archdevils

Meet the Archdevils

Archdevil, Belial

 One half of this figure’s body is gleaming and beautiful with an angelic wing, while the other is scaled, scarred, and blackened.

Below is the complete stat block for the Archdevil Belial. Archdevils function as a 10th-rank mythic creature when in its realm and gain a +10 to sense motive and initiative checks.

Use in your own campaign at your own risk. Archdevils are normally included in campaigns as an enemy if the PC’s are to fight them, are normally added into mythic campaigns.

Everything below and including the image is from Paizo’s Pathfinder Bestiary 6 book.

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Meet The Archdevils

Archdevil, Moloch
This immense figure appears to be a suit of blackened, diabolic
armor filled with shrieking blasts of blistering fire.

Below is the complete stat block for the Archdevil Moloch. Archdevils function as a 10th-rank mythic creature when in its realm and gain a +10 to sense motive and initiative checks.

Use in your own campaign at your own risk. Archdevils are normally included in campaigns as an enemy if the PC’s are to fight them, are normally added into mythic campaigns.

Everything below and including the image is from Paizo’s Pathfinder Bestiary 6 book.

Keep reading

Reblog-free Index

Howdy! I’m collecting everything that I have written in one, easy to search post. I’ve got a couple reasons for this. One is so that you, dear reader, can use Ctrl-F to search up an article easily if you know  what you are looking for. I also find this way easier to read than Tumblr’s autogenerated archive, and I suspect I’m not the only one. On a more personal note, I also want to have all of my work collected in one location so that an prospective employers can browse through what I’ve written in one place. If you are or ever might be interested in freelancing as a writer of any type, I strongly encourage you to do the same. If you don’t think you’re writing is good enough, practice and you may surprise yourself. Your words can literally move mountains, so don’t sell yourself short!

Ask Keith Baker

Dwarves

Fey


Chronicle of Darkness Articles

Lancea et Sanctum and Theology


Chronicles of Darkness Monsters

Beasts

Changelings

Hunters

Mages

Mummies

Prometheans

Shaunkhsen

Sin-Eaters

Unchained Demons

Vampires

Werewolves


Eberron Articles

Cults of the Dragon Below and Mental Illness

Distinguishing the Planes of Eberron

Eberron Faiths with Pathfinder Domains

Gunpowerder in Eberron

House Vadalis, Pets and the Chimeras of Eberron

Planer Monsters of Eberron - Bestiary 1

Planer Monsters of Eberron - Iron Gods

Rebuilding Eberron

Shifters in Pathfinder

System Hack: Aspirations and Action Points


Eberron Classes

Mindsword (Paladin)

Occult Classes in Eberron

Paladin

Redeemer (Paladin) 


Eberron Monsters 

Dwarves

Heralds and Demigods

Kytons

Mederach

Warforged in Pathfinder


Fiction - The Hogwarts Chronicles

Chapter 1: His Only Family

Chapter 2: The Serpents and the Shade


Planescape Articles

3.5 Demon Lords with Pathfinder Domains

3.5 Draconic Pantheon with Pathfinder Domains

Incorporating 4e: The Feywild

Modern Religion in Planescape

Planescape: Planets, Planes, Outsiders and Aliens

Yugoloths and Incarnum 


Planescape Classes

Tactician (Fighter)

Vigilantes


Planescape Monsters

A

Aasimar

Abadar (Power)

Abaddon Gigas

Aballonian

Abaraxas (Demon Lord)

Aboleth

Abrikandula (Tanar’ri)

Abyssal Drake

Abyssal Eviscerator

Accomplice Devil (Baatezu)

Accuser Devil (Baatezu, Incomplete)

Achaierai (Incomplete)

Adaro

Addu

Adherer (Incomplete)

Adhukait (Asura)

Adlet

Advodaza (Baatezu) - Discussion 

Aeon (Type)

Agathion (Type, Celestial)

Aghash (Div)

Aghasura (Asura)

Ahuizotl

Air Drake

Air Elemental

Air Mephit

Air Weird

Akata

Akhana (Aeon)

Akhult

Albino Cave & Giant Solifugids

Alchemical Golem

Aldinach (Demon Lord)

Alichino (Infernal Malebranche)

Allip

Almiraj

Allosaurus & Compsognathus (Dinosaur)

Aloer (Infernal Duke)

Alraune

Amethyst Dragons

Amoeba Swarm and Giant Amoeba

Amphisbaena

Andirifkhu (Demon Lord)

Android

Androsphinx

Angazhan (Demon Lord)

Angel (Type, Celestial)

Animal Lord

Animate Dream

Ankheg

Ankylosaurus & Brachiosaurus (Dinosaur)

Annis Hag

Antelope & Elk (herd animals)

Apollyon (Daemon Horseman)

Apostasy Wraith

Apostate Devil (Baatezu)

Aranea

Arbiter (Inevitable)

Arboreal Dragon (Dragon)

Archelon & Baluchitherium (megafauna)

Archon (Type, Celestial)

Ardad Lili (Infernal Iron Queen)

Areshkagal (Demon Lord)

Argorth

Argus

Argus Wall

Armadillo and Platypus

Armadon Formian

Armand

Armanite Demon (Tanar’ri)

Army Ant Swarm & Giant Ant

Arsinoitherium & Glyptodon (megafauna)

Arqueros (Empyreal Lord) 

Arshea (Empyreal Lord)

Ascomoid

Ashava (Empyreal Lord) 

Ash Giant

Ash Rat

Ashen Husk

Asmodeus (Baatezu, Power)

Awakened Plants and Animals

B

Bakekujira

Blorg

Benaioh

E

Emperor of Scales (Herald)

F

Fey (type)

G

Ghoul

Gnoph-Keh

Great Elder Iuu (Herald)

H

Hiracapath

I

Ithaqua (Great Old One)

Ixion Worm

J

Jagladine

K

Kuribu Angel

L

Leng Ghoul

M

Mederach

Mephistopheles (Archdevil)

Minderhal (Power)

Mi-Go

P

Popobala

Pyrausta

O

Onwu Azu

Orsheval

S

Sensuret, the Tribe Eater (Mummy’s Mask NPC)

Serpentfolk

Serpentfolk Reclaimer

Slaadi (Type)

Spinosaurus (Dinosaur)

Stone Giant

Sun Falcon

W

Wendigo

X

Xoraphond

Y

Ydersius (Power)

Meet The Archdevils

Archdevil, Mephistopheles

This red-skinned devil has three sets of curving horns atop his
brow and three mismatched pairs of wings.

Below is the complete stat block for the Archdevil Mephistopheles. Archdevils function as a 10th-rank mythic creature when in its realm and gain a +10 to sense motive and initiative checks.

Use in your own campaign at your own risk. Archdevils are normally included in campaigns as an enemy if the PC’s are to fight them, are normally added into mythic campaigns.

Everything below and including the image is from Paizo’s Pathfinder Bestiary 6 book.

Keep reading

Demons VS Devils - A Victor Rises...

By vampirestookourscience:

I’ve done some reading and realized something…

The Demons of the Abyss could very easily take over the Nine Hells.

Think about it:

There are only nine hells, compared to the seemingly infinite Abyss.

And if this war was to happen, it would be very one-sided.

The demons could simply drive the weaker devils mad. While other demons would just kill without remorse or guilt (because they’re chaotic evil, duh!).

And remember the Demon Lords, like Orcus and Demogorgon, there are countless demon lords, ladies and princes just like them…

…that verses a few kinda Archdevils and maybe Tiamat if they are up for it.

But 1000’s of Demon Lords VS 1 Tiamat

It seems like there would be a clear victor…

And if or when they kill Tiamat, Orcus, the Demon Lord of Undeath, could just resurrect Tiamat.

And now the Demon Lords have a undead Tiamat on their side, fighting with them, or for them.

So I’d like to see how someone would interpret this…

It could make for a very interesting campaign:

The party could be approached by devils, who need the party’s help in saving the Nine Hells from the invading Demons of the Abyss.

And, as it’s been pointed out, not all devils or demons have to keep to their alignments.

This means somewhere out there could be a lawful good pit fiend and a chaotic good balor who have allied together, in hopes of creating peace in two planes of death and war…

Pretty cool, Right?

we’re going to D&D hell

Alternate title: The Idiot Traveler’s Guide to the Nine Hells of Baator and the Blood War.

So we got plot dumped some info on the Nine Hells in Episode 90 and it’s possible that people didn’t catch all of it the first time through and we know there’s info Taliesin got off screen so that Matt didn’t have to info dump an entire essay straight into our brains (not that we wouldn’t have enjoyed it if he did). As somebody who has spent arguably too much time reading sourcebooks, I know quite a lot about D&D hell and I figured I’d share some knowledge with the portion of the playerbase who doesn’t play or even with the portion of the playerbase who just don’t accumulate tons upon tons of books like I do.

Before we go too far, I want to clarify where I’m getting my information. The only real information on the Nine Hells in 5e comes directly from the Dungeon Master’s Guide. However way back in 3.5e, there was an entire 200 page book about nothing but the Nine Hells called the Fiendish Codex Volume 2 (the first Volume was about Demons and the Abyss, I’ll get to that later).

All information I include here from 3.5e is subject to change and I will note it as such. I will also always use 5e information ahead of 3.5e information if I have it. For example, 5e has a different lord of the first layer, Zariel instead of Bel.

But let’s start with the basics:

Keep reading

Geryon (Archdevil, Planescape)

To really get what I’m about to say, you need to understand. I goddamn love Levistus. He was the first Archdevil I used and understood as a character. I use him whenever possible. 

Lately, I’ve been having to find reasons to keep him in my campaign. 

Not that it’s his fault or that I find him any less interesting. Remember how I said @wesschneider reinvented Mephistopheles for me? He did the same thing to Geryon. 

Pathfinder’s Geryon is one of those awesome, memorable NPCs that just sticks with you. Based on the image above, you may think Geryon is a triple-bodied humanoid with three snake tails. In actuality, Geryon is a triple-bodied snake that can vomit forth the torsos of anyone it has consumed. That’s just metal in all of the right ways for a Lord amongst devils. Add on to the fact that Geryon is actually an asura rana that Asmodeus somehow convinced into betraying the other ranas, along with kyton demagogues and gigas warlords? 

Best. Archfiend. Ever. (And you know I love me some archfiends) 

So how do we resolve the continuity snarl that is the Reckoning of Baator while still keeping Geryon an Archfiend and a relevant NPC? What I have done is create a new Archfiend position: Hell’s Traitor. This archfiend acts as a foil for all of the others and plots against Asmodeus openly. Sometimes, I stick with Planescape’s cannon and say Geryon got demoted to Hell’s Traitor after the Reckoning. Other times, Geryon emerges unscathed, and Levistus is Hell’s Traitor (and let’s be honest, he basically is already). If I want to get really tricky, I have Geryon and Asmodeus pull a long con on everyone to convince them that Geryon is out of favour when he’s really the real ruler of Styigia. Fun times with the Source of Lies. 

  • Geryon is surprisingly popular amongst the Dustmen. The Sources of Lies has one central aphorism, “you are the lie.” Dustmen take this to heart and try to understand all the ways that lies bind the soul to the world of False Death. That doesn’t necessarily make them more truthful, but they certainly are reflective and deliberate in their actions. 
  • History is nothing but a set of lies we agree upon. While the truth may be the goal of historians, all scholars of the past must make inferences that are based on their own biases and preconceptions, which introduce misconceptions and falsehoods into the historical record. The Blasphemers of the Pasts are a group of Guvners who worship Geryon and make it their business to study these unintentional lies so as to ferret out the secrets of the unwitting liers. 
  • The relationship between Geryon and Abraxas is one of the few strong ties across the Abyss and Baator. Both Fiendish Lords are masters of secret knowledge and serpents who have a very loose relationship with the truth. Surprisingly, they carry little more of a grudge than a friendly personal rivalry with each other. That friendliness does not automatically extend to their priests, but the celestial planes find it very concerning none the less. 

Note: I decided a while back not to do any archfiends until Book of the Damned comes out, barring something major happening. Well, something happened. 

Wes announced today that he is leaving Paizo to move on to his next step in life. It’s a really bittersweet moment. I’m happy because Wes is excited about this change, but he has written some of the most awesome things at Paizo. His contributions to the game over the last decade will be sorely missed. I think my favourite day writing this blog was the day that I saw Wes was following me and I absolutely freaked out because I thought my writing was nowhere near good enough to warrant Paizo’s Editor-in-Chief enjoying it. 

Wes, thank you for everything you’ve done. You are a wonderful human being and an inspiration to us all, both for the stories we tell and the radical kindness and understanding you show in your day to day life. I wish you all the best and I dearly hope that one day I get to work with you to make our little corner of the world a bit more awesome. 

Outsider and Elemental Lords: A Quick Summary...

Somewhere between the greatest of mortals and the least of the deities are supernatural beings of enormous power: demon princes, archdevils, mighty celestials, slaad lords, elemental rulers, and others. 

These powerful outsiders sometimes command the allegiance of mortals or work in partnership with clerics, but they are not deities and they cannot grant spells to their followers. 

Mortals do not worship them, but only a fool would not respect their might. 

Creatures that share their alignment treat them with great reverence.

Clerics of Hextor and Erythnul often work in cooperation with devils and demons (respectively), sometimes under the patronage of archdevils and demon princes.

More rarely, clerics of Heironeous or Pelor work in association with planetars or solars. 

In some cases, these powerful creatures extend their special patronage to certain groups: The demon prince Yeenoghu, for example, is the patron of gnolls. 

Gnolls pay their worship to Erythnul, but Yeenoghu plays the role of a guide or a sponsor to the race as a whole, looking out for their interests and providing gnolls with assistance when it suits his whim to do so.

Besides Yeenoghu, other known demon princes include Alvarez, Alzrius, Baphomet, Demogorgon, Eldanoth, Fraz-Urb’luu, Graz’zt, Juiblex, Kostchtchie, Lissa’aera, Lupercio, Lynkhab, Verin, and Vucarik.

Known archdevils include Baalzebul, Bel, Belial, Dispater, Fierana, Glasya, Levistus, Lamagard, Mammon, Martinet, and Mephistopheles.

Elemental lords include Ben-Hadar (good water), Chan (good air), Imix (evil fire), Ogremosh (evil earth), Olhydra (evil water), Sunnis (good earth), Yan-C-Bin (evil air), and Zaaman Rul (good fire).

The names of powerful celestials, slaadi, and formians are not commonly known.

The 18 Most Rewarding 3e D&D Books for Pathfinder GMs (Part 5)

And here’s the epic conclusion!

2) Ghostwalk Monte Cook and Sean K Reynolds

You probably think I’m crazy.

In fact, half the reason I wrote this list might have been so I had an excuse to tell you how good Ghostwalk is.

PS: This book is nearly perfect.

First, it adds a completely original notion to the game: that you could play your character as a ghost after death. Even better is why Monte Cook and Sean K Reynolds came up with this notion: to turn the hassle of character death into an opportunity. Which is mind-blowing: It solves an out-of-game problem with an in-game, ingenious solution. Simply glorious.

So you get two new ghost classes, new feats and spells, and some nifty new gear. Already this book is ahead of the game. But on top of that, it’s a Core +1 book—you get an entire setting to put it all in. (If only, say, Tome of Magic or Magic of Incarnum had done the same…) The city of Manifest and the surrounding nations are compelling: ectoplasmic ghosts mingle with humans, embattled elves fight yuan-ti, dwarves guard the Paths of the Dead, humans oversee ogre slaves, clerics worship interesting deities and guard against Orcus, etc. In fact, one of the successes of this book is that it works just as well without the new rules—take away the ghost PCs (or even the ghosts full stop) and I still want to play there. Manifest is as alive to me as Korvosa or Waterdeep.

But what makes this book indispensible is what happened next: The authors put every other spare great idea they had into the setting as well. Just because.

There are sidebars, paragraphs, even throwaway sentences in GW that would have rated whole articles in Dragon Magazine. For example: 1) Every magic weapon in GW has a name—if it was worth enchanting, it was worth naming. 2) One of the feats is a result of your PC undergoing sorcerous manipulation…while in the womb. 3) Because their elements cancel out, the fire god and the water god literally cannot perceive each other; they have to infer the other’s presence from context.

The whole book is like that!!!

It never feels not-D&D—it doesn’t try too hard (like I felt Cook’s Arcana Unearthed was somewhat guilty of) nor is it even as extreme Eberron. It’s just D&D thought out absurdly well.

(And I want to be sure that Reynolds gets as much credit for that as Cook—Monte Cook is (quite rightly) the splashy name of the 3.0 era, but every Pathfinder fan knows the outstanding level of work Reynolds brings to the table.)

The only thing about this book that falls short is its conception of the afterlife (a vague, underpowered and underpopulated archipelago that calls to mind old-school fantasy/sci-fi settings à la Philip José Farmer’s Riverworld or the edges of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea. I’m sure that was intentional but I didn’t dig it—treat it as a way station on the way to Pharasma’s Boneyard or just ignore it create your own. [Edit: Turns out that section and the adventures were requested by WotC.] Also, they didn’t manage to squeeze in a map for the setting (thankfully, you can find the misplaced map online). But these are small quibbles.

Since it’s a Core +1 book, you can start playing Pathfinder campaigns in Manifest right away with just a little rule-nudging. If you play in Golarion, Manifest could easily replace or sit alongside Magnimar or Absalom. Or it might be across the world—perhaps with the Starstone on one side of the world, a city of the dead provides balance on the other. Or you might never use Manifest as a setting to itself, but you’ll read and re-read GW over and over for ideas to steal for your own campaign.

Here’s the kicker. In fact, it almost puts this book at #1. This book is crazy cheap. WotC barely advertised or supported it at all. No one talks about it. Currently Amazon has it selling used for under eight bucks—that’s Chipotle burrito money—and I’ve occasionally seen it offered for as little as $3. Even Reynolds’s own company, Paizo, lists it for only $9.99—and there are zero reviews.

This. Book. Is. A. Steal. Get. It.

In fact, the only reason this book isn’t #1 is that one of its authors had already written…

1) Book of Vile Darkness Monte Cook

Every great hero needs great villains. Book of Vile Darkness gives you the tools to make them.

Chapter 1, all by itself, serves up six new evil gods, two new evil races (one of them the most terrifying halflings outside of Dark Sun), seven fetishes and addictions, two malign sites, and four evil villains (one of whom leads children on a chains to power his armor). Oh, and a meditation on the nature of evil in role-playing game.

Want more? Chapter 2 has delicious variant rules including curses, possession, hiveminds, and how to suggest the lingering affects of evil. Need to know how much an iron maiden costs? Look in Chapter 3. The cancer mage and vermin lord prestige classes? Skip ahead to Chapter 5.

I could go on like this. But I’d be wasting your time. You already know whether or not this book is for you.

I will add that that this book also happens to be the perfect mix of crunch and lore. The new vile spells are as evocative as they are effective, as is the tidy feat list. And while lore GMs will enjoy devouring the demon lord and archdevil write-ups, crunch GMs will be salivating over their savagely high CRs and their fully statted-up servitor NPCs.

Pathfinder’s authors have made no secret that they wanted Golarion to be darker, wilder, and more adult than previous settings had been. Their answers to the Caves of Chaos and Iuz the Undying were Hook Mountain and Lamashtu. In a world of bloatmages and Red Mantis assassins, BoVD’s vile feats and spells fit right in. In terms of rules and atmosphere, BoVD is essential for your Pathfinder game.

Find a copy. It won’t be cheap. You can probably snag a used one for $20–$30, depending on how pristine you want to go. But you won’t be disappointed.

Further reading: Good isn’t nearly as much fun as evil to read about. But it can be more fun to play. So while Book of Exalted Deeds was never going to delight in the same way as BoVD, it earns high praise just for trying. More feats and spells make it a useful player resource, and the wide range of new monsters and personality-filled NPCs should please GMs. Once you have your copy of BoVD—particularly if there’s a paladin or strongly good cleric in your group, or if you’re planning on a lot of planar play—BoED is not a bad next choice. [Edit: It also marries well with Chronicle of the Righteous.]

That’s my list. 18+ books, all with D&D on the cover, but with plenty of Pathfinder potential inside waiting to be unlocked. I hope you enjoyed.

Now what books are on yours?

And we’re done! 

Again, here’s the original thread if you want to see redditors’ comments.  Once more, thank you all for the likes, reblogs, and comments.  I know we usually do monsters here, but I love diving back into old books and trading memories and recommendations, so this is definitely a conversation we can continue.  If you’ve got a list, definitely let us know.

Meanwhile, here are some thoughts I’ve had in the 10 months since I first submitted this post to Reddit:

As I said in Part 1, there are conspicuous absences here.  I’ve seen too many glowing reviews of Heroes of Battle, Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords, and Weapons of Legacy to feel like this list is complete until I’ve read them.  (That still hasn’t happened yet in the intervening year.  Also, since writing the original version of this, I’ve seen enough reviews of the Spell Compendium to make me go “Hmmmm…” on that as well.)

What if we throw away my “…for Pathfinder GMs” part of my thesis?  There might be some shifts in order— the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, for instance, would climb into the top tier—but I think the list holds up.

Other books that aren’t particularly useful for Pathfinder fans but are strong on their own: I’m not a class splatbook guy and don’t even have most of the Complete series.  But Complete Arcane is too interesting to overlook, and Complete Mage’s reserve feats go a long way toward solving the “I’m out of spells; we have to sleep” problem in a fast-paced-combat or story-oriented campaign.  As a subrace junkie, I have a soft spot for Races of Faerûn (even if Pathfinder’s Advanced Race Guide is even more awesome).  (Other Forgotten Realms books that kept catching my eye last night as I browsed my collection: I could read Eric Boyd write about gods in Faiths and Pantheons all day, and I was actually shocked at how much I enjoyed Lost Empires of Faerûn, especially since I originally bought it only because there weren’t any more Realms sourcebooks on the shelves.)

Also, I still pick up used 3.0/3.5 books from time to time when I get lucky in used bookstores or online.  Currently sitting in my half-read pile are City of the Spider Queen, Magic of Incarnum, Player’s Guide to Faerûn, Power of Faerûn, and (though technically not a WotC project) the Rokugan setting book.  It’s a toss-up as to whether my next move is to finish them off first—half-read books really bug me—or get caught up on my unread-but-anxiously-awaited stack of Pathfinder softcovers (unread Pathfinder books bug me even more, and Wrath of the Righteous is calling…).  I’ve also got a stack of unread Dungeon Magazines and third-party books (Coliseum Morpheuon, for instance) waiting for me.  If they’re good, I’ll be sure to report back…

One last big thought: I also would really love it if the books I’ve called Core +1 books became a model for a certain number of Pathfinder or third-party books in the future. 

It’s so, so thrilling to pick up a book and find both a sensible amount of new rules material and a setting to go with it.  To pick up a book like Ghostwalk and get Manifest in the bargain is pure joy…let alone to get Eberron, the Forgotten Realms, or Rokugan.  To know that you can run a campaign with nothing more than that new book, the Bestiaries, and the Core Rulebook—bliss.

Don’t get me wrong—I love Golarion.  And I hope Paizo keeps adventuring there for a long time.  But even the game world that billed itself “The Best of All Possible Worlds” can’t be a home for every concept.  I’d love it if a book like Ghostwalk let Paizo stretch their legs a little bit—perhaps for a niche Golarion setting, like the Dragon Empires, Vudra, or Arcadia, that deserves more than a softcover but not the full Inner Sea World Guide treatment.  Or perhaps for a rules system that would work in one city: bullfighting, dueling, and an honor system in Taldor, maybe, or genie-taming in Qadira.  Or perhaps there’s a style of play or a rules concept that doesn’t fit in Golarion but is still worth exploring.  Steampunk…aerial adventures…Arabian adventures…low-magic…an all-Darklands campaign…aquatic adventures…Gothic horror…frequent resurrections…a double world involving the fey or spirits…evil humanoids…all of the above and more might deserve the Core +1 rules plus setting treatment.

I also know that, for a lot of publishers, hardcovers pay the bills.  (That may not be the case for Paizo, with its subscription models, but still…)  And there are only so many more hardcovers Paizo can put out before veterans like me start doing the math and worrying that a new edition is on its way, if only to keep the lights on.  New rules/setting combos might be a way to extend the life of the edition and expand the brand.  Certainly it’s one of the reasons 2e AD&D last so long. 

This can go too far—one of the things WotC learned from TSR was not to cannibalize its audience with too many settings.  But by keeping new settings to limited runs of a single book or two, you avoid that problem.  You draw in players with new options, crunch GMs with new rules, and fluff GMs like me with new setting and story.  (I’m slogging through Magic of Incarnum’s new powers and feats as we speak, and I so keep wishing they’d devoted the back half of the book to a setting that made the concepts come alive and convinced me to spend time learning the new mechanics.)

There’s another change to the landscape that makes me wonder if this is a viable idea: the rise of indie RPGs.  So many people out there are putting out their version of slimmed-down 1e D&D or are exploring places fantasy role-playing doesn’t normally go (names like Dungeon World, Savage Worlds, Lamentations of the Flame Princess…even Monsterhearts!).  I wonder how many of them could be satisfied by Pathfinder, so long as they knew they only needed the Core Rulebook, the Bestiary, and one other book?

Finally, the reason I want more Core +1 books is I want to be surprised and delighted within Pathfinder.  Golarion has managed to do so, over and over, but it is still a known commodity, with a map that gets more filled in by the day.  Magazines might fill that role—one of the old joys of picking up Dungeon Magazine (or Dragon Magazine’s fiction) was getting new sites, towns, cities, and worlds with every issue, worlds both canon and non-—but magazines are hard to maintain.  (The only candidate I know of, Gygax, is a quarterly labor of love.)  So a book format is the way to go. 

Give me Golarion, but once a year, give me Ghostwalk.  Give me Golarion and Paizo’s Al-Qadim.  Give me the Pathfinder version of Tome of Magic’s binders or Magic of Incarnum’s soul magic, but with a home and gods and a land.  Once a year, give me elemental-powered steampunk.  Give musketeers vs. faeries, or dirigible fights over a fantasy North America with dinosaurs and a shamanic spirit world.  Give me Golarion and that—just once or twice a year—so I have a home and vacation destinations for my imagination.

Thanks again for reading and for your patience this week as I focused on life stuff.  (I still have more life stuff to tackle, but regular Daily Bestiary entries should resume next week, and I’ll try to play catch-up as my schedule allows.  Have a great weekend!

Magic Item: The Sheriff of Ba’ator

In the Nine Hells, all things than can be known are known…for a price. The mechanics of powders and alchemical reactions, so powerful and rare in the hands of mortals, is well understood by the many deal-making Cambions and other devils.

Usually, when a devil enters the mortal realm without permission, the Archdevil in charge of the level they are from would order their retrieval at the hands of Chain Devils. However, when an Archdevil or other more powerful fiend goes rogue, there is only one creature that can be relied upon to hunt them down.

The Sheriff is a fiend of unknown type, a mysterious figure who moves between the levels of the Nine Hells with ease, and who takes his orders directly from Asmodeus himself. Armed with magical pistols that can seek out the weaknesses of his foes and exploit them, he is a figure of fear for even the Lords of Hell.

This pistol is a replica of the more powerful Legendary weapons, but its power is terrifying none-the-less. In the hands of a talented Gunslinger, it might even draw the attention of the real Sheriff; whatever kind of blessing that might be.

Pathfinder Bestiary 6 contains not only Archdevils but their personalized magical artifacts, which are indestructible aside from extremely specific circumstances.

Barbados’ quarterstaff, for example, can only be destroyed if the hundreds of eyes covering it are “blinded all at once by the light that shines from a truth spoken by an immortal being that has previously spent its life speaking nothing but lies.”

The most ridiculous one, though, is Mephistopheles’ pen. The quill pen that Mephistopheles uses to sign his infernal contracts dissolves into a fine powder if you manage to write up a contract for Asmodeus himself and have the terms of the contract involve killing Mephistopheles, AND get him to sign it. You have to convince Mephisto’s own boss and creator that he’s no longer worth keeping around and get Asmo to essentially sign Mephisto’s order of execution. The very fact that the pen’s destruction ritual implies that it’s possible to do this is mind-boggling.

Alternately, any artifact fed to the Tarrasque is utterly destroyed, so there’s that as a backup plan if you desperately need to dispose of infernal artifacts.

Mephistopheles

I need to do some butt kissing to start this entry. @wesschneider is a god amongst writers. Why?

Mephistopheles has been kicking around TSR’s playground in Cania since 1983, courtesy of Gary Gygax and Ed Greenwood. Its origins stretch much further back, of course, Mephistopheles has been a stock devil ever since Faust, and much of Western folklore that was used to create Planescape and Pathfinder’s Devils has developed as a result of Faust’s bargain with Mephistopheles.

Here’s a confession: I always found WotC version of Mephistopheles boring, so I’ve never actually used it. For me, it was always too generic, there were other Archdevils and Infernal Dukes that I found had more promise, so I’d substitute them in for the Crimson Son instead. I’d far rather use the Hag Countess and Glasya than someone so generic a Mephistopheles, and once Pathfinder revealed their Archdevils, I had several other compelling despots to use in its place on top of that.

Wes has fixed that for me. Mephistopheles has gone from a devil I hated to use, to one that I’m looking for excuses to use. 

Image by the one and only Wayne Reynolds

I was actually a little sceptical of Mephistopheles’ write up in Book of the Damned, but Breaking the Bones of Hell is a whole different story. It makes Mephistopheles almost a personification of Hell, not just the first devil to be created, but almost a perverted version of the Christian mythology of Eve. Mephistopheles was called to birth by Asmodeus from the very ribs of hell itself, and is so calculating that it actually ends up being somewhat Lovecraftian. The fact it may be the first Baatezu just heightens that feeling of it being a lawful ancient tyrant.

Mephistopheles has no pretences of morality, but will also do what it takes to win, so in a twisted way, it may be the Baatezu most likely to work against Baator’s short term interests. Furthermore, Mephistopheles is explicit genderless, and the way I read the article was also as being asexual. (As an aside, I’m using it as the neutral pronoun instead of zher since that’s the pronoun I think Mephistopheles would use for itself.) While Mephistopheles is by no means a role model or representative of that community, this is a breath of fresh air from the hoards of fiends in fantasy literature seeking sexual gratification.

Ignoring all of the other juicy bits in this book, including the rules for Genius Loci and the actual adventure into Hell, Breaking the Bones of Hell was worth it just for this take on Asmodeus’ seneschal. That does leave me with a dilemma though, I once again have way too many Archdevils to use as the Lords of the Nine. Obviously, Mephistopheles works as the Lord of the Eighth but there have been plenty of writers better than me who have written about that role. Where could Mephistopheles fit in if it’s not in its traditional role?

The first thing that pops into my mind is that he could be one of the greatest of the Infernal Dukes, not controlling his own layer, but rather acting as Asmodeus’ seneschal and emissary to all the layers of Baator and perhaps even beyond the boarder of Hell. This adds the dynamic of Mephistopheles being accessible from anywhere, and likely to crop up for heroes in the most inconvenient of times and place.

Another possibility is that Mephistopheles is the Lord of the First. Definitely not the traditional role, but it makes a certain amount of sense if you look at Mephistopheles as the ultimate contract maker who has influenced how mortals view that Baatezu. As the Lord of the First, it would have significant contract with mortals to influence how they looked as the lawful fiends.

That’s not the boldest move you could make though. If you really want to shake things up, make Mephistopheles Lord of the Ninth. Asmodeus may have been a god, you see, but gods can fall to hubris too. Archdevils are capable of going toe to toe with the powers on occasion, and in the moment of its birth, Mephistopheles was more than just another fiend. It was Hell given flesh. The entire plane was an extension of its form for those first few hours, and that was more than enough time to consume Asmodeus, rend him limb from limb, and claim the Ruby Rod alongside the flaming trident as the symbols of Hell’s Domain.

Oh yes, I will be having fun with Mephistopheles in the future.

- A new legal school within Baator has been opened, but this one has a major twist: it is only accessible to mortals regardless of origin, faction, or alignment. Naturally, many are suspicious of Baator’s motivations in doing this, but the aim isn’t actually to corrupt mortals (that’s just a happy side effect). Mephistopheles is the driving force behind the project, and its intentions are to develop an appreciation for immortal law within the mortal mind. Of course, this isn’t exactly healthy for said mortal mind, and that goes double for the dozens of double agents who have been enrolled in the program.

- Mephistopheles is one of the few Archdevils who can actually enjoy dealing with demons. They are absolutely corrupt and can’t be trusted to keep their word in the slightest, but Mephistopheles find that this forces itself to understand the legal magic with which to bind them all the more. Sometimes, it even level Mephistopheles to consider new loopholes and subtleties to justify the demon’s actions, if retroactively. To that end, Mephistopheles maintains long-term living strategy games with demons such as Graz’zt and Dagon. Unfortunately for many bands of adventures, they play the role of living pieces for both side.

- While they do not journey into Baator uninvited, the Rogue Modrons of Acheron have recently received envoys from the Eighth Hell. Chant is that Mephistopheles seeks to fold them into the ranks of its allies. The fears are that the Crimson Son seeks a way to create biomechanical devils, study the primal stuff of Mechanus, or even subvert Primus itself.

I’m mostly bringing this up because of the name but also the more I read it the more I realized that this is absolutely, needlessly, stupidly ridiculous overkill if Krampus does actually go after children, because he’s a CR21 monster, something that’s supposed to be a match for an entire party of adventurers at or around level 21, a level where they can take on Archdevils and demigods

yeah, because he really needs that extra +5 to beat the shit out of Little Timmy down the street because he hates Christmas. it’s already ludicrous that they’d need to put Krampus on the same level as ancient dragons and high demon lords when his only job is beating up people who lack holiday spirit

when are they gonna stat Santa Claus

Rose’s Last Path is on its Way! Plus, New Stuff at the Item Mall before the Summer Ends!
By GM Amelia

Hiya adventurers! The end is near! For Rose’s job paths at least. We’re rolling out her last job path next week and it’s going to be extremely exciting! We’re gonna keep our traps shut for now but the last job path has something to do with machines. That’s it, that’s all the hint we’re gonna give out for now. You just have to patiently wait for next week to arrive! And just so we can keep your mind off this update, we’ll distract you with new stuff from the Item Mall. So go check out some new Item Mall goodies. Go, go on!

Keep reading

The Final Battle Draws Near
By: Ignia

Heya Adventurers! 

Did I ever mention how glad I am that you guys are here? Thanks to you I feel like we’re really close to finding the culprit behind all this chaos in Lanox! Tomorrow we’ll be seeing two new dungeons and a level cap increase to 80! Rest up because we’ve got a long road ahead of us.

Hm… What was that? You want to know what happened to who? GM Sonata? Oh..! They…have their hands tied… Not to worry though because I’m here!

Keep reading

5

The Archdevils of the Nine Hells! Most of the D&D background stuff I’ve read I can take or leave, but these guys have really stuck with me.

From the top:

Bel, Archdevil of Avernus. Military man, latest in a long line of Pit Fiends promoted to serve as Hell’s battle commander.  Good with strategy, hopeless at politics. Ambitious, with a bad temper.

Dispater, Archdevil of Dis. Real paranoid, seldom leaves his tower. Obsessively builds Iron golems and spinning blade traps. Never forgets an insult.

Mammon, Archdevil of Minauros. Lives underground on a big pile of wealth. Looks more like a big snake with every passing year. Generally regarded as insane.

Belial and Fierna, Archdevils of Phlegethos. Married couple. Fight all the time and cheat on each other with strings of disposable partners, otherwise oddly devoted to one another. Their lavish parties are worth a visit, as long as you remember the complex etiquette.

Levistus, Archdevil of Stygia. Handsome rogue, always up for a good time. Passes for human, rumoured to have started that way. Currently entombed inside a giant iceberg, but still conscious, and very angry.

Glasya, newly installed Archdevil of Malboge. Rumoured to be Asmodeus’ daughter by an unknown mother. Highly efficient and devoted to her job. Invites gifted, evil people from all planes to serve as her lieutenants. Only behind closed doors does she reveal her true taste for terrible cruelty.

Baalzebuul, Archdevil of Maladomini. Once a great Angel of the High Heavens, his fall from divine grace was followed by an even greater fall after Asmodeus cursed him with the form of a giant, hideous slug. Now he weeps with self-pity in a palace made of his own slime.

Mephistopheles, Archdevil of Cania. Even other Devils start to feel uncomfortable after too long in a room with him. Doesn’t talk much, but everyone thinks of him as a marginal ally. Collects interesting scientists, artists and wizards from all known worlds, and puts them to work on mysterious projects, hidden from view.

Asmodeus, Archdevil of Nessus, and ruler of the Nine Hells. When people talk about ‘The Devil’, they mean this guy. As powerful as a God, with the attitude to match. Though he is still bleeding and bruised after being cast down from Heaven in ages past, his voice is like a thread of warm honey in the ear, filling the listener with assurance- and absolute obedience.