Illustration Copyright 2008 Wizards of the Coast.

This is part of a series! Go here to see the other entries.

The book says spined devils serve as “scouts and sentries” in the Hells, and sometimes as “spies and messengers” to powerful figures. Everything else about them suggests they are terrible at these jobs, because what they really love is flying around in bands and tormenting anything that crosses their path with a rain of flaming, poisonous spines.

Also known as spinagons, they’re frequently summoned both because their relative weakness makes the process easy, and because they’ll do what the summoner says as long as they’re given ample opportunity to fling spines at people.

The Numbers

Spinagons exist only in the Monster Manual. They’re Medium Immortal Humanoids (devils), and Level 6 Skirmishers with 70 HP. Like most other devils, they have darkvision and 20 fire resistance. Their ground speed is 5, and they’re nimble fliers with speed 7 and the ability to hover.

Their basic attack is a claw, and their favorite attack is the Rain of Spines I keep mentioning. A spinagon can fling the spines covering its body at victims by flexing real hard. These have Range 10 and target Reflex. They do a mix of physical and fire damage on a hit, and trigger a secondary attack against Fortitude that slows and does ongoing poison damage (save ends).

The spines actually do the right amount of damage on average, though it’s expressed a bit differently than you’d expect (1d10 physical + 1d6 fire + 5 ongoing poison). The fix here would be to remove the secondary attack against Fortitude and have the ongoing damage and slow happen on any hit from the spines. That would make these kinda scary for a level-appropriate party, since getting hit with the spines makes it harder for someone to get away from future shots.

The claws do need a handful more damage, but like all artillery monsters you’ll only be using their melee basic attack if you mess up.

The sample encounter in the book is level 6: two spinagons and a trio of lizardfolk composed of a mystic and two bruisers. A pretty effective formation, and a clue to a diabolist cult growing in the depths of the swamp.

Final Impressions

Spinagons feel a bit underwhelming as a follow-up to pit fiends. Not only are their stats really simple, their looks, disposition and attack forms would all fit a demon better than a devil. They fight with natural weapons, have animalistic traits, and like to kill people for the lulz.

Still, if you pair them with appropriate enemies that can capitalize on the slow effect of their spines, they can make for memorable fights. The sample encounter is a good example of this… and to make my point about these guys looking more like demons, they also pair really well with evistros.