D&D Miniatures10/12/2006

Blood War Preview 10
Devilishly Handsome

The Pit Fiend is the granddaddy of devils, sitting high atop the hierarchy and at the top of the scale at CR 20. But two steps behind are what I consider the two coolest devils from the Monster Manual. One wields ice and hails from Cania, the frozen eighth layer of the Nine Hells of Baator, while the other spins his spiked chain as one of the baddest of the bad. I give to you the Ice Devil (aka Gelugon) and Horned Devil (aka Cornugon).

Ice DevilOne of the challenges of developing these two bad boys is their eerie similarity to each other. Obviously, the monsters are distinct, unique entities in the D&D game -- they look different, have different abilities, and occupy different (though close) levels of the fiendish hierarchy. But these monsters are both well above the power level we typically associate with the D&D miniatures game. When they are stripped down to their basic stats and abilities for the purposes of creating a skirmish stat card, they end up very close to each other mechanically.

Our goal, then, was to find a way to make them both work well in the skirmish game but still feel as if they were distinct creatures, even if they end up within single-digit points of each other. I think we succeeded.

We also had another set of requirements to meet. In the Underdark expansion, the mighty Balor made its debut. The Balor, sitting at the top of the demonic food chain, was the counterpart of the Pit Fiend -- both occupied the same power level at CR 20. We felt it important to maintain that equality when a Balor and Pit Fiend fought on the same table. For that reason, the non-Epic Pit Fiend was designed to occupy close to the same 100-point cost as the Balor, and both are within 5 points of 100. Those minis also set the bar for the top level devil or demon in the non-Epic game. Similarly, on the Epic playing field, the 300+ point Pit Fiend and Balor needed to be head and shoulders above the other Epic demons and devils we might create.

Horned DevilTo maintain this sense of scale, we wanted to push the Horned Devil and Ice Devil down to the 75-80 point range. To maintain the hierarchy, the Cornugon should be a step above the Gelugon. Additionally, we wanted to separate the roles of the two devils to give each its own feel when played. What we ended up with are two devils that are mechanically close but feel unique in their own way. Both are level 10, both have ACs in the low 20’s, and both have 100+ hp. The Horned Devil is the greater melee threat, with a solid 25 damage, a potential stun with every hit, the best reach in the game with Melee Reach 4, and a use of dimension door to get him into the fight faster. The Ice Devil is craftier, with a pair of cold-based spells (one radius 4 and one cone), better speed, and an attack that deals less damage but might slow the creature for a round.

I’m looking forward to these minis, though the players in my D&D game might not be. The Pit Fiend and Solar might be the headliners in Blood War, but the Ice Devil and Horned Devil help make it the best set ever -- in my opinion, of course (though I may be biased for obvious reasons).

Darn you, Red Baron!Next week, I’ll shed some light on a certain six-armed monster -- not the Aspect of Hextor -- and give a peek at another winged outsider whose outline looks like this little critter here.

About the Author

Stephen Schubert is a Developer in RPG/Minis R&D, Lead Developer for the D&D Miniatures Game, and has worked on a variety of D&D game products, including Monster Manual IV, Tome of Battle, and Magic Item Compendium. He is the author of the upcoming Eberron super-adventure Eyes of the Lich Queen.

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