Hellwasps were large insects with a tough carapace and strong legs that ended in natural piercing weapons shaped like scimitars. The wings were thin and appeared to be made of metal. At the tip of the abdomen was a large stinger. Colony guards were somewhat smaller than the "devil" variety.
The carapace of a hellwasp was susceptible to cold and the creature's metabolism required a warm climate to function properly, so they avoided places in the Nine Hells that were extremely cold, such as Cania and Stygia.
In addition to feet sharp as talons, hellwasps could sting a victim, injecting a fiery poison on a successful attack. This venom not only burned like drops of alchemist's fire but could slow or paralyze a creature for up to a minute, allowing the hellwasp to carry the victim away to be devoured later. If colony guards were available, they swarmed a group of enemies, attempting to sting them into paralysis for the larger devils to carry off.
Hellwasps lived in colonies, typically with ten to twenty adults that all shared duties equally. They communicated via their own version of telepathy that had a range of 300 ft (91 m). Some sages believed there was a queen that all hellwasps would serve with unswerving loyalty if called upon.
Hellwasp colonies built nests for communal protection, food storage, and for raising their young. Adults regurgitated a sticky bile that typically contained fat, bone, and sand that was light, strong, and the color of amber that they used in construction. A nest had multiple chambers connected by twisted tunnels, each dedicated to a single purpose. One chamber contained octagonal cells for individual adults, another (centrally located) chamber was the hatchery where the larvae were tended. Also, there was usually a larder room for storing food (victims, alive or dead). Hellwasp grubs were placed inside the bodies of victims stuck to the walls to feed.
In Avernus, hellwasps preferred to embed dead angels or other magically buoyant corpses in the walls of their nests. When enough bodies were attached, the nest lifted off the surface and had to be tethered to the ground to prevent it from drifting off. Once this was accomplished, the hellwasps made the underside of the nest the only entrance.
In the World Axis view of cosmology, sages believed that Glasya, the daughter of Asmodeus and Lady of the Sixth Hell, Malbolge, was responsible for bringing the hellwasps to the Nine Hells from one of the other Lower planes. The theory states that they were a type of fiend, similar to mezzodemons, that followed a wasp-like demon lord. After she defeated their lord in a Blood War battle in the Abyss, they hailed her as their new queen and followed her back home. She transformed them into devils and let them nest in her Garden of Delights. These hellwasps served Glasya willingly and would only take orders from others if she allowed it.
- Adam Lee, et al. (September 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. Edited by Michele Carter, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 236–237. ISBN 978-0-7869-6687-5.
- Mike Mearls, Greg Bilsland and Robert J. Schwalb (June 15, 2010). Monster Manual 3 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 58. ISBN 0786954902.
- Adam Lee, et al. (September 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. Edited by Michele Carter, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 94–95. ISBN 978-0-7869-6687-5.
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