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    Hand of the Dark Master


    I didn't sell Him my soul for power. He claimed that after I sold Him everything else.
    -Heshrac, Hand of Tharizdūn


    There are men who will sell their souls for power, a one-time deal with the devil for power. They may regret it later, but they only committed the foul act once. And then there are the despicable few who willingly serve Demon lords, becoming Thralls to Demons to keep reaping the benefits of services, often with terrible consequences. And then there are the Hands of the Dark Masters.

    These are the people who will commit their lives, their bodies, and their souls to whoever will offer them the most power, regardless of the consequences. They enter contracts with Elder Evils and dead Gods for the power they wield, and so long as they follow those contracts, they are rewarded with powers that men cannot dream of. Should they fail their Masters, a fate worse than death awaits them...

    Becoming a Hand of the Dark Master
    The path of the Hand of the Dark Master is open to most anyone willing to follow it, so long as they have a substantial measure of martial power of their own. However, more Warlocks than members of any other class tend to become Hands of the Dark Masters, as they're not only the most prone to making deals, but the dark magic wielded by the Hands of the Dark Masters most closely resembles the Warlock's own.

    ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
    Base Attack Bonus: +6
    Skills: Intimidate 10 ranks, Knowledge: the Planes 5 ranks
    Special: Must have the Eldritch Glaive invocation.
    Special: Must signed a Dark Contract with an evil Outsider that is either an Elder Evil or has over 20 Hit Dice.
    Alignment: Lawful Evil

    Class Skills
    The Hand of the Dark Master's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (The Planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Search (Int), Slight of Hand (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha)

    Skills Points at Each Level: 4 + int

    Hit Dice: d8

    {table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Invoking

    1st|
    +1
    |
    +2
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |Dark Boon (Least), Dark Pact, Contract|

    2nd|
    +2
    |
    +3
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |Unholy Smite +2d6|+1 level of existing invoking class

    3rd|
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    |Master's Grace, Pact of Renewal|+1 level of existing invoking class

    4th|
    +4
    |
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Blood Magic, Dark Boon (Lesser)|+1 level of existing invoking class

    5th|
    +5
    |
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Master's Wards, Unholy Smite +4d6|+1 level of existing invoking class

    6th|
    +6
    |
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Pact of Eternity, Blood Magic (2)|+1 level of existing invoking class

    7th|
    +7
    |
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Master's Call, Dark Boon (Greater)|

    8th|
    +8
    |
    +6
    |
    +2
    |
    +6
    |Unholy Smite +6d6, Blood Magic (3)|+1 level of existing invoking class

    9th|
    +9
    |
    +6
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |Master's Shadow, Pact of Pacts|+1 level of existing invoking class

    10th|
    +10
    |
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |Transcendance, Dark Boon (Dark), Blood Magic (4)|[/table]

    Weapon Proficiencies: A Hand of the Dark Masters is proficient with all Simple and Martial Weapons. A Hand of the Dark Master gains no proficiency with any armor or shields.

    Invoking: At each class level except 1st, 7th, and 10th, you gain new invocations known, increased damage with eldritch blast, and an increase in invoker level as if you had also gained a level in the warlock class. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained.

    Dark Pact:
    My name is Heshrac, and I have done horrible things. I have sworn to serve a dark master. I have obeyed His every command, and committed crimes in His name.

    I have betrayed those who defended my home. One by one, I have killed the Guardians of Athar. And with no one left to stop me, I have brought an entire kingdom to its knees.

    My name is Heshrac, and I have done horrible things.

    And I have no regrets.
    Journal of Heshrac, Hand of Tharizdūn, Preface


    That which defines a Hand of the Dark Master is their contract with their Master. Most people who know of the Hands believe it is just an oath of fealty. They are be wrong. In order to become a Hand of the Dark Master, the prospective Hand must sign a Dark Contract with their Master. Though the exact terms vary from being to being, the basics remains the same: The Hand must complete at least one Contract from their Master each year. Should they fail to do so, they are stripped of all class abilities, including invocation advancement, but not including BAB, HD, and Skill Points, until the Hand completes a Contract from their Master. Should they fail to do so within 6 months, their contract is terminated, and their soul is claimed by their Master. What this means varies from Master to Master, but none look kindly upon failure.

    Contract (Su):
    Tharizdūn, my Master, has granted to me a revelation through my dreams; The Inquisition of Athar has been charged by the King with extirpating all cults in the kingdom, including those of my Master. Danthius, one of the Guardians of Athar, heads this organization. He of the Eternal Darkness demands his death. Should I succeed, however, He has offered me a potent boon that I may wield in His name.
    Journal of Heshrac, Hand of Tharizdūn, Second Entry


    A Hand of the Dark Master’s purpose is to complete missions given to him by his Master, in exchange for the powers he receives. The Hand does this through the completion of Contracts, given to them by their Master through their dreams. Upon taking their first level in this class, a Hand of the Dark Masters is given a Contract, which takes the form of a Geas spell, caster level 21, with the following change: Hands of the Dark Masters are able to ignore the Geas for a number of days equal to their class levels before they're treated as not completing their Geas. After returning to their Geas, however, they cannot take ignore the Geas again for at least 10 days without suffering consequences as normal. Contracts tend to have difficult, hard to obtain objectives, such as infiltrating the court of a king, assassinating them, and placing the blame on their Grand Vizier, to destroy a particular branch of an army, or some similar goal. (DM Note: These goals should be long-reaching enough to be completed only rarely; completing one contract ever two levels is usually the right amount.) Should the Hand complete the contract, they are given a great reward: At any point thereafter, they may use one Limited Wish, as the spell, as a Supernatural ability. A Hand of the Dark Master may have any number of Wishes stockpiled in this manner; however, it is rare to see a Hand have more than one wish reserved in this fashion at a time. When a Contract is completed, the Hand is immediately given another one; there is no time for rest in the life of a Hand of the Dark Master.

    If a Hand of the Dark Master feels that they are unable to complete their Contract, they can beg their master for a new one. For their Masters to even consider granting them a new contract, they must make their request after 24 hours of supplication and self-flagellation within an area of complete darkness. At the end of this time, they must roll a Charisma check. If they roll a 15 or higher, their requests are heard, and they are granted a new quest. If they fail, their request is ignored. Regardless of the result, the Hand's Master is not pleased at the weakness of its servant, and places a curse on them, as per the Bestow Curse spell. No effect save for a Wish spell, or a Limited Wish granted by the completion of a Contract, may end the Curse.

    Finally, each day a Hand of the Dark Master does not follow their Contract, they are not granted the benefits of any Supernatural or Spell-Like Abilities granted to them by this class. Additionally, these abilities may be temporarily taken away by a Consecration spell; if the Hand is targeted by Consecration, as if they were a Shrine or Altar to another deity, and they fail a Will saving throw (DC = 10+1/2 Consecration's caster level+Caster's Wisdom modifier), they lose their Spell-Like and Supernatural class abilities for a number of rounds equal to the Consecration effect's caster level.

    Dark Boon (Sp):
    The Father of Elder Evils has whispered to me in the night, his susurrations revealing to me such secrets...

    He knows how to sculpt the magic I have long since traded my soul for. To aid my ability to act in His name, He Who Waits has sent parts of His most divine knowledge to me, whispers on the edge of my consciousness, the power out there for me to just take! But when I do, the whispers fade until the Ebon Sun's night rises once more.
    Heshrac, Hand of Tharizdūn, Third Entry


    Hands of the Dark Masters are called upon to act as the perfect agents of their Masters, able to perform any task their Master requires of them. To this end, the Master grants a Hand a wide range of powers to use in the pursuit of their goal. Once each day, and Hand of the Dark Master can use an Least Invocation from the Warlock or Dragonfire Adept lists. They do not need to select the Invocation they will use ahead of time; they may choose which Invocation to use when they are activating the ability. However, once they use this ability, they may not use it again until night falls. At 4th level, a Hand of the Dark Master may use any Least or Lesser Invocation with this ability. At 7th level, a Hand of the Dark Master may use any Least, Lesser, or Greater invocation, and at 10th level, a Hand of the Dark Master may use any invocation with this ability.

    Unholy Smite (Su):
    The whispers of the Master have come again today. In my search for Danthius, I have attracted the attention of two of his Inquisitors. They had nearly subdued me, when the whispers in my head ceased. They picked up again, chanting ever louder, burning my mind, and taking over my senses. When I recovered, I felt frail and powerless. I was alive. Burn marks scorched my hands, twisting into hellish patterns, and spreading up to my chest and neck. There was nothing left of the Inquisitors but charred bone and melted steel.

    The Eater of World's whispers are still scarred in my mind. When I recite them, my burns begin to glow with a hellish light, and my Eldritch Blast becomes painful to call on. Hail the Dark God, for He has granted me the right to wield Hellfire in His name.
    Journal of Heshrac, Hand of Tharizdūn, Fifth Entry


    "Forbidden" means nothing to the Elder Evils and Archdemons that Hands of the Dark Masters swear to. They know of dangerous techniques and sources of power that mortals have forbidden as too risky to teach, and pass the knowledge onto their Hands, so that may serve more effectively. Whenever a Hand of the Dark Masters uses a Maneuver that requires an attack roll, an Eldritch Blast, or a Weaponlike Spell with an Instantaneous duration, they may choose to channel Hellfire into it, to strengthen the blast. If they do, the Maneuver, Spell, or Blast deals an additional 2d6 damage in addition to its normal damage. If the Maneuver, Spell, or Blast would deal damage to multiple targets, it deals this additional damage to all targets affected by the Smite. This damage is not fire damage. Hellfire burns hotter than any normal fire, as described in the sidebar on page 119 of Fiendish Codex II. This Hellfire damage does not stack with Hellfire from any other sources, such as that granted by the Hellfire Warlock class.

    Each time a Hand of the Dark Masters uses this ability, they take 1 point of Constitution damage. Because of the nature of Hellfire, if they do not take this damage, such as if they do not have a Constitution Score or they are immune to ability score damage, the Unholy Smite has no effect. Damage caused by Unholy Smite is harder to restore than other forms of ability damage, and can only be healed by time or Conjuration (Healing) magic (including Magic Items that replicate Conjuration (Healing) spells, such as Orb of Bodily Restoration), and not by other means (such as Naberius's Ability Healing ability).

    Master's Grace (Ex):
    I can feel myself changing, warped by the will of the Author of Wickedness. In His most blessed darkness, my vision is unclouded, unlike that of the guards surrounding the Hall of the Inquisitors, now deceased. However, within the building so covered in light, my eyes burn as His shadows recede within me. I pray that I may find Danthius soon, that I may kill him and be free of this spiteful light.
    Journal of Heshrac, Hand of Tharizdūn, Eighth Entry


    As Hands of the Dark Masters develop, they begins to take on some of their Master's affinity with darkness. At third level, they gain Darkvision 60ft, which can penetrate even magical darkness. However, bright light becomes harmful to them; they gain the Light Sensitivity trait, as the Orc racial feature.

    Pact of Renewal (Su):
    All glory to the Ender, for He has saved me! This day, my assassination of Danthius has failed. I had snuck into the kitchen's staff, enchanting them to make them believe I always worked here. Danthius always dines in his own chamber, I learned, and so I had put poison in the food bound for him. Unfortunately, he knows the taste of poison, and shrugged off its effect.

    I had barely escaped his wrath with my life. In Danthius's fury, he had cleaved through my arm and a lucky slash began to eviscerate me. I finally managed to activate my wand of Dimension Door, just as he was preparing for the final blow. Instead of dying in that hellhole, I was bleeding out in the patio on the lawn, watching my last sunset.

    But, rather than claim me so soon, the Ebon God has spared me, restoring to me back my arm and sealing the wound in my stomach, granting me His sanction to try again. I shall not fail him.
    Heshrac, Hand of Tharizdūn, Ninth Entry


    Hands of the Dark Masters are useless to their Masters if they are incapacitated, and so are granted supernaturally fast means of recovery. Once each day at nightfall, a Hand of the Dark Master receives the benefits of a Heal and a Regenerate spell, as cast by a 21st level Cleric. If the Hand is undead, they instead gain the benefits of a Harm spell. However, this ability comes with a cost: the Hand of the Dark Master can no longer heal naturally. No cuts or wounds will ever heal naturally for the Hand of the Dark Master, causing their body to gradually become patchwork masses of scars and old wounds. Additionally, this means that Hands of the Dark Masters do not regain hit points for resting each day, so if they are denied the benefits of Pact of Renewal (such as if they no longer attempt to follow their Contract), they are unable to restore their health without the use of magic.

    Blood Magic:
    At last, it is done. Though the burns now covering my body tell the story of the costs I paid to do it, Danthius is dead by my hand. And now, as I stand over his body, as the lifeblood is leaking out of him, He of Eternal Darkness's Whispers have returned in my mind. In a trance, I draw a seal around the corpse, and drawn the Spiral and the Obex of my Master within it, offering Him my kill. To my surprise, the Whispers grew, and I knew that my Master had granted me a reward. Expending the energy in the Whispers, I fell into the guise of one of the maids in the kitchen, and left the gory scene.
    Heshrac, Hand of Tharizdūn, Tenth Entry


    Lifeblood has power. Not the sheer amount of stored energy that a soul does, but enough that it, too, is desired by deities and Devils alike. As a Hand gains more of the essence of its Master, it, too, can begin to access the power of lifeblood. Starting at 4th level, a Hand of the Dark Masters gains the ability to prepare a small number of of Divine spells by harnessing this power. By performing a minute-long ritual over the body of a living being that had blood in their veins killed within the last 10 minutes, a Hand may prepare a spell from the Law, Evil, Death, or Trickery domain, of a level no greater their character level divided by 3, rounded up. The spell may be of a level no greater than 1/2 the being's Hit Dice. No more than one spell can be prepared per corpse. The Hand must have a Charisma score at least equal to 10+the spell's level in order to prepare the spell. Once prepared, the spell may be cast at any time as a Divine spell (Caster level equals the Hand's Character level), with a DC of 10+the spell's level+the Hand's Charisma modifier. The spell remains prepared until expended. If a Hand tries to prepare another spell when all of its spells are prepared, they can either cast that spell immediately, or cause another prepared spell to harmlessly dissipate to make room for the new spell. At 4th level, the Hand may only have one such spell prepared at a given time. At each even-numbered level after that (6th, 8th, and 10th levels), a Hand of the Dark Masters can hold one additional spell in this manner.

    Master's Wards (Ex):
    I am supposed to be killing Tritus, second Guardian of Athus! Not fleeing from Inquisitors! One had finally found me today, and it was only through the Ebon Sun's grace that I survived his attack! It was in the darkness of the shed I was camped out in, and he just barely missed my, instead striking at the dancing shadows that had begun to accompany me. I managed to fend him off, but were it not for the shadows, I would have died today.
    Journal of Heshrac, Hand of Tharizdūn, Fifteenth Entry


    At 5th level, the essence of the Hand's Master has grown stronger within them. Shadows have learned to respect a Hand of the Dark Masters as they would the Hand's Master, protecting them when they can. While in an area of shadowy or darker illumination, creatures attempting to target a Hand of the Dark Master with a weapon or an individually targeted spell suffer a 20% miss chance. However, the Hand of the Dark Master's sensitivity to light has increased. In addition to their Light Sensitivity, they have Light Blindness, as per the Drow racial trait, and whenever natural sunlight touches their skin, they are Sickened for as long as the light touches them and for one round thereafter. Dressing in shadowy, concealing robes negates this penalty. Despite this, most Hands tend to avoid the light altogether, to avoid the chance of getting exposed.

    Pact of Eternity (Su):
    They've finally done it. The bastard Inquisitors have killed me. In a way, this is a good thing. They may finally stop hunting me, so long as they don't know I survived. But this benefit was not worth spending nine hours in the Chained God's prison, waiting by His side in the soul-numbing darkness even I could not see through for the nightfall that the Master said would herald my return. I now understand the hatred Tharizdūn feels for the world, if it trapped him in this prison. Were it not for my duty to kill Tritus, I should love to hunt and bring every one of the Inquisitors back to the Chained God's prison.
    Journal of Heshrac, Hand of Tharizdūn, Eighteenth Entry


    At 6th level, a Hand of the Dark Masters is too valuable for their Master to let die. Ever. Whenever a Hand of the Dark Masters of 6th level of higher dies, their body is immediately dissolved into smoke and fades away, leaving no remains. Even the soul is missing; attempts to trap it fail, and attempts to bring the Hand back fail. Should the Hand fall in an antimagic field, their body still fades away; their Master's influence is powerful enough to steal the soul as it moves between the planes. Only if the Hand cannot benefit from the Supernatural abilities of this class, such as if they were targeted with a Consecration spell, can this ability be suppressed. If the suppressing effect is temporary, the remains will fade away as soon as the effect ends, unless the soul has been captured and stored by some means. (Should the effect trapping the soul end, the Pact of Eternity will take effect immediately thereafter, dissipating the remains. Time spent imprisoned does not count against the time granted for completing Contracts or breaks from the Contract.) At the beginning of the next nightfall, the Hand of the Dark Masters is Resurrected at a location of their choice within 5 miles of the location of any of their deaths. However, unlike the spell, they are always brought back as Young Adult versions of themselves. This is a curse as much as it is a blessing for the Hand; in addition to the well-known drawbacks of immortality, each time the Hand is reborn, they lose any age-related bonuses to Intelligence, Charisma, and Wisdom they have acquired. They are forced to enter the world, fresh again, constantly learning the same lessons and facing the same failures, again and again and again...

    Master's Call (Su):
    Tritus's fall was far too easy. Unlike the chaste and vigilant Danthius, I found Tritus spending his time in a brothel, disreputable as that is one of his station. While he was waiting for his favorite whore to arrive, I called in a favor that a pair of Succubi owed my Master; Tharizdūn has granted me sanction to call them in on His name. After that, it was too easy. One took the form of the woman he called for, and the other slipped in when Tritus was distracted by the first. He barely tried to resist.
    Journal of Heshrac, Hand of Tharizdūn, Twenty First Journal Entry


    At 7th level, a Hand of the Dark Masters has been granted the knowledge of those in their Master's debt, and the authority to call them in. Once per day, a Hand of the Dark Masters may use Planar Binding, as the spell (with a CL equal to the Hand's character level), with a Standard action to call a creature without the [Good] or [Chaotic] subtypes. Unlike the normal version of the spell, it lasts only for 1 Round/Level. However, if the creatures fail their saving throw, they are treated as Helpful towards the Hand for the duration of the spell.

    Master's Shadow (Su):
    Darcible. The last of the three Guardians. Now dead by my hand. After the two other Guardians had been assassinated, he upped his security, for all the good it did him. The Shadows listen to my whispers as they do my Master's, and they carry our dark power all the same. Through a Hellfire chain, I killed them before they knew I was there. And in the shadows, I hid from Darcible, sending volley after volley of Hellfire at him, while keeping out of the range of his legendary swords' reach. If he had reached me, or even seen me, I would have died. But within the shadows, He of the Eternal Darkness rules supreme.
    Journal of Heshrac, Hand of Tharizdūn, Thirty Fifth Entry


    At 9th level, a Hand of the Dark Master's affinity with darkness has grown so much that he can wield the power of his Master through it. As a free action, while in an area of shadowy illumination, a Hand of the Dark Master can cause any area of shadow he stands in to be affected by Kelgore's Grave Mist, as the spell, up to a range of 25ft + 5ft per character level. Each square within the area of Shadowy Illumination is treated as though it were affected by the spell. However, the Hand and their companions are unaffected by the spell. Additionally, whenever the Hand of the Dark Masters uses their Unholy Smite ability, they can treat any creature within the area of Grave Mist as though they were any distance away from each other. For example, a Hand of the Dark Masters may treat any creature as 10ft away when using their Eldritch Glaive invocation, or any creature as within melee range while using a Maneuver. Alternatively, they may treat all creatures within the area as 30ft away when they use the Eldritch Chain invocation. However, this ability does not actually cause any beings in the area to change position.

    Pact of Pacts (Su):
    The Guardians are dead. The Kingdom is slowly devolving into chaos; organized crime is becoming stronger than ever, the Inquisitors are beginning to fail in their tasks, and other Kingdoms are beginning to encroach on the King's territory.

    All according to plan.

    The heads of the Thieves' and Assassins' guilds are putty in my hands. They accepted servitude to my Master, to me, in exchange for some of the invulnerability I have. They can no longer refuse my demands. I am the one who calls the shots now; I am the true ruler of Athar.

    Hail Tharizdūn, for He has given me a direction to steer my new Kingdom to. We shall wield it to lay siege against those who keep the Master imprisoned.
    -Journal of Heshrac, Hand of Tharizdūn, Thirty Seventh Entry


    At 9th level, the Hand has been granted the right to allow others to benefit from their protections, as long as they stay in the Hand's good graces. So long as any creature aids the Hand of the Dark Master in completing their Contract, they gain the benefits of the Hand's Pact of Renewal and Pact of Eternity abilities. The Hand of the Dark Master may take away or restore this benefit to a creature as they see fit; this is often used as a reward for cultists of the Master, or to coerce influential figures into aiding the Hand.

    Transcendance:
    The bonds tying Tharizdūn to his prison from this world have been shattered. Athar has been destroyed in the process, but nothing less could have been sacrificed to break the seals on this plane. And yet, He is still chained.

    It was not all in vain. In shattering that which binds him from this world, we have allowed some of His essence to escape from His prison, and He has invested it in me, along with his final command:

    In His name, I shall be the one who ends the world.

    All Hail Tharizdūn.

    All Hail me.
    Journal of Heshrac, Hand of Tharizdūn, Final Entry.


    At 10th level, the Hand of the Dark Master has attained a higher state of being: they are imbued with part of the divine spark of their Master, becoming an avatar of Them, granting the Hand the power to manipulate the world around them as they see fit. The Hand of the Dark Master can shape the shadows around them to mimic any form they can think of, manifesting as the ability to use Shadow Evocation, Shadow Conjuration, and Major Image at will as Supernatural abilities (Saving Throw equal to 10+Character Level/2+Charisma modifier) while within areas of shadowy illumination or complete darkness.

    Additionally, the terms of Contracts have changed. The Hand of the Dark Master is granted freedom by their Master to impose the Master's will upon the world; those Hands who have existed long enough to reach this state call this The Final Contract. So long as the Hand does not perform any actions that would affect their standing with their Master, they are free to act as they choose, so long as they further His goals. In this state, they are granted one Limited Wish each time they level up; they no longer have to complete Contracts to earn them. A Hand does not need to complete any Contracts in this time to maintain their class abilities. Should they fall from their Master's good graces, they must complete another Contract for their Master and an Atonement spell before they are accepted back into the Master's good graces.

    PLAYING A HAND OF THE DARK MASTERS
    As a Hand of the Dark Master, you're a relatively fragile combatant who can deal out massive damage, with a decent amount of versatility.
    Combat: Hands of the Dark Masters undergo little change in their methods as they pursue this path, picking up a few defensive abilities and combat tricks along the way. In combat, Hands of the Dark Masters' greatest strength is their ability to use Unholy Smite to pile on additional damage. In the case of Warlocks, this damage can rack up fast. Additionally, you have tricks to use in combat through your Blood Magic and Dark Boon abilities, and eventually your Transcendance ability, giving you the ability to fill almost any role, granting you day-long buffs or one-time use tricks like Chilling Tentacles. Finally, though you rarely use it, you have the option of calling in the benefits of your Contracts if worst comes to worst, firing off exactly the effect you need exactly when you need it most.
    Advancement: Becoming a Hand of the Dark Masters is a path that many take relatively late in their careers, ending the path at near epic levels. However, there are a number of options that can be taken. Many Warlocks who qualify go on to become Cyran Avengers, taking advantage of the Charisma synergy between the two classes, and the Spellcasting advancement of the Cyran Avenger. Martial Adepts that take levels in the class often just take more levels in their base class, as that allows them to continue advancing their skills at a strong pace.
    Resources: Hands of the Dark Masters' resources are mostly based on the connections they make in their travels, and the supporters of their Master. Hands of Tharizdūn, for example, have few resources available to them, save for a few insane cults of Tharizdūn. Hands of Asmodeus, or Demon Lords, have significantly more resources due to how many cults they operate. However, Hands can never stay in the same place for too long, and so cannot often join large organizations, often causing them to be loners or work in small, elite groups.

    HANDS OF THE DARK MASTERS IN THE WORLD
    There's somethin' wrong with that dark fellow in the corner, but I can't place my finger on it...
    -Geoff, Barkeep


    Not many people know much about Hands of the Dark Masters, and Hands don't often reveal their nature to most people. They tend to fill the dark, brooding loner archetype, which is common enough that most people don't question it too much. However, should their identity as a Hand become known, they would be ostracized, killed, or worse by the local populace. People don't take kindly to Blood Magic or Devil-Worshipers, after all.
    Daily Life: Hands of the Dark Masters tend to be loners and wanderers, trying to fill their Contracts before the year is up, and trying to find the most efficient way of doing so. They meet with many different people and take different roles in accomplishing their goals, and live an intensely adventurous life.
    Notables: If a Hand of the Dark Master is doing his job correctly, no one will know him as such; they tend to be clandestine about their operations. However, a number of Demon Lords count Hands of the Dark Masters among the lieutenants and generals of their armies.
    Organizations: The only organizations that Hands of the Dark Masters are truly attracted to are cults dedicated to their Masters, as those are the only people who will accept the Hands for who they are, and welcome them among their ranks. Occasionally, a Hand will do odd jobs for another organizations, such as Adventurer's Guilds, but such operations are almost always temporary, given the nature of a Hand's Contracts.

    NPC Reaction
    To most NPCs in the setting, Hands of the Dark Masters are deranged psychopaths who would sell their minds, bodies, and souls to horrible, monstrous entities for power. While this is a fair generalization, they associate such behavior with serial killers and other such types who kill people for fun, which, while a Hand might go on a murdering spree to fill his Blood Magic every now and again, is not completely accurate. No one will probably care about the specifics, though.

    HANDS OF THE DARK MASTERS IN THE GAME
    Hands of the Dark Masters grant bonus damage and additional flexibility to the classes that follow this path in combat. Out of combat, however, they can change quite a lot. Their Contracts will tend to direct game flow, as the Hand will become intent on completing as many as they can for the Wishes, and so they can keep using their class powers. They can fill a number of roles through their Dark Boon and Blood Magic class features, acting as infiltration agents, scouts, or occasionally Battlefield Controller, as the case may be. This is further advanced when they obtain their Transcendance ability; though the effects are limited in combat, they have a huge number of out of combat uses. Hands are also rather difficult to permanently get rid of, especially at higher levels; they can escape Death, Insanity, Feeblemind, and just about any way of permanently getting rid of them.
    Adaptation: The class is a general one, and can be well-adapted to many campaign settings; so long as people are willing to sell their minds, bodies, and souls to unholy monstrosities, there is room for Hands of the Dark Masters in the campaign setting. One interesting twist, though, would be to introduce Hands of the Holy Masters; that is, people who devote their minds, bodies, and souls to the forces of Good to cleanse the world of evil, letting absolutely nothing stop them.
    Encounters: Hands of the Dark Masters make for excellent high-level recurring villains. They have an objective that they will stop at nothing to achieve, and are nearly impossible to kill for good. Causing one to fail his contract for a year is the only way to truly put him down for good, and doing so, by design, would be an adventure in and of itself.
    Last edited by Fable Wright; 2012-11-15 at 03:22 AM.
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