Dretches were the least powerful of tanar'ri demonkind.[3] They were petty, ugly demons that were sacrificed normally by higher ranking demonic entities.[4]


Dretches stood about 4 feet (1.21 meters) tall and weighed 60 pounds (27.2 kg). Their bodies were squat, rounded, and rubbery but their limbs were emaciated and gaunt. What little bristly hair they had was sparse and did little to cover their pale skin. Pulsing, varicose veins could be seen from their skin that ranged in coloration from white, beige, and blue.[3][4] The eyes of a dretch were slanted downward, their noses seemed squashed, and their exposed ears were pointed and lopped. Many small fangs laid inside their slobbery, slack mouths and a pair of claws hung off their hands.[4]


As repulsive as they were self-loathing, dretches spent most of their time eternally unsatisfied arguing amongst themselves and expressing their discontent.[1] What few creatures they could find that were lower then themselves, normally manes, were tormented for amusement so that they did not waste time reflecting on their own pathetic lives. Dretch would be pitiable if they were not so contemptible, possessing levels of extreme malice that in some ways made up for their complete lack of ability.[1] With their high numbers, dretches could be dangerous threats if they were more intelligent, but alas they lacked anything that could be regarded as brainpower. Their tactics rarely went beyond a mob rush[2] and they were unfit to accomplish anything beyond simple tasks.[1] Because dretches had some concern for their station they were more reliable, relatively speaking, than other cannon fodder troops of the Abyss. By themselves they would flee from serious adversity but their fear of punishment from more powerful demonic forces would keep them fighting when one was present.[3]


Dretch were stupid, quarrelsome, slow, and uncreative, with the main reason for their survival within the Abyss being that they made up an immeasurable horde.[1] Dretches preferred used sheer numbers to win their battles, ganging up on foes in mobs up to forty strong.[3] They could summon other members of their kind but this ability had a low rate of success.[3] When it did succeed however the newly summoned companion could in some cases try to summon more dretches until a small horde was accrued, but this required astonishing luck.[4][3] Their other common power was the ability to release a cloud of noxious gas every day, spreading throughout the nearby vicinity and sickening regular mortals caught within it.[1] They often tried to gang up when doing this so as to make the smell more powerful, and the fetid clouds were also usually released upon death.[2] Because most demons were immune to poisons they could normally do this even when others were present. They themselves had normal demonic resistances to fire, frost, and electricity and relied upon both them and their claws to survive individually. Dretches could telepathically communicate but could only do so to those who also understood abyssal.[1]


Displeasure was the most common emotion expressed by the dretches as they milled about in mobs expressing their disdain through hoots grunts, and snarls.[1] Despite not being the lowest of demons, dretches were the lowest of the tanar'ri, as their mane inferiors were simply demonic spirits. Dretches were well aware of their own low station and individuals had different outlooks and attitudes. Some acting as sycophants and helpers, attempting to be as useful as possible in the hopes of promotion, while others felt that their completely miserable situation left them with nothing to lose, causing them to rebel. With dretches being so incredibly numerous many believed they could carve their own path, as they were too lowly to catch the eye of more powerful demonic forces. In truth, rebellious dretches were often slaughtered on mass by more powerful demons, to whom the dretches were free blood to spill. Individually unimportant, dretches played a huge role in the Blood War and Abyss in general. Tanar'ri constantly warred and fought amongst themselves, possessing no sense of kinmanskip or unity and thus not having as strong an impact on the Material Plane as they could. The key advantage of the demonic forces laid in their overwhelming numbers and the unimportant and petty dretches made up a vast fraction of those numbers. Regardless of their overall importance dretches were used as the rank and file soldiers of most demonic armies, thrown at new enemies both as a test and for fun, and also as a food source for greater fiends where prey was otherwise scarce.[2][4]




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