Best of the Beastiary, D&D

Devils Part 11: Pit Fiend (Best of the Bestiary)

Your war-torn kingdom is rife with corruption. It’s people dying from starvation and strife. They cry out for new leadership- someone with the charisma and the courage to put an end to the turmoil and suffering. You could be that someone!
– Merobaal the Pit Fiend

For the last two weeks, we’ve discussed the two weakest devils in the armies of the Nine Hells. Today, we review the exact fucking opposite! It’s time to look at the general of the Nine Hells: the Pit Fiend!

These monsters are the undisputed lords of all lesser devils. They attend the archdukes/archduchesses, carrying out their wishes. They are the leaders of armies, heading the charge in every battle.

Their importance gives them an inflated sense of entitlement, creating an extreme superiority complex. They domineer and manipulate everything they can while conspiring to eliminate anything that stands in their way. This desire is always there, even as they negotiate the politics of the Nine Hells.

Huh. That’s actually super interesting! It fleshes out the Nine Hells in a good way while still being good enough to stand on its own! You could craft a story with a Pit Fiend antagonist pretty easily! You could keep it simple by putting the party against a devil army led by one. Or you could be a little more complex and put the party in the middle of the complex politics the Pit Fiend is struggling to overcome! The possibilities are limited, yes, but they’re extremely interesting!

Unlike its design.

Design: A True Devil

That makes three devils that just look like generic devils. How intriguing! I’m on *yawn* the edge of my seat!

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Boring! It just looks like a big devil-man! There’s virtually no creativity here whatsoever! It isn’t even an effective design! It’s just ‘big scary monster man’!

Which, I mean, it is. But it doesn’t communicate any of the finer details!

Looking at this thing, you’d think it’s a mindless, massive killing machine. There’s nothing here to hint at its conniving nature. There’s nothing to communicate its rank as a general! It doesn’t look like a leader, nor does it look like a schemer!

The only effective features of the design are the wings and the weapon. And it doesn’t hint at anything interesting. All they say is “Oh look, it can fly.” and “Oh look, it can swing a club or a tail!” Not the most compelling design additions.

This thing is boring to look at! It practically puts me to sleep! How am I supposed to have fun describing this thing to my players?! Boring! Let’s move on!

Stats: Oh Fuck, It Flies

This thing is the size of an adult elephant, perhaps larger. And it can fucking flyThink about that for a second.

The Pit Fiend earns it’s Challenge Level 20. It has a monstrous AC and an equally terrifying 300 HP, at least. It has all the typical devil resistances, which cuts practically all damage in half, essentially doubling that HP pool. Not only that, but it’s completely immune to poison and fire. Damaging this thing is difficult, even if you hit it! Hope you’ve got some powerful spells and equipment!

It certainly doesn’t help that it has Fear Aura. If you are within twenty feet of a Pit Fiend, you must make a wisdom save with a DC of motherfucking 21! Fail that, and you’ll be frightened until the start of your next turn. Thankfully, you’ll be immune to the effects afterward.

Y’know. If you aren’t dead by then.

Oh, and did I mention it has four spells? This motherfucker can cast Detect Magic, Fireball, Hold Monster, and Wall of Fire. Not only are these very powerful spells, but they make fighting this thing incredibly tricky! How do you get past the Wall of Fire? How do you handle the Fireball, which it can throw as many times as it wants? These spells make an already extremely powerful monster even more dangerous!

And all that’s before this thing decides to hit you!

This thing can make four attacks per turn, once with each of its weapons. That means it can bite you, slash you, beat you down with a mace, and slap you with its tail. All in the same turn. Let’s break down the damage numbers, shall we?

  • Bite: 22(4d6+8) with an extra 21(6d6) poison damage if they fail a DC 21 Con save (which also keeps the victim from healing in any way); that poison damage is per turn, by the way
  • Claw: 17(2d8+8) slashing damage
  • Mace: 15(2d6+8) bludgeoning damage
  • Tail: 24(3d10+8) bludgeoning damage

Combine that all and what do you get? If all attacks hit and they fail the saving throw, the victim will suffer, in total, 99(12d6+2d8+3d10+32) damage.

tenor

Like I said earlier: this thing really earns that Challenge Level 20. Even if you’re at the level to fight this thing, you’re in for a beating! You cannot go in against this thing unprepared!

This thing can make for an incredibly intense battle! It has high maneuverability and speed, high defenses, and super high damage numbers! If you properly balance its use of spells and melee, you could have one of the most intense, memorable fights in your whole campaign!

Truly, it is a monster worthy of being a final boss. If you don’t want one that looks cooler.

Conclusion

It’s a damn shame that the Pit Fiend has such a boring design. If that were better, it would easily be near the top of the list! It has the lore and it has the stats! All it needs are the looks!

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

Only one left… I’m almost done… Then I can leave the Nine Hells forever! Hopefully, we can end it on a bang.

Take a shot every time I’ve said that…

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