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D&D General What Would Happen if Fiends Came to Fill the "Low CR Monsters" Niche?

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Why must your enemies be irredeemable? If bandits try to murder villagers and steel their harvest, and get killed by the adventurers defending it, then tough, they missed their chance at redemption. Bandits fault, not adventurers fault.
I have lots of villains like that too (one party I'm DMing recruited a Kobold enemy to join them, and another has a truce with a Medusa). But if I want a rampaging mindless existential threat, I use demons, aberrations, and undead.
 

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HammerMan

Legend
Try using humans.
I do... I go in spurts. Sometimes it's orcs, sometimes it's elves right now I am on a Hobgoblin kick. Humans are normally about 30-40% of my homebrew worlds (so a majority of the people) so lots of good and bad of them. Kobolds seem to never go out of style thought with me... Kobold enemies and kobold alies have appeared in just about every D&D game I have run since 92.
In my current Roll20 campaign I tried to step away from hobgoblins (that have featured in my last 3 campaigns) so I am trying to use Gnolls, but I still WANT to use hobgoblins cause that is the kick I am on...

However I also have this little fun bit with humans... I have 3 diffrent (like very slight) version of Knights and I have had small groups of them plus a few bandits (stats but not really bandits) being bullies of local towns... the best part is the exact same stats for those 3 knights are also being used for alies the PCs have.
 


From what I understand, the idea behind using predominately evil orcs and goblins and kobolds and whatever in D&D was to have enemies that PCs could kill without moral quandary, whereas human opponents could lead to questions over whether killing them was right or not.

Now that killing orcs and goblins and kobolds and whatever is being questioned anyway, might as well shift the "okay to kill without moral quandary" role to demons, which lack the things that caused people to question the morality of portraying the traditional D&D monstrous humanoids as always evil. I'm talking about qualities such as the occassional good individual, being natives to a region, having children, etc. Fiends don't have all that baggage.
 

HammerMan

Legend
I have lots of villains like that too (one party I'm DMing recruited a Kobold enemy to join them, and another has a truce with a Medusa). But if I want a rampaging mindless existential threat, I use demons, aberrations, and undead.
medusa, mind flayer, beholder, orcus himself are some of the stranger allies my good aligned PCs have had...

back in 3e there was a BoVD race that hated and wanted to kill the gods... my buddy made a campaign around them trying to wipe out all of the gods. My Wizard/Cleric/Mysthic theurge of Vecna not only worked with a Paliden of Pelor, a ranger (NG), and a cleric of Behomut, but my character and the cleric ended up falling in love (me NE and her LG) it was a wild ride.
 

Voadam

Legend
In 5e dretches from the MM are CR 1/4 and known for being in numberless hordes in the Abyss so they can be used as small humanoid stand ins mechanically and narratively if you want.

Throughout D&D there have been common low power fiends so you could do this from fairly low level (manes since 1e MM1 and then dretches being common ones since 1e MM2), and lots of supplements through different editions provide more options for lesser fiends. Mayfair Games had a fantastic set of Demons Supplements for 1e.

The issue is tone and flavor for why the monsters are demons. Either you have the Demon Lands where demons are running around because there is a gate from the Abyss or whatever (Pathfinder's Golarion and 3.0's Twin Crowns setting do this), or people who summon them. Both can work, but either makes for specific setting and story issues.

The 3.5 version of Green Ronin's Book of Fiends has a ton of options for lower CR fiends so I assume the 5e version does too.

Really low CR fiends (goblin level) are fairly rare, but there are a lot of options for a variety of mid low CR depending on edition and supplements you have available and want to use.
 

Voadam

Legend
From what I understand, the idea behind using predominately evil orcs and goblins and kobolds and whatever in D&D was to have enemies that PCs could kill without moral quandary, whereas human opponents could lead to questions over whether killing them was right or not.
I would say instead originally it was more a DM perspective.

Labelling things generally evil meant they were generally hostile to PCs as opposed to things that were generally friendly at base or neutral.

The assumption to start was that PCs were greedy well armed adventurers seeking loot, not crusaders seeking to righteously exterminate evil creatures.

Whether PCs engaged monsters of any alignment in parley, avoided them, or fought them was up to the PCs and the situation. 1e for example had a class that required you to be LG and not associate with evil, but also a PC class that required you to be evil. There was a lot of options for doing things different ways.
 

Honestly my biggest issue with demons in DnD is they're so regular - specific forms fitting into specific categories and set to a logical taxonomy. They're made of chaos; they should be impossible to categorize!

I get that statblocks need to exist, but still. It annoys me in a low-grade way.

Recurring demon incursions would pretty much dominate the story of the campaign, but I'm not sure that's such a terrible thing. You should be fighting monsters associated with the main story, so if you want to do a story about a necromancer trying to take over the world... use skeletons.

For a story-less game, just tweak the setting rules to make "uncontrolled demon incursion" easier to happen than normal. It would also explain why this region on you hex-map isn't heavily settled anymore.
 

It's a shame they're MtG creatures, because the small cackler demons from Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica could really fill the goblin niche.

rakdos-cackler-ryan-barger.jpg


They even have the Mimicry trait to mimic sounds and voices, so they could lay ambushes by mimicking past victims' cries for help or whatever.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
It's a shame they're MtG creatures, because the small cackler demons from Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica could really fill the goblin niche.

View attachment 150662

They even have the Mimicry trait to mimic sounds and voices, so they could lay ambushes by mimicking past victims' cries for help or whatever.
Now that they're in that book they're D&D creatures too, right?
 

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