“Of course I’m a trusted physician!”
A young boy in clothed in brown rags runs eagerly towards a worn bed, where an ailing woman rests. A figure clad in a concealing black cloak, featureless hood and obscuring mask steps forward with only a small bag and case of alchemical potions in his possessions. The figure bellows in a croaking and almost inhuman tone, “Fear not, for I have what you need. You mustn’t worry about payment, the joy of your soul is all I need.” The woman meekly nods in acceptance, not caring what the price might be. Taking out a vial, he instructs in his gravelly voice, “drink this quickly.” As she drinks the vial’s contents, warm color returns to the woman’s previously pallid and cold tone. As she reaches to hug her child in celebration, the stranger leans in on the other side of her. “Now, a matter of payment. Something of yours belongs to me now,” he whispers. Before she can react, the cloaked man quickly gets up and walks at an eerily brisk pace out of the room. As he reaches the doorway, he vanishes into a flash of vile flames. The woman, now clutching her son, cries in fright and realization as the small boy looks blankly at the empty doorway in confusion and shock.
Disguised as plague doctors, these nightmarish humanoids thrive on deception, sickness, and devouring of souls. They always take the form of a hunched humanoid in plague doctor garb, seeking out whatever sickly being is beyond treatment. They offer divine healing at a price that will one day come up. The price of course is the victim’s soul and their eternal damnation. Of course, victims are rarely of what they’re getting themselves into. This is because Plague Devils have done all they can to understand the domains and lands they try to integrate into. They’re experts at crafting inconspicuous alchemical salves that, by themselves, can only offer helpful effects. More than anything, these enticing deals send the most desperate and needy of victims right into their clutches. While not as combative as other devils, they excel in espionage tactics and recruitment. In fact, they double as recruitment agents for the ongoing Blood War, hoping to turn the tides in the name of the Nine Hells, Baator. On the battlefield, it is an infernal combat medic, bolstering troops with diabolic salves.
Author’s Note: I originally wanted to stat up a plague doctor, but that would be a physician NPC or a charlatan. Then I considered making an undead, but that would be too obvious. And so, I went with a fiend. They’re driven by corruption and terror, the embodiment of numerous fears that continue to haunt us in one way or another. In the case of this monster, they embody a fear of doctors and physicians. I also wanted to make a monster that was a jab at the anti vaccine movement… So, yeah…