Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The QQQE Creature Compendium Volume III: Demonkind

All right. Let's keep this thing moving.

I assume that you're familiar with this series by now. If not, you should probably read my blog every day. Hello? Or you can find the first post in the series, here.

Anyway, today's post will be covering Demons. Another name for this category might be Jinn (as in Djinn). There are many different cultures that describe demons in many different ways, but the common theme with the creatures I'll include in this post is that they are said to be able to be summoned (and then commanded) by Wizards of varying prowess.

It can also be argued that certain more powerful spirits can elect to appear, and cause havoc, all on their own. All of this depends on the rules of magic and spirituality in the world you're creating in your stories. I'm just here to share generic examples I've already come across.

Ifrit/Efreet/Afrit: Originating in Arabic and Islamic culture, Ifrit are spirits of air or fire. They are considered a class of infernal Jinn, below the strength of Angels, but above that of more common Djinn. In role-playing games they are generally considered to manifest them selves as spirits of fire, as in the image above, and are considered too powerful to be summoned by all but the most learned Magi.

Djinn/Genie: Also originating from Arabic and Islamic culture, Djinn is a term sometimes considered interchangeable with Jinn, but for our purposes we will consider a Djinn a spirit of the air who manifests itself as a wisecracking blue man, with a vaporous tail and too much gaudy jewelry. Seriously though, Djinn are much like Ifrit, but are generally considered to be more related to the elemental plane of air, rather than fire, and are usually considered less powerful than Ifrit.

Imp: An Imp is generally considered to be the lowest form of Demonkind. Sometimes considered little more than evil fairies, they are actually simply lesser spirits, who can be summoned by almost any wizard, for menial tasks such as manual labor, food-service, guard duty and other insulting work. They generally appear as small, twisted things, possibly resembling the least scary gargoyles you may have ever seen.

Foliot: I'm including this one because of the seminal work on the topic of Demons: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud. A Foliot is apparently barely mentioned in Italian Folklore, but Stroud paints them (rather skillfully, I might add) as a Jinn of a caste above Imps, and yet painfully lacking the grace, intellect, and power of the higher ranking Djinn, Ifrit, and Marid.

Marid: The Marid are the highest level Jinn spirit in Arabic Folklore (and the Barty books). They are considered to have massive power, rivaling deities, and are associated with seas and the open ocean. They were first mentioned in pre-Islamic Arabian mythology, as well as in the One Thousand and One Nights collection of folktales. They are considered to be spirits of the elemental plane of water, and can manifest themselves as anything from a cloud, to a storm, to a sea creature like a Kraken.

Dao: A Djinn from the elemental plane of earth, they often run mining operations on the material plane.

Janni: The weakest Djinn besides Imps and Foliots, Janni are formed of all four elements, and therefore trapped on the material plane.

Demon: Easily interchangeable with any of the examples, as they are all considered Demonkind, the Demon itself can also take on many other roles. Nearly endless in the variations of its manifestations, creatures ranging from The Balrog of Morgoth, to Abbadon from City of Bones, to Betelgeuse, to even Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are all considered Demons. Often appearing as horned, muscle bound red-skinned men, demons of significant power can actually assume any form they choose.

There are countless other examples of specific demons, both in fiction and in religion and mythology. The topic is actually a deep and fascinating one, if you're interested in researching it.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow!

44 comments:

A Daft Scots Lass said...

We used to play D&D back in the day when we were all high.

Laura Pauling said...

It's your pictures that are scaring me the most! :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Let's hear it for the demons! You know, it's been too long since I read the Bartimaeus Trilogy. I should pick that back up.

Although the way it ended broke my heart ...

Miranda Hardy said...

Demons have been particularly popular lately.

Charles the Reader said...

While I was reading the first few, I was thinking "Hey, this reminds me of the Bartimaeus books. Look! There it is!"

Joshua said...

I'm having a great time with this. Though according to Lass, apparently I should have been stoned when we played D&D back in the day.

Old Kitty said...

Gosh. Pass the gin and tonic. LOL!

Oh ok, feeble joke. Off I slink to the rock from whence I crawled from under. LOL!

Take care
x

Adam Heine said...

Have you ever looked into D&D's menagerie of devils and demons? There's like 12 of each!

I got familiar with some of them during Torment (the Baator levels were my job to put together).

Rusty Webb said...

One of the reasons I never got into supernatural monsters is that I was always a bit thrown off by the classification of them all - how are they related to one another, how interchangeable are the terms. You're doing me a real service here.

So the Buffy vampires are all demons? Seems like I recall that brought up on the show, I can't recall.

Just Another Day in Paradise said...

Demons, the scariest of all 'dem monsters'. Especially the ones with No red skin, No horns, tail nor cloven feet. But,breathtakingly handsome/beautiful and able to entice you into anything, until your soul is theirs.

Jess said...

These are so interesting! Wish I could think of a subtle way to slip a few demons into my manuscripts :)

Little Ms. Fun said...

I thought Genies were good? Wow...I need to catch up on my villians. Well, I do watch Supernatural religiously, but that show just defies all the "Bad Guy Rules"!!

Michael G-G said...

LOVE the Bartimaeus books (except I can never get the spelling of Bart's name right at first try!) A great example of how brains can defeat brawn which, as a person of non-brawn, I kinda like.

Great series, sir!

RaShelle Workman said...

Cool stuff. I had no idea so many different types of demons existed. I agree researching this type of thing could be very fascinating.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Oh, I learned a great deal with this post. A lot of these I hadn't heard of before. Thanks!

Charles the Reader said...

One of the best parts of Bartimaeus goes something like this: "Look at all these pathetic demons. That guy actually appeared as a stool! Although, I do have to say that I like his style" "Bartimaeus" "Yes?" "That is a stool" "Oh"

Michael Offutt said...

I really liked the Dungeons & Dragons module "Oasis of the White Palm" written by Tracy Hickman. It featured a really powerful Djinni Noble and an Efreet that basically fought each other. I think you would have liked it.

mshatch said...

my imp, Vathek (from my novel GRIMOIRE), would be most offended by definition. In fact, he is quite proud of his twisted little countenance and barbed tail, which is flicking back and forth in a most annoyed fashion. 'least scary' indeed!


:) great list.

Amanda Bonilla said...

Great list! Depending on the mythos, I might add incubi/succubi and cambions to this list! :)

L.C. Frost said...

Neat-o post series, Matt! Thanks for the info; most fascinating, indeed. I don't write demonkind or paranormal, but I love all the lore behind it.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL I can't even pronounce the first one. Sounds like a name of a rhetorical device.

Until recently, I always imps were supposed to be cute. You know, like impish. :D

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Man, you are putting in some crazy amts of work to get these all posted each day.
*slow applause*
Have you read The Rose of the Prophet trilogy? That's my favorite fantasy series with Djinn and junk

Carolyn Abiad said...

This is a great assortment of djinn/jinn/genies you've got here. I know that you're sticking to the standards here and grouping them with the demons....

BUT djinn are not technically demons, according to traditional eastern and religious sources anyway. There is confusion between demon and daemon. Daemons being: supernatural beings between mortals and gods(per wikipedia, etc.) Really, a djinn is comparable to an angel. Some works claim Iblis (the devil) as a djinn instead of a fallen angel. More confusion...sorry. (I haven't posted on this ever, so you wouldn't know. My bad.)

Having said that, it's the evil djinn who are cast into the roles we see in fiction - (except for Bart and Genie, of course). And a good djinn in D&D? Well, what's the use of having badass powers, if not to use them?

D.G. Hudson said...

Be careful, Matt. Researching demons may open a door to the Otherworld, or the Underworld, especially on Halloween.

I researched fairies and other imp-ish creatures a while back, and found one that I thought I had made up -- 'tangle-fairies' (the ones who tangle the hair of little misses who have long locks). There they were in a drawing, nasty little men fairies tying knots in the little girls hair while they slept...

Whatever works. . .

Interesting post!

Emily White said...

Matt, you have no idea how much I am adoring this post right now. It is EXACTLY the info I needed.

Thank you!

Summer Frey said...

I love researching mythological creatures. I've done so much research about Fae and everything related to it that I could probably write a dissertation.

Great series!

cweaks said...

Bookmarking this post! I have an angel and demon story waiting in line to be written:)

Kristen Pelfrey said...

Matthew. I appreciate this in the apprehensive, toe-curling way of someone who is going to go hiking near burial grounds today.
I'm not robbing anything. Please call off your gelatinous cube posse.

Jamie (Mithril Wisdom) said...

I'm really glad you mentioned Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy. As far as demon fiction goes, it's the best out there.

I'd also add in Philip Pullman's daemons from His Dark Materials, since they are specifically the animal spirit companions of humans.

Andrew Leon said...

I can't help but mention that I have a fairly amusing exchange about imps and their origin in my book, The House on the Corner. It's my youngest son's favorite part, and you should have heard the laughter from the middle schoolers at his school when I was reading it to them at his school last week.

@Little Ms. Fun- Generally, genies are only "good" because they've been bound. They don't do that granting wishes thing out of the goodness of their hearts. And they'd probably, actually, rather eat yours. You know, if they did that kind of thing.

Christina Lee said...

The little person in the Game of Thrones is called an imp too, no (and he won an Emmy--woot)? That threw me off and got me thinking, since the book/show does have supernatural elements!

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, now demons I like. I loved Jonathan Stroud's series with djinn, and the Children of the Lamp or some such. Yes, demons and djinn, I like.

Great post!

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

Djinn is one of my favorite words of all time.

Mark Noce said...

Wow, I like the cool details in this post, thanks!

Heaven. said...

I learned something new :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A demon by any other name...

Lydia Kang said...

I love the illustrations that you are finding for these posts!

Carol Riggs said...

Nice illustration! and great informative post. Appropriate for Halloween time too. :) Thanks!

Nancy said...

nice research-I've always said Satan (or his minions) wouldn't be too tempting to me if they had a pitchfork and horns. It's the attractive demons that can cause the greatest damage.

Johanna Garth said...

My grandfather used to call me an imp...if I had only known he was calling me the lowest form of demon kind. It puts it in a whole new light.

Suzie F. said...

The title of your series, The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment Creature Compendium is impossible to say out loud. Not that I've tried or anything. Just sayin'.

Love it so far, though I did have to peek through my fingers at the undead image on Monday. I'm such a big chicken.

Bryan Russell said...

Balrog!

Slamdunk said...

I had to go back and read this one. I read Dante's Inferno last year and that was about all the demons that my imagination could take.

And on your giants, I had to laugh about the Cloud Giant. He seems like someone who'd the Mrs. would want to take to the next symphony concert.

LTM said...

VERY interesting! And I knew my buddy Carolyn would have something to add. I'm liking your series here, although I'm not really into the monsters. I know this surprises you.

I'm also writing about sarcasm today. ;p