List of Dungeons & Dragons creatures (B)
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The babau (minor demon) debuted in the first edition Monster Manual II (1983), under the demon entry.
The babau greater tanar'ri appeared in second edition first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Outer Planes Appendix (1991), under the tanar'ri entry. The babau greater tanar'ri also appeared for the Spelljammer setting in The Astromundi Cluster (1993), and for the Planescape campaign setting in the first Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix (1994).
The babau is one of the monsters that will appears in the fourth edition Monster Manual 3 (2010).
Babau resemble tall, gaunt, elongated, skeleton-like humanoids. They are about 6 feet tall and weigh 140 pounds. Their skin is a dark brown-reddish-black in color, glossy, leather-like, and highly form fitting, hence the skeletal appearance. They have sly, sneaky, goblin-like faces, and long, thin, claw-like fingers. They always walk with a sneaky, alert posture. The most notable feature of the babau, however, is the single, short, curved horn coming from the back/top of their head. Covering a babau from head to toe is a red, caustic jelly-like slime which protects them from attacks.
Babau are the cunning and sneaky but powerful assassins of the Abyss. They are very careful and devious, and always form cunning plans before doing anything (or at least before combat). Babau sometimes work with succubi, but hate and are hated by glabrezu, hezrous, nalfeshnees and vrocks. They are particularly fond of the flesh of nalfeshnees, and nalfeshnees especially fear and despise them with a passion. Due to their horn, babau are sometimes known as the one-horned horror, and due to their color, as the ebony death.
Babau are assassins, and hence they are sneaky, sly, cunning and stealthy, and this is the governing factor in their combat. They are adept at hiding, moving silently, searching, listening, and making sneak attacks, and use this greatly to their advantage in fights. For actually damaging foes, Babau prefer to use weapons. If they are unarmed, they will use their claws, and their horn. They tend to start fights with an ambush, and excellently use a combination of sneak attacks and multiple attacks. They tend to attack the most powerful foe first if they are fighting multiple enemies, seeking to eliminate the true threat and then toy with the others. Due to the protective slime mentioned before covering a babau, melee attacks against them only cause half damage, plus they cause damage to the weapon used.
Babau also have numerous spell-like abilities, which vary between game edition and between source.
They also have the typical demon characteristics of immunity to poison and electricity, and resistance to fire, cold and acid.
They can telepathically communicate with any creature that has a language within 100 feet.
Last but not least, once per day a babau can summon another babau to aid it. This ability is equivalent to a third level spell. They are chaotic evil in alignment, typical of a demon.
- Mentzer, Frank. "Ay pronunseeAY shun gyd" Dragon #93 (TSR, 1985)
- Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual II (TSR, 1983)
- LaFountain, J. Paul. Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix. (TSR, 1991)
- Varney, Allen, ed. Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix (TSR, 1994)
- Cook, Monte. Book of Vile Darkness (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)