Gluttonous, demonic nobility
What are nalfeshnees?
Nalfeshnee are large, gluttonous Tanar’ri demons that serve as leaders amongst the Tanar’ri. They stand at about 10-20ft tall and weigh about 8,000lb. They typically look a little like bipedal warthogs with small wings, 6 tusks, vicious claws and a large gut. Despite the relatively small size of their wings, they’re actually quite powerful and enable the nalfeshnee to fly.
While nalfeshnee view themselves as some kind of nobility among demons, often they’re found bickering over small kingdoms displaying the pretences of leadership. The reality is they are still demons with a chaotic nature, despite their attempts at sophistication.
Nalfeshnees make powerful foes and are often found ordering around lesser demons. See how you can use these gluttonous creatures below.
The following is the official stat block for a nalfeshnee as detailed in the Monster Manual and the SRD 5.1.
Large fiend (demon), chaotic evil
Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 184 (16d10 + 96)
Speed 20 ft., fly 30 ft.
|21 (+5)||10 (+0)||22 (+6)||19 (+4)||12 (+1)||15 (+2)|
Saving Throws Con +11, Int +9, Wis +6, 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 11
Languages Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 13 (10,000 XP)
Magic Resistance. The nalfeshnee has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Multiattack. The nalfeshnee uses Horror Nimbus if it can. It then makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 32 (5d10 + 5) piercing damage.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (3d6 + 5) slashing damage.
Horror Nimbus (Recharge 5–6). The nalfeshnee magically emits scintillating, multicolored light. Each creature within 15 feet of the nalfeshnee that can see the light must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the nalfeshnee’s Horror Nimbus for the next 24 hours.
Teleport. The nalfeshnee magically teleports, along with any equipment it is wearing or carrying, up to 120 feet to an unoccupied space it can see.
Playing as a nalfeshnee
Nalfeshnees consider themselves to be creatures of refinement and sophistication. While this might seem shocking based both on their bulbous appearance and their demonic attitudes, compared to other demons, this really is the case. They may engage in practices like using cutlery or attempting to follow rules. While their ability to accomplish such things is questionable, you may want to lean into this sense of refinement in role play encounters. Perhaps a nalfeshnee will attempt to dine with its prey before killing them, offer them a final wish or attempt to use a mock trial.
As some of the more intelligent demons, they are also capable of more advanced forms of temptation and manipulation as well. A nalfeshnee can especially used to tempt mortals into acts of greed or gluttony.
In combat, nalfeshnees are vicious. I’d suggest using the following tactics:
- Close combat specialists: Nalfeshnees can do a lot of damage, but only if they get into close combat. Make sure you get near your foes. Nalfeshnee are only average speed though but can teleport at the expense of their attacks if enemies are quite far away. You can also consider using a swarm tactics with lesser demons to decrease character mobility.
- Horror nimbus: You can cause fear to creatures within 15ft of you, so make sure you get in the centre of a group of enemies to activate this ability if you can. If you have options, avoid high wisdom characters like clerics, druids and monks. This ability is particularly handy as it can be performed in conjunction with your attacks! Remember, you can move to get in a space to affect as many characters as possible, then move again to make your attacks (with any remaining movement) so think carefully about how you move.
- Safety up high: Nalfeshnee don’t need to worry about falling as they can fly. Consider having combat occur up high where it’s likely to be more problematic for characters than for nalfeshnees.
- Great against spellcasters: Nalfeshnee have magic resistance, making them a great option against spellcasters who will have less joy against a nalfeshnee.
Fighting a nalfeshnee
If you happen to be fighting a nalfeshnee, I’d consider some of the following tactics:
- Fight at distance: Nalfeshnee can be devastating in close combat but they aren’t particularly fast. Try to fight them at range where they’re completely ineffective. They can still teleport, but this requires their action so saves you from a turn of being damaged. When a nalfeshnee does get into melee range, use methods to disengage and move more than 30ft away such as misty step. Rogues with the mobile feat can disengage and move out of range. Consider using someone like this as a decoy while others make attacks.
- Protection from fear: Being afflicted by the frightened condition can be crippling in combat, prepare yourself with spells and abilties that enhance your saving throws like bardic inspiration. Protection from evil and good is a great, low level option here.
- Avoid groups: Horror nimbus is more effective when the nalfeshnee can get close to a lot of characters at once. Avoid gathering in small groups to reduce the effectiveness of this ability.
|Weight||About 8,000 pounds|
Despite an oafish appearance, and sometimes manner, nalfeshnee are actually intellectual beings with fiendish minds. They generally see other creatures as serving one of 3 functions:
- Food – This generally includes lesser demons, animals and mortals.
- Servants – This generally involves capable creatures that are weaker than themselves.
- Leader – This usually means demons that are more powerful than nalfeshnee.
Nalfeshnee like to present a pretence of refinement and intellect that is beyond the capabilities (or interests) of most demons. However, when in the presence of a more powerful creature, nalfeshnee become grovelling sycophants, at least to the face of such creatures. Behind their backs, they will often use their intellect to disparrage and mock such beings.
Nalfeshnee are the judges of the abyss, sitting upon flaming thrones on the mountain of woes and determining the fates of damned mortals. Usually, this involved assigning them as food, becoming a lesser demon, a slave, or the food of slaves. They pride themselves on their meticulous ability to accurately judge the fate of these individuals, even having rules of conduct. However, due to their chaotic nature, this usually means these judgements are actually made on a whim.
Some nalfeshnee will organise the armies of the abyss and some notable nalfeshnee include; the demon lord Orcus (at least previous to him becoming a demon lord), Zeriveemel, who was summoned by the drow matron mother Quenthal Baenre and Judge Gabberslug, a former Lord of Woe.
Looking for another creature to use in your campaign? See our guides guides about the various monsters of the D&D universe: