Imps are vicious, manipulative fiends that make up the least powerful ranks of the infernal legions .An imp is a minor devil. They serve as tempters and lackeys to mortals whom greater devils want groomed to the side of evil. Imps delight in the opportunity to leave Hell and tempt a mortal to evil. Many evil spellcasters can be found with an imp in their company, serving as a type of 'Familiar'.
Although they can alter their form into that of any tiny animal, an imp normally appears as a tiny, red-skinned humanoid with a pair of black wings and a long tail ending in a poisonous stinger, containing a deadly poison. An imp stands about 2 feet tall and weighs only 8 pounds.
Imps frequently act as manipulators in mortal lands, tempting the greedy, gullible or foolish into Lawful Evil acts so as to corrupt them, ensuring a continuous supply of souls for their lords in the Nine Hells. While physically weak compared to some lesser Devil forms (those lower down the form hierarchy), lower Devils relish the chance to be promoted to Imp because successfully tempting mortals into evil is one of the surest paths to further promotions.
Imps are consumate illusionists. They are able to cast illusion spells as though they were born to it. Imps have the following knowledge skills:
- Lore Planes
- Lore Demons
- Lore Abyss
Acquiring an Imp as a servant (or teacher) is not something that just everyone can do. Generally this requires a character to either adopt the Witchcraft Convention or the Infernal Pact convention though there couldbe other ways. It would be interesting for a character to find a Gaol somewhere and then see if they could be convinced into letting it out... for a short while.
Imps don't really care who they 'serve' so long as they get the opportunity to feed off the souls of sacrificial victims now and again to increase their power. Imps have served vampires, magi, even garou. They tend to shy away from 'True' supernatural folk because they often have the power to control the imp or destroy it. The Otherkin who find them aren't generally powerful enough to exert total domination over the imp (though they never reveal that fact).
Of the 101 Imps that were released upon the world at the end of the War of the Burning Heavens, a number of them are prisoners within a magical gem called a Gaol. This gem is both their prison and their protection in that if they were ever caught out of their gem they can be sensed by ANY cleric. Obviously those clerics of a good alignment would wish to destroy such a creature and even those of evil alignment will seek to subjugate it.
The Gaol serves as sort of the 'lamp' for the genie (Imp). The imp can materialize within twenty feet of the gem but their soul is still bound within the gem. Should their material body be destroyed, it will vanish in a flash of infernal fire as they reform within the gem. Creating a physical body for them to manifest requires a large output of stored arcane energy. Generally speaking, the Imp, once able to manifest outside of the gem, will never choose to return to it. It is the 'ball' to which they are chained.
The unbound imps represent a small portion of the 101 imps released by the Devil, Malphas. These are typically those Imps who have been able to free themselves from their Gaol and are out and about within the world up to their own plans. It is an understood goal of all Bound Imps to break their imprisonment and free themselves from the Gaol. Once free, the imps can go where they wish and do as they want. They need not, always, follow the original mandate given them by the devil, Malphas. Many of which, once free, are more concerned with themselves and their own power and safety than fullfilling some earlier obligation. They Evil, after all.
Imps are the lowest rank of all of the Infernal Legions. For them to raise themselves up of this status they must acquire power; or souls.
They need souls energy to gain in power. This is often acquired through ritual sacrifice (where in they are the only creature in physical contact or in the immediate vacinity of the subject when it dies. They can not simply consume soul energy as it is released from a dying body - they need to ensure that the soul can not be claimed by the target's own deity long enough for them to consume it. To facilitate this they will often perform a ritual to ward the passage of the target's spirit (Ward of Extra-Planar Passage). Once the spirit is released from the body, at the moment of death, it is trapped within the ritual ward and is then able to be consumed by the imp.
Thirteen souls are said to be required for the Imp to advance in power.