Tanar'ri, Babau


Hand Size:
4 (25)


Babau are tanar'ri, dreadful demonic horrors from the Abyss. They possess a large variety of supernatural powers of a decidedly 'evil' bent, along with several adaptations ideal for hand-to-hand combat, as well as an inherent knack for the use of almost any weapon.


Tanar'ri Physique: the solitary babau are greater tanar'ri, powerful demonic creatures that hail from the infinite planes of the Abyss. Like all tanar'ri, the babau are truly planar entities, and possess these potent tanar'ric capabilities:

* Darkness (a): all tanar'ri have the ability to share the inherent darkness of their very souls with the world at large. This rudimentary power functions only at intensity 4, but basically 'blacks out' everything within near missile distance of the babau.

* Dimensional Transit (i): in addition to being able to teleport, tanar'ri can transition between planes of existence. They may do so with intensity 5 ability, though on a failed action dimensionally transiting tanar'ri may be subject to error, per a failed teleport. *

* Infravision (w): many of the Abyss' countless layers are dark beyond mortal ken, and have never seen the light (physically or otherwise). As such, all tanar'ri have evolved the ability to see by heat as well as by visible light, and can do so with intensity 5 skill.

* Invulnerability to Fire, Electricity, Heat, and Poison (s): the tanar'ri are hardy creatures - they have to be to survive at all in the endless, horrific wastes of the Abyss. Their forms have evolved over time to give them complete immunity to fire, electricity, heat, and poison.

* Portal Sense (w): planar beings all, babau have the ability to perceive the various rifts that dot the planescape of the multiverse. Most of these doorways are invisible to the naked eye, but all babau can spy them with ease, doing so with intensity 8 ability.

* Resistance to Cold Attacks (s): though they are not immune to the effects of cold attacks, tanar'ri are considerably resistant to them. When exposed to any form of cold in their environment, a tanar'ri may resist such as if their Strength were +2 higher (intensity 8).

* Resistance to Magic (s): furthermore, most tanar'ri possess some degree of resistance to magical attacks, whether they come in the form of environmental effects, spells, or even magic items. Babau possess intensity 15 (+3) protection against all forms of mystic assault.

* Resistance to Physical Attacks (s): furthermore, babau are highly resistant to physical attack, above and beyond what their 'natural' Strength would offer. They may shrug off the effects of physical damage as if their Strength were +1 (intensity 4).

* Telepathy (w): almost all tanar'ri are able to communicate directly from mind to mind - a vital skill when so few speak the same tongue. They can usually broadcast and receive thoughts with intensity 5 skill, enough to get their point across when necessary.

* Teleportation (i): chaotic creatures all, the tanar'ri can bend space itself to their will. All tanar'ri possess the power to teleport with intensity 10 ability, and can avoid teleportation's usual side effects while transporting themselves within the same plane of existence. *

Annulment (i): in addition to their considerable magic resistance, a babau has the ability to completely dispel magic in its vicinity as well. Functioning at intensity 8, this spell-like power allows them to easily counter weaker magic used against them.

Attenuation (i): this intensity 8 ability allows babau to enfeeble their opponents. If it passes an easy difficulty Attenuation (strength) action against its target, a babau can reduce its foe's Strength score by up to 8 points (with a minimum value of 1) for an aura duration.

Aura / Acid (s): babau skin oozes with a dark red, acidic slime. This corrosive substance can dissolve ferrous materials (swords and the like) with intensity 10 ability, but inflicts -4 damage to any organic matter it comes in contact with (such as skin).

Claws (s): the babau have long, sharp claws with which to rend their foes. These terrible implements allow a babau to inflict its Strength +2 in slashing damage if it must, though it usually prefers to wield melee weaponry in battle whenever possible.

Disguise (a): this spell-like power allows the babau to superficially change their appearance. They may assume the form of any humanoid being, regardless of gender or other qualities, as long as they remain the same approximate size (no size change greater than 50 percent).

Emotion Control / Fear (w): babau have the power to induce artificial, supernatural fear in an opponent, per the spell. Any one target the babau chooses will cower in fear for an aura duration, if it can pass an easy Fear (willpower) action with this intensity 8 power.

Flight (a): unlike many winged tanar'ri, babau can fly without the benefit of 'superfluous' appendages. They can supernaturally lift their bodies with their minds, moving about at 120 miles per hour (intensity 4), doing so for as long and as far as they wish.

Horn (s): babau all have a long, thick horn issuing forth from the back of their heads. They can use this oversized barb to inflict their Strength +2 in piercing damage if necessary, though as is the case with their claws, they prefer melee weaponry if it's available.

Object Heating (i): all babau have the power to specifically induce artificial heat in a ferrous object. Metal so heated will inflict intensity 8 energy damage upon anything it touches, though this heat dissipates immediately if the babau stops concentrating on it.

Summoning (i): once per day, a babau may attempt to summon forth fellow tanar'ri to aid it in whatever fashion it chooses, with intensity 4 power. An easy difficulty action brings forth three cambion, while average difficulty summons six.

A challenging difficulty summoning action will make manifest another babau. On the other hand, the babau have the unfortunate distinction of being monitored by the true tanar'ri. At the beginning of any attack upon a babau, make a summoning power action.

If the result of this is daunting or greater, a true tanar'ri (Narrator's choice) will appear to aid the babau.

Telekinesis (i): babau may impose their desires upon objects in its vicinity, a true example of mind over matter. They may only do so with intensity 8 strength, but this allows the creatures to move 400 pounds of matter just by thinking about it!

Natural Psionics:

In addition to the above, considerable array of supernatural powers, babau are also equipped with natural psionic abilities. These capabilities will vary from babau to babau, but will usually be of either a metapsi, psikinetic or psipathic bent, most often being destructive in nature.

Hindrances / Augmentations:

Monstrous: it should go without saying, but babau are monstrous entities - just look at them! A babau is at Willpower 0 to prevent Edge 0 humans from fleeing at the mere sight of them - not that they would ever really bother, unless it somehow amused them to do so.

Susceptibility: like all tanar'ri, babau are weak against the use of cold-wrought iron weapons, as well as holy water and weapons. Their supernatural defenses are ineffective against such assaults, which inflict at least a quarter of their maximum Health in damage.


Melee Weapons (s): the babau usually carry at least one weapon on them at all times, though lesser instruments don't survive their corrosive body coating long. They can wield such weapons to inflict their Strength +4 in bashing or slashing damage (depending on its nature).


Stealth (w): babau are well-versed in the fine art of not being noticed. On top of their disguise ability, they can easily move quietly through almost any terrain, inflicting an increased difficulty against anyone trying to notice or track them while on the move.

Weapons Master (s): a talent that would make them ideal for participation in the Blood War, this skill showcases the babau's inherent mastery of melee weapons. They can wield any such item at a reduced difficulty, and often specialize further in a specific weapon type given the time.


Demolisher, with a secondary calling of Idealist: like all tanar'ri, babau are mercurial murder machines, and gleefully take their aggression out on anything that defies them. They believe in the Cause, however, and live to build the armies of the Abyss.


Babau are driven to fulfill their given function, that of filling the ranks of tanar'ri armies for use in the Blood War. They do this both out of a hatred for the baatezu as well as a desire to avoid combat on the front lines - which is where they wind up if they don't find enough 'recruits'.


The babau are tall, unnaturally gaunt figures. Standing seven foot tall, they seem almost skeletal in aspect, their blood red flesh readily showing their bones. They have an eerie red glow in their eyes, the usual tanar'ri claws, and a large, pointed horn sticking out the back of their heads.

Ecological Niche:

Babau are integral to the tanar'ri's participation in the Blood War, for it is they who assemble the rank and file of tanar'ri armies via their aggressive recruitment techniques. They slay those who resist too vehemently, and leave subsequent deserters to the chasme.

The babau travel alone, seeking out tanar'ri (and foolish mortals in the Abyss) while attempting to avoid attention, and make use of their skills and powers to do just that. They are powerful, but are often ambushed by various least and lesser tanar'ri who despise their conscription efforts.

But considering that they wind up as standard bearers if they're not good at their job, can you blame them?

Babau most often come about as less powerful tanar'ri rise to this form and station, often having been participants in the Blood War themselves at one point. Less often, they spontaneously manifest on the plane, or are the result of breeding between tanar'ri of some sort.


* Depending on which version of the Planescape lore you wish to use, the babau (along with the rest of the tanar'ri) may not have access to these powers any longer, having lost them due to yugoloth meddling. Their presence is at the discretion of the individual Narrator.

Extra Goodies:

Tanar'ri, Babau Saga System 13 Text File Download

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