Thursday, February 27, 2014


Wait, did I really dis gargoyle-esque demons yesterday?  Whoops.  Because vrolikai are among the most classic-looking demons of all: horns, bat wings, stinging tail, the works.  The four arms wielding black flame knives are new, though…

The fully mature form of a nabasu demon, vrolikai are terrifyingly powerful, almost to the level of a balor.  No longer driven by the gluttonous/cannibalistic urges that birthed their nabasu selves, the now-sated vrolikai are the true death demons—engines of efficient, elegant killing at knifepoint. 

Once again, I’ll point you to James Jacobs’s Demons Revisited for vrolikai tactics and physiology.  I only want to add a bit about where they fit in the larger Abyssal and campaign picture.  Nabasus/vrolikai are unique in that they spend so much of their life cycles on the Material Plane.  This makes them highly knowledgeable about mortal affairs…and comparatively ignorant of Abyssal ones.  This makes the vrolikai a canny foe—the demon knows how mortals tick and how best to manipulate them or strike them down.  But even a vrolikai who has been in the Abyss for centuries has centuries less experience than his other demonic rivals.  This may explain why so many vrolikai either act as assassins or ambassadors—it gives them a place in the ever-shifting Abyssal hierarchy and a master to obey while keeping them largely out of politics.  Alternately, many vrolikai simply light out for the Abyss’s territories, finding a patch of evil terrain to call their own far from the grasping claws of the demon lords and balor generals.

Which means, if you are taking a vrolikai down, you’re likely taking him down alone.  He probably doesn’t have a backup team beyond the marilith or glabrezus he can summon.  As an assassin or ambassador, he is meant to operate on his own recognizance; as a lord, he rules a distant fiefdom in a little-traveled layer (likely staffed only with nabasus and juju zombies).  He won’t be an easy kill by any means—I did mention the energy-draining knives, right?—but he also won’t be calling many reinforcements.

The vrolikai Chemtazzin lives in the drow city of Dor Fell as an ambassador, tended by his juju zombie retinue.  He has convinced several of the city’s Majestic Mothers to accept his creations as gifts and bodyguards.  With so many intelligent undead in place (as well as his own considerable talents), he awaits the day he can turn on the Mothers and claim the city for his own.

The Black Flames are a league of halfling assassins that wield magically enervating black knives of living flame.  They are sometimes hailed by their people as resistance fighters against would-be human oppressors; the fact that they actually murder far more halflings is often overlooked.  The head of their order is a vrolikai, though this fact is only known to senior-level assassins. He finds creating a fiefdom in the mortal realm (and a regular buffet of mortal souls) far preferable to squabbling for real estate in the Caverns of Anguish.

The buzzing, preening coloxus Lord Vemblitarq loathes serving in the swampy backwater that his been his post for the past century.  He sees his vrolikai master as a “Material Plane bumpkin” with no sense of the finely choreographed dance of Abyssal politics.  The quickest way to get out of this dump is to offer his resignation…that is, to trick a certain company of mortal adventurers into murdering the vrolikai in his own realm.

Pathfinder Bestiary 2 81

Awww yeah—nothing like slipping a reference (however twisted) to the halfling relic of Blackflame from “basic” D&D.

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