Summon Greater Demon Deep Dive

Summon Greater Demon

Notes: We will be taking separate Deep Dives into Summon Lesser Demons, Infernal Calling, and Planar Binding in other videos

General

Demons are inferior melee combatants relative to Devils or Elementals (“Glass Cannons” with 

lower AC/HP/Resistances) but tend to have powerful magical abilities or innate spells

Summoning Demons may create alignment or campaign issues, check with DM and PCs

Combat cast of 1 action 

Unlike Conjure Elemental

Material component has no gp value so can cast w/ Arcane Focus

However, can’t create protective circle with AF

Spell requires sight to cast

Sight not required after casting

Caster chooses demon type of CR 5 or below, +1 CR per upcast level 

Unlike Summon Lesser Demons or Conjure Minor Elementals

If concentration ends while Demon is controlled, spell immediately ends 

Unlike Conjure Elemental

Demon has separate initiative, so caster must manage and coordinate

Check with DM who may rule that they act on your initiative for simpler gameplay

Caster can “issue verbal command” as free action which Demon carries out “on its next turn”

Most Demons only speak Abyssal & their Telepathy requires their action to initiate

Learn Abyssal in character creation

Some DMs may relax this Abyssal requirement as RAW not specified

Otherwise, only few Demons available

Without command, will not act except to attack creatures that have attacked it

Will not attempt to subvert orders like Devils will

Demon rolls Cha EOTS to break control

Can always get 1 action from Demon then immediately drop concentration

Some Demons have Magic Resistance which applies to the Cha Save

Unlike Infernal Calling which is ability check so MR irrelevant 

Disadvantage on Save if caster “says its true name”

Strong strategy is to command it to tell you its true name, then say it

Note however that you sometimes WANT it to break control

However, check with DM regarding action progression

Can you command it to both attack & give true name in same turn?

Speech may require action on your turn

If so, command for true name may preclude command to attack in Rnd 1

Combos w/ abilities that force rerolls (e.g. Chronal Shift) or impose penalties (e.g. Bane)

Portent not good to combo as must apply before roll

Combos with Charm Monster

Exceptionally high Save DC can “break” this spell

New Tasha’s items puts this in reach

Save DC of 20 means Barlgura, Tanarukk, or Shoosuva that can't make its Cha 

Save and will last the full hour, and you don't need to mess around with

getting its true name.

Save DC of 21 adds Chasme and Draegloth

Save DC of 22 adds Babau, Armanite, and Hezrou 

Also Dybbuk et al. only Saves on a 20, so with true name + 

Chronal Shift only breaks control .25% of the time (1 in 400)

If Demon breaks control, it attacks nearest non-Demonic creatures (unlike Infernal Calling)

No particular animus towards caster (unlike Infernal Calling)

Easily mitigated with strong environmental placement

“Glass Cannon” nature works to party advantage

Relatively few HP left for party to deal with if it kills all enemies

If Demon breaks control, it disappears 1d6 rounds after concentration ends

This can be desirable & specifically pursued to free up concentration

Even 1d6 rounds of persistence can have powerful impact

This strategy is viable even at low Save DC

Can use blood Material component to create protective circle

Demon can’t “cross or harm” or “target anyone within it”

Excludes AOE effects like Chasme Drone or Vrock Screech

Circle is immobile

Available Demons

Babau

CR 4

+1 Cha Save; +1 Wis Save

No Magic Resistance

Mediocre Combatant but fantastic special abilities

Dispel Magic, Darkness, Fear, Levitate, Heat Metal, Weakening Gaze at will

Rating: Superior

Dybbuk 

CR 4

+2 Cha Save; Immune to Charm

Hard to control relative to other options

Magic Resistance but can lose it when using Possession

Poor combatant in a vacuum, but Possession ability is powerful and flexible

Can possess strong melee combatant

Can gain intel

Fantastic Special Abilities

Dimension Door at will, Violate Corpse

Speaks Common

Rating: Good

Shadow Demon 

CR 4

+4 Cha Save; +1 Wis Save (easy to Charm)

No Magic Resistance

Mediocre combatant and can be good at scouting or spying, but hard to control

Bonus action Hide in dim light or darkness

Can Fly

Rating: Average

Barlgura

CR 5

-1 Cha Save; +2 Wis Save

No Magic Resistance

Good combatant with decent Special Abilities and easy to control

Blindsight

Rating: Good

Tanarukk

CR 5

-1 Cha Save; -1 Wis Save

Magic Resistance

Excellent combatant and relatively easy to control but no Special Abilities 

Best Demon for straight up melee wreckage

Rating: Good

Chasme 

CR 6 (must cast at 5th level)

+0 Cha Save; +5 Wis Save

Magic Resistance

Excellent combatant with devastating melee attack

Great Fly speed

Drone effect very powerful vs. minions

Blindsight

Nuclear impact; my favorite summon

Rating: Superior

Vrock 

CR 6 (must cast at 5th level)

+2 Cha Save; +4 Wis Save

Magic Resistance

Excellent combatant but very hard to control

Good durability for Demon

Great Fly speed

Screech and Spores excellent against minions

Rating: Average

Armanite 

CR 7 (must cast at 6th level)

+1 Cha Save; +1 Wis Save

Magic Resistance

Superior combatant 

Only Demon fully effective against resistance to non-magical attacks

Strong mobility

Strong Lightning attack

Rating: Good

Draegloth

CR 7 (must cast at 6th level)

+0 Cha Save; +0 Wis Save (advantage vs. Charm)

No Magic Resistance

Superior combatant with good Special Abilities and easy to control

Darkness at will, Confusion, Faerie Fire

Speaks Elvish and Undercommon

Rating: Good

Maurezhi

CR 7 (must cast at 6th level)

+2 Cha Save; Immune to Charm

Magic Resistance

Poor combatant with niche Special Abilities and hard to control

Speaks Elvish

Rating: Poor, but Good for Necromancers who use/control ghouls/ghasts

Hezrou

CR 8 (must cast at 7th level)

+1 Cha Save; +4 Wis Save

Magic Resistance

Superior combatant with not much in terms of Special Abilities

Stench is solid

Rating: Average

Shoosuva

CR 8 (must cast at 7th level)

-1 Cha Save; +5 Wis Save

No Magic Resistance

Superior combatant with not much in terms of Special Abilities and easy to control

Stinger is excellent

Rating: Good

Glabrezu

CR 9 (must cast at 8th level)

+7 Cha Save; +7 Wis Save

Magic Resistance

Amazing combatant with amazing Special Abilities but super hard to control

Power Word Stun is also an 8th level spell

Dispel Magic and Darkness at will

Truesight

Rating: Superior

Master of Cruelties

CR 9 (must cast at 8th level)

+9 Cha Save; +7 Wis Save

Magic Resistance

Amazing combatant with amazing Special Abilities but super hard to control

Truesight

Speaks Common

Rating: Superior

Yochlol

CR 10 (must cast at 9th level)

+6 Cha Save; +6 Wis Save

Magic Resistance

Interesting array of control Special Abilities

Mist Form is good

Speaks Elvish

Rating: Poor

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