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Demon Lords and Archdevils

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"Know me then by my best name, mortal... YOU FACE DEMOGORGON! PRINCE OF DEMONS!"
Demogorgon, Prince of Demons, Baldur's Gate II: 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 apocrypha, the Ars Goetia or The Divine Comedy, 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, although it's also common for them to be given specific purviews, interests or schemes — theming each around a deadly sin is a popular choice. 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.

Medieval demonology often sorted named demons using feudal noble titles, and it's still common for fiction to depict Hell as organized under an infernal peerage. The demons at the top typically use royal titles — "Prince" is fairly common, with "King" or "Emperor" being reserved for the big man himself — while below them is an infernal nobility of dukes, earls, barons and others of varying power and influence. Hell being Hell and demons being demons, this is typically portrayed as a Byzantine tangle of shady alliances, pompous and obscure titles, and ruthless climbing up the greasy pole of rank, which every two-bit baron having his eyes on eventually unseating and replacing the mighty Princes. Any organized court kept by the archdevils is of course going to be a Deadly Decadent Court.

Common in all sorts of fantasy works, usually serving under a God of Evil (or possibly Satan himself) and usually plotting against them (they're demons, after all). 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.

In battle, they will almost always be the most powerful demonic forces bar Satan himself. They often command Hellfire of far greater power than the demonic Mooks under them. Sometimes they are a Reality Warper, allowing them to make deals with mortals and grant them incredible power at an even greater price. Evil Is Not a Toy after all. They frequently wield pitchforks or staves into battle. They are also immune to what normal demons are weak to.

The Trope Namer is Dungeons & Dragons, where demons and devils are distinct beings ruled by demon lords and archdevils.

Compare and contrast The Legions of Hell for the grunts, Satan for the big guy himself, and Asmodeus, Baphomet, Beelzebub, Mammon and Mephistopheles, who are frequently confused with him. See also Our Demons Are Different. Much like deer, the size of their horns can denote their status. Typically also a Monster Lord or going by Maou the Demon King. See also, Elite Mooks.

The good equivalent are either called Celestial Paragons or simply Archangels.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • There are seven Satans of Hell in Angel Sanctuary, all of which represent the Seven Deadly Sins.
  • Several Demon lords appear in Bastard!! (1988). 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.
  • 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.
  • Black Clover:
  • Blue Exorcist: There are the Eight Princes of Hell. So far, the only ones that have appeared are Amaimon (the King of Earth) and Astaroth (the King of Rot). It later turns out that Amaimon's older brother Mephisto, actually Samael, is one of the Princes, the King of Time. Lucifer, the King of Light, later makes an appearance. Other demon princes have been named in supplementary material, but have yet to show up in the story.
  • 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.
  • 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):
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Great Demon King Piccolo is the evil half of the God of Earth, who left his body and descended from the sky and attacked the Earthlings with his army of Mazoku children. Great Demon King Piccolo reincarnated himself into a younger version after being killed by Son Goku. The revelation of Piccolo being an extraterrestial alien did not retcon both Piccolos' status as being demons, which becomes clearer since God notices how the current incarnation of Piccolo has become less demonic and less evil over time, to the point that his victims can actually go to after life now, something that would not happen to the victims of Mazoku.
    • Dabra is the King of the Demon Realm and also an extremely powerful fellow. According to Goku, he's as powerful as Cell, who at full strength rivaled that of the Super Saiyan 2 form.
  • Graf Wilhelm Josef von Herrmann of Negima! Magister Negi Magi, 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.
  • In the anime adaptation of the sexy-statue franchise Seven Mortal Sins, the Nine Circles of Hell are initially run by the eponymous clique of sexy demonesses, led by Belial, who represents the Mortal Sin of Vanity, and followed in ostensible power rankings by Astaroth (Melancholy), Satan (Wrath), Mammon (Greed), Belphegor (Sloth), Beelzebub (Gluttony), and Asmodeus (Lust). However, its later revealed that the rankings are actually Nonsense (they have no real relation to power levels at all but merely measures the level of loyalty to leadership) which were invented by Belial (who is secretly the Fallen Angel Satanael, in contrast to the other six who are natural-born demons) when she first took over Hell (after being banished forever from Heaven) by convincing the other six demon lords (who were hedonists that cared nothing for politics) that Hell needed a formal organized government to counter any possible invasion/extermination by Heaven (to whom Belial was actually planning to sell out Hell in order to be restored to her former status). Later, Belial is again banished forever (well, it doesn’t last this time), this time from Hell to Earth, for her treachery, and Asteroth (her Number One Fan) voluntarily goes into exile with her. They get replaced by Lucifer, another Fallen Angel (and ironically the former leader of Heaven’s own ruling clique of Archangels, the Seven Lively Virtues, who banished Belial from Heaven to begin with in the first place), who represents the Mortal Sin of Pride (which was once a Lively Virtue until she and it got replaced by Faith and its representative, the archangel Michael, Lucifer’s understudy who banished her on God’s orders and replaced her as the leader of the Lively Virtues) and Leviathan (Lucifer’s own Lovecrazed obsessive stalker) who represents the Mortal Sin of Envy (amusingly, she was a trying-hard(est) wannabe who kept getting rejected from joining the Mortal Sins for being too weak until Lucifer rewarded her for her tireless support in her quest to defeat Belial and repel the invasion/extermination of Heaven).
  • Mazoku-Lords in 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.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime:
    • "Demon Lord" is technically both a title and a species. The title can technically be used to refer to any sufficiently powerful monster/non-human being, but the species explicitly refers to those acknowledged by the "Words/Voice of the World" (effectively the Sentient Cosmic Force of the setting) as "Demon Lord", and are in fact given the moniker of "True Demon Lord" to reflect this. To become one of these, a person must cultivate their "Demon Seed", which requires the harvesting of a large number of human souls whether killed by their hands or just obtained through other means. There are ten declared Demon Lords at the start of the series, but only seven of them are acknowledged as "True" Demon Lords, and two of them still aren't technically True Demon Lords but rather simply possess the power and recognition of one. While anyone can openly declare themselves a Demon Lord, unless they have the power to back it up they will quickly learn that doing so is considered a suicidal challenge against the rest of the world (and especially against any actual Demon Lords who wish to verify this claim for whatever reason, whether amusement or boredom). Rimuru joins their number upon his own ascension to True Demon Lord status, and after killing Clayman (who himself managed to become a True Demon Lord shortly before Rimuru killed him) while Frey and Carrion willingly step down seeing themselves as too weak to hold onto the title, they rename themselves as the Eight Star Demon Lords (Octagram).
    • Demons themselves technically have two hierarchies of their own.
      • First is their social class, determined by their age and experience. They go from Chavalier (Late Modern Species of 0~100 years) < Baronet (Modern Species of 30~100 years) < Baron (Early Modern Species of 100~400 years) < Viscount (Medieval Species of 400~1000 years) < Count (Ancient Species above 1000 years) < Marquis < Duke < Arch Duke (all three Pre-historic Species above 3000 years). Above all others are the Primordial Demons, the very first demons in existence who are at least 20,000 years old.
      • Second is one's actual evolutionary race (Archdemon > Greater Demon > Lesser Demon). Archdemon is the highest a demon can reach naturally without outside aid (read being named and incarnated with a physical body). A select number of very powerful or old Archdemons can evolve to "Demon Peer" and the rare few can become "Devil Lords", which is the effective equivalent of "True Demon Lord". In fact, at the start of the story only one True Demon Lord is an actual demon (that being Guy Crimson, the oldest and one of the most powerful Demon Lords of all, and one of the seven Primordial Demons). In fact, only the Primordials actually evolve to the level of Devil Lord over the story.
  • 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 referred to as being of a high rank in Hell.

    Comic Books 
  • Dilbert has Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light. He says that he covers 'the little stuff', things beneath Hell's notice. While unpleasant-yet-not-evil people may be darned to an eternity in Heck, he also visits Earth regularly to issue lesser some lesser Cool and Unusual Punishment to those who have been naughty.
  • 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 many, if not most, of the others are "brothers/sisters" 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 by the Demogorge.
    • Also, "Satan" for the longest time until the 2000s did not officially appear in Marvel Comics; it has always been some other demon impersonating instead. 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 actually be Marduk Kurios and was initially thought to possibly be a corrupted version of the Babylonian god, but it was later shown that there's someone else entirely different claiming to be that deity too. This fits the real-life mythology that the Babylonian Marduk was an egomaniacal narcissist who gave himself 200+ names when he won in battle the leadership of his own pantheon, with most of those names forcibly appropriated from other older deities, such as his fellow Babylonian gods who were his older relatives who he personally defeated to become their leader. MK, who was later confirmed to be Marvel's version of the Fallen Angel Lucifer, may have been the entity from whom the Babylonian Marduk got his dominant name.
    • Marduk Kurios repeatedly shows up again as "Lucifer" in battle against the Ghost Riders, and in his final form as the "true devil" who "really ruled" Hell when Wolverine's spirit is sent to Hell for eternal punishment. MK is later confirmed by Mephisto at the irregularly held convention get-together meeting of all demons (or at least those native to Earth and its connected pocket dimensions), the aptly named Devil's Advocacy, to be the "Satan" who fathered Daimom Hellstrom, and his younger sister Satana, and guest-starred in their series.
    • The "Satan" who created Ghost Rider, or at least the Johnny Blaze version, was revealed to have secretly been Mephisto, as the Ghost Riders were later revealed to have secretly always been the Spirits of Vengeance of Heaven itself through the course of human history on Earth. As a general rule, it is said that there have always been exceptions of Ghost Riders not created or intended by Heaven, such as the Ghost Rider born from the fusion of the archdemon Zarathos and the human Johnny Blaze by Mephisto (who punished his rival by wiping his memory and bonding him to a human host).
    • Mephisto has also claimed to be the source of all evil on several occasions. Of course, Mephisto lies. The true nature, if any, is kept intentionally vague. However, thematically, 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 the closest thing Marvel has to the classic Satanic Archetype.
    • A Fear Itself tie-in reveals that whenever they have the aforementioned Devil's Advocacy, the demon lords have meetings around the actual Satan's empty throne. Mephisto even mentions that while they 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. However, Mephisto also notes 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 noted that during the Chaos War storyline, Marduk Kurios is empowered by all of Hell's fire and personally battles the Chaos King itself (who is a spawn/manifestation of multiversal Oblivion, the yin to the yang of multiversal Eternity himself) in the last stand of the netherrealms.
    • There are also many demon lords and ladies who don't go after the title of Satan, but have no less nefarious goals, such as Lilith, Blackheart, Asteroth, Plotka, and the Beast of the Hand (though the Beast has been hinted to actually be a guise of Marduk Kurios , who has called himself and been called by others as "The Beast" on occasion, the embodiment/personification of amoral passion). However, all but the last are confirmed to have different origins than the main group.
    • In 2018, Marvel finally revealed their "true" Satan in Immortal Hulk: the One Below All, who is the 'lowest'-level devil — as in, residing in the bottomest level of the multiversal netherworld and thus being the most powerful demon ever — not just of Earth, but of the literally the whole multiverse. Fittingly, 'it' is the evil counterpart to the One Above All, the highest-level deity in the multiverse. Even more shockingly, the One Below All is also revealed to be the secret supernatural source of all gamma radiation in the cosmos, making the Hulk and all other gamma-powered mutates its unwitting and unwilling avatars of violence and hatred.
  • The DCU is very similar to the Marvel Universe in this regard.
    • Amongst the many Satanic Archetypes that appear within the DCU, top three are Blaze and Satanus, the brother-and-sister duo who were the children of the Wizard Shazam. Underworld Unleashed later introduced Neron. Other archdemons who were slightly less influential included Abaddon, Asmodel, Trigon, Belial and Lilith.
    • The infernal hierarchy was temporarily settled with the "Reign in Hell" miniseries after decades of contradictions. Note: this series renders most of Lucifer's stories (from DC's ambiguously canon Vertigo Comics imprint) out of continuity.
    • As of New 52, it seems that DC has gone in the direction of treating Trigon — formerly just a Teen Titans villain who wasn't part of the Reign in Hell storyline — as their version of the Devil.
    • After Artemis from Wonder Woman dies and ends up in Hell, she briefly serves as a general/fiance of a demon lord named Dalkriig-Hath. Diana convinces her to quit and return to Earth.
    • Among Shazam's numerous Evil Counterparts is SABBAC, a mortal that is blessed with the powers of the six devils Satan, Aym, Belial, Beelzebub, Asmodel and Craeteis. His existence confirms that the DC Universe does have a conventional structure to Hell, though whether Satan can be considered the definite ruling entity is debatable.
  • By the time Al Simmons becomes Spawn, Malebolgia has ruled the Eighth Circle of Hell for 70,000 years.
  • Hellboy, of course. Hellboy himself is the son of a Duke of Hell, Azzael. 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.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: Lucifer is the infernal High Prince who rules over all Hell, but there are various lesser Princes and Dukes ruling one of its 666 domains. Among those mentioned:
    • Urmarcht is a "high demon" who directly works for Lucifer and Haazheel Thorne.
    • Oghun is a Blind Seer and demon prince who participates in the demonic invasion of Earth.
    • Pazuzu is the Prince of Demons and The Dragon to Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness. He is also Wismerhill's father.
    • Beelzebub is the Prince of the Flies, a giant bloated demon whose body is composed of tens of thousands of flies amalgamated into one form.
    • Helle is an infernal archdemoness who was originally allied with Lucifer before making a deal with Beelzebub to invade Terra Secunda.
  • In Satan's Hollow, the Devil is serviced by four lieutenants in his infernal court, namely his Queen (a succubus with Navel-Deep Neckline), his Squire (a spider-esque demon), his Executioner (a giant red demon with a Nazi cap), and his Reaper (The Grim Reaper with black wings).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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. As shown in Hellraiser: Judgement, he does have a pretty lofty position as the leader of the Order of the Gash, enough so for most demons to hold deference to him.

  • The Aash Ra Va of the Astral Dawn series assume this role on several worlds throughout the multiverse.
  • 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 separate entity or just a title claimed by the currently most powerful king is unclear.
  • In The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids, "the Devil" or "Satan" is a Collective Identity assumed by a council of seven Devils, who include Lucifer, Beelzebub, Asmodeus, Belphegor, Stolas, Belial and Plutus.
  • Hell in Dora Wilk Series doesn't have Satan figure, replacing it with a bunch of demons, fallen angels and old deities who fell out of favor, with The Legions of Hell as sort of background radiation. Their standing in relation to each other is somewhat blurred: while Lucifer is called the overlord of Hell, Samael seems to be his equal or independent, Leo (leader of local Legions of Hell) is treated as if he was equal and everybody is afraid of Baal.
  • The Discworld novel Eric features politicking among the demon lords, all plotting to become the new Demon King. The current, modernising Demon King is disposed of by "promoting" him to the new position of Life-President of Hell, an entirely meaningless title that he seems quite happy with because he gets a nice office.
  • Subverted in the Incarnations of Immortality series. Hell initially appears to be set up this way, with Satan at the top of a hierarchy of other archdevils and demon lords who manage the infernal bureaucracy and sometimes perform tasks in the mortal realm at Satan's orders. In a twist, however, none of the named denizens of hell except Lilith are actual demons or devils (while there are many true demons in Hell, almost all of them are unnamed mooks). Satan is the throne name of a living human holding the office of the Incarnation of Evil, and most of his key underlings such as Lucifer, Asmodeus, Beelzebub, and Mephistopheles are also former officeholders. While they still retain certain powers such as Beelzebub's control over insects, they are merely damned souls whose mortal lives ended once they were overthrown, and they effectively only have as much political power in Hell as Satan allows them to have.
  • 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 David Eddings' Malloreon, a pair of demon lords become involved in the conflict. This is clearly a very bad thing, such that even the Big Bad doesn't want them present, aware that Evil Is Not a Toy: they are vastly more powerful than ordinary demons and cannot be controlled by their summoners. There is also reference to a King of Hell, whom the Top God UL sealed outside reality at the beginning of time.
  • Good Omens has both The 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 higher-ups lower-downs.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: This role is occupied by the more powerful of the corrupted Maiar (that is, fallen angels) in service to Morgoth, the setting's Satan equivalent.
    • The Balrogs are massive flaming beings ten yards tall, that wield whips and gigantic swords and are so immensely powerful that Gandalf, one of the strongest beings in the material world, barely managed to defeat one and soon after died of exhaustion. Tolkien originally envisioned them as fairly numerous beings, capable of being slain in some numbers by mighty heroes; however, his later writings, such as those used to compile The Silmarillion, established them as being much rarer — at most seven or so existed — and more powerful beings, serving as lieutenants to Morgoth and generals of his armies. Particularly notable in this context is Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs and one of Morgoth's higher lieutenants and the primary leader of First Age armies.
    • Sauron himself occupies a place between Morgoth and the Balrogs in the demonic hierarchy. Less combat-focus than the Balrogs, he mainly served as Morgoth's primary sorcerer and administrator of his fortresses and conquered territories. While Gandalf was able to kill a Balrog through sheer might, Sauron is stated to be nigh-immortal, with the destruction of the One Ring a necessity to the banishing of his presence to the Void.
  • The Wheel of Time: Referenced, as 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.
  • The Guardians (Meljean Brook): Hell is in the middle of an Enemy Civil War, and both Lucifer and Beliel have lieutenants among The Legions of Hell.
  • Prospero's Daughter: The enemies include one of the powers of Hell, and one demon deposed from that position and out to get it back.
  • The Sword of Shannara Trilogy:
    • The Elfstones of Shannara: The Dagda Mor 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.
    • The Word and the Void (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 fulfills this function, forcing lesser demons to obey him, and sometimes acting as The Void's Mouth of Sauron.
  • Michelle West's High Fantasy meta-series The Essalieyan Saga ("The Sacred Hunt" duology, "The Sun Sword" sextet, and "The House War" series) has a powerful hierarchy of demon lords ("Kinlords", as they call themselves; the demons' term for themselves is "the Kin") who work for Big Bad Allasakar. The Kin aren't exactly Always Chaotic Evil (they're a bit more complex than that), but since their job is to torment unsalvageably evil mortal souls, they're a pretty nasty bunch with a fairly obvious Social Darwinist streak that the Kinlords most clearly embody. There are lots of Kinlords, but the main ones are the Lord's Fist (Ishavriel, Etridian, Alcrox, Nugratz, and Assarak) who are Hell's top generals, and Isladar, who has plans nobody is quite sure about. Ishavriel and Isladar get the most page-time, and they're very much rivals.
  • These are the guys in charge of Hell after Lucifer departs with God in the Demon Squad books.
  • In the web-novel Domina, most demon Powers are named after Dungeons & Dragons demon princes, while many vampire Nobles are named after archdevils.
  • The Diaboro of The First Dwarf King serve this purpose; however, there is a character specifically entitled "The Demon Lord." Interestingly enough, he's more akin to the Big Cheese himself.
  • My Vampire Older Sister and Zombie Little Sister: A number of demon lords have been mentioned, including Lilith, Azazel and Shemhazai. It's mentioned that they used to also be known as Archenemies, though that term was later extended to supernatural beings in general.
  • In the Demon Wars Saga and related works by R.A. Salvatore, the dactyl demons are a group of ancient and malevolent god-like beings that will exist As Long as There Is Evil (lesser demons show up occasionally, but the dactyls are the most prominent by far). Bestesbulzibar is the Big Bad of the original Demon Wars series and the only dactyl to appear there, though a few others are namedropped; the later Coven trilogy introduces two more, Cizzinfozza and Scathmizzane. They all seem to have their own particular areas of influence; Bestesbulzibar is chiefly associated with corruption and moral decay, Cizzinfozza with violence and bloodlust, and Scathmizzane with xenophobia and dogmatism.
  • The Shadowhunter Chronicles has the Greater Demons, who are more powerful than ordinary demons. They also have individual names, while lesser demons are grouped by types. The nine strongest Greater Demons are known as the Princes of Hell and include fallen angels like Asmodeus, Azazel, and Belial, who are subordinate only to Lucifer (himself also considered a Prince). They are extremely difficult to defeat, have reality-warping powers that only angels possess, and live in parallel realms separate from Earth. Their warlock children, such as Magnus Bane and Tessa Gray, are known as the Eldest Curses.
  • In A Chorus of Dragons, Demon Princes are defined as demons powerful enough to infect mortals and transform them into demons themselves; since demons this powerful are among the strongest beings in the setting, they're also the de facto royalty of the demon realm. Xaltorath, one of the major player's in the books' Big Bad Ensemble, is the only Demon Prince to be named or appear in person, and if they're not the most powerful of them, they're definitely up there.
  • In Wars of the Realm, the Fallen (demons) are organized into a literal army subdivided into legions, companies, squads, etc. The larger divisions are headed by officer demons with ranks such as Commander or Prince. Particular examples include Maltrinidab, Prince of Persia, and Niturni, Prince of North America.

    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. According to Illyria (herself demoted to a puny humanoid form, implying a high turnover rate in the demon world), the Partners were once considered a joke amongst their peers. Perhaps aware of this, they hid behind "man's law", allowing them to flourish in the litigious modern world.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Giles seeks to face Barvain, the Demon Prince, but the Initiative gets to him first.
  • In Charmed (1998), demons have the Source of Evil and a power ranking for lesser and greater demons; as the series advances, so does the level of power of the Charmed Ones' enemies.
  • In Season 4 of Legends of Tomorrow, Hell is shown to be ruled by the triumvirate of Satan, Belial, and Beelzebub, whom the season's Big Bad Neron is plotting to overthrow in preparation for then unleashing Hell on Earth.
  • The first Big Bad of Sleepy Hollow is Moloch, the demon god who rules Purgatory.
  • 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. Their boss Lucifer, who is not a demon but an archangel, sits at the top of the hierarchy (despite his absence) 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 < White Eyes < Yellow Eyes
    • Abaddon and Cain (yes, that one) are the only surviving members of the Knights of Hell, after Cain wiped them out in revenge for killing his loved one. Despite being black-eyed, they're the first demons handpicked and trained by Cain himself, possibly making them more powerful than even white-eyed demons.
    • Season 12 finally explains why Azazel had yellow eyes when no other demon did. He was one of the Princes of Hell, the first generation created by Lucifer after Lilith (but presumably before Cain made the Knights), who were meant to act as Hell's generals in the war against Heaven. However, by the time this is revealed, there's only three left, and they're all living in comfortable retirement.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In the final scene of "Crazy as a Soup Sandwich", it is revealed that Nino Lancaster is the master of 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 kings, dukes, princes, marquises, earls, knights and presidents of Hell, along with their areas of expertise, the number of demonic legions under their command, and instructions for their summoning.
  • The Bible mentions Beelzebub as a "prince" of demons. Satan himself is also given titles like "Prince of the Power of the Air" or "God 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. Later writers were happy to expand on that.
  • Many demonological texts make their own attempts at classifying demons and the majority by far include some sort of infernal nobility. Mind, most of these texts were written in Late Medieval or Renaissance Europe so the titles could be a Creator's Culture Carryover, or a subtle jab at the human ruling class of their countries.
  • 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; the names of several of them resemble gods from Vedic Hinduism, which the ancient Iranian polytheistic faith would have been closely related to). 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.
  • Mara in Buddhism is often called the "King of Demons". Mara may also mean the type of creature, or maras which means that Mara is literally named "The Demon".

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.)
  • 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: Zariel (formerly Bel), Dispater, Mammon, Fierna (and her father, lover and secret co-ruler or "advisor", Belial) , 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.
      • Forgotten Realms: There used to be the god Gargauth, 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".
      • Planescape: In 2nd edition, the Lords of the Nine were Bel, Dispater, Minauros, Fierana, Levistus, Malagard, Triel, Molikroth and initially the Dark Lord of Nessus. A 1995 Dragon article describing the Nine from a in-universe perspective concluded with a note that the in-universe author disappeared mysteriously due to asking too many questions about the Dark Lord. He was finally revealed to be Asmodeus (making his second edition debut) in 1999's A Guide to Hell. The changes in 3rd edition were explained in a few ways: Bel and Malagard had been replaced by the current Lords, Minauros and Triel were simply alternate names for Mammon and Baalzebul... and Molikroth turned out to be Mephistopheles feigning his own overthrow. (The real world reason for the Planescape names seems to have been to distance the Lords of the Nine from actual Christian mythology, in the same way as devils and demons became baatezu and tanar'ri.)
    • 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, and who has managed to defend his title of 'Prince of Demons' against all comers for nearly as long as the Abyss has existed), Graz'zt (the Abyss's Magnificent Bastard), and Orcus (think bat-winged zombie minotaur). 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 do not have entities called gods, but Immortal status (amounting to the same thing) is 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 malevolent, but they are so alien and insane that the mere proximity of them can drive one to madness.
    • Eberron 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 Land 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.
  • 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.
  • Godforsaken: Demon lords are mighty demons that command hundreds of lesser fiends and often rule entire hellish dimensions. They are cunning beings who make centuries-long plans of conquest against rival demons, and seek to corrupt and enslave powerful mortals. They wield powerful magic, can grant wishes to mortals in exchange for service or favors, and summon lesser fiends to serve them. Some are nearly as powerful as gods and are worshipped as such by evil creatures and societies, and claim ownership over concepts such as murder, rot, undeath or seduction.
  • 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. As with the Archangels, they each have a Word that they must act in accordance with. As a rule, these are Words with negative connotations, including traditional sins such as Gluttony, Greed and Lust, universal constants such as Death and Fate, and more recent contrivances such as Drugs and the Media. Below the Princes is a baroque hierarchy of peerages awarded to servants that distiguish themselves in the field, starting with simple Knights, Captains and Barons — the default distinctions that a player is assumed to earn over the course of typical play — and progressing to Earls, Counts, Marquis and Dukes of Hell that serve directly beneath the Princes. A few Princes uses different nomenclature — Vapula, for instance, prefers to refer to his ranking Mad Scientists as Project Managers, Laboratory Directors, and Department Heads — but the basic structure is the same.
  • Magic: The Gathering has a biomechanical 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. The Gothic horror-inspired plane of Innistrad is also home to at least three major archfiends: Withengar, Ormeldahl and Griselbrand, the latter being one of the four demons who owns Lilliana Vess' soul (the other three being Razaketh, Kothophed and Belzenlok). Powerful demons also hold high-ranking positions on Dominaria, where Belzenlok is worshipped as a god, and on Ravnica, where Rakdos rules over the red/black aligned guild of torture circus performers that bears his name.
  • Pathfinder started out with a few for each race of fiends and has only expanded the roster since.
    • A quartet of fiends have actual divinity status:
      • Asmodeus 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. Unless he was an empyreal lord who fell, became the first devil and rose to godhood — sources differ.
      • Lamashtu was a demon lord who managed to kill a god and steal their dominion over beasts, becoming the goddess of monsters, madness and fecundity and allowing her to spread her monstrous offspring through the planes.
      • The Oinodaemon was the original daemon and their absolute ruler until he was overthrown and imprisoned by his lieutenants, though the entire plane of Abaddon remains unequivocally bound to him.
      • Rovagug was a qlippoth lord who ascended to godhood and cut a bloody swathe through armies of gods before being sealed in the heart of a planet — the one the main setting happens to be on, incidentally — where he still makes his presence known in the form of nation destroying beasts that occasionally slip through the cracks of his prison. He's likely the most powerful of any of these.
    • Under Asmodeus, Hell is ruled by the archdevils Barbatosnote , Dispater, Mammon, Belial, Geryon, Moloch, Baalzebul, and Mephistopheles, each of whom rules one of its rings. Under them are the infernal dukes, the elite of Hell's society, and the Malebranche, powerful devils each transformed to conquer a mortal world.
    • There are countless demon lords, including Pazuzu, Deskari, Abraxas, Baphomet, Cyth V'Sug, Dagon, Nocticula, Angazhan, Kostchtchie, Shivaska, Zevgavizeb, and Flauros. There are also nascent demon lords like Treerazer and Nightripper who are near the final stage of their growth to become lords themselves. Nocticula is rumored to be attempting to emulate Lamashtu and become a true demon goddess; in the Wrath of the Righteous adventure path, she potentially succeeds in this, but stops being a demon lord, instead becoming the Chaotic Neutral goddess of artists and outcasts; this is confirmed as canon in 2nd Edition.
    • The Neutral Evil daemons are ruled by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Apollyon, Szuriel, Trelmarixian, and Charon. Serving under them are the daemonic harbingers, powerful unique daemons like Corosbel, Folca, Llamolaek, Vorasha, Zelishkar, Stygivod, and Pavnuri, who work to further their goals.
    • The divs, a race of outsiders made from corrupted genies, are ruled by Ahriman, a shadow of destruction that followed genies into existence.
    • Asura ranas are asura who've built on enough cycles of reincarnation to become powerful rulers of their kind. A few of the most well known of their kind are Andak, Chugara, Maeha, Ioramvel, and Taraksun — and, before he betrayed his kind during Asmodeus's invasion of Hell and became an archdevil, Geryon.
    • The qlippoth are the oldest beings in the multiverse from the depths of the Abyss, and the oldest of their kind are the qlippoth lords. Given the nature of both qlippoth and the Abyss they're more rarely encountered than the leaders of other kinds of fiends, but Chavazvug, Isph-Aun-Vuln, Oaur-Ooung, Thuskchoon, and Yamasoth are a few of those known. They are noted to be less powerful than their equivalents in other fiendish species — perhaps the ascension of Rovagug required something fundamental from the qlippoth, or perhaps there are more powerful qlippoth still, dwelling undetected in the deepest parts of the Abyss. Some of the demon lords, such as Dagon, Cyth V'Sug, Jubilex, Mazmezz, and Yhidothrus, were once qlippoth lords but became tainted by mortal sin and transformed into demons.
    • The Queens of Night are a quartet of fallen good outsiders who remain something distinct from the devils and demons fallen outsiders typically become. They live in Hell and nominally serve Asmodeus, but lay their own plans and manipulate mortals and outsiders alike, making plans to conquer the planes they once served.
    • Kyton demagogues are the apex of their kind, kytons who have risen past the few barriers that restrain their sadistic pleasures. Among their numbers are Sugroz, Kaikyton, and Fharaas.
    • Oni daimyo like Akuma, Yabu, and Nataka are the strongest of their kind, though the fact that they actually reside on the Material Plane means they're not as widely known.
    • Sahkil tormenters are masters of fear and suffering, perverting the normal flow of souls to the Great Beyond. Some of the more widely known ones are Charg, Nameless, Zipacna, Velgaas, Dachzerul, and Iggeret.
    • Rakshasa immortals are rakshasa who've become powerful enough to break the cycle of mortality and become something akin to demigods. Compared to the other fiend lords they're fairly minor, more concerned with their own pursuits and pleasures than worshippers.
  • Shadow of the Demon Lord by Schwalb Entertainment, influenced by Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd ed., has the titular Demon Lord who is far and away the top-most ruler of the Void and nothing is going to take his place as top dog. The Demon Lord is largely hands-off when it comes to herding his demonic minions. So sometimes a demon that ends up on Urth can learn to be independent, accumulate a lot of power and become a unique Demon Prince. Notable Demon Princes are the Destroyer of Worlds, Failure in Flesh, and Lord of Undeath. There is also Hell, which is the punishing afterlife created by evil Fey that came to be known as Devils. The ruler of Hell is the Great Fey, Diabolus who's grown so strong he's mightier than the Fairy Queen. Forming an aristocracy in Hell, there's over 100 Greater Devils of which 18 are the top nobility and of these 6 are the most well known: Olal, Desire in Flesh; Abbadon, Warfather; Gotherah, Sower of Dissent; Taelahar, Mother of Filth; Ithritonus the Deceiver and Xutba the Obscene.
  • Talislanta: The most powerful devils are called "shaitans", and constitute a race in their own right that rule over the lesser diabolic races.
  • Warhammer: Daemon Princes and Greater Daemons are the mightiest servant of the four Gods of Chaos. The former are mortal followers who were rewarded for exceptional service to one of the Chaos Gods, while the latter are purely spiritual entities formed from the Gods' own essence. Daemon Princes and Greater Daemons occupy roughly equal positions in the daemonic hierarchy, varying by personal power and accomplishments, although Greater Daemons look down on the Princes for having once been mortal. Each of the four gods has a specific type of associated Greater Daemon: Khorne, god of slaughter, has Bloodthirsters; Tzeentch, god of sorcery, has Lords of Change; Nurgle, god of plague, has Great Unclean Ones; and Slaanesh, god of obsession, has Keepers of Secrets. Greater Daemons who particularly distiguish themselves in the service of their gods are granted additional power and become known as Exalted Greater Daemons, some of the most powerful of their masters' servants. Notable Exalted Daemons include Kairos Fateweaver, Ku'Gath Plaguefather and Skarbrand, who are available in the game as special characters. Just below the daemon princes are "regular" Chaos Lords and Champions, who are also empowered mortals (just slightly less mutated) leading nations of corrupted Chaos-worshipping peoples, and below them are the rest of The Legions of Hell.
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • The game has rules for Daemon Lords of Chaos, Greater Daemons 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 good reason as they can pretty much wipe out armies single-handedly.
      • The most notable daemon princes in the setting are the traitor Primarchs who threw their lot in with Chaos and ascended to daemonhood. The Daemon Primarchs are usually depicted as the mightiest and most favored individual servants of their gods and rule entire Chaos planets, emerging only rarely to take command of vast Chaos armies to lead against the galaxy.
      • Vashtorr the Arkifane, introduced in 9th Edition, is an independent daemon who rules of the Forge of Souls and exists outside of the control of the four Chaos Gods. Formed by the idea of innovation in technology, Vashtorr is far beyond the power of a typical Greater Daemon and seeks to become a true god himself.
    • Warhammer Fantasy:
      • In general, the Chaos hierarchy seems to go Chaos Gods > the Everchosen > Greater Daemons <=> Daemon Princes > Chaos Lords/Champions > Chaos Warriors > Lesser Daemons > Marauders > Beastmen.note 
      • The Skaven have the Horned Rat as their unique Chaos God (and who became one of the four main Chaos Gods in Warhammer: Age of Sigmar), who is served by Greater Daemons known as Verminlords, while the Chaos Dwarves have Hashut as theirs. Note that Daemons and Chaos Gods are essentially the same thing, just differing in scale. Various sourcebooks mention that the difference between an extra-powerful Greater Daemon and a weak Chaos God is negligble.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • New World of Darkness: The sourcebook Inferno is all about demonkind. The hierarchy of demons go a long way, capping with the Archdemons, who are so powerful that they aren't even given stats. It's strongly hinted that the Maeljins are the same beings as the Archdemons.
    • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: The Urge Wyrms, aspects 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.
    • Werewolf: The Forsaken has the Maeljin, grand spirits of malevolence. There are nine of them, seven of which correspond 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 other.
  • Zweihänder is based primarily on 1st edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay with a sprinkling of 2nd edition. There's the outlawed religions which has dark gods such as the Gilded Pharoah (Nagash), the Thirteen (Horned Rat), the Witch Queen (Tzarina Katarin mixed with Morathi) and etc. Among these dark gods are the 5 Abyssal Princes who correspond to Warhammer's Chaos Gods. They are the Prince of Change (Tzeentch), Prince of Violence (Khorne), Prince of Decay (Nurgle), Prince of Pleasure (Slaanesh) and the Other (Malal). It's these Abyssal Princes who rule the demons, which are divided between the Higher Demons, the Lower Demons and the local wildlife Hellbeasts (they're not true demons but will serve). The Higher Demons are the nobility and avatars of the Abyssal Princes: There's the Arch Cenobite (Keeper of Secrets), the Brass Primarch (Bloodthirster), the Great Devourer (Great Unclean One), the Light-Eater (Lord of Change) and the Numina which serves the Other.

  • Cross Road has Amduscius, who calls himself a devil prince and leader of the 29th legion of hell, and from whom Niccolo Paganini gets his talent through a contract.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • Baldur's Gate II, as mentioned above, has you face Demogorgon, the Prince of Demons. You also encounter a "Lesser Demon Lord" in the Drow City.
  • 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.
  • Devil May Cry doesn't go in depth with its hellish hierarchy except that Mundus is called the "Devil Emperor" and "Prince of Darkness" while supplementary material says that he got the title after rising in power and killing the previous God of Evil. There are also other powerful high-ranking demons like Argosax the Chaos/Despair Embodied and Abigail/Sid in the animated series. Devil May Cry 5 has a new Big Bad called Urizen the "Nefarious Usurper" that holds the title of "Demon King" and seeks to become the most powerful being in existance while ruling both worlds. Urizen ultimately turns out to be the demonic half of Dante's Evil Twin yet still Anti-Villain brother Vergil. While there are other powerful demons, they are either independent or hold the rank of "generals", with the most important one being Sparda who eventually turned good and rebelled against his own kind to save the entire human world.
  • Diablo: The Seven Great Evils, 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.
  • 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.
  • Doom:
    • The original games have Hell Knights and Barons of Hell, the latter outranking the former and the former outranking fodder demons like Imps. Spider Masterminds and Cyberdemons seem to outrank the Barons, with the first Cyberdemon you fight being referred to as the "demon lord that ruled the lost moon base of Phobos"(in No Rest For The Living, another Cyberdemon even attempts to proclaim himself lord of all Hell). Doom³ keeps the hierarchy but makes some changes; Barons have been replaced by Guardians, and the Cyberdemon is a unique creature rather than a class, and is explicitly stated to be Hell's greatest warrior. After it dies, Maledict takes over. Note that all of the above greater demons can be killed by liberal application of minigun fire to the face and torso.
    • Doom (2016), being a new universe, elaborates more on the demonic hierarchy. For example, it makes it clear that Arch-viles are part of Hell's ruling caste (something that could only be extrapolated in previous games), though it doesn't clarify wherther or not they outrank Barons. The "Cyberdemon" is unique (generic Cyberdemons more resembling their classic counterparts appear under the name "Tyrants" in Doom Eternal) and called a "shadow lord" of the Baalgar type; he ranks above the Barons. At the top of the hierarchy are the unseen archdemons, and above them is the singular Dark Lord. Presumably the three Hell Priests are ranked between the shadow lords and the archdemons. Interestingly, despite being the most powerful beings in Hell short of the Dark Lord himself, Titans seem to be of very low rank in the hierarchy, visibly enslaved and used as beasts of burden, while the Hell Priests are high despite being defenseless in a fight, so it's not exclusively a case of Asskicking Leads to Leadership.
  • The world of Dota 2 has a burgeoning underworld, filled with demons of differing strength and skill. The balance of power is maintained by something called the Umbral Pact, between three of the strongest and most influential demons - two of which, Shadow Demon and Shadow Fiend, fall into this trope. The third is Doom, who is Lucifer.
  • The strongest of Dungeon Crawl's various demons are those represented by an ampersand (&) in the ASCII version. There's Geryon, the gatekeeper to the four Hells. The bottom floor of each branch of Hell contain one of the hell lords (Asmodeus, Antaeus, Ereshkigal, and Dispater), all of whom guard a Rune of Zot apiece. The endless demonic realms of Pandemonium contain four more named demon lords (Cerebov, Lom Lobon, Mnoleg, and Gloorx Vloq), each of whom presides over one specific level and guards another Rune. Other levels in Pandemonium are each ruled by a randomly-generated Pandemonium Lord, all of whom have a chance of guarding yet another Rune. All of these are extremely challenging Optional Bosses since you can find enough Runes to complete the game elsewhere in the dungeon.
  • The Daedric Princes of The Elder Scrolls series, though some are more openly "demonic" than others. Some of the biggest offenders are Mehrunes Dagon — Prince of Destruction, Molag Bal — Prince of Domination, and Sheogorath — Prince of Madness. For additional information on them (and the other Daedric Princes), see The Elder Scrolls: Daedra sub-page.
  • The Enigmatis trilogy has the Archdemon Asmodai. He's also a Sealed Evil in a Can, being kept trapped by the Archangel Raphael. The overarching plot of the trilogy is that the Big Bad, a Sinister Minister, tries to free him and become Asmodai's new host.
  • Final Fantasy 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, 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 The 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 they're 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. It's responsible for converting your Nemesis into their demon form.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Big Bad Ghirahim 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 the Demon King, Hyrule's God of Evil.
  • 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).
  • NetHack features several of these guys. The nastiest by far is Demogorgon, but it is possible to finish the game without meeting him.
  • 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 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.
  • You in Nexus Clash if your character is a Dark Oppressor. There's a whole range of powers that the Oppressor can learn that represent his/her increasing rank in Stygia and according power to corrupt and rule their immediate vicinity. The catch is that a lot of these powers only work inside of Stygia and most demons prefer to meddle in the mortal realm, but a suitably ranked Dark Oppressor surrounded by followers is a phenomenally dangerous opponent on their own home turf.
  • 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 Superboss, 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.
  • Ratash, the Big Bad in Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands in the PS3/Xbox 360/PC version is an evil Djinn that looks positively demonic and is described as "a lord among his people". He qualifies since djinns are regarded as the Middle-Eastern equivalent to demons, though not all of them are evil since the Prince's main ally Razia is one of the last good djinn.
  • Ragnarok features the various demon lords of Niflheim.
  • The Rance Series has two of them in its setting:
    • The Monsters are led by the Archfiend, a being of absolute power in the Continent at the top, with many Fiends faithfully serving them, though they have a free will of their own and half of them are not villainous.
      • The Archfiend acts as the Big Bad of the Continent and as much seeks to destroy humanity. Its strength vastly surpasses any living being in the world and is almost impossible to defeat.
      • The Representative Fiend is selected by the Archfiend as the most powerful and influential member of the Monster Army right below them. Inverted at the time of the series, since the current one, Hornet, is the Greater-Scope Paragon.
      • The Four Dread Fiends simply designate the four strongest Fiends acknowledged as such by the Archfiend.
      • The rests of the Fiends, as powerful as an army.
      • The Supreme Commander of the Monster Army whom strength is on par with Fiends, along the Four Monster Commanders.
      • And then, many regiments of Monster Soldiers, each led by a Monster Captain.
    • The actual Devils also have a Rank system:
      • Rank 0 - The Devil King Rathaum, who created all of the Devils of the series.
      • Special Rank - The Three Devil Princes, children of the Devil King and ruling the Devil Realm in his stead.
      • Rank 1 to 3 - Elites directly working for the Devil Princes, and supervise over the Rank 4 and below.
      • Rank 4 to 8 - The most common Devil met in the Continent, as they are the main workforce to collect Souls from deceased beings and making contracts with Humans.
      • Rank 9 to 12 - Devils who have yet to prove their worth, and are not capable to collect Souls. It also includes newborn Devils.
  • RuneScape: The world of Infernus has been ruled by at least three different kinds of demons.
    • The oldest known rulers were known as the Infernals, who were violently deposed by the Chthonians as Hostilius the Autocrat proclaimed himself the supreme ruler of Infernus. The Chthonians established a hierarchy based on who was the most powerful and who could hold on to their power the longest (as per the labyrinthine rules set up by Hostilius), while the Avernic demons remained as their slaves.
    • Following the Avernic Rebellion under Zamorak's leadership, the Avernics remained as the sole race to inhabit Infernus. The Avernics are largely divided into three separate tribes: the Tsutsaroth (the largest and strongest of the Avernics), the Alyaroth (smaller than the Tsutsaroth but had wings) and the Byzroth (the smallest of the tribes and with no wings). Among the Tsutsaroth, only the mightiest of their number possesses the right to bear the name of their tribe as their own; originally that privilege belonged to K'ril Tsutsaroth, but after he was frozen during the God Wars on Gielinor another Tsutsaroth named Gree'gar has begun using the tribe's name. K'ril is not at all happy about this, and has every intention to prove himself the strongest once more.
  • Shadow Hearts: Covenant has Asmodeous and Astaroth as major threats. Each one of them is powerful enough to wreck the world once fully manifest. There's also Amon, who is featured in the first game, too. He is likely based on a Goetic demon Aamon, and is said to be the aforementioned duo's equal.
  • 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 Leads to Leadership. 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.
    • 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.
  • Solium Infernum runs on this trope.
  • Trillion: God of Destruction: The Underworld is ruled by the Great Overlord, with multiple other Overlords serving alongside. Currently Zeabolos is the Third Great Overlord, directly descending from the First Great Overlord, Satan, with the other Overlords holding Crests representing the Seven Deadly Sins.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • The Seven Sinisters is a Youtube Cartoon By PoundToundHound about the seven princes of hell living in an apartment with a crazy slime girl trying to kill them, along with them turning evil in each episode. The show also features The Seven Heavenly Virtues as the sinisters' mothers. In a particularly creative touch, Envy and Wrath are depicted as twin sisters.
  • Hazbin Hotel and its sister series Helluva Boss have an entire demonic caste system within Hell. At the top are the King and Queen, Lucifer and Lilith with their daughter Charlie. Beneath them are the Princes of Hell representing the other six of the Seven Deadly Sins ruling each ring of Hell below Lucifer's Pride Ring, such as Asmodeus of the Lust Ring or Mammon of the Greed Ring. Next are the 72 demons of the Ars Goetia such as the 36th spirit Stolas who serves as a high noble. Last among the demonic upper classes are the Overlords, such as the Radio Demon Alastor, who are treated more or less as criminal kingpins rather than actual nobility.


    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's 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 The 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 Ax-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 Heel–Face Turn).
  • Void Domain introduces one of the 72 Pillars of Hell: the original, most powerful demons created by Void, and the templates from whom all subsequent lesser demons are based. That he allows himself to be bound in a contract to teach at Brakket is probably very concerning.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Demon Lord


Seven Mortal Sins

The Seven Mortal Sins are seven demon lords who make up the highest authority in Hell, each of them representing a sin that causes damnation in humanity.

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Main / DemonLordsAndArchdevils

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