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I am designing a campaign and I have a couple of evil power blocs vying for control. I would really like to have one of them directly interacting with the party and I think I really want it to be a devil because I love the idea of the lawful evil tricking them while still being true to its word.

So my question would it be possible to disguise a devil as a human* using canon mechanics? I know I could just house rule that the devil has the spell polymorph or something but I was wondering if there was a way to do it within the rules as written for 5e?

Now, this doesn't have to be an undetectable disguise. I am fine with the players discovering he is a devil in disguise if they look hard enough. Also, the type of Devil can change if needed, though I would prefer to have a more prestigious Devil that is calling the shots.

I have read the entire section on Devils in the Monster Manual and there isn't anything obvious. I was thinking of an Erinyes with a Hat of Disguise Self but I don't think Disguise Self would be able to conceal the wings, so they would have to pretend to be an Angel which I wouldn't really consider "normal" to be interacting with.

As for making a custom monster according to the DMG I would consider that akin to house ruling it. Which is definitely something I can fall back to, but I was trying to think of something more direct from the rules.

*Or anything else that would normally interact with a party around a town.

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Hide in plain sight. There are two good options for this:

Erinyes Based on the picture on MM 73, these creatures are mostly humanoid, but have wings. The horns on the helmet may or may not cover any natural horns; it's unclear. Either way, you could throw on a cloak to hide your wings, then claim to be a Tiefling. Depending on the campaign world, there may be any number of them around, trying to redeem their unsavory lineage.

Asmodeus If you'd like to go straight to the top, you could send in the lord of the lowest of the Nine Hells. He's described as "a handsome, bearded humanoid with small horns protruding from his forehead, piercing red eyes, and flowing robes." He can also assume other forms. He should easily pass as a Tiefling.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Love this, but what happens if it does go into combat or a situation where a stat block is needed? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jan 18 '17 at 23:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Erinyes have a stat block on MM 73. Asmodeus is much less a stat block than a plot block. I don't think there are any published stats for him. As always I invite corrections! \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Harmon Jan 18 '17 at 23:16
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Why not try using the disguise of an entirely different person?

In the MM, all the stronger devils seem to have telepathy of 120ft. They could use their telepathy in order to communicate through another person that is in service to the devil. I think it would make sense that a higher more prestigious devil would employ servants to do dirty work.

This wouldn't be entirely undetectable. The devil would have to remain 120ft close to tell the Servant what to say or maybe even closer to hear the PCs(depending if you consider telepathic communication a 2-way street. I could not find a straight answer on this.) A wise PC might could notice the words of the Servant are not the Servant's own, maybe a hesitation in the Servant's voice which would require investigation, or sense they are being spied on a powerful being.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Or better yet, have the servant pretend to be a spellcaster or warlock, and have the devil in plain sight, but within a circle of salt or chalk to make it look like he is bound (and is just a set piece). \$\endgroup\$ – Marshall Tigerus Jan 18 '17 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarshallTigerus that could be an interesting idea, however I think the OP's intend is to make the PCs unaware that they are dealing with a devil or its influence at all. \$\endgroup\$ – KumosAgosta Jan 18 '17 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmmm, this could work as the devil would have to be close by. Though I still think if it comes to it I would just house rule the Shapechange spell. I really want one of the power blocs to be directly interacting with the players since the others (mind flayer and hag coven) will be using servants and proxies to do their bidding and I want "something" to be tangible to the players. \$\endgroup\$ – Kasuko Jan 18 '17 at 21:52
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You had requested no homebrew creatures, and I'm not sure this qualifies as homebrew or just refluff, but you could easily take the Deva (MM pp16) and have it be "fallen" (think Lucifer.)

Instead of an Angel, it is a Fallen Angel, but still has all of the attributes which allows for Change Shape with everything you're looking for. It's technically homebrew because it's not the name/alignment of an Angel from the MM, but it's also basically the exact same creature, just with an alignment change from having "fallen" and probably a switch from Radiant to Necrotic (but not necessarily.)

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Would Shapechange go? It only lasts for an hour, but the caster can transform into any creature with same or lower challenge rating. Limitations are "not a construct or an undead, no class levels or the Spellcasting trait, and you must have seen the sort of creature at least once", so a human form seem to be available.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Whoops, you're right I made a mistake. However, this is what I meant when I said I could just house rule that the devil has the spell Polymorph (polymorph only becomes beasts). What I actually meant was this spell since Polymorph doesn't work for me at all. Though that still involves me house rulling the devil has the spell Shapechange. \$\endgroup\$ – Kasuko Jan 18 '17 at 21:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was thinking about this, I wonder if there is some canon way to get him the Shapechange spell. Are the potions of Shapechange? Could he have a alchemist minion who keeps him in supply? \$\endgroup\$ – Kasuko Jan 19 '17 at 13:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nope, no potion of Shapechange also found the ring of spell storing, however, that is limited to 5th level spells while Shapechange is 9th. This is hard. \$\endgroup\$ – Kasuko Jan 19 '17 at 13:36
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When you say 'devil', would any devil do? If so, and given your "anything else that would normally interact with a party around a town" then - for a given definition of "interact" an imp works. It's technically a devil and can shapechange at will into a spider, rat or raven, all of which can be encountered in a town without raising suspicion. It retains its statistics in the new form which means it can speak Common and Infernal. You could either have it claim to be an Animal Messenger of a party who wishes to remain anonymous, or have it perch on the shoulder of a zombie (or corpse, or just someone paralytically drunk or intimidated or bribed into going along) disguised to look like a well-wrapped wizard. Nobody is going to assume the voice is coming from the spider.

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A hat of disguise could easily allow an erinyes pass off as an aarakocra or winged elf, either of which would stand out in a crowd, but wouldn't be barred entrance to a city.

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