Piscoloths(pronounced: /ˈpɪskoʊloʊθz/ PIS-ko-lothz), sometimes referred to as piscodaemons, or piscodemons, were the aquatic overseers of the mezzoloth and dhergoloth castes of the yugoloth race's mercenary legions. Their cruel command over lesser yugoloths often resulted in betrayal by their supposed underlings, with only the threat of death keeping their brutish minions at bay.
Piscoloths had an alien assortment of traits from various marine creatures, standing 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall on their razor-sharp talons. Their visages resembled those of carrion crawlers, with short, writhing mouth tentacles and a pair of faceted, walleyes that bulged out from either side of their heads. Piscodaemons also had red, chitinous bodies like those of lobsters, huge crab-like pincers at the end of their humanoid arms, and fish-like tails.
Piscoloths were not only sadistic bullies but also slavering sycophants, tyrannically lording over those beneath them with cruel pettiness while obsequiously fawning over more powerful entities. They thoroughly enjoyed being able to command others to do their bidding, a task suited to their tactical minds and leadership roles. Both avaricious and ambitious, they were easy to bribe and eager to betray those they saw as their hated rivals.
Challenging their loose authority was likely to provoke their ire but given their personalities, subservient behavior was also dangerous, making treating them as equals the safest choice. Though they were neutral evil, the commanders had the taint of law and were the first caste in which a yugoloth began to understand both law and chaos.
Although they might appear frail to some, piscoloths were physically adept, with claws capable of severing limbs if one was not careful. Their tentacles could inject a potentially lethal paralytic venom into their victims, making it dangerous to get near their maws. Their insectoid eyes let them see all around them, preventing conventional attempts at ambushes. Being aquatic in nature, they were resistant to water-based abilities and could easily maneuver underwater.
A wide array of spell-like abilities were at their disposal, including blink, fear, detect good, detect magic, protection from good, scare, see invisibility at will, and meld into stone, phantasmal killer, and stinking cloud three times every day. Due to their role as commanders, they were excellent summoners able to easily summon a small squadron of mezzoloths, skeroloths, and, with somewhat more difficulty, other piscoloths. More recent reports stated them to have strange psychic abilities through mental screams and mad visions.
As the direct overseers of yugoloth armies, piscoloths normally entered battle themselves after their soldiers had already waded in. They were among the few yugoloths to naturally form groups, often gathering into small bands in order to command companies of mezzoloths. Eventually, they charged in emitting noxious air, attempting to seize foes with their claws and inject them with their venom before dragging them off to eat later.
Piscodaemons served as the sergeants of the mercenary armies of the yugoloths, serving any being that could afford their assistance. Compelling them into service usually required the lure of a powerful magical item or some other form or pricey reward, but they were too treacherous to be trusted for an extended period of time. Menial tasks such as manual labor or guard duty were just as likely to get their employers overthrown and subjugated by their would-be hired help.
Piscoloths were among the most hated of all the yugoloths, and despite enjoying their position many desired to quickly advance out of it. Daemons of lower rank, especially dhergoloths, often betrayed them for their dictatorial demeanor and they were prone to suffering from supposed friendly fire in the heat of battle. On the other hand, their easily agitated superiors were not afraid to off their expendable officers and were given good reason to because of piscoloths' overwhelming greed and frequent chances for betrayal. Their wanton cupidity and insatiable ambition made it a smart tactic to attempt to tempt a piscoloth into betraying their superiors in order to change the course of a battle.
If accounting only for acts of direct backstabbing rather than subtle duplicity, piscodaemons were the yugoloths most likely to be killed by acts of betrayal. Unfortunately for them, the only way to advance from this stage and its correspondingly high fatality rate was to become a hydroloth, a relatively weaker daemon. Only by remembering the lessons from their earlier forms about strength and influence, and willingly decreasing their strength to secure a greater advantage could a piscoloth further evolve.
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