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View Full Version : Marchosias, Duke of Humility [Mature BBEG]



Witch
2008-01-02, 05:35 PM
This flavor was written in the Dicefreaks Cosmos. Any references you do not get likely originated there. However, this devil should be useable in another, more official cosmology with little difficulty.

Incidentally, my avatar is a drawing of this entity - credits to Dialexis.

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"Oh, that we might be spared;
I to inflict,
And thou to suffer!"

Phlegethos is filled with those who enjoy inflicting pain, both physically and mentally. Its inhabitants specialize themselves in the inflicting of the gravest harm that can be achieved without outright killing their victims. Some of these tormentors wallow in the suffering of their inferiors or prisoners, while others do so in reponse to being abused themselves in most cases, both reasons coincide. There is another reason why one might want to inflict suffering, however: by torturing a being, one humiliates it, both to itself and to onlookers. This is the domain of Marchosias, the Duke of Humility, also known as the Fire of Shame.

In ages past, the planetar Marchosias was assigned to just punishment of those who dared summon fiends to the Mortal Coil. It dawned upon him that he was always late; always, the vile act had already occured. Punishment meant little after the fact it was no deterrence for those who considered themselves powerful enough to come out on the better side of an agreement with Hell itself. After all, if even the vile torments of Perdition cannot hold one back, what good could the threat of imprisonment do? Marchosias realized that he should not punish these wicked people after they had succeeded in their plans. Rather, they should be prevented from ever doing it, from ever attempting it. It was fairly simple to do this: he would simply need to make examples of those he suspected of fiendish associations. It began with simple public declarations of his suspicions, but quickly, it grew more and more serious. Before the eyes of their entire community, he stripped people both guilty and innocent of clothes, property and respect, denouncing them as no diffferent from the fiends they supposedly associated with. Even public torture became commonplace, leaving offenders branded with symbols denoting their supposed depravity. Realizing the errors of his masters more and more, Marchosias gladly answered the call of Eblis and Beelzebul, following them in the Great War of Heaven, and hence in the Great Fall, which left him among the weakest of his compatriots.

Ages after that, Marchosias dwelled throughout Hell purposeless. His sole sense of meaning in existence had faded as he had come to be one with his foes; nevertheless, the mental and physical agonies that he inflicted on them brought him a hollow, shallow memory of the joy he once knew in Heaven. However, arbitrary torture is frowned upon in Perdition, to say the least. As such, the Fire of Shame sought for excuses, and found them in the overinterpretation of slight negligences, in perceived inhumility towards superiors and order itself. Excuse swiftly became justification. Justification evolved to be rationalization, and that eventually came to be the duke's motivation. Over the eons, the planetar specialized himself in the most humiliating punishments, rather than those inflicting the greatest physical pain (though horrid pains are still to be expected when suffering under Marchosias' attentions). Unlike some other devils, the great majority of these sessions were (and still are) held in public, for all to see, so that respect for the victim fades away into nothing. Thus, almost always, he has been able to pose himself as the best possible candidate for an available office an office which was sometimes only vacant after one of the planetar's sessions. After a mere few millennia, he had risen as high as current politics allowed him to: he had been granted the office of Duke of Hell.

The Duke of Humility always holds a goal in mind when tormenting others. His abuses are never pointless; there is always a reason, for pointless suffering holds no value. If it is possible, multiple aims are fulfilled at the same time. Those who take part in one of Marchosias' ordeals often have their reputation weakened, if not destroyed utterly. Those who see or hear of what happened take a step back from recent victims, fearful of being a victim themselves. As word spreads, such withdrawals have often politically isolated Marchosias' enemies. It is ironic that such actions have rendered the Fire of Shame politically isolated himself, a few exceptions aside. Almost none dare associate themselves with Marchosias, fearing the ire of the incredible amount of enemies he has gained over the ages. The Duke of Humility even considers the Lady Fierana deserving of his loathing. In fact, some have interpreted his latest moves as suggesting an ongoing plot to discredit the Lady of Lust and her lover. In fact, if there is such a plot, it is aimed solely at Gazra alone. Marchosias dares not offer any true resistance to Fierana; at most, he exerts his powers upon her minions with the most minor excuse in petty eruptions of frustration.

After all, attempting to openly revolt against Fierana would quickly result in his demotion, or even his destruction (which he may even prefer above the former). The Master of Pains and Suffering would not permit his puppet ruler of Phlegethos to be overtaken although what might be called Marchosias' crusade against Gazra pleases him. Still, he considers the Fire of Shame as useful (and powerful) a tool as any other duke; nevertheless, the Lord of the Fourth is more than wise enough to realize that every tool can be put to better or worse uses. Aiming a valuable inquisitor as Marchosias mostly at spreading his portfolio across the Mortal Coil would be far less efficient than focusing his attention at maintaining order in Phlegethos. As such, he generally uses the Duke of Humility to ensure his servants know their exact position: far, far below that of the Lord of the Fourth. These errands for Belial have not decreased general hatred for the duke by any significant amount. The realization that his actions are ordered by another detracts little from the fact that the planetar practiced these methods long before he arrived at this position, let alone the obvious joy Marchosias feels as he publicly rapes nobles of Hell. Rather than granting him respect in the eyes of his peers or even inferiors, his service to Belial has granted him mockery. His many enemies have come to call him Belial's Hound, a duke with no power of his own, a mere extension of his Lord's will. It is folly, ofcourse, to think that this is limited to Marchosias alone as he realizes all too well. All lords of Phlegethos are tools, and those below them are their tools once more. In honoration of this relationship, the Fire of Shame has adapted this offensive term into one he carries with honor: Belial's Hand. The official title his task carries with him sounds less impressive Marchosias is the High Inquisitor of Phlegethos. This form of address may remind of the Dark Ministry's Branch of Truth, an institution to which the Duke of Humility indeed has some connections, even though the title Belial awarded him has no meaning within the military organization of the Ministry. Marchosias' involvement with the Branch of Truth is more subtle. With respects to his function as High Inquisitor, the Fire of Shame has made arrangements with Vhesage that allow him to access a percentage of the branch's troops throughout all domains on the layer. Obviously, the Scourge does not make such concessions or agreements without any gain. One of the agreement's main points involves Marchosias serving as an educator towards prospective dread inquisitors although Vhesage is known to utilize Marchosias' nobles as moles at times when she distrusts giving a matter out of hands to the Denomination of Espionage. Nevertheless, though as justification, these concessions seem appropriate, they do not suffice as motivations for the governor of Malsheem to initiate the agreement. Some suspect pressure from Belial, but more likely is the personal distrust Vhesage carries with regards to Gazra, her equal in the Ministry. Though she is personally prevented from investigating the situation, the general believes that some investigation may happen even without her orders, if she allows one of his greatest opponents access to such an amount of resources.

In any case, it is certain that this function has awarded Marchosias with a despicable and frightful reputation and, appropriately, has extended the latter part of this reputation towards his master. Some suspect that the Fire of Shame's hatred of Gazra is Belial's doing. After all, degrading the pit fiend and stripping him from his position of power would reduce the small power base that is truly Fierana's own. Marchosias on the other hand cares little if his master was the originator of such a goal: even should these speculations prove false, the Duke of Humility would not be motivated any less to dispose of the hateful fiend, and perhaps usurp some of his influence. Beyond this, Marchosias' attempts at increasing his sphere of influence by approaching the very limits of what his function allows him, often include infringement on another's domain, or imprisoning another's servants (whether noble or otherwize). Even though such attempts fail occassionally, resulting in embarassment for the High Inquisitor, most Dukes of Phlegethos have broke all associations with Marchosias, except for one notable exception: Carniveau. It is not that Marchosias values the Duke of Purity's for personal influences or alliances; rather, the arrangement goes the other way. Given that Marchosias almost cannot interfere with Carniveau's realm, due to the incredible control that duke exerts over the body, he is the only of Marchosias' equals that can still associate with him. This situation expresses clearly a similarity between the two's portfolios; as such, the pair has often worked together with satisfaction.

Some speculate that Marchosias craves to return to the Heavens from whence he fell, believing that he has never truly fallen from good. This is not too far from the truth: in fact, the duke is tormented in an everlasting duplicity. He realizes very well how low he has sunk, the depravities to which he has given in. However, though a desire for return fills all his heart, his actions condemn him utterly. He is bound to what he is and does, as firmly as any devil: though he would be willing to renounce his portfolio, to renounce ever humiliating any other being for his own wellfare, he is not willing, not even able to ever submit himself to the powers that cast him out of the Heavens ages ago. So deeply has he become one with humiliation itself, that he realizes its torments all the well: the degradation of bowing to these victors, who would bestow upon him pity, is all too high a price.

It is to be noted that, though Marchosias applies his arts equally among devils, fallen and mortals, there is a substantial difference in motivation. The duke still considers devils lowly creatures which must be brought to conformity, and which deserve punishment. It is diffent for mortals, however: It is oh so easy for them to renounce their former, vile ways, and be relegated to the eternal bliss of Heaven. The Fire of Shame both envies and hates them for this, for he knows he can never achieve this, even as his heart longs for it infinitely and this longing only amplifies Marchosias' efforts when dealing with mortals. Similarly, his envious hatred for other Fallen, who do not yet wallow in a depravity as vile as his own, and for whom redemption is not utterly out of reach, exceeds even his hatred for true devils.

The duke's arsenal of humiliating torture techniques is quite impressive. Any observers have been loathe to detail exactly what goes on at such sessions, considering the acts too vile to tell on, though those pushing for information are often told the victim's genitalia were involved. When the approach of Marchosias and his faithful pet Baltzegaurd a malicious maeelephant of considerable size and strength is noticed, nobles and onlookers tremble in fear of what is to come.


Marchosias' general appearance is an odd combination of humanoid, lupine and ox-like traits. His head is that of a red-haired wolf, his nostrils erupting in flame with every breath. Glowing yellow eyes highlight his terrifying gaze. A pair of great bovine horns stands proudly atop his head, surrounded with long, red hair, which reaches down his back about three feet. Marchosias' body is practically unadorned by clothing, revealing an impressive bulk. His arms, legs and torso are covered with suggestive patterns of red fur, which emphasize the obviously muscular build, the surface of which is gleaming as though Marchosias was sweating. Out of the duke's back erupt a pair of feathered, vulture-like wings, though their color has distorted over the ages into an agressive, almost brown dark red. Marchosias' private parts are hidden only by a loincloth held aloft by a belt covered with a pattern of symbols, both his and Belial's.

The duke is ashamed of his appearance, which he consideres a pale reflection of the majesty the Upper Planes represent. He dreads being seen in this disgusting form, and forbids all inferiors to even glance at him: it is widely known that to look upon the Fire of Shame directly earns his ire. All who are not at least Marchosias' equal in authority are to cast down their eyes in his passing. Even those who would speak to him are forbidden from lifting their eyes towards the duke. Ofcourse, such demands cannot be upheld when dealing with other dukes, or beings of even greater power, such as Fierana and Belial. As such, when in their presence, Marchosias wraps himself in a cloak, which covers even his face (the duke takes special care in order to ensure that his nose remains unseen). Belial tolerates these measures in public, allowing his servant to maintain great dignity where the rest of Phlegethos is concerned. However, during private audiences, the Lord of the Fourth demands Marchosias supplicate himself in all his nakedness, to Belial's feet, and indulge in the most humiliating carnal pleasures (some of which provide him with inspiration for his own public torments).

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Marchosias is a Fallen Planetar Duke of Hell with 28 HD, 10 scout levels and 10 Justiciar levels, and abilities to be listed below. If you play a lower level game, and would like to use him, use statistics for a solar and apply these abilities as well, possibly with smaller numbers.

Hound of Phlegethos (CsA):
Designated Target: By studying any creature for three rounds in a row (during which he can take other actions, although his attention must remain focused on that creature), Marchosias can designate it as a subject of the rest of his cosmic abilities. Marchosias can possess a maximum of three such targets at any one time. When he acquires another, he chooses which of the former three to relinquish.
Marchosias can track any such target with near infallible accuracy. He gains the Legendary Tracker feat when tracking his target and gains a +9 profane bonus on any Survival checks related to this effort. Marchosias is capable of tracking such a creature across the planes, with each plane the subject has passed through seperating him from his target Marchosias increasing the DC of his tracking checks by +5.
The Fire of Shame can choose to inflict lethal damage when using his Nonlethal Strike class ability against his designated targets. If a target is slain in this manner, it must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 total HD/class levels + Charisma mod) or have their soul trapped as per soul bind, with Marchosias acting as the receptacle. Such souls can be seen floating across the Duke's seething eyes. A bound soul can be forced free only by slaying Marchosias. Up to three souls can be imprisoned in this manner, and Marchosias may either free the target or move it into an appropriately designed vessel by merit of a ritual that takes ten minutes.




Hell's Inquisitor (Ex): A master of public embarassment, due to practicing the methods for millennia, Marchosias gains a +3 profane bonus on Intimidate. While actually torturing a creature, this bonus doubles. An Intimidate check in order to change other's attitudes made in conjunction with public torturing affects the entire audience. The Fire of Shame's tortures are so horrid that any creature who has ever seen one performed takes a -6 penalty on its opposed check against Marchosias' Intimidate checks. Any creature who has merely heard a description of one takes a -3 penalty instead. Marchosias may Intimidate creatures normally immune to fear, although they receive a +10 bonus on their opposed check.
When using the demoralize opponent option of the Intimidate skill, Marchosias can intimidate all opponents in a 30 foot radius who can see and hear him by taking a -10 penalty to his skill check.
Lastly, Marchosias gains an equivalent of the Stunning Fist feat an agonizing touch -, except that he may deliver this attack with any weapon, tool or as a touch attack. Furthermore, Marchosias agonizing touch can affect corporeal creatures normally immune to Stunning Fist, unless they are immune to critical hits, as the reason for the creature's stunned nature is their being wracked with pain. Creatures normally immune to Stunning Fist receive a +10 bonus on their Fortitude save.

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Hubris' Demise: this +6 axiomatic light mace of fiery power was a gift from Belial, forged specifically for Marchosias in the heat of the Lake of Fire and Brimstone. One end of the brand displays the symbol of Belial, while the other displays Marchosias' emblem. By making a touch attack, Marchosias may burn the symbol on a target's skin. Creatures immune to fire are not immune to the burning brand, as Belial has infused the weapon with his own cosmic power. This influence also makes it extremely difficult for branded victims to heal: to remove the emblem with magical means (and it cannot be removed at all without magic) requires a DC 49 caster level check. The mark is always visible: the flames burn through any clothing or armor that cover the wound (though this does not destroy these items). Marchosias himself may dismiss this effect at any time he chooses.
As a swift action, Marchosias may have a burning whip erupt from his brand, changing its base weapon statistics to those of a whip, although retaining its magical bonuses as normal. In this form, Marchosias may not brand other creatures.

Torture's Touch: This pair of gauntlets can be manipulated by Marchosias as easily as he would be able to manipulate his uncovered fingers. Aside from providing him with a +6 enhancement bonus to strength, they ensure that any attack he makes either with his hands, or a weapon held in them, sickens whoever he strikes as spasms of pain overtake them. Lastly, as a move action, Marchosias may open up a small gate to his personal armory or torture room, allowing him to pick up any of his weapons or torture instruments. At any location where astral travel is possible, Marchosias has access to these items. Anyone other than the Fire of Shame who attempts to use this ability is subject to a mutilating trap: the instance he puts his hand through the small gate that opens, the portal closes shut, ripping off the limb.

Hauberk of Eternal Pain: This +5 breastplate of heavy fortification continually glows red, eternally burning with the fires of Phlegethos, inviting those who wear it to take part in the agony it delivers. The wearer, as well as anyone grappling the wearer, takes 3d6 fire damage and 3d6 divine damage every round. Beyond this, the wearer is continuously under the effect of a symbol of pain spell. The Duke of Humility himself has grown used to these effects, and as such is excluded from both this effect and the damage - although the pain is still sufficient not to be forgotten. In fact, Marchosias is so accustomed to the armor that he ignores its arcane spell failure chance entirely. The everlasting reminder of the pain drives the Fire of Shame into ever deeper depths of sadistic glee, however, which makes him act as if he was continually under an effect similar to that of a sadism spell. For every 10 points of damage (whether lethal or nonlethal) Marchosias inflicts in a round, he receives a +1 bonus on saves, attacks and skill checks for the following round (maximum +6). Should ever a non-devil wear the hauberk, aside from the damaging effects, it also takes a -1 penalty (maximum -6) on these checks for every 10 points of damage it receives (although, unlike the damage the armor inflicts, Marchosias can choose for these penalties not to be inflicted on a given creature).



Modesty's Ward: This +5 animated tower shield was enchanted by Leonar in return for a number of services the Duke of Humility delivered for him. The shield is covered by a triple strength symbol of pain spell, with a save DC of 15 + the wearer's hit dice + the wearer's charisma modifier. Although Marchosias can cover the symbol, he often chooses not to do so, not making any exceptions as to whom the symbol affects (in cases of delicate interactions, however, he keeps the shield covered with a cloak.)

The Hound's Collar: Although he knows the title "Belial's Hound" to be intended as an insult to him, the Duke has avoided embarassment by assuming it willingly, ever keeping in mind the true meaning of the name. He sees the collar as the regalia of his office, along with Hubris' Demise. The collar, a glowing steel circlet to be snapped shut around his neck, empowers the Duke's defences against hostile attacks. It grants him a +6 resistance bonus to saves, as well as a +6 profane bonus. Additionally, the collar infuses him with the ability to hunt his prey even better than usual. He gains the Scent ability, with the additional provision of being able to physically smell whether a creature is good or evil, unless it has taken steps to cover its scent.

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*Credit to Mercucio, Selah, Dialexis, The Serge and many others for helping out.

Icewalker
2008-01-02, 06:21 PM
Didn't read the abilities at the end...didn't understand a lot of the Hell politics going on, as I don't know much of the different lords of Hell.


This is definitely very awesome though. Very awesome. I love the idea, it's just so horrible...

Also, a useful tip:

this: [hr]
Creates this:
[hr]
It's pretty handy.

Witch
2008-01-02, 07:01 PM
didn't understand a lot of the Hell politics going on, as I don't know much of the different lords of Hell.
The source I use on those (which attempts to basically combine effects from the three editions of D&D) is Gates of Hell. (http://www.prism.gatech.edu/~gth669h/TGoH/)


This is definitely very awesome though. Very awesome. I love the idea, it's just so horrible...

Also, a useful tip:

this: <hr>
Creates this:
<hr>
It's pretty handy.
Thanks for the compliment and the suggestion :)

TheLogman
2008-01-02, 09:42 PM
For the Hound's Collar, is it giving a total of +12 to saves? I think so, but it wasn't completely clear. Also, it's almost non-apparent that's he's evil. He seems more like an Inevitable, extracting justice as the Law deems fit. Also, what kind of devil is he? If you could indulge, stats please?

Magnor Criol
2008-01-03, 01:35 AM
This is very impressively thought-out. You've created a vivid, three-dimensional character who is at once loathsome and pitiable; Marchosias and his environment are detailed, vibrant, and enthralling. You've done an exceptional job at character creation here.

I'm afraid I'm not much help with balancing mechanics. But I can definitely tell you that you've got a winner with the fluff and story.

Witch
2008-01-03, 04:34 AM
For the Hound's Collar, is it giving a total of +12 to saves? I think so, but it wasn't completely clear.
Yes. It is. If you think that's high - at epic levels, a lot of boosts are required to keep your CR at roughly the same level. I'm still contemplating if Marchosias truly needs the boosts, though - most of the time, its non-monstrous characters that need the boost.


Also, it's almost non-apparent that's he's evil. He seems more like an Inevitable, extracting justice as the Law deems fit.
An inevitable? He takes joy in publically humiliating people and torturing them for hours upon hours for slights like "not casting down their eyes". Inevitables care about Justice. Marchosias, on the other hand, cares about a cheap caricature of it that allows him to justify the most horrid atrocities imaginable (but, obviously, graphic descriptions of them wouldn't be appropriate on this forum.)


Also, what kind of devil is he? If you could indulge, stats please?
I have partial stats, but I haven't gotten around to perfecting his ability scores yet, or his skills and feats.
My version is, as stated, a 28 HD Fallen (http://www.prism.gatech.edu/~gth669h/TGoH/TGoH4.pdf) Planetar Scout 10/Justiciar 10 Duke of Hell (http://www.prism.gatech.edu/~gth669h/TGoH/TGoH7.pdf).



This is very impressively thought-out. You've created a vivid, three-dimensional character who is at once loathsome and pitiable; Marchosias and his environment are detailed, vibrant, and enthralling. You've done an exceptional job at character creation here.

I'm afraid I'm not much help with balancing mechanics. But I can definitely tell you that you've got a winner with the fluff and story.
Thanks! Marchosias' current version is the result of a long process of refinement, of developing good ideas and removing bad ideas (often as pointed out by friends of mine). I'm glad you like it.