Hellfire Knight (3.5e Class)
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The hellfire knight is a mortal who has tampered with the power of the Lower Planes, knowingly or otherwise. Having gained the ability to channel this power through himself, the hellfire knight becomes capable of being more powerful than he could likely have imagined.
Making a Hellfire Knight
A hellfire knight is a strong melee combatant, and many of his abilities supplement this to make him nearly unstoppable. Unfortunately, the cost of this temporary power is high, and a hellfire knight may often find himself grievously wounded at the end of a battle even if the enemy has not even touched him. To combat this, a hellfire knight adventurer will often travel in the company of at least one cleric to give him a constant supply of healing magic.
Abilities: Constitution is invaluable for a hellfire knight, as the use of their fiendish power almost always require a sacrifice of hit points. Without a high Constitution, the hellfire knight's vitality would quickly be drained. After that comes Strength, which aids the hellfire knight's cause in melee combat, and Charisma, which affects the DCs for most of his abilities.
Races: Of all the so-called "civilized" races, humans are most likely to become hellfire knights, as their natural predisposition towards greed and ambition make associating with fiends and gaining their powers an attractive prospect. Savage races, particularly those with close ties to archfiend cults, can also spawn a hellfire knight.
Alignment: Any non-good.
Starting Gold: As fighter.
Starting Age: Moderate.
|Saving Throws||Special||Infernal Surge|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+0||Aura of Evil, Power of the Body, Condemned||—|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+1||The Fires of Hell 5, The Greatest Trick (1)||—|
|6th||+6/+1||+5||+2||+2||Temptation of Man||—|
|8th||+8/+3||+6||+2||+2||The Greatest Trick (2)||+6|
|9th||+9/+4||+6||+3||+3||Speed of The Damned||—|
|10th||+10/+5||+7||+3||+3||The Fires of Hell 10, Wicked Countenance||—|
|15th||+15/+10/+5||+9||+5||+5||The Fires of Hell 20||—|
|18th||+18/+13/+8/+3||+11||+6||+6||The Ninth Circle||—|
Class Skills 2 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
- All of the following are class features of the hellfire knight.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A hellfire knight is automatically proficient with all simple and martial weapons. He is also proficient with medium and heavy armor and shields.
Aura of Evil (Ex): The power of a hellfire knight’s aura of evil (see detect evil) is equal to his hellfire knight level. To such a spell, the hellfire knight always registers as evil regardless of his true alignment.
Power of the Body (Ex): A hellfire knight is extremely hardy, able to withstand a great deal of punishment before going down. He gains maximum hit points for every level of hellfire knight that he takes. This does not apply to any levels from any other classes or racial Hit Die.
Condemned (Ex): The hellfire knight gains Evil Brand (Book of Vile Darkness 49) as a bonus feat as first level. A large tattoo (usually black or red, whatever color is more visible) appears on the skin of the character’s back, the Infernal character for “wicked”. No matter how the character may try to hide it, the mark glows vivid orange in the eyes of evil creatures, so they always will recognize the hellfire knight even if he has covered the mark. As a result, the hellfire knight gains a +2 bonus on Diplomacy and Intimidate checks made against evil creatures. This brand appears regardless of the hellfire knight’s alignment.
A hellfire knight is so attuned to the evil powers of the Lower Planes that he counts as having the Disciple of Darkness and Thrall to Demon feats (both described in the Book of Vile Darkness) for the purposes of qualifying for prestige classes. He does not gain any of the normal benefits of having these feats. He is also treated as evil when meeting criteria for prestige classes, holding an evil magic item or applying a fiendish graft.
Infernal Surge (Ex): Starting at second level, the hellfire knight can channel the energy of the Lower Planes through his body, sacrificing his health for temporary power. While in an infernal surge, the hellfire knight gains a bonus to Strength (see the table) and a +4 bonus on all saving throws, but takes 2d4 damage per round he stays in the surge as the diabolical flame burns his skin. This damage is neither fire nor unholy damage, so it cannot be countered by any form of damage resistance. A hellfire knight can use an infernal surge for a number of rounds per day equal to 10 + his hellfire knight level, and these rounds need not be consecutive. Starting or ending an infernal surge is a move-equivalent action.
The Fires of Hell (Ex): The black flame that covers the body of a hellfire knight during an infernal surge protects him from other forms of harm while at the same time causing pain. At 3rd level, a hellfire knight gains fire and cold resistance 5 when in an infernal surge. This resistance increases to 10 at 10th level and 20 at 15th level.
The Greatest Trick (Sp): “The greatest trick the devil ever performed was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” The hellfire knight takes these words to heart, and at 3rd level he can give up 1d6 hit points to cast invisibility for either the duration of the infernal surge or until he violates the conditions of the spell (by attacking, for example). At 8th level, the hellfire knight’s ability improves, and he can cast greater invisibility for the same hp cost.
Brimstone Blade (Su): At 4th level, a hellfire knight using infernal surge can envelop his weapon (any melee weapon) in black flame at the cost of 2d4 points of damage on the wielders weapon itself upon activation. This fire exists as long as he is using infernal surge, and incurs no more damage after the first 1d6. If he uses this power, the hellfire knight deals an additional 1d6 points of damage with his weapon. This damage is diabolical and not subject to fire or negative energy resistance. If the hellfire knight loses his weapon, he must sacrifice another 1d6 hit points to “enchant” another weapon in this manner. A weapon lost but still intact remains burning for 3 rounds, dealing 1d6 points of damage per round to anyone other than the hellfire knight who touches it.
Temptation of Man (Sp): Calling upon the power of the fiends of corruption (succubus, glabrezu, etc.), the hellfire knight gains the ability to magically lace his words with powerful compulsion magic. He can reproduce the effect of a suggestion spell twice per day, even when not in an infernal surge.
Brimstone Blast (Sp): At 7th level, a hellfire knight can use the hellfire on his body to make a ranged attack during an infernal surge. By sacrificing 1d8 of his own hit points, the hellfire knight can replicate the effects of a hellfire spell from Tyrants of the Nine Hells, dealing 1d8 points of hellfire damage (same type as the Brimstone Blade) per two levels in a sphere with a 10 foot radius within range (25 feet + 5 feet per 2 hellfire knight levels). Spell Resistance does not apply. There is no saving throw for this effect or the brimstone barrage (see below).
Wicked Countenance (Ex): A hellfire knight in an infernal surge is a frightening sight to behold. At 10th level, the hellfire knight gains frightful presence in a 30 foot radius when using his infernal surge ability, and all creatures who fail a Will save (DC equal to 12 + half hellfire knight level + Charisma modifier) are treated as frightened for 1d6 rounds.
Fiendish Acuity (Su): At the cost of his own hit points, a hellfire knight can magically improve his senses during an infernal surge at 11th level or higher. 1d4 hit points grants him low-light vision and the effect of a see invisibility spell. Another 1d4 hit points gives him the tremorsense ability, allowing the knight to detect any moving creature on the ground within 60 feet. Finally, an additional 1d4 hit points allows him to see as if under a true seeing spell cast by a wizard of the hellfire knight’s level. These abilities only last to the end of his current infernal surge.
Brimstone Barrage (Sp): At 12th level, the hellfire knight gains an even greater mastery over hellfire. At the price of 2d8 hit points, the hellfire knight can replicate a hellfire storm from Tyrants of the Nine Hells effect during an infernal surge, dealing 10d8 points of hellfire damage in a 20 foot radius. This effect does not allow spell resistance or a saving throw.
Megiddo Flame (Sp): At 17th level, a hellfire knight gains the ability to replicate a implosion as a spell-like ability once per day (except that it is one target only; no additional targets may be chosen in subsequent rounds), consuming the target in a powerful blast of hellfire, but he must be in an infernal surge to use it and sacrifice 6d12 hit points.. Otherwise, it functions as the spell cast by a wizard of the hellfire knight’s level. The save DC is equivalent to 10 + spell level (9) + half class level + charisma.
Purgatory (Su): The hellfire knight can intensify the flames around his body during an infernal surge to the point where they deal damage to attackers. Any opponent attacking the hellfire knight with a melee or natural weapon takes damage equal to the Hellfire Knight’s level as a blast of hellfire responds in retaliation to their attack. If the hellfire knight chooses to use this ability he now takes 3d4 damage per turn.
The Ninth Circle (Su): At 18th level, the hellfire knight can temporarily expend all of the energy of his infernal surge into one powerful blast. At the cost of 1d4 hit points per level, the hellfire knight can deal 1d8 points of damage per level (maximum 20d8) to every foe in a 50 foot radius centered on him. Use of The Ninth Circle devastates all life within the radius, leaving a blackened crater that smells heavily of brimstone. If the hellfire knight uses The Ninth Circle, his current infernal surge immediately ends, and he cannot use infernal surge again for 24 hours. He is also treated as exhausted until he rests for 8 full hours.
Eternal Damnation (Ex): At 20th level, the hellfire knight reaches the pinnacle of his power, having mastered the fiendish energies that flow through his body. His skin turns to an ashen, gray hue, his eyes now burn a brilliant orange, and his type changes to outsider (with the native subtype). The resistances of The Fires of Hell are now permanent, as are the effects of Fiendish Acuity and. He can now use The Greatest Trick, any of the Brimstone abilities or Megiddo Flame even when not in an infernal surge, but any required hp sacrifice must still be given and the once per day limit for Megiddo Flame still applies. All other infernal surge abilities (Speed of the Damned, Wicked Countenance, Purgatory, The Ninth Circle) can still only be used during a surge.
Hellfire knights are scions of a powerful and terrible power. This power is evil to the core, and it twists the souls of many who try and become its master. But if a hellfire knight ever becomes good-aligned, the infernal powers previously at his disposal will be lost to him until he becomes at least neutral. He loses his ability to surge and all accompanying abilities, and cannot progress any further in the hellfire knight class until he restores a non-good alignment.
Epic Hellfire Knight
|25th||Greater Brimstone Blade|
2 + Int modifier skill points per level.
Infernal Surge: An epic level hellfire knight continues to gain daily rounds for his infernal surge, allowing him to use it for longer periods of time. He also gains an additional +2 bonus to Strength during an infernal surge every three levels.
Greater Brimstone Blade: This ability improves upon the Brimstone Blade Ability. You may now “enchant” your weapon to act as a Fiery Blast weapon, except that the damage is hellfire, not fire.
Bonus Feats: The epic hellfire knight gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic hellfire knight bonus feats) at 21st level and every three levels after.
Human Hellfire Knight Starting Package
|Knowledge (the planes)||4||Int||—|
Feat: Improved Initiative
Gear: Breastplate, bed roll.
Gold: 10 gp.
Playing a Hellfire Knight
Religion: Being conduits of fiendish power, many hellfire knights feel compelled to join devil or demon cults, and many succumb to these temptations, for in these places they, with their strange powers, are welcomed with open arms. Others worship evil deities, who they see as being above the lords of Hell and the Abyss and thus worthy of reverence. Neutral deities are only slightly less preferred, and are viewed as uncaring enough to accept the hellfire knights' faults. Those select few that worship good deities do so in solitude, for even while the gods themselves may permit their entreaties for salvation from a doomed existence, the acolytes of such entities are usually not so inviting.
Other Classes: Hellfire knights dislike traveling alone; the nature of their abilities makes having an ally for support almost essential. For this reason, hellfire knights always treat clerics, the bringers of divine healing, with the utmost respect (that is, at least, so long as the cleric will heal them). They respect fighters, barbarians, rangers and the like for their simlar roles in frontline combat. They rarely get along with paladins or druids, who see the hellfire knights as a threat to their ideals or a blight on the natural world, respectively.
Combat: With his ability to instantly increase his Strength and a high supply of hit points, the hellfire knight is a superb front-line fighter so long as he recive healing. But when his infernal surge runs out, he may find himself in a difficult situation.
Advancement: Many evil hellfire knights become disciples to an archfiend, Mepistopheles in particular. The Disciple of Mepistopheles (Book of Vile Darkness 62), with its hellfire-based powers, is very attractive to most hellfire knights.
Hellfire Knights in the World
|“||He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.||”|
|—Azazel, human hellfire knight|
Hellfire knights are usually mercenaries, blades-for-hire who try and mask their fiendish powers as long as possible. This works for a time, but upon reaching high levels they begin to exhibit more permanent signs of their power, and their doomed fate. Hellfire knights also tend to be fond of strong cologne or perfume; its scent serves to mask the lingering odor of brimstone that constantly follows them.
Daily Life: Hellfire knights are powerful, but that's all most people see. Those of fiendish blood are oftened abandoned early, and those who are not have oftened developed their power through gruesome and vile processes. As a result, most hellfire knights are sociopaths to the extreme. While they are cordial when it suits them, it is usually with a gruff and insolent air to ward off any unnecessary interaction. They are lonely wanderers, fleeing mobs and authorities everywhere and often inadvertently attracting the attention of some dark power who seeks to capitalize on their strength.
Notables: The most powerful hellfire knight is commonly known as Azazel, a distant (at least one hundred generations) descendant of Mephistopeles himself. The Lord of Hellfire has only recently recognized Azazel's existence, but his reputation for being a living, moving apocalypse has followed him for some time.
Organizations: There is no formal collaborative group of hellfire knights, but they are instinctively aware of each other. Some are members of the same family, who inherit their power through fiendish blood; other participated in a deal with the same devil, selling their souls to the Lower Planes. For whatever reason, there is a connection between them that they can sense; a hellfire knight can see another hellfire knight's Evil Brand as if they were an evil creature.
NPC Reactions: Fear, whether deserved or not, is the most common response to the presence of a hellfire knight. To the uneducated observer, a hellfire knight during an infernal surge looks a great deal like a fiend, and so hellfire knights often refrain from using their powers in populated areas so as to not attract attention.
Hellfire Knight Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (the planes) can research hellfire knights to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|5||Hellfire knights are beings who have the ability to channel energy from the Lower Planes into hellfire.|
|10||The hellfire knight's transormation is called an "infernal surge", and grants tremendous power for a short period of time.|
|15||A hellfire knight constantly takes damage during an infernal surge as his own hellfire threatens to consume him.|
|20||Some of the first hellfire knights are believed to have been direct descendants of Mephistopheles, Lord of Hellfire.|
Hellfire Knights in the Game
A hellfire knight can fill a variety of roles. As a power-hungry villain, a hellfire knight could seek to sow destruction in a world that he believes he has surpassed by accepting the power of the fiends. On the other hand, a more good-bent hellfire knight can be an anti-hero style avenger who uses his powers to root out evil in order to make the best of his "curse".
Adaptation: Since most campaigns have some equivalent to the Lower Planes, adaptation of the hellfire knight is simple. Hellfire knights can be decsendants of a powerful fiend, or those who sold their souls for infernal power.
Sample Encounter: <-DM placement for NPCs of this class.->.
EL whatever: <-Encounter scenario and character info on sample NPC including stat block. The CR of the NPC is typically the same as the EL for the encounter.->.