Sunday, May 22, 2011

Type I, II and III Demons are TERRIBLE

So, this past week, the Heroes of Ravenport discovered that the demons they accidentally loosed in the Bandit Hideout/Temple to Jubilex had tracked them to the city.

They marked their targets with a rather large area of vile gore and ichor surrounding the local inn that the PCs use as their primary residence.

In the morning, this disgusting sight was discovered by the local constabulary and the PCs were summoned to the Lord Mayor's office.

Once there, the Lord Mayor, his advisors and the PC representatives (paladin and elf) visited the Oracle of the Well.

At any rate, the Oracle spilled the beans that the PCs had loosed the demons and the PCs needed to go clean this up or the archmage Kerr would "execute" his plan to deal with the offending citizens.

The PCs managed to finagle a little help from the Wizard's Guild in the form of some +1 magical weapons and two scrolls of Protection from Demons.

Okay. I told you all that so that I could tell you this.

The players were generally pretty nervous about facing these demons. They were worried that the demons would outclass them and that they'd be killed. That was not the case at all. I was hoping that the battle would be epic and that at least one PC or NPC would meet their end in the battle with the demons.


These are 8, 9 and 10 HD monsters and the mostly 4th and 5th level adventurers took them out without much peril to themselves. Ugh.

So, I've decided that the Type I, II, and III demons in the MM are "lesser" varieties of these demons. There are "greater" versions of these three demons (and possibly others) and I will detail them in this post and in others to follow.

Here goes nothing!


These are just some of my notes relating to some of the "overarching" powers/capabilities/restrictions placed upon demons.
  • A thaumaturgic circle will keep out demons of types I-V. Alright. I'll need to figure out who can scribe these things, how long it takes and what is required. That's probably another post... (Note to self - see "Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" and/or Dragon #56, p.18.)
  • Type I - III demons are hit by non-magical weapons. I actually think this is OK.
  • All demons have these abilities:
  • Infravision. Good.
  • Darkness (r. varies). OK. Kinda lame, but OK.
  • Teleport (without error). Well, I guess these guys don't ever need to walk. Good to know...
  • Gate (specifics vary). Also, OK. I have some ideas about how to make this better though...
In short, I think that demons should probably have MORE spell-like powers. This seems like kind of a small list. I'll probably pull some stuff out of the 1st Ed. DMG Appendix D.
  • Demons are affected by the listed attack forms as noted below:
  • acid - full damage. This is OK.
  • cold - half. Whaaa? This should be FULL
  • electricity - half. Fine.
  • fire - half. Whaaa? How about NONE?
  • gas (poisonous) - half. NONE. Seriously. How does poison affect things that probably don't even have a biology? Do they even breathe? If so, why?
  • iron weapons - full. Fine.
  • magic missile - full. Totally cool with this.
  • poison - full. This has to be NONE. See "gas" above.
  • silver weapon - none (unless affected by non-magical weapons). This is fine.

OK, here's a place where I really biffed the encounter. Half the magic shouldn't have worked at all. Maybe my take on this table is based on my own preconceived notions of what a demon is, but heck, this is my blog, right?

Type I-G Demon (Vrock) - GREATER

Lesser and greater Vrock all pretty much look the same. The greater versions might be a bit taller or their feathers might be shinier, but I don't see them as being immediately recognizable as the "greater" version.

Frequency: Common
No. Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 0
Move: 12"/18"
Hit Dice: 8 -- maximum (64 HPs)
% in Lair: 5%
Treasure Type: B
No. of Attacks: 5
D/ATT: 1-8/1-8/1-10/1-10/2-20 -- these needed to be beefed up.
Special Attacks: See below
Special Defenses: See below
Magic Resistance: 50%
Intelligence: Low
Align: CE -- duh
Size: L - 8-1/2' tall (see picture below... Whaaa?)

Vrock are vulture-like demons. They can be hit by normal weapons. Darkness caused by them is of the 10' radius sort. In addition, they can do one of the following, one at a time, at will: Detect invisible objects, telekinese (4000 gpw = 400#), gate another Type I demon (Opening A Gate below).

Greater Vrock have superior hearing and vision. They cannot be surprised and they can see their prey at great distances.

Each round, roll 1d6 and consider the following additional attack modes:
On a roll of 1, they may expectorate Venomous Spittle. This attack is against a single target within 30'. It hits automatically. The target must save vs. poison or be paralyzed for 2d6 rounds.

On a roll of 1-4, they can attack with a Wing Buffet for 2d6 damage. They make this attack against all opponents in melee combat. Roll to attack each in turn.

On a roll of 3-6, they can attack with a Death Screech for 5d6 damage. This screech affects all targets in a 60' cone in front of the Vrock. Targets who are affected by sonic attacks may save for half damage. Wearing a full helm adds +2 to the save attempt.

Vrock are fond of human flesh, shiny gems and precious metals, but they are too stupid to accept bribes.

Opening A Gate:

When a Vrock attempts to Gate in another of its kind, roll 2d6. If a "1" is rolled on either die, a single "lesser" Vrock is gated in. If "double 1's" is rolled, a single "greater" Vrock appears.

Seriously?  Unless that other guy is a leprechaun, this demon isn't 8-1/2 feet tall...  
Talk about scale creep...


Needles said...

Very Nice vibe on those lesser classic demons

Roger G-S said...

Yeah ... I still think that the special abilities should be used with infernal cunning (despite low-average intelligence) and given their teleport ability there is little chance a party will get a death blow on one of these. Also, gated demons who gate in demons have the potential to create a Malthusian demon horde real quick. For me, it's not that the powers are weak, but they're un-fun to use to their maximum extent.

Jim said...

@Needles -- Thanks. Type II and III are next...
@Roger -- Good points. I should have probably used Gate/Teleport a little more aggressively. Throw in 1pt of regen each round and now you've really got something...

Dead Greyhawk said...

If you aren't using the full array of demon abilities each round, then you are drastically underpowering them. Grapple, followed by teleport to high height, followed by dropping is a standard attack mode that is devastating to any non-magic user caster. Telekinesis is a fine power as well, especially when used to push the PC upward or to launch attacks from a distance. Last, demons should gate every round they can. The biggest peril in fighting them is that they call home for reinforcements.

If you take the demons and use them like orcs, of course they are easily defeated.

David The Archmage said...

I missed all these guys, going from Rules Cyclopedia into 2nd Edition, so I can't really offer too many suggestions, but I think your revised list of resistances makes a lot of sense.

Jim said...

@Dead G -- I admit that I should have used the teleport much, much better. Didn't see it until I started this analysis. :( Being on a critical career-changing call in the middle of the battle didn't help either... :)
@David -- thanks for the feedback.

Anonymous said...

RC has these demon types too IIRC. I'd swear Vrocks were in one of the Wrath of the Immortals adventures.

Also, I think it's okay that they don't have a ton of special abilities. They're footsoldiers right? The filth swimming around near the bottom of the demonic barrel. When you start getting into Marilith, Balor, etc. then we should pile on the magical abilities.

David The Archmage said...

@1d30 - Just checked last night, no demons, no devils, no tanar'ri or baatazu even in the Rules Cyclopedia or the Creature Catalog. I never got the Wrath of the Immortals, so I can't speak to that.