The release of the Fiendish Codex I has opened the gates to Hell, or at least the endless layers of the Abyss! Demons have always been popular foes for adventurers at all levels. This tome takes an in-depth look at the classic demons as well as new abominations from this chaotic plane.
This time out, we look at the tiny yet fearsomely annoying quasit, a demon capable of causing nothing but mayhem and distraction for your group.
Quasits find their niche on the Material Plane as advisers for powerful individuals and familiars for sufficiently potent spellcasters. Quasits crave power in all its forms and always strive for more. In the Abyss, they are treated as petulant children. On the Material Plane, quasits allow their egos to precede them, believing they are far more powerful and influential than they really are. Quasits are not much of a match physically for any adult human, but they make up for it with a deep cunning and healthy sense of self-preservation.
Quasits are just as intelligent as the average human, so do not equate their small size for an equally small intellect.
Quasits as Assassins
Fiendish Codex I describes quasits as an "interesting possibility in the role of assassin." In reality, because of their tiny size, poison, and special abilities, quasits can and do make effective assassins (as an occupation, not the prestige class, although that is a possibility). The most effective tactic for quasits is to use their alternate form ability to assume the guise of some innocuous animal, in order to get close to their target.
Although relatively fragile, fighting quasits can still be a maddening affair. Their great AC for such a low-CR creature means that landing a blow can take a while. Quasits are excellent fliers -- see Winning Tactics Against Flying Creatures for some advice on fighting them from that angle.
Most quasits are cowardly by nature. They depend on their ability to turn invisible at will to escape harm. Most do so and flee the scene of conflict rather than duke it out with a foe unless they feel that they have the advantage. Quasits typically strike from ambush, flying in to deliver a poison attack before fleeing for height and cover. Because their poison delivers Dexterity damage, quasits often target obvious spellcasters first, followed by anyone with a ranged weapon, followed by rogues and fighters in general. They try to sting the same target as many times as possible to render them utterly helpless before attacking or fleeing. Make sure you have delay poison, neutralize poison, or quaff a vial of antitoxin before getting tangled up with a quasit.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (the planes) can learn more about quasits. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the lore from the lower DCs.
13: Quasits are weak but insidious demons who often act as advisors and familiars for powerful mortals.
18: The tail of a quasit possesses a sharp, poisonous stinger.
23: Quasits are armed with weak but useful abilities, including the ability to change shape.
28: Quasits are capable of casting commune to answer questions on behalf of their masters or mortals that summon them for such tasks.
Quasits can cast detect good and detect magic at will, so it's unlikely that you'll sneak up on one (unless, of course, you're neither good nor carrying magic items). If you plan on catching one by surprise, consider casting Nystyl's magic aura to hide magic weapons and items you carry at the time.
Quasits reserve their cause fear ability for when things go horribly wrong, to aid them in fleeing from the scene. If you expect to tangle with a quasit, make sure that you have spells, scrolls, and other methods to boost the Will saves of everyone in the party. Even simple spells such as bless can grant a sufficient bonus to prevent everyone in your group from fleeing.
Because quasits are consummate cowards, sometimes your best defense is simply cornering one and convincing it that there's little hope of escape. Nets, tanglefoot bags, and web spells can keep one from flying off. If you have a quasit trapped, it will do almost anything to stay alive -- meaning that it should be more than willing to offer information in exchange for its life. Be wary, however, as quasits are excellent liars (with Bluff +6), so what they say and what they mean are unlikely to be the same thing. A quasit with nothing to lose may even offer up its commune ability as payment, in which case, it is incapable of lying.
One should remember that quasits found on the Material Plane are often serving as advisers or familiars for considerably more powerful mortals, typically spellcasters. In this case, the biggest threat is not the quasit but its master, with the quasit serving as a distraction, ambusher, and sneak.
A quasit is capable of transforming itself into up to two forms, neither greater than Medium-size. Within this restriction, however, they can turn into various types of creature, such as a monstrous centipede, toad, or wolf. This ability is weaker than a polymorph spell in that quasits do not regain hit points upon changing form. They are unlikely to do so unless the new form grants them some sort of escape. True seeing is one way of discerning a quasit in disguise for what it really is.
To use the material in this article to its fullest, check out the following resources: Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual, Player's Handbook, Fiendish Codex 1.
About the Author
Eric Cagle cut his teeth at Wizards of the Coast, but now lives the extravagant freelancer lifestyle. Look for his name on D&D, d20 Modern, and Star Wars books. Recent credits include d20 Apocalypse, Races of Destiny, and Monster Manual III. He is also a contributor to the Game Mechanics, Green Ronin Publishing, Dragon Magazine, and this lovely website. Eric lives in Seattle where the coffee is dark and bitter like his goddesses.