Monday, June 18, 2018

"As it is above, so it is below" - Hellborn v.1

This one was made on request from a particularly good/bad role-player of mine, who drove his new toy directly into the filth. Precisely as planned. The Hellborn takes inspiration from here, obviously, and is in part a reaction to this and all of these.

As you can probably tell just by looking at the size of it, Inheritance is the core ability of this particular race-as-class. You get a free Inheritance once you receive the ability, which usually comprise of a passive and single-use/day ability. Beyond that, they have to be earned: tempting mighty individuals to the depths of sin, or that failing, eating them whole. No, you cannot double dip. 

Depending on which you choose, you'll edge further towards accepting a Demonic heritage, or Diabolical*. Taking abilities are actions marked as Chaotic will shift you towards Demons, while Lawful abilities will be more Devilish. Track the highest HD of any hero, priest or wizard you've destroyed in such a manner. Beating this record grants an extra Inheritance. Once per Hellborn template, you can also sacrifice something that represents your attachment to the mortal realm: your sanity, the knowledge of anything but bloodshed, the desire for children or a warm heath to return to, or even concern for your bodily safety.

Whether Demonic or Diabolical, you'll have a rough time against members of the clergy. That is... until you outweigh them, spiritually. They are likely to receive significant bonuses to their resistance from the situation, any equipment, dousing you in holy water, reciting holy texts/lobbing them at your head, and so forth. Likewise, one should always be sure to devour at least three babies during a priestly monologue. It usually puts them off their stride.


Prerequisites: Must be at least level 1, must be a Tiefling or have ruined your soul in some way. If you are a Tiefling, roll 1d6 for fiendish features, rather than 1d4**.

Starting equipment: Weapon of choice, leather armor, unholy sigil (draw this)
Skill (1d3): Haruspex, Undead, Hell

A Corrupted Duality, Inheritance

B Dread Beast OR Infestation

C Pactmaker OR Foulness Incarnate

Corrupted Duality
Depending on how you’ve acted recently, your spiritual signature will resemble that of a Devil (Lawful) or a Demon (Chaotic). If you are a Devil, paladins or clergy of a higher HD than you can Command you. If you are a Demon, then you can be targeted with Turn Undead. If you are a higher HD than them, you can make a Charisma check to reverse all effects.


When you gain the ability, you immediately earn one of the following. Each is usually formatted as (passive | 1/day power). Roll 1d20:

  1. Wicked Claw (as dagger | next attack crits)
  2. Barbed Tail (as flail | spin attack on adjacent targets)
  3. Bat Wings (reduce fall distance by 20ft | as Flight)
  4. Glowing Eyes (as flameless torch | as Power Word: Blind)
  5. Curling Horns (as axe | hit target must save vs. stun)
  6. Poisonous Breath (breath any gas freely | as Cloudkill)
  7. Hypnotic Voice (+4 to reasonable Charisma checks | as Suggestion)
  8. Toxic Blood (Splashed blood from injuries deals 1d4 damage | create a vial of poison using 1d6 HP)
  9. Shark Teeth (1d8 bite + grapple | +damage to your next grapple check)
  10. Bestial Form (+1 to relevant stat, Str for bear etc. | as Shapeshift)
  11. Metallic Scales (as chainmail | -1d10 damage from attack)
  12. Purple Flames (as candle | as necrotic Burning hands)
  13. Alluring Visage (+4 to seduction | as Charm)
  14. Menacing Aura (+2 Attack against weaker targets | as Fog/Darkness)
  15. Heart Puppets (1/day, resurrect all mortal enemies that died in last round, they last 1d20 rounds each)
  16. Blasphemy Gland (Immunity and Speak with Disease | as Curse)
  17. Bone Spines (as leather, grappling you deals 1d6 damage)
  18. Devouring Maw (make a second grapple check to swallow an enemy)
  19. Blood Vision (can see heartbeats through walls)
  20. Pick your own

There are two ways to gain additional Inheritances. Track the highest HD of any priest, hero or wizard you have Eaten (C) or Tempted to sin (L), beating this grants one Inheritance. Alternatively, you can also Sacrifice a remnant of your vestigial mortality (e.g. -3 to Trauma rolls, no retainer slots, cannot eat food, -2 Defense, lose 2 Skills) for a new Inheritance. Only one sacrifice can be made in this way per Hellborn level.

Dread Beast (C)

You can create a corpse bonfire to summon a denizen of Hell with HD equal to 1/3rd of the total HD of the pile. You take damage equal to 1d4+[bodies]. The fire needs to be hot enough to melt whatever it is you are burning, and the bodies need to be fresh.

Infestation (L)
Target needs to be fully restrained and fail a save. You and all of your equipment merges with their body, while you can choose to either Throttle or Manipulate their inner psyche. Make opposed Charisma checks either way. If you succeed, you either control their body and actions entirely (Throttle) or can cause them to veer towards a particular course of action while still behaving normally (Manipulate). They will not act directly against their interests unless Throttled. You cannot access their memories. While infested they lose one Goodness per day, collapsing into stinking ooze if their Goodness goes below 0.

Pactmaker (L)

You can lend your passives, 1/day powers or anything else you can think of simply by touching a willing target. They lose 1d6 goodness, and you regain triple that in HP. They can use it for as long as you say they can, alongside with any other terms you wish. They can, in turn, offer up traits or abilities of their own. If they break the terms of this agreement, they must save or die, with a +4 bonus if it was unintentional. You cannot prevent this. If you break the terms, you die, no save. Any that make a deal with you are permanently marked with your sigil. It glows while the contract is active, then fades to a gnarled scar afterwards.

Foulness Incarnate (C)

Your touch causes insanity. Your blood breeds corruption. You breathe madness and vomit death. You stand eight feet tall, with bones of black steel and eyes of blazing obsidian. You can rip a grown man’s spirit out and devour the viscera even as he draws breath. You know not shame, restraint, mercy or fear.
  • Grappling with you inflicts 1 Trauma
  • Being splashed with your blood requires a save vs. Mutation.
  • While holding your breath and staring at a target, they must save or have a breakdown until you exhale.
  • You can vomit black bile, after preparing for a round. This deals 1d6 damage to you, and deals 3d6 poison damage on a hit, save for half.
  • You are immune to fear, but cannot show mercy or restraint.

*Demons that have been forced to take the shackles of religion are known as Devils, and punish the sinners that arrive in Hell in a much more orderly, Lawful (with a capital L) manner. They are the ones that take on such titles and domains as Gluttony, Pride, Leaving the Toilet-Seat Up, Talking Loudly in the Theatre etc. etc. Demons have very little time for that, what with their day usually being taken up devouring one another.

**The tiefling racial feature in my setup is: Gain 1d4 of horns, cat eyes, scaly skin, tail. Rerolling with 1d6 will grant extra, and may need a few double-ups.

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