Daemons are the human embodiments of demonic spirits from an ancient empire, sent to the material world of Vinramar as agents of Daemoth. Each is born to a human mother by entering the womb, driving out the spirit of the true child and taking its place. When daemons first enter the mortal body, the memory of their former life is lost, and only regained through disciplined meditation. Many forge a new path as they mature, consciously or unconsciously shirking their original purpose.
With practice, daemons can enter a powerful state that hearkens back to their ancient glory. In this elder form their presence becomes commanding, and they glow with an unholy light. Daemons who remain in human guise, on the other hand, avoid the risk of others attempting to discover their true names (and thus control them).
The intent of this charade is to keep a strict eye on world affairs without the daemon’s presence being sensed as a threat. As opposed to the jharethil, who hide out of necessity, the daemons hide in human form because it suits their purpose, evil or otherwise.
A FATEFUL CHOICE
Sometime before a daemon’s fifth birthday, he or she is contacted in secret by a herald of Daemoth, usually a demonic being set to protect and preside over the child. In this first visitation, the dark herald reveals to the child that it is a daemon, and speaks its true name.
If daemons accept the tutelage of their dark herald, they are trained physically and spiritually to serve Daemoth. Many are drawn to religious devotion, becoming leaders within one of the Daemothite religious sects. Others might train for political or academic careers, where their influence will have greatest reach. Whatever their specific mission, daemons who comply with the instruction of the dark herald are prepared for life as an agent of Daemoth.
This decision is life-changing. If a daemon accepts, the herald will return now and then, or routinely take the child away for training. Some parents are distressed by the mysterious coming and going—others are proud to have borne a child of Daemoth.
Many daemons don’t comply with their intended masters, even at such a young age. A refusal to submit to God’s will is taken as rebellion, and daemons that reject their tutelage make bitter enemies of the dark powers. After such a choice, a daemon dissenter might settle down in hopes of being forgotten, or be forced to keep on the move.
THE WEAPON OF ANONYMITY
Daemons live in any human society, hidden among the population as agents of the dark powers. Those that rebel against Daemoth might seek shelter and redemption among religious communities that worship Jharus. In almost all circumstances, daemons manage to operate alone or with a very small group of trusted allies.
The ability to seem human can hide a daemon’s identity, allegiance, and motives. Most leave their true race a closely guarded secret, and keep careful record of who knows it. They will only use the elder form when a situation is desperate. Daemons value their anonymity as one of their greatest advantages, and a means to access resources and connections that might otherwise be unavailable.
HIDDEN DEMONIC GLORY
When in human form, daemons look like their human parents just as any other child would. No sign can distinguish them from humans except an unholy birthmark on the crown of the head, which appears around age three. The birthmark is shaped to form a seal or insignia of the daemon’s dark herald. Many keep this proof of their true race hidden beneath long hair.
All daemons can learn to change their human body into the elder form. While transformed, their bodies closely resemble the human form, but their skin and eyes change to a deathly, glowing white, and their facial features become sharper and more imperious.
DAEMONS AND RELIGION
Daemons give up the right to religious neutrality at birth. The deal is to serve Daemoth or be hunted by him. Those faced with this predicament may hate religion or be steeped in it, but either way they’ll find it difficult to be ambivalent. Zealotry and single-minded devotion to Daemoth are common among his children. Those who rebel gravitate toward spiritual disillusionment and bitter cynicism.
CALCULATING EVERY MOVE
Many daemons have a talent for strategy and analytical thinking, perhaps a byproduct of their eternal war on the jharethil. This almost mathematical ability to anticipate the actions of others manifests at a young age, resulting in a tendency to make complex plans based on such predictions. Daemons value their intelligence above all else.
In addition to their shrewd minds, daemons often have good manners. They’re fond of formality and tradition, using social ceremony to keep others at a distance. The risk of detection causes them to avoid creating strong ties with others.
Depending on their loyalties, daemons might espouse a variety of beliefs or priorities. Those that embrace their heritage find that doors open for them everywhere they turn. The others are hounded until the day they die by servants of their intended master, especially if they join the enemy and aid Jharus’s cause.
THE BEST OR NOTHING
Religious or otherwise, daemons are ambitious adventurers. They set their sights high, seeking the best training available in their field. Some channel their divine gifts into powerful religious magic, while others abandon the path of divinity altogether in favor of arcane secrets. No matter the path, they have the instinct of centuries and the unconscious experience of multiple lives at their beck.
The humans that raise a daemon will use their own naming conventions, but the child also learns its true name at the first visitation of the dark herald. As with other fiends, knowledge of a daemon’s true name can grant significant power over him or her. Though the human body acts a shield against summoning, those who speak a daemon’s true name can easily influence him or her. These true names each have a life and history, often connected to Mohtra and the long-past civilization of the elder daemons.
In connection with your demonic origin, you have the following racial traits.
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2.
Age. Daemons age like humans, since their biology is virtually unchanged. Whatever their age, most daemons seem wiser than their years.
Alignment. Because they don’t remember their true history, daemons of every alignment can be found throughout Vinramar, even those that use their otherworldly powers for noble causes. Of course, the lure of supernatural power is strong enough to pull most of them inevitably toward their intended destiny, but the five formative years before the dark herald’s appearance can make all the difference.
Speed. 30 feet.
Demonic Changeling. You are considered a fiend (demon) as well as a human. If a creature speaks your true name, you must succeed on a Charisma saving throw with a DC equal to the creature’s Charisma score or be charmed by it as long as it remains in your sight. You can repeat the saving throw at the end of each minute. Once you succeed on a saving throw of this kind, the creature who spoke your true name cannot charm you this way for 24 hours.
Elder Form. You can use an action to polymorph into the elder form or return to your human form. While in elder form, you have advantage on Strength checks, and your body sheds bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet.
While in elder form you can use an action to incapacitate an enemy you touch. Make a melee spell attack against the creature. On a success, the creature is incapacitated until the end of its next turn. Your spellcasting ability for this attack is Charisma.
Those who see you in elder form can identify you as a daemon with an Intelligence (Religion) or Intelligence (History) check of DC 10. Daemons and characters with proficiency in History or Religion pass this check automatically. If you become unconscious while in elder form, you remain in elder form until you can spend an action to return to human form.
Stone Will. You have proficiency with Wisdom saving throws.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write one regional tongue and one extra language of your choice. Daemons speak the languages of their human parents. If they accept the tutelage of the dark herald, their second language is often Zhoroch, spoken by demons and the inhabitants of the ancient daemon empire.
Allegiance. Your reaction to the discovery that you are a daemon changed your life forever. Choose whether you became a herald’s pupil or went into hiding as a daemon dissenter.
At age five, you rejected the dark herald and chose to forge your own path. This choice put you and your family in great danger throughout your life, but you’ve developed the talents to survive it.
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Watchful Eye. You have proficiency in the Insight skill.
By accepting the tutelage from the dark herald, these daemon’s accessed the training and culture of the ancient daemon civilization. Perhaps they still serve daemoth, or perhaps they dissented after their training was complete.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1.
Religious Lore. You have proficiency in the Religion skill.