Best of the Beastiary, D&D

Devils Part 2: Hamatula, the Barbed Devil (Best of the Bestiary)

At last! It’s time to talk about the first of our devils! And, unlike their Demonic counterparts, we’re starting out with the weak boys! Although they’re still quite dangerous.

Barbed Devils, also known as Hamatula, are monsters of incredible greed and desire. They serve as guards for the more powerful devils, often protecting their vaults and treasures. These fiends are warriors, welcoming any opportunity for battle, so long as a reward is promised. Don’t think of them as mere brutes; they are difficult to surprise thanks to their keen alertness and they take their job incredibly seriously.

You can’t do much with these guys. They are meant to be goons, lesser monsters used for Devil-themed campaigns. Still, the flavor text is surprisingly interesting! It makes the hierarchy of the Nine Hells feel a little more fleshed out. It’s a cool little monster that you can’t do much with.

But hey. At least he looks rad!

Design: The Worst Hugger

I love this thing’s design! It’s simple, effective (mostly), and intimidating! It’s not especially creative, but it certainly stands out more than a good number of monsters. Have a look!

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There’s a fair amount that you can glean just by looking at this guy. The spikes are impossible to miss, making one of its most prescient abilities impossible to miss. It’s clearly not very large, so it isn’t a leap in logic to assume that it’s a magic-user. It may not be huge and masculine, but it certainly looks plenty dangerous!

Unfortunately, you can’t find much about its lore or personality through the design. It looks more like a creature that would scurry around a cave than a guard. Maybe it’d look like a greedy bastard if you really stretch your imagination, but it looks more like a mindless carnivore.

This design gets a passing grade. It doesn’t necessarily excel, but it is far from bad. It’s not my favorite design, but I can’t deny that I really like it!

Mostly because it reminds me of the Green Goblin.

Stats: No seriously, don’t hug this thing

I know that it’s tempting, given a D&D player’s affinity to try and get into everything’s pants. But you should probably take my advice on this one.

The Barbed Devil is a low-mid-level monster. It has a decent AC, but it should still be easy to hit for a party at the appropriate level. The HP is in the low triple-digit zone, making it fairly bulky for such a scrawny monster. This is helped immensely its resistances and immunities; fire and poison damage are both completely off the table, and cold is so weak against it that you may as well not use it. More annoying yet, it cuts all damage from non-magic or non-silvered weapons in half. If you aren’t properly prepared, killing this guy could be really annoying.

Oh, and don’t bother trying to blind it. With Devil’s Sight, it is completely immune to magical darkness. You’ll probably be hurting yourself and your party more than you’d be hurting it.

And then there’s the Barbed Hide ability, the reason why you shouldn’t hug this guy. Are you a grapple-based character? Maybe you’re role-playing a pro wrestler (cough cough CoolGuyNickTV) and you want to put the monster in a full suplex! Well, maybe you shouldn’t do that! If you’re grappling this guy, you’ll take 5(1d10) damage every turn!

Offensively, this guy is no slouch. It can make three melee attacks per turn, once with its tail and twice with its claws. With the claws, it can deal 6(1d6+3) piercing damage. With the tail, it can dish out 10(2d6+3) piercing. Put them all together, you can get 3d6+9 damage. Not especially scary for a high-level party. But if you’re on the level to fight one of these guys, that level being 3-5? You might be in for a spot of trouble!

Then there’s its sole spell: Hurl Flame. This ranged attack, should it hit, can deal 10(3d6) fire damage. It can’t throw more than once per turn, thank God. But with that, it’s just as dangerous at long range as it is up close.

This monster could make for a pretty exciting fight! First, you need to close in on it as it throws fire at you! Then, once you get close, you get into a fierce exchange of blows! Like a fight from Dragon Ball or Naruto! It’s simple!

Too simple, in fact. There’s nothing here to encourage the players to try new tactics in order to gain the upper hand in the fight. It’s just ‘hit it until it dies’. Fun? Depends on the party. Memorable? Probably not.

Conclusion

The Devils are off to a decent start. Not an incredible one, but it’s better to start with a light jog than it is to trip on your face. I’d say that this guy was just better than most of the worst demons.

Though that’s not saying much. The Barbed Devil, while certainly creative and interesting, lacks the necessary stats and abilities to make for a memorable battle. The design is good, not great. It is a good monster. No more. No less.

With all that in mind, let’s put the Barbed Devil 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. Shadow Demon
  11. Marilith
  12. Aarackockra
  13. Azer
  14. Demilich
  15. Spectator
  16. Cambion
  17. Animated Armor
  18. Banshee
  19. Basilisk
  20. Yochlol
  21. Bulette
  22. Cloaker
  23. Darkmantle
  24. Barbed Devil <———–
  25. Nalfeshnee
  26. Glabrezu
  27. Chasme
  28. Barlgura
  29. Balor
  30. Vrock
  31. Dretch
  32. Goristro
  33. Hezrou
  34. Manes
  35. Quasit
  36. Planetar
  37. Carrion Crawler
  38. Rug of Smothering
  39. Bugbear Chief
  40. Bugbear
  41. Vine Blight
  42. Twig Blight
  43. Needle Blight
  44. Bullywug
  45. Cockatrice
  46. Solar
  47. Deva
  48. Cyclops
  49. Centaur
  50. Flying Sword
  51. Crawling Claw

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