Best of the Beastiary, D&D

Demons Part 10: Marilith (Best of the Bestiary)

The temple was strewn with body parts. We concluded that the cultists had summoned a powerful demon and not lived to regret it. Not wanting to get hacked to pieces ourselves, we cut short our expedition and returned to the village of Hommlet with our tails between our legs. Rufus and Burne had a good laugh at our expense, let me tell you.
-Nelume, a young Half-Elf wizard chronicling her one and only visit to the Temple of Elemental Evil

Well. That’s fucking ominous. Let’s hope it sets the tone right.

At last, we come to the demon lords. This is where the demons finally become cool, right? Surely the guys at Wizards of the Coast brought their A game for these monsters! They’re demon lords, for God’s sake! So, for our first lord of the Abyss, how is the Marilith?

She’s pretty cool! Not amazing, mind you. I’d still put several monsters above her. But she is pretty fucking rad!

Lore wise, she’s exceptionally simple. A Marilith is a blood-thirsty leader of demons, a six-armed warrior who loves any excuse to murder someone. They aren’t the most powerful denizens of the Abyss, but they certainly are among the most dangerous.

While limited, there is some story-telling potential with that! Perhaps a Marilith could lead a powerful demonic force in an attack on an established city the players often visit towards the end of a demonic-themed campaign? Maybe the players need to stop her before she can amass an army of lesser demons and become too powerful? It may not write itself, it certainly takes a bit of creativity on the DM’s part, but you can make a compelling quest centered around a Marilith antagonist!

So, just like that, she’s already proven to be better than any demon we’ve discussed so far. But how does her design hold up?

Design: Is it weird if I’m sort of aroused?

All joking aside, I do really like the Marilith’s design! It’s a genuinely effective and intimidating beast!

636252763036079032.jpeg You can glean a lot from this creature just by looking at it, which is an essential hallmark for any good character design. The crimson eyes, snake-like body, strange green tusks, and multiple arms give it an unmistakeable demonic appearance! The armor and multiple swords immediately tell you that this creature is a warrior, which also hints at its abilities in battle. It’s powerful and confident stance, as well as its oddly horrifying beauty, communicates, without so much as a word, just how dangerous this creature is, giving it an air of importance and power among the demonic ranks.

I love this design! It’s super cool to look at! Describing it to a group of players could turn out to be an absolute blast! It’s not a super unique monster, sure, but it does stand out in comparison to the other demons! It’s like the designers took one look at an artist’s rendition of a gorgon and thought ‘What if we gave it more arms and swords?’

In terms of looks, this creature is a solid A. But now it’s time for the most important question: how fun would this monster be to fight?

Stats: *Teleports behind you* Nothing Personal, Kid

Who decided this chick should be able to teleport?! Who?! Why?!

The Marilith is a very high-level monster. It has a high AC and an even higher HP pool, though it’s nothing monstrous. It’s resistant to basically everything and completely immune to poison, just like most of the other demons. Still, it isn’t the most durable monster creature in the demonic category.

But in terms of damage? Hoo fucking boy!

This thing can make seven attacks per turn, six with its swords and one with its tail. Each sword can deal 13(2d8+4) slashing damage. Meanwhile, its tail can deal 15(2d10+4) bludgeoning and grapple the opponent, which allows it to automatically hit with all of its attacks.

Take a moment to breathe that in. If you get hit by that tail, you will get hit by the rest. That’s 12d8+24 damage! I’d say be careful not to get hit, but… well, this bitch can teleport. So that may be more difficult than you’d think.

Oh yeah. This thing can parry, by the way. So it may be more difficult to hit than you’d expect. So… roll high. Roll very high.

This thing can go either way. Should the players be strong enough and have enough healers, they could beat it in a straightforward fight. However, it has more than enough power to encourage more creative tactics on the part of the players.

How can we best avoid the tail? How can we outmaneuver her to avoid the parry? How do we deal with the teleporting? Questions like these are what makes a fight with a Marilith so interesting! And if you have a good party, they’ll undoubtedly try to answer all of them!

Or they’ll just hit it until it dies. That’s just as likely.

Conclusion

Finally! A demon that I actually like!

The Marilith is fucking awesome! Its flavor text is simple but effective! The design is great! Its stats could make for a great fight! This monster is easily one of the best demons, as well as one of the best monsters we’ve discussed so far!

With all that in mind, let’s put the Marilith on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Couatl
  4. Behir
  5. Aboleth
  6. Chuul
  7. Chimera
  8. Death Knight
  9. Ankheg
  10. Marilith <———
  11. Aarackockra
  12. Azer
  13. Demilich
  14. Spectator
  15. Cambion
  16. Animated Armor
  17. Banshee
  18. Basilisk
  19. Bulette
  20. Cloaker
  21. Darkmantle
  22. Glabrezu
  23. Chasme
  24. Barlgura
  25. Balor
  26. Dretch
  27. Goristro
  28. Hezrou
  29. Manes
  30. Planetar
  31. Carrion Crawler
  32. Rug of Smothering
  33. Bugbear Chief
  34. Bugbear
  35. Vine Blight
  36. Twig Blight
  37. Needle Blight
  38. Bullywug
  39. Cockatrice
  40. Solar
  41. Deva
  42. Cyclops
  43. Centaur
  44. Flying Sword
  45. Crawling Claw

The Marilith easily makes its way into the top ten. However, it isn’t good enough to go any higher than that. If its design were a bit more unique than ‘snake lady with a few extra touches’, it could’ve gotten higher. But compared to the monsters like the Beholder and the Aboleth? It is noticeably lacking.

Still, this creature is fucking awesome! Top ten out of forty-five is still impressive! Hopefully, this will mark a turn for the better from here on out!

Take a shot every time I’ve said that…

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