Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus features some old devils getting new details–including this 3rd Edition favorite stepping up to take center stage.
Let’s talk about Narzugons for a moment. Now, the name might sound like something you’d use to get rid of tough stains, even baked in ones–it doesn’t matter if it’s on your favorite casserole dish, sweater, or carpet, Nar-zu-gon cleans dirt, grease, and grime no matter what; and to a certain extent this is all very accurate, a Narzugon will certainly destroy tough stains (as well as their constituent containers), thanks to their powerful spell-like abilities and hellish lances.
Did you say…
I said HELLISH lances…
For a Narzugon is an infernal foe that wields hellish power. These armor-clad devils are like a dark reflection of a Paladin. Usually encountered riding their fearsome steeds (Nightmares generally), these infernal knights were first introduced in 3rd Edition, in the Manual of the Planes. There they were just another kind of devil with some cool art–but the Narzugon has since gone on to fill an interesting niche in the manuals of monsters throughout the years.
The 3rd Edition Narzugons are the elite cavalry of the baatezu, tasked with rounding up those who escape the Nine Hells of Baator–or whatever other dirty work needs doing. Back in 3rd Edition, they have a well-rounded stat block that lends itself well to the melee attacks it uses–but you’ll get much more milage out of its spell-like and supernatural abilities, including the signature move where it reveals its true face and people who witness it might drop dead from fright (or at least be subject to phantasmal killer).
4th Edition Narzugons are under the entry: Hell Knight, which is accurate to what they are. In 4th Edition’s lore, the Narzugons are servants of Asmodeus, tricked into betraying their former master and sworn to the service of the Nine Hells. Eternal Oathbreakers who can never find release, they hate everything and fight ferociously, wielding a fiery lance. Their frightening gaze vanishes, replaced by the ability to mark and slow targets–but really it’s their lance that does most of the work in this edition.
Finally we come to the 5th Edition. Narzugon are powerful, in this edition, weighing in at challenge rating of 13–which is well in advance of when the players will encounter their first Narzugon in Descent into Avernus (it’s around level 6 or maybe 7 that they’ll face off with one). And the Narzugon is mean, using multiple attacks to strike three times with its lance and use its infernal visage to command their friends and foes.
But they’re not just powerful–these are fallen Paladins, who still fight as loyal champions, but now they fight for evil. If you’re looking for a great villain to fill that ominous threat that you are meant to drive off a few times before you kill it, the Narzugon are a great fit.