What is a glabrezu?
Glabrezus are mid-ranking Tanar’ri demons from the Abyss. They have a powerful build and 2 pairs of arms, with the more powerful set of this sporting deadly pincers.
Glabrezus are known to tempt mortals through promises of power. They’re comfortable spreading all manner of lies to make the deal they want with their victim only to ruin their lives once they’re finished with them.
Despite their powerful build, glabrezus tend to prefer a tactical approach to combat over one of brute force. For this reason, they are often deployed as lieutenants, capable of marshalling the forces of the Abyss into a coherent unit of soldiers.
One of the best parts about playing a glabrezu is that they can combine magic and attacks in the same turn. This makes them hugely flexible and effective combatants.
The following is the official stat block for a glabrezu as detailed in the Monster Manual and the SRD 5.1.
Large fiend (demon), chaotic evil
Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 157 (15d10 + 75)
Speed 40 ft.
|20 (+5)||15 (+2)||21 (+5)||19 (+4)||17 (+3)||16 (+3)|
Saving Throws Str +9, Con +9, Wis +7, Cha +7
Damage Resistances cold, fire, lightning; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)
Innate Spellcasting. The glabrezu’s spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 16). The glabrezu can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At will: darkness, detect magic, dispel magic
1/day each: confusion, fly, power word stun
Magic Resistance. The glabrezu has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Multiattack. The glabrezu makes four attacks: two with its pincers and two with its fists. Alternatively, it makes two attacks with its pincers and casts one spell.
Pincer. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d10 + 5) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a Medium or smaller creature, it is grappled (escape DC 15). The glabrezu has two pincers, each of which can grapple only one target.
Fist. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) bludgeoning damage.
|Weight||About 5,500 pounds|
Glabrezus are powerful, 4 armed demons with 2 monstrous pincers on their larger, upper arms. They weigh about 5,500lb and have a pair of goat horns on their canine-looking head.
Although they’re large, brutish creatures that appear well suited to using brawn above brains, glabrezu actually prefer to operate behind the scenes. They are well accustomed with methods of secrets, schemes and subterfuge using the alluring desires for power to further their own plots. Their large physique serves them well in these endeavours though as they are comfortable using their intimidating presence to their advantage.
Typically, glabrezus will tempt the greedy with promises of power and wealth though rarely deliver on such promises. Because they can’t hide their appearance, such temptations are normally performed secretly via telepathy.
Despite their power, glabrezus only occupy a middle position within demon society, operating as lieutenants and advisers for more discrete endeavours. They command lesser demons, but generally do so by example more than by invoking demands upon the other demons. Typically, they don’t travel together as their missions often require sneakiness and subterfuge.
Glabrezus were some of the first Tanar’ri formed when the sibriex were commissioned with creating the servants of the obyliths to fight in the war against law. During the blood war, glabrezus generally stayed out of open conflict, but their subtler means of manipulation and subterfuge were still used profusely during this time.
Playing as a glabrezu
Glabrezus are typically sneaky monsters and will rarely fight head on with an enemy. In fact, they’ll generally try to avoid combat altogether if they can avoid it. I’d suggest using traps, minions and deception when facing a glabrezu against a group of players.
You’ll also likely want to use negotiation first. Offering players their desires in return for favours is a great way to play a glabrezu. You’ll also want to avoid giving away a glabrezu’s appearance to the players for as long as possible. Try speaking telepathically or through a messenger or some other magical means.
if it does come down to combat, I’d suggest the following tactics:
- Spells and attacks: Glabrezus get a whopping 4 attacks! To be fair, they do have 4 arms, but the great thing about them is they can attack and cast spells in the same turn. Especially early in combat, you’ll want to maximise on this ability. I’d use spells like darkness and confusion to control the battlefield while making a couple of pincer attacks (fist attacks are much weaker).
- Hello darkness my old friend: Darkness is particularly useful for a glabrezu because they have truesight so can see through the darkness while your players probably can’t do the same. This effectively gives you advantage on attacks against your foes and them disadvantage against you (as long as you get in the darkness with them. For bonus points, you can cast darkness on an object a character is carrying so it sticks with them (or they get rid of that object). Armor is good for this as it’s tricky to take off. Or you can use it on magical weapons they’re wielding if you want to avoid being harmed by them.
- Damage resistances: Glabrezus get a load of resistances! But they’re not resistant to everything. Focus your attacks against enemies that can do damage you can’t resist such as those with magical weapons. You may also want to make these characters the targets of certain spells like darkness, confusion or power word stun to remove them from combat (or at least weaken their effectiveness).
Fighting a glabrezu
If you come across a glabrezu, make sure you don’t enter any deals with them, they rarely pay up! You may not know they’re a glabrezu though as they may be speaking to you telepathically. Of course, should you really be trusting voices in your head when you don’t know who’s speaking to you?
If you end up fighting a glabrezu, consider using these tactics:
- Beware of truesight: They can see through invisibility, illusions and darkness so there’s no point using these spells against them. In fact, beware of their ability to use darkness as they can easily impose disadvantage on attack rolls against you and impose advantage on itself. Deadly! You may want to counteract a glabrezu’s tactics with some truesight of your own.
- Lots of resistances: Glabrezus have a lot of resistances, make sure you’re armed with spells and attacks that can cause other types of damage like radiant and necrotic. You might want to pick up some magic weapons while you’re at it.
- Fight from range: They can’t do much damage at range and while they move 40ft which is fairly quick, you should be able tog et ranged weapons and spells that shoot further.
- Counteract their magic: Dispel magic or daylight will help against darkness. Buffs like bardic inspiration, enhance ability and heroes’ feast will help against confusion and power word stun. Use higher level spells to avoid your spells being easily dispelled.
- Magic resistance: You may want to focus your spells on ones that don’t incur a saving throw as glabrezus have advantage on saving throws against magical effects.
Looking for another creature to use in your campaign? See our guides guides about the various monsters of the D&D universe: