It’s not very often that we get to reveal a brand new class here at Necromancers of the Northwest. Even though an archetype can often change as much as half of a class’s features and abilities (the ones we make more often than some others), building an entirely new class from scratch is exponentially more complicated, especially because classes have, in general, gotten more rich, detailed, and complicated over time.
Today’s class, though it offers much to player characters, is inspired primarily by characters that would usually be NPCs: the cultist. These shadowy, card-carrying cabal members wield arcane power through force of will, but still serve as competent combatants, spies, and more. I’m pretty happy with the result, and while there are only two cults presented here for the cultist to choose from, you can expect to see more of this new and exciting class from us later this year.
Generally drawing their ranks from the dispossessed and the downtrodden, cultists throw in their lots with powerful (and often evil) outsiders in exchange for secret knowledge, magical power, and the promise of great rewards at a future date. The motives behind joining a cult vary widely; some become cultists to fulfill a dark lust for revenge against wrongs real or imagined. Others seek great wealth and power to sate their greed or pride. A small handful become cultists from idealism and a genuine, if slightly naïve, desire to create a positive change in the world around them. Whatever their reasons, becoming a cultist is often an act of desperation, a final choice for those who feel they have no other options.
Role: Cultists fulfill a similar role to wizards, providing a wide variety of magical support. Though they draw from the same spell list, their spellcasting progression is slower than wizards, but they help make up for this by being more effective combatants, allowing them to help serve in that capacity, if needed. Though their healing ability is limited, cultists are capable of providing a certain amount of healing, especially depending on the cult that they choose, and can serve in that capacity, as well.
Alignment: Any, although certain cults are only available to cultists of certain alignments.
Hit Die: d8
Starting Wealth: 3d6x10 (average 105 gp). In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.
The cultist’s class skills are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Knowledge (planes) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Intelligence modifier.
The following are class features of the cultist.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Cultists are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the kukri, sap, scimitar, and starknife. A cultist is also proficient with light armor and shields (except for tower shields). He can cast cultist spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, a cultist wearing medium armor, heavy armor, or a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass cultist still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.
Spellcasting: A cultist casts arcane spells drawn from the sorcerer/wizard spell list. His choice of cult, however, can restrict him from casting certain spells opposed to the moral and ethical views of his cult; see the Restricted Spells section. A cultist must choose and prepare his spells in advance.
A cultist’s highest level of spells is 6th. Sorcerer/wizard spells of 7th level and above are not on the cultist class spell list, and a cultist cannot use spell completion or spell trigger magic items (without making a successful Use Magic Device check) of sorcerer/wizard spells of 7th level or higher.
To prepare or cast a spell, a cultist must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell’s level. The saving throw DC against a cultist’s spell is 10 + the spell’s level + the cultist’s Charisma modifier.
Like other spellcasters, a cultist can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: The Cultist. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score.
A cultist may know any number of spells. He must choose and prepare his spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour studying his spellbook. While studying, the cultist decides which spells to prepare.
Starting Spells (see Spellbooks, below): A cultist begins play with a spellbook containing eight 0-level wizard spells of his choice, plus three 1st-level spells of his choice. At each new cultist level, he gains two new spells of any spell level or levels that he can cast (based on his new cultist level) for his spellbook. At any time, a cultist can also add spells found in other cultists’ spellbooks (or the spellbooks of characters of other classes, such as wizards) to his own.
Restricted Spells: Certain cults may bar the cultist from casting certain spells that conflict with the goals, beliefs, or tastes of that cult. If a cult has such restrictions, it will be listed in its individual entry. The cultist is unable to prepare or cast such spells, unless he is able to do so from abilities gained in another class, or from some other source.
Cantrips: Cultists can prepare a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, each day, as noted on Table 1: The Cultist. These spells are cast as any other spell, but aren’t expended when cast, and can be used again.
Cult: At 1st level, a cultist must select a specific cult to which he devotes himself in exchange for power and the promise of future rewards. These cults are generally devoted to powerful entities from other planes of existence, or groups of such entities. The cultist’s cult determines a number of the class features that he gains. Two cults are presented at the end of this section.
Secret of the First Circle: At 1st level, the cultist gains access to a special ability known only to members of his chosen cult. The exact nature of the ability depends on the chosen cult, and is included in the cult’s description.
Hex: At 2nd level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the cultist learns a hex, which grants him powers or weakens his foes. The cultist can select from any of the following hexes, or from any of the hexes listed in the description of his chosen cult. A cultist cannot select a hex more than once unless noted otherwise.
Unless otherwise noted, using a cultist secret is a standard action that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity, and the DC of any saving throw made to resist a cultist secret’s effects is equal to 10 + 1/2 the cultist’s class level + the cultist’s Charisma modifier.
Blight (Su): The cultist can curse an animal, plant creature, or plot of land, causing it to wither and die. Blighting an area takes 1 round, during which time the cultist and his familiar must be in contact with the target. If it’s used on a plot of land, the land begins to wither the following day, and over the next week all plants in the area die. Nothing will grow in that area so long as the curse persists. A cultist can affect an area with a radius equal to his class level x 10 feet. Blighting a creature is a standard action that requires a melee touch attack. If used on a creature of the animal or plant type, the creature gains the following curse:
Blight Hex—type curse; save Will negates; frequency 1/day; effect 1 Con damage.
Both types of curse can be removed with a remove curse or similar magic, using the save DC as the DC to remove the curse. A cultist can only have one blight in effect at a time. If another blight hex is made, the first immediately ends.
Chant (Ex): A cultist can chant as a move action. Any creature that is within 30 feet that is under the effects of the cultist’s charm, evil eye, fortune, fury, or misfortune hex has that effect’s duration extended by 1 round. A cultist cannot select both this hex and the witch’s cackle hex.
Charm (Su): A cultist charms an animal or humanoid creature within 30 feet by beckoning and speaking soothing words. This improves the attitude of an animal or humanoid creature by 1 step, as if the cultist had successfully used the Diplomacy skill. The effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to the cultist’s Charisma modifier (minimum 1). A successful Will saving throw negates this effect. Whether or not the save is successful, the creature cannot be the target of this hex again for 24 hours. At 8th level, this effect improves the attitude of the creature by 2 steps. This is a mind-affecting charm effect.
Disguise (Su): A cultist can change his appearance for a number of hours per day equal to his class level, as if using disguise self. These hours do not need to be consecutive, but they must be spent in 1-hour increments.
Evil Eye (Su): The cultist causes doubt to creep into the mind of a foe within 30 feet that she can see. The target takes a –2 penalty on one of the following (cultist’s choice): ability checks, AC, attack rolls, saving throws, or skill checks. This hex lasts a number of rounds equal to 3 + the cultist’s Charisma modifier. A successful Will saving throw reduces this to just 1 round. At 8th level, the penalty increases to –4.
Fetish (Ex): The cultist receives Craft Wondrous Item as a bonus feat and gains a +4 insight bonus on Spellcraft checks to identify magic items permanently.
Fortune (Su): The cultist grants a creature within 30 feet a bit of good luck for 1 round. The target can call upon this good luck once per round, allowing it to roll any ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check twice and take the better result. The target creature must to decide to use this ability before the first roll is made. At 8th and 16th levels, the duration of this hex increases by 1 round. Once a creature has benefited from the fortune hex, it cannot benefit from it again for 24 hours.
Fury (Su): A cultist incites a creature within 30 feet into a primal fury. The target receives a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls and a +2 resistance bonus on saving throws against fear for a number of rounds equal to the cultist’s Charisma modifier. At 8th and 16th levels, these bonuses increase by 1. Once a creature has benefited from the fury hex, it cannot benefit from it again for 24 hours.
Healing (Su): A cultist soothes the wounds of those he touches. This acts as cure light wounds, using the cultist’s caster level. Once a creature has benefited from the healing hex, it cannot benefit from it again for 24 hours. At 5th level, this acts as cure moderate wounds.
Misfortune (Su): The cultist causes a creature within 30 feet to suffer grave misfortune for 1 round. Anytime the creature makes an ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check, it must roll twice and take the worse result. A successful Will saving throw negates this hex. At 8th level and 16th level, the duration of this hex is extended by 1 round. This hex affects all rolls the target must make while it lasts. Whether or not the save is successful, the creature cannot be the target of this hex again for 24 hours.
Scar (Su): This hex curses a single target touched with horrible scars of the cultist’s choosing, whether something as simple as a single letter on the target’s forehead or blotchy, burn-like scars on her body. The target may make a Will save to resist this hex. These scars do not interfere with the target’s senses or prevent it from using abilities, but may affect social interactions. The cultist can use his hexes on the scarred target at a range of up to 1 mile, and he is considered to have a body part from the target for the purpose of scrying and similar divination spells. They persist through disguises and shapechanging.
The cultist can withdraw this hex from a target as a move action at any range. The number of supernatural scars the cultist can maintain at once is equal to his Charisma bonus; once he reaches this limit, he must remove the scar from a current victim in order to mark another. Effects that remove curses can remove the scar.
Secret (Ex): The cultist receives one metamagic feat as a bonus feat. The cultist must meet the prerequisites for the feat.
Tongues (Su): The cultist understands any spoken language for a number of minutes per day equal to his level, as comprehend languages. This duration does not need to be consecutive, but it must be spent in 1-minute increments. At 5th level, a cultist can use this ability to speak any language, as tongues.
Ward (Su): The cultist places a protective ward over one creature. The warded creature receives a +2 deflection bonus to AC and a +2 resistance bonus on saving throws. This effect lasts until the warded creature is hit or fails a saving throw. A cultist knows when a warded creature is no longer protected. A cultist can have only one ward active at a time. If the cultist uses this hex while a previous ward is still active, that previous ward immediately ends. A cultist cannot use this ability on himself. At 8th and 16th levels, the bonuses provided by this ward increase by 1.
Maddened Mind (Ex): By 3rd level, the cultist’s dabbling into the occult and meddling with otherworldly forces has taken a toll on his mind, though by now he hardly even notices, and rather than interfere with his affairs, it only serves to strengthen his resolve. The cultist becomes immune to the confused condition, and gains a +2 bonus on saving throws made to resist compulsion effects.
Channel Energy (Su): Beginning at 4th level, a cultist can release a wave of energy by channeling the power of his otherworldly patron. This energy can be used to cause or heal damage, depending on the type of energy channeled and the creatures targeted.
A cultist will channel either positive or negative energy depending on his choice of cult. A cultist who channels positive energy can choose to deal damage to undead creatures or to heal living creature. A cultist who channels negative energy can choose to deal damage to living creatures or to heal undead creatures.
Channeling energy causes a burst that affects all creatures of one type (either undead or living) in a 30-foot radius centered on the cultist. The amount of damage dealt or healed is equal to 2d6 points of damage, plus an additional 1d6 points of damage for every four cultist levels beyond 4th (3d6 at 8th, 4d6 at 12th, and so on). Creatures that take damage from channeled energy receive a Will save to halve the damage. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 the cultist’s level + the cultist’s Charisma modifier. Creatures healed by channel energy cannot exceed their maximum hit point total—all excess healing is lost. A cultist may channel energy a number of times per day equal to 1/2 his class level. This is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. A cultist can choose whether or not to include himself in this effect.
Unlike a cleric, a cultists does not need to present a holy symbol to use this ability.
Familiar: At 5th level, a cultist’s patron sends him a familiar, who both aids him in his endeavors, and keeps an eye on him to ensure that he is following his cult’s wishes. The cultist gains the Improved Familiar feat as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites, and gains a specific type of improved familiar, determined by his choice of cult.
Spread the Faith (Ex): By 7th level, a cultist is well-established enough that he is well-suited to training followers and creating his own branch of his chosen cult. The cultist gains a +2 bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks made against characters that know of his status as a cultist. Additionally, if the cultist takes the Leadership feat at any time, he is automatically treated as having great renown and a special power, and does not suffer any penalties to his leadership score for having a reputation for cruelty, or for causing the deaths of cohorts or followers. Finally, all of the cultist’s followers have levels in PC classes (typically cultists, devoted to the same cult).
Secret of the Second Circle: At 9th level, the cultist gains access to a special ability known only to followers of his chosen cult who have proven themselves worthy of it. The exact nature of the ability depends on the chosen cult, and is included in the cult’s description.
Cooperative Spellcasting (Su): Beginning at 11th level, a cultist learns secrets of cooperative spellcasting, allowing him to join forces with like-minded individuals to improve their magic. Whenever the cultist casts a spell, any ally within 30 feet can expend a prepared spell or unused spell slot of the same spell level or higher in order to provide magical energy to further fuel the spell that the cultist casts. Doing so is an immediate action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. This can have any of the following effects:
Increase the spell’s saving throw DC by +1 (multiple instances stack, to a maximum of +5)
Increase the spell’s caster level by +2 (multiple instances stack, to a maximum of +10)
Apply the effects of the Enlarge Spell metamagic feat to the spell
Apply the effects of the Extend Spell metamagic feat to the spell
The spell’s caster chooses which effect to apply for each ally who expends spell energy in this way. Additionally, whenever one of the cultist’s allies within 30 feet casts a spell, the cultist can expend a prepared spell or unused spell slot in the same way, to provide one of these benefits to the caster.
Gatewatcher (Sp): At 12th level, a cultist adds the spells lesser planar ally and lesser planar binding to his spellbook. He treats these as 4th-level sorcerer/wizard spells.
Death Curse (Sp): By 13th level, a cultist learns the secrets of leveling a powerful death curse, allowing him to strike back at his foes in the moment of his death. If the cultist would die for any reason, he can unleash a death curse as a free action that he can take even if it is not his turn. The cultist must choose a single spell that he had prepared that day. The chosen spell can be of any spell level, and can even be a spell that has been expended and is no longer available for him to cast normally. The death curse replicates the effects of that spell, except that the spell’s range changes to close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels), and its saving throw DC, if any, changes to be equal to 13 + 1/2 the cultist’s class level + the cultist’s Charisma modifier. If the chosen spell was prepared with metamagic, the metamagic applies.
Any effect that would prevent the cultist from dying also prevents the death curse from being used—once the death curse takes place, the cultist dies instantly, with no time for others to intervene between the two events. A death curse can be countered, but only with dispel magic or similar effects (even if the spell it is mimicking could normally be countered by specific spells, such as daylight and darkness), and the DC of the caster level check to dispel it increases by +5. A cultist can only use his death curse once per day; if he is resurrected and slain again on the same day, he cannot use the death curse ability again.
Sacrifice (Su): By 15th level, a cultist learns to dedicate a special sacrifice to his otherworldly patron in order to regain spent magical energy. Depending on the cult to which the cultist belongs, this may take the form of a blood sacrifice, or a wealth sacrifice.
Animal Sacrifice: An animal sacrifice functions identically to a blood sacrifice, except that only creatures of the animal, dragon, magical beast, or vermin creature types can be sacrificed, and only if they have an Intelligence score of 2 or less, or are mindless.
Blood Sacrifice: In order to perform a blood sacrifice, the cultist must perform a coup de grace action with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon, which must result in the death of the target. If he does so, he may immediately regain a single expended spell which he had prepared and cast that day, allowing him to cast that spell again. The cultist can use this ability three times per day.
Burnt Offering: A burnt offering functions similarly to either a blood sacrifice or a wealth sacrifice, but the sacrifice must be burned. When functioning as a blood sacrifice, the creature to be sacrificed must be lit on fire, and then burned to death, rather than being killed in a normal fashion. A helpless or willing creature can be doused in 1 pint of oil as a move action, and lit on fire with a torch or similar source of flame as a standard action. The normal rules for creatures catching on fire apply (including how much damage they take per round, and what they can do to put out the flames). See the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook for more information about catching on fire. If the sacrifice suffers any damage that is not fire damage while burning in this way, the sacrifice fails, and has no effect. The cultist does not gain the benefits of the blood sacrifice until the creature is slain, but he gains twice the normal benefit of a blood sacrifice, allowing him to regain two expended spell slots.
When functioning as a wealth sacrifice, a burnt offering functions normally, except that the wealth must be destroyed by fire, rather than through other means.
If the cultist is able to make blood or wealth sacrifices normally, any burnt offerings he makes in a day count against the daily number of blood or wealth sacrifices he can make, accordingly.
Fast: In order to perform a fast, the cultist must have ready access to food and drink, and must choose to abstain from one or both of them. The cultist does not gain any benefits from fasting until he has taken at least 5 points of nonlethal damage from hunger or thirst. Once he does, if he still has that nonlethal damage the next time he prepares spells, he may prepare additional spells, based on the amount of nonlethal damage that he is currently suffering at the time that he prepares spells, as indicated on the table below.
These additional spells are closely tied to the effects of hunger upon the cultist’s body. If the cultist is healed of the nonlethal damage inflicted by his fast, he loses any prepared spells that his new amount of nonlethal damage could not support (for example, a cultist with 15 points of nonlethal damage who healed 6 points of it would immediately lose the additional 2nd-level spell he prepared that morning, as well as one of the two 1st-level spells he prepared). If he has already cast a spell that is to be lost in this way, the magical backlash causes him to be able to prepare one less spell of that spell level the next time that he prepares spells.
Life Sacrifice: In order to perform a life sacrifice, the cultist must slice open his palm with a bladed weapon (a move action), and declare the offering of his life force. His vitality is then magically drained from the cut, and he immediately suffers 1d4 points of damage per cultist level. Further, his maximum hit point score is permanently reduced by 3. For every 5 points of damage that the cultist suffers from this wound, he can immediately prepare 1 spell level’s worth of spells from any spellbook in his possession. He can divide these spell levels as he chooses (for example, if he suffered 45 points of damage, he would have 9 spell levels available. He could prepare one 4th-level spell and one 5th-level spell, three 3rd-level spells, or nine 1st-level spells). Spells prepared in this way do not use his normal spell slots, allowing him to prepare more spells than he would ordinarily be able to. The prepared spells last for 1 hour, and if they have not been used by that time, they are wasted. The cultist can use this ability once per day.
Profane Sacrifice: A profane sacrifice functions similarly to either a blood sacrifice or a wealth sacrifice, but can only be used to sacrifice creatures or objects of religious significance. When functioning as a blood sacrifice, the creature to be sacrificed must be a divine spellcaster, or must otherwise be the direct servant or champion of a deity. When the cultist performs a profane sacrifice of a living creature in this way, he gains twice the normal benefit of a blood sacrifice, allowing him to regain two expended spell slots. If the cultist is not aware of the sacrifice’s divine nature, it is treated as a normal blood sacrifice, instead.
When functioning as a wealth sacrifice, the objects to be sacrificed must be objects of religious significance, but the gp value required to perform the sacrifice is halved, and is equal to 50 gp per class level, instead of 100 gp per class level. For the purposes of this ability, artifacts with religious significance are always considered to be of sufficient value for a wealth sacrifice, regardless of the cultist’s level (although the cultist still needs a way to destroy them).
The GM is the final arbiter of what creatures or objects have a significant enough religious significance to qualify for profane sacrifice. Profane sacrifices share the same daily limits as blood sacrifices and wealth sacrifices, respectively. If the cultist is able to make blood or wealth sacrifices normally, any profane sacrifices he makes in a day count against the daily number of blood or wealth sacrifices he can make, accordingly.
Soul Sacrifice: In order to perform a soul sacrifice, the cultist must willingly offer up his soul to his patron. To do so, the cultist must perform a short 10 minute ritual to prepare his soul, and then loudly proclaim the offer (a swift action). The two do not need to occur at the same time, and most cultists who consider this drastic sacrifice perform the ritual every morning, so that if they need to offer up their soul, they can do so at a moment’s notice. Once the offer is made, the soul is immediately taken, and the cultist regains all of his expended spells, and is able to cast them again. He is also restored to full his points, and may make a new saving throw at a +4 bonus to resist each curse, disease, poison, and harmful spell he is currently suffering from. Finally, he gains a burst of energy and power, and gains a +6 enhancement bonus to each of his ability scores for 10 minutes.
If the cultist later dies, he cannot be resurrected by any means, unless a wish or miracle spell is first used to reclaim his soul (or his soul is reclaimed by other means). Even if the cultist later regains his soul, he can only ever perform a soul sacrifice once: his soul is marked by the transaction, and it is obvious to all that he has sold and reclaimed it before, making those who deal in souls unwilling to risk the same thing happening again.
Wealth Sacrifice: In order to perform a wealth sacrifice, the cultist must destroy a total amount of wealth (including art objects, magic items, gold, gems, and so on) equal to 100 gp per class level. The wealth need not belong to him, but it does need to have been in his possession for at least 24 hours before he can benefit from destroying it in this way. If he does so, then for each spell level he can cast, he may immediately regain a single expended spell which he had prepared and cast that day, allowing him to cast that spell again. The cultist can use this ability once per day.
Gatekeeper (Sp): At 16th level, a cultist adds the spells planar ally and planar binding to his spellbook. He treats these as 5th-level sorcerer/wizard spells.
Secret of the Third Circle: At 17th level, the cultist gains access to a special ability known only to followers of his chosen cult who have proven themselves worthy of it. The exact nature of the ability depends on the chosen cult, and is included in the cult’s description.
Gatemaster (Sp): At 19th level, the cultist adds the spells greater planar ally, greater planar binding, and gate to his spellbook. He treats these spells as though they were 6th-level sorcerer/wizard spells.
Ascension (Ex): At 20th level, a cultist ascends, becoming himself one of the powerful outsiders that he previously served. He is forevermore treated as an outsider rather than a humanoid (or whatever his creature type was) for the purposes of spells and magical effects. He no longer needs to eat or sleep. Unlike other outsiders, the cultist can still be brought back from the dead as if he were a member of his previous creature type. The cultist gains additional benefits of ascending, determined by his chosen cult.
The following cults are presented in alphabetical order.
Brotherhood of Blissful Slaughter
The Brotherhood of Blissful Slaughter is nominally devoted to the forces of the Abyss, but many members are more devoted to the ideals of destruction, slaughter, and mayhem than they are to demons in specific. The Brotherhood of Blissful Slaughter promises little in the way of rewards to its members, other than that, by working together, they can engage in the depraved acts of violence that they all enjoy, and protect each other from being caught. While many members of the Brotherhood seek to bring demons into the world, and even open up permanent gateways to the Abyss, they do so not because they think it will bring them greater power or glory, but merely because they want to see—and take part in—the massive wave of death and destruction that will be caused, and because they envision a world in which there is no one to stop them from engaging in all of their darkest urges.
There are numerous different branches of the Brotherhood of Blissful Slaughter, most of which were created when the surviving members of a failed branch—one which was hunted down and broken up by inquisitors, paladins, and the like—split up and each create their own new branches to carry on the cult’s work. Different branches of the cult are often run in wildly different ways: one branch might focus heavily on attempts to bring demons into the world, to the exclusion of other activities, while another branch might focus its energies on running gladiator fights with captured slaves or similar activities of bloody entertainment, and yet another branch might wage an ongoing war against local law forces, terrorizing the local populace with senseless acts of criminal slaughter. No matter how different one branch of the cult might be from another, and how devoted the cult as a whole might be to slaughter and violence, the different branches of the cult generally get along surprisingly well on the occasions that they do interact, and almost always collaborate to turn their violence outward, rather than infighting, something that can be common in other cults.
Their symbol is a blood-red “X,” and it is usually simply painted on a wall or other structure in the blood of one of their victims, but in the rare occasion where flags, banners, or other items are made where the symbol appears on a background, it is always black. Their ceremonial garb is black robes with hoods and red ceramic masks featuring grinning and leering demonic faces.
Alignment: Members of the Brotherhood of Blissful Slaughter cannot be good or lawful.
Restricted Spells: Members of the Brotherhood of Blissful Slaughter cannot cast spells with the good or lawful descriptors.
Channeled Energy: Negative.
Hexes: Members of the Brotherhood of Blissful Slaughter can select from the following hexes.
Abyssal Resilience (Ex): The cultist gains a +4 bonus on saving throws made to resist poison, and an amount of electricity resistance equal to his class level. At 12th level, he gains an amount of acid, cold, and fire resistance equal to 1/3 his class level.
Claws of the Abyss (Su): As a move action, the cultist can cause his hands to twist and gnarl into horrible claws. He gains two primary claw natural attacks, which deal 1d6 points of slashing damage on a successful hit (or 1d4 points of slashing damage if the cultist is Small). If the cultist is at least 6th level, he can transform his hands in this way as a swift action, instead. If the cultist is at least 10th level, the critical threat range for the claws increases to 19-20. If the cultist is at least 14th level, the critical multiplier for the claws increases to x3. The cultist can use the claws for a number of minutes per day equal to 1/2 his class level. These minutes need not be consecutive, but must be spent in 1-minute increments.
Frenzied Rage (Sp): As a standard action, the cultist can evoke a terrible rage in a single creature within 60 feet. The creature must succeed on a Will save or be driven into a rage. This effect is identical to the barbarian’s rage ability, except that the target cannot end the rage voluntarily: he must succeed on a Will save (which he can make at the beginning of his turn each round) in order to do so. The rage lasts for a maximum number of rounds equal to 1/2 the cultist’s class level. The target is not fatigued at the end of the rage. Once a creature has been targeted by this hex, whether he succeeds or fails on his saving throw, he cann0t be the target of this hex again for 24 hours.
Sneak Attack (Ex): The cultist gains sneak attack, as the rogue class feature of the same name. At 1st level, his sneak attack damage is 1d6. At 7th level, it increases to 2d6, and at 14th level, it increases to 3d6.
Vicious Weapon (Sp): As a swift action, the cultist can cause any melee weapon he is currently wielding to gain the vicious magic weapon special ability. Alternatively, he can apply the vicious magic weapon special ability to one or more of his natural attacks. This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to his Charisma modifier. The cultist can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 1/2 his class level.
Love of Slaughter (Secret of the First Circle) (Ex): Beginning at 1st level, whenever the cultist kills a living creature, he gains a +2 morale bonus on attack and damage rolls. This bonus lasts for a number of rounds equal to the cultist’s Charisma modifier.
Wicked Strike (Secret of the Second Circle) (Su): Beginning at 9th level, the cultist can channel his rage and hatred into a single attack. As a standard action, the cultist makes a single attack with a melee weapon. He gains a bonus on the attack roll equal to his Charisma modifier, and if the attack hits, it deals an additional amount of damage equal to his class level. This additional damage is doubled if the target is both good and lawful. Regardless of the target, this attack bypasses any damage reduction the target may possess. The cultist can use this ability once per day. At 13th level, and again at 17th level, he gains an additional daily use of this ability.
Demonic Toughness (Secret of the Third Circle) (Ex): Beginning at 17th level, the cultist gains DR 10/cold iron and good.
Ascension: At 20th level, when the cultist becomes an outsider, he gains the chaos, demon, and evil subtypes, and all the traits associated with those types. If the cultist has the abyssal resilience hex, he may immediately replace it with a different hex for which he qualifies. Additionally, once per day, he can summon any demon of CR 22 or less as a full-round action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. This summons has a 50% chance of success. The summoned creature serves him faithfully for up to 1 minute, and this otherwise functions as the spell summon monster IX.
Hermetic Order of the Infernal Crown
The Hermetic Order of the Infernal Crown is devoted to the diabolical rulers of the nine Hells. Those who join the cult are promised not only magical power and influence over others in this life, but are also promised positions of great power and importance in Hell once they pass on to the afterlife. Often, the cult presents itself as a sort of social networking group, such as a gentleman’s club or a lodge, and attracts members by strongly implying that many influential public officials are members of the order, and that those interested in making connections to the halls of power in their society would be well-served to join the order and have chances to meet these people. Of course, most of the time, these are bald-faced lies, and the ranks of the cult are filled primarily with ambitious individuals who have no real power or connections, all pretending to be m9re important than they are, so as not to be snubbed. This generally suits the cult’s leadership just fine, and the upper tiers of the cult rely heavily on the willing service of the lesser members, in exchange for promises of rewards and power at a later date.
Their symbol is a nine-pointed crown turned so that its points face towards the ground. Their ceremonial garb is burgundy-red robes trimmed with gold, with large cowls that conceal their faces.
Alignment: Members of the Hermetic Order of the Infernal Crown cannot be good or chaotic.
Restricted Spells: Members of the Hermetic Order of the Infernal Crown cannot cast spells with the chaos or good descriptors.
Channeled Energy: Negative.
Sacrifice: Blood or wealth.
Hexes: Members of the Hermetic Order of the Infernal Crown can select from the following hexes.
Corrupting Whisper (Sp): As a standard action, the cultist can mentally compel a single creature within 60 feet to perform a single evil act, such as theft, murder, or other actions that involve hurting another for personal gain or enjoyment. The act in question must be able to be described in 100 words or less, and must take no more than 24 hours to complete. The target is entitled to a Will save to resist this effect, and gains a +4 bonus on the save if performing this action will have obvious negative consequences (such as violating a law in front of the town guard, or breaking an important promise to a loved one). If the target succeeds on the Will save, he identifies the cultist as the source of the mental compulsion. Whether the target succeeds or fails his Will save, he cannot be the target of this hex again for 24 hours. The cultist can use this ability a number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier.
Devilish Wound (Su): Whenever the cultist scores a critical hit with a melee weapon, he can choose to leave a devilish wound. If he does, the damage inflicted by that critical hit cannot be healed naturally, and even magical healing fails to affect it unless the caster succeeds on a caster level check (DC 11 + the cultist’s class level). A creature that has been affected by this ability cannot be affected by another devilish would until the first one has been successfully healed.
Diabolical Contract (Su): With one minute of work, the cultist can draw up a diabolical contract which is magically binding to those who sign it. A character that is forced to sign the contract by magical compulsion is unaffected, as is a character who is somehow tricked into signing the document without realizing that it is a contract (such as with illusory script), but anyone who signs it willingly (even under duress) is bound by the letter of the contract as though by a geas/quest spell. The first time that a signatory actively tries to break the letter of the agreement, he may make a Will save. Creatures that were not under any particular duress at the time that they signed the contract suffer a -4 penalty on this saving throw. Success on this saving throw indicates that the creature is able to break the contract. Failure indicates that he is magically compelled to uphold his end of the contract, and he cannot attempt another saving throw at any time. If circumstances result which prevent the signatory from being able to uphold his end of the contract, he suffers the normal penalties, as described in geas/quest, although some contracts may contain “escape clauses” that render the contract null and void if this occurs.
A creature can be freed of the geas/quest effect in several ways. First, once the terms of the contract are completed, the effect ends, although if the terms of the contract call for an open-ended task on the part of one or more signatories, this may never occur. Second, if any signatory successfully breaks the letter of the agreement (by succeeding on his Will save), the effect ends immediately for all signatories. Finally, if all other signatories agree to release one or more of the signatories from the contract, they can do so, ending the effect for just the chosen signatories.
The cultist can create a number of diabolical contracts per week equal to his Charisma modifier.
Flames of Perdition (Su): As a standard action, the cultist can surround himself with an aura of hellish flames. This aura has a radius of 5 feet, plus 5 additional feet for every 5 class levels the cultist possesses (to a maximum of a 25-foot radius at 20th level). Each creature that enters the aura, or begins its turn in its area, suffers 1d6 points of fire damage. A successful Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 the cultist’s class level + the cultist’s Charisma modifier) halves this damage. At 4th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, the damage inflicted by the aura increases by 1d6 (to a maximum of 7d6 at 19th level). The cultist is never harmed by his own flames of perdition ability. The cultist can use this ability for a total number of rounds per day equal to his Charisma modifier (minimum 1).
Infernal Resistance (Ex): The cultist becomes immune to poison, and gains an amount of fire resistance equal to his class level. At 10th level, he also gains an amount of acid and cold resistance equal to 1/2 his class level.
Devil’s Sight (Secret of the First Circle) (Su): Beginning at 1st level, the cultist can see perfectly in darkness of any kind, even that created by greater darkness.
Harness Hellfire (Secret of the Second Circle) (Su): Beginning at 9th level, whenever the cultist casts a spell that deals fire damage, he can choose to make the damage hellfire, instead. If he does, then half of the damage inflicted by the spell is not subject to fire resistance or immunity. Further, any good creature damaged by the spell suffers an additional amount of fire damage equal to the cultist’s class level. This damage is also not subject to fire resistance or immunity.
Hell’s Black Wings (Secret of the Third Circle) (Ex): Beginning at 17th level, as a move action, the cultist can grow a pair of fearsome bat-like wings, which grant him a fly speed of 60 feet with good maneuverability. The wings can be dismissed as a free action.
Ascension: At 20th level, when the cultist becomes an outsider, he gains the devil, evil, and lawful subtypes, and all the traits associated with those types. If the cultist has the infernal resistance hex, he may immediately replace it with a different hex for which he qualifies. Additionally, once per day, he can summon any devil of CR 16 or less as a full-round action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. This summons has a 100% chance of success. The summoned creature serves him faithfully for up to 10 minutes, and this otherwise functions as the spell summon monster IX.