Hamatulas (pronounced: /hɑːmɑːˈtʃuːləz/ hah-mah-CHOO-luhz), also called barbed devils, were the guardians and patrollers of the Nine Hells. They were the greatest of the lesser baatezu[note 1] and responsible for safeguarding important, infernal locations and individuals.
Hamatulas were lithe, 7 ft (2.1 m) tall humanoids with 300 lb (140 kg) bodies that, as their name implied, were completely covered in barbs. Their horned hands ended in strange, lengthy claws and their long, burly tails were coated in spines. Shifting across the room were their gleaming, vigilant eyes, so constant in their movement it made barbed devils seem anxious.
Hamatulas were extremely greedy creatures, constantly on the lookout for objects or creatures of which they could claim ownership. They were also incredibly prideful entities, zealously attending to their duties without boredom or disinterest due to their desire to increase their own status. Their consistently agitated appearance, accompanied by nervous tics, accurately reflected their mental state, for they were inherently paranoid and suspicious.
Although solitary they relished having opponents as such beings provided opportunities for them to prove their worth. Unlike certain devils from upper circles of Hell, they were unshakable in their pursuit of criminals and were insusceptible to the bribes, negotiations, or pitiful pleas from rule breakers.
The spikes of a barbed devil had many combat uses, such as piercing their opponents with their claws and tails, hurting foes that got too close and impaling enemies by hugging them. Additionally, the first time they struck an opponent with their claws they filled their enemies with supernatural fear. They also were known for being able to manipulate flames, hurling it at intruders and causing other fiery effects. Their gating ability allowed them to call upon other hamatula or the assistance of abishai or barbazus.
Although always eager to battle, barbed devils disdained weapons, preferring to impale their enemies with their natural weaponry. Those who avoided their attempts to get close would be immobilized through means such as hold person and distant foes would have fire hurled at them. Depending on the nature of their mission they would engage in skirmishes or prompt their foes to flee before running after them with claws and fire.
Hamatula were the elite guard of the middle layers of Baator, responsible for defending infernal citadels, vaults, and important devils like pit fiends and paeliryons. They often patrolled Minauros and Phlegethos, to catch unauthorized travelers that managed to slip below Avernus and Dis, but also monitored the winding tunnels of Malbolge and Maladomini. Any trespassers were swiftly locked within one of the innumerable holding cells of Hell.
Hamatula were solitary in nature and only worked as a group when compelled to by a stronger baatezu, normally in order to investigate an intruder report. Unlike other devils, hamatulas could not freely traverse between different layers of Hell. It was thought by some that this was a physical limitation, but in truth hamatula were purposefully commanded to patrol a single layer in order to prevent them from wandering too far away from their guard assignments. The fact hamatula could enter certain areas unrestricted made them extremely effective spies and messengers. Other devils acknowledged the tenacity that barbed devils put into their work and considered their paranoid watchfulness a positive trait.
When summoned to mortal realms, hamatula were useful as bodyguards, champions and other roles where power was valuable.
Hamatulas occasionally studied magic, some practicing enough to cast spells like fireball or flame arrow, although they generally made poor wizards. Along with osyluths, they made up the majority of infernal priests.
Most osyluths that managed to advance were destined to become hamatulas, with only those that managed to show greater skill skipping the stage. The fastest path to success for a hamatula was to give remarkably loyal service to their lords.
They possessed glands behind their ears that secreted a hallucinogenic substance. It was most commonly used by greater devils as a torture and interrogation tool, but rumors existed that large quantities of the secretion could produce powerful potions of illusion.
The pit fiend Gazra, being the overseer of the first four layers, had an army of 5,000 hamatula and a personal bodyguard unit comprised of twenty elite hamatula soldiers that he commanded from his crystal castle on Phlegethos. His hamatula also hunted down those that deserted from baatezu armies and searched for signs of corruption among officer corps.
The hamatula K'rand Vahlix, was a reserved being and among the few rogues of baatezu society. He was especially rare among the rogues for being a 'risen devil' who supposedly fled to Bytopia after killing his cornugon superior. He worked to organize any reformed fiends during missions that required them to cooperate with archons and other native denizens of the Upper planes, while also rooting out double agent fiends.
- The rank and caste of many baatezu given in the Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells conflict with a multitude of early sourcebooks and is not even self-consistent.
For example, on p. 10, an erinyes is called a lesser devil, yet on p. 158, it is called a greater devil, and the descriptions throughout the book sometimes imply both stations.
An even more telling example is the orthon, which has two separate listings in the Devils by CR table on p. 158. (It is not the only devil with two listings either.) An orthon is said on p. 10 to be the same rank as a bone devil, and both are listed as greater devils on that page, yet on p. 158, in the alphabetical listing of devils, an orthon is lesser, while a bone devil is greater. Malebranches, too, are said to be the same rank as both orthons and bone devils (p. 10), yet in the Society section for their entry on p. 125, they are said to serve the greater baatezu, not be a part of them, and the alphabetical list on p. 158 calls them lesser devils. The table on p. 10 also says that malebranches can only be formed through demotion, yet the Ecology section on p. 125 says that they can be formed from elevation.
The text reads on p. 9 that the Infernal Advancement Path table on p. 10 does not include every kind of devil but is meant "to give an idea of the basic rank structure." For this reason, and because of all the inconsistencies, this wiki will generally prioritize information from 1st and 2nd edition over 3rd edition when describing the rank and caste of baatezu. (This differs from our usual policy and only pertains to the issue of baatezu caste and rank.)
- Dungeon #38: "A Blight on the Land" • City of the Spider Queen • Waterdeep: Dragon Heist • Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage • Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus
- Organized Play & Licensed Adventures
- The Sword of Selfaril • Day of the Devil • Faces of Fortune • Losing Fai • The Swarmed Heart • The Vast Emptiness of Grace
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 68, 70. ISBN 978-0786965614.
- Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 2008). Manual of the Planes 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 124–125. ISBN 978-0-7869-5002-7.
- Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 51. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
- J. Paul LaFountain (1991). Monstrous Compendium: Outer Planes Appendix. Edited by Timothy B. Brown. (TSR, Inc.), p. 33. ISBN 1-56076-055-9.
- Allen Varney, ed. (June 1994). Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix. (TSR, Inc.), p. 24. ISBN 978-1560768623.
- Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 0-935696-00-8.
- J. Paul LaFountain (1991). Monstrous Compendium: Outer Planes Appendix. Edited by Timothy B. Brown. (TSR, Inc.), p. 5. ISBN 1-56076-055-9.
- "The Hierarchy of Baator" poster included in Colin McComb and Wolfgang Baur (February 1995). Planes of Law. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 0-7869-0093-8.
- Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 15. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
- 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. 158. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 67. ISBN 978-0786965614.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 17. ISBN 978-0786966240.
- Adam Lee, et al. (September 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. Edited by Michele Carter, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 212. ISBN 978-0-7869-6687-5.
- 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. 54. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
- Eric Cagle (2007-02-06). Devilishly Difficult Opponents (Part 1): Winning Tactics Against Barbed Devils. Tactics and Tips. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2020-12-01.
- Chris Pramas (November 1999). Guide to Hell. Edited by Kim Mohan. (TSR, Inc.), p. 32. ISBN 978-0786914319.
- 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. 131. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
- Chris Pramas (November 1999). Guide to Hell. Edited by Kim Mohan. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 57–58. ISBN 978-0786914319.
- Colin McComb, Monte Cook (July 1996). “The Dark of the War”. In Ray Vallese ed. Hellbound: The Blood War (TSR, Inc.), p. 49.51. ISBN 0-7869-0407-0.
- Allen Varney, ed. (June 1994). Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix. (TSR, Inc.), p. 27. ISBN 978-1560768623.
- Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 129. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
- Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 33. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
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 • Misfortune devil • Shocktroop devil • Seared devil • Soulrider devil • Stitched devil • Succubus • Tar devil