DISCIPLE OF THE NINE
"One does not gain true power at the hands of the gods, they are greedy with their power;
to attain the authority you deserve, turn to Asmodeus, for he holds the keys to the gates of fiery Hell!"
~ Retan Bescall, disciple of the nine ~
A disciple of the nine, disheartened with the lackluster approach of those who call themselves "good," has turned to a more questionable source of power, that of the devils of hell itself. To truly further the greater good and ensure world peace, the disciples of the nine have converted to the raw power of the Lords of the Nine. Disheartened by the virtuous deities’ lackluster methods of defending the righteous, the disciples are instead granted power by the archdevils, using evil means for good ends. To the deranged minds of the disciples of the nine, utilizing evil methods for the greater good is perfectly cogent. By making necessary sacrifices along the way, a disciple of the nine gains extraordinary power to combat evil, using their own techniques against them. Most of the truly righteous look upon the disciples of the nine with disgust, as they have no qualms against committing necessary evils for the greater good.
However, in order to gain this power, the disciple of the nine must hold up their end of the bargain. In return for the devils’ gift, the disciple of the nine must literally sell his soul to Hell. Upon death the disciple of the nine’s soul goes straight to Hell, at which point he must serve whichever devilish lord he is appointed to.
Through excessive use of the evil powers of hell, the disciple of the nine's body warps to resemble the creatures who granted him power. This newfound power is used to combat good and evil alike, whoever would dare to stand in the way of what they view as righteousness. Through ritual sacrifice, draining the life-force of their foes and using it against them, even eliminating the virtuous if necessary, the disciple of the nine accomplishes his goals.
BECOMING A DISCIPLE OF THE NINE
Those who follow the path of the divine, but are tired of the despondent methods of their church may seek a more malevolent and effective power. By using evil magic as a necessary force to bring about harmony, by either casting an evil spell, utilizing sacrifice to gain power, or pleading to an archdevil itself, a prospective disciple of the nine can gain access to this infernal and hellish power.
Base Attack Bonus: +4
Alignment: Lawful Good
Skills: Knowledge (the planes) 8 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 4 ranks
Spellcasting: Must be able to cast 2nd level divine spells
Special: Must do at least one of the following: sacrifice an innocent to an archdevil, contact a devil, or utilize evil magic (all in the name of the greater good).
Note: When using any of the methods above specifically for the reason of gaining access to the disciple of the nine prestige class, the player's alignment does not change, nor are class codes violated.
The Disciple of the Nine's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).
Skills Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier
Hit Dice: d8
Level BAB Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spellcasting 1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Malignant mind, violate spells, diametric blade, hellbound +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class 2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Body of the baatezu (tail, horns, skin +1) +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class 3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Sacrifice (sacrifice) +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class 4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Body of the baatezu (claws, body, skin +2) +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class 5th +3 +4 +1 +4 Sacrifice (pain) +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class 6th +4 +5 +2 +5 Body of the baatezu (mind, skin +3) +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class 7th +5 +5 +2 +5 Sacrifice (self) +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class 8th +6 +6 +2 +6 Body of the baatezu (wings, skin +4) +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class 9th +6 +6 +3 +6 Sacrifice (soul) +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class 10th +7 +7 +3 +7 Body of the baatezu (soul, skin +5) –
Weapon Proficiencies: The disciple of the nine gains proficiency with all martial weapons, but not with any armor or shields.
Spellcasting: From 1st level on, and excluding level 10, when a new disciple of the nine level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in whatever divine spellcasting class he belonged to before he added the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. This essentially means that he adds the level of disciple of the nine to the level of whatever other divine spellcasting class the character has, then determines spells per day and caster level accordingly.
If a character had more than one divine spellcasting class before she became a disciple of the nine, he must decide to which class he adds each level of disciple of the nine for the purpose of determining spells per day.
Malignant Mind: A disciple of the nine is convinced that his actions are for the greater good. A disciple of the nine always retains his lawful good alignment despite any potentially evil actions he may commit, and may even retain the use of powers that require adherence to a specific moral code as long as all violations are committed either in the pursuit of the greater good, or when seeking to destroy evil. A disciple of the nine is considered both evil and good for all purposes.
Violate Spells (Su): A disciple of the nine can warp his spells with evil to greater effect. Once per day per Wisdom modifier, a disciple of the nine can violate a spell of his choice as per the Violate Spell feat (BoVD). Using this ability does not increase the spell level of the spell cast.
Additionally, a disciple of the nine is regarded as both evil and good for all purposes; if a spell or effect has a different effect depending on their alignment, treat him as whichever has the stronger effect. A disciple of the nine may cast spells with either evil or good descriptors regardless of his alignment (for example, a disciple of the nine would have access to both cure and inflict spells). A disciple of the nine with previous paladin levels does not receive any penalties for multiclassing into the disciple of the nine prestige class.
Diametric Blade: Any ability that the disciple of the nine uses that specifically targets or affects a creature of good or evil alignment, the spell or ability can affect either a good or evil target interchangeably. For example, if a paladin disciple of the nine uses his smite evil ability, it may be used against both good and evil targets.
Hellbound: A disciple of the nine has sold his soul to the devils. At any point, if the disciple of the nine is to die and is not resurrected within a number of rounds equal to his hit dice his soul is sent to one of The Nine Hells. The level of Hell that the disciple of the nine is sent to depends on how much of the devils’ power he used. A disciple of the nine who reached 1st or 2nd level is sent to the first level of Hell. A disciple of the nine who reached third level is sent to the second level of Hell, and so on (a disciple of the nine who reached 10th level is sent to the ninth level of Hell). Once a disciple of the nine reaches Hell, he must work irrevocably under the devil he has been assigned to’s command. If an ally of the disciple of the nine wishes to resurrect him after his soul has passed to Hell, such a resurrection is much more difficult and much more harmful to the soul, requiring double the time normally necessary and causing the disciple of the nine to gain an additional 2 negative levels than usual. If a year has passed since the disciple of the nine’s death, normal resurrection is impossible.
Body of the Baatezu (Ex): The disciple of the nine's body warps to resemble the very devils from which he draws his power.
At level 2, the disciple of the nine's body warps, growing horns, a tail, and scaly skin. The disciple of the nine gains a natural horn attack which deals 1d6 damage. If the disciple already possesses a natural horn attack, use whichever is greater. The disciple of the nine also gains a prehensile tail, which, while it does not have enough strength to hold heavy objects, can hold small objects such as material components, spell focuses, etc. (never exceeding 1 pound). The disciple of the nine's skin grows scales, increasing the disciple of the nine's natural armor by +1. This bonus increases by an additional +1 at level 4, and every even level thereafter.
At level 4, the disciple of the nine grows razor-sharp claws and his body becomes tough and durable. The disciple of the nine gains two natural claw attacks, which deal 1d4 damage each. If the disciple of the nine already possesses a natural claw attack, use whichever damage is greater. Additionally, the disciple of the nine gains DR/good equal to his class level.
At level 6, the disciple of the nine's mind sharpens with the cunning and guile of devils, granting him spell resistance equal to his character level + 10.
At level 8, the disciple of the nine sprouts devilish, scaly wings. The disciple of the nine gains a flight speed equal to double his base land speed, with good maneuverability.
At level 10, the disciple of the nine's soul darkens, as if he was one of the baatezu. The disciple of the nine gains traits similar to that of a baatezu, gaining summon baatezu (BoVD 175) as a spell-like ability 1/day, as well as the following: telepathy 100 ft., ability to see in perfect darkness of any kind (even magical darkness), poison immunity, fire resistance 20, acid resistance 10, and cold resistance 10. A disciple of the nine no longer requires food, water, or sleep to survive.
Sacrifice (Su): The disciple of the nine will stop at nothing to further the greater good, even sacrificing the lives of others to achieve his goals.
At level 3, the disciple of the nine can make a sacrifice to whichever archdevil he follows for greater personal power. Whenever he kills a creature with a soul with a coup de grace, he gains temporary hit points equal to the creature's HD, and a +2 profane bonus to his Strength and Charisma scores. All three benefits last for one hour. This ability stacks up to 1/class level (maximum 3).
At level 5, the disciple of the nine can utilize their enemy's pain to gain magical power. For every 15 hit point damage the disciple of the nine deals to his enemies, he gains one pain point. The disciple of the nine may cast a spell as if his CL were increased by 1 for each pain point expended. Pain points expire in a number of rounds equal to the disciple of the nine's Wisdom modifier. Gaining additional pain points refreshes the expiration time remaining. The maximum number of pain points usable is equal to one-half of his class level.*
At level 7, the disciple of the nine can sacrifice his own wellbeing to gain the upper hand in combat. As a full-round action, he may cast a single spell that he knows without expending a spell slot by dealing damage to himself. He casts any spell he knows with a casting time of no more than one standard action. The spell need not be prepared, but the disciple must have at least 1 spell slot of the same level available. This ability inflicts damage to the disciple of the nine equal to 2d6/level of the spell. Level 0 spells inflict 1d6 damage. This damage cannot be avoided in any way, nor reduced in any fashion. Damage taken due to this ability is healed at half the normal rate.
At level 9, the disciple of the nine can use the very souls of his enemies to power his own spells. Once per round, whenever the disciple of the nine directly kills an enemy with a soul that's within his natural reach, he may immediately cast a spell as a swift action. The level of the spell is not increased as normal for a quickened spell, nor is a feat required. If the disciple of the nine casts a spell with a casting time of 1 swift or immediate action with this ability, his caster level for this spell is increased by +3.
PLAYING A DISCIPLE OF THE NINE
Playing a disciple of the nine can be difficult, depending on the setting it is used in. Committing evil acts in the name of good tends not to go over too well with the general public, so generally disciples of the nine will keep to themselves, utilizing their skill in stealth to avoid detection.
Combat: Disciples of the nine focus on draining the life of their opponents or even themselves in order to gain an advantage in combat, casting powerful, debilitating spells with ease and rapidity. Due to their devilish defenses, disciples of the nine will rarely hold back in combat, and are often found in the middle of a fight.
Advancement: Depending on the path the disciple of the nine has chosen, that of a warrior or a spellcaster, there are many paths a disciple of the nine might choose. Be it advancing further in his previous class, or choosing a new path to follow in order to advance his melee or spellcasting might, the knowledge gained from being a disciple of the nine does not hinder access to most prestige classes (in fact, the reduced alignment restrictions most likely facilitate entry into all kinds of prestige classes).
Resources: Other than the overpowering resource of the power of Hell, a disciple of the nine does not gain access to much more resources than a normal character would.
DISCIPLE'S OF THE NINE IN THE WORLD
"One of the greatest scourges to humanity I know of, a true black sheep hiding amongst the pure and virtuous."
Unless a disciple of the nine manages to hide his true allegiances from his society, he is most likely persecuted in almost all sects of life. In both evil and good communities, the disciple of the nine is an outcast. Only amongst those with similar ideologies is a disciple of the nine truly at home.
Daily Life: Daily life for a disciple of the nine consists of either incessant plotting, sacrifice, or destroying those who would stand in his way. A devotee of the archdevils has little time for recreation.
Notables: Although there have been many prominent disciples of the nine, they tend to keep such information a secret from their peers. Because of this, there are no well-known disciples of the nine, although many well-known priests and politicians have been practioners in the devilish arts.
Organizations: Apart from small, secret cults, there are no large organizations dedicated to those who follow the Lords of the Nine. However, organizations that appear to be a dedicated, righteous association may be, in truth, a front for a group of disciples of the nine.
Depending on the circumstance in which an NPC sees a disciple of the nine, their reaction would differ. In full devil attire, during a sacrifice, or during battle, an NPC would most likely immediately associate the disciple of the nine with evil, pure and simple. However, in disguise or when displaying his devilish attributes as angelic ones, NPCs would likely have a much different and favorable reaction.
DISCIPLES OF THE NINE IN THE GAME
Disciples of the nine can be placed into the game primarily as a damage dealer (and in some cases a healer), either as an enemy or a friend. Due to their dual nature they can cast both healing and inflict spells, which allows them to fit many roles.
Adaptation: A good way to adapt the disciple of the nine to most settings is through use of the Hide True Nature feat (described below) which can also be introduced as a class ability (DM discretion) if necessary. Additionally, the source of power for a disciple of the nine can be altered based on the campaign setting (some other nefarious source instead of devils).
Encounters: Disciples of the nine can be easily adapted to fit many roles, ranging from taking the part of a humble priest to a iniquitous warlord. Because of this a disciple of the nine can be an opponent or ally, but an ally only under a ruse of some sort.
Hide True Nature
While you are well aware that you serve the greater good, others tend to get a bit put off by your appearance. Thus, you've managed to gain some control over your fiendish appearance so as to avoid negative attention when necessary.
Prerequisites: Body of the Baatezu class feature, Charisma 15.
Benefit: As a standard action, you may hide the devilish attributes you have gained. All physical manifestations of your Body of the Baatezu ability cease immediately, also removing any benefit you gained from having them. You need not hide all attributes, but each time you change which attributes are shown, a standard action is required.
Alternatively, instead of hiding them, you may alter the modifications to your body to instead resemble angelic qualities. Horns become a glowing halo, devilish claws become eagle-like talons, scaly skin becomes a glowing sheen of gold, and wings become feathered instead of demonic. This also requires a standard action; while your features are disguised in this way, they still function fully, but anyone who sees you may make a Sense Motive check opposed by your Bluff or Disguise check to see through your disguise. If they succeed, your true nature immediately becomes apparent, and you may not hide it again for 24 hours.
Opposed Class: Supplicant of the Seven