Forgotten Realms Wiki
Forgotten Realms Wiki

Mariliths (pronounced: /ˈmɑːrrəlɪθzMAR-ruh-lithz[7]), also known as type V demons,[5] were militant tanar'ri known for their ability to utilize cold logic.[8] They served as the brilliant tacticians of Abyssal hordes, advisors to demonic nobility, and in some cases acted as serpentine demon queens.[3]

The mariliths, six-armed wonders and mind-dancers to the highest degree, are like gems in the heart of the Abyss.
— Xanxost the blue slaad[8]


From the waist up, mariliths appeared to be attractive humanoid women with six arms, but their lower halves were those of giant, green snakes.[3] In each hand they carried highly decorated weapons, and adorned themselves with bangles and jewelry. They measured 20 ft (6.1 m) and weighed 2 tons (1,800 kg) when assessed from head to tail tip, but normally stood somewhere between 7‒9 ft (2.1‒2.7 m) tall.[3][4]


Mariliths prove that chaotic beings do not have to be stupid beings.
— Xanxost[8]

Mariliths had domineering and wicked personalities,[5] eager as they were to bring pain and betrayal to others, but their malice was accompanied by shrewdness and cunning.[9] They were highly intelligent beings with a good sense for strategy, their brilliance thriving in matters of army-level tactics.[3][4][5]

Mariliths also had the rare ability to unite and coordinate the actions of other demons, a practically impossible task due to their chaotic nature.[1][4] Whether through disciplinary mastery or suppression of their natural instincts, they could predict the actions of law despite not truly understanding them in order to outwit the baatezu.[8]

In the eyes of most mariliths, subtle temptation was but a silly game compared to true warfare planning.[4] They were proud of their martial skills and tactical superiority and often kept the weapons of their defeated foes as trophies.[2][4] Their weapons were among their most cherished possessions, and if stolen they would take extreme measures to retrieve them.[4]


Mariliths could cast illusionary and charm spells, but they themselves had truesight, making it harder to use such spells against them.[3] They were able to gate in a large variety of other types of tanar'ri.[4]


Drizzt Do'Urden battling a marilith.

Mariliths eagerly joined melee combat if given the chance, though they carefully sized up a given situation first and plotted to use any terrain and vulnerabilities to their advantage. They could swiftly strike with each weapon in their six hands, typically longswords or scimitars. Their tails were capable of moving like a whip or constricting their foes.[3]

Marilith wizards were truly terrifying beings. Not only did they not specialize in any one given school, but they had the rare power to cast spells with two of their arms while still fighting with two others. There were even rumors that some mariliths could cast more than one spell at once, but such claims were suspect.[10]


A balor (left) and a marilith.

Mariliths served as commanders and tactical experts for the Blood War, providing the stratagems to complement the malignant magnetism of the balors.[11] While the mariliths were typically the leaders of tanar'ri hordes, balors were often in charge of several hordes and commanded the masses in larger battles.[12] Mariliths believed the balors were in charge only because of their sheer power and were otherwise unneeded to conduct the Blood War, but they never acted on this belief in fear of that power.[11]

Glabrezus were disliked by mariliths for their obnoxious insistence on using temptation and manipulation rather than outright warfare. Mariliths normally had to settle for merely undermining them as their balor superiors favored the glabrezus' sinister schemes.[11]

Yuan-ti followers of Demogorgon and other demon princes displayed an affinity for the similarly serpentine mariliths. A good method of currying their service was the sacrifice of strong mortal warriors.[2]


In 1373 DR, three mariliths known as the "Triumvirate" served under Kaanyr Vhok, the leader of the Scoured Legion of Hellgate Keep. One of those mariliths was Vhok's mother, Mulvassys the Sceptered.[13][14]

In 1385 DR, the marilith Vhissilka, who served the balor Axithar, was trapped when the death of Mystra tore away a chunk of the Blood Rift. With the help of the cambion Kaanyr Vhok, Vhissilka was able to return to Axithar to wage war upon the House of the Triad.[15]

In 14851486 DR, mariliths were among the demons that wandered the streets of Menzoberranzan and participated in the failed defense of Q'Xorlarrin against the dwarves. The great Marilith, for whom all mariliths were named, was among them. She allowed Malagdorl Del'Armgo to slay and banish her back to Abyss, but Gromph Baenre resummoned her days later, making a fool out of Malagdorl for claiming he'd defeated her. She was subsequently sent to fight against the dwarves at Q'Xorlarrin. She was confronted by Drizzt Do'Urden, who disabled her. Bruenor Battlehammer placed the final stroke that slew her and banished her.[16]

Notable Mariliths[]


See Also[]



The Runes of ChaosDungeon #84, "The Harrowing"
Referenced only
Hellgate Keep (adventure)
Tymora's LuckArchmageThe Crystal MountainThe Glass PrisonPassage to DawnStormlightTymora's LuckViper's Kiss
Referenced only
Farthest ReachThe Gossamer Plain
Video games
Baldur's Gate II: Throne of BhaalDungeons & Dragons Online: Demon SandsIcewind DaleNeverwinter Nights 2Pools of Darkness
Organized Play & Licensed Adventures
Turn Back the Endless Night

Further reading[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 53, 61. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 57–58. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 44–45. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Allen Varney, ed. (June 1994). Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix. (TSR, Inc.), p. 104. ISBN 978-1560768623.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 19. ISBN 0-935696-00-8.
  6. Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 40. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  7. J. Paul LaFountain (1991). Monstrous Compendium: Outer Planes Appendix. Edited by Timothy B. Brown. (TSR, Inc.), p. 5. ISBN 1-56076-055-9.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 46–47. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  9. Colin McComb, Monte Cook (July 1996). “The Dark of the War”. In Ray Vallese ed. Hellbound: The Blood War (TSR, Inc.), p. 24. ISBN 0-7869-0407-0.
  10. Colin McComb, Monte Cook (July 1996). “The Dark of the War”. In Ray Vallese ed. Hellbound: The Blood War (TSR, Inc.), p. 49. ISBN 0-7869-0407-0.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Allen Varney, ed. (June 1994). Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 101–104. ISBN 978-1560768623.
  12. D. Noonan, W. McDermott, S. Schubert (May 2005). Heroes of Battle. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 57–58. ISBN 0-7869-3686-X.
  13. Thomas M. Reid (March 2011). The Empyrean Odyssey. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 534. ISBN 0-7869-5768-9.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Thomas M. Reid (May 2007). The Gossamer Plain. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 18. ISBN 978-0786940240.
  15. Thomas M. Reid (July 2009). The Crystal Mountain. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0-78695235-9.
  16. R.A. Salvatore (September 2015). Archmage (Hardcover). (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-6575-4.
  17. R.A. Salvatore (September 2015). Archmage (Hardcover). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 78. ISBN 0-7869-6575-4.
  18. Obsidian Entertainment (October 2006). Designed by Ferret Baudoin, J.E. Sawyer. Neverwinter Nights 2. Atari.
  19. Steven E. Schend, Sean K. Reynolds and Eric L. Boyd (June 2000). Cloak & Dagger. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 70. ISBN 0-7869-1627-3.
  20. Strategic Simulations, Inc. (1988). Pool of Radiance. Strategic Simulations, Inc.
  21. Monte Cook (April 1999). The Glass Prison. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0786913435.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Monte Cook (October 2002). Book of Vile Darkness. Edited by David Noonan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 132. ISBN 0-7869-3136-1.
  23. Kate Novak, Jeff Grubb (December 1997). Tymora's Luck. (TSR, Inc.), p. 188. ISBN 0-7869-0726-6.
  24. Thomas M. Reid (March 2011). The Empyrean Odyssey. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 595. ISBN 0-7869-5768-9.
  25. BioWare (June 2001). Designed by Kevin Martens. Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. Black Isle Studios.
  26. Black Isle Studios (June 2000). Designed by Matt Norton. Icewind Dale. Interplay.