Thursday, April 18, 2013

Something Wicked: The Cultist Class & Summon Demonic Servant power

Hit Dice: 1d6+1 (+2 hp per level after 9th level.)
Armor: Light or Medium armor, no shields.
Weapons: Club, Crossbow, Dagger, Mace, Shortsword
Skills: Cultists are skilled at feats of endurance and influence, disguise, local lore, religious lore, and stealth.
Alignment: Cultists must be Neutral or Chaotic.

Class Features
Ritual Support (1st): The cultist can add this number to the Summon Minion roll of a cultist of higher level.  A cultist cannot summon their own minions while supporting another.

Summon Minion (1st): Cultists have the ability to summon an other-dimensional minion of their patron.  This ability can be used at will, but each successive summoning after the first in a day inflicts a -2 penalty to the cultist’s duration and summoning rolls. The cultist must roll a saving throw to dismiss a demonic servant before its duration expires; on a failed save, the demonic servant remains until the end of its duration, but turns on and attacks the cultist. A cultist cannot summon another servant without dismissing the first, except as noted below.

To summon a cult minion, the cultist rolls 2d6 to determine how many rounds the cult minion will remain. The cultists then makes a summoning roll on 2d8 and checks the result on the table below, first finding their level reading down to find the result equal or less than their summoning roll, and then reading across to find the total Challenge Level of the summoned creature. A result of 0 or less on the final result (2d8 + modifiers) means the summoning fails.

A demonic servant has HD equal to its Challenge Level, an Armor Class bonus equal to its HD, and a move speed of 12 [30’]. Attack bonus and saving throw as a monster of the same HD.  The demonic servant has two attacks, which each inflict 1d4 points of damage if the servant has 3HD or less, 1d6 damage if it has 7HD or less, and 1d8 damage if it has 8 or more Hit Dice.  The basic demonic servant has no special abilities, is of low intelligence, and never appears with equipment.

The cultist can chose to summon a weaker servant with special abilities.  Each patron has a number of special abilities that demonic servants can receive, and cultists can sometimes discover the secret to different, non-standard abilities.  The cost of the abilities is added onto the servant’s Challenge Level to determine the demonic servants’s total CL. A servant’s HD must be at least half of its CL, except as noted below.  A list of special abilities is given below. Other special abilities can be derived from existing monsters, subject to the Referee’s judgment.

If the cultist chooses to summon a weaker creature than his roll allows, a result of † means the demonic servant has one extra +1 CL ability.  If the result is ‡, the servant has extra special abilities totaling +2 CL. If the result is £, the cultist can summon his level in demonic servants of that HD, all with a bonus +1 CL special ability (all minions have the same special ability).  If the result is Ω, the cultist can summon a horde of demonic servants: twice his level in minions of that HD, all with a bonus +1 CL special ability (all minions have the same special ability).

There is a small chance (no greater than 1% per HD) that an avatar of the patron chooses to manifest in place of the demonic servant.  The avatar automatically has 12 HD and +8 CL in special abilities.  The avatar requires at least 1HD per round in sacrifices to remain manifested, and it is not particularly picky about where the sacrifices come from. Cultists willingly sacrifice themselves to maintain the avatar; a newly manifested avatar typically consumes the essence of a cultist the first round it appears to gain enough power to last at least a few rounds (it can completely consume a willing sacrifice in a single round). This is one reason why more powerful cultists surround themselves with lesser followers at all times.

·         Lothqua the White is a 4th level cultist.  He rolls 2d6 for duration, and gets a 7, which isn’t bad.  He rolls 2d8 for his summoning roll, and gets a total of 13. Finding his level (5) on the top bar and reading down, he finds he can summon a CL 5 demonic servant, which is pretty good.  (Lothqua gets CL 6 on a result of 13 or greater; if the summoning roll had been 16, he could have a CL 7 creature.)  Lothqua decides to keep things simple, and summons a basic CL 6 demonic servant (6 HD, 4 [15] AC, two attacks at +6 to hit and 1d6 damage, 11 save). The demonic servant appears at the beginning of the next round and remains for 7 rounds before disappearing.

·         Lothqua needs to summon another demonic servant later that day.  He’s already summoned one, so his duration and summoning rolls both have a -2 penalty.  He rolls 2d6-2 for the duration and gets a final result of 4.  He rolls 2d8-2 for summoning, and gets a total of 14 – the highest he can get with a -2 penalty! This time he needs something sneaky, so he opts for a 3HD demonic servant and three +1 CL special abilities: Improved Duration (which increases the duration to 8 rounds); a spell-like power (invisibility), and a special movement power (moving silently). He couldn't lower the HD any further, because HD must be at least half of CL, and his next attempt will have a -4 penalty to duration and summoning.

·         Aykol Adzurum is the 12th level high cultist of Malis, the patron of lies and deception.  He summons a demonic servant and gets a duration of 5 and a summoning roll of 12, easily good enough for a CL 12 demonic servant.  He could also take a 10HD servant with +2 CL of special abilities; a 9 HD servant with +4 CL of special abilities (9HD + 3 CL = 12, +1 CL bonus because of the † result); a 7 HD servant with +6 CL of special abilities (7HD + 5 CL = 12, +2 CL bonus due to the ‡ result); twelve 4 HD demonic servants with a single special ability, or twenty-four 1 HD demonic servants with a +1 CL special ability.

EDIT: 12:18pm, April 19 2013 - I fixed the numbers and math on the examples; Lothqua had gotten a CL 5 servant, but I gave him a CL 6 one instead.  So I bumped his roll up to match the example.  It's Lothqua's lucky day. Maybe there will be cake.


  1. If you keep writing good stuff like this, i'm gonna have to quit blogging and just read your blog and nobody elses. STOP.

    Or continue, I will be just as happy. Awesome class. I think I want to use it in my Ganth Campaign to replace "Chaotic" Clerics...


  2. This is really cool. Looking forward to seeing what else you do here.

  3. I presume the initiate ability means they can induct new cult members. I'm not sure what specific game effect this would have.

    I also assume 'establish shrine' is similar to a clerical stronghold.

    In what ways are cultists skilled at feats of endurance and influence, disguise, local lore, religious lore, and stealth?


    1. Initiate means the cultist gains a 2nd-level cultist as a henchman. It's precursor to "establish shrine" (which is similar to a clerical stronghold)
      If you use a skill system, cultists are skilled (have as a class skill) whatever relates to the categories listed. They are purposefully broad and generic.

      If you look at some of the other classes, you'll see everyone gets a follower at 7th and a stronghold sort of thing at 9th - except the barbarians, who get hordes. I think.

  4. Oh yes, and what spell list?

    1. Use the cleric, and throw in a few evil-sort of spells.

      I just went back and looked, and I could have sworn I put a disclaimer at the beginning that this wasn't finished - but apparently I didn't. Sorry. An official spell list is in the works.

  5. Replies
    1. The class should be equivalent to the cleric, though, so you can use the cleric XP chart.
      I don't use XP, and when I do, I use a single chart (3e style). Most of the OSR games have slightly different XP progressions, so I just leave it off and let people decide.

    2. Cool; cleric xp was what I had planned to fall back on.