New Customizations of the Half-Fiend Template for Devils
If you've ever wondered what happens when devils use eroticism to corrupt mortals . . . that is not the focus of this article. The results of such activity, aside from corruption, are half-fiends. As was noted in the previous article (Half)-Fiendish Variety, Part 1, half-fiends in the Monster Manual are all the same no matter what fiend contributed half. By customizing the half-fiend template to account for the devil involved, you can add some variety and new challenges without creating new material. Note that this method also works on the half-celestial template, though there are no examples of that in this piece. It's all about devils this time.
Creating a Diabolical Half-Fiend
The approach used to customize the half-fiend template is described in detail in the web enhancement (Half)-Fiendish Variety, Part 1, so this is just a summary of the main areas you can customize. Go read the other article for a full treatment.
First, choose a devil on which to base your customized creature (referred to as "base devil") and a base monster to modify ("base creature"). Then, prepare the customized version of the template using the full guide in (Half)-Fiendish Variety, Part 1 or the shorter version here. Then apply the customized template. Easy as pie.
Size and Type: If the base devil is Huge or larger, increase the base creature's size one category so long as it is still no larger than the base devil. The relevant changes to the base creature's statistics can be found on page 291 of the Monster Manual. If the base creature increases in size, increase the CR of the final creature by 1.
Speed: If the base devil has wings, give the new creature wings and a fly speed. If the base devil swims or burrows, consider giving the new creature those modes. Always use the better speed of the base devil or base creature.
Armor Class: Divide the base devil's natural armor bonus by 4 (round down) and add that to the base creature as an improvement to its own natural armor. You should always add a minimum of a +1 natural armor improvement.
Attack and Damage: Give the new creature whatever natural attacks the base devil or the base creature has. Use the base creature's damage for the attacks, or the value in the table on page 148 of the Monster Manual, whichever is greater. For damage other than claws and a bite, such as a slam, use the damage from the table on page 296 of the Monster Manual.
Special Attacks: Switch out spell-like abilities in the list on page 148 of the Monster Manual with those the base devil has, or don't. It's your choice. You can also use the handy dandy Swappable Spell-Like Abilities table on page 108 of Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Keep the frequency the same as for the standard half-fiend template (in other words, if you replace a 3/day spell-like ability, the replacement works 3/day too).
Special Qualities: Change the new creature's damage reduction from magic to whatever the base devil has. Choose one if it has two possibilities.
Abilities: The total modifier for the template is +16 ability points. Eyeball the base devil's stats and split up this +16 total among the new creature's ability scores (except Wisdom) to match the pattern of the base devil's scores.
Skills: A half-fiend gains skill points as an outsider and has skill points equal to (8 + Int modifier) x (HD + 3). Treat skills from the base devil's skill list and the base creature's skill list as class skills. Skills in the list in which the base creature or the base devil has no actual ranks should not be treated as class skills.
Challenge Rating: If you think the new creature is more difficult to defeat than it would be with the standard half-fiend template, apply the Challenge Rating increases above and then add +1. Remember to add 1 if the creature changed size; a larger size always makes something harder to defeat.
Appearance: Use your imagination to combine the two creatures' appearance into something cool for the new creature. Coolness is more important than strict accuracy.
In the sample creatures below, and there are a plethora of them, the customization steps are listed before the stat blocks. That way you can apply the customization to any qualified base creature easily.
This small being has foul green skin, like the color of bile, pointed ears like an elf, black leathery wings, a barbed tail, horns, and webbed fingers and toes. Its silver eyes have an evil glint to them, instead of the wide innocent look of a nixie. It stands about 2 feet tall. It likes to begin a combat invisible, and then attack by surprise with sword and stinger. It also likes to find a good place to use its crossbow from where it cannot be attacked. Its crossbow can be fired underwater without penalties.
Customized Half-Fiend Template
These steps show how the half-fiend (imp) template is applied to this sample creature.
Half-Fiend (Imp)/Half-Nixie CR 2
NE Small outsider (aquatic)
Charm Person (Sp) A half-fiend/half-nixie can use charm person three times per day as the spell (caster level 4th). Those affected must succeed on a DC 17 Will save or be charmed for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Amphibious (Ex) Although half-fiend/half-nixie are aquatic, they can survive indefinitely on land.
Water Breathing (Sp) Once per day a half-fiend/half-nixie can use water breathing as the spell (caster level 12th).
Wild Empathy (Ex) This ability works like the druid's wild empathy class feature, except that a half-fiend/half-nixie has a +6 racial bonus on the check.
Skills A half-fiend/half-nixie has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. It can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.
*Half-fiend/half-nixies have a +5 racial bonus on Hide checks when in the water.
Pleasure Devil/Medusa Combination
A pleasure devil is an extremely beautiful humanlike devil, so this creature is a ravishingly beautiful humanlike creature with snakes for hair. Even the snakes are beautiful. It wears studded leather armor and carries a shortbow. It prefers to use its enthrall and charm monster spell-like abilities to fascinate foes so that they have to look at the medusa and not turn away, and thus risk turning to stone while the effect lasts. A charmed victim is told simply, "Do not attack me, and look intently at me." Eventually the victim turns to stone.
Customized Half-Fiend Template
These steps show how the half-fiend (pleasure devil) template is applied to this sample creature.
Half-Fiend (Pleasure Devil)/Half-Medusa CR 9
Petrifying Gaze (Su) Turn to stone permanently, 30 feet, Fortitude DC 18 negates. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Poison (Ex) Injury, Fortitude DC 15, 1d6 Str/2d6 Str. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Horned Devil/Advanced Tendriculos Combination
This combination produces an ogrelike mass of vegetation covered in some kind of scales. It has huge black batlike wings rising from its back. Its cavernous "mouth" glistens with pointy teeth, and it has glowing red spots in the midst of the vines and leaves about where eyes would be on a human. The creature is reddish brown and green, and it looks a little like its vegetation is on fire. In combat, it uses the same tactics as a tendriculos, since it is not a lot different from one. It can fly, and it pursues foes that a normal tendriculos would flee. It uses its fireball spell-like ability at the start of a fight, and then once it has cleared foes from right around it, it instinctively uses magic circle against good. It does not usually remember to use its other spell-like abilities because foes seem to resist them easily.
Customized Half-Fiend Template
These steps show how the half-fiend (horned devil) template is applied to this sample creature.
Half-Fiend (Horned Devil)/Half-Tendriculos CR 9
Improved Grab (Ex) To use this ability, a half-fiend/half-tendriculos must hit an opponent of up to Large size with a bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can try to swallow the opponent in the following round. A half-fiend/half-tendriculos can also use its improved grab ability on a tendril attack. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold, picks up the opponent, and transfers it to the mouth as a free action, automatically dealing bite damage.
Swallow Whole/Paralysis (Ex) A half-fiend/half-tendriculos can try to swallow a grabbed opponent by making a successful grapple check. The swallowed creature takes 1d6 points of bludgeoning damage and 2d6 points of acid damage per round from the creature. Once inside the creature, the opponent must succeed on a DC 24 Fortitude save or be paralyzed for 3d6 rounds by the creature's digestive juices. A swallowed creature can cut its way out by using a light slashing or piercing weapon to deal 25 points of damage to the creature (AC 16). Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must cut its own way out. A Huge half-fiend/half-tendriculos's interior gizzard can hold 2 Large, 8 Medium, 32 Small, 128 Tiny, or 512 Diminutive or smaller opponents.
Regeneration (Ex) Bludgeoning weapons and acid deal normal damage to a half-fiend/half-tendriculos. If a half-fiend/half-tendriculos loses a limb or body part, the lost portion regrows in 1d6 minutes. The creature can reattach the severed member instantly by holding it to itself.
Ice Devil/Annis Hag Combination
This combination produces a creature that looks like a tall female human with an insectlike head and a long tail covered with spikes. It has pale blue, almost white skin, and black hair grows atop the insect head. In combat, this creature begins with a wall of ice to divide foes, and then concentrates on one group at a time. It uses darkness to counter rogues, and it makes free use of its cone of cold before going to melee.
Customized Half-Fiend Template
These steps show how the half-fiend (ice devil) template is applied to this sample creature.
Half-Fiend (Ice Devil)/Half-Annis Hag CR 9
Improved Grab (Ex) To use this ability, a half-fiend/half-annis must hit an opponent of up to Large size with a claw attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.
Rake (Ex) Attack bonus +15 melee, damage 1d6+9. A half-fiend/half-annis can attack a grappled foe with both claws at no penalty.
Rend (Ex): A half-fiend/half-annis that hits with both claw attacks latches onto the opponent's body and tears the flesh. This attack automatically deals an extra 2d6+13 points of damage.
Paeliryon/Hydra (12 Heads) Combination
I had a few options that I had to consider when I decided to try to use the hydra as a base. Since the hydra in the Monster Manual has an Intelligence that doesn't meet the prerequisites for the half-fiend template, I could either arrange the ability scores a bit differently (working with the idea that the base Monster Manual monster developed a bit differently than other hydras) or add another template. Below are two sets of statistics for each method. The resulting creature looks like a giant reptile with twelve porcine heads. If it's tentacular, it has tentacles in place of rows of sharp teeth that the non-half-illithid version has, and the porcine eyes in both versions give it a very unnatural look. Large brown and yellow leathery wings rise from its brown torso, which gives the impression that the creature is overweight. It's about 20 feet long, which is the length of a typical hydra. In combat, it prefers to use its many bite or tentacle attacks. In the first round, it always uses smite good against a likely foe. It loves to begin the combat invisibly, getting off a spell-like ability or massive round of attacks against flat-footed foes. It uses enervation against enemy spellcasters, and, as a half-illithid, it may just use charm monster against that particularly tasty foe so that it can start extracting a brain (or two -- think of the number of heads involved here!).
Customized Half-Fiend Template
These steps show how the half-fiend (paeliryon) template is applied to this sample creature.
Half-Fiend (Paeliryon)/Half-Hydra-Illithid CR 14
Half-Fiend (Paeliryon)/Half-Hydra-Illithid CR 17
Improved Grab (Ex) To use this ability, the creature must hit an opponent of Small, Medium, or Large size with its tentacle attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and attaches the tentacle to the opponent's head. This creature can grab a Huge or larger creature, but only if it can somehow reach the foe's head. If this creature begins its turn with at least one tentacle attached, it can try to attach its remaining tentacles with a single grapple check. The opponent can escape with a single successful grapple check or an Escape Artist check, but this creature gets a +2 circumstance bonus for every tentacle that was attached at the beginning of the opponent's turn.
Mind Blast (Sp) Once per day, this creature can produce a mind blast in a cone 40 feet long. Anyone caught in this area must succeed on a DC 18 Will save or be stunned for 1d4 rounds. This ability is the equivalent of a 4th-level spell.
Extract (Ex) If this creature begins its turn with all four tentacles of a single one of its heads attached and wins a grapple check, it automatically extracts the opponent's brain, instantly killing that creature. This power is useless against constructs, elementals, oozes, plants, and undead. Extraction is not instantly fatal to foes with multiple heads, such as ettins and hydras.
Half-fiend/half-hydras can attack with all their heads without penalty, even if they have moved or charged during the round. They can make attacks of opportunity with all heads at the same time, as if each head was a separate attacker.
About the Author
Robert Wiese entered the gaming hobby through the Boy Scouts and progressed from green recruit to head of the most powerful gaming fan organization in the world. He served as head of the RPGA Network for almost seven years, overseeing the creation of the Living Greyhawk and Living Force campaigns, among other achievements. Eventually, he returned to private life in Reno, Nevada, where he spends as much time as possible with his wife, new son Owen, and many pets.
He is still involved in writing, organizing conventions, and playing, and he models proteins for the Biochemistry Department of the University of Nevada, Reno.
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