Planet Apocalypse classifies demons into Circles. These do not correspond precisely to Dante’s Inferno, but represent increasing degrees of threat.
How demons spawn
The Limbo, First, Second, and Third Circle demons spawn by rolling the current number of Despair dice. You have to get a pair of like images to spawn a demon. Thus, if you roll two first-circle results, you’ll generate one first circle demon. The Limbo minions spawn at the rate of one per every paired result.
Say for example, you rolled 7 despair dice, and got 3 first circle results, 3 second circle results, and a third circle result. This would generate exactly 1 first circle demon, and 1 second circle demon, along with two Limbo minions. The “extra” unpaired dice results are discarded.
Just so you know, in case you want to calculate probabilities, the dice are labeled as follows:
three faces are First Circle results
two faces are Second Circle results
a single face is the Third Circle result.
At the game start, there are 4 despair dice, and these gradually increase over time until they cap at 12, which is plenty bad enough. At 12 dice, you are likely to get a third circle with every roll!
Limbo – the Larva
The Limbo minions are technically not demons, but damned souls. They are a sort of “zeroth” circle entity. They are puny and easy to kill, with a toughness of a mere 1. Their attack is weak too, only rolling 1d6. This means they can only injure a hero with toughness 3 half the time.
However, the larvae come in large numbers, and typically half the enemies in every spawning are larvae.
First Circle – The Gryllus
The word “Gryllus” is medieval in origin (well, originally latin), and refers to a type of demon popularized in the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch and others. These demons are basically a head with a pair of feet attached, and often little else. They are often highly decorated. In our version, the Gryllus are the most “civilized” of the demon types, and think of themselves as aristocracy. They wear a fake porcelain head on top of their own head to increase their stature, and have fancy late-medieval clothing, including shoes with pointed tips.
Of course all this is ironic because they are one of the weakest enemies in the game, and players rarely fear them. All demons (except the Larvae) roll 1 die per circle, so the Gryllus only rolls 1 die, but it is 1d10, which is pretty fearsome. This means in a group of demons, you typically expect to take 1 damage per Gryllus, though occasionally a bad roll costs them a hit. Remember that most heroes are only toughness 2 or even less.
With a toughness of 3, the Gryllus is easy to kill, though players don’t really feel confident about killing them till they are rolling at least 1d8.
Second Circle – The Fiend
This is the creature that most obviously looks like the traditional demon, with horns, tail, standing erect, and so forth. It carries a strange bony contraption, which we have named a Skeletoy. Remember – nothing is dead in Hell, which means the skeletoy is alive too!
Fiends are scary, rolling 2d10 in the attack and with a fearsome toughness of 6. This means you can’t kill a fiend without at least 1d8 attack, and even if you’re up to 1d12, it is always a happy surprise when you kill one. A serious enemy.
Third Circle – the Cacodemon
Truly terrifying, the Cacodemon is raw naked chaos. Unlike the Gryllus, it cares nothing about personality or interaction, as is clear from its appearance. It is horror incarnate.
The cacodemon poses a real problem to the players. Not only does it roll 3d10, enough to half-kill many heroes, but it actually has a double toughness of 4+4. This means to kill it, you must roll at least two dice, and each die must score a total of 5 or more. At game start, heroes only have one die, so these are totally invulnerable to a normal attack then.
Even when players are near their peak strength they are always walking on eggs when a cacodemon is around, and they never take it lightly.
Unlike the faceless hordes of the Limbo, First, Second, and Third circle demons, the Fourth Circle demons are each different. The core game features the dreaded Hellhound, and more will be showing up in expansions, stretch goals, and so forth. Each will be the topic of its own update!