Daeman Species in Excilior | World Anvil


Nightmare fuel

If yer seekin fer bitniss wit da Mudd Maven, I suggest ya go fend her yer damn self. Local slurry sez she turnt her gaze upon daemon farmin. And I gots no intention of bean parta dat harvest.
Bakryt Israiylov, Oneian netminder, 3054 AoG
aemen are a subclass of humans, barely sapient and grotesquely deformed, created by the Agnoscio (or other rogue "scientists").  A daeman's extreme disfigurement, coupled with its cognitive destruction, is originally spawned by a near-fatal larval infestation that stems from a bite of the winged clutch borer insect.  This larval parasitism grows so extreme that the victim's head will eventually, quite literally, explode, releasing a horde of newly-adult clutch borers into the sky.  Without further intervention, the unfortunate victim will succumb to a quick death soon after experiencing the excruciating trauma.  But centuries ago, the Agnoscio perfected a process whereby the victim can actually be kept alive - often, for decades - after the greater portion of their cranium has erupted.  Unfortunately, the "life" provided to daemen, after their head has exploded, is commonly understood to be a torturous and hellish existence.  
Mutated Humans
Daemen begin life as regular humans.  Initially, their only common factor is their unlucky fate in becoming unwitting hosts for the clutch borers' larvae.  The individuals who are "saved" through the Agnoscios' procedure (known as bomination) are freakish shells of their former selves.  Their cognitive abilities are extremely limited.  All of their communication skills are annihilated.  Their entire sense of self - along with any memory of their previous life - is utterly destroyed during their transformation into daemen.  The resulting "creature" strikes terror into normal casterways and leaves its owner to be loathed - and, most likely, feared.

Basic Information

Biological Traits

hile daemen are most recognizable by their tragically-mangled heads, they are also striking for their white "fuzzy" skin (this is especially true of hooded daemen, whereby their heads are hidden from casual viewing). This surfeit of white fuzz consists of millions of tiny offshoots of the waxen polyspores which course through their veins and colonize their bodies. This appearance is not dissimilar to the fuzzy coating that can accumulate on a rotting piece of fruit. This also lends them a peculiar aroma that is reminiscent of damp soil. Most people do not characterize daemen as stinking, but their inhuman scent is yet another factor that tends to make regular casterways uneasy in their presence.  
As daemen age, it's not uncommon for the extremities - fingers, toes, arms, legs, or even the entire torso - to twist into knots and deformations that appear as though they must cause severe discomfort. But given their seeming imperviousness to pain, it's doubtful that these deformities cause true discomfort. They are also frequently seen with recent-or-festering wounds, some of which bleed (very slowly), for months. Like the original humans from which they were created, daemen have red blood. But it's notably thicker, and many describe it as being of a darker, richer hue - almost approaching a red wine or deep purple color.  
Unnerving Statues
As if their basic appearance weren't alarming enough, many observers (especially those who are witnessing a daeman for the first time) report that their behavior and motions are even more macabre than their appearance. Most daemen are content to sit (or stand) in an utterly-motionless state for unnatural periods of time. Sometimes they will barely twitch for many hours on end. Their stillness is so profound that many unsuspecting passersby mistake them for (grotesque and offensive) statuary. Their deceptive proclivity for complete stillness tends to make the experience all the more jarring when one suddenly starts to move.  
When they are in the process of completing basic commands (e.g., following their master, or fetching an item), their movements are slow. Deliberate. Sluggish, even. And once they are in motion, there is little that anyone (even their masters) can do to make them move any faster. Consistent with this trait is the fact that daemen never run. Some debate whether they are physically incapable of running (which would be quite understandable, given their frequently-twisted stature), or whether the daeman mind simply refuses - under any impetus - to hasten pace. Although some cognoscenti enjoy indulging in such debates, most would acknowledge that the distinction is probably academic. Because, regardless of the underlying mechanism, daemen simply cannot (or, if you prefer, will not) run.
That Ricoh boy was all fulla da Big Tok. Said he'd seen plenty'ah daemen in "his time". But when Putrit got ta shakin and spittin and fightin his jinn, well, I'm pretty shore Ricoh filt his longboots before ee bolted out da room. Don't think we stopt laughin bout dat for two days.
Jinette Lazaron, Ochebian spinster, 3054 AoG
Inhuman Seizures
Their only frenzied movements come during their numerous, random tics and, at times, full-body seizures. The exact nature of these tics is such that they can cause small children or random passersby to scream in alarm. After sitting deathly still, sometimes for hours, it's entirely common for a daeman to lurch into a brief (yet agonizing) seizure. These seizures can be localize to a small area (such as a hand or foot), they can envelope the head or torso, or they can engulf the entire body. This demonic shaking never lasts long. Typically, it's over in well-under a minute. But throughout its duration, the daeman's afflicted area convulses with a speed and a fury that seems to be entirely inhuman. The internal torque generated by these ferocious fits is so great that many attribute them directly to transitory demonic possession. (Notwithstanding the fact that many people and cultures have come to view the daemen's entire existence as a physical representation of demonic possession.) When the seizure finally passes (generally spawning a sense of empathetic relief in anyone who is unfortunate enough to witness the event), the daeman invariably returns to whatever they were doing before the affliction, as though nothing at all took place. If they were sitting (in their typical, deathly-still posture), they go right back to life as a living statue. If they were in the middle of completing a task, they simply carry on with that task, oblivious to the recently-completed fit. Many accounts have been recorded of naive casterways, who previously believed they could stomach being in a daeman's proximity, quickly ordering them banished from their presence - forever - once they became thoroughly unnerved by the first of these periodic seizures.

Genetics and Reproduction

t's believed that daemen are incapable of reproduction. Whether the traumatic process of their creation actually leaves them sterile is a matter of some debate. But even if they are physiologically capable of reproduction, there has never been a recorded instance of daemen engaging in reproductive behavior with each other. Male daemen have never been observed with an erection. In fact, they appear to have absolutely no sex drive or amorous intentions whatsoever. Daemen show no love, affection, or desire for physical intimacy with others of their kind, nor with any regular humans.

Growth Rate & Stages

aemen never grow. In fact, they don't seem to age in any appreciable way. There have (thankfully) been no known instances of adolescent humans being turned into daemen. But if they were, the common consensus is that they would remain at their same height-and-weight for the remainder of their life. This assumption is partly fostered by the fact that daemen never show any traditional signs of aging. Their skin does not wrinkle. Their facial features (or, what is left of them) do not droop. If they retain any hair that was not blown sheer off their cranium, it does not turn grey over time. This seeming "stasis" is usually attributed to the preservative effects of the waxen polyspores, which begin flowing through their bodies as soon as they are stung by the clutch borer, and are pumped into their system in much greater volume after their heads explode and the Agnoscio surgically convert them into daemen.

Dietary Needs and Habits

I was truly praying that we could somehow avoid any mention of the hideous creature sitting, lifeless, in the corner, throughout my entire stay. But when I found that the fatback had gone rancid and I meant to toss it in the waste heap, Tozan stayed my hand, motioned to the silent ghoul, and said it'd be just fine for him to munch on later.
Barzyn Rathmore Toterian engraver, 3752 AoG
ne of the "benefits" of daeman ownership is that they barely eat much of anything, and they are perfectly content to subsist on meager rations of water. When they do eat, they can easily tolerate spoiled meats, rotten vegetables, and fetid water. Some have surmised that, since waxen polyspores are, essentially, a type of mold, daemen are perhaps uniquely suited to consume a wide array of festering food-and-drink that would otherwise be untenable for normal humans. To the extent that they are adversely affected by questionable nutrients, the negative side effects are also mitigated by the fact that they consume so little. Even if a daeman has not eaten for many days, and is placed in front of a grand cornucopia of culinary delights, he's likely to munch quietly on only a few handfuls of food before ceasing altogether and sitting quietly beside the feast.

Biological Cycle

daeman's lifespan is largely determined by its age when it is converted from a "regular" human into a daeman. Assuming that the conversion is successful (the skill of the practitioner conducting the exhaustive surgical procedures greatly influences the mortality rate of any would-be daemen), a daeman can be expected to live to roughly the same age as the original human. Some legends contend that the preservative factors used in bomination will actually create a daeman that can live long past its human peers (or, in the most exaggerated of tales, forever). Although the waxen polyspores that seem to enable the entire bomination process are known to have clear, preservative qualities, these qualities tend to keep tissue (or perhaps, entire organisms) from suffering a premature death. But they have not been demonstrated to grant longer lifespans to the daemen they inhabit - nor to any other "normal" humans upon whom waxen polyspore treatment has been deployed.  
Tortured Lives
When considering daemen lifespans, it's important to note that the conversion process doesn't appear to shorten their life expectancy at all. However, few daemen actually live to the upper limits of their life expectancy, because they are often treated abhorrently by their masters. So for example, even though a modern 20-year-old Blepian male may be expected to live, on average, to age 70 or longer, it's doubtful that he would reach this age if he were turned into a daeman.

Additional Information


here is no such thing as a naturally-occuring daeman in the wild (although rare cases have documented the occasional daeman, set loose from its master, roaming through the wilderness). After its initial conversion (which is immediately followed by some type of training period, managed and defined by its master), the remainder of a daeman's life is, essentially, a domestic life - although the quality and substance of that life can vary severely from one master to the next. While they no longer have any higher-level cognitive abilities, daemen can absolutely be trained to perform a wide range of simple or "mindless" tasks. For those caloussed individuals who are comfortable with daemen frequently operating in their midst, they can often make good use of the raw manual labor afforded by the creatures.
Eejit?? You're afraid... of imm?? He cain't ert nobody. His only job is tah absorb da ert that everyone else cain't contain.
Drogin Timothay Tarasofitch, Ucaranian thug, 3588 AoG
One of the daemen's most striking features is their docility. The uninformed initially believe that daemen are angry and violent - but this misconception stems entirely from their hideous presentation. Gruesome expressions often seem to be permanently plastered across a daeman's face - and this further fuels the falsehood that they are fierce or unstable. But their owners understand their silent and placid nature, and these traits can make them surprisingly useful in domestic applications. Daemen never attack guests, masters, children, or each other. Even when abuse is targeted toward them, they are apparently incapable of counterattack - or even, of self-defense.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

ny opportunity to use (or exploit) a daeman is largely based on how one frames the question. Considering that a daeman is a near-mindless zombie inhabiting a wrecked-and-failing body, and considering that those who are associated with daemen (in nearly any way) are painted with the same broad brush of stigma as the daemen themselves, it's hard to believe that anyone can find (or even wants to find) any suitable "use" for them. Conversely, given that daemen still function as human-like creatures with none of the rights typically afforded to humans, that they can be taught (corralled) into doing a wide range of menial tasks, and that their mere presence can often be defined as psychological warfare toward the group whose member(s) has been turned into a daeman, the simple fact is that a rogue splinter of the population has found basic uses for them over more than a thousand years - and will probably continue to do so for quite some time.

Facial characteristics

hile daemen are, to some extent, as varied and unique as the humans from which they were originally created, the public perception of their kind centers almost entirely on the horrific disfigurement that permanently scars their head and face. It's impossible to define an exact phenotype for their deformities, because those deformities initially stem from an explosion - a catastrophic rupture that literally ejects brain and skull matter throughout the room and leaves the subject in a life-threatening state of trauma thereafter. Just as no one can define the exact placement of artifacts in the aftermath of a dethane explosion, every daeman face is a grotesque canvas upon which the explosive force of natural gases has painted the scant remainders of the daeman's brain and facial features. Some daemen are "lucky" enough to retain the use of an eye, an ear, or their nose - although those sensory organs must typically be secured back onto the head through radical (and primitive) surgical techniques, and the end result is often an unnatural hodgepodge of barely-functioning organs that appear to be randomly plastered, or stitched, back onto the face wherever the presiding Agnoscio could manage to find space. In rare cases, the frontward appearance of a daeman's face may appear almost "normal", only to reveal that the entire back of the skull has been completely blown to shreds. In other cases, the rupture is so complete that there is simply no way to salvage anything from the eyes, ears, or nose. In these most-severe instances, it's not uncommon for even the roof of the mouth to be irreparably split in two.  
Shroom Heads
The remaining portion of the head - which ends up being blasted downward onto the traditional facial region, is notable for its broad, thick, sprawling nature. It is usually discolored near the edges in some hue of brown or ochre. Some have noted that it looks like a sturdy mushroom cap that has been split and forced downward over the rest of the face. Indeed, such an observation makes some sense because this thick, waxy covering is the direct result of the larval sac which was created and fostered by the waxen polyspores that long-ago colonized the victim's head.

Average Intelligence

or those who have researched such matters, the subject of daeman intelligence is a source of endless debate. Although it's tempting to paint them simply as mindless ghouls, incapable of any higher-order thought, there are many examples of daemen performing feats, or reacting to stimuli, in a way which would be almost unimaginable if they were not, on some level, thinking. However, these observations are quite tricky to substantiate because daemen are also known to occasionally mimic the actions of those in their presence. At other times, they are known to pantomime solitary, complicated gestures that seem to signal that they are thinking, or possibly attempting to communicate to... someone. But given that these pantomimes are frequently done when they (believe they) are alone, or toward no other person in general, it's hard to definitively say that these motions betray any measurable level of cognition.
I've witnessed human butchery. Unspeakable cruelty. Arbyrkin turned on arbyrkin like rodents in a cage. But it's the silent voice of the daemen that will still haunt me as I draw my last breath.
Bakryt Israiylov, Phonaecian Reaper, 3422 AoG
Confounding Factors
Further clouding such assessments is the fact that no two daemen are entirely alike. Not only were their progenitor humans unique in their own right, but when the clutch borer larvae explode (literally) from the victim's head, the aftermath is essentially random. Some daemen are left with naught but a scrap of brain stem in their decimated skull (and indeed, most of these extreme cases die on the operating table, never quite achieving the label of "daeman"). Others are more "fortunate", managing to retain significant portions of either lobe. The easy assumption is that those daemen that were lucky enough to have less of their brain matter blasted from their skulls will, in turn, retain a higher degree of "intelligence" once their conversion to automatons is complete. But this radical variance renders any attempt to quantify general daeman intelligence as an exercise in frustration.  
Some have tied their estimations of daeman intelligence to an analysis of the tasks they perform. (Although, again, this analysis is muddied by the fact that every daeman's cognition and physical deformity is a unique-and-confounding factor.) All daemen are capable of responding, at least somewhat intelligently, to their masters' commands. (Indeed, if they cannot pass at least this basic hurdle, they will certainly be discarded before anyone else ever comes to know them as daemen.) Once they have mastered these commands, they can usually be counted upon to follow those commands from other humans as well (with the notable exception that some daemen are specifically trained to respond to their masters' commands, and only their masters' commands).  
Learned Commands
Like a household pet, all daemen have some vocabulary of commands to which they can reliably respond. But skeptics point out that many daemen seem to be responding more to the tone and context of the commander's voice, rather than intelligently parsing the order which has been issued. To bolster this argument, skeptics have demonstrated that a daeman who knows what to do when told, "Go fetch me a fresh cup of vintage," can often be coerced to fetch said cup of vintage by saying, "Go sketch me a fresh pup of squintage," if the issuer is careful to speak the words in the same tone and cadence as the expected command for which the daeman has been trained. But this criticism cannot be universally applied to all daemen, and there are many verified examples of higher-functioning daemen who seem quite capable of parsing more-detailed instructions. Some of these more-capable daemen will stand still, presumably in confusion, when issued a nonsensical or garbled command. While there are certainly some daemen who can barely be counted upon to properly fetch the cup of vintage, there are others who can be told, "Go fetch me a fresh cup of the lowlander ale, and toss the remaining contents of this swill in Remi's face," and they can be relied upon to actually carry out the command as issued.  
Dangerously Literal
Of course, like all other aspects of daeman existence, their putative intelligence is frequently the target of outlandish legends and bold hyperbole. Many fanciful tales claim that daemen enslaved under well-known historical figures have served as beguiling henchmen, carrying out all manner of complicated commands and, in the most exaggerated of tales, even hatching their own devious plots. Any such accounts of daemen carrying out tasks that rise above the level of a well-trained pet are roundly dismissed by cognoscenti or other rational observers. However, one aspect of daeman control that has never been discounted is the care one must take in issuing their commands. Because even the most astute daemen have a well-documented history of taking commands in an entirely literal fashion, regardless of the long-term effects for their masters. With even the most capable of daemen, issuing a broad, open-ended command such as, "Go back to the cottage and ensure that no one else can enter the premises," could result in the daeman entering the cottage and locking the door behind him... or it could result in him simply burning the cottage to the ground. For in the daeman's scarred and primeval mind, burning the cottage to the ground does indeed ensure that "no one else can enter the premises."

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Let us speak of Vikas no more. Some would claim he lives on... but I know better. He's been trapped in the acrid twilight that lesser men have named: the daemen.
Amhar Khote, Asjarian grave digger, 3130 AoG
ne of the more enduring daeman myths is that they have little-to-no sensory capabilities. And at first glance, this myth seems entirely logical. After all, the central act of daeman creation always starts with one seminal (and bone-rattling) event: the literal explosion of their head due to the frightful pressure that is built up by the colonization of waxen polyspores in the cranial cavity, fed by the rapid feeding of metamorphosing clutch borer larvae. The typical result is a freakish shell of a human, barely alive, with half (or more) of his head completely ruptured and spewed outward. The force of this eruption is so violent that it commonly shreds one (or both) eyes, one (or both) ears, and possibly the entire nose. This leaves the quivering hulk of a human, clinging to life, sometimes with naught but a mouth left on their entire face. And given that daemen are universally known to never speak, the resulting assumption is that they are deaf, dumb, mute, blind, and devoid of any sense of smell. If they have any sensory perception left to speak of, it's assumed that they can do nothing more than taste things from their environment, and feel items by touch. However, the truth of the matter is surprisingly different.  
Surviving Organs
The first correction to the no-senses myth comes from the simple, tactical fact that every daeman is (disturbingly) unique. And while it is true that some of them have lost both eyes, both ears, and their nose, this is certainly not the case for all of them. In fact, nearly three-quarters of them have maintained some combination of eyes/ears/nose. Of course, the eyes/ears/noses that are somehow salvaged during bomination frequently survive in a, umm... suboptimal state. A damaged eye may have been haphazardly seated into the side of the head. A bit of nasal tissue may remain below the waxen polyspore shell. The outer vestiges of the ears may have been blasted off - but the Agnoscio performing the procedure may have been able to preserve some semblance of an ear canal. All of this adds up to a slapdash conglomeration of working, and semi-working sensory organs that may be a mere shadow of their former glory, but are still capable of relaying sensory information to what remains of the daeman's brain. It may not be not pretty. But it's at least somewhat functional. Even in the most extreme cases, when a newly-formed daeman has lost both eyes, any semblance of a nose, and access to either of the ear canals, it's now been proven that the remaining creature still has (or manages to develop) an impressive sensitivity to outside stimuli.  
Daemen with no outer ears, and no vestigial access to the previous ear canals, still demonstrate a consistent ability to hear and react to sounds. In these cases, it's generally assumed that the daeman's "hearing" is something far less acute than that of a normal person, but based on empirical evidence there is little doubt that even the most damaged daemen still manage to "hear" that which is happening around them.  
Those who have lost their entire nose, and have had their entire nasal cavity sealed off during the bomination surgeries, have also been proven to have some sense of smell. For centuries, this absolutely baffled even the most learned of cognoscenti (and their Agnoscio counterparts, lurking in the shadows). But there is now a general consensus that daemen - even those who have had all of their traditional nasal faculties destroyed - do smell, and it's presumed that this sense of "smell" is accomplished through a cranial reprogramming of the taste buds. To be clear, daemen who have demonstrated this ability have not lost their sense of taste in favor of smell. Rather, it seems that they have somehow managed to sense aromas and tastes via the single sensory organ of the taste bud.  
This was originally established during a pioneering experiment, in Sceraisia, in 2862 AoR. During the experiment, a daeman who had all semblance of sight/hearing/smell utterly destroyed during bomination was observed moving toward food items, placed on the other side of the room, that emitted a savory smell. The daeman's tongue was then coated in wax and the stimuli was reintroduced. With no ability to gather input via the taste buds, the daeman remained entirely still, completely unaware that a savory treat had been placed across the room. The experiment was then repeated to determine whether the daeman's taste buds were still, in fact, detecting taste. With a clean tongue, the daeman was given two dishes - one containing a nutritious (but odorless) gravy, the other containing a caustic (but odorless) mixture. The daeman tasted the caustic mixture and spit it out. It then tasted the nutritious mixture and consumed several sizable gulps. Then they re-coated the daeman's tongue in wax and offered it the caustic mixture. The daeman consumed the toxin. And died. There are many shadowy corners of the world where similar experiments continue to this day.
Those who see but have no eyes can only claim one of two possible origins. They are the blessed messengers of our Lord Baldergash himself. Or they are the most wretched of demons, cursed to walk this land in eternal purgatory.
Bartran Vilikis, Boissain Regional Steward of the Pontificous Rite, 3330 AoG
Mystery of Sight
The daemen's greatest mystery may lie in their sensitivity to light. Given that the eyes are situated relatively high on the face, they are the organs most likely to be completely shredded in the original cranial explosion of bomination. It's estimated that nearly 95% of bomination subjects lose at least one eye in the original rupture, and that 85% completely lose both eyes. Yet even for the majority who survive the procedure with absolutely no visual organs intact, they consistently demonstrate a sensitivity to light throughout their lives. Unlike the mystery of daeman smell, no one has ever suggested (with a straight face) that their taste buds - or any other sensory organs - are somehow repurposed for the highly-specialized task of sight. And yet, daemen - daemen that have had every semblance of vision blasted off their face - still seem to maintain some vestige of sight. No one believes that this magical ability grants them great sight, but they have proven to be capable of stepping over small obstacles in the road, of grasping items before their face, and displaying all manner of behavior that indicates they are seeing something representative of the real world around them.

Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms

aemen are at least partially dependent upon the waxen polyspore for their existence. This humble mold is the reason why victims of the clutch borer can potentially be "saved" while those infested by every other species of borer die instantaneously once their cranium ruptures. The polyspore seems to supply two critical aids in the bomination process. First, the presence of waxen polyspores causes the larval sac to form a thick, protective shell between the pupating larvae and the lower half of the host's head. This waxy barrier ultimately stanches the catastrophic blood flow once the cranium has burst and gives the attendant (presumably, an Agnoscio) valuable time to triage the patient and surgically repair the gaping wound.  
Waxen Polyspores
The benefit of waxen polyspores in the bomination process isn't limited to the seconds and minutes that immediately follow a cranial rupture. Anecdotal accounts indicate that large volumes of additional polyspores are pumped into the victim's bloodstream during-and-after the bomination surgery. It is this ongoing surfeit of waxen polyspores coursing throughout a daeman's system that appears to have some type of preservative effect, keeping the fiend alive and (relatively) well for decades. The spores are also the cause of daemen's skin condition. For all daemen acquire a white, powdery complexion. Over time, this complexion eventually yields to thousands of tiny hairlike sprouts that grow outward from the skin in all directions. Although no one has ever been able to prove the hypothesis, most cognoscenti believe that, if a daeman's waxen polyspores were to be somehow eradicated from its body, the daeman would no longer be able to live.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

s boogeymen made flesh, there is no shortage of alternate names for daemen. These monikers can vary by continent, region, ethnic group - or even from village-to-village. Some of the names are portmanteaus which only have meaning in a particular language. But in Komon, daemen are also frequently referred to as the Lost or the Damned or the Neverdead. (And, yes, they are given this last name, even though it is well established that daemen are perfectly capable of dying.)

Major Language Groups and Dialects

aemen never speak. In fact, they are apparently incapable of any verbalization whatsoever. They do not grunt, nor laugh, nor cause any sound to emanate from their mouths. Some are capable of purposely generating sounds - presumably, as a primitive means of signaling - such as clapping or stomping their foot. But even this is exceedingly rare. One of the seminal traits (and one of the most unsettling aspects) of nearly all daemen is their enduring propensity to remain utterly silent.
I tolerated the hellion's presence for many months. I dare say I had almost grown accustomed to his wretched "company". But when he began "talking" to me: Gesturing. Mouthing unspoken words. Motioning as though I should hear his "voice". Well... it was then that I could take no more. I drove my blade through what remained of his grotesque "head", fled that place forevermore, and I have never felt more righteous in my actions.
Iriziya Cihanova Mapit warden, 3100 AoG
Silent Voices
Although it's well-established that no daemen ever speak (and are presumed to be incapable of the act), many who have endured their presence swear that they are trying to speak. They are known to move their mouths in ways that mimic speech. This is often accompanied by hand motions, or other gestures, that are reminiscent of the communication process. This has led some to conclude that daemen truly want to speak, but lack the cognitive connections necessary to formulate words. However, others have dismissed these theories, hypothesizing that the daemen are mindlessly pantomiming the motions of those around them, or that they are playing off primal movements imprinted upon them long before they became daemen. The skeptics' case is bolstered by the fact that daemen's "speaking" motions can often be observed from a distance when there is no one in close proximity who could reasonably be expected to "hear" the creature's non-existent words, even if they could somehow manage to articulate them.

Common Dress Code

iven that daemen are, in the broadest sense, "people" (horrifically deformed, fantastically brain-damaged, and nearly undead people - but people, nonetheless), there is no particular uniform or dress code ascribed to them. Daemen have never shown any care for any particular type of clothing. It's not entirely known whether they even understand that they are wearing clothing at all. Indeed, there are numerous accounts of daemen, kept in private settings, who are simply allowed to roam naked, assuming that their master doesn't much care one-way-or-the-other. Consistent with their complete disregard for society, or their surroundings, daemen pay little attention to whatever clothes are draped over them.  
There is, however, one particular accoutrement that is commonly associated with daemen: a hood, or, in some cases, a concealing cage that is fitted over the head. This happens most often when masters want to move their daemen through "normal" society without making a terrifying and ostentatious spectacle of themselves. Of course, there are many times when a master wants the public to gaze upon the daeman - and to be horrified by it. But if terror is not the master's intention, it can often be useful to drape some kind of hood or covering over the daeman's head. Although the entirety of a daeman's body typically comes to look freakish and disfigured over time, it is the head that is most affronting - especially to those who have not previously seen them in person. For the uninitiated, there is simply no way to properly prepare for the first sight of this not-quite-human creature, with a head that looks as though it was blasted with dethane, and then magically frozen in place. So if the owner does not actively wish to strike discomfort in all passersby, it can be most expedient to simply hide the daeman's head-and-face from public sight.

Common Taboos

n many respects, daemen are the living embodiment - the very essence - of taboo. Everything about their existence speaks to the many taboos that permeate casterway civilizations. Daemen would not even exist were it not for the persistent dabbling of the Agnoscio in forbidden knowledge. The Agnoscio themselves are, at their core, the "taboo" version of the cognoscenti (so much so that nearly all cognoscenti openly despise the Agnoscio and all who would aid their order). For those who would still aspire to create new daemen, nearly any proffered excuse runs afoul of the acceptable norms present in "polite" society. Although such practices still persist to this day, there are few who would publicly argue the merits of A) absolutely terrorizing one's enemies, B) making public examples of wrongdoers by forcefully transforming them into disfigured zombies, C) creating a cadre of subhumans for the purposes of forced labor or further medical experiments, or D) stripping someone's personhood merely so they can be converted into a grotesque symbol of power and intimidation. Finally, the mere sight of a daeman is enough to send many religious adherents into dismay. The popular view of daemen is that they have no soul and have been stripped of the dignity to either ascend to heaven or burn in hell. In fact, there are several prominent faiths (e.g., the Pontificous Rite and the Wanders of Maenar) who teach that daemen cannot possibly be allowed in the deity's good graces - no matter what that person may have accomplished prior to their becoming a daeman. For such believers, the daemen represent a ghastly incarnation of purgatory, in which the body will eventually expire but the soul will never rest.
When we first arrived at Lord Mederon's estate, I foolishly believed we had come to sue for peace. But when we were greeted by our captured colleagues - all of them, transformed into some unnatural monstrosity of their former selves... It was then that I realized that our mission was not negotiation. It was surrender.
Kristian Brahn Cabrio, Sceraisian captain, 2689 AoR
With all of the stigma that hangs around daemen (and their secretive creators), it's tempting to wonder why anyone would still aspire to create these fiends from unfortunate, victimized people. But the answer is easily provided by human nature. For no matter how stridently society paints this practice as a horrific taboo, there are always those who feel no compunction from societal mores. In the case of rulers and despots, they have often characterized the creation of daemen as a necessary evil (an evil that they themselves feel they are "above") that horrifies their would-be attackers and maintains order through the implied (but ever-present) threat that the next person to step out of line could be the next person who is dragged back to life after their head explodes from a larval infestation.


he first daeman was created by the Sceraisian Agnoscio Nilton de Sourta in 2681 AoR. The unfortunate specter of borer infestation had plagued casterways for thousands of years before his time. But he was the first person to observe the difference in mortality between those who were stung by clutch borers, as opposed to those stung by other species of borer. de Sourta is well known for his dogged determination, his knack for creative problem solving, and his utter disregard for human life in the pursuit of his grisly medical objectives. From this perspective, even by the rogue standards of the Agnoscio, de Sourta seems to have stood out as something of a "rebel". And after plowing through 241 helpless victims, over the course of 19 years, he finally perfected the initial process (which is believed to have been revised and improved many times since) for the creation of daemen.  
In the Shadows
The preponderance of daemen in casterway society has constantly waxed and waned since de Sourta's initial discovery. There has never been a subsequent time when daemen are known to have been completely eradicated. But neither have they ever been anything close to "common". Even at their greatest population levels, they have always been a frightening sideshow, kept in secret enclaves, and only presented publicly when some amoral schemer believes that it serves their purpose. History (real history - not myth or legend) has seen numerous tragedies where heroic protagonists have been captured by their enemies and turned into daemen as an act of public retribution for their rivalry. There have also been several key medical discoveries which seemed to appear out of nowhere - developed by cognoscenti who somehow knew precisely how to conduct their procedure on living human specimens, even though they (supposedly) had never tried the remedy on a real person. These are just some of the anecdotes that illustrate why daemen, despite their horrifying visages, have never fully disappeared from the reality of life on Excilior.

Common Myths and Legends

odern casterways have starkly different relationships with real daemen versus mythical daemen. On one hand, daemen - and the warped souls who create them - are openly reviled. It's no accident that bomination is nearly identical to abomination, and it is indicative of the disdain with which most people view the practice. On the other hand, daemen are so unnerving to the average person that they have taken a central role in casterway lore, across nearly every region and ethnic group.  
Daemen are perhaps unique in the fact that their mythical countenance is usually far less menacing than their real-life presence. Throughout numerous casterway legends, unfortunate protagonists find themselves turned into daemen not through an excruciating, debilitating, and irreversible physiological process stewarded by a scholar of highly questionable morals, but rather, they are instantly transformed into such unsightly beasts - with magic, or science fiction technology, or some kind of ancient hex - by some cartoonish villain, only to be saved at the story's conclusion by heroic deeds, or by some other mythical creature.
We have no time for your fanciful yarns of boogeymen and reanimated fiends. Our business concerns the armies stationed at your doorstep. And the slaughter that will ensue if you don't graciously return our lands.
Pang La Sowb, Llanpiq general, 2909 AoR
Debated Existence
The rampant lore surrounding daemen, coupled with their relative rarity, means that for some people, in some regions, living during certain time periods, they have never actually seen a living breathing daeman. This in turn has led some folk - and indeed, some entire cultures - to occasionally insist that daemen have never actually been real, and that the stories and first-hand accounts of their existence are no more reliable than ancient tales of dragons or faeries. But for those who have witnessed a daeman in the flesh (or even worse: for those who have fallen victim to the Agnoscio and have been turned into a daeman), they will confirm that anyone can count themselves as lucky if they've never had to see a daeman in person.
Scientific Name
Homo sapiens
5-60 years
Average Height
1.6-2.1 meters
Average Weight
55-90 kilograms
Average Length
1.5-2.2 meters


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