Demon Lords and Archdevils
"Know me then by my
best name, mortal... YOU FACE DEMOGORGON! PRINCE OF DEMONS!"
— Demogorgon, Prince of Demons
, Baldur's Gate 2: The Throne of Bhaal
Somewhere between Satan
and the Legions of Hell
are these guys: Maybe the setting doesn't want to deal with a single representative of all evil, maybe they felt dividing the stuff up makes for more fun intra-demon politicking
. Maybe they felt it allowed for more specialization and character, or maybe it's easier to deal with underlings than Old Scratch himself.
For whatever reasons there are these guys: usually with names taken from the Apocrypha, Ars Goetia
or Dante's Inferno
, these guys can be described as Almost-Satan, for when the real deal isn't as fun to use. They're often given fancy titles and pretty much do whatever Satan
would have done had he been present. Also, if you actually kill one or stop their schemes, it's still an accomplishment, but it's hardly a collapse of the demonic system. There will always be another to replace the one that falls. Perhaps even the killer.
Keep in mind, killing one is a lot harder than it sounds, because miraculously driving one's Hit Points
to zero usually involves Fighting a Shadow
Common in all sorts of fantasy works, usually serving under a God of Evil
(or possibly Satan
himself) and plotting against them
. May be the center of a Religion of Evil
or the true identity of the being worshiped by a Path of Inspiration
. This trope is the Evil Counterpart
of the Council of Angels
, although these guys tend to be a lot
less likely to cooperate with each other. When the Enemy Civil War
breaks out, they're the ones in charge of either side.
Compare and contrast the Legions of Hell
for the grunts and Satan
for the big guy himself. See also Our Demons Are Different
. Much like deer, the size of their horns
can denote their status. Typically also a Monster Lord
. See also, Elite Mook
The good equivalent are either called Celestial Paragons or simply Archangels
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Anime & Manga
- In the anime and manga series Blue Exorcist, there are the Eight Princes of Hell. So far, the only ones that have appeared are Amaimon (the Earth King) and Astaroth (the King of Rot). As Amaimon's older brother, Mephisto is one of the Princes, the King of Time. Other demon princes have been named in supplementary material, but have yet to show up in the story.
- Several Demon lords appear in Bastard!!. The demons have a hierarchy of nobility,with Satan being the top dog. Directly beneath him are the 7 demon kings,- Asmodeus,Astaroth,Baal,Beelzebub,Belial,Bilt & Paimon,among whom Beelzebub seems to be the one in charge. Further down the hierarchy,we have demons like Konron,who is a Viscount of Hell.
- Chrono and Aion from Chrono Crusade are arguably of this class of demon. Both of them are described as being "high ranked" devils. Duke Daffau, the leader of the Pursuers (sort of like a demon police and military) is definitely one of these, too.
- The Godhand are the five most powerful demons of the Berserk universe, and are in charge of creating new demons and occasionally, new members of the Godhand when they are summoned by Behelits. They, in turn, serve the Idea of Evil.
- Graf Wilhelm Josef von Herrmann of Mahou Sensei Negima!, a demon of the higher ranks who was summoned to help in the destruction of Negi's village. He also sells wishes for those interested. Order now, and you could get any three wishes for a low, low introductory price.
- Demons appear to be ranked on a scale of nobility. Graf is a Count.
- Poyo Rainyday is said to have a very high rank, enough in fact to be a final boss.
- Kokuyo from Wish by CLAMP is the Son of Satan. He's invited to the Bridge with Satan, God and the Four Archangels and is always refered to as being of a high rank in Hell.
- Mazoku-Lords in The Slayers are the five servants of Ruby-Eye Shabranigdo, this universe's Satan equivalent. Since Shabranigdo is temporarily unavailable, they are free to act as they choose, politick against each other and create more underling Mazoku.
- To date (in the anime continuity): two fragments of Shabradigdo out of seven and two Mazoku-Lords are safely dead.
- As part of how it enjoys in the broader Digimon canon, there exists a group by the name of the Seven Great Demon Lords, consisting of... well, seven great demon lords: Daemon, Barbamon, Leviamon, Belphemon, Beelzebumon, Lilithmon and their leader, Lucemon. In actual appearances in media, they've been portrayed rather inconsistently and never together though, outside of the video games (they're the primary antagonists in Digimon World Data Squad, for example):
- Daemon was the Big Bad of Digimon V-Tamer 01, and a random enemy in Digimon Adventure 02
- Lucemon was the Big Bad of Digimon Frontier, before being downgraded to a Monster of the Week in Lilithmon's service in Digimon Xros Wars
- Beelzebumon was briefly a major enemy in Digimon Tamers before undergoing a major Heel-Face Turn out of guilt; a redesign of him appears in Digimon Xros Wars, where he's an outright holy warrior
- Barbamon was the big bad of Digimon Next
- Belphemon was revived to be Kurata's ace in the hole in Digimon Savers; it's implied that in the early history of the Savers Digital World, all seven Demon Lords dominated and wreaked havoc
- Lilithmon was a major enemy in Digimon Xros Wars, but for the most part amounted to little more than part of the Quirky Miniboss Squad.
- Leviamon was a case of Dark Is Not Evil in Digimon Xros Wars - he may have been evil but still gave his life to save the world and became one of the DigiMemories, the remnants of a heroic group containing such luminaries as Royal Knights Omegamon and Examon
- Other Digimon considered to be demon lords or other rulers in the Dark Area exist, including BelialVamdemon, GranDracmon, and Murmuxmon. None of these are considered to be part of the Seven Great Demon Lords, though. A new one was introduced as the Big Bad of Digimon Xros Wars, Bagramon, the demonic inversion of Arch Angel Gabriel.
- This is what The Hero of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha expected to find when he stormed into the Demon King's castle. He found a rather more adorkable queen who's no less of a hero than he is, though of a different kind.
- In the original Dragon Ball series, King Piccolo and his son Piccolo Jr. were portrayed as such, before 'Dragon Ball Z retconned them into being aliens. Z also had its own example with Dabura.
- Dilbert has Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light
- The Marvel Universe has a huge variety of demon lords, Mephisto and Satannish usually being the most prominent. There's also a Satan, his relation to the others is unclear.
- Mephisto, Satannish and a few others are "brothers" in the sense that they were born from the same "mass of evil energy", possibly the one left after the destruction of the Elder Gods. Also, Satan has NEVER officially appeared in Marvel Comics; it's always been some other demon impersonating him. This is a retcon, probably for politically correct reasons, as Satan was a regular character in the "Son of Satan" (now known as Hellstorm) series in the 1970s. That "Satan" was later revealed to be Marduk Kurios, possibly a corrupted version of the Babylonian god (but there's someone else claiming to be that deity, too.) He showed up again when Wolverine went to hell. The "Satan" who created Ghost Rider was revealed to have been Mephisto.
- Mephisto has claimed to be the source of all evil on several occasions. Of course, Mephisto lies. The true nature, if any, is kept intentionally vague.
- Well, what with his appearance, being one of the few demons to actually offer humans deals with the Devil and trying to corrupt pure souls, he's probably the closest thing the MU will ever have to Satan.
- Marvel did have a "Satan", but that later retconned because of the CCA at the time. Recently, Marvel introduced the fallen angel Lucifer into the Marvel universe, but insists he is a different entity than Satan(which isn't invalid). Fallen angels seem to be a different beast than the Mephisto type demon lords altogether.
- The first appearance of the "Son of Satan" was in an issue of Ghost Rider. Daimon and Satana Hellstrom's and GR's Satan were the same entity, originally.
- Recently, it was revealed in a Fear Itself Tie-in, that the Demon Lords have meetings around Satan's empty throne. Mephisto even mentions, that while Demon Lords like to falsely claim to be "Satan", none of them dare do it near Satan's throne, or even sit on it. If they did, they'd be torn apart by all the other claimant hell-lords.
- It was noted though by Mephisto that Marduk Kurios really does believe and persistently insist that he is in fact The real Satan, so for all we know "Satan" may originally have been the official title for the ruler of Hell and not a specific entity, with Marduk the first holder of the title until he was eventually deposed and failed to regain his throne ever since.
- It should be remembered after all that during the Chaos War storyline, the Devil Powered by All of Hell's Fire who personally battled Marvel's biggest Big Bad to date, the Chaos King itself (who is the yin to the yang of Eternity himself), in the last stand of the Marvel nether realms, was Marduk Kurios.
- There are also many demon lords who don't go after the title of Satan but have no less nefarious goals, such as Lilith, Blackheart, Asteroth, The Beast Of The Hand and Plokta. All but the latter are confirmed to have different origins than the main group though.
- The DCU is very similar to the Marvel Universe in this regard.
- DC only recently got its own infernal hierarchy settled with the "Reign in Hell" miniseries after decades of contradictions. Note: this series renders most of Lucifer's stories (from DC's Vertigo comics) out of continuity.
- Hellboy, of course. Hellboy himself is the son of an unnamed demon prince. The demon prince Astaroth plays a major role in Box of Evil. And "Pancakes" has cameos by a number of devils of various ranks.
- Doug TenNapel seems fond of this. In Creature Tech, Dr Jameson makes a deal with the demon Hellcat. And the protagonists of Black Cherry are menaced by the demon lord Tail.
- Demon Knight has a arch-devil known as the Collector, who distinguishes himself by saying that a particular eye-ball weakness only applies to "lower-level" demons. His true form is the only demon that we see with wings.
- The Cenobites in Hellraiser: Bloodline. Angelique holds the title of Princess of Hell. Pinhead still seems to outrank her.
- Raymond E. Feist's Serpent War saga features two demon lords: Maarg and Jakan, both of which are manipulated by other forces.
- The more recent Demonwar Saga elaborates further on this; there are five Demon Kings (Maarg was one, and new Big Bad Dahun is another) who each rule a different territory of Hell and continually feud with each other over who gets what, and each is served by numerous lesser demon "captains" like Jakan. There's also a Demon High King, but whether he's a seperate entity or just a title claimed by the currently most powerful king is unclear.
- The Discworld novel Eric features politicking among the demon lords.
- In The Screwtape Letters, some aspects of Hell's Lowerarchy are mentioned in passing. (Yes, Lowerarchy—Hell's bureaucracy is inverted. Satan's title is "Our Father Below".) Screwtape himself is in a middle-management position.
- In the various versions of the Faust story, Dr. Faustus makes his deal with the demon Mephistopheles.
- In The Malloreon a pair of demon lords become involved in their struggle. This is clearly a very bad thing, such that even the Big Bad of the series doesn't want them present, aware that Evil Is Not a Toy.
- Good Omens has both Legions of Hell and Demon Lords and Archdevils and Satan himself, at the end.
- In Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos, he's not sure whether he's met Satan himself or one of his
- The Balrogs from The Lord of the Rings and the rest of the Tolkienverse. Massive flaming beings ten yards tall, that wield a whip and a gigantic sword and are so immensely powerful. Gandalf, one of the strongest beings in the material world, barely managed to defeat one and soon after died of exhaustion.
- Sauron himself also qualifies, occupying a place between Morgoth and the Balrogs in the demonic hierarchy.
- Referenced in Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time books, where a solid percentage of the Quirky Miniboss Squad - who are just superpowered evil humans - are named after classic demon princes. Asmodean==Asmodeus, Bel'al==Belial, etc.
- The Dresden Files has brought up the hierarchy of demons once or twice. Archdemons are mentioned as a hypothetical in Fool Moon and Harry theorizes that the villains in Small Favor could only have trapped the Archive with the power of a fallen archangel.
- On a slightly lower level, Anduriel, the Fallen Angel who is "partners" with Nicodemus, is stated to have been one of Satan's captains during the Fall and is currently probably the most potent Fallen active directly on Earth.
- In The Guardians, Hell is in the middle of an Enemy Civil War, and both Lucifer and Beliel have lieutenants among the Legions of Hell.
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter trilogy, their enemies include one of the powers of Hell, and one demon deposed from that position and out to get it back.
- The Dagda Mor from Elfstones of Shannara is The Leader of the Demons by virtue of having broken anybody else who tried to take the position. Following his death, we learn in High Druid Of Shannara that several major Straken Lords, including series' Big Bad Tael Riverine have tried to fill the void since he fell, but have been unable to do so. The subsequent Dark Legacy trilogy has Tael Riverine as Big Bad again, and heavily implies he has finally succeeded at becoming the Straken Lord. However, he's Killed Off for Real at the end, and it's unclear who- if anyone- will end up taking his place.
- In Terry Brooks' The Word and the Void (which was later retconned into the Shannara verse) the small "d" demons do not have an actual aristocratic hierarchy, with most demons operating solo, playing their own individual role in The Void's plans. Thematically, however, Findo Gask, powerful demon and notorious Hero Killer fullfills this function, forcing lesser demons to obey him, and sometimes acting as The Void's Mouth of Sauron.
Live Action TV
- Angel has Archduke Sebassis, "bonafide nobility of the fiery down under" and commander of 40 Legions of Hell.
- The Senior Partners and the Old Ones, such as Illyria, may count as these as well.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Giles sought to face Barvain, the Demon Prince. But The Initiative got to him first.
- In Charmed demons had the Source of Evil and a power ranking for lesser and greater demons; as the series advanced so did the level of power the enemies they faced.
- Supernatural: There are several archdemons in the series. Their exact position in the pecking order is usually not revealed, although we know that King of Hell and King of the Crossroads are among the top jobs.
- The named archdemons are Azazel, Lilith, Alistair, and Crowley (the last two being a Shout-Out to the occultist Aleister Crowley), and Samhain. The angelic Lucifer himself is at the top of the hierarchy and is seen by the demons as their God of Evil.
- They are also marked by getting their own eye colours, except for Crowley. Instead of inherently being more powerful, he fought his way to being the King of Hell by sheer Magnificent Bastardry and therefore retained the red eye color of the Crossroads demons. The demonic hierarchy goes something like this: Black Eyes < Red Eyes < Yellow Eyes < White Eyes < Lucifer.
- Abaddon and Cain (yes, that one) are the only surviving members of the Knights of Hell before Cain wiped them out in revenge for killing his loved one. Despite being black-eyed, they're the first demons handpicked by Lucifer himself, possibly making them more powerful than even white-eyed demons.
- The multi-named speaker in Voltaire's "When You're Evil" is presumably one of these.
When the Devil is too busy and Death's a bit too much
They call on me, by name, you see, for my special touch
Myth & Religion
- The Ars Goetia, the first section of the Lesser Key of Solomon, lists 72 demon lords, along with instructions for their summoning.
- The Bible mentions Beelzebub as a "Prince" of demons. Satan himself is also given titles like "Prince of the Air" or "Lord of this World" in some Biblical verses. In the book of Revelation, several demonic creatures are explicitly noted as having a rank of power over lesser beings, but the issue isn't gone into in detail.
- This is the general role played by the Daevas in Zoroastrianism (theorized to have originally been the gods of the religion that was dominant in ancient Iran during and prior to Zoroaster's life, and the names of several of whom resemble gods from Vedic Hinuism). Traditionally, there are six main Daevas, each corresponding to a particular form of evil: Akoman (Evil Thought), Indar (who freezes the minds of the righteous), Nanghait (Disconent), Sawar (Oppression), Tauriz (Destruction), and Zariz (who poisons plants), though there are a number of lesser ones as well. Collectively, they are evil counterparts to the Amesha Spentas (roughly equivalent to archangels) and are the minions of Angra Mainyu/Ahriman.
- Dungeons & Dragons has always (except for a brief time in 2nd Edition days) had a plethora of them.
- The Lawful Evil devils are ruled by Asmodeus (probably the most direct Satan-analogue) and overseen by a pretty complicated hierarchy of devils, the most important one being the other eight Archdevils or Lords of the Nine: Bel, Dispater, Mammon, Belial (and his daughter and co-ruler Fierna), Levistus, Glasya, Baalzebul, and Mephistopheles; there are also a couple of exiles, most notably Geryon and Moloch. The lesser unique devils are known as Dukes of Hell and serve the above as vassals.
- 4th Edition makes Asmodeus the God of Tyranny instead of an Archdevil. He still is the lord of all devils and the other Archdevils remain unchanged.
- The Forgotten Realms used to have the god Gargauth, who was a former Archdevil that had somehow managed to make himself into a demigod of betrayal, cruelty, powerbrokers and political corruption. His titles included 'the Tenth Lord of the Nine'.
- The Chaotic Evil Demons have an "uncountable" number of lords, princes, and monarchs - the most famous being Demogorgon (who looks like a tentacled, two-headed mandrill), Graz'zt (the Abyss's Magnificent Bastard), and Orcus.
- Two have ascended from this rank to godhood; Lolth (sometimes Lloth), goddess of the dark elves, who still uses the title 'Demon Queen' - and Juiblex (sometimes Jubilex), the 'god' of blob-monsters, who rated a Shout-Out in the Wrath of the Dragon God movie.
- The D&D set generally known as Basic and Expert did not have entities called gods, but Immortal status (amounting to the same thing) was given to that edition's versions of Demogorgon and Orcus.
- The Neutral Evil daemons (or yugoloths) have a more shadowy hierarchy Depending on the Writer (and edition), although there are the ancient Baernoloths, the General of Gehenna, and the incredibly powerful Oinoloth Anthraxus, possibly the oldest of their kind.
- At least one source says that Anthraxus may be the current Oinoloth, but there were others as well - and his position was not secure. Each of them had names based on some form of disease.
- Apomps the Three-Sided God is the singular ruler of the gehreleths, a sort of weird offshoot of the yugoloths.
- The Slaad Lords—Ssendam and Ygorl—are the most singularly powerful of the Chaotic Neutral slaadi. These entities play with the trope Starfish Alien style - they're not actually evil, but they are so alien and insane that the mere proximity of them can drive one to madness.
- The Eberron setting has several varieties:
- The Overlords are the biggest and baddest (they're also called Rakshasa Rajahs, because most of their fiendish subjects are Rakshasas, but setting creator Keith Baker prefers "Overlords" because they're not actually Rakshasas themselves, any more than a god is a really power human). They're tremendously powerful Physical God-level beings who each personify some for of destruction or corruption; they ruled the world a long time ago, but were eventually defeated by the dragons and, since they could not be destroyed, were imprisoned. Now they want out, and they've got loosely-allied cabal of fiendish followers- the Lords of Dust, many of whom fit this trope themselves- working to release them, which would pretty much mean The End of the World as We Know It.
- The quori are a race of quasi-demonic nightmare spirits who are behind the Path of Inspiration and covertly control the nation of Riedra through it, and aim to control all mortal dreams. The most powerful kind of quori are Kalaraqs (intended to be roughly analogous to balors or pit fiends), and the most powerful of them is the Devourer of Dreams, who is the Mouth of Sauron to the Dreaming Dark itself, the Genius Loci of the Dream World which ultimately controls the quori.
- The daelkyr are less powerful than either of the above, but still nasty pieces of work, being Humanoid Abominations who rule over Xoriat, the Realm of Madness note . They tried to take over the mortal world for some reason millennia ago and were defeated, but many of them are still imprisoned here (sharing space with the Overlords, though Baker has indicated the Overlords see the daelkyr as small change compared to them), and still have servants/worshippers active.
- Pathfinder has the archdevils Barbatos (an honorary archdevil), Dispater, Mammon, Belial, Geryon, Moloch, Baalzebul, and Mephistopheles all answering to Asmodeus who is both the greatest of the archdevils and one of the two first and original gods—he had a kinder companion, but Asmodeus killed him and erased every hint of his name from the face of the multiverse. There are countless demon lords, including Lamashtu (who like managed to achieve true godhood), Pazuzu, Baphomet, Cyth V'Sug, Nocticula, Angazhan, Abraxis, Kostchtei, and Flaucos. Finally, the Neutral Evil daemons are ruled by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a quartet of archdaemons who once answered to the singular Oinodaemon.
- Warhammer Fantasy has various daemon princes and Greater Daemons that serve the four Gods of Chaos. Of particular note are Kairos Fateweaver, Ku'Gath Plaguefather and Skarbrand, who are available in the game as special characters. In Warhammer 40,000, the fallen Primarchs largely take up this role.
- Warhammer 40k has rules for Daemon Lords of Chaos, Greater Demons even bigger and more powerful than most of their kind. They are Gargantuan Creatures that cost from between 666 (Slaanesh) to 999 (Tzeench) points so they're only usable in extremely large-scale games, and for a good reason as they can pretty wipe out armies single-handedly.
- In Nomine has the various Demon Princes: a dozen or so in the core rules and an unspecified number of "minor" ones, some of which have been detailed in the supplements.
- In Talislanta, the most powerful devils are called "shaitans", and constitute a race in their own right that rule over the lesser diabolic races.
- Exalted has the Yozis, as well as the Third and Second Circle demons. The hierarchy of Hell established by the Yozi Cecylene declares Third Circle Demons (the souls of the Yozis) to be Unquestionable, while the Second Circle Demons (and some exceptional members of the lesser orders) are citizens, carrying numerous privileges and protections, while the Yozis themselves preside over the entire thing by virtue of command of the Third Circles and being the substance from which Hell is composed. In terms of general function, only the citizens really fit the traditional image; the Yozis and Unquestionable preoccupy most of their time with distant and alien agendas, leaving the citizens to politics and conquest.
- The Dark Eye features twelve demons who act as evil counterparts of the major gods. Also there is the Demon Sultan, a true Eldritch Abomination in demon form. ("Daemon Sultan", incidentally, was one of the titles for Azathoth in the Cthulhu Mythos.)
- Demon The Fallen has these. In fact, they are the bosses (ostensibly) of the player characters.
- Magic: The Gathering has a hellish plane called Phyrexia, filled with these guys. There's Gix, Davvol, Tsabo, and many others. Some people even ascend (descend?) to this role, such as Volrath, Ertai, and Crovax. The new Phyrexia doesn't have a Big Bad, just five praetors who also fill this role.
- Werewolf: The Forsaken has the Maeljin, grand spirits of malevolence. There are 9 of them, 7 of which corresponds to the Seven Deadly Sins (the other two are of Deception and of Violence). They rule over evil spirits, the Maeltinet, who in turn are the totem spirit of the Bale Hounds. The Forsaken and The Pure hates them more than they hate each others.
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse likewise has the Urge Wyrms, aspect of the Wyrm that lure mankind to ruin through aspects such as Power, Corruption, Lust, Greed, Hatred, and Apathy. They've got their own Maeljin, but these are humans who were so wicked in life that they were offered the chance to become a representative to horrible wickedness, and gladly said yes.
- New World of Darkness has the sourcebook Inferno, who is all about demonkind. The hierarchy of demons go a long way, capping with the Archdemons, who are so powerful they aren't even given stats. It's strongly hinted that the aforementioned Maeljins are the same beings as the Archdemons.
- Zoophobia's Major Styx is Satan's right-hand man.
- In 8-Bit Theater you have various Evil Gods fighting for power under Chaos, Archfiends (the classical four... all with their own personality problems), and then the legions of hell underneath. All of them tend to be incredibly evil and devious, and hell is, well Hell. Of course, when Black Mage temporarily becomes king of hell for twenty minutes, all of these afore-mentioned evil beings (and the universe in general) experience a terrified Oh Crap moment complete with Ominous Latin Chanting. Luckily the forces of Evil manage to kick him back into his body, and the universe isn't stupid enough to let him die again any time soon (although this doesn't stop it from kicking his ass into the gutter for all that its worth). One God of Evil did try to make Black Mage his Archdemon/Antichrist/Evil Messiah, but that didn't work out too well.
- Darken gives you the nine levels of hell, each one ruled by a devil. The only ones that are names are Asmodeus of level nine, and the overlord. Mephistopheles on level eight, and Baalzebul on level seven. Apparently the other six levels are boring... Nice Explanation.
- The Order of the Stick has the three Archfiends (Lee, Nero and Cedric) from the Inter-Fiend Cooperation Commission.
- Sluggy Freelance:
- Lord Horribus, who leads the Dimension of Pain demons, but is still subservient to the Demon King, a literal personification of evil. Also other demon aristocracy like him, at least other Demon Lords and Queens, such as his sister Deplora of the Dimension of Grief.
- The Demon King counts equally well for this and for God of Evil.
- There's also K'Z'K, the immensely powerful demon who's supposed to bring about the end of the world and is actually one of the pillars of reality created at the very beginning as the opposite counterpart of the Creator, imprisoned in the form of a demon in an attempt to stop him destroying creation again and again.
- Most of the introduced demon characters in Heart Core are these, but the leader of them all is Royce.
- Baldur's Gate, as mentioned above, has you face Demogorgon, the Prince of Demons, in the expansion. You also encounter a "Lesser Demon Lord" in the Drow City.
- Nippon Ichi's The Verse has this throughout, mostly focused in the Disgaea games and Makai Kingdom. Multiple Netherworlds are ruled by Demon Overlords; with Demon Lords as the second highest rank; and they often war with each other. Beyond Overlord one starts getting into God of Evil level; and this is not healthy mentally.
- Of particular note is the recurring Bonus Boss, Tyrant Overlord Baal, who is so powerful that even Overlords tend to crap their pants at the sight of him. He's also immortal, being able to eternally recreate himself even if his body is destroyed.
- It should be noted that Overlords were not originally part of this trope, as they're essentially the Big Bad and Satan-equivalent of their universe. The Multiverse concept just got a little out of hand, to the point where the entire cast of Makai Kingdom was made up of Overlords hanging out in the space between Netherworlds.
- Kingdom of Loathing has:
- Archduke Azazel, who possesses odd tastes and lives in Pandemonium, one of the largest cities of Hey Deze. Satan is around, but just enjoys heavy metal.
- Spookyraven Manor has books that tell you of the Nether Planes. A secret chamber also allows you to summon demons if you know their names. One of the demonic names can only be learned by eavesdropping on demons attempting to summon him to Hey Deze, indicating he's probably not a local.
- "Ol' Scratch" is the Hobo Lieutenant of Fire.
- Infernal Seals dwell in "the Abyssal Plains." Again, there are demons in Hey Deze who try and fail to summon one, implying it's from somewhere else. Seal Clubbers are adamant that no one deserves Seals - not demons, not hippies, not anybody.
- The Lord of Revenge, whose name consists of randomized letters different for each player. Responsible for converting your Nemesis into their demon form.
- The Barons of Hell from Doom.
- Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy IV each have their own versions of the Four Elemental Fiends, who represent the corruption of the natural elements. Lich, Marilith, Kraken, and Tiamat serve Chaos in the Final Fantasy I, serving as important storyline bosses. The Archfiends that appear in Final Fantasy IV, Scarmiglione, the Blighted Despot, Cagnazzo, the Drowned King, Barbariccia, the Empress of Winds, and Rubicante, the Autarch of Flame, fit the trope better, though, since they have names derived from Divine Comedy, grandiose titles (at least in the DS version) and make reference to having some connection to hell, whatever that means in that universe.
- However, unlike the Four Fiends of Chaos, who are actual demons corrupting the elements, the Elemental Lords (or Archfiends) of Final Fantasy IV are actual spirits of nature, as they tell you in "After Years" while asking to put them back to sleep.
- The Seven Great Evils in the Diablo series, which you will be spending the entire trilogy either killing or foiling the plans of:
- Andariel is the first of the Lesser Evils you kill in Diablo II. She is the Maiden of Anguish and specializes in mental torment.
- Duriel is the second Lesser Evil you kill in Diablo II. He is the Lord of Pain, and specializes in physical torture.
- Belial is the first of the remaining Lesser Evils you fight in Diablo III. He is the Lord of Lies and specializes in disguise, illusion and manipulation.
- Azmodan is the last of the Lesser Evils, and Hell's premier military commander. He is the Lord of Sin, and commands a group of lieutenants who embody human vices.
- Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred, is the first of the greater Prime Evils you take down in Diablo II. He is responsible for the corruption of the Zakarum church.
- Baal, the Lord of Destruction, is the second of the Prime Evils, and is actually fought in the expansion pack of Diablo II. He's the one responsible for what happens to the Worldstone.
- And last but not least, Diablo himself, the Lord of Terror, the last of the Prime Evils and the Big Bad of the entire series. You kill him no fewer than three times in the series (four times if you count Uber Diablo in the Diablo II expansion), and in Diablo III, he becomes Tathamet, the original Prime Evil from which all the Great Evils originally sprung, reborn.
- Warcraft has Sargeras the Fallen Titan, a kind of demonic Satan/God of Evil figure, and the über-demons that serve under him, most notably Legionlords Archimonde and Kil'jaeden.
- Dept Heaven has a complicated system in its underworld—the demons are ruled by the titular lord of the underworld, who oversees the demon gods; the demon gods oversee the Accursed, and the Accursed are in charge of regulating basic Mook demons. Apparently a demon's intelligence and competence determine its rank, and rank is very important in Niflheim, as survival of the fittest is the only real law. The underworld itself can only be explored briefly in Riviera's Bonus Level Of Hell, but the Accursed and demon gods have starred as enemies in both that game and Knights in the Nightmare.
- NetHack features several of these guys. The nastiest by far is Demogorgon, but it is possible to finish the game without meeting him.
- Dominions has five Arch Devils, six Ice Devils, and four Heliophagus' who resemble 'classical' devils and have powers related to fire, ice, and darkness respectively, as well as four Demon lords, who resemble well, some of the more bizarre designs from medieval manuscripts.
- Shadow Hearts has Asmodeous and Astaroth as major threats in the second game. Each one of them is powerful enough to wreck the world once fully manifest.
- The Shin Megami Tensei series, operating on All Myths Are True, have several demon lords and arch devils from christian, jewish and islamic lore making multiple appearances. All of them are unique and each of them are said to command a significant portion of the demons. Lucifer himself is the strongest amongst them and seems to command the fealty of most of his fellow demon lords through sheer Asskicking Equals Authority. In several of the games he is one of the main characters' staunchest patrons in their fight against God.
- It should be noted that Shin Megami Tensei makes a difference between Lucifer and Satan: Lucifer is the First of the Demons, the Fallen Angel who rebelled against YHVH, while Satan follows his Judean interpretation as an agent of YHVH's judgement and serves as The Dragon in most of the games. Persona 3: FES would further muddle this up by introducing Helel, Lucifer prior to his fall, as a Persona. Helel has yet to make an appearance as an actual demon in a main MegaTen game, however.
- Devil Survivor features several of these archdevils as major antagonists, all of whom are involved in a There Can Be Only One fight over a title known as the King of Bel.
- Heroes of Might and Magic series has a unit called Archdevil in the Inferno town, not to mention many of its heroes are effectively demon lords.
- Lusternia has the Demon Lords of Nil: Gorgulu, who is Body Horror incarnate and an endlessly ravenous incarnate of greed; Nifilhema, who delights in Cold-Blooded Torture and the beauty of combat; Ashtorath, The Berserker and a Big Red Devil, appropriately representing rage; Baalphegar, a Giant Spider Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge, who weaves plots that span millennia; and Luciphage, an endlessly patient chessmaster and their devilishly charismatic leader. The Nihilists guild can form pacts with the Demon Lords, and usually pledge themselves to the service of one above the others (the one whose ideology most matches their own).
- In Final Fantasy II, a central element of the plot is that the Emperor has made a Deal with the Devil (quite literally, according to the novelizations Satan himself rules hell in FFII-verse) to summon the Legions of Hell in order to Take Over the World. However, when the heroes kill the Emperor, he ends up killing Satan and taking over Hell, and thus the heroes are obligated to journey to the palace of Hell to take him out for good. And it is in the palace of Hell that the Demon Lords and Archdevils of FFII are found, two of them even named Astaroth and Beelzebub.
- Solium Infernum runs on this trope.
- Ghirahim, the Big Bad of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has the title of "Demon Lord", and he appears to be the leader of the demons of the surface and the most powerful demon next to his master, Demise, Hyrule's God of Evil.
- Zarak from Weaponlord bears the title of Demon Lord, and it the main target whom the prophesied Weaponlord must face and slay. Zarak himself killed his predecessor Raith to attain the role of Demon Lord in an attempt to show the old Demon Lord how pointless his rules were.
- Ragnarok features the various demon lords of Niflheim.
- Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark starts out with a mysteriously powerful drow elf empress leading her forces from the subterranean realm of the Underdark to attack the surface, but it eventually turns out her power is derived from her somehow having bound to her will Mephistopheles, the Archdevil ruler of the penultimate level of Baator (the Nine Hells). As anyone Genre Savvy should be able to expect, he manipulates her out of the way and becomes the real ultimate adversary of the story, intending to take advantage of his being summoned to the Material Plane to conquer the world and turn it into a tenth level of Baator, making him as the ruler of the lowest level the new supreme ruler in place of Asmodeus.
- Morgath of Avencast: Rise of the Mage is the commander of the hordes of daemons you fight through the game. He's an oddly passive example since he only warred with humanity after a human empire sought him out to use his organs for spare parts.
- In The Gamers Alliance, each of the four demon hordes has an archdemon leading it, but a few independent archdemons exist as well. The known archdemons are Hepnaz, Malphas, Nina, Pazuzu, Vaetris, Omaroch, Yurius, Nhrakate and Malakhia.
- In Super Teens Stuff, Al is a Human who becomes the Demon Lord.
- In Elfen High, there are many demon lords, who serve under THE Demon Lord, Azazel.
- When Azazel dies, Hell is split into many fractions of said Demon Lords.
- In The Salvation War, Hell is split into many fiefdoms of various sizes. The ranks of nobility the Demons use is based primarily on medieval Italy and the Holy Roman Empire, with Satan acting as the King/Emperor who allowed the Grand Dukes, Barons, etc. fight amongst each other in order to preserve the balance of power and have no one be able to challenge him. Throw in the basic territorial setup found in Dante's Divine Comedy, and you have an idea of the political, technological and geographic situation the modern humans fighting them easily overcame. Following this trope, the largest and most powerful demons were usually regarded as Grand Dukes and Princes. They usually had the best territory, the most wives and offspring, the most powerful armies, and the most favour in Satan's Court. They were also (as mentioned before) the physically largest and most imposing Demons in Hell (only trumped by Satan himself), as well as the strongest and most feared Demons, with Satan regularly killing off underlings easy-as-you-please whenever he threw a tantrum.
- Shadowhunter Peril has Asmodeous, Lilith, Abaddon, Azazel, and Samael appear, as well as several other demons created specifically for that universe. An interesting subversion is that Azazel, which is usually another name for Satan or a high-level demon, was a minor Ediolon (shapeshifting demon) who was unceremoniously killed off by Umbra after appearing for a very short amount of time. Little is known about the hierarchy right now, but Lilith is some sort of Hive Queen who is the mother of all demons. Abaddon is her fourth son, one of the oldest demons, and is an Axe Crazy Anthropomorphic Personification of destruction. Samael only appeared in a flashback, and was a Fallen Angel. Their domain is actually not called Hell, but the Infernal Worlds, since demons are extradimensional parasites, and their exact numbers are not known. There is a king of the Infernal Worlds—Asmodeous, Lilith's first son. Other demons includes Agramon, Necarissus, Kaos, Leviathan, Umbra, Nix, and Ignis (the latter three aren't evil—Umbra and Ignis are White Sheep while Nix did a Face-Heel Turn).
- Rocko's Modern Life features an arch-demon named Peaches. Although he isn't the absolute ruler of Heck; that title belongs to an ill-tempered shadowy figure in a beanie.
- Hunson Abadeer, ruler of the Nightosphere in Adventure Time
- Lucius Heinous I-VII have all ruled the Hell-like world of Miseryville in Jimmy Two-Shoes (Although only Lucius Heinous I was actually competent at it).