View Full Version : Balors and Demon Lords (D&D)

Tvtyrant

2013-12-13, 03:25 AM

Putting this here because the D&D editions are spread across three sub-forums. Balors are treated as being the highest powered none-individual demons, meaning that they are the most powerful demons that look like they are similar to each other rather than the grab-bag of Demon Lord and Lady parts.

Each demon lord/lady is above them, and several of them have entourages. But which ones have what doesn't seem to ever get touched on, nor why the Balors bow down the limited number of demon lords when there are so many layers of the abyss they could abscond to personally.

Why would a chaotic evil being follow someone else when they do not have to, and how many Balors can there possibly be floating around?

Zombimode

2013-12-13, 03:38 AM

Well, the 2e monster manual stated that there is only a limited number of Balors. I believe it was 9.

MonochromeTiger

2013-12-13, 03:56 AM

Why would a chaotic evil being follow someone else when they do not have to, and how many Balors can there possibly be floating around?

there are actually several reasons a chaotic evil creature might follow someone else, the simplest to explain are as follows.

they choose to: chaotic doesn't mean they won't listen or have loyalty to something it simply means they refuse to have their freedoms restricted. give them a strong enough leader or enough benefits to rally behind and they'll follow like any other alignment.

they're forced to: evil civilizations are generally big on using power to keep others in line, being chaotic doesn't make someone immune to a serve or die situation and even a chaotic character might see the upside to joining a highly powerful individual's service when they're on the rise.

Emperor Tippy

2013-12-13, 03:58 AM

Balors bow for the same reason that any group of Chaotic Evil entities has an organizational structure, because the Demon Lords are strong enough to force them to bow.

The Abyss is notoriously riven with infighting, power plays, and a lack of discipline. A Demon Lord's army is however many lesser demons they can force into submission and however many lesser demons those demons can force into submission and so on down the line. Every higher ranked demon ensures that the level immediately below it is riven with internal fighting so that it can't unite against them (not to mention that no demon trusts any other demon to actually stick to an agreement once they have the power to break it).

Ruling demons makes herding cats look trivial, that is the downside of trying to rule inherently chaotic creatures.

About all you can honestly count on with demons is that 1) they are batguano insane and 2) they are sadistic little pricks who will always choose whichever option measures highest on the kilonazi scale.

Envyus

2013-12-13, 06:17 AM

There are Thousands of Demon Lords (Some of which are just stronger then normal Balors) and countless Balors. The Abyss is infinite with an infinite number of demons being spawned by it's whims.

As mentioned Balors obey because Demon Lords are stronger then them and force them to obey. Graz'zt is the most subtle of the demon lords and even he has to brute force it a lot of the time. And while not common some Demons are just straight up loyal. Graz'zt's Majordomo Verin for example is chaotic evil and a demon lord on his own merits but he has sworn to serve Graz'zt and would never betray him. (When Graz'zt was trapped on the Material Plane for a while Verin took charge and made sure everything ran smoothly while he was gone and when Graz'zt came back Verin just handed the reins back to him with out even being asked.)

There are Thousands of Demon Lords (Some of which are just stronger then normal Balors) and countless Balors. The Abyss is infinite with an infinite number of demons being spawned by it's whims.

As mentioned Balors obey because Demon Lords are stronger then them and force them to obey. Graz'zt is the most subtle of the demon lords and even he has to brute force it a lot of the time. And while not common some Demons are just straight up loyal. Graz'zt's Majordomo Verin for example is chaotic evil and a demon lord on his own merits but he has sworn to serve Graz'zt and would never betray him. (When Graz'zt was trapped on the Material Plane for a while Verin took charge and made sure everything ran smoothly while he was gone and when Graz'zt came back Verin just handed the reins back to him with out even being asked.)

While it is called infinite, I don't think it is true infinity. The plane itself never ends on any given side and demons are perpetually and infinitely spawned at totally arbitrary rates, so demons are always approaching infinity in number, but there is an actual number at any given second, right? (Even if that number is constantly in flux and always unimaginable high.)

Envyus

2013-12-13, 06:43 AM

While it is called infinite, I don't think it is true infinity. The plane itself never ends on any given side and demons are perpetually and infinitely spawned at totally arbitrary rates, so demons are always approaching infinity in number, but there is an actual number at any given second, right? (Even if that number is constantly in flux and always unimaginable high.)

The Abyss goes on forever layer after layer some infinite some not, almost all infested with Demons.

While it may not a be a true infinity it might as well be. If you kill a demon 10 more of the same type will have probably already popped up in the Abyss. Billions of Demons die everyday (mostly from infighting) but the billions lost are outnumbered by the new ones spawned from the Abyss. If each layer in the Abyss spawned one demon a day that would still be an infinite number of them.

Honestly if the Demons were not always infighting they would have taken over or destroyed everything.

InQbait

2013-12-13, 06:50 AM

I'd like to see a campaign where the PCs single-handedly manage to DESTROY the entire Abyss. Think of how that would change the face of the universe. It would probably make things better for it. But then, certain spellcasters would be deprived of being able to summon Demons and we can't have that. Stupid demons. I wish they'd all just die already.

And then, there's the Devils...

MonochromeTiger

2013-12-13, 06:56 AM

I'd like to see a campaign where the PCs single-handedly manage to DESTROY the entire Abyss. Think of how that would change the face of the universe. It would probably make things better for it. But then, certain spellcasters would be deprived of being able to summon Demons and we can't have that. Stupid demons. I wish they'd all just die already.

And then, there's the Devils...

that would be the kind of reality altering event that kills any stability in a setting. think about it, if a plane of existence so heavily rooted in its ways as the abyss gets destroyed EVERY other plane will be freaking out about being next. not just the "bad" ones but the "good" ones too, if a good aligned group can crush the abyss an evil one can do the same to a good aligned plane. you'd have mass paranoia, gods up in arms over their creations being so thoroughly threatened.. it would not be a pleasant thing for the adventurers.

Eldan

2013-12-13, 07:11 AM

I'd like to see a campaign where the PCs single-handedly manage to DESTROY the entire Abyss. Think of how that would change the face of the universe. It would probably make things better for it. But then, certain spellcasters would be deprived of being able to summon Demons and we can't have that. Stupid demons. I wish they'd all just die already.

And then, there's the Devils...

Planescape deals in such things and it would be all but impossible. You'd have to destroy every chaotic evil creature in existence. On an infinite number of prime worlds. Then you have to stop everyone else from even imagining the existence of chaotic evil. Because as soon as a single mortal somewhere believes that a thing like the abyss could exist, it would come back into existence.

InQbait

2013-12-13, 07:19 AM

:smallannoyed:

Slipperychicken

2013-12-13, 01:52 PM

I'd like to see a campaign where the PCs single-handedly manage to DESTROY the entire Abyss.

1. That would end the Blood War and let Asmodeus take a huge smelly dump on all existence (especially the gods for throwing him into hell).

2. IIRC, the dnd universe was formed out of the Abyss, and it probably does something really important in terms of the cosmology.

3. It's not possible as far as I know.

Brookshw

2013-12-13, 03:00 PM

Well, the 2e monster manual stated that there is only a limited number of Balors. I believe it was 9.

It was that there were at least 24 Balors known to exist with no upward cap on how many could potentially exist (I had the book on hand).

As to the notion that Balors are the mightiest demon the FC1 mentions that Molydeus are more dreaded than Balors for whatever that's worth :smallconfused:

InQbait

2013-12-13, 03:46 PM

Wtf? The DnD universe was formed out of the Abyss? That ain't right.

As for Asmodeus, I think all the combined might of the gods could defeat him.

While we're at it, how about Hell gets destroyed right after the Abyss?

Make the universe a better place! Screw balance

Slipperychicken

2013-12-13, 04:37 PM

Wtf? The DnD universe was formed out of the Abyss? That ain't right.

There are a bunch of different cosmologies and creation myths for dnd, and that was one of them. My google-fu fails me, so I'll just recount it myself.

Basically, that particular creation myth held that the whole universe was chaos (i.e. the abyss) for a while, until a portion of it calmed/cooled down long enough to allow law (and the rest of the multiverse) to form. There was no good or evil at that time, just law and chaos. The gods liked law, and fought chaos to defend it. Eventually, they got tired of fighting chaos, and wanted to screw around in their world(s). So they appointed the general Asmodeus to continue the fight against the Abyss, while they get to screw around, so they sent him resources to keep up the good fight. However, the gods grew complacent and stopped sending Asmodeus the resources he needed, so to replenish his troops he had to start turning mortal souls into devils via unthinkable torture. He also got the gods to sign the Pact Primeval which gave him his own plane (Baator/Hell), and allowed him to do the torture. The gods skimmed the document, signed it, then later thought Asmodeus was a jerk because of his method for creating soldiers, created the concepts of Good and Evil to distance themselves from him, and threw him out of heaven into Hell so hard that the impact created the Pit (his wounds could never heal, and every drop of blood from them created a new pit fiend). Asmodeus now plans vengeance against the gods (and has the power to do it), but is too preoccupied with the Blood War to pull it off.

So yeah, the Blood War is actually a good thing, since it keeps both demons and devils from curbstomping the universe. Theoretically, it can continue forever and leave the gods' domain in relative peace.

how about Hell gets destroyed right after the Abyss?

Make the universe a better place! Screw balance

Good luck bro.

VariSami

2013-12-13, 04:38 PM

While we're at it, how about Hell gets destroyed right after the Abyss?

Yes, yes... Give in to the anger. The plans of our Yugoloth overlords in the shadows will finally be actualized!

There are a bunch of different cosmologies and creation myths for dnd, and that was one of them. My google-fu fails me, so I'll just recount it myself.

Basically, that particular creation myth held that the whole universe was chaos (i.e. the abyss) for a while, until a portion of it calmed/cooled down long enough to allow law (and the rest of the multiverse) to form. There was no good or evil at that time, just law and chaos. The gods liked law, and fought chaos to defend it. Eventually, they got tired of fighting chaos, and wanted to screw around in their world(s). So they appointed the general Asmodeus to continue the fight against the Abyss, while they get to screw around, so they sent him resources to keep up the good fight. However, the gods grew complacent and stopped sending Asmodeus the resources he needed, so to replenish his troops he had to start turning mortal souls into devils via unthinkable torture. He also got the gods to sign the Pact Primeval which gave him his own plane (Baator/Hell), and allowed him to do the torture. The gods skimmed the document, signed it, then later thought Asmodeus was a jerk because of his method for creating soldiers, created the concepts of Good and Evil to distance themselves from him, and threw him out of heaven into Hell so hard that the impact created the Pit (his wounds could never heal, and every drop of blood from them created a new pit fiend). Asmodeus now plans vengeance against the gods (and has the power to do it), but is too preoccupied with the Blood War to pull it off.

So yeah, the Blood War is actually a good thing, since it keeps both demons and devils from curbstomping the universe. Theoretically, it can continue forever and leave the gods' domain in relative peace.

Good luck bro.

There's gotta be some Op-Fu trick to do it. Pun-Pun, if nothing else works.

Manly Man

2013-12-13, 06:17 PM

It was that there were at least 24 Balors known to exist with no upward cap on how many could potentially exist (I had the book on hand).

As to the notion that Balors are the mightiest demon the FC1 mentions that Molydeus are more dreaded than Balors for whatever that's worth :smallconfused:

Molydei are more feared than the balors, but it's amongst other demons. They're almost as powerful as a balor, but they basically have the same job as the babaus do, to look for traitors and deserters. They're the closest thing that the demon princes have to a S.W.A.T. team. Balors, on the other hand, are hardly concerned about the loyalties of their lessers, since they mostly do their own thing unless a lord or prince orders otherwise.

Honest Tiefling

2013-12-13, 08:21 PM

I would assume that Balors don't rise up against the bags of Demon Lady and Lord bits (Which is an assuming idea, I think I shall generate all Demon Lords this way) because they're not stupid.

Sure, if you got enough of the things you might be able to take down a Demon Lord. Except that the casualty rate would be sky-high, and sucks to be you if you're one of them. Oh, and Demons die for good on their home plane. And your teammates sure as crap will be using you as a Demon Shield to save their own hides (or whatever it is that they have that passes for skin).

Also, who gets the crown once you've whacked the Demon Lord? Basically, all of the survivors would be fighting among each other in an instant. Better hope you're one of the more powerful ones, or you just replaced the Demon Lord with a new one that KNOWS you're the type to join uprisings.

And wait...What is that behind the throne? Oh dear, did you think that the Demon Lords don't have entire followings of Demons waiting for the chance to betray them and take control? Well, now they've joined the fight as well.

That is, if you even get to that point. What are the chances that one of your Demon buddies won't sell you out for the rewards before you even get to the right layer of the Abyss?

So basically, getting enough balors to cooperate long enough to take down a Demon Lord is going to be quite tough, as any balor chaotic enough to rebel against the lords are also chaotic enough to rebel against their own.

137ben

2013-12-13, 08:30 PM

I'd like to see a campaign where the PCs single-handedly manage to DESTROY the entire Abyss. Think of how that would change the face of the universe. It would probably make things better for it. But then, certain spellcasters would be deprived of being able to summon Demons and we can't have that. Stupid demons. I wish they'd all just die already.

And then, there's the Devils...

I recall a campaign where the PCs destroyed the heart of the abyss. We were then promptly killed when all 9 archdevils planeshifted to us immediately (we were pretty sure something like that would happen, but did it anyways). The next campaign started after Asmodeus had conquered the universe, became a god, and destroyed the other gods...

I would assume that Balors don't rise up against the bags of Demon Lady and Lord bits (Which is an assuming idea, I think I shall generate all Demon Lords this way) because they're not stupid.

Sure, if you got enough of the things you might be able to take down a Demon Lord. Except that the casualty rate would be sky-high, and sucks to be you if you're one of them. Oh, and Demons die for good on their home plane. And your teammates sure as crap will be using you as a Demon Shield to save their own hides (or whatever it is that they have that passes for skin).

Also, who gets the crown once you've whacked the Demon Lord? Basically, all of the survivors would be fighting among each other in an instant. Better hope you're one of the more powerful ones, or you just replaced the Demon Lord with a new one that KNOWS you're the type to join uprisings.

And wait...What is that behind the throne? Oh dear, did you think that the Demon Lords don't have entire followings of Demons waiting for the chance to betray them and take control? Well, now they've joined the fight as well.

That is, if you even get to that point. What are the chances that one of your Demon buddies won't sell you out for the rewards before you even get to the right layer of the Abyss?

So basically, getting enough balors to cooperate long enough to take down a Demon Lord is going to be quite tough, as any balor chaotic enough to rebel against the lords are also chaotic enough to rebel against their own.

You've just described a typical Tuesday in the Abyss. They would have done the uprising on Monday, but that's bowling night.

Slipperychicken

2013-12-13, 10:25 PM

You've just described a typical Tuesday in the Abyss. They would have done the uprising on Monday, but that's bowling night.

Demons are way too chaotic to schedule bowling night, much less show up on time or follow any of the rules.

"Demon Bowling Night" would probably just be an unspeakable massacre everywhere in the vicinity of the bowling center. With grotesquely creative means of killing people with bowling balls, and several variations on "throw victim down bowling alley".

Demons are way too chaotic to schedule bowling night, much less show up on time or follow any of the rules.

"Demon Bowling Night" would probably just be an unspeakable massacre everywhere in the vicinity of the bowling center. With grotesquely creative means of killing people with bowling balls, and several variations on "throw victim down bowling alley".

Show up late. Disregard for the rules. Senseless violence. So... Demon Bowlers equal http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YedqV4Gl_us&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DYedqV4Gl_us

Tvtyrant

2013-12-14, 01:29 AM

Balors bow for the same reason that any group of Chaotic Evil entities has an organizational structure, because the Demon Lords are strong enough to force them to bow.

The Abyss is notoriously riven with infighting, power plays, and a lack of discipline. A Demon Lord's army is however many lesser demons they can force into submission and however many lesser demons those demons can force into submission and so on down the line. Every higher ranked demon ensures that the level immediately below it is riven with internal fighting so that it can't unite against them (not to mention that no demon trusts any other demon to actually stick to an agreement once they have the power to break it).

Ruling demons makes herding cats look trivial, that is the downside of trying to rule inherently chaotic creatures.

About all you can honestly count on with demons is that 1) they are batguano insane and 2) they are sadistic little pricks who will always choose whichever option measures highest on the kilonazi scale.

I found a neat write up (http://eternitypublishing.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/article-court-of-demogorgon/) someone did on Demogorgon's court that basically works this way; big hierarchical layers based on physical power and each layer being forced to control the layer below it by the layer above it. I wonder about the numbers though; 4 million is a truly tiny number of Manes.

kieza

2013-12-14, 02:47 AM

I imagine the Abyss as an infinitely deep pit, with each "tier" of the pit looking smaller from above, but turning out to be about the same size once you get down into it. Because the "surface" layer of the pit is the easiest to reach the Material Plane from, every demon in the Abyss is trying to claw its way to the prime real estate at the top, while kicking every other demon further into the pit.

As a consequence, there are actually an infinite number of demon lords, and a larger infinite number of balors and other demons, but mortals think that there are only a handful because those are the only ones that are close enough to the top of the pit to occasionally get out and get a reputation.

The reason that the infinitely large horde of demons hasn't overrun all of creation yet (aside from their infighting) is that the Abyss has a cross-section of limited size--it limits the flow of demons from deeper in the abyss, and between angels, devils, and paladins, demons get killed off about as fast as reinforcements arrive from deeper in the Abyss.

I imagine the Abyss as an infinitely deep pit, with each "tier" of the pit looking smaller from above, but turning out to be about the same size once you get down into it. Because the "surface" layer of the pit is the easiest to reach the Material Plane from, every demon in the Abyss is trying to claw its way to the prime real estate at the top, while kicking every other demon further into the pit.

As a consequence, there are actually an infinite number of demon lords, and a larger infinite number of balors and other demons, but mortals think that there are only a handful because those are the only ones that are close enough to the top of the pit to occasionally get out and get a reputation.

The reason that the infinitely large horde of demons hasn't overrun all of creation yet (aside from their infighting) is that the Abyss has a cross-section of limited size--it limits the flow of demons from deeper in the abyss, and between angels, devils, and paladins, demons get killed off about as fast as reinforcements arrive from deeper in the Abyss.

It can't actually be a true infinity, though. Not a real infinity. It doesn't work.

If, in a true infinity, .00000000000000000...(insert twelve billion trillion 0s,)...000001% of all demons made it to the first rung, and of those the same ludicrous percentage ever made it to the material plane, there would be a literally infinite number of demons on the material plane. Demons would, shoulder to shoulder, fill up every square inch of the universe stretching into forever.

Also, if there are already an infinite number of demons, new demons spawning isn't just meaningless, it is impossible. You cannot have infinity plus one. Just the fact that more demons are spawning shows that the previous number probably wasn't infinity, since now there are more of them. Yes, I suppose some infinities are bigger than others, but in the context of 'infinite demons' it's irrelevant. There either are infinite demons, or there aren't. There's no in between. And the consequences of the former are senseless.

Infinity is just a weird concept. A certain number of things are never, and can never be, infinity no matter how large. That defeats the whole point of infinity. Demons can be totally countless and outnumber all other life in the multiverse, but there is a specific number even if it is ten to the googleplexian power.

TL;DR

Infinity of a creature doesn't exist. Any percentage of infinity is infinity, so either infinite demons are on the Material Plan or 0% of them are.

Tvtyrant

2013-12-14, 03:02 AM

I always found the infinite planes with infinite size thing off anyways. I cap it at 666 in my games, with the largest realms being Graz'zt at 6, Demogorgon at 5, and Orcus at 4. That means that the three strongest demon lords, strong enough to be called princes, only own 1/44 of the total land of the abyss between them. The rest is made up of single realm or partial realm ownerships like Dagon's Shadowsea or Zuggtmoy and Jubliex's Shedaklah.

I deviate from canon in other ways too; the Tanar'ri are made up of individual souls that began flooding into the Abyss with the creation of the prime (and thus souls) while the Obyrith are simply the chaotic evil native outsiders of the abyss. Infinite demons wouldn't make sense for this system either because there is not an infinite number of chaotic evil individuals in the prime.

Slipperychicken

2013-12-14, 03:15 AM

Infinity is just a weird concept. A certain number of things are never, and can never be, infinity no matter how large. That defeats the whole point of infinity. Demons can be totally countless and outnumber all other life in the multiverse, but there is a specific number even if it is ten to the googleplexian power.

TL;DR

Infinity of a creature doesn't exist. Any percentage of infinity is infinity, so either infinite demons are on the Material Plan or 0% of them are.

It does, however, show how much of a badass Asmodeus is, since he can wage war against infinite demons with (ostensibly) finite resources (assuming he doesn't have infinite material planes' worth of souls).

Of course, the infinite demons are spread across infinite material planes. So there might only be so many demons per plane, depending on how big the infinities are. Like if there were N material planes, and 200N demons evenly distributed among each of them, then each material plane would contain (200N/N = 200) demons each. If N = infinity, the math should work the same.

[I do agree that the infinity thing is silly. I prefer the interpretation that it's just really big and no-one knows how big it is]

PersonMan

2013-12-14, 03:32 AM

It can't actually be a true infinity, though. Not a real infinity. It doesn't work.

If, in a true infinity, .00000000000000000...(insert twelve billion trillion 0s,)...000001% of all demons made it to the first rung, and of those the same ludicrous percentage ever made it to the material plane, there would be a literally infinite number of demons on the material plane. Demons would, shoulder to shoulder, fill up every square inch of the universe stretching into forever.

Percentages of infinity are for scrubs. Just say "only X demons can go through this passage per [time]" and you've dealt with it.

Percentages of infinity are for scrubs. Just say "only X demons can go through this passage per [time]" and you've dealt with it.

I don't think it works that way, though. It is based on the demons strength and how much he fights to get through. The X possible thing is just a de facto thing to justify it. Even then, you end up with the paradoxical problem of, "If X demons enter the material plane a year, (where X is a finite number,) and X represents a part of the Demon Whole Y, (where Y is infinity,) then X equals 0% of Y. 0% is always 0, so X is 0, but X is also 200. X can't be two numbers at once, so the whole dang thing is an impossible equation.

Math with infinity just isn't really possible. It is neither a real number, an irrational number, or a imaginary number. Mathematically and scientifically speaking, portions of infinity don't work at all. 'Only X demons can enter even though infinite demons exist,' is still an attempt to extract a portion of infinity which all breaks down. It is one of the arguments against an infinite universe. And all evidence points to a universe that, at best, approaches infinity but is instead just always increasing. The Abyss makes a lot more sense that way. That it started out as one/a handful of planes and a smallish number of demons an unimaginable amount of time ago. Ever since then, it has been multiplying at exorbitant rates.

The Abyss will never stop spawning new planes or new demons so it will always approach infinity. Just like the universe approaches infinity in size but probably began very small. And after millions of years of making new layers of the Abyss, it is a totally absurd number. But it is still a number.

It does, however, show how much of a badass Asmodeus is, since he can wage war against infinite demons with (ostensibly) finite resources (assuming he doesn't have infinite material planes' worth of souls).

Of course, the infinite demons are spread across infinite material planes. So there might only be so many demons per plane, depending on how big the infinities are. Like if there were N material planes, and 200N demons evenly distributed among each of them, then each material plane would contain (200N/N = 200) demons each. If N = infinity, the math should work the same.

[I do agree that the infinity thing is silly. I prefer the interpretation that it's just really big and no-one knows how big it is]

That fixes one problem, but doesn't address and might even make worse another. How can new planes continue to pop into existence and new demons get spawned every day if there is an infinite number of them already? The answer is they can't. If there is already an infinite number, new ones can never be born because those ones would have already existed. The fact that the rules say new demons continually get created proves there isn't already an infinite number of them.

MonochromeTiger

2013-12-14, 03:57 AM

I detected the cat signal and came as fast as I could...or it may have just been an opportunity for sarcasm, hard to tell those apart sometimes.

any number except 0 divided by 0 gives infinite, this is simplified to saying no answer by mathematicians because it saves time but it is still infinite as 0 will go into any number but itself an unlimited number of times since it can never reach said number. thus math with infinite is possible but doesn't give answers most people like. also, infinite can often be used as a term meaning "ever expanding" or "constantly adding more" simply because if it keeps adding forever then there's no clear limit on it. thus we can label something that is constantly increasing as "infinite" in an attempt to simplify the explanation.

and on the asmodeus thing he isn't as amazing as that when you consider every non chaotic evil creature has a stake in keeping demons from getting out of control, he's not exactly taking on every demon in existence on his own and if they were somehow wiped out (which is pretty much impossible for most settings) everyone else who was worried about demons now switches focus to him.

NichG

2013-12-14, 04:02 AM

It can't actually be a true infinity, though. Not a real infinity. It doesn't work.

If, in a true infinity, .00000000000000000...(insert twelve billion trillion 0s,)...000001% of all demons made it to the first rung, and of those the same ludicrous percentage ever made it to the material plane, there would be a literally infinite number of demons on the material plane. Demons would, shoulder to shoulder, fill up every square inch of the universe stretching into forever.

Actually this isn't true. Infinite sums can have finite results, so long as the terms of the sum decay fast enough.

For example, lets say each layer has a finite number of demons 'native' to it 'X', but there are an infinite number of layers (so therefore a true infinity of demons total) and demons can move between layers. However, the chance that any given demon (ever, in the span of its existence) successfully manages to go 'up' one layer towards the material plane is 10%, and this chance repeats until they fail (at which point they are killed/fall back to the bottom/whatever), then the total number of demons that ever leave the Abyss is:

X * sum_j=1..infinity 10^(-j)

This is just X*(0.1+0.01+0.001+...). Which is just X/9, since 1/9 is 0.111....

So even with a true infinity of demons (total), the infinite sum converges.

This trick doesn't work if each layer has an infinite number of demons though, unless the transfer rate between layers is asymptotically zero (which can still lead to a non-zero, non-infinite number of demons escaping).

Also, if there are already an infinite number of demons, new demons spawning isn't just meaningless, it is impossible. You cannot have infinity plus one.

This is also incorrect. While 'infinity + 1' has weird properties (in that its indistinguishable from infinity), the existence of an infinite number of things in a global sense does not preclude distinguishable changes to the number locally. Consider the previous case, where each layer contains a finite number of demons but there is an infinite number of layers. The total number of demons is infinite, but if a new demon is created on a given layer then the number of demons on that layer (X+1) is distinguishable from its previous value (X). The new total number of demons, however, is not distinguishable from the old total - but this has no causal effect on the ability to change the number on each layer.

Now, whether any of these scenarios that include infinite planes/inhabitants make for settings that make any sense, that is another question entirely.

I detected the cat signal and came as fast as I could...or it may have just been an opportunity for sarcasm, hard to tell those apart sometimes.

any number except 0 divided by 0 gives infinite, this is simplified to saying no answer by mathematicians because it saves time but it is still infinite as 0 will go into any number but itself an unlimited number of times since it can never reach said number. thus math with infinite is possible but doesn't give answers most people like. also, infinite can often be used as a term meaning "ever expanding" or "constantly adding more" simply because if it keeps adding forever then there's no clear limit on it. thus we can label something that is constantly increasing as "infinite" in an attempt to simplify the explanation.

and on the asmodeus thing he isn't as amazing as that when you consider every non chaotic evil creature has a stake in keeping demons from getting out of control, he's not exactly taking on every demon in existence on his own and if they were somehow wiped out (which is pretty much impossible for most settings) everyone else who was worried about demons now switches focus to him.

Dividing by zero doesn't get infinity. It just plain doesn't work at all. If you were correct and 0/1=infinity, then the 1=2 fallacy would be a legitimate proof. But 1 isn't 2, so 0/1 isn't infinity.

Even if you try and make dividing by zero work, it still only gives a 'Point at Infinity' which is kind of like 'approaching infinity' but still not exactly. An infinite number of 0s still doesn't equal 1. The Point at Infinity is a closed number loop, not a true infinity and not a true approaches infinity, either.

Actually this isn't true. Infinite sums can have finite results, so long as the terms of the sum decay fast enough.

For example, lets say each layer has a finite number of demons 'native' to it 'X', but there are an infinite number of layers (so therefore a true infinity of demons total) and demons can move between layers. However, the chance that any given demon (ever, in the span of its existence) successfully manages to go 'up' one layer towards the material plane is 10%, and this chance repeats until they fail (at which point they are killed/fall back to the bottom/whatever), then the total number of demons that ever leave the Abyss is:

X * sum_j=1..infinity 10^(-j)

This is just X*(0.1+0.01+0.001+...). Which is just X/9, since 1/9 is 0.111....

So even with a true infinity of demons (total), the infinite sum converges.

This trick doesn't work if each layer has an infinite number of demons though, unless the transfer rate between layers is asymptotically zero (which can still lead to a non-zero, non-infinite number of demons escaping).

This is also incorrect. While 'infinity + 1' has weird properties (in that its indistinguishable from infinity), the existence of an infinite number of things in a global sense does not preclude distinguishable changes to the number locally. Consider the previous case, where each layer contains a finite number of demons but there is an infinite number of layers. The total number of demons is infinite, but if a new demon is created on a given layer then the number of demons on that layer (X+1) is distinguishable from its previous value (X). The new total number of demons, however, is not distinguishable from the old total - but this has no causal effect on the ability to change the number on each layer.

Now, whether any of these scenarios that include infinite planes/inhabitants make for settings that make any sense, that is another question entirely.

Your second argument may have validity, partly because it has been proven that some infinities are larger than others. Partly because the other arguments. I submit in that area and will concede that argument. But your first one doesn't hold water, because you changed a multiplication since into a division one. X*(0.1+0.01+0.001+...) is not 1/9. Why would it be? Where did the division come from? .11111111111... times, say, 3 is .3333333... Times 10 is 1.11111111111.... Times infinity is infinity.

If the infinite sum is a finite number, what is it? 10% of infinity is still infinity. 10% of that infinity is still infinity.

If I have ten layers, and the odds of going up the ladder is 10%, it's as simple as moving the decimal point over each time. To go from ten to the top is .000000001 percent. Doesn't matter how many layers, that number is still a percentage. And any percentage of infinity is always infinity.

MonochromeTiger

2013-12-14, 04:13 AM

Dividing by zero doesn't get infinity. It just plain doesn't work at all. If you were correct and 0/1=infinity, then the 1=2 fallacy would be a legitimate proof. But 1 isn't 2, so 0/1 isn't infinity.

Even if you try and make dividing by zero work, it still only gives a 'Point at Infinity' which is kind of like 'approaching infinity' but still not exactly. An infinite number of 0s still doesn't equal 1. The Point at Infinity is a closed number loop, not a true infinity and not a true approaches infinity, either.

eh, difference in approach. it may not reach an active result to the question but it's still constantly repeating with no clear end, the infinite goes on forever and even if something is a never ending loop it can be seen as infinite so long as it also doesn't end. an attempt to reach infinity without taking all possible means by which it can be defined into account leaves us without a clear personal method for judging, so I fully respect your disagreement.

eh, difference in approach. it may not reach an active result to the question but it's still constantly repeating with no clear end, the infinite goes on forever and even if something is a never ending loop it can be seen as infinite so long as it also doesn't end. an attempt to reach infinity without taking all possible means by which it can be defined into account leaves us without a clear personal method for judging, so I fully respect your disagreement.

Well, sure, it can be counted as 'basically infinity.' For all practical intents and purposes, it pretty much is infinity so that as a definition for infinity is acceptable, I suppose just as the Abyss can be counted as 'basically infinity.' But the Abyss is really approaching infinity throughout time, not an active infinity. It still isn't true infinity, just as dividing by zero doesn't give true infinity.

NichG

2013-12-14, 04:19 AM

Your second argument may have validity, partly because it has been proven that some infinities are larger than others. But your first one doesn't hold water, because you changed a multiplication since into a division one. X*(0.1+0.01+0.001+...) is not 1/9. Why would it be? Where did the division come from? .11111111111... times, say, 3 is .3333333... Times 10 is 1.11111111111.... Times infinity is infinity.

If I have a 10% per layer down chance per making it to the surface, that means by chance to make it to the surface at Layer N is 0.1^N, or 10^(-N), or (1/10)^N - these are all the same thing.

So if each layer has X demons, where X is a finite number, then I get X/10 demons from layer 1, X/100 demons from layer 2, X/1000 demons from layer 3, etc. Note that the only infinite thing here is the number of terms in the sum - everything I'm doing I'm doing with finite numbers, so there's no tricks where I'm adding 1 to infinity or anything like that. I just happen to have an infinite number of finite numbers.

So the total number of demons that escape is:

X/10 + X/100 + X/1000 + ...

Which is the same as 0.1*X + 0.01*X + 0.001*X + ...

Which is the same as (0.1+0.01+0.001+...)*X

Which is the same as 0.11111111.... *X

Again, everything I've done has used only finite numbers, except that I have an infinite number of terms in my sum.

I think the last bit of confusion is the 1/9th thing. 0.1 repeating is just the decimal representation of 1/9th.

So even though the total number of demons in this model is infinite, the actual number that enter the prime material plane is finite, and it is equal to 1/9th of the number of demons 'born' on any single layer (which in this model I've specified to be finite). In fact, the total number of demons that move from any layer to the layer above is also finite and is also 1/9th of the number of demons born on a single layer.

So I have an infinite total number of demons, but any given layer always has both a finite number of demons occupying it and a finite number of demons moving through it.

MonochromeTiger

2013-12-14, 04:19 AM

Well, sure, it can be counted as 'basically infinity' just as the Abyss can be counted as 'basically infinity.' But the Abyss is really approaching infinity throughout time, not an active infinity.

which is another thing my first comment on the infinity debate mentioned, while saying it is infinite at all times by the definition of "without end" is flawed it can still fit the view of "constantly expanding without a limit". I wasn't trying to refute what you were saying merely attempting to point out a compromise or alternate view for the phrasing presented.

which is another thing my first comment on the infinity debate mentioned, while saying it is infinite at all times by the definition of "without end" is flawed it can still fit the view of "constantly expanding without a limit". I wasn't trying to refute what you were saying merely attempting to point out a compromise or alternate view for the phrasing presented.

Sure, it is just a different definition. It's mostly semantic where we draw the line as to what counts a proper use of the word infinity and where is it not proper. I'm just pointing out the subtle difference between the types of infinities.

If I have a 10% per layer down chance per making it to the surface, that means by chance to make it to the surface at Layer N is 0.1^N, or 10^(-N), or (1/10)^N - these are all the same thing.

So if each layer has X demons, where X is a finite number, then I get X/10 demons from layer 1, X/100 demons from layer 2, X/1000 demons from layer 3, etc. Note that the only infinite thing here is the number of terms in the sum - everything I'm doing I'm doing with finite numbers, so there's no tricks where I'm adding 1 to infinity or anything like that. I just happen to have an infinite number of finite numbers.

So the total number of demons that escape is:

X/10 + X/100 + X/1000 + ...

Which is the same as 0.1*X + 0.01*X + 0.001*X + ...

Which is the same as (0.1+0.01+0.001+...)*X

Which is the same as 0.11111111.... *X

Again, everything I've done has used only finite numbers, except that I have an infinite number of terms in my sum.

I think the last bit of confusion is the 1/9th thing. 0.1 repeating is just the decimal representation of 1/9th.

So even though the total number of demons in this model is infinite, the actual number that enter the prime material plane is finite, and it is equal to 1/9th of the number of demons 'born' on any single layer (which in this model I've specified to be finite). In fact, the total number of demons that move from any layer to the layer above is also finite and is also 1/9th of the number of demons born on a single layer.

So I have an infinite total number of demons, but any given layer always has both a finite number of demons occupying it and a finite number of demons moving through it.

Yeah, I follow, but at the end of the day we still have Infinity/9 demons entering the material plane. Which is still infinity. Just because it is a portion of infinity, doesn't mean it must be a finite number. Because some infinities are actually bigger than other infinities, but both infinities are still infinite.

NichG

2013-12-14, 04:31 AM

Yeah, I follow, but at the end of the day we still have Infinity/9 demons entering the material plane. Which is still infinity. Just because it is a portion of infinity, doesn't mean it must be a finite number. Because some infinities are actually bigger than other infinities, but both infinities are still infinite.

No, you have X/9 demons, where X is the number of demons native to a single layer. Which I specified as finite when defining the model.

For example, if there are 100 demons per layer and an infinite number of layers, 100/9 demons on average manage to reach the prime material plane. However, the total number of demons in existence is infinite, because that is the number of layers (infinity) multiplied by the number of demons per layer (X), which gives you an infinite result.

No, you have X/9 demons, where X is the number of demons native to a single layer. Which I specified as finite when defining the model.

For example, if there are 100 demons per layer and an infinite number of layers, 100/9 demons on average manage to reach the prime material plane. However, the total number of demons in existence is infinite, because that is the number of layers (infinity) multiplied by the number of demons per layer (X), which gives you an infinite result.

No, because the demons that move from plane 4 up to 3 then have a ten percent chance to move up to plane 2 and another ten percent chance to move up to 1 and another chance to move up to the Prime Material. You are only accounting for each demon moving up one step at a time. 100 per layer, 10 percent chance to move up, 10 percent chance to move up again, etc. etc.

NichG

2013-12-14, 04:38 AM

No, because the demons that move from plane 4 up to 3 then have a ten percent chance to move up to plane 2 and another ten percent chance to move up to 1 and another chance to move up to the Prime Material. You are only accounting for each demon moving up one step at a time. 100 per layer, 10 percent chance to move up, 10 percent chance to move up again, etc. etc.

So take a demon starting on layer 7. He has a 10% chance per 'up' transition that he successfully performs the transition.

His chance of making it from 7 to 6 is 10%. His chance from making it from 6 to 5 is 10%. Therefore, his chance of making it from 7 to 5 is 1% (0.1 * 0.1). His chance of making it from 7 to 4 is 0.1% (0.1*0.1*0.1). His chance of making it from 7 to 3 is 0.01% (0.1*0.1*0.1*0.1). And so on.

This is how the sum is built. First I ask 'how many demons starting on Layer 1 make it to the Prime?'. The answer is 0.1*X.

Then I ask, how many demons starting on Layer 2 make it to the Prime? The answer is the number that make it from Layer 2 to Layer 1, multiplied by the percent that make it from Layer 1 to the Prime. So the answer is 0.01*X.

I keep doing this for each layer, so the number of demons starting at Layer N that make it to the prime is (0.1)^N * X.

Then, I collect and add together all of these individual contributions.

So take a demon starting on layer 7. He has a 10% chance per 'up' transition that he successfully performs the transition.

His chance of making it from 7 to 6 is 10%. His chance from making it from 6 to 5 is 10%. Therefore, his chance of making it from 7 to 5 is 1% (0.1 * 0.1). His chance of making it from 7 to 4 is 0.1% (0.1*0.1*0.1). His chance of making it from 7 to 3 is 0.01% (0.1*0.1*0.1*0.1). And so on.

This is how the sum is built. First I ask 'how many demons starting on Layer 1 make it to the Prime?'. The answer is 0.1*X.

Then I ask, how many demons starting on Layer 2 make it to the Prime? The answer is the number that make it from Layer 2 to Layer 1, multiplied by the percent that make it from Layer 1 to the Prime. So the answer is 0.01*X.

I keep doing this for each layer, so the number of demons starting at Layer N that make it to the prime is (0.1)^N * X.

Then, I collect and add together all of these individual contributions.

Let's just make it simple and say 10 demons per level. Let me do (0.1)^N*X for myself longhand...

Alright so I did it. With 10 demons per level, and a ten percent escape rate, level one gets an additional 1.111111111111111111111111... extra demons... Okay, I get it now. Huh. That was unexpected.

DeusMortuusEst

2013-12-14, 05:27 AM

Math and demons. Quite possibly the best thread currently active on this forum!

PersonMan

2013-12-14, 11:27 AM

I don't think it works that way, though. It is based on the demons strength and how much he fights to get through.

Who says it has to be?

Even then, you end up with the paradoxical problem of, "If X demons enter the material plane a year, (where X is a finite number,) and X represents a part of the Demon Whole Y, (where Y is infinity,) then X equals 0% of Y. 0% is always 0, so X is 0, but X is also 200. X can't be two numbers at once, so the whole dang thing is an impossible equation.

No, you don't. Because your assumptions are wrong.

Besides, one can always just make the function f describe the movement of demons "up" the Abyss. Lo and behold, the integral from 0 to infinity of f(x) is a number, which are how many demons cross "up".

Math with infinity just isn't really possible.

Sure it is, if you use the right methods.

The answer is they can't. If there is already an infinite number, new ones can never be born because those ones would have already existed. The fact that the rules say new demons continually get created proves there isn't already an infinite number of them.

It's cute that you think that demonic spawning would follow rules of logic, math or science.

I mean, really. We're talking about things that are made of Evil and Chaos. Why wouldn't they break the rules?

kieza

2013-12-14, 11:55 AM

Percentages of infinity are for scrubs. Just say "only X demons can go through this passage per [time]" and you've dealt with it.

This is what I'm getting at.

Think of the Abyss as the exit from a stadium. It doesn't matter how much seating there is; the limiting factor on how quickly people can leave is the size of the exit doors and the hallways leading to them. It's only made worse by the fact that all the spectators are fighting each other tooth and nail to be the first one out the doors.

Tvtyrant

2013-12-14, 01:13 PM

I think the idea that if you had an infinite number of something you could not count a single instance of it because you cannot calculate what percentage that is of the total baffling. The percentage of infinity is an unquantifiable number; this does not mean that individual amounts cannot exist, simply that you cannot calculate what part of the whole they make up.

Or I could be crazy.

Brookshw

2013-12-14, 01:54 PM

Demons are way too chaotic to schedule bowling night, much less show up on time or follow any of the rules.

"Demon Bowling Night" would probably just be an unspeakable massacre everywhere in the vicinity of the bowling center. With grotesquely creative means of killing people with bowling balls, and several variations on "throw victim down bowling alley".

Oh come now, they have an int score, they can put aside the "murder hate defacate" for a nice calm evening of tying poor souls to poorly balanced pole placed in a 10 pin fashion on a massive plank suspended over a pool of acid filled with acid breathing sharks while chucking animated giant heads down the plank to knock people off, possibly while said head chews on them on the way down. All work and no play makes Dave a dull demon :smalltongue:

Who says it has to be?

No, you don't. Because your assumptions are wrong.

Besides, one can always just make the function f describe the movement of demons "up" the Abyss. Lo and behold, the integral from 0 to infinity of f(x) is a number, which are how many demons cross "up".

Sure it is, if you use the right methods.

It's cute that you think that demonic spawning would follow rules of logic, math or science.

I mean, really. We're talking about things that are made of Evil and Chaos. Why wouldn't they break the rules?

You are a bit late to the party. Niche already convinced me with math. But zero divided by something isn't actually infinity. The closest you can get dependent on your methods, is point at infinity which is a little different.

Manly Man

2013-12-14, 07:54 PM

Oh come now, they have an int score, they can put aside the "murder hate defacate" for a nice calm evening of tying poor souls to poorly balanced pole placed in a 10 pin fashion on a massive plank suspended over a pool of acid filled with acid breathing sharks while chucking animated giant heads down the plank to knock people off, possibly while said head chews on them on the way down. All work and no play makes Dave a dull demon :smalltongue:

The funny part is, this actually sounds just about right. The animated heads thing really helps for Graz'zt, since he can't seem to find a ball with enough fingerholes.

Envyus

2013-12-15, 01:11 AM

All that really needs to be said is that the universe of D&D will never run out of Demons. 666 layers are known about and more exist but no one has other then the demons have gone farther in.

The Devils even realize that they will never be able to defeat the demons and the best result they can hope for is to contain them. (It helps that Bel is such a good general that the Demons have never made it past the first layer of Hell.)

Working for Bel honestly seems like a good idea in games. He is a being of Law so he will always keep his promises to you. He has no interest in the politics of hell or corrupting mortals as he his goals are to fight the Demons. If you are competent enough working with Bel could be very rewarding.

TheCountAlucard

2013-12-15, 01:44 AM

Bel also makes for a good campaign villain; I had a game in which the PCs had a hand in creating the setting's first Warforged, only for his Infernal agents to steal the prototypes and blueprints. Essentially, Bel had decided that while an army of robots wouldn't tip the balance of the Blood War, it would give him an edge and free up devils for corruption work.

The PCs weren't happy with having their hard work corrupted like that, and the last session ended with the PCs plotting an invasion of the first layer of Hell.

Envyus

2013-12-15, 02:44 AM

Bel also makes for a good campaign villain; I had a game in which the PCs had a hand in creating the setting's first Warforged, only for his Infernal agents to steal the prototypes and blueprints. Essentially, Bel had decided that while an army of robots wouldn't tip the balance of the Blood War, it would give him an edge and free up devils for corruption work.

The PCs weren't happy with having their hard work corrupted like that, and the last session ended with the PCs plotting an invasion of the first layer of Hell.

The only problem is this is a really bad idea on the PC`s part. Bel`s death and a invasion of the first layer would cause a ton of issues in hell and could allow the Demons to overwhelm the first layer. This in turn would result in more Demons flocking to hell to overwhelm it and even if the Demons don`t get too far the fact is Hell will be horribly weakened. If Hell is weakened they will be killing less Demons and losing the Blood War which allows the Demons to focus more on attacking the guys who you don`t want to die.

Stealing the plans back while avoiding fighting Bel would be the best outcome as despite his evilness the universe is better off with Bel then with out. If possible they could bargain with him as well. Helping him conquer an Abyssal layer or something could get to just return the plans if he thinks he would get more gain out of it.

Brookshw

2013-12-15, 06:57 AM

The funny part is, this actually sounds just about right. The animated heads thing really helps for Graz'zt, since he can't seem to find a ball with enough fingerholes.

We know they have parties (http://www.nuklearpower.com/2004/10/07/episode-467-so-many-minions/), not that hard to imagine they need some form of r&r.

Ya know, I've never given much thought to how Graz'zt's extra digit might inconvenience him other than in the glove department, you've sent my mind a wondering now.

TheCountAlucard

2013-12-15, 11:50 AM

See, with PCs of any game, what's important isn't whether an action is good or wise; it just needs to be big. Besides, I don't think it was their intent to kill Bel, so much as provide a means of taking back the prototype. :smalltongue:

SiuiS

2013-12-15, 12:57 PM

While it is called infinite, I don't think it is true infinity. The plane itself never ends on any given side and demons are perpetually and infinitely spawned at totally arbitrary rates, so demons are always approaching infinity in number, but there is an actual number at any given second, right? (Even if that number is constantly in flux and always unimaginable high.)

Depends. Canonically, the abyss is either literally infinite, and has an affectation for a name, or there are 666 layers and each one is infinite in three dimensions but metaphysically 'limited' in that there's a maximum depth you can achieve.

I'd like to see a campaign where the PCs single-handedly manage to DESTROY the entire Abyss. Think of how that would change the face of the universe. It would probably make things better for it. But then, certain spellcasters would be deprived of being able to summon Demons and we can't have that. Stupid demons. I wish they'd all just die already.

And then, there's the Devils...

We're kinda doig that? It's secondary damage though, out targets are Mechanus, Heaven and The outlands, to destabilize and destroy the great wheel.

Tvtyrant

2013-12-16, 02:47 AM

We're kinda doig that? It's secondary damage though, out targets are Mechanus, Heaven and The outlands, to destabilize and destroy the great wheel.

Wouldn't that just allow the Abyss to expand though? It isn't like the abyss is going to get weaker by getting stronger..

Envyus

2013-12-16, 03:16 AM

Added on I don't think it's possible to destroy those planes. Let alone the Abyss.

SiuiS

2013-12-16, 03:17 AM

Ah, math. My favorite is the .9forever = 1 thing. It's not proof that .9forever equals one so much as it's proof that base ten doesn't always work neatly.

Wouldn't that just allow the Abyss to expand though? It isn't like the abyss is going to get weaker by getting stronger..

The abyss is a plane, not an absence. It isn't void. It also isn't swirling chaos – the fiendish codex is quite arrogantly wrong, and tries to steal Limbo's thunder for the demons.

If the metasituation that allows for the existence of planes is removed, then planes will not be. We are engineering it in such a way that rather than removing the borders and letting it expand, it will just not be a thing which exists in the setting... If the setting itself survives.

Demogorgon is unfortunately an absence though, and a sigularitu, and possibly also the abyss on a metaphysical level, so we are in a recursive logic loop that might end up imploding everything into a stable time loop where we constantly murder ourselves and ascend to our own thrones across uncountable epochs. We call that the "Bad Ending". We'll see.

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