27 June 2010

Devils in the Ranks: The Least Baatezu

Wondering where the devils spring from, cutter? Well, the dark o' the matter is this: when evil primes (with lawful tendencies, of course) get penned in the dead book, their souls wind up in Baator (that's one of the lawful-aligned Lower Planes, or Hells, for you clueless berks) and are reborn as larvae (fig. 1).
Fig. 1: Baatorian Larva
Now, if you let the nature take its course, the larvae that survive will eventually be transformed into beautiful butterflies. Hah! Just kidding. Nothing of the sort; this is the Hells we are speaking of! And in Baator, the larvae tend to take only one shape: that of a nupperibo. However, the legends have it that nupperibos (fig. 2) are not really the devils that you and I are familiar with, but are in fact an even older form - that of the ancient Baatorians. Or, at least, they might become that if the fiends ever let them grow and develop naturally...
Fig. 2: Nupperibo
But, of course, they don't. Nupperibos are hunted down, herded up, and forcibly shaped into true baatezu form: the lemure (fig. 3). Lemures are actually one peg lower than the nupperibos, but are the only form that allows further advancement in the recognized baatezu ranks. Both nupperibos and lemures are used as expendable footsoldiers in the Blood War, and very few live to see a different fate.
Fig. 3: Lemure
Those few that survive (approximately one in a million) are then promoted to a first higher form: that of a spinagon (fig. 4). These devils are spies and messengers of the baatezu, and some of them can be quite cunning (a concept entirely alien to the mindless nupperibos and lemures). Now, as spinagons, these baatezu must learn in order to advance further. Each subsequent rank requires a specific lesson to be acquired, usually from experience. The spinagons therefore must learn that it is best to act (and succeed) as quickly as possible (in order to avoid any unnecessary hassle).
Fig. 4: Spinagon (Spined Devil)
Now, a good spinagon (well, not good good, of course, but resourceful and hard-working) may have a chance to advance to a higher rank: be it abishai, barbazu, osyluth, hamatula, or amnizu. Or, if he's a bad spinagon (surely you get it by now), he might end up a lemure again. But, ah, let's not get too carried away. This is enough of a lesson for today, cutter. More on the devils another time, eh?


Idran said...

Followed your link from Planewalker, and these are amazing. Are you planning on doing all the baatezu eventually? Because I'd love to see that.

Domigorgon said...

Quite possibly!

BB Shockwave said...

Great lesson on the least Baatezu there! Man, I wish Black Isle made more Planescape games. Torment remains one of my favourite games ever.