Bearded Devils are the theme to our adventure writing competition. These much over-looked creatures are great mid-level monsters. On top of all the normal devilish traits (teleport, damage reduction, immunity to fire & poison, resistance to acid and cold plus spell resistance) they have rage abilities and a reach weapon (glaive). This combination makes them great combat monsters as the only way to effectively deal with them is to get up close and start hitting them. Of course, with their glaives they have the advantage there as well.
The one thing I don’t like about the Bearded Devils is the Beard Attack. A successful hit does a small amount of damage but then infects the victim with a disease.
I’ve always found these sort of things an annoyance, both as a player and a GM. The Challenge Rating of a Beared Devil is 5, so they are aimed at 5th Level characters. Who generally will have Remove Disease or similar available to them. If they don’t, then the party isn’t really capable of tackling Bearded Devils in a combat. But if they have the magic, the disease is nothing more than an inconvenience.
And that is what bugs me. I don’t want inconveniences in my games. Challenging fights, risk of death, total party kills – bring it on. But I don’t want to be stuck with a book keeping exercise that adds nothing to character development or furthering the plot. Sure, there are situations where the disease might be a real challenge as the party races to get back to civilisation and healing before they die but most of the time it is just an annoying inconvenience.
Surely there must be a better, less annoying form of Beard Attack. Any suggestions?