Creating a -Lord of the Nine- Template

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Cathédrale Saint-Paul de Liège; la chaire, par Guillaume Geefs, de style néo-gothique, datant du milieu du 19ème siècle. Détail: Lucifer, au revers de la chaire. 24/08/09 Vassil

Cathédrale Saint-Paul de Liège; la chaire, par Guillaume Geefs, de style néo-gothique, datant du milieu du 19ème siècle. Détail: Lucifer, au revers de la chaire. 24/08/09 Vassil

The Gates of Hell (Dice Freaks)

Grimoire of Cosmic Entities Volume One By Eli Atkinson, William Church and Serge W. Desir, Jr.
Original Concept by Serge W. Desir, Jr.

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-Lord of the Nine- is a template that can be added to any creature bearing the arch-devil template with at least 40 HD. On rare occasions (DM discretion), Asmodeus, The Overlord of Hell, grants this boon to very powerful mortals of at least 41st level (he grants them both the arch-devil and Lord of the Nine templates simultaneously). Ascended mortals will use the totality of their character class in place of HD where HD is used as a basis upon which to determine DCs unless otherwise noted.

The base creature gains the Evil, Extraplanar and Lawful sub-types, and loses any other alignment sub-types. A Lord of the Nine uses all of the features and benefits from the arch-devil template in addition to those benefits listed here; unless otherwise noted, these elements replace those associated with the arch-devil tem-plate.

Armor Class: The Lord acquires a +9 profane bonus to armor class; this overlaps with the profane bonuses gained from the arch-devil and/or Duke of Hell templates.

Aura of Hell (Ex): The presence of a Lord is so vile that it causes lesser beings to cower or pay homage to the might of its evil. All within 900 feet of a Lord must succeed in a Will save equal to 10 + ½ the devil’s racial HD + the devil’s selected modifier + 9 (from the Lord’s Diabolic Prowess) + any existing enchantment bonuses (e.g., from the Spell Focus [Enchantment] feat). Those who succumb to the evil the Lord represents suffer one of the two following effects as determined by the Lord (who can change the effect, or discontinue it, as a free action):

Cower: Affected beings cower before the might of the devil. They can defend themselves normally but take no actions.

Induce Fear: Affected beings become panicked and vsuffer a -6 morale penalty on attack rolls, saves, and checks. The merest glance or gesture from the Lord of the Nine makes them frightened, and they flee from it as quickly as they can. A panicked creature has a 50% chance to drop what it’s holding, chooses its path randomly (as long as it’s getting away from immediate danger), and flees any other dangers that confront it. If cornered, a panicked creature cowers.

The Lord can make its servants, “worshippers,” beings of Lawful Evil alignment, or a mixture of all three types immune to this effect as a free action. This immunity lasts one day or until the Lord dismisses it.

Other Lords of the Nine, and beings possessing divine ranks or cosmic ranks equal to or greater than that of the Lord, are immune to the Aura of Hell.

The Aura of Hell replaces any existing fear auras of the base creature.

Call Devils (Sp): Lords, as the near supreme devils, command the absolute respect of lesser devils. As such, a Lord can call devils as a move equivalent action. Nine times per day, a Lord may call a Duke of Hell, 9 pit fiends or 18 of any lesser type of devil. A Lord also commands more powerful devils. When he calls devils, common devils may have 3 times their normal HD up to a maximum of 45 HD. For instance, if Belial, Lord of the Fourth was to call hamatulas, the hamatulas who answered would possess 36 HD. Since these devils are called, they have the ability to summon other devils as their Monster Manual or template descriptions allow. As the masters of devils, the Lords of the Nine never hesitate to summon servants if they fear that their lives are in danger, or if they grow bored with a confrontation. In short order, a Lord can fill an entire chamber with a legion of devils.

Damage Reduction (Ex): The Lord of the Nine acquires damage reduction 40/anarchic, epic, good and silver. In essence, only the most powerful magic items (mostly artifacts and relics) can fully harm a Lord of the Nine.

Diabolical Adaptation: Each Lord will exhibit special abilities or qualities different from its peers. While Leviathan may be able to strip minds of their wits, Mephistopheles is capable of arranging deals that result in the damnation of mortal souls. Each Lord of the Nine typically gains one special ability or one special quality in keeping with his/her duties and areas of interest upon its promotion; for every 15 total HD and class levels possessed, the Lord acquires an additional special ability or special quality. Many of these abilities are on par with the powers of gods. This replaces, and does not stack with, any existing benefits from previous Diabolical Adaptations from the Duke of Hell and/or arch-devil templates. It is interesting to note that Lords ascended from galaxar or malefircareim stock do not retain all their special attacks and special qualities.

Diabolical Decree: Each Lord of the Nine has the ability to demote or promote lesser devils with but a thought. Nine times per day as a move equivalent action, a Lord may demote any number of devils. The range of this power depends on the location of the Lord. The Lord may use this power anywhere within his layer of Perdition and the target(s) does not receive a save. In another part of Hell or a divine (but not cosmic) realm (even on the Lord’s layer), the Lord may extend this power only to devils sworn to him and such a target(s) receives a Fortitude saving throw. Beyond Hell, the Lord must be within 900 feet of the target(s), who receives a +3 bonus to save against the effect. The Lord may demote devils to whatever power level he determines appropriate. While a Lord may demote any common devil from pit fiend to lemure status, a Lord may only strip a Duke of Hell of its template (although, afterward, the Lord may then use its power again to demote the Duke to a lower station). Conversely, the Lord may promote a devil as a move equivalent action. This ability possesses the same limitations on layer and planar boundaries as the demotion ability. A Lord may raise a common devil from lemure all the way to pit fiend status and the Lord may apply the Duke of Hell template to any cornugon, gelugon, or pit fiend with at least 20 HD; in rare circumstances, a Lord will grant the Duke of Hell template to worthy creatures not of diabolical origins. A Lord may promote up to nine times per day.

Lords may not affect arch-devils through their Diabolical Decree unless given specific leave to do so by Asmodeus.

Diabolical Empowerment: Each Lord of the Nine has the ability to select the ability modifier to enhance its special attacks and special qualities. The Lord must select from one of his three “mental” ability scores (Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma) and use the associated modifier for all special abilities and special qualities. Once the Lord selects this modifier, it cannot be changed unless the Lord is somehow stripped of his Lord of the Nine status and later regains it.

Diabolical Metamorphosis: Almost all of the Lords experience some kind of physical change upon their apotheosis into this new status. This new form always relates to their duties and desires. Any adjustments in size and physical make up may affect the Lord’s attack methods or his advancement benefits. The designer should modify attack methods and locomotion accordingly, but keep basic combat statistics the same.

Hell's Fire (Su): All Lords of the Nine have the ability to unleash Hell's Fire on their foes. A Lord may use Hell's Fire a number of times per day equal to the Lord’s selected mental modifier (see Diabolical Empowerment for details) + 3, dealing a number of points of damage equal to 1d12 points multiplied by the Lord’s selected modifier + 3. Similar to a god’s Divine Blast, this line of diabolical energy is 10 feet wide, with a range of 100 feet per the Lord’s selected modifier; victims caught in the line may attempt a Reflex save DC 10 + ½ the Lord’s HD + selected modifier. As with all of a Lord of the Nine’s special attacks, the save DC also benefits from the Diabolical Prowess special ability granted by the arch-devil template; thus the final save DC is increased by an additional +9. Hell's Fire’s appearance differs from Lord to Lord; Mephistopheles’ Hell's Fire appears as shards of ice while Lilith’s seems like torrents of rotten flesh and blood. The damage and range of a Lord’s Hell's Fire is listed in its description. Hell's Fire ignores mortal magic like anti-magic field, but may only remove, one layer of prismatics per blast. Walls of force are not affected by Hell's Fire; Divine Shields always absorb the maximum possible damage (and often collapse after doing so).

Infernal Nobility (Ex): Although not gods, the fact that each Lord of the Nine rules an entire layer of Hell affords them a grotesque amount of power. All possess cosmic ranks. Furthermore, while on its layer, each Lord functions as an even more powerful being, having abilities that give the true deities of Hell pause. Each Lord adds +3 to its cosmic rank while in its own layer, increasing its ability to control and manipulate its layers as described in Appendix C of The Gates of Hell. Perhaps most frightening about a Lord’s command over its layer is the fact that it has no upper limit with regard to range. Only the realms of gods are resistant to the power of the Lord; in order to affect a divine realm on Hell, the Lord must be physically within the realm and then affects it as a cosmic entity of its cosmic ranks +3. Hellish deities do not gain the usual +8 bonus on opposed rank checks in these circumstances (refer to information on Godly Realms).

Only Asmodeus has the power to supercede a Lord’s ability to manipulate his or her assigned layer, not to mention the ability to strip the Lord of his or her power altogether.

Locked Within the Gates: A Lord of the Nine cannot travel into the Prime Material Plane by “traditional means.” Thus, the Lord cannot use nor take advantage of spells like planeshift or gate to travel between the Realities. Only powerful magicks, like circle of the Nine Pits, grants a Lord of the Nine the ability to enter the Prime. Interestingly, if a Lord is given certain magic items, such as an amulet of the planes, by a mortal, he can use it to travel to the mortal coil once a year for up to nine days; while the mortal must be willing, he cannot be a sworn servant or worshipper of the Lord of the Nine.

Lord of the Nine: A Lord of the Nine is immune to fire and poison; he also possesses resistance to acid 40 and cold 40. The Lord can see perfectly in darkness of any kind, even that created by a deeper darkness spell. He possesses telepathy 1,000 ft. The Lord can sense anything within one mile around the mentioning of his name, title(s), or an item of importance to him for up to one hour after the event. This power is barred from the other layers of Hell and from the realms of beings with divine ranks or cosmic ranks greater than the Lord’s. The Lord can understand, read, write, and speak all languages. Finally, the Lord possesses a divine rank 0.

Among other things, this grants him immunity to polymorphing, petrification, or any other attack that alters his form. The Lord is not subject to energy drain, ability drain, or ability damage; he is also immune to mind-affecting effects. The Lord is immortal and cannot die from natural causes. He does not age, and does not need to eat, sleep, or breathe. The only way for the Lord to die is through special circumstances.

The Might of Hell (Su): So terrible is the presence of a Lord of the Nine that it may corrupt an entire area with but a thought. Thrice per day as a free action, a Lord of the Nine may unhallow an area equal to 30 feet per hit die. The Lord can determine which spell to attach to the unhallow as listed in the Player's Handbook. The duration and all associated effects of the unhallow and adjoined spell are based upon the Lord's spell-like ability caster level.

Although the Lord of the Nine detests the forces of righteousness, he also fears them. As a result, the Lord find it difficult to enter any hallowed site. A Lord of the Nine attempting to enter a hallowed site must make a rank check against the god (if the deity’s rank is unknown, assume the highest possible numeric value of its divine strata); a Lord cannot use its Spell Resistance to overcome this effect. If the Lord succeeds in entering the hallowed area, the area immediately becomes unhallowed. Once a Lord breaches holy ground, the god in question is immediately alerted to the devil’s presence and will often (DM’s discretion) arrive in person to deal with the intrusion.

Regeneration (Ex): The Lord of the Nine is fully susceptible to attacks made by anarchic, epic, good, and silver weapons, and by spells or effects with the [Good] descriptor.

Spell-like Abilities or Psionics: A Lord of the Nine retains the spell-like abilities and/or psionic powers of the base creature. The caster level for such abilities is always the Lord’s racial HD + ½ spellcasting/psionics manifesting class levels + 9. Ascended mortals cast as 50th level sorcerers; additionally, for every spellcasting/ psionics manifesting class level over 41st level, there is a 50% chance that the mortal will gain a one level increase in their spell-like ability caster level.

Lords gain the following spell-like abilities: at will: animate dead, baleful polymorph, blasphemy, charm monster, deeper darkness, delayed blast fireball, detect chaos, detect good, Detect Magic, dominate monster, flame strike, greater dispel magic, greater invisibility, greater teleport, Magic Circle Against Chaos, magic circle against good, mass hold monster, mirage arcana, persistent image, polymorph, power word stun, restoration, resurrection, suggestion, symbol of pain, unhallow, unholy aura, wall of fire.

9/ day: destruction, firestorm, greater restoration, meteor swarm, true resurrection.

6/day: accursed, hellball, oppress, tyranny. 3/day: wish. If the base creature already had access to a listed spell, it does not gain the ability to cast the spell multiple times. That is, a malefircarim ascended into the ranks of the Lords will not be able to cast hellball seven times a day.

In addition, each Lord chooses one domain over which s/he has authority. The Lord may cast all domain spells listed nine times a day. The Lord also gains the benefit of the domain power (as a cleric of their spell-like ability caster level).

Abilities: The Lord of the Nine may apply up to a total of 9 points to his ability scores, scattering as necessary to meet his new responsibilities in Hell. He is under no obligation to use these points. The Lord of the Nine may also “swap” existing ability scores on a two for one basis; i.e. the Lord of the Nine could exchange 2 points of Strength for 1 point of Intelligence. These bonuses stack with those gained by the Duke of Hell template or the arch-devil template.

Feats: The Lord typically retains any existing feats of the base creature, although at times the Lord will “swap” one feat for another so long as the Lord meets the prerequisites for the new feat. All Lords gain the Corrupt Spell-like Ability and Dark Speech feats listed in the Book of Vile Darkness as virtual feats.

Class Levels: The Lord may acquire class levels. Most Lords of the Nine have at least 25 class levels suited to their desires and duties. Bael, for example, who controls the largest armies in defending Hell from outsiders, is a fighter, while the crafty Dispater is a powerful seer. This class level acquisition assumes that the Lord attained power and experience above and beyond those of his peers during the time before his ascendancy. In some cases, some of the classes may seem incompatible due to alignment concerns; however, the Lord likely attained such levels prior to become Lawful, Evil, or both. While level advancement does not provide size increase adjustments, the Lord gains feats, skills, increased attack bonuses, and the like as if he were an epic NPC. See the Epic Level Handbook, in addition to the Dungeons and Dragons Core Rule Books, for level acquisition guidelines. In the distant past, when Tiamat was a Lord of the Nine, she did not possess any class levels; thus, it is possible that gaining class levels is not a requirement.

Challenge Rating: +9 + ½ class levels. (Note that a creature that has benefited from the Duke of Hell and arch-devil templates beforehand does not add each challenge rating to the final creature; in the case of these templates they largely overlap, and so too does the ChallengeRating).

Treasure: Quintuple standard base creature's.

Alignment: Always Lawful evil

Advancement: By class progression

Infernal Arms: The Lords of the Nine all have signature items that serve as symbols of their station and authority over all that is diabolical. The weapons and magic items used by the Lords are true artifacts in every sense of the word. While some were crafted by the Lord in question or by a powerful subordinate, some of the weapons were created by Asmodeus himself. Although each signature item is unique to each Lord, these infernal arms all maintain a number of similarities.

Touching a living Lord's signature item without his permission can bring grave woe to one so foolish. Any being with fewer divine ranks or cosmic ranks than the Lord must make a Fortitude save (DC based upon the Lord) or be instantly killed. The victim’s soul is instantly transported either to the Lord’s demesne in Hell into the weapon itself (in the latter case, the signature item’s description will stipulate). Souls so taken cannot be retrieved save by a god or cosmic entity bearing the Life and Death salient divine ability (or something similar). The cosmic or divine being must possess a divine or cosmic rank at least equal to the Lord in question to make the attempt. This can only occur once every nine years and the cosmic or divine being must succeed at a rank check against the Lord.

Should the being touching the Lord’s weapon survive the death assault, the victim must still make a Will save or else be permanently controlled by the Lord as though under the influence of a dominate monster spell. A Lord has no upward limit to the number of thralls in this man-ner, although traditional means may be undertaken to dispel the compulsion.

If the interloper survives the death effect and overcomes the domination, he suffers from the following curses. First, the victim suffers nine negative levels while holding the signature item. This cannot be dispelled or removed under any circumstances save by the will of the owner (or Asmodeus). Second, every day the victim suffers 9 points of damage. This damage cannot be healed as the victim finds that he slowly rots away from the profound evil of the item. Finally, every nine days, the victim must make another set of saves as described above (against death and dominate monster). This assumes that the signature item has been in the thief’s possession for that length of time, although not necessarily carried. If the victim bequeaths the weapon to another who accepts knowing the nature of the item, not only does the new wielder suffer the entire list of adverse effects and curses, but the initial thief continues to suffer as before. If the thief gives the weapon to another ignorant of its power or else abandons the weapon, the thief no longer accrues more damage, but does not regain lost hit points or negative levels. Only by returning the item to the Lord (or to the Lord’s appointed surrogate) can the thief be restored.

It is unclear if the Lords have the means to track their own weapons if they are stolen, although each Lord can instantly call his or her infernal arms as a free action at will so long as it has not been stolen (that is, taken without the Lord’s permission). However, one thing is for certain: if Asmodeus decides that he wishes for another to have a Lord’s signature item, none of these curses or adverse effects occur.


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