From where we sit, one of the best things about the Archfiends set is the variety of warbands it allows. The four minis we're previewing today illustrate Lawful Evil's range in this set, from a servitor construct to a planewalking outsider to a fearsome wizard commander to a devil who's too powerful to fit into 100-point battles.
Dungeons should always have room for another death-dealing,animated suit of armor. As a common, the Dread Guard will have no problem finding its way into treasure rooms in large groups. For this servitor's original stats and illustration, check Monster Manual II, page 87.
Remember those movies where the minions of the evil mastermind keep surging forward in sword-hacking, mindless hordes? That's the Dread Guard's niche. It can take a lot of damage for a creature at its cost and its commander never has to worry about it breaking morale and running. The only downside is that the commander needs to stay alive to keep the Dread Guard on the board. That's a fairly standard Lawful Evil shtick, and it's not like you don't know some Lawful Evil commanders who excel at staying unscratched when everyone else is stacking up the hit point counters.
We're back to the good ol' Monster Manual for this dangerous outsider. Slipping in and out of the folds of reality, the Xill can nearly always get off the first assault.
Like the Chitine from Dragoneye, the Xill's multiple arms give it multiple attacks. Unlike the Chitine, the Xill has high AC, good hit points, and a decent chance to hit. We're not going to reveal the details of the Xill's main special ability now -- we'll just state that when the Xill starts as part of your warband, it doesn't always start on the battle grid. And when it does show up, it has a knack for showing up exactly where you need it....
Players and fans know the Red Wizards of Thay as the Forgotten Realm's signature bad guys. The Red Wizard prestige class made enough of a splash in the new Forgotten Realms campaign setting that it carved a path into the core via the 3.5 Dungeon Masters Guide. The way we see it, this mini should serve well as a Red Wizard mastermind, a Red Wizard combat wizard, any bald wizard villain with a fondness for flame motifs, and as a player character. Wizards who make things go BOOM show up in most adventuring parties, and this guy looks the part.
As you might expect, the Red Wizard has a quiver of damage-dealing spells to choose from. His skills give him a good chance of punching that damage past Spell Resistance. As a passably able commander, the Red Wizard can even recruit Chaotic Evil spellcasters into his warband, a warband building ability that's likely to grow into the fullness of its power.
This miniature succeeds in capturing the energy of the terror illustrated on page 57 of the Monster Manual. I have mixed feelings about making such a wonderful Bone Devil mini. The DM who runs the long term D&D campaign I'm in loves Bone Devils. These sick invisible/teleporting creatures have killed too many people our player characters loved. At least now we'll have the satisfaction of getting some perfectly illustrated revenge.
Here's the good news for the Bone Devil's enemies: thanks to the skirmish stats' streamlining and evocation of monsters' special abilities, this guy neither teleports nor goes invisible. Here's the bad news: you'll wish he would teleport away, because when he stays on the battle grid, he'll tear you to pieces -- if his incredibly powerful poison hasn't whittled you to death first.
About the Author
Rob Heinsoo started playing D&D with the original brown box in 1975. He's now the lead designer of D&D Miniatures.