Tactics and Tips
Know Your Enemy (Part 13)
By Eric Cagle

Lore for Chain Devils, Erinyes, and Hellcats

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.

This week we celebrate the introduction of Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells to the D&D line of accessories by covering the lore of its featured creature: devils. More specifically, we'll be covering chain devils, erinyes, and hellcats.

Chain Devils (Kyton)

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.

Chains are cool. Devils that wear chains and flay you alive are even cooler. Of course, you may not be saying that when your character is reduced to a bloody smear when you face a chain devil without making your Knowledge (the planes) check first.

Chain Devil Lore

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (the planes) can learn more about chain 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

18 Chain devils are chain-shrouded beings, often mistaken for undead. This reveals all outsider and baatezu traits.

23 They have damage reduction 5/silver or good, are immune to cold, can regenerate, and lack many of the abilities normally associated with devils. A chain 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.

28 The chains that make up this devil's clothing, armor, and weapons can be animated to create a whirling sphere of death and destruction. Chain devils can climb with alarming speed.

33 A chain devil can alter its face to resemble one of an opponent's departed loved ones or enemies, instilling deep woe.

Erinyes

Both sexy and deadly, erinyes are thought to be former angels that gave into temptation and now spend eternity in the Nine Hells. Needless to say, they love nothing more than to lead mortals to join them in their never-ending torment. Erinyes are smart, savvy, and extremely enticing.

Erinyes Lore

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

Knowledge (The Planes)

DC Result

19 Erinyes are thought to be fallen angels, who now serve the lords of the Nine Hells as scouts, servants, and even concubines. Unlike most devils, erinyes are very comely. This reveals all outsider and baatezu traits.

24 They have damage reduction 5/good, excellent spell resistance, and resistance to both acid and cold. An erinyes' natural weapons as well as any weapons it wields are treated as evil-aligned and lawful-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. Erinyes can use true seeing at will.

29 Erinyes carry stout ropes that can entangle opponents as if by an animated rope. Once per day, they can attempt to summon several lemures or bearded devils.

34 Erinyes can use the following spell-like abilities: charm monster, greater teleport, minor image, and unholy blight.

Hellcat (Bezekira)

Imagine a lion that's smarter, tougher, and can read minds. Oh, and they're also invisible most of the time. That's a hellcat for you. Run.

Hellcat Lore

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (the planes) can learn more about hellcats. 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 Hellcats are stealthy, naturally invisible devils that vaguely resemble lions in shape. They delight in setting ambushes and causing evil acts. This reveals all outsider and baatezu traits.

22 They have damage reduction 5/good, good spell resistance, and fire resistance. A hellcat'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. Hellcats have the scent ability and, upon a successful grapple, can rake an opponent for additional damage.

27 Hellcats are naturally invisible in areas lit well enough for a human to see. In darkened areas, they show up as a faintly glowing outline visible up to 30 feet away (or double, with low-light vision). Magical darkness smothers this glow and conceals the outline of a hellcat. Hellcats use natural telepathy to communicate with each other and those they encounter.

32 Although hellcats seem incorporeal, they possess physical bodies and can be harmed by regular attacks.

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.


1995-2008 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.