The denizens of hell have no other name for their species, and are thus simply “denizens”.
All denizens are immortal, able to see in the dark, and most are humanoid. Beyond that, they’re a mixed bag of physical characteristics. Horns and claws are common, but not omnipresent. Some individuals have wings, tails, or other appendages. Bilateral symmetry is optional, as are even numbers of eyes, ears, fingers, toes, Etc. Magical ability is fairly common, and usually elemental in nature.
- Some denizens are primarily of one element (Fire, Earth, Water, Air, Etc.); this doesn’t mean that they can’t use other elemental magic, just that they have a specific affinity, and possibly accompanying weaknesses.
- Not all denizens that have magical talent use it, instead relying on physical force, occasionally augmented with “natural magic”. (Spell-like or supernatural effects that come naturally to certain denizens)
- Conversely, many denizens who don’t have natural magical talent will use magical items and crystals to achieve similar effects to true magic-users.
Most denizens are very strong for their size; they are highly durable, heal quickly, and have high stamina. Even if a given denizen doesn’t have all of these characteristics, they may have one or more of them.
- Elemental denizens will usually grow stronger when in or near their element; Fire-aligned denizens, for example, heal and regain stamina faster when exposed to fire or heat.
- Denizens don’t need to sleep while in hell, though they can enter a sleep-like state while recovering from serious injuries. Once they leave hell, they need approximately four to six hours of rest per 24 hours; they don’t normally dream, and can enter or leave their “trance” state at will.
- During the war, denizens in the surface world would typically sleep during the day, and attack at night or evening when they could see easily but surface-dwellers could not.
Denizens do not need to eat or drink, though many will do so regardless. Consumption of nutrients and fluids helps denizens to recover from illness or exhaustion, and in some cases will temporarily benefit their magic-using abilities.
- Aside from the limited food supply in hell, food can be teleported in from other dimensions, or certain forms of raw mass can be magically altered into edible substances.
- Denizens will skin and eat their dead without qualm; during the great war between hell and the surface world, so many denizens died in battle that it became almost customary to write a “will”, indicating which other denizens would get which parts in the event of the will-writer’s demise. Leftovers were then scavenged or put up for sale.
Since there are virtually no plants or animals in hell, the denizens have had to find alternate ways to make cloth, mattresses, elastic materials, and so forth.
- Skin and hide is a common material; animals or enemies will either be teleported to hell for skinning, or else denizens will teleport over to other dimensions to raid them for viable hides.
- Earth and Fire elementals and other magic-users have learned to convert rock or molten lava into thin, flexible filaments, which can then be woven or knitted as normal fibers would be. This rock wool can be made into almost any shape with relative ease, whether casual clothes or more serious armor. It is flexible, highly resistant to heat and damage, insulating, and more easily repaired than non-elemental materials. However, it does not stretch well, and can only be produced by those able to magically manipulate rock, matter, and/or fire.
- Magic can be used to summon materials from other dimensions, or create them out of things more common in hell.
Denizens barter in goods, services, magic, and threats; for deals that can’t be settled in one or more of the above methods, they resort to hell’s more solid currency. Magic and threats are almost expected in the haggling process.
Denizens procreate out of necessity rather than enjoyment; two denizens will spawn and then may never see or even think about each other again. Different mothers will give birth in different ways—some give birth to live offspring, while others lay eggs. Regardless, they will usually abandon the child or egg as soon as possible, leaving it to fend for itself in the denizen towns until it matures.
- Occasionally, mature denizens will take in one or more wandering children, not out of love or altruism, but simply out of the desire to raise someone semi-loyal to them.
- During the great hell-surface war, children were dumped straight into the combat academy, raised purely to fight, and then sent into battle as soon as they were anything resembling mature.
- The population of hell is kept roughly constant by a very simple means: whenever one of the immortal denizens dies, a census of all mature male and female denizens is taken. One name is drawn from each pile, and the two “winners” go about spawning. If they fail to produce a child within a certain timeframe, or another denizen dies, the lottery is repeated.