A Fiendish Riddle

This strip is first and foremost about demons and devils. I like many of the iconic D&D beasties, but demons and devils are problematic for three reasons:

1) There are a LOT of them

2) They’re only noteworthy if you’ve read the monster books, being less similar to myths

3) It’s hard to tell one from the other

The big differences between the two are described the comic: one is lawful and the other chaotic. One ignores cold iron but is hurt by silver, while the other loathes cold iron and sprinkles silver on its breakfast cereal.

It’s particularly hard for me to differentiate (or care) as I got into the game during 2e and only bought a couple monster books. Most of my lore came from the Monstrous Manual, which had something like twenty dragons and a dozen giants but only two demons and maybe three devils, and didn’t even differentiate them as such. This was back during the era of “baatezu” and “tan’ari” when “demon” and “devil” were taboo.

4th Edition tried darned hard to differentiate the two, focusing on devils as the more human-looking outsiders while demons became less human and more savage, which accentuated their lawful and chaotic leanings. But the exceptions proved troubling and there were always those players who were fans of the old and didn’t appreciate the change. And there were always creatures like the Ice Devil that is primarily known as the “Ice Devil” and has to be a devil but looks pretty darn inhuman.