Deathdrinkers were powerful, non-tanar'ri demons spawned from vile pits of blood and gore. They were creatures of carnage that reveled in slaughter and collected the souls of those unfortunate enough to cross their paths.
Deathdrinkers were around 18 feet (5.5 meters) tall and weighed approximately 3,000 pounds (1,400 kilograms), most of it consisting of muscle. They had broad shoulders and bulging biceps ending in many-fingered hands, pitted plates of dark metal covering their hooved legs, and flat chests often protected by intricate armor. Their chipped, antler-like horns decorated by hanging corpses and bones.
The one primary interest that overrode all others for a deathdrinker was themselves. They were an extremely egocentric race, seeing their kind as superior to any other and seeing themselves as their kind's ultimate paragon. They were also utterly self-serving, happily killing their allies to serve their own needs (even if the need was as minor as the urge to see something bleed). Despite this inflated view of themselves, they were not particularly mentally adept, possessing only average intelligence, cunning, and personal magnetism.
Deathdrinkers had several unique qualities compared to other members of demonkind. Their lack of darkvision was compensated for by their truesight, and unlike other demons their resistance to damage could only be overcome by attacks that were both good and lawful aligned. Despite their incredible physical strength, they had few spell-like abilities compared to other demons; they were only able to cast air walk, greater teleport, and greater dispel magic at will (the former effects only able to apply to themselves).
The powers of deathdrinkers emphasized their link to death. They could not be harmed by negative energy and exuded an aura of unlife within 10 feet (3 meters) of themselves that harmed the living while healing the undead and attracting the souls of the deceased. There was also their eponymous "deathdrink" ability, which would heal them relative to the strength of their victim once they killed a being up close, either by their aura or by simply slaying them in melee combat.
Deathdrinkers were creatures of brute force that sought conflict with sadistic delight. They exulted in the glory of slaying a sufficiently worthy foe, improving their battle prowess in the process for the next minute or so. They had no qualms about quickly using dispel magic to weaken foes before attacking and used their full strength unless the foe proved difficult to strike.
Deathdrinkers also had no hesitation about killing an injured or unimportant minion to recover from injury, using their allies to personal advantage. This willingness to sacrifice their own servitors could make them significantly more dangerous even if the creatures around them weren't particularly problematic by themselves. Despite their affinity for their kind, deathdrinkers did not necessarily work together in battle, their natural selfishness causing them to focus on their own distinct opponents.
Deathdrinkers had dangerous levels of mobility, quickly using greater teleport to reach spellcasters and other ranged combatants. They kept their air walk ability active at all times, and enjoyed the panic to be found from suddenly appearing before a flying caster before unleashing several powerful strikes.
Most of their treasures were invested into magic weapons, armor, and other items (such as oils) to make them more effective killers. All deathdrinkers were inherently capable of training as assassins.
Deathdrinkers set themselves apart from the politics and power struggles of the Abyss, using the fact that they weren't tanar'ri as justification for why they were above such petty intrigues. They preferred the company of other deathdrinkers in social situations and were frequently found with them, but were usually accompanied by undead, who were often basking in their "healing" aura. Deathdrinkers were occasionally accompanied by other types of demons, which like their undead company was normally very weak, but the fiends were considered fearsome even to other demons.
Though they might not publicly admit it, deathdrinkers enjoyed the company of those that puffed up their pride through flattery, praise, or admiration. Despite their great power and status as capable combatants, they were not diabolical masterminds nor clever generals. Individuals of sufficient craftiness and strength could sometimes acquire a deathdrinker's service through offerings of gifts and sycophantic ambassadors.
Despite not needing shelter, deathdrinkers enjoyed creating their own personalized lairs. Preferably these lairs were near recent battlefields so that they could appreciate the plentiful corpses. Lairs had large piles of bones and bodies for a deathdrinker to lounge on and were decorated with other symbols of death; deathdrinker treasures not taking the form of magic items were usually jewelry featuring macabre motifs, such as skulls, pain-wracked faces, and torture devices.
Many deathdrinkers chose not to worship any deity, believing that they themselves were the beings most worthy of worship. However, despite generally lacking the ambition to pursue training, the undertaking most favored by deathdrinkers was that of a cleric. They usually favored neutral or chaotic evil gods of death or accessed divine magic without relying on a deity, often choosing from the Death Destruction oR Evil domains. They most enjoyed the power to create undead, which they could use to further bolster their natural talents.
Deathdrinker demons reproduced by shedding some of their own blood and placing it into a specially prepared breeding pit. The foul, mucky essence of the pit would mix with the blood, causing it to clot and grow while lesser demons attended to it by regularly stirring the contents and adding fresh corpses and new blood. After some time, a new deathdrinker would emerge fully formed from the pit.
Deathdrinkers belonged to the least populated category of demons — servitors. Although the demons in this group were created by divine beings using raw Abyssal matter as ingredients, they were a key example of a servitor race that ended up outliving their creators.
- Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel (July 2006). Monster Manual IV. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 40–41. ISBN 0-7869-3920-6.
- Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel (July 2006). Monster Manual IV. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 208. ISBN 0-7869-3920-6.
- Robert J. Schwalb (October 2007). “Essence of Evil” (PDF). In Miranda Horner ed. Dungeon #152 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 38. Archived from the original on 2009-06-01. Retrieved on 2021-01-02.
- James Jacobs (September 2007). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Apocrypha”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #359 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 45.
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