Tactics and Tips
Know Your Enemy (Part 12)
By Eric Cagle

Lore for Barbed, Bearded, and Bone Devils

Monster Manual IV introduced a sidebar that has since become the norm when new monsters are provided: the Knowledge check. This handy item takes the guesswork out of what a character (as opposed to the player) knows about a given creature and rewards those characters with ranks in the appropriate Knowledge skill. Over the course of the next few installments, we'll provide Knowledge check results for a variety of monsters, starting with some of the most iconic that lack this sidebar.

With the release of Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells, it's time to turn our attention toward its horrid inhabitants: devils. Disciplined and fearsome to the extreme, devils are mighty and formidable opponents. Adventurers that intend to travel into the very mouth of the Nine Hells should be wise to gain some ranks in Knowledge (the planes) or be in for a terrible surprise when they encounter their first of many devils.

A Peek Behind the Rules Curtain

So how do designers determine the Difficulty Class for Knowledge checks about creatures? The following is excerpted from Monster Manual IV:

The description of the Knowledge skill indicates that in general, the baseline DC of checks to identify monsters and remember one bit of useful information about their special powers or vulnerabilities is equal to 10 + the monster's HD. Every 5 points by which the check result exceeds the DC yields another useful piece of information (PH 78).

As a general rule of thumb, a DC 15 check or higher will reveal all of the base creature's type and subtype traits as defined in the glossary. This often includes information about energy resistance or various immunities. For instance, a DC 15 Knowledge (arcana) check reveals that dragons have high hit points (12-sided HD), all good saves, and have darkvision out to 60 feet and low-light vision. They eat, sleep, and breathe.

Information specific to the creature, such as its type of damage resistance, spell-like abilities, or immunities come with the high DC check results.

Barbed Devils (Hamatula)

Barbed devils serve as defense-oriented devils, guarding unholy sites and the caches of more powerful devils. On occasion, they lurk on the Material Plane, serving the bidding of their masters. Under no circumstances should you engage a barbed devil in melee!

Barbed Devil Lore

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (the planes) can learn more about barbed devils. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (The Planes)

DC Result

17 Barbed devils, also called hamatulas, serve as guardians of vaults and bodyguards to the most powerful lords of the Nine Hells. This reveals all outsider and baatezu traits.

22 Barbed devils are so named for the numerous barbs and spikes that cover their body. Barbed devils use these natural weapons to grapple and flay their opponents. They have damage reduction 10/good. A barbed devil's natural weapons as well as any weapons it wields are treated as evil-aligned and lawful-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

27 A successful strike by a barbed devil causes fear in the victim. They are also incredibly stealthy and possess excellent spell resistance. Once per day, they can attempt to summon several bearded devils or another barbed devil.

32 Barbed devils can use the following spell-like abilities: greater teleport, hold person, major image, order's wrath, scorching ray, and unholy blight.

Bearded Devils (Barbazu)

Most mortals meet bearded devils on the battlefield, when these horrid creatures come streaming out of some terrible gate of hell. Bearded devils serve as the front-line soldiers of the hellish forces, and their abilities reflect this penchant for wanton violence.

Bearded Devil Lore

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (the planes) can learn more about bearded devils. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (The Planes)

DC Result

16 Bearded devils, also known as barbazu, serve as shock troops in hell's armies. This reveals all outsider and baatezu traits.

21 Bearded devils carry fearsome glaives that cause wounds that do not heal normally. A bearded devil's natural weapons as well as any weapons it wields are treated as evil-aligned and lawful-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. They have damage reduction 5/silver or good.

26 Bearded devils can work themselves into a frenzy, similar to a barbarian's rage. Once per day, they can attempt to summon several lemures or another bearded devil.

31 Bearded devils can cast greater teleport at will. A victim struck by a bearded devil's beard may contract a horrible disease known as devil chills -- this causes Strength damage.

Bone Devils (Osyluth)

Hated by even other devils, bone devils are the enforcers and informants of those creatures. Bone devils are smart, cunning, and inherently distrustful of anyone. The fearsome visage of the bone devil is enough to drive all but the most strong-willed away from its presence.

Bone Devil Lore

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (the planes) can learn more about bone devils. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (The Planes)

DC Result

20 Bone devils, also known as osyluths, serve as the police and informers of the Nine Hells. They despise all other creatures. This reveals all outsider and baatezu traits.

25 The stinger of a bone devil contains poison, which deals Strength damage. A bone devil's natural weapons as well as any weapons it wields are treated as evil-aligned and lawful-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. They have damage reduction 10/good.

30 Bone devils can emit an aura of fear at will. Once per day, a bone devil can attempt to summon several lemures or another bone devil.

35 Bone devils can use the following spell-like abilities: dimensional anchor, fly, greater teleport, invisibility, major image, and wall of ice.

Game Resources: To use the material in this article to its fullest, check out the following resources: Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual, and Player's Handbook.

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, Monster Manual IV, and the Tome of Corruption from Green Ronin Publishing. He is also a contributor to the Game Mechanics, Dragon Magazine, and this lovely website. Eric lives in Seattle where the coffee is dark and bitter like his goddesses.


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