War devils, sometimes called malebranches―not to be confused with another type of devil with the same name[note 1] (pronounced: /ˈmælʌbrɑːnɑːMÆL-u-bran-cha[4] or: /ˈmælɛbrɑːnɑːMÆL-eh-bran-cha[4])―were aggressive baatezu that served as warriors and champions of the Nine Hells.[2][1]


These creatures had enormous muscular bodies with black, leathery hides, slightly curving horns, and wings. They had undershot jaws and their eyes glimmered in various shades of red.[3][2]


War devils were bullies that enjoyed tormenting weaker creatures but cowered at anyone stronger than themselves. They were almost fanatically devoted to greater devils such as pit fiends and archdevils and took orders from no one else.[3][1]

Despite their overtly brutish appearance and demeanor, war devils were capable leaders and resourceful tacticians.[1]


The weapons war devils most commonly favored were tridents and ranseurs made of cold iron. They usually charged into combat by silently approaching their foes from the air in order to attack them by surprise. Once engaged with their opponents, they relied on brute strength rather than finesse.[3][2]


War devils were most commonly found in Avernus, where they enjoyed slaughtering hordes of invading demons, and in Dis, but were also common in all the other layers of the Nine Hells.[3]

They were typically employed by generals as warriors and mounts during combat, but also as enforcers and punishers within the diabolic ranks.[2] They were also occasionally given command of their own legions of lesser devils.[1]

In the hierarchy of the Nine Hells, devils could only be transformed into war devils through demotion from higher forms.[5]

Notable War DevilsEdit



  1. In 1st edition D&D, horned devils were called "malebranche", an Italian word that can be translated as "evil horns" or "evil claws", and they were depicted as bearing either military forks or spiked chains. In 2nd edition, horned devils were now called "cornugons" and except for no longer being described with military forks, they were nearly identical in all other respects. With the coming of 3rd edition, however, cornugons and malebranche were two distinct creatures, the former a greater devil and the latter a lesser devil. The malebranche now appeared with military forks and were larger creatures, and they did not have the other powers and abilities described for the cornugons. 4th edition seems to have ignored cornugons and only has malebranche, which it calls "war devils" and never "horned devils". It used identical art as drawn for one of the 3rd-edition malebranche. These devils carry tridents but are no longer huge devils. Finally, 5th edition seems to have merged the two kinds of devils again, calling horned devils "malebranche".





Least: AdvespaLemureNupperibo
Lesser: AbishaiBarbazuHamatulaSpinagon
Greater: AmnizuCornugonErinyesGelugonOsyluthPit fiendWar devil
Miscellaneous Devils
Alu-fiendArchdevilCambionDuergarFimbrul devilHellcatImpKytonLegion devilNarzugonSeared devilSuccubusTar devil
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