Maw demons, also known as abyssal maws, were lesser demons made up of malice and mouth, constantly hungry for carnage and mortal flesh. In the Demonomicon of Iggwilv, they were counted as a form of unintelligent, demonic wildlife.
A maw demon resembled an enormous toothy mouth surrounded by a small plethora of stubby appendages. The squat, bulbous body of a maw demon was practically split in half to accommodate their giant gullets and their four arms worked to carry food to their slavering jaws. Their ugly hides were a shade of dull brown.
Maw demons were dim and simple, only understanding two concepts; hunger and food. They were not driven by anger or bloodlust, but by gluttony, preferring to consume as opposed to fight. Unfortunately, they favored meat as fresh as possible, desiring living flesh rather than something already dead, but if a fight would be too difficult, they would subsist on the next best meal. Prey that was already bloodied was even more likely to send them into a ravenous frenzy.
The rending teeth of maw demons could do devastating damage to their victims, especially those that fell underneath them. Their appetite was so strong they could consume horse-sized creatures in under a minute. Lacking ranged attacks, their strategy rarely went beyond attacking the nearest foe with a preference for those that were already lying prone.
Evil armies often used maw demons as shock troops, having them rush into the thick of combat straight away. They were incapable of forming true alliances with other beings due to their dull brains, only serving other demons and spellcasters when forced.
Abyssal maws were usually summoned by gnoll war bands through freshly made flesh sacrifices to partake in the destruction they brought. Maw demons present in a gnoll war band attacked anything the gnolls came across, but did not respond to commands or orders. They shared Yeenoghu's insatiable hunger, the Lord of Savagery having a special affinity with them.
Though maw demons could normally understand Abyssal (and perhaps Common), their lack of intelligence and overwhelming number of teeth made it practically impossible for them to actually speak, normally resulting in unclear noises.
The hunger of maw demons was infamously bottomless, for the living mouths were literally maws of the Abyss. After they rested for about eight hours, anything that a maw demon had devoured would be transported directly to the Abyss for further "digestion". In some cases, their meals were sent directly to Yeenoghu's gullet.
Although greater maw demons existed, these stronger, bulkier variants had nothing in the way of more developed brains.
A small group of maw demons served under a hezrou in the Land of Ash and Smoke within an abyssal void called the pit of Krahharu. They constantly stripped pieces of meat from the sacrifices made by the firenewts above them and brought the pieces to their master, albeit after stealing small pieces for themselves.
- Mike Mearls, et al. (November 2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. Edited by Jeremy Crawford, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 136–137. ISBN 978-0786966011.
- Mike Mearls, Greg Bilsland and Robert J. Schwalb (June 15, 2010). Monster Manual 3 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42. ISBN 0786954902.
- Ed Bonny, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Skip Williams, and Steve Winter (September 2002). Monster Manual II 3rd edition. (TSR, Inc), pp. 56–57. ISBN 07-8692-873-5.
- Mike Mearls, Kate Welch (May 2019). Ghosts of Saltmarsh. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 243. ISBN 978-0-7869-6686-8.
- James Jacobs (September 2007). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Apocrypha”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #359 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 45.
- James Haeck (2017). Fire, Ash, and Ruin (DDAL07-10) (PDF). D&D Adventurers League: Tomb of Annihilation (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 8–10.
- Mike Mearls, et al. (November 2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. Edited by Jeremy Crawford, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 38. ISBN 978-0786966011.
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