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In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, a balor is one of the most powerful types of demons (tanar'ri). Of all the inhabitants of the Abyss, balors are second in power only to the demon lords, klurichirs, molydei, and myrmyxicus. In first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, balors were known as "type VI demons."
Balors are native to the Abyss.
Typical physical characteristics
In the original Monster Manual, balors are twelve foot tall, winged humanoids with horns and demonic features. They prefer to wield swords and many-tailed whips. They are able to create flames around themselves and shed darkness at will. They possess a strong charisma that attracts other chaotic evil creatures. They tend towards organized evil. Six are known to exist.
In the 2nd edition Monstrous Manual, balors are the most powerful tanar'ri. They exist solely to wage the Blood War, and roam the Abyss, forming legions to command in battle. They have huge wings, claws, venomous fangs, and are commonly surrounded by flame. They wield a many-tailed whip and a greatsword that resembles a bolt of lightning. At least 24 are known to exist.
In current editions of Monster Manual, balors are 12 foot humanoids with bat wings, bull horns, clawed hands and a mane. Their dark red skin is bathed in flame. They wield a vorpal sword in one hand and a flaming whip in the other. They are generals of demonic armies. They answer only to Demon lords and kluritchirs.
Balors are always chaotic evil.
Balors are among the most powerful demons of the abyss, surpassed only by the demon lords. In the 3rd Edition Fiend Folio, two types of Tanar'ri, kluritchirs and myrmyxicus, are more powerful than balors. There are exceptional lesser demons that may surpass a balor, but few possess more potential.
The six chief Balors are:
- Balor - thought to be the original (and certainly the greatest) Balor.
- Ndulu - first appeared in Ed Greenwood's article about swords in Dragon magazine #91 (reprinted in AD&D supplement FR4 - The Magister). Ndulu is also mentioned in Sea of Fallen Stars and Champions of Ruin.
- Ter-Soth - featured in AD&D module H4 - The Throne of Bloodstone, page 47.
- Wendonai - detailed in Lost Empires of Faerun, pages 54-55. He is a former favorite of the drow goddess Lolth and specializes in the art of corruption. He was instrumental in the fall of the drow.
Other notable Balors:
- Ammet: Half-Dragon Balor - Bastion of Broken Souls, Ammet, also called the Eater of Souls, was bound as the heart of the red dragon Ashardalon, and freed when the latter was destroyed. He has a three-strand artifact whip named Helltongue.
- Belcheresk: Advanced Balor - Dragon Magazine, Savage Tide" , A powerful Advanced Balor Fighter/Assassin who is Lord Demogorgon's second in command. He controls the Teeth of Belcheresk, a mountain range where he trains a ruthless cadre of powerful demons and instills loyalty to The Prince of Demons himself.
- Buphalthus: Bastion of Broken Souls
- Dakunth: Dragon #24 "Ramifications of Alignment"
- Glyphimor: H4 - Throne of Bloodstone, Dead Gods, Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss
- Grintharke: I12- Egg of the Phoenix, mentioned in FR5 - The Savage Frontier, pages 8, 42, 59, and 63 (Killed off in Hellgate Keep and The North backstory)
- Henjar: Well of Worlds p52
- Illssender: Hellbound: The Blood War, "The Dark of the War", page 24. Illssender owns a tower on the 313th layer of the Abyss. He wields a sword and the axe of a molydeus whom he keeps imprisoned in his tower. Illssender is unusually civil compared to most balors. He is one of the most feared balors, and prefers fighting in the front lines to scheming.
- Lord Marduk- A powerful unique Balor who claims the title "King of the Fire Demons." Lord Marduk was created by Gary Gygax as one of the Six Monarchs of Demonium. Lord Marduk wields a unique artifact known as the Firefan.
- Miirta: Well of Worlds p52
- Raachaak: The Paladins, book two of the Forgotten Realms' Double Diamond Triangle Saga.
- Severik: Book of Vile Darkness, page 129. Severik is a 10th level balor fighter who serves Demogorgon. He commands 12 marilith blackguards.
- The Six Wings of Pazuzu: Book of Vile Darkness web enhancement, page 7. The Six Wings of Pazuzu are six elite balors who act as the demon prince Pazuzu's bodyguards and assassins. They are trained as 5th level fighters. They wear magical plate armor and each commands a unit of hundreds of vrocks.
- Tamion: Bastion of Broken Souls
- Tarnhem: Return to the Tomb of Horrors, Manual of the Planes (2001), page 103. Tarnhem is a former ruler of the Noisome Vale, the 498th plane of the Abyss and the father of the demilich Acererak. He is believed to be imprisoned offplane.
The balors found in Dungeons & Dragons have little relation to the mythical Balor of Irish mythology, actually being based on the balrogs of The Lord of the Rings.
In the original Dungeons & Dragons pamphlets, this breed of demon was known as "balrog", but the name was revised in subsequent supplements to simply "type VI demon" so as not to infringe on J. R. R. Tolkien's copyright. In second edition AD&D, the name "type VI demon" was revised to "balor," taking the name of the greatest individual of their rank as the name for the entire breed.
Gary Gygax, in his Gord the Rogue novels, has alternately called them raloogs or conflagranti.
- Eric Caigle, Jesse Decker, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, Matt Sernett, Chris Thomasson and James Wyatt. Fiend Folio (Wizards of the Coast, 2000).
- Known Balors at the d20 NPC Wiki