Fly, my pretties, fly! Fly!
-Fierna, Archduchess of Phlegethos, commanding her Spined Devil legions
At last! I’m done! From Demons to Devils, I’m finally done! I get to talk about dinosaurs after this shit!
But first, I need to talk about the last denizen of the Nine Hells: the Spined Devil.
These devils are smaller than most. Thus, they are perfect for their role as messengers or spies. They serve as the eyes and ears of the Nine Hells. They’re so useful that even those greater than them, those that despise their weakness, treat them with respect. If they aren’t delivering messages or spying, they’re serving as the flying artillery. They make up for their lackluster strength by mobbing together. While they do lust for a promotion, as most devils do, they are craven by nature; should a fight start to go poorly, they will immediately scatter.
This is a fairly interesting bit of lore. It fleshes out the Nine Hells and makes for an interesting monster. It can’t do much to stand on its own, though. It makes for a great fodder enemy (or enemies, given their horde mentality). But you can’t tell a compelling story with just a Spined Devil.
But god damn, do they look cool!
Designed: I’m Batman… IN HELL!!
Come on. Tell me this thing doesn’t look like devil-Batman. I dare you!
This thing comes dangerously close to having the same problems as the Pit Fiend. In many ways, it does look like a generic devil monster, especially with its weapon. Thankfully, there are plenty of additions that help it stand out!
The main one is the color scheme. Most of the devils we’ve discussed so far have either been dark red or pink. This guy? Deep purple, baby! Not only is it nice visually, but it also serves as a subtle hint to it’s true nature. This is a monster that primarily works in the shadows as a spy and a messenger. Naturally, it should look dark!
It helps that it looks super menacing! The spines alone are creepy as fuck, but then you incorporate the sharp face, massive wings, and the tail! It looks like a gargoyle fucked Satan with a porcupine and I love it! It’s pretty creative, plus it serves as an effective hint at its primary ability.
Plot twist: a monster called the Spined Devil uses its spines to fight. Shocking, I know.
Also, this thing is categorized as small. That means this motherfucker is about the same size as a gnome, dwarf, or halfling. That discovery makes me uncomfortable and I can’t tell you why.
Stats: So Many Options, All of Them Weak
Yeah, this thing isn’t exactly the most imposing creature. It sits at a nice Challenge Level 2. But remember: they fight in swarms. So really, you’re facing, like, ten or twenty of these. That’s, what, Challenge Level 20? 40?
Not really. You could wave your hand haphazardly and this thing would drop dead. The AC isn’t pathetic by any means, but it’s also not impressive. The HP, on the other hand, is incredibly pathetic. It’s only saving graces are the resistances (I wonder what those are) and the immunities to poison and fire.
It also has a few abilities that make it trickier to fight. For one, with Flyby, it doesn’t provoke an opportunity attack when it leaves an enemy’s range. With Devil’s Sight, it’s immune to all magical darkness. With Magic Resistance, it has advantage on all magic-related saving throws. None of these are especially game-breaking, but they do make the fight a bit more challenging.
Attack wise, this monster isn’t especially threatening. It can attack twice, either once with a bite and a fork or twice with its tail spines. The bite and the fork aren’t all that intimidating; the bite only does 5(2d4) slashing and the fork only does 3(1d6). The tail spine isn’t much either; it deals 4(1d4+2) plus 3(1d6) fire damage. That would be frightening if it weren’t limited to twelve uses of that a day.
Meh. That’s honestly all I have to say about this thing in a fight. Meh. Honestly, it only sounds annoying. The party has to deal with a small swarm of these fuckers? It just sounds like a waste of time. It’s not especially threatening. But it does seem like a perfect test of their patience.
I know it’s testing mine!
This is a thoroughly ‘meh’ monster. It has some decent lore and a great design, but it doesn’t make for an interesting fight. It’s not the worst Devil we’ve talked about. But as a finale to this segment, it is fairly underwhelming.
With all that said, let’s put the Spined Devil on the Best of the Bestiary!
- Death Tyrant
- Death Knight
- Bone Devil
- Shadow Demon
- Animated Armor
- Pit Fiend
- Chain Devil
- Bearded Devil
- Barbed Devil
- Spined Devil <——
- Ice Devil
- Horned Devil
- Carrion Crawler
- Rug of Smothering
- Bugbear Chief
- Vine Blight
- Twig Blight
- Needle Blight
- Flying Sword
- Crawling Claw
Finally! I’m done! I can finally talk about other monsters again! I’m free, I’m free at last!