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Power from the Pit: Crimson Cadaver’s Guide to Demonic Obedience and the Demoniac


Advice


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Hi everyone! My name is Crimson Cadaver, and I've been a lurker on these forums for about three years now.

Recently, I've felt the need to give something back to the community - the Demoniac has always been one of my favorite Prestige Classes, and I noticed that no one had made a guide for it yet in the seven years it's been around.

Because of that, I have decided to throw my hat into the ring and give this guide-writing thing a go.

Link.

Feedback and suggestions for this guide would be greatly appreciated, as I have plans to make a few more like it in the future.

Thank you, and have a nice day.


Hey, Crimson Cadaver! Welcome to the wonderful world of guides. And you've done a good one, so congratulations! Here are a few comments.

-- Trivia: this class was formerly the Demonic Initiate back in 3.5.

-- Your demonic mark lets you recast any spell once/day, but this time with the chaos and evil descriptor. Note that there are a number of traits, feats and items that build on this. For instance, there's the Maleficium feat chain from Champions of Corruption:

Quote:

Maleficium (Damnation)

You are a master of dark magic.

Benefit: You cast spells with the evil descriptor with increased potency.

One Damnation Feat: Add 1 to the DCs of all saving throws against spells with the evil descriptor that you cast.

Two Damnation Feats: When you apply a metamagic feat to a spell with the evil descriptor, that spell takes up a spell slot 1 level lower than normal (to a minimum of 1 level above the spell’s actual level).

Three Damnation Feats: Add 1 to the DCs of all saving throws against spells with the evil descriptor that you cast. This bonus stacks with the earlier benefits of this feat.

Four Damnation Feats: Treat your caster level as being 2 higher for all level-dependent effects of spells with the evil descriptor that you cast.

There's also the Dark Magic Affinity trait (tieflings only, +1 ECL on evil spells), the Orb of Foul Abaddon (same), and so forth.

-- So the succubus and the babaus.

Digression -- short rant about PrC design:
Paizo had this annoying thing they did with most of their early PrCs: at level X of the PrC, they would give you a fixed ability (like summoning a particular creature) that would not scale with level. This was doubly annoying because (1) it forced characters towards a rigid "you MUST enter this PrC as soon as possible or you won't get the full benefits" build, and (2) the ability would usually become useless after a couple of levels. To add insult to injury, a few years back one of the Paizo designers stood up at a con and delivered a talk where he used this as one of the justifications for PrCs being a bad/outdated feature of the game. No, dude -- that doesn't mean PrCs are bad design concept, it means you're bad at designing PrCs. Paizo has gotten somewhat better at this, but there's still an ambivalence about PrCs in the design team, and this annoying non-scaling class ability thing still pops up all too often.

Anyway! Don't mind me. The succubus and the babaus, right. A thing that's unclear is whether you can use metamagic (specifically, Extend Spell) on these. That's relevant because succubi and babaus both get better if they can hang around longer. Babaus are scouts and assassins. Succubi are spies and manipulators. If you only have 12 rounds or whatever, that's not a lot of time for them to work. Still, the babaus do make fine flank buddies, even at high levels, and the succubus' ability to fly plus her suite of high-DC SLAs will keep her useful for a while. If you're going to be doing a lot of summoning, consider Academae Graduate or the Sacred Summons feat. (SS is normally kinda useless, but it'll work with your demons. Acadamae Graduate can leave you fatigued until you're able to acquire a Cord of Stubborn Resolve.)

-- So Energumen. This encourages save-or-suck spell builds, and also investing in Spell Penetration (because nothing is more annoying than throwing a great SOS with a high DC and then watching it bounce off SR). It also has other uses, including a barbarian-like temporary boost to Str in melee, temporary hit points (bump your Con as a free action) and emergency AC bonus.

The big negative is the Confusion effect. DC 25 is pretty brutal even for classes with strong Will. Annoyingly, the Demoniac class itself emphasizes Fort and has a weak Will save. Well, okay: your base class is going to be strong Will, meaning that at 7th level you'll have +5 and another +2 for Iron Will plus probably a cloak of resistance or something. If you're not a Wis-based caster, keep your Will at minimum 12 anyway (it's just good to have good Will and Perception), so you'll start at +8 to +10. Seriously consider throwing a feat at Improved Iron Will -- it's a decent feat anyway and this really improves your chances of making the save. Invest in Wis- and save-boosting items. Note that it's never a bad thing to have one PC in the party who has a sky-high Will save -- when everyone else is following the siren's song off a cliff or whatever, it's good to have one guy who resists the enchantment and sees through the illusion. Even if that one guy is a chaotic evil maniac sworn to the service of the Abyss.

Anyway: yeah, a wand of Protection from Evil is an important early investment. Give it to another party member who can use it, and have them zap you on the initiative after Energumen wears off. (Doing it yourself is less good, because it means you lose the last round of Energumen.) If you don't trust your fellow PCs -- and, um, if they're chaotic evil too, then maybe not -- consider investing in an improved familiar or Leadership. Worst case scenario, I believe there's a trait somewhere that gives you +10 on your d100 Confusion roll.

-- Note that this is a somewhat feat-hungry PrC. You need Demoniac Obedience and Iron Will to enter, then you really should take Favored Prestige Class and Prestigious Caster. Add any one of Improved Iron Will or Leadership or Spell Penetration and bam, that's your first five feat slots gone. Not necessarily a bad thing, but players who love fiddling with elaborate feat chains should be warned off. If you're going for the Maleficium damnation feat chain, start as early as you can.

-- Just for fun, here's a demoniac NPC from an old campaign of mine. Good times, Father Joe. Good times.

Anyway, a fine Guide. Congratulations on the good work!

cheers,

Doug M.


Thank you very much, Doug. This is just the sort of reply I was hoping for.

I will likely incorporate a lot of what you've said into the guide - I remember reading about your Demoniac builds in the past, and they are part of the inspiration for this guide as they proved this PrC could work.

Emphasis on "could"; I agree that this PrC, as well as some of the other older ones, are a bit janky to work with. I find that part of the charm, though.

Also, I had completely forgotten about the Damnation Feats.

(Bad demon worshiper, bad.)

But yeah, thank you very much for your feedback. I appreciate the positive reception, and I will continue to update and polish this guide as time goes on - though I'm already itching to start my next one.


Going by Archives of Nethys, Flauros says nothing about the creature being intelligent ("Burn a valuable nonmagical object (something worth at least 100 gp) or any living creature as an offering and eat the ashes"). Burning an insect every day then eating the ashes isn't hard.

Depending on how the "or" works burning a valuable object could be easy. If it's "burn a expensive object" or "burn a creature and eat the ashes" and not "burn a creature or expensive object" "then eat the ashes of what you burned" just get an object that is supposed to burn and suffers no real damage from it (a fancy pan or incense burner can be reused daily and nobody will think it odd)

edit: Mending/Make Whole also works to generate ashes of expensive stuff without losing WBL

edit 2: Lamashtu is also easier than you make it out to be, though still obnoxious. While you need something with bones, young rats aren't hard to find in a city.

Dark Archive

deuxhero wrote:
Going by Archives of Nethys, Flauros says nothing about the creature being intelligent ("Burn a valuable nonmagical object (something worth at least 100 gp) or any living creature as an offering and eat the ashes").

Bag of rats, friend. Bag of rats.


Energumen:
I don't know if the this prestige class would make sense on a warpriest but Lamashtu Shivaska, Sifkesh and Zura can take madness blessing.

The major madness blessing allows you to suspend all confusion in the area as a swift action allowing you to cast a standard action spell that clears the condition permanently or make sure you are not afflicted for a couple of minutes when the energumen has already cleared

On polishing the guide: There is very nice indie turnbased strategy game called Solium infermum from a company called cryptic comet that has a lot of beautiful "demonic" art, it's a one person company I think. If you like the art maybe the owner lets he use it by permission as promo for the game.


Mestama's second boon is weird. Remember: Boons are temporary and only last as long as you can keep preforming the ritual. Do you return to your original age (and life?) at the end?

edit: Zura's obedience is easily accomplished with a class feature minion (like a familiar).


Whoops: found the magic item that makes Energumen work for you. It's the Padma Blossom.

The Padma Blossom wrote:

Aura faint abjuration and enchantment; CL 3rd;

Slot none; Price 8,000 gp; Weight —.

DESCRIPTION

This perfect lotus flower formed from pink jade offers purity of mind and spiritual calm. While grasped, the blossom grants its holder a +3 competence bonus on Concentration checks and suppresses the following on its holder: morale bonuses, fear effects, and the confused, dazed, or stunned conditions. Twice per day, the bearer can cast calm emotions.

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS

Craft Wondrous Item, calm emotions, remove fear; Cost 4,000 gp.

That's from the 2011 module _Cult of the Ebon Destroyer_, and frankly I think it's kinda OP for the price. Perhaps they thought it was balanced because it shut down morale bonuses too? But anyway, there you go -- pick up one of these babies, if your DM will allow it, and your Confusion issues go away.

Doug M.


I was hoping someone would make a write-up about these feats sooner or later. Great work!

Personally, I'm partial to Shax's boons. Not only does he grant or possibly even up your sneak attack as a capstone, but his second boon grants you an ability thay works marvelously with the Holy Vindicator PrC. It might not have been the intended use, but turning the classes' Stigmata ability's one drawback into fast healing is functionally funny.

And speaking of Mazmezz, I just built a brawler with the strangler archetype that took her demonic obedience: thanks to her granting Vermin Shape II as an SLA, and considering the fact that many vermin on the list have the grab ability, this is a powerful ability to have.

I do have a few questions though:


  • If a Knife Master Rogue takes Shax's third boon, do the +3d6 sneak attack die turn into d8's?
  • On a completely unrelated note, how do you feel about the nascent demon lords? While they only offer SLA's, aome of them can be pretty powerful.
  • Also, have you thought about covering the sacred weapons and domains/subdomains of each lord? For clerics, inquisitors and warpriests, these would help with selecting the right lord to worship.


First of all, thanks to everyone for all the great feedback. I’ve read through it all, and have now updated the guide to version 2.0!

2.0 Changelog:
Changes:
- Added Feats and Traits section under Demoniac
- \ Added the Damnation Feat Chain + Dark Magic Affinity
- Mentioned potential loophole in Flauros’ Obedience (Incense + Mending/Make Whole)
- Mentioned that you could carry around the required creatures for Lamashtu’s Obedience
- Mentioned that you could potentially complete Zura’s Obedience with the help of a Familiar or Animal Companion
- Mentioned under Warpriest entry about utilizing the Madness Blessing to clear up Energumen
- Added Items section under Demoniac
- \ Added the Orb of Foul Abaddon + the Padma Blossom

Bugfixes:
- Edited Flauros’ entry to properly state that you don’t have to use intelligent creatures in the sacrifice.
- \ As a result of this, Flauros has now become Orange/Green (up from Orange)
- Mentioned the inconsistencies with Mestama’s second Boon.

Now to reply to some feedback:

deuxhero wrote:
Lots of useful stuff

Thank you for your suggestions, deuxhero. I have incorporated them into the guide – I especially appreciate the fact checking on Flauros. Because of your suggestions and feedback, he’s gone up a colour.

Kris Verschaeve wrote:
The major madness blessing allows you to suspend all confusion in the area as a swift action allowing you to cast a standard action spell that clears the condition permanently or make sure you are not afflicted for a couple of minutes when the energumen has already cleared.

Nice catch. I had completely forgotten about the Confusion-based effects of the Madness Blessing, probably because most characters would have little use for them. For a Demoniac, though, it fits pretty well perfectly.

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Whoops: found the magic item that makes Energumen work for you. It's the Padma Blossom.

That item is a pretty sweet pickup for a lot of characters – particularly ones that have a tendency to get confused/feared on a regular basis. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Reduxist wrote:

I was hoping someone would make a write-up about these feats sooner or later. Great work!

Personally, I'm partial to Shax's boons. Not only does he grant or possibly even up your sneak attack as a capstone, but his second boon grants you an ability thay works marvelously with the Holy Vindicator PrC. It might not have been the intended use, but turning the classes' Stigmata ability's one drawback into fast healing is functionally funny.

Thank you for the kind words, and I agree: Shax was one of my favorite Demon Lords even before starting to write this guide.

I’ve never really touched the Holy Vindicator before, so I’ll have to get a better look at it. I always assumed it was something Paladin-related; from what I can tell with a cursory glance, it looks quite cool.

Reduxist wrote:
And speaking of Mazmezz, I just built a brawler with the strangler archetype that took her demonic obedience: thanks to her granting Vermin Shape II as an SLA, and considering the fact that many vermin on the list have the grab ability, this is a powerful ability to have.

That was one of the first builds I thought of when I was looking at Mazmezz’s bonuses. I’m also glad to hear of someone using Demonic Obedience “in the wild” – most of the builds I’ve seen posted here have been for NPCs.

*Demonic fist-bump*

Reduxist wrote:

I do have a few questions though:

- If a Knife Master Rogue takes Shax's third boon, do the +3d6 sneak attack die turn into d8's?
- On a completely unrelated note, how do you feel about the nascent demon lords? While they only offer SLA's, aome of them can be pretty powerful.
- Also, have you thought about covering the sacred weapons and domains/subdomains of each lord? For clerics, inquisitors and warpriests, these would help with selecting the right lord to worship.

- I have a feeling that that would be a GM by GM kind of thing. I would probably say that it does, but that’s mostly because I try to throw Rogues a bone.

- To me, none of them seem particularly powerful enough to warrant taking the feat in the first place, with the exception of the Nightripper (depending on whether or not “effects linked to slashing damage” includes attack/damage rolls or not), and maybe Shamira (on account of being pretty good all-around). I might add them at some point, but not right now.

- I thought about it, but I’ve decided for the time being to just leave them to the link to thePathfinder Community page about them.

Once again, thank you very much to everyone that has contributed to this guide so far. I really appreciate it.


I should have also asked; what do you feel about the extra summonsble monsters and bonus spells that some gods give? I know that Kabriri allows you to summon monsters such as shaitans and great ghuls with the fiendish template and Deskari can gove you access to a bunch of spells not on the cleric list, such as Acid Pit and the Vermin Shape spells. Should these be considered in the guide?

Also, I think Kabriri's DO is one of the best there is for a necromancer. Kabriri's second boon is incredible: Create Undead is often dangerous and expensive because you have to do a constant stream of charisma checks to keep it under your control. Here? It's an SLA, which means you don't have to pay a thing, and the feat explicitly says that the creature under your command follows your bidding without question. Apply it to things like Morghs, which create fast zombies under its control, which loops back to the morgh being under your control, and you can create a veritable undead army even without Animate Dead. That, or you could hitch a ride with a dullahan if you want to be practical. Oh, and if you want a different zombie following you around? No problem: if you use the boon again, the previous undead creation collapses harmlessly without any threat of repercussions. And that's not even touching the third boon, where you gain undead traits or if you are already undead, a huge bonus to charisma.

Dark Archive

Any plans to update this for the crazy stuff available in book of the damned? The original boons for every demon lord are now exalted boons, and evangelist and sentinel boons have been added.

Every single fighter willing to worship an evil god is going to worship Haagenti, and every single grappler willing to worship an evil god si going to worship Shivasta.....actually, tons of evil characters are going to worship shivasta, who's 3rd sentinel boon is arguably better than her original/exalted 3rd boon, which I remind you is 1/day time stop.

Edit: sorry, didn't notice the new disclaimer in the guide.


Craig Tierney wrote:

Any plans to update this for the crazy stuff available in book of the damned? The original boons for every demon lord are now exalted boons, and evangelist and sentinel boons have been added.

Every single fighter willing to worship an evil god is going to worship Haagenti, and every single grappler willing to worship an evil god si going to worship Shivasta.....actually, tons of evil characters are going to worship shivasta, who's 3rd sentinel boon is arguably better than her original/exalted 3rd boon, which I remind you is 1/day time stop.

Edit: sorry, didn't notice the new disclaimer in the guide.

No offense, but I still think Mazmezz has grappling hands-down; she offers Web Shot 3 times a day and Vermin Shape I once per day as her first evangelist boon, Vermin Shape II (which has grab, reach, web, and a whole bunch of other goodies) as her 2nd regular/exalted boon, and the ability to do strength drain with webs as her 3rd sentinel boon.

Sure, it’s three feats, but it synergizes really well and you don’t wait until 20th level to benefit from it!

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