Marilith

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Marilith
Type V Demon.JPG
A marilith in the original Monster Manual.
Characteristics
Alignment Chaotic Evil
Type Outsider (Chaotic, Extraplanar, Evil)
Image Wizards.com image
Stats Open Game License stats
Publication history
First appearance Monster Manual, 1st Edition (1977)

A marilith is a fictional creature in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. A marilith is depicted as a powerful, six-armed female demon with the lower body of a snake.

Publication history[edit]

Mariliths are inspired by Hindu mythology, where gods and demons frequently have multiple heads and arms.[1]

In their first appearance, as part of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, mariliths were known as type V demons. From second edition AD&D and onwards they are listed as mariliths.

Dungeons & Dragons (1974-1976)[edit]

The type V demon appeared under the demon entry in the Eldritch Wizardry supplement (1976).[2]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

The type V demon (marilith) appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977).[3]

Dungeons & Dragons (1977-1999)[edit]

A hissing demon

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the type V demon, which is known as the hissing demon, first appearing in the Immortal Rules set, in the DM's Guide to Immortals (1986).[4] The hissing lesser fiend appeared in the Wrath of the Immortals set, in "Book One: Codex of the Immortals" (1992).[5]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

In this edition, demons became known as tanar'ri, and this creature officially became known as the marilith, a "true tanar'ri", appearing first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Outer Planes Appendix (1991),[6] and then reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[7]

The marilith true tanar'ri also appeared for the Planescape campaign setting in the first Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix (1994).[8]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

The marilith (tanar'ri) appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000);[9] in this edition, the name demon is resumed, and tanar'ri are now considered a sub-type of demon.

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)[edit]

The marilith appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003).

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)[edit]

The marilith appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008), again under the demon entry.[10]

Ecology[edit]

Environment[edit]

Mariliths are native to the Abyss.

Typical physical characteristics[edit]

Mariliths have humanoid female upper bodies with six arms. Depending on the particular edition and illustrator, their head and torso may look almost human or be covered in reptilian scales. Their lower bodies are those of giant snakes, typically green or brown.[citation needed]

Mariliths are typically barely clothed, with little if any torso covering, though they may wear jewelry.[citation needed] They are almost always shown with a variety of swords and other melee weapons held in their six arms.

Society[edit]

Although they are strategists, mariliths eagerly join any melee combat given the chance. They attack with six weapons and a snapping tail which grabs, can cast illusionary and charm magics, and can gate in other tanar'ri.

Mariliths are the generals and coordinators of the Blood War (though given the chaotic nature of tanar'ri, it is not usually possible to coordinate their activities, mariliths are charged with it, nonetheless). In the hierarchy of tanar'ri, mariliths rank below balors.

Cover art from the R. A. Salvatore novel Passage to Dawn (art by Todd Lockwood), featuring Drizzt duelling with a marilith.

Known mariliths[edit]

  • Byakala: an advanced marilith with the Smoking Eye template, found in The Shackled City.[15]
  • The Cathezar:Half-Chain Devil/Half-Marilith, originally a servant of Demogorgon/Aameul; depending on events, she may be either dead or serve Ammet the balor now.[16]
  • Gorzaug: Minion of Takhisis, treated "as a Type V demon for combat purposes", but without gating-in ability.[17]
  • Kaliva: a vassal of the marilith demon lord Shaktari, born as a human and raised by an evil duke. She spurned the advances of a wizard, who shapechanged her into a rutterkin and banished her to the Abyss. Eventually her intelligence and fighting skills enabled her to become a marilith.[19]
  • Morag: A non-evil marilith who was bound to serve Lolth, she now travels with the Justicar and his friends.[21]
  • Shaktari: known as the Queen of Poison, Shaktari is a giant marilith who rules Vudra, the 531st layer of the Abyss. She has flaming eyes and black skin.[19] She was once banished to the Wells of Darkness, but escaped. As of third edition, Shaktari claims rulership of all mariliths.
  • Unhath and Reluhantis: servants of Graz'zt who rule his realm in his absence, listed in Book of Vile Darkness. Unhath and Reluhantis are 6th level sorcerers.
  • Viractuth: the demon lord Rhyxali's second in command, Viractuth is a 5th level marilith sorcerer. She organizes the knowledge gathered by Rhyxali's shadow demons and lives in a huge library filled with tomes only she can read.[24]

Other publishers[edit]

The marilith appeared under the "demon" heading in Paizo Publishing's book Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (2009), on page 63.[25]

D&D mariliths in other media[edit]

  • The marilith appears in the D&D Miniatures: Blood War set #55 (2006). Its stats correspond fully to the creature since the stat card features the Marilith being able to attack 6 times in a round.
  • In 2010, a depiction of a Marilith won second place in Something Awful's "Erotic Monster Manual Contest".[26]
  • Kalistes: One of Bane's underling in the computer game Pools of Darkness. In the game she commands a large army consisting of drow and spiders, and possesses the Ring of Reversal which steals the sun. She hides in an infernal demiplane called Kalistes's Palace. She does not cast spells, but attacks six times in a round with all hands, each wielding a +4 weapon.
  • Yxunomei: middle boss - Found in the game Icewind Dale in the deep bowels of Dragon's Eye.

In other games[edit]

  • Marilith appears (as the "Fiend of Fire") under the same name and form, in Final Fantasy I.[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ DeVarque, Aardy. "Literary Sources of D&D". Archived from the original on 2007-07-21. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 
  2. ^ Gygax, Gary; Blume, Brian (1976), Eldritch Wizardry (1 ed.), Lake Geneva, WI: TSR 
  3. ^ Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  4. ^ Mentzer, Frank. Dungeons & Dragons Set 5: Immortal Rules (TSR, 1986)
  5. ^ Allston, Aaron. Wrath of the Immortals (TSR, 1992)
  6. ^ LaFountain, J. Paul. Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix. (TSR, 1991)
  7. ^ Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  8. ^ Varney, Allen, ed. Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix (TSR, 1994)
  9. ^ Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  10. ^ Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
  11. ^ a b Hellbound: The Blood War Boxed Set AD&D TSR 2621 Planescape
  12. ^ Mentzer, Frank. "Ay pronunseeAY shun gyd" Dragon #93 (TSR, 1985)
  13. ^ The Marilith Dervish by Robert Wiese, http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fc/20050921a
  14. ^ Teeuwynn Woodruff (1995). Van Richten's Guide to Fiends (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons : Ravenloft, No 9477). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-0122-5. 
  15. ^ Jesse Decker et al. (1995). The Shackled City Adventure Path. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-9770071-0-3. 
  16. ^ Bruce R. Cordell (2002). Bastion of Broken Souls. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2656-2. 
  17. ^ Douglas Niles (1986). DL14 Dragons of Triumph (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons : Dragonlance, No 9180). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-88038-096-9. 
  18. ^ Bruce R. Cordell (2001). Module Nemsis, Book of Chaos, guide for DMs from Planes of Chaos boxset. Wizards of the Coast. 
  19. ^ a b AD&D Dungeon Magazine Issue 60, Wizard of the Coast.
  20. ^ a b Carl Sargent (1995). Night Below: An Underdark Campaign. TSR. ISBN 0-7869-0179-9. 
  21. ^ Paul Kidd (2001). Queen of the Demonweb Pits. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1903-5. 
  22. ^ Colin McComb (1995). Well of Worlds. TSR. ISBN 1-56076-893-2. 
  23. ^ Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb (1997). Tymora's Luck (1st ed.). Wizards of the Coast. p. 316. ISBN 0-7869-0726-6. 
  24. ^ Book of Vile Darkness web enhancement http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20030117a
  25. ^ Bulmahn, Jason (lead designer). Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (Paizo Publishing, 2009)
  26. ^ Parsons, Zack; Steve "Malak" Sumner (September 16, 2010). "The Erotic Monster Manual Contest Winners". Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  27. ^ Massimilla, Bethany (December 1, 2004). "Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls (Game Boy Advance)". Retrieved August 24, 2012.