Monster Manual A-Z is a series of quick looks at each and every monster presented in the Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons 5e. New monsters go up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in alphabetical order, touching on lore, mechanics, and ways to use them in your campaign. To search for all Monster Manual A-Z articles, search MMAZ in the search bar as we’ve excluded them from our Roleplaying Games tag to keep things tidy.
Oh hell, now we have a bunch of devils to look at! We have 11 of them, which is 2 more than there are hells in the Nine Hells of Baator. Unlike the chaos of the Abyss, their is hierarchy and order within the Nine Hells, and with that, loyalty and ambitions. Whenever a soul of an evil person descends into the Nine Hells they take on the lowest form, a Lemure, and through higher ranking demons can be promoted to being a demon higher on the chain. It is by this system that loyalty works, as proving your worth to a higher ranking demon will land you more power. By enough about that, let’s take a look at the first six devils.
First up, we have the Barbed Devil. In the lesser devils category, they are not the most powerful, but can serve as a challenge to many adventurers. They are driven by greed, and this gives them a certain alertness that won’t allow them to be bored with their duties. Tough to take down, immune and resistant to most damage, and covered in spines that deter those who wish to grapple it, the Barbed Devil is not a welcome sight. Add into the mix that it can hurl flames at will, repeatedly, and you won’t want to be too far from one either.
Next is the Bearded Devil, which is a still a lesser devil but pretty great nonetheless. They make excellent troops and revel in the glory of battle, responding with violence to any slight that comes their way. They get their name from their defining trait: spiked tendrils that make up their beard. While not especially hardy (though they have the usual resistances and immunities), they can attack with both their glaive and their beard, potentially poisoning enemies with the latter.
And now we’re at the Bone Devil, who falls just short of being a greater devil. Appearing as large, bony husks, they serve as taskmasters, overseeing the lesser demons while being envious of their superiors. Despite just being bone, they are very hard to hurt and can take quite the beating while flying around with moth-like wings. Beyond that their defining trait is their poisonous tail, which can help to subdue enemies while they tear at it with their claws.
We finally move out of devils starting with ‘b’ as we take a look at Chain Devil. Covered in chains, swinging chains, attacking you with chains, animating chains- if it has to do with chains, the Chain Devil has you covered. Unsurprisingly, they make great torturers and jailers, taking joy in inflicting pain and the torment of others. As if attacking with their chains or animating them to attack on their own wasn’t enough, they can also turn into the visage of an attacker’s departed loved one, frightening them temporarily.
The only devil today that doesn’t have devil in its name, the Erinyes is the first greater devil we will take a look at. Rumored to be fallen angels, they appear as male or female humanoids with feathery wings, stylized armor, and a swift death for any who wrong their masters. Not only are they hard to take down, they can make many attacks at once, all of which are poisoned, and can parry when needed to stay safe from harm. Some even carry a rope of entanglement on them, adding to their danger.
Lastly, we have the Horned Devil (not to be confused with the hand gesture known as devil horns). Another greater devil, they are like the greater version of the Barbed Devil, hurling flame at enemies, attacking with their cliche pitchfork and take, and flying about being hard to hit and even harder to put down. They really look like your stereotypical devil, but are belligerent, lazy, and unwilling to put themselves in harm’s way, meaning they will avoid any enemies they want no part of.
That’s it for today’s devils! Since the Nine Hells are an organized place, each devil is likely to stick to its role and orders, meaning we don’t have as much creative freedom on how to use them (at least, not if we follow the lore we’re given- but it’s your game, go nuts!). Reading up on the hierarchy, and thinking about the chain effect of how orders might be passed down or how these devils might try to vie for more power and prove themselves promise to be great ways to include them in your game.
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