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    Default Daemonology and You: jiriku's guide to binding demons, devils, and other fiends

    Daemonology and You: jiriku's guide to binding demons, devils, and other fiends

    The summoning and commanding of fiends is a classic trope of myth and fantasy fiction, and a regular ingredient in D&D spellcasting going all the way back to 1st edition. With Xanathar's Guide and Mordenkainen's Tome we now have enough fiends and fiend-binding spells to play this trope in 5th edition D&D.

    In this guide we'll discuss how to make your fiendbinder, what spells to choose, and which fiends to summon and bind.
    1. Course 101 cover the best class, race, background, feat, and item choices for would-be daemonologists.
    2. Course 202 describes the spells you should seek for your grimoire.
    3. Course 303 is a bestiary providing a brief overview of every published fiend.


    Spoiler: Of color ratings, acronyms, assumptions, and what you don't see.
    Show
    What you don't see. In some guides there's an attempt to give an opinion on every option that's available, both good and bad. But most character options aren't useful for binding fiends, so this guide will discuss only the good stuff -- options that are at least halfway decent. The only exception to this is that there are a few traps -- choices that look good but actually suck -- that I will mention simply to warn you away from them.

    Gold choices are extremely strong choices or critical features. These are your best options in most situations.
    Blue choices are really good when useful and they are useful most of the time.
    Black choices aren't bad. No one would call you stupid for choosing these options.
    Red choices are traps. These may look like good options on paper, but they're really not. Avoid them.

    Purple choices are more complicated. In the right campaign or with the right DM, these options are blue or even gold. They can really allow your character to shine. But in a railroady campaign module or with an unsupportive DM, these options might never have the opportunity to use them, making them red.

    Acronyms
    DMG -- Dungeon Master's Guide
    MM -- Monster Manual
    MToF -- Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
    PH -- Player's Handbook
    SCAG -- Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide
    ToA -- Tomb of Annihilation
    UA -- Unearthed Arcana
    VGtM -- Volo's Guide to Monsters
    WGtE -- Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron
    XGtE -- Xanathar's Guide to Everything

    Regarding assumptions. To avoid spraying purple all over your screen, this guide assumes that you have a reasonably competent DM who is going to read your backstory and attempt to include your character's interests and history in the campaign. It assumes that your DM includes all three pillars of a 5e game -- discovery, interaction, and combat -- in the game and that you are not simply doing plotless dungeon crawls. If your game is very one-dimensional or your DM is a novice, YMMV.


    Quick Overview: Fiend-binding from 1 through 20.

    The loyal (ish) imp familiar. The ravening, uncontrollable pack of demons running amok. The reliable daemonic assassin. The potent fiendish servant. The mighty lords of the pit brought to heel. Here's what your gameplay looks like depending on the level of the campaign you're playing.

    Gritty: Level 3-4: Commanding fiends at low levels is exclusively the domain of Pact of the Chain warlocks, who can use find familiar to obtain an imp or quasit. Other would-be fiendbinders are reduced to merely standing in front of a mirror stroking their mustaches and practicing their maniacal laugh. At this level, the pact familiar is the only way to call or command a fiend.

    Heroic: Levels 5-10: Your tools in this bracket are summon lesser/greater demon and infernal calling, and you can summon groups of fiends of CR 1 or lower, demons of up to CR 6, and devils of up to CR 7. At this level, summoning fiends is basically like setting off a bomb and hoping it doesn't burn you too badly. Your summoned demons are uncontrolled or barely controlled and typically don't last for long. Most often you'll use them tactically to create a distraction, kill something for you, or cast a specific spell on your behalf and then go away. Careful summoners will have stopgap measures available to deal with a fiend that has come off its leash, such as charm monster, banishment, or a big, stupid fighter. Planar binding becomes available late in this bracket but is really too expensive to be a practical value. Wizards, warlocks, and College of Lore bards are the big players at these levels.

    Paragon: Levels 11-16: Your tools in this bracket are summon greater demon, infernal calling, and planar binding, all upcast from higher level slots. You are now binding up to CR 9 demons and CR 10 devils to serve for 10, 30, or 180 days at a time. That is, you can do this if you're a bard or wizard. Without higher-level spell slots or planar binding, warlocks don't get any new tricks in this bracket (or the next one).

    Epic: Levels 17-20: At this level, bards and wizards can call fiends of any sort via gate (if you dare), or use true polymorph to create the creatures you desire, up to CR 9. Planar binding can grant you a servant for a year and a day, allowing you to collect a growing menagerie of daemonic servants (foolhardy though that may be). This is also the only bracket at which you can call/create fiends that are not demons or devils, so now you can get your very own nightmare mount or succubus consort (incredibly foolhardy though that may be).
    Last edited by jiriku; 2019-02-26 at 12:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Daemonology and You: jiriku's guide to fiend-binding

    Fiendbinding 101: Building your character.

    Spoiler: The eight most useful skills
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    The fiendbinder's skill set can be broken into two kinds of skills: skills that help you learn about fiends and skills that help you interact with fiends. You do not need to know all of these skills to be effective, but a fiendbinder without at least the Arcana skill is… crunchy and good with ketchup. The best way to learn skills is through your class and background choices, but there are some solid feat choices as well if feats are available in your campaign.

    Learning about fiends
    • The Arcana skill measures your ability to recall lore about spells, magic items, eldritch symbols, magical traditions, the planes of existence, and the inhabitants of those planes. This is your most important skill, because you can't summon what you've never heard of and what you don't know about fiends can easily kill you (or worse).
    • History measures your ability to recall lore about historical events, legendary people, ancient kingdoms, past disputes, recent wars, and lost civilizations. In some campaigns, fiends may have played a role in major events and past civilizations. You may even be able to research famous fiendbinders of the past to find the locations of their spellbooks, talismans, and libraries.
    • Poring through ancient scrolls in search of a hidden fragment of knowledge might call for an Investigation check. This is your skill for deciphering cryptic grimoires written by mad daemonologists, searching for loopholes in lengthy infernal contracts, finding the references to the locations of devil talismans, and researching the true names of ancient fiends in vast libraries of cryptic lore.
    • Religion measures your ability to recall lore about deities, rites and prayers, religious hierarchies, holy symbols, and the practices of secret cults. This is your skill for recognizing adherents of fiendish cults and arming your party with knowledge about them. Only useful if such cults exist in your game world and their actions are relevant to the campaign -- although in a good sandbox campaign you could probably convince the party to hunt them down so you could loot their sweet, sweet tomes, scrolls, and spellbooks for your own use safekeeping or disposal.

    Interacting with fiends
    • Deception determines whether you can convincingly hide the truth. Useful for slipping a favorable loophole into an infernal contract or concealing your activities from overly nosy groups such as paladin orders, the town guard, and the local village gossip. A good character might use deception to trick fiends into doing her bidding (like the malconvoker in 3rd edition).
    • Insight decides whether you can determine the true intentions of a creature, such as when searching out a lie or predicting someone’s next move. Fiends are duplicitous. Use this skill to ferret out their inevitable lies or judge when they have broken your control and are only feigning obedience.
    • When you attempt to influence someone through overt threats, hostile actions, and physical violence, the DM might ask you to make an Intimidation check. Use this skill to bully a rampaging band of demons into submission or cow a demonic servant into performing a task faithfully. Especially useful if you frequently use summoning magic that grants you limited or no control over what you summon.
    • Typically, you use Persuasion when acting in good faith, to foster friendships, make cordial requests, or exhibit proper etiquette. Use this to bargain with fiends and negotiate contracts with devils. If you are an evil character this is probably your go-to skill for gaining the cooperation of fiends you do not control.


    Spoiler: The two essential languages
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    Most fiends can communicate via telepathy, but many cannot. To be able to communicate with the broadest possible variety of fiendish servants and read fiendish grimoires and infernal contracts, you'll want to learn both Abyssal and Infernal. If you specialize in summoning only devils or only demons, you can get by with just one of these.

    If you're willing to summon only telepathic fiends and use magic to translate those tomes, you can manage without either one -- but do you really want to be taking a devil's word for it when he assures you it's safe to sign that infernal contract in blood? No, you don't want to do that.

    The best way to learn these languages is through your race and background choices. Feats and magic items are an overly expensive way to learn languages.


    Spoiler: A choice of three classes
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    Three 5th edition classes make capable fiend binders: the bard, the warlock, and the wizard. Warlocks are the best class for commanding fiends from levels 1-10, summoning them earlier and more often. Bards and wizards are the stronger option from levels 11-20, able to summon more powerful fiends and extract service for longer durations. Bards are especially good at negotiating favorable pacts with devils and keeping demons under control, while wizards can more easily collect a broad variety of useful summoning options and dig up lore about fiends.

    Bard: Bards are strong late-game summoners, using Magical Secrets at levels 10, 14, and 18 to cherry-pick the appropriate spells from any spell list. Lore bards can get started as early as level 6. Bards excel at commanding or negotiating with fiends, but with limited Magical Secrets selections they will probably need to specialize in a few specific summoning spells. Here are the key bardic class features to focus on:

    • Bards gain Skill Proficiency in any three of the eight useful skills, whereas warlocks and wizards learn only two from a limited list. Since the typical bard has high Charisma and low Intelligence, the bard is often better at interacting with fiends than learning about them.
    • Jack of All Trades improves Charisma checks made with infernal calling, making bards a notch better at using this spell.
    • Expertise improves the key skills a fiendbinder will use.
    • Bardic Colleges
    o Bards from the College of Glamour can use Unbreakable Majesty for protection and against a demon that has broken free from control, and to impose disadvantage on its saves while trying to regain control or banish it. That sounds good -- until you realize that to benefit you must lose control of a fiend and it must be adjacent to you and trying to kill you.
    o The College of Lore gets three more of the proficiencies that a fiendbinder wants to have, and an extra Magical Secret at 6th level to learn the more of the spells needed to bind fiends, sooner. Peerless Skill allows you to use bardic inspiration to pass those contested Charisma checks made with infernal calling -- and it stacks with Jack of All Trades, making Lore bards the hands-down experts at using this spell.
    o College of Whispers can use Shadow Lore to get 8 hours of obedience (for almost anything except combat) from a fiend that fails its save. That's really good. Plus, the sinister theme of the college makes a fine fit for a bard who traffics with fiends.

    Warlock: The stereotypical cackling fiendbinder is probably a tiefling fiend-patron pact-of-the-chain warlock cackling madly as his summoned demons run amok. If you are such a would-be cackler, you'll be pleased to learn that the stereotype actually works quite well. HOWEVER. Warlock spells are automatically upcast as if from a higher level slot, up to a maximum of 5th level. This is both your blessing and your curse. Up to 10th level, a warlock summons more demons more often than any other class. Beyond 10th level, the inability to cast your spells from 6th level or higher slots means that you are still summoning lesser fiends when other casters are running around with much more potent creatures on the leash. Here are the key warlock class features to focus on:

    • Warlocks can choose two Skill Proficiencies from among five of the eight useful skills: Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Investigation, and Religion. Since the typical warlock has high Charisma and low Intelligence, the warlock is often better at interacting with fiends than learning about them.
    • Invocations
    o Beguiling Influence grants proficiency with both Deception and Persuasion.
    o Chains of Carceri grants at-will hold monster, which is useful for locking down a fiend that has escaped control. That sounds good until you realize that the CR 4-6 fiends you summon aren't a problem to deal with when your party is level 15+, that the fiend gets a save every round to break the effect, and that you can't cast it twice on the same creature in the same day. This invocation is useful if you expect to be fighting a lot of outsiders but it's not an efficient way to manage your own summoned fiends.
    o Cloak of Flies grants advantage on Intimidate checks to compel obedience from demons, if that's your thing.
    o Devil's Sight enables useful combat tactics with a bound devil since it can also see in magical darkness.
    o Voice of the Chain Master substantially improves the scouting utility of your imp or quasit. Seeing through the eyes of your invisible flying fiendish scout drone that's able to open doors and retrieve objects all on its own is an incredible exploration tool, and it's available as early as third level! Being able to speak and perceive through your familiar also allows you to essentially be in two places at once for many purposes, which has all kinds of utility.
    o Gift of the Ever-Living Ones gives you permanently maximized heals just for having your imp or quasit nearby. This greatly increases the value of in-combat actions you spend healing yourself (through a potion of healing, for example), conserves your hit dice during short rests, and will often put you first in line for healing with party healers who like getting good mileage out of their healing spells.
    • Patrons
    o The Fiend grants the hallow spell, which can be used to create a summoning area in your base where fiends cannot use extradimensional travel -- allowing you to cast planar binding on fiends that would normally escape a magic circle before you could finish binding them. Dark One's Own Luck can add 1d10 to a Charisma check made with infernal calling.
    o The Great Old One grants telepathy through Awakened Mind, so you can communicate with non-telepathic fiends. Thought Shield can protect you from telepathic manipulation by the fiends that you summon.
    o The Hexblade can learn banishing smite, which is okay for dismissing demons that have escaped control.
    • Pact of the Chain -- gain the services of an imp or quasit. Familiars are awesome. You've probably heard that before. Imps and quasits are even more useful than regular familiars, with their flight, invisibility, alternate forms, intelligence, and ability to speak, manipulate objects and use some magic items. If your DM uses the variant rules in the MM they even grant you the Magic Resistance feature when nearby. At 3rd-4th level when you first get them they are a useful contributor in combat too, although their low hp make them a liability once combat gets a little more dangerous.

    Wizard: Wizards are versatile fiendbinders, able to stuff their spell books with a broad variety of useful spells. With their high Intelligence scores and lore proficiencies, wizards are especially good at researching daemonic lore or uncovering recipes for magic items granting control over fiends. Here are the key wizard class features to focus on:

    • Wizards can choose two Skill Proficiencies from among five of the eight useful skills: Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, and Religion.
    • The wizard's spellbook makes it the only class able to freely learn all of the important fiend-binding spells.
    • Arcane Tradition
    o Wizards trained in Bladesinging are good at tactical summoning of fiends in combat, but would probably rather be concentrating on a combat buff than a summoning spell. Still, adding +Int bonus to concentration checks against damage helps to maintain your summons when taking damage.
    o Conjurers are very effective at tactical summoning of fiends in combat. Focused Conjuration allows you to maintain concentration on summoning spells even when taking damage. Durable Summons gives each fiend 30 temporary hit points, which enables them to last longer on the battlefield and sponge up damage that the party would have otherwise taken. Benign Transposition works well when you have disposable allies such as summoned fiends on the field.
    o Diviners are very effective at long-term binding of fiends using the planar binding spell. They can use low rolls gained from the Portent feature to force a failed save even by magic-resistant fiends with strong Charisma saving throws. Portents can also be used to ensure successful contested rolls from the infernal calling spell.
    o The Enchanter's Hypnotic Gaze can be used to manage a fiend that's broken free from your control, while Alter Memories makes it easier to deceive and manipulate a fiend into serving you reliably (or at least not seeking vengeance afterwards).
    o A Transmuter with a Transmuter's Stone can be proficient with Con saves, helping to maintain concentration on your summoning spells.


    Spoiler: Breaking down your racial choices
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    So far, we've emphasized that an effective fiendbinder needs to know the right languages, possess the right skills, and belong to one of three classes. 5e offers scores of racial choices, and many of them can get you the languages and skills you need, along with increases in the primary casting attribute for your class of choice.

    To make a survey of races manageable, we'll look at only the good ones, and categorize them first by which class they support and then by how many skill choices, language choices, and relevant stat boosts they bring to the table. Other useful features are also mentioned where present. We omit discussion of racial features that are not relevant to calling and binding fiends.

    If you don't see your favorite race here or if it is low on the list, don't view that as a straightjacket. If you'd prefer another race you can compensate by picking up languages from a well-chosen background, getting key skills from your background or class, and prioritizing ability score increases over feats as you advance in level.

    • Bard/warlock
    o Half Elf (PH) offers +2 Cha, +2 skills of your choice, and +1 language of your choice
    o Variant Human (PH) offers +1 Cha, +1 skill of your choice, +1 language of your choice, and a feat
    o Kalashtar (WGtE) has +2 Cha, telepathy, +1 language of your choice, and expertise in a skill, which can be Insight, Intimidation, or Persuasion.
    o Changeling (WGtE) offers +2 Cha and +2 skills chosen from among Deception, Intimidation, Insight, or Persuasion -- all of which are skills that we want.
    o Tielfing (PH) and Yuan-ti Pureblood (VGtM) have +2 Cha and speak either Infernal (tiefling) or Abyssal (Yuan-ti)
    o Aasimar (VGtM) and House Lyrander Half Elf (WGtE) offer +2 Cha
    o Warforged Envoy (WGtE) has +1 Cha, +1 skill of your choice, and +1 language of your choice
    o Mark of Scribing Gnome (WGtE), Human (PH), and Tabaxi (VGtM) all offer +1 Cha and +1 language of your choice
    • Wizard

    o Variant Human (PH) offers +1 Int, +1 skill of your choice, +1 language of your choice, and a feat
    o Vedalken (UA) has +2 Int, +1 skill chosen from Arcana or Investigation, and Tireless Precision (+1d4) to all checks with the chosen skill
    o An Aereni High Elf (WGtE) gets +1 Int, +1 skill of your choice and expertise in that skill, and +1 language of your choice
    o A half elf (PH) gains +1 Int, +2 skills of your choice and +1 language of your choice
    o Gnome (PH) and Human (Mark of Making) (WGtE) have +2 Int
    o Githyanki (MToF) and Warforged Envoy (WGtE) receive +1 Int, +1 skill of your choice, and +1 language of your choice
    o A High Elf (PH), Valenar Elf (WGtE), Tiefling (PH), Human (PH), or Yuan-ti Pureblood (VGtM) all grant +1 Int and +1 language, which can be either Abyssal (Yuan-ti), Infernal (tiefling) or your choice (all others).


    Spoiler: Backgrounds
    Show
    The best backgrounds for a fiendbinder are those that offer a set of tools for obtaining knowledge about fiends and/or power over them. This may be a feature that gives you access to secrets, appropriate skill proficiencies, or additional languages. Adventurer's League backgrounds have been omitted from this listing.

    Remember that if a background offers a skill proficiency that you've already obtained elsewhere (such as from your race or class), you can select any other skill in its place.

    • Cloistered Scholar (SCAG) offers proficiency in History and either Arcana or Religion and two languages of your choice. You also get the valuable Library Access feature, which grants you "free and easy access" to your home library (of course you'll specify in your character background that your library has materials useful for fiendbinders) and preferential treatment in other libraries.
    • Hermit (PH) grants the Religion skill, any one language, and the Discovery feature. Useful discoveries might include the identity and truename of a powerful fiend known for being willing to negotiate bargains, or the location of a magic item useful for a fiendbinder -- work with your DM to choose something appropriate.
    • Inheritor (SCAG) grants proficiency in either Arcana, History, or Religion, one language of your choice, and the Inheritor feature. Your inheritance might be a book of fiendish lore, a map to tome or library describing fiend-binding, or a minor magic item related to fiend-binding that will gradually become more powerful as you unlock its secrets.
    • Sage (PH) grants Arcana, History, 2 languages of your choice, and the Researcher feature. Researcher is hugely useful -- essentially whenever you fail a lore or investigation check to recall or locate a bit of knowledge regarding fiends, you know where to go or who to talk to get the knowledge.
    • Acolyte (PH) and Anthropologist (ToA) grant you Insight, Religion, and any two languages.
    • Courtier (SCAG) grants Insight, Persuasion, and any two languages.
    • Guild Artisan (PH) and Guild Merchant (PH) grant Insight, Persuasion, and any one language.
    • Haunted One (CoS) grants any two of Arcana, Investigation, and Religion, plus one exotic language (both Abyssal and Infernal are exotic languages).
    • Investigator (SCAG) grants Insight, Investigation, and any two languages.
    • Knight (PH) and Noble (PH) grant History, Persuasion, and any one language.
    • Clan Crafter (SCAG) offers History, Insight, and any one language IF you already know Dwarven.
    • Vizier (PS:A) offers History and Religion.
    • Urban Bounty Hunter (SCAG) offers any two of Deception, Insight, and Persuasion.


    Spoiler: Feat choices
    Show
    • Arcanist/Investigator/Menacing/Silver-Tongued/Theologian (UA) +1 to Int or Cha and expertise with one of your useful skills is good. But is it better than +2? For some characters the answer will be yes, especially for variant humans with odd-numbered casting attributes.
    • Diplomat (UA) grants +1 Charisma and doubled proficiency with Persuasion, but the real prize is the ability to have unlimited long-term charms that bypass magic resistance and Wisdom saving throw proficiency, don't require concentration, cannot be dispelled, and don’t aggro the target afterwards. Remember that, per the Monster Manual, demons and devils will share their truenames when charmed, so if you can summon it, bind it in a magic circle, and talk to it for a few minutes, you can learn its truename.
    • Grudge-bearer (UA) is an interesting choice for a dwarf fiendbinder, granting Expertise in Arcana, History, Nature, and Religion concerning fiends even if you aren't proficient with any of those skills. This could be especially helpful for a dwarf who is a bard or warlock, as Int is probably a dump stat on such a character and Grudge-bearer can provide you a credible bonus even with poor Int and no proficiency. The other benefits don't help your fiendbinding directly, but could make it easier to handle out-of-control demons.
    • Everybody's Friend (UA) grants proficiency or expertise in Deception and Persuasion, along with a +1 Charisma, for a race that was already a great choice for a fiendbinder.
    • Historian (US) is a special choice. It's great for assisting fiendbinders with research or contested social rolls against fiends -- as long as someone else takes it. If there's a historian in your party, try to buddy up with that character whenever possible to help you land difficult skill checks.
    • Human Determination can progress your casting attribute while granting advantage on a Charisma check with infernal calling -- once per short rest. Getting +2 to your stat is going to help you much more.
    • Linguist allows you to learn Abyssal and Fiendish if you haven't learned them some other way. But a feat is a very expensive way to learn. Use your race and background instead.
    • Prodigy offers a skill, a language and expertise -- all things that are useful to us.
    • Resilience can grant +1 Con and proficiency with Con saves, helping your concentration. Less necessary for conjurers, bladesingers, or transmuters.
    • Skilled grants you three of the proficiencies that fiendbinders want to have.
    • Warcaster grants advantage with concentration checks against damage, helping your concentration. Much less useful for conjurer wizards.


    Spoiler: Tools of the trade
    Show
    Certain magic items are ideal tools for the kinds of dangerous summonings you practice. You should be alert for opportunities to find or craft these items. Items are color-coded by rarity, not by the strength of the option, because rarity correlates directly to the power and usefulness of the item.

    • Instrument of the bards (uncommon, rare, or very rare; DMG) -- any instrument of the bards imposes disadvantage on anyone saving against your charm spells. Even the humble Doss Lute, Fuchlucan Bandore, or Mac-Fuirmidh Cittern, all Uncommon items, can grant you this benefit. This can make your charms all but assured against weaker fiends and can neutralize the magic resistance of more powerful fiends.
    • Rod of the pact keeper (uncommon, rare, or very rare; DMG) -- this rod increases the save DC of your warlock spells, greatly improving your ability to control demons called with the summon greater demon spell.
    • Ring of mind shielding (uncommon; DMG) -- if you've been so unwise as to bargain away your soul in the event of your death, this ring allows you to cheat your bargain, storing your soul long enough for an ally to resurrect you. Delaying the inevitable in such a fashion is likely to produce long-term complications for you.
    • Stone of good luck (uncommon; DMG) -- the stone's luck can grant a +1 bonus to your contested Charisma rolls with the infernal calling spell.
    • Dimensional shackles (rare; DMG) -- Bind an incapacitated fiend of up to large size to prevent it from using extradimensional travel.
    • Iron bands of Bilarro (rare; DMG) -- An effective way to restrain an encountered fiend or one that has escaped your control. The bands will inevitably be broken if you rely on them too often, however, so these should never be your first choice and you should avoid using them on physically powerful fiends.
    • Rod of rulership (rare; DMG) -- Imposes an 8-hour charm that requires no concentration once per day. Static Wisdom save DC of 15.
    • Candle of invocation (very rare; DMG) -- A fresh candle can be used to cast gate, potentially granting you a chance to bind a much more powerful fiend if you cannot already cast gate yourself. Be sure you are very well-prepared.
    • Obsidian steed (very rare; DMG) -- this figurine of wondrous power becomes a fiendish nightmare one day out of every six. Not an item for good-aligned fiend binders.
    • Tome of Clear Thought/Leadership and Influence (very rare; DMG) -- this increases your casting attribute and maximum stat by +2, which improves all of your spell save DCs by +1.
    • Infernal tack (legendary; MToF) -- allows you to summon a nightmare, which serves as your ally. You can obtain these from narzugon devils.
    • Ioun stone of mastery (legendary; DMG) -- this stone increases your proficiency bonus by 1, which improves your spell save DCs
    • Iron flask (legendary; DMG) -- Traps an extraplanar creature (static Wis DC 17), and binds it for one hour of service when it is released. The creature gets advantage on its save if you trap it in the flask more than once, but that is no hindrance against fiends with magic resistance since they already save with advantage.
    • Robe of the archmagi (legendary; DMG) -- Increases your spell save DC by +2.
    • Tome of the stilled tongue (legendary; DMG) -- Using the tome's power to cast a spell scribed within it, you can cast two 9th level spells per day. This allows you use gate to summon a powerful creature and then cast planar binding from your 9th-level slot to bind it for a year and a day, something that would normally not be possible for a single caster.
    • Book of vile darkness (artifact; DMG) -- The book offers an array of benefits, including an increase in your casting stat, advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks with fiends, potential access to the truenames of many fiends, and more. But it's also, you know, the worst book in the multiverse, so possessing it pretty much marks you for premature and unfortunate death. Consider yourself warned.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2019-03-18 at 05:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Daemonology and You: jiriku's guide to fiend-binding

    Fiendbinding 202: The Grimoire

    The attraction of binding demons and devils to your will is the risk. Demons will tear you limb from limb if they can. Devils will steal away your soul or bring all your plans to ruin. When you summon these creatures, it becomes the DM's job to make your character's life especially difficult. So let's talk about what spells are involved in living dangerously, how to stir up some trouble, and how to make sure you live to tell about it afterwards.

    Note: This guide assumes that the fiend-summoning spells described in Unearthed Arcana: That Old Black Magic are replaced by the new spells in XGtE, and so it does not consider them.

    Spoiler: Spells
    Show
    • Find familiar (1st; wizard, pact of the chain warlock; PH) -- Permits a warlock to spend 10 gp to acquire an imp or quasit familiar. If you're a wizard, check with your DM to see what you need to do to get an imp or quasit familiar. Ritual spell.
    • Summon lesser demons (3rd; warlock, wizard; XGtE) -- Summon a pack of weak, uncontrolled demons who may attack you. Requires concentration. Summon more of them if you waste a high-level spell slot on this.
    • Summon greater demon (4th; warlock, wizard; XGtE) -- Summon a demon of up to CR 5 for an hour. The demon is controlled but receives a save to break free every round. Goes berserk for several rounds when it breaks free. To get the best value out of this spell you'll need a better method of controlling the summoned demon. Add +1 to max CR per spell slot level increase. Requires concentration.
    • Infernal calling (5th; warlock; wizard; XGtE) -- Summon a devil of up to CR 6 (7 with a talisman) for an hour. The devil is "controlled" but you must beat it in a contested Charisma vs. Wisdom (Insight) check per each task or it breaks free. Hangs around for a few minutes and does whatever it wants when it breaks free. Add +1 to max CR per spell slot level increase. Requires concentration.
    • Planar binding (5th; bard, cleric, druid, wizard; PH) -- Expend a 1000-gp gem to bind a previously summoned fiend to serve you for 24 hours if it fails a Charisma save. Takes one hour to cast, which is why you will always use magic circle to make the fiend hold still. Duration increases to 10, 30, 180, or 366 days when you cast from higher level slots, which is why you will always cast from higher level slots.
    • Magic circle (3rd; warlock, wizard; PH) -- Expend 100-gp of components and invert the spell to trap a fiend in place for one or more hours, during which time you will cast planar binding on it. Creatures with an at-will teleportation or planar travel ability can attempt a save every round to 'port out, so don't expect to be able to constrain these creatures unless you augment the circle with a hallow spell keyed to prevent such travel (or use another method such as dimensional shackles or a bound canoloth).
    • Glyph of warding (3rd level; cleric, wizard; PH) -- A sneaky way to bind encountered fiends is to put an inverted magic circle in a glyph of warding, induce the fiend to trigger the glyph (it is now trapped), then proceed to cast planar binding on it. At higher levels you can just put planar binding in it. Don’t expect that to work very often but do expect to be amused when it does work. A trap version of planar binding is also one of the few ways you can bind fiends with at-will teleportation. Placing a glyph with bestow curse inside your summoning circle is also a good way to give the trapped fiend disadvantage on saving throws against your subsequent binding attempts. A glyph of banishment warding the sole exit to your summoning chamber is also a helpful last-ditch measure to avoid embarrassing rampages by escaped fiends.
    • Hex (1st; warlock; PH) -- Use with infernal calling to give the devil disadvantage on its Wisdom (Insight) check. Permits no save.
    • Bestow curse (3rd; bard, cleric, wizard; PH) -- can be used to give a fiend disadvantage on saving throws. Does not require concentration when cast from a 5th level slot or a glyph of warding.
    • Polymorph (4th; bard, druid, sorcerer, wizard; PH) -- Strips magic resistance, saving throw proficiencies, and mental ability score bonuses. Does not require concentration when cast from a glyph of warding.
    • Enhance ability (2nd; bard, cleric, wizard; PH) -- Gain advantage on Charisma checks made with infernal calling. Requires concentration, so you'll need to have this cast on you by an allied caster. Your allies probably have better things to do with their concentration. Just learn the devil's true name instead.
    • Planar ally (6th; cleric only; PH) -- bards may be tempted to snag this spell from the cleric list and call fiends with it, but it merely nets you a horribly expensive untrustworthy extra party member who hogs your loot and XP. Avoid.
    • Plane shift (7th; cleric, druid, sorcerer, warlock, wizard; PH) -- for the bold and the foolish, you can travel directly to one of the lower planes and go fiend-hunting, attempting to find and bind to your service fiends that you are not yet powerful enough to summon. This is a risky and time-consuming endeavor, especially considering that you're only two levels away from gate when you gain access to this spell. However, in campaigns where you don't expect to reach 17th level this might be your only way to gain access to certain fiends.
    • Banishment (4th; cleric, paladin, sorcerer, warlock, wizard; PH) -- Send home a demon or devil that's broken free from your control before it can do any more mischief (if it fails a Charisma save). Your party members will expect you to know this spell rather than dumping all your boo-boos on them to fix. Requires concentration.
    • Charm monster (4th; bard, druid, sorcerer, warlock, wizard; XGtE) -- Charm a fiend if it fails a Wisdom save. At a minimum, the charmed fiend can't attack you, will share its true name with you, and you gain advantage on all interaction-based Charisma checks with it. Use this spell to override the control methods built into summon greater demon and infernal calling and simply Persuade the fiend to serve you.
    • Gate (9th; cleric, sorcerer, wizard; PH) -- Permits you to call any fiend of any challenge rating (as opposed to only demons and devils of up to CR 9-11 maximum from earlier spells). If you are smart, you drop this fiend into a prepared inverted magic circle and proceed to compel it with planar binding. If you are not smart, you try to negotiate with it using nothing but your native charm and winning personality and you hope that it does not kill you or suck your soul out through a straw. Requires concentration.
    • Legend lore (5th; bard, cleric, wizard; PH) -- You can learn information about a legendary fiend, but since your DM decides whether you know about any legendary fiends in order to cast on them, and decides what information you get, and is encouraged to give you a riddle rather than a straight answer, you're probably better off using skill checks and library research, consulting a sage, or hiring a high-level NPC to cast this for you.
    • Comprehend Languages (1st; bard, sorcerer, warlock, wizard; PH) -- an expensive and poor substitute for being able to read and write abyssal and fiendish. Just learn the languages.
    • Tongues (3rd; bard, cleric, sorcerer, warlock, wizard; PH) -- An expensive and poor substitute for being able to speak abyssal and fiendish. Just learn the languages.
    • Protection from Evil and Good (1st; warlock, wizard) -- This may seem like a good defense for when your summoned fiends run amok, but it takes your concentration and it doesn't kill them, compel them, or send them home. You need better tools than this.
    • True polymorph (9th; bard, warlock, wizard; PH) -- At a basic level, this duplicates what you've been doing with summon greater demon and infernal calling but requires no exotic components and grants you total control of the fiend for an hour. If you stick out the hour of concentration, you potentially gain something even more valuable: a fiend whose natural disposition towards you is friendly. These fiends may prove willing servants, or if not you can still put them under planar binding like usual. This is one of two spells (gate is the other one) that lets you summon any fiend and not just demons or devils. Requires concentration.
    • Hallow (5th; cleric; PH) -- When properly keyed, expend 1000 gp of materials to create a permanent location where fiends can enter, but must make a Charisma save or be unable to use teleportation or planar travel to leave. Useful when you are using summon greater demon to summon a demon that can instantly relocate at will -- the demon receives only one save to escape, rather than one save per round as it would if merely trapped in an inverted magic circle. Bards can snag this spell with Magical Secrets, or if you are on good terms with a cleric you can pay to have it cast. It is unclear whether this would prevent a summoned fiend from returning home when its summoning spell expires. Check with your DM ahead of time to avoid a nasty surprise.
    • Banishing Smite (5th; paladin, hexblade warlock; PH) -- Deal +5d10 damage to a fiend the next time you hit it, and banish it with no save if it has 50 or fewer hp remaining. This is banishment for hexblades. Note that banishing smite ignores magic resistance and legendary resistance since it doesn't allow a saving throw. This makes it pretty effective at banishing powerful fiends would would usually save against banishment. Requires concentration.
    • Wish (9th wizard; PH) -- Wish enables several useful tricks like combat-speed planar binding and accessing hallow through the wizard list.


    Spoiler: A tour of your fiend-summoning spells from levels 1-20
    Show
    The Imp and I: Levels 3-4: If you are commanding a fiend at this level, then you are a Pact of the Chain warlock with an imp or quasit familiar and the find familiar spell. It takes 1 hour and 10 minutes to cast, because you are going to cast it as a ritual, and costs 10 gp in materials and 0 spell slots, because you are going to cast it as a ritual. If your DM is a stickler for spell components, be sure to carry a supply of material components to recast this spell in case your familiar gets killed while you're away from your source of supply. Your familiar serves you loyally so this is your only completely safe summons.

    I Get By With a Little Help From My Fiends: Levels 5-10: You learn your primary summoning spells at this level, gaining many options.
    • summon lesser demons, (3rd level; warlock, wizard; XGtE) -- You summon a random pack of weak demons that attack everyone in sight, including you and your allies. Ideally you summon them in the midst of your enemies, and far from where your allies are or intend to be. If you delight in chaos and randomness, this is the spell for you, but honestly there's much better 3rd level spells to be casting so you may prefer to skip this spell.

    The material component is a vial of blood from a humanoid slain in the past 24 hours. If you are evil you can sacrifice someone, but then there's paladins and peasants with pitchforks and torches and that's no fun. For most PCs, you'll need to wait for your DM to give you fights against humanoids.

    Learn to be thrifty with death. A PC gets killed? Get in there and harvest some blood before you revivify! Got a quest to guard an NPC and failed? Don't let that blood go to waste! City has a rash of murder victims? You know what to do!

    • Summon greater demon (4th level; warlock, wizard; XGtE) -- You summon a single demon of up to CR 5, and can up-level the spell to get better demons. Although the duration is nominally one hour, with a save every round you can expect the demon to become uncontrolled within a minute or two. The available demons include some very strong combatants, many with area attacks or spellcasting ability, so this is a very useful summon. You still need blood, so the usual restrictions apply.

    There are two ways to use this spell.
    o The first way is to cast it during combat, send the demon against your foes, and hope it gets killed before you lose control of it. Of special note, the demon doesn't get a chance to save until the end of its first turn, so if you summon it, order it to cast a spell, then end concentration immediately after it casts it will get no save and cannot escape your control.

    o The second way is to cast it before combat and use a second spell such as charm monster or planar binding, or a feature such as the Diplomat feat or Shadow Lore, to get better control over it. Some of those methods may then require you to make further interaction checks to convince the demon to cooperate -- just because it's your friend doesn't mean it will fight for you or follow orders against its nature.

    • Infernal calling (5th level; warlock, wizard; XGtE) -- You summon a single devil of up to CR 6 (CR 7 if you have its talisman), and must win a contested Charisma vs. Wisdom (Insight) check for each command you give it (unless it wants to serve, so consider polishing up your Deception skill and deceiving it about what's going on). Devils tend to be straightforward and unsophisticated combatants, but are often more durable than demons of equivalent CR.

    Summoning a devil is both safer and more dangerous than summoning a demon. On the one hand, you can say "kill all my enemies in this room" and you are one roll away from having a reliable servant for the entire duration of a fight. On the other hand, when a demon breaks free it visibly begins attacking you but when a devil breaks free it may pretend to still be serving you. It has its devil ways and will do its devil things. You will not like those things. It may lie to you about its true name. It may steal the big stupid fighter's magic sword and depart. This is where your Insight check is very valuable.

    As with summon greater demon, there are two ways to use the spell -- depend on winning the contested checks, or use an additional ability to gain more secure control.

    Planar binding (5th level; bard, cleric, druid, wizard; PH) -- This is your premier binding spell, enabling long-term control of a fiend without using your concentration. It requires one hour to cast, which is conveniently the exact duration of all your summoning spells. Holding the fiend in place for an hour is a lot to ask even of your big stupid fighter so you are well-advised to cast an inverted magic circle, summon your fiend of choice into the circle, then immediately follow up with planar binding. For extra safety, consider placing yourself in a second magic circle as well.

    The victim future minimum-wage employee receives a Charisma save and you burn 1000 gp of material components whether the spell succeeds or fails, so it is recommended only to use this spell when the potential payoff is high or the chance of failure is very low. Diviner wizards can use Portent to huge effect here, and a bestow curse, fear, or bane cast by an ally can help as well.

    Minimum-Wage Employees: Levels 11 - 16: At this level, you don't learn any new fiendbinding spells, but you do gain higher-level spell slots. This enables you to summon more powerful creatures with infernal calling and summon greater demon. Most importantly, it enables you to bind them for 10, 30, or 180 days with planar binding, gaining true long-term servants who can serve you during your adventures without requiring constant expenditure of spell slots, butchering of humanoids, or pesky murder-rampages when they escape your control. Where 1000 gp was a steep price to gain a day's service from a demon, your cost is roughly 6 gp per day if that service will last six months. It's hard to get good evil help for better than 6 gp per day.

    Power Overwhelming: Levels 17-20: At this level, extreme caution and prudence is called for, because this is the level at which you have the power to summon things that your Wisdom score says you really shouldn't summon. Things that are stronger than you. Things that are stronger than your whole party. Tread with caution. Of note, you now have access to spells that will summon/create fiends that are not demons or devils, which grants you a large set of new options (yugoloths in particular are often strong spellcasters and have many special abilities).
    • Gate (9th; cleric, wizard; PH) -- You summon a specific fiend whose name you know, which can be of any CR. You do not control it and the DM decides its attitude. Once the gate closes, it's there to stay -- it does not depart automatically. Summoning the creature directly into an inverted magic circle is highly recommended. Please note that some Gargantuan fiends may not fit in a magic circle. For extra safety, consider placing yourself in a second magic circle as well. Bargaining with the fiend can be done forcefully, through application of planar binding, or through negotiation and offers of treasure or the like.
    • True polymorph (9th; bard, warlock, wizard; PH) -- You can create a fiend of up to CR 9. For an hour it is fully obedient to you, and afterwards it is friendly if you treated it well. This is a fiend that wasn't busy collecting souls or managing its fantasy football league in the outer planes, and it doesn't have a superior who will notice it is missing and come looking for it. In other words, fiends you create are much more trouble-free than the fiends you've been able to get up until now.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2019-02-26 at 12:51 AM.

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    Default Re: Daemonology and You: jiriku's guide to fiend-binding

    Fiendbinding 303: Fiendish Bestiary, Part 1


    It's all well and good to have your character built and your spells picked out, but what's a fiendbinder without fiends? In the bestiary we'll review each published fiend, what defenses you'll need to overcome to compel it, and what strengths it can bring to bear against your foes. Legendary fiends are not reviewed because you'd have to be suicidal to try to command one.

    Fiends will be organized by the lowest-level spell you can use to summon them, in order of ascending challenge rating.

    Spoiler: Common traits of demons, devils, and yugoloths
    Show
    Demons
    Demons are resistant to cold, fire, and lightning and are immune to poison. Demons have darkvision with at least 60-ft range and all of them at least understand Abyssal (although some cannot speak). Demons of CR 9 and higher (and some weaker demons) have magic resistance and are resistant to nonmagical attacks. Demons have true names and if you summon a demon with the summon greater demon spell and use its true name it has disadvantage on Charisma saves against the spell.

    Devils
    Devils are resistant to cold and immune to fire and poison. Unless blind, devils have darkvision with at least 60-ft range and can see in magical darkness. All of them at least understand Infernal, although some cannot speak. All devils of CR 1 and higher have magic resistance and are resistant to nonmagical attacks except those from silvered weapons. Devils have true names and if you summon a devil with the infernal calling spell and use its true name it has disadvantage on the contested Charisma vs. Wisdom (Insight) roll to refuse your commands.

    It is possible to craft a magical talisman for a specific devil; this permits infernal calling to be cast from a lower-level slot than usual when summoning that devil and the devil cannot disobey the summoner's commands. However, the process for crafting a talisman is not fully described and requires the sacrifice of someone loved by the crafter, so talismans are items that are less likely to be crafted and more likely to be researched, quested for, or found.

    Yugoloths
    Yugoloths are resistant to cold, fire, lightning, and nonmagical attacks. Yugoloths have blindsight and darkvision with a 60-ft range. All yugoloths have magic resistance and their weapon attacks are magical. Yogoloths can teleport up to 60 ft as an at-will action. All yugoloths speak Abyssal, Infernal, and have telepathy with a range of 60 ft.


    Spoiler: Summon lesser demons (Demons of CR 1 and lower)
    Show
    View stats for lesser demons on DND Beyond

    Manes (CR 1/8) MM
    Defense against control: Immune to charm, Cha -3
    Communication: understands Abyssal but can't speal
    Combat Defenses: AC 9, 9 hp, resists cold, fire, and lightning, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: One at +2 for 5 dmg

    Manes are terrible and have nothing to recommend them.

    Abyssal Wretch (CR 1/4) MToF
    Defense against control: Immune to charm, Cha -3
    Communication: understands Abyssal but can't speak
    Combat Defenses: AC 11, 18 hp, resists cold, fire, and lightning, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: One at +3 for 5 dmg

    Abyssal wretches are terrible and have nothing to recommend them.

    Dretch (CR 1/4) MM
    Defense against control: Wis save -1, Cha -4
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 60 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 11, 18 hp, resist cold, fire, and lightning, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: Two at +2 for 8 total dmg, 10-ft radius cloud of poison 1/day

    Key strength: debuffing cloud ability
    The poison cloud makes dretches very useful. Eight of them scattered among your foes exuding poison is a considerable debuff. Unfortunately dretches are very stupid and you can't order them to use their cloud ability. Dretches are the only demons with telepathy in this bracket.

    Maw Demon (CR 1) VGtM
    Defense against control: Immune to charm, Cha -3
    Communication: Understands Abyssal but can't speak
    Combat Defenses: AC 13, 33 hp, resist cold, fire, and lightning immune to poison and fear
    Combat Attacks: One at +4 for 11 dmg, rampage

    Key strengths: good melee damage
    Maw demons are your best direct combat demon in this bracket, able to deal credible damage. They are a real threat to large groups of weak foes, able to kill up to two weak enemies per round.

    Quasit (CR 1) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +0, Cha +0
    Communication: Abyssal, Common
    Combat Defenses: AC 13, 7 hp, can climb, swim, or fly, resists cold, fire, lightning, and nonmagical attacks, immune to poison, at-will invisibliity
    Combat Attacks: one at +4 for 5 dmg plus poison (Con DC 10 or take 5 dmg and poisoned for 1 min, save every round to recover), Wis DC 10 or one creature is frightened for 1 minute

    Key strengths: flight, invisibility, disguise
    With their fear and poison claws, quasits can effectively debuff a foe. Unfortunately, their mobility and invisibility make them hard to avoid when uncontrolled.


    Spoiler: Summon greater demon (Demons of CR 10 and lower)
    Show
    View stats for greater demons on DND Beyond

    Rutterkin (CR 2) MToF
    Defense against control: Immune to charm, Cha -2
    Communication: understands Abyssal but can't speak
    Combat Defenses: AC 12, 37 hp, resist cold, fire, and lightning, immune to poison and fear
    Combat Attacks: One at +3 for 13 dmg plus disease (Con DC 13 or become poisoned), crippling fear

    Rutterkin have a fear aura that unfortunately doesn't work unless you summon at least 3 of them. There are better summons available.

    Bulezau (CR 3) MToF
    Defense against control: Immune to charm, Cha -2
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 60 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 14, 52 hp, resist cold, fire, and lightning, immune to poison and fear, can jump and has advantage against knockdown effects
    Combat Attacks: One at +4 for 8 dmg plus disease (Con DC 13 or poisoned), rotting presence aura 30 ft (Con DC 13 or 1d6+1 necrotic dmg)

    Key strength: rotting aura
    The Bulezau's rot aura can deal fair area damage to a group of packed foes, but watch your placing or it could just as easily harm your allies.

    Babau (CR 4) VGtM
    Defense against control: Wis save +1, Cha +1
    Communication: Abyssal
    Combat Defenses: AC 16, 82 hp, resist cold, fire, lightning, and nonmagical attacks, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: 2 at +6 for 16 dmg, Weakening gaze (Con DC 13 or half dmg with weapon attacks)
    Spellcasting (DC 11): at-will darkness, dispel magic (+1), fear, heat metal, and levitate

    Key strengths: spells, durability, accurate attack
    The babau is a solid combatant, able to neutralize one or more foes with fear or levitate while wading into combat with its spear, weakening gaze, and tough defenses. At-will dispel magic and levitate can get the party past obstacles as well. Easy to charm.

    Dybbuk (CR 4) MToF
    Defense against control: Immune to charm, magic resistance, Cha +2
    Communication: Abyssal, Common, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 14, 37 hp, flight, incorporeal, resists acid, cold, fire, lightning, thunder, and nonmagical attacks, immune to exhaustion, fear, poison
    Combat Attacks: One at +6 for 13 dmg, possess corpse, violate corpse (Wis DC 12 or fear with line-of-sight range)
    Spellcasting (DC 12): at-will dimension door; 3/day fear, phantasmal force

    Key strengths: incorporeal, flight, accurate attack, possess corpses
    The dybbuk is very difficult to control but its ability to possess the corpse of any beast or humanoid you kill makes it exceptionally flexible. The corpse needs to be "intact" but it doesn't need to be freshly killed. It gains the knowledge and proficiencies of the corpse, so you can use it to interrogate a dead foe, impersonate that foe, or fight your enemies. Its violate corpse ability will affect your allies within line of sight, so use it carefully.

    Shadow Demon (CR 4) MM
    Defense against control: Wis +1, Cha +4
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 13, 66 hp, incorporeal, shadow stealth (stealth +7), resists acid, fire, necrotic, and nonmagical attacks, immune to cold, lightning, poison, exhaustion, vulnerable to light and radiant dmg
    Combat Attacks: One at +5 for 10 psychic dmg or 17 psychic dmg

    Key strengths: incorporeal, stealthy
    Reasonably capable as a nighttime assassin or spy. Easy to charm. Makes a good stealthy dungeon scout. Overall a versatile demon.

    Barlgura (CR 5) MM
    Defense against control: Wis +2, Cha -1
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 15, 68 hp, blindsight 30 ft, can jump, resists cold, fire, and lightning, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: three at +7 for 29 total dmg, reckless attack
    Spellcasting (DC 13): 1/day: entangle, phantasmal force; 2/day disguise self, invisibility (self only)

    Key strengths: blindsight, spells, accurate attacks, good melee damage
    A solid combatant with modest battlefield control, observation, and misdirection capability.

    Tanarukk (CR 5) VGtM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis -1, Cha -1
    Communication: Abyssal, Common, Orc
    Combat Defenses: AC 14, 95 hp, resists fire, poison
    Combat Attacks: Two at +7 for 19 total dmg, aggressive, unbridled fury (melee attack with advantage as reaction to being hit)

    Key strengths: accurate attacks, good melee damage
    Similar to the barlgura but less subtle and harder to control.

    Chasme (CR 6) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +5, Cha +0
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 15, 84 hp, blindsight 10 ft, spider climb, flight, resists cold, fire, and lightning, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: One at +5 for 40 dmg (reduces max hp), drone aura 30 ft (Con DC 12 or unconscious)

    Key strengths: flight, great melee dmg, incapacitating aura
    Somewhat difficult to control but the drone aura can end encounters. With their speed, aura, and devastating proboscis attack, chasmes are also a good summon to chase down fleeing opponents. The only flying demon with strong combat capabilities so far.

    Vrock (CR 6) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +4, Cha +2
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 15, 104 hp, flight, resists cold, fire, lightning, and nonmagical attacks, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: Two at +6 for 24 total dmg, spore aura 15 ft (Con DC 14 or poisoned and 5 dmg/round with a save 1/round to end), stunning screech 20 ft (Con DC 14 or stunned for 1 round)

    Key strengths: flight, durability
    Very difficult to control but a good flying melee combatant

    Armanite (CR 7) MToF
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +1, Cha +1
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 16, 84 hp, resists cold, fire, lightning, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: Three at +8 for 38 total dmg, lightning lance 60-ft line (26 lightning dmg, Dex DC 15 for half, recharge 5-6), magic weapons

    Key strengths: fast, magic strike
    The armanite is fast and more accurate than the chasme. Its lightning lance is less effective than the chasme's drone, however. Its magic strike makes it the only demon fully effective against foes with resistance to nonmagical attacks.

    Draegloth (CR 7) VGtM
    Defense against control: advantage on saves vs. charm, Wis +0, Cha +0
    Communication: Abyssal, Elvish, Undercommon
    Combat Defenses: AC 15, 123 hp, resists cold, fire, and lightning, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: Three at +8 for 48 total dmg
    Spellcasting (DC 11): at-will darkness; 1/day confusion, dancing lights, faerie fire

    Key strengths: spells, great melee damage
    The draegloth is easier to control than most demons of similar hit dice, and can really carve up foes in melee with confusion or faerie fire and its strong melee attacks.

    Maurezhi (CR 7) MToF
    Defense against control: immune to charm, magic resistance, Cha +2
    Communication: Abyssal, Elvish, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 15, 88 hp, resists cold, fire, lightning, necrotic,
    Combat Attacks: Two at +6 for 26 dmg + 1d4 Charisma dmg + paralysis (Con DC 12 1/round negates), can reanimate dead ghouls and ghasts

    Key strengths: create or reanimate ghouls, disguise
    If, for whatever reason, you have ghouls or ghasts in your party, the maurezhi's raise ghoul ability is unique and quite useful. If there is a necromancer in your party, the ghoul curse in the maurezhi's bite can supply ghouls to control. Otherwise, the maurezhi is quite difficult to control and less effective in combat than the other CR 7 monsters, rendering it a subpar summoning choice.

    Hezrou (CR 8) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +4, Cha +1
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 16, 136 hp, resists cold, fire, lightning, nonmagical attacks, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: Three at +7 for 37 total dmg, stench aura 10 ft (Con DC 14 or poisoned for 1 round)

    Key strengths: durability
    The hezrou'sis difficult to control but makes a durable, hardy combatant.

    Shoosuva (CR 8) VGtM
    Defense against control: Wis +5, Cha -1
    Communication: Abyssal, Gnoll, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 14, 110 hp, resists cold, fire, lightning, and nonmagical attacks, immune to poison and fear
    Combat Attacks: 2 at +7 for 39 total dmg + sting (Con DC 14 or paralyzed and poisoned, save 1/round ends), rampage

    Key strengths: easy to control, paralyzing sting
    The shoosuva is weak for its challenge rating but lacks magic resistance, making it much easier to control than most demons. The paralyzing sting sets up your allies to deal great damage to paralyzed foes.

    Glabrezu (CR 9) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +7, Cha +7
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 17, 157 hp, truesight 120 ft, resists cold, fire, lightning, and nonmagical attacks, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: Four at +9 for 46 total dmg + grapple (escape DC 15)
    Spellcasting (DC 16): at-will: darkness, detect magic, dispel magic (+4); 1/day: confusion, fly, power word stun

    Key strengths: truesight, spells, durability, good melee dmg
    The glabrezu is immensely difficult to control but brings immense value as a summon. Its truesight quality is rare, and it has an array of powerful spells with a high save DC, to say nothing of its capable melee combat ability. Since you can summon it with an 8th-level slot, order it to cast power word stun (an 8th level spell), then dismiss it before it has a chance to save, the glabrezu essentially allows your summon greater demons spell to double as an extra 8th level spell known.

    Yochlol (CR 10) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +6, Cha +6
    Communication: Abyssal, Elvish, Undercommon
    Combat Defenses: AC 15, 136 hp, can climb, fly, ignores webs, resists cold, fire, lightning, and nonmagical attacks, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: Two at +6 for 52 total dmg, toxic mist form (Con DC 14 or poisoned and incapacitated 1 round)
    Spellcasting (DC 14): at-will: detect thoughts, web; 1/day: dominate person

    Key strengths: spells, mist form, good melee damage, disguise
    Immensely difficult to control, the yochlol offers considerable ability to lock down and disable foes. While it deals good melee damage for its CR, you'd probably rather have it cast a few disabling spells then shift into mist form to incapacitate an opponent. Its ability to assume a humanoid form and use detect thoughts makes it more relevant to social encounters than most demons, but drow are not much more welcome than fiends in most places.


    Spoiler: Infernal calling (Devils of CR 11 and lower)
    Show
    View devils of CR 11 and lower on DND Beyond

    Lemure (CR 0) MM
    Defense against control: Immune to charm, Cha -4, Insight +0
    Communication: Understands Infernal but cannot speak
    Combat Defenses: AC 7, 13 hp, standard devil specials (but not resistant to attacks)
    Combat Attacks: One at +3 for 2 dmg

    Lemures are terrible and have nothing to recommend them.

    Nupperibo (CR 1/2) MToF
    Defense against control: Immune to charm, Cha -5, Insight -1
    Communication: understands Infernal but cannot speak
    Combat Defenses: AC 13, 11 hp, resists acid, immune to fear, standard devil specials
    Combat Attacks: One at +5 for 6 dmg, cloud of vermin 20 ft radius (Con DC 11 or 2 dmg)

    Key strengths: accurate attack, good damage, durable, vermin cloud
    Nupperibos are extremely capable combatants for their challenge rating and very easy to control. They work well in groups. They are a tolerablely useful summon even at higher levels, although too fragile to act unsupported in combat by the time you can summon them.

    Imp (CR 1) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +1, Cha +2, Insight +3
    Communication: Common, Infernal
    Combat Defenses: AC 13, 10 hp, can climb, flight, standard devil specials
    Combat Attacks: One at +5 for 5 dmg + sting (10 dmg, Con DC 11 save for half)

    Key strengths: flight, invisibility, disguise
    Imps make exceptionally good familiars and scouts. They are more difficult to command than most devils.

    Spined Devil (CR 2) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +2, Cha -1, Insight +2
    Communication: Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 13, 22 hp, flight, flyby attack, standard devil specials
    Combat Attacks: Two attacks at +2 for 8 total dmg or two ranged attacks at +4 for 14 total dmg

    Key strengths: flying creature with credible ranged attack, durable
    Spined devils are solid ranged flying skirmishers, but by the time you can summon them they are too weak to be of much use in combat.

    Bearded devil (CR 3) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +2, Cha +0, Insight +0
    Communication: Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 13, 52 hp, immune to fear, standard devil specials
    Combat Attacks: Two at +5 for 14 total dmg + poisoned (Con DC 12 to resist 1/round) + wounded (Con DC 12 or take 5 dmg per round)

    Key strengths: accurate attack, durable, debuffs foes
    With its poison debuff, the bearded devil makes a great combat partner to a melee-oriented party member.

    Merregon (CR 4) MToF
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +1, Cha -1, Insight +1
    Communication: Understands Infernal but cannot speak, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 16, 45 hp, immune to fear, standard devil specials
    Combat Attacks:Two at +6 for 18 total damage or two ranged at +4 for 14 total damage, bonus halberd attack with nearby stronger fiend

    Key strengths: durable, accurate attack
    The merregon makes a good bodyguard for a more powerful fiend. It has few other qualities to recommend it.

    Barbed Devil (CR 5) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +5, Cha +5, Insight +5
    Communication: Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 15, 110 hp, barbed hide, Perception +8, standard devil specials
    Combat Attacks: Three at +6 for 22 dmg or Two ranged at +5 for 20 total dmg

    Key strengths: very durable
    With double the hp of the merregon or bearded devil the barbed devil is a solid combatant in melee or at range. However, it's quite difficult to command.

    White Abishai (CR 6) MToF
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +1, Cha +1, Insight +1
    Communication: Draconic, Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 15, 68 hp, flight, immune to cold, standard devil specials
    Combat Attacks:Two at +6 for 15 total dmg, magic weapons, reckless attack, vicious reprisal (attack random foe at +6 for 8 dmg when struck)

    Key strengths: durable, flight
    The abishai is a straightforward but mobile and reliable combatant. Make sure your allies are not adjacent to it so that they cannot be the targets of its viciious reprisal.

    Black Abishai (CR 7) MToF
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +3, Cha +0, Insight +0
    Communication: Draconic, Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 15, 58 hp, flight, shadow stealth, immune to acid, standard devil specials
    Combat Attacks: Three at +6 for 29 dmg, magic weapons, creeping darkness

    Key Strengths: creeping darkness, durable, flight
    The ability to reposition and see through its darkness effect gives the black abishai a decisive advantage in combat, and if you are a warlock with devil's sight you can benefit from this as well. However, the abishai's Concentration bonus is only +2, so the spell may drop the first time it takes damage.

    Chain Devil (CR 8) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +4, Cha +5, Insight +1
    Communication: Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 16, 85 hp, standard devil specials
    Combat Attacks: Up to five at +8 for 55 total dmg + grapple (escape DC 14 for restrained and 7 dmg per round), animate chains, unnerving mask (Wis DC 14 or frightened for 1 round)

    Key strengths: animate chains, durable, great damage
    The chain devil is difficult to control long-term but makes a great short-term summon. Its chains and fear gaze can deal tremendous damage and control several enemies at a time

    Bone Devil (CR 9) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +6, Cha +7, Insight +6
    Communication: Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 19, 142 hp, flight, standard devil specials
    Combat Attacks: Three at +8 for 45 total dmg + poisoned (Con DC 14 1/round to negate)

    Key strengths: good damage, durable, flight
    Bone devils are very capable melee partners, filling a role similar to bearded devils but much more effectively. They're quite difficult to command.

    Orthon (CR 10) MToF
    Defense against control: immune to charm, magic resistance, Cha +3, Insight +2
    Communication: Common, Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 17, 105 hp, invisibility field, stealth +11, standard devil specials
    Combat Attacks: One at +10 for 11 dmg + 22 dmg and poisoned (Con DC 17 to halve dmg and negate poison) or One ranged at +7 for 14 dmg + various effects

    Key strengths: infernal crossbow, invisibility field
    The Orthon's direct combat capability is poor for its CR, but its stealthiness and the paralysis, blindness, and entanglement bolts have some combat potential. However, if it escapes your control its invisibility field gives it tremendous potential to cause mischief. The explosive retribution caused when it dies is annoying, but the damage is minimal for a party of level 15+. There are various tricks you can attempt to separate the orthon from its crossbow and acquire that crossbow for your own use.

    Horned Devil (CR 11) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +7, Cha +7
    Communication: Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 18, 148 hp, fast flight, standard devil specials
    Combat Attacks: Three at +10 for 40 total damage + 10 wounding (Con DC 17 negates) or Three ranged at +7 for 42 total damage

    Key strengths: durable, flight
    Similar to the bone devil in capability, but more effective in ranged and ambush roles.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2019-02-26 at 01:05 AM.

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    Default Re: Daemonology and You: jiriku's guide to fiend-binding

    Fiendbinding 303: Fiendish Bestiary, Part 2

    Spoiler: True polymorph (Fiends of up to CR 9)
    Show
    https://www.dndbeyond.com/monsters?f...-lair=&sort=cr

    Fiends created through true polymorph are friendly towards you, but given their evil alignments and the possibility of summoning them through gate or binding them when encountered as opponents, this guide will continue to show "defense against control" statistics for each fiend.

    Vargouille (CR 1) VGtM
    Defense against control: Wis -2, Cha -4
    Communication: Understands Abyssal, Infernal, and possibly other languages but cannot speak
    Combat Defenses: AC 12, 13 hp, flight, resists cold, fire, and lightning, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: One at +4 for 15 damage, kiss, stunning shriek 30 ft (Wis DC 12 or frightened and stunned)

    Key strengths: great melee damage, kiss, stunning shriek, flight
    Vargouille are almost ridiculously deadly combatants for a CR 1 monster… unfortunately, by the time you can summon them you'll have no use for a CR 1 monster in combat. Their stun affects such a large area that they may still be situationally useful (A DC 12 save is a tough save for any creature that isn't proficient in Wisdom saving throws) and they are trivially easy to bind and control. The ability of vargouille to reproduce themselves by infecting humanoids does enable a tactic of deliberately triggering an overnight vargouille apocalypse, but there are not many scenarios in which that's a useful thing for a player character to do. If you can somehow get one early in your adventuring career and farm them from defeated humanoids, they're definitely a useful fiend to have in your entourage.

    Hell Hound (CR 3) MM
    Defense against control: Wis +1, Cha -2
    Communication: Understands Infernal but cannot speak
    Combat Defenses: AC 15, 45 hp, keen hearing and smell, Perception +5, immune to fire
    Combat Attacks: One at +5 for 14 damage, fire breath 15-ft cone (21 dmg, Dex DC 12 half), pack tactics

    Key strengths: keen senses, accurate attack
    Hell hounds are a popular low-level foe in many campaigns; if you can somehow capture and bind one, they make good camp guards to watch over you during long rests.

    Merrenoloth (CR 3) MToF
    Defense against control: Wis +2, Cha +0
    Communication: Abyssal, Infernal, telepathy 60 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 13, 40 hp, swims, standard yugoloth specials
    Combat Attacks: One at +5 for 8 damage, fear gaze 60 ft (frightened, with Wis DC 13 1/round to negate)
    Spells (DC 13): at-will: charm person, darkness, detect magic, dispel magic, gust of wind; 3/day: control water; 1/day: control weather

    Key strengths: lair actions, blindsight, spellcasting, teleportation, magic weapons
    In a naval campaign, the merrenoloth's spellcasting and lair actions when contracted to captain a ship are incredibly useful -- your ship never sinks, never gets lost, never gets becalmed, and can be repaired no matter how much damage it takes. You may have some difficulty finding a crew willing to work for a fiendish captain, however. Even in a non-aquatic campaign, the merrenoloth's spells make it a worthy servant. Finding and binding one before levels 17+ will be difficult, however -- yugoloths are difficult to summon and its at-will teleportation makes it very difficult to pin down long enough for planar binding.

    Despite its magic strike and good accuracy for a CR 3 monster, the merrenoloth is a poor melee combatant and you should try to keep it out of close combat. It is better off hanging back in a fight, providing magical support, spotting invisible foes, and using its fear gaze.

    Nightmare (CR 3) MM
    Defense against control: Wis +1, Cha +2
    Communication: Understands Common and Infernal but cannot speak
    Combat Defenses: AC 13, 68 hp, fast, flight, ethereal stride, Immune to fire, confer fire resistance
    Combat Attacks: One at +6 for 20 damage

    Key strengths: speed, flying mount, confers fire resistance, ethereal travel, great accuracy, great damage
    The nightmare is a coveted mount, with an incredible 90 ft fly speed and ability to confer fire resistance on its rider. It also punches well above its CR in melee. Unfortunately, you're unlikely to be able to command one until high levels, where its low hp and poor defenses make it vulnerable in combat -- you should invest considerable resources in protecting it or else keep it out of combat.

    Barghest (CR 4) VGtM
    Defense against control: Wis +1, Cha +2
    Communication: Abyssal, Common, Goblin, Infernal, telepathy 60 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 17, 90 hp, fast, keen smell, blindsight 60 ft, Perception +5, resists cold, fire, lightning, and nonmagic attacks, immune to acid and poison
    Combat Attacks: One at +6 for 13 damage
    Innate Spellcasting (DC 12): at-will: levitate, minor illusion, pass without trace; 1/day charm person, dimension door, suggestion

    Key strengths: fast, blindsight, durable, spellcasting, keen smell, disguise
    The barghest is superior even to the hell hound as a camp guard. Inferior for its CR in melee combat, it can nevertheless contribute with its spells. A barghest makes a decent scout… if you trust it to report honestly.

    Gnoll Fang of Yeenoghu (CR 4) MM
    Defense against control: Wis +2, Cha +3
    Communication: Abyssal, Gnoll
    Combat Defenses: AC 14, 65 hp
    Combat Attacks: Three at +5 for 20 total damage + 7 dmg (Con DC 12 negates)

    Key strengths: Good damage
    The fang is a solid brute that deals good damage for its hit dice but has poor defenses. It is proficient with medium armor; equip it with breastplate or half-plate to improve its AC to 16 or 17. However, you're usually better off binding a more capable fiend instead.

    Succubus/Incubus (CR 4) MM
    Defense against control: Wis +1, Cha +5
    Communication: Abyssal, Common, Infernal, telepathy 60 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 15, 66 hp, fast flight, etherealness, resists cold, fire, lightning, poison, and nonmagical attacks
    Combat Attacks: One at +5 for 6 damage, charm, draining kiss
    Skills: Deception +9, Insight +5, Perception +5, Persuasion +9, Stealth +7

    Key strengths: flight, disguise, charm, etherealness, skill use
    It's embarrassing the number of you who are learning to command fiends just so you can get your own personal succubus. You should be ashamed of yourselves. But in all fairness, succubi make exceptional minions. The charm ability is much more powerful than a charm spell: it lasts a full day without concentration, grants absolute control over the target's actions, and telepathic communication anywhere in the multiverse. With fast flight and at-will etherealness, a succubus is a supreme scout, and its formidable array of social interaction skills coupled with its shapechanger ability allows it to function as a party face.

    Cambion (CR 5) MM
    Defense against control: Will +1, Cha +6
    Communication: Abyssal, Common, Infernal
    Combat Defenses: AC 19, 82 hp, fast flight, resists cold, fire, lightning, poison, and nonmagical attacks
    Combat Attacks: Two at +7 for 22 total damage, or Two ranged at +7 for 20 total damage, fiendish charm
    Spellcasting (DC 14): 3/day: alter self, command, detect magic; 1/day: plane shift (self only)
    Skills: Deception +6, Intimidation +6, Perception +4, Stealth +7

    Key strengths: fiendish charm, accurate attacks, disguise
    A more combat-ready version of the succubus, the cambion shares its charm but lacks the long-range telepathy. Its social skills, scouting ability, and ability to blend in are likewise poorer, and its spellcasting ability is unimpressive. Your primary reason for binding a cambion would most likely be that you need a combat-capable monster that can use alter self to go places where an obviously fiendish creature cannot go.

    Mezzoloth (CR 5) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +0, Cha +0
    Communication: Abyssal, Infernal, telepathy 60 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 18, 75 hp, standard yugoloth specials
    Combat Attacks: Two at +7 for 16 total damage
    Spellcasting (DC 11): 2/day: darkness, dispel magic; 1/day: cloudkill

    Key strengths: accurate attack, magic weapons, blindsight, teleportation
    The mezzoloth is passable as a spellcaster and combatant. If you need a combatant with long-range blindsight it is marginally superior to the barghest.

    Night Hag (CR 5) MM
    Defense against control: immune to charm, magic resistance, Cha +3
    Communication: Abyssal, Common, Infernal, Primordial
    Combat Defenses: AC 17, 112 hp, etherealness, resists cold, fire, and nonmagical attacks (except silver)
    Combat Attacks: One at +7 for 13 damage, nightmare haunting
    Spellcasting (DC 14): at-will: detect magic, magic missile; 2/day: plane shift (self only), ray of enfeeblement, sleep

    Key strengths: durable, nightmare haunting, disguise
    The hag's etherealness makes her a good scout or spy, but you can get better from creatures that are less difficult to summon and control -- she's a very hard target. Nightmare haunting is an effective way to assassinate someone if you're not in a hurry, and her change shape ability does make her more capable of accompanying you in places where a fiend is not welcome. Her etherealness and durability make her a decent bodyguard against opponents capable of ethereal travel, but she will need support magic to bring an ethereal foe down by herself.

    Dhergoloth (CR 7) MToF
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +0, Cha -1
    Communication: Abyssal, Infernal, telepathy
    Combat Defenses: AC 15, 119 hp, standard yugoloth specials
    Combat Attacks: Two at +6 for 24 total damage, flailing claws
    Spellcasting (DC 10): at-will: darkness, fear; 3/day: sleep

    Key strengths: durable, spellcasting, blindsight, teleportation, magic weapons
    The dhergoloth is hard to kill in combat but is hard to summon, hard to trap and bind, and unimpressive in melee. There are much better combatants available to you.

    Canoloth (CR 8) MToF
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +3, Cha +1
    Communication: Abyssal, Infernal, telepathy 60 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 16, 120 hp, uncanny senses, truesight 120 ft, fast, dimensional lock, standard yugoloth specials (except teleportation and blindsight)
    Combat Attacks: Two at +7 for 40 total damage or one ranged at +7 for 17 dmg + grapple, pull, and restrain (escape DC 15)

    Key strengths: dimensional lock, magic weapons, tongue, truesight
    The canoloth is a fiend you use for hunting and capturing other fiends. Its dimensional lock and restraining tongue can be used to lock down a fiend while you use magic to command it, while its good damage and magic attack make it an effective threat even against devils and other fiends resistant to nonmagic weapons. With truesight, it can locate and restrain even normally elusive fiends capable of invisibility.

    Howler (CR 8) MToF
    Defense against control: Wis +5, Cha -2
    Communication: Understands Abyssal but cannot speak
    Combat Defenses: AC 16, 90 hp, resists cold, fire, lightning, and nonmagical attacks, immune to fear
    Combat Attacks: Two at +6 for up to 64 damage, pack tactics, ignores damage resistance, mind-breaking howl 60-ft cone (Wis DC 16 or frightened, incapacitated, and speed halved for 1 round)

    Key strengths: Usable as a mount, great damage
    The howler is easy to control and makes an excellent mount, and a ferocious combatant, especially if you can supplement its mind-breaking howl with fear effects of your own.

    Hydroloth (CR 9) MToF
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +0, Cha +2
    Communication: Abyssal, Infernal, telepathy 60 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 15, 135 hp, amphibious swimmer, standard yugoloth specials, vulnerable to fire
    Combat Attacks: Two at +9 for 30 damage, watery advantage, steal memory
    Spellcasting (DC 16): at-will: darkness, detect magic, dispel magic (+4), invisibility (self only), water walk; 3/day control water, crown of madness, fear, phantasmal killer, suggestion

    Key strengths: blindsight, spellcasting, steal memory, teleportatation, magic weapons
    The hydroloth is a formidable spellcaster that is reasonably easy to control for a CR 9 fiend, but its best attribute may be its steal memory ability, which cripples spellcasters and social characters, and can significantly debilitate a martial foe. Steal memory can also significantly debuff a fiend you want to bind with planar binding, reducing its Charisma modifier to -3 and eliminating and proficiency with Charisma saving throws. For example, if it can defeat a glabrezu's +4 Int save, it suffers an effective -10 penalty against a subsequent planar binding spell that you cast.

    The hydroloth is a decent fiend to accompany you in underwater adventures, but this isn't its best application; it does not grant water breathing or a swimming ability, and so if you've overcome those obstacles for yourself and your fellow PCs chances are you can overcome them for a land-based fiendish minion or two as well.

    The hydroloth, like its other CR 9 counterpart the nycaloth, is much easier to control than most demons or devils near its CR.

    Nycaloth (CR 9) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +0, Cha +2
    Communication: Abyssal, Infernal, telepathy 60 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 18, 123 hp, fast flight, standard yugoloth specials
    Combat Attacks: Two at +9 for 36 total damage, or 24 total damage + 10 wounding damage (Con DC 16 negates)
    Spellcasting: at-will: darkness, detect magic, dispel magic (+2), invisibility (self only), mirror image

    Key strengths: flight, spellcasting, wounding, blindsight, teleportation, magic weapons
    The nycaloth is an excellent ambush combatant, able to use its spells to approach from stealth, attack with advantage to deliver bleeding wounds, then withdraw and maneuver for another ambush while the target bleeds. Its combination of mobility, detection capability, magic, and martial prowess make it an able contributor to high-level combat encounters. Like the nycaloth, it is much easier to control than most demons or devils near its CR.


    Spoiler: Gate (Devils of CR 12+, demons of CR 11+, other fiends of CR 10+)
    Show
    https://www.dndbeyond.com/monsters?f...-lair=&sort=cr

    Alkilith (CR 11) MToF
    Defense against control: immune to charm, magic resistance, Cha -2
    Communication: Understands Abyssal but cannot speak
    Combat Defenses: amorphous, false appearance, stealth +8, resists acid, cold, fire, lightning, and nonmagical attacks, immune to fear and poison
    Combat Attacks: Three at +8 for 54 damage (15 ft reach), foment madness

    Key strengths: foment madness, good melee damage
    While the alkilith can be useful to force disadvantage on enemy saving throws, without protection for your allies it is extremely awkward and dangerous to use.

    Yagnoloth (CR 11) MToF
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +6, Cha +8
    Communication: Abyssal, Infernal, telepathy 60 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 17, 147 hp, standard yugoloth specials
    Combat Attacks: Two at +8 for 50 total damage + stunned 1 round (Con DC 16 negates), life leech, battlefield cunning, magic weapons
    Spellcasting (DC 16): at-will: darkness, detect magic, dispel magic (+4), invisibility (self only), suggestion; 3/day: lightning bolt

    Key strengths: blindsight, teleportation, good damage, spellcasting
    A yagnoloth is an excellent leader for a group of lower-CR yugoloths or support for a more powerful group, using its stunning attack and battfield cunning to set up allies while casting darkness and suggestion to disrupt enemies. Its spells have a solid save DC as well.

    Arcanaloth (CR 12) MM
    Defense against control: immune to charm, magic resistance, Cha +7
    Communication: all languages, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 17, 104 hp, truesight 120 ft, standard yugoloth specials
    Combat Attacks: One at +7 for 8 damage + 10 (Con DC 14 half)
    Skills: Arcana +13, Deception +9, Insight +9, Perception +7
    Spellcasting (DC 15): at-will: alter self, darkness, heat metal, invisibility (self only), magic missile

    And as 16th level spellcaster (DC 17, +9 to hit)
    Cantrips: fire bolt, mage hand, minor illusion, prestidigitation
    1st level (4 slots): detect magic, identify, shield, tenser's floating disk
    2nd level (3 slots): detect thoughts, mirror image, phantasmal force, suggestion
    3rd level (3 slots): counterspell, fear, fireball
    4th level (3 slots): banishment, dimension door
    5th level (2 slots): contact other plane, hold monster
    6th level (1 slot): chain lightning
    7th level (1 slot): finger of death
    8th level (1 slot): mind blank

    Key strengths: truesight, teleportation, magic weapons, spellcasting, disguise, knows all languages
    The arcanoloth is an immensely capable spellcaster, and one of the fiends able to cast counterspell. Although exceptionally difficult to bind, this caster is well worth the trouble and should be guarded carefully once it joins your entourage. With its at-will alter self and formidable intelligence and skills, it is also capable of passing as humanoid with ease and can travel with you in places where obvious fiends would be met with hostility.

    The arcanoloth also has a unique ability: it knows all languages. When you encounter obscure, forgotten languages or polyglot encounters where everyone is speaking a different language, the arcanoloth can serve as your universal translator.

    Erinyes (CR 12) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +6, Cha +8
    Communication: Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 18, 153 hp, fast flight, truesight 120 ft, parry, standard devil specials
    Combat Attacks: Three at +8 for 63 total damage or three ranged at +7 for 60 total damage + permanently poisoned (Con DC 14 negates), hellish weapons

    Key strengths: good damage, flight, durable, poisoned arrows, magic weapons
    The erinyes is a solid ranged combatant, inflicting a poisoned condition that the target can't save to remove every round. She has truesight with a great range. Very difficult to bind, though.

    Oinoloth (CR 12) MToF
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +7, Cha +4
    Communication: Abyssal, Infernal, telepathy 60 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 17, hp 126, standard yugoloth specials
    Combat Attacks: Two at +8 for 72 total damage + transfixing gaze (charmed and restrained for 1 round, Wis DC 16 negates), bringer of plagues
    Spellcasting (DC 16): at-will: darkness, detect magic, dispel magic, invisibility (self only); 1/day: feeblemind, globe of invulnerability, wall of fire, wall of ice

    Key strengths: blindsight, teleportation, magic weapons, durable, great damage, bringer of plagues
    With its exceptional melee damage, many special abilities, and powerful selection of defensive, debuffing, and battlefield control spells, the oinoloth is a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. Very difficult to control, however.

    Devourer (CR 13) VGtM
    Defense against control: Wis +0, Cha +3
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: resists cold, fire, and lightning, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: Two at +10 for 66 total damage, imprison soul, soul rend

    Key strengths: imprison soul, soul rend, good melee damage
    The devourer is a solid choice if you have a character in your party who can command the undead it creates. Although it is an unsophisticated melee combatant, it is substantially easier to command than most fiends you'll be acquiring via gate.

    Nalfeshnee (CR 13) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +6, Cha +7
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 18, 184 hp, flight, truesight 120 ft, at-will teleport, resists cold, fire, lightning, and nonmagical weapons, immune to poison
    Combat Attacks: Three at +10 for 62 total damage, horror nimbus

    Key strengths: durable, good melee damage, flight, truesight, teleportation
    The nalfeshnee is an effective if unsubtle combatant. Its flight and teleportation make it difficult to pin down, but its low speed and lack of long-range attacks can leave it struggling to contribute in a mobile battle.

    Narzugon (CR 13) MToF
    Defense against control: immune to charm, magic resistance, Wis +2, Cha +4
    Communication: Common, Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 20, 112 hp, diabolical sense, healing, infernal command, standard devil specials, immune to fear
    Combat Attacks: Three at +10 for 81 total damage, hellfire lance, terrifying command 60 ft (frightened, Cha DC 17 1/round to negate), infernal tack

    Key strengths: Healing, durable, infernal tack, fast flight and etherealness from nightmare companion
    The narzugon has enormous melee damage potential, both through its hellfire lance and through attacks from its nightmare mount. Very few fiends can heal, and its 100-point heal is useful even at the high levels you're likely to be at before you can bind one. It's difficult to command, but not particularly so compared to most other fiends near its CR. If it is killed but its nightmare mount survives, you can salvage its infernal tack.

    The hellfire lance is of special note because foes killed by it are particuarly difficult to bring back from the dead. If there is a particular nemesis in your campaign who seems to keep returning from the dead, killing it with a strike from a narzugon's lance may do the trick.

    Rakshasa (CR 13) MM
    Defense against control: limited magic immunity, Wis +3, Cha +5
    Communication: Common, Infernal
    Combat Defenses: immune to nonmagical attacks, vulnerable to magic weapons wielded by good creatures
    Combat Attacks: Two at +7 for 18 total damage + curse
    Spellcasting (DC 18, +10 to hit): at-will: detect thoughts, disguise self, mage hand, minor illusion; 3/day: charm person, detect magic, invisibility, major image, suggestion; 1/day: dominate person, fly, plane shift, true seeing

    Key strengths: spellcasting, immunity, disguise
    The rakshasa is a decent support caster that can disguise itself as a humanoid, but its magic immunity makes it unusually difficult to summon and command. However, unlike an arcanoloth or ultroloth it isn't immune to charms. The rakshasa can cast plane shift and take others along -- this is a rare ability for fiends.

    Ultroloth (CR 13) MM
    Defense against control: immune to charm, magic resistance, Wis +2, Cha +4
    Communication: Abyssal, Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 19, 153 hp, fast flight, truesight 120 ft, immune to fear
    Combat Attacks: Three at +8 for 21 total damage + hypnotic gaze 30 ft (charmed and stunned for 1 round, Wis DC 17 negates)
    Spellcasting (DC 17): at-will: alter self, clairvoyance, darkness, detect magic, detect thoughts, dispel magic (+4), invisibility (self only), suggestion; 3/day: dimension door, fear, wall of fire; 1/day: fire storm, mass suggestion

    Key strengths: magic weapons, teleportation, truesight, flight, spellcasting
    The ultroloth is a magical powerhouse rivaled only by the arcanoloth and blue abishai. Its magic tends towards enchantment, divination, and illusion, making it more subtle than either of them. The ultroloth can easily disguise its fiendish nature. It's difficult to control, but less so than most other fiends of CR 11+.

    Wastrilith (CR 13) MKoF
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +1, Cha +2
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 17, 157 hp, standard demon specials, fast amphibious swimmer, resists nonmagical attacks, undertow
    Combat Attacks: Three at +9 for 66 total damage + grasping spout (22 dmg and pulled, Str DC 17 for half and no pull), corrupt water

    Key strengths: fast swimmer, durable, corrupt water
    With its corrupt water, undertow, and grasping spout features, the wastrilith is more of an area-denial weapon than an adventuring companion. You can summon one to serve as a moat monster or lake monster, to corrupt a water source, or to hunt an underwater foe. It would make an excellent underwater mount if you and your entire party were immune to poison, but the number of campaigns featuring such a use are probably quite few.

    Ice Devil (CR 14) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +7, Cha +9
    Communication: Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 18, 180 hp, standard devil specials, immune to cold, blindsight 60 ft
    Combat Attacks: Three at +10 for 64 total damage, wall of ice

    Key strengths: durable, blindsight
    The ice devil is inferior to most of the combat-oriented fiends of CR 12 or 13 and is difficult to control. It has little to recommend it unless you have a special need for a creature that deals cold damage.

    Green Abishai (CR 15) MToF
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +1, Cha +9
    Communication: Draconic, Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 18, 187 hp, flight, standard devil specials
    Combat Attacks: Two at +8/+6 for 17 total damage + poisoned claws (11 dmg and poisoned, Con DC 16 negates)
    Skills: Deception +9, Insight +6, Perception +6, Persuasion +9
    Spellcasting (DC 17): at-will: alter self, major image; 3/day: charm person, detect thoughts, fear; 1/day: confusion, dominate person, mass suggestion

    Key strengths: durable, flight, spellcasting, disguise
    The green abishai is a terrible combatant but a consummate deceiver. With at-will illusions and an arsenal of enchantments, it makes an excellent spy or trickster. Of course, that makes it incredibly dangerous if it should begin working against you. It's much easier to charm than most high-CR fiends, but very difficult to bind.

    Nabassu (CR 15) MToF
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +2, Cha +3
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 18, 190 hp, standard demon specials, resists necrotic and nonmagical attacks, fast flight
    Combat Attacks: Two at +11 for 51 total damage + soul-stealing gaze, devour soul, magic weapons

    Key strengths: flight, devour soul
    The nabassu's combat capability is unimpressive for its CR (although still superior to many other fiends), but its real attraction is the devour soul ability, which can make resurrection extremely difficult for those pesky recurring villains that some campaigns feature. It is relatively easy to command for such a high-CR fiend.

    Marilith (CR 15) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +8, Cha +10
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 18, 189 hp, standard demon specials, truesight 120 ft, resists nonmagical attacks, reactive parry, at-will teleport
    Combat Attacks: Seven at +9 for 93 total damage + grapple (escape DC 19)

    Key strengths: great melee damage, truesight, great durability, teleportation
    The marilith is an absolute brute in combat, especially if you can arrange for it to make its many attacks with advantage. It has great staying power in toe-to-toe (toe-to-tail?) combat. It is terribly difficult to bind, however.

    Blue Abishai (CR 17) MToF
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +12, Cha +4
    Communication: Draconic, Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 19, 195 hp, flight, standard devil specials, immune to lightning
    Combat Attacks: Two at +8 for 33 total damage
    Spellcasting (DC 20, +12 to hit):
    Cantrips: friends, mage hand, message, minor illusion, shocking grasp
    1st level (4 slots): chromatic orb, disguise self, expeditious retreat, magic missile, charm person, thunderwave
    2nd level (3 slots): darkness, mirror image, misty step
    3rd level (3 slots): dispel magic (+6), fear, lightning bolt
    4th level (3 slots): dimension door, greater invisibility, ice storm
    5th level (2 slots): cone of cold, wall of force
    6th level (1 slot): chain lightning
    7th level (1 slot): teleport

    Key strengths: flight, spellcasting
    The blue abishai is somewhat less competent a spellcaster than the arcanoloth, but is much more durable and has a higher save DC and attack bonus on its spells. You won't need to guard it to keep it safe in combat, and it is also much easier to bind and not immune to charm (although overcoming its magic resistance and +12 Wis save is a tall order). As it lacks an at-will teleport, it is also easier to trap than a yugoloth.

    Goristro (CR 17) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +7, Cha +2
    Communication: Abyssal
    Combat Defenses: AC 19, 310 hp, standard demon specials, resists nonmagical attacks
    Combat Attacks: Three at +13 for 63 total damage + prone (Str DC 21 negates) or charge at +13 for 83 damage + pushed and prone (Str DC 21 negates), siege monster

    Key strengths: Fantastic durability, accurate attacks
    The goristro is a living siege engine and should be used as such. Its quite easy to bind for a beast of its power and deals immense damage to structures with its charge. It has the highest attack bonus of any non-legendary fiend save the balor and pit fiend. However, it lacks the flexibility and combat options of most high-CR fiends, so you should make sure to deploy it only in situations that suit its strengths.

    Amnizu (CR 18) MToF
    Defense against control: immune to charm, magic resistance, Wis +7, Cha +10
    Communication: Common, Infernal, telepathy 1000 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 21, 202 hp, standard devil specials, instinctive charm, flight
    Combat Attacks: Two at +11 for 87 total damage + poison mind (26 dmg and blinded for 1 round, Wis DC 19 negates)
    Spellcasting (DC 19): at-will: charm person, command; 3/day: dominate person, fireball; 1.day: dominate monster, feeblemind

    Key strengths: spellcasting, flight, durable, long-range telepathy
    The amnizu is a flexible combatant, with flight, disabling spells, and balanced offensive and defensive strength. Its long-range telelpathy allows it to function as a coordinator if your allies are spready out over a very large area. It's immune to charms and very difficult to command.

    Balor (CR 19) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +9, Cha +12
    Communication: Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 19, 262 hp, fast flight, standard demon specials, resists nonmagical attacks, truesight 120 ft, at-will teleport
    Combat Attacks: Two at +14 for 59 total damage + pull (Str DC 20 negates), fire aura, magic weapons, death throes

    Key strengths: flight, magic weapons, accurate attacks, teleportation, truesight
    The balor is phenomenally difficult to bind, deals only mediocre damage for its CR, and explodes when it dies with a burst that is almost guaranteed to cause friendly fire if your allies are on the same battlefield. As a huge creature, it's big enough to be inconvenient in many places and it's as subtle as a brick to the head. If you summon it, the idea mission is probably to lead a suicide run supported by allies that are immune to fire damage. Or to create a massive distraction.

    Red Abishai (CR 19) MToF
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +8, Cha +4
    Communication: Draconic, Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 22, 255 hp, flight, standard devil specials, resists nonmagical attacks
    Combat Attacks: Three at +12 for 87 total damage + frightful presence (fear in large burst, Wis DC 18 1/round to negate), incite fanaticism, power of the dragon queen

    Key strengths: flight, magic weapons, incite fanatacism, frightful presence.
    A straightforward but capable combat brute, the red abishai is dreadfully easy to bind compared to most other fiends in its threat range. Its incite fanaticism is a great party buff and frightful presence can greatly reduce the danger of many encounters. Overall, this fiend is a great way to add some muscle to high-level parties.

    Pit fiend (CR 20) MM
    Defense against control: magic resistance, Wis +10, Cha +7
    Communication: Infernal, telepathy 120 ft
    Combat Defenses: AC 19, 300 hp, fast flight, devil specials, truesight 120 ft,
    Combat Attacks: Four at +14 for 99 total damage + poison bite (21 ongoing damage and poisoned, Con DC 21 1/round to negate), fear aura
    Spellcasting (DC 21): at-will: detect magic, fireball; 3/day: hold monster, wall of fire

    Key strengths: flight, magic weapons, spellcasting, fear aura, great damage, accurate attacks, durable
    As befits a CR 20 threat, the pit fiend can take most foes apart with ease, and is exceptionally difficult to control or bind. It could be a powerful ally on the battlefield but you summon it at your own risk.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2018-10-28 at 08:09 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    Default Re: Daemonology and You: jiriku's guide to fiend-binding

    Black Tactica

    Dirty tricks. Cunning stratagems. Riddles, wrapped in enigmas.


    Spoiler: What to summon. When to summon it.
    Show
    5th edition focuses on three pillars of roleplaying adventure: exploration/discovery, interaction, and combat. Which fiends are useful for which pillars of gameplay? Click and learn, grasshopper, click and learn.


    Spoiler: Exploration
    Show
    If you turn to a fiend for exploration, you are usually looking for a creature that can stealthily explore and area and return to report, can cast divination spells on your behalf, or can bodily transport your party with extradimensional travel magic. Be mindful that if you rely on a fiend to provide you with information or transport, you are vulnerable to disinformation or kidnapping if the fiend is not firmly under your control.

    BASIC
    Barghest: (CR 4) A barghest offers fast movement, 60-ft blindsight, a keen sense of smell, and proficiency with the Perception skill. However, it has little means of avoiding detection. This find can't be summoned with low-level magic, so it's difficult to acquire.

    Black Abishai: (CR 7) The black abishai can fly and is pretty stealthy (+6). It's not the greatest scout, but since it's a devil you can more easily control it with a single spell and a carefully worded command.

    INVISIBLE
    Imp/Quasit (familiar): (CR 1) An imp or quasit makes an excellent scout with their flight, invisibility, and some innocuous animal shapeshift forms. If you are a warlock with voice of the chain master, you can even perceive directly through your familiar's senses at any distance, granting you direct information rather than a secondhand report. Familiars are much more loyal and reliable than most summoned fiends.

    Barlgura: (CR 5) The barlgura can turn invisible or disguise itself for several hours per day, and has blindsight with 30 ft range, making it more observant than other scouts. You'll need a form of long-term control such as charm monster or planar binding to send it on scouting missions of any real duration.

    Nycaloth: (CR 9) A fast, invisible flyer proficient in stealth (+4) and perception (+4) with blindsight and at-will teleportation, the nycaloth is an excellent scout.

    Orthon: (CR 10) The orthon has at-will bonus-action invisibility and has an excellent stealth (+11). As a devil it is relatively easier to command and control, and as a late-game summon you may have one bound and available for regular scouting duties. Its 30 ft truesight is useful for spotting invisible creatures and illusions. It's not very good at getting around, though.

    Ultroloth: (CR 13) With invisibility, true sight, fast flight, and an array of divination spells, the ultroloth is a great choice for scouting in high-level play, especially against enemies who are savvy enough to be on guard against your ethereal scouts.

    INCORPOREAL
    Shadow Demon: (CR 4) A shadow demon cannot fly or turn invisible like an imp or quasit, but it is very stealthy (+7) and its incorporeal trait allows it to pass locked doors or look inside locked chests. You'll need a form of long-term control such as charm monster or planar binding to send it on scouting missions of any real duration.

    ETHEREAL
    Nightmare: (CR 3) Ethereal access is the gold standard for high-level scouting. With the ability to take both itself and its rider to the ethereal plane, this permits you and the nightmare to scout the material plane while ignoring most barriers and avoiding detection by most enemies. Its 90-ft move speed is also great for covering a lot of ground quickly.

    Succubus: (CR 4) With fast flight, etherealness, and proficiency in Perception and Stealth (+6), a succubus is a supreme scout. She can report back to you telepathically from any distance if she has charmed you, but there are obvious reasons why that might not be a good idea. Succubi can't be summoned with low-level magic so they are difficult to acquire.

    Night Hag: (CR 5) Night hags have etherealness, but few other qualities to recommend them as scouts, and are very difficult to summon and control. Good if you want an ethereal scout and can't find a succubus or nightmare.

    Narzugon: (CR 13) The narguzon comes with a nightmare, meaning it and its mount can travel ethereally. This is ethereal scouting for when you expect trouble.

    PLANAR TRAVEL
    Rakshasa: (CR 13) The rakshasa can cast plane shift, allowing it, you, and up to seven other creatures to travel to another plane.



    Spoiler: Interaction
    Show


    Dybbuk

    Succubus

    Cambion

    Night Hag

    Rakshasa

    Green Abishai

    Arcanaloth

    Ultroloth


    Spoiler: Planar binding of yugoloths and other fiends with at-will teleportation.
    Show
    Magic circle leaves something to be desired as a magic trap. Fiends that can use extradimensional travel can attempt a Charisma save to escape it. For fiends such as yugoloths that can teleport at-will as an action, that's problematical -- the fiend can try to escape every round until it succeeds. You'll never keep it bound in a magic circle long enough to complete your planar binding spell. To hold such a fiend, you'll need to try one of several tactics:

    • Polymorph the fiend into a toad. It loses its teleportation, loses magic resistance, and saves against your planar binding with a Charisma save of -4.
    • Cast a hallow spell in your summoning chamber. Exclude fiends from the warding effect so that fiends can enter the effect. Bind an extradimensional interference to the spell such that fiends cannot use extradimensional travel while within the spell's area. If you summon within this area, fiends can attempt a Charisma save to 'port out, but only once, and if they fail they cannot try again.
    • Bind an incapacitated fiend with dimensional shackles. As long as it remains bound, it cannot teleport. Of course, incapacitating the fiend and shackling it is easier said than done. Spells such as hypnotic pattern may be helpful.
    • Summon and bind a canoloth and keep it in your summoning area. Creatures within 60 ft of the canoloth are subject to its dimensional lock ability and cannot teleport (there is no save against this effect).
    • Incapacitate the fiend for the duration of your casting. An incapacitated creature cannot take actions, so it cannot use extradimensional travel.
    • Most teleportation effects permit the fiend to teleport to any location that it can see. If it cannot see, it cannot teleport, so if you can blind it long enough to complete your spell, it cannot use teleportation to escape. This tactic is easiest with demons and lesser fiends -- devils can see in magical darkness and yugoloths have blindsight.


    Spoiler: Overcoming fiendish magic resistance
    Show
    Magic-resistant fiends are especially difficult to bind or charm. If you can impose disadvantage on their saving throws, the disadvantage and advantage will at least cancel out, granting you much better odds of making your control spell stick. Methods of imposing disadvantage on saves include:

    • If the fiend's Wisdom save is significantly lower than its Charisma save, polymorph it into a toad. It loses magic resistance and you tank its Charisma save such that the planar binding is almost guaranteed to succeed.
    • One of the options of the bestow curse spell is to impose disadvantage on ability checks and saving throws for one ability score. Bestow curse does not require concentration if cast from a glyph of warding or a 5th level spell slot.
    • Three levels of exhaustion will impose disadvantage on all saving throws.
    • When used as a spell focus, an instrument of the bards imposes disadvantage on saving throws against charm spells.
    • A diviner can use portent to simply give the fiend a low roll.


    Spoiler: Reliably commanding devils with the infernal calling spell
    Show
    Successful use of infernal calling involves maximizing your Charisma check and penalizing your opponent's Wisdom (Insight) check.

    Penalize the devil's checks:
    • The most obvious method is to command the devil to tell you its true name. This tactic is not without risk because you will not necessarily know if the devil has won the contested check. It may pretend to have lost and lie to you, giving you a false name. Some method of forcing disadvantage on its first check is a wise way to hedge your bets.
    • Research in fiendish grimoires or tomes of old lore may provide the devil's true name.
    • You can inflict disadvantage on an ability check with spells such as hex or bestow curse.
    • You can also inflict it with conditions such as fear and exhaustion.
    • A diviner can use portent to simply give the fiend a low roll, or give you a high one.



    Improving your own checks:
    • The charm monster spell will grant advantage on your Charisma-based skill checks, and the fiend's altered disposition may cause it to agree to some requests without a contested roll at all.
    • The bard's Jack of All Trades feature grants half proficiency on your ability check.
    • Bardic inspiration from an ally can add an inspiration die to your check.
    • The guidance spell can add 1d4 to your check.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2019-03-12 at 05:06 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Default Re: Daemonology and You: jiriku's guide to binding demons, devils, and other fiends

    This is an awesome idea for a guide.

    I have a 10th-level fiendlock who has just begun dabbling in demons and this will be of great use for future character planning.

    I haven’t read it all yet, but the section
    S on spell, skill and class choice are all well written and super informative.

    Thankyou for sharing!
    My 5E homebrew thread: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...omebrew-Thread

    Including:

    • Path of the Reaver Barbarian (kill all baddies with TWF!)
    • The Bulwark Martial Archetype (become a human shield!)
    • The Sporting Wizard (because magic is for sissies!)
    • Headhunter class (poison your weapons, scalp your enemies!)
    • Mesmer class (Int-based melee, extra reactions!)
    • Shaman class (thunderbolts and lightning!)

  8. - Top - End - #8
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    Default Re: Daemonology and You: jiriku's guide to binding demons, devils, and other fiends

    Thank you! I'm hoping to continue to add tips and tricks to the last post. Feel free to suggest anything that you find works really well for your character.
    Subclasses for 5E: magus of blades, shadowcraft assassin, spellthief, void disciple
    Guides for 5E: Practical fiend-binding

    D&D Remix for 3.x: balanced base classes and feats, all in the authentic flavor of the originals. Most popular: monk and fighter.


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