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Dogai, also known as assassin devils, were unseen killers and spies that stalked the Nine Hells under the cloak of shadows. Masters of espionage and the perfect instruments of political assassination, the baatezu hitmen silently dispatched the rivals of their diabolical masters and killed mortals that dared to defy evil.
In their normal forms, all dogai were physically identical, appearing as 6‑foot (1.8‑meter) tall, 185‑pound (83.9‑kilogram) humanoids with solid gray skin. Their heads were essentially featureless, giving only the most minor hint of having a nose and a pair of burning red eyes, although they did possess a mouth. Their menacing smiles were their most disturbing trait, seemingly fixed grins that revealed teeth as white as bone.
Dogai used the powers of shadow to accomplish their devious assignments. They could swiftly enter a shadow form, turning them into an indistinct figure seemingly made of pure darkness. Hiding behind the cover of darkness, they could quickly turn invisible, with reports varying on whether or not they could strike others while staying unseen, if sunlight would dispel the darkness, and how frequently and liberally the power could be used. They could imbue their blades with dangerous levels of necrotic power that ate away at those they slashed, and create nets of shadow that restrained and weakened their foes.
Assassin devils were pragmatic opponents that struck without warning and only fought on their own terms. They were experts in sneak attacks, and utilized hit and run tactics to slip behind enemy lines and impersonate others before slipping back out without their presence being known. Against groups, they cast a shadowy net to restrain as many foes as possible before cutting them down.
When facing enemies prepared for them, dogai took advantage of their blindsight by saturating an area with fog, darting at their foes and then fading back into the mist before a counter attack could be prepared. This strategy could be countered by staying close and ready to strike at the first sign of their approach.
Dogai used dimension door either to unexpectedly appear in the middle of groups or to retreat if cornered by a serious threat. The presence of too many unhampered enemies led them to retreat under darkness, hide, and wait for the right time to try again.
Most assassin devils worked alone and they generally preferred it that way, believing other devils would get in the way of their spying and killing. When sent in teams, usually of two to four, it was often for assassinations, and when fighting with other devils they used dimension door to get into flanking positions. When faced with particularly tough opponents, they relied on melee combatants like war devils to serve as distractions while they moved in for the kill.
Given the immense role that assassination of rivals played in the grand game of political intrigue that took place in the Nine Hells, it was no surprise that the assassin devils were important servitors in the retinue of any devil. Rarely did they serve as the masterminds, existing to serve the dark will of their masters behind the scenes through eavesdropping, the discovery of illicit information, taking out specific targets, and otherwise lurking in the courts of beings as mighty as pit fiends and archdevils.
Part of what made dogai such capable assassins were the rules of Hell itself. According to the twisted and arcane (both literally and figuratively) rules of Baator, dogai were not allowed to enter the pacts that allowed devils to summon others for support, but were compensated for this in the most lethal of ways. Assassin devils could not face retribution, at least officially, for killing any other devil, even their own bosses, which under normal circumstances would universally result in execution.
It was precisely because of their efficiency and skill that dogai were outcasts on the fringe of baatezu society, untrusted by all other devils. Most devils assumed the worst of them when they appeared, with even the greatest tyrants of Hell avoiding them, for a dogai on the move was one with a mission. Assassin devils typically trained to be rogues, but fittingly, all were inherently capable of training as assassins. Experienced dogai often did so, and were the elite killers of their kind, feared by all devils due to the possibility they could be lurking anywhere.
Clerics of Dispater could call on assassin devils through planar ally spells, for the paranoid Iron Duke obtained the service of dozens of dogai and sometimes sent them to his vassals as servitors and spies. He rewarded them with gems, magic items, and other tokens, although since they were always on assignment, most dogai invested wealth in utilities, such as healing potions or cold iron blades. Many dogai reported directly to Asmodeus himself, covertly revealing the secrets of their patrons to him. Rather than respond to the deception with accusations or attacks, most devils typically tried to dispose of spies, or trick them into giving Asmodeus information that it would benefit them for him to know.
Fortunately for those wary of assassin devils, they also performed similar functions in the mortal realms, taking out threats to baatezu plots and gathering secret information. For example, a paeliryon whose plans had been repeatedly foiled might send a dogai to learn more about the interlopers before reporting back. Afterwards, the corruption devil could send appropriate resistance to prevent the individuals from accomplishing their goals.
The predecessors of the dogai were not expert killers, but mere shadows native to Hell with vague levels of sentience and malevolent will. Asmodeus had ordered them to be collected and melted in a pit of fire, after which their essences were reforged into the assassin devils.
Rumors and Legends
There were rumors of dogai that had gone independent, and broken free of the infernal order of modern Baator.
- Mike Mearls, Greg Bilsland and Robert J. Schwalb (June 15, 2010). Monster Manual 3 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 64. ISBN 0786954902.
- Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Edited by Chris Thomasson, Gary Sarli, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 114–115. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
- Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Edited by Chris Thomasson, Gary Sarli, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 11. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
Least: Lemure • Nupperibo • Spinagon
Lesser: Abishai (Black • Blue • Green • Red • White) • Barbazu • Erinyes • Excruciarch • Ghargatula • Hamatula (Stony devil) • Kocrachon • Merregon • Osyluth • War devil • Xerfilstyx
Greater: Amnizu • Cornugon • Gelugon • Logokron • Narzugon • Orthon • Paeliryon • Pit fiend
Baatezu of unknown rank: Advespa • Dogai • Gulthir • Jerul
Araton • Burning devil • Fimbrul devil • Hellcat • Hellwasp • Imp (Bloodbag • Euphoric • Filth) • Kalabon • Kyton • Seared devil • Stitched devil • Succubus • Tar devil