Lore For Lemures and Pit Fiends
Monster Manual IV introduced a sidebar that has since become the norm when new monsters are provided: the Knowledge check. This handy item takes the guesswork out of what a character (as opposed to the player) knows about a given creature and rewards those characters with ranks in the appropriate Knowledge skill. Over the course of the next few installments, we'll provide Knowledge check results for a variety of monsters, starting with some of the most iconic that lack this sidebar.
Because Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells, we figured that delving into devil lore would be helpful, so this time we're looking at lemures and pit fiends, with a smattering of general lore thrown in.
A Peek Behind the Rules Curtain
So how do designers determine the Difficulty Class for Knowledge checks about creatures? The following is excerpted from Monster Manual IV:
The description of the Knowledge skill indicates that in general, the baseline DC of checks to identify monsters and remember one bit of useful information about their special powers or vulnerabilities is equal to 10 + the monster's HD. Every 5 points by which the check result exceeds the DC yields another useful piece of information (PH 78).
As a general rule of thumb, a DC 15 check or higher will reveal all of the base creature's type and subtype traits as defined in the glossary. This often includes information about energy resistance or various immunities. For instance, a DC 15 Knowledge (arcana) check reveals that dragons have high hit points (12-sided HD), all good saves, and have darkvision out to 60 feet and low-light vision. They eat, sleep, and breathe.
Information specific to the creature, such as its type of damage resistance, spell-like abilities, or immunities come with the high DC check results.
Mindless and disgusting, lemures live at the absolute bottom of the devil food chain. They are typically goaded into battle by more powerful devils, who care nothing for their fate. Although lemures lack much in the way of offensive capability, they are remarkably tough and durable, making them difficult to dispatch.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (the planes) can learn more about lemures. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.
Knowledge (The Planes)
15 Lemures are pathetic creatures that serve as slaves and conscript troops for more powerful devils. This reveals all outsider and baatezu traits.
20 They have damage reduction 5/good or silver, are immune to fire and poison, and are resistant to acid and cold. A lemure's natural weapons as well as any weapons it wields are treated as evil-aligned and lawful-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
25 Lemures are mindless creatures, so they're immune to mind-affecting effects, such as charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects. Only the telepathic command from other devils or their complete destruction can cause a lemure to stop its assault.
Pit fiends are the absolute lords of the Nine Hells. Powerful, majestic, and terrifying, pit fiends possess a staggering amount of abilities, making them some of the most challenging creatures to face. In addition to their numerous spell-like abilities, pit fiends are extremely intelligent and knowledgeable -- they can defeat their foes just through careful maneuvering and clever ruses long before using their battery of special powers.
Pit Fiend Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (the planes) can learn more about pit fiends. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.
Knowledge (The Planes)
20 This horrific, yet regal creature, is a pit fiend, the undisputed lord of the baatezu and master of creating fear in mortals and devils alike. This reveals all outsider and baatezu traits.
25 They have damage reduction 15/good and silver, are immune to fire and poison, possess superior spell resistance, are resistant to both acid and cold, and can regenerate. They possess telepathy up to 100 feet. A pit fiend's natural weapons as well as any weapons it wields are treated as evil-aligned and lawful-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
30 A hit from a pit fiend's bite attack inflicts a terrible disease known as devil chills, which causes Strength damage. In addition, pit fiends possess poison that causes Constitution damage. Twice per day, they can automatically summon two lemures, bone devils, or bearded devils, or one erinyes, horned devil, or ice devil. Pit fiends can radiate an area of fear, as the spell.
35 Pit fiends can use the following spell-like abilities: blasphemy, create undead, fireball, greater dispel magic, greater teleport, invisibility, magic circle against good, mass hold monster, meteor swarm, persistent image, power word stun, and unholy aura.
General Devil Lore
To learn about devils in general, a character may make a Knowledge (the planes) check.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (the planes) can learn more about devils. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.
Knowledge (The Planes)
15 Devils are outsiders from the Nine Hells of Baator, a lawful evil realm, and many of them belong to a special race known as baatezu. Baatezu are immune to fire and poison, resistant to acid and cold, can see in darkness of any kind, can summon others of their kind, and possess telepathy. They enjoy bullying and causing untold misery in mortal beings.
20 Devils are the eternal foes of demons. The two races have been engaged in an eternal conflict known as the Blood War. In most cases, devils speak Infernal, Celestial, and Draconic.
25 Devils have a rigid caste system in which authority derives not only from power but also from station. They extend their power by corrupting mortals -- those who are successful receive elevated status.
Game Resources: To use the material in this article to its fullest, check out the following resources: Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual, and Player's Handbook.
About the Author
Eric Cagle cut his teeth at Wizards of the Coast, but now lives the extravagant freelancer lifestyle. Look for his name on D&D, d20 Modern, and Star Wars books. Recent credits include d20 Apocalypse, Monster Manual IV, and the Tome of Corruption from Green Ronin Publishing. He is also a contributor to the Game Mechanics, Dragon Magazine, and this lovely website. Eric lives in Seattle where the coffee is dark and bitter like his goddesses.