Demon / Devil Worship & Black Magic
Demon and devil worship is found in small cults throughout the world. Each uses specific techniques for it's worship, and follows either as specific demon, devil, or evil deity, or a mix of these. Some use rituals and specific acts of service, such as ritual slaughter or sacrifice, while others use specific spells. Usually a cult has one or more high-ranking charismatic leader at the top echelons & ranks, while the lower initiates are kept in the dark about the exact details of the cult, or drawn to it as a way of gaining more power for themselves (though the latter can just as much be the leaders too). Each cult keeps themselves secret, though a few will be aware of other cults, ignoring them, sapping members, rituals, or spells, or openly hostile to them. Nearly all practise some form of black magic. Some are linked to larger cults found in out of the way places, or in plain sight. Pretty much all of them are condemned by the local & overall authorities of were the cults & black magicians operate. Where they are found the cults (and cultists) are suppressed, with the leaders executed and the other cultists suffer the same fate, or have to do some extreme penitence. Some of these are single individuals, and some are world spanning, though the latter is very rare due to the nature of travel and communications. This does not stop them from spreading, and in some cases, one cult might just be a variation of the same basic belief somewhere wholly different. In many cases, the demon, devil, or deity might appear completely different as they are notorious liars, con artists or just different forms of the same being. They are not above playing up to the cultural norms of an individual's societal norms to sway that person's belief. Many treatise, spell books / grimoires, and religious texts are found throughout the world, and oral based beliefs can be corrupted over time by word of mouth. Any sentient species can be found within the cults, and some evil races are quite willing to share some of their practises with others to gain sway over possible agents for their own cause. Two notable groups for this is the Black Elves and the Yuan-Ti, whose machinations are geared towards world domination. What better way to do it by gaining extra worshippers, or by corrupting any other society they encounter from the inside out. In every case this can be exceedingly dangerous to a right minded individual or society as this just brings more misery and danger to the cultists & magicians in the long run. In many cases they are the dregs, the out-casts, and/or plebes who won't be missed if anything goes wrong. The leaders are usually the first to condemn the actions of these cults or practises in public to throw others of their scent. After all they are the ones in their relevant society with most to loose.