|“||Yagnoloths write contracts as devious as the deals of any devil, but yugoloths don't always hold up their end of the bargain.||”|
Yagnoloths were horrifying humanoids that stood 10‒15 ft (3‒4.6 m) and were covered in red scales. Their heads were small and seemingly skeletal, with strange, ugly facial features and large ears that looked like the wings of a bat. Their most distinguishing feature was their monstrously sized left arm, a thick, knotted behemoth of a limb, better fit for a giant than a creature of their size. Their other arm seemed puny and weak in comparison but was just as powerful as that of a regular human. At any time, they were likely wearing a cape to disguise either one of their limbs.
Yagnoloths were corrupt and selfish entities that constantly abused their positions of authority. They were also indulgent and indolent, attempting to avoid any form of work for as long as possible while reaping the rewards of those beneath them. Despite their slothfulness, they were capable of being cunning if needed and knew how to establish control of a situation, usually through a display of power.
For beings that demonstrated such laziness they also displayed an inordinate amount of pride and an overblown estimation of their own self-worth. The source of their pride was their impression that they received special attention from the ultroloths, not realizing that every other caste of yugoloth above them got the same treatment. Their vainglorious attitudes and sense of invincibility gave them tremendous levels of pride that on one hand made them difficult to deal with, but on the other was a source of potential manipulation.
Even without a weapon the massive clawed arm of a yagnoloth was dangerous, able to beat in or tear up their enemies with brutal efficiency. The impact from their fists was strong enough that most beings struck by it were stunned for over a minute straight. Their bodies were sturdy enough that most earth-based effects were ineffective against them. Every now and then, they could release a cloud of acidic gas that painfully melted exposed skin and was also capable of stunning foes.
Their various stunning powers acted in conjunction with their most horrifying power, the ability to drain life force. By touching their head against an incapacitated foe, yagnoloths could sap the vitality out of a creature and potentially kill them. The drain lasted until the yagnoloth died if it had happened within 1 day but otherwise the victim would need magical restoration or serious rest. The process took approximately half a minute and if interrupted would not harm the victim.
They had several innate spells they could cast. At will, they could cast darkness, detect magic, dispel magic, invisibility and suggestion. They also had eletrical powers ranging in power from shocking grasp to lightning bolt levels.
Yagnoloths were proficient in the use of several types of weapons, such as maces, greatswords, greataxes and harpoons. Their most dangerous weapon however was the tol-kendar, otherwise known as the body-wrecker, a 15 ft (4.6 m) long polearm constructed from steel that was ringed with blades and tipped with a harpoon-like point. The blades made it especially dangerous to remove the weapon from one's body after it was inserted, and was so heavy it required giant level strength to wield.
Their normal strategy in combat was to immobilize the most powerful enemy and repeatedly plunge their weapons into them until the foe stopped moving, before checking to see if the remaining enemies had fled after seeing the vicious display. If warranted, they might teleport before, between, or after their attacks. Normally they wielded weapons with their puny arm but never magical ones with special abilities. Possession of such a tool was a large enough asset that it might prompt the yagnoloth's minions to rebel and assassinate them in order to obtain it.
Gehenna and the Gray Wastes were planes that worked under a straightforward and feudal hierarchy, with territories divided into regions under the command of specific individuals. Yagnoloths served as the minor lords in yugoloth society, parasitically controlling both their fiefdoms and the vassals within them. It was the duty of the yagnoloths to martial the forces within their fiefs in order to defend their territories from invaders, a duty they could rarely be relied upon to accomplish. Yagnoloths were in the purest sense of the word, consumers, that contributed practically nothing to yugoloth society, abused their power to indulge in their own vices, and remained uninterested in the Blood War and other mercenary activities.
The political power of the yagnoloths extended not only to those below them but to those above them as well, a fact that they exploited at every opportunity. Yagnoloths could sanction the execution not only of yugoloths with more physical and magical power than themselves, but also those of higher status, excluding the ultroloths and potentially arcanaloths. This was often done tactically to better the yagnoloth's own lofty hierarchical position. Despite this being what any yugoloth would do if in the same situation all yugoloths besides the ultroloths would eagerly betray yagnoloths if it was feasible and garnered significant rewards. The resentment held by all other yugoloths towards the yagnoloths was so particularly potent that no other yugoloth would ever answer a yagnoloth's attempt to summon them, including other yagnoloths.
Yagnoloth expected complete obedience from all fiends outside of their superiors, most specifically the ultroloths. They were fully aware that it was the ultroloths that both entrusted and enforced their right to rule, and initially divided the territories. The line of reasoning that prompted the ultroloths to give yagnoloths power was unknown to nearly all beings. Yagnoloths did not show greater intelligence, strength, or diligence than many other beings put under their command, and their flaws were no secret to anyone. The true rationale behind the rule of the yagnoloths was that it served as a lesson to other yugloths that even petty, lesser beings could seem frightening and dangerous when given authority and power. Although they thoroughly recognized the hatred they received from those underneath them, yagnoloths were none the wiser to the mockery made by those at the top.
Yagnoloths were expert negotiators, following their contracts but normally including an emergency loophole in order to escape them if need be. When writing contracts for others it was also their job to help communicate the desires of an employer to the fiend they were in charge of. Its massive arm was normally hidden during these dealings while the human arm drafted and signed the contract. Unlike some fiends they would respect the power of summoners who put them in positions of power as part of the contract and might continue serving in the mortal realm even after the initial contract was completed. Yagnoloths avoided verbal communication when possible, preferring to communicate telepathically.
Yagnoloths could also be found within the Abyss, mostly in Morglon-Daar near the Blood Rift, in positions of similar authority. They were allowed to exile or execute any being threatening stability within the city and were the closest thing to a system of law and justice within the realm. They also worked for demons as enforcers and guards or traveled in isolated bands throughout the far reaches of the Blood Sea. If found in the Material Plane it was often due to being bound by a spellcaster or to engage in their other duty, the writing of contracts for other yugloths.
Hydroloths who strove to be promoted in order to escape their expendable station were immediately met by the inherent trap of the yagnoloth caste. For the first time in a yugoloth's life they were given the authority and power to exercise their own free will at a whim. It was the corrupting nature of power that stopped most yugoloths from further advancing. In order to become merrenoloths they had to recognize that despite being provided power over land and life they did not possess true power, and were limited by the wishes of their ultroloth overlords.
It was believed by some that yagnoloths were created while the Abyss was still young and that they were formally a race of aquatic humanoids in service to the primordial Throan. Before he was slain, Throan supposedly transferred his spirit into his servants, transforming them into yagnoloths due to the Abyss's dark taint. Their smaller arms were the only things that remained of their once slender form.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 Allen Varney, ed. (June 1994). Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix. (TSR, Inc.), p. 127. ISBN 978-1560768623.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 252. ISBN 978-0786966240.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Mike Mearls, Brian R. James, Steve Townshend (July 2010). Demonomicon. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 154. ISBN 978-0786954926.
- ↑ 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 Ed Bonny, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Skip Williams, and Steve Winter (September 2002). Monster Manual II 3rd edition. (TSR, Inc), pp. 203–204. ISBN 07-8692-873-5.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 31. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 70. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
- ↑ Carceri map included in Robert Lazzaretti (December 1995). Planes of Conflict. Edited by Michele Carter. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 0-7869-0309-0.
- ↑ Colin McComb (December 1995). “Liber Malevolentiae”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Conflict (TSR, Inc.), p. 30. ISBN 0-7869-0309-0.