Nine Hells of sin and slaughter
Nine Hells of freedom and choice
Nine gates to guard them
Nine Powers to hold them
The first gate, Androlynne
the Mother’s shrine
The second gate, Thanatos
the Diplomat’s embassy
The third gate, Durao
the Soldier’s fortress
The fourth gate, Shendilavri
the Lover’s brothel
The fifth gate, Spirac
the Hunter’s grounds
The sixth gate, Styros
the Binder’s roost
The seventh gate, Azzagrat
the Tactician’s lair
The eighth gate, Ani Kamakhym
the Mutant’s workshop
The ninth gate, Carynach
the Beast’s kingdom
– The Gates of Hell (translated from German)
When Isaac Clarke first perfected the toy maker, he tested the device by giving a little girl a pair of devil horns. There was no real meaning behind the horns; he just wanted something that would be simple and easy to remove if anything went wrong, but still complicated enough to provide solid proof of his theories.
The procedure was a complete success, but had side effects the doctor couldn’t possibly have foreseen. Outside Domina, the world was quickly stirred up into a frenzy by the implications of the device. While it is certain that religious types would have been quite vocal about “tampering in God’s domain” regardless, the devil horns made it much, much worse. A number of churches led the charge to criminalize use of the toy maker, and succeeded in limiting it to the military in a crippled form.
Inside the city, however, the reaction was very different. People from all walks of life loved the implications of being able to modify your body on a whim, and the horns spread across the city like wildfire, used to show support for the toy maker and the girl who became known as the First Monster.
For a time, it was just harmless fun. But on October 13th of that year, almost four months after the invention of the toy maker, things became more complicated. That was when Striga forged the first vampires as a weapon to protect the Romanian immigrants living in the city.
Following the rise of the vampires, others who used the toy maker realized that this was a call to action. They couldn’t just sit around and do nothing while the Mother Monster’s legacy was destroyed. For a few months, it was uncoordinated chaos, even though everyone knew something had to be done.
It was Pale Night who found a solution. She gathered the three most prominent of those who had used the toy maker—Malcanthet, Orcus, and Sargeras—and forced them to realize the position they were in. By the time they left that night, they understood they could no longer sit idly by. On December 20th, the demons were born.
The first three demon warlords each came away from the meeting with a different goal in mind. Malcanthet wanted power and comfort, so she built Shendilavri and named her clan the succubi. For years, free love and peace reigned, but as time wore on, the Whore began to desire power more than comfort…
Orcus had a singular mission: Stopping the vampires before they destroyed themselves and the city. He took on many vampiric toys—such as night vision eyes and fangs—and founded the Thanatosians, filling his inner circle with close friends and family. To his annoyance, the people of the city did not really understand the significance of the name he had chosen, and referred to his House as “orcs” instead.
Sargeras did not have any shining ideals like Malcanthet, or a far-reaching vision like Orcus. He was simply a soldier, and he wanted to keep his friends and family safe. So, he recruited an army. The hellions rose to prominence quickly, not least because of their warlord’s insistence that they not work against Necessarius. While many new leaders came to power, Sargeras remained the unofficial lord of the subculture. His own Legion was simply called “the Army” (or even worse, “the Legion”), which said quite a bit about his imagination.
Over the years, more subcultures have risen and fallen. While there have been scandals within the culture (the death of Orcus and the exile of Malcanthet chief among them), for the most part the demons get along together very well. Their central tenant has always been “the freedom to become whatever you wish.” Therefore, many people start as demons before becoming something else, and they are generally on good terms with the other cultures.
Demon honored are called devils, while their deviants are known as fiends. Their warlords are called Powers, and their novices are called imps. The microcultures (the sub-subcultures) are known as clans, Houses, Hordes, or Legions, depending on the subculture in question.
Acheroni (back-stabbers, weepers)
A mixed bag of traitors and various other neer-do-wells, the Acheroni are the cast-off refuse of other demon cultures. While most of them have been able to move past their troubled past and even form alliances with their old clans, they still have a very negative reputation in the city. They dwell all along the nest of streets and back alleys called Acheron, with a large number of sub-domains (realms) dotted along the way.
Bulezau (bird-watchers, deal-makers, goats)
Goat-demons with huge horns and long, dangerous tails. They enjoy brokering deals, and before Butler rose to power they were a sort of police force for the city. Now their actions are limited to the demon culture, but a deal witnessed by a bulezau is not one you should be quick to break. Their leader is Pazuzu, the Binder, who holds court in Styros.
Ekolids (bugs, sewer-demons)
Bug-demons with thin limbs, more joints than normal, and a number of artificially bred parasites. Known for living in the sewers, fighting fey-monsters over territory, they have little interaction with the surface. Their leader is Obox-ob.
Goblins (demon-monkeys, skyrats)
The only subculture other than the aves to make use of the hollow bones buff, the goblins delight in running and jumping around the city, using their lithe frames to simply leap between skyscrapers. In addition to acting as messengers and scouts, the culture makes good money from the vampires maintaining the massive shade-cloths that keep the Black Crypts dark during the day. Their leader is the Erlking, the Hunter. Their domain is Spirac, the town of bridges, and is known for a number of rooftop hunting preserves.
Hags (drug-demons, witches)
Demon chem-heads. Unorganized and easily manipulated, but still extremely dangerous. Their leader is Baba Yaga the Witch-Queen. Their domain is chaotic, the borders ever-changing, and most people try and avoid it if at all possible.
Hellions (Hell’s Army, hellguard, Legionaries)
Demon soldiers. They typically hire themselves out as mercenaries, especially to Necessarius. They also have a good working relationship with the mariliths, who they occasionally hire as tacticians and strategists. Along with the succubi and the orcs, they are one of the founding subcultures.
The Army (the Legion)
The Army were the first hellions, and are led by General Sargeras, more commonly known simply as “the General.” While they have never been interested in hoarding power, they are still the strongest hellion Legion by a fair margin. Their domain, Durao, is still one of the most fortified in the entire city, rivaling even the warblood domain Dis.
Twilight Reavers (Kellions, Reavers)
The Reavers believe very strongly in the Mother’s vision of a unified Domina, and have resolved to bring that dream to fruition, starting with the demons. Everyone is watching them closely, but they seem to be using peaceful methods to meet this end. They are more often called Kellions, after their leader, Juan Keller, and are known for being the only demons to use dayeyes regularly.
Incubi/Succubi (lusters, sex-demons, Shendilavrans, whores)
A member of the subculture that heavily fetishizes parts of the demon package, using pheromones and other similar toys to enhance their sexuality. A certain amount of sexuality is expected, of course—people wouldn’t add horns to their head if they thought they were ugly. But succubi take the implications of their connection to the mythical lust demons a bit… literally. Due to the actions of their previous leader, Malcanthet, they are shunned by just about everyone else, and mostly stay in hiding. The word is also occasionally used as an insult to refer to demon prostitutes, whether they are actually succubi or not. Along with the hellions and the orcs, succubi are one of the founding subcultures. Their domain was a block named Shendilavri, also known as Whorestown, with the skyscraper Rivenheart their crowning jewel. But when Malcanthet fled, Rivenheart was toppled. Shendilavri has lain fallow for over five years now.
The spies of the succubi, they closely mimic the fallen angel Naamah in the belief that knowledge is power. They maintain an extensive network of spies and informants to keep the children of Shendilavri safe in a city hostile towards them.
The followers of Agrat Bat Mahlat, their name translates approximately to “the Deception.” This name was actually chosen as representative of the lies they rejected; the Mahathallah were the first succubi to break off from Malcanthet, even before she fled the city. Most modern succubi are members of this subculture, and they are treated as the leading culture in many ways.
Generally known simply as “Malcanthet’s thralls,” the Riven are those who resided in Rivenheart under the command of the Queen of the Succubi. If any still exist in Domina City, they are well-hidden, though a few do pop up to cause chaos every once in a while. While Malcanthet only uses this term to describe those who follow her willingly, most outsiders use it to refer to all who follow her, since with the Succubus Queen “willingly” is a bit of a fluid term.
The followers of Xinivrae, one of Malcanthet’s sisters, were largely defunct even before Malcanthet was exiled from the city. They were never a large subculture, and were more like one of the gangs of old than anything more meaningful. The Widowers made widows; it was their only purpose. They either killed married men (and left the wives alone) or killed their own husbands as part of their initiation. Their meaningless cruelty eventually led to the Queen of the Succubi casting out her sister, and purging Shendilavri of every trace of her.
The followers of Eisheth Zenunim are healers through and through, and have always welcomed all with open arms and hearts. They became extremely influential after the Battle of Shendilavri, but their numbers have never been too large.
Mariliths (armchairs, snake-demons, vipers)
Snake-demons who pride themselves on their grasp of strategy and tactics; rumors say their leader recruits from the RTS gamer crowd. Occasionally called to help the hellions. Although in theory they are seeking to use the toy maker to obtain multiple functional arms, in practice many mariliths never bother getting any more toys than the horns. People join the culture for the society itself, not the toys they have to offer. Their leader is Graz’zt, the Tactician. Their headquarters is the Argent Palace, on Azzagrat Street.
Orcs (death-demons, fang-wranglers, Thanatosians)
Demons known for leading vampires and ghouls. They have a reputation for butting their way into situations due to their founder, Orcus, who was known to press-gang vampires to help defend civilians. He was killed by Malcanthet shortly before she fled the city. Usually have nighteyes in addition to the demon package. Their warlord is Obould, Orcus’ lieutenant, but he issues very few orders. Along with the hellions and the succubi, they are one of the founding demon subcultures. Their official headquarters is Naratyr in Thanatos, in East Outer (near Little Romania), but what little organization the House still has is centered on Obould’s apartment complex in South Central.
Pales (Andies, Andros, kiddies)
Following Pale Night, the Mother of Demons, the residents of Androlynne are enigmatic, friendly, and extremely dangerous. Most stick to internal buffs, mimicking both Pale Night and her “mother,” Lilith. They try to corral the other demons as best as they can, especially the hags and Satanists. While not officially the leaders of the culture, they mirror the Draculas in many ways, including recruiting from all other subcultures. They refer to the First Monster as “mom,” something that annoys her to no end. She responded by calling them “kiddies,” which has turned into a mildly derogatory nickname for the culture. Their headquarters is Golmendicoria, on Androlynne Street.
Satanists (anarchists, baby-eaters)
A small but extremely violent subculture who follow the modern Satanist religion. They believe strongly in freedom and just retribution. Things only started to go downhill when the Beast took control of the clan. Their headquarters is under Carynach, and is often referred to as simply the Ninth Gate.
Sibriex (fleshcrafters, ‘rexes, sibs)
Also known as the fleshcrafters, the sibriex are one of the few subcultures—demon and non—that deals directly with the fey on a regular basis. Their headquarters is Arhestanots, the Fleshworks, and is located at the edge of South Middle. Their domain is technically called Ani Kamakhym, but since it only consists of the one building, many people just use Arhestanots. Their leader is Narek Nhang, the Unfleshed Lord.
Notable Demonic Powers
The Witch Queen, the Power of the hags, is quite different from her vampiric counterpart. While Belial and his ilk use chems to control their followers, Baba Yaga is just as drug-addled as her culture. While this does make her weak and non-aggressive most of the time, it also makes her dangerously unpredictable. She can be philanthropic one minute and screaming for blood the next. Most people avoid her domain like the plague.
The violent leader of the Satanists, intent on leading his culture to glory. He took control of the culture much later than most of the other Gatekeepers, about two years after the demon culture was officially founded. The Beast himself is quick to anger and exceptionally dangerous, but he believes very strongly in just retribution—even if his definition of “just” is a bit more consistently lethal than most.
The Power of the goblins is very different from the culture he oversees. While most skyrats prefer dexterity and agility over all else, their leader is an eight-foot tall monster of muscle and dense bone weighing several hundred pounds. The only reason he can even move at all is because of his extremely expensive modifications. The man himself is very similar to his toys; slow, deliberate, but very dangerous once you get him moving.
Power of the mariliths, the snake-demons. Like his culture, Graz’zt is an intelligent man with a head for strategy, and works closely with hellion warlords when the situation calls for it, preferring to not get his own hands dirty. Unlike much of the rest of his culture, the Dark Power has a well-documented weakness for sex, which nearly led to the downfall of the culture when Malcanthet was making her power-grab. Thankfully, he was spared from the Succubus Queen’s attentions through the efforts of bodyguards who valued his safety over his orders, but he still stays largely confined to his base for security.
Power of the Twilight Reavers. He is known for having both a single nighteye (which he normally covers with an eyepatch) and a violet dayeye. He has somewhat of a blunt and abrasive personality, but he knows that he has to forge alliances with others in order to survive.
Power of the Army, founder of the Hellions. More commonly known as “the General.” Sargeras is a strong, no-nonsense type who believes that it is his duty to keep the city safe. He has had little luck in the fifteen years since becoming a warlord, for although his ideals and methods match Butler’s almost word-for-word, the two men have difficulty trusting each other. While they are both intelligent enough to keep from interfering with each other directly, they often unintentionally work at cross-purposes.
Power of the ekolids, the Prince of Vermin rarely leaves his lair hidden somewhere in the sewers, preferring to send out elite Hands to act in his stead. Still, the subculture is quite small, so he has little need to exert his power unless his territory is threatened. There are rumors that the Composer killed him and took his domain, but this is unconfirmed.
The former lieutenant and cousin of Orcus, founder of the orcs, Obould was forced to take control of the culture during the Battle of Shendilavri. Obould does not interact very much with his culture, preferring to be left alone with his studies and experiments. Now, he spends most of his time helping monster slayers like Derek Huntsman, but he also has a very strong interest in the powers possessed by the screamers and their ilk.
One of the three founders of the demon culture, Orcus was always a powerful and charismatic man, who used his large size both for intimidation and to garner respect. He was assassinated at the Battle of Shendilavri, and control of the culture passed to his cousin, Obould.
Power of the Andros, The Mother of Demons, who followed in Lilith’s footsteps and created the demon culture. She recruits from all other demon subcultures, and tends to refer to the First Monster as “mom,” something that annoys the latter to no end. Pale Night keeps herself wrapped in a white shroud at all times, to cover the horrific scars she received from her modifications.
One of the first aves, the kemo who would become known as Pazuzu abandoned his culture in favor of corralling the goat-demons, the Bulezau. At the time, they had no warlord, but the Abyssal Falcon was able to defeat all contenders and rise to the top. The man himself is lean and powerful, but focused more on limiting the damage of the wars than expanding the subculture’s influence. He is happy to hire his men out to Necessarius when the need arises, and if not, he sends them on general peace-keeping missions around the city.
The Power behind the Power, as it were, the existence of the Firstborn is a secret to most people, even the sibriex. He tests many of the culture’s toys on himself, which has resulted in so much mutation and degradation that he can’t even move any more. He primarily keeps watch on the sibriex servers, as well as reviewing the culture’s experiment notes and their Helix—their record of their use of the toy maker.
Power of the sibriex, the Unfleshed Lord is not known for much besides his constant use of the toy maker. His title comes from the fact that he is never content to stay in one form for long, which makes identifying him frustratingly difficult. He treats his culture as a research lab rather than a military organization, and thus has found himself threatened by other, more aggressive cultures more than once.
Agrat Bat Mahlat
The woman who first took control after Malcanthet’s defeat, Agrat tries to keep to the shadows as much as possible. There are rumors that she is the mother of Asmodeus, but most agree this is simple hearsay spawned from the names they both chose.
Also known as the Healer, Eisheth rejected Malcanthet’s violent ways even before the Battle of Shendilavri, forming her own subculture in defiance. Despite her philanthropic goals, Eisheth is not good with people, being rude, anti-social, and bitterly cynical.
Although she has fled the city, the self-proclaimed Queen of the Succubi still has influence through the sleepers left behind. Sometimes called Damă by the vampires, which means either queen or whore. The demons call her Meretrix (courtesan) when they feel polite, and Lupa (she-wolf, whore) when they don’t.
The Mother of Espionage, the Power Naamah is the first line of defense for the dangerously weakened succubi, using her extensive network of spies and hidden cameras to alert her fellows of any assaults on succubi meeting places.
Malcanthet’s sister, the Black Widow was best known for murdering her husband—the crime which got her sentenced to Domina City in the first place. While originally the only criminals sent to the island were those who had committed minor white-collar offenses, by this point the outside world had given up. Legend says that the woman who would become known as Xinivrae arrived the day Isaac Clarke unveiled the toy maker; she and her little sister became demons days later. Unfortunately, it seemed Domina did not improve Xinivrae’s morality; she found that she enjoyed killing husbands, even those that were not her own, and even dabbled in seducing wives and making them kill the husbands themselves. Eventually, only a few years after Malcanthet was crowned Queen of the Succubi, she cast her sister out of Shendilavri and set about destroying the “culture” of killers she had left behind. Xinivrae was never heard from again.