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My question is kind of two fold in that I'm trying to figure out how these classifications work. In the Monster Manual, Devil's have a classification system: Lesser Devils and Greater Devils. Now, the Abishai are considered Devils but they are from Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes (of the newer one if you have that one), but it doesn't state if they are a Lesser or Greater. It seems like the classification never went passed the Monster Manual, much like the Demon Typing as well. I'm just curious if there is a way to figure out what the Abishai would be considered? Is the classification based on CR? Is it based on XP? Is it based on something else? I'm curious because it was brought up after I was researching something else for an upcoming campaign and I want to be prepared in case my party finds this thing or if someone asked about it. Any and all help is greatly appreciated!

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2 Answers 2

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The latest version of Abishai is in Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, which replaces earlier publications. The lore entry for Abishai there says:

Abishais stand outside the normal hierarchy of the Nine Hells, having their own chain of command and ultimately answering to Tiamat (and Asmodeus, when he chooses to use them).

The Infernal Hierarchy is what classifies devils into Lemures, Lesser Devils, Greater Devils and Archdevils (p. 67 MM) and Abishai are not part of this Infernal Hierarchy.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting...hmm okay, so then how would 5E classify the other devils as lesser or greater? If Abishai are not considered in the normal hierarchy, then what about a Bael then? Would that be considered a Lesser or Greater? In honest, the Abishai was just the first one I had come across while flipping through my books lol, or course it had to be the one that doesn't fit at all then. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 26, 2023 at 19:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @O-Castitatis-Lilium Bael is an Archdevil, he is listed in the section Devils:Archdevils of MtoF, p. 170. The other devils are classified because they are part of the infernal hierarchy, and the standing in that hierarchy tells whom you can command or need to follow. There are a few other devils in MtoF, which do not call out if they are Greater or Lesser (as far as I can see), although from their description and comparing them to how the classes of the hierarchy are described in the MM, Amnizu would be Greater, Merregon Lesser, Narzugon Greater, Nupperbio below lesser, on par with Lemures. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 26, 2023 at 19:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh that's right, I forgot...I think I need more tea lol. You're right he is considered an Archdevil. I was mainly focused on numbers (CR, EX) and less on the stats and descriptions as a whole. Alright, I'll go back and take a look again. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 26, 2023 at 20:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ This answer is also supported by the information in BG:DiA, especially pp. 212 (Infernal Hierarchy), and 241 (White Abishai). \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jun 26, 2023 at 20:15
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If historical precedence is desired: all Abishai were previously always categorized as lesser devils. 3.5e's Fiendish Codex II (p.158) listed them as "Lesser". Same with 2e (Planes of Law, poster) and 1e (MMII p.45) when they were first introduced.

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