Nalfeshnees (pronounced: /nɑːlˈfɛʃniznal-FESH-neez[7]) were type IV tanar'ri demons that acted as the ruling authority for many beings within the Abyss.[1] They were the slothful and gluttonous creatures that acted as the nobility of the Abyss, bickering amongst each other for control of small fiefdoms with pretensions of being refined rulers.[1][2]


Nalfeshnees were repulsive demons that towered over most other demonic entities, standing at least 10 feet (3 meters) tall.[5] Most, however, stood over 20 feet (6 meters) tall and weighed a gargantuan 8,000 lbs (3600 kg), with some being even more massive. They had small, feathered wings, greatly undersized compared to their rotund figures, that despite their flimsy appearance enabled nalfeshnees to fly.[3] Among the most hideous of demonic powers, their bodies were most generously described as corpulent, combining the most abysmal features of a boar and ape into a bipedal monstrosity.[3] Nalfeshnees did not so much walk as waddle, when they were not simply flying.[2][3] Their glowing red eyes looked hungrily at most mortals they came across.[4]


Behind their swinish exterior, both in appearance and behavior, nalfeshnees possessed a dangerous intellect.[1] Other beings were placed within three categories by nalfeshnees: "fit to eat", "fit to use", and "fit to serve". Creatures a nalfeshnee would consume included animals, lesser demons, and most humanoid races. They did not conduct negotiations with these beings, the same as most people would not converse with their food. Among a nalfeshnee's preferred foods were halflings and terrified beings.[2]

The second group consisted of beings that had more worth outside a nalfeshnee's stomach than within it. Powerful humanoids, certain demons, gnomes, immortals, insects (including arachnids), and elemental creatures were in this category. Although some entities within this category were of no use to a nalfeshnee, they were here because they were simply inedible.[2]

Beings worthy of a nalfeshnee's servitude would have to be far greater than the nalfeshnee itself, a position reserved for demon lords, primordials, balors, or powerful elementals. The true spinelessness of a nalfeshnee was only revealed when in contact with one of these entities. Normally nalfeshnees employed cutlery, regardless of condition, in an attempt to appear dignified and renounced combat as being underneath them. In the presence of a more powerful being, this facade melted away into a whinging, sycophantic wretch that bowed and scraped to its masters without shame.[2] Although their intellects often rivaled those of balors, causing them to view themselves as superior, they obeyed them in recognition of their greater strength. When their masters were not present, nalfeshnees would not hesitate to secretly foil their plans or embarrass them. Nalfeshnees carried no great regard for the Blood War and would sabotage their balor masters even if it worsened the side of demons overall.[4]


With claws and teeth, nalfeshnees were capable of brutality in the heat of battle. Like other tanar'ri, they could summon fellow tanar'ri to aid them when needed. These could be demons as powerful as glabrezus, hezrous, or even another nalfeshnees if need be. Despite their bloated bodies, they could easily, if clumsily, so they could navigate the battlefield with their wings, if not their teleportation powers. Their truesight pierced illusions or other means of deception. A small array of spells were in their possession. Another ability most commonly used by nalfeshnees was their specialized ability to smite those around them with unholy light. Those struck by this light were dazed, surrounded by visions of their worst fears.[3]


Although they put on airs of being above brawling, nalfeshnees were demons with a near irresistible bloodlust. When they deemed it acceptable they would engage in battle, smiting their foes with their nightmarish nimbus ability before ruthlessly savaging them while they were dazed. While physically dangerous they were more likely to be found on the battlefield soaring above the masses to target more easily defeated foes. When in the middle of combat they used their telepathic abilities to bark orders at their inferiors, all the while terrifying their enemies.[1]


Nalfeshnees were best known for their roles as the judges of the Abyss, processing damned souls from the Mountain of Woe and punishing them as appropriate, a task they loved to perform.[3][8] From atop their flaming thrones, they were the ones responsible for turning many petitioners into larvae, manes, or other lesser demons depending on whether food, slaves, or slave food was most needed. Although lesser demons were more common transformations, nalfeshnees could turn petitioners into demons such as chasme immediately. They did not normally function as commanders but were said to decide the makeup of Abyssal armies, with some claims even being that they could promote and demote demonic generals, thus altering the path of the Blood War.[8]

Nalfeshnees, despite their love of food, possessed reasonable self-control. They often obtained food from the Prime Material Plane and stored it within their pantries rather than simply eating it immediately. This food was later consumed in elaborate feasts with other nalfeshnee.[1]


The process by which nalfeshnees created demons was a horrific one that befitted their voracious nature. As well as flesh, nalfeshnees consumed negative emotions such as misery and rage out of those they saw. Feelings like these were consumed in tandem with life force, leaving the husks of the former victims left full of empty thoughts. Afterwards, the drained shells were transformed into tanar'ri in torturous ceremonies.[4]


The lich Acererak trapped a nalfeshnee in a black obelisk outside his Tomb of the Nine Gods, as a guard against those would topple the obelisk.[9]

There was a statue of a nalfeshnee on the Dungeon Level of Undermountain.[10]

The archmage Arcturia kept a nalfeshnee in a nalfeshnee shaped pedestal, as a guard for her phylactery in the layer of Arcturiadoom in Undermountain.[11]

Notable NalfeshneesEdit




Further ReadingEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Wizards RPG Team (2014). Monster Manual 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 54, 62. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Mike Mearls, Greg Bilsland and Robert J. Schwalb (June 15, 2010). Monster Manual 3 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 44–45. ISBN 0786954902.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual 3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 45–46. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Allen Varney, ed. (June 1994). Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix. (TSR, Inc.), p. 107. ISBN 978-1560768623.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 19. ISBN 0-9356-9600-8.
  6. Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual 3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 40. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  7. Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 28.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 47. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  9. Christopher Perkins, Will Doyle, Steve Winter (September 19, 2017). Tomb of Annihilation. Edited by Michele Carter, Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 131. ISBN 978-0-7869-6610-3.
  10. Template:Cite book/Waterdeep:Dungeon of the Mad Mage
  11. Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 192. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
  12. R.A. Salvatore (September 2015). Archmage (Hardcover). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 259. ISBN 0-7869-6575-4.
  13. Paul S. Kemp (February 2006). Resurrection. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 185–186. ISBN 0-7869-3981-8.
  14. Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
  15. Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
  16. Christopher Perkins, Adam Lee, Richard Whitters (September 1, 2015). Out of the Abyss. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 187. ISBN 978-0-7869-6581-6.
  17. Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 138. ISBN 0786966769.


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