Paeliryons, also known as corruption devils, were grotesque and cunning denizens of the Nine Hells that were adept at blackmailing mortals into selling their souls. Their ability to obtain mortal souls, often very cheaply, went hand-in-hand with their role as infernal spymasters.
Paeliryons were twisted perversions of the female form that stood 16‒20 ft (4.9‒6.1 m) tall. Being wider than they were tall, their 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) corpulence could be attributed to the incredibly distended bellies that hung well below their waists. Their warty skin was a combination of pink and green, contrasting with the black robes they often wore. The robes did little to contain the billowing stench of perfume, brimstone, and odorous oils that exuded from their bodies. Despite their incredible girth, the heavy, bat-like wings attached to their backs allowed them to fly, if clumsily. Their fearsome nails always gave off a brilliant red sheen and could extend many times over within an instant.
What truly made a paeliryon stand out as a parody of beauty was their disturbing visage. Two ridges of bone ran along the backs of their broad heads. Their boil-ridden faces were heavily coated in courtesan's makeup, with thick layers of rouge present on their cheeks and shiny red lips that outlined their wide, fang-filled maws. Their wide, yellow eyes had been described both as porcine and reptilian, but were normally darkened by blue eyeshadow.
Strangely, the most powerful of corruption devils, often referred to as sires of corruption, were smaller and lacked the ability to fly.
Hidden behind a paeliryon's hideous exterior and intimidating form worked a keen and creative intellect with a preference for manipulation as opposed to violence. Paeliryons could quickly send the already labyrinthine web of politics that was Baator into a maddening maze of duplicity and betrayal, all the while staying true to their word. Both masterminds in the field of corruption and astute judges of ability, paeliryons saw all creatures as tools to further their wicked agendas. They surrounded themselves with disposable brutes and sycophants while manipulating their more dangerous and unpredictable pawns from afar.
Corruption devils were as hedonistic as they were hideous, engaging in disgusting acts of excess when not supervising lesser devils or tormenting damned souls. As masters of coercion, paeliryons could easily unleash strings of insulting abuse upon others of unrivaled harshness. The greatest corruption devils were often the most morally repugnant, despising those of outstanding moral characters and often plotting the downfall of such figures.
The bloated masses of paeliryons' bodies made them slow when moving on foot, but they could move by burrowing underground at similar speed. Despite their bulk, they were also capable of flying at incredible speeds, or simply using their wings to hover in the air. The retractable claws of a paerilyon rent not only flesh, but twisted and corrupted the minds of those they struck.
Their epithets and insults were so powerful that they bent the minds of those who heard them, allowing them to turn their enemies against one another when not simply immobilizing them. They also possessed the ability to speak and understand all languages as well as to spew powerful curses and magical commands at their enemies. Their mastery over both illusory and divinatory magic allowed them to keep tabs on their enemies while masking their own nefarious deeds..
If such methods were insufficient, they also had access to more directly powerful spells like antilife shell or meteor swarm. Among the many baatezu that they could summon were lemures, osyluth, barbazus, erinyes, cornugons, and gelugons, although paeliryons capable of making a special type of contract could summon mortals that they had corrupted.
Paeliryons were not often found alone, normally surrounding themselves with lackeys such as cornugons, barbazus and spinagons. If a corruption devil was found doing battle, such a fight would be on their own terms, with a wall of minions and traps between them and their opponents. When the mentally overpowering stench of their perfume wasn't enough to keep enemies at bay they also possessed magical cloaks and bracers.
When in battle, they quickly triggered their defenses, hastily using antilife shell and hold monster to keep dangerous foes at bay. Afterwards, they dealt with spellcasters and ranged enemies, as such beings had the ability to breach their protections, before hovering over melee enemies on the ground and fighting them from above with their lengthy claws. When against multiple enemies, paeliryons often varied in their targets, clawing as many enemies as possible. As tacticians however, paeliryons also screened their foes using their expendable soldiers while shouting magical curses.
When the tide of battle turned against a paeliryon, they began turning their insults away from their enemies and towards their allies, whipping them into a fiendish frenzy. Corruption devils that believed themselves to be in actual danger, or whose allies were all defeated, would swiftly attempt to bargain with their adversaries, if not presenting a serious offer then merely to buy time. Paeliryons always had prepared escape routes in the scenario that their attackers proved a genuine threat, and would fly off if a new advantage could not be found in order to exact their revenge immediately.
While native to the Nine Hells, paeliryons possessed hideouts across the Lower Planes. Many paeliryons served Glasya. as they made up the nobility of her court, and were shown favoritism by her along with erinyes, but most worked under the archdevil Dispater and enforced his will throughout Dis. Their constant conspiracies triggered Mammon's already overactive paranoia, hence why they were rare on Minauros. Corruption devils were often in official positions of power, including the management of soul harvesting territory, as well as cities and courts within Hell, falling right under the pit fiends in the infernal hierarchy.
Their lairs were situated in hidden sites reachable only by magic, such as buried underneath forgotten alleyways deeply situated in the hearts of the infernal cities. From there, they resided in lavish comfort, dining on flesh and soul alike, bathing in basins of water polluted by their own filth, and tidying their appearance in front of massive mirrors. Their rooms were often filled with oddities and treasures such as globes, tapestries, chess sets, statues, and cages from which their captive victims were tortured. Paeliryons had exorbitant riches at their disposal, often in the form of gold and gems in order to conduct bribes.
Unlike imps, that obtained mortal souls through temptations of power, paeliryons used their mastery of illicit information. By creating diabolical intrigues and networks of secrets, paeliryons were able to blackmail and extort mortals greatly affected by such knowledge into selling out their souls for little respective gains. Rarer than an individual that managed to successfully deal with paeliryons were those that lived to tell the tale. They rarely revealed their hand in a situation to their pawns in the Material Plane, having intermediaries act in their stead. Paeliryons only personally involved themselves in their plans if something went wrong and personal force was needed to resolve the issue.
Although their main prey were mortals, the influence of a corruption devil could extend all throughout the Outer Planes and beyond. Insignificant spinagons, powerful pit fiends, and even the archdevils themselves were not exempt from a corruption devil's eavesdropping. Other paeliryons were also spied upon when they weren't gathering together to trade information. They were willing to work with a diverse number of beings, although even most fiends remained unaware of the true identity of their paeliryon masters.
Sires of corruption were far more dangerous than normal corruption devils, and their sinister agendas were rarely confined to individual targets. Corrupting a town into a hotbed for villainy and misdeeds was a simple goal for a sire, with larger schemes including the downfall of entire empires. In order to accomplish their vile goals, sires of corruption coerced mortals into signing magical contracts that turned them into terrifying monsters under the paeliryon's control. The pacts always had hidden loopholes or double-meanings to ensnare the pitiful mortal, and once signed or verbally agreed to, had their written script scrawled onto the flesh of the signer, completing the transformation. While such corrupted followers were not always the creation of paeliryons, it was the most common way they came into existence, and many corruption devils had vast retinues of such servants.
Corrupted souls were normally created from humanoids that had completely devoted their life to indulging in a certain vice, including but not limited to lust, gluttony, greed, indolence, rage, or cowardice. Corruption devils analyzed the weaknesses of such entities from the shadows, noting how best to manipulate them until their victim reached a seemingly irretrievable low point. Once the target's vice had landed them into a miserable situation, the corruption devil would swoop in with the solution to their problems or an irrefusable deal. It was easiest for corrupted to appear in repressed societies, spreading iniquity like a plague and gathering together to encourage each other. While normally under the thrall to a corruption devil, corrupted were subservient beings willing to obey anyone that allowed indulgence in their misbehavior, including other mortals and even demons. Victims remembered only scraps of their former lives, and the only way to revert them was for the mortal to overcome their vice and for the corrupting contract to be nullified.
Despite dressing in the guise of a courtesan, paeliryons did not possess genders. Their anatomy combined aspects of both the male and female form.
- Shamane, overseer of the Diabolical Courts in Phlegethos. The corpulent devil was a stickler for details and had a habit for consuming those with frivolous arguments.
- Shetai, responsible for the fall of the Hag Countess and afterward gained much power. Afterward, by 1353 DR, Shetai had become a paeliryon and involved with Bryseis Kakistos.
- Mike Mearls, Greg Bilsland and Robert J. Schwalb (June 15, 2010). Monster Manual 3 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 52–56. ISBN 0786954902.
- Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Edited by Chris Thomasson, Gary Sarli, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 130–132. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
- Eric Cagle, Jesse Decker, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, Matthew Sernett, Chris Thomasson, and James Wyatt (April 2003). Fiend Folio. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 58–59. ISBN 0-7869-2780-1.
- Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Edited by Chris Thomasson, Gary Sarli, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 61–62. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
- Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Edited by Chris Thomasson, Gary Sarli, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 46. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
- Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Edited by Chris Thomasson, Gary Sarli, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 10.15.48.52. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
- Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Edited by Chris Thomasson, Gary Sarli, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 52. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
- Erin M. Evans (October 4th, 2016). The Devil You Know. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 987–989. ISBN 978-0786965946.
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 • Seared devil • Stitched devil • Succubus • Tar devil