deepest, most hostile pockets of the Outer Rifts. Hordes of demons quickly swept out of the Outer Rifts, overrunning countless daemon strongholds and besieging the stunned daemons in their own realms within Abaddon. Even the walls of Hell were put to the test as the newborn demonic species piled against its defenses.10

While the demons' growth quickly leveled off after its initial explosive start, and the demons were eventually driven away from Hell and Abaddon, the demons retained firm control of the Outer Rifts itself and remain to the present day the most populous and diverse species of fiend in the Outer Planes.10

On Golarion

Native to the Outer Rifts, demons cannot easily make the journey to the Material Plane. Nevertheless, they can be found wherever powerful evil spellcasters summon them to bring harm upon their enemies. There are only two known locations in the Inner Sea region, however, where demons are common and seem to be growing in numbers: the Tanglebriar in Kyonin and the Worldwound.12 Beyond this they can be found in the depths of the vast Meraz Desert, where the nation of Qadira meets the continent of Casmaron.13


The study of demons is known as demonology.14 Alaznist, Runelord of Wrath, was a skilled demonologist and the worship of demons was promoted in her realm.15


Paizo published several major sourcebooks about demons: Demon Hunter's Handbook, Demons Revisited, and Lords of Chaos.

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Logan Bonner, et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 76. Paizo Inc., 2019
  2. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary, 56. Paizo Inc., 2009
  3. Logan Bonner, et al. Demon” in Monster Core, 76. Paizo Inc., 2024
  4. Logan Bonner, et al. Demon” in Monster Core, 78. Paizo Inc., 2024
  5. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 3: Religion” in Campaign Setting, 184. Paizo Inc., 2008
  6. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 3: Religion” in Campaign Setting, 172. Paizo Inc., 2008
  7. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 315. Paizo Inc., 2011
  8. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 3, 34. Paizo Inc., 2011
  9. 9.0 9.1 Logan Bonner, et al. Demon” in Monster Core, 79. Paizo Inc., 2024
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 James Jacobs. “Demonkind” in Lords of Chaos, Book of the Damned Volume 2, 33. Paizo Inc., 2010
  11. Logan Bonner, et al. Qlippoth” in Monster Core, 280. Paizo Inc., 2024
  12. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 304. Paizo Inc., 2011
  13. Jessica Price. “Adventuring in Qadira” in Qadira, Jewel of the East, 38. Paizo Inc., 2017
  14. Philip Minchin, et al. “Call of the Demon Hunter” in Demon Hunter's Handbook, 4. Paizo Inc., 2013
  15. Robert G. McCreary. Runelords of Thassilon” in The Dead Heart of Xin, 69. Paizo Inc., 2013