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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Demons and Angels with no gods or planes

    So I've been thinking about the metaphysics for a setting I'm working on, and I think I've hit upon a way to fit demons/angels and so forth into a setting with no other planes or provable deities.

    They're made by mortals, not spiritually but physically crafted from dead bodies and objects and imbued with life by rituals that bind a spirit of dubious origin into the form. The spirits origins are a subject of debate, and they are extremely unhelpful about the matter when asked, so mortals attribute their origin to various gods, other worlds, the afterlife and other unverifiable mechanisms.

    Angels and demons are mostly the same in terms of behavior, being generally sociopathic and prone to major personality flaws, but angels are made through a more costly ritual that allows them to be imbued with desired qualities, like loyalty, mercy or honour, while demons have to develop such concepts over time and through their own immoral worldview.

    Demons are made by creating a fascimile of their shape out of human and animal body parts, a D&D bulezau for example being crafted from a decaying human corpse with it's arms and legs extended with the bones from another human, a snake's body attached like a tail and the head of a large goat or small cow placed where the human head would have been. After a ritual the being lurches to unwholesome life, ready to maim and murder, but capable of being pressed into service with magic or sufficient bribery or brute force.

    Angels likewise require a body be made for them, but also incorporate precious materials into their body. The heart must be replaced by a ruby, sapphire or emerald of roughly the same size as the host's original heart, and their eyes must be replaced with spheres of pure gold. Each eye can be inscribed with a word, imbuing the resulting angel with that word as an unchangeable part of their personality. Due to their generally unpleasant personalities one of the eyes of an angel is almost always insribed with words like loyalty or duty, bestowing an immediate level of control over them to their creator. If an angels inscribed words conflict they cannot take the action that would cause the conflict, so an angel with loyalty and mercy could not execute a defenseless person even if commanded to, while an angel with loyalty and wrath could not refrain from killing an enemy even if commanded to.


    Demons generally either kill their creator, if they were unprepared, or serve them until such time that the demon has reasonable cause to flee their service. Young demons do not fear death, happily fighting to the death in service of a master or simply to slake their own desire for bloodshed. As demons grow older, their mind develops complexities like any mortal, some become cowards, or tricksters or scholars. They never truly develop empathy however, always being unable to co-exist with mortals without the fear of immediate consequences keeping them in line.

    Most angels, being imbued with loyalty, are immediately given an important task and accompanying restrictions. Most are made as guardians, protecting a person or place from harm, some are made to be fearless and obediant soldiers, though the expense involved is prohibitive, some are crafted to avenge a wrong inflicted upon their creator. Some are simply weapons of terror, imbued with hate and wrath and unleashed upon the lands of enemies. Angels made solely with benevolent words like mercy and charity are rare, but it is not unheard of to find a lesser angel crafted by a philanthropic ritualist giving what aid it can to those in need.
    Sanity is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Demons and Angels with no gods or planes

    First: These sound like a pretty cool thing to have in a setting. They could work well as opponents that players need to fight, opponents that they need to work around or manipulate, or even as the players themselves. (If any players at your table have murderhobo tendencies then encouraging them to play as a literal demon who must be managed by the other players feels quite appropriate.)

    Second: Given that people make these things on purpose, the fact that they are called angels and demons rather than just constructs has implications. The name 'demon' sounds like something that people would give to a type of construct if they are strongly opposed to its creation and use - if that name is widespread, then we can assume that this type of construct is not. The name 'angel' sounds a bit pretentious, but it could reasonably be used as a way of distinguishing these constructs from demons once the name demon comes into common use.

    There needs to be a reason why people would create angels and demons rather than constructs of another type. Angels are expensive but worth it, so it's easy to see why people would make them. Demons, on the other hand, need an explanation for why anyone would ever make one at all. Perhaps they are simple-minded and easier to control then your initial description would imply. Perhaps a demon can be imbued with a specific craving at creation which makes it easy to control. Perhaps they are only ever made by mad, power-hungry, or foolish mages. Perhaps demons are necessary in some way, for example being the only (affordable) way to defend a town from naturally-occurring monsters.

    Some of these suggest sources of conflict where neither side is clearly in the right, which is interesting. For example, the creation of demons might be illegal in the kingdom where your campaign takes place - but a small village needs demons to protect it from monsters, leading them to create demons in secret. Perhaps the players are tasked with finding and destroying these secret demons, only to discover when they have done so that the demons were necessary in order to hold back something far worse . . .

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Demons and Angels with no gods or planes

    I imagine demons to mostly be illegal, by both secular and canon law, and angels only get by on the grounds that the rich and powerful make up the bulk of those who can afford to make them. The names for them being adopted as a result of past usage by sorcerer-kings and the appropriation of some angels by religions trying to fit them into a theological framework.

    The reason for making demons is that they're cheap, anyone who finds a book detailing the methods and the kind of host needed could pick up a shovel and dig up a corpse, go find some animal parts and have a demon ready to go in a few days or less. The necessary ritual signs can be made of sticks and all the actual components of the demon are meat.

    For the most part* I envision demons as the creations of occultists who die in the process, thinking themselves strong enough to control the creature only to be overwhelmed by what they created. Otherwise they'd be made by those legitimately strong enough to control them, armies, tyrants, reclusive magi, powerful demons or angels. The former would mostly make demons one or two at a time, the latter would perform rituals on a huge scale, bringing hundreds or thousands into the world to bolster their forces. Usually this still results in the would be diabolist being torn apart, but some people are powerful enough to control demons and wise enough not to try and grasp too far all at once.

    In contrast to golems demons and angels are possessed of sapience, independant thought and creativity. They also are truly alive, healing injuries, eating, sleeping and so on. The strongest demon is also potentially cheaper than the weakest golem to create. Something like a balor could be made with the body of a giant, the head of a bull, giant goat or similar horned beast and the wings of a dragon. Or the stitched together wings of thousands of bats if you have the time to spend.


    *Which is to say most rituals to make demons are done by random loonies who from grief, greed or curiosity decide to animate a corpse by binding an unwholesome spirit into it. The rituals done by the powerful account for far more demons, but also only happen rarely and the demons usually die in large amounts in the conflicts for which they were created or their own fratricidal frenzy.


    Demons which live past their initial few days or months of existence and manage to break away from their masters or flee retribution for their slaughter usually end up living in remote areas, mostly attacking animals or raiding villages and travellers until hunted down and killed or pressed into service by someone more powerful. A small number live long enough to develop curiosity and ambition, becoming scholars, aspiring conjurers or warlords. Some that look sufficiently humanlike could pass well enough that they can skulk among mortals, but few cultures would accept a free demon openly walking their streets.
    Sanity is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Demons and Angels with no gods or planes

    Overall I really like this.

    but because I'm me and I think logisticall...

    a precious stone the size the body's original heart. That is an issue....for example a diamond the weighs the same amount as a human heart (which would still be far smaller in volume is diamonds are DENSE)...so we are looking at 350 grams for a large human. . . so that's the three largest diamonds in earth's history. Total. Ever. 1 was only good for insudtrial diamonds anyway so may not count. but really you are looking the Cullinan Diamond, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sewel%C3%B4, and that about it....(here is the list)
    largest sapphires? they max out too low too.
    basically same with other cardinal gemstones and even many just precious or semiprecious ones....

    No this is not saying you can't do this but it does mean that by doing so you are implying that there is a supply of such gemstones to use in such processes. And that super rare gems of this type wouldn't have better uses somewhere else. Gemstones like this were in medieval times often referred to as being worth some number of days of world economic output. So they were powerful symbols in their own right. . . properly wielded probably more powerful than a human sized angel....let alone the larger ones. If the heart of the angel is worth more than a palace it changes the opportunity costs that creating an angel presents..so you need more supersized stones or a less costly heart (though probably costly none the less...perhaps a gold heart and gemstone eyes? And to be fair more supersized gemstones are fine...just understand that will mean that you'll see them elsewhere too...as a whole head of ducal scepters...larger ones (usable for larger angels) embedded in thrones and cathedral alters etc.

    also something I'd toss out...not just high level magic, bribes, etc may be able to bind demons. but that anyone who can raise a demon gets a fair shot at giving it one binding command. This would strongly incentivize desperate people building them. People who want vengeance so badly they don't care if the demon kills them or a ton of other people too (or dominates a target, or gives them a child, or whatever dark desperate urges drives one to raise a demon). Because once that one original order is complete the demon would be free of control. Also it would help to try demons into the classical sins and dark passions that many of the classic story uses of demons can fill. It would be the wild card factor...the idea that they are cheap to make (and actually most livestock meat isn't that cheap...just cheap vs angels it seems) gives the opportunity for those with less or no classic power to use them. Sure you still have to nuts to try but it probably works often enough that other desperate people hear of it and decide to try it themselves.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2020-09-29 at 04:56 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: Demons and Angels with no gods or planes

    This also plays really nicely with more eldritch looking angels. A wheel of eyes, for instance, is an incredibly practical design because each eye represents an additional command/virtue.
    Quote Originally Posted by Darths & Droids
    When you combine the two most devious, sneaky, manipulative, underhanded, cunning, and diabolical forces in the known universe, the consequences can be world-shattering. Those forces are, of course, players and GMs.
    Quote Originally Posted by OgresAreCute View Post
    Realism, the natural predator of D&D mechanics.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Demons and Angels with no gods or planes

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    Overall I really like this.

    but because I'm me and I think logisticall...
    Spoiler
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    a precious stone the size the body's original heart. That is an issue....for example a diamond the weighs the same amount as a human heart (which would still be far smaller in volume is diamonds are DENSE)...so we are looking at 350 grams for a large human. . . so that's the three largest diamonds in earth's history. Total. Ever. 1 was only good for insudtrial diamonds anyway so may not count. but really you are looking the Cullinan Diamond, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sewel%C3%B4, and that about it....(here is the list)
    largest sapphires? they max out too low too.
    basically same with other cardinal gemstones and even many just precious or semiprecious ones....

    No this is not saying you can't do this but it does mean that by doing so you are implying that there is a supply of such gemstones to use in such processes. And that super rare gems of this type wouldn't have better uses somewhere else. Gemstones like this were in medieval times often referred to as being worth some number of days of world economic output. So they were powerful symbols in their own right. . . properly wielded probably more powerful than a human sized angel....let alone the larger ones. If the heart of the angel is worth more than a palace it changes the opportunity costs that creating an angel presents..so you need more supersized stones or a less costly heart (though probably costly none the less...perhaps a gold heart and gemstone eyes? And to be fair more supersized gemstones are fine...just understand that will mean that you'll see them elsewhere too...as a whole head of ducal scepters...larger ones (usable for larger angels) embedded in thrones and cathedral alters etc.

    also something I'd toss out...not just high level magic, bribes, etc may be able to bind demons. but that anyone who can raise a demon gets a fair shot at giving it one binding command. This would strongly incentivize desperate people building them. People who want vengeance so badly they don't care if the demon kills them or a ton of other people too (or dominates a target, or gives them a child, or whatever dark desperate urges drives one to raise a demon). Because once that one original order is complete the demon would be free of control. Also it would help to try demons into the classical sins and dark passions that many of the classic story uses of demons can fill. It would be the wild card factor...the idea that they are cheap to make (and actually most livestock meat isn't that cheap...just cheap vs angels it seems) gives the opportunity for those with less or no classic power to use them. Sure you still have to nuts to try but it probably works often enough that other desperate people hear of it and decide to try it themselves.
    Good point on the gems. I'd rather lean towards gems being similarly sized as they are in the real world, so the use of lots of small gems to replace the heart is definitely better. Or maybe the heart is removed, filled with gems and then put back, that feels a touch more macabre, and I like macabre.

    As for demon creators getting one command, I'm not sure. There's a few things about demons I've not settled on yet. I like the idea that anyone who knows the basics can have good odds of making a demon, but that actually making it do what you want is much harder, so it's mostly the domain of the arrogant or the desperate. I was thinking that maybe the more complete versions of the rituals grant greater influence over the demons. So a corpse prepared properly is the only thing needed to make a demon, but circles, sacrifices, symbols, scripture and so forth are all things that make it more likely for a spirit to enter the body and be amenable to the commands of the creator.

    Quote Originally Posted by PoeticallyPsyco View Post
    This also plays really nicely with more eldritch looking angels. A wheel of eyes, for instance, is an incredibly practical design because each eye represents an additional command/virtue.
    I had mostly been thinking of angels as being made of human bodies with wings and animal parts attached, like the various D&D celestials, but I am now imagining one made by attaching the orbital sockets of multiple humans and animals to a larger frame to serve as anchor points for multiple eyes in more uncanny angels. Wheels within wheels, Buer, Argus style humanoids covered in eyes, or that classic four faced look, in this case being four actual heads cut up and grafted together to form a single angel's head, seamless once imbued with spirit.
    Sanity is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Demons and Angels with no gods or planes

    One thing that stands out to me is that the more likely you are to be able to press a demon into service (through magic or just being tough enough to beat it's ass if it doesn't go along), the more likely you are to be able to leverage that might to get the money for a proper angel binding. Meaning that only the truly mad would try making a proper demon, and people that mad are rare. Depending on how super-rare you want your demons to be, you might want to have the occasional demon willing to play nice in exchange for being summoned to our world without being bound. (For a value of "nice" that includes hurting someone you want it to hurt while not hurting you or anybody who you seem to like. It'll still go off to be its sociopathic self once it's done and you don't want to press too hard, but it's still an option for the desperate as opposed to just the senselessly mad.)

    Only other "problem" is that they're conceptually more similar to golems than truly otherworldly beings. Which means that the breadth of magical abilities you see in your usual outsider's MM writeup is a little harder to swallow. It'll be simple enough to just say that this particular angel/demon only has the abilities you see being relevant. So not really a problem, and an interesting take altogether.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Demons and Angels with no gods or planes

    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Portent View Post
    Good point on the gems. I'd rather lean towards gems being similarly sized as they are in the real world, so the use of lots of small gems to replace the heart is definitely better. Or maybe the heart is removed, filled with gems and then put back, that feels a touch more macabre, and I like macabre.

    As for demon creators getting one command, I'm not sure. There's a few things about demons I've not settled on yet. I like the idea that anyone who knows the basics can have good odds of making a demon, but that actually making it do what you want is much harder, so it's mostly the domain of the arrogant or the desperate. I was thinking that maybe the more complete versions of the rituals grant greater influence over the demons. So a corpse prepared properly is the only thing needed to make a demon, but circles, sacrifices, symbols, scripture and so forth are all things that make it more likely for a spirit to enter the body and be amenable to the commands of the creator.
    Okay...so a couple questions. why would anyone make a demon?
    If those who can get it to do stuff could afford a golem or an angel then there is no point making a demon.

    And why would an arrogant or desperate person even try this if they didn't think it would work? And for them to think it will work they have to have examples of it working to go from. So it does have to work sometimes, sure not all the time, over even the majority of the time but enough to tantalize and tempt more people into trying.
    If it doesn't work very often then how valuable is the knowledge of how to make them? They just are not useful otherwise. And if they are not useful then people will not go through the trouble of making them. And if people don't want the go through that then having the information isn't very useful....ya see the issue?

    Also if someone is being "arrogant' to think they can control the demon the question becomes " what are they mis-judging about themselves? Because that is what arrogance comes down to. Thinking you are better than they are. So that implies if they were as good as they think they are they could pull it off. So what do they have to think they are in order to try this? That should give you ideas on who actually can.

    And again demons represent both work and risk. The are an investment of time to find out how, to collect the parts (possibly commiting murder to get them) and the like. Plus a lot of risk. Both legally and from the demons itself. You have rather strongly hinted that things generally don't turn out well for the summoner. Potential summoners would see that. So why take that risk? What is the payoff? What is the payoff vs anything else someone could put the same level of work and risk into?

    Whatever it is from the point of view of the summoner they almost certainly they make sense...to them summoning the demon may well be the best choice, perhaps for some desperate souls the only choice to get what they want. Sure that may require some extreme deviations from normal valuations on things like human life and risk but that is what great story criminals are made of.

    So some potential ideas.
    That with the kinds of resources one could use to make a one or two angels someone could somewhat reliably make a lot of demons and get them to do his bidding. This would help with the raising of infernal armies by tyrants, very bad magi to fill their towers and the like. Prime adventuring ground here for mid to high level characters.
    Those with low resources there is still a decent chance to get what you want out of the thing...but its very limited... and/or has a high cost (murder, may kill you, your firstborn son, *insert plot element here*) enough chance that it inspires more people to take the chance on their own. And whatever costs the summoners pay society will pay more, especially once the demon is totally free....
    And then there are the people who try to thread the needle between these two groups...arrogant enough to try to ape first group. But don't have the resources...and sometimes they succeed...that hyper successful merchant may well have an invisible imp that spies for him on his competitors...but most are in way over their heads...without the resources of the truly powerful or the desperation and damn-the-consequences freedom of the second.

    But pull on themes you like here....what makes demons demonic? Why are they bad exactly? Classically in D&D they are associated with the ideas of the Abyss and the 7 deadly sins/Hell...so what do they work with in your set up? Do they corrupt? Can they possess the living at all? Classically they have also been a lot about desire passion etc...so perhaps that can/should be infused somehow.

    As for gemstones....if you want a big stone....there are big stones in the semi precious category that get expensive when really big (quartz, or perhaps jade or hematite/bloodstone)...there is the fill the heart with smaller gems...or do something else with the heart (including one of the cheaper options like gold or a semi-precious rock) and stick a gem of appropriate value in the brain to act as a control foci for the system....small would still work as it is a focus...and gets the cost whatever you need it to be.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2020-09-30 at 10:44 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Demons and Angels with no gods or planes

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    One thing that stands out to me is that the more likely you are to be able to press a demon into service (through magic or just being tough enough to beat it's ass if it doesn't go along), the more likely you are to be able to leverage that might to get the money for a proper angel binding. Meaning that only the truly mad would try making a proper demon, and people that mad are rare. Depending on how super-rare you want your demons to be, you might want to have the occasional demon willing to play nice in exchange for being summoned to our world without being bound. (For a value of "nice" that includes hurting someone you want it to hurt while not hurting you or anybody who you seem to like. It'll still go off to be its sociopathic self once it's done and you don't want to press too hard, but it's still an option for the desperate as opposed to just the senselessly mad.)

    Only other "problem" is that they're conceptually more similar to golems than truly otherworldly beings. Which means that the breadth of magical abilities you see in your usual outsider's MM writeup is a little harder to swallow. It'll be simple enough to just say that this particular angel/demon only has the abilities you see being relevant. So not really a problem, and an interesting take altogether.
    I'm conceiving of the spirits that become demons and angels being more akin to Djinn from Arabian folklore, but without the ability to interact with the world. They don't come from somewhere and their powers are inexplicable but inherent to their being. I do think that the easiest way for those with resources to persuade/bribe a demon into service by providing it with food, alcohol, drugs, music and maybe something to tear apart while you try to persuade it to do what you want.

    The pro of demons vs angels for those with power is the ability to mass manufacture demons. Making an army of angels is expensive and time consuming, making an army of demons is relatively easy and somewhat less expensive if you have the power to command them.

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    Okay...so a couple questions. why would anyone make a demon?
    If those who can get it to do stuff could afford a golem or an angel then there is no point making a demon.

    And why would an arrogant or desperate person even try this if they didn't think it would work? And for them to think it will work they have to have examples of it working to go from. So it does have to work sometimes, sure not all the time, over even the majority of the time but enough to tantalize and tempt more people into trying.
    If it doesn't work very often then how valuable is the knowledge of how to make them? They just are not useful otherwise. And if they are not useful then people will not go through the trouble of making them. And if people don't want the go through that then having the information isn't very useful....ya see the issue?

    Also if someone is being "arrogant' to think they can control the demon the question becomes " what are they mis-judging about themselves? Because that is what arrogance comes down to. Thinking you are better than they are. So that implies if they were as good as they think they are they could pull it off. So what do they have to think they are in order to try this? That should give you ideas on who actually can.

    And again demons represent both work and risk. The are an investment of time to find out how, to collect the parts (possibly commiting murder to get them) and the like. Plus a lot of risk. Both legally and from the demons itself. You have rather strongly hinted that things generally don't turn out well for the summoner. Potential summoners would see that. So why take that risk? What is the payoff? What is the payoff vs anything else someone could put the same level of work and risk into?

    Whatever it is from the point of view of the summoner they almost certainly they make sense...to them summoning the demon may well be the best choice, perhaps for some desperate souls the only choice to get what they want. Sure that may require some extreme deviations from normal valuations on things like human life and risk but that is what great story criminals are made of.

    So some potential ideas.
    That with the kinds of resources one could use to make a one or two angels someone could somewhat reliably make a lot of demons and get them to do his bidding. This would help with the raising of infernal armies by tyrants, very bad magi to fill their towers and the like. Prime adventuring ground here for mid to high level characters.
    Those with low resources there is still a decent chance to get what you want out of the thing...but its very limited... and/or has a high cost (murder, may kill you, your firstborn son, *insert plot element here*) enough chance that it inspires more people to take the chance on their own. And whatever costs the summoners pay society will pay more, especially once the demon is totally free....
    And then there are the people who try to thread the needle between these two groups...arrogant enough to try to ape first group. But don't have the resources...and sometimes they succeed...that hyper successful merchant may well have an invisible imp that spies for him on his competitors...but most are in way over their heads...without the resources of the truly powerful or the desperation and damn-the-consequences freedom of the second.

    But pull on themes you like here....what makes demons demonic? Why are they bad exactly? Classically in D&D they are associated with the ideas of the Abyss and the 7 deadly sins/Hell...so what do they work with in your set up? Do they corrupt? Can they possess the living at all? Classically they have also been a lot about desire passion etc...so perhaps that can/should be infused somehow.

    As for gemstones....if you want a big stone....there are big stones in the semi precious category that get expensive when really big (quartz, or perhaps jade or hematite/bloodstone)...there is the fill the heart with smaller gems...or do something else with the heart (including one of the cheaper options like gold or a semi-precious rock) and stick a gem of appropriate value in the brain to act as a control foci for the system....small would still work as it is a focus...and gets the cost whatever you need it to be.
    Well creating angels requires the same knowledge as making demons, they're basically just a refined version of the same process. Controlling demons could be very easy depending on what you make. An Imp or Quasit could be pressed into service by shoving it in a sturdy sack and beating it with sticks until it cries uncle. A Bulezau or Bearded Devil analogue would generally need restrained or heftily bribed until it can be convinced to cooperate. Something like a Balor or Pit Fiend basically mandates a combination of magical bindings, physical restraints and bribery, though it could still be made by basically anyone.

    So if a group of peasants found a grimoire that was complete enough to include the warnings rather than just the methods they could tie their prospective demon down before inviting a spirit into it, then use the resulting position of power to bargain with it. Or they could provide it with a table of food and beer and some animals to kill, and promise it further indulgence in exchange for service. If they get too ahead of themselves though they might try to summon something too powerful and have everything backfire.



    Broadly speaking my thoughts for young demonic motivations is akin to the Strix from the nWoD, but without true awareness while in their natural state. Spirits have no sensations and only minimal awareness of their own existence; when they enter a body the long period of nothingness they experienced tugs at the back of their mind, filling them with envy for the creatures that always have sensation. They want to experience everything, to make up for the lack of sensation they had for so long. A young demon is an unbridled, sociopathic hedonist. The taste of food on their tongue, their mind fogged by intoxication, the rythm of music and song, the screams of the wounded and the scent of blood, intimate pleasures of the flesh, these are the sort of things they want.



    Another part of things that I'm thinking of is the art of creating demons and angels as originally having been performed and perfected by a kingdom of dwarves. They used demons and angels for all sorts of things, personal guards, consorts, scholars, soldiers, spies. They used their armies of dwarves and demons to make humans pay them tribute, both in goods and in flesh to make more demons/angels. Eventually the kingdom collapsed into a civil war due to societal issues, and most of the dwarves and their creations died with the rest fleeing into other lands, bringing with them bits and pieces of malefic lore. Due to information suppression, time, dispersal and translation issues most copies of the information are wildly incomplete, having only a few of the viable host types described, lacking information on protective signs, incomplete or absent invocations, missing warnings and so on. The surviving dwarves don't trust each other enough to try and reassemble the knowledge themselves, leaving humans to try and piece together what they can, and enough demons and other things* live in the ruins of the dwarven realm to make trying to find more information directly from the source impractical.

    *I have some ideas on what happens when a demon/angel procreates with a mortal creature, or when you bind a spirit into a living thing, but I'm still ruminating on whether or not it's a good idea to tie the majority of monsters to the same fundamental source.
    Sanity is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

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