Quite a bit of discussion has been held on these forums as to how the depiction of the Qliphoth in Champions Online -- as being essentially the Champions Universe equivalent to Hell, and its natives as being like popular fictional demons -- is not true to how these elements "really" are in books for the Champions tabletop game, the inspiration for the MMO. I have no intention or desire to start that discussion again here.
I'm a believer in "don't say if you can show," so I decided to illustrate Qliphothic lore in a form players of adventure games seem to find among the most interesting and useful: a selection of unique and colorful opponents to fight. They can be worked into stories and background histories in a variety of ways, as will be illustrated later on this thread. And who knows, perhaps one of the CO developers will read about them, and be inspired.
Various Champions source books have presented a fair-sized variety of denizens of the Qliphoth. They bear only a passing resemblance to what's been shown in CO to date. Rather than resembling demons from any real-world mythology or folklore, Qliphothics are strongly inspired by the horror and fantasy fiction of renowned pulp-era author H.P. Lovecraft, creator of Cthulhu and its hideous kin; as Champions PnP writers readily acknowledge. They offer a different experience from more familiar, myth-based supernatural foes.
Following are descriptions of a score of horrors from various Qliphothic universes. The list doesn't include unique, godlike monsters such as the Kings of Edom, unless a particular type of creature is closely identified with one; nor any of the humans who have been altered by the touch of Qliphothic forces. Those could support discussion threads of their own.
The creature entries were culled from several Champions PnP source books. For the most part I avoid referring to beasties which have appeared in Champions Online, because most CO players will be familiar with them by now, and because of the depiction issues previously noted. The main in-print source for Qliphothic creatures -- with detailed descriptions, Fifth Edition Hero System character sheets, and illustrations -- is Arcane Adversaries
, by Dean Shomshak. Dean created much of the magic cosmology for the Champions Universe, including the Qliphoth. Most of the current material was transcribed verbatim from two earlier (Fourth Edition) Champions books by Dean, The Ultimate Super Mage
and The Super Mage Bestiary
. Those books offered an even wider selection of monsters from the Qliphoth, and since the lore from the two editions matches so closely, I feel justified in adding the descriptions of the ones which weren't reprinted. Other creatures were taken from the Hero System Bestiary
, from Book Of The Empress
which deals with other dimensions in the CU "multiverse," and from a book for the sci-fi future of the official Champions Universe timeline, Scourges Of The Galaxy
Let me quickly outline salient features of Qliphothics in general, before launching into specific monsters. The Qliphothic planes are the dimensions of negative energy. Some of these deathly, decrepit dimensions have brought forth their own weird forms of anti-life and anti-spirit. Qliphothic creatures are entirely inimical; they are entropy incarnate. When a Qliphothic creature enters a normal cosmos, it disrupts its surroundings as it feeds on positive energy; and the more it feeds, the hungrier it gets. Some Qliphothic entities live by destroying matter or energy. Some feed on magic. Some affect space-time itself. Qliphothics are not even made of matter in any normal sense, although some varieties can wrap themselves in warped, transmuted matter, producing perverse mockeries of life.
These beings aren't evil in the manner of demons of human imagination, which represent human concepts of evil; they're totally alien in mentality. They share little in the way of recognizable motivations with humans, aside from hunger, the instinct to survive, and the desire to dominate. Humans can communicate with them only on the most basic level. (Speechifying "avatars" of the Kings of Edom, such as we see in Champions Online, don't really fit with the lore.) Some beings who commune telepathically with them believe they receive instinctive, intuitive impressions of what they want. (As their sanity is affected by such contact, the accuracy of their perceptions is suspect.) Sometimes the more powerful and intelligent Qliphothics communicate through metaphorical dreams and visions.
All of these creatures are deeply disturbing and terrifying for beings from "positive" universes to behold. It's not just that they're grotesque and horrible by our standards; there's a profound unnaturalness
about them that affects people on an instinctual level.
While some of the Kings of Edom have slave creatures specifically devoted to them, other Qliphothic monsters serve all the Kings generally. These are referred to collectively as Edomites
. But many inhabitants of the Qliphoth appear to be free-willed, or may choose to follow other masters.
Traditionally Qliphothic monsters have appeared in "positive" universes through magical means, either deliberately summoned by spell-casters, or when a spell has gone awry and opened a rift to the Qliphoth. Luther Black, the founder and leader of DEMON, long promoted the tearing of dimensional barriers, allowing forces and things from the Qliphoth to leak into Champions Earth, in order to corrupt it in support of his apotheosis ritual.
But in the technological era, other forces which violently twist the fabric of reality -- particle accelerators, malfunctioning warp drives, sophisticated computer programs, even the thoughts of brilliant mathematicians -- may bridge the gap between dimensions, briefly or for a prolonged period; or simply attract the attention of Qliphothics who can travel the planes on their own.