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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pathfinder Bestiary 6 - Pathfinder's Archdevils

OK! Emirikol's Guide to Devils is done! It's out! I can relax. It's doing great and so far, people seem to like it. The whole thing has been really fun and since I put it up for sale, I have felt fantastic.

So I'm done with devils, right? Nope! There's some stuff I haven't been able to get to and I still want to check out. I want to read the rest of the Brimstone Angels series. Apparently there is a lot material in there, especially about Asmodeus, that I really need to know.

I want to read Elminster in Hell. Ed Greenwood is the guy who basically invented D&D Hell, and I am sure there's plenty of stuff to mine from it.

My thinking is that way down the road, I'll do Emirikol's Guide to Demons and Emirikol's Guide to the Blood War. I figure I can put the new stuff I learn about devils in the Blood War book, or I'll just update the devil book.


I've also wanted to look at the Pathfinder version of Hell. They just came out with this monster book, Pathfinder Bestiary 6. In it are their archdevils. I decided I should buy it and check it out.

First off: Paizo doesn't take paypal. That boggles my mind!

Second: The hardcover book is $45.00. How much is the pdf? $10! How crazy is that? That's a great deal. This is a gigantic book!

We'll go over the archdevils, and then I'll talk about some of the other cool stuff in there.

The first observation I have is that Pathfinder art is so great. It has a "badass" quality that D&D art lacks. That might be something that appeals to guys more than anyone else. I'm not saying all D&D art needs to be badass, but throw me a bone once in a while. The art in this book kicks the crap out of D&D, in my opinion.

The biggest problem I see with this book is that there's just too many monsters that are similar to each other. There's a pile of monsters that are half-snake and there's a million bug-monsters, which I've never really been a fan of. And there’s fish. Lots and lots of fish.

They do a cool job of coming with creative monsters, but it feels like they’ve really explored everything. I mean.. starfish monsters, blobs and tumors, all the bases have been covered.

Pathfinder's Hell: The Pathfinder Hell has 8 layers. They are "vast planes of torment." Each archdevil fits in the cosmic chain of corruption and oppression. Each layer of Hell has thousands of smaller subdomains, each being as big as a city or continent (!).

Asmodeus claimed Hell as his realm, and guided the other archdevils to power. He actually created Belial and Mephistopheles. Others pledged their allegiance to Asmodeus during heavenly rebellions.
He has also granted archdevildom to creatures of other races (that’s Barbatos and Geryon).

Baalzebul, Hell's Angel
He was an angel sidekick of Asmodeus who got too big for his britches. Asmodeus transformed him into a living swarm of insects. He craves vengeance and has a big ego.
  • When flying creatures attack him, they need to make a saving throw or the attack fails and the attacker is so awed by Baalzebul's majesty that they cannot look at him directly for d4 rounds. 
  • He can send some of his swarm of flies into your mouth.. yeargh... to suffocate you.
Barbatos

This is interesting! In D&D, the first layer of Hell is ruled by Zariel. In Pathfinder, it is ruled by a creature called Barbatos.
  • Barbatos is not a devil. Nobody knows what he is! He is the "doorwarden of Hell", guarding it from angelic invasions. Barbatos wears a cloak and has a weird, filthy beard.
  • Eyjatas: His magic quarterstaff is embedded with many eyeballs. Barbatos can use this staff to rip out people's eyeballs!
  • Once per day he can project his consciousness into a statue and talk to people or spy on them.
Belial, The Pale Kiss

D&D Belial is pretty boring. There's not much going on with him. Pathfinder Belial constantly changes shape, making him immune to polymorph, blindness, and critical hits.
  • He can make himself incredibly beautiful, causing creatures within 30 feet to run up and try to kiss him. His kiss does damage.
  • Only Asmodeus knows what Belial looks like in his true form.
  • His default form is one half shining angel, and the other half scarred devil.
  • The artistic depiction of him is extremely cool. I like this Belial better than the D&D version. 
Thinking about it... I think D&D Belial should die. Fierna rules his realm and he's not really doing much. The whole incest angle feels like it probably shouldn’t part of 5e.

Dispater

He is a calm ruler who is big on etiquette and decorum.
  • The Eclipsing Eye: A magic mace that blinds those that it hits. It is an item given to whomever rules the greatest city of Hell.
  • Caustic Wit: He is a master of insults and "flippant dismissals." His insults actually put status effects on people.
Geryon, The Source of Blasphemies

Geryon was an "asura rana" who betrayed his kind to team up with Asmodeus.
  • Geryon is a "knot of three 20-foot-long, scaled worms."
  • Geryon can speak with the voices of anyone it has devoured.
  • Horn of Lies: It's a horn of blasting that messes with your head.
I don’t like the "3 creatures" aspect of Geryon. It doesn’t seem to add much of anything. It just feels weird and pointless. I think they could do cool stuff with it, but they haven’t.

Mammon, Vault Keeper of Hell

Mammon was an angel who died, but refused to move on. His spirit fused with his obscene wealth, and now he is a being made of treasure. His true form is a spirit that can possess objects. His main metallic body reflects light and magic.

A bad guy who inhabits magic items, you could do a lot of cool things with that. Imagine if he merged with a sphere of annihilation!

Mephistopheles 
Asmodeus created Mephistopheles from the ashes and hellfire of Hell itself.
  • He is a master of infernal contracts and is the warden of the prison plane of "Caina" (the D&D version is called "Cania," currently).
  • Visinier: He has an adamantine quill pen named Visinier that can create magical marks, magic circles and it can pen infernal contracts. Visinier can store blood from any creature it strikes, which Mephistopheles can use to summon that creature (!). What a great item.
  • He can detect lies. Anyone who tries to lie to him must make a saving throw. Fail means you can't speak for 24 hours!
I like this Mephistopheles better. There is shockingly little info on the D&D Mephistopheles and his realm. I think there's more details here on this one page.

Moloch, General of Hell

This guy is nothing like the D&D version.
  • He is 24 feet tall and is made of flames and metal. He is a great leader and tactician. He wields two artifacts.
  • Goreletch: His vorpal battle axe.
  • Ramithaine: His longsword of wounding.
  • When Moloch kills a foe with hellfire, they are reduced to ash and they can only be brought back to life via a wish or divine intervention.
  • Here's the greatest power of all time: Once per day, Moloch can cause a towering fortress to erupt from the ground at a point within 30 feet. It is up to 90 feet tall and sized for a huge inhabitant. Once created, it is permanent until Moloch uses this ability again. That is so awesome.
  • Moloch can swallow people! They fall into his body and burn. The victim must make a save or they can do nothing but shriek in pain and be on fire.
So much good stuff! I am going to rip this off for my campaign, big time.

No Asmodeus in this book! Not sure why.

Here’s some other monsters that I think are cool. Or useful for my campaign, at least.

Charnel God



When a god/demon lord/whatever dies, sometimes fragments of their power scatter into the planes. These fragments are sometimes drawn to places where the creature was worshiped. Sometimes the fragments inhabit a statue of the god and becomes a living thing - a charnel god!
  • They don't remember much of their existence and remembering their former lives causes them pain.
  • They detest anyone who worshiped them. The charnel god blames the followers for letting it die.
  • The charnel gods still long to be worshiped.
  • It gains two spells that it used to grant.
  • It has the power to cut off the connection that clerics and paladins have to their deities! Meaning.. no spells.
I can use this, too! Orcus is dead in my game and an Orcus charnel god sounds really cool.

Lilitu

The D&D lilitu is kind of lame. The 3e version is pretty goofy-looking and the 4e version is downright weird. Owl heads?! Snake parts?!

When I made the 5e lilitu, I tried to just take the basics and create a calm, elite succubus with four tails and a burning hatred for good religions. That's pretty much the basic idea of a lilitu.
  • The Pathfinder version.. first of all, they look cool. They are demons that convince mortals to sin of their own free will.
  • Her true form is that of a beautiful human woman with no eyes, horn, and a snake tail.
  • They serve specific demon lords and tend to take on traits of that demon lord.
  • Lilitus can turn those they slay into a husk - a corpse.
  • She can create a bond with these husks and magically transform herself to look like how the husk looked in life. When she takes damage that would kill her, she doesn't die. The husk is destroyed instead.
  • She can grant wishes! But the person who makes the wish must make a saving throw or they become chaotic evil.
OK.. those are awesome. Great ideas!

Yaenit

These guys are important to me and my campaign, because they serve Lamashtu, the main villain of my game.
  • They are CR 6 demons. They look like gnolls with sickly flesh. Their duty is to protect Lamashtu's priestesses and their unholy spawn.
  • In life they were evil mortals, bullies who were exceptionally cruel.
  • When they get a critical hit with their bite attack, you must make a save or have your speed reduced by 10 feet until you are magically healed.
  • Hallucinatory Aura: When you get within 20 feet of a yaenit, you must make a saving throw or take penalties to all sorts of things. It doesn't say what the hallucinations are of.
  • They can see invisible creatures. They can cast darkness and teleport at will.
  • 3 times per day they can cast hold person and vampiric touch.
Pretty cool! I'll have to come up with some hallucinations. Lamashtu is the demon lord who gives birth to monsters, so you could do all sort of weird hallucinations based on that.

Infernal Dragon
These dragons like to have entourages of mortals who debase themselves in exchange for influence. Not a lot of details on them at all.
  • Damnation Flames: Those slain by its breath weapon are condemned to Hell!
  • Once per day, it can summon a contract devil.
  • It can cast fire storm and meteor swarm once per day.
I like what's there and I love the art. I wish there was more detail on its role and stuff like that.

Szuriel, Horseman of War

In D&D, there's devils (lawful evil), demons (chaotic evil), and yugoloths (neutral evil). In earlier editions, yugoloths were known as "daemons." That daemon name was confusing, so they changed it.

In pathfinder, they're still called daemons. They are ruled over by... the four horseman of the apocalypse. Weird, right?

One of these four horseman is a woman who very much resembles what little we know of D&D’s Zariel. I think we are getting a nice optional version of Zariel here that we can plop into our campaigns if we want to.
  • She has blond hair and black eyes that weep blood.
  • Lamentation of the Faithless: This is her greatsword, a corrupted blade of "an ancient and forgotten empyreal lord." It has a black blade, and each time it hits an enemy, it heals the wielder a bit. Szuriel can hold up the sword to blind all within 60 feet and instill in them crushing despair.
  • She was once a paladin who sinned and left her faith. She became an empress who slaughtered members of her former religion.
  • Now as a ruler of the daemons, she mocks angels.
  • Her armies are strictly organized, often hired on as mercenaries.
  • Her touch contains the essence of fire.
  • When she teleports somewhere, it creates a "pyroclastic detonation,” a wave of flame in a 30 foot radius that does 20d6 damage!
There you go. Awesome book, totally worth $10! There’s so many monsters in here that you can use however you like.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read "Elminster in Hell" when I was in high school. I was a 15-year-old boy and the book still felt juvenile.

Mostly Elminster would get whipped by sex demons and then his Mary Sue girlfriend would show up with like 7 magic wands in her hair and kill a bunch of Balors.

So, you know, exactly your kind of book.

Devcon said...

Very interesting read!

Nice to see you finished the devil book. I have yet to purchase it, but from the preview, it looks simply grand! I eagerly await any future fiendish guidebooks you make. I myself am formulating a lesser fiends handbook, for those who wish to have more lower level fiends to use in their adventures, so it seems I'll have some competition.

I must say the Pathfinder archdevils are quite interesting! I like the alternate design of Belial, and their version of Moloch looks cool! I enjoy their concept for Mammon too. Barbatos seems rather intriguing, and I like his design. I admit, however, I like D&D's design for Baalzebul better. The slug demon, to me, is a better design than a suit of armor with wings made of flies. I could see it as some sort of powerful duke of hell serving under Baalzebul, however.

The Charnel God seems interesting. I wonder if, with enough power, it could ascend to divinity and, in effect, potentially "reincarnate" that god (and, if so, perhaps its happened before).

Szuriel seems like an interesting alternative to Zariel. I pity those who would face her on the battlefield.

The book does seem intriguing. I may just have to give it a look.

dickjitters said...

Moloch is the shiz! Thanks for sharing