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Remember when I told you the MM3 had the very good idea of giving each devil and demon its own entry rather than lumping them all together? Here’s where they kinda toss that out the window and make a big entry full of diverse stat blocks for a single type of devil.
Corruption Devils, or Paeliryons, first appeared in one of the later Monster Manuals for 3rd Edition. I remember they were not very well-received because their lore and appearance had some quite unfortunate implications. This book is still making an effort to make them a big part of the game, so let’s see if the lore improved in any way.
The book describes these devils as “bloated infernal masterminds of graft, sleaze, and vice”. They’re better at politics and intrigue than almost anyone else in Hell, and they put that skill to use in subverting mortal societies to their benefit, turning them into decadent kleptocracies via a network of agents and dupes. Most paeliryons work for Dispater, lord of the second layer of Hell, acting as the civil administration of that wretched city.
A corruption devil’s agent network is somewhat inverted from what you’d expect. Its most powerful members are kept at a safe remove from the devil, while those that work directly with it are ignorant sycophants and expendable muscle.
I see that they kept the Paeliryion illustration from the previous edition, but if I’m remembering it correctly the lore was changed to something a little less problematic. With an extra decade of hindsight, I’d probably replace the Ursula cosplay with a big suit and an orange wig.
The basic model, depicted in the illustration. These are most likely to be found running the city of Dis, but can also go out into the other planes to perform specific missions. Though physically imposing, the creatures prefer to avoid direct conflicts, and will try to negotiate their way out of trouble. If forced into combat they fight like PC bards, staying away from the melee and hurling magically-charged insults and mind control spells at their enemies.
They pal around with other manipulative devils such as succubi, vizier devils, and cambions, though these are almost always pawns rather than full allies. If things see to be going bad for it, the paeliryion will definitely fly away and abandon its “friends”.
Corruption Devils are Large Immortal Humanoids (Devils), and Level 22 Controllers (Leaders) with 208 HP. They have Darkvision and a +5 to save against fear and charm effects. Their ground speed is only 4, but they’re excellent fliers with speed 6 (hover).
These devils project a Corruptive Presence that works as an aura (5) and inflicts a -2 penalty to saves on all enemies inside its radius. It fights in melee with Corrupting Claws and at range with Words of Corruption, both of which deal no immediate damage and instead inflict ongoing psychic damage (save ends).
Their mind control magic takes the form of two minor-action spells. Sway the Corrupt (at-will) targets an enemy that’s taking ongoing psychic damage. It hits automatically, and dominates them for a turn. Doom the Corrupt (recharge 5+) targets an ally or a dominated creature, forcing them to make a melee basic attack against an enemy of the devil’s choice. If that attack hits, its target is also immobilized (save ends).
Finally, it can use Desperate Measures as a minor action to allow an ally to make a basic attack that crits on 19-20, in exchange for the ally granting combat advantage for a turn. This recharges when the devil is first bloodied, and if used while it’s bloodied it applies to every ally within 5 squares instead of just one.
Sire of Corruption
These are the most powerful corruption devils, and among some of the most powerful devils in Hell. They’re the ones who run long term projects of the “turn a whole kingdom to evil” variety, and have a particular strong hatred of “incorruptible” people or institutions, working extra-hard to prove that assertion wrong or destroy these offenders if they can’t. Sires of Corruption can make a particular kind of infernal contract that can make the signing mortal gain power from utterly embracing their vices, thought they still remain pawns of the devil in the end.
These creatures are Medium Immortal Humanoids (devils), and Level 29 Elite Controllers (leaders) with 530 HP. They have 15 fire resistance and a ground speed of 6, but no special senses.
Their Lasting Corruption aura is actually a bit worse than that of a basic corruption devil, since the save penalty only applies to charm effects. All of their non-basic attacks are charm effects, so it doesn’t make a difference to the sire itself, but it’s less helpful to its allies.
Their basic attack is a Corrupting Touch that does a sizable amount of psychic damage and inflicts a -2 penalty to defenses against charm effects for a turn, so you want to alternate it with the other attack: Touch of Vice (recharge 4+), which deals the same amount of psychic damage and inflicts one of six possible effects named after different vices or sins. They’re all (save ends), and have the following effects:
- Lust causes the target to be marked by another enemy within 5 squares.
- Excess dazes.
- Greed slides the target 5 squares to a space adjacent to one of its allies, and forces it to make opportunity attacks against allies whose actions would provoke them.
- Fear pushes the target 5 squares and forbids it from moving closer to the sire of corruption.
- Sloth immobilizes.
- Vengeance auto-damages the target whenever they use an attack power.
The sire chooses which effect happens whenever it hits with Touch of Vice.
But that’s not all! At the start of the fight it can issue a Call to Corruption to summon six Corrupted Followers into the fight, and it can do that again after it’s bloodied! As a minor action it can use Spread Depravity to give one of these servants a free attack.
And finally, when the sire is reduced to 0 HP, it uses a final attack named Lasting Vice, which targets everyone in a Close Burst 5 with a Touch of Vice (same damage, same choice of effects).
These things are nasty, and unlike basic corruption devils they want to get right into the fray while surrounded by their corrupted servants.
These are mortals who were prey to some vice in life, and who were offered a very specific kind of infernal contract in their moment of greatest despair or misery. The contract gives them what they desire, and immediately afterwards turns them into monsters made of the same vice that controlled their mortal lives.
Followers retain no memory of those lives. Left to their own devices, they contrive to spread their ruling vice among the surrounding population. Most often, though, they’re found in the service of their devil master. Usually this is a Sire of Corruption, but it can also be some other powerful devil, or some mortal villain to whom the fiend has loaned them.
Corrupted Followers are epic-tier minions, and there’s a different variety for every vice a Sire of Corruption can generate. It’s entirely appropriate for the Sire’s Call to Corruption power to summon a full sentai team with the six varieties, but you can vary its composition to have simpler combats.
Each Follower type has a touch attack that targets Will and does a bit of damage with a rider, an effect that happens when it dies, and sometimes an aura or passive trait. All of those will be related to each Follower’s Thematic Vice. Here they are:
Lust: Corrupted Lechers are Level 24 Minion Lurkers. They can’t be targeted unless they’re the closest enemy to the attacker; their attacks can be melee or ranged, and make the target be marked by another enemy for a turn; when they die, they make their killer move its speed towards another enemy.
Excess: Corrupted Gluttons are Level 25 Minion Soldiers that attack with bites that also grab the target. Once they have a target grabbed they can chew on them for automatic damage. When they die, they curse their killer to take damage next turn unless the PC recovers HP in the intervening time.
Greed: Corrupted Mongers are Level 26 Minion Artillery. Their melee attacks slide the target adjacent to one of their allies; their ranged attack drain daily or encounter powers from magic items until the end of the encounter! When they die, they cause any daily or encounter powers from the item that killed them to become spent.
Sloth: Corrupted Idlers are Level 27 Minion Soldiers. They have a small slowing aura, and their attacks prevent the target from taking move actions for a turn. When they die, they make an attack against the killer’s Will that will knock the PC unconscious for a turn on a hit.
Vengeance: Corrupted Lunatics are Level 28 Minion Brutes. Their attacks are weak even for a minion, but force the target to make a basic attack against its nearest ally. If someone misses then with an attack, they can make a free attack against that PC, with the same rider as above. When they die, their killer must again make an attack against an ally. They’re walking Three Stooges skits.
Fear: Corrupted Cravens are Level 29 Minion Controllers. When they hit with an attack, they force the target to move its speed away from them. The same happens to their killer when they die.
I guess I’m still not entirely sold on the whole “Corruption Devil” lore. It feels kinda redundant because this sort of thing was already supposed to be one of the central themes for Hell as a whole. And the stat blocks use the word “Corruption” so much it kinda starts to lose its meaning. The Sire of Corruption seems like it was an entirely different monster that got retrofitted into this entry. It’s obviously inspired by the Seven Deadly Sins, which I feel is kinda played out. But at least it’s all seven in one monster, and it is in-theme for Hell.
Mechanics-wise, the Corruption Devil stat block might work quite well for any bard-type enemies, with a few minor adjustments. The Sire of Corruption is a scary combatant, but its mechanics are extremely tied to the concept of sin so it might be harder to reskin. It would make an excellent basis for an Aspect of Asmodeus, though!
The minions are flavorful, but fiddly. I wouldn’t recommend using the full spread in the same encounter.