Nycaloths (pronounced: /ˈnkəlθNY-kuh-loth[6]), also known as nycadaemons,[5] nycademons, and sky demons,[2] were the elite air cavalry in yugoloth armies, swooping down onto enemy flanks and tearing up unsuspecting troops.[3] They were the lowest of the greater yugoloths and bitterly resented it, constantly scheming to ascend to greater status and prestige.[4]

Description[edit | edit source]

Nycaloths were large gargoylish creatures that were 8‒9 ft (2.4‒2.7 m) feet in height and width, and weighed 800 pounds (362.8 kilograms).[3][4] Their more traditionally fiendish appearance was made more fearsome by their thick, rippling muscles.[2][4] They were hulking yugoloths with tough, leathery, light green skin and powerful bat wings but nonetheless moved with astonishing swiftness. Their heads were vaguely canine in shape, and it quickly darted from side to side like that of a bird, hosting a pair of horns and webbed ears.

Reports on the numbers of arms they possessed were variable with some claiming one pair and the others stating two. Regardless, all of their digits ended in weighty, sharp claws seemingly able to cut through flesh and armor with ease.[3][4] Most were seen carrying large greataxes, clenched in their horned fists.[5]

The females and males of the race were identical enough that other races couldn't distinguish them.[4]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Nycaloths were cruel, calculating, and controlling, acting with caution to ensure maximum personal benefit regardless of who had to be hurt in order to achieve it.[5] They constantly schemed in order to garner the favor of their superiors of whose status they envied, bullying lesser yugoloths in order to gain attention.[4] They sought amusement by harassing those confined to the ground but when enraged could exterminate entire companies of mezzoloths and dhergoloths.[2][4]

Their confidence in their physical power was potentially their greatest flaw, behaving smugly when in the presence of those they believed to lack power but hesitating against those of considerable strength.[2] Despite their flaws they were among the most loyal and cooperative of the yugoloths. So long as an arrangement was mutually beneficial they would willingly work with any evil-aligned beings, and a master that treated them well would find them stalwart in the face of all but the most extreme bribes.[1][5]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

Nycaloths were both powerful and fast yugoloths that soared through the sky even when carrying heavy loads.[3] They had such a strong magical resistance that weaker magical items, outside of enchanted weapons, did not work when they used them. Their claws were incredibly sharp, causing wounds to bleed more profusely. They could see all parts of the radiation spectrum allowing them to sense invisible beings, and could telepathically communicate with any basically sentient being. Unlike many of their yugoloth kin, they could travel throughout the Abyss and Nine Hells as well as Gehenna, Carceri, and Hades.[5] If needed they could summon in a small team of mezzoloths, dhergoloths or another nycaloth.[4] Despite their brutish abilities they had access to invisibility and mirror image spells.[1]

Combat[edit | edit source]

Nycaloths most commonly used weapons and were particularly fond of giant two-headed axes 90% of which were enchanted.[4] They were cunning enough to cleverly utilize what magical items they could wield to great effect[5] and were immune to enchantment spells.[4] They prided themselves on being able to suddenly strike without warning before teleporting, or using their other spells to confuse their opponents and disappear without warning.[1][3] Their preferred tactic was to rush enemies under the guise of invisibility before savaging them with their claws. If the foe managed to survive then they would try to soar into the sky with the opponent in hand before dropping them from the air and hoping they'd die from the fall.[2][3]

Society[edit | edit source]

Nycaloths served as the elite air-force among the yugoloths, with commanders winning their status by virtue of power and toughness.[3] They were often called sky demons due to their tactic of bringing foes into the air in order to let them plummet to their deaths.[2] Their pragmatic exploitation and domineering attitudes caused many creatures of the Lower Planes to avoid them, including night hags, most demons, as well as lesser and greater devils.[5] Although they were loyal, powerful, intelligent, and mercenary enough to work with practically anyone, their infuriating superiority complex caused their alliances to be brief.[2][1]

They had the innate ability to travel to any of the lower planes at will and commonly traveled to the Nine Hells and the Abyss in order to scout the Blood War.[5][4] They watched the battlefields and reported directly to the arcanaloths, allowing them their superiors to properly negotiate contracts and allocate the yugoloth's resources so that the ultroloths in turn could plot their next move. Supposedly they were also responsible for signaling when the yugoloth forces were to betray their current enforcers.[7]

Despite the fact that nycaloths were very crucial and possibly the most powerful of the greater yugoloths, they were afforded the least status. This was because the information they gathered went to further those above them rather than themselves, and only by learning how to properly use information for their own gains could they become arcanaloths.[4][8][9]

Ecology[edit | edit source]

A pair of nycaloths would give birth to triplets, who would be allowed to grow for a hundred days before being forced to fight each other to the death with only the victor being allowed to live. They were suspected to once be scavengers despite their current predatory nature, as they seemingly enjoyed rotten meat.[4]

History[edit | edit source]

In the year 714 DR, nycaloths were part of the Army of Darkness that led to the fall and ruination of the City of Song, Myth Drannor. As one of the deadly assaults, nycaloths unleashed a wall of living fire that incinerated remaining defenders of the city, including Anorrweyn Evensong, who was defending the shrine of Mystra from the invaders. During the war, nycaloths destroyed one of the remaining gems of the weave, a magical ruby, which weakened the city's mythal.[10]

In 1373 DR, five hundred mezzoloths and nycaloths were the elite Black Horn Regiment under the command of an ultroloth Inthracis. The Black Horn Regiment consisted of veterans of the unending Blood War. Inthracis' army was in service of Vhaeraun who used them during the War of the Spider Queen against Lolth and her Yor'thae.[11]

Sometime in the late 15th century DR, a nycaloth had been imprisoned in the Tomb of the Nine Gods on Chult by Acererak in order to guard one of the components of the Soulmonger machinery[12]

Notable Nycaloths[edit | edit source]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Adventures
Shadowdale: The Scouring of the LandThe Rise of TiamatPrinces of the ApocalypseTomb of AnnihilationWaterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad MageBaldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus
Novels
Forsaken HouseFarthest ReachFinal GateResurrection
Referenced only
Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor (novel)
Video Games
Referenced only
Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor
Organized Play & Licensed Adventures
It's All in the Blood

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 311–312, 314. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Rob Heinsoo, Stephen Schubert (May 19, 2009). Monster Manual 2 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 57. ISBN 0786995101.
  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 3.12 3.13 Andrew Finch, Gwendolyn Kestrel, Chris Perkins (August 2004). Monster Manual III. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 202–203. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 Allen Varney, ed. (June 1994). Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix. (TSR, Inc.), p. 124. ISBN 978-1560768623.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Don Turnbull (1981). Fiend Folio. (TSR Hobbies), p. 69. ISBN 0-9356-9621-0.
  6. J. Paul LaFountain (1991). Monstrous Compendium: Outer Planes Appendix. Edited by Timothy B. Brown. (TSR, Inc.), p. 5. ISBN 1-56076-055-9.
  7. Carceri map included in Robert Lazzaretti (December 1995). Planes of Conflict. Edited by Michele Carter. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 0-7869-0309-0.
  8. Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 70–72. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  9. Colin McComb (December 1995). “Liber Malevolentiae”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Conflict (TSR, Inc.), p. 30. ISBN 0-7869-0309-0.
  10. Stormfront Studios (2001). Designed by Mark Buchignani, Ken Eklund, Sarah W. Stocker. Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor. Ubisoft Entertainment.
  11. Paul S. Kemp (February 2006). Resurrection. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3981-8.
  12. {{Cite book/Tomb of Annihilation|178}
  13. Ed Greenwood (March 1993). “Campaign Guide to Myth Drannor”. In Newton H. Ewell ed. The Ruins of Myth Drannor (TSR, Inc.), p. 6. ISBN 1-5607-6569-0.
  14. Richard Baker, Eric L. Boyd, Thomas M. Reid (July 2007). Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 57. ISBN 07-8694-039-5.

Connections[edit | edit source]

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