Best of the Beastiary, D&D

Demons Part 11: Nalfeshnee (Best of the Bestiary)

Last week, the Marilith set the new standard for the demons. Finally, we’ve reached the point where the demons become interesting, right? So, does that trend continue today? Or is this next demon just another mediocre beast meant to fill time in a campaign?

It’s the ladder. Although to be fair: it’s still pretty cool.

The Nalfenshee is easily the most fleshed-out demon we’ve discussed so far. It’s an incredibly grotesque monster, being a horrific blend of a boar and an ape, as well as a powerful and cunning creature. It uses telepathy to bellow orders to the lesser demons in its armies and uses its wings to fly over enemy ranks to attack the weaker foes. While fear and despair are certainly both a decent meal, it is a carnivorous beast that loves the flesh of humanoid monsters, so much so that they’ll keep them imprisoned to eat alive later. It is egotistical, thinking itself refined simply because it uses old silverware, even if it’s old and rusty.

That is an image I never want to think about ever again.

Again, this monster’s lore offers little outside of a demon-themed campaign. But in that context, it offers a lot of potential! It could serve as a powerful antagonist for a chunk of the main story or as a dangerous enemy in a side quest! Perhaps the players need to rescue someone before the Nalfenshee can make a snack out of them! It could make for an interesting change of pace, considering how most demonic antagonists boil down to ‘big bad man is killing people, go stop him’.

Then there’s his design. Which is simultaneously the most and least demonic thing I have ever seen!

Design: Chunky Hungry Demon Boy

They did describe this guy as an ape-pig monster. Well, I can’t say they were wrong! That is quite possibly the aptest description for anything that I’ve ever heard in my entire life! Have a look for yourself!

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The saggy nipples do kind of make it less intimidating, huh?

This is definitely one of the more creative designs in the demonic category! While it certainly looks like a demon, it does subvert the typical formula for a demon’s appearance. It looks more like a monster that would come out of some kind of swamp than the Abyss!

It isn’t the most effective design ever, but it does tell you a fair bit about the monster. The claws and tusked jaw immediately draw the eye, pointing out the monster’s primary method of attack. The wings, while chuckle-inducing when taken in with the rest of the design, does show off its aerial-based style of movement. Unfortunately, there is very little to show off its personality or magical abilities.

Unless you could gather the human-eating thing from the gut. But if that’s the case, then I might need to reevaluate my relationships with some of my uncles…

Stats: Dazzling

This thing has an ability that lets it blind you with multi-colored lights. Don’t ask how or why. But it sure does. It doesn’t make as much sense as the teleporting ability, but whatever.

When you look at this thing’s defenses, it really doesn’t stand out. The AC is high and the HP pool is just as high. It’s resistant to just about everything and completely immune to poison. For a mid-level party, killing this thing will be a time-consuming challenge. But if your group is in the higher-level range, specifically ten and above, it shouldn’t be much of a challenge.

Though to be fair: it can dish out a fair bit of damage.

This monster has a pretty solid strategy. Step one: use the ability of the blinding light, called Horror Nimbus. Step two: bite and claw the enemy to death. Rinse, repeat, victory. It could be a dangerous enemy, one that either forces a careful and thorough strategy on the player’s part, or a straight-forward fight with little to no strategy.

Damage wise, this thing is fairly intimidating. Each bite can deal up to 87 damage on a critical hit. The claws can be swung twice, each with a maximum damage output of 38. That’ll sure be intimidating for a party around level seven or lower. But it is pretty underwhelming to anyone higher than that. It’s all a case of who has the bigger numbers.

Because we all know that makes for an interesting game, right?

Conclusion

Up until the stats section, I was going to place this monster pretty high on the list. It has the best flavor text out of any of the demons so far and one of the most interesting designs! But the fight is straight-forward and uninteresting, relying more on having higher numbers and little on strategy.

With all that in mind, let’s put the Nalfeshnee 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. Nalfeshnee <——–
  23. Glabrezu
  24. Chasme
  25. Barlgura
  26. Balor
  27. Dretch
  28. Goristro
  29. Hezrou
  30. Manes
  31. Planetar
  32. Carrion Crawler
  33. Rug of Smothering
  34. Bugbear Chief
  35. Bugbear
  36. Vine Blight
  37. Twig Blight
  38. Needle Blight
  39. Bullywug
  40. Cockatrice
  41. Solar
  42. Deva
  43. Cyclops
  44. Centaur
  45. Flying Sword
  46. Crawling Claw

It manages to slide higher onto the list thanks to its excellent lore and design. If it made for a more interesting fight, it would likely have gotten higher. But as it stands, it falls around the middle. It isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible either.

Oh God help me, we’ve still got four of these things to go…

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