This is a continuation of a project begun by Sir_Chivalry, to fill out the Disciple classes from BoVD and to bring them up to speed. I was involved in flavour, while Drolyt was calling the power-level issues [i hesitate to call anything to do with the optimiser mindset balance]. As a continuation, I've refitted the Disciple of Mephistopheles from a shooty little devil to what is possibly the ultimate bastard ever to be created for D&D.
So, without further ado:
Disciple of Mephistopheles:
The arch-devil Mephistopheles is a treacherous user, dedicated to gaining as much power for himself for the minimum of investment. His tendency is to hand out power in small measures, though far more excessively than other devils tend to, in exchange for the permanent sacrifice of the bargainers' soul and a constant supply of devotion. As the contract of this sacrifice is purposefully full of loopholes, most Disciples spend their time in Mephistopheles' service honestly worshipping the source of their powers and trying to figure out a way of exploiting one of these loopholes and freeing himself.
As, for his part, the goal is to secure devotion to further a gambit towards godhood, Mephistopheles rarely cares if his charges manage to slip the loop, though they will lose their powers the moment the contract is null.
In order to become a Disciple of Mephistopheles, a character must meet the following requirements:
Spellcraft 5 ranks, Knowledge [The Planes] 5 ranks
Iron Will, Sacrificial Mastery
Must be able to cast 2nd level spells
If a Divine Caster, must possess at least one Domain from the following: Baator, Diabolic, Evil or Fire
In order to become a Disciple, a prospective candidate must attract the attention of a suitable devil by sacrificing a living, sentient being of at least 8 HD in a fire that burns with Helfire. The devil will materials as the screams die, at which point a contract of service may be negotiated. When the negotiation is complete [for this to not be entirely in Mephistopheles' favour, a DC 25 Diplomacy check is needed], the character's Iron Will feat is replaced with Brand of the Nine HellsFC2
. The character is now free to enter the Disciple class.
|The Contract, The Smallest Taste ||+1 level of existing class|
|Blood of Cania, The Least Trade ||+1 level of existing class|
|Coven ||+1 level of existing class|
|The Lesser Trade ||+1 level of existing class|
|Syn Dealer ||-|
|Living Loophole ||+1 level of existing class|
|The Greater Trade ||+1 level of existing class|
|Concentrated Syn ||+1 level of existing class|
|The Dark Trade ||+1 level of existing class|
|Tainted Apotheosis ||-|
Appraise [Int], Bluff [Cha], Decipher Script [Int], Diplomacy [Cha], Gather Information [Cha], Intimidate [Cha], Knowledge (All skills, taken individually) [Int], Sense Motive [Wis], Spellcraft [Int]
Skill points per level:
4 + Int
Weapon and Armour Proficiencies:
Discipleship provides no additional skill in weapons or armour.
At each level, the raw power of the Faustian bargain struck by the disciple infuses greater powers into the spellcaster. He gains spells known and spells per day, along with a caster level increase as if he had gained a level in a previously possessed class. If he had more than one spellcasting class prior to becoming a disciple, he must choose which to advance at each level.
On becoming a Disciple of Mephistopheles, the character signs a contract for power. This includes a stipulation of how many years the contract remains in effect and what actions can lengthen and shorten the time of the contract. If the character runs out of time or dies by any other means [breaking terms], his soul cannot be retrieved by any means below 16th level magic. The shortening effects are listed in the class features, while a basic list of extending qualities are listed below.
A newly invested disciple has a total of 7 years and a day of time before their debt is called; a total of 365 weeks in which to have their fun. These weeks are used as a countdown to reclamation and are reduced when certain powers are used, on every Sunday at midnight and if the character ever performs an act that benefits another more than it does him [in which case, he loses a week from his total].
- For every sacrifice of a sentient victim of good alignment and at least 10 HD, the Disciple's time is extended by a week [if no other sacrifice benefit is claimed].
- If a mission is undertaken at the behest of Mephistopheles himself, the character gains a number of weeks equal to the highest CR faced in the mission.
- If the disciple negotiates the contract of another disciple, he may remove up to 52 weeks from that lesser disciple's term. He must get the victim's permission to do this, but can make an unbelievable [+10 on Sense Motive] Bluff check to convince then that it's not in their detriment or even necessary to gain access to the class.
Keep track of the number of weeks spent in a given day and deduct them at midnight. Should the Disciple ever remove more than 10% of his weeks in a single day, the moment this occurs, he must make a DC 20 + Weeks spent Will save or Panic for 3d6 rounds as he realises how much he has shortened his life by.
The Smallest Taste [Sp]:
At their first level, a disciple gains their first gift of their sacrifice. They must instantly sacrifice two spell slots of the same level permanently, in exchange gaining an Eldritch Blast power that deals a number of d8s in damage equal to the level of the sacrificed spells. This ability is a spell-like one and can be used once per round as a standard action, at will. Spell resistance and the like applies, though no form of energy or damage resistance applies to this damage.
At any time, the Disciple may spend an hour and one week of his term to unbind these spell slots and then bind a new pair. This may be done for a number of reasons, though usually in order to take advantage of newly acquired, higher level slots, or perhaps a plan requires their highest level spell slots…
Blood of Cania [Ex]:
The power you draw from Mephistopheles is somewhat contaminating. Each time that you fail an attack roll against a foe or a foe passes a save against a spell or ability you possess, you gain a cumulative +1 bonus on attacks, damage rolls, save DCs and checks on aggressive skill uses. These modifiers disappear as soon as you successfully strike a target or a foe fails a save against one of your abilities.
For every +1 bonus you presently possess, you suffer a -1 penalty to defence; this disappears when you successfully affect a target with an attack or ability too.
(This is effectively Mark of Cania from Fiendish Codex 2, though retooled to be a little more internally consistant in effect. It counts as Mark of Cania for all purposes)
The Least Trade [Sp]:
At second level, the Disciple gains the ability to sacrifice power for greater power in a trade of life for power. They may choose to sacrifice a spell slot on a semi-permanent basis to gain access to a Least Invocation from the Warlock list. They may use this invocation as a Standard action at will.
At any time, as a free action, the disciple may choose to replace this invocation with another. Doing so costs the disciple a number of weeks form his contract equal to the equivalent spell level of the NEW invocation being chosen. If the new invocation's effective level is different from the previously sacrificed slot, the original slot becomes unbound, empty, and a new slot that is presently full must be sacrificed to the binding effects of the contract.
A simple trick for a disciple is to make a limited deal with a minion, granting them a taste of power and hopefully luring them into making a contract with Mephistopheles themselves [which you will, of course, take a brokerage fee from]. The coven consists of a number of NPCs whose level cannot exceed half the disciple's Diplomacy ranks and whose total number cannot exceed the sum of his stat bonuses. Note that if any of his allies reach 10 HD, they are generally more use to the disciple as a sacrifice than as a minion.
Once each week, the disciple may call a convocation and issue missions to his cultists, including accompanying him places. If so desired, he may grant abilities to some of his coven members; In doing so, he sacrifices a spell lot to the coven member, granting an Invocation of similar effective level or an Eldritch Blast as per the Smallest Taste with a number of dice equal to the spell level. Doing so costs weeks from his sentence as stated in the table below. Obviously the slot remains expended for the whole week:
|Ability Granted ||Cost [Weeks]|
|Eldritch Blast ||1|
|Least Invocation ||1|
|Lesser Invocation ||2|
|Greater Invocation ||3|
|Dark Invocation ||4|
A Disciple is allowed to take as many Coven members with him as he wishes wherever he goes but each member's actions count as his own: the more of them present in one place, the more likely it is that they will accidentally benefit another more than themselves. Note that helping other members of the coven is just as bad as helping outsiders. Granting powers in this way, is not considered helpful to the recipient, however.
The Lesser Trade [Sp]:
At fourth level, the disciple may accept a Lesser invocation in place of a spell slot with a level equal to the equivalent level of the invocation being bound [hence, a 4th equivalent level invocation requires a 4th level spell slot]. This ability otherwise functions identically to The Least Trade
Syn Dealer [Item Creation]:
The blood of a disciple slowly twists into something more akin to ichor. When injected into another, it behaves as a highly addictive drug that twists their form and grants power. At a cost of 5 weeks of their contract, a fifth level disciple can extract some of their blood, creating a number of doses of Syn up to their level plus their Constitution modifier. Each dose of Syn requires the sacrifice of a spell slot that remains spent until the Syn is used or goes off.
When injected, Syn grants the Fiendish template to the recipient for a number of days equal to the spell slot expended in its making. Unused Syn does bad at the stroke of midnight on the following Sunday. Anyone injecting Syn into their blood must make a DC 10 + Class level + Con bonus, Fortitude save or become addicted to the Fiendish state [Moderate addiction]. While in withdrawl, victims lose all track of right and wrong, leaving them very willing servants if it means another dose. As might be expected, it being made from his blood, but the Disciple is immune to Syn.
Obviously, a Disciple must be careful how they use this ability, given its cost. It works best when the campaign is run mostly by higher level experts, aristocrats and commoners, things that groups of addicts can successfully kidnap, or if forcibly injected into higher level character or those able to become Disciples themselves.
If the disciple possesses the Brew Potion feat, he may spend 100xp to render doses permanent and free up the spell slot once more. This allows him to keep a smaller number of victims on the hook without expending additional weeks of his contract.
Living Loophole [Su]:
Whenever a disciple of Mephistopheles enters a contract, he does it on his own terms. As a result, by sixth level, he has an instinct for such things. He automatically sees a handful of ways of getting around the terms of the contract. In game terms, this means that the group stops and has a brainstorming session until they find a number of ways of exploiting the wording equal to the disciple's class level. The GM should be free in rewarding the most duplicitous ideas come up with as it furthers the story.
The Greater Trade [Sp]:
At seventh level, the disciple may accept a Greater invocation in place of a spell slot, as per The Least Trade
Concentrated Syn [Item Creation]:
At eighth level, the disciple learns the secret of concentrating his blood to make significantly stronger Syn. From now on, when he makes Syn, he may choose to sacrifice two additional weeks to transform a dose into Concentrated Syn. He may convert as much of a batch as he wishes in this manner. Rendering Concentrated Syn permanent costs 500xp.
Concentrated Syn functions much like normal Syn, but grants the Half Fiend template rather than Fiendish. Additionally, the visual changes are hidden by a limited Glammer until the recipient becomes angry, allowing them to pass for normal.
The Dark Trade [Sp]:
At ninth level, the disciple may accept a Dark invocation in place of a spell slot, as per The Least Trade
At tenth level, the disciple reaches a sort of exemplar status with the nature of Mephistopheles. He has created so many trap deals and suspect trades that his very nature is suspect and more than meets the eye. At this point, Mephistopheles has come to the conclusion that the disciple is more profitable on the prime than as a damned soul and has extended a new contract, still limiting but far more amusing from the disciple's point of view.
As a ritual that takes an hour, the disciple may make a Faustian pact with another character. Doing so costs the recipient their soul [which goes to Mephistopheles] and they are granted between one year and seven to enjoy it, depending on the work required to achieve it. The disciple fulfils this contract by granting a Wish [if using the Feanmerc epic spells variant, up to a 15th level wish] and possibly granting the powers [but not the HD or anything other than class features] of a 5th level warlock to the recipient. Enacting this Wish costs the disciple ten weeks from his time remaining [Mephistopheles' patience is less than considerable].
This wish is always enacted to grant something that is inarguably what was wished for but never what was intended. The reason for this is not so much sadism as selfishness on the part of the granter. Each time the recipient of the deal performs an evil action, the disciple's time is extended by one week; as a result, everything they grant with this power is designed to force the recipient to perform acts of evil. The most important proviso is that if the results of the pact are ever turned on the disciple, they unravel: powers cease to function, guards mutiny and the pact maker's gold is suddenly found to be suspect.
A disciple can sustain a number of wish effects at a time equal to this Constitution modifier, though he could have more pacts in place if he can swing it. For instance, he could make a pact with a freedom fighter to create a utopia once the tyrant he created previously is dead; in this case, the wish is not granted until the tyrant is dead but everything the freedom fighter does in the pursuit of this goal count towards his evil rewards. Once the tyrant is dead, he would, of course, be obliged to grant the wish if he wanted to keep the pact going [and why wouldn't he?].
This class would make a campaign where it's played as a PC class somewhat skewif; while powerful in itself, its main ability it so mess with the setting. Its going to dominate play-time with its constant quests, captures, deals and plots but on the other hand, it can be the driving force behind a campaign.
On the other hand, for people like me, who don't like the idea of a villain just having abilities by caveat, its a goldmine.
Now, Drolyt, if you would be so kind...