Hellknights on the Town

Friday, September 20, 2019

Last week, we took our first big look at the Firebrands, a brand new organization premiering in the Lost Omens Character Guide (releasing in just a few weeks!). While new organizations are fun, people familiar with the Age of Lost Omens will have lots of classics to look forward to as well. Pathfinder has had plenty of iconic figures throughout its history including our iconic characters like Seelah and Valeros, as well as the Gray Maidens that featured on the back of the original Core Rulebook. Among some of these more memorable figures are the Hellknights, the imposing paragons of law.

The crest of the Hellknights, an imposing bladed symbol in red and black.

Illustration by Rogier van de Beek

The Hellknights are a widespread organization that spans the Inner Sea region, though many of its orders are located within Cheliax. At its core, the organization is dedicated to enforcing and upholding law and order. The Hellknights believe the letter of the law to be absolute and understand that without a commitment to law, the world is under threat of succumbing to the terrors of chaos and disorder.

An Order of the Rack Hellknight in a face-covering half helm and flowing blue rags wields a dangerous-looking whip.

Illustration by Maichol Quinto

Hellknights follow a massive set of laws and virtues known as the Measure and the Chain. The Measure collects all of the countless laws and strictures that make up the Hellknights’ code. These laws take inspiration from the structure and order of Hell itself, with many Hellknights seeing the order of Hell as something to aspire to and emulate. The Chain presents the Hellknights’ most important virtues: order, discipline, and mercilessness. Keeping these ideals in mind, the Hellknights seek out lawbreakers and those who threaten the stability of order, punishing them to the utmost extent of the law regardless of the crimes committed. Compassion of any kind leads to anarchy and, as all are guilty of some infraction, no mercy shall be spared for those who break the law.

A Godclaw Hellknight in gray plate armor covered in reddish blades holds a spiked flail in one hand and his helmet in the other.

Illustration by Maichol Quinto

Characters who want to become Hellknights will have to undergo rigorous training to even be considered for entrance into the Hellknights. This training is represented in the form of the Hellknight armiger archetype, originally found in the Lost Omens World Guide. Since every Hellknight has to be an armiger first, it’s a very important archetype for would-be Hellknights. In fact, it’s so important that we decided to expand on the archetype just a bit by providing new feats to support it! Once you go through the process of becoming an armiger, you are faced with the Hellknight Test in which you fight a devil in one on one combat. Succeed and you become a full-fledged Hellknight. Fail and you die. Pretty simple. Once you become a Hellknight, you have access to the Hellknight’s signature armor!

Hellknight Plate, Item 2. Uncommon, Bulwark. Price 35 gp; Usage worn armor; Bulk 4; AC Bonus +6; Dex Cap +0; Check Penalty –3; Speed Penalty –10 feet; Strength 18; Type Heavy; Group Plate. Few armors in the entire Inner Sea region are as memorable as the iconic Hellknight plate. While each order has their own flourishes, Hellknight plate is instantly recognizable to any who know of the Hellknights. Hellknights go to extreme measures to punish non-Hellknights who get their hands on Hellknight plate, and the reward is not usually worth the risk, as the armor is functionally similar to full plate.

The Hellknights are not a monolith. Though every Hellknight follows the Measure and the Chain, the organization is broken into several orders, each of which have a different focus. The Order of the Chain (who were the stars of a recent piece of fiction by Liane Merciel) are dedicated to tracking down criminals who have eluded the hand of the law, at least for the moment. The Order of the Pyre instead focuses on rooting out religions, philosophies, and scientific endeavors that could disrupt the status quo. The Hellknights have seven major orders, which are detailed in the book as well as several smaller orders that feature brief descriptions.

An Order of the Pyre Hellknight in spiked blue-gray armor raises a hand wreathed in blue glowing magical energy.

Illustration by Maichol Quinto

Characters that become members of the Hellknights must join one of these orders in order to become a full-fledged Hellknight. Because each order has a distinctive focus, we wanted to provide options to characters that better represent their affiliation with their respective orders. To that end, we created a new set of feats, Order Training and Advanced Order Training, to allow Hellknight characters to gain unique abilities that are only available to their order. Both of these feats are available to Hellknights, Hellknight Signifers, and Hellknight armigers, so you can access these abilities regardless of where you are along your career path. The Order Training feat gives you lesser abilities, like the Order of the Nail’s ability to ignore non-magical difficult terrain, while the Advanced Order Training gives greater power, like the blessing available to members of the Order of the Godclaw.

Order Training, Feat 8. Uncommon, Archetype. Prerequisites Hellknight Armiger Dedication. You gain the lesser order benefit that matches the Hellknight order to which you belong.
Blessing of the Five, Greater Benefit. Concentrate, Divine, Healing, Manipulate, Necromancy, Positive. Frequency once per day. You call out to the Godclaw to heal your allies. You cast the three-action version of heal, heightened to a level 1 lower than half your level rounded up. You can select up to four creatures in the area to remain unaffected by the spell. You can instead use this ability to bring a creature within 30 feet that has died within the last round back from the dead. If you do, the creature is restored to 1 hit point and is doomed 1 for 24 hours.

Unfortunately, we only had enough space to get order abilities for the seven major orders. If and when we get a chance to look at the Hellknights again (maybe in a book focused on Old Cheliax? Who knows! Let us know if you want that!) we will get a chance to expand further on the orders and provide new options. In addition to the above options, the book provides details on the various ranks among the Hellknights, such as Maralictor and Paralictor, as well as information on the Lictors of each of the Hellknight orders. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the biggest options available in this book: the Hellknight and Hellknight signifier archetypes!

An Order of the Gate Hellknight in a red cloak and hood, face hidden by a swirling magical vortex, raises one hand crackling with fiery magical energy.

Illustration by Maichol Quinto

Building off of the Hellknight armiger archetype, these two archetypes allow Hellknight characters to reach their full potential. Hellknights are fierce warriors clad in Hellknight armor and bringing about brutal justice wherever they go. Hellknights are the big, tough combatants among the organization and have different abilities to represent that, like the scaling of their proficiency in Hellknight plate and attacks like the Blade of Law.

Blade of Law, Feat 12. Archetype. Prerequisites Hellknight Dedication. You call upon the power of law and make a weapon or unarmed Strike against a foe you have witnessed breaking or disrespecting the law or otherwise acting disorderly. The Strike deals two extra weapon damage dice if the target of your Strike is chaotic. Whether or not the target is chaotic, you can choose to convert all the physical damage from the attack into lawful damage.

Hellknight signifers on the other hand are more focused on spellcasting. They typically provide support to other Hellknights on the battlefield, but are no less dangerous and dedicated than their fellow Hellknights. Signifers wear unique masks that in addition to being quite intimidating, also grant unique abilities. For example, with the Signifer’s Sigh feat you gain darkvision and lessen the effects of being dazzled, while Gaze of Veracity feat allows you to cast glimpse the truth as a focus spell.

Hellknight Signifer Dedication, Feat 6. Uncommon, Archetype, Dedication. Prerequisites spellcasting class feature, Hellknight Armiger Dedication, lawful alignment, member of a Hellknight order, passed the Hellknight Test. You have bolstered your force of will with the power of the Measure and the Chain. Upon initiation, you receive a signifier mask, often devoid of eyeholes or other decorative features. The mask doesn’t obscure your vision, though it makes it impossible for others to see your eyes. While wearing your signifer’s mask, you gain +1 circumstance bonus to Deception checks to Lie, Intimidation checks, and Deception DCs against Sense Motive. You gain expert proficiency in Intimidation (or in another skill in which you’re trained of your choice if you were already an expert in Intimidation) as well as in your choice of Arcana, Nature, Occultism, or Religion. Special: You cannot select another dedication feat until you have gained two other feats from the Hellknight signifer or Hellknight armiger archetypes.

If you’re looking to learn more about the Hellknights or even consider joining their ranks, make sure to read Amanda Hamon’s work in the Lost Omens Character Guide. If you like the idea of playing a knight, but prefer to focus more on saving the day and helping others rather than just brutally upholding the law, consider checking out our preview of the Knights of Lastwall next week! Either way, make sure to check out the Lost Omens Character Guide when it releases on October 16th. It’s a Hell of a treat!

Luis Loza
Developer

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Tags: Lost Omens Character Guide Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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Silver Crusade

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Art and support for Pike and Torrent please!!!!


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Rysky wrote:
Art and support for Pike and Torrent please!!!!

I too, would really enjoy details for the Order of the Torrent.


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If we’re talking about a Meta-Region book, I wanna get my voice out there for a Mwangi one!

Dark Archive

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Well all of this art is cool and rather haunting looking somehow ._.;


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Seriously -- Is there any meta-region for which the general response would be "Nah, don't bother"?

We might argue over priorities, but I think the general opinion is that we ultimately want them all, right?


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I feel bad for anyone wanting to make a hellknight as they’ll have to buy BOTH Lost Omen books.


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The art here is fantastic. That third hellknight with the fire in their hand looks like something out of dark souls (I mean that in a good way). Awesome work.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
I feel bad for anyone wanting to make a hellknight as they’ll have to buy BOTH Lost Omen books.

That's only really true for PFS as otherwise all of the info is online for free.


Chalk me up for wanting info and abilities for all the orders.


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Hmmm...is the Torrent still in Ravounel? That's something I'm wondering about.

Dark Archive

and what of the Scourge?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, how does wearing a helm that, "does not obscure your vision, though it makes it impossible for others to see your eyes" interact with gaze attacks?


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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber
VerBeeker wrote:
Hmmm...is the Torrent still in Ravounel? That's something I'm wondering about.

According to Tomorrow Must Burn, yes they are.


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Always more Hel’s ki.... I mean, Hellknight info!
Seriously though, I think they are fabulous. More info on everything please :)

Grand Lodge

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Wow love the artwork, can't wait for the book to come out.


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Hoping that Pike is supported, otherwise it's time to homebrew.


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This is all incredibly cool - lore, equipment, archetypes, feats, and art.

Yes...*ahem*..."Hell" yes...to a book on Old Cheliax.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder spoilers next week?


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Sounds like great content here, Hellknights really a core aspect of Inner Sea IMHO.
Personally, I don't like the presentation of them as a single broad organization so much,
IMHO it feels more interesting to explore conflicts, even siding with enemy states etc.
(which doesn't necessitate seeing opposing Orders as illegitimate, to the contrary)
Anti-Thrune Orders siding with Ravounel seems ripe with potential & contradictions...?

The mechanics sound great... an alternative to Champion for scaling Armor proficiency!?

Curious about some details though... It seems like Signifier Dedication gives Expert
in Arcana/Nature/Occultism/Religion with no requirement to already be Trained... Hmmm...?

I'm also dubious about Blade of Law able to convert ALL damage to Lawful (bypass any DR),
seems like the 1/2 the bonus damage should always be Lawful so both types are relevant?
I'm not sure if it would still count as "physical" damage despite not being B/S/P? Hmmm...

EDIT: Anybody know if Pure Legion (Rahadoum) will be one of organizations included in this product?
I'm curious to explore the different factions and philosophical "wings" of the Laws of Man,
what with all the ways for Sorcerors to cast divine spells (never mind divine ancestral spells, which isn't all new to 2e),
it seems clear a simplistic divine=cleric/godmagic line doesn't hold up to serious scrutiny,
so while maybe a hardliner faction would hew to that line, other more enlightened ones would accept that sort of thing,
even if they separately hold to rule against healing magic in order to prevent any potential attraction for clerics.
The blog on Magaambya also prodded my interest here, since the northernly drought-infested country could be Rahadoum(?).
Even if not, curious how they would treat Magaambya since they could be 'nondivine caster' casting normally divine spells.
Or just how they specifically deal with Druids, who aren't exactly God-followers either.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

So the firebrands are the chaotic organization, the Hellknights are lawful, and the knights of Lastwall are good. Who's evil? Is the Whispering Way getting a little louder?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
dcsid wrote:
So the firebrands are the chaotic organization, the Hellknights are lawful, and the knights of Lastwall are good. Who's evil? Is the Whispering Way getting a little louder?

Aspis Consortium comes to mind...


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Feros wrote:
dcsid wrote:
So the firebrands are the chaotic organization, the Hellknights are lawful, and the knights of Lastwall are good. Who's evil? Is the Whispering Way getting a little louder?
Aspis Consortium comes to mind...

I thought about that, but there's 2 problems. The first is that the Aspis Consortium operates from Cheliax, and I don't know if Paizo wants to focus on 2 major factions from that region in the same book (even if their presence is all over the world). The second is that a lot of members of the Aspis Consortium would probably fall under neutral alignments more than evil ones. They're opportunistic, not plotting to take over the world.


Don't forget Blackfire Adepts...


Quandary wrote:
I'm also dubious about Blade of Law able to convert ALL damage to Lawful (bypass any DR), seems like the 1/2 the bonus damage should always be Lawful so both types are relevant? I'm not sure if it would still count as "physical" damage despite not being B/S/P? Hmmm...

Remember that it's the same trick as Blade of Justice from Champion (and I'd assume the Sense Chaos mentioned on the stream is similar as well). I think it's probably still B/S/P, but lawful as well, so dodges things where it reduces non-lawful damage (like devils do for non-good damage). Not sure how many of those there are, but it's technically a factor.


Well, it seems a valid topic for FAQ/Errata, but "convert the physical damage... into lawful damage" to my ears doesn't sound like it is physical damage anymore, and since B/S/P are explicitly subset of physical just as much as cold/fire/electric are subset of energy damage and good/evil/lawful are subset of alignment damage, it's hard to see how B/S/P are still in play after converting physical to lawful damage. Maybe that is the intent, but total (yet optional) removal of physicality (while still using weapon dice premised on physical difference) didn't strike me as inherent to the concept, which is why I flagged it.

What you describe sounds like what would apply if it made damage ALSO count as Lawful (not converting), although I think 2E approach would prefer to convert 1/2 of all damage to Lawful (or just bonus dice, or part of them) for similar effect... in that any physical or Lawful resistances would apply, as would any physical or Lawful vulnerabilities.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

From the last line of the feat, I'm guessing it's only the extra 2 dice you convert to Lawful.


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^ Yeah, but that would need to read like ~"You can convert the extra damage into Lawful" not "You can convert the physical damage from the attack..." since the latter necessarily includes the normal weapon strike damage plus the ability's extra damage. But it's close enough that I can definitely believe that was intention (to only convert extra damage).


So there's no way for someone to pass The Test, and become a full Hellknight/Signifer without having been an Armiger first?

This seems like a thing which should be possible, albeit quite rare.


I imagine anything so special and rare could have a special explicit allowance to directly qualify for Hellknight/Signifier.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Love the art and excited to read more on the Hellknights

Blog wrote:
If and when we get a chance to look at the Hellknights again (maybe in a book focused on Old Cheliax? Who knows! Let us know if you want that!) we will get a chance to expand further on the orders and provide new options.

Yes please to Old Cheliax book!


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I had just assumed a book on each of the meta-regions was fait accompli.

Though I personally want to read more about Nidal and Ravounel than Chelixax itself. We've already seen a lot about Cheliax itself in the last 10 years. Nidal on the other hand has had 1 campaign setting book and roughly half a novel (the other half takes place in Cheliax), and Ravounel just had the one AP that lead to its existence.


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Rysky wrote:
From the last line of the feat, I'm guessing it's only the extra 2 dice you convert to Lawful.

Given that the extra damage part of the feat says that it only triggers against chaotic enemies and the convert-to-lawful part says you can do that regardless of whether or not the target is chaotic, I don't think so.

But uh, why would you want to do that? Lawful damage does nothing against non-chaotic enemies.

I guess you could use it as a really odd form of Detect Chaos, swing at someone and if they don't take any damage they're k.


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dcsid wrote:
Feros wrote:
dcsid wrote:
So the firebrands are the chaotic organization, the Hellknights are lawful, and the knights of Lastwall are good. Who's evil? Is the Whispering Way getting a little louder?
Aspis Consortium comes to mind...
I thought about that, but there's 2 problems. The first is that the Aspis Consortium operates from Cheliax, and I don't know if Paizo wants to focus on 2 major factions from that region in the same book (even if their presence is all over the world). The second is that a lot of members of the Aspis Consortium would probably fall under neutral alignments more than evil ones. They're opportunistic, not plotting to take over the world.

Actually, there are no outright evil organizations in the book. The five organizations are the Firebrands, the Knights of Lastwall, the Hellknights, the Magaambya, and the Pathfinder Society. They covered them in a Pathfinder Friday broadcast on Twitch.


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I think an evil-focused organization (rather than an organization that just resorts to evil means to accomplish their goals which aren't "the greater glory of evil") is kind of inappropriate for a player-focused book like the Character Guide.

Since, sure you can have evil PCs, but evil things are much more likely to be antagonists, and evil PCs aren't usually there for the "eeeeevil" since they need to get along with others at least a little.


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dcsid wrote:
So the firebrands are the chaotic organization, the Hellknights are lawful, and the knights of Lastwall are good. Who's evil? Is the Whispering Way getting a little louder?

I propose the secret and hithertofore unheard-of Society for the Total Extinction of Non-Conforming Humanoids.


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Love these guys. Make for great villains and antiheroes.

And another resounding YES to an Old Cheliax book!

Shadow Lodge

Hellknights have been my favorite thing in Pathfinder/Golarion since I first discovered the game. I am very glad that the little "error" made in the Core Rulebook involving Hellknights has been fixed tenfold between the Lost Omens World Guide and this preview!


Huray! Love me some merciless enforcement of iron-fisted order ... it makes me feel fuzzy and warm.

I'm really looking forward to playing these guys in future, and I also toss in a resounding vote for an Old Cheliax book. I'd really like to see one for each metaregion, but especially Old Cheliax. I want the Order of the Torrent to get powers like the other orders, and maybe see some stuff for the Order of the Crux, those cooky undead so-and-sos.


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I always wondered what happens to devils when they "die": do they just go back to hell or are they really dead?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I would also love to throw my hat in for a Cheliax book! But I also realy want a Tian Xia book first since I have enough Cheliax to whet my appetite for now...

Silver Crusade

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I can only see Hellknights as enemies, there are a lot of reasons for that but what happened in the Kingmaker CRPG is just the latest one (I ended up with a lot of free hell knight plates).

PFS scenarios featured some better hell knights that actually survived meeting the players, but in SFS they have really earned what happened to them.

TLDR: Firebrands forever <3

And I really would not mind waiting quite a long time for any new Cheliax books, we really need a refresh of Tian Xia first, and ideally, something that covers other parts of the world.

EDIT: Also just waiting for the first Goblin Hellknights to thoroughly confuse some players.


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Really hoping the Magaambya is our next preview.


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keftiu wrote:
Really hoping the Magaambya is our next preview.

Umm...

The blog does say (towards the end) that the Knights of Lastwall will be the preview next week...

Of course, the schedule could change, but...

<shrug>

I am looking forward to the Magaambya though!

Carry on,

--C.


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Psiphyre wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Really hoping the Magaambya is our next preview.

Umm...

The blog does say (towards the end) that the Knights of Lastwall will be the preview next week...

Of course, the schedule could change, but...

<shrug>

I am looking forward to the Magaambya though!

Carry on,

--C.

If their pattern holds, we'll get KoL crunch next week, and a Pathfinder-oriented Tales story. The week after that will include Magaambya crunch for sure, and possibly Pathfinder crunch unless they have something else up their sleeve. It's difficult to say; with the release date being in the middle of the month this time around, a good portion of subscribers will probably have their books by that time. We shall see.


The title Hellknights on the Town makes me keep thinking of Hellknights running amok including carousing like they're theoretically not supposed to do. This does have canonical precedent in the Pathfinder Tale that featured Varian Jeggare having to put up with a really obnoxious Hellknight who -- among other things -- would get drunk. Can't remember the title off the top of my head, though.


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UnArcaneElection wrote:

The title Hellknights on the Town makes me keep thinking of Hellknights running amok including carousing like they're theoretically not supposed to do. This does have canonical precedent in the Pathfinder Tale that featured Varian Jeggare having to put up with a really obnoxious Hellknight who -- among other things -- would get drunk. Can't remember the title off the top of my head, though.

I think you mean A Lesson In Taxonomy. But technically, it was a former Hellknight.

Shadow Lodge

Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
PFS scenarios featured some better hell knights that actually survived meeting the players, but in SFS they have really earned what happened to them.

Yea, as a huge Hellknight fan since day 1, I was sad to see my favorite order diminished in SFS like that. I'm hoping there will be a good, non-"Skeletor-evil" reason for the events of that scenario in the future (pun intended).


Any guesses what our Magaambya archetype will be?

The boring easy answer is someone who lets casters mix between arcane and primal spell lists, but I'd love something a little more dashing than that.

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