At my last ACKS campaign session, I had a balrog (or balor, Type VI, Demon of the 6th Circle, etc) smash its way in through the windows at a dramatic moment. It was supposed to be a nice climax to the session. Instead, the balrog went down in a couple rounds like a chump without accomplishing much.
I feel like the ACKS implementation of most of the demon types (via Dwimmermount) is underwhelming, but this is especially true of the top-tier caster types. There are a few reasons for this, some of which affect other monster types but really combine to nerf balors hard:
- No magic resistance. ACKS nominally has this, but almost never uses it except for clay golems and a couple other things. (Why?)
- ACKS has no official psionics system. Balors were originally very skilled in psionics.
- Gate summoning has been limited to once per day. This means that the high-summon-chance commander-type demons are relatively weakened compared to the footsoldier types.
- The ACKS balor in particular is based off the MM version, which is a bit gimped relative to the original Eldritch Wizardry one (i.e., saving throw F9 instead of F12).
- ACKS has no pyrotechnics spell. Balrogs are intended to be fire demons, but the ACKS version has no actual fire abilities!
- No at-will darkness 10' ability for balors. Since Dwimmermount usually gives this to the other demon types, I think this might be an accidental omission.
Would it be a bad idea to put the magic resistance back in? I feel like this is an intentional design choice for lots of ACKS monster conversions, and I'm wondering the consquences of reversing it. I'm also debating about relaxing the gate restrictions to allow multiple attempts. I feel like archdemons that can keep summoning an entire squad of other fiends is something uniquely scary. ("And a greater demon appears, and a greater demon appears, and a greater demon appears...")
I've already boosted some of the other stats a bit in my database, to make my balrogs feel more like classic Tolkienesque ultra-fiends. I think I'll retcon the thing from last month as a "lesser balrog", and not the boss I had been planning to use for the last couple years.