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Monster Vault Preview: Tales of the Valiant Marilith

Monster Vault Preview: Tales of the Valiant Marilith

As the creators of the Creature Codex and the Tome of Beasts series, we wanted to give the same love and care for the earliest 5E monsters that we gave to our other monsters. To accomplish that, we noted a few key points we wanted for each monster:

  • Clear Identity. For each creature, we worked to answer, “What makes this creature special? How is it thematically different from other creatures of its type, terrain, or niche?”
  • Unique Features. In clarifying identity, we set ourselves up for better creating unique features. We worked to answer, “What mechanics make this creature different from other creatures? How can we fold its identity into its game mechanics?”
  • Streamlined Statistics. The most obvious change to monsters in Monster Vault comes in our streamlining of the stat block, making a monster’s statistics and features easier to parse at-a-glance. The stat block presented here should give you an idea of some of the changes we made. Compare them to the creature you’ve been using from other source!

Today’s example is the marilith, a multi-armed, serpentine demon that commands legions of demons at the behest of a powerful demon lord. A great warrior, the marilith is also an expert military strategist and leader.

Demons aren’t the best at following orders, and mariliths commanding legions of them have a near-impossible task. To showcase this role and challenge for the marilith, we created a tactical bonus action where the marilith can shout commands to get demons to briefly fall in line. This creates a marilith who is powerful foe, who enhances those under its command, and shows clever and observant players that unity and organization among their foes can be disrupted by taking down their leader.


A green-skinned woman with a serpentine lower body rears up, wielding fiery swords, maces, and daggers in her six arms.

Tactical Demons. Most demon lords have at least one marilith commanding their forces or giving tactical advice. Peerless military strategists, mariliths are sometimes summoned to the Material Plane and bound to lead an army. Many kingdoms have risen to sudden military might after royal wizards bound a marilith to the king’s service.

Revel in Combat. Mariliths relish every chance they get to hone their combat skills. When not commanding legions, mariliths enjoy engaging in one-on-one combat or even in combat against several opponents at once.

MARILITH                      CR 16

Large Fiend (Demon)
Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 217
Speed 40 ft.
Perception 18             Stealth 15
Resistant bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical attacks | Demonic Resilience
Immune Demonic Resilience
Senses truesight 120 ft.
Languages Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft.


Demonic Resilience. The marilith is resistant to cold, fire, and lightning damage. In addition, it is immune to poison damage and to the poisoned condition.

Flaming Weapons. The marilith’s weapon attacks are magical. When it hits with any weapon, the weapon deals an extra 2d6 fire damage (included in the attack).

Magic Resistance. The marilith has advantage on saves against spells and other magical effects.

Reactive. The marilith gets up to five extra reactions, but these extra reactions can be used only for Parry.


Multiattack. The marilith makes two Dagger attacks, two Mace attacks, and two Longsword attacks. It can replace two Dagger attacks with a Tail attack.

Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d4 + 4) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) fire damage.

Mace. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage plus 7 (2d6) fire damage.

Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) slashing damage plus 7 (2d6) fire damage.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 20 (3d10 + 4) bludgeoning damage plus 7 (2d6) fire damage. If the target is Medium or smaller, it is grappled (escape DC 17). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, the marilith can automatically hit the target with its Tail, and the marilith can’t make Tail attacks against other targets.


Marilith Tactics. The marilith shouts one of the following commands at up to two friendly creatures it can see within 30 feet of it:

  • March! Each target can use a reaction to move up to half its speed in a direction of the marilith’s choice. This movement is unaffected by difficult terrain and doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks.
  • Protect Yourself! Each target gains the marilith’s Parry reaction until the start of the marilith’s next turn.
  • Remember Your Training! Each target has advantage on the next weapon attack roll it makes before the start of the marilith’s next turn.

Teleport. The marilith magically teleports, along with any equipment it is wearing or carrying, up to 60 feet to an unoccupied space it can see.


Parry. The marilith adds 5 to its AC against one melee attack that would hit it. To do so, the marilith must see the attacker and be wielding a melee weapon.

The Tales of the Valiant roleplaying game is on the way! Over 400 classic monsters from 5E history (and some surprises)!
Want to see how else Kobold Press does monsters? Try Tome of Beasts 1 for a giant pile of monsters that are
completely compatible with 5E and the Tales of the Valiant game!

4 thoughts on “Monster Vault Preview: Tales of the Valiant Marilith”

  1. Craig W Cormier

    This looks promising overall. I’m confused as to why Demonic Resilience is broken out into a separate feature instead of just being covered in the Resistant and Immune lines of the first part of the stat block. It’s confusing and less intuitive to have to look in two different places to track resistances and immunities.

    I am also sad to see you have removed alignment entirely from your stat blocks. That seems like a mistake in the long run.

    1. i think removing alignment entirely isnt a big deal i think its ok because most dms dont stick strickly to it if at all

  2. Craig W Cormier

    That is certainly the prevailing view that I see online and in the social media discourse. Having viewed the slow move away from alignment over the last several editions of D&D, I believe that it has become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The rules don’t rely on it as much, which makes players less concerned with alignment, which in turn makes designers think that alignment must not be important because people aren’t using it very much, which means the next round of rules will use it even less. Rinse and repeat.

    Luckily, it is relatively simple to add alignment back into the game at my own table, but I still feel the game is losing something fundamental to its identity by abandoning it altogether.

  3. Not a fan of hiding underlying stats like Proficiency and Hit Dice; it doesn’t make anything “more readable” to me. Can this Marilith lift a 1,500-pound boulder? Nope! Sure, its Str says “+9”, but that’s not actually Str 29 – it’s Str 18 (+4) plus its hidden Proficiency modifier (+5). With that Str, it can only lift around 1,000 pounds.

    Yeah, I know, I know, no one will ever need a Marilith’s lifting capacity. The point is that this statblock now uses a different language than a character’s sheet. It makes the monster more abstract, harder to compare to PCs, to normal people, to other monsters, harder to place in the fiction. It’s another step away the idea of simulating a cohesive fantasy world.

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