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Looking up the lore of devils and demons, of summoning them and creating contracts, I saw a lot of emphasis on the importance of their "true name." Now, I understand how that can be hard to find when it comes to, say Pit Fiends and Nalfelshnee, but I started to get confused when it came to the named archfiends like Orcus and Asmodeus.

To add to the confusion, I came across an undead creature called the Allip that's created by learning a secret, stating: (emphasis my own)

Secrets protected in this manner range in scope from a demon lord's true name to the hidden truths of the cosmic order.

So I was wondering if an archfiend's name was the one printed in their stat block, or if those are just pseudonyms to be referenced in things like Tasha's Demonomicon, so that they can stand out but not lose their true power?

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No

This is explained in the Monster Manual, page 53:

Though demons all have common names, every demon lord and every demon of type 1 through 6 has a true name that it keeps secret. A demon can be forced to disclose its true name if charmed, and ancient scrolls and tomes are said to exist that list the true names of the most powerful demons.

The name in the statblock, like Asmodeus or Orcus is widely known, so it cannot be a name they keep secret, and hence cannot be their true name.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good find. I looked for that and didn't find it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Jun 9, 2022 at 20:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. I also remember reading an entry that said Asmodeus is the only one to promote a pit fiend into an archdevil, giving them their name. Does this mean he gives them a common name (such as Glasya) and a secret true name? \$\endgroup\$
    – Victor B
    Jun 9, 2022 at 20:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VictorB That's a different question :) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 9, 2022 at 20:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is part of what confused me about the true names. Sorry \$\endgroup\$
    – Victor B
    Jun 9, 2022 at 20:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ No worries. I'm not an expert of the lore on this, but I think a ceatures true name is their original name (the game does not really define this AFAIK). The MM says about Asmodeus's promotions: "Asmodeus alone can promote a greater devil to archdevil status. This diabolic promotion invokes a brief, painful transformation, with the devil's memories passing intact from one form to the next.", I guess memories would include their old name. If you are really interested in this aspect, please open a new question so it can be treated better than in an ephemeral comment. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 9, 2022 at 22:16

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