Good for an evil cause, or Evil for a good cause?

Quote Originally Posted by The Sacred Demon
The Sacred Demon
The Build

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Point Buy: 8/12/14/12/10/18
Final Array (level 1): 8/12/14/12/12/20
Final Array (Final): 8/14/16/12/12/24

Lesser Aasimar Sorcerer/Malconvoker/Acolyte of the Skin

{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|Sorcerer 1|
+0
|
+0
|
+0
|
+2
|Bluff 4, Knowledge: The Planes 4, Speak Language: Infernal 2, Concentration 2|Spell Focus: Conjuration|Divine Companion, +1 Casting

2nd|Sorcerer 2|
+1
|
+0
|
+0
|
+3
|Bluff 5, Knowledge: The Planes 5, Concentration 3||+1 Casting

3rd|Sorcerer 3|
+1
|
+1
|
+1
|
+3
|Bluff 6, Knowledge: The Planes 6, Concentration 4|Augment Summoning|+1 Casting

4th|Sorcerer 4|
+2
|
+1
|
+1
|
+4
|Bluff 7, Knowledge: The Planes 7, Concentration 5||+1 Casting

5th|Sorcerer 5|
+2
|
+1
|
+1
|
+4
|Bluff 8, Knowledge: The Planes 8, Concentration 6||+1 Casting

6th|Malconvoker 1|
+2
|
+1
|
+1
|
+6
|Bluff 9, Knowledge: The Planes 9, Concentration 7|Celestial Bloodline|Deceptive Summoning, Unrestricted Conjuration

7th|Malconvoker 2|
+3
|
+1
|
+1
|
+7
|Bluff 10, Knowledge: The Planes 9, Concentration 8, Spellcraft 1||Planar Binding, +1 Casting

8th|Acolyte of the Skin 1|
+3
|
+3
|
+1
|
+9
|Bluff 10, Knowledge: The Planes 9, Concentration 9, Spellcraft 2, Intimidate 2||Wear Fiend, poison 1/day

9th|Acolyte of the Skin 2|
+4
|
+4
|
+1
|
+10
|Bluff 10, Knowledge: The Planes 9, Concentration 9, Spellcraft 3, Intimidate 4|Empower Spell-like Ability|Flame resistant, +1 Casting

10th|Acolyte of the Skin 3|
+5
|
+4
|
+2
|
+10
|Bluff 10, Knowledge: The Planes 9, Concentration 9, Spellcraft 4, Intimidate 5||Fiendish Glare

11th|Acolyte of the Skin 4|
+6
|
+5
|
+2
|
+11
|Bluff 10, Knowledge: The Planes 10, Concentration 10, Spellcraft 4, Intimidate 6||+1 Casting

12th|Acolyte of the Skin 5|
+6
|
+5
|
+2
|
+11
|Bluff 10, Knowledge: The Planes 11, Concentration 11, Spellcraft 4, Intimidate 7|Practiced Spellcaster|Skin adaptation, poison 2/day

13th|Acolyte of the Skin 6|
+7
|
+6
|
+3
|
+12
|Bluff 10, Knowledge: The Planes 12, Concentration 12, Spellcraft 4, Intimidate 8||Cold Resistant, +1 Casting

14th|Acolyte of the Skin 7|
+8
|
+6
|
+3
|
+12
|Bluff 10, Knowledge: The Planes 13, Concentration 13, Spellcraft 4, Intimidate 9||Glare of the pit

15th|Acolyte of the Skin 8|
+9
|
+7
|
+3
|
+13
|Bluff 10, Knowledge: The Planes 14, Concentration 14, Spellcraft 4, Intimidate 10|Maximize Spell-like ability (Poison)|+1 Casting

16th|Acolyte of the Skin 9|
+9
|
+7
|
+4
|
+13
|Bluff 10, Knowledge: The Planes 15, Concentration 15, Spellcraft 4, Intimidate 11||Summon fiend

17th|Acolyte of the Skin 10|
+10
|
+8
|
+4
|
+14
|Bluff 10, Knowledge: The Planes 16, Concentration 16, Spellcraft 4, Intimidate 12||Fiendish symbiosis, +1 Casting

18th|Malconvoker 3|
+10
|
+9
|
+5
|
+14
|Bluff 13+3, Knowledge: The Planes 16, Concentration 16, Spellcraft 4, Intimidate 12|Extend Supernatural Ability (Fiendish Glare), Skill focus (Bluff)|Skill focus (Bluff), +1 Casting

19th|Malconvoker 4|
+11
|
+9
|
+5
|
+15
|Bluff 16+3, Knowledge: The Planes 16, Concentration 16, Spellcraft 4, Intimidate 12||Deceptive Summons (Fury), +1 Casting

20th|Malconvoker 5|
+11
|
+9
|
+5
|
+15
|Bluff 17+3, Knowledge: The Planes 16, Concentration 16, Spellcraft 4, Intimidate 13||Fiendish Legion, +1 Casting[/table]






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Spells per day
{table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th

1st|5|5|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

2nd|6|6|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

3rd|6|7|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

4th|6|8|4|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

5th|6|8|5|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

6th|6|8|5|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

7th|6|8|6|4|-|-|-|-|-|-

8th|6|8|7|4|-|-|-|-|-|-

9th|6|8|8|5|-|-|-|-|-|-

10th|6|8|8|5|-|-|-|-|-|-

11th|6|8|8|6|4|-|-|-|-|-

12th|6|8|8|6|4|-|-|-|-|-

13th|6|8|8|7|5|-|-|-|-|-

14th|6|8|8|7|5|-|-|-|-|-

15th|6|8|8|7|6|4|-|-|-|-

16th|6|8|8|8|6|4|-|-|-|-

17th|6|8|8|8|7|5|-|-|-|-

18th|6|8|8|8|7|6|4|-|-|-

19th|6|8|8|8|7|7|5|-|-|-

20th|6|8|8|8|7|7|6|4|-|-[/table]

The above accounts for bonus spells from having a high Charisma score, and assumes all level-up points are put into Charisma.


Spells Known
{table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th

1st|4|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

2nd|5|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

3rd|5|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

4th|6|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

5th|6|4|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

6th|7|5|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

7th|8|5|3|2|-|-|-|-|-|-

8th|8|5|3|2|-|-|-|-|-|-

9th|8|6|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-

10th|8|6|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-

11th|9|6|4|3|2|-|-|-|-|-

12th|9|6|4|3|2|-|-|-|-|-

13th|9|6|5|4|3|-|-|-|-|-

14th|9|6|5|4|3|-|-|-|-|-

15th|10|6|5|4|3|3|-|-|-|-

16th|10|6|5|4|3|3|-|-|-|-

17th|10|6|6|5|4|4|-|-|-|-

18th|10|6|6|5|4|4|2|-|-|-

19th|10|6|6|5|5|4|3|2|-|-

20th|10|6|6|5|5|4|3|2|-|-[/table]

The above includes bonus spells known from Malconvoker and the Celestial Heritage feat.


The Story
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What you are reading now, I promise, is a true tale. It may not be an exciting one, but it sheds some light on that mysterious figure, simultaneously a hero and a monster, who we’ve taken to calling The Sacred Demon.

I remember vividly the day that my searching paid off; it was an ordinary spring afternoon, and my journey had brought me to a desert that I won’t be naming, at the request of the man. I walked through the sparse wasteland, despite the obvious warning signs of a coming sandstorm. I’d like to say that it struck without warning, but it was my own hubris that kept me out of shelter when it arrived, and it was a powerful sandstorm. I was nearly buried in that desert, with nothing to show for having nearly lost my life, until a strange robed man shouted for me to follow him. I did as he asked (not that I had any other choice), and he pulled me into a hole which he procured from nowhere. In the blink of an eye, I was no longer in the desert, instead in an almost disturbingly calm void, with nothing but the other person to be seen. “A-are you...?” I choked out, fighting past the fear I was feeling.

“I can’t pretend to know for certain what you were going to ask me,” he began after I failed to finish my question, “but I do believe that this should be enough to let you know, no?” He lowered his hood, and I saw the face of the man who had saved me. Thinking back, I wish I hadn’t. I want to preface my description by saying this man almost single-handedly disproves physiognomy, for if he were as depraved as his appearance would lead one to believe, there would be no question as to whether or not he was a benefit to our world. His face was as if he was wearing a mask, almost; the left half was beautiful, almost too much so, with horribly pale skin that looked as though it had never seen sunlight and, while the right half was a disgusting red, covered in scars, burns, and grotesque growths. Separating them was something that I can’t even begin to describe; it was as though either side of his face was its own plane, and between them was a thing border of absolutely nothing. Some time later, he put his hood back up, and I found myself painfully aware of the fact that I had been staring at him. I tried to stammer out an apology, but he stopped me. “I’m quite aware of the fact that I’m an abomination of nature at the moment... it’s a sordid story, one that I believe you came to hear.” I told him that yes, I had come to learn the true story of how he had come to be, and he informed me that he would answer any questions I had to the best of his ability, with a warning that he’d lived a tortured life far longer than many mortals and that his memory was, as a consequence, a bit warped at times.

So I began, as was logical, at the beginning. How had his life started? He told me that he was once a nearly ordinary magician, having inherited an innate magical potency from his father, who was descended from Archons. I asked who his father was, but he just shook his head and refused to answer, saying that he did not wish to tarnish his father’s name by forging a public connection between them. He apologized profusely for going back on his word, but I assured him that I understood, and he agreed to continue. He further explained that, with such a heritage, he was all but born to be a hero. “When most people do something good, they get a ‘warm fuzzy feeling’, but when I do otherwise, I feel as though my soul is being torn from me,” I remember him saying. He told me tales of heroic deeds he had performed, but he seemed terribly distant as he did so, as though he were relating a tale he had studied extensively for the sole purpose of knowing.

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For the first five levels of your career, you’re a pretty standard sorcerer, although your charisma is pretty painful for whoever’s on the receiving end of your spells. Between the charisma and the spell focus, and conjuration spell you cast that requires a save will have a DC of 15 plus the spell level. Granted, there’s not too many of them that are that good, but the option’s there. You’ve also got a good bluff skill for when you need to get people to believe you, and stuff.

Why the Divine Companion feature instead of some other ACF? It’s largely for flavor; fluff it as being able to give up your own innate spellcasting power to channel the divine power to which you are connected by heritage. The healing and defensive augmentation you can get from it isn’t overwhelmingly amazing, but it can be good to have as a backup option.


“But no matter what I did, I never felt as though I was living up to my birthright. Every act of heroism I performed eased the emptiness I felt less and less. My father explained that all beings of heavenly descent suffer in such a way, because their true duty is to fight the Fiendish armies of the Nine Hells.” Under the hood, I saw the man’s right eye glow with infernal hatred, and he began to writhe in agony. After a few moments, in which I tried desperately to aid him, he recovered, though he was thoroughly exhausted. “This is where I began my journey to where I am now. It isn’t a pleasant story. If you want, you can leave now, and forget this all happened.” Having spent four years tracking him down, of course, I refused his offer, and he continued his story. He told me of how, one day some months after that conversation with his father, he found a curious book in his possession. It described how one could manipulate fiends into fighting their own kind, turning the forces of evil against themselves, and went into great depths on the matter and a discussion on the morality of such actions. He read the book from cover to cover, and did so endlessly for weeks. He came to the conclusion that such a process would be his contribution to the war against the Hells, and he began the process of utilizing the magics he had studied, summoning a demon by the name of Ta’ligul.

“I believe I can take over from here,” a truly horrid voice from under his hood said. It burned into my mind, and what he said remains there to this day; I can recall it effortlessly. “Yes, he called on me, expecting to be able to bind me to his will effortlessly. I’ll admit, he had a knack for such magics, but I was much more powerful than he anticipated, not that he knew his spell had failed. Instead of showing my hand at that moment, I began a plan to corrupt him. I explained to him how his form reeked of celestial taint, that no demon would willingly serve him. Of course, if he were to hide his origin, he could do as he wished, and bend them to his will. I just happened to know a procedure to do just that.” The voice described with glee the tortuous process that he subjected the young mage to, something that I will take to my grave, lest another person have it haunt their dreams (or even worse, attempt such a procedure). When the ritual had finished, the demon and the angel-spawn shared the same body. For years, Ta’ligul gave him access to powers that would strike down any vile man that stood before him, either by destroying his body or by by destroying his soul. The man’s attitude did not survive unscathed, however; his heart slowly hardened to the suffering of those around him, and he began to use force to make sure his will was enacted. As he relied more and more on what Ta’ligul gave him access to, he neglected his own magical prowess equally so.

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Eventually, you set out on the path of a Malconvoker. The placement of these levels are pretty fluid (go see the adaptation section for a bit more detail), but the first few levels get you the ability to summon those demons without going evil, and with Augment Summoning they’re pretty decent. Summoning is a decent thing for you to do, but unless you move the other Malconvoker levels up, you’re going to want to keep it as a bonus thing, rather than focus on it as your main shtick. It’s about at this point that you start taking your Acolyte of the Skin levels, too. What do you get from it?

  • Poison as an SLA. 1d10 Con damage, with a fairly potent save. Lots of things are immune, but it’s a serious hit on anything that isn’t (especially with the meta-SLA feats you take).
  • Small bonus to Dexterity and Constitution, as well as natural armor; not unwelcome.
  • Slight fire resistance and cold resistance. This and the above are a bit underwhelming, but they’re not bad.
  • Fiendish Glare. This and Poison are probably the best things you get from this PrC: anybody in range gets shaken, no save. The stunning, with a pretty massive DC, is icing on the cake, but unlikely to last long unless you’ve weakened the targets beforehand. A shame it’s only once a day.
  • Glare of the Pit. 8d6 twice is pretty underwhelming when you pick it up, but never look a gift horse in the mouth.
  • Summon Fiend is a decent ability that unfortunately doesn’t benefit from your Malconvoker abilities. The limited choice of fiend (that is, no choice) bites, though.
  • Fiendish Symbiosis: become an outsider, and get some decent DR.


Finish off your malconvoker levels, and that’s pretty much that.


“By the time I realized that he was influencing my actions, I was in far too deep,” the man said, in his original voice. “And it took me far too long as it was. Why did I not realize what was happening until I was the recipient of human sacrifices, seeking dark powers of their own?”

“Because you are weak,” the voice answered. The man merely sighed and continued his tale. At this point, most people who will be reading this account will know the story, but not the reason behind it. Ta’ligul seized control of the man’s body for great periods of time, and committed the horrible acts for which The Sacred Demon was known. For years, the foul creature used his powers, combined the those of the man, to spread havoc throughout the realm, resting only when the body was ready to collapse from the injuries it had sustained. It was in these moments that the man began to formulate a way to regain control of his body, to atone for his sins. He studied and schemed, despite the fact that his body was far past the point where mortal men would have died several times over, and eventually managed to finish the spell that he had begun nearly a century earlier.

“But, as you can see, it didn’t work,” both entities said at the same time. “The fact that our bodies were bound to each other interracted oddly with the spell, causing us to become the creature you see before us.” The horrible voice echoed with glee, while the man spoke with a reserved sorrow; their combination was unnerving. “For the majority of the time, the body is torn between us, unable to do anything meaningful... occasionally, however, one of us will slip up, and the other manages to seize control.”

“As I did, when I rescued you from the sandstorm,” the man said. We spoke for some time after that, though that conversation contains nothing of interest to the public. After what seemed like days, the man finally informed me that the sandstorm was over, that I could leave. I gathered the notes I had taken and left the poor, pitiable soul to his tortured existence, with several promises regarding the publication of my findings. Before anybody reads these notes and decides to ask me for the man’s location, I must warn you that he insisted I not reveal it to anybody, no matter their reason for wanting to know, and I fully intend to respect his wishes. A long overdue final wish for a man whose spirit died a lifetime ago.

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And, that’s The Sacred Demon. If I had to pick a point at which he’s best, I’d say around level 10 or so; you haven’t lost enough caster levels to be hindered, and you’ve also picked of Fiendish Glare and Poison. Your tactics stay pretty much the same throughout the build: be a caster, focus on conjurations (and, when possible, augment your abilities with summons). As you pick up the better AotS abilities, you want to focus on them a bit more. Poison can be useful for taking out a single enemy, especially if you use your sorcerer spells to deliver it and get out. Fiendish glare debuffs pretty much anybody around you, and can stack well with other fear effects if you want to go that route. You end up with a caster level of 18, and seventh level spells, with a few assorted goodies. You’re not as powerful as somebody who went straight caster, but the abilities you pick up from AotS can help fill the gap somewhat.



Adaptation
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If your DM allows Dragon Magazine, check out Aligned Spellcaster or School Mastery from Dragon #357. School Mastery bumps up the Dexterity and Wisdom of anything you summon, which isn’t much of a boost, but is something. Aligned Spellcaster, however, is quite tasty. If your DM is willing to ignore the non-good requirement of Acolyte of the Skin, be Neutral Good and take it; it makes all of your non-[Evil] spells [Good], gives you +1 caster level to [Good] spells, and gives you an extra +1 if you cast the spell on an Evil-subtype creature (that is, most of what you summon). It bumps your caster level up to a full 20 if you’re casting buffs on your evil summons. If you can’t get that, then consider either Chaotic Neutral or Lawful Neutral; have either a demonic or diabolic skin and summon the other group exclusively. You get the same boost then, and it adds an extra interesting bit of conflict on the Law/Chaos axis as your skin manipulates you into aiding their side of the Blood War. Regardless, these both require you to give up your familiar, which means you also give up Divine Companion.

Fractional BAB and Saves helps you out a bit, if your DM does that; you’ll lose a bit of your Will save, but it’s already pretty massive, and instead gain a point of BAB, a point of Fortitude, and a point of Reflex. Not exactly the most helpful, but extra BAB for landing those touch attacks is always nice, and you’re unlikely to fail a Will save.

If you want to, you could very easily move the last three Malconvoker levels to before the Acolyte of the Skin levels. This helps you get into the demon summoning shtick quicker, and makes it more effective as well. It also helps you get your bluff checks higher a bit sooner, which is good because you definitely don’t want to fail those, and delays the slight drop-off in power from Acolyte of the Skin. Alternately, you could put all of the Malconvoker levels at the back end of the build, letting you delay Spell Focus and Augment Summoning. Honestly, you could put the AotS and Malconvoker levels in almost any configuration to suit you; I picked the presented configuration for fluff reasons. If you want to pick up some more Malconvoker abilities, you can drop out of AotS earlier and finish Malconvoker instead. In this case, you’d either take AotS to 4 or 5 (I’d suggest five, for the extra use of Poison and Skin Adaptation). This gets you a better caster level in the end, but I feel as though you lose out on flavor by doing this. Your choice.

If you want, Fiendish Summoning Specialist from the Planar Handbook can get you some extra Evil things to summon, and raises the point that you can customize your summon-lists anyway; try to work with your DM to get you some evil things to summon. Infernal Sorcerer Heritage from PHB II boosts your caster level when you summon your evil dudes; take it after you start Acolyte of the Skin and say that the skin’s Fiendish presence has affected you. If your DM considers the Bluff check you make as a Malconvoker to be a “Charisma checks made to resolve the effects of planar binding and similar spells,” then Demon Mastery from Fiendish Codex I gives you a +2, and even if he doesn’t it still boosts your caster level by one.
On an entirely different note, Craft Contingent Spell, with the trigger of “when I fail a bluff check against a creature I summoned” can help you get some protection. You can’t use it to dismiss them or anything, unless you find an AoE banishment, but even a Protection from Evil could make all the difference. Lastly, Ability Focus in either Poison or Fiendish Glare boosts the DC, if you want them to be a bit tougher; your high Charisma makes them quite potent already, however. The Supernatural Ability-boosting feats from Tome of Magic (Empower, Widen) can be useful if you want to make Fiendish Glare or Glare of the Pit more potent.

If your DM is particularly awesome, see if you can’t use the rules to designing your own spell to make a Sorcerer spell out of a Bard spell... Glibness in particular. Cast it before you start summoning and you’re all but guaranteed to trick the fiends successfully, plus it gives you a nice bluff check for interacting with normal people. Glibness is a Bard 3 spell, meaning your typical Bard gets it at 7th level; with that logic, it would fit into the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list as a 4th level spell. Unfortunately, you don’t get it until 11th level, but it’s still a wonderful help. If you’re already making your own spells, though... perhaps you could talk your DM into allowing an intimidate version of Glibness. Unless you take a bunch of other feats to make demoralizing better (note that there is potential for stacking with Fiendish Glare, which makes all foes shaken, no save), it won’t get much use there, but it’s always a possibility, and also gives you a boost in interaction with other people.