Tactics and Tips
Devilishly Difficult Opponents (Part 4)
By Eric Cagle
Winning Tactics Against Erinyes
Fiendish Codex I discussed the horrid inhabitants of the Abyss, the demons. With the release of Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells, we look at the other side of pure evil: devils. Like demons, devils are insidious and vicious opponents, although their methods for bringing misery to the world are on polar extremes. For devils, tyranny and oppression are the tools for utter control. It's up to adventurers to stop this from happening!
Over the course of the next few installments, we'll examine some of the old favorites that can be found in the Monster Manual, including ways they fight, tactics that can be used against them, and new lore that applies to finding out more information on these terrible beings.
As beautiful as they are cruel, erinyes can adeptly woo opponents even as they rend them from limb to limb.
The Erinyes' Role
Erinyes serve the Nine Hells in many different capacities. They excel as scouts, servants, and even concubines for more powerful devils. However, their impressive Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores mean that they are just as capable at being in charge of several minions or serve as a trusted lieutenant to a superior. When working alone on the Material Plane, erinyes typically seduce and entice mortals into unspeakable (and unbreakable) contracts in order to fill their quota of damned souls.
Devils, Status, and Hierarchy
Regardless of which devil you're dealing with, you must always remember that they are the absolute epitome of both evil and law. For a devil, order and proper place of things aren't just abstract concepts -- they are built into the very fabric of their beings. Each devil knows exactly its place in the hellish pecking order and every one of them strives to improve their lot.
Adventurers should remember the rigid caste systems in which devils operate -- it may very well save their lives. Everything a devil does occurs because of specific orders given by a higher authority. Finding and eliminating a devil's superior (if possible) is one way of disrupting a devil's plan. Also, taking out a devil's inferiors that are out doing its bidding can muck up its plan, since devils are loathe to "request" reinforcements, which can be considered a sign of weakness.
As Fiendish Codex II points out, devils are particular about keeping records, which, if they fall into the hands of adventurers, can prove the weak link in disrupting a devil's insidious plans. Should PCs locate a devil's "base of operations," they may find notes, plans, and letters of intent (complete with fawning obsequiousness towards its superiors) that give insight into a devil's goals.
In short, injecting any sort of chaos into a devil's existence is a sure way to keep it on its toes (or hooves, tentacles, and so on) and lead to victory.
Erinyes are capable fighters who prefer fighting from a distance. They are highly intelligent creatures that are masters at dividing and conquering. Adventurers should keep several key points in mind when fighting erinyes:
- Special Abilities. Like most devils, erinyes are immune to fire and poison, have resistance to acid and cold 10, can see in darkness, have telepathy, and can summon other devils (in this case, either 1d10 lemures or 1d4 bearded devils). Other than a good spell resistance, erinyes have no particular defense against electricity, so stocking up on wands of lightning bolt and scrolls of chain lightning is advised. Taking this one step further, while you should always have at least one good-aligned weapon with you when face an erinyes, combining this with a shocking or shockingburst weapon gives you double duty in your devil slaying.
- Get in close and personal. Erinyes prefer to attack from a distance and typically take to the air in order to pepper an opponent with attacks from their flaming composite longbows. In addition to their ability to fly, erinyes can also use greater teleport at will, meaning they can move about the battlefield with impunity. Make sure at least one (and preferably all) member in your group can fly. Combine this with dimensional anchor to keep it from fighting on its own terms. Use nets, web, and other entangling magic or methods to keep the erinyes on the ground.
- Watch out for the rope. Each erinyes carries a stout rope that can be used as animate rope, up to 30 feet with no range penalty. It typically targets the strongest member of a group that seems incapable of flying; it lifts the opponent high into the air and then lets gravity do the rest. Freedom of movement seriously negates the rope's ability to tie up opponents.
- Spell-like abilities. An erinyes uses charm monster often, distracting the most obvious threats by sending them away or otherwise nullifying their effectiveness in combat. If possible, it tries to lure such a victim close by so it can use its rope for the tactic described above. Minor image works in much the same way, although remember that erinyes work alone, so if you see two or more, it's trying to fool you -- the one that comes the closest to you is probably the fake. An erinyes that does engage in melee augments its damage with judicious uses of unholy blight. Have remove curse atthe ready to negate the sickened side effect of this ability. Remember, too, that this ability has the biggest impact on good creatures; if you have a neutral member in your group, he'll suffer far less damage than the rest . . . if he's willing to be the sacrifice!
- Seeing is believing. Erinyes continually use true seeing, so don't even bother trying to use illusions or other deceptive magic to fool them. If you are trying to lure an erinyes into a trap, do it the old-fashioned way: through regular lies and deception, although its impressive Sense Motive score means that it stands a good chance of seeing past such ruses.
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.