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Battleloths were a subgroup of yugoloths that served as the literal tools of their masters, created to serve as weapons for war. Each subtype two forms, a weapon and humanoid form, that they used as needed ranging from arrows, axes, crossbows, picks, spiked chains, and swords.
Each battleloth subtype looked different not only in weapon but in humanoid form as well. Arrow battleloths appeared to be barbed-steel arrows, but in their true forms were feathered creatures with brown skin and arrowheads in place of claw tips. Axe battleloths took on the appearance of bronze greataxes with spikes on the head, a leering visage engraved on the blade and sharp fangs on the edges. Their true form was that of gray, diminutive beings with a bony ridge along their foreheads sharp enough to act as a blade. When transformed, crossbow battleloths were light wood and iron crossbows with wicked faces where the bow joined to the stock, and pale, uncannily wide-mouthed humanoids at all other times.
Pick battleloths took the forms of heavy, brass picks with hollow heads and a tiny hole in the point, while in their true forms they were slender and long limbed, with mosquito-like faces. Spiked chain battleloths appeared to be blackened, spike covered chain sets but revealed themselves to be five lengths of chains. Each chain acted as a limb except the one that was the head, and each radiated out from a center point. Sword battleloths took the forms of simple longswords and their true forms were simply humanoids with silver skin and blades in place of lower arms.
Battleloths were both devious and greedy beings who at any point could turn on their employers in favor of a higher bidder and who treasured any valuables including gold, gems, and magical items.
Arrow batteloths were the most complaintive and whining of the battleloths, often abusing exact wording to escape their contracts. Axe battleloths were both dense and demanding, using simple terms and reiterating their desires until they were met or the other party gave up talking to them. Crossbow battleloths were pragmatists and the most mercenary of the race, blatantly informing foes how much it would take to win their services and abandoning their employers for any reason, especially ones usable as excuses to leave while keeping payment. Pick battleloths were predatory in nature and their constant bloodthirst made them easy to employ when provided with ample enemies. Chain battleloths hunted for sport, particularly other battleloths, before crushing and consuming their victims remains, although sword battleloths earned their reluctant respect. Sword battleloths were in turn the most prideful of yugoloths, refusing to put themselves in danger out of practicality and viewing physical combat as beneath their standing.
Despite enjoying fighting, battleloths were not reckless or foolhardy combatants, and might stay as weapons or transform to fight on their own. Most wielders of battleloths considered the need to carry a second weapon worth the element of surprise gained by employing them. Due to being forged for war, they possessed an innate talent for learning combat maneuvers and advanced tactics although some might attempt to study magic. In their weapon forms they could still perceive their environment and telepathically communicate although magic practitioners could not cast spells with verbal or somatic components due to their lack of the appropriate body parts.
Because arrow battleloths believed their only combat function was to act as ammunition they generally tried to escape after being fired. They could change the course of their flight at any time to harry individuals, strike foes behind cover, or land in certain areas. Unless a target was obviously weaker than them, like a human spellcaster, they would attempt to land somewhere they could escape from their foes. When not in employ to a greater foe, the weakest battleloths would quickly flee but occasionally formed small looting packs that robbed the feeble or injured.
Axe battleloths took to combat with glee, relishing the opportunity to do battle. Even as living weapons they could still bite into their foes and so hurried their employers into charging headfirst into battle. They spent their spare time sharpening their ridges before using them to destroy random objects such as trees of rocks, although if bothered would turn their blades against any annoyance with stalwart courage.
Although they did not go out of their way to avoid combat like the arrow battleloths, crossbow battleloths saw it as a means to an end and did not particularly enjoy it. They could cock their own bowstrings as many times as their employers needed and so were always ready for a reload. If dropped so that their wielders could employ a melee weapon, crossbow battleloths took humanoid form and fired bone shard fragments from their mouths, or simply bit their enemies.
Driven not by hunger for battle but hunger for blood, battleloths were usually driven into an opponent and allowed to drink their fill so that they could be relied upon later. Even when in the form of picks they immediately latched onto their first target and refused to let go under any circumstances. Their small stature and physical weakness was contrasted by their constant activity regardless of employment status, always seeking out conflict so as to ambush the injured and dying on the edges of a battlefield.
Spiked chain battleloths constricted their opponents, tripping and entangling them regardless of form. While the battleloth wrapped up their foes their masters could strike unabated. When hunting independently they ambushed foes through tripping or attacks from above in order to catch opponents before they could fight back.
This battleloth wraps its foe in a steely embrace, while its master closes for the kill. Spiked chain battleloths rely on their long limbs to trip, grab, and hold opponents. When wielded by an employer, they wrap around opponents’ limbs and attempt to grab, then change to humanoid form to crush their captives. When stalking foes independently, spiked chain battleloths prefer to trip their victims or leap upon them from above, catching them unaware and grabbing them before they can unsheathe weapons or fire off spells.
Refusing to strike out at personal risk, sword battleloths merely acted as aids to their masters by striking, deflecting, or distracting. If fighting without a master they fought with caution and care, preferring to strike at the perfect time rather than attack from a suboptimal position.
Although battleloths were useful mercenaries their love for treasure could fill a buyer with regret in the middle of battle when a foe offered a better bargain. Before undertaking any job they demanded half the payment first, but simply contacting them required the use of an appropriate summoning spell. Those of greater skill and ability preferred to work as equals rather than subordinates, often alongside demons, devils, evil clerics, blackguards, or other villainous agents.
Arrow battleloths were frequently hired as spies that snuck into the quivers of enemies before gathering valuable information about their allies, strategies, and future goals before escaping after being fired. Despite their complete lack of loyalty crossbow battleloths were the most often sought after of the race due to their versatile combat utility.
Spiked chain battleloths were the members of their race most likely to be found under employ of demons or devils due to the fact many had mastered the use of regular spiked chains. Sword battleloths were notably independent and only deigned to work as weapons if ensured successful conquests and some of the spoils of war including both glory and plunder.