War devils, sometimes called malebranches[4] (pronounced: /ˈmælʌbrɑːnɑːMÆL-u-bran-cha[5] or: /ˈmælɛbrɑːnɑːMÆL-eh-bran-cha[5])―not to be confused with another type of devil with the same name[note 1]―were aggressive baatezu that served as warriors and champions of the Nine Hells.[3]


Because war devils were made from other devils their size was dependent on their original form, with most standing 22 ft (6.7 m) tall and weighing 10 tons (9,100 kg), and the largest among them standing over 60 ft (18 m) and weighing 125 tons (113,000 kg).[3] They had enormous, muscular bodies with black, leathery hides, and powerful wings. They had a pair of huge, slightly curved horns, undershot jaws filled with sharp teeth and bestial eyes that glimmered in various shades of red.[3][2]


War devils were bullies that enjoyed tormenting smaller creatures but cowered at anyone stronger than themselves. They were almost fanatically devoted to greater devils such as pit fiends and archdevils, obeying even their humiliating or suicidal commands and taking orders from no one else. Despite their overtly brutish appearance and demeanor, war devils were clever, capable leaders and resourceful tacticians.[3][1]


War devils possessed a horrifying strength they could utilize even if unarmed, using their wicked claws to tear foes limb from limb. They exuded an aura of fear that sent non-baatezu running in terror.[3]


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. They were excellent in aerial maneuvering, capable both of hovering in the air and turning on tight corners. Once engaged with their opponents they relied on brute strength rather than finesse, striking with their claws if their opponents came too close for their reach weapons to be useful.[3][2]


War devils would reside anywhere within Baator but were most common on Avernus and Dis. They preferred to gang up with other members of their kind in groups of three or four and could be found loitering throughout Hell when not working. They were most common on Avernus as it allowed them to opportunity to slaughter the infinite hordes of demons that invaded Hell, along with the occasional celestial forces.[3] Under the command of more intelligent greater devils, they served as the enforcers, disciplinarians and warriors of Hell.[2] Individuals served as guardians and protected lairs or valuables while pairs worked as bodyguards and bouncers. Because of their relatively higher intelligence, amnizu favored war devil guards as opposed to barbazu defenders.[3] Under the command of pit fiends or archdevils, war devils were given control of lesser devil legions in order to eliminate those their masters needed destroyed.[1]

The loyalty of war devils was a side-effect caused by the brutal abuse and torment they went through in order to increase their pain resistance. It was for this reason that they begrudgingly followed degrading commands such as being used as steeds for other baatezu. While mistreated, they still received rightfully high wages for their military service. They did not enter pacts that normally allowed baatezu to summon others of their kind, and when they did often refused to put others in their debt.[3] Among mortals, war devils were the most frequently summoned of the greater devils, called by cruel tyrants to serve as the generals for their armies.[1]

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".





Tyrannical Fiends of Evil and Law
Least: AdvespaLemureMerregonNupperibo
Lesser: Abishai (BlackBlueGreenRedWhite)BarbazuHamatulaKocrachonNarzugonOsyluthSpinagon
Greater: AmnizuCornugonErinyesGelugonPaeliryonPit fiendWar devil
Miscellaneous Devils
Alu-fiendArchdevilCambionFimbrul devilHellcatImpKytonOrthonSeared devilSuccubusTar devil
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.