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A cythnigot, one of many species of qlippoth.
Type Outsider
(chaotic, evil, extraplanar, qlippoth)
CR Varies
Environment Abyss
Adjective Qlippoth
Images of qlippoth

Source: Bestiary 2, pg(s). 218

Demons were not the first inhabitants of the Abyss. In the earliest pre-history of the Great Beyond, before humanity rose from barbarism, before Asmodeus created Hell, before the gods even began to pay attention to the world of Golarion, the Abyss was populated by the primordial qlippoth.[1] These beings were born from the essence of the Abyss itself—inhuman monstrosities of pure chaos and malice.[2][3][4]


Origins of the qlippoth

According to the proteans, the first inhabitants of the Outer Sphere, the qlippoth already existed when the Abyss first opened to the rest of the Great Beyond. Upon discovering them, the proteans became intensely interested in the qlippoth, eventually leading to a mighty war which would spread out of the Abyss into the Maelstrom itself. This conflict distracted the chaotic proteans to such a degree, that order began to assert itself throughout the Great Beyond, leading to the formation of the other Outer Planes.[5][6]

Birth of demonkind

As the first sinful mortal souls were judged by Pharasma, some of them were sent into the Abyss to become larvae, which accumulated on the Abyss in vast numbers. An ancient, now-forgotten Horseman of the Apocalypse, who was fascinated by the qlippoth and kept many in his realm, had the idea of combining larvae and qlippoth, which eventually culminated in the creation of the first demon. This first transformation from mortal soul to demon was felt and copied by the Abyss: millions of larvae became demons in an instant and declared war against the qlippoth.[1][7][8][9]

Although the qlippoth were more familiar with their realm and individually stronger than demons, the demons had the advantage of numbers. Eventually, the qlippoth were hunted nearly to extinction and were forced to retreat to the deepest Abyssal realms, where the demons fear to go.[4]

Qlippoth lords and demon lords

Qlippoth lords are particularly powerful and unique qlippoth that were once the rulers of the Abyss but have degraded to a fraction of their power, which is now only comparable to a nascent demon lord. Beyond that, maybe in the very depths of the Abyss, lie qlippoth that match the power of demigods.[10][11][4][12]

The number of still living qlippoth lords is a small fraction of those that existed at the dawn of creation, as many of them have been destroyed by the gods, archdevils, demon lords, or empyreal lords, who all find the qlippoth repugnant.[13]

A few powerful qlippoth lords became jealous of the demons' power, and sought to also transform themselves. By fusing mortal souls to their antediluvian bodies, they became demon lords. They exist to this day, and are generally the least anthropomorphic of their brethren. They include the demon lords Cyth-V'sug, Dagon, Jubilex, Mazmezz, Yhidothrus, and Zevgavizeb.[1][12]


An attack of qlippoth.

The qlippoth are enemies of everyone else; wherever a portal was opened to the Abyss, they used to swarm out in massive numbers to prey on anything nearby before the creation of the demons stopped them. While the forgotten Horseman who made the first demon surely did not have the well-being of the Great Beyond in mind, the resulting demonic distraction certainly turned the qlippoth's attention away from the rest of reality.[13][14]

The qlippoth today have several focused goals:

  • To regain the Abyss from demonkind.
  • To take revenge on the daemons.
  • To annihilate all demons.
  • Most vitally, to wipe out every mortal who embodies sin, the foodstuff of demons, to starve every demon to death and retake the Abyss, which they see as theirs.[15]

Qlippoth runestones

From the very point of creation, the changes wrought shattered parts of the old qlippoth-ruled Abyss. Fragments from that Abyss are known as qlippoth runestones, which hurtled through the planes; most were destroyed by inimical environments or continued to drift forever in the vast emptiness of the Astral Plane or the Dark Tapestry, but a handful have crossed paths with planets on the Material Plane. Golarion is one such world where at least one qlippoth runestone has entered its atmosphere, breaking up and scattering across the globe to be buried deep underground or isolated in trackless wilderness through millions of years of plate tectonics.[13]

Qlippoth runestones are strange edifices ranging from small rocks only a few feet wide to towering megaliths, but all are marked by obscure runes connecting them to the proto-demons. They radiate an aura of antipathy that repels all thinking beings and poisons the land around it. Twisted mutant wildlife, hideous nightmare illusions, and even portals to the deepest rifts of the Abyss can be found in their proximity, and qlippoth can sometimes slip between dimensions onto the Material Plane near a runestone.[13]

On Golarion

One of the few recorded instances of mass qlippoth activity on the Material Plane is the existence of an Abyssal rift on Golarion in the continent of Tian Xia. A mighty host of angels, archons, azatas, and agathions fought a great war against the horrors and drove them back to the Abyss. They were not, however, able to close the rift, so the celestials founded the land of Tianjing to guard against further qlippoth incursions. That realm is now ruled by their aasimar descendants, who continue their vigilance.

But all is not well in Tianjing. After centuries of coddling as a client state of Imperial Lung Wa, the aasimars grew lax in guarding the Abyssal rifts. The nation found itself adrift in the wake of Lung Wa's collapse and has only recently recovered, but qlippoth incursions have seen a dramatic resurgence, leading the aasimars to worry that another great invasion from the deepest Outer Rifts might be imminent.[16][17]

Qlippoth incursions have been known to result in qlippoth-spawn tieflings, also called "motherless" tieflings.[18]


Paizo published a major article about qlippoth and qlippoth lords in Beyond the Doomsday Door, p. 62ff.

For additional resources, see the Meta page.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 James Jacobs. (2009). Demon Lords of Golarion. Descent into Midnight, p. 57. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-131-2 The plural and singular of qlippoth are the same.
  2. Amber Stewart. (2009). The Great Beyond: A Guide to the Multiverse, p. 27. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-167-1
  3. James Jacobs. (2010). Lords of Chaos, p. 53. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-250-0
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Wolfgang Baur et al. (2010). Bestiary 2 (First Edition), p. 218. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-268-5
  5. Amber Stewart. (2009). Keepers of Chaos. The End of Eternity, p. 55. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-173-2
  6. James Jacobs. (2010). Lords of Chaos, p. 2f., 53. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-250-0
  7. Jason Bulmahn. (2009). Bestiary (First Edition), p. 56. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
  8. James Jacobs. (2010). Lords of Chaos, p. 3, 33. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-250-0
  9. John Compton, Adam Daigle, Amanda Hamon Kunz, et al. (2017). Book of the Damned, p. 228. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-970-7
  10. James Jacobs. (2010). Lords of Chaos, p. 51. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-250-0
  11. Robert Brookes et al. (2018). Planar Adventures, p. 205. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-044-6
  12. 12.0 12.1 James Jacobs. (2012). Before Sin. Beyond the Doomsday Door, p. 64f. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-474-0
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 James Jacobs. (2012). Before Sin. Beyond the Doomsday Door, p. 63f. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-474-0
  14. John Compton, Adam Daigle, Amanda Hamon Kunz, et al. (2017). Book of the Damned, p. 266. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-970-7
  15. James Jacobs. (2010). Lords of Chaos, p. 62. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-250-0
  16. James Jacobs, Dave Gross, Rob McCreary. (2011). Dragon Empires Gazetteer, p. 39. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-379-8
  17. Justin Juan. (2018). Shrine of the Sacred Tempest, p. 3. Paizo Inc.
  18. Hal Maclean and Colin McComb. (2012). Blood of Fiends, p. 23. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-423-8