Tanar'ri, Balor


Hand Size:
5 (30)


Mightiest of the true tanar'ri, balors are astoundingly dangerous demonic beings of chaos. They are unnatural entities, produced by millennia of untold suffering, both given and received, and wield magic, psionic and deionic abilities against the multiverse at large.


Tanar'ri Physique: the most powerful tanar'ri outside of the Abyssal Princes and Lords, the incredibly rare balors are each a force to be reckoned with. They wield a staggering array of powers due to their diabolical heritage, including the following:

* 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 balor.

* 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. Balors in particular possess immunity to fire, electricity, heat, and poison.

* Portal Sense (w): planar beings all, balors 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 balors can spy them with ease, doing so with intensity 8 ability.

* Resistance to Cold Attacks (s): while not immune to the cold, a balor is nonetheless quite resistant to it - possibly due to their continual fire generation. When exposed to cold damage, a balor benefits from intensity 8 (+2) resistance to such attacks and environmental phenomenon.

* Resistance to Magical Attack (s): balors are incredibly powerful creatures of chaos. They are thus highly resistant to efforts by others to impose their own reality upon them, and as such can resist magical effects and damage at a whopping intensity 21 (+5)!

* Resistance to Physical Attacks (s): mightier than almost all other tanar'ri, save for unique specimens such as the Abyssal lords and princes, balors are incredibly hard to injure. They possess intensity 12 (+3) protection from mundane physical assaults.

* 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. *

Additional Limbs / Wings (a): balors are armed with large, bat-like wings which can propel their ponderous bulk through the air with impossible speed. Balors can fly at 120 miles per hour, doing so at intensity 4, for as long as they wish to defy gravity.

Annulment (w): in addition to their amazing magical resistance, a balor has the ability to completely dispel magic in its vicinity as well. Functioning at intensity 14, this spell-like power allows them to easily counter most common magic used against them.

Aura / Fire and Heat (i): balors are surrounded by a nimbus of flames at all times. This fire is of intensity 8 potency, and inflicts like damage against anything foolish enough to stay adjacent to the balor. This aura also provides them +1 protection from physical attack.

Claws (s): balors possess long, razor-like claws. They may use these terrible implements to inflict +2 damage in melee if they desire, though they usually prefer to strike a foe without wielding them, instead pummeling others senseless with their mighty fists.

Danger Sense (w): the mighty balor tanar'ri are rarely, if ever, surprised by anything in their environment. They possess this supernatural awareness of their surroundings at intensity 14, which informs them of any dangers, active or passive, that threaten them.

Emotion Control / Fear (w): the power of a balor does terrible things to the resolve of others. On contact, a balor may instill within its foe intensity 14 fear for an aura duration. This works if the balor can pass an easy difficulty Emotion Control (willpower) action against their foe.

Fangs (s): like almost all tanar'ri, balors possess sharp fangs in addition to their lethal claws. They can wield these needle-like tusks to inflict +2 damage, most likely done when attempting to rend their opponents - or even eat them alive!

Fire Generation (i): in addition to their blazing nimbus, a balor may project its internal flames at range. These mighty demons may perform this feat with intensity 8 ability, causing that much SD energy damage with each application of the fire and heat that they love so.

If slain within the Abyss, a balor is permanently destroyed... and will explode spectacularly! The Abyssal demise of a balor will cause an intensity 16 explosion of fire and heat, inflicting like SD energy damage upon everyone and everything within near missile distance of it.

Growth (a): balors stand at approximately twelve foot tall, which gives them the growth power, by default, at intensity 2. This gives balors a +2 to their Strength and a -2 to their Agility against normal-sized foes, like most mortals they ever face.

Linguistics (i): while they are inherently telepathic, balors often prefer to engage others verbally - sometimes, getting one's point across is just more fun when done with words instead of thoughts. This intensity 14 mental power allows balors to speak with countless other species.

Magic Sense (w): all balors have the ability to sense ambient magic in their environment. They may do so with intensity 14 ability, which lets them spot magical items, beings, and other phenomena within far missile distance of their person.

Mesmerism (w): the mighty balors possess a limited form of mind control. They may direct a target to engage in any reasonable activity they desire, doing so if they can pass an easy difficulty Mesmerism (willpower) action with this intensity 14 ability.

Nonapparent Vision (w): at will, a balor can activate this sensory capacity in order to see something as it truly is. This intensity 14 ability easily allows them to pierce the veil of disguise, whether physical, mental, spiritual, or otherwise.

Revival (s): like other true tanar'ri, balors can sometimes give death the laugh. Unless killed inside the Abyss or eaten, a balor may attempt to reconstitute itself on its home plane with this intensity 5 power. The difficulty involved, of course, depends on how it died.

Summoning (i): a balor may summon forth their fellow tanar'ri in great numbers, and quite often. Once per hour, they may attempt to use this intensity 6 power to draw forth their demonic brethren, and they have a wide selection of tanar'ri to choose from, too.

When they successfully activate this ability, balors can draw forth from one to eight least tanar'ri, from one to six lesser tanar'ri, from one to four greater tanar'ri, or another true tanar'ri. This is not random; a balor may choose the level of support they're summoning.

Telekinesis (i): a balor has the power to impose its will upon objects in its environment - even when not physically touching them! They all wield this power with intensity 12 strength and skill, allowing a balor to move up to one ton of matter just by thinking about it!

Warding (w): curiously, a balor has the ability to instill its power into inanimate objects and locations, though they rarely use this ability defensively. A balor can create wards that will detonate with intensity 14 ability, usually inflicting fiery doom upon their foes!

Natural Psionics:

In addition to the above, considerable array of supernatural powers, balors are also equipped with natural psionic abilities. These capabilities will vary from balor to balor, 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 balors are monstrous entities - just look at them! A balor is at Willpower 0 to prevent Edge 0 humans from fleeing at the mere sight of them - not that they would ever really bother, for such creatures see humans as gristle for their desires.

Susceptibility: like all tanar'ri, balors 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.


Lightning Blade (s): when they first form from weaker tanar'ri, a balor will manifest with this blade in hand. This blade is tied to their life force, and anyone else attempting to wield it will suffer the effects of an intensity 10 death touch.

In addition to this terrible power over life and death, the lightning blade of a balor has the ability to read the very souls of every person, place, and thing in their vicinity (near missile distance). This ability grants the sword's owner the philosophical sense power at intensity 10.

But these traits, they are all window dressing before the blade's actual purpose: killing! This lightning-bolt shaped blade is enchanted such that it will inflict +6 slashing damage in its balor's hands - often enough to lop bits clean off of any of the tanar'ri's foes!

Whip (s): balors favor a whip as a secondary weapon. The idea behind this is not to inflict (+2) damage, however sadistic its many-tailed implements may be, so much as to ensnare a foe and pull them into the balor's fiery aura. Their whips are of m.s. 10, and effectively fireproof.




World Domination or Demolisher: a balor lives to destroy the baatezu and conquer the multiverse in the name of the Abyss - or, more specifically - themselves. Either of these callings apply to a balor, and may often apply simultaneously, depending.


Balors are imperious and arrogant, and why not? They're the most powerful form of tanar'ri that exists, save for the Abyssal Princes and Lords - though a molydeus might give them a run for their money. They revel in their destructive might and use it to motivate weaker tanar'ri.

As powerful as they are, balors are as certain as ever that their Answer is correct, and thus they whip other tanar'ri into a fervor to do their bidding - which is most often participation in the Blood War. Balors do not tolerate the idea of the lawful baatezu's existence that well.


Balors are visually impressive and intimidating. They stand twelve feet tall, have crimson skin, and stocky, muscular bodies. They possess large, bat-like wings with which to defy gravity, and are constantly wreathed in a nimbus of flames, which obscures their features some.

While humanoid, balors possess tusks instead of 'normal' teeth, the presence of which aren't readily apparent while so obscured by the fire and heat a balor's body constantly give off. They are a blinding beacon to all tanar'ri, each of which possesses infravision.

Ecological Niche:

After a fashion, balors are the ecology of the Abyss. They are the driving force behind the tanar'ri Blood War effort, and thus most of their campaigns against the hated baatezu can be traced back to the edicts of one balor or another - no matter how many intermediaries are involved.

Balors constantly wander the Abyss and beyond, scraping up armies with which to kill baatezu - often aided by babau, chasme and molydei in this task. Only the latter of these tanar'ri ever challenge the will of a balor... and then, only when a balor's drive to slay baatezu wanders.

Like the other true tanar'ri, balors are not natural creatures. They can only form when weaker tanar'ri grow in power and influence from lesser forms, often over eons of time both receiving and inflicting staggering amounts of suffering and cruelty that would break lesser minds.

Despite their power and influence, there are very few balors in existence at any given time. Some estimates put their number at only twenty four, though this seems somewhat conservative. While the effort to create a balor is astounding, the sheer opportunity for this in the Abyss is bountiful.


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

Extra Goodies:

Tanar'ri, Balor Saga System 13 Text File Download

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