Cardinal of Asmodeus

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Michael Pacher Date of birth/death ca. 1430/35 1498

Title Deutsch: Kirchenväteraltar, rechter Flügel außen, Szene unten: Hl. Augustinus und der Teufel Year 1471-1475 Michael Pacher Date of birth/death ca. 1430/35 1498

Title Deutsch: Kirchenväteraltar, rechter Flügel außen, Szene unten: Hl. Augustinus und der Teufel Year 1471-1475


To qualify to become a cardinal of Asmodeus, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Alignment: Lawful Evil

Skills: Bluff 4 ranks, Diplomacy 9 ranks, Intimidate 4 ranks, Knowledge (Arcana) 9 ranks, Knowledge (the planes) or Knowledge (religion) 12 ranks, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) 4 ranks

Feats: Devotee of Darkness (Asmodeus), Leadership

Languages: Infernal

Spells: Ability to cast 5th level divine spells

Special: Cardinals of Asmodeus must have made peaceful contact with a greater devil (at least CR 15). The devil then instructs the would-be cardinal on the process to submit to the will of Asmodeus, The Overlord of Hell.

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Only a fool underestimates the might of The Overlord of Hell. His citadel at Malsheem in Nessus holds knowledge lost since before the creation of the Prime, knowledge damning in its power and kept from all. Even Mephistopheles, Lord of Loss, does not know everything, and some secrets will never come to the ears of Beelzebub, the Lord of the Flies. The darkest purposes of Hell are to be had here, standing on the right hand of the greatest of devils.

Some believe, though, that such knowledge can be earned, if only the right path is trod. Every dark act and paradigm to be found in the other eight hells can help find this path, but they are not the path itself. From the first step along this route, redemption is left behind. This is not the way of weaklings. It cannot be traveled halfheartedly. For those willing to pay the price, though, such power can be had that mortals would never dream of.

The cardinal of Asmodeus pursues this lost knowledge, acquiring it piece by piece from the King of Hell himself. He operates as a member of the devil god’s clergy, part of its secretive inner circle, meeting by night to decide the fate of nations. The cardinal believes that his plans should be shared on a need-to-know basis, and only he needs to know. He is the despot set up as both king and god in the eyes of his subjects. Everyone else is nothing but a tool for the designs of Hell; there is no love, no compassion, no mercy - not for anyone. Even his own family is ruthlessly left by the wayside as he travels the darkest of roads. He seeks ultimately to place himself over others in the same way that the Overlord rules Hell, and in his tyranny he seeks to damn entire nations.

Cardinals always come from the ranks of clerics.

Hit Dice: d6.

The Cardinal of Asmodeus
Class Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spellcasting
1 +0 +0 +0 +2 Diabolical sacrament, domain of the Overlord +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
2 +1 +0 +0 +3   +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
3 +2 +1 +1 +3 Diabolical sacrament +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
4 +3 +1 +1 +4 +1 +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
5 +3 +1 +1 +4 Diabolical sacrament +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
6 +4 +2 +2 +5   +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
7 +5 +2 +2 +5 Diabolical sacrament +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
8 +6 +2 +2 +6   +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
9 +6 +3 +3 +6 Diabolical sacrament +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
10 +7 +3 +3 +7 Rite of the Diabolical See +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

Class Skills

The cardinal of Asmodeus’ class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Bluff (Charisma), Concentration (Constitution), Craft (Intelligence), Diplomacy (Charisma), Disguise (Charisma), Heal (Wisdom), Intimidate (Charisma), Knowledge (arcane) (Intelligence), Knowledge (history) (Intelligence), Knowledge (local) (Intelligence), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Intelligence), Knowledge (religion) (Intelligence), Knowledge (the planes) (Intelligence), Profession (Wisdom), Sense Motive (Wisdom), Spellcraft (Intelligence).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Intelligence modifier.

Class Features

All the following are class features of the cardinal of Asmodeus prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A cardinal of Asmodeus gains proficiency with simple weapons, but not with armor or shields.

Spells per Day: At 2nd level and each level thereafter gained in the cardinal of Asmodeus prestige class, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of controlling or rebuking undead, hit points beyond those he receives from the prestige class, and so on), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a cardinal of Asmodeus, he must decide which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.

Diabolical Sacrament: The primary responsibility of a cardinal of Asmodeus is to increase the power of organized evil. How the cardinal accomplishes this is up to him so long as his actions do not promote chaos, anarchy, or self-centered evil, and certainly not righteousness. In pursuit of this agenda, the cardinal of Asmodeus is rewarded with Diabolical Sacraments as he becomes more successful in his task. Once every other level beginning at 1st level, the cardinal of Asmodeus may select one of the nine Diabolical Sacraments for which he qualifies. In
order to acquire a Sacrament, the cardinal must perform the necessary diabolical rites, many of which require a significant amount of financial resources and bloody sacrifices.

Francis Bacon Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1953) Francis Bacon Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1953)

Rituals for Diabolical Sacraments

The Diabolical Sacrament unlocks great powers for the cardinal of Asmodeus. It is for this reason that it is best that the benefits of each sacrament only become available after the cardinal performs a ritual of some kind.

Use the following guidelines for the costs of rituals to access the various powers of the Diabolical Sacrament. DMs should note that these rituals assume normal wealth levels for characters. In the case of lower or higher wealth level by level, it is appropriate to adjust the costs discussed below. Likewise, NPC cardinals will have less wealth than PCs and so should pay commensurately less for these rituals at the DM’s discretion.

Rite of Command: This rite requires 3,333gp worth of material components, and is used to gain access to the Art of Hell, the Favored of Hell, the Lure of Hell, and the Voice of Hell abilities. In the case of the Lure of Hell, the cost is 6,666gp, and in such a case the rite also requires the ritual sacrifice of a cleric, paladin or outsider of good alignment with at least 6 Hit Dice.

Rite of Puissance: This rite requires the destruction of a good-aligned, or otherwise associated with good, magic item worth at least 18,000gp. It allows access to the Benediction of Hell, the Gaze of Hell, and the Power of Hell abilities. In the case of the Benediction of Hell, holy texts of a good or chaotic god to the value of 18,000gp must also be destroyed.

Rite of Condemnation: This rite requires that the cardinal offer the soul gems of 33 Hit Dice worth of good creatures (see the Trap the Soul spell for further details, as found in the Players HandbookTM) as a sacrifice. It also requires the burning of incense and consumes material components worth an additional 12,000gp. During the rite, the souls trapped in the gems are transferred to Nessus, becoming the property of the Overlord of Hell. This rite is used to gain access to the Legions of Hell and the Hegemony of Hell abilities.

The Art of Hell (Su): Three times per day the cardinal may select to enhance the power of spells bearing the Evil or Lawful descriptors, or spells from the school of Enchantment as a free action. Evil and Lawful spells find all of their variable modifiers improved as per the Empower Spell Feat; spells from the School of Enchantment receive a +2 bonus to the DC (this bonus stacks with any other bonus).

Benediction of Hell (Su): The cardinal may grant a blessing to any willing to treat with Hell in the form of a limited wish. The results of the limited wish occur “naturally” over the course of three days and always to the benefit of Lawful Evil. When the cardinal grants his Benediction to another, he pays no experience cost; however, if the cardinal uses the Benediction for himself, he pays the appropriate cost as described. Those who take advantage of a Benediction of Hell always end up “owing” the cardinal. Within nine days of the Benediction, the cardinal will demand a quest upon the client who receives no save against the request and suffers double penalties until the quest is fulfilled. Benediction of Hell can be used once per day.

Favored of Hell (Ex): The cardinal of Asmodeus is a dark beacon of evil and villainy, a reflection of his favored status in Hell. The cardinal of Asmodeus receives the benefits of Evil Brand. If the cardinal already possesses Evil Brand, the benefits are doubled. Additionally, the cardinal gains an Imp as a loyal servant

Gaze of Hell: The cardinal of Asmodeus can channel some of the great evil of Hell through his gaze. The cardinal may cause one of two effects with his Gaze of Hell. First, the Gaze can cause weakness against one target as per ray of enfeeblement coupled with slow; if struck by the Gaze of Hell, a victim does not receive a save against the slow effect. Alternatively, the Gaze may cause fear to all within 10 feet of the cardinal as the spell; the save DC equals 14 + the cardinal’s class level + the cardinal’s Charisma modifier. The cardinal’s caster level in either case is equal to his class level + 9. The Gaze of Hell may be used a total of three times per day.

Hegemony of Hell (Su): The cardinal can impose the ordered might of Hell against all tainted by evil within 90 feet of his person, forcing them to obey him as though struck by mass charm monster once per day. All evil aligned aberrations, giants, humanoids, magical beasts, monstrous humanoids, and undead possessing fewer combined class levels and/or HD than the Cardinal’s character level can be affected, and receive a base Will saving throw DC of 18 + the cardinal’s class level + the cardinal’s Charisma modifier. Chaotic Evil beings receive a +4 modifier to their Will saves while Neutral Evil beings receive neither a bonus nor a penalty. Lawful Evil beings suffer a -4 penalty to their save; furthermore, if the Lawful Evil being fails by more than 9 points, it becomes a permanent thrall to the cardinal as though under the effects of dominate monster. Otherwise, the Hegemony of Hell persists for 24 hours after which those under its power receive another saving throw with a +1 bonus; this cycle continues until a save is made. Once released from the Hegemony of Hell, the victims perceive the cardinal in a friendly fashion. A cardinal may have as many thralls as his Charisma modifier (including any thralls gained by means of the Lure of Hell ability); he has the ability to release a thrall at any time, although doing so is treated as the daily use of Hegemony of Hell. The cardinal must have selected Lure of Hell and Voice of Hell before taking Hegemony.

Legions of Hell (Su): The cardinal can call on the Legions of Hell. 3/day, when the cardinal casts any summon monster spell, he casts it as two levels higher and receives double the number of monsters who remain in the Prime Material Plane for two hours. Once per week and at the expense of using the lesser version of Legions of Hell for the next nine days, the cardinal may call a pit fiend as a standard action. The relationship between the pit fiend and the cardinal depends on the cardinal’s character level; if the cardinal possesses a higher character level than the pit fiend’s Hit Dice, the fiend will obey the cardinal to the best of its ability so long as the cardinal’s orders serve the cause of Hell. If the cardinal possesses fewer character levels than the fiend’s Hit Dice, the fiend will issue a quest on the cardinal (against which the cardinal has no save) for every request made of it (including combat, summoning, etc.). In either case, the pit fiend can remain on the Prime Material for up to nine days, after which another cannot be called for 27 days. The cardinal must have Favored of Hell in order to call a pit fiend.

Lure of Hell (Su): Once per day, the cardinal can proselytize to those not of his alignment. If the cardinal can speak to a single victim for at least one full round with no interruption, he imposes a Will save DC of 13 + the cardinal’s class level + the cardinal’s Charisma modifier. If the victim fails, he is subject to one suggestion offered by the cardinal and moves a step closer to Lawful Evil. Should the victim become Lawful Evil due to a suggestion offered by the cardinal, the victim must make another Will saving throw or become a thrall to the cardinal. A cardinal may have as many thralls as his Charisma modifier.

Power of Hell (Su): Once per day, the cardinal can bolster those who serve him. All within 20 feet receive a +1 profane bonus to all attacks, armor class, rebuke undead checks, saving throws, and skill checks per the cardinal’s class level for up to nine rounds so long as they remain within sight of the cardinal. Only thralls or beings currently under a charm or compulsion effect caused by the cardinal benefit from Power of Hell. Those under this effect are surrounded by a molten aura that radiates evil. Power of Hell stacks with unholy aura or Shield of law. A cardinal may select this ability at 3rd level.

Voice of Hell (Su): The cardinal’s voice commands attention and respect. The cardinal receives a +1 profane bonus per class level on any Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, or Perform (oratory) check. For every three levels in cardinal, he receives a +1 bonus to language dependant Enchantment spells DCs (but not cardinal powers).

Domain of the Overlord (Su):

At first level, the cardinal of Asmodeus begins to gain access to the true power of Hell.

The cardinal can prepare the following spells as domain spells:

1 Command .
2 Enthrall .
3 Bestow curse .
4 Charm monster.
5 Hold monster.
6 Harm.
7 Blasphemy.
8 Trap the soul.
9 Dominate monster.

Each of the spells can be prepared in place of a domain spell of the level indicated.

Granted Powers Turn or destroy earth creatures as a good cleric turns undead. Rebuke, command, or bolster air creatures as an evil cleric rebukes undead. Use these abilities a total number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier. This granted power is a supernatural ability.

Rite of the Diabolical See: Only the wealthiest and most politically powerful cardinals of Hell attain this level of power. By performing the Rite of the Diabolical, the cardinal calls directly on the power of The Overlord of Hell. If Asmodeus finds the cardinal worthy, he rewards the cardinal greatly for his service to Hell at the expense of his immortal soul. He can see in darkness (even that created by deeper darkness spells) and can engage in telepathic communication with any creature within 100 feet. When casting corrupt spells, the cardinal is treated as a devil (and thus does not pay the corrupt cost). Finally, the cardinal receives a +9 bonus to all checks related to summoning a Power of Hell (Duke of Hell, Arch-Devil, or Lord of the Nine); this bonus stacks with those of other cardinals during cooperative or ritual magic.

In return, the cardinal suffers 2 points of Constitution drain; this cannot be restored by any means. Additionally, he takes a -9 penalty to all saves made against spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities of higher-ranking servants of Asmodeus.

Any attempt to seek Atonement for his affiliation with Asmodeus requires that the cardinal make a Fortitude save DC 45 every nine hours. Success grants the cardinal more time to seek absolution, although each new save faces an additional +3 to the DC. Failure indicates that the Order of the Lie has tracked the cardinal down, as a blast of brimstone and flames erupt beneath the cardinal (even in mid air or in water). Pit fiend claws then reach up from the portal and drag the cardinal’s body into Hell, where the cardinal is damned to endless digestion within Asmodeus for breaking faith.

Example Cardinal of Asmodeus - Claude Frollo

Epic Cardinal of Asmodeus

The epic cardinal of Asmodeus stands amongst the greatest of the mortal servants of Hell. Often lording over entire countries as tyrannical dictators, few can match an epic cardinal’s penchant for domination. An epic cardinal will often take feats that improve his spellcasting ability, such as Epic Spellcasting, Improved Spell Capacity, Multispell, or epic metamagic feats. He may also take feats that will help to ensure his stranglehold over his minions (such as Epic Leadership or Epic Reputation).

Charisma is important to a cardinal, as it improves his ability to manipulate others and be seen as a strong leader. Wisdom is also important, as his spellcasting ability relies upon it.

Hit Die: d6.

The Epic Cardinal of Asmodeus
Class Level Special Spellcasting
11   +1 level of existing spellcasting class
12   +1 level of existing spellcasting class
13   +1 level of existing spellcasting class
14 Bonus feat +1 level of existing spellcasting class
15   +1 level of existing spellcasting class
16   +1 level of existing spellcasting class
17   +1 level of existing spellcasting class
18 Bonus feat, diabolic sacrament +1 level of existing spellcasting class
19   +1 level of existing spellcasting class
20   +1 level of existing spellcasting class

Skill Points per Level: 4 + Intelligence modifier.

Class Features

Diabolic Sacrament: At 18th level, and every 9 levels thereafter (until level 45), the epic cardinal may learn a new diabolic sacrament.

Spells per Day: The epic cardinal of Asmodeus’ caster level increases by 1 per level gained above 10th. The epic cardinal of Asmodeus continues to gain new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) at each new level, up to the maximum spells per day and spells known of the divine spellcasting class to which the cardinal of Asmodeus belonged before adding the prestige class.

Epic Feats: An epic cardinal of Asmodeus gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic cardinal bonus feats) every 4 levels beyond than 10th.

Epic Cardinal of Asmodeus Bonus Feats: Additional Magic Item Space, Automatic Quicken Spell, Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Bonus Domain, Enhance Spell, Epic Leadership, Epic Reputation, Epic Skill Focus, Epic Spell Focus, Epic Spell Penetration, Epic Spellcasting, Epic Will, Ignore Material Components, Improved Alignment- Based Casting, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Metamagic, Improved Spell Capacity, Intensify Spell, Multispell, Negative Energy Burst, Permanent Emanation, Planar Turning, Polyglot, Spell Opportunity, Spell Stowaway, Spontaneous Domain Access, Tenacious Magic.

Example Epic Cardinal of Asmodeus - Armand Jean du Plessis


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